AP photographer Bilal Hussein made a reputation staging anti-war propaganda photos. In April of 2006 American forces detained him with a cache of weapons. The AP waged an all out campaign against our military’s actions. They demanded that we either charge or release this tool of theirs. Now the military has decided to charge him, and the AP are still whining.
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.
An AP attorney on Monday strongly protested the decision, calling the U.S. military plans a “sham of due process.” The journalist, Bilal Hussein, has already been imprisoned without charges for more than 19 months.
A public affairs officer notified the AP on Sunday that the military intends to submit a written complaint against Hussein that would bring the case into the Iraqi justice system as early as Nov. 29. Under Iraqi codes, an investigative magistrate will decide whether there are grounds to try Hussein, 36, who was seized in the western Iraqi city of Ramadi on April 12, 2006.
Dave Tomlin, associate general counsel for the AP, said the defense for Hussein is being forced to work “totally in the dark.”
The military has not yet defined the specific charges against Hussein. Previously, the military has pointed to a range of suspicions that attempt to link him to insurgent activity.
The AP rejects all the allegations and contends it has been blocked by the military from mounting a wide-ranging defense for Hussein, who was part of the AP’s Pulitzer Prize-winning photo team in 2005.
Soon after Hussein was taken into custody, the AP appealed to the U.S. military to either release him or bring the case to trial — saying there was no evidence to support his detention. However, Tomlin said that the military is now attempting to build a case based on “stale” evidence and testimony that has been discredited. He also noted that the U.S. military investigators who initially handled the case have left the country.
This AP release on the announcement doesn’t try to hide their outrage that anyone would suggest one of their photographers was in league with … uh … activists.
What is the line between spreading enemy propaganda, having contacts with the enemy, and actually being one of the enemy? In war, no such line exists. This is why, as I have argued extensively in the past, Nazi propagandists such as Joseph Goebbels were as guilty of war crimes as any of the other leaders of the Third Reich.
So is Bilal Hussein.
Blog reaction roundup at STACLU