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November 18, 2003

HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN IRAQ -- by the New York Times? That's the report on Healing Iraq, which posts a letter from an Iraqi property owner to Arthur Sulzberger about harassment and property seizure at the hands of guards employed by the Times in Baghdad:

My family has a property in the green zone in down town Baghdad on Abi-Nuas street. The New York Times rents the adjacent property. For several weeks now my brother Ali Al Ali has been denied automobile access to our property by security guards. Until two days ago we thought this was a coalition security measure. Now we known these guards are not coalition personal but are instead the private security force employed by your news paper.

The family property has two store fronts. Yesterday (Saturday November 15, 2003) my brother and two hired men were in one of the stores installing shelves. My brother lost his livelihood in the war and needs to open this store to make a living. His efforts were interrupted by several of the security guards employed by your paper. He was knocked roughly to the floor and threatened. Your guards pointed there AK-47 rifles and my brother and his work men and told them they would be shot if they did not leave immediately.

I feel sure if learned the United States Army was responsible an incident such as this you would feel obligated to publish the story and condemn the act.

In this his case I respectfully suggest you have an obligation to do somewhat more.

Read the whole thing, as they say. Er, especially if you either (1) work for the Times or (2) want to do a story on this report of thuggish behavior.

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