Why do the US forces target foreign journalists?
First a short review of past events of this explosive topic:
1. Islamic group kidnappes italian reporter Guiliana Sgrene in Iraq on 4. february.
2. The kidnappers send "proof of life" - a video with her pleads against Italian troops in Iraq. We have seen it all before.
3. Demostrations, diplomacy and hostage negotiations.
4. After EXACTLY one month they let her go.
5. Three italian intelligence officers, have payed the ransom and have rescued her from the hands of kidnappers and are taking her to the airport.
6. Fivehundered meters before the airport american soliders shoot at the car.
7. In this shooting italian agent Nicola Calipari is killed.
World is shocked! Berlusconi is out of breath! Bush calls him. Nothing happens, just "extrending the friendship". No panic, it was only a tragic
accident. "Irony of destiny," said the italian foreign minister Gianfranco Fini. Sure. American media reports that the italian agent was killed by
"coalition forces". In Italy people go crazy. Some want italian soldiers out of Iraq. Others want a full investigation. Some want names of the
soldiers who shot at the car. Others want the international justice to strike the ones who commited this crime. So what really happened?
Every side has its own story.
Americans claim: "We have waved and signaled to the driving vehicle, we even fired warning shots, and they did NOT stop. After all the warnings we
shot at the engine of the car to stop it."
Sgrena opposes the american story: "We did not drive fast, they did not wave or warns us, there were no warning shots and the car is shot all over,
not just the engine."
The US Army claims they thought it was a suicide attacker, trying to destroy the checkpoint. Hey, sorry, we made a mistake. A mistake? Yes another
mistake. Iraq is a series of mistakes - mistakes that often happen at the checkpoints. But Sgrena claims there actually was NOT checkpoint, just an
american patrol, which opened fire all of the sudden.
American right-wingers quickly find out, that this is all a product of typical italian incompetence; italian right-wingers think its a communist
consipracy - reporter of the Il Manifesto has "staged her kidnapping", and it was all a hoax. She has a very diffrent opinion: there is a
possibility that the US soldiers wanted her dead, and that it was an assassination attempt:
1. Her kidnappers said to her, before they let her go, that she has to be ware of the US forces, because they might try to kill her.
2. FACT: American forces do not like to negotiate with terrorists and pay the ransom. These methods of rescuing hostages are only "sponsoring
terrorism", like France is.
3. Some think that Americans did not want her alive, because she knew too much. And Sgrena was always against the invasion in Iraq and has written
reports about Fallujah and the use of illegal chemical weapons there.
Ofcourse the Bush administration denied everything. It was a tragical mistake. An accident. An error. An accidental incident. So everytime the US
soldiers hit a civilan vehicle, they say it was "an isolated incident". But there have been so many of these accidients that it is quite obvious
that it is a systematic targeting of civilan population. When world found out about brutal troture in Abu Gharib and Guantanamo, the US claimed it was
"an isolated incident". But later it showed that it was NOT an incident, but systematic torture of prisoners. And it is the same story with killing
First lets rememeber the words of Paul Wolfowitz, on FoxTV:
1. Arabic networks Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabia are quilty of "false reporting" in the Iraq war.
2. They are supporters of ex-Saddam Hussein regime.
3. They are "endangering the lives of American soliders".
He who's not with US, is against US!
He Who does not write what we want to, is sleeping with the enemy - sleeping with terrorists, Al-qaeda and Saddam loyalists. ERGO: because Qatar based
Al-Jazeera is not in bed with us, they are sleeping with the enemy. What he wanted to say was 3 things:
1. That "War against Terror" is really "War against Media".
2. Why US forces must deal with these "hostile journalists".
3. Why the US forces are targeting "hostile journalists" in Iraq and Afganistan.
His statement sounded like a page from Mein Kampf, but then again even Hitler could not say it that well. That is the "Final Solution" to the
journalist question in the Middle East. Nothing new; this final solution is in full motion from the year 2001 - right after US invasion in Afganistan,
american airplanes attacked Al-Jazeera station in Kabul. Why? Because they critisized the american invasion in Afganistan.
Furthermore, on the 8th of April 2003 the US Army attacks Al-Jazeera station in Baghdad, killing 34-year reporter Tariq Ayoub, wounding many others.
Why? Because they have showed reports of bombarding civilan targets.
On the same the the US Army also attacked hotel Palestina with tanks, a home for over 200 journalists (ofcourse not "in the bed with Pentagon") -
killing two of them, 35-year old spanish journalist Jose Cousa (Telecinco) and 37-year old ukrainian Taras Protsjuka (Reuters). Pentagon claims, that
tanks defended themselves against iraqi snipers in the hotel.
American soldiers often attacked buildings of Al-Jazeera network in Baghdad, Mosul, Ramadi; threatening them, destroying equipment, confiscating
material etc. For expample: on the 27th July 2003 US Army arrested a team of journalists, reporting anti-american demostrations. Al-Jazeera was a
punching bag of the US Army the whole time of the war. But do they qualitfy for a Saddam loylists? No way! Saddam has been the enemy of the Al-Jazeera
network too; he has obstructed their work, closed down offices, censored them all the time and the infamous iraqi information minister liked to get
physical with them. Mano a mano.
US Army did not just target Al-Jazeera. Far from it. As said before, a spanish and ukrainian journalists have died in hotel Palestina. On the 18th
March 2003 US soldiers killed reporters from the network Al-Arabia: Ali Al Khatub and Ali Abdel Aziz. They have recorded a US rocket attack on a
hotel. On the 17th August, a cameraman from Ruters agency named Mazen Dana was shot dead in front of Abu Gharib prison.
Pentagon said:"If the journalists wont censor for themselves, we are going to do it for them!"
So the US Army forced their way in the offices of baghdad newspaper Al-Mustaquila, took all of their equipment and arrested the editor in chief. They
have published an article with the title: Death to all spies and those that collaborate with Americans!
They have "reported wrong" about the
events in Iraq. Just like Al-Jazeera. Just like Al-Arabia. And shiite newspaper Al-Adala. So the iraqi media that "reports wrong" or "falsely write
about" any events in Iraq are "endangering the lives of American soliders". That's why they need to be stopped; with any means necessary! Now this
absurd is completed: the Bush goverment accused the iraqi media of "calling to violence", but then they "use violence to stop them".
But the US Army did not stop just iraqi reporters; they arrested iranian, turkish, israeli, portuguese etc. Many of those were beaten up. For example,
a japanese reporter was arrested and beaten for reporting and recording an american rocket attack on some building in Baghdad where Saddam was
supposed to be hiding.... but was not - just some civilians. Five of them died.
22nd of March 2003, soon after then start of the invasion in Iraq, american tanks killed Terry Llyod, 50-year old british journalist. He and his 3
friends were trying to get to the city of Basra, but US Army tanks opened fire on them. Ofcourse US and the GB claim that Lloyd was a victim of
"friendly fire". They saw a military convoy. You know how it is this "fog of war"! An accident. Belgian cameraman Fred Nerac and lebanon
translator Husein Osman, who were in the jeep with Lloyd were never found. Terry Lloyd and his friends were not "in bed with Pentagon", or
with the US forces in Iraq. Pentagon's message to all reporters: He who is not under our control, he who is not with us, he who is
not embedded with us is in real danger! And that is how it was. Or better. Pentagon has granted safty and security only to those embedded journalists,
which sign a pact with them. Those that will obey 50 pages of rules and regulaions, which say that reporter can NOT publish any story, news or report,
that would "endanger american army or their operations"!
by Marcel Stefancic Junior
translated and adopted from journal Mladina
[edit on 14-3-2005 by Souljah]