Defend Our Marines notes something everyone else has missed:
October 6, 2007 - Buried in the mountain of exhibits attached to the once secret Haditha, Iraq murder inquiry prepared by US Army Maj. Gen. Eldon A. Bargewell is an obscure Marine Corps intelligence summary (see pdf) that says the deadly encounter was an intentional propaganda ploy planned and paid for by Al Qaeda foreign fighters.
Veteran military defense attorney Gary Meyers said he never understood why the Naval Criminal Investigative Service special agents leading the Haditha criminal investigation didn't "examine the linkage" between Al Qaeda, the local insurgency and the events at Haditha. Meyers was an attorney on the defense team that successfully defended Justin Sharratt, a Marine infantryman accused of multiple murders at Haditha.
The report - apparently overlooked by a Washington press corps awash in leaked Bargewell documents and secret Naval Criminal Investigative Service reports - shows that Marine Corps intelligence operatives were advised of the scheme to demonize the Marines by an informant named Muhannad Hassan Hamadi. The informant was snared by 3/1 Marines on December 11 2005 and decided to cooperate.
Planning a "massacre"
The attack was carried out by multiple cells of local Wahabi extremists and well-paid local gunmen from Al Asa'ib al-Iraq [the Clans of the People of Iraq] that were led by Al Qaeda foreign fighters, the summary claims. Their case was bolstered by Marine signal intercepts revealing that the al Qaeda fighters planned to videotape the attacks and exploit the resulting carnage for propaganda purposes.
Eleven insurgents involved in the attack are identified by name and affiliation in the details of the summary. All of them were killed or captured in the days immediately following the Haditha incident.
During the November Haditha battle, the insurgents secreted themselves among local civilians to guarantee pursuing Marines would catch innocent civilians in the ensuing crossfire. On January 6, 2006 six insurgents who tried to do the same thing at another location in Haditha were turned in to Coalition authorities before they could mount a similar assault, the report says.
Read the whole report. Interestingly, it was blogger Steve Gilbert who came closest, earliest to the truth about Haditha.