Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Come Again...US Troops Target Journalists in Iraq?


Recently, at the 2005 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, an astounding accusation was made by Eason Jordan, Chief News Executive of CNN. His claim is that the U.S. military is specifically targeting Journalists in the theater of Iraq. The claim was made during a discussion at the WEF titled, "Will Democracy Survive the Media?".

I encourage anyone to follow the link and read Rony Abovitz transcript posted on January 28th at The
World Economic Forum Weblog

A few key excerpts are noted below.
The panel included Richard Sambrook, the worldwide director of BBC radio, U.S. Congressman Barney Frank, Abdullah Abdullah, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan, and Eason Jordan, Chief News Executive of CNN. The audience was a mix of journalists, WEF attendees (many from Arab countries), and a US Senator from Connecticut, Chris Dodd...

During one of the discussions about the number of journalists killed in the Iraq War, Eason Jordan asserted that he knew of 12 journalists who had not only been killed by US troops in Iraq, but they had in fact been targeted. He repeated the assertion a few times, which seemed to win favor in parts of the audience (the anti-US crowd) and cause great strain on others...

What intensified the problem was the fact that the session was a public forum being taped on camera, in front of an international crowd...

To be fair (and balanced), Eason did backpedal and make a number of statements claiming that he really did not know if what he said was true, and that he did not himself believe it. But when pressed by others, he seemed to waver back and forth between what might have been his beliefs and the realization that he had created a kind of public mess. His statements, his reaction, and the reaction of all in attendance left me perplexed and confused...

I am not really sure what Eason really meant to communicate to us, but I do know that he was quite passionate about it. Members of the audience took away what they wanted to hear, and now they will use it in every vile and twisted way imaginable...
Abovitz makes an important point...
If what Eason originally said was true, exactly what happened and why needs to become known to the American public and world at large. If it is not, it is an example of how "news" is created by the heat of the moment, without any bearing to reality. If it is true, we need to know if it was official or if it was just some random disgruntled soldiers.
One might keep in mind that as a Chief Executive of CNN speaking in a public forum regarding the concept of truth, fairness, and balance in the news as it is weighed against corporate profit interest, the need for ratings, and how the media can affect democracy(according to Abovitz), he is representing that News organization - its viewpoints, concerns, contributions, and interests. Is he not? Is CNN currently investigating this story?

Reporters without Borders maintains a list of 46 journalists and media assistants that have been killed since the start of fighting in Iraq in March 2003, while four still missing.

The 31 Journalists are listed as follows
27.05.2004 -
Kotaro Ogawa, Nikkan Gendai
27.05.2004 -
Shinsuke Hashida, Nikkan Gendai
07.05.2004 -
Waldemar Milewicz, TVP
07.05.2004 -
Mounir Bouamrane, TVP
19.04.2004 -
Assad Kadhim, Al-Iraqiya TV
26.03.2004 -
Bourhan Mohammad al-Louhaybi, ABC News
18.03.2004 -
Ali Al-Khatib, Al-Arabiya
18.03.2004 -
Ali Abdel Aziz, Al-Arabiya
18.03.2004 -
Nadia Nasrat, Diyala Television
28.10.2003 -
Ahmed Shawkat, Bila Ittijah
17.08.2003 -
Mazen Dana, Reuters
02.07.2003 -
Ahmad Karim, Kurdistan Satellite TV
08.04.2003 -
José Couso, Tele 5
08.04.2003 -
Taras Protsyuk, Reuters
08.04.2003 -
Tarek Ayoub, Al Jazeera
07.04.2003 -
Christian Liebig, Focus
07.04.2003 -
Julio Anguita Parrado, El Mundo
04.04.2003 -
Michael Kelly, Washington Post
02.04.2003 -
Kaveh Golestan, BBC
23.03.2003 -
Terry Lloyd, ITV News
22.03.2003 -
Paul Moran, Australian Broadcasting Corporation

The Fifteen Assistant are listed as well,
25.08.2004 -
Jamal Tawfiq Salmane, Gazeta Wyborcza
29.05.2004 -
Mahmoud Ismael Daood, bodyguard, Al-Sabah al-Jadid
29.05.2004 -
Samia Abdeljabar, driver, Al-Sabah al-Jadid
27.05.2004 -
Unknown, translator
25.05.2004 -
Unknown, translator
21.05.2004 -
Rachid Hamid Wali, cameraman assistant, Al-Jazira
29.04.2004 -
Hussein Saleh, driver, Al-Iraquiya TV
26.03.2004 -
Omar Hashim Kamal, translator, Time
18.03.2004 -
Majid Rachid, technician, Diyala Television
18.03.2004 -
Mohamad Ahmad, security agent, Diyala Television
27.01.2004 -
Duraid Isa Mohammed, producer and translator, CNN
27.01.2004 -
Yasser Khatab, driver, CNN
07.07.2003 -
Jeremy Little, sound engineer, NBC
06.04.2003 -
Kamaran Abdurazaq Muhamed, translator, BBC
22.03.2003 -
Hussein Othman, translator, ITV News

Currently, RWOB maintains that only two on their list were killed as a result of deliberate action on the part of the US Military and Coalition forces. That organization also maintains the claim that criminal negligence (note: not intent) was involved with the killing of the two journalists.

"Reporters Without Borders called today for the reopening of the enquiry into who was really responsible for the US Army's "criminal negligence" in shooting at the Palestine Hotel in Baghdad on 8 April 2003 and causing the death of two journalists - Ukrainian cameramen Taras Protsyuk (of Reuters news agency) and Spaniard José Couso (of the Spanish TV station Telecinco). "
They reiterate their specific accusation with regard to this particular incident,
"The US shelling of the hotel was not a deliberate attack on journalists and the media. It was the result of criminal negligence. "
Democracy Now in a story titled, "U.S. Accused of Lying About Its Troops Killing Journalists in Iraq," reports a similar claim regarding the Palestine Hotel.
The shelling of the Palestine Hotel in Baghdad by an American tank, which killed two journalists and injured two others, was an act of "criminal negligence", said a report by an international media watchdog.
If the hint of an American atrocity exists, this marginal Anti-American/Anti-Capitalist media group would be charging it. One is left to wonder at the source of CNN's accusations. (edited 020205:08:27)

Captain's Quarters directs readers to a previous scandal surrounding Mr. Jordan's filtering of news out of Pre-War Iraq that hid the truth about Saddam Hussein's atrocities. Capt. Ed goes on to suggest that if Jordan cannot substantiate his claims (incidences that his own News agency has no record of), then this issue could prove worse than Memogate tremor that just rocked CBS.

Gay Patriot links to the Wall Street Journal's Political Diary confirming Abovitz reporting of Eason Jordan's claims.

See also, Powerline, Eutychus Fell, Roger L. Simon, Little Green Footballs, Hugh Hewitt, KerrySpot, OpaqueLucidity, ConservativeContrarian, WindsofChange, Sublog, LaShawnBarber , PrestoPundit , SlingsArrows , RopeJumper , HooDaThunk , RoboRant, WideAwakeCafe , Crosswalk , Blogotional , Larsonian ,
National Political Observer, Foreign News Observer, FreeRepublic, Resonant Information, Carol Platt-Liebau ...

My own pontifications are pending further consideration...

Do let us look a little more closely at what Mr. Jordan has alleged, when he claims to know (or even suspect) that U.S. troops are targeting and killing journalists in Iraq. Several scenarios can be interpolated:

1. Troops are randomly killing reporters on sight.
2. Troops are shooting specific reporters on sight.
3. Troops have been ordered to shoot specific reporters on sight.
4. Specific reporters are being singled out for termination by the U.S. Military chain of command in Iraq.
5. The U.S. Governmentis systematically assassinating reporters in Iraq.

Is it one (or perhaps several) of these actions to which Mr. Jordan is referring? Each of them has its particular set of dire implications. Any of them would represent an atrocity by which U.S. virtue would be rendered as sanctimony in the eyes of the world on the doorstep of abomination. The matter deserves, as Mr. Abovitz suggests, a complete investigation. But, first it must begin with Eason Jordan's sworn affidavit of testimony to his first-hand knowledge of these assassinations, accompanied by credible evidence of his public charge... Immediately!

Short of any of that, Jordan's outrageous accusation must be publicly redacted, and the Cable News Network held fully accountable for the statements made in a public and international forum by one of it's Chief Executives.

A spurious accusation of this sort can be devastating regardless of it accuracy. As Abovitz notes, once made in the manner it was, the charge could not be erased. Each participant in that forum - both those that cheered, and others that gasped - came away from the exchange with the story that they wanted to hear. And no doubt the legs of this particular tale travelled around the world and into the abatoires of Iraq and the planning rooms of Al Quaeda to the ears of butchers feeding their demonic sensibilities; and the souls of the hopeful seeding their doubt. The truth is still trapped under the bootheel of unsubstantiated allegation worn by a tiny little man with a history of
questionable credibility and horrendous judgement regarding 'atrocity.'

Eason Jordan has levelled a very serious accusation of guilt. Now, let him prove it immediately, or forever be utterly discredited along with the Network that he represents. Reporters and executives of their respective 'News' agencies may deny specific geopolitical borders. But, one border surrounding them that they cannot deny is that of truth.

Over at Resonant Information, is posted a breakdown of some 12 reporters that have been seemingly killed as a direct result of U.S. action, providing some verification of Jordan's claim, and no justification of his charge. It is a fair enough analysis, albeit the remainder of conjecture hardly resonates the same quality of information.

Captain's Quarters continues to drive this story with new information. And Carol Platt-Liebau has made significant contributions toward unfolding the truth. (HT: Hugh Hewitt)


Anonymous said...

From CNN Public Information:

Many blogs have taken Mr. Jordan's remarks out of context. Eason Jordan does not believe the U.S. military is trying to kill journalists. Mr. Jordan simply pointed out the facts: While the majority of journalists killed in Iraq have been slain at the hands of insurgents, the Pentagon has also noted that the U.S. military on occasion has killed people who turned out to be journalists. The Pentagon has apologized for those actions.

Mr. Jordan was responding to an assertion by Cong. Frank that all 63 journalist victims had been the result of "collateral damage."

Anonymous said...

OK, CNN: Show us the context. If Jordan was taken out of context, show us the transcript from Davos.