April 10, 2003
DEATHS OF JOURNALISTS: SUSPICION U.S. ATTACKS WERE 'NO ACCIDENT'
** Leftist and Muslim
writers accused the U.S. of "targeting journalists" who are
"conveying the truth."
** The attack boosted
"suspicion" that the Coalition seeks to silence "independent
** The deaths intensified
debate of the U.S.' "aimless" and "indiscriminate"
The 'premeditated hideous crime' was deliberately planned to 'hide
reality'-- Arab papers in
particular treated the dead journalists as "martyrs at the hands of
invading forces," targeted by the U.S. because of their reports on the
Coalition's "tyranny, brutality and repression." The deaths intensified commentary on the
U.S.' desire to "make the world hostage to its side of the story" by
"attacking freedom of information."
Jordan's semi-official Al-Rai concluded, "whoever is not
with them is their enemy. Bush said that
and now his forces are saying it too."
The belief that the U.S. desired to prevent any "witnesses"
from seeing the "infallible evidence" of "tragedies" was
widespread in papers from Argentina to Lebanon to Norway to Pakistan.
The Coalition obviously favors 'embedded journalists who travel
with the aggressors'-- The attacks were a
"tragic mistake," but European and Latin papers still did not find it
"easy to believe" they were "due to convenient bad luck and
tragic wrong targeting." A Belgian
paper highlighted the "American troops' increased hostility toward the
journalists who are not embedded--and are therefore more critical." Because the "media are today more
important than ever" and "the management of the information war has
become a higher priority," the only "face of the war America wants to
see...is reported by the reporters embedded with its forces." Algeria's independent Sawt Al Ahrar
dismissed embedded journalists as "mere trumpets for American
propaganda...that marched with the bands of murderers from the
The journalists were brave victims of the 'chaos of war' and
American 'hysteria'-- The journalists' deaths
were taken as confirmation of the Coalition's reckless rules of
engagement. An Indian daily declared
that "targets are being finalized with little thought to the possibility
of civilians being put in harm's way."
Austria's liberal Der Standard believed the "journalists
became the victims of understandably nervous and inexperienced 20
year-olds. Unfortunately, the same is
true for the civilian population of Iraq."
Cameroon's pro-opposition Mutations added that "American
soldiers fire on everything that moves."
In such a "chaotic war situation," it is the responsibility of
the U.S. forces to "limit such casualties" among both journalists and
EDITOR: Ben Goldberg
EDITOR'S NOTE: This survey
is based on 59 reports from 29 countries over 8-10 April 2003. Editorial excerpts from each country are
listed from the most recent date.
GERMANY: “It Affects Us
Stephan-Andreas Casdorff argued in centrist Der Tagesspiegel
of Berlin (4/9): “The war is coming to
an end and now it is really affecting us.
The journalists, who report on events and bring the suffering of the
people closer to us, are now also becoming victims. They--and thus the public--are becoming the
targets of attacks. After weeks, the
term ‘embedded’ gets its real, brutal significance.... The attacks and the debris can now be watched
in real time. It is becoming clear that
the journalists in Iraq’s capital are no longer ‘embedded’ as reporters, but
are drawn as participants into the war.
Never before were we, the public, closer to war. This increases the dramatic events in these
"Pictures As Weapons"
Tina Hassel said on ARD-TV's (national channel one) late evening
newscast Tagesthemen (4/8): “When
pictures are used as weapons, journalists run the risk of becoming
combatants--or what is even more dangerous--opponents. And this brings us to the center of the
problem. Were the shots at the
international media center and the offices of the independent Arab TV station
only an unfortunate mishap in the course of the fighting?.... I admit that I have difficulty believing
this. The Americans knew exactly where
the press was staying.... But was it a
clearly-targeted attack? If this
horrible assumption came true, then the killed journalists were not victims of
the war but victims of a war crime....
Should the nation that was the first to include the freedom of the press
in its Constitution really have fired at journalists, then this nation would
have forfeited the thing for which it entered into this war: confidence in democracy.”
“In the Line Of Fire”
Business daily Financial Times Deutschland of Hamburg
stated (4/9): “According to the Geneva
Convention, journalists and civilians have a right to be protected by the
war-waging parties. But the United
States of all nations, which wants to bring democracy and the rule of law to
Iraq, is now raising doubts about the compliance with this principle. America must remove the suspicion that,
following a number of incidents, reporters are not only exposed to the general
risks of war but are also made deliberately military targets to speed up the
U.S. victory.... The media are today
more important than ever for the psychology of war. That is why pictures from an Iraqi
perspective are considered an annoyance.
Nevertheless, the media are no weapon in the sense of the Geneva
Convention. If politics and the military
leadership blur the limits of what are real military targets, then it is
impossible for the troops on site to protect civilians. The bombing of the Iraqi state-run TV station
at the beginning of the war was already a violation of the Geneva Convention,
as was the attack on Belgrade’s state-run TV station in 1999, and Al Jazeera’s
office in Kabul in 2001. Such attacks
are jeopardizing America’s credibility.”
ITALY: “A Tragic Mistake”
Franco Bechis commented in Rome's center-right Il Tempo
(4/9): “The American tank man who fired
at the journalists’ hotel either wanted to erase freedom of press or made a
tragic mistake.... The first hypothesis
is pure folly, which however has found support in our Parliament and in some
media.... Indeed, we would have liked to
hear more words of apology from the Pentagon spokesperson, but that targeted
shooting on journalists was not planned.”
RUSSIA: "War Takes
Heavy Toll Among Journalists"
Mikhail Zygar declared in reformist business-oriented Kommersant
(4/9): "Yesterday the Coalition
forces destroyed the Al Jazeera office and shelled the hotel Palestine, where
all the foreign journalists were staying....
This means that the military operation is drawing to a close--there will
soon be no one to send reports from Baghdad, and the United States will
announce a victory."
Hans Rauscher said in liberal Der Standard (4/9): “Being a war correspondent always means
risking your life.... The war in Iraq is
proving this yet again with its death toll among journalists, unusually high
for a 21-day war.... What is new,
however, is that the American president is forced to protest against
allegations that US troops are targeting journalists on purpose (not Americans,
but international journalists, who report from the Iraqi side, so to speak).
The truth is probably that the Americans don’t hesitate to open fire in city
battles. This would explain why a US tank fired into the journalists’ hotel
Palestine because real or imagined Iraqi snipers were firing from there. Thus
journalists became the victims of understandably highly nervous and
inexperienced 20 year-olds. Unfortunately, the same is true for the civilian
population of Iraq.”
Laurent Raphael wrote in independent La Libre Belgique
(4/9): "The International
Federation of Journalists--based in Brussels--condemned these attacks that it
claims targeted non-military objectives--that is obvious for the Al Jazeera
offices, and partially obvious for the Palestine hotel, which is known for
housing the journalists who remained in Baghdad but also representatives of
Saddam Hussein’s intelligence services....
Reporters Without Borders also condemned these attacks, and pointed out
that it is hearing more and more stories about the American troops’ increased
hostility toward the journalists who are not embedded--and who are more
Revolution Murdered Its Children"
Leftist, stridently-anti U.S. Monitor remarked (4/9): "Yesterday the U.S.' democratic war
pointed its barrels towards Palestine Hotel, where, as everyone knows, the
media covering the war is staying.....
Since yesterday no normal person in the world could find even the
smallest reason to believe in the democratic character of this war, nor in the
words of its instigators and leaders.
For the first time in the modern history of a country, the superpower
America pointed its gun against journalists and fired. Two people died. But if Bush's army was truly as good as he
claims it is, the number of victims would have been much larger."
GREECE: “Killers Of Speech”
Popular, pro-government and anti-American Eleftherotypia
editorialized (4/9): "The answers
to the relentless questions posed after the premeditated hideous crimes that
were committed in Baghdad lead directly to the culprits.... The mafia of the raid on Iraq cannot
exterminate the infallible evidence of its serial hideous crimes nor can it
cover them up. The journalists, who were
shocked by the loss of their colleagues, were not terrorized. They will remain in the trenches of ‘Palestine’
to keep open the eye that cannot be censored or fall victim of the killers of
The lead editorial in top-circulation
pro-government influential Ta Nea read (4/9): “Three murderous attacks in one day are no
coincidence.... Journalists became
targets because the allies wished to send a message out about their wars,
current and future, that they will not tolerate independent journalism that
discloses the slaughters of non combatants, schools, open markets, and
hospitals.... It seems that history
hasn’t taught them anything: however
many journalists they kill, however many media they bomb, however much
censorship they impose, the atrocities of their wars will always be disclosed
because they can simply not kill information.”
"U.S. Sends World Mixed Messages"
Left-of-center Irish Examiner
editorialized (4/9): "The Jekyll
and Hyde nature of America's dangerous balancing act on the world stage was
plain to see yesterday as U.S. troops targeted members of the media covering
the war in Baghdad while in Belfast President George W Bush was giving out a
strong message of support for lasting peace in Northern Ireland.... After coming under intense pressure from British
Prime Minister Tony Blair, President Bush has promised the UN would have a
'vital role' to play in post-war Iraq....
He is refusing to spell out in any detail what role it would have in the
aftermath. Their marked reluctance to define how the UN would be involved
reflects the determination of the hawkish regime currently controlling US
foreign policy. Undeniably, the vast majority of people in and outside Iraq
will applaud the collapse of Saddam Hussein's monstrous dictatorship.... Despite its many flaws, the UN remains the
only agency capable of commanding respect and credence on a global basis."
"Being Frightened Into Silence?”
Newspaper-of-record Aftenposten commented (4/9): "War will always cause suffering, and in
a city like Baghdad it is the civilians who are hit hardest. Journalists are
there of their own free will, and have greater resources than the rest of the
city’s own inhabitants. It is a perspective we media folk must have clear. When
there is anyway a reason to put up a strong protest when the media is attacked,
it is because we know that there are many who wish to silence present, free and
aware journalists. And it is only independent media that can tell with
credibility about what now happens in Baghdad. Serious journalists could tell
yesterday that there was no military target where the two centers for media
reporting were hit. So the Americans must find that this raises the question as
to whether this is a terror shooting meant to frighten international witnesses
out of Baghdad before the final outcome for the city comes. It is not easy to
believe that this is due to convenient bad luck and tragic wrong targeting. We
are reminded that the Americans also attacked Al-Jazeera’s offices in Kabul
during the war in Afghanistan, without succeeding in frightening the television
channel into silence. They will not succeed this time either.”
“Grenades Against Cameras”
Aasne Seierstad held in newspaper-of-record Aftenposten
(4/9): "The headquarters of the
American forces thinks the tanks had been shot at from the hotel, but
journalists at the hotel find that hardly believable. Nobody had seen armed men
or heard shots from the building that morning.... Every night the bomb room [at the hotel] is full
of Iraqi families that think that the large number of journalists protects them
from the Americans’ bombs. ‘They will never attack this hotel, Americans stay
here,’ said an Iraqi woman who had taken her children with her down into the
basement one evening. But it was exactly what the Americans did yesterday. Shot
with grenades at cameras, that followed their battle efforts with telephoto
PORTUGAL: "They Didn't
Mean to Kill Journalists"
Miguel Sousa Tavares asserted in leading
financial Diário Económico
(4/10): "I think the United
States has had a hidden agenda in regard
to Iraq for a long time, long before the war had even started: to secure
Iraq's oil. Not directly...but they want
to have a government that guarantees them the supply of oil.... They're worried that Saudi Arabia is going to fall into the hands of the
fundamentalists.... Therefore, they
want to secure Iraq. And this cannot in
fact be done if they are there to truly democratize. If the Iraqis choose whom they want, they
are certainly going to choose people who
are not the Americans' friends."
"Dead For All Of Us"
Jose Manuel Fernandes opined in influential moderate-left Público
(4/9): "The search for the truth of
this war is being paid in a great deal of blood. Journalists' blood.... Their sacrifice provides us with a tragic
dimension of the conflict and, at the same time, expresses the power of the
democracies we live in.... It is these
legions of journalists [in Iraq] that allows us to have, in the Western press,
a plural vision of events--exactly the opposite of what is happening in the
Iraqi 'media', where the only 'truth' are the bald-faced lies of the Minister
of Information. But these journalists
that have fallen are not the only victims these days of the freedom to
inform. On the other side of the world,
in Cuba, an abominable regime took advantage of the media distraction provoked
by the war to arrest journalists and sentence them to heavy prison
terms.... It is at times like this, when
some of us are dying while doing what they most want to do, and others are
arrested for the crime of having an opinion, that we best understand the
superiority of a democracy. And how
democracy, at times, also demands its tribute in sacrifice and blood."
Left-of-center El País remarked
(4/10): "Hiding and lies are the
continuation of war by other ways....
The hypothesis of an express order to shoot journalists is not likely,
and does not correspond with the credibility that a high military command of a
country which respects freedom of the press deserves. But the fact of that the same day Al
Jazeera's and other Arab TV's office in Baghdad were bombed, makes it hard to
believe that this was only an individual human mistake.... The access to real images of horror
influences the central debate about the legitimacy of the war, and the
proportionality of the evil that was trying to be avoided and the suffering
caused. That is why Al Jazeera was
bombed and that is why they lied about what happened at the Palestine
"Death Of Journalist In Baghdad; Shocking Coldness"
National private TV Telecinco carried a report from special
correspondent Vincente Valles saying (4/9):
"This morning and with shocking coldness we have heard Col. Vincent
Brooks say that they only can control the journalists that are embedded, but
they can't know where the rest of the journalists are. In fact, anyone who is even minimally
informed about this war knows that journalists are in the Palestine Hotel. So this is something that one really can't
"U.S. Responsibility For A Journalist's Death"
Independent El Mundo declared (4/9): "The explanations that the allied
command gave about the shots against the Palestine Hotel are confused,
contradictory and unacceptable....
Without denying that journalists assume a risk when they decide to stay
in a war zone, what is really monstrous is that a press hotel could be considered
a military objective.... Apart from the
pain of losing this Colleague...what is most important is to ask if the loss of
human life serves some purpose. And the
answer is yes. Yes, because thanks to
the work of people who are risking themselves at the front, public opinion is,
in this war, so much informed on what is happening than ever before."
"A High Price"
Left-of-center El País declared (4/8): "With the death of Julio Anguita
Parrado, a young and competent journalist working as an El Mundo
correspondent...the number of journalists killed in Iraq is now eight.... One can criticize many things about the way
that the information about the war is being treated and above all the military
filters of the British-American forces....
But there is no doubt that the embedding of journalists among the
British-American troops has allowed all to know about incorrect actions,
mistakes and horrors, which otherwise would not have been seen by Western
public opinion.... War is horror. But horror must be told to the citizens who
elect and judge the governments that have decided to wage it. And in this war we are having more and better
means than ever before."
WEST BANK: “American
Assassination Of The Story And The Witness”
Hassan el-Kashif wrote in semi-official Al-Hayat Al-Jadida
(4/9): "Perhaps, the Americans may
apologize for the intended killing of journalist Tarek Ayyoub, Al-Jazeera
correspondent in Baghdad, along with two other journalists. Such an apology, if
it happens, will not be a confession of a sin or any wrongdoing. The colonial
invaders will continue the intentional killing of Iraqi civilians, including
children and women, in Baghdad and other Iraqi cities. They will also continue
to threaten the lives of the Arab and foreign journalists, who may report on
the war crimes committed by the colonial invaders.... Journalists are being targeted by the
colonial invaders because they do not want any witnesses to their crimes. Also,
in its current state of deterioration towards a new era of colonialism, the
United States wants to be the sole military and media pole in an effort to make
the world hostage to its side of the story.”
ALGERIA: "A Planned
Indpendent, French-language Liberte editorialized
(4/9): “It is not a secret for anybody
that it was a premeditated act planned to silence the voice of troublemakers
disrupting a scenario written and enacted by the Pentagon. America is prompt to
react and denounce obstacles to freedom of speech and to take the defense of
journalists who died in conflicts. America can be proud today of its trophy:
eleven journalists killed in twenty days. It is a record. America's record."
Independent, economic-oriented French-language La Tribune
declared (4/9): "Curiously, at a
time when things had begun to go better for the Americans, they seem to be
disoriented. Which is just a manner of
speaking, since the coalition forces, from the beginning of the invasion of
Iraq, have never ceased progressing from south to north. The very serious
aggressions committed deliberately yesterday against people enjoying great
immunity and protected by the Geneva Convention, would tend to prove the
contrary: that things are not as clear and simple as implied by the CENTCOM communications
center. The coalition forces have rendered themselves guilty of new war crimes
on real-time TV. Recent 'live' images
[of journalists in the Palestine Hotel] met with a much more savage resistance
than the ones permitted to be heard, those of 'enrolled' colleagues, as some
journalists on the American side are."
"Filth Of Criminals"
Independent Arabic-language Sawt Al Ahrar commented
(4/9): "The American criminal
murderers and their allies have not abstained from killing the journalists who
present American barbarism in voice and images. One of the spokespersons of the
mercenary forces said impudently that the aggressors know only the sites where
their journalists are staying.... The
great power has become a group of murderers that want to exterminate every
voice that does not repeat the lies of the Pentagon and American intelligence.
This power that used to praise its conquering armies, is today revealing its
real face, and its cowardly soldiers are just war criminals without dignity. They
do not shrink from killing civilians or killing those who witness their crimes.
It was necessary to silence the voices of TV channels that have chosen to
present the acts of aggression freely, without being turned into mere trumpets
for American propaganda, like some Arabic and Foreign media that marched with
the bands of murderers from the south."
Eyewitnesses In Baghdad”
Dr. Mona Al Hadidi observed in aggressive pro-government Al
Akhbar (4/9): “Killing media
correspondents in Iraq was the fast solution by coalition forces to blemish
facts and cover for the horrors committed against the innocent Iraqi people.”
Small-circulation pro-government Al Gomhouriya opined
(4/9): "Our hearts are bleeding of
grief over Baghdad. Saddam eluded us
that Baghdad will remain steadfast against invaders. We admit that the success of the aggressors
to reach the presidential palaces at the heart of Baghdad...is a bad
omen.... Iraqis are being burned and
mutilated, while President Bush is declaring in Belfast that his troops care
for the lives of civilians. The cards
are ashamedly mixed, where occupation becomes liberation in the eyes of the
American masters.... The rapid and
humiliating surrender of Iraqis was astonishing, and Saddam’s statements that
his army, the guards and the volunteers will slay the aggressors [proved
untrue]. Not a single plane confronted
the enemy.... Obviously, the traitors succumbed
to the devil’s temptation.... The
American Constitution stipulates freedom of opinion and absolute right for
journalists to obtain information.
However, when the American masters realized that information on their
tyranny, brutality, and repression will destroy the masks of lies, they
immediately, without a second thought, killed the [journalists] who conveyed
this information.... The theory of
killing for the sake of killing has been proved and there is no aim other than
JORDAN: “A Crime In
Nahed Hattar maintained in independent, mass-appeal Arabic-language
Al-Arab Al-Yawm (4/9): “The
Americans are going to pay a political price for committing the murder of our
colleague, the martyr Tareq Ayyoub. All
efforts exerted by the American Embassy in Amman to establish relations with
Jordanian journalists died with the death of Tareq. The martyrdom of Tareq Ayyoub is a heinous
crime against Jordanian journalists. The
American invaders have outdone the Nazis and the Zionists by cowardly targeting
representatives of the Arab and international media in Baghdad. Is it enough to say that it is a flagrant and
barbaric violation of international accords that ban the targeting of the media
during wars? And yet, this aggressive
and colonialist war was launched in the first place out of a clear violation of
international legitimacy and of the right-wing recklessness with international
and Arab public opinion.”
“Tareq Ayyoub: A Martyr Of The Battle Of Baghdad”
Chief Editor Taher Udwan contended in independent, mass-appeal
Arabic-language Al-Arab Al-Yawm (4/9):
“The martyrdom of colleague Tareq Ayyoub confirms the fact that the
media is not neutral, and that, particularly in this war, should not be. Tareq Ayyoub, the correspondents of
Al-Jazeera and other Arab satellite stations in Baghdad, are enemies in the eyes
of the invading forces, because they are Arabs and because the public opinion
that they belong to and seek to address is an Arab public opinion.... The fall of Tareq Ayyoub as a martyr at the
hands of the invading forces must push Arab media representatives and the
representatives of Arab satellite stations to take the side of their nation and
of the blood of the martyrs of this nation.
Baghdad today is not much different from Ramallah or Gaza or Hebron or
Jenin or Nablus when they fall under the fire of Israeli bombing. Just as Arab journalists and media
professionals who belong to their nation and their doctrines must not stand
‘neutral or objective’ when covering the crimes of the Israeli occupation in
the West Bank and Gaza, this ‘neutrality or objectivity’ would neither be
understood nor accepted when in it comes to covering the crimes of a foreign
invasion of an Arab country, so that an American General can rule and lays the
foundation for an American-Zionist empire over the lands of Arab and Islam.”
“Tareq’s Blood Is On The Hands Of The Invaders”
Urayb Rintawi wrote in center-left, influential Arabic-language Al-Dustour
(4/9): “The blood of Tareq Ayyoub, who
fell a martyr yesterday, is on the hands of the leaders of the coalition in
London and Washington. No words of
sorrow or apology will do, not ready-made accusations that try to acquit those
responsible for his blood or the blood of hundreds of Iraqis who fell victims
by the bullets of guns and by the shrapnel of the American missile attacks all
“The Enemies Of The Press, The Enemies Of The Truth And Tareq
Ayyoub, The Symbol Of The Noble Profession”
Semi-official, influential Arabic-language Al-Rai
editorialized (4/9): “We did not need
all this terror, targeting and recklessness with which the reporters covering
the American-British invasion of Baghdad were faced, to prove that the invaders
have had it with the media, apart, of course, from that media that is with
them, who abide by their strict and programmed instructions.... For the killers to say that they were shot at
from the Palestine hotel that was targeted by the bombing, while all the
journalists were denying that, is a mark of shame to be added to disgrace that
they afflicted upon themselves when they shed the blood of innocent media
“Tareq Ayyoub: Your Role Harassed Them And So They Killed You”
Sultan Hattab opined in semi-official, influential Arabic-language
Al-Rai (4/9): “Killing our
colleague Tareq Ayyoub is a clear message against the new changes in the Arab
media that are represented by the active Arab satellite stations, such as
Al-Jazeera and Abu Dhabi TVs. What Tareq
Ayyoub said in his last report from Baghdad was sufficient for the circles of
American aggression to kill him....
Tareq exposed them and so they killed him, because whoever is not with
them is their enemy. Bush said that and
now his forces are saying it too.”
Sahar Baasiri stated in moderate, anti-Syrian An-Nahar
(4/9): "The U.S. military spokesman
had no response to a question related to what international reporters were
subjected to yesterday in Baghdad, except that 'we only know the locations of
reporters embedded with us'.... What is
worse than the crime that was committed yesterday against the journalists, is
the U.S. attempts to justify it, in the sense that the U.S. is increasingly
appearing as if it has no human values.
Furthermore, it appears that it does not value this career itself, i.e.
journalism. A mistake? How? The TV
office of Al-Jazeera was shelled, the TV office of Abu-Dhabi was shelled and
Hotel Palestine was shelled. Mistakes do
not occur in this routine fashion....
They don't know where the offices of journalists are located? Of course they do. Al-Jazeera and Abu-Dhabi's TV offices are
close and well known and everyone knows that Hotel Palestine has changed into a
headquarters for Arab and foreign journalists in Baghdad. The U.S. command was informed of the
locations of journalists. The
battlefield is dangerous, but these journalists were in their offices. They were deliberately targeted. They were targeted because they are reporting
the other face of the war, the face American wants hidden. The only face of the war America wants to see
is that which is reported by the reporters embedded with its forces.... The U.S. wanted to destroy this power of
being able to report on the forbidden face of the war."
Bombings Are 100 % American"
Pro-government, Arabic-language Al Alam opined (4/9): "Now, the U.S. Ambassador in Morocco may
propose to her supervisors to present compensations to our colleague
journalists who were killed while on duty, in the service of freedom and democracy.
In fact, no one could trust U.S. official claims that Iraq was behind the
bombing that had targeted those journalists. Aimless bombings in the past were
one hundred percent American and the killing of children and civilians and
destruction of historical sites and popular areas were all American one hundred
percent.... Of course, those who don't
accept bribes in dollars while alive won't accept dollars from the
"Patriot Act Or Death"
Amina Talhimet noted in pro-government, French-language Liberation
(4/9): ”To get hold of Baghdad, the key
city of this 'democratization' folly, the main obstacle is not only Saddam but
also the media that is based in the city. Journalists, who since the beginning
of the war, have given more credible information than their 'embedded'
colleagues. The attempt on the part of the coalition to silence any voice that
is discordant another evidence that freedom is only an empty word for the
leaders of this war. Ferocity of the strike against Baghdad overcomes any sensible
political or military strategy. Sharon's brutality and hatred are
"U.S. Forces Target Journalists: Hunt Of Witnesses"
Jamal Hajjam, Editor-in-chief of pro-government, French-language L’Opinion,
declared (4/9): "Impartial
journalists who cover the war constitute priority targets of U.S. forces.
Within several hours, three journalists were killed. As usual Americans will
mention 'non intentional error' carried by weapons whose precision has always
been underlined. The power logic is the privileged procedure of U.S. decision
makers and through fire and steel they impose their will. All the rest is
SAUDI ARABIA: "Another
Struggle In The Media War"
Riyadh's moderate Al-Jazira editorialized (4/9): "Doubts will arise regarding the motives
behind bombing the international journalists media offices, whether to conceal
what the party is doing, or set up the arena for its ongoing plans, or just to
silence the media from revealing the war facts. These doubts will remain
floating, in addition to other matters that have arisen along with launching
this war.... On the other hand, there
was an insistence on going to war, and an insistence also to silence any one
who tries to oppose the war, or to expose the war's brutality, its high cost,
and high losses, and its stepping over the noble human mind, which values peace
and rejects violence."
"No Matter If It Is A Child, A Woman Or A Journalist"
Riyadh's conservative Al-Riyadh carrried a commentary by
Editor-in-chief Turk Al-Seder saying (4/9):
"Nobody before the U.S. has killed journalists and reporters. The U.S. did so. It has also overstepped
international laws related to human rights and the UN charter governing the
freedom of nations, because it does not want to allow the pen of a journalist
or voice of a broadcaster in any satellite TV channel to report on the
indiscriminate, reckless and irresponsible killings inside the land of
Iraq.... Where are the weapons of mass
destruction in Iraq? Who is actually
conducting the mission of total destruction of human life in Iraq?"
SYRIA: "An Aggravating
Ahmad Dawa commented in government-owned Al-Thawra
(4/9): "With the US failure to
control Baghdad within a short time, the possibility that US forces will fake
announcement of finding WMD in Iraq becomes more likely, as many analysts and
international observers maintain, even saying the US forces might import WMD
into Iraq [for that purpose]....
America, which has violated international legitimacy and was the first
to use WMD, is likely to take this step very soon.... But the U.S. warplanes started targeting
journalists' offices and representatives of news agencies--those who are
conveying the truth about the invading forces' deliberate shelling of
civilians--this will be a prelude for bloodier and more savage U.S. action
against Iraq. The U.S. will use WMD against the Iraqi people whose fierce
resistance might deepen the coalition's impasse so dangerously that America
might find itself under pressure, and, under its illusion of hegemony, might
find itself forced to use these WMD."
TUNISIA: "A War With
Hajer Jeridi wrote in independent French-language Le Temps
(4/9): "In its total illegality,
the war against Iraq could not keep a minimum of ethics.... The work of the media well-received by TV
spectators around the world seems to seriously bother those who want to do
their jobs quietly, far away from outside commentary from 'parasites' that can
cause great embarrassment. By attacking
the journalists, the coalition forces are attacking freedom of information, a
value they brandish as an inalienable right. Journalists are symbols. They are
the eyewitnesses of what is going on in the different Iraqi cities. Their witness,
sometimes harmonious and sometimes discordant, will be very important to the
history books that will review a posteriori the responsibilities in this
war--unless they are not allowed to leave any mark on this conflict. If not,
how can we explain this will to muzzle the media by making attempts on
journalists' lives, the ones whom the coalition forces could not rally to their
Dubai-based business-oriented Arabic-language Al-Bayan
noted (4/9): "It is regrettable to
see the American military spokesman, Frank Thorpe tell CNN that 'we have told
them from the beginning that Baghdad has become a very dangerous place, a war
zone.' This statement reveals the facts
behind the war operations. The shelling
does not take into consideration unarmed civilians, a fact revealing the hidden
face of the war. No one can deny that
what happened was deliberate to hide reality and stop any revelation of what is
occurring in Iraq."
"Has The War Against Reality Begun?"
Semi-official Abu Dhabi-based Arabic-language Al-Ittihad
editorialized (4/9): "It was
interesting to see that the war promised as a clean war has killed a large
number of journalists and photographers with many others wounded.... The tragic bloody scene of the journalists in
Baghdad yesterday opens the door for many allegations about a desire to silence
the voice of truth and prevent the heroic journalists in the battlefield in
Baghdad from transmitting what happens and what tragedies might occur as the
war enters its decisive stage in the streets of the Iraqi capital."
"Turning Off The Lights To Hide The Crime"
Sharjah-based pan-Arab Al-Khaleej observed (4/9): "Targeting journalists in besieged
Baghdad, under fire this very hour, is a new crime that must be added to the
list of crimes committed by the aggression (Coalition forces). It represents part of the larger crime
committed against the Arab people of Iraq before the entire world...a massacre
needs to be committed to allow the aggression to achieve its goals in
Iraq. This massacre needs to be
implemented in complete darkness, and this explains why all lights must be
switched off to avoid further scandals."
CHINA: "U.S. Action
Nothing Short Of A Crime"
Yan Xizao wrote in the official English-language China Daily
(4/10): "If the Americans are truly
serious about their hunt for war criminals, they should have a look in the mirror. The havoc invading US troops wreaked on the
international press in Baghdad on Tuesday was nothing short of a war
crime.... The Pentagon did express
regret over the tragedies. But there was no indication of willingness to assume
liability. Instead, as always, they
tried to evade and transfer the blame to Saddam Hussein.... If the strikes were not aimed at chosen
targets, were the Americans conducting indiscriminative bombings on innocent
civilians?.... American GI's are seeing
their enemies everywhere, but their hysteria is no excuse for indiscriminative
killing. Beyond various American
attempts to explain away their responsibilities, there is the suspicion of a US
intention to silence unfavourable media voices.... Whatever the case, the US military should be
held accountable by international humanitarian law for its attacks on
INDIA: "Usurping The
Left-of-center Mayalayam-language Mathrubhumi said
(4/10): "The attack on Al-Jazeera
TV and Abu Dhabi TV in Baghdad and hotels where journalists stayed proved that
America had a pre-meditated plan to kill truthful reporting.... The truth is America sees journalists also as
its enemies.... America probably wants
to control the dissemination of news from Iraq.
They probably are afraid that these reporters would paint the true
pictures of the war especially the attack on civilians. These moves by America
once again clearly indicate that along with the war it is having a parallel
agenda to usurp the media world. This agenda of America should be thwarted by
not just the fourth estate but by the entire international community."
"Truth As Casualty"
An editorial in the centrist Indian Express
read (4/10): "The Second Gulf
War-like innumerable wars before-has already notched up a long list of
journalists killed in accident or in combat. Many more are said to be missing.
It is, however, the frequent attacks specifically on hotels and offices housing
journalists in Iraq that is worrisome....
Incidents such as these raise two concerns: That independent reporters
are being chastened into subservience and that targets are being finalized with
little thought to the possibility of civilians being put in harm's way.... The war is as much to conquer minds as it is
to mop up territory. The targeting areas of operation of unilaterals-especially
of Arabic language reporters-is bound to fuel suspicion that some trigger-happy
military planners cannot countenance reportage with an anti-US spin. Al
Jazeera.... By targeting reporters, the
U.S.-led coalition stands to lose its bid to win hearts and minds."
"Independent Press, RIP"
The nationalist Hindustan Times declared
(4/10): "An American tank fires on
a Baghdad hotel killing
three journalists and what's the response from
the US military? Sorry, but tough luck. In another American offensive...three
Al-Jazeera journalists were killed. The spokesperson in Washington regretted
the casualties and added in a 'we-told-you-so' tone:.... American arrogance and determination to wrap
up the war quickly have taken care of all that. Tuesday's 'casualties' were by
no means a part of 'collateral damage'. They seem to have resulted from what
one hopes was a blunder of epic proportions.
Or were they meant to silence voices giving a perspective of the war that
Washington doesn't want the world--and more importantly, Americans back
home...to see?.... So who do we believe
in this information smog? Quite clearly, the US has much to gain if it manages
to stop embarrassing or downright 'bad' press.
The management of the information war has become a higher priority than
ever before.... The non-embedded
journalists who died on Tuesday were standing in a dangerous no-man's land that
was neither 'with us nor with them'. The American action against
them--inadvertently or otherwise--may spell the death of 'independent
witnessing of war'."
The centrist national News observed (4/10): "The death in Baghdad of an Al-Jazeera
reporter and two other cameramen was no accident. All three were killed when
the American troops fired on the Palestine Hotel, where foreign journalists are
known to be staying. The flimsy excuse by the American commander of retaliating
to firing from the hotel lobby has been debunked by the journalists present
there, who have also asked why the upper floors were targeted if the
provocation had come from the lobby. Al-Jazeera, in fact, has been in the
American crosshairs for a long time. The wanton murder of its reporter, Tareq
Ayub, follows a number of earlier 'shots across the bow' targeting its
vehicles, offices and reporters. The American grouse against Al-Jazeera is that
the Arabic TV channel exaggerates Iraqi successes and focuses unduly on the
human cost of the conflict. These 'charges' seem bizarre considering that a
whole battery of international media networks is working overtime to project
Anglo-American successes, even manufacturing these when needed, and purging all
the time the horrible war of its inevitably tragic human cost.... Recalling the moral huff in which Britain and
the U.S. had unfurled the otherwise forgotten Geneva Conventions when Al-Jazeera
had shown picture of their PoWs, it is ironic that they should themselves now
be violating international law.... The
reality is that the U.S. is afraid of any reporting of the horrendous human
cost its massive bombardment of Iraqi cities is exacting and would do anything
to stop it--even killing journalists."
"Killing Of Journalists In Baghdad"
Second-largest Urdu-language Nawa-e-Waqt
contended (4/10): "The Pentagon has
offered token condolence to the families of journalists killed in Baghdad. These crocodile tears shed by the U.S. cannot
wash away the crime it has committed. No amount of condemnation of this
incident is sufficient. The Nawa-e-Waqt
Group offers heartfelt sympathies to the families of journalists who became
victims of American madness in Baghdad and praises them for their professional
courage and sacrifice."
"Killing Of Journalists: A Shameful Aspect
Of The Coalition War"
Popular Urdu-language Din (4/10): "It is unfortunate that those who kill
journalists in this manner strut around the world as the sole champions of
freedom of thought and expression. The
killing of journalists shows how much freedom they allow journalists to
have. One crime of these journalists is
said to be that they had started sending
out factual reports of civilian casualties at the hands of the coalition
troops.... In short, these journalists
lost their lives fulfilling their responsibilities and serving a higher
cause. One shameless aspect of the
unlawful and immoral war imposed by the coalition on the Iraqis is that where
they targeted civilian areas for bombing, they did not spare the journalists
"A Cowardly Attack On Press Freedom"
Center-right Urdu-language Pakistan
opined (4/10): "Targeting civilian
areas and journalists is shameful in the extreme and worth condemning. The UN must take note of the ploys the
coalition is using to meet its objectives and conceal its crimes. In this
connection, it is not wrong to say targeting journalists deliberately
constitutes a war crime. Protests by journalists around the world at this
barbarity are but natural. Such open
violations of international rules and regulations will increase hatred for the
invaders around the world."
"One Side Of The Picture"
Karachi-based right-wing pro-Islamic unity Urdu-language Jasarat
opined (4/9): "Americans' image of
human feeling, morality, decency, civilization and adhering to the principles
of war has been severely tarnished at each and every step in Iraq. The bombing
by the U.S. on the hotel where different journalists were stationed could not
be termed as an accident. This is a
deliberate and well thought out attack.
The attack on the Al-Jazeera television team was carried out after both
the U.S. and Britain had launched a campaign against the channel since the
beginning of their aggression. This is the punishment for showing American POWs
and bodies of American troops on the channel."
Yaounde-based pro-opposition French-language Mutations
commented (4/9): "American soldiers
fire on everything that moves. The courageous Qatar TV was bombed in
Baghdad.... Al-Jazeera is now going to
compete with CNN elsewhere, but not in Iraq...which became this week the 51st
state of the American federation....
With the refusal of the Bush administration to comply with international
laws under U.N. authority, it is clear that the second war in the Gulf will
inevitably be a dirty war."
SOUTH AFRICA: "The
Media And War"
The liberal Natal Witness commented (4/10): "Lives are inevitably being
lost.... Alarmingly this now includes as
many as 12 media personnel.... The media
has an extraordinarily difficult task in covering any military conflict
Moreover there is a limit to what can or should be conveyed though the media on
the horrific actualities of war.... It
will always be tricky in such situations to get the reporting right.... The human shields have left and come home;
the reporters have remained."
"Iraq War Coverage Has Tragic Cost"
The liberal Herald editorialized (4/10): "A unique feature of the Iraq war has
been the intensive and extensive coverage by the media.... Inevitably, this has come at a price. The tragic deaths of newsmen...has starkly
brought home the fact that the danger faced by newsmen is not confined to the
front line.... The appetite of modern,
hi-tech media is insatiable, and feeding this appetite has exposed an unprecedented
number of journalists to the danger of war."
"Democracy A Dirty Word"
The liberal Daily Dispatch declared (4/10): "The deliberate targeting of journalists
and civilians in wartime is a shocking and extreme contravention of
international law. To accuse the
Americans of what amounts to war crimes of this nature would also be
extreme.... It's true that there is a
war going on and that journalists involved must expect the danger that goes
with that. It is also true that in a
chaotic war situation there will be civilian and other casualties. But there is an obligation on the forces
involved to limit such casualties....
The war on Iraq is giving 'democracy' a bad name."
ARGENTINA: "An Action
Aimed At Concealing The Truth"
Marcelo Cantelmi wrote in leading Clarin (4/9): "This distortion was powered by the
actual conflict due to the underlying illegitimacy of this war. But the
paradoxical issue is that this is one of the conflicts with the largest number
of journalists on the battlefield, and with a technology that allows immediate
access to what's taking place in the front line. This is so because the
Pentagon took for granted that this war would be short, and that the Iraqi
people would quickly turn against the Iraqi tyrant, and would receive the
liberation troops with flowers.... The
unexpected and stubborn resistance of Iraq...made the coalition lose all
scruples in their effort to achieve, without delay, their initial goal of
taking over the country and eliminating Saddam.... The allied command meant to control a good
portion of the press 'embedded' in the military campaigns.... But a legion of journalists evaded these
controls and installed in Baghdad to report in an independent way.... The recent attack by coalition troops against
three journalists was precisely against this group of independent reporters...
The immediate perception is that it was a deliberate action poorly
counter-attacked by the allied command, which resorted to the idea of
self-defense at an alleged attack of snipers, an issue that was outrageously
denied by a group of correspondents....
The fact that these incidents are taking place in what seems to be the
final stage of this war is no minor issue. Particularly when everything
indicates that the final surge will face a mountain of dead bodies.... The strategy seems to be aimed at eliminating
the group of journalists who are covering this Gulf conflict without
"'War Is Dangerous,' Says The Pentagon"
Ana Baron opined in leading Clarin (4/9): "First they said the attack against the
Palestine Hotel, where the international press in Baghdad is located, was an
accident; then they explained that coalition tanks had been attacked by snipers
posted in the hotel. The truth is the Pentagon managed to convince no one.
Yesterday, in Washington, there were waves of requests from different
governments and organizations (defending press freedom) to investigate the
episode.... How is it possible that, on
the same day, allies attack independent Arab TV Al Jazeera, Abu Dhabi's TV and
the Palestine Hotel, this is to say, independent press? Even if there had been a sniper on the
roof-top of the building, as the Pentagon says, is it legitimate for the forces
to fire back at a hotel where everybody knew there were independent journalists?.... The U.S. press covered the attack against the
international press reflecting the Pentagon's viewpoint."
Business-oriented El Financiero held (4/9): "If there were not enough elements to
criticize the war against Iraq already, the number of casualties and the fact
that journalists have become a target for the coalition--led by President
Bush--confirms that world public opinion is correct when it rejects this
adventure, where the goals have been confused, if there ever were any
goals. Operation Liberation contradicts
itself; it forgets about human rights.
It is covered with the blood of innocent people, even with 'friendly
fire' that exterminates freedom of expression when searching for war plunders,
where the brightest jewels are oil and a geostrategic position. Saddam Hussein's perversity and justice are
secondary. The fact that a journalist
has died every 48 hours during the past 20 days of this war is painful, and the
fact that the 'friendly fire' slaughters society and liberties is painful as
“Bush, A Murderer Of Journalists”
Left-of-center La Jornada maintained
(4/9): “American forces murdered three
journalists yesterday, wounded another four, and destroyed the offices of
Al-Jazeera and Abu Dhabi Television; these attacks are unjustifiable and
criminal, they can be regarded as terrorist attacks because they are not isolated
actions, but decisive steps by Bush to impose silence on any information that
does not fit his official propaganda--the American and British military
commands provide information to the embedded journalists who travel with the
aggressors--Bush also tries to hide atrocities perpetrated in Iraq and chases
away international journalists who stay in the devastated Iraqi capital. On
Sept. 11, the Bush administration declared war on an uncertain enemy called
international terrorism and also against the practice of professional, critical
and honest journalism. Washington authorities have acted to silence journalists
and to bind them to official discourse.”
GUATEMALA: “The Other
Victims Of War”
Conrado Alonso observed in leading, moderate Prensa
Libre (4/8): "The number of
deaths in the armed conflict in Iraq is rising.
Soldiers...and war correspondents of different nationalities and diverse
media outlets have died.... When a
journalist becomes a victim while fulfilling his duties...it is our obligation
to recognize that he or she died to be able to tell us about the war. We must honor these people who undoubtedly