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July 31, 2012

The Bugman of Basra

March 15, 2010

At the British Camp on the base at Basra, the Bugman would pass through and blast the whole living and sleeping areas with a noxious mix of chemicals that would leave an oily film and linger for days.

When we asked the Iraqi Bugman if it was dangerous, he just laughed.

Shatt al Arab Hotel, Basra, IRAQ

March 12, 2010

Phin and Julie hitched a ride in a British Forces Merlin helicopter, from the Basra Airport to the Shatt al Arab Hotel, about 20 minutes across town.

They were met by Colonel Richard Stanford, who was kind enough to show them around.

What was once a jewel in the mid-east, is now a decaying war ravaged structure, home to Iraqi military who although western conveniences (like toilets) can be found throughout what is left of the hotel, they chose to defecate on the roof and in the halls of where they work, live, eat and sleep.

The hotel grounds, once landscaped and opulent, are now nothing but dried brush and sand. What was once a parking lot filled with Rolls Royce and Mercedes Benz, is now a repository to the hundreds of bullet ridden and often bombed out cars and trucks captured from terrorists. Also nearby is an area used to store live munitions captured from the terrorists throughout Basra.

“Marsh Arabs” of Iraq

December 13, 2009
The marshlands of Southern Iraq near the border with Iran, known as the Cradle of Civilization, is the nomadic territory of the Marshland Arabs, who rose against Saddam Hussein following Desert Storm. Saddam Hussein retaliated by engineering the largest act of eco-terrorism in history, cutting off the natural water supply to the marsh. In a few months. his acts transformed a lush and green oasis into a barren, arid wasteland, unsuitable for any form of life.This act of vengeance greatly damaged the eco-system, and came close to wiping out the oldest living civilization on the planet, along with its culture. After Saddam’s fall, the dams were broken and the area re-flooded. The marsh has only partially been restored. A drought over the last two years has made recovery in the area slow, and climate change makes a full recovery of the marshlands improbable.

FOX8 Profile on Embedded Film Makers

August 1, 2009


This was a story we sent back to FOX8 in New Orleans in the form of scattered and varying video and stills from our embeds, and anchor John Snell and the FOX8 team put together a great piece, which explains why we went to Iraq in the first place.

“MOJO VOODOO/The 244th Air Batallion”

August 1, 2009


Phin spent a few weeks in Balad, embedded with the Louisiana Air National Guard 244th Air Battalion. Going under the call sign MOJO, this unit performed more flight hours than even active duty units, and were the first line of rescue during Katrina in New Orleans. Their missions in Iraq are varied, but they all have one thing in common; the pride of Louisiana.