Monday, November 26, 2007

Bilal Hussein

This is a comment I posted over at Balloon Juice at John's request for a couple paragraphs about Bilal Hussein.
Can't quite get it down to two paragraphs because of the complexity and the cloak of secrecy, but this is the best info I've found.
A spokesman for the American military in Iraq, Maj. Brad Leighton, said Mr. Hussein was held after soldiers found explosive devices, insurgency propaganda and surveillance photographs of an installation for American-led forces during a routine patrol when they entered his apartment in 2006.

His lawyer, Paul Gardephe, said that the allegations were unfounded and that the American authorities had not disclosed any specific charges to be brought against Mr. Hussein. Mr. Gardephe said that in e-mail messages and other correspondence, military officials had alluded to further allegations, including that Mr. Hussein had made offers to provide false identity papers to an Iraqi sniper seeking to elude American custody, and that he had taken photographs so synchronous with bomb attacks that it seemed that he had prior knowledge of the attacks.

The Pentagon press secretary, Geoff Morrell, was quoted by The A.P. on Monday as saying that the military had “convincing and irrefutable evidence that Bilal Hussein is a threat to stability and security in Iraq as a link to insurgent activity.” He called Mr. Hussein “a terrorist operative who infiltrated The A.P.”

And this.
Associated Press President and CEO Tom Curley is highly skeptical of the U.S. military in its treatment of Pulitzer Prize-winning AP photographer Bilal Hussein, an Iraqi native who has been imprisoned for 19 months under suspicion of "links to insurgents."

In his Washington Post Op/Ed Railroading A Journalist In Iraq, Curley says that, despite Hussein never being charged with a crime, the military has kept him detained with claims, some trumped-up and others false; Curley believes that the real reason Hussein is being detained is because he was "taking photographs the U.S. government did not want its citizens to see."

Something I didn't post over there is this: The AP seems to be doing a thorough investigation of this situation and finding no creditable evidence Bilal is guilty of anything. Its good to see an organization standing behind one of its own.

But, its terribly unfortunate one has to be "one of their own" to get this sort of attention to detail. This is how most stories should be covered even if its a missing black woman from the South, someone detained at Abu Ghrahib, the bombing of a mosque, or any of an endless number of mysteries and injustices.

Yeah, I'm an idiot who thinks AP has an unlimited number of reporters and sources.

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