Russia calls Journalists 'dead raccoons'

1997 - 70 deaths

2000 - 60 deaths
2001 - 26 deaths
2002 - ???
2003 - 80 deaths
  2004 - 129 deaths
2005 - 80 deaths
2006 - 80 deaths
2007 - first death in Russia

and counting

Here’s the death toll in Iraq alone according to the CPJ web site:
14 dead journalists in 2003,
24 in 2004 and 22 in 2005,
60 in all, making Iraq the world’s bloodiest spot today for the profession.
Only two of these dead journalists were American.
Well over two-thirds were Iraqis or other Arabs.
And the American military killed 13 of them. 13 confirmed killings.
This number was raised to 80 just recently

compiled by Dee Finney




12-15-06 - DREAM - I was working on my computer and found 4 photos of JEB and the photos were surrounded by light purple frames. These photos were pretty and had flowers in them which meant he did good things. I wanted to show these to the people so I moved them close together. These were events full of people and flowers.

But then, I got a whiff of something dead in the air and it seemed to be coming from the barn.

So I told two men about the smell. One of the men who was shorter than the other grabbed two rifles and walked next to me (pointing the rifles at the ground) and we walked along the sidewalk as we walked towards the barn.

All  of a sudden, we came upon a shallow trench next to the sidewalk with a big fat dead raccoon in it, its face and mask fully visible.

Then we came to another one and another one, each raccoon dead in a shallow trench. These raccoons were fat like they were healthy and well fed before they died, but they died suddenly and their bodies were well decayed.

The taller man kicked the body of the next dead raccoon we came to as we discovered it and it burst open so it had been dead for some time and just then a big black cat came snarling up to us - indicating we should leave its dead prey alone.

By then we were at the barn and the trenches were deeper. The taller man grabbed a shovel and opened the trench and found more dead raccoons in it.

Inside the barn was a large mound of dirt, so I climbed it with difficulty as the dirt was loose.

On top of the mound, I found a dirt bridge over a larger trench which humans had dug. I kicked at the bridge and it fell into the trench.

It was then I noticed pink and blue little children's toys and the loose dirt fell down on a grate and fell through the grate into the dark abyss below.

Children had been playing down there and it gave me the shudders to think what could have happened to them.



The prophetic significance of the number 153 apparently relates to the succession of Popes who trace their authority to St. Peter.  In that context, the 153rd Pontiff was Leo IX (1049-1054), who initiated the so-called “Reform Papacy” of the 11th Century.  While the Reform movement was ostensibly aimed at rooting out corruption within the Church, its principal thrust was the concentration of power in the hands of the Pope and his circle of Cardinals. As we mentioned earlier, this was the era in which the dogma of a celibate priesthood was imposed.  It was also the period during which the Papacy took on the trappings of a temporal monarchy, including the appropriation of the imperial purple vestments worn by the Roman Caesars.  In this regard, critics of the Vatican’s absolutism have frequently invoked the image of the purple-arrayed harlot of Babylon in Chapter 17 of the book of Revelation ― another instance in which the number 17 strangely prefigures the Papacy’s approaching apocalyptic crisis.

The ominous import to the Vatican of the number 17 and its derivative 153 was evidently not lost on Nostradamus.  In the following Quatrain, he very clearly refers to the assassination of Pius XI as setting off a sequence of calamitous events, the consequences of which are only now becoming apparent.

After the see has been held for seventeen years,
It will change hands five times in a comparable period of time:
Then one will be elected at the same time [as another],
Who will not be too much in conformity with the Romans.

Excerpted from:

It is not by accident that, as we advance further into the end Times, we hear the clamor for the restoration of the Temple of Jerusalem rising to a crescendo within both Jewish and Christian circles.  As a matter of fact, we are witnessing a bizarre convergence of Jewish, Christian, and Islamic “fundamentalism” focused on the Temple Mount and the imminent expectation of a priest-king who will exercise both spiritual and temporal dominion.  Oddly enough, this incipient movement also has its adherents in the various strains of New Age “spiritualism” embracing the concept of an “Ascended Master” who will return to preside over a new Aeon of “peace”.  And even many who profess to be devotees of the Blessed Mother envision a Great Monarch who will wield his temporal scepter in the service of the so-called Vicar of Christ.

Yet, if there has been one theme consistently clear in the messages of Our Lady ― and in the Gospel of her Son ― it is the rejection of temporal power as an instrument of human Redemption.  Christ was betrayed by Judas and his Zealots precisely because he would not ― in any way ― grasp for the purple robes of sovereignty.  This is why those who crucified him thought to mock him by cloaking him in royal colors and plaiting a thorny crown to his brow.  Above his head they hung the ensign INRI, sardonically proclaiming him to be the king of a people who rejected him for the very reason that he had spurned dominion in this World.

Excerpted from:

Royalty and Spirituality: Purple is royalty. A mysterious color, purple is associated with both nobility and spirituality

Culture of Purple: The color of mourning for widows in Thailand, purple was the favorite color of Egypt's Cleopatra. It has been traditionally associated with royalty in many cultures. Purple robes were worn by royalty and people of authority or high rank. The Purple Heart is a U.S. Military decoration given to soldiers wounded in battle.



To dream of a raccoon warns you to be on your guard.. To see a raccoon in your dream shows that people are presenting false faces to you in your everyday life.

One of the most striking features of the raccoon is the mask that it wears. Although some associate this with thievery, it actually gives the raccoon a very powerful mystical symbolism. The use of masks to achieve altered states and for other healing and ritual purposes has been a part of every society. Mask making is an ancient art employed all over the world for ceremony, celebration, and in magical practices. Just as there is with the raccoon, with masks there is ambiguity and equivocation. When we wear a mask we are no longer whom we thought. We make ourselves one with some other force. We create a doorway in the mind and in the physical world a threshold that we can cross to new dimensions and new beingness.

This is the magic of raccoon. It is an expert at disguise and secrecy. It knows how to wear masks for a variety of purposes. It can teach you how to mask and disguise and transform yourself. Each must develop the relationship with the raccoon in their own unique way, but raccoon medicine can teach you how to become dexterous in the masks you wear. It can show you how to wear a healing mask or show you the face you shall become. The raccoon holds the knowledge of how to change our faces. Raccoon holds the knowledge of transformation through masks and disguise. This knowledge can be applied to religious and ritual practices or within normal everyday life. Do you need to present a different face to people for greater success? Are you hiding your true self? Are others hiding their true self? Raccoon can help you find the answers.

If a raccoon has shown up, you may see its influence for an extended time. If you are trying to make changes or endeavoring to hide changes you are making from others until you are in a better position, plan on using about a 20-week cycle. You will find it more effective. For longer and greater life transformations and such, when raccoon shows up you may want to make longer plans.

Animal Speak, Ted Andrews

Floral City , FL  (Vandalism)
Published on 01-21-2006

A dead raccoon hanging from a noose and a racist note were found on the porch of a Methodist church with a predominantly black congregation.

November 1: Birthday of the Standard Unit (U.E.)

On November 1, 1997, cash payments in foreign currency were prohibited in Russia and stores began replacing the dollar sign on price tags with the notation "s.u." (standard unit; or "u.e." in Russian). The most popular alternative names among Kommersant journalists are "dead raccoon," "arbitrary unit," and "Uruguayan escudo" (all of these have the same first letters "u.e." in Russian). However, we are sure that people have thought up other clever interpretations of this popular Russian abbreviation.

On this day, we recommend showing your enthusiasm by shouting "U.e.!"


Igor Domnikov, Novaya Gazeta

July 16, 2000
Domnikov, 42, reporter and editor for the twice-weekly Moscow paper, died two months after being struck in the head with a heavy object in the entryway of his apartment building on May 12. The assailant may have mistaken him for Novaya Gazeta investigative reporter Oleg Sultanov, who lived in the same building and received threats after reporting on oil industry corruption.

Sergey Novikov, Radio Vesna
July 26, 2000
Smolensk Novikov, 36, owner of the independent radio station that often criticized the provincial government, was shot four times in the stairwell of his apartment building. Three days before the killing, Novikov participated in a television panel on alleged corruption in the deputy governor's office.


Iskandar Khatloni, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
September 21, 2000
Khatloni, 46, a reporter for the Tajik-language service of RFE/RL, was attacked in his apartment by an ax-wielding assailant. Khatloni had been working on stories about human rights abuses in Chechnya.

Sergey Ivanov, Lada-TV
October 3, 2000
Ivanov, 30, director of an independent television company, was shot five times in the head and chest in front of his apartment building. Lada-TV was a significant force on the local political scene.


Adam Tepsurgayev, Reuters
November 21, 2000
Tepsurgayev, a 24-year-old cameraman, was shot at a neighbor's house. During the first Chechen war, Tepsurgayev worked as a driver and fixer for foreign journalists. Later, he shot footage from the front lines.

Eduard Markevich, Novy Reft
September 18, 2001

Markevich, 29, editor and publisher of the local newspaper, was found dead after being shot in the back. Novy Reft often criticized local officials, and colleagues said he had received threatening telephone calls. In 1998, two assailants broke into his apartment and severely beat him.


Natalya Skryl, Nashe Vremya
March 9, 2002
Skryl, 29, a business reporter in the southwestern city of Rostov-on-Don, died after being struck a dozen times with a heavy object while she was returning home the night before. She was investigating the struggle for control of a metallurgical plant.

Valery Ivanov, Tolyattinskoye Obozreniye
April 29, 2002
Ivanov, 32, editor-in-chief of Tolyattinskoye Obozreniye, was shot eight times in the head at point-blank range outside his home. The newspaper was known for its investigative reports on crime and government corruption.

Aleksei Sidorov, Tolyattinskoye Obozreniye
October 9, 2003
Sidorov, editor-in-chief of Tolyattinskoye Obozreniye, was stabbed in the chest with an ice pick near his apartment building. He was the second editor of Tolyattinskoye Obozreniye to be murdered in as many years.

Dmitry Shvets, TV-21 Northwestern Broadcasting
April 18, 2003
Shvets, 37, deputy director-general of the independent television station, was shot several times outside the station's offices. Colleagues said TV-21 received threats for critical reporting on several influential politicians.

Paul Klebnikov, Forbes Russia
July 9, 2004
Klebnikov, 41, editor of Forbes Magazine who exposed the workings of the country's shadowy billionaire tycoons, was killed outside his Moscow office. An American of Russian descent, he was struck several times by shots fired from a passing car.


Magomedzagid Varisov, Novoye Delo weekly
June 28, 2005
Varisov, a prominent journalist and political analyst who often criticized the Dagestan opposition in the biggest regional weekly, sustained multiple bullet wounds and died on the spot when machine-gun toting assailants opened fire on his sedan as he was returning home with his wife and driver.


Anna Politkovskaya, Novaya Gazeta
October 7, 2006

Politkovskaya, 48, a journalist renowned for her critical coverage of the Chechen conflict, was found slain in her apartment building in Moscow, according to international news reports. Politkovskaya was well known for her investigative reports on human rights abuses by the Russian military in Chechnya. In seven years covering the second Chechen war, Politkovskaya’s reporting repeatedly drew the wrath of Russian authorities. She was threatened, jailed, forced into exile, and poisoned during her career.
Moscow Times
January 10, 2003

Report: Russia Is Not Safe For Press
By Andrei Zolotov Jr.
Staff Writer

As press freedom watchdogs sum up 2002, they agree that the past year was not the best for Russian journalists but one goes so far as calling Russia the world's most dangerous place to be a journalist.

In saying this, the Paris-based international media watchdog Reporters Without Borders, or RSF, is basing its rating on the number of journalists killed in the line of duty, which it says is four. Other press freedom watchdogs, however, have far different numbers and also question the correlation between the number of journalists' deaths and the state of the media.

Putting Russia directly after two continents -- Asia with 11 killed journalists and Latin America with nine -- the RSF report, called "Annual Roundup. World Political Tensions Eroded Press Freedom in 2002" and posted Monday on the organization's web site, says that "underworld and local officials" were behind the four murders or journalists in Russia.

The report also says that "in Europe increased censorship was most noticeable in Russia" and gives one example: the Federal Security Service's confiscation of the muck-raking weekly Versia's computers in November, accepting its editor's allegation that the raid was connected to the paper's coverage of the Dubrovka hostage crisis, which the FSB denies.

The heads of Russia's two best-known press freedom advocacy groups, Alexei Simonov of the Glasnost Defense Foundation and Oleg Panfilov of the Center for Journalism in Extreme Situations, agree that censorship is growing but say the RSF report does little to shed light on the problems.

For instance, they point to the greater degree of censorship in the regions. Panfilov gave the example of the Politicheskaya Kukhnya current affairs show anchored by Valentina Buzmanina on Nizhny Novgorod's state-owned NNTV local channel, which he said was taken off the air 15 times in 2002.

The biggest trend in the increase of censorship, Panfilov said, is the growing number of criminal cases launched against journalists.

"The number of criminal cases opened against journalists in three years of Vladimir Putin's rule is more than the number during the entire 10 years of Boris Yeltsin's reign," he said. In 2002, his group registered 27 criminal cases opened against journalists.

Some of them are dropped after protests from advocacy groups or when local bureaucrats realize they would be laughed at, Panfilov said. Others end in suspended sentences.

In some cases, a newspaper is de facto shut down by law enforcement officials, who seize its computers as collateral against any future fine.

Another traditional way of getting at unfavorable media is to unleash health or fire inspectors on them, as in the case of web studio Penza Online, which was shut down last year because the temperature in its offices was 2 degrees below the norm.

"What is the norm we see now on television," Panfilov said, referring to heating breakdowns in northwestern Russia.

The RSF report's 2002 death toll for Russia includes three journalists -- Natalya Skryl, a reporter with Taganrog's Nashe Vremya newspaper; Sergei Kalinovsky, editor of Moskovsky Komsomolets' Smolensk edition; Valery Ivanov, editor of Tolyattinskoye Obozreniye and head of Lada-TV in Tolyatti -- and one "media assistant": Alexander Plotnikov, a co-owner of Tyumen's biggest advertising newspaper, Gostiny Dvor, who had an ownership dispute with his business partners.

Simonov said Russia's ranking as the most dangerous country for journalists "is most likely the result of Columbia's poor harvest of dead journalists this year."

But the RSF lists five deaths in Columbia, of three journalists and two so-called media assistants.

Vincent Brossel, the author of RSF's report, said Thursday that one of Columbia's media assistants was a newspaper salesman and in fact Columbia and Russia were "on the same level" of danger. But the organization decided to rate Russia as most dangerous because it had a greater number of media professionals die whose deaths had not yet been linked to their journalistic activities.

Simonov said establishing the connection between a journalist's death and his work is difficult. The Glasnost Defense Foundation gets around this by listing those who "perish" in a given year, and in 2002 it was 19 journalists and six "other media employees" who died of unnatural causes.

"Take the journalists who died on [Krasnoyarsk Governor Alexander] Lebed's helicopter," Simonov said. "Were they in the line of duty? Yes. Were they murdered? No. Does this make Russia a less dangerous place to practice journalism? I don't know."

Panfilov said that only one death -- of Tolyatti's Ivanov -- was clearly related to his journalistic work.

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists listed three Russian cases as "confirmed" (Skryl, Ivanov and British freelancer Roddy Scott, whose body was found after fighting in Ingushetia's Galashki village in September), plus Kalinovsky as one of those where the motive is not confirmed.

Panfilov, however, said that according to his Ingushetia sources, Scott was not killed, but died after falling off a cliff and was carried by Chechens to Galashki, where his body was discovered by Russian soldiers.

Brossel defended his organization's choice and criteria. He said RSF included Plotnikov because it considers publishing to be journalistic activity and did not include Scott because he was not particularly targeted but died among a group of Chechen rebels.

"We prefer to be wrong on a certain case and include some names which are not related to press freedom, rather than not include those who are," Brossel said by telephone from Paris.

A bigger issue is what the number of journalists' deaths say about the state of media freedom in a country.

Panfilov, whose group monitors press freedom in the CIS, said that although Russia and Ukraine are probably indeed the most dangerous places for journalists in this part of the world, they are not the most unfree.

"If we speak about government pressure and the absence of a free press, Turkmenbashi's motherland is definitely the leader," Panfilov said, referring to Turkmenistan.

Brossel agreed. "You cannot put on the same level North Korea and the Philippines," he said. "In North Korea, there is no free press, just propaganda, and no reporters are killed that we know of. In the Philippines, there is free press but every year someone gets killed. It may sound like a contradiction, but the fact that journalists get killed means that there is free press in the country."

By The Associated Press
Wed Aug 3, 9:19 AM ET

A list of journalists killed in Iraq since the war started March 20, 2003:


Steven Vincent, a freelancer whose work had appeared in The New York Times and Wall Street Journal, was shot multiple times after he and his Iraqi translator were abducted at gunpoint in Basra, Aug. 2.

• Saleh Ibrahim, an Associated Press Television News cameraman, killed when gunfire broke out after an explosion in the northern city of Mosul, April 23.

• Television journalists Fadhil Hazem Fadhi and Ali Ibrahim Issa, both working for Al-Hurriya, killed when they drove by suicide bombings outside the Interior Ministry in Baghdad while on their way to an assignment, April 14.

Iraqi news anchor Raeda Wazzan, working for Iraqi state TV channel Al-Iraqiya, kidnapped on February 20 and found dead with multiple gunshots in the head five days later on a roadside in Mosul where she had lived and worked, Feb. 25.

• Iraq television correspondent Abdul Hussein Khazal al-Basri, 40, working for U.S.-funded Iraqi television station Al-Hurra, and his 3-year-old son, Mohammed, both killed by gunmen as they left their home in Basra, Feb. 9.


• Iraqi freelance cameraman Dhia Najim, on assignment for Reuters, killed in Ramadi where he had been covering a gunbattle between the U.S. military and Iraqi insurgents, Nov. 1.

• Iraqi television anchorwoman Leqaa Abdul Razzaq, working for Al-Sharqiyah television, killed by gunmen as she was traveling by taxi to her home in Baghdad, Oct. 27.

• Iraqi photographer Karam Hussein, working for European Pressphoto Agency, killed by a group of gunmen in front of his home in Mosul, Oct. 14.

• Iraqi television reporter Dina Mohammed Hassan, working for Al-Hurriya, was killed in a drive-by shooting in front of her Baghdad residence by a gunman who shouted "Collaborator! Collaborator!" Oct. 14.

Palestinian television journalist Mazen al-Tumeizi, a reporter for Al-Arabiya television, reportedly killed after a U.S. helicopter fired missiles and machine guns to destroy a disabled American vehicle in Baghdad, Sept. 12.

• Ismail Taher Mohsin, an Iraqi driver who worked for the AP, was ambushed by gunmen and killed near his home in Baghdad. The reasons for the slaying have never become clear, Sept. 2.

• Italian freelance journalist Enzo Baldoni, 56, working for Milan-based weekly magazine Diario della Settimana and researching a book on militants, murdered by kidnappers from a militant group calling itself the Islamic Army in Iraq near Najaf, Aug. 26.

• Iraqi cameraman Mahmoud Hamid Abbas, 32, working for the German television station Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen, killed on assignment in Fallujah, Aug. 15.

• Japanese photographer Shinsuke Hashida, 61, and his nephew, journalist Kotaro Ogawa, 33, on assignment for the Japanese daily Nikkan Gendai, killed in an ambush south of Baghdad, May 27.

• Rashid Hamid Wali, assistant cameraman for the Qatar-based satellite channel Al-Jazeera, killed by gunfire while covering fighting between U.S. troops and militiamen loyal to radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, in Karbala, May 21.

• Correspondent Waldemar Milewicz and producer Mounir Bouamrane of Poland's TVP television, killed in an ambush by gunmen in Mahmoudiyah, about 20 miles south of Baghdad, May 7.

Correspondent Asaad Kadhim and driver Hussein Saleh of the U.S.-funded television station Al-Iraqiya shot by U.S. troops, April 19.

• Burhan Mohamed Mazhour, Iraqi cameraman freelancing for ABC, killed in Fallujah, reportedly by U.S. troop fire in his direction, March 26.

• Ali Abdel Aziz and Ali al-Khatib, of the United Arab Emirates-based news channel Al-Arabiya, shot by U.S. military near checkpoint in Baghdad, March 18.

• Nadia Nasrat, news anchor with Coalition Provisional Authority's Iraq Media Network/Diyala TV, killed by unidentified assailants in Baqouba, March 18.

• Twin suicide bombings on offices of Patriotic Union of Kurdistan and Kurdistan Democratic Party in Arbil kill six journalists, Safir Nader and Haymin Mohamed Salih, cameramen with Qulan TV; Abdel Sattar Abdel Karim, a freelance photographer for the Arabic-language daily Al Ta'akhy; Ayoub Mohamed and Gharib Mohamed Salih, of Kurdistan TV; and Semko Karim Mohyideen, a freelancer, Feb. 1.

• Duraid Isa Mohammed, producer for CNN, killed with his driver in ambush outside Baghdad, Jan. 27.


Ahmed Shawkat of Iraqi independent weekly Bilah Ittijah killed by gunmen at his office in Mosul, Oct. 28.

• Mazen Dana, Reuters cameraman, shot while working near U.S.-run Abu Ghraib prison on outskirts of Baghdad, Aug. 17.

• Jeremy Little, Australian sound engineer for NBC News, died July 6, 2003, at military hospital in Germany from wounds suffered June 29, in a grenade attack on a military vehicle in Fallujah.

• Richard Wild, British freelance cameraman, shot on street corner outside Iraq's Natural History Museum in Baghdad, July 5.

• Tareq Ayyoub, Jordanian, journalist for Al-Jazeera, killed when network's Baghdad office hit in U.S. bombing campaign, April 8.

• Jose Couso, cameraman for Spanish television network Telecinco, and Taras Protsyuk, Ukrainian TV cameraman for Reuters, killed when U.S. tank fired at Palestine hotel in Baghdad, April 8.

• Christian Liebig, of Germany's Focus weekly, and Julio Parrado, of Spain's El Mundo, killed in Iraqi rocket attack on U.S. Army's 3rd Infantry Division south of Baghdad, April 7.

• Kamaran Abdurazaq Muhamed, Kurdish translator for BBC, killed in U.S. aircraft bombing of joint convoy of Kurdish fighters and U.S. Special Forces in northern Iraq, April 6.

• Michael Kelly, editor-at-large for The Atlantic Monthly, killed when Humvee he was riding in with U.S. Army's 3rd Infantry Division plunged into canal near Baghdad, April 3.

Kaveh Golestan, Iranian freelance cameraman for BBC, killed in land mine explosion in northern town of Kifrey, April 2.

• Terry Lloyd, correspondent for Britain's Independent Television News, and translator Hussein Osman of Lebanon, shot in fighting between coalition and Iraqi forces near Basra, March 22.

• Paul Moran, freelance cameraman for Australian Broadcasting Corporation, killed in apparent car bomb at checkpoint in northern Iraq, March 22.


Other deaths, disappearances:

• Mark Fineman, correspondent for the Los Angeles Times, died in Baghdad of apparent heart attack, Sept. 23, 2003.

• Elizabeth Neuffer, reporter for The Boston Globe, killed with her translator Waleed Khalifa Hassan Al-Dulami when their car hit a guardrail on highway north of Baghdad, May 8, 2003.

• Mario Podesto, Argentine television reporter
, killed in car crash outside Baghdad, April 14, 2003. Veronica Cabrera, Argentine freelance camerawoman, died April 15 of injuries from the crash.

• David Bloom, NBC News reporter, died from an apparent blood clot while covering the war south of Baghdad, April 6, 2003.

• Gaby Rado, correspondent for Britain's Channel 4 News, died after apparently falling from a hotel roof in northern Iraq, March 30, 2003.

• Independent Television News journalist, cameraman Fred Nerac of France, missing since the shooting incident March 22, 2003 in southern Iraq in which Terry Lloyd and Hussein Osman were killed.

still counting

John Sweeney, The Observer 16 November 1997

We accuse. 80 000 times

A corrupt and hated government has been killing its people for six years, while the West turns a blind eye. John Sweeney demands action now to halt the massacres.

Last May I went to Algiers. The flight takes less time than to your average Greek or Turkish package holiday. It takes a fraction of the time it takes to get to Rwanda or Iraq or any of the other countries where evil things happen. And there, a hop south from Majorca, is a country with the worst human rights records on earth: the Blow-torch Democracy. I wrote a story, detailing the evidence that the state's security military was torturing and killing its own people. Nothing happened.

In July I reported Peter's story. He was a ship's engineer who had been blowtorched in Algeria's gulag. The skin on the inside of his arm was webbed and dry, like a falcon's claw. The blowtorch was not the worse. Nothing happened.

This summer, hundreds of people were massacred in the killing fields south of Algiers. The world's suspicions grew. Reporters such as Robert Fisk of the Independent, Anthony Loyd of the Times and Saira Shah of Channel Four News produced fresh evidence of the government's complicity in killing, confirming what the Observer had said. Last week we reported the story of Joseph, an Algerian secret policeman haunted by the murders and tortures his masters had commanded.

Something happened.

The story exploded in Algiers, London, Paris and Rome. The Algerian ambassador to Italy was called in 'for consultations'. The next day, the Italian ambassador to Algeria was, in his turn, called in, 'for consultations'. The office of the Italian Prime Minister quoted British intelligence sources dismissing Joseph's story. The office of the French Interior Ministry dismissed the story. The Algerian ambassador to London, His Excellency Ahmed Benyamina, dismissed the story as 'fanciful' - All these dismissals had one thing in common: they were delivered at one remove. The state of Algeria and Its friends in the Western chancelleries prefer, on this subject, to work in the dark. No one is denying the cruelty and murder committed by Islamic extremists in Algeria. But the weight of evidence indicts the state of Algeria. Around 80,000 people have been killed since the generals cheated the people by scrapping elections in 1991. The government -le pouvoir- is corrupt, hated and stays in power by a reign of terror. Consider the evidence from Amnesty International Human Rights Watch, the International Federation of Human Rights, Reporters Without Frontiers; evidence from Algeria's own state-controlled media; evidence held by policemen in London, Paris and Rome. Let's take three examples. In July 1994, the Group of Seven world leaders, meeting in Naples, were horrified to learn that seven Italian sea-men had had their throats cut by 'Islamic extremists' in the Algerian port of Jenjen, near Jijel. That day, President Clinton condemned this latest Islamic atrocity, and the West agreed. Last week, Joseph told us the killers were his colleagues in the secret police. Who do we believe?

Jenjen was, at the time of the massacre a heavily guarded naval dockyard, in a military zone, with a naval barracks a few yards from the ship where the Italians were butchered. If extremists were the killers , they had to pass the military con-trol, tiptoe by the barracks, slit the throats of the Italian crew, unload 600 tonnes of cargo, which was found to be missing, and tiptoe back with-out being spotted.

In 1995, a series of bombs went off in Paris. Islamic extremists were blame= d and the West agreed. Joseph told us the men who planned the bombs were Generals Tewfik and Smain, commanders in the Algerian secret police, and the operation was controlled from the Algerian embassy in Paris. After the bombings, the then French Interior Minister, Jean-Louis Debre, was asked at an off-the-record lunch whether It was possible the Algerian secret police had been behind the bombings. He said: 'The Algerian security military would like us to go up the wrong trail so that we can eliminate people who annoy them.

' In 1997, three huge massacres took place south of Algiers. All three happened in a heavily guarded zone, surrounded by army barracks. It takes a long time to slit the throats of 200 people. No one has been brought before the Algerian courts for any of the big massacres. The killers, the regime admits, 'left undisturbed'. Then there are the archives of Amnesty international and the other human-rights groups: case after case of torture and death, indicting the security military. Either these trusted groups are conspiring against the state of Algeria, or their reports are true. The Islamic extremists 'responsible' for these massacres belong to an organisation known as GIA, the Armed Islamic Groups. Their last three spokesman in London have not been Algerian, but Egyptian, Syrian and Palestinian.

Talk to the IRA, by contrast and you find Irishmen. Joseph and others say the GIA have been 'turned' by the Algerian secret police. If this is true, then the world knows who to blame for the killings. In normal countries there a simple way for abuses of power to be made public: journalism. In Algeria, some 70 journalists have been killed by 'Islamic extremists'. Not a single. person has been convicted of killing any one of these 70.

Dead journalists don't ask questions.

The only Algerian journa1ists allowed near the massacres are bosom friends of the Le secret police. Last May I met one. We had a philosophical conversation about the uses of torture. She was in favour. Our conversation ended on unfriendly terms. The true story of what is happening inside Algeria has not been told. What we are seeming is akin to Virginia Woolf's view of Dostoevsky: 'The little bits of cork which mark a circle upon the top of the waves, while the net drags the floor of the sea and encloses stranger monsters than have ever been brought to the light of day before.' Now something of the truth is beginning to come out, thanks to Joseph and a few other brave souls. They risk murder and great harm to their loved ones in so doing. But we in the West are not in danger. So why the silence? Let us not underestimate the power of the state of Algeria. It squats on huge oil and gas deposits worth billions. It sup-plies the gas that warms Madrid and Rome. It has a =A31.8 billion pounds contract with British Petroleum. No Western government wants to make trouble with the state of Algeria. Its wealth buys silence, buys complicity. Since the military junta over-threw the country's democracy, 80,000 have been killed: Europe's gas bill. In the face of the mountain of evidence against the junta, the Observer makes its position clear. We accuse the state of Algeria of mass murder. W= e accuse the state of Algeria of mass torture. And we accuse the state of Algeria of abandoning the rule of law. We want answers, not denials, a commission of inquiry Into the killings. Europe and the international community must act. And we want everything to be in the open, in the light.

Last week I was asked on to BBC World Television and challenged on Joseph's story. At the end of the interview, the presenter said the BBC had asked the Algerians for a comment, but none had been forthcoming. That's not good enough. So, come on, Your Excellencies, stand up for Algeria. Explain to the world what has been happening. How come the Islamic extremists tiptoed past the navy barracks in 1994?

Who planned the -Paris bombs? How come no one has been charged for the massacres? How come no one has been charged for the killing of any of the 70 dead journalists? You wouldn't be afraid of the light, would you, Your Excellencies?



Sixty-two Journalists Killed in 2000

News/Current Events Breaking News News
Source: Yahoo News
Author: Reuters
Posted on 12/19/2000 12:04:22 PST by GulliverSwift

Sixty-two journalists killed in 2000

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Some 62 journalists and media staff have been killed so far in 2000, many of them after exposing corruption or expressing political dissent, the International Federation of Journalists said.

In its annual tally of journalists killed in the course of their work, the Brussels- based IFJ -- the world's largest journalists' organisation -- reported killings in Sierra Leone, Spain, Russia, Pakistan, Mozambique and Colombia.

"The death toll speaks for itself -- journalists risk their lives daily for expressing independent opinions and exposing wrongdoing," IFJ General Secretary Aidan White said in a statement.

Journalists killed in war zones included veteran Reuters reporter Kurt Schork and Miguel Gil Moreno of the Associated Press, killed in May in an ambush in Sierra Leone.

Among victims of assassination were Spain's Jose Luis Lopez de la Calle, an outspoken critic of the Basque separatist group ETA, nine journalists targeted by the paramilitary in Colombia's long-running civil conflict and Sergei Novikov, a Russian radio station owner who criticised powerful regional bosses.

The IFJ welcomed a recent decision by a number of major media organisations to adopt a Code of Conduct for Safety for their staff.

"Media must do everything they can to create safe working conditions," said the IFJ, which has published its own safety code for journalists.

Too bad American journalists don't have a "Code of Conduct" that tells them to have honest, balanced reporting.

1 Posted on 12/19/2000 12:04:22 PST by GulliverSwift

AP: East Timor remembers dead journalists

East Timor remembers dead journalists By HEATHER PATERSON

05/03/2000 Associated Press Newswires Copyright 2000. The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

DILI, East Timor (AP) - Journalists marked World Press Freedom Day, by holding vigils Wednesday at the sites where two reporters were murdered in the capital during the turmoil that followed East Timor 's independence vote.

Foreign and local journalists lit candles and laid flowers where the body of Dutch journalist Sander Thoenes was found in September.

Thoenes, who worked for the Christian Science Monitor and Financial Times newspapers, arrived in Dili on Sept. 21, the day after international forces landed to restore security. He was gunned down just hours later at an Indonesian military roadblock in the suburb of Becora.

An inquest into Thoenes' death found that he had been shot in the chest and brutally beaten. Part of his face was cut off.

Less than a kilometer away, East Timorese journalist Benardiao Gutteres was killed in a riot on Aug. 26, four days before East Timor went to the polls and voted for independence from Indonesia in a U.N.-sponsored referendum.

Gutteres worked for Matebian Radio, in the leadup to the referendum.

The road which links both sites was renamed Avenida Liberdade da Imprensa, or Freedom of the Press Avenue, to mark the deaths of Thoenes, Guterres, and seven other journalists who died in East Timor in the past 25 years.

Indonesian journalist Argus Mulyawan was killed by pro-Jakarta militiamen who ambushed a car he was traveling in near the town of Los Palos the day after Thoenes was killed. His body was found dumped in a river.

On Oct. 16, 1975 Gary Cunningham, Brian Peters, Malcolm Rennie, Greg Shakleton and Tony Steward, all employed by Australian television networks, were killed by pro-Indonesian forces in the town of Balibo.

Two months later, Australian journalist Roger East was executed on the wharf at Dili by the Indonesian troops.

The secretary of the East Timorese Journalists Association Otelio Ote called for international support for the local media.

"We want the people to support the local press because if there is no media, there can be no democracy," Ote said.

Foreign journalists leave Taloqan after a Swedish cameraman is killedSunday, 10 February, 2002, 13:03 GMT Afghan arrests over dead journalists
By the BBC's Kate Clark in Kabul

The authorities in Afghanistan say they have detained two men whom they suspect of involvement in the shooting of four journalists last November.

The interim Interior Minister, Younis Kanouni, said they had seized documents from the two suspects which link them to the murders.

The authorities here say they are questioning two men who were arrested on the outskirts of Kabul a week ago.

The men are suspected of involvement in the killing of four journalists who were travelling between the eastern city of Jalalabad and Kabul last November.

Difficult times

The four journalists - Australian, Afghan and Spanish men and an Italian woman - were ambushed and shot dead by men in a gorge about 90 kilometres east of Kabul.

This is the first time the authorities have said they have suspects in the case.

November proved to be a dangerous time for journalists in Afghanistan as front lines crumbled rapidly and armed men were resurgent.

Three radio reporters were also killed while covering a battle and a cameramen was shot dead in an armed robbery.

Since then, security for foreign travelers has improved greatly, although Afghans, particularly truck drivers, say they are having to pay bribes to armed men at check posts on many roads in the country.


Volume I No. 66
 Dead Journalists
 { War Is Not A Spectator Sport }
 author: Vance Cureton
 © Copyright 2003

 Michael Kelly. David Bloom. Tareq Aryoub. Taras Protsyuk.  Jose Couso. 

 These are but a few of the names of journalists who have died  whilst covering the war in Iraq. David Bloom died because of a medical condition that may, or may not, have been a result of his time "embedded" with an American military unit. But the  other four perished as a direct result of their presense on the 
 War Front. And in harm's way.

 The last phrase in the above paragraph cannot be emphasized  enough. In harm's way

 This was a war that was supposed to be covered like no other  in all of history. And in many ways it has been. The U.S. military  "embedded" journalists in combat units, so that the world would  get a first-hand "live" view of the humane way U.S. forces were going to defang the Iraq military, while at the same time limiting collateral damage and inconvenience to the Iraqi people. This was going to be a militarily-precise campaign for the liberation of Iraq

 The images were remarkable during the first days of the conflict.  Through the use of satellite links and video-phones, journalists on an adrenaline rush, breathlessly detailed the American march toward  Baghdad. There were battles at night. Firefights during the day. The rumble of artillery in the distance. All reported upon  "live" for the benefit of the home viewer. Armchair soldiers in  their living rooms, experiencing the battles, but without the personal danger of war. 

 Enraptured spectators, all.

 And from Baghdad itself, the story was as much alive. Abu Dhabi Television and Al Jazeera reported on the same conflict with more of a sense of dread and resentment of American military prowess.  As the Iraqi military was demonstrated to be feeble and not a match on any account to what the coalition forces presented.

 The Iraq War became a battle of news organizations. As much  an intense campaign for the hearts and minds of the entire world, as the conflict itself. CNN, Fox, and MSNBC. All more or less  pro-American in tone. The BBC relentlessly neutral. -- And as disbelieving of the upbeat American perspective, as some of 
 the Middle-Eastern networks. 

 And alas, Al Jazeera. Determined that the Middle-Eastern viewer  should never doubt that this was an unjust war, and that the American invasion was causing untold harm to the Iraqi people.  And each civilian causualty. Every injury. Every death was an insult to all who called that part of the world home. 

 The cradle of human civilization.

 But it is in death that so often human beings are united. Check  the names of the dead journalists. American. Eastern European. Latin. All who gave up their lives so that the home viewer could  watch this war -- live. Right now. In living color.

 Some networks outrageously accused the U.S. military of targeting their offices. Of being indiscriminate and irresponsible. As if the journalists in Iraq have a right to be there. On the front. In harm's way

 For these accusers, it matters not if the soldiers on the battlefield  are tired and extremely nervous. Quick to fire a weapon. A result of fatigue and near exhaustion from sleepness nights. The journalists 
 have a right to be there. In harm's way.

 But, in this, the news organizations are so very wrong. The battlefield  is a place for the combatants. It belongs to the warriors who willingly accept the ultimate risk. -- So that others do not have to.

 War correspondents are a humanitarian indulgence. Critical eyes that sometimes mislead the public into believing that war really can become clinical and precise. And that any civilian deaths are  criminal.

 Human conflict is inevitably brutal and unjust. -- To someone.  And, if the coverage of this war should change that perception,  then a grave disservice has been done to the military.

 War is not a game to be "called" real-time. It is not a spectator  sport. The heavy analysis is best done after the conflict is over. Not during. For even a correspondent who is right there, close  on the battlefront, may be ignorant of many important facts.

 And when news organizations and reporters become a part of  the story. -- Even if through the death of their correspondents.

 Then perhaps they are in a bit too far.
 © Copyright 2003


By Robert Fisk in Baghdad - 09 April 2003

First the Americans killed the correspondent of al-Jazeera yesterday and wounded his cameraman. Then, within four hours, they attacked the Reuters television bureau in Baghdad, killing one of its cameramen and a cameraman for Spain's Tele 5 channel and wounding four other members of the Reuters staff.

Was it possible to believe this was an accident? Or was it possible that the right word for these killings - the first with a jet aircraft, the second with an M1A1 Abrams tank - was murder? These were not, of course, the first journalists to die in the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq. Terry Lloyd of ITV was shot dead by American troops in southern Iraq, who apparently mistook his car for an Iraqi vehicle. His crew are still missing. Michael Kelly of The Washington Post tragically drowned in a canal. Two journalists have died in Kurdistan. Two journalists - a German and a Spaniard - were killed on Monday night at a US base in Baghdad, with two Americans, when an Iraqi missile exploded amid them.

And we should not forget the Iraqi civilians who are being killed and maimed by the hundred and who - unlike their journalist guests - cannot leave the war and fly home. So the facts of yesterday should speak for themselves. Unfortunately for the Americans, they make it look very like murder.

The US jet turned to rocket al-Jazeera's office on the banks of the Tigris at 7.45am local time yesterday. The television station's chief correspondent in Baghdad, Tariq Ayoub, a Jordanian-Palestinian, was on the roof with his second cameraman, an Iraqi called Zuheir, reporting a pitched battle near the bureau between American and Iraqi troops. Mr Ayoub's colleague Maher Abdullah recalled afterwards that both men saw the plane fire the rocket as it swooped toward their building, which is close to the Jumhuriya Bridge upon which two American tanks had just appeared.

"On the screen, there was this battle and we could see bullets flying and then we heard the aircraft," Mr Abdullah said.

"The plane was flying so low that those of us downstairs thought it would land on the roof - that's how close it was. We actually heard the rocket being launched. It was a direct hit - the missile actually exploded against our electrical generator. Tariq died almost at once. Zuheir was injured."

Now for America's problems in explaining this little saga. Back in 2001, the United States fired a cruise missile at al-Jazeera's office in Kabul - from which tapes of Osama bin Laden had been broadcast around the world. No explanation was ever given for this extraordinary attack on the night before the city's "liberation"; the Kabul correspondent, Taiseer Alouni, was unhurt. By the strange coincidence of journalism, Mr Alouni was in the Baghdad office yesterday to endure the USAF's second attack on al-Jazeera.

Far more disturbing, however, is the fact that the al-Jazeera network - the freest Arab television station, which has incurred the fury of both the Americans and the Iraqi authorities for its live coverage of the war - gave the Pentagon the co-ordinates of its Baghdad office two months ago and received assurances that the bureau would not be attacked.

Then on Monday, the US State Department's spokesman in Doha, an Arab-American called Nabil Khouri, visited al-Jazeera's offices in the city and, according to a source within the Qatari satellite channel, repeated the Pentagon's assurances. Within 24 hours, the Americans had fired their missile into the Baghdad office.

The next assault, on Reuters, came just before midday when an Abrams tank on the Jamhuriya Bridge suddenly pointed its gun barrel towards the Palestine Hotel where more than 200 foreign journalists are staying to cover the war from the Iraqi side. Sky Television's David Chater noticed the barrel moving. The French television channel France 3 had a crew in a neighbouring room and videotaped the tank on the bridge. The tape shows a bubble of fire emerging from the barrel, the sound of a detonation and then pieces of paintwork falling past the camera as it vibrates with the impact.

In the Reuters bureau on the 15th floor, the shell exploded amid the staff. It mortally wounded a Ukrainian cameraman, Taras Protsyuk, who was also filming the tanks, and seriously wounded another member of the staff, Paul Pasquale from Britain, and two other journalists, including Reuters' Lebanese-Palestinian reporter Samia Nakhoul. On the next floor, Tele 5's cameraman Jose Couso was badly hurt. Mr Protsyuk died shortly afterwards. His camera and its tripod were left in the office, which was swamped with the crew's blood. Mr Couso had a leg amputated but he died half an hour after the operation.

The Americans responded with what all the evidence proves to be a straightforward lie. General Buford Blount of the US 3rd Infantry Division - whose tanks were on the bridge - announced that his vehicles had come under rocket and rifle fire from snipers in the Palestine Hotel, that his tank had fired a single round at the hotel and that the gunfire had then ceased. The general's statement, however, was untrue.

I was driving on a road between the tanks and the hotel at the moment the shell was fired - and heard no shooting. The French videotape of the attack runs for more than four minutes and records absolute silence before the tank's armament is fired. And there were no snipers in the building. Indeed, the dozens of journalists and crews living there - myself included - have watched like hawks to make sure that no armed men should ever use the hotel as an assault point.

This is, one should add, the same General Blount who boasted just over a month ago that his crews would be using depleted uranium munitions - the kind many believe to be responsible for an explosion of cancers after the 1991 Gulf War - in their tanks. For General Blount to suggest, as he clearly does, that the Reuters camera crew was in some way involved in shooting at Americans merely turns a meretricious statement into a libellous one.

Again, we should remember that three dead and five wounded journalists do not constitute a massacre - let alone the equivalence of the hundreds of civilians being maimed by the invasion force. And it is a truth that needs to be remembered that the Iraqi regime has killed a few journalists of its own over the years, with tens of thousands of its own people. But something very dangerous appeared to be getting loose yesterday. General Blount's explanation was the kind employed by the Israelis after they have killed the innocent. Is there therefore some message that we reporters are supposed to learn from all this? Is there some element in the American military that has come to hate the press and wants to take out journalists based in Baghdad, to hurt those whom our Home Secretary, David Blunkett, has maliciously claimed to be working "behind enemy lines". Could it be that this claim - that international correspondents are in effect collaborating with Mr Blunkett's enemy (most Britons having never supported this war in the first place) - is turning into some kind of a death sentence?

I knew Mr Ayoub. I have broadcast during the war from the rooftop on which he died. I told him then how easy a target his Baghdad office would make if the Americans wanted to destroy its coverage - seen across the Arab world - of civilian victims of the bombing. Mr Protsyuk of Reuters often shared the Palestine Hotel's elevator with me. Samia Nakhoul, who is 42, has been a friend and colleague since the 1975-90 Lebanese civil war. She is married to the Financial Times correspondent David Gardner.

Yesterday afternoon, she lay covered in blood in a Baghdad hospital. And General Blount dared to imply that this innocent woman and her brave colleagues were snipers. What, I wonder, does this tell us about the war in Iraq?

'The American forces knew exactly what this hotel is'

The Sky News correspondent David Chater was in the Palestine Hotel when the hotel was hit by American tank fire. This is his account of what happened.

"I was about to go out on to the balcony when there was a huge explosion, then shouts and screams from people along our corridor. They were shouting, 'Somebody's been hit. Can somebody find a doctor?' They were saying they could see blood and bone.

"There were a lot of French journalists screaming, 'Get a doctor, get a doctor'. There was a great sense of panic because these walls are very thin. "We saw the tanks up on the bridge. They started firing across the bank. The shells were landing either side of us at what we thought were military targets. Then we were hit. We are in the middle of a tank battle.

"I don't understand why they were doing that. There was no fire coming out of this hotel - everyone knows it's full of journalists.

"Everybody is putting on flak jackets. Everybody is running for cover. We now feel extremely vulnerable and we are now going to say goodbye to you." The line was cut but minutes later Chater resumed his report, saying journalists had been watching American forces from their balconies and the troops had surely been aware of their presence.

"They knew exactly what this hotel is. They know the press corps is here. I don't know why they are trying to target journalists. There are awful scenes around me. There's a Reuters tent just a few yards away from me where people are in tears. It makes you realise how vulnerable you are.

What are we supposed to do? How are we supposed to carry on if American shells are targeting Western journalists?"

29-3-2003 -

the OTHER WAR - non-embedded JOURNALISTS?

Just minutes after I began this report on journalists killed, missing, or beaten in Iraq, another report came in from Rome.

"Seven Italian journalists covering the war in Iraq have gone missing near the southern city of Basra after running into a group of armed men, colleagues traveling with the journalists have said. The special correspondents for various Italian newspapers have not checked in with their offices since 3:00 pm (1400 GMT) Friday, officials said. The foreign ministry said late Friday it was putting all means in place to find out where they were.

My initial focus was on the Israeli and Portuguese reporters who were apprehended. The journalists - two Israelis and a Portuguese television reporter - were allegedly held by US troops and accused of espionage. ''If true, this maltreatment of journalists is a grave violation of journalists' rights. This incident must be investigated and those responsible brought to justice,'' said the Brussels-based IFJ. The journalists, Dan Scemama, of Israel's Channel 1 TV, Boaz Bismuth of the Israeli Yediot Aharonot and Louis de Castro of Radio Television Portugal, were traveling alongside American convoys, but were not officially ''embedded'' with the troops.

This piece had me really tripping because the count wasn't that high yesterday and it doesn't include the 7 Italians just reported missing. Nine Journalists Missing, Others Beaten By US Troops

"Other press freedom organization - Reporters Without Borders (RSF) speaks about more dangerous situation. According to this organization nine journalists are missing in the "front line" and two others - ITN's Terry Lloyd and Australian cameraman Paul Moran, of Australia's ABC TV, already killed. At least two other journalists have been wounded."

"Journalists warned they are targets: The Australian Government has warned journalists in northern Iraq to leave the area. A new travel advice issued for Iraq says there is information pro-Saddam groups may be preparing to target westerners in the north, including media representatives." This page has a chronological list of missing or dead journalists.

I began getting really suspicious about what really happened/happening to all the journalists involved and after reading this, I'm going hmmm, yeah, HELL YES!

"Another novel element of this war that is creating unanticipated problems for the Bush administration is the specter of "embedded reporters". These are television, print and radio journalists "embedded" within and traveling with military units on the battlefield to cover the war, on condition that they do not report sensitive military information. The decision to have these embedded reporters was clearly based on the premise that they would be filing back reports and images of Iraqi soldiers surrendering without a fight, of the systematic crumbling of a decadent regime and of jubilant Iraqi crowds welcoming their "liberators." Contrary to these expectations, these embedded reporters are filing back gruesome reports of executed and captured or missing American soldiers and heart-wrenching stories of devastated Iraqi families - innocent men, women and children killed and maimed by American bombs falling on Baghdad. The Bush administration's exasperation with the press was demonstarted Friday by remarks from senior officials calling media skepticism over the war "silly." It is dangerously unwise for the adminsitration to alienate the press at this time."

Don't you just love the part about the Bush administration's exasperation with the press? How the press's role was uncorrectly assumed? I, like most, were buying the stories about the journalists killed and even those missing. This is a big what if, but what if dry drunk Bush issued orders to take out some of the press, in hopes they'd get the message and leave in droves. Was the word out? I was particularily flabbersgasted about the Portuguese journalist. I watch him on TV.

Nope this just isn't ringing true. "March 28 — With American troops fighting their way to Baghdad, Bush administration officials have opened a second front at home, voicing frustration with news media coverage of the war. In the struggle to shape public opinion, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other administration officials seemed determined to overcome what they see as “mood swings” and second-guessing by reporters and analysts which they fear could sap public support for the war."

Tell it, Donnie. " When a reporter asked Rumsfeld whether his planners had miscalculated the likelihood of the Iraqi people welcoming U.S. troops as liberators, Rumsfeld snapped, “don’t you think it’s a little premature, that question? We’ll know the answer to that as portions of the country are liberated. We’ll have people on the ground embedded with our forces who’ll have a chance to see what happens.” .”

From an article about the deaths of British reporter Terry Lloyd and Australian cameraman, Paul Moran, found while checking out Victoria Clarke.

"Neither of the journalists were "embedded," or assigned to accompany a military unit of the coalition forces.

On Saturday, Pentagon spokeswoman Victoria Clarke expressed condolences to the families of "journalists who were not embedded with coalition forces that have been killed and wounded."

Clarke urged news organizations to pull back their non-embedded journalists, or so-called "unilaterals," from combat zones in Iraq.

"We ask all new organizations to exercise restraint, especially with their journalists who are out there operating freely and ask them to exercise restraint. There are risks. Combat operations are moving in a fast and unpredictable fashion. The coalition forces will of course exercise extreme care whenever there are noncombatants. However, reporters who get between coalition and Iraqi forces put themselves at extreme risk," Clarke told reporters at a Pentagon briefing.

Those who are working as “unilaterals,” traveling and reporting independently of U.S. or British troops, are most at risk. Other correspondents—including some at NEWSWEEK—have narrowly escaped death. NEWSWEEK’s Jennifer Barrett spoke with Joel Simon, acting director of the Committee to Protect Journalists, about how well protected journalists are in Iraq and how that is affecting the way the war is reported.

"In my view, independent journalism is critical. They are reporting stories that journalists embedded with the troops cannot, such as reporting on what Iraqis think. They are getting some pretty intense stuff."

That pretty intense stuff is the crux of the matter. They have enraged the Pentagon, pissed Bush off immensely and one way or another they're going to be silenced.

OHBOY. Back to the Israeli's and the Portuguese reporter. After they were freed, one of the Israeli's had this to say. "He added that he had received the impression that the American army had done everything it could to ensure that not one independent journalist was reporting from Iraq."

Now I can't help but fear for the safety of Christopher Allbritton from, going it alone after raising money from readers, who according to his last entry, is getting ready to cross into Syria.

I wouldn't have the guts to put my life on the line for a story, but I sure applaud and admire those who do. This has taken too big a toll on journalists already. If I could give them some advice, I'd tell them to get out now, but I know that would fall on deaf ears. This is their heroin.

"Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost"
--Thomas Jefferson

Brenda Stardom

The BBC and Dead Journalists

By Brian Carnell

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

The BBC runs a lot of stories which are little more than rewriting some organization or another's press release. I don't necessarily have a problem with that, except when they can't be bothered to be even slightly circumspect about being accurate when they are doing so. I mean, if all you're doing is rewriting someone's press release, how hard can it be to get things right?

Apparently, its rather difficult for the BBC. Take this story from January 2004, for example, about a report on the number of journalists killed in 2004. The story notes in alarming language that 129 journalists were killed last year according to the International Federation of Journalists -- the most ever since that group began keeping such statistics.

Here's how the BBC describes the deaths of journalists,

The IFJ said that in almost every corner of the globe journalists were targeted and killed by the enemies of press freedom.

Another dangerous place to work was the Philippines where 13 journalists were murdered, many of them for reporting on corruption, crime and drugs trafficking.

The IFJ said governments have a duty to do more to protect journalists and to find out how and why they died.

Working conditions, particularly for local investigative reporters, were becoming more and more risky, the group added.

The clear implication is that journalists are being murdered right and left for trying to report the truth -- which, to some extent, they are. But the BBC deceives by not bothering to repeat the IJF's clear caveat that its stats on dead journalists include quite a few who died accidentally.

For example, it includes in those 129 deaths several individuals who died after their plane crashed while trying to get a perfect shot set up for a photographer. It also includes cases of reporters who died in car accidents while heading to cover a story. It even includes the tragic death of a young Texas reporter who died when the large boom antenna on a mobile broadcast van hit powerlines and the journalist was electrocuted.

All tragedies but hardly representing the persecution of the press that the BBC implies that all 129 deaths represent.


'Deadliest' year for journalists. Chris Morris, The BBC, January 18, 2005.

Riding the Tale of the Elephant
How America Kills Iraqi Journalists for Their Own Good
by Lila Rajiva
January 24, 2006

Michael Schrage, a former Washington Post columnist and current MIT security studies maven recently penned a column in the Outlook section of the Washington Post about the US strategy of paying Iraqi journalists to place stories favorable to the US in the media. The strategy, originally revealed by the LA Times on December 2005, provoked condemnation from journalists as far apart as Christopher Hitchens, leftist addition to the militerati, and Alexander Cockburn. An egregious breach of journalistic ethics was the consensus view.

“Enough already,” says Schrage in his Post piece. “Securing positive coverage for our troops in Iraq can be as important to their safety as "up-armoring" vehicles and providing state-of-the-art body armor. The failure to wage the media war is a failure to command.” (1)

To the extent that Schrage is arguing that massaging the news is not a recent development for the military, he is right. Fake news is not new. It’s been part of military offensives since Neanderthal man first tricked his neighbor and clubbed him over the head. In the Indian epic, Mahabharata, the eldest of the five Pandava brothers who are the rightful heirs to the kingdom of Bharatha is legendary for always speaking the truth. Until, that is, things come to a head during the battle between the Pandavas and the usurping Kauravas, with their unstoppable warrior-guru Drona. A plan is concocted to demoralize Drona by spreading the lie that his son Ashvathama is dead. Ashvathama, it happens, is also the name of an elephant -- which actually is dead. Yudhishthira, until then so faultlessly truthful that his chariot wheels never touch the ground, succumbs and allows himself to whisper – “Ashvathama , the elephant (sottovoce), is dead.” The grief-stricken Drona believes the rumor and dies. The tide turns for the Pandavas, but Yudhishthira’s wheels start hitting the ground like everyone else’s.

Schrage seems to think that “US story-boarding” is no more than an episode in this sainted tradition. But, using disinformation to hoodwink the armed enemy on a classical battlefield -- under strict and chivalrous laws of engagement -- is one thing. Using it to deceive the civilian population in an enemy country in 21st century conditions of total war is another. And using it to bamboozle neutrals, friendlies, and worst of all, your own domestic population is something else altogether.

American chariot wheels are not just firmly on the ground. They are burrowing down into Hades. The Iraq news faking was directed not only at the population in the new “democracy” but at the population in the US and its allies. And it makes a sham of democratic participation. It denies people even the tiniest crumbs of information about the progress of a war in which they are expected to immolate their children. Volunteering for the republic under those terms is not much more than Aztec child sacrifice.

Schrage misstates a few other important things. They did it first, he says, arguing that the controversial “information ops” were launched as a defensive measure against Iraqi insurgents who were spreading lies about the coalition and attacking pro-American Iraqi media.

Really. Defensive? The Iraqi insurgents by definition did not come into existence until after the fall of Baghdad, i.e., in the summer of 2003. US disinformation in Iraq on the other hand has been percolating in the region at least since before Gulf War I -- fifteen years ago.

It was fifteen years ago that the Washington, DC PR firm Hill & Knowlton hatched the fable that is now a cliché of atrocity stories -- that Iraqi soldiers in Kuwait were tossing babies out of incubators, a psy-op directed not against Iraqis but against the American public and Congress. The Kuwaiti ambassador’s daughter Nayirah -- at the time nowhere in the vicinity -- even put in a tear-jerking I-was-there account of the baby-toss on the floor of the US Congress.

Another firm, Rendon, hired by the CIA in 1990 to help “create the conditions for the removal of Hussein from power,” went on to earn a hundred million dollars in government contracts in just the five years following. It got together anti-Saddam militants, gave them a “brand” -- the Iraqi National Congress, and advised them on PR strategy. It also handpicked Ahmad Chalabi, the ex-bank con turned peddler of pro-war propaganda, and primed a flyspecked assortment of defectors in the fine art of bluffing polygraphs. All to further neo-conservative plans for creative destruction in the Middle East.

Even bungled lie detector tests didn’t stop Rendon from planting fake stories about Saddam’s supposed stash of WMD. One channel was Paul Moran, a paid operative masquerading as a freelancer for the mammoth Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Why Australia? Because by law the Bush administration is forbidden from propagandizing the American public directly. Leave that to journalists with calloused knees like Moran or the submissive Judith Miller -- recently martyred at the New York Times -- who gave heads up to the flim-flam on the front pages of the gray lady herself. From there the faux-news spread like avian flu to chicken-hawks world-wide - making the 2003 war almost entirely a creation of the Western media. So much for the “free” press.

But wait, perhaps this fandango was being performed beyond the decorous sight of the military? Think again. Rendon is authorized “to research and analyze information classified up to Top Secret/SCI/SI/TK/G/HCS” -- acronyms that indicate access to the most secret information available from all three types of intelligence collection: electronic eavesdropping, satellite imagery and spies on the ground -- a level of clearance given to only a handful of defense contractors.

“We've worked in ninety-one countries,” boasts firm boss, John Rendon. “Going all the way back to Panama, we've been involved in every war, with the exception of Somalia.” (2) And in the mid-nineties, when the CIA lost faith with Chalabi and Rendon, the pair just rolled over to the Pentagon, reporting to the J-3, at the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Legitimate Pentagon public relations -- to the alarm of many military men -- has been wallowing neck-deep in psy-ops in Iraq for years now. So, to argue as Schrage does, that the military was slow-footed about the media war, is nothing short of ludicrous.

Rendon didn’t work alone, either. It coordinated its work with a whole bevy of wholesalers of disinformation. In 2001, just after 9-11, the Pentagon also created the Office of Strategic Information (OSI) as an express line for junk news -- an office whose briefings even the military reportedly found “scary.” Rendon may not have worked directly for the OSI, which soon shut down under public pressure, but it certainly did for the OSI’s successor, the Information Operations Task Force, nestled one layer deeper in the labyrinth of Pentagon bureaucracy.

And Rendon was also tuned into the Office of Global Communications, run right out of the White House “Information War Room.” The OGC monitored and counter-attacked breaking news reports all over the globe, snatching them up as soon as they tapped out of journalists’ keyboards with the help of “Livewire”, Rendon’s cutting-edge wire collection system. The scope of the monitoring was staggering: English and Arabic internet chatrooms, web sites in at least four more languages, e-mail lists. The Pentagon also ran a massive “media mapping” campaign against news organizations like Al Jazeera, analyzing individual journalists, twisting the arms of those who were critical, and planting false stories abroad. OGC was tasked with punishing journalists who broke ranks in Jakarta, Islamabad, Riyadh, Cairo, Ankara, and Tashkent, venues deeply implicated in the Global War on Terror. (3) Propaganda, psy-ops, espionage. An inseparable and intricately plotted whole in the Empire today, not some dazed afterthought, as Schrage wants us to us believe.

And Schrage simply ignores the crucial fact that private contractors like Rendon -- who now perform half of the CIA’s work -- are completely unaccountable to Congress. Think about it. Private contractors run half the nation’s most secret military operations and they don’t have to say a word about what they do to the people who foot the bill and face the fire. Yet, in spite of this, Schrage talks about the media war as it if it were somehow gingerly choreographed by a crew of abstemious social workers who wouldn’t know a financial incentive or a private agenda if it was served up with arugala on a platter.

His other claims are just as incredible. Unfair, he says, to hold the “nascent Iraqi media” to “American ethical standards.” The nascent -- in fact, stillborn -- Iraqi media is, of course, run by America; presumably, it should have no trouble at all reaching “American ethical standards”. But some might reasonably ask where those standards have been for at least a decade. First, there were the blatant distortions in the run-up to both Gulf Wars. Then, there was the media blackout of the interim in which Iraq was strangled in slow motion by sanctions. Where were mainstream journalists then? Struck dumb by an excess of ethics, it seems. Embeds, video news-releases, whole-sale news scripting, vetting from on high, self-censorship, selective coverage, outright propaganda . . .  journalists may have to remove a log or two from their own eyes before squinting after motes abroad.

But, according to Schrage, the military is only faking the news because otherwise Iraq would be dominated by the “one-sided thuggery and threat” issuing from Iraqi insurgents. He cites a report of the Committee to Protect Journalists that more than 40 Iraqi journalists have been killed since the toppling of Saddam Hussein. Indeed they have. A huge number of them by American forces.

Here’s the death toll according to the CPJ web site: 14 dead journalists in 2003, 24 in 2004 and 22 in 2005, 60 in all, making Iraq the world’s bloodiest spot today for the profession. Only two of these dead journalists were American. Well over two-thirds were Iraqis or other Arabs. And the American military killed 13 of them. 13 confirmed killings. Most of them initially denied and later admitted under pressure from reporters and eyewitnesses. Of the other deaths, 36 are attributed to “insurgents, suicide bombers and cross-fire.” Crossfire episodes can half be laid at the door of the US. So we can assume that that’s at least another six journalists who were killed by the US. Then, there were also 18 “unrecognized” killings. Since most of the killings that were clearly identified were identified to have been committed by the US, we can fairly assume that at least half of those that were not identified, should also have been committed by the US. Conservatively, then, around 29 journalists -- almost ten a year -- appear to have been knocked off by American firepower in three years. And most of the victims were Iraqi journalists working in their own country. (4) Ripe numbers these. Worthy of goose-stepping dictators, not the world’s most influential republic and de facto leader of the West.

What is fairly damning in all this, also, is that it is pretty well documented that U.S. forces routinely detained Iraqi newsmen for weeks or months without charges or evidence because of what they filmed or photographed. That makes accusations that the US actually targeted journalists for killing seem entirely plausible.

No question there was a one-sided threat in Iraq. It was the US military.

Schrage even goes on to argue that media restraints in occupied Japan and Germany “make Iraq's information environment look as unregulated as the blogosphere,” when in fact, the “unregulated” blogosphere is quite heavily monitored by US intelligence. How could it not be? It’s a creature of the addictive culture of advertising. When it’s not mainlining on PR masquerading as news, it’s overdosing on planted stories and sites.

Hardly the Athenian agora that Schrage makes it out to be.

Schrage cites the “Information Control Division” which oversaw the denazification of West Germany media. By 1946, he says, the US controlled “37 newspapers, 6 radio stations, 314 theatres, 642 movies, 101 magazines, 237 book publishers, 7,384 book dealers and printers.” It also published a newspaper with 1.5 million in circulation and 3 magazines, ran the Associated Press of Germany, and operated 20 library centers. This, he claims, has not been equaled since. No? In fact, Iraq’s old radio and TV networks, now called al-Iraqiya, the national newspaper, and several related papers are all run by the US and by US proxies; Iraqi opposition journalists are coached and coerced by the US; Iraqi media is flooded with bogus stories; and all this in a global environment suffocating in a unprecedented miasma of doublespeak issuing from the major TV networks.

At least John Rendon -- who should know -- does not seem to suffer from any illusion that the US vise on world media has loosened. This is how he describes the scene just after 9-11:

We were doing 195 newspapers and 43 countries in fourteen or fifteen languages. If you do this correctly, I can tell you what's on the evening news tonight in a country before it happens. I can give you, as a policymaker, a six-hour break on how you can affect what's going to be on the news. They'll take that in a heartbeat.

But Schrage leaves his best laugh for the end. “The more stable, open and prosperous a society Iraq becomes, the more the need for a military role in local media will evaporate,” he says. Warming to this theme of a Jeffersonian Iraq a-borning, he claims that in ten years, the Iraqis will be complaining about their “fair and balanced” media like Westerners.

The patronizing tone might be unintended. But that a sophisticated journalist and political scientist should really believe that popular disgust with the corporate media is a merit-badge for an “open and prosperous” society; that Iraqis will, with luck, be able to wear that badge in another ten years (how convenient that the figure should match US military goals in the region); and that US propaganda is “a positive contribution to their [Iraqi] civil society,” because it makes them skeptical of what they hear (Saddam somehow couldn’t quite manage that) -- all without the slightest blush or twinge of irony, does say one thing, however. It tells us exactly how successful the US media war has been. Not over there in Iraq. But out here in the US.

Lila Rajiva is a freelance writer in Baltimore, and the author of the must-read book The Language of Empire: Abu Ghraib and the US Media (Monthly Review Press, 2005) She can be reached at: Copyright (c) 2006 by Lila Rajiva


(1) “Use Every Article In the Arsenal,” Michael Schrage, Washington Post, January 15, 2006;

(2) “The Man Who Sold the War,” James Bamford, Rolling Stone, November 17, 2005.

Iraq War journalist death toll rises to 80

Brussels, 5 August, 2006 - The murder of an American freelance journalist this week takes the total news media death toll in the Iraq War to 80.

Journalists and other newsgathering staff from 16 countries have died since the war began in March 2003 - almost three a month -- according to figures compiled by the International News Safety Institute (INSI).

But the vast majority of the dead are Iraqi. Fifty-six have now died trying to report their country for their compatriots and the world.

"Every single civilian death in this war is to be mourned, but a free press is critical for a free and fearless society. Hopes of a new democracy rising from the ashes of post-Saddam Iraq are being buried alongside these brave reporters," said INSI Director Rodney Pinder.

Forty-nine of the dead journalists -- almost two-thirds of the total -- were murdered by insurgents.

Thirteen were killed by US troops and 7 died in crossfire. Two were killed by Iraqi forces before the fall of Saddam Hussein and one was believed to have been shot by Iraqi troops working with the US-led coalition. Eight died in accidents or from health problems.

There is no firm evidence that US forces deliberately sought to kill journalists, though the absence of open inquiries into killings continues to fuel widespread suspicions. No one is known to have been held to account for the death of any journalist in Iraq.

There are many instances of apparently deliberate slaying of reporters by unidentified insurgents.

The latest victim, American journalist Steven Vincent, was writing about the rise of conservative Shi'ite Islam and the corruption of Iraqi police. He was kidnapped in Basra by at least two men wearing police uniform and driving a police car, witnesses said. He was dumped in the street after being shot three times and his Iraqi interpreter was wounded.

"People who murder reporters are no freedom fighters," Pinder said. "They are nothing more than murderous thugs who fear the light of free reporting."

Vincent was the first American journalist to be attacked and killed during the war. The others died in accidents or from health problems.

As well as the 56 Iraqis, the war has claimed the lives of journalists and support staff from Algeria, Argentina (2), Australia (2), Britain (3), Germany, Iran, Italy, Japan (2), Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Poland, Spain (2), Ukraine and the United States (4).

By comparison, the Vietnam war claimed about 70 news media dead over 20 years.

INSI has held two safety training courses in Iraqi for Iraqi journalists and plans three more in coming months. Applicants should contact INSI Deputy Director Sarah de Jong by e-mail or by phone +32 22 35 2201.

"We are particularly anxious to provide this help to Iraqi cameramen, the unsung heroes behind most of the news footage we see on our screens every day," Pinder said.

Contact: or by phone +44 7734 709 267

Russia - Kommersant deputy editor says reporter's death should not be politicised

Écrit par RSF.ORG    12-03-2007

Reporters Without Borders has interviewed Kommersant deputy editor Ilya Bulivanov about the mysterious death of one of its journalists, Ivan Safronov, in a fall from the fifth floor of his Moscow apartment building on 2 March.  The police initially treated it as a suicide, eliciting energetic protests from Kommersant. Prosecutors finally said on 5 March they were investigating the possibility that it was the result of “incitement to suicide.”

Given the sensitive nature of the subjects Safronov wrote about, Reporters Without Borders firmly believes the police should be investigating the possibility that he was killed in connection with his work as a journalist.

Reporters Without Borders: Do you think Ivan Safronov’s death was the result of a criminal act?

Ilya Bulavinov: If it was a violent death, it was probably linked to his professional activity. But for the time being there are no grounds for claiming this.

What story was he working on at the time of his death? After attending the IDEX-2007 show, he wanted to work on Russian arms sales to the Middle East. This exhibition, one of the biggest in the arms world, took place on 17 February in Abu Dhabi. Ivan wanted to investigate deliveries of SU-30 fighters and other weapons to Syria and deliveries of C-300B anti-aircraft missiles to Iran. We never got this article. That is all we know.

When did you see Ivan for the last time? Before the show, that is to say, a month ago. He had not come to the newspaper since then.

Do you know if he had received threats? What I can say is that he knew that arms contracts were as sensitive subject. Especially as writing about this subject could be seen as “divulging state secrets.” Ivan and I had been summoned to testify in criminal trials for divulging state secrets. He had often been asked to reveal his sources. But Ivan was a very careful and scrupulous man. He always kept lots of different documents and could prove he got his information from known sources.

The authorities are now investigating the possibility of “incitement to suicide.” What does that mean? Incitement to suicide could, for example, consist of regular telephone threats and so on. We are satisfied with this term. Initially, after Ivan’s death, we had a clear impression that no one wanted to deal with this case. The investigating judges in particular were very reluctant to act. But the public tributes paid to Ivan and statements by many journalists prompted the decision to open an investigation.

Will Kommersant carry out its own investigation? Unfortunately, our resources cannot be compared with those of the prosecutor’s office. I think we have already done everything we can. We interviewed Ivan’s neighbours, his friends and relatives, and his doctor. He had a stomach ulcer which got worse some time ago. We thought that his doctor, whom he had just seen prior to his death, may have given him very bad news. But the doctor told us Ivan did not have any serious ailment and that his condition was even improving.

Do you think Ivan may have killed himself? No. He had a very happy family life. He was very involved in preparing the future of his son, who is a student. Ivan was a man who was very conscious of his responsibilities towards those close to him. He supported his family. All this confirms that he could not have killed himself. He loved his family too much to abandon them.

I would also like to say that this case is being politicised. People should not write that Ivan was an opponent of the regime. That would be false. He was never an opponent. Yes, he had brushes with this or that official. Some of them did not like him. But he was not an opponent they would have wanted to kill.