Tuesday, January 10, 2006

"War is an act of violence pushed to its utmost limits"

Mike and I have two items from Democracy Now! tonight that we're both noting so please be sure to check out his site Mikey Likes It!

US Reporter Kidnapped, Iraqi Interpreter Killed in Iraq (Democracy Now!):
In Iraq, an American journalist with the Christian Science Monitor has been kidnapped in an incident that left her Iraqi interpreter dead. Jill Carroll was seized Saturday outside the offices of a prominent Sunni politician in Baghdad. Caroll’s interpreter, Allan Enwiyah, was shot dead. He was 32 years old. The Christian Science Monitor is pleading for Carroll's safe return. Reporters Without Borders reports she is the 31st media worker to be kidnapped in Iraq since the start of the war in March 2003.

I heard about this on Sunday while I was on the phone with C.I. It's the seventh item in the roundup Sunday night at The Common Ills. No title for the entry because C.I. didn't give it one. I believe that's due to how tired C.I. was at the time and not intentional. But on Sunday, nothing was confirmed and the journalist's name wasn't being given or the publication she worked for. She was identified only as an American female journalist.

"Letter from Baghdad: What a Way to Make a Living" (Jill Carroll, American Journalism Review):
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.
(See "Letter from Baghdad," August/September 2004.)
But most agree such attacks have more to do with bad luck than with freelancing. And they say they don't need to take extra chances to get stories that will sell.
"I've never felt the need or the pressure to take any risk to get stories into the paper," Freeman says. "I personally think that staffers, who have reputations to protect in the face of competition, are much more likely to come under pressure to take risks in terms of being 'the first into Fallujah' or whatever."
Last fall the kidnappings and beheadings increased, and Western reporters became virtual prisoners in their hotel rooms. When they did go out, they would travel with two cars: one up front with the reporter, and a "chase car" following in case the first vehicle was attacked. Khalil says given the current climate, he doubts he would come to Iraq without the backing of a major media organization. "I have been advising people not to," he says. "There is a prospect [journalists] will be specifically targeted. The infrastructure that is needed for security is just beyond the capabilities of freelancers."

Journalists are being targeted, it's not a "prospect," it's a reality.

Award-Winning Iraqi Journalist Arrested by US Troops (Democracy Now!):
In other Iraq news, US troops have raided and arrested award-winning Iraqi journalist Ali Fadhil. Soldiers reportedly entered his home and fired bullets into the bedroom where he and his wife and children were sleeping. Fadhil was hooded and questioned for several hours. He says US troops gave him $1500 dollars for damage to his home and then dropped him off alone in a dangerous Baghdad neighborhood. In November, Fadhil won the Foreign Press Association award for young journalist of the year. He's currently at work on a documentary about the US and British governments’ misuse of Iraqi funds.
Fadhil says US troops have not returned several videotapes they took from him. The director of the documentary, Callum Macrae, said: "The timing and nature of this raid is extremely disturbing. It is only a few days since we first approached the US authorities and told them Ali was doing this investigation, and asked them then to grant him an interview about our findings."

Mike and I both see the two as inter-related. As the occuyping power, the US has shown no respect for journalists. There are those who feel that during the invasion, and continuing into the occupation, there has been little respect for reporters. Victoria Clarke's remarks about unembeds being on their own, made ahead of the invasion, seem to be proven out.

Someone will be bothered and say, "In one instance, a journalist is in physical danger, in the other, a journalist is only held." Escalation. I do this, you do that. I hang up on you in the middle of a fight, you come to my house and bang on my front door.

Escalations and power struggles have been key hallmarks of the Bully Boy administration.

Did you listen to the hearings on Pacifica? My assistant had the hearings playing on her computer and between patients, I'd run to her desk and grab a minute or two while she filled me in at the same time. I'll get back to my assistant in a moment. But early this morning, there was a cancellation in the afternoon so we just listened. Feingold was about to start or had just started. I told her she could go home because it was time, past time when I noticed but she stayed and listened because it was the best moment of today's hearings. I don't doubt that. Listening to Russ Feingold beat through the spin and make Samuel Alito admit that there was no computer glitch that prevented his recusal from a case was powerful.

When Alito finally got honest, Feingold asked "Why didn't you just do that here instead of coming up with excuses, as you've done here?" Of course the Republicans rushed in to the rescue. I belive it was Hatch. I listened to about four minutes of that and then shut it off to head home.

My assistant does have a name and I do feel awkward typing "my assistant." Neil e-mailed asking what her name was? I didn't feel comfortable putting it in without her permission. I asked her today about that. She reads the site and knows that nothing personal will go up here.
Just if we listen to Democracy Now! or something like that. I offered her the option of creating a name and that's what she went for. She said she always wanted to be a blonde with a magnetic smile and that if she started life as Sunny that might have happened. So Sunny is the name she's picked. Sunny works very hard and I wouldn't have a practice without her. I can say that with no worries because she just got a raise. That was a joke (but she did just get a yearly raise, one that she's more than earned.) When she's on vacation and we use the temporary service, they always send someone nice and professional but Sunny knows the office better than I do so, at best, it's marking time until she gets back.

Be sure to check out Cedric's "Supreme Court, TV and Ty." Also don't forget to check your e-mail accounts for the gina & krista round-robin tomorrow morning.

"Peace Quotes" (Peace Center):
War is an act of violence pushed to its utmost limits.
Major General Carl von Clausewitz, 1832