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Photographers At War


We should all be grateful, once again, to Wretchard at Belmont Club, this time for hammering away at the amazing ability of an AP photographer in Baghdad to take pictures of Iraqi terrorists executing election officials. Wretchard keeps asking–and AP keeps kinda denying but increasingly kinda admitting culpability–how come the photographer was there at the precise moment the killings took place, and managed to take the pictures even though everyone else except the terrorists was running rapidly away from the scene. Lots of good work has also been done by Roger Simon, Power Line , Instapundit and others.

It’s a big story, potentially even bigger than Dan Rather’s forgeries, because it raises the broader question of journalists’ complicity with evil people. Frontpagemag has a devastating analysis of how “reporters” end up telling only the most radical Palestinians’ “side” of events.

The redoubtable Tom Holsinger emailed this cheerful note to Roger Simon, suggesting a line of action:

AP may have significant civil liability exposure to the victims’ families in American courts, under the legal theory of civil conspiracy. The conspiracy objective would be to give publicity to terrorists. Every person or organization agreeing to act in concert to achieve a conspiracy’s goals is liable for every act in furtherance of the conspiracy.

American courts have taken jurisdiction, and awarded huge civil judgments, in far more questionable cases. Here is the Lexis summary of Halberstam v. Welch, 705 F.2d 472(D.C. Cir. 1983):

“The personal representative of the physician’s estate brought a wrongful death and survival action seeking damages based on consequences resulting from the physician’s death during a burglary. The district court found that appellant, who was not a participant in the actual burglary, was jointly and severally liable with her live-in boyfriend for the killing of the physician under theories of conspiracy and aiding and abetting and awarded a monetary judgment against both of them. Appellant sought review on the issue of her liability. The court found based on the record that appellant knew the purpose of her boyfriend’s nightly outings and the means that he used to acquire their wealth. Further, appellant was a long-time willing partner in assisting her boyfriend dispose of the burglary proceeds. Appellant acted as a secretary and recordkeeper for the burglary enterprise and maintained financial transactions solely in her name. Appellant also took unsubstantiated income tax deductions related to the burglary proceeds. The court affirmed the district court’s judgment finding appellant jointly and severally liable as a co-conspirator and joint venturer.”


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