Agam's Gecko
Thursday, July 05, 2007
al Hamira family photo
What happened to these people? Photo: Michael Yon

s there in existence some new and obscure classification system of news-worthiness, known only to the information gate-keepers, of which I'm unaware? Could there be another explanation as to the column yards of print and hours of broadcast time devoted to stories about being allegedly mean to Islamist terrorists, and speculation into the allegedly nefarious intent of Marines, and their actions while under attack (before their military trial even begins, to determine their guilt or innocence), in contrast to the near total media silence on the grisly discovery reported by Michael Yon last weekend (and to which I directed gentle readers in my previous post)?

There must be something about this in the Professional Journalist's Style Manual. There just has to be something I'm missing, so if anyone has a copy of the PJSM and could forward the reference to the relevant criteria, I'd be much obliged. It must be something basic which I've overlooked, some type of fundamental requirement the absence of which would render a first hand report (with ample photographic evidence) of "al Qaeda in Iraq" butchery in a town too small to be on any map, as disqualifying under the rubric "All the news that's fit to print." (Or has it been changed to "All the news that's print to fit"?)

The village was small, but it had a name nonetheless. Al Hamira. (If you haven't seen it yet, do so now before continuing. I'll wait right here. Click the faded family photo above. Graphic content warning.)

In a follow-up post published Tuesday, Michael tries to answer some of the questions he's received about it. Some questions are not his to answer, however.
But for those publications who actually had people embedded in Baqubah when the story first broke and still failed to cover it, their malaise is inexplicable. I do not know why all failed to report the murders and booby-trapped village: apparently no reporters bothered to go out there, even though it’s only about 3.5 miles from this base. Any one of the reporters currently in Baqubah could still go to these coordinates and follow his or her nose and find the gravesites.
He notes that not quite all media outlets ignored the story -- Fox News and National Review published his report at their websites, and a number of major news blogs linked to his site. Newspapers (and broadcasters) "of record" -- not so much. Or, not at all would be a better way to put it.

Contrast this with an alleged incident the previous week, when AP, Reuters and others reported what amounted to a rumour of hearsay -- sourced from unidentified police officials based in far distant towns -- regarding 20 decapitation victims found at Um al Abeed (a village near Salman Pak). Bob Owens did some checking, and the result was a revelation. The story was a complete fabrication, made up by "unknown sources." Which, as Owens correctly notes, is only partially true. Reuters and AP know exactly who provided them with this hoax information.
They just as they certainly know, or should know, which of their indigenous reporters—”stringers,” in industry parlance—have been providing these suspect or discredited stories, and which editors have allowed these stories to press based upon the flimsiest of evidence, which often does not meet the service’s own stated reportorial standards.
Glenn Reynolds received a very interesting email the other day, which he published, telling readers only that it had come from a "journalist whose name you'd recognize":
Yon's story doesn't get attention because it is humiliating.

It is humiliating because it is obvious that we media – and our allies in the state department, the legal trade, the NGOs, the Democratic Party, the UN, etc., - can’t do squat about such determined use of force.

Our words, images, arguments and skills can’t stop the killing. Only the rough soldiers and their guns can solve the problem, and we won’t admit that fact because the admission would weaken our influence and our claim to social status.

So we pretend Yon’s massacre – and the North Korean killing fields, the Arab treatment of women, the Arab hatred of Israel, etc. - doesn’t exist, and instead focus our emotions and attention on the somewhat-bad domestic things that we can ‘fix’ with our DC-based allies. Things such as Abu Ghraib, wiretapping, etc. When we ‘fix’ them, then we get status, applause, power, new jobs, ego, etc.

Please don’t be surprised. We media are an interest group not much different from the automakers, the unions, and the farmers.
What a shame that a journalist like this one can't be as candid out in the open.

While cowardly jihadis in Iraq will slaughter the women and children first (before they make good their own escape), the great "Maulana" (esteemed teacher) of Islamabad's Lal Masjid (Red Mosque) -- who is now believed by Pakistani officials to be the Taliban chieftain of the lawless Waziristan border area -- tries to make good on his escape (leaving behind his hate-indoctrinated students, like a good coward) -- by pulling the old katoey trick. (Katoey are the famous Thai transvestite community, perhaps an unfair comparison since they are certainly far more beautiful than Abdul Aziz could ever hope to be).

This tactic is quite common among those who "fight in the way of Allah." Osama himself is believed to have used it to escape into Iran while his protectors, the Afghan Taliban were being smashed in 2001. More recently some of the jihadi leaders in Baqubah tried to escape the net with this method, leaving their foot-soldiers behind to die. And just yesterday I read about some bank robbers (lost the link and I forget now what country it was) who also used the good old burqa strategy.

But this is just too good not to indulge in a little mockery. (note: The story has since been updated, removing the quote below. But it was there this morning, I swear! Luckily the new story has more hilarious details.)
Ghazi's brother Abdul Aziz, the mosque's firebrand leader, was caught late Wednesday trying to sneak out among a group of 20 burqa-clad women from the mosque.

"Our men spotted his (Aziz's) unusual demeanour. The rest of the girls looked like girls but he was taller and had a pot belly," a security official said on condition of anonymity.

Paramilitary officer Manzoor Ahmad, who saw the incident, said a policeman spotted one member of the crowd staying silent.

"The officer pounced on the lady, and as he grabbed her, the burqa came off and his beard fell out. He asked the man who he was and he said 'I am Maulana (senior cleric) Abdul Aziz,'" the soldier said.
His "beard fell out." I love that! A blogger in Pakistan has a little more delicious detail about the cowardly firebrand:
Officers were inspecting a group of 6-8 female students clad in Burqa when the girls started screaming that please don't inspect our Auntie, she's elderly and is sick. This struck right - female officers tightened their hold on the Auntie and when they unveiled her his niqab - he was Maulana Abdul Azizi Ghazi. Rangers and higher officials immediately took hold of the situation. Um e Hasaan, wife of Maulana sahab and Principal of Jameya, was also arrested. Daughter of Maulana sahab, who was accompanying then, ran off back to Lal Masjid seeing the situation.
"Auntie" is it? Man, that's gonna leave a mark!

Just a day before the violence broke out (again...) at Lal Masjid -- Aziz' fanatic students have been causing havoc since January -- AllahPundit cited a report claiming that President Musharraf was about to permit NATO attacks against Taliban in Waziristan. Which he also noted, would be a powerful incentive for trouble from the fanatics in the Red Mosque. It seems that the jihad students (and why do so many of these "students" have greying beards, anyway?) and their "teachers" didn't need that provocation at all. We've all seen the pictures of burqa-clad bamboo-swingers and their jihadi menfolk wildly firing their AK's at the police -- some reports have more than 20 killed on both sides. But yesterday many of those in the masjid surrendered (more than 1,000, leaving at least another 1,000 within).

But Maulana Abdul Aziz chose not to stay with his diehard followers in embracing martyrdom.

Maulana Aziz arrest
Maulana Abdul Aziz tries out his katoey act. Photo: AFP screen capture from AAJ TV
He chose to leave them behind, and run like a little girl. Or "Auntie" if you will. I looked for the juicy picture of the moment of truth this morning, but Allah was the one who found it. It's not too clear, but we'll take what we can get -- a screen capture from a TV broadcast (click the image for a larger version). This is gold: he's still wearing the black burqa, which his ilk requires of their women to hide their sinful and irresistibly tempting bodies, and is holding the hood component (which shields innocent menfolk from the dangerous but invisible sensual rays which emanate from a woman's hair) in his hands.

Surely this episode would go down in the annals of Taliban history as a moment of deep shame, if the Taliban had any. For everyone else, it should be remembered as a classic example of the mujahideen's deep and abiding cowardice and idiocy. Killing poor farmers along with their wives, children and animals is easy for them, booby-trapping a girl's school with bombs is easy for them. Fighting people who fight back, not so much. Better to dress like a girl and run away.

While we're in the mood for ridicule, do not miss the guest commentary over at iowahawk, by Kahlid Ahmed, MD (Gastroenterologist), a former associate of al Qaeda in the UK.
Ever have "one of those days?" Sure, all of us go through the occasional rough patch, but I swear there are times when I think Allah must really have it in for me. I mean, I know the "Big Guy" is supposed to have a sense of humor, but do I always have to be the punchline?
Read. It. All. And cleanse your palate from the repulsive barbarity depicted at the first link in this post. If that doesn't get the bitter taste out, I'll bet John Smeaton can do it.

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