August 30, 2005

Reuters Crew Shot in Baghdad (UPDATED

Here is an update on this incident from a reader:

The cameraman in question was shot by soldiers in my son's unit. First hand reports are that the moron sped into the middle of a firefight, jumped out of his car and threw up to his shoulder a TV or Movie camera with a sound boom and telephoto lens.

It was [understandably considering the circumstances] mistaken for an RPG and the moron quickly became the late moron.

Incidentally, this crew was told beforehand NOT to go into the area of the firefight, as it was entirely too dangerous.

After a post-battle debriefing and investigation, the soldiers were determined to have adhered properly to the rules of engagement, and were found innocent of any wrongdoing.

Actually, the first hand report was: "Some dumb b**tard came up to us in a speeding car, jumped out and pointed his camera at us. We thought it was an RPG and lit him up."

Perhaps Reporters Without Borders should be complaining about Reuters not training their crews to have some common sense instead of seething against the U.S.

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Al Reuters is reporting that one of their soundmen was killed and a camera man shot. Initial reports indicate that it was U.S. soldiers that shot at the crew.

This should really surprise nobody. The latest strategy from al Qaeda linked terrorists in Iraq is to film attacks. I have seen dozens and dozens of these films. Whenever an IED explodes, there is usually a terrorist camera man taping the incident. So, if I am a U.S. soldier in a hot zone it actually seems like a pretty good strategy to shoot at anybody with a camera. The story given by the U.S. is consistent with this:

Task Force Baghdad units responded to a terrorist attack on an Iraqi Police convoy around 11:20 a.m. Aug. 28 in central Baghdad, which killed and wounded several Iraqi police. One civilian was killed and another was wounded by small-arms fire during the attack.

"After discovering an abandoned car with explosives material, weapons and a cellphone, units began searching the area for the terror suspects who were believed to have fled on foot."

And

A U.S. officer said: "They drove into fighting."
Of course, al Reuters spin is that this was an act of aggression on the part of the U.S. and does little to explain the context in which the news crew was shot at. Reuters:
A Reuters Television soundman was shot dead in Baghdad on Sunday and a cameraman who was wounded was still being questioned by U.S. troops 12 hours later.

Iraqi police said the two, both Iraqis, were shot by U.S. forces. A U.S. military spokesman said the incident was being investigated. The cameraman was being held and questioned because of "inconsistencies in his initial testimony," he added.

Waleed Khaled, 35, was hit by a shot to the face and at least four to the chest as he drove to check a report, called in to the Reuters bureau by a police source, of an incident involving police and gunmen in the western Hay al-Adil district.

"A team from Reuters news agency was on assignment to cover the killing of two policemen in Hay al-Adil; U.S. forces opened fire on the team from Reuters and killed Waleed Khaled, who was shot in the head, and wounded Haider Kadhem," an Interior Ministry official quoted the police incident report as saying.

Cameraman Kadhem, 24, who was wounded in the back, told colleagues at the scene: "I heard shooting, looked up and saw an American sniper on the roof of the shopping center."

The only known witness, he was later detained by the U.S. troops. For 10 hours, U.S. officers said they could not trace Kadhem. Finally a spokesman, Lieutenant Colonel Robert Whetstone, said he was being held at an unspecified location. His "superficial" wound had been treated "on location," he said.

He declined to specify any suspicions or accusations against the cameraman, who was based in the southern city of Samawa and had been in Baghdad only two days on a brief assignment. He was despatched to the scene of the incident by senior Reuters staff.

The driver was a Baghdad local and knew the area well.

Two Iraqi colleagues who arrived on the scene minutes after the shooting were briefly detained and released: "They treated us like dogs. They made us ... including Haider who was wounded and asking for water, sit in the sun on the road," one said.

Human rights violations! U.S. worse than Saddam!! Wounded man forced to sit in the sun!!!

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 03:30 PM | Comments |