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February 03, 2005

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Comments

Rony

The confusion deepens.

-Rony

Glen Wishard

If someone had evidence about the murder of a journalistic colleague and is witholding this information from the authorities, then they show a poor sense of professional solidarity, not to mention criminal negligence.

What we have seen is people playing around with speculations and insinuations, and when challenged on the facts they insist they are only talking about accidental deaths. This what Eason Jordan has done. Maybe he doesn't appreciate the seriousness of such accusations. Or maybe, in time when Walter Cronkite can accuse Karl Rove of collaborating with Osama bin Laden, journalistic standards have gone out the window.

Steve Rhodes

You can watch the Democracy Now interview with Danny and see that segment. WMD opened Friday at a couple of theaters in NYC.

There was a major outcry in international media over the attack on the Palestine Hotel (which the US military knew was a place media were staying) which killed two journalists.

But there wasn't much coverage in the US press beyond the immediate reporting that day and brief reports later.

This International Federation of Journalists page on an April 2004 protest has some info and a link to a report. It may explain the positive reaction to the comment by Europeans.

As was mentioned in another comment, The Control Room (whcih is out on DVD) covers a reporter from Al-Jazeera who was killed. Again, the US military knew that media were in the building.

There is a Salon article, The "unconscionable" death of Mazen Dana.

And there is a piece by Rodney Palmer who co-produced a Frontline/World story, In the Line of FIre, on the danger journalist face covering the Israeli-Palestinian conflict which featured Mazen Dana.

I don't think they targeted media, but they shouldn't have attacked those buildings or shot Mazen Dana. And there should have been better investigations of why they were attacked both by the military and the US press.

Sisyphus

The Committee to Protect Journalists also did an investigation and critiqued the redacted Army report made available. (The report is also available there.)

Chris Sandvick

David Zucchino, a national correspondent for the LA Times, covers this incident extensively in his new book Thunder Run. His account in no way supports the conspiracy theory being offered by Schechtner. He writes "The crews had been warned that a forward observer had spotted American tanks and was calling in motars. Motar rounds had already exploded near the tanks. Enemy fire was coming from the opposite bank. Cut off from new reports since leaving Kuwait almost three weeks earlier, the crews had never heard of the Palestine." (p 301).

Chris Sandvick

The striking thing about these accounts is how stunningly ignorant these people are of combat. It makes me wonder if their only reference is movies. They really believe that only a man with weapon is a threat when the reality is an artillery observer with a radio and a pair of binoculars is a far greater threat. Nakhoul clearly has not made any effort at education even after getting shelled. Assuming that their purpose here is an honest one.

Chris Sandvick

Err... except Zucchino knows how to spell mortar. Sorry for the typo's.

Blanknoone

I'm disappointed that you fell for the hype and distortions.

It is very clear that the soldiers mistook the journalists for an Iraqi artillery spotter they knew was in the area. They go on and on about how no one was shooting from the hotel. Are these war zone reporters so ignorant of the military to not know how devastating a spotter calling in the 'King of Battle'--Field Artillery --can be? Are they so ignorant of what actually happened in the incident in which they were involved? Or are the deliberately distorting it?

Here is a detailed link:
http://ics.leeds.ac.uk/papers/vp01.cfm?outfit=pmt&requesttimeout=500&folder=34&paper=250

The CPJ is out of line too...they at least recognize that it was an honest mistake, but said it was 'avoidable' They think that the military is responsible for keeping track of journalists operating behind enemy lines. News Flash: The military should not target you. And they don't. But they don't have any obligation to use their resources to keep track of you, brief every soldier where you are, or aren't. They have better things to do, like fight and win our nations wars. Welcome to the battlefield.

Only so much information is valuable...too much and information overload makes it all useless. Keeping track of journalists is information that pushes much more important out. It is a mistake to sacrifice soldiers lives (the consequence of pushing out more relevant info) to try to babysit everyone with a notepad.

If you want to make sure that the US military won't accidentally shoot at you, embed. Or stay off the battlefield.

This is a minor point, but even the wordsmith's choice of words is wrong and inflammitory. The hotel was not 'shelled' The tank that fired on the hotel was being shelled. Shelled specifically means indirect fire. The hotel was shot. It was a 120mm smoothbore cannon, but it was shot (direct fire), not shelled (indirect fire). There is a big diffence. If the hotel were hit while being shelled, the building would have likely come down killing all 100 journalists. An artillery round (designed to devastate as large an area as possible) packs a whole heck of a lot more wallop than a round designed to burn a small hole through tank armor.

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