- js reader version
- view hidden posts
- tags and related articles
by America Firster
Wednesday, Nov. 05, 2003 at 9:12 AM
U.S. Military Upholds TV Cover Ban on Iraq Coffins
Of course the JINSA (Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs)/PNAC (Project for the New American Century) Neocons at the Pentagon don't want the coffins (of dead US soldiers returning from Iraq) shown so that they can go forward with their "protect Israel at all cost" agenda:
U.S. Military Upholds TV Cover Ban on Iraq Coffins
18 minutes ago - Reuters
Nov. 3, 2003
By Erik Kirschbaum
BERLIN (Reuters) - The U.S. military said Monday it was sticking to a policy forbidding television camera crews and photographers from filming coffins of soldiers killed in Iraq at a U.S. air base in southwestern Germany.
Officials at Ramstein, a major U.S. air base which serves as a transfer point, had allowed media access in the past to honor guard ceremonies and transfers of American-flag covered coffins onto U.S.-bound military transport planes. But rules banning coverage were strictly enforced just before the Iraq war began.
While U.S. officials say the policy was created out of respect for relatives, others criticize the lack of media access, arguing its aim is to prevent the public from seeing large numbers of coffins that could turn public opinion against the war.
"You can argue both sides," said one U.S. official who asked not to be identified. "Some say Americans need to see this, this is factual and the public needs to see (the coffins). Yet you also think of the mom of a killed soldier and the trauma of seeing television pictures of her son being repatriated."
Journalists seeking access to Ramstein to film coffins of 15 Americans killed Sunday in Iraq when their helicopter was shot down were told that Department of Defense policy was still "No." Only coverage of injured soldiers was permitted.
"The D.O.D. policy is that there is no media coverage of deceased military personnel returning to or departing from Ramstein Air Force base or Dover Air Force base," said Maj. Bill Bigelow, U.S. European command spokesman in Stuttgart.
A Defense Department official denied there was any censorship and said the purpose of the policy was to protect the privacy of families "during their times of greatest loss and grief." The rule has been in effect since 1991 and was reaffirmed in March, he said.
However in recent years the rule was relaxed and television journalists in Germany were able to cover honor guard ceremonies, including the transfer of coffins of sailors killed in an attack on the U.S.S. Cole and the war in Afghanistan.
"During 'Enduring Freedom' the D.O.D. did make some exceptions in the policy," said Major Mike Young, public affairs chief for the 86th airlift wing in Ramstein.
"Since 'Iraqi Freedom' started the D.O.D. said we are going to enforce the policy. For the past year we haven't done any (media coverage) on remains."
The corpses of most of the 250 American servicemen killed in Iraq have passed through Ramstein since the war began. In some cases after the seven-hour flight from Iraq they are transferred to another plane for an eight-hour flight to Dover.
"We were a bit surprised by the sudden ban (on covering coffins)," said Andy Eckardt, a producer based in Mainz for NBC who covered about five such transfers there in recent years. "But we follow the regulations. What can I do? It's the military. They own the base.
Ramadan Revenge - A Message Sent and a Lesson Learned
by Robert Fisk
Understanding the brain. That's what you have to do in a guerrilla war. Find out how it works, what it's trying to do.
Ramadan? An attack on US headquarters in Baghdad and six suicide bombings, all at the start of Ramadan? Thirty-four dead and 200 wounded? Where have I heard those statistics before?
And how could they be so well co-ordinated - not sophisticated, perhaps, but well-timed, down to the last second? And why the Red Cross?
I knew that building, admired the way in which the International Red Cross staff refused to associate themselves with the American occupation - even at the cost of their lives, because the guards outside their Baghdad headquarters carried no guns.
So here's the answer to question one. Algeria. After the Algerian Government in 1991 banned democratic elections that would have brought the Islamic Salvation Front to power, a growing Muslim revolt turned into a blood-curdling battle between the Islamic Armed Group - many of its adherents cut their battle teeth in Afghanistan - and a brutal Government army and police force. Within three years, the Islamists - aided, it seems, by army intelligence officers - were perpetrating massacres against the villagers of what was called the "Blida triangle", a three-cornered territory around the Islamist city of Blida outside Algiers.
And the worst atrocities - the beheading of children, the raping and throat-cutting of women, the slaughter of policemen - were committed at the start of Ramadan.
At Ramadan - newspapers like to call it the "holy fasting month", which is accurate up to a point - Muslim emotions are heightened.
In these most blessed of days, a Muslim feels that he or she must do something important so that God will listen to him or her.
There is nothing in the Koran about violence in Ramadan or, for that matter, suicide bombers - any more than there is anything in the New Testament urging Christians to carry out the genocide or ethnic cleansing at which they have become experts in the past 200 years - but Sunni Wahabi believers have often combined holy war with the "message", the "dawa", during Ramadan.
So what was the message? In Baghdad, the political message of the weekend was simple.
It told Iraqis that the Americans cannot control Iraq; more importantly, it told Americans that they cannot control Iraq.
Even more important, it told Iraqis they shouldn't work for the Americans. Who wants to be an Iraqi policeman this morning?
It also acknowledged America's new rules of combat: kill the enemy leaders.
The United States killed Saddam's two sons (and grandson).
It has boasted of killing al Qaeda members in Afghanistan and Yemen, just as Israel kills Palestinians in Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
So was it by chance that the Black Hawk helicopter shot down in Iraq was hit over Tikrit just after Paul Wolfowitz had passed through town?
And the assault on the al-Rashid Hotel - a far more efficient version of the rocket attack more than six weeks ago - almost killed Wolfowitz. He was "a room away" from one of the missile explosions.
The architect of the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq was almost assassinated by America's enemies. Did they know where he was sleeping in the hotel? Given the number of Iraqi staff in the al-Rashid, probably.
And then there is the Red Cross, the last neutral humanitarian organisation - after the double suicide attack on the UN - which might have provided some communication between the US and its antagonists.
Now it, too, has been smashed.
Some of America's enemies may come from other Arab countries, but most of the military opposition to America's presence comes from Iraqi Sunnis - not from Saddam "remnants", "diehards" or "deadenders" (the Paul Bremer cover-up titles for a real and growing Iraqi resistance), but from men who in many cases hated Saddam.
They don't work "for" al Qaeda. They don't work for Mullah Omar or Osama bin Laden.
But they have learned their own unique version of history. Attack your enemies in the holy month of Ramadan. Learn from the war in Algeria. And the war in Afghanistan.
Learn the lessons of America's "war on terror". Go for the jugular. "Bring'em on." Kill the leadership. You're with us or against us, collaborator or patriot. That was the message of yesterday's bloodbath in Baghdad.
Sunday, November 2, 2003 (SF Chronicle)
A reporter who thinks objective journalism is a synonym for government
Jonathan Curiel, Chronicle Staff Writer
Robert Fisk is used to readers' derisive letters. Usually he ignores
like the one last month from Atlanta that said his article about dead
Iraqis was as "appalling" and "subversive" as a speech by Osama bin
For the piece in question, Fisk -- a foreign correspondent with the
paper the Independent -- interviewed families of Iraqi civilians who've
been killed (by thieves, robbers, revenge-seekers and unknown
since American and British forces deposed Saddam Hussein. In typical
fashion, the article is well reported, nicely written -- and full of
polemics, aimed in this case at U.S. and British authorities for
"the daily slaughter of Iraq's innocents" (his article estimates 10, 000
civilian deaths in five months) and creating an environment that's as
for Iraqis as it was under Hussein.
"The occupation powers, the 'Provisional Coalition Authority,' love
statistics when they are useful," Fisk wrote. "They can tell you the
number of newly re-opened schools, newly appointed doctors and the
previous day's oil production in seconds. The daily slaughter of Iraq's
innocents, needless to say, is not among their figures."
Objective journalism? Not a bit.
Fisk doesn't believe in the concept, calling it a specious idea that,
practiced by American reporters, produces dull and predictable writing
weighed down by obfuscating comments from official government sources.
In the world of Robert Fisk, there's a holy template for how to
from the Middle East, Afghanistan and other hot spots: Give readers a
"human" look at unfolding events, put yourself in the story (Fisk pieces
inevitably use "I" a lot, as in "I came to the conclusion . . ."), don't
bog it down with background that readers should know and pepper every
piece with a critical eye on the "why" of things. Why are so many
residents dying under U.S. occupation? Why are American officials
underplaying the sabotage of Iraq's oil pipelines? Why are average
willing to commit suicide-bombings against American soldiers?
Fisk, a brilliant man who has a Ph.D. in political science from
College in Ireland, thinks he knows all the answers and so he never
hesitates to finger-point in stories. Fisk's editors at the Independent
approve of this approach -- as do Fisk's legions of fans, many of whom
live in the Bay Area, where his dispatches from Baghdad, Beirut and
elsewhere are devoured like sacred writs for their insight, edge and
Fisk is based in Lebanon. He regularly flies to the Bay Area to gives
speeches for causes he believes in (such as the Middle East Children's
Alliance). In person, Fisk is a surprising mixture of funny and absolute
-- as if God had cloned Michael Moore and Noam Chomsky into a single,
"It's our job (as journalists) to challenge the centers of power, and
describe with our own vividness the tragedies and injustice and
viciousness of the world, and to try and name the bad guys," Fisk says
an interview in San Francisco. "American journalists won't say what I
say. I think the New York Times should be called, 'American officials
say.' At least, you'd know what you were reading. If journalism is about
writing (stories) that look like government reports, then I'll go and do
gardening or something."
Fisk's critics believe he's a journalistic provocateur who's
anti-United States and anti-Israel. But Fisk is perhaps Britain's most
acclaimed foreign correspondent. He has won the British Press Awards'
International Journalist of the Year honor (the equivalent of the
Prize for foreign reporting) seven times. Amnesty International and the
United Nations have given awards to Fisk, who speaks often at Harvard,
Princeton, MIT and other prestigious American universities. He is
routinely praised by colleagues, including the New York Times' Chris
Hedges, who has said he admires Fisk's ability to perceive important
stories ahead of other journalists. And, yet, an op-ed column in the
Street Journal will vilify him (after Fisk was severely beaten by
Afghans two years ago). The subtitle to the piece was, "A self-loathing
multiculturalist gets his due." And an actor like John Malkovich -- in a
speech last year to students at Cambridge University in Britain -- will
say he'd like to "shoot" Fisk to death. (Fisk wasn't alone on
death list; topping it was British Parliamentarian George Galloway, an
anti-war voice who has called President Bush an "imbecile.")
Fisk is an easy target for conservatives because -- like Palestinian
scholar Edward Said, a friend who died last month, Chomsky and other
liberal intellectuals who've been pegged as rabid ideologues -- Fisk
writes sympathetically about Palestinians. It's clear Fisk identifies
the suffering of Palestinians, as well as the suffering of Iraqis -- but
he also identifies with the suffering of Israeli civilians and anyone
he writes about.
"I was giving a talk last December to a very large group of British
. . and I said, 'I'm on your side -- let's fight anti-Semitism
but don't start libeling me,' " Fisk says. "If you stand up to people,
they'll respect you for it. I had an e-mail from a Cambridge University
American law student, and he said, 'You are an evil f -- man, ' so I
called him up -- he put his telephone number on it. And I said, 'I'm
to call the police if I have any more messages like this from you. This
an abusive, threatening letter.' And he invited me to give a lecture. I
couldn't do it," Fisk continues, starting to laugh, "but I would have
it if I'd had the time."
Even Fisk's detractors have to respect his ability to report from
torn areas. He has covered the Middle East for more than 20 years and
speaks fluent Arabic (and French). He has interviewed bin Laden three
times, the second time seven years ago in Afghanistan after the Saudi
personally requested a meeting with him there. True to Fisk's
nature, he didn't rush to meet bin Laden; instead, Fisk told bin Laden's
associate that he'd fly there when he could.
"In 1996," Fisk says, "after the Sudanese chucked him out, there were
rumors bin Laden had gone to Yemen or Afghanistan; I got a call one day
from Switzerland, from a man who said, '(bin Laden) wants to meet you.'
said, 'I'd be happy to see him. What do I do?' He said, 'You fly to
Jallalabad (Afghanistan) and you wait at the Spinghar Hotel. When will
leave?' I said,
'I'll let you know. Call me back in a week.' I thought, 'I'm not
let him snap his fingers and then I come. I have work to do also.' "
The last time Fisk interviewed bin Laden, in 1997 in Afghanistan, bin
Laden told him, "From this mountain, Mr. Robert, upon which you are
sitting, we beat the Russian army and helped break the Soviet Union. And
pray to God that he allows us to turn America into a shadow of itself."
When Fisk first heard about the Sept. 11 attacks -- as he was on an
airplane flying from Europe to the United States -- he knew bin Laden
behind them. Fisk used a phone on the jet to dictate a piece to the
Independent that condemned the carnage, linked it to bin Laden -- and
said that Arabs would compare the tragedy to the sanctions-related
of Iraqi children and Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories, and
that Britain's and America's historic policies contributed to a climate
resentment in the Arab world.
If Fisk were working for a daily U.S. paper, his dispatches would
be pushed to the opinion pages, where they'd be treated as interpretive
journalism. The fact that Fisk's stories usually appear in the main news
section of the Independent is galling to readers who disagree with his
The Internet has given Fisk a more international audience, though The
Independent recognized the popularity of Fisk's articles and now charges
readers to access them. Some articles are available for free at a Web
devoted to Fisk's work (www.robert-fisk.com), where readers deluge Fisk
with requests and plaudits. "I have been an admirer of your work for
years," a public defender from West Virginia recently wrote on the site.
"You are an inspiration to many of us; please keep up the good fight."
That's a good description of what Fisk is doing: fighting. The type
journalism he practices is pugilistic and he holds nothing back. Fisk
his style is the most principled kind of writing he can do -- and that
he'll never alter it. At a time when the Middle East is a cauldron of
violence, Fisk's voice of authority is an important one to hear, whether
you agree with him or not.
E-mail Jonathan Curiel at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Report this post as:
Change Links September 2018 posted
More Scandals Rock Southern California Nuke Plant San Onofre
Site Outage Friday
Change Links August 2018
Setback for Developer of SC Farm Land
More problems at Shutdown San Onofre Nuke
Change Links 2018 July posted
More Pix: "Families Belong Together," Pasadena
"Families Belong Together" March, Pasadena
Short Report on the Families Belong Together Protest in Los Angeles
Summer 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert!
Watch the Debate: Excluded Candidates for Governor of California
Change Links June 2018 posted
The Montrose Peace Vigil at 12 Years
Unity Archive Project
Dianne Feinstein's Promotion of War, Secret Animal Abuse, Military Profiteering, Censorshi
CA Senate Bill 1303 would require an independent coroner rather than being part of police
Three years after OC snitch scandal, no charges filed against sheriffs deputies
California police agencies violate Brown Act (open meetings)
Insane Company Wants To Send Nuke Plant Waste To New Mexico
Change Links May 2018
Worker-Owned Car Wash on Vermont Closed
GUIDE TO REBEL CITY LOS ANGELES AVAILABLE
lausd whistle blower
Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images
UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light
Change Links April 2018
More Local News...
Antrhopocène, le grand effondrement
Creative Destruction Hack Diamonds Windows/iOS/Android - Creative Destruction Generator
The Dictatorship of Corporations
18 Lethal Consequences Of Hunting
Paraphysique de l'outplacement déontologue
Creative Destruction Hack Mod Generator
Shopping du bashing
After Lehman Brothers, Experts Say Global Financial Crisis Can Happen Again
“Animaniacs in Concert!” Starring Voice Legend Rob Paulsen
Probabilités de fin d'humanité
Florida Area of Migrant Farmworkers Denied Right to Construct Health Clinic near NaplesCIW
Propagande de virus, virus de propagande
Steer clear of work morality!
Sweatshop Lodge Ceremony Continues in US Fed Prisons Led by Inmates
Paraphysique de l'origami
The Shortwave Report 09/07/18 Listen Globally!
August 2018 Honduras Coup update
Du réussissement putréfié
Brett Kavanaugh Filled The 5th Circuit With Execution Judges
Augusta Georgia Woman Gets 5 Year Prison Sentence for Writing About Russians Crime Acts
Paraphysique de contextualité
Crisis Regulation in Global Capitalism
Ex-voto de réification
Please Oppose Warmonger, Execution and Torture Supporting Bush Operative Brett Kavanaugh
Paraphysique d'exploitation occultation
Ryan Zinke Is Charging Taxpayers For A Trophy Hunters' Council
More Breaking News...