Category Archive 'Associated Press'
27 Jul 2011

Wanna Trade?

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My liberal friends are always complaining bitterly about the terrible power of Rupert Murdoch to bend public opinion to his will.

Cornell Law Prof Bill Jacobson recently responded with a simple offer.

How about this. Conservatives take control of CBS, NBC, ABC, PBS, CNN, MSNBC, WaPo, NYT, AP, Reuters, and so on, and liberals get the Murdoch empire? I’d take that trade in a heartbeat.

17 Mar 2010

AP Confused By Bayonets

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Some news agency says the Army is dropping bayonet training, and informs its readers that soldiers no longer carry bayonets on their automatic rifles.

Heeding the advice of Iraq and Afghanistan combat veterans, commanders are dropping five-mile runs and bayonet drills in favor of zigzag sprints and exercises that hone core muscles. Battlefield sergeants say that’s the kind of fitness needed to dodge across alleys, walk patrol with heavy packs and body armor or haul a buddy out of a burning vehicle.

Trainers also want to toughen recruits who are often more familiar with Facebook than fistfights.

“Soldiers need to be able to move quickly under load, to be mobile under load, with your body armor, your weapons and your helmet, in a stressful situation,” said Frank Palkoska, head of the Army’s Fitness School at Fort Jackson, which has worked several years on overhauling the regime.

“We geared all of our calisthenics, all of our running movements, all of our warrior skills, so soldiers can become stronger, more powerful and more speed driven,” Palkoska said. The exercises are part of the first major overhaul in Army basic fitness training since men and women began training together in 1980, he said.

The new plan is being expanded this month at the Army’s four other basic training installations—Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., Fort Sill, Okla., Fort Benning, Ga., and Fort Knox, Ky.

Drill sergeants with experience in the current wars are credited with urging the Army to change training, in particular to build up core muscle strength. One of them is 1st Sgt. Michael Todd, a veteran of seven deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan.

On a recent training day Todd was spinning recruits around to give them the feel of rolling out of a tumbled Humvee. Then he tossed on the ground pugil sticks made of plastic pipe and foam, forcing trainees to crawl for their weapons before they pounded away on each other.

“They have to understand hand-to-hand combat, to use something other than their weapon, a piece of wood, a knife, anything they can pick up,” Todd said.

The new training also uses “more calisthenics to build core body power, strength and agility,” Palkoska said in an office bedecked with 60-year-old black and white photos of World War II-era mass exercise drills. Over the 10 weeks of basic, a strict schedule of exercises is done on a varied sequence of days so muscles rest, recover and strengthen.

Another aim is to toughen recruits from a more obese and sedentary generation, trainers said.

Many recruits didn’t have physical education in elementary, middle or high school and therefore tend to lack bone and muscle strength. When they ditch diets replete with soda and fast food for healthier meals and physical training, they drop excess weight and build stronger muscles and denser bones, Palkoska said.

Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling of the Army’s Training and Doctrine Command, the three-star general in charge of revamping all aspects of initial training, said his overall goal is to drop outmoded drills and focus on what soldiers need today and in the future.

Bayonet drills had continued for decades, even though soldiers no longer carry the blades on their automatic rifles. Hertling ordered the drills dropped.

“We have to make the training relevant to the conditions on the modern battlefield,” Hertling said during a visit to Fort Jackson in January.

Except that the Army is continuing Pugil Stick training and the Pugil Stick was invented during WWII as a method of training to fight with rifle and bayonet.

And the reporter is obviously confused about “carrying blades on automatic rifles,” not realizing perhaps that bayonets are not normally attached to rifles and are only mounted in extremis. The M9 Bayonet was adopted in 1984 and is designed for use with all of the M16 series rifles.

This kind of error should not be surprising. How long has it been, do you suppose, since a professional journalist working for a major news organization was a veteran?

M9 Bayonet mounted on the muzzle of an M4 carbine

25 Aug 2009

AP: US Interrogators Got Only Two Weeks Training

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US Special Operations-trained Interrogation Caterpillar. These guys are fierce.

Pamela Hess and Matt Appuzzo, writing for some news agency, are trying to shocking a nation’s conscience.

With just two weeks of training, or about half the time it takes to become a truck driver, the CIA certified its spies as interrogation experts after 9/11 and handed them the keys to the most coercive tactics in the agency’s arsenal.

Can you imagine? Just because some Muslim terrorists killed a lousy 3000 Americans and produced some mere billions of dollars worth of physical destruction and economic disruption, the Bush Administration actually allowed people with only two weeks of federal training to slap terrorists, pour water on them, and (worst of all) to expose them to caterpillar attack.

Hat tip to Stephen Frankel.

Unlike the US, Al Qaeda provided appropriately thorough training. They even produced a manual.

18 Jun 2008

AP Owes Patterico Money

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In a slightly ironic twist, the AP is taking content from a blog site. Namely, mine.

In a news item about the e-mail from Judge Kozinski’s wife that I posted on this site, an AP article lifted numerous passages.

I counted 154 words quoted from my post. That’s almost twice the number of words contained in the most extensive quotation in the Drudge Retort.

He should send Michelle Malkin to collect. Michelle is tough, and she’s a wizard with figures.


AP crackdown on bloggers posting

16 Jun 2008

Associated Press Wants No Blog Links

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The Associated Press cracked down Friday on an obscure blog, titled the Drudge Retort (evidently a leftwing parody of Matt Drudge), having invented its own draconian version of a Fair Use Policy, amounting essentially to no use. AP ordered Drudge Retort to remove seven items which quoted between 39 and 79 words of AP articles.

(Note: the last paragraph’s two sentences fall well within the range of quotation AP proposed to forbid, amounting to 55 words.)

Faced with mounting criticism, and a proposed boycott, AP behaved in a self-contradictory fashion, announcing that it was “re-thinkng” its policy and would suspend its attacks on blogs, but AP also said it would not withdraw its demand to the Drudge Retort to remove the seven postings, and suggested short summaries of AP stories be used instead of actual quotations.

New York Times 6/16

Newshoggers‘ Boycott emblem:

Michael Arrington (Tech Crunch)’s Boycott Emblem:

Tech Crunch announced:

Here’s our new policy on A.P. stories: they don’t exist. We don’t see them, we don’t quote them, we don’t link to them. They’re banned until they abandon this new strategy, and I encourage others to do the same until they back down from these ridiculous attempts to stop the spread of information around the Internet.

16 Apr 2008

Bilal Hussein To Be Released

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In another notable instance of official cowardice and incompetence, the US military continued a pattern of appeasing and condoning Iraqi treachery and corruption by acquiescing to the decision of two Iraqi judicial committees to award amnesty to AP photographer & terrorist Bilal Hussein.

AP gloats.

Earlier posts.

They should have released him long ago, having first secured his hands and affixed a rope around his neck, of course.

24 Mar 2008

Media Celebrates US Death Toll Reaching 4000

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AP (employer of terrorist photographers) gleefully reports:

– A roadside bomb killed four U.S. soldiers in Baghdad on Sunday, the military said, pushing the overall American death toll in the five-year war to at least 4,000.

It’s sad, of course, that 4000 American soldiers lost their lives over the course of five years in Iraq, but… the casualties entailed by current US military operations are, in fact, very small compared to losses in countless individual battles in previous wars. Grant lost 7000 men in twenty minutes at Cold Harbor, June 3, 1864, at a time when the US population was roughly one tenth the size of today’s. Imagine 70,000 casualties in twenty minutes.

In WWII, the Battle of Iwo Jima lasted under six weeks, not five years, and the US conquest of that small island cost 7000 Americans lives.

source: Congresssional Report

20 Nov 2007

Bilal Hussein Finally Charged

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AFP: US military brings charges against Bilal Hussein in Iraqi criminal court.

The US military has filed a formal complaint with an Iraqi criminal court accusing a detained, award-winning Associated Press photographer of being a “terrorist media operative,” the Pentagon said Monday.

Geoff Morrell, the Pentagon press secretary, said the military made the complaint about Bilal Hussein, who has been held for more than 19 months without charges in US military custody, to Iraq’s Central Criminal Court.

“We believe Bilal Hussein was a terrorist media operative who infiltrated the AP,” he said. “MNF-I possesses convincing and irrefutable evidence that Bilal Hussein is a threat to security and stability as a link to insurgent activity.”

Morrell said an investigative hearing into the case by the court is scheduled to begin on or after November 28.

Hussein was detained April 12, 2006 after marines entered his house in Ramadi to establish a temporary observation post and found bomb-making materials, insurgent propaganda and a surveillance photograph of a US military installation.

Morrell said Hussein, who was part of an AP photo team that won a Pulitzer Prize in 2005, had previously aroused suspicion because he was often at the scene insurgent attacks as they occurred.

He said other evidence, which he would not describe, came to light after his detention “that makes it clear that Mr. Hussein is a terrorist media operative who infiltrated the AP.”

But the Associated Press is still vehemently defending its Al Qaeda-affiliated photographer.

The U.S. military plans to seek a criminal case in an Iraqi court against an award-winning Associated Press photographer but is refusing to disclose what evidence or accusations would be presented.

An AP attorney on Monday strongly protested the decision, calling the U.S. military plans a “sham of due process.” The journalist, Bilal Hussein, has already been imprisoned without charges for more than 19 months.

In Washington, Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell explained the decision to bring charges now by saying “new evidence has come to light” about Hussein, but said the information would remain in government hands until the formal complaint is filed with Iraqi authorities.

Morrell asserted the military has “convincing and irrefutable evidence that Bilal Hussein is a threat to stability and security in Iraq as a link to insurgent activity” and called Hussein “a terrorist operative who infiltrated the AP.”

AP Associate General Counsel Dave Tomlin rejected the claim: “That’s what the military has been saying for 19 months, but whenever we ask to see what’s so convincing we get back something that isn’t convincing at all.”

The case has drawn attention from press groups as another example of the complications for Iraqis chronicling the war in their homeland—including death squads that target local journalists working for Western media and apparent scrutiny from U.S. intelligence agents.

A public affairs officer notified the AP on Sunday that the military intends to submit a written complaint against Hussein that would bring the case into the Iraqi justice system as early as Nov. 29. Under Iraqi codes, an investigative magistrate will decide whether there are grounds to try Hussein, 36, who was seized in the western Iraqi city of Ramadi on April 12, 2006.

Tomlin said the defense for Hussein is being forced to work “totally in the dark.”

The military has not yet defined the specific charges against Hussein. Previously, the military has pointed to a range of suspicions that attempt to link him to insurgent activity.

The AP also contends it has been blocked by the military from mounting a comprehensive defense for Hussein, who was part of the AP’s Pulitzer Prize-winning photo team in 2005.

Soon after Hussein was taken into custody, the AP appealed to the U.S. military either to release him or bring the case to trial—saying there was no evidence to support his detention. However, Tomlin said that the military is now attempting to build a case based on “stale” evidence and discredited testimony. He also noted that the U.S. military investigators who initially handled the case have left the country. …

While we are hopeful that there could be some resolution to Bilal Hussein’s long detention, we have grave concerns that his rights under the law continue to be ignored and even abused,” said AP President and CEO Tom Curley.

“The steps the U.S. military is now taking continue to deny Bilal his right to due process and, in turn, may deny him a chance at a fair trial. The treatment of Bilal represents a miscarriage of the very justice and rule of law that the United States is claiming to help Iraq achieve. At this point, we believe the correct recourse is the immediate release of Bilal,” Curley added.

It’s ridiculous that the US military has spent 19 months building a case and is trying to bring him to justice via the Iraqi courts. There was ample evidence to have conducted a drumhead court martial under US authority and to have executed Bilal Hussein, as a spy within 24 hours of his arrest.

Previous Bilal Hussein postings

02 Jun 2007

Iraqi AP Cameraman Killed Fighting Al Qaeda – AP Avoids Reporting His Heroism

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An Iraqi news cameraman employed by Associated Press died Thursday defending his home and neighborhood against Al Qaeda insurgents. His family and friends said he died a martyr’s death, and laid a bullet on his chest as a symbol of his heroism.

But his employer behaved differently. Rather than reporting that Saif Mohammed Fakhry had died a hero, fighting rifle in hand, against the enemies of the Iraqi government and of the United States, the Associated Press misleading described him as just another victim, killed senselessly walking to a nearby mosque on his day off.

AP reports:

An Associated Press Television News cameraman was killed in Baghdad on Thursday while walking to a mosque near his home on his day off.

Saif M. Fakhry, 26, was the fifth AP employee to die violently in the Iraq war and the third killed since December.

“Our heartfelt sympathies go out to Saif’s wife and family and his colleagues in Iraq,” said AP President and CEO Tom Curley.

“This is a particularly dangerous time in a place that already is unimaginably dangerous. Saif’s death reminds us again of the risks and hardships that accompany vital frontline journalism and of the gratitude we all owe to those who do it.”

Family members said Fakhry, who worked for APTN since August 2004, was spending the day with his wife, Samah Abbas, who is pregnant with their first child and expecting in June.

According to his family, Fakhry was walking to a mosque in the Baghdad neighborhood of Amariyah when he was shot. Gunmen had been involved in fighting in the area around his home for two days, but it was not clear who fired the shots that killed Fakhry.

But his brothers, Omar and Yasser, both also journalists, told Jane Arraf that he had gone out armed into the street to defend his neighborhood against Al Qaeda terrorists.

“I told him to stay inside – that the fighting was none of our business,” he told me, still sobbing. “He was a peaceful man but he said: ‘They are killing us every day – we live like this with no electricity, with no water and they are killing us.”

Saif had gone into the street carrying the rifle that each family in Baghdad is allowed to own. …

One of the imams leading the group said they killed an al-Qaeda leader and two other al-Qaeda members in the clashes Thursday.

Saif, who drew his last breath in a mosque after fighting for his home, died a martyr’s death. His friends laid a bullet on his chest.

His brother Omar mourns over Saif Fahkry’s body


The Associated Press chooses to deny the honor due to the courage of its own employee in order to avoid confirming truths about the War in Iraq inconvenient to its customarily prejudiced perspective. What a disgrace to their profession and their humanity.

05 Jan 2007

Iraq Interior Ministry Changes Their Story


Now they say, “Yes, Virginia, there really is a Jamil Hussein!”

It’s too soon to reach any firm conclusions, I think, about the authenticity of the alleged source of more than 60 so-far-unconfirmed AP stories attributed to Jamil Hussein; but, in the meantime, Michelle Malkin (as usual) has the best collection of links to the blogosphere’s reaction to this bombshell.

02 Jan 2007

AP Follows CBS’s Example

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AP is demonstrating all over again the characteristic incapacity of the Antique Media to resist the temptation to abuse its power, to resist its own biases, or even to recognize when the game is up.

Armed Liberal describes AP’s continued stonewalling on the Jamail Hussein scandal as

a display of clueless arrogance unmatched since the Black Knight refused to yield to King Arthur.

Magna est veritas et prævalet.

15 Oct 2006

Panic in Northern Minnesota

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Koochiching County (population 13,907) is located at the center of the northern end of Minnesota, bordering the wilderness of Northern Ontario. Its principal claim to fame is probably that county’s leading metropolis International Falls (population 6703) having been fictionalized in 1959 on television as “Frostbite Falls,” home of cartoon characters Rocky and Bullwinkle.

Indus Elementary & Secondary School, located 30 miles west of International Falls, has 194 pupils (79 elementary – 115 secondary) attending grades K through 12 from families residing in western Koochiching County.

I mention all this just to make clear the rural character of the setting of today’s headline news item.

The Associated Press yesterday evening ran the alarming headline: Principal quits after shooting kittens at school, followed by this lead:

A school principal has resigned and could face felony firearm charges after he shot and killed two orphaned kittens on school property last month.

That sounds absolutely terrible, of course. But the reality was rather different.

Principal Wade Pilloud, who resided weekdays in a mobile home on school property, had placed one or more traps underneath the trailer “to catch pests,” WCCO‘s version of the story reports.

Since the trap was large enough to kill an adult cat, Principal Pillaud was almost certainly using a conibear trap, rather than a leghold trap. Conibear traps are designed to kill the animal. A conibear trap large enough to kill a cat would have to have been set for something larger than a rat or a squirrel. Chances are that a skunk took up residence under Mr. Pillaud’s trailer, and he was taking action to remove a rather drastic problem.

Unfortunately, Mr. Pillaud discovered he had trapped a (presumably feral) female cat, whose death left orphaned a pair of young kittens. A cat-owner himself, Mr. Pillaud did not want the kittens to starve to death; so, after school, one night last month when all this happened, he took his shotgun, and “put them out of their misery,” as people say in the country.

But several children on the schoolgrounds for after hours activities heard the shooting, and went home and told their parents all about it.

This being the day and age it is, even in rural Northern Minnesota, you have nincompoops.

There were parents who felt, apparently some rather strongly, that there were concerns about the safety of their children,” said Joseph Flynn, an attorney for the South Koochiching/Rainy River School District. “The district’s position is that safety was not compromised.”

John Mastin, acting sheriff in Koochiching County, said Pilloud could be charged with felony possession of a firearm on school property and reckless discharge of a firearm, a misdemeanor.

County Attorney Jennifer Hasbargen said Friday that the case was under review.

Mastin said the shooting put no one in danger but said Pilloud used “poor discretion and poor timing,” especially amid the growing fear of gun violence in schools.

The district put Pilloud on administrative leave after the incident. Flynn said Pilloud agreed to an undisclosed settlement and resigned.

This type of incident demonstrates that nowhere in America is non-suburban enough today to assure the safety of gun-owners from the ritualized hoplophobia of journalists, politicians, and anti-weapons bigots. The NRA and other gun rights litigation centers need to intervene and contest every such case of the marginalizing of gun ownership and the stigmatization of the legitimate use of firearms. Otherwise, ultimately, a gun ban British and Australian-style is inevitable.

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