American Journalist Steven Vincent Murdered in Iraq
Steven Vincent, a freelance journalist who had been critical of the Shiite clerics in Iraq, was kidnapped and shot dead near Basra.
An American journalist and author has been found shot dead in the southern Iraqi city of Basra, a Western diplomat said on Wednesday. The diplomat told Reuters the next of kin of Steven Vincent had been notified and an investigation was underway to determine who was behind the death. The diplomat said he believed Vincent’s body was found on Tuesday.
Vincent was the author of a book on postwar Iraq and was researching another book about the history of Basra, where British troops are based. An opinion piece he wrote criticising the rise of Shi’ite Islamist fundamentalism in Basra was published in The New York Times four days ago.
A US freelance reporter, Steven Vincent, has been shot dead by unknown gunmen in Basra, southern Iraq, police have said. Mr Vincent was abducted with his female Iraqi translator at gun point by men in a police car on Tuesday. His bullet-riddled body was found on the side of a highway south of the city a few hours later. He had been writing a book about the city, where insurgents have recently stepped up their attacks.
The pair were kidnapped by five gunmen in a police car as they left a currency exchange shop, Lt Col Karim al-Zaidi said. “Both were later shot, but Vincent was killed, while the girl [translator] is alive,” said Mr Zaidi. Mr Vincent was shot several times in the head and body, said Mr Zaidi. The translator, Nour Weidi, was seriously wounded.
Mr Vincent had been in Basra in recent months working for the Christian Science Monitor and the New York Times. In a recent New York Times article, Mr Vincent wrote that Basra’s police force had been infiltrated by Shia militants. He quoted a senior Iraqi police lieutenant saying some officers were behind many of the killings of former Baath party members in Basra. Mr Vincent also criticised the UK forces, who are responsible for security in Basra, for ignoring abuses of power by Shia extremists.
[….] Police said Vincent, a Web blogger who had been living in New York, had been staying in Basra for several months working on a book.
In an opinion column printed in The New York Times on July 31, Vincent wrote that BasraÃ¢€™s police force had been heavily infiltrated by members of Shiite political groups, including those loyal to radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. Vincent quoted an unidentified Iraqi police lieutenant as saying that some police were behind many of the assassinations of former Baath Party members that have taken place in Basra. Ã¢€œHe told me that there is even a sort of Ã¢€œdeath carÃ¢€ Ã¢€” a white Toyota Mark II that glides through the city streets, carrying off-duty police officers in the pay of extremist religious groups to their next assignment,Ã¢€ he wrote.
Journalists in a war zone risk death or injury. That’s an accepted part of the job. Army Times reporter Matthew Cox was wounded by a roadside suicide bomber Monday, although he was thankfully only received minor injuries. More than 60 have been killed since the war started, with Michael Kelly and David Bloom perhaps the most famous.
Vincent’s case is an altogether different matter, though. He was not collateral damage in a firefight but rather a targetted victim. That makes his death an outrage in addition to a tragedy.
Reactions from his fellow bloggers:
- – Arthur Chrenkoff knew Steven, having interviewed and corresponded with him.
– Michelle Malkin had written about him several times.
– Lorie Byrd loved “In the Red Zone.”
– Juan Cole is not sure that Vincent was targetted, noting Iraq is unsafe for any American.
– Tbogg uses the opportunity to take potshots at war supporters.
- – Jim Henley has a potshot-free eulogy.
– Mark Tapscott believes Vincent “should be honored along with all other journalists who have died while on the beat.”
– Brad Delong is also potshot-free, calling Vincent “one of the best journalists in Iraq.”
Basra blogger is abducted and murdered (Times of London)