Independent Journalists Targeted by American Military

by Azreel | March 13th, 2003

Apparently the U.S. in it’s quest to win “freedom” by waging a preemptive war against a non provocative nation, has decided to begin targeting unarmed journalists as enemy combatants. Unless of course they are controlled by the U.S. military and incorporated into a fighting unit.


 The Pentagon has threatened to fire on the satellite uplink positions of independent journalists in Iraq, according to veteran BBC war correspondent, Kate Adie. In an interview with Irish radio, Ms. Adie said that questioned about the consequences of such potentially fatal actions, a senior Pentagon officer had said: “Who cares.. ..They’ve been warned.”  According to Ms. Adie, who twelve years ago covered the last Gulf War, the Pentagon attitude is: “entirely hostile to the the free spread of information.”

“I am enormously pessimistic of the chance of decent on-the-spot reporting, as the war occurs,” she told Irish national broadcaster, Tom McGurk on the RTE1 Radio “Sunday Show.”

  Ms. Adie made the startling revelations during a discussion of media freedom issues in the likely upcoming war in Iraq. She also warned that the Pentagon is vetting journalists according to their stance on the war, and intends to take control of US journalists’ satellite equipment –in order to control access to the airwaves.

Another guest on the show, war author Phillip Knightley, reported that the Pentagon has also threatened they: “may find it necessary to bomb areas in which war correspondents are attempting to report from the Iraqi side.”

  Transcript follows below.

Audio of this very frank discussion of the problems facing reporters in Iraq.
Guests: Kate Adie, BBC; Phillip Knightley, author of The First Casualty, a history of war correspondents and propaganda; Chris Hedges, award winning human rights journalist, and former Irish Times Editor Connor Brady on the Sunday Show, RTE Radio1 9th March, 2003.

K. Adie
Realplayer      3 mins
Listen full Gulf media freedom segment Audio
26 minutes[ Realplayer] Links valid until 16 March
Tom McGurk:
” Now, Kate Adie, you join us from the BBC in London. Thank you very much for going to all this trouble on a Sunday morning to come and join us. I suppose you are watching with a mixture of emotions this war beginning to happen, because you are not going to be covering it.”
Kate Adie:
” Oh I will be. And what actually appalls me is the difference between twelve years ago and now. I’ve seen a complete erosion of any kind of acknowledgment that reporters should be able to report as they witness.”

” The Americans… and I’ve been talking to the Pentagon …take the attitude which is entirely hostile to the free spread of information.”

” I was told by a senior officer in the Pentagon, that if uplinks –that is the television signals out of… Bhagdad, for example– were detected by any planes …electronic media… mediums, of the military above Bhagdad… they’d be fired down on. Even if they were journalists ..’ Who cares! ‘ said.. [inaudible] ..”

Tom McGurk: “…Kate …sorry Kate ..just to underline that. Sorry to interrupt you. Just to explain for our listeners. Uplinks is where you have your own satellite telephone method of distributing information.”
Kate Adie: ” The telephones and the television signals.”
Tom McGurk: ” And they would be fired on? ”
Kate Adie: ” Yes. They would be ‘targeted down,’
said the officer.”
Tom McGurk: ” Extraordinary ! ”

Listen full Gulf Media Freedom segment Audio

26 minutes[ Realplayer]
Links valid until 16 March

Kate Adie: ” Shameless! ”

” He said..
Well… they know this …
they’ve been warned
.’ ”

” This is threatening freedom of information, before you even get to a war.”

“The second thing is there was a massive news blackout imposed.”

“In the last Gulf war, where I was one of the pool correspondents with the British Army. We effectively had very, very light touch when it came to any kind of censorship.”

” We were told that anything which was going to endanger troops lives which we understood we shouldn’t broadcast. But other than that, we were relatively free.”

” Unlike our American colleagues, who immediately left their pool, after about 48 hours, having just had enough of it.”

And this time the Americans are: a) Asking journalists who go with them, whether they are… have feelings against the war. And therefore if you have views that are skeptical, then you are not to be acceptable.”

” Secondly, they are intending to take control of the Americans technical equipment …those uplinks and satellite phones I was talking about. And control access to the airwaves.”

” And then on top of everything else, there is now a blackout (which was imposed, during the last war, at the beginning of the war), …ordered by one Mr. Dick Cheney, who is in charge of this.”

” I am enormously pessimistic of the chance of decent on-the-spot reporting, as the war occurs. You will get it later.”

Controlling the media
By Kalyani, OneWorld South Asia
The RSF tribute coincides with a report from the World Association of Newspapers (WAN) on the “alarming” number of journalists killed or imprisoned this year and on the rise in press censorship and repression in many countries.
“Several European countries and the United States are among the countries where journalists have been killed,” WAN said in its review of press freedom this week. “The events of September 11 were raising concerns of increasing censorship in the United States and elsewhere,” it said.
Fifty-six journalists have been killed so far this year, compared to the 53 who were killed in all of 2000. Many of the deaths have occurred in Latin America.
The report on mounting threats to the media comes in the wake of a global outcry on attacks against the press in the South Asian Muslim nation of Bangladesh. A journalist covering widespread attacks on members of the country’s minority Hindu community was arrested last week for possessing “inflammatory information” which could “jeopardize the stability of the country.” In a letter to Prime Minister Khaleda Zia, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) called for the immediate release of Shahriar Kabir. The Editors Guild of India and RSF backed up the call.
“As an organization of journalists dedicated to the defense of our colleagues around the world, CPJ urges your government to drop all charges against Shahriar Kabir immediately,” said CPJ.
“This decision runs counter to your [Bangladesh National] party’s recent electoral promises, which committed you not to use emergency laws against the press,” RSF general secretary Robert Ménard said in a letter to interior minister Altaf Hossain Chowdhury. But while Kabir’s arrest is being seen as part of a widening clampdown on the Bangladesh press in recent weeks, WAN reported that China and Burma were the worst offenders in Asia, a region which saw the highest number of incidents of journalists being harassed or jailed. The Paris-based organization also stressed the need for a “serious defense of the right to expression in countries where such freedom is often taken for granted.” Journalists have been killed in the Basque region of Spain and in Northern Ireland, it pointed out.

Press Freedom

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