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Militant Islam Monitor > Articles > AP Photographer caught with Al Qaeda terrorists and weapons who staged corpse photos and filed false reports defended by employers

AP Photographer caught with Al Qaeda terrorists and weapons who staged corpse photos and filed false reports defended by employers

September 21, 2006

MIM: According to AP working with terrorists,filing false reports, and staging atrocity photos should be no reason to detain anyone or be a cause to raise the question of a possible "conflict of interests". AP claims to have reviewed Hussain's reportages to see if Hussain had gotten too up close and personal with terrorists. Apparently AP operates on the ideas that a few indications of having had advance warning or been invited to take photos showing attacks on coalition soldiers is acceptable, as is photographing murder as a service to terrorist propaganda.

In a May 7th email . Army Maj.General Jack Gardner who overseas detainees wrote:

The military said Hussein was captured with two insurgents, including Hamid Hamad Motib, an alleged leader of al-Qaida in Iraq. "He has close relationships with persons known to be responsible for kidnappings, smuggling, improvised explosive device (IED) attacks and other attacks on coalition forces,"

Being caught with Al Qaeda members and weapons is also not enough to convince the AP news service that their Iraqi employee might have been colluding with terrorists. The AP is throwing all their weight into defending Hussain. No wonder since one of his photographs were part of a 20 photo Pulitzer prize winning series. The subject? Four 'insurgents firing a mortar and small arms' as U.S. troops advanced on Fallujah.

In its own effort to determine whether Hussein had gotten too close to the insurgency, the AP reviewed his work record, interviewed senior photo editors who worked on his images and examined all 420 photographs in the news cooperative's archives that were taken by Hussein.

Of those, AP executives said, only 37 photos show insurgents or people who could be insurgents, and only four show the wreckage of still-burning U.S. military vehicles. The military in Iraq has often detained journalists who arrive quickly at scenes of violence, accusing them of getting advance notice from insurgents.;

Even more egregious, is that Hussein may have profitted by felony murder.As Powerlineblog contributors point out:

The basic point that I made in my post was that, far from showing "extraordinary courage" by taking pictures of insurgents "at great personal risk," as the AP claimed, some of the AP's stringers, apparently including Hussein, are in fact collaborators with al Qaeda and other insurgent groups, taking propaganda pictures on their behalf and publishing them world-wide through the AP. It is obvious from some of Hussein's pictures, in particular, that he had no fear of the insurgents and that his presence was welcomed by them. This fact, evident from the photos themselves, was confirmed by his arrest.

The AP responded to my comments and those of other bloggers on Hussein's detention here

AP executives, who made public Hussein's detention on Sunday after months of behind-the-scenes negotiations, said the news cooperative's review of Hussein's work did not find inappropriate contact with insurgents.

See above. We don't think collaborating with terrorists by taking propaganda photos at their behest is appropriate; the AP does.

The third:

At Powerlineblog.com, John Hinderaker accused the AP of benefiting from felony murder.

The AP on Tuesday issued statements correcting various bloggers who repeated from site to site charges that Hussein had witnessed and photographed executions.

One of Hussein's most controversial pictures - that of a dead Italian man with two masked insurgents standing over him with guns - was taken when the man already was dead, it said.

This is the photo:



MIM: Instead of firing their terrorist colleague, the AP is adding insult to injury by ponying up for his legal defense, with Associate legal counsel Dave Tomlin demandin that Hussain be tried or released and have his day in court. Joel SImon, The executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists went one better and ' said photographing insurgents should not be cause for imprisonment.'

"There's no way to cover an insurgency without having contact with insurgents," Simon said. "If we're in an environment where any contact or documentation of activities of insurgents is cause for indefinite detention, that really puts a damper on the work of the press."


September 19, 2006

AP Calls On Pentagon To Release Or Charge Detained Photographer

(AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)
This Sunday, the Associated Press went public with a call on the Pentagon to either release or bring charges against AP photographer Bilal Hussein, who has been detained in Iraq for five months. Yesterday, the Pentagon defended its decision to detain Hussein, "asserting that it has authority to imprison him indefinitely without charges because it believes he had improper ties to insurgents," wrote the AP yesterday. According to the AP on Sunday:

Military officials said Bilal Hussein, an Iraqi citizen, was being held for "imperative reasons of security" under United Nations resolutions. AP executives said the news cooperative's review of Hussein's work did not find anything to indicate inappropriate contact with insurgents, and any evidence against him should be brought to the Iraqi criminal justice system.

Hussein, 35, is a native of Fallujah who began work for the AP in September 2004. He photographed events in Fallujah and Ramadi until he was detained on April 12 of this year.

"We want the rule of law to prevail. He either needs to be charged or released. Indefinite detention is not acceptable," said Tom Curley, AP's president and chief executive officer. "We've come to the conclusion that this is unacceptable under Iraqi law, or Geneva Conventions, or any military procedure."

Hussein is one of an estimated 14,000 people detained by the U.S. military worldwide -- 13,000 of them in Iraq. They are held in limbo where few are ever charged with a specific crime or given a chance before any court or tribunal to argue for their freedom.

Pentagon spokesperson Bryan Whitman told the AP on Monday that "Hussein's detainment indicates that he has strong ties with known insurgents and that he was doing things, involved in activities, that were well outside the scope of what you would expect a journalist to be doing."

But AP Associate General Counsel Dave Tomlin said Whitman didn't address the fact that Bilal has not been provided a trial:

"Mr. Whitman says it would be `up to the central criminal court of Iraq' to charge Bilal with any wrongdoing. But the Iraqi court can't do that until the U.S. military hands over Bilal and whatever evidence they have against him to Iraqi authorities," Tomlin said.

"This is exactly what AP and Bilal are asking for," he said. "If the evidence isn't strong enough to support charges, however, Bilal should be released."

The whole situation brings to mind a similar battle between CBS and the Pentagon over the detention of Abdul Ameer Younis Hussein, and it's well worth reading a full account of his story here. Abdul was detained in Iraq for a year before his case went to trial, where he was acquitted based on a lack of evidence. Interestingly, Brian Montopoli reported after Abdul's release that a new rule was instituted by the U.S. military, intended to expedite the process of bringing charges against detained journalists:

Seemingly as a result of the Hussein case, as well as other cases involving journalists detained in Iraq, the military has instituted a rule in which journalists taken into custody would be treated as "almost unique" cases, in the words of Major General Jack Gardner, with the charges against them addressed swiftly.

Regarding Bilal's case, Gardner said in an e-mail to the AP:

Bilal "has close relationships with persons known to be responsible for kidnappings, smuggling, improvised explosive device (IED) attacks and other attacks on coalition forces."

"The information available establishes that he has relationships with insurgents and is afforded access to insurgent activities outside the normal scope afforded to journalists conducting legitimate activities," Gardner wrote to AP International Editor John Daniszewski.

The AP argues that "the military has not provided the company concrete evidence of its claims against Bilal Hussein, or provided him a chance to offer a defense."

Scott Horton, who worked on Abdul Ameer Younis Hussein's case, has been hired by the AP to work on Bilal's case. He told the AP that "several hundred journalists in Iraq have been detained, some briefly and some for several weeks." AP executives said that "it's not uncommon for AP news people to be picked up by coalition forces and detained for hours, days or occasionally weeks, but never this long."

MIM:For a series of staged pictures taken by Bilal see the excellent reportage by News Busters "AP's Bilal Hussein appears to stage corpse photos"


Bilal or BS?


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