They just got a different tool to use than we do: They kill innocent lives to achieve objectives. That's what they do. And they're good. They get on the TV screens and they get people to ask questions about, well, you know, this, that or the other. I mean, they're able to kind of say to people: Don't come and bother us, because we will kill you. Bush - Joint News Conference with Blair - 28 July '06

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Detention of Iraqi journalists frustrates U.S. media

IHT: On April 5, Abdul Ameer Younis Hussein, an Iraqi cameraman working for CBS News and filming the aftermath of a suicide attack in Mosul, was struck in the thigh by an American sniper's bullet. As he recovered in a military hospital, the Americans arrested him. They later said the film in his camera suggested he might have been working for insurgents.

More than five months later, the Iraqi criminal authorities, after reviewing Hussein's case, have declined to prosecute him. No evidence against him has been made public, despite repeated requests for information by CBS lawyers and even the network's president, Andrew Heyward.

His colleagues have produced affidavits supporting his innocence. Yet he is still in an American prison, based on what Pentagon lawyers say is classified evidence.

Hussein's case exemplifies a problem that Western news organizations in Iraq have increasingly come to face. With their own reporters mostly confined to fortified compounds and military bases, they are forced to rely on Iraqis.

Those Iraqis work in a dangerous no-man's land, where their primary qualification - the ability to get close to insurgent attacks quickly - is often seen by the U.S. military as proof that they must be collaborators. Read more