Karim A G
Journalists Find Many Ways to Kill Truth in Iraq
Wed Apr 7, 2004 00:05
----- Original Message -----
From: Karim A G
To: Karim A G
Sent: Wednesday, April 07, 2004 2:00 AM
Subject: Journalists Find Many Ways to Kill Truth in Iraq
Journalists Find Many Ways to Kill Truth in Iraq
By Ira Chernus
Truth dies, just as people die, every day in Iraq. Sometimes the people are
killed by Americans paid with our tax dollars. But we rarely hear about it,
thanks to other Americans, the ones who kill truth: the journalists. There are
different ways to send truth to its grave, as two current examples prove. On
March 13 the Iranian news agency Mehr reported a story that, if true, is surely
the biggest news of this election year: "U.S. forces have unloaded a large cargo
of parts for constructing long-range missiles and weapons of mass destruction (WMD)
in the southern ports of Iraq. A reliable source from the Iraqi Governing
Council, speaking on condition of anonymity, told the Mehr News Agency that U.S.
forces, with the help of British forces stationed in southern Iraq, had made
extensive efforts to conceal their actions."
According to Mehr's source, the parts are old ones, just the kind the U.S. gave
to Saddam Hussein in the 1980s. Once they are "discovered," they would be the
smoking gun that George W. needs to get re-elected. Five days after Mehr broke
this story, a Google and Lexis/Nexis search failed to find it reported in any
U.S. news source. Not even a story to say "We checked and found nothing to
support the allegations." Why? Two possibilities come to mind. Perhaps American
journalists in Iraq, and their editors at home, saw it and said "Oh, that's
silly. With all the serious stuff we have to investigate, why waste a good
reporter's precious time on such nonsense?" They are not warmongers or
conspirators, just serious professionals doing their job in the approved manner.
They got their jobs by sticking to mainstream "common sense" thinking. Why
change now? Oh yes, they did use the same kind of mainstream "common sense" last
year, when they assumed that the Bush administration must have secret evidence
of Saddam's WMDs. But you don't abandon "common sense" just because of an
occasional mistake, do you?
The other possibility is that some American journalists believe the U.S. might
indeed be planting WMD parts in Iraq for pre-election "discovery." But the story
is just too hot, too dangerous to touch. A reporter for a mainstream U.S. news
source knows that his or her editor might very well not run it in any event. So
why waste time on it, when so many other good stories are out there that could
see the light of day.
In either event, if there is a startling pre-election "discovery," hang on to
your Mehr News Agency report and remember: You saw it here first.
Of course, you don't have to bury the news to kill the truth. You can kill it by
reporting it in a lethal way. That's what Jeffrey Gettleman of the New York
Times did on March 17.
He revealed that, twice a week, Captain Jonathan Tracy hands out "sympathy
payments" to the relatives of Iraqi civilians killed or injured by the U.S.
military. No admission of U.S. guilt, but you get $1,000 for an injury and
$2,500 for a death. Now you know what Iraqi life is worth, in official U.S.
eyes. Captain Tracy, who is only 27, says he is "getting pretty burned out."
That is understandable. It's a hellish job. To make it worse, Tracy has to worry
about cheaters. How does he know that the Iraqis who come asking for payments
really deserve them? He "checks each claim a civilian files against a database
of military incident reports," Gettlemen reported. "We do keep records of
innocent civilians who are killed accidentally by coalition force soldiers,"
said Brig. Gen. Mark Hertling, assistant commander for the First Armored
Division, which patrols Baghdad. "And, in fact, in every one of those innocent
death situations, we conduct internal investigations to determine what
happened." But earlier in the very same news story, Gettlemen wrote: "Military
officials say they do not have precise figures or even estimates of the number
of noncombatant Iraqis killed and wounded by American-led forces in Iraq. 'We
don't keep a list,' said a Pentagon spokeswoman, Lt. Cmdr. Jane Campbell. 'It's
just not policy.'"
We used to assume that what Commander Campbell said was true. We rely on
websites like www.iraqbodycount.net because we thought that our government was
killing and not bothering to count the victims. Now we just ain't sure, because
our nation's newspaper of record says, in the very same story, that our
government does and does not keep a list.
When you say it's both night and day at the same time, truth is dead. When
someone says the U.S. is planting evidence to "prove" the biggest lie yet, and
you don't even bother to check it out, truth is dead. Truth is the first
casualty of war. We always knew that. Now we know that there's more than one way
to kill the truth. Ira Chernus is Professor of Religious Studies at the
University of Colorado at Boulder and can be contacted at chernus
colorado.edu (courtesy of
Italian intelligence warns of possible attacks in Iraq on Good Friday
www.chinaview.cn 2004-04-07 20:49:33
ROME, April 7 (Xinhuanet) -- Shiite militia in Iraq are brooding another round
of simultaneous attacks against coalition troops on Good Friday and foreign
civilians in the country may also be targeted, Italy's military intelligence
service SISMI was quoted by a newspaper as saying on Wednesday.
SISMI has issued a warning to foreign civilians in Iraq, especially those
working for non-governmental organizations, that they may be the target of
attempted hostage taking by the militia groups, the newspaper Corriere della
The militia would carry out the attacks by using rockets and car bombs to mark
the first anniversary of the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime on April 9, the
The newspaper said SISMI expressed particular concerns over threats against
Barbara Contini, the Italian representative on theUS-led Coalition Provisional
The Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy didn't cease operations when Hillary climbed onto
her broomstick and flew out of the White House. In fact, it has been more active
than ever! Now you can win arguments with your liberal friends and initiate new
members into the Conspiracy with this clever, dead-on, and helpfully concise
guide to the conservative take on issues. It's a perfect source of ammunition
for conservatives and education for prospective converts to the Conspiracy.
CONTRACTORS FACE IRAQ COMBAT (pbs.org) Darren, Thu Apr 8 01:50
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