February 13, 2014

Hot Olympic Skier Jackie Chamoun Boobies Cause Outrage in Lebanon

The Lede:

Lebanon’s fractured sense of national identity was on full display this week, as bloggers rallied online to defend the honor of a female Olympian, the skier Jackie Chamoun, accused by the country’s sports minister of tarnishing the nation’s image by posing for seminude photographs on the slopes outside Beirut.

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As the blogger Abir Ghattas explained, the photographs of the young skier and a colleague, and a risqué promotional video for the calendar they were used in, were unknown in Lebanon until a television channel, Al Jadeed, published them on Monday under the headline, “Scandal — Lebanese Skiing Champions Are Nude Starlets!”

Oh the horror!


NSFW

More images of Jackie Chamoun below the fold.

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By Howie at 10:24 AM | Comments |

July 18, 2008

AP Stringer Detained Over Filming of Two Murders, Questions Remain

taliban_murder_two_women-afghanistan.jpg

Two unidentified Afghan Women chat with each other a few minutes before they were executed by Taliban in Ghazni province, Afghanistan, on late Saturday, July 12, 2008.
(AP Photo/Rahmatullah Naikzad)
[original here]

It looks like our story got some attention in Afghanistan. AP stringer Rahmatullah Naikzad was detained for two days after he filmed the brutal murder of two women by the Taliban accused of prostitution. The incident was first noted by us here and, as Fox News reports (hey, you guys don't know how to link?), "the AP has been following this case closely with some concern," after we raised several questions about Naikzad's relationship with the Taliban.

The video Naikzad made is here (WARNING: Graphic).

It's good to see that Naikzad is now helping local Afghan authorities track down those responsible for the murders. However, Naikzad's version of events still raise some serious questions about journalistic ethics.

Naikzad claims he has no connection to the Taliban. And says:

the Taliban issued a press statement calling all media outlets in the province of Ghazni, which has a large Taliban presence, to cover them “carrying out the Shariah” on a few burglars in their custody. Naikzad said he believed the Taliban would be cutting off the limbs of their prisoners, according to strict Islamic law.
Okay, so according to his own version of events Naikzad knew beforehand that the Taliban planned to administer extra judicial punishment on what he presumed were thieves. He also believed that he would be a witness to the cutting off of these alleged thieves hands?

So, Naikzad knows that a crime-- and what probably would be considered a war crime--- is about to be committed by an internationally recognized terrorist group. Further, he knows the location of the terrorists and the location where the war crime is about to be committed.

What does the AP stringer do? Does he call up the local authorities? Does he notify the closest NATO outpost or headquarters? No.

After a member of the Taliban personally called him up and assured Naikzad of his safety if he would come to watch the crimes committed, he then checks with his bosses at the AP:

He said he checked with the Kabul office of the Associated Press, for which he works as a stringer, and then set off around sunset on his motorbike to a village on the outskirts of Ghazni City, only to find that no other journalist was there.
Here is an even more important question about the AP's involvement. The AP is an American company. The organization, according to Naikzad, had prior knowledge about the location of a group of enemies of the US . The organization also had prior knowledge that a crime was about to be committed.

Did the Associated Press notify NATO forces with this information? The article makes no mention of this. What it does imply is that the AP gave Naikzad the green light to be a witness to a war crime.

Do journalists and news corporations have a moral responsibility to try to prevent such crimes? I believe they do. Becoming a journalist does not give one a free pass from the normal moral obligations required of human beings.

We'll return to this later.

After Naikzad met with the Taliban he learned that it was not thieves who were to have their limbs amputated, but women who were to be "executed".

Not so incidentally, Naikzad spent some of these daylight hours between the time that he first meets up with the Taliban and later that night when the two women were murdered snapping photos and making video of the Taliban marching and posing for him. Some of the poses show the Taliban in attack exercises.

If you read the Fox News story they also use the troubling word "execute" to describe the cold blooded murder of two women. That is, they allow the Taliban to choose the words to describe their own heinous crime. This is one of the main objections I raised when I first noted the AP's involvement in the murders.

The use of neutral terminology to describe what is clearly a crime is simply unacceptable. Perhaps "execution style murder" would be the only description other than "murder" which would be apt.

Moral equivocation has been all the rage in our institutions of higher learning since the 1960s, but it is perhaps seen clearest in the way reporters and editors are taught that "ethics" require strict neutrality: even when that neutrality is clearly immoral.

Neutrality between liberals and conservatives, Republicans and Democrats are one thing. But neutrality between our country and the enemies we fight is not.

Let's get back to Naikzad's story. As the women are about to be "executed" he claims:

“I told one of the Taliban, ‘These are women, they are harmless. Why would you want to kill them?’ But they didn’t listen to me.”
If true, good for you Naikzad. This is an important piece of context to the story. A journalist with some balls!

But, isn't it troubling that Naikzad went to the meeting with the Taliban fully expecting to film/photograph limb amputations? Which the phrase, by the way, makes sound quite clinical. I've seen the way the Taliban "amputate" limbs. They don't take their victims to some hospital. They tend to use common knives, there is a great deal of blood, and horrible screaming.

Again, it's even more troubling that the Associated Press sent him.

One of the things we pointed out in our criticism of the AP and of Naikzad was that the organization had been used by the Taliban to produce a propaganda snuff film for them. I claimed that the AP was worse than al Jazeera because at least al Jazeera only played these types of videos while the AP had now been reduced to producing them.

Naikzad, though, claims that the Taliban told him not to video tape the "execution":

He said the Taliban turned him down, but his camera was already rolling and he kept it on when he placed it on the seat of his bike.
It's interesting to note that Fox's reporter seems skeptical of the claim owing to the fact that the video seems to follow the Taliban murderers after they kill the two women. How is it possible that if he had set the camera down on his motorcycle's seat so that the Taliban wouldn't notice he was filming them that the camera seems to follow their movements?

Naikzad claims:

“I was standing near the bike, so my body may have touched the camera,” Naikzad said, explaining the movement of the camera. He stumbled slightly and added, “I myself nudged the camera a little bit.”
Ookay. Right. I guess it's possible if not entirely plausible.

Here's where we get back to the equivocation:

“If I have photographed Taliban casualties, I have also photographed American casualties. I have been balanced in my journalism,” he said.
Again, this raises serious ethical questions about what it means to be "balanced" in war reporting. Especially in a war against enemy combatants who by every measure of the Geneva Conventions are illegal!

So, two main issues remain even after we hear Naikzad's version of events.

1) Do journalists have a moral responsibility that trumps whatever ethical standards they learned in journalism school to try and prevent heinous crimes that puts life or limb in jeopardy? I think yes. And if the AP had prior knowledge that these crimes were about to be committed then they had a moral (and perhaps legal) responsibility to notify those with the power to stop them. In this case probably NATO.

2) Do journalists have an allegiance to their home country in times of war that transcends the normal peace time journalistic ethic of "neutrality"? Again, I think yes. I do not necessarily think that journalists shouldn't try to understand why our enemies do the things they do. But note that they are our enemies, journalists included.

American journalists must recognize that America's enemies are their enemies. The Associated Press is and American company. Their allegiances must be to America.

There are two problems with the Naikzad incident raised by this second question. First, if the Associated Press, an American company, knew the location of enemy combatants it seems that they would have an obligation to report that, does it not?

Second, when American companies hire foreign stringers to do their reporting for them it would seem that they have a responsibility to add a context to the story which clearly distinguishes between our actions and the actions of our enemies. Such a distinction isn't always easy to make. We shoot at the Taliban, they shoot back.

But in the case where the Taliban's version of events is that two women were "executed" for crimes against Sharia law, but where Americans (and might I add the rest of the civilized world) would see the event as murder plain and simple, then clearly the context of the story must reflect American values and not the values of the barbaric enemies we fight.

The one bright spot in this whole thing is that the AP seems to at least be troubled by what happened. A feeling, I'm sorry to say, they seemed not to have after another one of their stringers in Iraq was caught with an al Qaeda operative.

Thanks to various readers who sent me this.

Previously:
AP Stringer Stands by as Taliban Murder 2 Women, Gets Snuff Footage
Question About Journalistic Ethics: Are the AP Accomplices to Murder, Traitors, or Just Horrible Journos?

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 05:05 PM | Comments |

July 15, 2008

AP Films Taliban Murdering Women, Calls it "Execution" by "Militants"

**Sticky**Scroll Down for Newer Posts***

If you're looking for the post on the AP photographer who had the Taliban pose for him shortly before they murdered two women go here.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 11:59 PM | Comments |

Question About Journalistic Ethics: Are the AP Accomplices to Murder, Traitors, or Just Horrible Journos?

taliban_murder_two_women-afghanistan.jpg

Two unidentified Afghan Women chat with each other a few minutes before they were executed by Taliban in Ghazni province, Afghanistan, on late Saturday, July 12, 2008.
(AP Photo/Rahmatullah Naikzad)
[original here]

Phyllis Chesler notes that not only did AP photographer, Basmatullah Naikzad, just stand by and do nothing as two women were brutally murdered by the Taliban–-he (and the Associated Press) also profited off their deaths through the photos they sold. I would also add that Naikzad also made a snuff video. Oh, and the Taliban were comfortable enough with the AP photog that they posed for him. The day before the women were murdered.

Clearly we have a case where the AP embedded one of their photojournalists (stringer?) with the enemies not only of the United States of America, but of civilization itself.

Chesler ends with these interesting questions:

Should photographers document the atrocities? Should they refuse to do so? Will this refusal lead to fewer atrocities–or to even greater license to commit more since no one will be “watching?”
Interesting questions, all. The answer of course is that journalists are human beings. As such, they have a moral obligation to protect innocent human life that trumps any other concern--including so-called "journalistic ethics".

If they can't stop atrocities, should journalists document them? Of course. But would it be too much to ask that journalists and their editors label the atrocities, you know, atrocities!

In this case the AP labeled the Taliban "militants" and called the extra-judicial murder of two women for the alleged crime of prostitution an "execution".

Further, as Rusty Humphries pointed out to me on his radio show last night, journalistic ethics require that the AP fully disclose whether or not Basmatullah Naikzad was filming the Taliban atrocity under duress. This was their defense for the photos taken by Iraqi stringer Bilal Hussein who claims terrorists forced him to photograph them next to the murdered corpse of Salvatore Santoro.

There is no indication that Naikzad was under duress. If he was, the AP does not disclose that fact. This is important because then we might excuse the AP photographer for being forced to videotape what is essentially a snuff film and terrorist propaganda.

This really marks a new low in journalism. In the past we have complained about al Jazeera for airing murder videos produced by terrorist organizations and sent to the Arab network. But the AP one-ups al Jazeera becoming the first news organization to actually produce a terrorist snuff video themselves!

The Associated Press has a lot of explaining to do here. Their explanation needs to start with Naikzad's presence in the midst of an internationally recognized terrorist organization, continue with what steps he took to stop the murder of two women, go on from there to explain whether or not he is helping in the apprehension of the murderers, and then end with why the AP chose to use a value neutral context in reporting what are clearly war crimes.

I have a feeling that we'll receive little satisfaction to any of these questions.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 03:06 PM | Comments |

July 14, 2008

AP Stringer Stands by as Taliban Murder 2 Women, Gets Snuff Footage [UPDATE: Worse than Bilal Hussein!][UPDATE: Confirmed: Took Video of Murder]

UPDATE 7/18/08: Rahmatullah Naikzad detained for two days and interrogated over his involvement in the Taliban murders.
-------------------

AP photographer Rahmatullah Naikzad was a witness to a Taliban murder. The two women were alleged to have been prostitutes who served Western clientèle.

taliban_murder_two_women-afghanistan.jpg

Two unidentified Afghan Women chat with each other a few minutes before they were executed by Taliban in Ghazni province, Afghanistan, on late Saturday, July 12, 2008.
(AP Photo/Rahmatullah Naikzad)
[original here]

taliban_murder_two_women-afghanistan2.jpg

Local people watch two Afghan women shot and killed by Taliban in Ghazni province, Afghanistan, on Sunday, July 13, 2008.
(AP Photo/Rahmatullah Naikzad)
(original here)

This page from the AP seems to suggest that Rahmatullah Naikzad also took a snuff video of the two women being murdered. [UPDATE: Yes, he did. Video added at end of post]

We would remind the AP that the act of the Taliban inviting a reporter to the murder means they wanted this news out there. The AP was clearly being used as a propaganda outlet for the Taliban.

Does this make him an accomplice or only a witness to the crime? When you know a crime is about to be committed, do you not have a moral and ethical obligation to try to prevent that crime? Even if you're a journalist? Even if all you do is try to call the authorities, in this case someone in the Afghani government or NATO?

A quick Yahoo News photo search of Rahmatullah Naikzad seems to indicate that he's very friendly with the Taliban. Many of the pictures show Taliban fighters posing for the AP photographer. For instance:

taliban_posing.jpg
(AP Photo/Rahmatullah Naikzad)
[original here]

Naikzad appears to have been embedded with the Taliban during the daylight hours before the two were murdered. The image below, taken by Naikzad, has this caption:

taliban_posing2.jpg
Face covered Taliban militants exercise before they executed two Afghan women in Ghazni province, Afghanistan, on Saturday, July 12, 2008. [original here]

You'll notice that the caption on the first photo at the top of this page is clearly taken at night a few minutes before the two women were murdered. The second photo above, showing the bodies of the two women, was clearly taken the next day after the women were murdered. This means that Rahmatullah Naikzad was with the Taliban for at least 24 hours!

What, if anything, did Rahmatullah Naikzad do to either prevent the murder of two women? Or what is he doing now to help find those who murdered them? If the answer is anything other than nothing I would be more than a little surprised.

Once again the AP is aiding and abetting the enemy. This time with a group listed as a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the U.S. and which several U.N. Security Council Resolutions forbid giving any assistance to.

Will the AP be given a Pulitzer this time?

Thanks to Phyllis Chessler for first noticing the photo.

*All emphasis in quotes mine.

UPDATE: If you'll remember the AP tried to excuse Bilal Hussein's photos that he took of two 'insurgents' posing over the body of murdered hostage Salvatore Santoro by claiming that he was forcibly taken there by the terrorists and shown the body after Santoro was killed. This time, the AP has no such excuse.

If we accept the AP's version of Bilal Hussein's photos of Santoro, then Rahmatullah Naikzad's photos are clearly worse than those of Hussein! He stood by while two women were murdered!!

UPDATE II: It gets worse. A snuff video was made by Naikzad. It's horrible. The murder of the two women is at night, so it's not visually graphic, but the audio is awful. You can hear at least one of the women screaming after the first shots are fired.

It's official: the AP has now replaced al Jazeera as the official outlet for terrorist snuff videos. You'll have to scroll all the way down for video. I'll put additional updates before it with relevant bail out warnings.

UPDATE III: AllahP makes a great point about the AP violating their own ethical standards. Also note his point about the difference between anti-jihad websites showing these images and the *neutral* territory provided by the AP.

The key point here is the context in which the photos/videos are shown.

In the context of this blog it is clear that the photos are meant to show what horrible evil we are fighting. But when the the AP chooses to use value neutral terms to provide context for the photos they cross a line into a moral relativism which is more than just unpatriotic, it's downright disgusting!

Instead of calling the Taliban what they are--primae faciea war criminals & illegal combatants--they simply label them militants. Worse, they allow the Taliban to choose the words to describe the horrible murders of two women calling it an execution.

And, the more I think about it, this suggests the AP is worse than al Jazeera. Remember when we all were outraged about al Jazeera showing snuff videos produced by terrorists? This terrorist snuff video was filmed by the AP.

UPDATE IV: Drew M:

No word yet if the AP will be charging the Taliban if they use the photos or excerpts of the story on their jihadi recruitment sites.
Heh.

UPDATE V:Pirate's Cove asks this exit question:

will all those liberal women’s groups who we never hear from about the plight of women under Islam decry what the AP has done?
Barring any unforeseen circumstances, I'll be on the Rusty Humphries Radio Show tonight discussing this and other whatnots at 10:35 Eastern.

WARNING: Graphic AP video of the Taliban murdering two women below. Do not click play if you do not wish to see it.

Thanks to Watcher for the vid link.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 12:23 PM | Comments |