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Old 04-05-2005, 09:09 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Iraqis demand reality TV

I'm curious as to your thoughts on this story. Who thought reality TV would come so soon after liberation? To me, it sounds entertaining and educational. I wish fox would pick it up.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...?nav=rss_world
Quote:
By Caryle Murphy and Khalid Saffar
Washington Post Staff Writers
Tuesday, April 5, 2005; Page A18

BAGHDAD -- Iraq's hottest new television program is a reality show. But the players are not there by choice. And they don't win big bucks, a new spouse or a dream job.

Instead, all the characters on "Terrorism in the Hands of Justice" are captured suspected insurgents. And for more than a month, they have been riveting viewers with tales of how they killed, kidnapped, raped or beheaded other Iraqis, usually for a few hundred dollars per victim.

Seated before an Iraqi flag, the dejected and cowed prisoners answer questions from an off-camera inquisitor who mocks their behavior. Some sport bruised faces and black eyes. Far from appearing to be confident heroes battling U.S. occupation, they come across as gangsters.

"I watch the show every night, and I wait for it patiently, because it is very revealing," said Abdul Kareem Abdulla, 42, a Baghdad shop owner. "For the first time, we saw those who claim to be jihadists as simple $50 murderers who would do everything in the name of Islam. Our religion is too lofty, noble and humane to have such thugs and killers. I wish they would hang them now, and in the same place where they did their crimes. They should never be given any mercy."

Broadcast on al-Iraqiya, the state-run network set up by the U.S. occupation authority in 2003, "Terrorism in the Hands of Justice" has become one of most effective arrows in the government's counterinsurgency propaganda quiver.

"It has shown the Iraqi people the reality of those insurgents, [that] they are criminals, killers, murderers, thieves," Interior Minister Falah Naqib said last week.

Sabah Kadhim, an Interior Ministry spokesman, added, "The last few weeks have been incredible in terms of tips coming in from the public."

Officials launched the program, Kadhim said, after realizing that Iraqis did not believe that insurgents were being arrested. "Talking to people in the street, they say, 'Is it really true? . . . Why don't you show it?' " he recalled. "The demand for this came from the people."

The bruised faces and the death of at least one prisoner after his appearance on the show have raised questions about the men's treatment in custody. Kadhim denied the prisoners were being abused. "There is absolutely no motive for us to torture them," he said.

In recent reports, the State Department and Human Rights Watch have criticized the use of torture by Iraqi police.

"In light of our recent findings about the prevalence of torture in Iraqi prisons," said Joe Stork, a Washington-based spokesman for Human Rights Watch, "we have serious concerns that these confessions were not also coerced and that the Iraqi authorities failed to provide essential due process protections."

"Televised confessions are almost always suspect," Stork added. "Recent examples in Iran and Saudi Arabia clearly involved a high level of coercion and degrading treatment."

Such concerns have not dimmed the program's popularity.

"We had not planned for the tapes, but suddenly we had what you might call a scoop," said al-Iraqiya's Baghdad station director, Ahmed Yasseri. As a result, he said, "we have overtaken the other stations. These tapes have captured the attention of Iraqis."

The program usually opens with a graphic shot of a bloodied bombing victim lying in the street, followed by one of two smiling young boys holding a handwritten sign that reads, "No to Terrorism."

As each insurgent is questioned, others sit behind him, hands folded in laps, as if patiently waiting their turns in a barbershop. Sometimes, the head of a cougar or lion -- mascots of counterinsurgency police commandos -- are superimposed on the Iraqi flag in the background.

Many of the suspects are former policemen who claim they were coerced into joining the insurgency by threats against their families. Though many claim to have attacked U.S. forces, the interviews focus on their atrocities against Iraqis and payments they allegedly received from Syrian and Saudi paymasters.

In one recent episode, Ramzi Hashim Obeidi, a painter from Mosul who claimed to be a member of the Islamic radical group Ansar al-Islam, described his purported role in the 2003 car bomb assassination of a senior Shiite Muslim cleric, Ayatollah Mohammed Bakir Hakim, in Najaf.

Obeidi said he was part of a six-man team that was to "intercept U.S. forces if they came." Others drove the explosives-laden vehicle the approximately 90 miles from Baghdad to the site of the attack. "It was very easy," he said "It was an ambulance."

Among the conspirators who planned the operation, Obeidi said, was Iraq's most-wanted Islamic extremist, Abu Musab Zarqawi.

"You did not target just Hakim," the police interrogator shouted at Obeidi. "You killed 110 people, some of them women and children. . . . Do you call this jihad? What kind of jihad is this? To kill police, to behead police?"

Obeidi, who made no attempt to defend his actions, meekly replied, "Up to now, I don't know what jihad is."

On another segment, Qahtan Adnan Khalid, a prisoner who said he had been a policeman in the town of Samarra, had two black eyes and appeared to have difficulty breathing, occasionally wincing in pain.

Responding to each question with a deferential "Sir," Khalid recounted how he had shot two kidnapped policeman in the head and was paid $200 for each killing.

"I advise the young to stay away from these paths," he said at one point.

A few days after Khalid's appearance, his body was delivered to his father's home in Samarra, his family has said. Human Rights Minister Bakhtyar Amin said his office was investigating the death.

At times, the insurgents appear to be parroting packaged answers, and critics of the program say the prisoners' stories fit well with the government's portrait of the insurgency: that it is in large part a bunch of greedy criminals run amok, that foreigners play a big role and that funding is coming from neighboring Syria and Saudi Arabia.

Less emphasized on the program is that the predominantly Sunni Arab insurgency is also driven by fears of Shiite political domination and resentment of the U.S. occupation. As a result, "Terrorism in the Hands of Justice" provokes mixed feelings among some Sunni Arabs.

"My criticism of the program is that it is sometimes simplistic, repetitive and gives the impression that those [men] are being coached to say what they are saying, although I believe they have committed these crimes," said Abdul Kareem Janaby, 46, a Trade Ministry employee. "Those persons are nothing but dirty, lowly gangs who are being used to defame the true character of the Sunnis."

Kadhim said that the captured insurgents eventually would be brought to trial and that what they said on television would be ignored in court because the program was "not a court of law."

The prisoners can only hope they get a judge who shares the views of Fuad Awdeh, 27, a Shiite laborer in Baghdad who said he found the program "captivating."

"I feel sorry and pity for those guys," he said. "They may have done it for money . . . and probably, being unemployed, were easily drawn into this."

Still, Awdeh said, he finds the program credible "because in one episode someone spoke of committing a crime in the Wahda district, and it happens I knew the victim's family, and it was true."
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Old 04-05-2005, 09:18 AM   #2 (permalink)
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That's awsome, I want to watch.

Though you know the rules... post your opinion or something to give a discussion started.
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Old 04-05-2005, 09:30 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Hmmm, sounds like propaganda to me...
If there were any people who were driven by religious ferver, they wouldn't show him on that show. And who's to say the people are even real insurgents? Huh? huh?

...paranoid? Who, me?
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Old 04-05-2005, 09:43 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I would bet there's a fair amount of bullshit, and that the Americans are helping to "inspire" the prisoners. How do you bomb and kill people and not know why?
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Old 04-05-2005, 10:02 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Finally, a new product that we can export!!
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Old 04-05-2005, 10:07 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Even with a fair amount of bullshit it is still probably more uncsripted and closer to reality than any "reality" television show I've ever seen.
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Old 04-05-2005, 10:19 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lindseylatch
Hmmm, sounds like propaganda to me...
If there were any people who were driven by religious ferver, they wouldn't show him on that show. And who's to say the people are even real insurgents? Huh? huh?

...paranoid? Who, me?
Agreed. I get worried about propoganda whenever someone appears in front of a national flag, and this is no different.
Quote:
Broadcast on al-Iraqiya, the state-run network set up by the U.S. occupation authority in 2003, "Terrorism in the Hands of Justice" has become one of most effective arrows in the government's counterinsurgency propaganda quiver.
Oh. It is propoganda. I say let them make their own entertainment.
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Old 04-05-2005, 10:21 AM   #8 (permalink)
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And still they've got the human-rights activist objecting to the treatment of known and confessed killers.

I'd love to see the show, hell I'd love to be helping with the interrogations, these bastards forfeited their rights when they started CUTTING INNOCENT PEOPLES HEADS OFF!
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Old 04-05-2005, 10:49 AM   #9 (permalink)
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On a related note.....Any chance we could export this to Iraq?


Britney, Kevin say they'll get real — on TV
Spears, husband to tell their side on UPN reality showThe Associated Press
Updated: 2:43 p.m. ET April 5, 2005NEW YORK - Britney Spears and hubby Kevin Federline have said “I do” to star in a UPN reality series that documents their courtship, engagement and wedding.


Featuring what UPN bills as “exclusive, never-before-seen private home videos” of their “personal love story,” the six-episode series is scheduled to premiere later this year. It picks up shortly after the pair met in Los Angeles and headed to Europe on tour, where Federline performed as a backup dancer for Spears.

UPN is also shooting new footage and commentary with the couple, who wed in September. It was the second marriage in nine months for Spears, who married childhood friend Jason Alexander in a surprise wedding in Las Vegas in January. That marriage was annulled 55 hours later.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Christine Stewart, Former Minister of the Environment of Canada
"No matter if the science is all phony, there are collateral environmental benefits.... Climate change [provides] the greatest chance to bring about justice and equality in the world."

Last edited by NCB; 04-05-2005 at 10:55 AM..
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Old 04-05-2005, 10:59 AM   #10 (permalink)
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No thanks. I've seen white trash get married. (I'm usually related to them) So, I don't think I'll be checking out Britney & Kevin's newest attempt to keep the celebrity spotlight on them.

As for Iraqi TV....Well if it looks like propaganda and it smells like propaganda....Oh wait, it is propaganda.

With a history of fake news reports and paid journalists, who are supposed to be 'objective,' I have a hard time not believing this is anything other than another attempt to maniuplate the masses through the medium of television.

{sarcasm}Quite frankly, I'm shocked{/sarcasm}
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Old 04-05-2005, 11:00 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NCB
On a related note.....Any chance we could export this to Iraq?


Britney, Kevin say they'll get real — on TV
Spears, husband to tell their side on UPN reality showThe Associated Press
Updated: 2:43 p.m. ET April 5, 2005NEW YORK - Britney Spears and hubby Kevin Federline have said “I do” to star in a UPN reality series that documents their courtship, engagement and wedding.


Featuring what UPN bills as “exclusive, never-before-seen private home videos” of their “personal love story,” the six-episode series is scheduled to premiere later this year. It picks up shortly after the pair met in Los Angeles and headed to Europe on tour, where Federline performed as a backup dancer for Spears.

UPN is also shooting new footage and commentary with the couple, who wed in September. It was the second marriage in nine months for Spears, who married childhood friend Jason Alexander in a surprise wedding in Las Vegas in January. That marriage was annulled 55 hours later.
More propaganda...
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Old 04-05-2005, 11:03 AM   #12 (permalink)
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That would go against geneva convention guidelines for inhumane treatment.....borderline torture
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Old 04-05-2005, 11:53 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Making them watch Britney Tecoyah? I agree...
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Old 04-05-2005, 12:12 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mojo_PeiPei
Making them watch Britney Tecoyah? I agree...
It was juvenile, but I laughed
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Old 04-05-2005, 12:34 PM   #15 (permalink)
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This seems like the most clever piece of marketing since the "most wanted" playing cards. The fact that Iraqis are fascinated by this speaks to the need for transparency and accountablity in the new government. Of course if the producers are actually torturing these confessions out of people then it's clearly regressive.
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Old 04-05-2005, 12:42 PM   #16 (permalink)
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or maybe they are just showing the terrorists for what they are: Thugs and Murderers.
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Old 04-05-2005, 01:36 PM   #17 (permalink)
is awesome!
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stevo
or maybe they are just showing the terrorists for what they are: Thugs and Murderers.
huh? who are you responding to?
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Old 04-05-2005, 02:12 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Locobot
huh? who are you responding to?
Probably to a little of both.
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Old 04-05-2005, 06:22 PM   #19 (permalink)
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That would go against geneva convention guidelines for inhumane treatment.....borderline torture
Once again, ununiformed people who target non-military structures are not soldiers. They are traitors/spies/whatever you want to call them, but they do not fall under G.C.
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Old 04-05-2005, 06:28 PM   #20 (permalink)
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You left out the fact that they aren't sanctioned combatants of a state.
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Old 04-05-2005, 06:50 PM   #21 (permalink)
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I was referring to the britney spears comment.......Juvenile or not
it was meant as a joke
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Old 04-05-2005, 07:15 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Yeah, thanks for the setup on that one by the way
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Old 04-05-2005, 08:15 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Sounds like COPS, post-arrest.

Ironic what passes for entertainment. Tastelessness is clearly a global problem.
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