The AP Reports on Itself

We wrote here and elsewhere about Bilal Hussein, an Iraqi stringer who has taken many photographs for the Associated Press, some of which are in evident collaboration with Iraqi terrorists. Hussein has been held for 19 months in Iraq after being captured in the company of two terrorists. Now, the AP reports that new evidence has emerged against Hussein, on the basis of which a criminal case is likely to be pursued against him:

The U.S. military plans to seek a criminal case in an Iraqi court against an award-winning Associated Press photographer but is refusing to disclose what evidence or accusations would be presented.
In Washington, Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell explained the decision to bring charges now by saying “new evidence has come to light” about Hussein, but said the information would remain in government hands until the formal complaint is filed with Iraqi authorities.
Morrell asserted the military has “convincing and irrefutable evidence that Bilal Hussein is a threat to stability and security in Iraq as a link to insurgent activity” and called Hussein “a terrorist operative who infiltrated the AP.”

I’m not sure how much the AP minds being infiltrated by terrorists; after all, Bilal Hussein helped the agency win a Pulitzer Prize. Be that as it may, the remainder of the AP’s account is devoted almost entirely to a spirited defense of Hussein.
But the AP’s defense of Hussein is disingenuous, as it has been all along. Thus, this carefully worded paragraph:

The AP inquiry found no support for either of those claims. The bulk of the photographs Hussein provided the AP were not about insurgent activity; he detailed both the aftermath of attacks and the daily lives of Iraqis in the war zone. There was no evidence that any images were coordinated with the insurgents or showed the instant of an attack.

The fact (if it is a fact) that the “bulk” of Hussein’s photos were “not about insurgent activity” is of course irrelevant. The question is, how did he get the ones that were, on their face, propaganda for the “insurgents.” The AP’s suggestion that there is “no evidence that any images were coordinated with the insurgents” is simply ludicrous, as we have noted before. This photo, to take just one example, was certainly “coordinated with the insurgents.” Anyone who was not on friendly terms with the terrorists would have fled the scene, or, more to the point, would not have been invited to the scene by the terrorists:
A year ago, the AP’s defense of this image was that Hussein’s picture of the Italian hostage “was taken when the man already was dead.” Today’s AP story is to the same effect:

There was no evidence that any images were coordinated with the insurgents or showed the instant of an attack.

Got that? Hussein didn’t show the “instant of” the terrorists’ attack on the Italian hostage. By the time he took his photo the victim was–allegedly, anyway; I don’t know how the AP could know this for sure–dead. But the photograph obviously was “coordinated with the insurgents;” would the AP have us believe that its stringer was wandering in the desert and just happened to come across the murder scene, whereupon the murderers obligingly posed for his benefit? How stupid does the Associated Press think we are?


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