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US military 'brutalised' journalists

Boss Hog

TRIBE Member
US military 'brutalised' journalists

News agency demands inquiry after American forces in Iraq allegedly treated camera crew as enemy personnel

Luke Harding in Baghdad
Tuesday January 13, 2004
The Guardian

The international news agency Reuters has made a formal complaint to the Pentagon following the "wrongful" arrest and apparent "brutalisation" of three of its staff this month by US troops in Iraq.

The complaint followed an incident in the town of Falluja when American soldiers fired at two Iraqi cameramen and a driver from the agency while they were filming the scene of a helicopter crash.

The US military initially claimed that the Reuters journalists were "enemy personnel" who had opened fire on US troops and refused to release them for 72 hours.

Although Reuters has not commented publicly, it is understood that the journalists were "brutalised and intimidated" by US soldiers, who put bags over their heads, told them they would be sent to Guantanamo Bay, and whispered: "Let's have sex."

At one point during the interrogation, according to the family of one of the staff members, a US soldier shoved a shoe into the mouth one of the Iraqis.

The US troops, from the 82nd Airborne Division, based in Falluja, also made the blindfolded journalists stand for hours with their arms raised and their palms pressed against the cell wall.

"They were brutalised, terrified and humiliated for three days," one source said. "It was pretty grim stuff. There was mental and physical abuse."

He added: "It makes you wonder what happens to ordinary Iraqis."

The US military has so far refused to apologise and has bluntly told Reuters to "drop" its complaint. Major General Charles Swannack, the commander of the 82nd Airborne Division, claimed that two US soldiers had provided sworn evidence that they had come under fire. He admitted, however, that soldiers sometimes had to make "snap judgments".

"More often than not they are right," he said.

On January 2 Reuters' Baghdad-based cameraman Salem Ureibi, Falluja stringer Ahmed Mohammed Hussein al-Badrani and driver Sattar Jabar al-Badrani turned up at the crash site where a US Kiowa Warrior helicopter had just been shot down, killing one soldier.

The journalists were all wearing bulletproof jackets clearly marked "press". They drove off after US soldiers who were securing the scene opened fire on their Mercedes, but were arrested shortly afterwards.

The soldiers also detained a fourth Iraqi, working for the American network NBC. No weapons were found, the US military admitted.

Last night the nephew of veteran Reuters driver and latterly cameraman Mr Ureibi said that US troops had forced his uncle to strip naked and had ordered him to put his shoe in his mouth.

"He protested that he was a journalist but they stuck a shoe in his mouth anyway. They also hurt his leg. One of the soldiers told him: 'If you don't shut up we'll fuck you.'"

He added: "His treatment was very shameful. He's very sad. He has also had hospital treatment because of his leg."

Last August a US soldier shot dead another Reuters cameraman, Mazen Dana, after mistaking his camera for a rocket launcher while he filmed outside a Baghdad prison.

An internal US investigation later cleared him of wrongdoing. During the war last April another of the agency's cameramen, Ukrainian Taras Protswuk, was killed after a US tank fired a shell directly into his room in the Palestine Hotel in Baghdad, from where he had been filming.

Last night Simon Walker, a spokesman at Reuters head office in London, confirmed that the agency had made a formal complaint to the Pentagon last Friday.

He said: "We have also complained to the US military. We have complained about the detention [of our staff] and their treatment in detention. We hope it will be dealt with expeditiously."

A spokeswoman for the US military's coalition press and information centre in Baghdad hung up when the Guardian asked her to comment.

The top US military spokesman in Iraq, Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt, later admitted that they had received a formal complaint and that there was an on-going investigation into the incident.

Journalists based in Baghdad have expressed concern that the US military is likely to treat other media employees in Iraq as targets.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,2763,1121981,00.html
 

~atp~

TRIBE Member
What did you expect? It's the fucking military, the epitomization of humanity's sweaty hold onto it's cromagnon past.
 

derek

TRIBE Member
what ironic though is that press have to fear the us military more than they do iragi insurgents. who the hell mistakes a camera for a rocket launcher? are they that poorly trained.

peace,

derek
 

Boss Hog

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by ~atp~
What did you expect? It's the fucking military, the epitomization of humanity's sweaty hold onto it's cromagnon past.

I posted it to make a point to yet another moron who insisted there was no conspiracy to silence the media in Iraq back a few months ago.

Other than that, no it's not news.
 

~atp~

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by Boss Hog
I posted it to make a point to yet another moron who insisted there was no conspiracy to silence the media in Iraq back a few months ago.

Other than that, no it's not news.
haha i know bosshog, i was just being rhetorical. ;)
 
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organik

TRIBE Member
This doesn't surprise me... Why would the US military want the Iraqi press to have access to what is really going on. So they can tell the truth?

Nah, they ain't having that.
 

Ditto Much

TRIBE Member
I'd care if I held journalists in any value. For the most part they are just profiteers of human suffering. Besides they went into a war zone knowing damn well what to expect.

These aren't red cross workers, these are the people who make money off of others suffering. For every journalist thats there for a real reason there are two dozen that are just greedy fucks trying to get a nice foriegn post.
 

OTIS

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by Ditto Much
I'd care if I held journalists in any value. For the most part they are just profiteers of human suffering. Besides they went into a war zone knowing damn well what to expect.

These aren't red cross workers, these are the people who make money off of others suffering. For every journalist thats there for a real reason there are two dozen that are just greedy fucks trying to get a nice foriegn post.
That's an extremely narrow view of journalism. To ignore the historically impactful role they have as watchdogs of those who perpetuate the human suffering is sad.

More related to this topic, I remember an Iraq documentary that was posted in this forum had a clip where marines opened fire on a crowd of civilians, basically a man fell dead from the bullet fire about 5 feet away from the camera.
 

Subsonic Chronic

TRIBE Member
'US lied about deaths of journalists in the Palestine Hotel'
By Kim Sengupta
16 January 2004



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.

Reporters Sans Frontières (RSF) accused US authorities of concocting lies to hide what had happened on 8 April last year, and a subsequent official "investigation" was nothing more than a whitewash. They said the Bush administration must bear some responsibilities for the deaths as US forces entered the Iraqi capital, as well as the "cover-up" which followed.

The US government is accused of "ignoring the key to the tragedy". Despite information being available to the Pentagon, the report said "the soldiers in the field were never told that a large number of journalists were in the Palestine Hotel. If they had known they would not have fired. When they did know, they gave and received instructions and took precautions to ensure the hotel was not fired on again".

The RSF decided that the attack was not a deliberate attack on the media, and the gunner who fired the shell, Sergeant Shawn Gibson, and his commander, Captain Philip Wolford, of the 3rd Infantry Division, should not be held responsible for the deaths of the cameramen Taras Protsuyk of Reuters and Jose Couso of the Spanish television station Telecinco, and the wounding of Samia Nakhoul, a Reuters reporter and photographer, and the photographer Faleh Kheiber. The two men had not been told that 150 journalists were in the hotel, and their immediate superiors, the battalion commander Lieutenant Colonel Philip DeCamp and the brigade commander Colonel David Perkins, were similarly lacking information.

The report charges General Buford Blount, their commander, of bearing a "heavy responsibility for not providing the necessary information that would have prevented the deaths of the journalists".

The report said: "It is inconceivable that the massive presence of journalists at the Palestine Hotel ... could have passed unnoticed. The question is whether this information was withheld deliberately, because of misunderstanding or by criminal negligence."

Pentagon officials initially claimed the tank had fired in response to enemy fire. Colin Powell, the US Secretary of State, said the use of force was "justified" as the soldiers had responded to "hostile fire". Later, the official version was changed to "the soldiers who fired the shell were seeking to 'neutralise' an Iraqi 'spotter'".

http://news.independent.co.uk/world/middle_east/story.jsp?story=481715
 
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