Al Jazeera Magazine published this photo online above the caption: ‘The Haditha massacre is far worse than My Lai’

The Middle East news website Al Jazeera published a provocative photo purporting to show a “massacre” by Marines in Haditha, Iraq, despite the fact several papers already issued retractions admitting the image was of fishermen executed by terrorists months before the incident under investigation.

The Times of London and the Chicago Sun-Times issued apologies last week before Dubai-based Al Jazeera – which is not associated with the Arab satellite TV network – published the photo with a caption referring to the infamous slaughter of civilians by U.S. troops during the Vietnam war.

“The Haditha massacre is far worse than My Lai,” the caption read.

After receiving complaints, Al Jazeera replaced the photo but maintained the caption, issuing a statement that said:

“Al Jazeera Magazine’s editorial team deeply regrets and apologizes for the previous mistake of publishing a wrong picture for this story.”

On her weblog, best-selling author and columnist Michelle Malkin criticized the Times of London despite its apology.

“Some smears aren’t so easy to take back – especially when the image is as searing and as damning as the bloody images the Times wrongly attributed to our Marines. Despite the correction, the image has been burned into the public memory.”

In its initial explanation of the Nov. 19 Haditha incident, the U.S. military said a roadside bomb killed 15 Iraqi civilians. After reports by the New York Times and ABC News, the Marines Corps is investigating charges that several Marines went house-to-house in Haditha after the death of one of the platoon’s best-loved members, leaving 24 unarmed civilians dead.

Neal Puckett, a military defense attorney representing Sgt. Frank Wuterich, who is at the center of the probe, insists Marines did not deliberately target civilians and did not try to cover up the incident.

In March, Time magazine issued a retraction about the Haditha incident after asserting an Iraqi “human rights group” that obtained a video of the scene was tied to the international organization Human Rights Watch.

The story by Tim McGirk was titled, “Last November, U.S. Marines killed 15 Iraqi civilians in their homes. Was it self-defense, an accident, or cold-blooded revenge?”

The retraction said: “In the original version of this story, Time reported that ‘a day after the incident, a Haditha journalism student videotaped the scene at the local morgue and at the homes where the killings had occurred. The video was obtained by the Hammurabi Human Rights Group, which cooperates with the internationally respected Human Rights Watch, and has been shared with Time.’ In fact, Human Rights Watch has no ties or association with the Hammurabi Human Rights Group. Time regrets the error.”

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