FPF-fwd.: Jill Carroll + last article
Jill Carroll-kidnapped journalist: Iraq releases women
Wed Jan 25, 2006 14:06


Iraq to release women detainees

From: Agence France-Presse correspondents in Baghdad

January 26, 2006 - IRAQ was preparing today to release women detainees held in the infamous Abu Ghraib prison in a move which could help free a US reporter abducted by insurgents, one of a number of foreigners taken hostage in recent weeks.

An Iraqi justice ministry official said 424 detainees were to be freed on today following a review of their cases by a joint Iraqi-US board. These would include five of the eight women known to be held by US forces.

Kidnappers of US journalist Jill Carroll, seized from a Baghdad street on January 7, have threatened to kill her unless all Iraqi women detainees are set free.

The official denied the release of the women has anything to do with kidnappers' demands, and US forces have stressed they do not negotiate with hostage-takers.

More than 250 foreigners have been seized since the March 2003 US-led invasion which toppled dictator Saddam Hussein. A number of them, including Westerners, have been killed.

"Government services are doing all they can to free people kidnapped and detained," President Jalal Talabani's office said, quoting minister for national security Abdul Karim al-Anizi who met the president.

[andend] - Url.: http://tinyurl.com/9ldpn

A POIGNANT ARTICLE BY THE KIDNAPPED JOURNALIST WRITTEN BEFORE SHE HAD A DEATH SENTENCE LAID ON HER

Letter from Baghdad: What a Way to Make a Living

Without a steady paycheck or an expense account, freelancers in Iraq spend their savings, stay in bring-your-own-sheets hotels and face increasingly dangerous working conditions--all for love of the story.

By Jill Carroll

Jill Carroll is a freelance journalist in the Middle East.

The cubicle walls are closing in. You'd rather jump off a cliff than cover one more zoning board meeting and just when one of the biggest stories in years is developing in Iraq, those foreign correspondent aspirations seem ever further out of reach.

There's only one way out: pull up stakes, clean out that savings account and get on a plane to Baghdad. It may sound like lunacy, but that's precisely what dozens of journalists have done. The result is a motley group of freelance reporters taking up residence in Baghdad's seediest hotels--including a former brothel--and churning out stories on shoestring budgets in a country the Committee to Protect Journalists ranked the most dangerous in the world for journalists.

Equal parts reporter, salesman and entrepreneur, the freelancer is a different breed of journalist than a staffer at a major media outlet. Freelancers pay for their own accommodations, translators, food and health insurance, and most do it for under $100 a day.

There are more lucrative ways to work and faster ways to advance a career. But just as athletes do it for love of the game, freelancers in Iraq seem to do it for love of the story.

Colin Freeman epitomizes the type. After four years with the London Evening Standard, he realized the only way he was going to cover one of the most important stories of his lifetime was to hire himself. "Only the very top rung of reporters ever got sent to cover wars or conflicts, not least because of the astronomical insurance costs involved," says Freeman, 34. "When the war in Iraq came up, I decided it was a good way of having a change of scene and that the only way to do it was as a freelancer."

So on April 1, 2003, with the war reaching its crescendo, he quit his job and set off to report from Baghdad. Arriving just after U.S. forces took the Iraqi capital, he moved into a $5-a-night hotel and later relocated to a cheap apartment while other reporters were paying morethan $100 a night at high-end hotels.

Before long his acumen with a pitch and eye for a good story landed him in publications from the San Francisco Chronicle to London's Sunday Telegraph. But he had to peck out many stories in his darkened apartment during Baghdad's hours-long power outages. Freeman couldn't afford a generator.

Only a story of this enormity, with nothing less than America's global credibility, the stability of the Middle East and countless lives at stake, could be worth risking personal safety and financial solvency to cover it as a freelancer.

"This war is shaping up to be the decisive issue of our generation, and I want to witness it and as a journalist to help shape the future," says James Brandon, 24, a British freelancer who worked for 10 months in Iraq before being kidnapped and then released in Basra last summer. "In Iraq you can actually stand on a street corner in Najaf or Sadr City watching the mujahedeen preparing to fight the Americans and be able to say, 'This is it. This is the front line in this huge global war of ideas and religions."

Brandon came to Iraq in July 2003 to work for the Baghdad Bulletin, an English-language newspaper that launched after major combat operations ended but lasted only a few months. Fresh from finishing a master's degree in Middle Eastern studies, he stayed and picked up various strings from Bloomberg News to the Scotsman in Scotland.

Covering the war gives journalists an opportunity to recall the noblest tenets of their profession and fulfill the public service role of journalism.

The sense that I could do more good in the Middle East than in the U.S. drove me to move to Jordan six months before the war to learn as much about the region as possible before the fighting began. All I ever wanted to be was a foreign correspondent, so when I was laid off from my reporting assistant job at the Wall Street Journal in August 2002, it seemed the right time to try to make it happen. There was bound to be plenty of parachute journalism once the war started, and I didn't want to be a part of that.

Idealistic, for sure, but I am not the only one. Ashraf Khalil had the same motivation. The 33-year-old Chicago native had been living in Cairo for six years as a freelancer when he decided his years of experience in the region could add depth to the torrent of coverage coming out of Iraq.

"I feel I have a responsibility to try to bring something to these stories," says Khalil, who freelanced in Iraq in January and February 2004 and is now a reporter in the Los Angeles Times' Baghdad bureau. "I spent a lot of time waiting for someone to sponsor me, and finally I realized it just wasn't going to happen unless I did it myself."

It isn't easy to fulfill such a lofty mandate when people are out looking for foreigners to behead. The days are long gone when car bombs and attacks on military convoys were so infrequent we could keep track of the date and place of each one.

IRAQ BECAME TERRIFYINGLY DANGEROUS ALMOST OVERNIGHT LAST SPRING.

Everything changed during the U.S. Marines' siege of Fallujah the first week of April 2004 and the simultaneous Shiite uprising led by firebrand cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. It wasn't safe for foreigners to walk the streets, and car bombs became an almost daily occurrence.

The anger and violence have only gotten worse since then, and a new terror has been added: kidnapping.

Some 200 foreigners, several freelance journalists among them, have been kidnapped in Iraq since insurgents adopted the tactic last April.

British freelancer Brandon was snatched from his hotel room in Basra in August in an elaborate operation involving at least a dozen gunmen. A week later documentary filmmaker Micah Garen was taken at gunpoint from the streets of Nasiriyah. Both were later freed unharmed.

THE OLD DANGERS OF IRAQ ALSO CONTINUED TO PLAGUE REPORTERS.

In June a ricocheting bullet hit Freeman in the rear end in Basra when someone at the Muqtada al-Sadr rally he was covering shot at the ground directly behind him. He fully recovered.

JILL CARROLL

(See "Letter from Baghdad," August/September 2004.)

[andend] - Url.: http://www.ajr.org/Article.asp?id=3829

Latest Google news on Jill Caroll: - Url.: http://tinyurl.com/d3dxu

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* "Sarah, if the American people had ever known the truth about what we Bushes have done to this nation, we would be chased down in the streets and lynched." - George Bush Senior speaking in an interview with Sarah McClendon in December 1992. - 'The Demonic Cabal - (excellent article!) Url.: http://tinyurl.com/bvtvd

* Entertainer Harry Belafonte, one of the Bush neocon administration’s harshest critics, compared the US Homeland Security Department to the Nazi Gestapo - Url.: http://tinyurl.com/8uvoe

* Google search "Biggest threat to world peace" - Url.: http://tinyurl.com/dk2lj

* The Pentagon's propaganda war - BBC - Url.: http://tinyurl.com/3ser2

* MSNBC - Live Vote: Do you believe President Bush's actions justify impeachment? - Url.: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10562904/

* "Today Americans would be outraged if U.N. troops entered Los Angeles to restore order; tomorrow they will be grateful." - Henry Kissinger speaking at Evian, France, May 21, 1992 Bilderburgers meeting. Unbeknownst to Kissinger, his speech was taped by a Swiss delegate to the meeting.

* And global warcriminal Henry Kissinger and his ilk succeeded, but nobody apart from 'them' was 'grateful'. On the contrary: own US troops - even with tanks - appeared in the streets of Los Angeles: against anti-war protesters! - Url.: http://tinyurl.com/7qh65

* 'American Military Personnel - Know Why You're Being Sacrificed' - by Robert L. Johnson: "When I joined the United States Marines in September of 1973, I swore an oath..." - Url.: http://tinyurl.com/75pl3

* 'The war in Iraq is illegal' - BBC: video & text-interview of the United Nation's Secretary General Kofi Annan - Url.: http://tinyurl.com/5pl2v

* "People do not forget. They do not forget the death of their fellows, they do not forget torture and mutilation, they do not forget injustice, they do not forget oppression, they do not forget the terrorism of mighty powers. They not only don't forget: they also strike back." - 2005 Nobel Literature Prize winner Harold Pinter - Url.: http://tinyurl.com/9cyeq

* Reference guide to the Geneva Conventions - Url.: http://www.genevaconventions.org

* Al Qaeda – The Database - Url.: http://tinyurl.com/cqx69

* The 9/11 WTC drama was PNAC terror - Url.: http://tinyurl.com/9np7d - It was an inside job - Google - Url.: http://tinyurl.com/7tj9d

* 'Anti-Semitism' - The Provocative Accusation - Url.: http://tinyurl.com/8z6gd

* Who's financing? - The 'Federal Reserve' and it's usurers is the absolute biggest crime against all humanity ever. - Url.: http://www.apfn.org/apfn/reserve.htm

* Wayne Madsen - ''The neo-cons have done to the U.S. Intelligence Community what Hurricane Katrina did to the Gulf Coast and New Orleans. America has never been weaker. Rather than creating a "New American Century," the neo-cons have created a new global "Dark Age" of fear and constant war.'' - Url.: http://tinyurl.com/bj754

* NWO letter: ''we can cancel your credit or freeze your accounts'' - Url.: http://tinyurl.com/cjo7l

* The infamous US 'Lie Factory' -  Url.: http://tinyurl.com/8ncal

*Read the Fightin' Cock Flyer - Url.: http://fightincockflyer.blogspot.com/

* Help all the troops - of whatever nationality - to come back from abroad! - AND WITH ALL THEIR WEAPONS, WHICH WE WERE FORCED TO PAY FOR BY TAXES - [http://www.apfn.org/apfn/reserve.htm ] - We need them badly at home in many countries to fight with us against our so called 'governments' and their malignant managers - Url.: http://www.bringthemhomenow.org/

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