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Questions Surround Source of Videotape of Haditha Aftermath

Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Suspect Source?

Time Magazine has said it obtained videotape, shot by a "budding journalism student" at the scene of the alleged massacre of Iraqi civilians in Haditha, from an Iraqi affiliate of the international group Human Rights Watch.

But in a subsequent online correction, Time admits that the organization that gave them the tape, the Hammurabi Human Rights Group, has no ties to Human Rights Watch whatsoever.

What the magazine did not acknowledge is that the man behind the video is not a budding journalism student, but 43-year-old, Thaer Thabit al-Hadithi, who created the Hammurabi group last year and serves as one of its two employees.

Hadithi says he made the tape the day after witnessing part of the incident last November, but did not say why he waited four months before handing telling anyone about it.

Starting Early

House Democrats are already making plans for life in Congress if the party regains control — five months before the November elections.

On Friday, leading war critic John Murtha said he would run for Majority Leader if current Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi became the new speaker, prompting senior party members Jane Harman and John Lewis to issue statements pledging their support to Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer.

And as the public continues to question the use of special spending provisions known as earmarks, Appropriations Committee member Jim Moran says he's looking forward to chairing a subcommittee, because, "I'm going to earmark the [crap] out of it." Moran, however, used a stronger word than crap.

American Barbarity?

Cuban Dictator Fidel Castro has called the U.S. airstrike that killed Al Qaeda terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi a "barbarity" — saying Zarqawi should have been captured and tried.

Castro says the U.S. acted as its own judge and jury against Zarqawi, telling an audience, "They bragged, they were practically drunk with happiness" over his death. The communist leader said if Cuba used the same logic, it could bomb the U.S. to kill the man Castro has called the government's No. 1 enemy, Luis Posada Carriles, who is currently being held in Texas on immigration charges.

Power Play

Meanwhile, the U.S. diplomatic mission in Havana continues to go without electricity after the Cuban government cut their power last Monday, a move the State Department called "harassment."

General Response

When New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman called General Motors, "dangerous to America," accused the company of buying votes in Congress, and compared it to a "crack dealer" last month, GM responded to the charges with a strongly-worded letter to the editor.

But the Times never published it because GM refused to edit out the word "rubbish." GM reluctantly agreed to cut its response from 490 words to 200 and to remove a sentence calling Friedman's accusations "irresponsible."

But a GM spokesman says the company refused to back down when the Times claimed using the word "rubbish" to describe Friedman's arguments was "not the tone we use in Letters."

—FOX News Channel's Aaron Bruns contributed to this report.

With more than 35 years of journalism experience to draw from, Brit Hume currently serves as a senior political analyst for FOX News Channel (FNC) and contributes to all major political coverage. Hume also is regular panelist on FOX's weekly public affairs program, "FOX News Sunday" on Sundays at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. ET. Click here for more information on Brit Hume