AP Source Salam Daher Rescues Bodies That Aren't There

An AP article white washes a Lebanese Civil Defense worker bloggers suspect of disseminating Hezbollah propaganda. And they quote a colleague who apparently doesn't have any concerns about sharing information with Hezbollah to back him up. From the article:

Twenty-eight bodies were recovered — more than half of them children.

Interesting, given that said Civil Defense worker evidently told the Lebanese press on July 30th:

The bodies of 37 children were among those recovered from under the rubble of dozens of a building which collapsed after the bombardment, said Salam Daher, the civil defense chief in the region.

Daher had to have reported numbers of bodies that we now know weren't there, but the AP didn't get around to asking Daher about his problems with Math. And as you can verify here, Daher inflated the body count throughout the day:

6:12AM: 35 killed or wounded

6:29AM: 14 children, 9 men and 9 women (32 people)

7:17AM: 22 children, 51 people

11:29AM: 25 children

July 31: 30 children, 52 people

July 31: 37 children, 54 people

To support Daher, the AP quotes Fadi Kayyal.

Fadi Kayyal, a member of the Tyre civil defense team for seven years, has worked with Daher on many emergencies.

Here's a report at The Examiner also citing Kayyal:

A mass funeral - the third so far - is scheduled to be held Wednesday for about 120 people, including the dead from a weekend bombing at Qana and others recovered by Red Cross teams throughout the south the past two days, said Tyre civil defense rescue worker Fadi Kayyal.

As she walked through the ruins of the neighborhood of Hayal Jumma, trying to remember who lived where, a burly man in a brown T-shirt with a handgun in his belt and a two-way radio walked up and identified himself as a Hezbollah man. He wouldn't give his name, but he wanted to know who had come to see the ruins.

His radio cracked and he spoke. Within minutes, three other men arrived.

"I think we won the war. This (debate over a possible) cease-fire is about politics, but I think the war is won by us," the first said, refusing to give his name.

The article goes on to quote another individual, not Fayyal. But the quotes demonstrate that the so-called civilian causalities likely were Hezbollah. But that doesn't make them bad guys. And, really, that's all that bloggers are suggesting - that many citizens of Southern Lebanon don't see Hezbollah in a fully negative light. To them it might not be. But if they are willing to take aid and comfort from terrorists the moral ground they stand on in arguing their cause isn't all that firm.

When they, like Daher, go on to inflate body counts to help Hezbollah win the propaganda war and the AP attempts to prop them up as objective observers, the ground under the AP as objective media becomes even less firm.

Asked whether Israeli intelligence could have had information that the homes of her uncles hid Hezbollah fighters, Haydar said: "Srifa has everything. We have Hezbollah, we have Amal (a Shiite Muslim group), we have communists."

She said Hezbollah had provided schools and charity to the poorest in Srifa. That had brought them support because government services were lacking.

"Because people support Hezbollah doesn't mean they are fighters. It is two different things," she said.

lgf points out that the AP decided to profile Salam Daher here. Charles goes on to post an extensive explanation of how money may assist in ensuring that AP coverage is skewed.