Cheat-Seeking Missles

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Foreign Scribes Don't Corroborate Jordan

Reports by two organizations of foreign journalists don't support Easton Jordan's allegation "that he knew of 12 journalists who had not only been killed by US troops in Iraq, but they had in fact been targeted," as originally reported by Rony Abovitz.

In May of 2004, the Committee for the Protection of Journalists published an extensive report on threats, injuries and deaths ("at least seven -- and possibly as many as nine") suffered by journalists in Iraq, but made no mention of deliberate targeting:
For many Iraqi journalists who are frequently out in the field, the threat of gunfire, particularly from U.S. troops, is also a major concern. "Our real fear is the Americans," says Mohammed. "We fear them more than other people here."

At least seven -- —and possibly as many as nine— -- journalists have been killed by U.S. gunfire since the war began in 2003. Most of them have been Iraqi or Arab, and several of the incidents have called into question the rules of engagement and conduct of U.S. troops, engendering deep mistrust among Arab journalists.
The International Federation of Journalists reports that at least two journalists were killed by US forces in the well-covered errant targeting of the Palestine Hotel in Baghdad in 2003. Again, there is no hint of deliberate targeting, only a criticism of the US military for not taking responsibility.
The IFJ says that the investigation by the US government into the killing of two journalists at the Palestine Hotel in Baghdad on April 8 2003, which was issued last November, was a tragic example. “Here was an incident where soldiers fired on media in broad daylight, yet the military exonerate themselves and fail to take responsibility. It is denial of justice on a shocking scale.”

The IFJ says that the unexplained killing of media staff and journalists in Iraq, involving 12 of the 69 violent deaths since the war began, shows why new international rules are needed to force independent investigations of media killings. The Federation plans a worldwide protest over the failure of the US to carry out such inquiries on April 8th – the second anniversary of the Palestine Hotel attack.
The CPJ and IFJ are understandably quite pro-journalist and there are signs on their Web sites of typical journalist cynicism towards the US and the war, so the fact that neither corroborates Jordon's claim is significant.