Reuters Cameraman Held in Iraq

by Jon Mandle on September 1, 2005

A cameraman for Reuters in Iraq has been ordered by a secret tribunal to be held without charge in Baghdad’s Abu Ghraib prison until his case is reviewed within six months, a U.S. military spokesman said on Wednesday.”

“The U.S. military has refused Reuters’ requests to disclose why he is being held. He has not been charged.
“His brother, who was detained with him and then released, said they were arrested after Marines looked at the images on the journalist’s cameras.”

“Reuters had also been pressing for the release of cameraman Haider Kadhem, who was detained in Baghdad on Sunday after an incident in which his soundman, Waleed Khaled, was killed as he drove the pair on a news assignment.
“Iraqi police said U.S. troops fired on the Reuters team, both Iraqis.”

What’s there to say?



Rob 09.01.05 at 11:28 am

Obviously he is less of a victim than Judy Miller.


jet 09.01.05 at 11:41 am

I wonder what they found on his camera.


dp 09.01.05 at 11:58 am

Perhaps Reuters’ coverage of the war will take on a subtle political tilt against the occupiers. We can only wish that the same thing would happen to a Murdoch reporter.


Cameron King 09.01.05 at 12:48 pm

What’s there to say? How about “who cares”? Just because he happens to work for Reuters doesn’t mean he is immune from being a terrorist. Journalists are no better or worse than anyone else, and no more apolitical.


y81 09.01.05 at 12:53 pm

I guess one thing to say is that you have quoted the Reuters article very selectively.


Uncle Kvetch 09.01.05 at 12:54 pm

The U.S. military has refused Reuters’ requests to disclose why he is being held. He has not been charged.

He has ceased to exist. He never existed.


McDuff 09.01.05 at 12:58 pm

Silly people. It’s “Al-Reuters“, and the Americans are only protecting themselves against scurrilous traitors who would offer aid and comfort to the enemy.


catfish 09.01.05 at 1:17 pm


I don’t see the above quotes as “selective” at all, except in the sense that all quoting is selective when it does not reproduce the entire article. Plus, Jon linked to the original. I don’t see how Jon could have selected other quotes that would have told a differnt story, because the military will not tell its side of the story, it will not even allow the detained men to know why they are being detained. Such is the price of secrecy, I suppose, but you can hardly blaim people for being suspicious. There is a long history of military occupiers imprisoning people without charges. Much of the time, these decisions are based on political rather than security reasons. We must be wary.



abb1 09.01.05 at 1:42 pm

But he’s just an Iraqi. They kill dozens of them and send probably hundreds to the concentration camps every day. What’s so special about this one – that he happened to be working for the Reuters? Big deal, let ’em get another one.


Andrew Brown 09.01.05 at 2:25 pm

Well, y81, the thing about human rights is that they apply to people simply by virtue of being human, which even photographers are.


abb1 09.01.05 at 3:37 pm

Here ya go:

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – The U.S. military confirmed on Thursday that its soldiers killed a Reuters journalist in Iraq but said their action was “appropriate.”

Describing Sunday’s incident, when television soundman Waleed Khaled was killed by multiple shots, Major General Rick Lynch said: “That car approached at a high rate of speed and then conducted activity that in itself was suspicious. There were individuals hanging outside with what looked to be a weapon.

“It stopped and immediately put itself in reverse. Again suspicious activity. Our soldiers on the scene used established rules of engagement and all the training received … decided that it was appropriate to engage that particular car.

Reminded me of this (from Juan Cole’s blog):

One of the ways we train our Marines is by going over scenarios with them. In one, I propose that they are traveling down the highway in a convoy. As they approach an overpass, they see a MAM (military age male) standing on the middle of the overpass with something about the size of a baseball (grenade-sized) in his hands. When he sees the convoy, he freezes. What should you do? Most of the Marines will say, “He’s demonstrated hostile intent, you need to waste him. He could be holding a hand grenade and be intending to drop it into one of the trucks as you pass under.” (This is an actual tactic used by the insurgents).

I change the scenario and say that when he sees you, he drops to the ground on the overpass. Some Marine will invariably answer, to the acclaim of his fellow Marines, “That’s a hostile act. He’s taking cover because he’s about to detonate an IED on you. You need to take him out.” (Also something they’ve actually seen.)

Finally, I change the scenario to say that, when he sees you, he turns around in the direction from which he came and starts running off the overpass (you can see where this is going). The answer is usually that that too is a hostile act or hostile intent because he is clearly trying to get off that overpass before the IED goes off.

Apparently, the only safe action for the MAM to take is to have Scotty beam him up. As far as some Marines are concerned, the presence of an Arab male in proximity to an American convoy may be all you need to find hostile act/hostile intent. This is, of course, highly reminiscent of that quip in Michael Herr’s Dispatches, “The ones who run are VC. The ones who don’t run are well-disciplined VC.”


Sebastian Holsclaw 09.01.05 at 3:51 pm

“One of the ways we train our Marines is by going over scenarios with them…”

And what precisely happens after all the scenarios have been gone through? Do the trainers say, yup that is right, whatever you thought is ok. Or do they talk about each situation and why the initial responses were or were not appropriate?


abb1 09.01.05 at 4:00 pm

But their responses are appropriate. The most obvious of the ‘rules of engagement’ obviously is this: when you feel threatened, shoot first. This is most natural, anything else would be unreasonable. That’s what fighting a war is all about, that’s why war is supposed to be the last resort.


Robin Green 09.01.05 at 6:11 pm

to be held without charge in Baghdad’s Abu Ghraib prison

After the Abu Ghraib torture scandal, didn’t the Americans say it would be closed down? Whatever happened to that idea?


james 09.02.05 at 10:21 am

The Iraqi’s decided against shutting down Abu Ghraib.

Comments on this entry are closed.