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CNN reporter: Network censored footage of Iraq ‘war crime’

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A former CNN Iraq correspondent suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder says his employers wouldn’t run footage he filmed of what he describes as a war crime by US troops, an Australian news source reports.

Michael Ware, who covered Iraq for CNN from 2006 until last year, describes the incident as “a small war crime, if there is such a thing.”

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In 2007, Ware was with a group of US soldiers in a remote village in Iraq that was under the control of al Qaeda militants. Ware says there was a teenage boy in the street carrying a weapon for protection.

‘‘(The boy) approached the house we were in and the (US) soldiers who were watching our backs, one of them put a bullet right in the back of his head. Unfortunately it didn’t kill him,’’ Ware told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, as quoted at the Brisbane Times.

Ware said his footage of the incident was deemed “too graphic” by CNN bosses to be placed on the air.

The Brisbane Times quotes Ware:

We all spent the next 20 minutes listening to his tortured breath as he died.

I had this moment … that I realized despite what was happening to this man in front of me, I’d been more concerned with the composition of my (photo) shot than I was with any attempt to either save him or at the very, very least ease his passing.

I indeed had been indifferent as the soldiers around me whose indifference I was attempting to capture.

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Ware became “obsessed” with the footage of the incident, playing it repeatedly, said John Martinkus, a journalism teacher at the University of Tasmania and a friend of Ware’s.

“Part of him was like, ‘How could I just stand by and watch that happen?’ It was a really horrible, stark moral choice that he faced and he still wrestles with that,’’ Martinkus said.

Ware says the footage belongs to CNN and he can’t release it himself.

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The Australian citizen returned to his native Brisbane last December to recover from the trauma of nearly a decade in war zones (he covered the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan for Time prior to moving to CNN.)

Members of his family say he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and endures “nightmares, flashbacks, insomnia and mood swings,” according to the Brisbane Times.

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Ware was reportedly kidnapped during his stint as a war correspondent. In the incident, recounted at Men’s Journal, he was grabbed by followers of the al Qaeda warlord Abu Musab al-Zarqawi:

They dragged Ware into an anonymous building in Baghdad, hung up a banner, and were preparing to tape his execution with his own camera — until an Iraqi friend of his, a former Baathist, insisted they spare his life. “I didn’t leave my hotel room for three days after that,” he said. “I was nauseated for weeks.”

Ware thus became “the only Westerner to be captured and later released by Al Qaeda in Iraq,” reports ABC in Australia.

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The CNN correspondent has been known for occasionally stepping into controversy. In 2006, he aired partial footage of militants stalking and killing US troops, prompting then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to declare that “CNN has now served as the publicist for an enemy propaganda film.”

In 2007, some bloggers accused Ware of disrupting a Baghdad press conference by Sen. John McCain, who at the time was gearing up for a White House run. Ware denied the allegation, and Raw Story reported that video evidence backed up Ware’s denial.


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Chinese fans grieve for NBA superstar Kobe Bryant after helicopter crash

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NBA star Kobe Bryant's death triggered an outpouring of grief on Monday in China, where he was beloved by fans, with a hashtag of the news drawing more than a billion views.

Nine people were killed in a helicopter crash including Bryant, 41, and his 13-year-old daughter, Los Angeles officials confirmed on Sunday.

Basketball is arguably the most popular sport in China, and Bryant -- a five-time NBA champion who blogged for Chinese internet giant SINA in 2009 -- was among the first American stars to garner a large fan base in the country.

He remained popular in China after his retirement in 2016, frequently engaging via social media with Chinese fans.

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Bolton’s firsthand evidence puts senators in the difficult position of believing ‘bizarro’ Trump team argument: Legal experts

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Former Acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal and Harvard Law Professor Laurence Tribe agreed that the recent revelations from John Bolton, puts Republicans in a difficult position. Bolton's manuscript confirmed that President Donald Trump's bribery scheme puts senators in the difficult position of being faced with firsthand witnesses they've tried to block.

Republicans were given multiple opportunities to agree that they would like to hear witnesses and new evidence as part of the impeachment trial in the Senate, but each time, they voted against it. But with the news Bolton released Sunday night, it forces senators to acknowledge they deny even firsthand evidence of Trump's guilt.

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Democratic senator says she gets more ‘disheartened’ every day hearing GOP deny evidence and witnesses

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Day after day, Republicans senators find new excuses to dismiss the evidence they hear that in any courtroom would convict an ordinary American citizen. It was enough to make normally happy Sen. Debbie Stabenow (R-MI) feel "disheartened" by the whole process.

"As somebody from Michigan, we believe in commonsense, and you can't look at all this and say, 'is this how somebody would act if they were innocent?'" said Stabenow. "And you can't look at this and say, 'Is this how somebody would act if they were innocent?' All of this coming out over and over again. I'll never forget Adam Schiff on the floor saying to all of us, 'Nobody's saying, well, gosh, Donald Trump would never do that.' The truth is it's all about will he get away with it? It's all about, are they going to be successful in hiding it and so on?"

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