Yahoo! News - U.S.: Media Members Tried to Ship Goods
Yahoo! News News Home - Yahoo! - Help


Street Address: Zip Code:
Privacy Policy
Flowers for Mom | 10% Off-FTD.COM |
Welcome, photius_fb Personalize News Home Page   -   Sign Out
Yahoo! News   Wed, Apr 23, 2003
Search    for     Advanced
News Front Page
Top Stories
War with Iraq
Middle East
   Latin America
Oddly Enough
News Photos
Most Popular
Full Coverage
News for Kids

Full Coverage
More about
Media Issues
Related News Stories
Criminal charge filed for bringing Iraqi property into U.S. CNN (Apr 23, 2003)
Fox News Engineer Charged With Smuggling Associated Press (Apr 23, 2003)
Five 'admit murdering journalists' journalists The Guardian (UK). (Apr 23, 2003)
Opinion & Editorials
BBC fought a good war The Guardian (UK). (Apr 23, 2003)
The lessons of war and the enduring nature of dissembling Globe and Mail. (Apr 23, 2003)
Snob Journalism Washington Post (Apr 23, 2003)
Ambush on the airwaves National Post (Apr 22, 2003)
With Pulitzers chosen, I award the Murdoch NY Daily News (Apr 22, 2003)
Feature Articles
Iraq War Challenges Sclerotic Arab State TV Reuters (Apr 23, 2003)
Taking sides The Guardian (UK). (Apr 22, 2003)
Related Web Sites
Committee to Protect Journalists
Press Freedom Survey
Watching the Media: Who Owns What

News Resources
News Alerts
Saddam Hussein
Search News



Middle East - AP
U.S.: Media Members Tried to Ship Goods
1 hour, 50 minutes ago

By CURT ANDERSON, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - Several members of the media and a U.S. serviceman have been caught attempting to ship Iraqi paintings, weapons and other war souvenirs to America, U.S. authorities said Wednesday.

AP Photo

AP Photo Photo
AP Photo
Slideshow Slideshow: Customs Seizes War 'Souvenirs'

Special Coverage
Latest news:
U.S. Officials Seize Art, Weapons Looted from Iraq
Reuters - 10 minutes ago
Iraq a Prime Target for Tech Companies
AP - 20 minutes ago
U.S. Comes Up Empty in Iraq Weapons Hunt
AP - 54 minutes ago
Special Coverage


At least 15 paintings, gold-plated firearms, ornamental knives, bonds and other items have been seized at airports in Washington, Boston and London in the last week, according to the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection. Items seized in the military case were flown to Fort Stewart, Ga.

"These seizures should serve as a warning to anyone who would take advantage of the transition currently under way in the newly liberated Iraq (news - web sites)," Commissioner Robert Bonner said.

Benjamin James Johnson, who worked as an engineer for Fox News Channel, is the only person charged or identified by the government.

A criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Va., charges Johnson tried to bring 12 paintings into the United States last Thursday. They were contained in a large cardboard box that was examined by Customs agents at Dulles International Airport outside Washington.

An affidavit filed with the criminal complaint says that Johnson, who accompanied U.S. troops in Baghdad, gathered up the paintings at a palace that belonged to Odai Hussein, one of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein (news - web sites)'s sons. The paintings depict Saddam and Odai.

An examination of Johnson's luggage also turned up 40 Iraqi Monetary Bonds and a visitor's badge from the U.S. embassy in Kuwait. Johnson, 27, of Alexandria, Va., has not been arrested but is to appear before a federal magistrate next Tuesday.

Johnson initially told Customs officials he was given the paintings by Iraqi citizens, then said he had planned to keep them "for decoration" and to provide one to his employer, the affidavit said. It is U.S. policy that all such items belong to the Iraqi people.

Johnson worked for six years as a satellite truck engineer for Fox, which fired him after learning he had acknowledged taking the paintings, a network statement said.

"This is an unfortunate incident and his supervisor took the appropriate action for this transgression," the statement said.

Museums, businesses, government offices and homes were looted in Baghdad and other cities after the fall of Saddam's regime. Among the items stolen were thousands of artworks and other antiquities, some thousands of years old, from Iraq's vast collections of items from Assyrian, Mesopotamian, Sumerian and other cultures.

Customs bureau officials said an unidentified U.S. serviceman attempted to ship a rifle, pistol, and AK-47 assault rifle � all gold-plated � taken from an Iraqi government facility to a military base in the United States. The items were seized last Friday at London's Heathrow Airport.

Customs officials in Boston said they confiscated several souvenirs, including a painting, from Boston Herald reporter Jules Crittenden when he returned Saturday from Kuwait. A spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney's office in Boston said the decision was made not to charge Crittenden with a crime.

A statement from The Herald said that Crittenden declared the items and cooperated with Customs officials.

Additional Iraqi items, including a painting, gold-plated emblem, gun holster and knife, that were being shipped by several other members of the media were seized at Dulles on Monday.

Authorities declined to place a monetary value on the items, but did say that none involved in these seizures appeared to have been taken from Iraqi's famed museums.


Mail to Friend  Email Story
Message Boards   Post/Read Msgs (1958)
Printer Version   Print Story
Ratings: Would you recommend this story?
Not at all 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 Highly

Prev. Story: Kin of Missing Kuwaitis Seek Information  (AP)
Next Story: France Defends Opposition to Iraq War  (AP)

More World - Middle East Stories
Iraq's Karbala pilgrimage fails to ignite mass anti-US demos  (AFP)
Arafat under pressure bows to reformist PM's cabinet list at last minute  (AFP)
Garner rallies Kurds to US vision of democracy, nation-building  (AFP)
Saudi Shiites clamor for end to discrimination after Saddam's fall  (AFP)
US warns Iran over possible agents in Iraq  (AFP)

Eat your veggies...or go to
Planning to Sell or Buy a Home this Spring?
Access Your Work PC from Home and leave your Laptop Behind!
Buy stocks for only $4. FREE Money 2003.
Home Equity Rates as Low as 4.0% -
Save up to 70% on Life Insurance. Get Instant Quotes!
Stop Snoring Now - Sleep Better Tonight
Access Your PC from Anywhere - Free Download
Are Your Kids Buckled in Properly?


Daily Emails
Free News Alerts

Copyright � 2003 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. The information contained in the AP News report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press.
Copyright � 2003 Yahoo! Inc. All rights reserved.
Questions or Comments
Privacy Policy -Terms of Service - Ad Feedback