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AP asks Maliki: Ensure that justice is done in Hussein hearing

3 December 2007 - EPUK

The letter below was delivered this week to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki ahead of Bilal Hussein’s court appearance. In it AP President and CEO Tom Curley says the AP believes “the real reason for Mr. Hussein’s detention and incarceration for 19 months without charges is that he produced images of conflict…which the military did not want the citizens of Iraq and the United States to see.”

Mr. Prime Minister:

I write to ask your help in assuring that justice is done in the case of Bilal Hussein, an Iraqi citizen and photographer for The Associated Press who has been detained by the United States military since April 12, 2006. They say they suspect him of aiding terrorists.

U.S. military officials have made many accusations against Mr. Hussein, although they have provided no evidence to support them. AP has conducted its own investigation of every specific allegation and has found them all to be either not credible or absolutely false.

We believe the real reason for Mr. Hussein’s detention and incarceration for 19 months without charges is that he produced images of conflict in Anbar Province which the military did not want the citizens of Iraq and the United States to see.

Just days ago, AP was informed that the military intends to submit a criminal complaint against Mr. Hussein before the Central Criminal Court of Iraq, on or shortly after November 29.

While we are grateful that Mr. Hussein will finally have a chance to see and challenge the evidence against him, we are deeply concerned that U.S. military authorities are doing their best to make it difficult for his case to receive a fair hearing.

Mr. Hussein’s attorney barely has time to reach Baghdad before the 29th. There is no time at all to prepare his client and his case for court. Military authorities refuse even to tell him what day he must appear in court until the morning of the first hearing. They have also refused to disclose to him the specific allegations they will make to the court or the supporting evidence they will submit.

We fear that the special hostility of the U.S. military to Mr. Hussein and his work as a journalist puts him at special risk now.

Mr. Hussein’s initial hearing before an Iraqi investigative judge is critical. It will determine whether there are charges against him and frame the legal and factual issues that will decide his fate.

U.S. military attorneys have had 19 months to prepare for this important day. They know the law and facts to which they will seek to draw the judge’s attention. They are experienced in presenting evidence against detainees before Iraqi judges and are familiar with the rules and procedures governing such cases.

Mr. Hussein’s attorney, on the other hand, will have no idea which allegations and what evidence he must seek to overcome with arguments and evidence of his own. And although he will be aided by local counsel, it will be his first appearance in an Iraqi criminal court.

For these reasons I ask that you take whatever steps you consider appropriate to insure that proceedings against Mr. Hussein are conducted with the care and impartiality that any of the 24,000 Iraqi citizens detained by the U.S. military would have a right to expect of an Iraqi court.

We are grateful for your attention and consideration.


Tom Curley
President and CEO
The Associated Press

For more on this story, see Bilal Hussein to be charged and Bilal Hussein: Journalist or terrorist ?.

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You have got to be kidding. We happen to be at war, and you twerps at AP are actively helping the enemy spread malicious propaganda. Mr. Bilal Hussein was discovered by American troops in a Ramadi apartment with known members of al Qaeda, a weapons cache, and tested positive for explosives. If it were up to me Bilal would have been put up against the nearest wall and shot immediately as a spy and a subversive. To be honest no one cares what happens to this low life scum bag AP hired al Qaeda operative. There is also reported to be evidence that Bilal video taped men being beheaded. So you go on this amoral Jihad defending scum. If justice were to be done, Bilal would be hung by the neck until dead and those responsible for his hire at AP prosecuted for aiding and abetting the enemy.

Comment 1: Cameron, 5 December 2007, 02:44 pm

Cameron – I’m guessing that you were too busy spitting bile to notice the two links at the bottom of the article – specifically this one ?

to wit:

“…Bilal Hussein was discovered by American troops …” – actually he invited them into his apartment so they could observe the street below. Then he went for a sleep. What a hard core terrorist, huh ?

“…a weapons cache…” No weapons cache, no explosives. No-one from the US military has ever claimed any such thing, and they’ve claimed everything else,

“…with known members of al Qaeda…” – the US military proved in custody that he had never met the one al-Queda suspect present in his apartment before. The second was acquitted of all charges,

“…and tested positive for explosives…” – even if he did, the test used tests positive if it detects – wait for it – hand lotion, and this man’s job was to photograph scenes of recent explosions.

“…there is also reported to be evidence that Bilal video taped men being beheaded…” Er, no-one has ever said that until now. I think you’re thinking of when he and two other AP journalists were forced at gunpoint to photograph the dead body of an Italian hostage. Hussein was a photographer, not a videographer.

You might want to ask yourself why, if Hussein was such a danger to Iraq, why the US military offered to release him in May 2006 – and he could continue working for AP – as long as spied for them as well . Though, you probably won’t want to wonder about it too much, because it fatally undermines your own little conspiracy theory.

Nice try, though. Troll much ?

Comment 2: Louise Campbell, 5 December 2007, 03:04 pm

The US military has said they have irrefutable evidence of Bila’s guilt. If this turns out to be true, we should have a full blown investigation into press collusion with terrorist thugs. Perhaps even put some editors and executive into the docket and trying them for treason where appropriate.

Comment 3: Cameron, 9 December 2007, 01:08 pm

“…the US military has said they have irrefutable evidence of Bila’s guilt…”

Strange they’d keep it to themselves, isn’t it ?

Strange they’d offer to release such a dangerous terrorist in May 2006 (and let him keep working for AP) as long as he’d spy for them, isn’t it ?

Strange they’d not interview such a valuable (and co-operative) prisoner for 18 months between May 2006 and Nov 2007, isn’t it ?

And strange they would tell him: “Your photos present a threat to us…This is why you won’t be released”, isn’t it ?

Comment 4: Louise Campbell, 9 December 2007, 10:41 pm

And if it turns out to be deranged paranoid fabrications of loonies who hallucinate Al Qaida stooges and conspiracy behind even the slightest insistence on natural justice, can we rely on you to do the decent thing? Like apologise for forgetting that someone is innocent until proved guilty, and an actual trial where defence is not hobbled by being kept in the dark, is part of the democratic values you claim to stand for.

Comment 5: Tony Sleep, 9 December 2007, 10:44 pm

Strange Bilal never mentioned to the military his position as a stringer for AP, don’t you think? I would have been happy to hear Bilal, along with his al Qaeda associates, oops I mean those complete strangers he invited into his apartment, were all imideatly put up against a wall and shot, on the spot. That would have served natural justice. Despite what brain dead moonbats may assume, in a war zone the default position is to give the benefit of the doubt to those fighting on behalf of freedom, and not the barbaric terrorists and their sympathizers.

Comment 6: Cameron, 10 December 2007, 12:24 pm

So your point is…that he deserves to be shot because he didn’t indulge in enough idle chit-chat about himself, his job, and his hobbies and interests in between inviting soldiers into his flat and going for a sleep ?

In any case, this half-baked idea that he tried to keep his employers details a secret is simply not supported by the facts – Michelle Malkin was reporting his arrest within hours.

(Make a demonstrably false accusations; when proved wrong, refuse to apologize and just make up a new one, hoping no-one notices. Some style you’ve got there ! Say he needs to be shot because of the colour of his socks next !)

Comment 7: Louise Campbell, 11 December 2007, 06:23 am

He was in custody for weeks and never mentioned his work as a stringer for AP, and that doesn’t come from Michelle Malkin. AP does not have a very sterling record. They’ve reported as true enemy propaganda more than once. Remember this little gem?

The Associated Press, Reuters, and a small Iraqi Independent news agency called Voice of Iraq released stories on June 28, 2007 about the massacre of 20 men near Salman Pak in Um al-Abeed. The men were supposedly found decapitated on the banks of the Tigris River. The only two sources for the Associated Press article were anonymous police who were not located in Salman Pak, but were from Baghdad (more than a dozen miles away) and Kut (more than 75 miles away).

On June 30, 2007 Reuters reported that according to the U.S. military, the stories were “untrue and may have been planted by insurgents to provoke revenge attacks.”

Or how about the Captain Jamil Hussein? The AP has no credibility on this story, none.

Geoff Morrell, Pentagon Press Secretary had this to say: “We believe Bilal Hussein was a terrorist media operative who infiltrated the AP. MNF-I [Multi-National Force Iraq] possesses convincing and irrefutable evidence that Bilal Hussein is a threat to security and stability as a link to insurgent activity.”

Save the righteous indignation for someone who cares what ignorant moonbats think.

Comment 8: Cameron, 11 December 2007, 01:18 pm

“…he was in custody for weeks and never mentioned his work as a stringer for AP…”

Er, no, this was never a secret (he was arrested with his AP laptop and satellite phone), not did he try to make it one. At his very first interrogation after his arrest on April 12th, the US military made an offer to recruit him as a spy, offering him more money and better equipment than AP.

And a few days after that was when the US interrogators told him: Your photos present a threat to us…This is why you won’t be released”

Good to see you followed the instructions in the last paragraph of comment #7, though. There was me thinking that you were just a Turing Test.

Comment 9: Louise Campbell, 11 December 2007, 01:49 pm

So you think the attempt to turn AP’s al Qaeda hire is proof of his innocence? LOL Just how self deluded are you?

The AP has a sorded and disgraceful history of reporting enemy propaganda as news. In la la land, where you reside, the US military is the enemy of freedom. In the real world, and especially in Iraq, they’re the champions of freedom.

MNF-I says they have convincing and irrefutable evidence of the man’s guilt. Once his case is adjudicated we need to have a public investigation into those responsible for willingly hiring enemy agents, and spreading enemy propaganda.

More than anything else I want this story to become big news here in the United States. AP’s culpability in spreading enemy propaganda needs to become well known publicly.

After Bilal is tried, and convicted. It will be time to see AP editors and executives responsible for spreading enemy propaganda held responsible.

This is going to become a big story. It just isn’t going to turn out the way you and AP thinks or wants it to.

Comment 10: Cameron, 11 December 2007, 04:18 pm

“…so you think the attempt to turn AP’s al Qaeda hire is proof of his innocence…”

No, I think that the US military’s offer to release him shows that they don’t truly believe that he’s a terrorist.

“…MNF-I says they have convincing and irrefutable evidence of the man’s guilt…”

And what’s their track record when it comes to presenting actual evidence against journalists they claim are really “terrorists” ? Let’s see:

1. Reuters cameraman Majed Hameed. Arrested and held without charge by the US military for four months. Released when no evidence was presented against him.

2. Reuters photographer Ali Mashhadani: arrested and held without charge for five months after being described as a “security threat” by the US military. Freed without charge.

3. AFP photographer Fares Nawaf al-Issaywi. Held for two weeks, released without charge.

4. Reuters cameraman Samir Mohammed Noor: the US military described him as a “an imperative threat to the coalition forces and the security of Iraq” – except they never had any evidence of this, which they admitted when he was released eight months later.

5. Historical filmmaker Cyrus Kar: arrested for possession of “bomb parts” (which the US military later admitted were nothing of the sort) and imprisoned for two months. After which – guess what ? – released without charge when no evidence was found against him.

6. CBS Cameraman Abdul Ameer Younis Hussein: after shooting him in the leg, the US military took him into custody for “recruiting and inciting Iraqi nationals to violence against coalition forces and participating in attacks against coalition forces”. Freed one year later after an Iraqi judge questioned whether the US military had lied under oath to fake evidence against him.

7. AFP journalist Ammar Daham Naef Khalaf: Arrested and detained for six months, released after no evidence was presented against him.

8. Al-Jazeera cameraman Saleh Hassan: arrested and interrogated at Abu Ghraib – including being made to “stand hooded, bound, and naked for eleven hours.”

Remember that the US military could have still detained any of the above even after they were found innocent if it believed that they were truly a danger to the stability to Iraq. And it hasn’t.

So what does that tell you about the likelihood of any evidence existing against Bilal Hussein at all ? And is this how “the champions of freedom” behave ?

I doubt that there’s much I can say that will ever change your mind, or even make you stop parroting the “the US military says it’s true, and I believe them, regardless of their track record”, and I’ve no intention to keep banging my head against a brick wall, so this will be my last post.

Comment 11: Louise Campbell, 11 December 2007, 05:10 pm

No, you’ve made it very clear who you think the real enemy happens to be. I’m not a parrot sweetheart, nor am I a brain dead moonbat who thinks the US military is the enemy of freedom. They got the goods on him this time sweetheart.


Bilal Hussein and several others in the Fallujah area during 2004 had come to the attention of US forces tasked with information operations.

They noted ongoing reports coming out of Fallujah that did not match the reality they were aware of. Stories of children and civilians being killed would come out, but in areas where the Marines had not conducted operations. Many of these stories featured pictures and reporting from Hussein and quotes from the same two doctors at Fallujah Hospital. During this period of time Fallujah was controlled almost completely by al-Qaeda and Sunni insurgents. Anyone doing anything was subject to their approval.

Bilal Hussein had free reign to be anywhere and was often taking pictures in the company of insurgents and terrorists. He and the other stringers who made up AP’s Pulitzer Prize winning photo team managed to capture assassinations as they happened. They were on site at bombings within seconds to capture the carnage almost as it happened.

This access and the number of false reports of civilian deaths led the information operations staff to take note. They began monitoring Hussein more closely for two reasons: one they were tasked with countering or debunking false claims of civilian casualties and atrocities, second because Hussein’s very tight relations with the insurgents could be used against the Marines themselves.

This team was comprised of US Public Affairs and Intelligence personnel as well as a Special Ops unit to exploit any actionable intelligence gathered. It was an extraordinary measure and only the fact that Hussein and several others were acting as de facto terror press agents prompted it.”

They’ve got the goods on your terrorists agent this time, and a reckoning is going to come.

Comment 12: Cameron, 11 December 2007, 05:41 pm

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