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Wednesday, October 05, 2005

AP and Reuters photographer Bilal Hussein colludes with insurgents

This is both disgusting and absurd. I was flicking through a Yahoo Photos thread called "US Military" when I came across six photos of the same small group of 'insurgents' posing for the photographer. The photos originate from both Reuters and Associated Press and are dated October 3rd, 2005. Reuters attributes the photos to 'Stringer', while AP attributes them to 'Bilal Hussein'.

Note the distinctive yellow piping is common to all photos, though I'm unsure if the same alley is featured in all six.

(1) Source (Reuters). "Excuse me Mr Insurgent - could you please move forward slightly so that you're better framed by the light?"

(2) Source (Reuters). The man (or boy?) at back-right is clearly unconcerned about incoming fire. I initially thought he was in photo 1, but that guy seems to have black trackpants with a white stripe rather than baggy brown pants.

(3) Source (Associated Press). This photo appears to have a running car in the background (note the brake light) - and is that guy out back using a cellphone? From the looks of his shirt he was either holding the AK in photo 1 or at the back of photo 2. The photographer has used a different lens here to make it look like he took the photo from across the street - note the slightly bent yellow pipe 2nd from left is also in photo 2. But from photo 1 we can clearly see the other side of the (empty) street is a wall.

(4) Source (Associated Press). This is the only photo which has both "insurgents" successfully posing in a Hollywood-type fashion. Of course they're probably aiming at the same wall visible in photo 1.

(5) Source (Associated Press). This may be a different alley - the doorway visible at left in photo 1 is absent here and the ground seems to have more debris. Note the different light angle.

(6) [New Addition] Source (Canadian Press/AP). Clearly the same guy from photo 1. Is he wearing homeboy pants? This photo has been carefully cropped to frame Mr Homeboy Pants and Mr Insurgent #5 in the context of an abandoned street, presumedly to create the impression they have the area under control.

What can we take from this? That Reuters and the Associated Press happily purchase photos from photographers who actively collude with the "insurgents". And that Reuters hides the identity of the photographer it uses.

Your media at work. Trust the Reuters and AP photos you see republished in the NZ Herald? Trust the footage filmed by Reuters and AP video-cameramen for CNN and other news services?

But wait, there's more

It's 2004 and the United States is attacking Fallujah. The Associated Press files a popular article titled "AP Photographer Tells of Flight From Besieged City of Fallujah" starring the very same stringer - Bilal Hussein.
Bilal Hussein joking around with his family in Baghdad

Here's what Hussein said about the US attack on Fallujah:
By Tuesday afternoon, as U.S. forces and Iraqi rebels engaged in fierce clashes in the heart of his neighborhood, Hussein snapped.

"U.S. soldiers began to open fire on the houses, so I decided that it was very dangerous to stay in my house," he said.

"I decided to swim … but I changed my mind after seeing U.S. helicopters firing on and killing people who tried to cross the river." He watched horrified as a family of five was shot dead as they tried to cross. Then, he "helped bury a man by the river bank, with my own hands."

"I kept walking along the river for two hours and I could still see some U.S. snipers ready to shoot anyone who might swim. I quit the idea of crossing the river and walked for about five hours through orchards."
Get the picture? If you don't, then why not browse through Hussein's other photos presently on Yahoo Photos. They all feature something positive for the 'insurgency' and negative for the Iraqi Government and US troops.

More! More! More!

Here's a montage of Bilal Hussein's more obvious propaganda-type photos, collected using Google Images. I avoided the gruesome photos, of which there are many.

Click to enlarge


The inevitable update

The BBC hops on the bandwagon: the very same "insurgents" and yellow piping feature prominently in a BBC video clip claiming the 'rebels' control several western Iraqi towns.

Posted by Antarctic Lemur | 10/05/2005 04:26:00 pm

64 Comments:

Blogger RightWingDeathBeast said...

Expect to see a full expose of this shocking activity on Hard News tomorrow. Not.

10/05/2005 04:29:00 pm  
Blogger Gooner said...

I reckon the insurgents are the photographers' hangers on. Same alleyway too. Nice 'scoop' Al.

10/05/2005 04:39:00 pm  
Blogger Antarctic Lemur said...

But wait, there's more.

10/05/2005 04:46:00 pm  
Blogger Adolf Fiinkensein said...

How awful!! These innocent photographers might get shot by the Iraqi and American troops. Stop the war, I say. Before we loose any more photographers.

10/05/2005 04:47:00 pm  
Blogger Tane said...

I wonder if all Iraqi RPG gunners are as bright as this one. Not a very good fire position to be in when a tank/infantry combined arms team come rumbling down the road.

The guy in the first photo had an SVD sniper rifle. Not a bad bit of kit if you know how to use it. Given the lack of skill shown by Iraqi marksmen to date, I'd say no.

10/05/2005 05:00:00 pm  
Blogger Gman said...

It's like how Reuters got a picture of the head of Hamas at the desk of head of their Gaza bureau, with the caption: " Reuters in 5 years"

big joke eh?

10/05/2005 05:08:00 pm  
Blogger Antarctic Lemur said...

SVD sniper rifle

Is it? Looks like an AK-47 with a scope to me... how do you tell the difference?

10/05/2005 05:09:00 pm  
Blogger Gman said...

it's the same grafetti, confirming the same place--it says "america go"

10/05/2005 05:09:00 pm  
Blogger Gman said...

it's a modified AK47

10/05/2005 05:10:00 pm  
Blogger Chefen said...

AL,
Did you see the "Pallywood" vide doing the rounds last week? A bit overblown in the commentary but interesting to show the stage managing behind the scenes (in Israel rather than Iraq).

10/05/2005 06:10:00 pm  
Blogger TripleNeckSteel said...

Nope...it's an RPK.

10/05/2005 06:14:00 pm  
Blogger Steven Den Beste said...

In the second, third, and fourth pictures, it's the same two guys all three times. It's the same machine gun and the same RPG, but they're in different heroic poses each time.

10/05/2005 06:28:00 pm  
Blogger Antarctic Lemur said...

chefen: yep. Going to do a post on it, will extract the frames of the Palestinians pretending to attack the building. Just as faked as this.

It's like Goebbels is alive and well and controlling the Islamists.

10/05/2005 06:29:00 pm  
Blogger Antarctic Lemur said...

I thought the guy possibly holding a cellphone was the standout...

10/05/2005 06:30:00 pm  
Anonymous Shazbot said...

Pictures 2, 3, 4 & 5 are all from the same spot/nook/alley. Look at the other pipe below the big yellow pipe. That other pipe goes into the wall. Notice how you can see all or most of this other pipe in the above pics mentioned.

Busted.

10/05/2005 06:50:00 pm  
Anonymous rg said...

Is this Legal?

Scroll all the way down to see aerial photos of White House and White House security.

10/05/2005 07:14:00 pm  
Blogger Psycho Milt said...

What's your point? If Bilal Hussein was a Falluja resident, it's unsurprising he could take photos of insurgents. From the photos, it's not clear that he knew more than three of them, who could just as easily have been his neighbours. And re his report of the attack on Falluja, the word of someone who was there counts for more than the opinions of people who weren't, unless that word can be proved wrong. A lot of lefties write off the reports of embedded journalists because those reporters feel they're doing their patriotic duty and supporting the mission - personally, I expect bias from everybody, so neither the embedded reporters nor Bilal Hussein are an issue.

10/05/2005 07:37:00 pm  
Blogger fm said...

Sure. You could pop by take in the sights with Bilal if you like. He certainly has an eye for local colour. You'd have the time of your life, I'm sure. Take my word for it.

10/05/2005 08:10:00 pm  
Blogger Antarctic Lemur said...

(1) I'm not sure why you keep mentioning Fallujah. The first six photos forming the most important part of the post were taken in Haditha, dated a couple of days ago. Fallujah is presently peaceful and controlled by 3 US and 8 Iraqi battalions (see prev post).

(2) If you don't understand why our own media shouldn't be collaborating with the enemy (whom I hope we all want to lose), then I think you've either lost the plot or actually want said anti-democratic "insurgents" to win.

10/05/2005 08:13:00 pm  
Blogger Steve Watson said...

FWIW: I think I just saw these scenes in a video report from Independent Television News (from Ramadi) played on the Newshour with Jim Lehrer. It was pretty quick, but I'm pretty sure I recognised the alley, and the yellow pipes. (The armed men all look the same to me.) I do not recall the name of the reporter.

10/05/2005 08:45:00 pm  
Blogger Psycho Milt said...

I think I've made it clear enough who I'm backing in this war. But the media's job is to get news stories and inform us about the conflict, not act as a propaganda arm of the occupation force. If Bilal Hussein is backing nutjob religious psychos against the Iraqi army, he's a twat. But then so are the patriotic-duty, support-the-mission embedded journos.

10/05/2005 08:47:00 pm  
Blogger Antarctic Lemur said...

No, there is no moral equality between anti-democratic insurgents and the US/Coaliation/Iraqi forces. One side is fighting for the old system of violence, Sunni nepotism, tryanny and tribalism, and the other is standing against it.

Also you say you support the war, but no democratic country can sustain a war effort without the popular support of its people. Actively pro-insurgent propaganda like this is nothing short of an attack on the support a democratically-elected Goverment requires to continue the war effort.

10/05/2005 09:19:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is no excuse for this.

10/05/2005 09:20:00 pm  
Blogger Psycho Milt said...

There may be no moral equivalence between the sides fighting, but there is or should be an expectation that journos are not part of the mission, but merely reporting on it. I agree that a democratic country can only sustain a war effort if the war has popular support. But a democratic country also has to face the fact that any action any govt takes will have significant opposition, that must be allowed to be voiced. If that gets cancelled because there's a war on, the country might as well stop calling itself democratic.

10/05/2005 10:11:00 pm  
Blogger Pablo said...

Psycho Milt, we're well aware that embedded journos saddle up and ride with our armed forces. We're also well aware that the likes of Bilal Huessein saddle up and ride with the jihadis.

The significant difference that comes to mind is that unlike the Coalition forces, the jihadis make their living killing innocents. I think their view needs to be crushed, not voiced. But I suppose you're free to support them in that regard.

10/05/2005 11:50:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Remind anyone of Israel? This is exactly what the "press" has been doing against the jews and in support of the muslims in "palestine".

10/06/2005 12:21:00 am  
Anonymous Tatterdemalian said...

Vietnam pretty well proved that if the US loses the propaganda war, we also lose the real war.

The only reason the press WOULDN'T act as a propaganda arm of their nation during a war is when they want their home country to lose.

Face it, they do want the US to lose. Their bitterness over the existence of a Republican president is all that animates them now, and they would happily see the entire US submitting to sharia law, or even burned in a nuclear holocaust, rather than see us voting for a Republican administration.

10/06/2005 12:37:00 am  
Blogger andy said...

The BBC ( AL beeb ) had this exact same scene playing as a video news piece last night so they are really making a meal of it.
Man I hate BBC.

10/06/2005 12:44:00 am  
Blogger Ricky_T_Shirt said...

This is all part of the propaganda war which the insurgency appears to be winning at home (Iraq, any Islamic state,'Palestine') and in the minds of most leftist westerners. They know it's the only way they can win and the western media is helping them in their aim as they do for Hamas. I can't see how they can be unaware of that.

10/06/2005 12:47:00 am  
Anonymous reallygone said...

Anyone remember WWI? Did the English/American "press" or "media" (radio) actively present the side of Nazis or the Empire? Did they feel obligated to "present a balanced picture"? Did they send out stringers to get photos of Hitler, and pose Nazi gas chamber guards in a "positive" light?

Come on! Any journalist that would do this is as close to traitorous as it gets.

P.S. I don't recognize your right to "support" this type fo thiniing either.

10/06/2005 12:57:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One easy question:

How come we see an overwhelming majority of photos of the insurgents, instead of seeing photos of our American heroes?

The flood of insurgent photos and the absence of our heroes will inevitably take a toll regarding our perception of this war.

10/06/2005 01:30:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When Zarqawi cites the Vietnamese victory as an example of how to use the press to defeat US forces, it is clear that our jihadi enemies understand the value of disinformation more than someone like, say, Psycho Milt. A reporter reporting the truth, good or bad, is neccesary. A "reporter" who is posing gunmen and making outrageous unsupported claims, and then fails to mention that the pictures are posed, or fails to mention that he's good buddies with the enemy as he's describing "war crimes" is not a reporter at all. See Michael Yon's blog for a reporter who openly and continuously mentions his personal feelings about his subjects. This guy is a propogandist. For the other side. And he deserves neither protection or praise for doing that work and pretending to be a reporter. If I saw him and his posed gunmen in my sights, I'd shoot every one of them.

10/06/2005 01:42:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with you on all this... insurgents bad, Reuters bad, etc. But a comment on your analysis.
In photo 4 you say they are probably aiming at the wall visible in photo 1. It appears to me that the sidewalk/curb in photo 1 begins to curve slightly at the right edge of the picture, indicating a corner/intersection with another street. You can see a beam of light that appears to be coming from around this corner. In photo 4, it looks like they're aiming directly down this street, not at the wall.

10/06/2005 01:44:00 am  
Blogger Antarctic Lemur said...

Anonymous: I've come to the same conclusion. Will change it when I get a chance.

10/06/2005 01:49:00 am  
Blogger Psycho Milt said...

reallygone: nice of you to bring up WWII (not I, if you're talking Nazis). In fact, the allies were often dissatisfied with the performance of their media. The media that proved the best propaganda tool for its country's war effort was run by Josef Goebbels of the Nazis. Ironically, the Germans ended up tuning into the BBC because it was more resistant to mindlessly parroting the govt line.

Not sure what "this type of thing" is that you're not recognising my right to support. I'm supporting a free and independent media - you have some kind of problem with that?

Anonymous2: I think I understand the value of disinformation pretty well. After all, it was disinformation that Bush used to get support for invading in the first place. Some guy taking pictures of some loonies with guns and reporting his experiences of the attack on Falluja is not exactly in the same league. And regarding these "outrageous and unsupported claims", I can only repeat: "...the word of someone who was there counts for more than the opinions of people who weren't, unless that word can be proved wrong." Your personal incredulity isn't an argument.

10/06/2005 02:58:00 am  
Anonymous California Conservative said...

Well done. But is it really any surprise?

Our concern has always been not just how the media frames their pictures, but how they frame their stories. Bias and sympathizing with the enemy is no surprise.

At leat you've found more evidence.

10/06/2005 03:32:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is another aspect to AP's propaganda. Note on their description of his photos, they consistently refer to "suspected insurgents." What does it take to make them drop the "suspected"?

10/06/2005 04:05:00 am  
Blogger Stuck_with_stupids said...

I agree with Al. Its definitely amateur hour. Obviously, it can't even begin to compare to US PR spin: paying a nationally syndicated commentator $240k to hawk a education reform law, or exposing CIA operatives not by name but by "spouse of" to discredit critics, or finally the revolving bumpersticker spin for going to war: get Osama/find WMD/Take down Sadam/Take on Terrorists/Advance Democracy/save social security (gotcha with the last one, but lets see what next week's spin is).

10/06/2005 04:19:00 am  
Blogger basscheez said...

Looks to me like #1, 3 & 5 are the other end of the alley where #2 & 4 are shot. If you look at #3, you can see a wall corner between the mope on the cellphone and the car. In #1, there's a curb at the right-most edge, suggesting a corner.
I think #3 & 5 are the same end as #1, since the two blocks visible in #2 & 4 are missing.

10/06/2005 04:20:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd say #2, 3, 4, & 5 are on one side of the alley. #1 is on the other -- you can even (barely) see the hood of the red car in #1.

10/06/2005 04:40:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

journos are not part of the mission, but merely reporting on it.

"Journos" are not, much as they would love to believe, without affiliation and national obligation, who can simply waltz in and out of locations because they work for "history, information, what happened." In fact, they are citizens of countries that — unless dictatorial, in which case a "journo" national is a dissident or a state propagandist — inherently oppose any force or organization dedicated to the abridgment of rights through murder, torture and intimidation. Your "journos" are not aliens from another planet documenting an Earthling conflict, nor are they computers with video cameras affixed. If they give voice to the "other side" that happens to be totalitarian, they are accessories to an enemy of mankind.

Nihilist thugs, who may be muddled Islamist ideologues or may be local criminals with access to Saddam's stashes, do not deserve public relations. Your moral equivalence will prevent you from truly appreciating this.

10/06/2005 04:40:00 am  
Blogger submandave said...

I love that "action" shot at the top of your "More! More! More!" section. I always like to point out that with the poor fire discipline exhibited (firing a hand-steadied mortar and "Rambo-ing" an LMG) these nuckleheads posed a much greater risk to residents than to coalition forces.

10/06/2005 04:54:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The rifle in question is most probably an "Al Kadisah", an indigenously produced verstion of the SVD, which is the sniper version of the AK. It's noted by the longer barrel and elongated and skinnier forestock. It's actually more likely a copy of the Polish or Romanian copy of the Russian SVD.

It fires a 7.62x51mm (WP) round as opposed to the 7.62x39mm round that the AK-74 fires. It's not a bad rifle, and is noted for being very user friendly and tolerant to hash handling (a hallmark of AKs in general).

10/06/2005 05:23:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

AK-74 = 5.45x39 mm, perhaps you meant AK-47?

10/06/2005 06:19:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looking at all these photos, my first thought was, "where, oh where, is a USMC sniper when you need one?"

10/06/2005 06:48:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You guys need an agenda other than "kill Arabs". While you've shown yourself quite effective in that regard, fucking up the economy and then shafting true conservatives with an unqualified, stealth SC nomination is not helping your Arab-killing-loving president. You guys: "Mmmmm... roasting Arab flesh..."

10/06/2005 06:56:00 am  
Anonymous razr said...

In the lower left corner of the 1st photo is the edge of what appears to be the red car parked at the end of the alley in photo #3.

The big rocks that the machine gun are resting on are missing from photos 2 & 5, but the cardboard beneath the machine gun is the same. Note: in photo #2, 2 big rocks can be seen 1/2 way down the alley. So it is likely that the rocks were moved to act as a platform for the gun and that photo 2 is out of sequence.

From the shadows cast by the buildings, it is easier to tell which way the photographer was facing in each photo, and what side of the street the insurgents were standing. The position of the insurgent in photo #1 and photo #6 are on different sides of the street.

10/06/2005 06:59:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The most efficient Arab killers are the terrorists (er 'insurgents' or 'rebels' if you're Bilal) who, in the past few months alone, have blown up hundreds of Iraqi women and children. AP/Reuters glam shot complicity makes the job easier. There will be a lot less Arab killing when the terrorists are killed or captured.

10/06/2005 07:10:00 am  
Anonymous G57 said...

This reminds my of my favorite commercial (for themselves) on CNN International where they show footage of guys like these while the voiceover authoritatively states, "In order to understand the Iraqi insurgency, you have to talk to the insurgents."

Um, no, actually, I don't.

10/06/2005 08:15:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does the Graphetti say "America Go!" or "Go America!"?

I believe they read from right to left.

;)

10/06/2005 08:27:00 am  
Blogger Caltechgirl said...

looks like the dude in the back in #6 could be the same guy from #2 and/or #3 as well.

10/06/2005 09:47:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Methinks I see a grand opportunity for US forces in Iraq to drag this motherfucker from his house and throw his body into the Tigris.

I, for one, would be happy to volunteer for the mission.

10/06/2005 10:07:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeh right, what a scoop! Try googling Bilal Hussein Gooner.

10/06/2005 10:14:00 am  
Anonymous Stan said...

Romanian, SVD has gap between trigger guard and magazine well. But it is mainly an enlarged AK

10/06/2005 05:11:00 pm  
Blogger Tane said...

So it's a Romanian version of the SVD? The mag is too big for it, that's one thing that confused me. The SVD holds 10 rounds, that one looks like a 30 round mag.

I assumed you could put an AK-47 mag on it, but then, they fire different size 7.62 don't they?

10/06/2005 05:33:00 pm  
Blogger Adolf Fiinkensein said...

Hey, I just saw the same two stooges with the same pieces of rock and the same LMG and RPG and the same yellow down pipe on Sky News UK. This time it was in video and shown at 1943 hrs. Can you get a copy of the video?

10/06/2005 07:56:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have the video. I'm working on a follow-up.

10/06/2005 08:51:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow. You're grasping for straws arm-chair warrior.

10/07/2005 09:16:00 am  
Anonymous Tom Dalzell said...

I bet you'd find some very interesting evidence if you carefully studied the exact timing, locations and individuals in any and all of Bilal Hussein's photos, particularly those showing crowds rejoicing over burnt out American Humvees, trucks, etc.

I suspect that you'd have proof of both his collaboration and that you'd also I.D. some terrorists.

Here's what to look for:

The exact timing and location of attacks and pictures. It's hard to consistently be in the right place at the right time without advanced knowledge. If Bilal covers 2 closely timed attacks and manages to be in both places, chances are he knew about both in advance. If the "demonstrators" cheering on the wreckage of American vehicles are present in multiple locations, they are not just bystanders, they're terrorists - Hollywood Extras told where to show up and how to act. Now you've got a photo I.D. of a bad guy. Track him down, follow him and he'll lead you to others.

Just an idea, but I'm sure it would pay off for some intel guy. Anyone reading this with access to some defense or CIA analysts, please pass along the suggestion to catalog all of Bilal's photos. Hell, we might as well have him unwittingly helping us.

10/07/2005 01:39:00 pm  
Anonymous Erik said...

Reporters and photographers take pictures. THAT's THEIR JOB. Yawn.

10/07/2005 03:22:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you maybe right on the magazine. If so it is the first long barrel AK I've seen.

10/07/2005 04:03:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From everything that has been posted before, it is possible to come to the conclusion that all these photos were posed.
They were posed carefully - even in the mortar 'action' shot, there is no real dynamism.
Stylistically, they show the 'insurgents' as they would wish to be seen.
The RPG is not being fired, no smoke, no flying cases from the MG, no cases on the ground.
My point is that the photographer had plenty of time to move both himself and his subjects around and he was doing so in complete safety.
These photos are faked.
If the 'journalist' was willing to fake the photos, then why not the rest of his story? Reuters are dealing in fraud. Bilal is a liar.

10/08/2005 07:00:00 am  
Blogger lawhawk said...

I too have seen video that appears to catch the same individuals in the same location - holding RPGs, rifles, and firing the RPG from the alleyway.

It was carried on the CBS affiliate in NYC (Channel 2). I'm looking to see if I can dig up the link.

10/09/2005 02:53:00 am  
Anonymous Marine at Al Asad said...

I realize that this horse has been beaten to death, skinned, butchered and probably served to me at the chowhall this evening. However, the rifle in the pictures is not an SVD, AK, or RPK,but an Al Tabuk sniper rifle. It is basically an Iraqi-produced, accurized AK-47, firing the same 7.62x39. Good out to 800m or so, more than doubling the effective range of the AK. The SVD fires a 7.62x54, slightly longer than our NATO 7.62x51 cartridge and only comes with a 10 round mag, unlike the one in the picture which is clearly a 30 round or even a 40 round RPK mag (they all fit). A 30 or 40 round mag would be kind of stupid on a sniper rifle as it would interfere with the prone position, but then the Iraqis aren't known for marksmanship.

10/10/2005 08:10:00 am  

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