söndag 27 september 2009


JEAN-PAUL MARI, LE NOUVEL OBSERVATEUR, FRANCE - In a just-published book, Master-Sergeant Jimmy Massey tells about his mission to recruit for, then fight in, the war in Iraq. He tells why he killed. And cracked. Jimmy Massey is 34 years old. He's originally a Texas boy, raised as a good Southern Baptist who loves squirrel hunting with his air rifle.
After 12 years in the Marines, Jim is a broken man, a veteran afflicted with post-traumatic stress syndrome, a depressive hooked on his medications, haunted by the nightmare images in which he massacres innocent civilians, scenes experienced in Iraq when he was nothing but a killing machine.
Jim has cracked, has withdrawn from the service for medical reasons, and has written a raw and brutal book. . . . The army denies the facts and his former comrades have insulted, rejected, and threatened him.
An extract:
JIMMY MASSEY - We had reached the military site Al-Rashid on an overcast, dark and sinister day. . . . When we stopped, I saw ten Iraqis, about 150 yards away. They were under forty years old, clean and dressed in the traditional white garment. They stayed on the side of the road waving signs and screaming anti-American slogans. . . .
That's when I heard a shot pass just over our heads, from right to left. I ran into the middle of the street to see what was happening. I had barely rejoined Schutz when my guys unloaded their weapons on the demonstrators. It only took me three seconds to take aim. I aimed my sights on the center of a demonstrator's body. I breathed in deeply and, as I exhaled, I gently opened my right eye and fired. I watched the bullets hit the demonstrator right in the middle of his chest. My Marines barked: "Come on, little girls! You wanna fight?"

I acquired a new target right away, a demonstrator on all fours who was trying to run away as fast as possible. I quickly aimed for the head; I breathed in deeply, breathed out, and I fired again. One head: boom! Another: boom! The center of a mass in the bull's eye: boom! Another: boom! I kept on until the moment when I saw no more movement from the demonstrators. There was no answering fire. I must have fired at least a dozen times. It all lasted no longer than two and a half minutes.

I know that they had also been shot in the back; some of them were crawling and their white clothes turned red. The M-16's 5.56 is a nasty bullet: it doesn't kill all at once. For example, it can enter the chest and come out at the knee, tearing all the internal organs on the way through. My guys were jumping around in every direction.
Taylor and Gaumont hollered: "Come back, babies!" "They don't know how to fight, those cocksuckers! Fucking cowards!"
They slapped one another on the back, exchanging "Good job!," but they were frustrated because some demonstrators had succeeded in getting away. I wanted to keep on firing, I kept telling myself: "Good God, there must be more of them." It was like eating the first spoonful of your favorite ice cream. You want more. . . .

Those demonstrators were the first people I killed. . . .
That had a hell of an effect on me. What an adrenaline, rush, fuck! Fear becomes a motor. It pushes you. It had more of an impact on me than the best grass I ever smoked. It was as though all those I had ever hated, all the anger that was accumulated in me was there in that being; you feel like you're absorbing life like a cannibal.
You're really happy with yourself; you feel really powerful and everything becomes clear. You reach nirvana, like a white luminous space. But after a few hours, you come down from nirvana and find yourself in dark waters; you swim in a pool of mud and the only way to go back to that other feeling is to kill again. . . .

[Translated by Truth Out]


For more than a year, former Marine Staff Sgt. Jimmy Massey has been telling anybody who will listen about the atrocities that he and other Marines committed in Iraq. In scores of newspaper, magazine and broadcast stories, at a Canadian immigration hearing and in numerous speeches across the country, Massey has told how he and other Marines recklessly, sometimes intentionally, killed dozens of innocent Iraqi civilians. . .

News organizations worldwide published or broadcast Massey's claims without any corroboration and in most cases without investigation. Outside of the Marines, almost no one has seriously questioned whether Massey, a 12-year veteran who was honorably discharged, was telling the truth.
He wasn't.

Each of his claims is either demonstrably false or exaggerated - according to his fellow Marines, Massey's own admissions, and the five journalists who were embedded with Massey's unit, including a reporter and photographer from the Post-Dispatch and reporters from The Associated Press and The Wall Street Journal. . .

[He] backtracked from allegations he made in a May 2004 radio interview and elsewhere that he had seen a tractor-trailer filled with the bodies of Iraqi civilians when Marines entered an Iraqi military prison outside Baghdad. He said the Iraqis had been killed by American artillery. He told listeners that the scene was so bad "that the plasma from the body and skin was decomposing and literally oozing out of the crevices of the tractor-trailer bed."

He repeated the story in the Post-Dispatch interview. But when told that the newspaper's photographs and eyewitness reports had identified the trailer contents as all men, mostly in uniform, Massey admitted that he had never seen the bodies. Instead, he said, he received his information from "intelligence reports." When asked if those reports were official documents, he answered, "No, that's what the other Marines told me.". . .

He almost always told his audiences and interviewers of an event he said he'd never forget: Marines in his unit shooting four civilian Iraqis in red Kia automobile. In some accounts, Massey said Marines fired at the vehicle after it failed to stop at a checkpoint. In another version, he said the Marines stormed the car.

Sometimes he said three of the men were killed immediately while the fourth was wounded and covered in blood; sometimes he said the fourth man was "miraculously unscathed."

Sometimes he said the Marines left the three men on the side of the road to die without medical treatment while the fourth man exclaimed: "Why did you shoot my brother?" In other versions, he said the man made the statement as medical personnel were attempting to treat the three other men, or as the survivor sat near the car, or to Massey personally.

There is no evidence that any of the versions occurred.
In a speech in Syracuse in March, the Post Standard newspaper quoted him as saying, "The reason the Marines teach you discipline . . . is so that you can confront the enemy and kill him. . . . Or so you can put a bullet into a 6-year-old, which is what I did. "

In the interview with the Post-Dispatch, Massey said he never personally had shot a child.

"I meant that's what my unit did," he said.
He could not provide details.
Nor could he name any Marine who could corroborate any of his stories.
"Admitting guilt is a hard thing to do," he said.
STAN GOFF, COUNTERPUNCH - On April 9, 2003, Ron Harris, a St. Louis Post Dispatch writer embedded with Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines, posted a story about Resheed, an Iraqi military base near Baghdad, wherein he described a dramatic daylong battle which included RPGs hidden away in civilian clothes and guerillas "hiding behind civilians."
The battle, as the story turned out, was the apologetic context for the description of Marines firing into a car full of civilians, wounding all of them. Quoting the battalion commander, Lieutenant Colonel Belcher, Harris wrote, "You're seeing drive-by shootings, suicide bomb attempts, and they're even trying to use civilians as shields."

Researching other stories done by Harris over 2003 and 2004, the guerrillas hiding behind civilians becomes a recurrent topic. He was also as enamored of florid prose as Shacochis. That's what happens when you are writing about those you love.

The problem was, according to former Marine Staff Sergeant Jimmy Massey, who was interviewed at the Boston Veterans for Peace Convention in 2004, Harris' description was heavily embellished. Contact that day was thin and sporadic.

"As his Marine unit entered Iraq it came upon empty Iraqi military bases with weapons lying on the road. 'We shot it up with everything we had, and we were laughing and having a good time. The Iraqis let us in the country; we didn't take it.'

"Upon entering Baghdad his unit came upon an unarmed pro-Saddam demonstration. His unit killed several of the demonstrators. 'I knew that we caused the insurgency to be pissed off because they had witnessed us executing innocent civilians.' Massey told us how the U.S.-embedded reporter, Ron Harris, from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch wrote that there was a ferocious battle between his unit and the Iraqi military, but it never happened. The reporter was writing what the Marines wanted him to write.". . .

Jimmy Massey didn't meet Harris that day, or ever, because while Harris was embedded with Lima Company 3/7, Jimmy was assigned to Weapons Company. In fact, Ron Harris has never so much as called Jimmy Massey on the telephone or attempted to send Jimmy Massey an email until he called several weeks ago to tell Jimmy to retract all his claims or be "exposed."
The reason I bring that up is that two days ago, Harris published an ambush piece on Jimmy Massey, a year and a half after Massey dissed Harris on his Resheed battle story, and just one month after the release of Massey's devastating book, Kill Kill Kill, relating his experiences in Iraq, and naming names. . .

Harris hasn't read the book nor has he called Jimmy Massey except once to demand he retract his claims, but that didn't deter him from writing his hit-piece. . .

Harris goes on . . . to claim that Massey said he had personally killed a 6-year-old. But Massey says that this was a misquote that grew legs. There was a child among the dead when demonstrators were shot in Resheed. The original statement was "I brought these series of events up through the chain of command. Each time I was told they were terrorists, or they were insurgents.
My question to the marine corps at that point became, how was a 6-year-old child with a bullet hole in its head a terrorist or insurgent?" Reads a bit differently that Harris' smear-job, doesn't it?. . .

Harris says, "While touring with Sheehan in Montgomery, Ala., he told of seeing the girl's body." Sheehan did not join that leg of the three-bus tour until Atlanta. She was never in Montgomery. I just got an email from Cindy confirming that. No big deal in most circumstances. Just a minor error. But since what is good for the Massey-goose is examination with an electron microscope, let's just say its sauce for the Post-Dispatch's embedded-gander.

JIMMY MASSEY, COUNTERPUNCH - Major newspapers and media outlets published my story. Neither the Marine Corps nor any of my platoon members filed any charges against me as a result of my claims in over 20 months. Nor did they attempt any defamation campaign to counteract my allegations that the large numbers of civilians killed in the invasion, as a result of failed strategies, fomented anti-American sentiment, and fueled the insurgency.
Until Saturday.
Quantico Marine Base Public Affairs Officer Lt. Col. Richard Long, former director of Public Affairs and the embedded reporter program in Iraq, began circulating an article Monday published in the St. Louis Post Dispatch, Saturday, November 5, by former embedded reporter Ron Harris, accusing me of lying. Harris not only was not assigned to my Weapon's Company, (he was with Lima), and was not present for any of the incidents he disputes, but before last week, had not spoken with me once since my return.

On Monday, Harris appeared on CNN's "American Morning," in an unrebutted interview stating, "not only did I not see any protesters, nobody saw any protesters," and "nobody ever interviewed the Marines, which I did all of." Nobody ever checked his story. . .

Harris' apparent contempt for me seems to stem from the fact that one and a half years ago, I exposed him for having greatly embellished an incident at Rasheed Military complex in his April 9, 2003, article in the St. Louis Post Dispatch In the article, Harris described a dramatic, daylong battle glorifying heroic deeds and describing guerillas "hiding behind civilians."
Speaking at the Boston Veterans for Peace Convention in 2004, I said Harris had greatly exaggerated the combat in what was subsequently hailed as an example of American military prowess.
I confessed publicly that"contact that day was thin and sporadic," and that "as my unit entered Iraq it came upon empty Iraqi military bases with weapons lying on the road." I noted that We shot it up with everything we had, and we were laughing and having a good time. The Iraqis let us in the country; we didn't take it.'

It is ironic that Ron Harris should accuse others of bad reporting. It was Ron Harris himself that misquoted me as having mentioned a 4 year old with a bullet in her head, and then conveniently used his own misquote to accuse me of lying.
Simply doing a web search for "Jimmy Massey" and "4 year old," you will find that the only source even suggesting that I knew of an incident when Marines had killed the child is Harris' own story. My only related quote had been "Lima Company was involved in a shooting at a checkpoint.
My platoon was ordered to another area before the victims were removed from the car. The other Marines told me that a 4-year-old girl had been killed."

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