Wednesday, January 11, 2006

The War on Journalists

[Update] Do check out the Jan 25th post War on Journalists Revisited

[Bump] As this post has been getting a lot of attention,
Thanks Mike at C&L,, and the Heretic

(AP) More journalists and media staffers have been killed during the Iraq war than during 22 years of conflict in Vietnam, Reporters Without Borders said Wednesday...

A total of 76 journalists and media staff have been killed since the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003, the group said. That was more than the 63 reporters killed in the 1955-1977 conflict in Vietnam...(more)

The question that can't be avoided when you consider the scope of it all is this. Were/are they listening to journalists, especially foreign journalist's communications in Iraq?
Considering all the speculation that they were spying on CNN's Christine Armanpour, it seems a given that they would be spying on all journalists in Iraq, where there is no law against it. If so, could a reporter with damaging revelations about Iraq be considered a legitimate military target? I'm not trying to say they are, that's just pure speculation on my part, but given all of the info we do know, it's certainly a possibility.
[[Update] Seriously now, if the US isn't spying on and targeting journalists, how else do you explain US troops barging in, shooting up an award winning Iraqi journalist's home in the middle of the night, and stealing his work for a story he was working on? ]

Just look at this from March 2004.

Journalists killed in Iraq: Profile

And consider this...
Spanish judge wants U.S. soldiers arrested
Warrant stems from 2003 death of TV cameraman

CNN: Couso was one of three journalists killed in two different buildings that day in Baghdad. Also killed at the Palestine Hotel was Reuters cameraman Taras Protsyuk, 35, a Ukrainian national based in Warsaw, Poland, the news agency said. Three other employees were wounded, it said.

Al-Jazeera television reporter Tariq Ayoub was killed at the Arabic language network's facilities on the other side of the Tigris River from the Palestine Hotel, near Iraq's Ministry of Information. Three other Al-Jazeera employees were wounded, the network said... (more)

That's 3 journalists killed by US troops in 2 different buildings on opposite sides of the Tigris river. The Palestine hotel and al Jazeera's facility. Occam's razor anyone?
Need more, how about this?
Remember Sgrena?

Her Mar 4, 05 shooting couldn't have had anything to do with the fact she was the first with the scoop on the fallujah white phosphorus story, could it?

Click on the pic to see Italian RAI 24 news documentary La strage nascosta

Napalm Raid on Falluja?
73 charred bodies -- women and children -- were found

GIULIANA SGRENA 23 November 2004 al-Jazeera

We buried them, but we could not identify them because they were charred from the napalm bombs used by the Americans.
The Face of War [Graphic] This album contains photos taken by the military of dead men in Fallujah. They were taken on November 19th, 2004, to identify the dead. The IRC estimates that at least 60% of those killed in the assault of Fallujah are women, children and elderly. Warning:These are extremely graphic images posted simply to show the true face of war.
Remember it was over Fallujah that chimpy wanted to bomb al Jazeera. Bush disclosed his plan to target al-Jazeera, a civilian station with a huge Mid-East following, at a White House face-to-face with Mr Blair on April 16 last year.
At the time, the US was launching an all-out assault on insurgents in the Iraqi town of Fallujah.

The Guardian: The Bush-Blair meeting took place when Whitehall officials, intelligence officers, and British military commanders were expressing outrage at the scale of the US assault on the Iraqi city of Falluja, in which up to 1,000 civilians are feared to have died. Pictures of the attack shown on al-Jazeera had infuriated US generals. London was also arguing with Washington about the number of extra British troops to be sent to Iraq.

A second, Foreign Office document, separately leaked in May 2004, exposed misgivings within the British government over America's "heavy-handed" behaviour and tactics in Iraq. That memo said: "Heavy-handed US military tactics in Falluja and Najaf some weeks ago have fuelled both Sunni and Shi'ite opposition to the coalition, and lost us much public support inside Iraq."

Did Bush Really Want to Bomb Al Jazeera?

thenation: Is the allegation "outlandish," as the White House claims? Or was it a deadly serious option? Until a news organization or British official defies the Official Secrets Act and publishes the five-page memo, we have no way of knowing. But what we do know is that at the time of Bush's White House meeting with Blair, the Bush Administration was in the throes of a very public, high-level temper tantrum directed against Al Jazeera. The Bush-Blair summit took place on April 16, at the peak of the first US siege of Falluja, and Al Jazeera was there to witness the assault and the fierce resistance.
A day before Bush's meeting with Blair, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld slammed Al Jazeera in distinctly undiplomatic terms:...(more)

So Sgrena, writing for the italian "il manifesto", an al-Jazeera affiliate, is in fallujah for the US assault which began immediately following the 2004 election. She writes that initial story but gets taken hostage, and upon her release, she gets shot and one of her rescuers gets killed by US troops Mar 4, then Blair talked bush out of bombing al Jazeera April 16.
The brits completely shut down the bush-blair memo leak under pressure from the US, on national security- official secrets grounds.

I know what I think. I think there is something incredibly damaging in those memos, far beyond Bush threatening to bomb al Jazeera. Bush ordered Sgrena's shooting? Bush ordered the use of WP in the shake and bake attack on Fallujah that killed indiscriminately? Technical aspects to their surveillance of journalists? Maybe all of those and then some. What do you think?

[UPDATE] American Journalist Kidnapped in Iraq, Translator Killed

BAGHDAD Gunmen kidnapped a female American journalist and killed her Iraqi translator Saturday in western Baghdad, an Interior Ministry official said, according to The Associated Press and UPI.

Maj. Falah Mohamadawi said the translator told police before he died that the abduction took place when he and the journalist were heading to meet Adnan al-Dulaimi, head of the Sunni Arab Iraqi Accordance Front, in the Adel section of the city.

The woman's name was not released and it appears that this has not yet been confirmed by the U.S... (more)

[UPDATE] Abduction of American Reporter in Iraq Blacked Out By U.S. News Outlets

NEW YORK The abduction of a Christian Science Monitor reporter in Iraq on Saturday was not disclosed by major U.S. media outlets for nearly two days after the Monitor requested that the incident, and the reporter's name and affiliation, be withheld. A translator was killed in the incident and the reporter, now identified by the Monitor as Jill Carroll, is still being held...(more)

[UPDATE]Jan 9, BIG WTF??!!??!!??

US troops seize award-winning Iraqi journalist

The Guardian: American troops in Baghdad yesterday blasted their way into the home of an Iraqi journalist working for the Guardian and Channel 4, firing bullets into the bedroom where he was sleeping with his wife and children.

Ali Fadhil, who two months ago won the Foreign Press Association young journalist of the year award, was hooded and taken for questioning. He was released hours later.

Dr Fadhil is working with Guardian Films on an investigation for Channel 4's Dispatches programme into claims that tens of millions of dollars worth of Iraqi funds held by the Americans and British have been misused or misappropriated.

The troops told Dr Fadhil that they were looking for an Iraqi insurgent and seized video tapes he had shot for the programme. These have not yet been returned...(more)

Hat tip to observer393

Also check out War on the Press In Iraq Today
The Heretik

If breaking in, shooting at, and stealing his video isn't enough evidence this administration is intentionally targeting journalists, I can't imagine wtf would be. What better way to hide a bunch of lies in very troubled times for this WH than to threaten their very lives. it has only been a year since Gary Webb committed suicide, afterall.

Wikipedia says this about Gary: On December 10, 2004, he was found dead from gunshot wounds to the head. While acknowledging that the two fatal shots that had entered through the back of his head was unusual, coroner Robert Lyons determined that it was suicide.

On a side note, anyone who has doubts whether Gary was right all along about his contra accounts should really get their facts straight. Gary wasn't only right, he had barely scratched the surface. Instead of a pulitzer, they ruined his career through smears and outright lies, and the circumstances surrounding his death are puzzling to say the least.

[OT] Ok, (as with Gary Webb) this has nothing to do with Iraq, but it is a journalist for the NYT murdered in DC. Looks to be a mugging, but I can't be the only one who isn't thoroughly convinced it has nothing to do with chimpyco's displeasure with the Times these days.

David E. Rosenbaum, a longtime editor and reporter in the Washington bureau of the New York Times, died yesterday after being beaten and robbed Friday night near his home in upper Northwest Washington.