"Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please." (Mark Twain)

Thursday, May 05, 2005

We're All So Very Thankful That Iraq Has Been Liberated 

I often say less than complimentary things about certain journalists on this page, but for all their faults, we depend on journalists in general to speak truth to power and keep the cockroaches scurrying by shining light in dark corners. Obviously, there are some who find this prospect threatening. And so, they strike back:
US and Iraqi forces are holding without charge nine Iraqi journalists working for international news organisations, on suspicion of aiding insurgents, the US military said.

The local journalists working for seven Western news organisations are currently detained with "some having been held for several months", said Colonel Steve Boylan, a spokesman for US forces in Iraq.

The US military is believed to be holding two AFP journalists, though US officers could only confirm the detention of one, recently transferred to the notorious Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad....

An AFP photographer, Fares Nawaf al-Issaywi, was detained on May 1 by Iraqi police while taking pictures in Fallujah, 50 kilometres (30 miles) west of Baghdad, before being handed over to US soldiers, his family said.

US forces have so far been unable to confirm they are holding him.

Issaywi has been invited to receive a "photo of the year" prize on May 28 at an international press photo awards in China.

Also among the detainees is cameraman Abdul Ameer Hussein, working for the American CBS television network, who was wounded by coalition forces as he covered the aftermath of a bomb explosion in Mosul, northern Iraq, in April.

He was arrested on his release from hospital and charged with "being a danger to the coalition forces", according to CBS. He was transferred to Abu Ghraib on April 22.

According to a US military statement, the journalist "tested positive for explosive residue".

Now, I'm no forensic scientist - nor do I play one on TV (although I am in the process of pitching a project to NBC with the working title of CSI:Chumstick) - but don't you think that the presence of "explosive residue" on the person of poor Mr. Hussein might have had something to do with his just having gotten himself blowed up???

It is certainly possible that there are local stringers in Iraq who are more or less loosely associated with the insurgency, but if so, here's an idea: Why doesn't somebody bring those individuals up on charges and then prove them. It's called "due process;" maybe someone could look that up. In the meanwhile, don't try to convince me that "freedom" is on the march, while uncharged journalists are being held incommunicado at Abu Ghraib.




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