AP Source Salam Daher Rescues Bodies That Aren’t There

August 12, 2006

An AP article white washes a Lebanese Civil Defense worker bloggers suspect of disseminating Hezbollah propaganda. And they quote a colleague who apparently doesn’t have any concerns about sharing information with Hezbollah to back him up. From the article:

Twenty-eight bodies were recovered — more than half of them children.

Interesting, given that said Civil Defense worker evidently told the Lebanese press on July 30th:

The bodies of 37 children were among those recovered from under the rubble of dozens of a building which collapsed after the bombardment, said Salam Daher, the civil defense chief in the region.

Daher had to have reported numbers of bodies that we now know weren’t there, but the AP didn’t get around to asking Daher about his problems with Math. And as you can verify here, Daher inflated the body count throughout the day:

6:12AM: 35 killed or wounded

6:29AM: 14 children, 9 men and 9 women (32 people)

7:17AM: 22 children, 51 people

11:29AM: 25 children

July 31: 30 children, 52 people

July 31: 37 children, 54 people

To support Daher, the AP quotes Fadi Kayyal.

Fadi Kayyal, a member of the Tyre civil defense team for seven years, has worked with Daher on many emergencies.

Here’s a report at The Examiner also citing Kayyal:

A mass funeral – the third so far – is scheduled to be held Wednesday for about 120 people, including the dead from a weekend bombing at Qana and others recovered by Red Cross teams throughout the south the past two days, said Tyre civil defense rescue worker Fadi Kayyal.

As she walked through the ruins of the neighborhood of Hayal Jumma, trying to remember who lived where, a burly man in a brown T-shirt with a handgun in his belt and a two-way radio walked up and identified himself as a Hezbollah man. He wouldn’t give his name, but he wanted to know who had come to see the ruins.

His radio cracked and he spoke. Within minutes, three other men arrived.

"I think we won the war. This (debate over a possible) cease-fire is about politics, but I think the war is won by us," the first said, refusing to give his name.

The article goes on to quote another individual, not Fayyal. But the quotes demonstrate that the so-called civilian causalities likely were Hezbollah. But that doesn’t make them bad guys. And, really, that’s all that bloggers are suggesting – that many citizens of Southern Lebanon don’t see Hezbollah in a fully negative light. To them it might not be. But if they are willing to take aid and comfort from terrorists the moral ground they stand on in arguing their cause isn’t all that firm.

When they, like Daher, go on to inflate body counts to help Hezbollah win the propaganda war and the AP attempts to prop them up as objective observers, the ground under the AP as objective media becomes even less firm.

Asked whether Israeli intelligence could have had information that the homes of her uncles hid Hezbollah fighters, Haydar said: "Srifa has everything. We have Hezbollah, we have Amal (a Shiite Muslim group), we have communists."

She said Hezbollah had provided schools and charity to the poorest in Srifa. That had brought them support because government services were lacking.

"Because people support Hezbollah doesn’t mean they are fighters. It is two different things," she said.

lgf points out that the AP decided to profile Salam Daher here. Charles goes on to post an extensive explanation of how money may assist in ensuring that AP coverage is skewed.

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  1. Old War Dogs says:

    Green-helmeted Death Pimp identified

    Credit Charles Johnson with the story (surprise, surprise). Hat tip, more commentary: Allahpundit. *** Curt at Flopping Aces has an excellent related post here. He put a lot more time into his than I did into this one. Go there.

  2. Kathy says:

    You’ve got to be kidding, Dan. What was the casualty count right after the WTC was attacked? And how many times in the next several weeks did officials change what they had said about the number of dead?

  3. LGF Is On F’n Fire

    LA Times’ knee-jerk lefty Tim Rutten actually asks hard questions about the media’s complicity in Hezbollah propaganda, and suggests a systematic, thorough reexamination of reliance on foreign stringers — either cowed by, or active supports of, Hezbol…

  4. Right Truth says:

    Tunnel between Gaza and Egypt destroyed, fighting continues in Lebanon

    Let’s not forget that Hamas is still holding an Israeli soldier in addition to the soldiers that Hezbollah is holding. ‘President Mahmoud Abbas is under pressure to demolish the Palestinian Authority because of anarchy in the West Bank and Gaza,

  5. Right Truth says:

    Tunnel between Gaza and Egypt destroyed, fighting continues in Lebanon

    Let’s not forget that Hamas is still holding an Israeli soldier in addition to the soldiers that Hezbollah is holding. ‘President Mahmoud Abbas is under pressure to demolish the Palestinian Authority because of anarchy in the West Bank and Gaza,

  6. … how many times in the next several weeks did officials change what they had said about the number of dead?
    As you say, they *did* correct themselves. Be sure to drop by and give us a link when *these* numbers are corrected. We’ll be waiting.

  7. Carol_Herman says:

    When did Adnan Hajj get his named changed to Salam Daher? When he taped up his Green Helmet, with white tape? Gosh, does he change his name again when he changes his tee-shirt? How about his underpants? Then, his sox? Guess these jerks suffer from multiple personality disorders?
    And, I thought he went without the rubber gloves so he could pull the maggots off without them sticking to the rubber.
    Nothing surprises me anymore about the freaks who invented dirty tricks, and then blamed them on Richard Nixon.
    How come nobody’s asked what happened to the maggots? I thought dead bodies attracted them. Those Lebanese must be like Disney. They spray before the crowds come, so you can believe in fairy tale land.

  8. More on the Media

    Read Allah and LGF …

  9. old trooper says:

    From the international photographer’s forum Lightstalkers.org, photojournalist Bryan Denton, in a message from Beirut Lebanon, describes the most vile sort of photo staging imaginable: Lightstalkers :: Staged Shots from Lebanon? Please comment…
    i have been working in lebanon since all this started, and seeing the behavior of many of the lebanese wire service photographers has been a bit unsettling. while hajj has garnered a lot of attention for his doctoring of images digitally, whether guilty or not, i have been witness to the daily practice of directed shots, one case where a group of wire photogs were choreographing the unearthing of bodies, directing emergency workers here and there, asking them to position bodies just so, even remove bodies that have already been put in graves so that they can photograph them in peoples arms. these photographers have come away with powerful shots, that required no manipulation digitally, but instead, manipulation on a human level, and this itself is a bigger ethical problem.
    whatever the case is—lack of training, a personal drive as a photographer to show what is happening to your country in as powerful a way as possible, or all out competitiveness, i think that the onus is on the wire services themselves, because they act as the employer/filter of their photogs work. standards should be in place or else the rest of us end up paying the price. and i’m not against the idea of local wire photographers, but after seeing it over and over for the past month, i think it is something that is worth addressing. while i walk away from a situation like that, one wire shooter sets up a situation, and the rest of them follow…….
    by Bryan Denton Fri Aug 11 07:36:08 UTC 2006 | Beirut, Lebanon
    UPDATE at 8/12/06 4:15:12 pm:
    Denton posted again later in the thread after being harshly criticized by the other photographers, and softened his stance but did not back off from his allegation. And notice: in the later post he says this was not an isolated incident.
    hi all,
    sorry to have not been specific. just to make this clear. i was not in qana and am not referring to the massacre that took place there. i have been covering beirut, and it was at numerous protest, evacuations as well as the israeli strikes in chiyeh, which unfortunately did not get that much coverage in the media—where i saw this behavior occur. i have also heard from friends of mine in lebanon, respected photographers, that this was not an isolated incident.
    unfortunately in each of these cases, it was the lebanese wire photographers that started these situations. that said, i am not trying to make generalizations. i know that there are a number of dedicated and brilliant lebanese photographers here who are putting themselves in extremely dangerous situations in order to document what is happening here in their country, and in hindsight, i realize it was irresponsible for me to post the previous statement because it was not specific enough. however, this has been something i’ve noticed happening here, more than any other place i’ve worked previously.
    i agree that there is a lot of pressure, particularly on stringers (i myself am a freelancer), due to cost cutting and how the big image banks pay their non-staff photographers, and while unfortunate events like qana and chiyeh require the utmost responsiblity, seeing it happen for things like protests and evacuations is equally as disturbing and doesn’t bode well.
    again, i am terribly sorry for rattling the saber so hard….re-reading my words I too should have been a bit more responsible.
    by Bryan Denton Fri Aug 11 16:27:35 UTC 2006 | Beirut, Lebanon
    In time this despicable and reprehensible practice will get the light of day.

  10. Gekkobear says:

    WTC comparison? Ok, what photo or article claimed more bodies being carried out of the WTC than the final # of deaths?
    There were initial “estimates” from WTC that were skewed based on not knowing who was (or wasn’t) at work. I don’t recall a claim of removed bodies being inaccurate though…
    If you want to use your WTC analogy, use it where it fits (like the initial “estimate” of 40 deaths, and final count of 1 in a different attack). Both of those could be from not knowing who was still in the building and who had gotten out… but neither are comparable to a reporter claiming 37 children’s bodies recovered when the final death toll was 28 (and 15 children).
    This report wasn’t an estimate, it was a count of bodies removed from the building by rescuers, and it was roughly doubled. Not an estimate, a count; and a rather inaccurate one.

  11. walid arnaout says:

    salam daher has been working as a rescuer for the past 20 years and he has witnessed every war while doing his job in lebanon…and now he works at the civil defense of tyre and during the war he responded to every call he was patched to where houses or buildings where destroyed by israeli bombs killing many innocent people…and he might have messed up with number due to unconsciousness at the scene and it’s a mistake anyone can make during war but pictures show that many children,women,and men where killed with no need to give exact numbers…and i have shared salam daher in many emergency patches as a volunteer at the civil defense of tyre-lebanon which has no relation at all with hezbollah and it’s funded and owned by the lebanese ministry of interior(lebanese government).