Iraqi Journalist Tortured, Turned Over To Americans?
by Deacon Blues
Sure, he wanted one more victory lap before he left office. Yet he created another hero instead.
Thousands of Iraqis took to the streets Monday to demand the release of a reporter who threw his shoes at President George W. Bush in anger at U.S. policies, as support for the act and the journalist flowed in from across the Arab world.
The irony dripped from the soles of his shoes.
Showing the sole of your shoe to someone in the Arab world is a sign of extreme disrespect, and throwing your shoes is even worse. Iraqis whacked a statue of Saddam Hussein with their shoes after U.S. Marines toppled it after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.
Newspapers across the Arab world printed front-page photos of Bush ducking the flying shoes, and satellite TV stations repeatedly aired the incident, which was hailed by the president's many critics in the region.
And what did al-Zaidi get for his defiance in the newly "liberated" Iraq?
Iraqi authorities have placed Muntadar al-Zaidi under arrest for "his aggressive actions against an official and a visitor of the Iraqi government," said Yaseen Majeed, a top media adviser to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. In a statement, Majeed blasted Zaidi as "a disgrace to journalism" and said he would be handed over to the Iraqi justice system for "punishment."
Munqeth al-Faroon, an Iraqi court official, said Zaidi could receive a maximum jail sentence of seven years for insulting the nation's leader.
Really? Our soldiers died so that Iraqi leaders could be protected from insults and dictate to the media what acceptable journalism is? And who were the goons who beat up and dragged away al-Zaidi to an undisclosed location?
Witnesses said that Mr. Zaidi had been severely beaten by security officers on Sunday after being tackled at the press conference and dragged out. One of his brothers, Maythem al-Zaidi, said Monday that the family had not heard from Mr. Zaidi since his arrest, and that a security officer who picked up Mr. Zaidi’s cellphone at midnight on Sunday had threatened the family.And it may get a lot worse. Iraqi TV is reporting that al-Zaidi has been tortured and transferred to the American-run Camp Cropper.
Hat tip to firedoglake.com