AP and news agencies still have much to answer
The major news agencies of AP, Reuters, and AFP issued a joint statement in response to the growing questions that bloggers have been raising. In it, AP notes:
The AP had three different photographers there who weren’t always aware of what the others were doing, and filed their images to editors separately, said Santiago Lyon, director of photography.
There are also several reasons not to draw conclusions from time stamps, Lyon said. Following a news event like this, the AP does not distribute pictures sequentially; photos are moved based on news value and how quickly they are available for an editor to transmit.
However, from an internal AP memo that was leaked we know that their 3 photographers arrived on scene at staggered times during the morning:
Rumors surfaced early Sunday morning that an Israeli airstrike had flattened a house in the southern Lebanese village of Qana. The number of deaths wasn't immediately known, but the seriousness of the incident was clear. Beirut-based photographer Hussein Malla immediately called AP photographers Nasser Nasser, Lefteris Pitarakis and stringer Mohammed Zaatari and advised them to rush to the scene. Nasser arrived as the bodies of many civilians — including numerous children — were being pulled from the rubble. Lefteris later took over, enabling Nasser to get his pictures swiftly onto the wire. Kevin Frayer was dispatched from Beirut to boost AP's presence. Throughout the morning, AP's team filed a steady stream of powerful images.
Yet, these guys all managed to snap photos of the same guy carrying the same corpses One of the pictures (credited to Nasser) was either taken or filed at 7:21 a.m. soon after the first rescuers and reporters arrived on scene. This particular photo (see photos here and here) shows the victim laying in the ambulance--photos of this same victim and rescuer (he in different attire) were taken by the other AP photographers --they have later time stamps/or times of being filed and show the victim being carried --thus one would think pre-ambulance photos. Yet, Nasser was the only one on the scene at 7:21, the others took over later --no matter how you cut it, it seems that the body of this particular victim seems to have gotten out of the ambulance for the later-arriving photographers. Of course, it could be that Nasser took them all and is just letting the other guys get some photo credit to boost their careers. Now, if there is a picture out there that shows the rescuer sitting the corpse down in order to take off his jacket and helmet before continuing on... There are a lot of other questions raised that were not addressed in their response. [note: I am not accusing the journalists of deception --see most recent post]
Meanwhile questions about the body count in Qana continue to rise: "Although five days have passed since tragic incident in which 57 Lebanese civilians were killed, Red Cross reports 28 bodies retrieved" (The body count has alternately been reported as 58 causualties, 60 casualties, and more than 60 casualties in news reports). The Red Cross says that the information from sources in Lebanon report that there are many bodies still under the rubble --as the article above asks :
1. What are the bases for estimations that more bodies remain under the rubble and how do they know how many bodies are there?
2. Why wasn't the 48-hour ceasefire used to bring in heavy equipment from Beirut to dig in the rubble?
3. And my own question, if there are so many bodies buried under the rubble why had all rescue activities completely ceased by the following day as was clear from the variety of reports made by reporters who visited Qana the day after the tragedy? --Most notably, the report by NBC's Richard Engel.
And why assume they are all dead? I mean, we've all heard of air pockets right? We've all read about survivors being pulled from wholly decimated and reduced-to-rubble buildings days later after earthquakes, right? Rescue efforts went on for days after the twin towers came down --though only one person was brought out from the rubble of that alive after 24 hours. Still, why assume they are all dead and just stop...