Unconventional thinking about the Middle East.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Interesting Controversy Surrounding CBS’s Lara Logan

You can read all the details here on IraqSlogger.com (...an anti-Bush website).

What I'm interested in is the footage of dead Iraqi soldiers that Lara Logan claims was “obtained by CBS.” But this footage was first released by Al-Qaeda!

Al-Qaeda’s Islamic State of Iraq released 8 minutes of cell phone footage through its media arm, the Al-Furqan Institute for Media Productions, under the title ‘Some of the Casualties of the Heretics in Haifa Street After Sunday’s Fighting, January 7, 2007, in Baghdad.’ The grainy images were of six or seven bodies wearing Iraqi military fatigues with ‘carry-out’ lunch boxes strewn about them. The images were probably taken by a cell phone, judging by quality. In one scene, a close up is shown of a soldier shot through the head, probably executed.

At the time, the Iraqi military claimed that some of its soldiers were cornered on Haifa Street and killed after running out of ammunition. This incident set off the subsequent battles there. Al-Qaeda also released written statements at the time taking credit for the initial phase of fighting.

The video released by Al-Qaeda two weeks ago moves on from the bodies (referred to in the caption as the ‘rotten carcasses of the Pagan Guard’) to show burnt out cars on Haifa Street, and the following caption reads that these vehicles belonged to ‘plain-clothed’ Mahdi Army militiamen who had arrived to relieve the Iraqi soldiers. Bloodied walls were also shown, seemingly to indicate that the militia members were shot.

These may have been the executions of civilians that Dr. Kassir, who is quoted in the CBS story, was referring to.

The footage “obtained by CBS” is identical to that put out by Al-Qaeda. But Logan makes no mention of Al-Qaeda’s video and does not address the implication that the footage she used was off an Al-Qaeda video. And if it’s not off the Al-Qaeda video, then how did she get footage identical to the one used by Al-Qaeda? This needs to be explained.

Furthermore, and this is the most damning indication of journalistic incompetence, Logan makes no mention about the affiliation of these insurgents fighting on Haifa Street. Not even the slightest mention is made that Al-Qaeda is taking credit for the fighting there. On the contrary, the audience is treated to a blanket accusation by an anonymous civilian (wearing a headdress in the insurgent manner) denouncing the Americans and the destruction they’ve brought to bear on Haifa Street. Hey Logan, how about tempering your report with something about insurgent activity? The report sounded as if the American and Iraqi forces were pounding Haifa Street for the fun of it.

It would seem that the Al-Furqan propagandists exhibited more journalistic accuracy than CBS News on this count.

41 Comments:

Blogger Robert said...

Great, great work here and in the Sun this week Nibras.

Re: Lara Logan and CBS...We'll have to take your word for it since there's no way for us to take a look at ‘Some of the Casualties of the Heretics in Haifa Street After Sunday’s Fighting, January 7, 2007, in Baghdad.’ Or is there?

R.

10:12 AM, January 27, 2007

 
Blogger Nibras Kazimi نبراس الكاظمي said...

Hi Robert,

For the Arabic text where Al-Qaeda takes credit for the fighting, you can view this link:

http://www.muslm.net/vb/showthread.php?t=198037

For downloading the video, try these:

http://www.muslm.net/vb/showthread.php?t=199107

http://www.muslm.net/vb/showthread.php?t=199039

It's gruesome and disturbing. There is another video that was also posted around the same time allegedly showing Al-Qaeda in control of Haifa Street (holding prayers, people cheering...etc.), but I couldn't view the file due to some technical issue.

What could be most interesting about the Lara Logan story is that she might have knowingly taken that footage from the Al-Qaeda video and still wouldn't tell the viewer about Al-Qaeda's role in the Haifa Street fighting.

I think she has some explaining to do.

All the best,

Nibras

11:08 AM, January 27, 2007

 
Blogger Robert said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

12:30 AM, January 28, 2007

 
Blogger Robert said...

Just finished viewing the Lara Logan report and the Islamic State of Iraq video.

Wow! It's the same exact footage, everyone.

You're absolutely right, Nibras. LL has some explaining to do.

Either she lifted it from the ISI vid, as you suggested, or, CBS did it without her knowledge, or (shudder) it was provided to her by ISI.

9:33 AM, January 28, 2007

 
Blogger Nibras Kazimi نبراس الكاظمي said...

Hi Rob,

This is also a response to the e-mail:

I haven't contacted CBS News to ask them about it. I hope a 'real' reporter would do so.

Someone pointed out that the CBS footage didn't have any chanting with it or adjoining graphics, as did the Al-Qaeda video, and that one could hear the voices of the insurgents in the CBS version. This would recommend the theory that Logan got the raw footage from somewhere else, but from whom? And does it have anything to do with Al-Qaeda? And why did Al-Qaeda get the footage at least a week ahead of CBS?

All in all, I am just interested to hear Logan's explanation as to why she didn't tell her viewers about the likely identity of the insurgents fighting on Haifa Street. For my money, these fighters belonged to Al-Qaeda.

I think that is very relevant to the debate here in America, and the American audience needs to know who the enemy really is.

All the best,

Nibras
PS: I don't know how to save the video before it disappears!

5:00 PM, January 28, 2007

 
Blogger Robert said...

It is possible that whoever supplied the video to Al-Furqan also supplied it to CBS. Or, more likely, the video was passed around among the Sunnis and someone decided to make a buck by supplying it to CBS.

Do you know if Logan, like CNN's Arwa Damon, is fluent in Arabic? If not, then it would be easy for an Iraqi stringer to have obtained the video and without telling Logan that it was, at the time she filed her story, official Islamic State of Iraq, and therefore Al-Qaeda, video.

Even so, Logan is a seasoned war correspondent and I'm surprised that this got past her. CBS is another story.

8:42 PM, January 28, 2007

 
Anonymous ahmed said...

Nibras,

Save the video using
http://www.savevid.com/

Good luck.

5:05 AM, January 29, 2007

 
Anonymous GAWAD said...

Ahmed,

Your site sounds like safavid.com

9:49 AM, January 30, 2007

 
Blogger Jim O'Sullivan said...

Who knows? Maybe it didn't get past her. Maybe she thought she could get something past us.

11:36 AM, January 30, 2007

 
Blogger Phil said...

It's looking more and more to me like a lot of what we've seen as "news" from Iraq has been supplied to our media by propagandists of the parties most responsible for the continued slaughter of civilians in Iraq. That would mainly be Al Queda and other radical Islamist groups.

If you think coalition forces have trouble telling insurgents from civilians -- can you imagine how much gullible journalists, hungry for a story but not eager to go out and get footage and first-hand reports -- are willing to take an apparent Iraqi at his word?

Can you imagine how convenient this is to the parties who know that their only chance of winning is to get U.S. public opinion to force an early withdrawal from Iraq?

Can you see that this has been the Al Queda plan all along?

The Western Public is the puppet. Our media is the strings. Kinda gives a new slant on the meaning of the word "stringer", doesn't it?

12:24 PM, January 30, 2007

 
Blogger annie said...

so let me get this straight. when we use videos of an attack on haifa street supplied by AQ, we call them propagandists. but when katie or laura calls them sunnis thats jouralism?

if the news comes from the 'other side' is it automatically propaganda?
maybe the original report was true.

Can you imagine how convenient this is to the parties who know that their only chance of winning is to get U.S. public opinion to force an early withdrawal from Iraq?

good point there.the same could obviously be said for those who wanted to force a surge down our throat whether pros in the military say it's the right thing or not.

that is why i never believe anything i here from the bush administration. i know they are always trying to 'win the public' first and foremost, that's why i always assume i am not getting the truth. remember the good old days when journalists just reported what happened and we could decide for ourselves what to think of it.

those days are over.

thanks for the intriguing report.

1:07 PM, January 30, 2007

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

aws al-khafaji (the cleric in nassiriya) is definately gay.

1:37 PM, January 30, 2007

 
Blogger Phil said...

While we may be skeptical about whether or not a surge -- or more accurately -- a more concentrated effort on security in Baghdad in the hope that it will breed a more positive environment for peaceful negotiations in Iraq...

it's a big stretch to equate what the administration is telling us about their plan (and by the way, the only alternative plan I've heard is to abandon the Iraqis as quickly as possible) with using videos produced by Al Queda (and passing them off as journalism) and supposed "man on the street" interviews with ... whom, excactly? to show us what Iraqis really think.

I know some Iraqis. They definitely don't agree with this man. My step-son was in Iraq. He knew Iraqis. They did not feel this way. So yeah, when I see an Al Queda-produced video about an Al Queda assault on Haifa Street coupled with an interview blaming it all on the Americans, I call it propaganda.

Bush saying he's boosting the number of boots on the ground in Baghdad in a desparate attempt to make it more secure is not propaganda.

The administration is painting no rosy picture about its chances of success with the so-called "surge". The alternate plan is a guarantee of failure. The Bush administration is absolutely right about one thing. Failure would be disasterous. If you think it's bloody over there now, wait 'til you see what happens when Johnny comes marching home.

Right now they're biding their time killing a few people a day just to stay in the headlines to expedite the exit they've been trumpeting since before we started.

Al Queda wants another Afghanistan. Iran wants the Iranian version of the Taliban in Iran, Iraq, and anywhere else they can go from there. Either way, when we leave it's gonna be ugly.

2:02 PM, January 30, 2007

 
Blogger annie said...

hi phil, i agree with you, it is a big stretch but i didn't make it. here is the point i was making.

i was talking about the importance of both sides trying to win public opinion. the left and the right. for sure tax payers fork the bill for propaganda purposes byway of 24/7 rapid responders, lincoln corp etc. one of the reasons i know this is you guys keep telling me! there's a reason we don't see much blood and guts on TV, a reason we don't see the caskets. this isn't some random decision, it is because the public turns against war when it looks ugly. therefore the ugliness is hidden from us.

if you don't want to see the blood and guts don't watch the AQ networks, i don't. i also don't watch any TV news. i don't trust it.

can you imagine how convenient this is to the parties who know that their only chance of winning is to get U.S. public opinion.

yes, i can. that is why when you hear white house press staff cathie martin on the stand in a court house testifying in the libby trial that they were going to put cheney on press the meat (or was it hardball?)cause they were always good for a media slam (or however they put it) when they wanted to push back the false WMD story i wasn't surprised. anyway, it applies to both sides. luckily for you and the rah rah crowd most americans don't get there iraq war coverage from al queda websites.

So yeah, when I see an Al Queda-produced video about an Al Queda assault on Haifa Street coupled with an interview blaming it all on the Americans, I call it propaganda.

yeah, except thats not what we saw. we saw a report blaming it on sunni insurgents coupled w/a interview blaming it on americans.

fair and balanced i'd say, except it should have blamed AQ instead of sunni's.

either way, i'm glad i saw the video. i don't blame cbs for not getting close enough to the violence shoot it themselves. i do think we shopuld have known where the coverage came from.

2:26 PM, January 30, 2007

 
Anonymous PMain said...

Annie,

Are you actually arguing that Al Qaeda should be considered a respectable source of information regarding anything? Are you really so overcome w/ hatred that you’d actually believe the word or any video released by an organization whose sole goal is to force the world to accept Shari’a law & to kill those that will not accede to the will of their religion? While I admit, up front, that I have distinct political differences w/ Democrats or those on the leftside of politics, I’m not sure I would I could so easily dismiss the information from the Executive Branch in favor of those who resort solely to terrorist attacks on innocent civilians regardless of whose side in is control. Given their goals & actions over the last decade or so, I’m curious as to why we shouldn’t consider anything Al Qaeda says, posts or releases as nothing more than propaganda? The fact that CBS wouldn’t broadcast this information & placed it only on the web should also cast some serious shadow of doubt over the validity of the information… that is unless you can show us just when & where Al Qaeda has released information that either didn’t further their attacks on Western Civilization or proved overwhelmingly correct & objective in it reporting.

Regardless of your paranoia towards the current administration, don’t you see the danger in not questioning the sources used in something as volatile as the War in Iraq – especially given not just CBS’ track record, but the scores of media talking heads that proclaimed that tens of thousands had died in Katrina when they didn’t or that survivors had resorted to cannibalism to survive, while they had camera crews a few hundred yards away?

As far as the “good old days” in journalism, unfortunately they have never just “told the truth.” Personally, I prefer it now where because of the new media & the Internet, their lies can no longer go unchallenged or would you feel better if Bush had been taken down on evidences that were manufactured within a Kinko’s in Texas. What would prevent your side from suffering the same consequences just as unquestionable so? That right, the “good old days” media… would have insured that the truth got out, just like they did about the gang rapes in stadium in New Orleans.

2:40 PM, January 30, 2007

 
Blogger annie said...

oh yeah and ps. i'm following firedoglake, as we speak judy miller is on the stand. its always heartwarming having a WH stooge who works for the nyt dishing out fake WMD stories as an example of the integrity of company kept by the chief of staff of the none other than our very own VP. now who's worse? the nyt or the WH? luckily i can easily live my life w/out the nyt. unfortunately the WH has more impact, and i can't cut off the service.

2:40 PM, January 30, 2007

 
Anonymous ahmed said...

gawad,
ما ناقصتنا إشاعات :]

2:45 PM, January 30, 2007

 
Blogger annie said...

Are you actually arguing that Al Qaeda should be considered a respectable source of information regarding anything?

no, i am not. i have to admit i haven't read the rest of your strawman because i do not consider AQ respectable. unfortuneatly they have an available video. as you know many many journalists have been killed covering this war, so sometimes you just get your videos where you can find them, which i guess is what lara did. the alternative was nothing. personally i'd like to be the one to judge.


i'll go back and listen to you argue against something i never said now, i just thought i'd lay your claim to rest right off the bat. you lost me at the word hate.

2:49 PM, January 30, 2007

 
Anonymous PMain said...

no, i am not. i have to admit i haven't read the rest of your strawman

Yet you had 2 paragraphs of response. Speaking of straw man arguments, have you applied the same time & consideration into the little tirade about Judith Miller, or will you get back to reading the full information afterwards & before responding the 2nd time? Hopefully firedoglake will release it on video you can further your keen insight without being bogged down by all of the troublesome words.

3:35 PM, January 30, 2007

 
Blogger juandos said...

Thanks for the links Nibras...

Good job Nibras and Robert!

10:53 PM, January 30, 2007

 
Blogger Phil said...

I guess my point about whose tape it was was that Al Queda actually wants us to believe that it's a Sunni vs Shiite battle. AQ makes the video for their own internal propaganda purposes, but also slips it out through stringers to CBS telling them it's Sunni vs Shiite.

If AQ has any smarts, and they do to some extent, they want the western public to have that image re-enforced. Big Bad America came in and took down the (apologetically) brutal dictator who kept Iraq secure, and now it's a civil war. See what a mess you've made? And you're only making it worse. Why don't you tell your government to leave?

CBS is being used here, and it doesn't hurt at all that it's the narrative CBS's employees, for the most part, buy into and want to tell anyway. So they don't bother to check the source and they pass it on through.

The MSM is far more skeptical of our own government than it is of a bunch of ruthless murdering thugs for Allah.

That is the problem.

I'm not saying don't be skeptical. I'm saying let's be real and spread it around, and heap more on where it's due.

7:18 AM, January 31, 2007

 
Anonymous Glennie said...

"The Bush administration is absolutely right about one thing. Failure would be disasterous."

How about holding this President responsible for the mess he has created? All we hear is that we are there and it's a mess or the constant daring of the Dems or anyone with a differing opinion to come up with a better solution.

But want happened to our most important America Value of accountability? All I see is the Right Wing bloggers fighting hard to bury that accountability and it is sickening.

great work that you found the videos are the same but first things first. What about your President, our President and this administration, what say you about what was said and done to get us to where we are presently?

What do you and the bloggers on The Right have to say about The President's accountability and lack there up?

You guys are always big on accountability and the guilty parties getting what they deserve, but why are you guys so blind about this?

9:46 AM, January 31, 2007

 
Anonymous jr said...

Maybe Lara and her crew filmed the video themselves and gave a copy to AQ. She did say she was there and had to run when someone got shot.

1:50 PM, January 31, 2007

 
Blogger Phil said...

"How about holding this President responsible for the mess he has created? All we hear is that we are there and it's a mess or the constant daring of the Dems or anyone with a differing opinion to come up with a better solution."

Embedded in that statement is the assumption that going in was worse than not going in and that the president has something to be held accountable for. Many intelligent people have calmly taken issue with that assumption.

In answer to the second part, "All we hear..." is because it's reality. It is absolutely correct that whether we should have started it is now moot when it comes to what to do about it now.

Leftists seem more concerned about making sure our military action has no chance of success in order to support their political ideology than what we need to do now to address the situation we're in now. I submit that they are (and have been all along) actively rooting for failure in order for Bush to be proven wrong beyond any doubt -- and to heck with the consequences. They would rather see real, actual genocide in Iraq than to see the U.S. succeed in helping the Iraqis establish a democratic republic.

And that's all you hear because the Democrat's entire plan for Iraq is "Bush was wrong! Try Bush! Impeach! Impeach!" and has nothing to do with Iraq at all. They don't have an answer except "everything Bush does is wrong! Dems in 2008!".

2:58 PM, January 31, 2007

 
Anonymous Glennie said...

Bush was wrong and it doesn't change the fact that mistakes still continue to be made. Check in point, the controversial NYT video of the texas soldier who was filmed dying.

Why were those apts not secured beofre our men left?

The insubordination and the inability to see the how and ways of this conflict on The Right are staggering. You guys would rather shill for this admin than speak out against the damage it has done, you are shameful.

All of your constant dribble about supporting our troops and our country has/was cancelled out by your shilling for Bush.

You should be ashamed. Their souls and the loss their families are suffering are on you and this admin., you guys could care less.

3:12 PM, January 31, 2007

 
Blogger Phil said...

Mistakes are made by those who do.

Those who do not can sit back and take pot shots and monday morning quarterback their lives away, "speaking out against" in the Holy Sacrament of Protest.

Those on the Right do see the hows and the ways, and we see the mistakes, and we see the horrors, and we send our kids over to fight, hoping that they will come back.

What we're fed up with is all this "speaking out against" but offering no viable alternative.

This administration, though I may have off and on disagreed with some of its methods, is in fact offering the only actionable plan.

You can sit back and condemn all you want, and tell me I ought to be ashamed (and conversely, you ought to feel righteous - which is what I suspect this is all about deep down), but at the end of the day, you're an infidel and I'm an infidel and this movement that's been gaining strength for 30 years due to American softness and inaction barrels right along while the left makes excuses for them and blames the whole thing on the hated Bush.

It's insanity.

4:55 PM, January 31, 2007

 
Anonymous نايج السيستاني said...

What is this all about?

2:10 PM, February 02, 2007

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hudson Institute toady. 'nuff said.

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