Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

U.S.: Media Members Tried to Ship Goods
AP | 4/23/03 | CURT ANDERSON

Posted on 04/23/2003 12:48:31 PM PDT by kattracks

U.S.: Media Members Tried to Ship Goods

By CURT ANDERSON .c The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) - Several members of the media and a U.S. serviceman have been caught attempting to ship Iraqi paintings, weapons and other war souvenirs to America, U.S. authorities said Wednesday.

At least 15 paintings, gold-plated firearms, ornamental knives, bonds and other items have been seized at airports in Washington, Boston and London in the last week, according to the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection. Items seized in the military case were flown to Fort Stewart, Ga.

``These seizures should serve as a warning to anyone who would take advantage of the transition currently under way in the newly liberated Iraq,'' Commissioner Robert Bonner said.

Benjamin James Johnson, who worked as an engineer for Fox News Channel, is the only person charged or identified by the government.

A criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Va., charges Johnson tried to bring 12 paintings into the United States last Thursday. They were contained in a large cardboard box that was examined by Customs agents at Dulles International Airport outside Washington.

An affidavit filed with the criminal complaint says that Johnson, who accompanied U.S. troops in Baghdad, gathered up the paintings at a palace that belonged to Odai Hussein, one of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's sons. The paintings depict Saddam and Odai.

An examination of Johnson's luggage also turned up 40 Iraqi Monetary Bonds and a visitor's badge from the U.S. embassy in Kuwait. Johnson, 27, of Alexandria, Va., has not been arrested but is to appear before a federal magistrate next Tuesday.

Johnson initially told Customs officials he was given the paintings by Iraqi citizens, then said he had planned to keep them ``for decoration'' and to provide one to his employer, the affidavit said. It is U.S. policy that all such items belong to the Iraqi people.

Johnson worked for six years as a satellite truck engineer for Fox, which fired him after learning he had acknowledged taking the paintings, a network statement said.

``This is an unfortunate incident and his supervisor took the appropriate action for this transgression,'' the statement said.

Museums, businesses, government offices and homes were looted in Baghdad and other cities after the fall of Saddam's regime. Among the items stolen were thousands of artworks and other antiquities, some thousands of years old, from Iraq's vast collections of items from Assyrian, Mesopotamian, Sumerian and other cultures.

Customs bureau officials said an unidentified U.S. serviceman attempted to ship a rifle, pistol, and AK-47 assault rifle - all gold-plated - taken from an Iraqi government facility to a military base in the United States. The items were seized last Friday at London's Heathrow Airport.

Customs officials in Boston said they confiscated several souvenirs, including a painting, from Boston Herald reporter Jules Crittenden when he returned Saturday from Kuwait. A spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney's office in Boston said the decision was made not to charge Crittenden with a crime.

A statement from The Herald said that Crittenden declared the items and cooperated with Customs officials.

Additional Iraqi items, including a painting, gold-plated emblem, gun holster and knife, that were being shipped by several other members of the media were seized at Dulles on Monday.

Authorities declined to place a monetary value on the items, but did say that none involved in these seizures appeared to have been taken from Iraqi's famed museums.

04/23/03 15:32 EDT


TOPICS: Front Page News; News/Current Events; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: customs; iraqifreedom; loot; media; paintings; souvenirs
Hmm.. the only two members of the media mentioned by name just happen to work for conservative organizations, although the article mentions "several members".

I'm sure the omission ofthe names of others involved was just an oversight. < /sarcasm>

1 posted on 04/23/2003 12:48:31 PM PDT by kattracks
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: kattracks
HOW ARE YOU GENTLEMEN!
ALL YOUR PAINTINGS ARE BELONG TO US!!!
YOU HAVE NO CHANCE TO SURVIVE, MAKE YOUR TIME!

HAHAHAHA!!!
2 posted on 04/23/2003 12:54:08 PM PDT by Zavien Doombringer (If I keep my eyes on Jesus, I could walk on water - Audio Adrenaline)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: cyncooper
Report on stolen goods
3 posted on 04/23/2003 12:54:19 PM PDT by MEG33
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: kattracks
So much for bringbacks
SKS knives crossbows buddahs etc...
My best friends pop a tank commander at the Battle of the Bulge
brought back some really neat SS daggers from his war...
Not fair to not let the victors have some spoils..
I'm bettin the brass get theirs
RHIP
4 posted on 04/23/2003 1:20:01 PM PDT by joesnuffy (Moderate Islam Is For Dilettantes)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: MEG33
Thank you for the ping. Let's see:

Several members of the media

-snip-

Benjamin James Johnson, who worked as an engineer for Fox News Channel, is the only person charged or identified by the government.

end

Well, there is Jules Crittendon of the Boston Herald who, according to another article, was identified by a law enforcement official.

Still, this says SEVERAL members of the media. My question, were any of them ones piling on the stories of looting?

5 posted on 04/23/2003 1:47:12 PM PDT by cyncooper (thousands of cheering Iraqis yelled, "America, America, America," and "Bush, Bush, Bush.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: MEG33
Well, I posted before reading the whole thing and see Crittendon is mentioned, but he is not charged, which explains the wording, I guess, on who has been identified (or not).
6 posted on 04/23/2003 1:49:16 PM PDT by cyncooper (thousands of cheering Iraqis yelled, "America, America, America," and "Bush, Bush, Bush.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: cyncooper
Can we spell "hypocrisy",if so!
7 posted on 04/23/2003 1:49:45 PM PDT by MEG33
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: MEG33; redlipstick
I'm just back and had the car radio on. I heard a radio report on this and the report noted that members of the media had tried to smuggle in items like the golden guns and such. Then they played a clip of someone--I did not get the name and title, but clearly responsible for deciding if charges will be brought--and he clearly said *they* will be held responsible. Then the reporterette went on to identify Johnson with Fox and his transgressions.

Sigh.

Well, if THEY will be held responsible and Crittendon isn't being charged (and why NOT?) then we can anticipate the names coming out someday.
8 posted on 04/23/2003 2:21:39 PM PDT by cyncooper (thousands of cheering Iraqis yelled, "America, America, America," and "Bush, Bush, Bush.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: cyncooper
I think the value of the stolen items may be a factor
9 posted on 04/23/2003 2:54:56 PM PDT by MEG33
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: cyncooper
According to the article about Crittendon, the loot he had wasn't valuable enough to warrant prosecution. He only had one painting, Johnson had twelve.
Here's a little more from the MSNBC story:

Customs bureau officials said an unidentified U.S. serviceman attempted to ship a rifle, pistol, and AK-47 assault rifle — all gold-plated — taken from an Iraqi government facility to a military base in the United States. The serviceman was shipping from an address in Kuwait to Fort Stewart, Ga. The items were seized last Friday at London’s Heathrow Airport.
An unidentified Boston Herald reporter attempted to bring a painting, wall ornament and other items into the country through Boston’s Logan International Airport on Saturday, federal authorities said.
Additional Iraqi items, including a painting, a gold-plated emblem, a gun holster and a knife, that were being shipped by several other members of the media were seized at Dulles on Monday.

(Darn it, I want NAMES!)
10 posted on 04/23/2003 2:58:45 PM PDT by EllaMinnow (Desperately in search of a new tagline...)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson