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April 09, 2005

CBS Cameraman Detained In Iraq

CBS continued its groundbreaking tradition of investigative journalism as one of its employees, a freelance local cameraman with CBS credentials, was arrested on suspicion of insurgent activity:

The cameraman suffered minor injuries Tuesday during a battle between U.S. soldiers and suspected insurgents, and was standing next to an alleged insurgent who was killed during the shootout, the military said.

The military issued a statement at the time saying the cameraman was shot because his equipment was mistaken for a weapon. But on Friday, the military said the cameraman was detained because there was probable cause to believe he posed ''an imperative threat to coalition forces.''

The wounding of the reporter by US troops took place during an incident reported by Reuters (via Greyhawk):

The U.S. military said in a statement from Mosul released at the Pentagon that U.S. soldiers had been involved in an engagement with at least one suspected insurgent who was "waving an AK-47 (assault rifle) and inciting a crowd of civilians."

During the incident, "an individual that appeared to have a weapon who was standing near the insurgent was shot and injured. This individual turned out to be a reporter who was pointing a video camera," the military statement said.

"Regretfully, the reporter was injured during the complex and volatile situation," the military said, adding that the incident was under investigation.

The suspected insurgent was killed, the military said.

The man [Ed. note: the reporter], who was from Mosul, was taken to a U.S. military hospital where he was treated for what the military said were minor wounds. He was expected to make a full recovery.

In a statement released by CBS, the network elaborated on the reasons for the reporter's arrest:

CBS News Correspondent Jim Stewart reports the military became suspicious when they examined the contents of the camera and found pictures of what appears to be the aftermath of four separate attacks by insurgents using IEDs, improvised explosive devices. The footage, taken so soon after the attacks, suggest the cameraman had to have foreknowledge that the attacks would take place, officials told Stewart. The scenes and timing of the taping are very disturbing, said one official.

Reporting from Baghdad, CBS News Correspondent Lee Cowan told Bob Schieffer that CBS News is cooperating with military investigators. The cameraman came with good recommendations, Cowan said.

"From every indication we had, the work he had done for us the past three months has been exceptional,'' Cowan said. He noted the all the networks employ locals in Iraq that help get footage that U.S. photographers couldn't get.

Sisyphean Musings reports that Reporters Without Borders is outraged..., I say OUTRAGED by this travesty:

Reporters Without Borders today called for a thorough and transparent investigation into an incident yesterday near the northern city of Mosul in which US soldiers shot and wounded a freelance cameraman working for the US television network CBS News. ... "Once again the US forces have targeted a journalist just doing his job," the press freedom organization said. Reporters Without Borders pointed out that this was not the first time that US soldiers shot a cameraman after mistaking his camera for a gun. Mazen Dana, a Palestinian working for the British news agency Reuters, was killed in a similar fashion on 17 August 2003 in Baghdad. The US army claimed that the US soldiers involved had acted according to the rules of engagement.

"We again call on this same army to be more vigilant and discerning in order to avoid these unacceptable blunders," the organization added.

Three journalists were killed by the US army in a single day, on 8 April 2003. Al-Jazeera cameraman Tarek Ayoub, 35, was killed during a US air raid when a missile hit Al-Jazeera's bureau. Reuters cameraman Taras Protsyuk, 35, a Ukrainian normally based in Warsaw, was killed when the Palestine Hotel in Baghdad came under fire. Spanish cameraman José Couso, 27, who worked for the Spanish TV station Telecinco, was wounded in the same shooting and died on the operating table. The places targeted were all known to be used by journalists but the US army investigation brazenly cleared all those involved.

I agree. This matter should be fully investigated.

With all the targeting of journalists and innocent Iraqi women, babies, and big-eyed puppies and kittens at checkpoints, I am beginning to be quite concerned about the marksmanship of our armed forces. If our troops are seriously aiming at these people, why aren't we hitting more of them? I lived next to the rifle range at Parris Island for three years and I had to listen the all that racket from those durned rifles. Someone is clearly not doing their job.

My tax dollars are being wasted, and I am not happy.

Posted by Cassandra at April 9, 2005 09:19 AM

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Tracked on April 10, 2005 07:21 AM


Now we know why "troops are targeting journalists".

Posted by: Joatmoaf at April 9, 2005 10:33 AM

Why aren't we hitting more of them? Probably because those "marksmen" are Army, not Marines. [Ducking and covering] "Incoming!"

Posted by: The Great Santini at April 9, 2005 12:37 PM

Providing aid and comfort to the enemy is a small price to pay in order to get the all-important "scoop".

Posted by: a former european at April 9, 2005 04:56 PM

Hmmm, reporters without borders sound awfully like Christiane Amanpour.

Posted by: Frodo at April 10, 2005 12:42 AM

No, that would be "Reporters Without Brains"....

Posted by: SDN at April 10, 2005 02:55 PM

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