Saturday, March 12, 2005

Contagion of Silence...


After the attack by American Troops in Iraq on an Italian Journalist and her security entourage, Jason Kernahan of
The Online Journal delivers a startling observation... reality, overrated bloggers, credited with [Eason Jordan's] demise, offered nothing more than organized indignation to the development of this story. And as you will see, it would have taken little investigative effort to discover that Jordan was actually telling the truth.
He concludes of course, that American soldiers are indeed assassinating journalists in Iraq. So much for supporting the troops, much less affording them the benefit of the doubt equivalent with that of an anti-American communist European Journalist.

The story notes Eason Jordan's curious lack of self defense, and his uneventful resignation...

So with a position so easily defended it is perplexing that Eason Jordon had so few answers for his critics. Worst of all was his inability to explain CNN's own silence on these matters.
This is indeed curious behavior for a seasoned journalist with a scoop so profoundly serious and fundamentally transparent that it can be demonstrated beyond doubt by frivolous conjecture and the eyewitness account of one fortunate survivor. One wonders how a force so inept as to fill an ostensibly stationary target with automatic weapons fire and still fail to eliminate said target, could conduct a coordinated campaign of assasination. Nevertheless, the author goes on to attribute Jordan's perfunctory abdication to the inevitability of circumstance.

This failure, however, is quite typical of this new era of consumer
journalism. In fact, for years the dictum "if it bleeds, it leads" has been the guiding rule of news coverage. But now such blatant pandering has led to grossly deficient and sometimes even erroneous news reporting.

Put simply, in the aftermath of 9/11, with nationalism at an all-time high, news agencies have had to adjust their coverage to retain their market share. And consequently, they have been compelled to ignore news stories that Americans simply don't want to hear.

So the public didn't complain when CNN, like other corporate networks, willingly submitted to
government requests to censor Bin Laden videotapes. And viewers also said nothing when CNN's coverage was further restricted under new script approval policies. And again few complained when cartoonists, musicians, filmmakers and even advertisers had also fallen to the contagion of silence.

Indeed. Yet, the overrated Ed Morrisey has a different take.

The allegations of deliberate assassination by Giuliana Sgrena against the US military have provoked the lunatics of the International Tinfoil Hat Brigade, which unfortunately has to come up with increasingly ridiculous explanations of how American soldiers filled a car with bullets but left only two or three holes in the car, killed one person but left two people alive, including the one who was the supposed target of the attempted assassination, and covered it up while letting the eyewitnesses go.

The Army Times clarifies an additional aspect of the story.

U.S. Ambassador John Negroponte was meeting with the top U.S. commander in Iraq near Baghdad airport when soldiers deployed to protect the ambassador mistakenly killed an Italian agent, an embassy spokesman said Friday.
Taking into account the intensity of the ongoing suicide bombing campaign of Al Quaida insurgents, their bounty on American's, and the opportunity presented by high profile targets, it is certainly understandable that defenders of a secure checkpoint might be less... tolerant... of suspicious targets. And as the truth unfolds, the military's testimony regarding the incident proves consistent while Ms. Sgrena's own recollections continue to reveal... and unravel.

The driver twice called the embassy and in Italy that we were heading towards the airport that I knew was heavily patrolled by U.S. troops. They told me that we were less than a kilometer away...when...I only remember fire. At that point, a rain of fire and bullets hit us, shutting up forever the cheerful voices of a few minutes earlier.

The driver started yelling that we were Italians. "We are Italians, we are Italians." Nicola Calipari threw himself on me to protect me and immediately, I repeat, immediately I heard his last breath as he was dying on me. I must have felt physical pain. I didn't know why. But then I realized my mind went immediately to the things the captors had told me. They declared that they were committed to the fullest to freeing me but I had to be careful, "the Americans don't want you to go back." Then when they had told me I considered those words superfluous and ideological. At that moment they risked acquiring the flavor of the bitterest of truths, at this time I cannot tell you the rest.

The bitterness of her episodic truth, may be the flavor of dishonesty. The Independent, headlines this morning's version of her story with the revelation that, "Americans were not trying to kill me, hostage decides." (HT: Captain's Quarters and MisterRepublican)

The Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena, who was wounded by American fire last Friday soon after being released by kidnappers in Baghdad, has said that she does not think that the Americans were trying to kill her. "I never said that they wanted to kill me," she said on a television talk show, "but the mechanics of what happened were those of an attack."
The BBC Reports that the Italian Agent killed in the incident, Nicola Calipari, seemingly neglected to provide Coalition Authorities with information regarding his activities.

... press quotes an Italian general who liaised between US forces and Italian intelligence as saying he did not know Calipari was on a rescue bid.

His report is now in the hands of Rome prosecutors investigating the killing. According to newspaper La Repubblica, Gen Mario Marioli helped the two Italian secret service agents obtain a special badge from the coalition forces on their arrival in Baghdad.

But Gen Marioli, who is the coalition forces' second-in-command, reportedly was unaware that the officers were on a mission to free Ms Sgrena, and so the information he passed on to US officials was incomplete.

Gen Marioli's testimony is crucial because he is the man who was keeping the US forces informed of the car's arrival before the fatal shooting, in which a US patrol killed the secret service agent and injured Ms Sgrena and a second officer.

Gen Marioli's version, as reported by the papers, also contradicts a reconstruction by the Italian government and Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who said the US military had been advised that Ms Sgrena was on board the car.

The US military have said they had no knowledge of the rescue mission.

This story goes on to suggest the reason for the covert nature of the rescue operation may have been that Coalition policy forbids negotiations with terrorist insurgents. Paying millions of dollars in bounty for the release of a hostage encourages more kidnappings, undermines security efforts, prolongs conflict and ultimately endangers the Iraqi people.

While it is certainly unfortunate that Ms. Sgrena was injured, and even more regrettable that Mr. Calipari was killed, the reality of a combat zone - especially one as spontaneously hostile as Baghdad - reveals its bloody condition daily. The Soldiers manning those checkpoints don't have the luxury to relent their vigilance to the disposition of a Roman intersection. If their guard fails, people die by the dozens. Ms. Sgrena lives to recollect her fortune at retaining her head while manifesting a seething hatred for the men and women that defend Western Civilization on the edge of chaos, and never considering the scores whose blood will drench every dollar paid for her liberation... a price far higher than the value of the merchandise it purchased.

As for Jason Kernahan's concerns regarding the so-called contagion of silence in media and journalism... Open dissent, as we have seen for the last several years is hardly in short supply in this nation, much less around the world. Nor is baseless conjecture, flagrant misrepresentation, and reckless condemnation rare as we note that Ms. Sgrena's latest revelations will merit no retraction of Mr. Kernahan's absurd accusations. Silence!? Really! Michael Moore, Howard Dean, Ted Kennedy, Robert Byrd, Charles Rangel, John Conyers, Al Franken, Il Manifesto, Ted Rall can be named as but a few sources of irrational objection to American policy. If the silence of dissent of which Mr. Kernahan speaks is truly contagious, then the voices of the Left are surely immune to the epidemic of truth...

... yet demonstrably prone to the pestilence of rabid propaganda.

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