The Shrub War
April 09, 2003
Press Attacked By "Coalition" Forces

Kill The Messenger

David Miller provides a nice collection of eleven articles detailing the events of yesterday's attack on hotels that the U.S. knew contained members of the independent press (read: "non-embedded").

This goes very nicely with his earlier posting: The Embedded Press vs. Freelance Press.

Here is the full text of the articles posted at:

In Our World
"Our duty toward the people living in barbarism is to see that they are freed from their chains, and we can free them only by destroying barbarism itself." -- Teddy Roosevelt
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April 09, 2003
Kill the messenger

From General Brooks, the American spokesman in Doha... When asked why the US tank shell fired in retaliation (for a sniper shots supposedly fired from the first floor) had landed on the hotel's 14th floor. He said he may have "misspoken" about where the shots had come from and would investigate the incident further. Brig-Gen Brooks said that the Iraqi regime had been using "places like the Palestine Hotel for regime purposes."

He said: "This coalition does not target journalists." He added that the US was aware the hotel was the media's base in Baghdad. "But we have always said the area of combat operations is very dangerous indeed."

Yesterday the U.S. made three seperate attacks on journalists in Baghdad. At least two of them appear to have been intentional. They are part of a pattern of recent U.S. attempts to silence the press in wartime by attacking them. Here are all of the British newspaper reports about the attacks in their entirety.

These photos below go with this article from the Mirror UK (Number 10 in the crop of articles below):

"MERCY DASH: Journalists carry injured collegue from the
Palestine Hotel"


"CAMERAMAN: Taras Protsyuk"

"BLASTED: Shell damage to the Palestine hotel"

Two of the attacks were against the two Arab satellite networks that were showing what the siege was like in bloody detail. They are now both off the air; there will be no more embarrassing videos from Baghdad. El Jazerra was broadcasting live when their well known reporter was killed by the Americans- on the air. The third attack was on a tall isolated hotel that housed all the foreign reporters. That attack might possibly be the work of either a trigger-happy or angry tank commander, and not be part of a plan to silence the media. Here is a roundup of how the mainstream British press has reported what appears to be the intentional killing of reporters by the U.S. government for policy reasons. You might want to read my previous press blog for previous examples of the U.S. military attacking the press to silence it and stop the pictures and reports the U.S. might not want to be made public. This is a very ugly story.

There are 11 article below, one American and 10 British. Here is a synopsis of each article so you can search for the pieces you would like to read.

Article 1 The AP wire story from, dated 4/8

Article 2 Is from the renounwed military historian John Keegan writing for the Guardian on 4/8. Keegan is generally in favor of the war and very knowledgable observer. His article is about war coverage in general, but he is deeply disturbed by what he charecterizes in the piece as the intentional killing of journalists.

Article 3 The Guardian report on hotel attacks, dated Iraq 4/9

Article 4 A more detailed Guardian report

Article 5 The Independent report, dated 4/9 by Robert Fisk, who has filed many reports on civilian casualties. He was returning to the hotel when it was attacked. Incidentally, his previous reports from Baghdad are worth reading. Dated 4/9.

Article 6 The London Times- the most old-guard paper in London, writes a scathing article. Dated 4/9.

Article 7 The London Times- writing on Arab reaction to having a reporter killed, live, on the air. Dated 4/9.

Article 8 The Daily Telegraph- a middle of the road paper, dated 4/9

Article 9 From the Financial Times of London; they are the Wall Street Journal of Britain. Dated 4/9. They rarely express annoyance but they do here.

Article 10 From the Mirror dated 4/9. The four pictures at the top of this post are from the Mirror article.

Article 11 From the Guardian 4/3 and 4/4. This last piece is about the ezpulsions of non-embedded journalists by the Americans. The U.S. really doesn't want uncooperative journalists around.


Article 1

To: 4/8 Press attacks Subject: 4/8 Press attacks

The 9 pm CST Yahoo news story 4/8 r_journalists&cid=540&ncid=716

Middle East - AP

Three Journalists Die in Baghdad Attacks 46 minutes ago

By HAMZA HENDAWI, Associated Press Writer

BAGHDAD, Iraq - U.S.-led military strikes in the Iraqi capital Tuesday hit the hotel housing hundreds of journalists and an Arab television network, killing three journalists and injuring three others.

Two Arabic-language television networks said their offices were intentionally targeted by American-led forces — claims military officials denied.

"This coalition does not target journalists," Brig. Gen. Vincent Brooks said in Qatar.

An American tank fired on the Palestine Hotel early Tuesday, where foreign journalists have been covering the war from balconies and the roof.

Less than a mile away, a reporter for Al-Jazeera television was killed when U.S.-led forces bombed his office. Nearby, coalition artillery battered the Baghdad office of Abu Dhabi television, trapping more than 25 reporters who phoned for help from the basement.

"I'm astonished and shocked," said Art Bourbon, news director of Abu Dhabi, speaking from the network's headquarters in the United Arab Emirates. "We've been in this office for more than 2 1/2 years. Anyone going into military operations would have known our location."

Early Wednesday, the network announced that it had been unable to broadcast live video from Baghdad overnight, saying American tanks were posted outside its offices. Its live shots are often used by television networks, including those in the United States. Al-Jazeera, whose offices are alongside Abu Dhabi television, also did not broadcast live scenes of Baghdad overnight.

On Tuesday, Al-Jazeera chief editor Ibrahim Hilal said the U.S. military has long known the map coordinates and street number of his network's office. Witnesses "saw the plane fly over twice before dropping the bombs. Our office is in a residential area, and even the Pentagon (news - web sites) knows its location," Hilal said in Qatar.

Military officials offered different explanations for the attacks.

Brooks initially said the hotel was targeted after soldiers were fired on from the lobby. Later, he told reporters, "I may have misspoken."

U.S. Army Col. David Perkins, commander of the 3rd Infantry Division's 2nd Brigade, which deployed the tank, said Iraqis in front of the hotel fired rocket-propelled grenades across the Tigris River. Soldiers fired back with a tank round aimed at the Palestine Hotel after seeing enemy "binoculars," Perkins said.

More than 50 news cameras were set up on hotel balconies when the tank fired, according to Associated Press photographer Jerome Delay. "How can they spot someone with binoculars and not (see) cameras?" he asked.

Journalists said they heard no gunfire coming from the hotel or its immediate environs. They had been watching two U.S. tanks shooting across the al-Jumhuriya bridge, more than a half-mile away, when one of the tanks rotated its turret toward the hotel and fired.

The round pierced the 14th and 15th floors of the 17-story hotel, spraying glass and shrapnel across a corner suite serving as Reuters' Baghdad bureau.

Killed were Taras Protsyuk of Ukraine, a television cameraman for the Reuters news agency, and Jose Couso, a cameraman for Spain's Telecinco television. Spain asked its journalists to leave Baghdad following Couso's death.

Tareq Ayyoub of Jordan died at al-Jazeera's office, located in a residential neighborhood fronting the Tigris. In all, 10 journalists have been killed since war began March 20.

The wounded, all Reuters employees, were identified by the company as TV technician Paul Pasquale of Britain, Gulf Bureau Chief Samia Nakhoul of Lebanon and photographer Faleh Kheiber of Iraq (news - web sites).

Pasquale underwent surgery Tuesday at a Baghdad hospital for serious leg injuries, according to colleagues. Nakhoul suffered shrapnel wounds and may require surgery.

Further details weren't immediately available.

"Clearly the war, and all its confusion, has come to the heart of Baghdad," said Reuters Editor in Chief Geert Linnebank. "But the incident nonetheless raises questions about the judgment of the advancing U.S. troops who have known all along that this hotel is the main base for almost all foreign journalists in Baghdad."

In a letter to Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists said it believed the attacks violated the Geneva Conventions concerning likely harm to civilians.

In Belgium, the International Federation of Journalists said it appeared Tuesday's attacks may have deliberately targeted journalists. "If so, they are grave and serious violations of international law," said Secretary-General Aidan White. He also said Iraq, accused of using civilians as human shields during U.S.-led bombing attacks, may also be guilty of war crimes.

In Baghdad, an Abu Dhabi television correspondent asked for help from the Red Cross.

Reporter Shaker Hamed, in a live report, asked aide workers for vehicles "to evacuate us from this area which is being battered beyond belief and is expected to witness major operations tonight," he said. "We are the only civilians in this territory, a heavy battle ground."

At the Pentagon, Rumsfeld spokeswoman Victoria Clarke said she had cautioned news organizations since before the outbreak of war that Baghdad would be dangerous.

"We've had conversations over the last couple of days, news organizations eager to get their people unilaterally into Baghdad," she said. "We are saying it is not a safe place; you should not be there."

............................................. Article 2,2763,931733,00.html

Keegan attacks 'abysmal' war media

Ciar Byrne Tuesday April 8, 2003

The Daily Telegraph's veteran defence editor John Keegan today said he supports "100%" the accusation by the commander of the British forces in the Gulf that the UK media are "losing the plot" over the war in Iraq. Air Marshal Brian Burridge launched a scathing attack on news programmes and newspapers in yesterday's Telegraph, accusing the media of turning the conflict into "reality TV" - high on conjecture and low on analysis.

While Keegan praised reporters on the front line in Iraq, he expressed scorn for those sitting in studios trying to make sense of events as they unfold, and singled out Channel 4 News presenter Jon Snow as the worst culprit.

"I agree [with Air Marshal Burridge] 100%," Keegan said. "There has been some very, very good reporting from the front, but the level of analysis is abysmal."

"I don't know what people are doing, I think they think with their kneecaps. Military analysis is a perfectly simple business. Newspapers employ City analysts who are expected to know how the City works, why can't they do the same with the military?"

Keegan blamed the lack of analysis on the age and education of today's media commentators. "Because they all did sociology degrees in the 1960s and 70s they have no capacity for analysis," he said.

"It's a generational thing. They're all a product of the touchy-feely world of the 60s and 70s. Jon Snow is the worst. I'd sack him," Keegan added. However, he described Sky News's Francis Tusa as "all right".

The future of military analysis lies in the current generation of reporters who are risking their lives in the field, Keegan predicted.

"We're now getting a new generation who've been out in the field and have been shot at, and they will be the future generation," he said.

According to Keegan, the news that two more journalists have been killed in the conflict, bringing the toll of people working for media organisations to seven, is part of an "unpleasant new development" in the way the press are viewed in conflicts.

"This is a very unpleasant new development which began in the Balkans in the 90s. It's partly that they take risks, but there's also the very unpleasant development of journalists being deliberately killed. It's the first time it's happened," Keegan said.

He described the system of "embedding" journalists with US and British troops as "a good idea", but said that "unilateralism" - journalists working independently of the military - is also understandable.

Newspaper and broadcast news editors - including Sky News' Nick Pollard, Daily Mirror editor Piers Morgan and Times foreign editor Bronwen Maddox - rounded on Air Marshal Burridge over his comments, saying the British media was doing the best job it can in difficult and dangerous circumstances.

...................................... Article 3,2763,932707,00.html Pandemonium at the hotel reporters called home

Suzanne Goldenberg in Baghdad Wednesday April 9, 2003 The Guardian

Al-Jazeera correspondent Tareq Ayoub was broadcasting live to the satellite station's 7am news bulletin yesterday when US aircraft fired two missiles at the bureau building, killing him and injuring a colleague. Two Iraqi staff are missing. Taras Protsyuk was filming from Reuters' suite on the 15th floor of the Palestine Hotel, where foreign journalists are based, when it was hit by a round from a US tank, killing him and Jose Couso, a Spanish cameraman. Four other journalists were injured.

Within the space of five hours, seven journalists were killed and wounded from US army fire in Baghdad yesterday. American forces also opened fire on the offices of Abu Dhabi television, whose identity is spelled out in large blue letters on the roof.

All the journalists were killed and injured in daylight at sites known to the Pentagon as media sites.

The tank shell that hit the Palestine Hotel slammed into the 18-storey building at noon, shaking the tower and spewing rubble and dirt into hotel rooms at least six floors below.

Samia Nakhoul, the Gulf bureau chief of Reuters, was also injured, along with a British technician, Paul Pasquale, and an Iraqi photographer, Faleh Kheiber.

The attack brought pandemonium. Colleagues spattered with blood bundled the wounded into blankets, and took the lifts down. Others hung white sheets out of their windows.

The hotel lies on the east side of the Tigris, across from the official buildings and palaces of Saddam Hussein which have been the main target of the US ground invasions.

It was adopted by journalists a few days before the start of the war, after advice from the Pentagon to evacuate from the western side of the river.

....................... Article 4,2763,932745,00.html 4/9 Guardian report

Three die in attacks on media bases

Journalists 'target' as hotel and Al-Jazeera bombed

Rory McCarthy in Doha, Jonathan Steele in Amman and Brian Whitaker Wednesday April 9, 2003 The Guardian

US forces were accused of targeting the news media last night after three journalists died in two separate attacks in Baghdad. Central command in Qatar said its troops had been responding in self-defence to enemy fire but witnesses on the spot dismissed the American claim as false.

Reuters cameraman Taras Protsyuk, 35, was killed when a US tank fired a shell at the Palestine hotel, where many journalists are staying.

Jose Couso, 37, a cameraman for the Spanish television channel Tele 5, was wounded in the same attack and later died in hospital. Three members of the Reuters team in Baghdad were also hurt.

Earlier yesterday, al-Jazeera cameraman Tarek Ayoub, a 35-year-old resident of Jordan, was killed when two bombs dropped during a US air raid hit the satellite television station's office in the Iraqi capital.

In the hotel attack, according to a Centcom statement, "commanders on the ground reported that coalition forces received significant enemy fire from the Palestine hotel and consistent with the inherent right of self-defence coalition forces returned fire.

"Sadly a Reuters and Tele 5 (Spain) journalist were killed in this exchange. These tragic incidents appear to be the latest example of the Iraqi regime's continued strategy of using civilian facilities for regime military purposes."

But journalists in the hotel, which is well known to the Americans as the main media centre in Baghdad, insisted there had been no Iraqi fire.

Sky's correspondent David Chater said he was on a balcony at the hotel immediately before the shell exploded.

"I never heard a single shot coming from any of the area around here, certainly not from the hotel," he said.

BBC correspondent Rageh Omaar added that none of the other journalists in the hotel had heard any sniper fire.

Chater said he saw a US tank pointing its gun muzzle directly at the hotel and turned away just before the blast.

"I noticed one of the tanks had its barrel pointed up at the building. We went inside and there was an almighty crash. That tank shell, if it was indeed an American tank shell, was aimed directly at this hotel and directly at journalists. This wasn't an accident, it seems to be a very accurate shot."

Geert Linnebank, Reuters editor-in-chief, said the incident "raises questions about the judgment of the advancing US troops who have known all along that this hotel is the main base for almost all foreign journalists in Baghdad".

Centcom also attempted to justify the al-Jazeera attack on the grounds that there had been "significant enemy fire" from the building used by the TV station.

Ibrahim Hilal, al-Jazeera's chief editor at its headquarters in Qatar, said a US warplane was seen above the building before the attack. "Witnesses in the area saw the plane fly over twice before dropping the bombs. Our office is in a residential area and even the Pentagon knows its location," he said.

Maher Abdullah, an al-Jazeera correspondent, said: "One missile hit the pavement in front of us, ripping out windows and doors and then one hit the generator."

One of the station's cameramen was also injured in the attack, along with two staff from Abu Dhabi television nearby.

Al-Jazeera's coverage of the war has set the tone for the Arab world. The channel has frequently been critical of US and British forces and has highlighted the number of Iraqi civilians killed.

The station wrote to the Pentagon in February giving the precise geographical coordinates of its Baghdad office.

Brigadier-General Vince Brooks, deputy director of operations, said: "We certainly know that we don't target journalists. That is not something we do." However, he appeared to imply that the hotel was a legitimate target when he said it was being used "for other regime purposes".

........................................ Article 5

Robert Fisk: The dogs were yelping. They knew bombs were on the way 09 April 2003

Day 20 of America's war for the "liberation" of Iraq was another day of fire, pain and death. It started with an attack by two A-10 jets that danced in the air like acrobats, tipping on one wing, sliding down the sky to turn on another, and spraying burning phosphorus to mislead heat-seeking missiles before turning their cannons on a government ministry and plastering it with depleted uranium shells. The day ended in blood-streaked hospital corridors and with three foreign correspondents dead and five wounded.

The A-10s passed my bedroom window, so close I could see the cockpit Perspex, with their trail of stars dripping from their wingtips, a magical, dangerous performance fit for any air show, however infernal its intent. But when they turned their DU shells – intended for use against heavy armour – against the already wrecked Iraqi Ministry for Planning, the effect was awesome. The A-10's cannon-fire sounds like heavy wooden furniture being moved in an empty room, a kind of final groan, before the rounds hit their target.

When they did, the red-painted ministry – a gaunt and sinister building beside the Jumhuriya Bridge over the Tigris that I have always suspected to be an intelligence headquarters – lit up with a thousand red and orange pin-points of light.

From the building came a great and dense cloud of white smoke, much of which must have contained the aerosol DU spray that so many doctors and military veterans fear causes cancers.

At about this time I noticed the tanks on the Jumhuriya Bridge. Two low-slung M1A1 Abrams, one in the centre of the bridge, the other parking itself over the first stanchion. Just another little probing raid, the Americans announced, but it looked much more than that.

I reached the eastern end of the Jumhuriya Bridge – a wide and deserted four-lane highway that soared out across the river, obscuring the American tanks on the other side – an hour and a half later. It looked grimly like that scene in A Bridge Too Far, Richard Attenborough's epic on the Arnhem disaster, in which a British officer walks slowly up the great span with an umbrella in his hand to see if he can detect the Germans on the other side. But I knew the Americans were on the other side of this bridge and drove past it at great speed.

Which provided a remarkable revelation. While American fighter-bombers criss-crossed the sky, while the ground shook to the sound of exploding ordnance, while the American tanks now stood above the Tigris, vast areas of Baghdad – astonishing when you consider the American claim to be "in the heart" of the city – remain under Saddam Hussein's control. I drove all the way to Mansur, where relatives of the 11 Iraqi civilians killed in Monday's massacre of civilians – the Americans used four 2,000lb bombs to dismember the mainly Christian families in the vain hope of killing President Saddam – still waited to retrieve the last of their dead.

On my way back past the Ahrar Bridge, I found a crowd of spectators standing on the parapet, watching the American tanks with a mixture of amusement and fear. Did they not know what was happening in their city, or – an idea that has possessed me in recent days – are the poor of Baghdad kept in such ignorance of events that they simply do not realise that the Americans are about to occupy their city? Could it be that the cigarette sellers and the bakery queues and the bus drivers just don't know what lies down on the banks of the Tigris?

As I arrived back at the Palestine Hotel, I saw the smoke of the shell that the Americans had just fired into the Reuters office. It was to take two lives, in addition to the reporter from the Arab al-Jazeera satellite channel killed a few hours earlier by an American air attack on his office. Despite two separate assurances from the American government that al-Jazeera's base of operations would not be targeted, it was destroyed.

Just an hour later, one of the tanks on the Jumhuriya Bridge fired a shell into the wreckage. Eighteen civilians – 15 of them women – were reported to be still hiding in the basement last night with no immediate hope of rescue.

The International Red Cross had tried to arrange a convoy out of Baghdad; inexplicably, it was reported that the Americans had refused it passage from the city.

At one point, Red Cross workers hoped to take a severely wounded Spanish television reporter with them – his leg had been amputated after the tank shell exploded below his office in the hotel – but he died during the afternoon. The American infantry divisional commander issued a statement that suggested the Reuters cameramen were sniping at the US tank, a remark so extraordinary – and so untrue – that it brought worldwide protests from journalists.

I don't know what it is about the street dogs of Baghdad, but they always know when the bombers are returning. Is there some change in air pressure, some high technological decibel that we humans can't hear?

The dogs always get it right. Every time they start baying, you know that the bombers are coming back. And they yelped and barked as night fell last night. And within 15 minutes, even we humans could hear the rumble of explosions from southern Baghdad.

................................ Article 6

From the 4/9 Times of London,,5944-639775,00.html

April 09, 2003

US aims deadly blow at Baghdad's ringside seat From Stephen Farrell in Baghdad

THE crew of the M1 Abrams tank had many enemies in Baghdad, but none was in suite 1501 of the Palestine Hotel. Shortly before noon, and several hours into a bloody firefight across the Tigris river, the American tank changed its aim and fired a high-velocity round directly at the one building in the Iraqi capital that was filled with Westerners.

Scores of journalists had spent the morning hanging over the hotel’s balconies, watching that tank, and a second one, roll on to the Jumuriya bridge to pound artillery and sniper positions in buildings on the opposite bank.

A French television crew captured the moment of the attack. The footage shows the Abrams barrel pointing directly at the 17-storey hotel. The muzzle flashes. There is a brief pause, then the camera rocks as the shell hurtles into the floor above, killing two journalists and injuring three others. Pandemonium erupted as it emerged that the round had smashed into the 15th-floor suite occupied by the Reuters news agency, and scattered shrapnel into adjoining rooms.

Colleagues who rushed to help found the agency’s two balconies a mess of blood, shattered glass and torn wiring with bodies lying half in and half outside the rooms. Two cameramen died from their wounds and three other journalists were injured.US Central Command last night expressed regret at the deaths, but insisted that the tank had fired in self-defence after receiving “significant enemy fire” from the hotel.

“A tank was receiving small arms fire and RPG (rocket-propelled grenade) fire from the hotel and engaged the target with one tank round,” said General Buford Blount, commander of the US 3rd Infantry Division in Baghdad.

But that explanation was dismissed with universal scorn by the hundreds of Westerners inside the building. They argued that even if a camera lens had been mistaken for a sniper’s sight, no sniper could pose any threat to a fully-armoured battle tank from 1,500 metres. Earlier, a correspondent for al-Jazeera, the Arabic satellite television station, was killed when an American missile hit its building elsewhere in Baghdad. Centcom again insisted its forces had come under “significant enemy fire”.

The battle for control of the city centre had escalated dramatically overnight with a blizzard of tracer fire lighting up the night sky as Iraqi forces engaged Americans who had seized the Republican Palace.

As hopelessly outgunned Iraqi ground forces sought to contain the coalition advance, American jets and tank crews maintained a constant barrage. By midday it appeared that Iraqi command and control in many areas had ceased to function, and there was no sign of the Republican Guard. In streets near the Jumhuriya bridge the only resistance to the tanks across the river were pockets of irregular Fedayin. Most were hostile to the approach of a Westerner but near the Babel Cinema on a deserted shopping street one cluster of irregulars conceded that they were operating virtually autonomously.

Swinging his Kalashnikov over his shoulder, Abbas Mohammed, 38, said: “Our orders are to hold our positions. On every street there is one person responsible with someone else responsible for the next street. We have no radio — my battery is dead — and we only know what is happening in our street. I have been fighting all yesterday and this morning with no sleep.”

........................... Article 7,,5944-639770,00.html


April 09, 2003

Arab fury over al-Jazeera death From Elaine Monaghan in Washington, Nicholas Blanford in Beirut and David Charter at Central Command, Qatar

ARABS reacted with rage and bitterness to the killing yesterday of an al-Jazeera correspondent in an American airstrike, accusing Washington of deliberately attempting to silence the Qatar-based news channel. The death of Tariq Ayoub, a familiar face to millions of Arabs who watch al-Jazeera’s coverage of the war in Iraq, struck a raw nerve and added to the anger already felt across the Arab world at the US-led invasion of Iraq. His death brought the total of media personnel killed in the war to 12.

That attack, and the subsequent shelling by an American tank of a hotel housing journalists in which two people were killed and three others wounded, was condemned throughout the Arab world.

In the evening, al-Jazeera broadcast a moving and powerful interview with Mr Ayoub’s wife, Dima, in which she paid tribute to her husband. “Eventually everyone will forget him, but we will never forget him. He is with God now,” she said with tears streaming down her face.

“American forces, British forces are in a war that was claimed to be clean,” the journalist’s widow said via a satellite link to her home in Amman, Jordan. “I cannot see the cleanness in this war. What I see is blood, destruction and shattered hearts.

“The Americans said it was a war against terrorism. Who is doing the terrorism now? Didn’t their radars tell them this is a press office and these are civilian houses? My message to you is that hatred grows more hatred. The Americans are asking why are there suicide bombers, which we do not consider as such, we consider them as martyrs. Let them ask Bush and Blair who targeted their families and friends.

“We are going to fight back. Let Mr Bush know what he sows in Iraq, what he sows in Palestine, what he is going to see is the tip of the iceberg.”

Zeina Othman, 30, an anthropologist in Beirut, said that it was “a depressing day, topping off a whole depressing month”.

“It was the worst day of the war so far for most of us,” she said. “We haven ’t seen the truth since this war began anyway and now they are deliberately killing the journalists so we can’t see the truth afterwards.”

Sylvia Haddad, a school administrator in Beirut, said that she was “very angry, very disgusted and very disappointed”.

“I think al-Jazeera was targeted deliberately because they are not 100 per cent pro-American,” Mrs Haddad said. “Al-Jazeera are being objective and I don’t think Americans want objectivity.”

Al-Jazeera added that the exact co-ordinates of their Baghdad building had been handed to Washington in February to avoid a repeat of the attack by the US military on the station’s Kabul offices in November 2001.

US Central Command said that its forces had attacked the Baghdad building after coming under “significant fire”.

Later, as journalists huddled around a candlelight vigil in Baghdad, broadcast live to al-Jazeera’s 35 million viewers, it was as if the United States had suffered a self-inflicted wound in its battle for Arab hearts and minds.

“We were targeted because the Americans don’t want the world to see the crimes they are committing against the Iraqi people,” Majed Abdel Hadi, Baghdad correspondent for the station, said. “I will not be objective about this because we have been dragged into this conflict.” Al-Jazeera said that its fellow Arabic-language network, Abu Dhabi Television, housed nearby, was also hit. American bombs also wrecked the Qatar-based station’s office in Kabul in 2001. The US said that that attack was accidental, but many in the Arab world thought it suspicious because the network had drawn such strong criticism for its regular broadcasts of messages from Osama bin Laden.

“It is impossible not to detect a sinister pattern of targeting,” Aidan White, general secretary of the International Federation of Journalists, said.

Central Command insisted that its forces did not target journalists, who are protected civilians under international humanitarian law. “We regret the loss of life of correspondents and we extend our condolences to the family of your journalists and families of other journalists who have lost their lives,” Brigadier-General Vince Brooks said at a Central Command briefing in Qatar. .......................................... Article 8 Sheet=/portal/2003/04/09/ixportaltop.html

Two cameramen killed as US shell hits hotel By Adrien Jaulmes in Baghdad (Filed: 09/04/2003)

An American tank fired a single round into the 15th floor of a hotel packed with foreign journalists yesterday, killing two cameramen.

Facing intense criticism, the Pentagon said snipers had been firing on troops from the Hotel Palestine. But journalists said they had not heard any gunshots.

Jose Couso [left] and Taras Protsyuk

Taras Protsyuk, 35, a Ukrainian based in Warsaw with Reuters, and Jose Couso, 37, who worked for Spain's Tele 5 channel, died in hospital. Both were married with children.

Journalists saw the tank point its turret gun at the hotel, where most of the international media in the Iraqi capital are staying. Seconds later, the single shell slammed with a deafening crash into a room used by Reuters.

The Hotel Palestine had been considered by journalists as perhaps the safest place in Baghdad, although in recent days it has also become a home for Ba'ath Party members and their families.

"We were filming from the balcony when there was a huge jolt and smoke," said a badly shaken cameraman who had escaped injury in the explosion. "My ears were ringing and my two colleagues were covered with blood."

The dying cameramen and three wounded Reuters journalists were carried out of the hotel in bed sheets and taken by car to hospital. Mr Protsyuk died of a haemorrhage. Mr Couso, who had lost a leg, survived for several hours.

David Chater, a correspondent for Sky television, said: "I never heard a single shot coming from any of the area around here, certainly not from the hotel."

Broadcasting from the hotel, Ulrich Tilgner, a Swiss television correspondent, said: "In the three weeks I have worked from this hotel I have not heard a single shot fired from here and I have not seen a single armed person enter the hotel."

As fighting raged all morning, windows trembled with the blast of explosions. Leading Iraqi civilians and the families of Saddam's top brass looked around nervously.

Other guests at the hotel include dozens of Islamic volunteers who have come from the Middle East and also from the Caucasus to fight for Saddam against the infidels. As well, Iraqis in uniform sometimes pass through the lobby. There was even a rumour recently that one of Saddam's sons was seen there one night.

In the hotel lobby yesterday, after the tank shell had hit, a photographer wept with anger while friends of the victims wandered around in a daze.

A few minutes later, the Iraqi information minister, Mohammed Said al-Sahaf, arrived on the scene. "This is war!" he said, barely hiding his smile. "The Americans have become hysterical. They are starting to shoot at journalists."

Despite American troops being no more than a few hundred feet from the hotel, he was still proclaiming victory.

"The Americans are surrounded in their tanks. They can do no more." He then disappeared without giving his daily press conference.

General Bufford Blount, commander of the Third Infantry Division now fighting in central Baghdad, said later: "A tank responded to small-arms fire and rockets coming from the hotel."

He conceded that his troops "were fighting an urban area which the Iraqi regime had decided to defend".

"There were shots coming from high up in the hotel. Perhaps the tank made a mistake".

Pentagon officials expressed their condolences to the wounded and relatives of the dead but were unrepentant. Gen Stanley McChrystal said: "When they [US soldiers] get into combat in the cities, which from the beginning we have specifically said would be dangerous and difficult, you put yourself in their position, they have the inherent right of self- defence.

"When they are fired at, they have not only the right to respond, they have the obligation to respond to protect the soldiers with them and to accomplish the mission at large."

Victoria Clark, a spokesman for Donald Rumsfeld, the US Defence Secretary, said: "We've had example after example reported by the media of the coalition forces going to extraordinary lengths to avoid civilian casualties. That is the practice; that is the policy.

"I'd also say, as we have said for a long time, even before we knew whether or not there would be military action in Iraq, a war zone is a dangerous place."

Iraqi radio and television finally ceased broadcasting yesterday after nearly three weeks of American attempts to destroy them.

Adrien Jaulmes is Le Figaro's correspondent in Baghdad ........................ Article 9 =StoryFT&cid=1048313572917&p=1012571727088

US forces kill three foreign journalists By Richard McGregor at Central Command in Qatar Published: April 8 2003 20:53 | Last Updated: April 8 2003 20:53

Three foreign journalists were killed and five injured in Baghdad on Tuesday after their offices came under fire from US military forces battling to take control of the city centre.

US armaments landed in succession on the buildings housing the office of the leading Arabic-language satellite channel al-Jazeera, the station from Abu Dhabi, and then the Palestine Hotel.

The hotel is where most of the 130 or so foreign journalists reporting the conflict from Baghdad are based.

Around the same time, the US forces also destroyed Iraqi communications facilities, taking local television off the air.

But US Central Command (Centcom) in Qatar denied last night there had been any co-ordinated attack to attempt to silence the media in Baghdad.

The statement said US forces had come under "significant enemy fire" from the buildings housing the TV station offices and the hotel and had fired back "consistent with the inherent right of self-defence".

The two cameramen who died in the attack on the hotel were José Couso, 37, of Tele 5, the Spanish channel, and Taras Protsyuk, a Ukranian based in Warsaw, who worked with Reuters.

A cameraman/producer from al-Jazeera died in a separate missile strike.

Brigadier-General Vincent Brooks, the US military spokesman at Centcom, said in his daily briefing US tanks had fired at the hotel after coalition forces were shot at from the foyer.

When asked why the US tank shell fired in retaliation had landed on the hotel's 14th floor, he said he may have "misspoken" about where the shots had come from and would investigate the incident further.

Brig-Gen Brooks said that the Iraqi regime had been using "places like the Palestine Hotel for regime purposes".

He said: "This coalition does not target journalists." He added that the US was aware the hotel was the media's base in Baghdad. "But we have always said the area of combat operations is very dangerous indeed."

Their deaths bring the number of journalists killed in the three-week conflict to 14, almost one for every day but the first in Baghdad itself. There were no deaths in the attack on the Abu Dhabi station's office.

.................................................................. Article 10 siteid=50143



Anton Antonowicz In The Hotel Palestine, Baghdad

IT BURST upon us at exactly 11.55am. A crashing explosion which sent seismic tremors through my room. Then the sound of shattering glass and falling masonry.

I ran to my balcony. People were mobbing around the forecourt, nervously looking skywards. As I walked down to join them several "guides" ran past me, yelling: "Bomb, bomb, bomb!"

A shell fired by a US tank had hit a balcony at the end of the 15th floor, Room 1501 of the Hotel Palestine, where I and dozens of other journalists have been staying since the war began.

Anxious colleagues said the room housed the Reuters news agency office. A Spanish reporter was in tears, shaking helplessly.

More people poured out, screaming, yelling. Pushing through, I could see a man, his stomach a mass of blood and guts, being carried in a bedsheet. A second lay in a 4x4, his leg torn open.

Lara Logan, the former GMTV reporter who now works for CBS, reeled back in shock and wept.

I went to Room 1501. Officials were standing gawping. Cameras lay on the wooden desk, covered in dust. Windows were shattered.

There was a patch of blood on a white single bedsheet. And on the balcony a large pool of blood in which the broken glass sparkled like diamonds.

The entry hole was near the top of the concrete spider's web adorning each balcony.

There was another hole where it hit the ceiling, a third on the wall as it ricocheted into the men. John Stephenson, a New Zealand reporter, was watching from his room across the road at the Sheraton Hotel.

"I saw two guys filming from the balcony," he said. "Suddenly there was a shell or something coming straight at them."

Peter Wilson, of The Australian newspaper, was the first to give one man first aid. "I ran to my room for field dressings and tried to put his insides back into his stomach. His eyes were rolling back in his head."

As I walked back through the hotel I saw two men helping to carry a third into a room. His head was swathed in bandages, leaving only one eye with which to see.

Around his neck he wore an orange and blue Reuters ID tag.

The Reuters journalist killed was TV cameraman Taras Protsyuk, 35, a Ukrainian. Spanish TV cameraman Jose Couso, 37, who was on the floor below, died during surgery for his injuries.

The Reuters bureau chief and an Iraqi photographer were treated in hospital for face and head wounds and concussion. Briton Paul Pasquale, a TV satellite dish technician, had leg wounds.

As we came to terms with the chaos, Iraqi Information Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf was claiming all was well and that his regime would never surrender.

"Don't be afraid for us," he said. "The Americans will have to surrender or be burned in their tanks." As I have said before, his self-denial is absolute.

US Central Command in Qatar insisted their tank came under "significant enemy fire" with small arms and rocket propelled grenades and fired in self defence.

But Sky TV's David Chater said: "I never heard a single shot from any of the area around here, certainly not from the hotel."

Spain said it was told by US commanders that they had warned journalists 48 hours earlier that Iraqi military commanders were using the hotel for meetings.

Journalists said they knew of no such warning.

Swiss TV reporter Ulrich Tilgner said: "In three weeks I have not heard a single shot fired from the hotel and I have not seen a single armed person enter."

In Washington the Defence Department said it regretted the deaths but added: "War is a dangerous, dangerous business.

"We go out of our way to avoid civilians. We go out of our way to help and protect journalists."

But media organisations accused US forces of targeting journalists. Majed Abdel Hadi, of TV station Al Jazeera, said: "They don't want the world to see the crimes they are committing against the Iraqi people."

Khaled al-Maeena, editor of the Arab News, said: "They want to snuff out any media that does not toe their line."

What can I say on a day like this about the Americans? Perhaps the tank crew mistook a cameraman's tripod for a marksman's. Who knows the truth?

But this US arm of the alliance certainly has a strange way of proving its friendship, opening fire on a hotel full of the world's press.

I had been woken at 4.15am by gunfire and mortars. Shortly afterwards planes began bombing.

One target, described by the Pentagon as a "terrible mistake", was the Al Jazeera office. One journalist was killed and four people injured. Yet the station was categorically assured two months ago that its office would be safe.

The Abu Dhabi TV office was also bombed and several staff injured. Bosses last night called on US forces to let the 25 journalists leave the building, which it said was surrounded by tanks.

And so we continue to watch the Americans poke and prod the enemy. To listen to the Iraqi Information Minister denying what is in front of him.

To sit stunned when one more journalist is killed. To bend your head in front of another grieving family. To pray that none of this can go on much longer.

..................... Article 11,12823,928254,00.html

Special report: Iraq - the media war | Special report: TV news | Television 8.30am

Independents 'frozen out' by armed forces

Ciar Byrne Thursday April 3, 2003

Iraq: unilateral reporters 'prevented from coming anywhere near the news'

The British and US forces have created a "caste system" of journalists, giving preference to those that accompany troops and freezing out correspondents operating independently, the European Broadcasting Union has claimed. News organisations from countries that have decided not to side with the US and Britain in the Gulf conflict are being particularly disadvantaged, the EBU has claimed in a strongly-worded statement protesting at journalists' treatment in Iraq.

"We have independent information that broadcasters can work safely in many areas, so we do not understand why the military is putting so many obstacles in the path of journalists," said the EBU's head of news, Tony Naets.

"They have created a caste system with embedded journalists - usually from countries in the so-called coalition who can associate with the troops - and the truly unilateral broadcaster who is prevented from coming anywhere near the news."

Naets gave the example of French broadcaster France 2, which shot footage in southern Iraq and then asked the military field press information centre to feed the footage out of Iraq, a request that was denied.

"US central command policy is now actively restricting independent newsgathering from southern Iraq," said Jean Stock, the EBU secretary general.

"Reporters and camera crews who put their lives at risk have been detained by American and British troops and returned to Kuwait," he added.

While the EBU has welcomed the decision of US and British troops to allow journalists to "embed" with troops, the union said that this only enabled a small number of European journalists to report from Iraq, leaving others on the sidelines in locations such as Kuwait City.

Broadcasters who do not have "embeds" are therefore restricted to using third party news or sending "unilaterals" or roving reporters into Iraq, the EBU said.

These unilaterals are now being turned away by armed forces and being forcibly returned to Kuwait, Stock said.

Posted by Lisa at April 09, 2003 09:59 AM | TrackBack
Me A to Z (A Work In Progress)

and then there's this story (important for context):

Posted by: kq on April 9, 2003 09:21 PM
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