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AP Stands Behind Green Helmet Guy

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The Associated Press identifies “Green Helmet Guy:” ‘Green Helmet’ helps rescue the wounded. (Hat tip: Bubbaman.)

They want us to know that Salam Daher would never be involved in such a thing as propaganda for Hizballah.

TYRE, Lebanon - After hours of digging in the blistering heat, Salam Daher emerged from the wreckage with the body of a 9-month-old baby, a blue pacifier still pinned to its nightshirt.

He held the infant up and, click, an Associated Press photographer snapped another picture of Daher, in his trademark green helmet, displaying a civilian victim of Israeli bombs for the world to see.

Daher, a member of the civil defense for 20 years, has been photographed with bodies of the dead in two wars now — first in 1996 and most recently with the baby on July 30 __ both times after Israeli attacks in the village of Qana six miles southeast of the city.

For that reason, some Web sites have labeled him the “Green Helmet,” and accused him of being a member of the Hezbollah guerrilla group, and of showing off bodies as propaganda.

“But that isn’t true,” he told The Associated Press. He is not affiliated with any party, he said. “I am just a civil defense worker. I have done this job all my life.”

And an interesting admission here. The “Lebanese” want the world to see these grotesque displays, and make no apologies for parading around with children’s corpses.

To many in the West, such photographs are surprising; but they are not unusual in the Middle East, where grief and drama are often intertwined, and that can include displaying of bodies.

Bloggers have accused rescue workers and volunteers of showing off victims for the media. The Lebanese make no apologies for wanting the world to see the civilian suffering in the Israeli onslaught aimed at uprooting Hezbollah.

Just so we’re all clear about what’s being discussed and defended in this AP whitewash, here’s the video from German TV showing Salam Daher participating in the desecration of a child’s body, removing it from an ambulance and posing it for photographs like a side of beef:

UPDATE at 8/11/06 6:22:23 pm:

AP also provides a dashing close-up shot of Salam Daher, sans dead children, with a nice new blue helmet.

Head of Operations for the Lebanese Civil Defense in Tyre, Salam Daher, 39, looks out of the window of a Lebanese Civil Defense truck as he drives off in the town of Tyre in southern Lebanon Friday, Aug. 11, 2006. Salam Daher’s green-helmeted head digging beneath bombed out buildings to retrieve the dead has been seen in news photographs from two wars, in 1996 and again in 2006, both times after Israeli bombings in the village of Qana. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)

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