Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Bilal Hussein

As we were saying yesterday, Free Bilal is an online petition calling for the release of the Pulitzer Prize award winning journalist. The US military has again began a publicity campaign to tar and feather AP's Bilal Hussein. BBC notes that, after 19 months of imprisoning Bilal, the US military is now saying they have new evidence against him. But, as CNN points out, "Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell and other U.S. military officials would not say directly what charges he faced." Of course not. They just want to continue their 19 month whisper campaign against a journalist. Peter Spiegel (Los Angeles Times) reports:

Although an AP lawyer said Hussein has been held with little evidence, Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell said Monday that the military decided to bring a criminal case after new evidence was uncovered.
"This case does not hinge on a single piece of evidence but rather a range of evidence that makes it clearer than before that Bilal Hussein is a terrorist media operative who infiltrated the AP," Morrell said.

Try a range of innuendo. Back to Spiegel:

AP officials have vigorously protested Hussein's detention and the difficulties they have had in legally defending him. Its own investigation supported none of the military's suspicions, the news organization has reported. According to an AP investigation, Hussein was picked up after a bombing in Ramadi in April 2006 when he offered shelter and food to others fleeing the explosion. Dave Tomlin, an associate general counsel for the AP, said Hussein did not personally know those fleeing, but the military linked him to them after finding them in the same home. "There's been lots of suspicions and rumors about who those people were, but nothing that constitutes proof," Tomlin said.

So what's the US military announcing? That after 19 months, Bilal will be tried . . . by the Iraqi courts. Yes, the laughable Iraqi court system. The corrupt Iraqi court system. They know there's no way a US court -- even a military court -- would convict on their flimsy 'evidence.'

In this morning's New York Times, Cara Buckley ups her number of people taken into custody by the Iraqi military (not the police) following the contractor shooting an 18-year-old female in the leg to 43 people and states no American was taken into custody:

While some early accounts said American security guards had been arrested, Maj. Brad Leighton, a spokesman for the military, said none of those arrested were Americans. The military said the episode involved Almco, a Dubai-based company under contract to the military.
Immediately after the shooting on Monday, a throng of angry civilians lashed out at the guard and beat him along with his passengers, believing they were insurgents, witnesses said.
The company has a construction contract with the Department of Defense’s Joint Contracting Command Iraq and another contract to provide food, water and other basic services with the Multi-National Security Transition Command, which assists the Iraqi government with the development, organization and training of its armed forces.

Meanwhile -- we're not linking to any of the nonsense -- US Homeland Security chief Frances Fragos Townsend is issuing warnings of upcoming, possible attacks while announcing she's leaving her post at the first of next year. While there's some credit earned for the honesty of not hiding behind 'family' -- FFT is very clear that there's money to be made in the private sector and she she intends to clean up with what her on the job training on tax payer money has provided her with -- if FFT truly believes the statements she's issuing (we've heard them all before -- election time is 'dangerous'), exactly why the hell is she stepping down? There was a time in the United States where officials were expected to do their jobs. She's saying there's a job to be done but there's money to be made in the private sector and greed win out. Though they've issued enough warnings (this administration) to be dubbed Chicken Little even by many supporters, should an attack take place, remember FFT chose greed over national security. If that seems harsh, she wasn't on an advisory board nor did she express, when appointed, a desire to brush up her resume and then rush out the door.

Lastly in reply to Susan and about five others all puzzled by the same story (we're not noting it), the reporter's not in Iraq -- a fact that's concealed by the lack of dateline but explains the need for the end credits. It takes a great deal of ___ (your choice) to write a first person observation piece when you're not even there. But since it's part of Operation Happy Talk, no one will call it out.

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