Friday, June 09, 2006

Blood Money

Interesting times and proof that there may in fact be some justice in the world. We have the "Duke Rape Case" falling apart. Al Queda in Iraq leader al-Zarquari is dead.

And now the Haditha case against the Marines is falling apart. It appears that the "young" reporter (there is a picture) who is also a founder of a human rights group has some questions to answer.

Why start a human rights group if you want to remain anonymous? And why did Time pretend their source was young? Why did they pretend he had no involvement with Hammurabi? (When in fact he is its founder.)

But that is just the start of the many questionable aspects of Thabit’s accounts.

Bear in mind that this "budding journalism student" waited until the next day to videotape this alleged atrocity, which supposedly happened on his very doorstep.

Note that this same "budding journalism student" and self-proclaimed human rights watcher did not bother to turn over his video to a media outlet or a real human rights group from November 2005 until March 2006. A four month delay.

That’s how eager they were to make sure such a crime is never again repeated.
Read the whole thing to get the full context for the reporters on the case. Time Magazine is not looking too good either.

Even more interesting is the full social context of what is happening in Haditha. It may be all about an effort to extract more blood money out of the US Military.
On the side of a road in a ramshackle tent tribal elders have gathered for a court case, but it is not an ordinary law court, it's a tribal court. The case defies logic - one brother has killed another, but the tribe they belonged to is blaming a rival tribe for the killing.

Their argument is that if there had not been a feud with the other tribe, the killing would not have taken place; they are now demanding $20,000 in blood money….

At the tribal court, the discussion is heated, but not about guilt or innocence. Through a complex network of tribal support, both sides know where they stand, now it is just a matter of agreeing the money.

Eventually the price is knocked down to $4,000 and a woman, her value to be determined in later negotiations.

For many Iraqis it's a system that works, and in a violent region recompense appears much more practical than locking someone away.
The article has more on the blood money system and how it relates to the news from Haditha and a previous British case.
The logic in the British case and possibly in Haditha is simple: If the coalition did not have a fight with the insurgents, the deaths would not have occurred. The deaths cause a loss in the resources of the tribe. The tribe cannot file a claim with Zarqawi--he might chop their heads off--therefore it is the coalition that owes blood money. In the eyes of tribal people such as Haditha residents, this debt is owed regardless of who actually killed the 24 people in Haditha or the circumstances of those deaths. The payment of blood money is not an admission of guilt; it is a balancing of tribal obligations.

What tribal Iraqis would understand as blood money has in fact already been paid by US military representatives in Haditha. According to the May 31 New York Times payments totaling $38,000 were made “within weeks of the shootings” to the families of 15 of the 24 dead.
So they already have gotten their blood money. Could it be they are trying to enhance the deal? An excerpt from the New York Times quoted in the article:
In an interview Tuesday, Maj. Dana Hyatt, the officer who made the payments, said he was told by superiors to compensate the relatives of 15 victims, but was told that rest of those killed had been deemed to have committed hostile acts, leaving their families ineligible for compensation.

After the initial payments were made, however, those families demanded similar payments, insisting their relatives had not attacked the marines, Major Hyatt said….

The list of 15 victims deemed to be noncombatants was put together by intelligence personnel attached to the battalion, Major Hyatt said. Those victims were related to a Haditha city council member, he said. The American military sometimes pays compensation to relatives of civilian victims.

The relatives of each victim were paid a total of $2,500, the maximum allowed under Marine rules, along with $250 payments for two children who were wounded. Major Hyatt said he also compensated the families for damage to two houses.

"I didn't say we had made a mistake," Major Hyatt said, describing what he had told the city council member who was representing the victims. "I said I'm being told I can make payments for these 15 because they were deemed not to be involved in combat."
The article from the Hawaii Reporter has much more on the Haditha Stories discrepancies and the blood money system. Read it all.

The Marine who gave lurid details of the Haditha "crime" may have had a motive for being a fabulist.
Others have noted many weird aspects to Corporal Briones’ previous statements about being ordered to photograph the Haditha victims, and his further claims about his camera being stolen.

It is highly questionable that the Marines would order a rank and file soldier to do such a thing. And to use his own (non-official) camera to document such an important, possibly criminal event.

It is also highly improbably that they would enlist someone who could himself face future charges in such an effort.

And, lastly, it is very unlikely that they would allow such valuable evidence as these photos to disappear.

This latest news, however, may very well shed light on Briones’ motives.

Apparently all of Briones’ statements to the media about being ordered to photograph the Haditha corpses were made after his drunken hit and run felony on April 3, 2006. (His first appearance in the press seems to be an interview with the Los Angeles Times on May 29, 2006.)

If Briones was so traumatized by what he saw in Haditha, why did he wait six months to tell anyone about it?

Isn’t it possible that once the Haditha story came out, Briones latched onto it as a way to beat these very serious charges? They include auto theft, drunk-driving, resisting arrest and leaving the scene of an accident.
As more facts filter out it is looking more and more like Haditha=Duke Rape. Stories made up for profit. However, for once, a few of the slime balls living on the planet may be getting their due.

Link to a Haditha link fest

Update: 09 June '06 0327z

Riehl World looks at more story conflicts in the MSM.

Update: 11 June '06 0047z

Sweetness & Light has more on the blood money system. See the comment by DB.

Over at Mudville Gazette the Accused Speak

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Anonymous said...

Police investigating the Duke University lacrosse team on rape allegations "omitted" notes from a second dancer at the party, who told authorities the alleged victim had been drinking, was acting "crazy" and that her colleague's accusation was a "crock," a defense attorney said Thursday. In court documents filed Thursday, attorney Kirk Osborn said that Durham, North Carolina, police "intentionally, deliberately and/or recklessly omitted" information from a probable cause affidavit -- information Osborn says would have persuaded the judge not to file felony charges against three of the players. The district attorney's office did not return a call seeking comment.

Another police note obtained by the defense says the alleged victim acknowledged having two beers before arriving at the party and that she and Pittman both had a rum and coke after their arrival.

The accuser also told police that she used a vibrating sex toy during a dance in a hotel room for a male and female, but she told police that she had not had sex in the week before the party, the note says.

However, a male friend of the accuser said that he had sex with her that week and that he drove her to three other sexual encounters, according to the friend's statement.

Osborn also claims in the court documents that the nurse who examined the alleged victim was in training and not yet certified.

DRJ said...

Good post. It does seem things are looking up.