U.S. Kills Journalists.
April 8, 2003 7:25 AM   Subscribe

U.S. Kills Journalists. Three journalists in the Palestine Hotel -- which is known as many reporters' base in Baghdad -- have died after the building was bombed by U.S. forces. Simultaneously, U.S. forces hit Al-Jazeera's Abu Dhabi offices with a missle. Officials claim that they were responding to sniper fire, but journalists dispute the claim. Some journalists believe that this was a deliberate attack. Is the U.S. making good on their threat to "target down" journalists?
posted by waldo (79 comments total)

 
Wow. That's a lot of bile you've got flowing there, waldo. You might want to see some sort of doctor about that.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 7:29 AM on April 8, 2003


:s/missle/missile/g

Doh.
posted by waldo at 7:33 AM on April 8, 2003


To clarify, the Palestine Hotel was hit with tank fire, not bombed from the air. Yes, we knew journalists were there - guess what, so did the Iraqis. Not that the Iraqis would use human shields for protection or anything.

Abu Dhabi TV's offices were hit, not Al Jazeera's offices in Abu Dhabi. Abu Dhabi is a city in a different country.
posted by techgnollogic at 7:38 AM on April 8, 2003


well, there's a lot of blood flowing these days, ghost, it tends to raise the bile levels. but don't let it upset you. don't let anything upset you. you're above it all, we can see that.
[backs away, bowing obsequiously]
posted by quonsar at 7:40 AM on April 8, 2003


I think you'll find it was Al-Jazeera and Abu Dhabi TV's office in Bagdad that was hit, not Al-Jazeera's office in Abu Dhabi, which makes this a lot less dramatic.....

On preview - what techgnollogic said
posted by brettski at 7:41 AM on April 8, 2003


To clarify, the Palestine Hotel was hit with tank fire, not bombed from the air.

This is unclear. CNN writes: "An Al-Jazeera reporter on-air said... two missiles hit the building," but NPR reported this morning that it was tank fire.

This story seems to be changing a lot over the course of the morning, in terms of the facts being presented. I get the sense that reporters are trying to move quickly on this.
posted by waldo at 7:42 AM on April 8, 2003


You might want to see some sort of doctor about that.

I guess that those treasonous injured journalists who are unhappy to get their asses shot at, well, they might want to see a doctor, too

anyway I just love this:

Some U.S. troops said they took fire from snipers on the rooftop of the hotel, while Brig. Gen. Vincent Brooks, a U.S. Central Command spokesman, said the fire came from the lobby area. He later said it was uncertain where it came from.
Other soldiers said tanks were taking mortar and grenade fire from in front of the hotel, and saw binoculars trained on them from an upper floor. Suspecting a "spotter" post, they fired.


so, what the fuck is it: snipers on rooftop, snipers in the lobby (lol), uncertain, or those evil "binoculars trained on them from an upper floor". It's different, you know.
posted by matteo at 7:49 AM on April 8, 2003


Al Jazeera offices were also bombed in Kabul. The US Military were given satellite coordinates of Al Jezeera's Baghdad office to prevent another "accident". Now they are bombed again.

If it was deliberate, it is a war crime.
posted by dydecker at 7:51 AM on April 8, 2003


Remember, any journalists still in Baghdad are knowingly opperating in the middle of a city under seige where there is a high likelyhood of extremely dangerous and prolonged urban combat.

The US should take every precaution to minimize the effect of its military opperations on the civilian population and journalists, but I don't think its entirely unexpected that journalist will take fire at some points.

This is definitely a tragedy, but an expected one. I don't think the US was deliberately targeting journalists, etc. That would be about the dumbest thing the US could do.
posted by pjgulliver at 7:53 AM on April 8, 2003


Journalists? Are they running out of British soldiers?
posted by arf at 7:54 AM on April 8, 2003


arf, LOL
posted by adamgreenfield at 7:56 AM on April 8, 2003


I thought Al-Jazeera was kicked out of Iraq.
posted by probablysteve at 7:56 AM on April 8, 2003


Al-Jazeera reporter Shaker Hamed has issued an SOS on TV, asking for help, saying that "25 journalists and technicians belonging to Abu Dhabi television and Qatari satellite television channel Al-Jazeera are surrounded in the offices of Abu Dhabi TV in Baghdad." (Note the correct placement of Abu Dhabi. :) He's asking for help from International Organisation of Journalists, Reporters Sans Frontieres, the Arab Journalists Union, International Committee of the Red Cross, and the X-Men.
posted by waldo at 7:59 AM on April 8, 2003


matteo, if there actually was a sniper, all the confusion could be caused by the fact he was a good one. Snipers are supposed to make you think, "where the hell is that shooting coming from?"
posted by Cyrano at 8:00 AM on April 8, 2003


Mortar fire/sniper fire, and binoculars on a roof... in the middle of a war zone.

The hotel is still standing, however. That's restraint on someone's part.

JB
posted by JB71 at 8:07 AM on April 8, 2003


Cyrano,

that's a "if" bigger than your nose
posted by matteo at 8:08 AM on April 8, 2003


Snipers are supposed to make you think, "where the hell is that shooting coming from?"

BBC's Rageh Omar appends a similar comment to his report. He didn't see snipers, but that might just mean they were good snipers. al-J's reporting of his comments omits his caveat.
posted by ednopantz at 8:12 AM on April 8, 2003


Earlier, US forces knocked out Iraq's TV and radio, too.

There were three seperate attacks, here. A tank attack on Reuters' hotel, two missiles slamming into Al Jazeera HQ, and the third attack of Abu Dhabi TV.

Now, is the military asking us to believe that three accidental attacks on independent journalists would all happen in the same day when they knew where these people were located?

Yeah, right. That has about as much chance as being accidental as if three planes were to crash into buildings in the US on the same day...
posted by insomnia_lj at 8:14 AM on April 8, 2003


Dear President Bush,

Could you please bring back the draft and draft all the armchair generals on Metafilter who seem to think a soldier in combat has the same clarity they have sitting on their comfy office chairs in front of their PCs?

Someone can light a firecracker and before you know it they'd all shoot each other in panic.

Thank you,

A Gore Voter
posted by bondcliff at 8:31 AM on April 8, 2003


That would be about the dumbest thing the US could do.

no. THAT would be electing duhbya in 2004.
posted by quonsar at 8:35 AM on April 8, 2003


Fierce battles in central Baghdad. Somebody warn the reporters there. Apparently, some sort of weapons are being discharged.
posted by shoos at 8:38 AM on April 8, 2003


Eyewitness account (from Skynews)

This war sucks. My government sucks. All MeFi users that don't agree with me suck.

You are with me or against me.

I play Operation Flashpoint, so I am one step above of all of you armchair generals.

You've been warned.
posted by samelborp at 8:45 AM on April 8, 2003


Indeed I rather suspect if the American military wanted to kill journalists they would. There is no proof at all that this was deliberate. Given the PR damage killing a journalist does I would suggest that there must be at least a presumption that this was an accident in the fog of war.
posted by prentiz at 8:51 AM on April 8, 2003


It's eight journos gone so far, and quite a few injured. All doing a job for the benefit of us knuckleheads...

Paul McGeough last night, after the incident at the Palestine Hotel where he was staying.
You have to look at this from a journalist's point of view very differently to the combatants and the civilian population.

They're not here by choice, they're either conscripted or ordered to be here and the civilians don't have a choice.

We're here by choice.

We workshop it on an hourly basis as an ongoing conference between groups of colleagues trying to call it right, trying to stay safe and make sure you stay alive.

There's no point in being here if you can't get the story but, more importantly, if you're not alive to file it.


So it's not like they're all "OMG There are bombs going off!".
posted by GrahamVM at 9:00 AM on April 8, 2003


Check out the name of the hotel! Probably done by Zionists using American uniforms to cloak a Mossad operation.
posted by Postroad at 9:00 AM on April 8, 2003


The continual drone of the Bush-haters on MeFi is at least begining to show it's utter moral bankruptcy. Day after day of every event being posted, deeply analyzed in a fashion that condemns the US while ignoring anything Saddam Hussain did to bring about the event. Today's features include the horrors of US soldiers killing children, and bombing a TV station.

The fact that the Iraqi regime uses children as both scouts and human shields, uses schools as ammo dumps, and scatters it's Republican guard throughout the civilian population for the delibrate purpose of creating exactly this sort of press is willfully ignored.

I can see why there is upset about Al-Jazeera getting hit, as over the last couple of weeks MeFi seems to have pretty much turned into an Al-Jazeera discussion board.
posted by MidasMulligan at 9:03 AM on April 8, 2003


"Other soldiers said tanks were taking mortar and grenade fire from in front of the hotel, and saw binoculars trained on them from an upper floor. Suspecting a 'spotter' post, they fired.""

On NPR this morning a reporter staying at the hotel said she has seen reporters stand on the roof and use binoculars to survey the city.
posted by gluechunk at 9:03 AM on April 8, 2003


" The continual drone of the Bush-haters on MeFi is at least begining to show it's utter moral bankruptcy."

Go on, accuse us of treason. I dare you!
posted by GrahamVM at 9:08 AM on April 8, 2003


Mh seems they're following the ages old unwritten rule of combact "Shoot first, ask questions later". Hi ho , Silver !
posted by elpapacito at 9:12 AM on April 8, 2003


I sincerely doubt we would fire on the journalists.
Come on people, we are fighting for our life with regard to PR and public opinion. I doubt that we would bite the hand that feeds us. I would think even the most cynical would realize that!

Probably some kid in a tank saw someone on a roof with binoculars, heard firing from somewhere, didn't *notice* in the heat of war and being terrified of being killed that it was the hotel where the journalists are, and fired. I totally understand it. Sad, but understandable.

As for the Al-Jazzera being bombed, I know how much they are rankling the Bush Administration. But again, I don't think they would be dumb enough to bomb them purposefully. I mean, they KNOW it's going to be reported and they want good PR in the Arab world too. Bombing the main Arab news station is not the way to get it.
posted by aacheson at 9:16 AM on April 8, 2003


Is the U.S. making good on their threat to "target down" journalists?

I will do my best to take you seriously here.

The notion that the U.S. would deliberately target journalists is preposterous. Don't you think they have enough trouble with everyone whining about the civilian casualties? What would be their motivation for doing such a thing?

The journalists are in a war zone. By their own free will. If the Iraqi's put a missile launcher on the roof, would you expect it to not be fired on?
posted by eas98 at 9:19 AM on April 8, 2003


Fine piece here detailing the muzzling of Al Jezeera on the net.

What would be their motivation for doing such a thing?

To keep the world's eyes off what will happen next.
posted by dydecker at 9:29 AM on April 8, 2003


Not everything is a conspiracy either by the US or the Iraqis, nor is it proof positive of their inherent lack of character. You have 18-25 year old boys running/driving around with large amounts of explosive firepower, being shot at and shooting back. Mistakes will happen. It's why wars suck and shouldn't be entered into lightly. It's not a war crime, it's just war.
posted by cardboard at 9:34 AM on April 8, 2003


The continual drone of the Bush-haters on MeFi is at least begining to show it's utter moral bankruptcy.

Go on, accuse us of treason. I dare you!


Treason? Goodness no. And you are the ones launching most of the "accusations". But the claim that I might accuse you of "treason" is a wonderful way of yet again avoiding the fact that you are perfectly aligned with the primary strategy of Saddam Hussain - who never believed he could win the war in battles, and so did everything in his power to try to produce situations exactly like the ones you examine in such great detail, and attempt to get them broadcast to as wide an audience as possible.
posted by MidasMulligan at 9:34 AM on April 8, 2003


"The round-the-clock coverage has angered many in the upper echelons of the military, including air marshal brian burridge who yesterday said the media had lost the plot and turned the war into a spectator sport and the equivalent of a reality tv show." (here)

You see, it's fine to show reports from embedded reporters, filtered, censored and hacked bits by the military to win our hearts and minds. But those who try and show both sides of the coin are considered "one step down from being a member of the Republican Guard". The degree to which the military continues to presume that accurate and independent reporting on a war is an unnecessary inconvenience is incredible. Much as it would suit the military to limit coverage of this conflict to thinly-veiled propoganda, people with the guts to risk their lives in pursuit of the truth (remind me, wasn't that what this whole war business was supposed to be about?) deserve better than the contempt the US seems to be showing for their jobs and, apparently, their lives.

Day after day of every event being posted, deeply analyzed in a fashion that condemns the US while ignoring anything Saddam Hussain did to bring about the event. Today's features include the horrors of US soldiers killing children, and bombing a TV station.

The US started this war claiming they would bring freedom to Iraq. Doing so by behaving no better than the regime they are overthrowing invites criticism, and rightly so. The White House and much of our apparently free media are taking great pains to point out that Saddam Hussein isn't a nice guy. Somebody has to hold a mirror to that and point out some of the sad ironies that are becoming apparent in this miserable war, and if not here then where else?
posted by zygoticmynci at 9:36 AM on April 8, 2003


What would be their motivation for doing such a thing?

To keep the world's eyes off what will happen next.


Exactly - for the last two weeks most sensible/pragmatic commentators have been warning that we can't have a siege or an urban conflict without massive civillian casualties, this is just the tip of the iceberg.

There are plenty here who accept that those civilian casualties are a price we have to pay for "the greater good" - so to be shielded from the consequences of such action is moral cowardice.

(on preview what zygoticminci eloquently says)
posted by niceness at 9:45 AM on April 8, 2003


The continual drone of the Bush-haters on MeFi is at least begining to show it's utter moral bankruptcy.

huh? it's the continual drone of the war apologists that gets more and more ridiculous.

people are just posting their opinions and links to whatever solid facts we have. there's absolutely no response to the completely morally bankrupt idea of "It's all Saddam Hussein's fault - if he hadn't started this war, none of these atrocities would have happened."

that's just poor, and doesn't help the discussion at all. if you don't want to make independent decisions on what's happening in Iraq, stay out of the thread.

i don't think the atrocities of the Baath Party have been ignored here at all. if you think they have, post a good FPP.
posted by mrgrimm at 9:49 AM on April 8, 2003


This is no surprise. The Anglo/American forces were sent to occupy, and occupation always involves many, many casualties. The problem is a lack of trust. Who in their right mind would believe that turning themselves over to the Anglo/American military forces would lead to safety? You'll either get tortured, deported to a concentration camp, I mean refugee camp, or, most likely, when the U.S. sets up economic relations with the next brutal dictator, he's going to kill your sorry ass reeeal slowly like, and no one's going to stop him.


But anyways, when giving yourself up to the invading forces sounds like a hell worse than you could possibly dream of, the civilians are going to do anything they can to kill the invaders. Anything. Now that the media outlets are destroyed (except embedded "journalists,") the Anglo/American invaders can do their job, which is to destroy everything that moves. And some of the shit that doesn't move, because it might start movin', if you're not careful.
posted by zekinskia at 10:04 AM on April 8, 2003


500 embedded reporters with satellite phones and live video uplinks - all censored and edited to the Pentagon's contentment? Uh, sure...
posted by techgnollogic at 10:06 AM on April 8, 2003


Meanwhile, Arab press continues to beligerently inflame the region.
posted by techgnollogic at 10:13 AM on April 8, 2003


so did everything in his power to try to produce situations exactly like the ones you examine in such great detail, and attempt to get them broadcast to as wide an audience as possible.

you are advocating censorship, then.
because God knows if the pro-war-at-all-costs/you're-either-with-us-or-against-us point of view isn't being broadcast 24/7 by all major US networks
what's wrong in a little less gung-ho, less pro-war, less Pentagon-authorized news analysis

*waits for the usual, not even remotely funny anymore "goddamn liberal media" rant*


dear Gen. bondcliff,
have you been in combat for how many days? (just curious)
also, can you spell "rules of engagement"?
(ps: some MeFi users actually come from countries where the draft is still the law, fyi)
posted by matteo at 10:13 AM on April 8, 2003


Won't somebody please bomb Geraldo?
posted by inpHilltr8r at 10:14 AM on April 8, 2003


Zekinskia, that makes absolutely no sense.
posted by pjgulliver at 10:18 AM on April 8, 2003


Not everything is a conspiracy either by the US or the Iraqis, nor is it proof positive of their inherent lack of character. You have 18-25 year old boys running/driving around with large amounts of explosive firepower, being shot at and shooting back. Mistakes will happen. It's why wars suck and shouldn't be entered into lightly. It's not a war crime, it's just war.

Bingo Bango Bongo, buddy.
posted by Samsonov14 at 10:26 AM on April 8, 2003


Techgnollogic,
I can't real Al-Jazeera, but I surely can look at the pictures. Yes, they are inflaming the region-but how is that different from what our press is doing? We aren't showing pictures like this, they are. We are showing pictures of happy Iraqis waving American flags, they aren't. Our press is inflaming us one direction, theirs is the other.

That said, I do think that we do get a more even coverage than the Arab world. I saw a link the other day to the headlines of all the major Arab newspapers, and almost every one had something about "The Jews are the ones gaining the most from this war." I was amazed. HUH? The Jews? How on earth do they factor into this war?

Many Arabs don't have internet access like we do or access to other news sources. We can read international press to get a better view of what is going on than the pro-US drivel the majority of our press hands out. There appear to be very few Arabic language news sources that has a more un-biased slant.

I don't think we can accuse one side or the other of being particularly bad. There are biases on both sides. I weep for the silly Americans who get all their news from the ass-kissing Fox news channel, just as I weep for the Arabs who get their news from Al-Jazeera.
posted by aacheson at 10:26 AM on April 8, 2003


The notion that the U.S. would deliberately target journalists is preposterous.

So, eas98, who is lying, the BBC's Kate Adie, or the Pentagon? And if the Pentagon, were they lying then, or are they lying now? How do you know?

I will do my best to take you seriously here.
posted by waldo at 10:28 AM on April 8, 2003


aacheson: try sticking to one implicit definition of "inflaming" when using the term more than once in a single post.

mrgrimm: ditto that with "atrocity"
posted by shoos at 10:45 AM on April 8, 2003


waldo: you too. You're bending "targeted down" into plain old "targeted."
posted by shoos at 10:52 AM on April 8, 2003


Oh Christ Waldo, you know as well as we do that the Aldie story was blown out of all proportion. Pentagon never said it was targeting "unilateral" journalists, it just said that it couldn't guarantee their safety, and that if they engaged in certain activity, like using unregistered satellite phones, they might be mistaken for the enemy and fired upon. There is, after all, combat occurring in Iraq.
posted by pjgulliver at 10:53 AM on April 8, 2003


MM says: the primary strategy of Saddam Hussain - who never believed he could win the war in battles, and so did everything in his power to try to produce situations exactly like the ones you examine in such great detail, and attempt to get them broadcast to as wide an audience as possible.

I wish Midas would share with the rest of us (and with the Coalition High Command) the source of his definitive intelligence on the enemy's "primary strategy". If he has such high-quality knowledge, maybe he can positively confirm if Saddam and his sons were in the building bombed last night (because the chances of finding identifiable remains will be rather low).

Of course, if it is true that he "never believed he could win the war in battles", then Strong-Sadd would currently be directing his followers long-distance from a Mediterranean resort (not the one with the infamous reservations), rather than waiting anywhere in Baghdad for a bunker-buster to get him.

Then again, if he was waiting for "world public opinion" to save him, he would be a total idiot, since he is getting zero material support from the worldwide Anti-War movement (remember the 'human shields' who got smart and left?) and seriously insufficient military aid from his 'Arab brothers', while the chances of Bush changing his mind based on lack of support are equal to that of the L.A. Clippers winning the NBA championship (polls show him clearly winning the domestic propaganda battle for support of THIS war).

So stop worrying about MeFites with opposing viewpoints bringing aid and comfort to the enemy, unless the enemy you're really afraid of is anybody beating Bush in the '04 election.
posted by wendell at 11:00 AM on April 8, 2003


The adult literacy rate in Saudi Arabia in 2000 was 76%.
In Jordan it was 89.7%.
Syria: 74.4%
Egypt, 56%.

Youth literacy rates (ages 15-24) were only a few percentage points higher.

Even if more people in Arab countries could read, the UN Human Development Report 2002 states that Arab nations scored the lowest average press freedom index of any region.

Abd Al-Rahman Al-Rashed, editor of the Saudi daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat wrote: "I know that adopting an impartial stand in the [Arab] media world is akin to suicide, because there are many who push the media into extremes and take 'nationalistic' positions and maintain that whoever thinks differently is committing treason against the [national] cause. [They maintain] that lying for the sake of the cause is moral and honorable. The Arab media [of today], in these hard times, is slowly turning into the 1967 media; at that time, radio announcers, analysts and journalists exaggerated acts of courage and covered up defeats, which – historically – became a mockery."

He says Arab media reports rarely have anything to do with reality, charging his TV colleagues with "replicating the old media, despite the fact that it is broadcasting in color and using electronic technologies. ..."
posted by techgnollogic at 11:07 AM on April 8, 2003


So now the US forces are no better than Serbian, El Salvadorian, and all the other corrupt brutal armies that deliberately target journalists in an attempt silence truth, a compassionate junta indeed.
posted by joemeek at 11:08 AM on April 8, 2003


So.... watching it on the news now, including footage from the attack inside the hotel and listening to the angry voices of some BBC folks.

1) A Tank took fire.

2) That tank appears to have spotted someone with optical equiptment, in a perfect position to watch the battle.

3) The tank commander took the shot.

4) Journalists died.

Is it a tragedy? Sure. Does it suck? Yes. Repeat with me now, these things till happen.

This is EXACTLY what the warnings meant when they told the journalists that war is a risky place to be. There simply isn't time, or the ability, to be 1000% sure of the targets in a war zone. The journalists put themselves in a VERY risky place... and it caught up with them.
posted by soulhuntre at 11:28 AM on April 8, 2003


This is definitely a tragedy, but an expected one.

Only because we've come to expect such recklessness from the US military.

I can see why there is upset about Al-Jazeera getting hit, as over the last couple of weeks MeFi seems to have pretty much turned into an Al-Jazeera discussion board.

Well, I've been watching the CNN feeds, and I ain't seeing anything worth discussing there. I might have missed something newsworthy, though. Got your Iraqi rebuilding contract signed yet, Midas? (And what wendell said.)
posted by riviera at 11:35 AM on April 8, 2003


recklessness, or lack thereof.
posted by techgnollogic at 11:41 AM on April 8, 2003


the attack on the Palestine Hotel is not the big issue. that was almost surely a mistake. the attack on the Al-Jazeera office is an entirely different issue, i.e. it could have been intentional, especially since the office claims to have clearly identified its location and marked the building as a news station.

if the US is specifically targeting foreign journalists for any reason, that's *really* bad, imho.

shoos, thanks for the expert grammar/usage commentary. i guess i'm generally working off Webster's third definition of atrocious, though the first definition applies as well.

the Baath party has been accused of some abominable (as well as brutally cruel) stuff. i would put an intentional (if it were intentional, which the Pentagon denies) airstrike on foreign journalists in the same category of atrociousness.
posted by mrgrimm at 11:48 AM on April 8, 2003


Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War
Adopted on 12 August 1949 by the Diplomatic Conference for the Establishment of
International Conventions for the Protection of Victims of War, held in Geneva
from 21 April to 12 August, 1949
entry into force 21 October 1950
posted by matteo at 12:40 PM on April 8, 2003


you guys will never get bored of this huh?
posted by Satapher at 12:48 PM on April 8, 2003


Hey quonsar, stuff it, would you? Waldo's wording was deliberately provocative, so I responded in kind. He made it sound like an execution as opposed to an act of war. Granted, there's a fine line between the two, but if we accept that there is a role in international relations for war itself (Kosovo, Kuwait, and 1950s Korea for alliterative, non-Godwin, arguable examples), then we must accept that there will be civilian casualties.

Look, I'm completely against this war, for a great number of reasons that are pointless to get into here. But I'm just sick and tired of the rhetoric on both sides. Bad things happen in wars, even when people are trying to do the right thing. You can't put civilized limits on the act itself, because it's inherently uncivilized. Patton was right about it being better to make some other son of a bitch die for his country than for you to die for yours. Not starting wars is the best option, but if a war starts it's best to end it quickly.

As a matter of fact it does upset me to see innocents killed. It upsets me to see combattants killed as well. This story could be important. The idea that American forces could have done this deliberately is disquieting to say the least. But to start such a discussion by painting one party as the villian is exactly what Bush did with Saddam. We don't know who is guilty here; it's obvious we need much more information. Presumed innocence should apply in all situations, no matter what the circumstantial evidence or pattern of behavior might suggest.

And matteo, what the heck is up with "treasonous injured journalists"? Where did that come from? I have incredible respect for people willing to put themselves unarmed into that situation, in order to present some sort of perspective to the world. I would generally err on the side of heroic when discussing battlefield reporters, truth be told.

Geez. Apparently, "with us or against us" applies to the peace camp as well. Excuse me for having a grey viewpoint.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 12:50 PM on April 8, 2003


I saw the pictures of the attack on the Palestine Hotel live on Fox News which was carrying the Abu Dhabi TV feed. It was very interesting. There was a camera set up on the balcony. It was watching two tanks facing away from the hotel on a bridge. The camera position took some machine gun fire knocking it off it's perch.

Well, at least that's what appeared to happen, either that or they killed the camera man and he dropped it. However the camera hadn't moved in quite a while, and it didn't appear as if it was being held. Also, the way it fell didn't seem as though it were dropped off of the shoulder of a camera man, but that's just my interpretation of events.

Anyhow, the camera was then replaced and then there is some kind of shell that hit the hotel below the the position of the camera.

Now what really caught my attention was that the Fox News anchor claimed that the camera was behind an enemy position, that the machine gun fire was out going, and the chunks of concrete that we saw being blown off the balcony where shells from from the enemy machine gun.

About 15 minutes later the anchor then reports that a large number of phone calls had come in telling him that he was not correctly interpreting events and that it was incoming fire, and there were absolutely no machine gun shells visible. He said that that's another possibility. What really got me as as they made their way around to all their analysts who were just agreeing with his interpretation and talking about the foolishness of this camera man to be in a enemy positions and the idea that Saddam also has embedded reporters, they each said, "When I first saw this video I also believed it was incoming fire." They also continued to entertain the anchor's first assessment, even though the anchor himself had already distanced himself from the idea.

Now I hate to sound like a conspiracy theorist, but is that fair and balanced? Why only admit your disagreement as an "independent" analyst after it's shown that even at 3AM (CDT) that the public isn't buying your story.

Every day I'm thankful for NPR whose guests have been the only news agency to give me an justification for the war that I find credible. However, I am very scared by the notion of people who only get their news from the commercial media Western or Middle Eastern. Like I said in another thread. Both Al-Jazeera and Fox news play to the fears, prejudices, and emotions of their audience to sell their product, but that seriously destroys their objectivity.

All of you who seriously believe that A-J is a propaganda tool, and that our commercial media is in any way objective really need to take off your blinders. You need to learn to dismiss arguments because they are illogical, not because you disagree with them prima facie. Maybe if you listened to commentators who didn't tell their guest with opposing view points to "shut up", that they were "stupid", or just went "blah blah blah" while the guest was speaking, you would understand that there are reasons to oppose this war that have nothing to do with supporting the regime of Saddam Hussien. You might even learn that there are lots of people who support the troops, the President, and the President's goals, but don't support the way things have been carried out.

Now to be on topic for a minute (which I hardly ever am), I heard that shortly after the missile strikes on Al-Jazeera that the Iraqi TV in Baghdad had gone out. I don't know if these are related, but it's possible that A-J was allowing the use of some broadcasting equipment, and they got punished for that. That's purely speculation on my part, though.
posted by betaray at 1:03 PM on April 8, 2003


waldo's first link indicates that they were all caught in the middle of a battle:

The correspondent, Shaker Hamed, issued the call for help on Abu Dhabi TV saying that "25 journalists and technicians belonging to Abu Dhabi television and Qatari satellite television channel Al-Jazeera are surrounded in the offices of Abu Dhabi TV in Baghdad".

"We are surrounded in a military area where there are no civilians, with the exception of the Abu Dhabi TV team and a few people from Al-Jazeera," Hamed said, calling on the International Committee of the Red Cross "to intervene quickly to pull us out of this zone where missiles and shells are striking in an unbelievable way".

...

The offices are on a road along the banks of the Tigris river between the Mansur Hotel and the planning ministry, not far from the Republican Palace compound where fierce fighting raged between US and Iraqi troops early today.

note that even the guy getting shot at identified their position as a "military area."
posted by probablysteve at 1:09 PM on April 8, 2003


mrgrimm: great work! keepin' it (semantically) real.
posted by shoos at 1:11 PM on April 8, 2003


Betaray: Well written and well said and right on the point, my compliments betaray.
posted by elpapacito at 1:14 PM on April 8, 2003


posted by matteo:
so, what the fuck is it: snipers on rooftop, snipers in the lobby (lol), uncertain, ...

Desperados under the eaves?
posted by notsnot at 3:22 PM on April 8, 2003


image gallery from the hotel, a few moments after the attack (warning: graphic photos).
via Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera
posted by matteo at 4:02 PM on April 8, 2003


Only because we've come to expect such recklessness from the US military.

Would you like to qualify your statement?

From the pictures and news reports I've witnessed, this has by far been the most restrained major military engagement by a world power in modern history.
posted by linux at 4:30 PM on April 8, 2003


Body armor sits near a pool of blood at the Reuters TV office on the 15th floor of Baghdad's Palestine Hotel on Tuesday. One journalist working for Reuters died, and three Reuters journalists and one working for a Spanish TV network were wounded by a U.S. tank shell. A U.S. military spokesman said troops were taking Iraqi fire from the hotel, and fired back.

Form MSN home page.
posted by thomcatspike at 4:35 PM on April 8, 2003


My post above, not sure what I did, not how I wanted it posted.
But warning, the link is a picture of where a reporter was standing when the reporter was hit, so some blood.
posted by thomcatspike at 4:39 PM on April 8, 2003


If I read Italian better, never would have double posted, sorry my bad all the way around.
posted by thomcatspike at 4:42 PM on April 8, 2003


There is a freakin' war going on. Journalists who deliberately enter into a warzone don't have some sort of magic shield to protect them. In a war, people are killed--deliberately. In a war, people are killed--accidentally. If you don't want to die in a warzone, then DON'T GO THERE.
posted by davidmsc at 7:02 PM on April 8, 2003


God, you yanks are so naive and blinded by patriotism. Remember, the Romans thought they were shit-hot too.
posted by skinsuit at 8:37 PM on April 8, 2003


If you don't want to die in a warzone, then DON'T GO THERE.

I guess it doesn't matter that some of these journalists have been in Baghdad long before it was a warzone. The U.S. is the one going there.

And I guess it doesn't matter that the hotel was apparently classified by the U.S. military as a "do not hit" target.

And I guess all the Baghdad citizens should flee the city as soon as possible because it's now a warzone and they shouldn't be there.
posted by gluechunk at 9:13 PM on April 8, 2003


Regarding journalists who were there before the war...well, still no excuse. If I was in Baghdad on a non-military job, and I knew that war was imminent, I'd likely beat a hasty retreat...and know that staying would entail some serious risk to life & limb. Common sense.

And the difference between the Romans and us "yanks" is that we really are pretty "shit hot"...and have both the track record & the technology to back it up. No blind, naive patriotism...just simple reality. Mistakes? Yeah, we've made a few...but then again, too few to mention (at least in terms of the Current Situation).

Don't hate us just because we're usually (a) right, and (b) successful. More often than not, and always trying to do better.
posted by davidmsc at 9:30 PM on April 8, 2003


And the difference between the Romans and us "yanks" is that we really are pretty "shit hot"...and have both the track record & the technology to back it up.

But then again, so did the Romans.
posted by drezdn at 9:56 PM on April 8, 2003


Would you like to qualify your statement?

Not in the slightest; not when the British ground troops themselves are commenting on the recklessness of their American comrades, often from personal experience.

From the pictures and news reports I've witnessed...

Ah, well, that explains it. How about: you don't 'witness' news reports, especially not on the US networks right now. Just to clarify the term. Although the term 'witness' applies to the extent that witness statements in court are cleaned up and rendered useful to one side of a case after hours of coaching from lawyers.

Watching the US feeds right now is like hearing about a completely different war. In fact, it's hard to watch CNN for too long; it reminds me of the story about how Ronald Reagan, in his early days, used to broadcast baseball commentary as if live at the game, when all he had to work from was terse ticker-tape updates wired across to his booth.

And once more, davidmsc, you fall headlong into the abyss of deluded self-parody. I couldn't excel myself if I were wearing my rust-red shoes of Irony.
posted by riviera at 11:14 PM on April 8, 2003


blame-America-filter. Haha
posted by ZupanGOD at 12:56 AM on April 9, 2003


Only because we've come to expect such recklessness from the US military.

OK! Boy, have you got it nailed right down. We should just take off all the guidance systems off the bombs and let them fall where they may.

Jesus what a pathetic joke Metafilter has become.
posted by a3matrix at 6:21 AM on April 9, 2003


Not in the slightest; not when the British ground troops themselves are commenting on the recklessness of their American comrades, often from personal experience.

Thanks for pointing that fact out. The US military does not have the same experience as the British with handling civilians like in North Ireland.
posted by thomcatspike at 7:33 AM on April 9, 2003


Riviera:

Not once has there been any evidence of:

1. Carpet bombing
2. Tactical nuclear strikes
3. Indiscriminate destruction

All are within US military capacity and would have saved American lives since if they proceed to do any one of the above three.

So you need to qualify your statement. Justify how you feel the US military has been "reckless" in this engagement.

And try to do so withing flinging mud. I was asking for you to explain, and you yell back with the silly idea that a person who reads Metafilter doesn't read any other news than CNN.
posted by linux at 12:45 PM on April 9, 2003


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