January 09, 2006

Rude Awakening

The Guardian (UK) is reporting that an Iraqi journalist working for them received a very rough wake-up call:

American troops in Baghdad yesterday blasted their way into the home of an Iraqi journalist working for the Guardian and Channel 4, firing bullets into the bedroom where he was sleeping with his wife and children. Ali Fadhil, who two months ago won the Foreign Press Association young journalist of the year award, was hooded and taken for questioning. He was released hours later.

Dr Fadhil is working with Guardian Films on an investigation for Channel 4's Dispatches programme into claims that tens of millions of dollars worth of Iraqi funds held by the Americans and British have been misused or misappropriated.

The troops told Dr Fadhil that they were looking for an Iraqi insurgent and seized video tapes he had shot for the programme. These have not yet been returned.

The director of the film, Callum Macrae, said yesterday: "The timing and nature of this raid is extremely disturbing. It is only a few days since we first approached the US authorities and told them Ali was doing this investigation, and asked them then to grant him an interview about our findings.

"We need a convincing assurance from the American authorities that this terrifying experience was not harassment and a crude attempt to discourage Ali's investigation."

Dr Fadhil was asleep with his wife, their three-year-old daughter, Sarah, and seven-month-old son, Adam, when the troops forced their way in.

"They fired into the bedroom where we were sleeping, then three soldiers came in. They rolled me on to the floor and tied my hands. When I tried to ask them what they were looking for they just told me to shut up," he said.

This story, as reported, is shocking and should result in an immediate investigation.

There is the distinct possibility that everything Dr. Fadhil says is accurate, at which point Central Command will have some serious explaining to do.

But as of the time I'm writing this article, every single post being written about this story comes from testimony provided by Dr. Fadhil himself in the Guardian, with no other witness testimony, or physical evidence provided to back his contentions. In addition, some of his charges do not seem to square with American tactics.

His case, as published, is thin.

The Guardian article has no concurring witnesses. In a city of 2 million, no one else heard shots or saw them enter Fadhil's home?

At the end of the article, Fadhil claims, "They rolled me on to the floor and tied my hands."

Tied? The American military does not generally tie up its prisoners, but instead uses handcuffs or nylon flexcuffs.

But the strongest evidence for or against Fadhil will be ballistic in nature.

The article seems to assert weapons discharges at two points: when the home invaders "blasted their way into the home," presumably breaching the door, and then, "firing bullets into the bedroom."

U.S forces sometimes use a breaching round to blast locks to gain entry into locked buildings, so I'd expect to find 12-gauge shotgun shell casings at or near the Fadhil family front door. The door should also show obvious signs of being breached, with shot-out locks.

I would also expect to find multiple 5.56mm NATO cartridge casings at, near, and possibly inside the bedroom, as well as bullet holes and 5.56mm bullet fragments.

If this physical evidence is not readily apparent, or the bullet holes, cartridge casings, and bullet fragments are not consistent with U.S weaponry… well, then we might have another kind of story on our hands entirely.

Jayson Ali Blair, anyone?

Note: In case anyone is wondering, the Ali Fadhil in this story is in no way related to the Fadhil family of Iraq the Model, which I confirmed with Omar Fadhil today.

Update: Ali Fadhil has released a no-less-confusing first-person account, discussed here.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at January 9, 2006 05:27 PM | TrackBack

Probably just another hate America story from the Guardian. We know how they act. Remember when Charlie Brooker called for Bush to be assassinated? How's that for editorial control? They are wacked.

Posted by: William Teach at January 9, 2006 06:59 PM

This guy didn't have a library card and tried to check out Mao's Communist Manifesto in Chinese, did he?

Posted by: Old Soldier at January 9, 2006 07:24 PM

By now have you figured out that this is the same Ali Fadhil who used to blog at Iraq the Model? And whose current blogroll is properly conservative? And does that change the story for you?

Posted by: maha at January 9, 2006 07:39 PM

I see maha eyeballed the guy and can attest it is the same Dr. Ali Fadhil. Perhaps so, but Dr. Fadhil's previous reporting to the Guardian doesn't fit the profile any more than this newest report does. Stranger things have happened, but maha, dear ...don't climb too far out on that limb til more is known.

Posted by: x_dhimmi at January 9, 2006 09:14 PM

Maha, you are as wrong as ever.

The Ali Fadhil that claims being raided is not even related to the Ali Fadhil from Iraq the Model.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at January 10, 2006 11:44 AM

Actually, this is the Ali Fahdil that was reporting from Fallujah during the Nov 2004 offensive. If I remember correctly, he was, um, embedded with the insurgents and had done what was largely considered to be questionable reporting that the military had blown up a hospital and killed everyone in it (I might be over exaggerating, but I believe that was the gist) when it turned out that US forces had "breached" the hospital along with Iraqi forces, detained eight men suspected of being insurgents and secured the hospital.

After which, Al Fahdil reported that the US and Iraqi forces were denying Fallujans medical care (of course, there was a war going on and if you were a shot up insurgent that tried to go to the hospital, you'd be arrested so I understand that some folks were necessarily reluctant to go to the hospital) and we of course said that we were securing against use as a base by the insurgents. And, if I remember even further, that hospital had been used to fire on troops.

Last, I believe that while he was there he was the guy that insisted all the civilian casualties were caused by coalition forces, the mujihadeen were bately mentioned or were given "good press" and he might even have been the original source of "chemical weapons" use against civilians.

Links with ali's name

You'll have to go back further in archives, but I believe that, besides his little film documentary, he was reporting "live" during the "fall".

So, I am not surprised that somebody tagged him as an "insurgent" or at least an associate. Probably had him for a member of their media wing . which, by the way, is not far fetched since there have been a few "reporters" that have turned out to be part of the media wing of these groups; however, I'm sure, once they reviewed his credentials with the guardian and they were verified, that is why he was let go.

As for the breaching comments, I'd say, say that the comment about blowing the lock off and possibly throwing in a flash bang is probably correct since that is a common entry.

It may be unfortunate for Mr. Fahdil that someone noted his associates and reported him.

Posted by: kat-missouri at January 10, 2006 09:01 PM

The Fadhil name that pops up most often in the Fallujah hospital stories is Fadhil Badrani. All the other information sounds more orless in line withwhat I've also heard.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at January 10, 2006 09:31 PM

Actually, the US military have paid him compensation of $1,500 for what happened, and nobody from the army is contradicting his story. Therefore, it seems more probable than not that his story is true.

Posted by: Nicola Doherty at March 21, 2006 09:21 AM