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Monday, July 7, 2008

This is bullshit, I read this in the Newspaper yesterday & had to blog it!

This kind of shit pisses me off. WAR is ugly no matter how you look at it. Mainstream media is a joke too, they only show the "not so bad" video and photos. This guy is being censored. Back in the day he would have been thrown out a window for doing what he did. I say good for him.

Zoriah Miller, 32, a freelance photojournalist and blogger covering the war in Iraq, says war coverage has become overly sanitized. Miller was "disembedded" from a Marine unit after publishing a photo online of a dead Marine.

BAGHDAD — It's a disturbing picture.

The dead Marine is lying on his back, his face damaged beyond recognition because of the blast.

But for photojournalist and blogger Zoriah Miller, 32, it was important to capture the daily toll of war in Iraq.

"I just feel this war has become so sanitized that it was important to show," said Zoriah, who prefers to go by his first name. "My only discomfort is the idea that the family could accidentally stumble on it."

To help avoid that, he posted warnings on his online blog,, about the graphic content of the photo and referred to it off the first page of his site, meaning visitors have to do some click-throughs to access it. The photo is included with others from a suicide bombing that occurred June 26 in the town of Karmah, near Fallujah in Anbar province.

The Marine commanders who saw the photograph were not happy, saying it violated a "trust" between the military and journalists.

Claims of security risks

Zoriah was immediately "disembedded" from a Marine unit and barred from working with the military in Anbar.

In Gen. John F. Kelly's letter officially kicking him out of province, the Marines said Zoriah "provided the enemy with specific information on the effectiveness of the attack and the response of U.S. and Iraqi forces to the attack."

Zoriah denies he did anything wrong.

Although he was kicked out of the Anbar province controlled by the Marines — the command is called Multi-National Forces Iraq - West (MNFI-West) — the Multi-National Force Iraq headquarters in Baghdad, which oversees all operations in Iraq, determined Zoriah can work elsewhere with the military.

On Saturday, a spokesman for MNFI-West said he couldn't speak on behalf of the decisionmakers in Baghdad.

"All I can say is he's no longer welcome here in Anbar," said Lt. Brian Block at Camp Fallujah, where the Marine command in Anbar is headquartered.

Later, Lt. Cmdr. Chris Hughes, who is in charge of the Camp Fallujah command, said in a prepared statement that "there is no right to embed" with military units. Under the embedding program, the military allows journalists to be assigned to a military unit to chronicle the war. Journalists rely on soldiers for transportation, food and protection.

Zoriah violated the ground rules he agreed to when he was embedded, Hughes said in the statement. He added that Zoriah broke his "trust in the relationship" with soldiers.

The controversy surrounding this freelance photojournalist and blogger has garnered a lot of attention here and points to some of the tension between the military and media. It also comes at a low ebb in media coverage of the war. According to officials, only 16 journalists were embedded with the military in Iraq during June.

'Picture of what war is like'

While waiting to be transported out of the area, Zoriah was guarded for a time by armed Marines out of fear someone upset by the graphic photo might try to harm him.

"You're a war photographer, but once you take a picture of what war is like then you get into trouble," said Zoriah, a Denver native who has been in Iraq for much of the past year.

The Marines don't see it that way. In his letter, Kelly went on to say that Zoriah could no longer be trusted, and that he "presented a threat to all" in the Multi-National Force in Western Iraq.

Zoriah vehemently denies that accusation. He said the Marines told him he'd violated a policy on not identifying the dead before the family was notified. But because he waited to post the pictures until four days after the attack and the damage from the blast makes the victims so unidentifiable, he said he was within the rules.

He also said that there wasn't any information in his blog or in the photos that reveal anything that wasn't already reported. Thirty were killed in the suicide blast, including the mayor, three Marines and a popular lieutenant colonel, who commanded the battalion.

The Americans were on the cusp of handing over control of the Sunni majority province, once one of the most violent in the country, to the Iraqi forces. In the past two years, the military has seen some of its best success in the province with huge drops in attacks there. The handover was scheduled for the last week of June, but it since has been postponed.

Zoriah has been flown out of the Marine base and returned to Baghdad. He plans on returning to the U.S. and appealing the Marines' decision.

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