Journalist Charges Censorship by US Military in Fallujah
by Dahr Jamail
SAN FRANCISCO - U.S. journalist Zoriah Miller says he was censored by the U.S. military in the Iraqi city of Fallujah after photographing Marines who died in a suicide bombing.
On Jun. 26, a suicide bomber attacked a city council meeting in Fallujah, 69 kms west of Baghdad, between local tribal sheikhs and military officials.
The explosion also killed two interpreters and 20 Iraqis, including the mayor of the nearby town of Karmah, two prominent sheikhs and their sons, and another sheikh and his brother. All were members of the local “awakening council,” one of the U.S.-backed militias that have taken up arms against al Qaeda in Iraq, according to U.S. and Iraqi authorities.
Miller was embedded with Marines on a patrol one block from the attack when it occurred. He had originally turned down the option of going to report on the city council meeting that was bombed.
Miller ran with the Marines he was with to the scene of the attack. “As I ran I saw human pieces…a skull cap with hair, bone shards,” he told IPS during a telephone interview from the so-called Green Zone in Baghdad. “When we arrived at the building it was chaotic. There were Iraqis, police and civilians running around screaming. Bodies were being pulled out of the building.”
“I went in and there were over 20 people’s remains all over the place,” Miller continued, “Of the Marines I jogged in with, someone started to vomit. Others were standing around, not knowing what to do. It was completely surreal.”
Miller was terminated from his duties with the Marines. The reason: The letter he was given stated reasons for his dismissal as “you photographed the remains of U.S. soldiers”, “you posted these images along with detailed commentary”, and “by posting the images and your commentary you violated 14 H and O of the news media agreement you signed”.
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