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Swansea, Wales, United Kingdom
HR Apprentice. Ex Media Studies student at Swansea University. This blog is a collection of links, articles, academic reference and random thoughts.

Monday, 22 September 2008

Mystery Surrounds Soldiers' Deaths, Altered DOD Photograph


Mystery Surrounds Soldiers' Deaths, Altered DOD Photograph: "AUSTIN, TX (September 19, 2008)

A mysterious story about an unnamed American soldier who is being held in connection with the fatal shooting deaths of two of his fellow American troops at their patrol base south of Baghdad on Sunday grew even more confusing last night when the Associated Press issued a 'mandatory kill' advisory for a Department of Defense-released photograph of one of the dead soldiers.AUSTIN, TX (September 19, 2008) – A mysterious story about an unnamed American soldier who is being held in connection with the fatal shooting deaths of two of his fellow American troops at their patrol base south of Baghdad on Sunday grew even more confusing last night when the Associated Press issued a 'mandatory kill' advisory for a Department of Defense-released photograph of one of the dead soldiers.AUSTIN, TX (September 19, 2008)
The face and shoulders of one of the deceased soldiers, Staff Sgt. Darris Dawson, 24, of Pensacola, FL, appears to have been digitally altered some time before the DOD provided the image to AP for distribution.


In the standard soldier's portrait, seated before an American flag while wearing a basic Army uniform, the DOD photograph appears to have Dawson's head and shoulders pasted onto the body of an unknown soldier. The picture of Dawson is very similar to the photograph of the other killed soldier, Sgt. Wesley R. Durban, 26, of Hurst, TX.

William Luther at the San Antonio Express-News said that photographer Bob Owen on the picture desk last night saw the pictures of Dawson and Durban move on the network and was "toggling" back and forth between the two and noticed the similarities. Owen called AP and soon after that the "kill" notice moved on AP picture network.

AP national photography editor Victor Vaughan said this morning he's working with the DOD and their public information officials to try to find out more information about the suspected altered the image, and why it may have been changed before it was provided to AP for distribution.

Vaughan told News Photographer magazine that he will reserve comment on the situation until he and the DOD have been able to unravel all of the facts.

The military said in a statement that Dawson and Durban were "victims of an early morning shooting" under circumstances that were "non-hostile" at their base near Iskandariyah, about 30 miles south of Baghdad.

Details are sketchy about how Dawson and Durban were killed, but the military statement said that "A US soldier is in custody in connection with the shooting deaths. He is being held in custody pending review by a military magistrate."

Sgt. Dawson's family told CNN that they don't understand why the Army refuses to tell them the circumstances surrounding their son's death.

The deceased soldiers were assigned to the Third Battalion, Seventh Infantry Regiment, Fourth Brigade Combat Team, Third Infantry Division, based in Fort Stewart, GA.

A press release sent to CNN from the commanding general of the Third infantry Division at Fort Steward said, "We do know that one soldier, a fellow noncommissioned officer, allegedly opened fired and mortally wounded his squad leader and fellow team leader."

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