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Col. Watt tells hearing:
It all started with e-mails from McGirk

by David Allender

March 20, 2008 -- In an exclusive story by correspondent Nat Helms, NewsMax has revealed that it was a Time magazine reporter's unsubstantiated allegations that sparked the notorious investigation into the death of civilians on November 19, 2005 in Haditha Iraq and subjected eight Marines of Kilo Company, Third battalion, 1st Marines to years of unwarranted harassment and prosecution.

The NewsMax story does not identify the Time correspondent by name but Defend our Marines can report it was Time reporter Tim McGirk.

The wildest of McGirk's allegations were never reported in print. Neither did McGirk inform his readers about the evident problems his sources had with the truth.

In shocking testimony during pre-trial hearings in the case of Lance Corporal Stephen Tatum in Camp Pendeton, California, Army Colonel Gregory Watt recalled that he was sent to Iraq largely to investigate McGirk's allegations, made in e-mails to a military Public Affairs officer in Baghdad.

According to Col. Watt's sworn testimony, McGirk had charged that Marines dragged a man and his wife from a passing car and shot them in cold blood, left a wounded Iraqi man lying on the road for six hours until he bled to death, and forced four brothers into a closet and then shot them full of holes. 

None of this was true.

It was McGirk's false allegations, based on lies fed to him by known insurgent propagandists, that caused Rep. Murtha to charge the Marines had committed cold-blooded murder and led the government to launch a multi-million dollar investigation that resulted in various charges against the Haditha Marines--many of which have since been dropped.

Thanks to NewsMax which from the very beginning has reported the real Haditha story, it is now clear that the real assault was upon the Truth.

And it was the mainstream media who wielded the hatchet.

So now the record clearly shows. The shameful harassment of eight heroic Marines that has led to court martials for two officers and two enlisted men, cost families hundreds of thousands of dollars, subjected a courageous Marine lieutenant colonel to the  threat of years in prison and subjected the Marine heroes to a painful ordeal, all began with e-mails from Tim McGirk--emails filled with accusations proven to be false.

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