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News ::
Boston Area Journalists Caught Sneeking In Plundered Iraqi Artwork. (english)
29 Apr 2003
Modified: 01:10:10 AM
A FOX engineer and a Boston Herald reporter are caught sneeking in artwork they stole in Iraq. Links to articles.
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Repost (english)
29 Apr 2003

oh, someday I'll get it right. here's the real article:

Various items seized from US journalists

By Geoff Edgers and Mark Jurkowitz, Globe Staff, 4/24/2003

hey covered the war in Iraq, braving sandstorms and guerrilla attacks as they reported on the road to Baghdad. But at least a handful of media members have now been accused of bringing home more than the big story.

US Customs officials announced yesterday that they had seized 15 paintings and guns at airports serving Washington, D.C., Atlanta, and Boston. Customs would not name those caught or display the art items confiscated -- they say an investigation is ongoing -- but they did say that all but one of the suspected smugglers are members of the media.

Two media members have been named by other sources. Benjamin James Johnson, 27, a Fox engineer, tried to bring home 12 paintings he took from the palace of Uday Hussein, one of Saddam Hussein's sons, according to a criminal complaint filed in US District Court in Alexandria, Va. Johnson had accompanied US troops to Baghdad. A law enforcement official said Johnson tipped Customs officials that Boston Herald reporter Jules Crittenden possessed several items. When Crittenden arrived at Logan Airport he was carrying a painting and ornamental kitchen items. He said he got the painting from the grounds of one of the presidential palaces. Crittenden will not be prosecuted because the artwork was valued at less than $15,000, according to a law enforcement source. Fox fired Johnson; The Herald said the newspaper will not discipline Crittenden.

''What he had were clearly souvenirs and he declared them,'' said Herald editor Andrew Costello.

In past conflicts, soldiers have been known to bring back weapons and flags as momentos.

In a ''note to colleagues'' posted on the website of the Poynter Institute, a journalism think tank, Crittenden wrote: ''I understand and share the world's concern about the disappearance of legitimate Iraqi national treasures . . . I also share the concerns about the regrettable failure of some soldiers to resist temptation when faced with the riches of a lifetime. ''However, those matters are separate from the time-honored tradition among soldiers of bringing home reminders of some of the most intense experiences of their lives. There was no exception to that historic practice in this war until we began arriving home. I was told by federal agents that all returning reporters and soldiers are being subjected to similar searches.''

He continued to say that news coverage of his ''questioning and detention . . . was not of high caliber, omitting key available facts that would have set the matter in context.'' Crittenden declined comment on Tuesday and could not be reached for comment last night.


The original article can be found at:

Thanks to TheMemoryHole for pointing out this article. TheMemoryHole article w/links- "US Forces Make Iraqis Strip and Walk Naked in Public" can be found at: