Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Gone Missing in Iraq

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Gone Missing in Iraq

Article excerpt

U.S. authorities should step up the search for disappeared media workers FrEdEric Nerac and Hussein Osman

When professional thieves and opportunistic looters plundered the Baghdad Museum in mid-April, angry world opinion quickly transformed the Bush administration's initial shoulder-shrugging reaction. Within days, U.S. forces had posted a tank platoon to prevent any further destruction, and dispatched a team of military investigators. By May 16, the Pentagon had conducted a dazzling press briefing to show off all it had learned about the thefts. Lead investigator Col. Matthew Bogdanos spoke feelingly of how the thefts included, "most notably and lamentably, the Sacred Vase of Warka, a Sumerian piece from about 3000 B.C."

Contrast that empathy to the indifference the U.S. and British authorities have shown towards finding two Independent Television Network (ITN) media workers -- cameraman FrEdEric Nerac, 43, and driver/translator Hussein Osman, 30 -- who have been missing since March 22, when the British news crew came under heavy fire approaching Basra in southern Iraq. ITN reporter Terry Lloyd was killed and cameraman Daniel Demostier was wounded in the shooting, which likely came from U.S. forces.

At first, it seemed the United States, at least, was serious about finding the two men. Secretary of State Colin Powell on April 3 assured Fabienne Nerac, the wife of the cameraman, that he would "personally" look into the case. …

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