Bilal Hussein: Is There Blood On His Hands?

By
September 18, 2006

Update: Apparently Bilal Hussein didn’t only photograph Salvatore Santore, he also videotaped his execution. It’s been edited out of the video below – supplied originally by the AP.

"A group called the Islamic Movement of Iraqi Mujahideen announced that it had killed an Italian hostage called Salvatore Santoro," the Qatar-based broadcaster said on Thursday, showing footage of Santoro with a blindfold and a gun pointed at his head.

The group read a statement in the tape accusing Santoro of working for the United States, Al Jazeera said. Images of his passport showed an Iranian tourist visa.

The channel said it obtained the videotape from the Associated Press.

The Italian Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday it was investigating a claim by an Iraqi photographer who said militants showed him the body of a man of the same name together with an Italian passport.

It said neither the Italian embassy in Iraq nor the Foreign Ministry had a record of a Salvatore Santoro in Iraq, and the report should be treated with caution until confirmed.

When I saw the image top right above the video, I was wondering if detained Iraqi photographer Bilal Hussein had blood on his hands. Then I realized something which suggests that he does.

Target: Corpses of Iraqis bound and slain by insurgents – Bilal Hussein / AP

If you look at the image below, you’ll note that it appears to have been taken inside on some type of table.

The photo was released by insurgents when they claimed to have killed Salvatore Santoro.

Then visit Michelle Malkin’s blog and you’ll see the images taken by Hussein when Santoro was alive. As far as I’m concerned, this means Hussein was present throughout and witnessed the execution. I wonder if he took some special images just for his insurgent friends?

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Comments:
  1. Scott F. says:

    Very Sickening. For the AP to stand behind such work as “good journalism” and not indicate any regret demontrates that they, by proxy, will gladly trade a innocent human life for a few bucks.

  2. Karridine says:

    Riehl interesting, if essentially filthy for the rational human soul! Good detective work, Steve!
    Keep at it! :D

  3. Jimminy says:

    There’s another possibility: Hussein was given the video and the pictures by the insurgents, and passed them off to his editors as his own.

  4. rick says:

    APs main source of income is the middle eastern TV and print media who don’t have their own people in the field. APs coverage of the Hezbollah-Israel conflict just brought their bias to light. Personally, I equate APs coverage with that of al Jazeera and al Manar. The AP reporters and photographers give the AP editors exactly what they want for their largest audience and the west be damned.

  5. Solange says:

    visit Michelle Malkin’s blog and you’ll see the images taken by Hussein when Santoro was alive.
    The photographs of Santoro at Michelle Malkin’s blog show his body propped upright on hillside. He is dead.

  6. info@ap.org says:

    From The Associated Press, Corporate Communications
    Some blogs are asserting that AP photographed and videotaped an execution of an Italian man named Savatore Santoro near Ramadi in December of 2004. This is not true. The man was already dead by the time anyone working for The Associated Press was brought to see him. The photographs of the dead body, taken by Bilal Hussein, and the captions transmitted with those photos, appear below the following AP story filed on December 16, 2004. This AP story explains that masked insurgents stopped Husseinl and other AP journalists, including an AP video journalist, at a roadblock and took them to the site where the blindfolded body lay, already stiff with rigor mortis. They propped the body up and allowed the journalists to photograph and videotape it. For the full text and photos transmitted on 12/16/04 by AP, see: http://www.ap.org/response/response_091906a.html

  7. NortonPete says:

    Why would you prop up a dead person and leave his blindfold on?
    More AP lies. Remember once you tell a lie you must constantly lie to cover it.

  8. zombie says:

    I tracked down the URL of the original video that Dan uploaded to YouTube. You can find it here on Ogrish.com at http://www.ogrish.com/archives/italian_hostage_salvatore_santoro_killed_in_iraq_by_islamic_movement_of_iraqi_mujahideen_Dec_16_2004.html .
    The reason I give the original video is that it is slightly clearer than the YouTube version (which YouTube converts to a Flash file), so it can be more easily analyzed.
    If you look at the original video, you can see what looke like Santoro moving his left leg at :17 into the video. Not 100% clear on that, but it really looks like a distinctive, conscious leg movement.
    If that is the case, it means that Santoro was still alive when the video was taken. Which means (coupled with all the other evidence above) that Hussein was probably present at the execution.

  9. anon says:

    Wow – it looks like the AP is running scared. They now troll blogs trying to head off controversies.
    AP – you are losing and an embarassment. People started realizing this a long time ago and now more and more people are realizing this everyday.
    Remember back in the day when you didn’t have to do damage control on right wing blogs?
    How about instead of pretending to tell us the truth and running damage control – you just start releasing unedited video? It sure would be neat to see how your stringers dithered with the murderers to set up those shots.

  10. Dan Riehl says:

    I tracked down the URL of the original video
    Um, thanks Z – no offense, but if you click on “videotapped” in my post, it is the same link.

  11. clazy says:

    Is that really you, Zombie? Great work on the ambulance hoax. But I think pointing to what looks like it might be a leg movement at 0:17 is overreaching. By the same reasoning, you might as well assert that the video was taken in the midst of an earthquake–there’s nothing in those images that stands still. I’m inclined to believe this guy Hussein is dirty, but I’m also inclined to believe Santoro is dead in all of these photos. He looks stiff to me.
    Dan–what images at Malkin’s show this poor guy alive? I can’t find them.

  12. GF says:

    No comments on the Pakistani journalist Hamid Mir, who walks in and out of the forbidden Al Qaida territory of Waziristan in northwestern Pakistan, to produce interviews of Bid Laden and his gang, while the Allied governments, including Pakistan, claim to have no knowledge of the terrorist hideouts!

  13. zombie says:

    Dan: “no offense, but if you click on “videotapped” in my post, it is the same link.”
    Oh dear — you’re right! I didn’t even notice that. Sorry for the re-post. I dug around and found it again for no purpose!
    Anyway, the point remains valid: the original Ogrish version is a bit clearer than the YouTube version, and seems to distinctly show movement.
    D’oh!

  14. Dan Riehl says:

    I put the Ogrish video in my editor and enlarged it, unfortunately, given teh quality of the video, I wouldn’t make the claim he moved. The shadows are interesting, though. But ultimately dont’ suggest much, other than perhaps someone was moving back from propping him up when the filming started.

  15. htom says:

    “… The man was already dead by the time anyone working for The Associated Press was brought to see him. …”
    Was BH working -for- “The Associated Press”, or was he working -with- “Associated Press Iraq”?

  16. Old War Dogs says:

    Bilalgate

    The first three items in this post (I’m betting on it growing) we’re originally part of Bill’s Bites — 2006.09.21. Click the pic. Bilalgate: Michelle vs. the Associated PressAllahpundit At the risk of being stripped of my righty blogger credentials,

  17. Old War Dogs says:

    Bilalgate

    The first three items in this post (I’m betting on it growing) we’re originally part of Bill’s Bites — 2006.09.21. Click the pic. Bilalgate: Michelle vs. the Associated PressAllahpundit At the risk of being stripped of my righty blogger credentials,

  18. Tank says:

    But ultimately dont’ suggest much, other than perhaps someone was moving back from propping him up when the filming started.
    So the content of the video doesn’t show enough for you to tell whether the subject in it is dead or alive but you’re pretty confident of who was behind the camera and that photographs of the exact same scene show a live person ?
    Then visit Michelle Malkin’s blog and you’ll see the images taken by Hussein when Santoro was alive.
    Er… no. If you go to Malkin’s blog you can’t find any suggestion he was alive in those photos. You can find a link to cryptome where the pictures are hosted along with their original captions. There’s a reason all of them refer to “picture of a body” and not “picture of a hostage”.

  19. Tank says:

    “”””But ultimately dont’ suggest much, other than perhaps someone was moving back from propping him up when the filming started.””””
    So the content of the video doesn’t show enough for you to tell whether the subject in it is dead or alive but you’re pretty confident of who was behind the camera and that photographs of the exact same scene show a live person ?
    “”””Then visit Michelle Malkin’s blog and you’ll see the images taken by Hussein when Santoro was alive.””””
    Er… no. If you go to Malkin’s blog you can’t find any suggestion he was alive in those photos. You can find a link to cryptome where the pictures are hosted along with their original captions. There’s a reason all of them refer to “picture of a body” and not “picture of a hostage”.

  20. John McCarthy says:

    Who is Ogrish now? I did not find important news

  21. Calgacus says:

    The logic of this blog post is so faulty a child could see it – i’m surprised there are any adults can’t see that.
    The facts we have.
    An Iraqi photographer named Bilal Hussein worked for AP.
    AP got a video of the murder of hostages by a terrorist group in Iraq.
    Yet from this you construct a dodgy theory that for AP to have got these videos and pictures Hussein must have been involved in the kidnapping and murders.
    ABC, CNN, AP and Fox News get hold of videos of Bin Laden planning the September 11th attacks.
    By your logic someone at Fox News must have been involved in September 11th.
    You do not need to have been involved in an atrocity to get hold of video or pictures of it.
    It’s also worth noting that the US military have never brought any formal charges against Bilal Hussein or tried him – they’ve merely made allegations which are unsubstantiated by anyone except other Pentagon and US military spokesmen.
    On top of that Bilal Hussein gave an account of the killing of civilians in the November 2004 assault on Falluja – http://www.commondreams.org/headlines04/1115-04.htm.
    That is very probably the reason the Pentagon have had him arrested on trumped up charges of ‘aiding insurgents’.

  22. Calgacus says:

    Oh and btw Malkin’s only sources for her claims in every single thing she posts are the Pentagon or US military officials. If we want to read Pentagon press releases we can get them at their website – we don’t need anyone to parrot them endlessly.