The Adventures of Chester: Obsidian Order: Followup
This is a followup to this post, below about a debate on the seeming problems with several different shots of a car bomb in Baghdad.
The conversation in the comments section at Obsidian Order (See The Obsidian Order: A Very Special Effect) mentions the frequency with which two Reuters photographers find themselves near the scene of car-bombings or among terrorists in action. A commenter notes:
A google search of the photographers shows that while Khalid Mohammed has few photos to his name, none of which show an obvious pattern, the same does not apply to the other two.Are these the same photographers who were right on scene when mobs of Iraqis were beating and mutilating the corpses of dead Americans? To be reminded of this horror,[Alert -- it's graphic] see The Memory Hole > images: Iraqi Mob Desecrates Americans' Bodies and if you really want to see the video, there are several links on the site, but be forewarned.
Both Ali Jasim and Ali Al-Saadi have quite a number of photos of insurgents in action with the Sadr militia and Mehdi army. Also both are credited with photos of the american corpses hanging from the bridge in Fallujah. Ali Jasim's are the most recognized as he has the snap of the people beating the men's ashes with their shoes. This would seem to indicate that they have good contacts with the insurgents and could, I am not saying that they were, have been notified that something would happen there at that time. Ali Jasim does have several pictures of bombs in which the flames are still quite active which seems to indicate the event was recent.
Back in December, Belmont Club asked some probing questions about journalists and how they seem to be in the right place at the right time. Belmont Club reprints a letter sent to Powerline, from a reader, a Mr. O'Brien:
AFP, AP and AP TV had advance notice of the murders of contractors in Fallujah last spring, so that they could position themselves on scene. ... Apparently the reporters were tipped to go to a specific location. They were not told exactly what would take place, but they knew it was going to be a terrorist action of some type. For security reasons, the terrorists give the reporters very little notice -- just enough to get there, if everything goes right. They were told exactly what street corner to be on, where they would be expected by and under the protection of the terrorists. ("If you're anywhere else, we can't guarantee your safety.") ... After the contractors were dead and their bodies looted, the reporters stayed and encouraged the mob that had gathered to mutilate the bodies. I am told by our Arabic speakers that they can be heard egging the youths on during the video of the mutilations. "Go ahead, cut him up. What are you afraid of?"Belmont Club's analysis continues and is fascinating:
I have no idea if these charges are true; Mr. O'Brien's allegations would surely outrage many journalists working for the Associated Press. But why, in principle, should Mr. O'Brien's allegations be withheld from students where the photos of contractors should not? All of the arguments advanced by Ms. Halperin apply to the Powerline article as well. The obvious response would be that Mr. O'Brien's allegations are 'false' while the the picture of the contractors hanging like meat from the bridge is 'true', though a moment's reflection will show that one does not disprove the other. Yet as Ms. Halperin is at pains to point out, the real truth is not contained in the actual photograph but in is its larger signification. "The image, very reminiscent of the dead American soldier being dragged through the streets of Somalia, was too important for the editors here at The Morning Call to ignore. It is a powerful photo. I suspect this particular picture will prove to be a historical flashpoint image that helps define the Iraqi conflict and who we are as a people." One could argue that O'Brien is asking equally fundamental questions about who you trust to convey the news. Ultimately, the case for preferring the AP's account and dismissing Mr. O' Brien's rests upon an appeal to the authority of the AP brand name. It rests on trust. The public knows the AP and doesn't know Mr. O'Brien, hence it is the AP's account that represents the canon.I am a blogger. A private citizen. I read and write for the world to see, though only a small, miniscule slice of it does. But information about me is available here on my website.
Yet ironically we do know Mr. O'Brien, who at least has a name, while we will probably never know the identity of the "brave Iraqi" photographer who captured the execution of Iraqi election worker on Haifa Street.
Who are these photographers? Who are the editors who write captions for these images?
Can the military listen in on their cell phones? It might save some lives. Or at least answer some questions.
Final note: Remember the images above every time you read or hear a reference to the lack of Sunni participation in the election this weekend. Who wants to bet that some of the self-disenfranchising Sunnis are those featured smiling, waving, dancing, and beating the bodies of dead Americans in April? It's worth a thought.
Posted by Chester on January 29, 2005 1:13 AM to The Adventures of Chester