Friday, September 29, 2006

Just how dumb are AP journalists? 
Pretty damn dumb, it seems.

NEW YORK -- Bilal Hussein, an Iraqi photographer who helped the Associated Press win a Pulitzer Prize last year, is now in his sixth month in a U.S. Army prison in Iraq. He doesn't understand why he's there, and neither do his AP colleagues.

Well, I dunnooooooooooo. But I would guess it just miiiiiiiiiight have something to do with getting caught hanging out and shooting the breeze with a local Al Qaeda branch manager.

Oh, and personally testing hot for explosives.


Any other Iraqi or foreign national caught with the same fact pattern would be held. The AP fails utterly to demonstrate otherwise. This intellectual puppy totally ignores the argument.

Hell, we're holding John Walker Lindh for less than what we have Bilal Hussein on.

There is nothing anywhere that says reporters are not subject to the rule of law when they are coconspirators in terror plots or aid and abet terrorists by concealing their whereabouts from lawful authoritoes. Nor are they entitled to any special treatment whatsoever when, by virtue of testing hot for explosive residue while hanging out in the company of known terrorists, transform themselves into combatants.

Sure he's a journo on the side. Most Iraqi insurgents have day jobs, too. What of it?

I've had college professors in my trucks in Iraq who were caught red-handed transporting artillery shells, fuses, and detonators in the trunks of their Opels and Peugots.

I guess AP staffers have to get beaten over the head with a clue bat before they can discern the pile of dog crap we're shoving their face in. But you know, I had a pretty good idea why those guys were held, too.

I'll explain it to an AP reporter, but I'll probably have to talk reeeeeeal slow.

The Army says it thinks Bilal has too many contacts among insurgents. He has taken pictures the Army thinks could have been made only with the connivance of insurgents. So Bilal himself must be one, too, or at least a sympathizer.

This dolt conveniently doesn't bother to note that Bilal tested positive for explosive residue on his person.

Further, nowhere in the article does this AP flack mention that Bilal was caught in the immediate company of a known Al Qaeda leader in a safe house. That's clearly relevant.

But the Associated Press, obviously, doesn't feel you have a right to know.

After more than five months of trying to bring Bilal's case into the daylight, AP is now convinced the Army doesn't care whether Bilal is or isn't an insurgent.

One: This guy's a liar. Two: This guy's an idiot.

He's a liar because after five months, the AP didn't try to bring squat into the light. The AP could have reported that one of their stringers was rounded up at an Al Qaeda safe house any time.

They didn't. They concealed it from you. They lied by omission then, and Tom Curley lies by comission now.

He's an idiot because it is clear that the Army is treating him as a combatant - that is to say, as an insurgent. It's already settled. Curley simply is too dense, or lacks the fund of information possessed by any good E-4 that would clarify for him what a combatant is, and that combatants taken on the field of battle are generally not charged with crimes.

The captors MAY charge them with a crime. But under articles of war are under no obligation whatsoever to do so.

The detention of enemy combatants is not punitive, nor is it intended to be. It's practical, because it gives the captor a realistic alternative to summary execution or mass slaughter.

This much common sense, though, is lacking at the Associated Press.

But Bilal's incarceration delivers a further bonus. He is no longer free to circulate in his native Falluja or in Ramadi, taking photographs that coalition commanders would prefer not to see published.

Hurley slyly implies that the motive for Hussein's detention is censorship. He didn't read the AP's own excellent newswriting manual, though, because Hurley is committing a serious journalistic sin: He is bringing an explosive charge without a shred of evidence.

Instead, he slanders American commanders in Iraq while brazenly completely ignoring the circumstances of Hussein's capture and the damning evidence on his person.

Sigh. I can hear the handwringers commenting already: "But everybody tests positive for explosive residue in Iraq don't they?"

No, they don't dumbass. Just the people who have been personally handling explosives. If EVERYONE tested positive, why would the military bother testing anybody?

Hurley's sloppiness is glaring, his intellectual dishonesty breathtaking to behold.

Consider this extraordinary series of red herrings:

U.S. journalists are severely limited in their ability to move safely, make themselves understood and develop sources in such areas. AP has learned to overcome those limitations, using techniques honed over decades of covering sectarian confrontation and bloodshed in the Middle East.

Irrelevant to Hussein's case. Hussein is either a combatant or not a combatant, or a criminal or not a criminal, based on his own actions as an individual. It makes no difference whatsoever what AP has learned to do to overcome limitations.

It has long been AP practice to hire and train local people in the agency's permanent international bureaus. Many become highly skilled career journalists who remain with the Associated Press for decades. Several are second-generation staffers. Their work has never been more important to the Associated Press and the global audience that relies on our reporting.

Irrelevant. See above.

Without their access and insight into what is happening in their countries and communities, our understanding of the history being made there every day would be shallow and one-dimensional. It would also be far more vulnerable to control and spin by "official" sources.

Irrelevant. See above.

Both official and unofficial parties on every side of a conflict try to discredit or silence news they don't like.

A slander, without basis in fact here. There is no reason to believe that Bilal's oevre of photos in the past is the determining factor in the decision to keep him detained now. The circumstances of his capture and the explosive residue on his person are more than enough evidence to hold him as a combatant, without relying on his past photographs.

Hurley is, ironically, pointing out that others do what he is, in fact doing - trying to discredit or silence news he doesn't like.

This hypocrite, for example, is trying to discredit commanders in Iraq by ascribing bad motives to them - yet without a single item of evidence to muster in support of his accusation.

Further, this hypocrite is acting to silence news he doesn't like, simply by excluding a number of embarrassing bits of news from his report: Not only was Hussein picked up in an Al Qaeda safe house in the company of an Al Qaeda leader -- Not only did Hussein test positive for explosive residue -- no... Hurley also, somehow, omits the fact that Hussein has already had the benefit of two separate independent reviews, and both of them found that there was sufficient reason for him to be detained.

But it doesn't stop there.

Hurley also doesn't bother to note that at least one of his photographs - the picture of a freshly killed Italian hostage and two of his murderers, suggests that Bilal himself is accessory to murder, or at least to its concealment or concealing the identity and whereabouts of the captors.

But Hussein's colleagues don't know why he's being held.

What a bunch of idiots.

That is certainly the case in Iraq, where journalists are routinely harassed, defamed, beaten and kidnapped. At last count, 80 had been killed.

Hurley insults their memory. There is no way on God's Green Earth that brave and good journalists like Mazen Dana and Michael Kelly and Steven Vincent - who all lost their lives in Iraq - should be lumped into the same category with this cretin.

His staff ought to be revolting.

In some ways, some of them are.

Bilal Hussein is part of the latest generation of Associated Press hires in the Middle East. He was a shopkeeper in Falluja, selling mobile phones and computers. Although he had a degree from the Baghdad Institute of Technology, it was the best opportunity available in the fractured Iraqi economy.


AP first hired him as a translator and driver. He proved smart and trustworthy, and was already comfortable with the phones, laptops and cameras that are tools of the journalist's trade. Within months, he was taking professional-quality pictures, including one of insurgents engaged with coalition forces that was part of AP's Pulitzer Prize-winning photography entry last year.

Irrelevant. But notable for it's glaring omission: What of the obvious question, as to how Hussein got the call to photograph the just-murdered Italian hostage together with his killers? Why was he in their midst? Did he take any action whatsoever to report what he had learned?

It seems not.

Bilal has shared the hardships of all Iraqis in disputed areas -- hardships that are worse for journalists, whose job is to get as close as they can to places where guns and bombs are being used. His home has been riddled with gunfire. His family has fled. At least once he had to ditch his camera equipment to run for his life.

Yeah, those things happen when you're a combatant.

He faces what may be greater dangers now. From prison, he has told his attorneys that he fears he is a marked man among the detainees, who now know he is a journalist working for a Western news service.

What? He has attorneys? So he's actually getting more rights than he's entitled to as a POW combatant.

. Meanwhile, agents of the most powerful country on Earth have labeled him an enemy.

"Agents?" I prefer the term "soldiers," moron.

And yes, they've declared him an enemy. That's what happens to losers who hang out with Al Qaeda and who test hot for explosives after being arrrested at an Al Qaeda safehouse.

. They say they have evidence to satisfy themselves, and don't need to prove it to anyone else.

That is true as a matter of settled law, moron. The Commander in Chief is legally entitled to delegate to commanders the authority to detain enemy combatants. Individual cases are not subject to review, judicial or otherwise. There can be an appeal process, but only because the executive branch so directs that one be created.

As the organization that handed Bilal the camera that helped put him where he is today,

Bullshit. Hussein could be in the exact same spot without a camera. He was not arrested for taking pictures. He was arrested because he was hanging around shooting the shit and knocking back a few with Al Freaking Qaeda. And he had explosives residue on him.

Sheesh. How stupid can this man get?

the Associated Press cannot turn its back on him.

The Associated Press had no problem turning its back on its readers, though, and the truth.

The Associated Press also has no problem, apparently, turning its back on the facts of the case.

. We cannot dismiss Bilal's insistence that he is not an insurgent solely on the strength of the unexamined suspicions offered by the U.S. military.

Dissembling fucktard. Bilal was either caught at an Al Qaeda safe house or he was not. He was caught in the company of an Al Qaeda leader or he was not. He tested positive for explosive residue or he was not.

The AP isn't challenging anything here in the article. If they are all true - and the AP does not deny them - then these things are facts, not "suspicions."

And AP does nothing whatsoever to examine them.

It's pretty sad when the CEO of the Associated Press cannot tell the difference between a fact and a suspicion.

If Bilal has done something wrong, the Iraqi courts stand ready to try him.

You don't try combatants as criminals, dumbass. The Geneva Conventions expect you NOT to try the average joe combatant detainee. Why? Because they were smart enough to know that if you tried to do so, the best you would have is a kangaroo court.

Iraqi authorities have asked more than once that he and other Iraqi citizens in prolonged U.S. military custody be turned over to them for due process.

Turn him over to the Iraqis.

This is the most asinine thing of all.

This guy thinks he's advocating for Bilal by arguing that he should leave U.S. custody?

That just takes the cake.

The CEO of Associated Press is, indeed, very stupid.

Just not as dumb as he thinks his readers are.

Splash, out


You're wrong to call them stupid. They know exactly what they are doing, and they know that they will get away with it too. It makes me want to puke reading their crap, but stupid is the wrong word for it.
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