Reporters on the Job
• Whose Truth Told? The genesis of Wednesday's story about Mahdi Army propaganda films (page 1) began within days of staff writer Scott Baldauf's arrival in Baghdad last month. He was handed one by a Mahdi Army contact. And the CDs keep coming.
"I have a growing collection of them showing fighting in Nasiriyah, Kufa, Karbala, and now, most recently in Sadr City," says Scott. "I thought it would be interesting to talk with the people who take these videos to find out what they hoped to achieve, and was surprised to find that they were willing to talk, and that they were extremely disappointed with the Iraqi and foreign news media.
"They kept telling me that the media are liars, they never tell about their achievements," Scott says. "Finally, I told them that's a familiar complaint in the US, too. 'Some readers say that the media only show what is going wrong in Iraq rather than what is going right.' The Mahdi guys shook their heads at my comment."
• FISCHER IN CHECK: Tuesday, Japan's Justice Ministry rejected former chess champion Bobby Fischer's demand for protection as a political refugee and issued an order to deport him.
As reported on Aug. 20, "Famous scofflaws hit Japan," Fischer was detained last month for attempting to travel with an invalid US passport. The former chess champ is wanted in the US for violating international sanctions against Yugoslavia in 1992. It's not clear that Fischer's announced plan to formalize a common-law marriage with Miyoko Watai, the acting president of the Japan Chess Association, would protect him from deportation.
David Clark Scott