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"Targeting Journalists? "

  rec 3-30-05 

1) 2:24 short radio essay MP3

2) 4:02 long radio essay MP3

[Col. Writ. 3/30/05] Copyright 2005 Mumia Abu-Jamal
   At the last meeting of the World Economic Forum, a top CNN news executive, Eason Jordan, said that the U.S. Army targeted and killed a dozen journalists.
   The corporate media went hog-wild -- and within days, Jordan backpedaled from his assertion, and when that did not quell the blogstorm that erupted, he submitted his resignation.
   The majoritarian, white nationalist media effectively exiled Jordan from the club, for daring to denounce the actions of the empire.
   Eason Jordan did not betray the journalistic profession, but he did betray the class interests
that owns the journalism industry, and the Empire forced him out.
   For it is unacceptable for the nation-state that preaches to the world the glories of the First
Amendment, that declares its fealty to 'freedom of the press', actually targeted journalists.
   But what are the facts?
   Within days of the CNN resignation, an Italian journalist, Giuliana Sgrena, would narrowly escape death at the hands of U.S. soldiers, who fired over 300 bullets at her vehicle as she was riding away from being held captive in Iraq.  She seemed safer in the clutches of the "terrorists" than in the gunsights of the U.S. 'liberators!'
   Was Ms. Sgrena "targeted?"  According to Piero Scolari, who was in the car with her, the
shooting was a "deliberate attempt" by U.S. forces to silence her, for Sgrena "had information
due to which the U.S. military did not want her to leave alive" [Prensa Latina, Mar. 5, 2005;
*Socialist Viewpoint*, Mar. '05, p. 34].
   Why? Because Giuliana Sgrena did some first-hand reporting at the mosque in Falluja,
where people went seeking refuge during U.S. air raids in February.
   Sgrena was wounded during the shooting, and one of her Italian protectors, Nicola
Calipari, was slain by the U.S. gunmen.
   Sgrena writes for the Italian paper, *Il Manifesto*.  Agent Calipari was the chief
negotiator who secured Sgrena's release. At the time of his killing, he threw his body
over Sgrena's, and received the bullets intended for her.
   The unfortunate truth is Sgrena's shooting caused attention here in the West, because
she is European.  If the journalist had been an Arab, barely a ripple would've been made.
   In Spring, 2003, Jordanian journalist, Tariq Ayoub, who worked for the *Jordan
Times* (Al-Ra'i), and the Baghdad branch of Al-Jazeera network, was killed by U.S.
forces.  Indeed, other Arab journalists, working for Al-Jazeera, and the Abu Dhabi network, were *bombed* by American forces. Have we forgotten the bombing and strafing of the Palestine Hotel in Baghdad, a place frequented by Arab journalists?

   With the exception of Ayoub, we neither know, (nor care to know, truth be told) their
names.  They are -- what's the word that was used during the first Iraq War? -- 'collateral
damage.'  They are Arabs who were 'un-embedded', and thus expendable.

   At the time of Ayoub's killing, CENTCOM spokesman, Gen. Vincent Brooks put the
question of targeting journalists in interesting relief: "We bomb locations with precision,
and we pay attention to locations where journalists are present." [*World Press Review*, [vol.50:No.6], June 2003, p. 24].    Ayoub's colleague, Sultan al-Hatab, writing
in Al-Ra'i would note:
      Tariq Ayoub was a journalist who   prevented the warmongers from
   completely narrating the story, and he   strayed from the official Arab script
   dictated to Arab news agencies.  He   did so using no methods other than
   those of a real journalist; professionalism,   independence, and being a witness on
   the ground. [From: Al-Hatab, Sultan,   "Tariq Ayoub: Setting an Example",
   *Al-Ra'i*, Amman, Jordan, April 9,   2003; Repr., *World Press Review*,
   June 2003, p. 24]
   Targeting journalists?  What do you think?
Copyright 2005 Mumia Abu-Jamal

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