The Associated (with terrorists) Press reported yesterday on a lobbying campaign to free its Iraqi-based photographer Bilal Hussein, who has been in U.S. military detention since April (a fact first reported not by the A(w/t)P, but here on this blog).
Who is spearheading the Free Bilal lobbying campaign? Yup, the A(w/t)P:
The U.S. military’s indefinite detention of an Associated Press photographer in Iraq, without charges, is an outrage and should be seen as such by the journalistic community, AP editors said Friday.
“We are angry, and we hope you are, too,”AP International Editor John Daniszewski told a gathering of the Associated Press Managing Editors.
In interviews, the leaders of APME and the American Society of Newspaper Editors shared frustration with the case of Bilal Hussein, who has been held by the military since April. Later they and the president of the Associated Press Photo Managers signed a letter to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld urging him to release the photographer.
The editors said Hussein’s arrest”has denied our readers a part of the story”and given the military justice system”a black eye.”
The Pentagon’s refusal to give Hussein”his day in court, or any semblance of due process, has violated a cherished American value,”they wrote.
The AP similarly has called for the military to release the photographer or charge him with a crime.
Go read the entire A(w/t)P article. Guess what’s missing? Not a word about how the news organization sat on the news for five months. Not a word about the circumstances of Hussein’s capture and detention. A reminder:
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,” according to a May 7 e-mail from U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Jack Gardner, who oversees all coalition detainees in Iraq.
“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.
Not a word about the Pentagon’s side of the story:
The Pentagon said on Monday that an Iraqi photographer working for The Associated Press and held by the U.S. military since April was considered a security threat with “strong ties to known insurgents.”
Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said there was sufficient evidence to justify the continued detention of Bilal Hussein, 35, who AP said was taken into U.S. military custody on April 12 in the Iraqi city of Ramadi and held since without charge.
He declined to elaborate on what that evidence was.
“All indications that I have received are that Hussein’s detainment indicates that he has strong ties to 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 in that country,” he said.
In three separate “independent objective reviews,” Whitman told reporters, “it was determined that Hussein was a security threat and recommended his continued detention.”
Instead, the latest A(w/t)P report quotes blind Bilal Hussein sympathizers in the press:
Suki Dardarian, deputy managing editor of The Seattle Times and outgoing president of the APME, said what’s happened with Hussein could have a chilling effect on the work of other journalists. Hussein’s detention has virtually halted the production of photographs from the dangerous region in which Hussein worked, Daniszewski said.
Well, if it means an end to jihadi propaganda photos like these from Hussein, then good:
One editor compared the Pentagon to Saddam Hussein’s brutal regime:
David Zeeck, president of ASNE and executive editor of The News Tribune, of Tacoma, Wash., said Hussein’s detention was reminiscent of how Saddam Hussein dealt with reporters.”He would hold them incommunicado,”Zeeck said.
This, dear readers, underscores how utterly biased, ignorant, and muddle-headed the vast majority of mainstream journalists are in their coverage of the war on terror. These people see no difference between American troops detaining a suspect captured on the battlefield in the company of an alleged top al Qaeda leader in wartime and Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein repressing civilian journalists in peacetime.
Isn’t it possible that Bilal Hussein is coughing up valuable information about insurgent associates involved in kidnappings, smuggling, improvised explosive device (IED) attacks and other attacks on coalition forces? Isn’t it possible that Hussein is providing ongoing intelligence that may be saving both American and Iraqi lives? Isn’t it possible that the troops on the ground who captured Hussein in an apartment with bomb-making materials have better judgement about his security risk than A(w/t)P execs a world away?
The A(w/t)P and its minions refuse to entertain the possibilities. They’re too busy maligning our troops and our military leaders as Saddam-esque tyrants and moaning about how the lack of new terrorist propaganda photos is having a “chilling effect” on journalism.
I doubt the family of Salvatore Santoro shares the A(w/t)P’s alarm and despair.
Reader Michael V. points out a new revelation in the A(w/t)P story that I meant to note:
I noticed this in the AP article about Bilal Hussein:
“The military has said Hussein was in the company of two alleged insurgents. Daniszewski said that when the news cooperative pressed for further details, the best it could learn was that Hussein was allegedly involved in the kidnapping of two journalists by insurgents in Ramadi. However, Daniszewski said the two journalists were asked by AP about the incident and that they recalled Hussein as a”hero”who helped evacuate them from harm’s way.”
The obvious question here is WHO are these two journalists?
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Categories: Bilal Hussein