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Wonder why "Frontline" felt compelled to ...

by Edward ODaniel / February 20, 2008 6:19 AM PST

avoid mentioning many crucial facts regarding Haditha?


?Frontline? accepted without question the legitimacy of the so-called Hammurabi Human Rights Association and allowed its alleged head man Abdul-Rahman al-Mashhadani to tell the story of the aftermath of Nov. 19, even though the organization consists solely of himself and one Thaer Thabit al-Hadithi ? the original source of the video excerpts ?Frontline? showed.

The "Human Rights Organization" ties to insurgents was known to the media long ago but "Frontline" "neglected" to mention so trivial a thing -

June 09, 2006
(b)?? Ali al?Mashhadani had been imprisoned for five months before his report?because of his ties to insurgents. He was subsequently placed under another 12 days in detention for being a security threat.

A key source for McGirk's report that US Marines in Haditha had deliberately attacked civilians was Thaer al?Hadithi. whom McGirk inexplicably described as 'a budding journalism student'. He is a middle?aged man, and was subsequently described by the AP as an 'Iraqi investigator.'

McGirk also failed to note that Hadithi is 'a member and spokesman for the Hammurabi.' The chairman of Hammurabi Organization and Hadithi's partner in publicizing the 'massacre' is Abdul?Rahman al?Mashhadani. It is unknown if he is related to Ali al?Mashhadani but their names suggest a possible relationship, and it beggars belief?that as Sweetness& Light?notes,

'Abdel Rahman al?Mashhadani just happened to be given a video by and unnamed local. And that he then turned it over to Ali al?Mashhadani who just happens to make videos for Reuters.'


A timeline of events and media inconsistencies:

The rest of the original link from NewsMax can easily be verified from other sources should you not happen to trust NewsMax. Even the left reclined WaPo got some of it right at times.

"Frontline" claims to be news but it is pretty clear from what it used and what it left out that it really is some rather biased sensationalism - used to call it Yellow Journalism.

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Hi Ed. :-)
by grimgraphix / February 20, 2008 1:37 PM PST

I read through your links. I don't plan on rehashing the incident at Haditha point by point by point but I will address the newsmax link.

I will say that I can understand why you might have been excited by the newsmax article. It raises what might appear on the surface as glaring omissions. Problem is, many of the omissions that newsmax accuses Frontline of are just plain wrong or never occurred.

Frontline raised the concerns over the Hammurabi Rights Association that some sources were concerned about. The video shown during the show from the Iraqi sources was qualified by Frontline... as not being documentable as to the actual source of the video, the timeline, and location being shown.

A considerable amount of the video shown was from marine sources, including actual survelence video from unmanned drones flying over the action as it occurred. Newsmax completely fails to mention this. Frontline made fine use of this video, showing actual video footage that refuted step by step, many of the accusations made by the Iraqis.

Frontline did not portray Haditha "as peaceful and free of insurgents prior to the arrival of the Marines". As a matter of fact, marines interviewed on camera stated they were surprised that there was no immediate "Faluja" style battle as soon as they entered the city (which is what they had anticipated and prepared for). The marines stated that after being there for just a short time, tensions and dislike between the residents and the marines was readily apparent and that increased intelligence showed insurgent strikes in the area were being planned and would soon be executed. In other words, Frontline portrayed Haditha as a time bomb, waiting to explode.

Frankly, the newsmax article ignores many of the points raised by the Frontline show that indicated that both the US prosecution involved with the upcoming courts martial and accusations made by the Iraqi authorities was not, I repeat... NOT... supported by the available evidence. They even mentioned that the primary witness in the case was a marine who had cut a deal in exchange for his testimony.

Fact is... after watching the show, I thought much of the information presented went far towards exonerating the marines involved. I am surprised that Maxnews seems to feel it was a hatchet job.

I have to say that it appears you did not see the show yourself. Here is the link to the Frontline site. The show under discussion can be streamed to your computer if you should choose to see for yourself, and judge it to see just how accurate the newsmax story really was. I think if you take the time you will find that the show was very well formulated and made a great effort to present as much detail as possible, without editorializing. Quite honestly, that is why I brought it to the attention of SE. Of course, you can only judge it for yourself, if you actually watch it yourself.


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A legitimate news story would not use material which is
by Kiddpeat / February 20, 2008 11:29 PM PST
In reply to: Hi Ed. :-)

characterized as;

not being documentable as to the actual source of the video, the timeline, and location

If all of those things are not documentable, then the video may be a complete work of fiction. No legitimate news organization would use material that may well be a complete fiction. A 'documentary' with a preconceived agenda, such as Michael Moore's works, might use this kind of material. A person drawing conclusions from this material would be very foolish. How does one differentiate this material from propaganda?

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Until you watch the show, you are simply not able...
by grimgraphix / February 21, 2008 1:59 AM PST

... to make such comments with any authority. I'm not being a smart *** when I say this. This is just a true statement.

I will concede the fault you are finding maybe in the way I worded my statement... after all, both you and several of your like minded compatriots have criticized me a multitude of times for my poor communications skills. N'est-ce pas? I have no doubt I failed to communicate the reality of the program's narrative content.

In other words, quite trying to create a tempest in a tea cup. It's obvious y'all are relying on second hand knowledge to be critical, rather than spending 50 minutes to watch a very well made show. I know you pride yourself on your reasoning skills, KP... so watch the damned show before you try to bust the program on a journalistic technicality. The bottom line is that Ed's newsmax story says that the show did not cover any of these concerns AT ALL, when the show clearly DID.

Honestly? Those of us who are regulars on SE, know that this is just the usual give and take here. This isn't really about the show, but just an effort to screw with me. I accept it for what it is. Still, the points you folks are trying to catch me up on, are so glaringly wrong that this is a foolish waste of time. Watch the show, and if you want to discuss it then, I will be happy to. Until then, y'all are obviously arguing from an ill informed position that breaks down into a "yes it is / no it isn't" debate.

Sheesh folks... it really was quite a good show that painted the marines involved in the actual battle in a very good light and your favorite villains as liars, for the most part. Watch it... it ain't gonna kill you to watch a PBS show once in a while, that isn't about bunnies or Lawrence Welk.

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I watched the program
by Angeline Booher / February 21, 2008 1:15 AM PST
In reply to: Hi Ed. :-)

It follows "Nova".

It is available right now for those that did not watch it Tuesday night.

Those who did not watch it then can now see it and make their own assessment and not judge based on the Newsmax review.


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The NewsMax article only ...
by Edward ODaniel / February 21, 2008 4:23 AM PST
In reply to: Hi Ed. :-)

addressed the glaring ommisions of the "Frontline" story.

If you take the time to look through the reference material and look further into any information they provide that you have any doubts about you will easily see that "Frontline" did indeed do just as Newsmax claimed. They simply omitted informing viewers of the actual status of the Human Rights "organization" and its members and the fact that they were accepted at their word despite the facts already well known about them not being what they claimed to be.

This is not about newsmax "failing" to tell any whole story, it is about "Frontline" choosing to avoid presenting necessary facts in their "documentary". Was it because once the facts were known about "star players" their "documentary" wouldn't play well to its targetted audience?

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If you had watched the show in question...
by grimgraphix / February 21, 2008 5:24 AM PST

... you would not be saying what you are saying. You could not say it because you would know you were wrong.

Frontline did indeed, mention the issues that newsmax (and now you) are saying they failed to review. I will agree that Frontline did not stress the issue or place emphasis, nor draw a conclusion about the organization in question as newsmax obviously finds fault with, but just because the show did not focus closely on these issues does not mean it failed to mention them. The issue that newsmax, and now you, has raised is that the show failed to mention this information... which is simply not true. I say for the final time, if you had watched the show you would know this article from newsmax is not accurate.

Look, I'm not saying you have to like the show. Heck, don't watch it for all I care. But you are presenting the article from newsmax as if it conclusively discredits everything in the 50 minute report when the truth is that newsmax's observations are not just inaccurate... they are starkly wrong. I just think you ought to be aware of this.

Frontline did present "the facts". The show just didn't editorialize the incident, or make judgments about those involved. The reality is that I thought the report was very objective and presented details that anyone would find informative. That is why I posted it to begin with. Draw your on conclusions about the content, but don't rely on this one newsmax article to tell you the report was wrong or somehow a propaganda piece, until you see it for yourself.

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Nope ...
by Edward ODaniel / February 21, 2008 8:00 AM PST

No where in the "show" did "Frontline" bother mentioning that Abdul-Rahman al-Mashhadani and Thabit al-Hadithi were the only members of the "organization" nor that both were known for their interactions with insurgents.

If you saw and heard where they did such please do point it out because no one else saw or heard them do so. All that anyone else saw or heard was a rather broad "disclaimer" that was effectively indicated as being unimportant by using the unsupported remarks of Abdul-Rahman al-Mashhadani as gospel.

The same applies to the other areas that the Newsmax article pointed out. Go ahead, watch it again.

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(NT) Have it your way, Ed.
by grimgraphix / February 21, 2008 9:30 AM PST
In reply to: Nope ...
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Can't we just hang it up? ;-(
by Angeline Booher / February 21, 2008 8:02 AM PST

This could go on for 50 years! ;-(

Speakeasy Moderator

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This is one of those ..
by Angeline Booher / February 21, 2008 5:45 AM PST

..... topics that will never reach any meeting of the minds.

As with when the show was the topic yesterday, it soon deteriorated into what these usually do in SE, especially when the topics are introduced by members that draw special interest.

Speakeasy Moderator

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(NT) That's life.
by grimgraphix / February 21, 2008 6:03 AM PST
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Not for everybody, only for a few.
by Angeline Booher / February 21, 2008 7:05 AM PST
In reply to: That's life.

Everybody doesn't like to play the silly games that go on here.

Reading some of these threads are like watching really bad movies, though the actors think they are creating a beautifully crafted masterpiece. ;-(

No winners.

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