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July 10, 2005

Aspiring American Documentary Filmmaker Released by American Government in Iraq

American Cyrus Kar and his Iranian cameraman Farshid Faraji were released today by the United States military, which has been holding them without charge for almost two months in the same prison as Saddam Hussein.

Here's the deal - they got in a cab that was subsequently searched. The cab had a bunch of washing machine timers sometimes used to create explosives in it. They had nothing to do with the contents of the cab. Just as you or I can't possibly know what a cabbie has with him when we hail one in the Loop or Manhattan.

Nevertheless, Kar was held without cause and only allowed to contact his relatives via phone three times - but could never tell them where he was.

Kar is in Iraq to film Babylon, as part of a documentary on the Persian King Cyrus the Great. (Did the NYT really need to tell us he was an ancient Persian king? I think we've all got the fact that there are no modern day Persian kings.)

Over the previous two years...Mr. Kar had already shot more than 40 hours of footage in the United States, Germany, Britain, Iran, Tajikistan, and Afghanistan. He was determined to visit Babylon, the fabled city south of Baghdad that Cyrus the Great had conquered in 539 B.C., freeing its Jewish captives in a show of magnanimity.
Oh yeah, and did I mention he is a veteran of the US Navy and US Navy reserves? Clearly a man interested in Persian history who served in the US war machine is out to spur the insurgency in Iraq. Clearly.

His family is trying to wire him money so he'll have it when he's released. "According to the embassy consular official, Mr. Kar still did not want to go home until he was able to complete his filming in Babylon." Safe travels, Mr. Kar. May you get all the shots you desire in Babylon and may your documentary have worldwide success.

The boring deets not already recapped and a pic of Kar are at:
"U.S. Says It Will Release American Held in Iraq," by Tim Golden in NYT

Today's Reuters story announcing his release, wherein US officials attempt to justify their barbaric "detainee review process" as being in line with UN Security Council Resolution 1546. (Good to know they use those resolutions as excuses where necessary and ignore them when they aren't useful. See UN Security Council Resolution 1325 for an example of the latter.)

Posted by cj at July 10, 2005 10:29 AM

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