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GI Special 4K19: Sport Shooting Iraqis - November 20, 2006

Thomas F. Barton


GI Special:

thomasfbarton@earthlink.net

11.20.06

Print it out: color best.  Pass it on.

 GI SPECIAL 4K19:

 

[Thanks to David Honish, Veteran, who sent this in.]

  

Fired For Reporting Sport-Shooting Of Iraqi Civilians:

“Their Shift Leader Declared That He Was ‘Going To Kill Someone Today’”

 November 17, 2006 By Tom Jackman, Washington Post Staff Writer

 A man who worked in Iraq for a Herndon-based security company is accused in a lawsuit of firing twice into Iraqi civilian vehicles last summer without provocation, possibly killing at least one person.

 Two co-workers who witnessed the shootings say in the suit that there has been no investigation, even though they reported the incidents.

 All three men worked for Triple Canopy, a corporation formed in 2003 by former military men to provide security in the Middle East for the United States government and private companies. Triple Canopy was the ninth-largest contractor for the U.S. State Department in fiscal 2005, with payments totaling more than $90 million, government records show.

 That sum does not include what Triple Canopy is paid by private firms such as KBR, formerly Kellogg, Brown & Root, a subsidiary of Halliburton Co. that is involved in rebuilding in Iraq. Former Army Ranger Shane Schmidt, former Marine Charles L. Sheppard III and their shift leader were all working on an assignment for KBR when the shootings occurred near Baghdad on July 8, alleges the suit, filed in Fairfax County Circuit Court.

 Schmidt and Sheppard say they reported the shootings to Triple Canopy.  Instead of investigating, the men allege, Triple Canopy fired them and prevented their being hired by other companies in the Middle East.  The lawsuit alleges wrongful termination and wrongful interference with their professional future.

 Triple Canopy and KBR declined comment on the suit. Defense Department officials did not respond to numerous inquiries, and State Department officials said they were unaware of the incidents that are being alleged.

 Schmidt and Sheppard allege that Triple Canopy did not report the shootings to KBR or the government.  They say that no one has ever contacted them about the shootings.

 In court papers, Triple Canopy has not denied that the incidents occurred.

 The company has tried to have the case dismissed on the grounds that no violation of Virginia law occurred and that Schmidt and Sheppard were "at-will" employees and could be fired for any reason.

 At a hearing last month, Fairfax Circuit Court Judge M. Langhorne Keith said the state's "at-will" legal doctrine has exceptions, including "when people allege that they reported a murder, two murders or maybe more than two murders, conducted by a fellow employee, and were fired for making that report."

 The lawsuit does not name the person accused of the shootings, a shift leader.  Schmidt and Sheppard's attorney, Patricia A. Smith of Alexandria, declined to name the man. The case is scheduled to go to trial July 30.

 Smith said Schmidt and Sheppard were not available for interviews yesterday. Schmidt lives in Herndon, and Sheppard resides in Destin, Fla. Both have private security jobs in this country, far removed from the high-adrenaline, $500-a-day work they did for years in Iraq and Afghanistan, Smith said.

 Schmidt was a Marine from 1995 to 2003 and was one of the first Marines deployed to Afghanistan, Smith said.  He began working for Triple Canopy in Iraq in 2004.

 Sheppard served in the Army from 1995 to 2002, including time as a Ranger, and was deployed in Albania and Kosovo.  He worked in Iraq and Qatar for other private security companies and began working for Triple Canopy in April.

 "These guys are tremendously experienced and well-respected in the field," Smith said. They assert that Triple Canopy has given other companies false reasons for firing them.

 On July 8, according to their lawsuit, Schmidt and Sheppard were riding with their shift leader in a convoy to pick up a KBR employee at the Baghdad airport. 

As their vehicle approached the airport, their shift leader declared that he was "going to kill someone today," the lawsuit states.  The man then stepped out of the vehicle and fired several shots from his M4 rifle into the windshield of a stopped truck.

 Schmidt and Sheppard were horrified, Smith said.  According to the lawsuit, the shift leader told them, "That didn't happen, understand?"

 After their convoy picked up the KBR employee, the crew headed to its next destination.

 At this point, Schmidt and Sheppard allege, their shift leader declared, "I've never shot anyone with my pistol before." The man then opened his door and fired seven or eight rounds into the windshield of a nearby taxi. Schmidt and Sheppard later heard that a cabdriver was found shot to death in the area, according to the suit.

 Schmidt and Sheppard initially hesitated to report the two seemingly unprovoked shootings, especially because their supervisor told them that they would be fired if they did, their lawsuit claims.  The men also feared for their safety, they said.

 But the next day, the shift leader was returned to the United States at the end of his three-month contract, Smith said. 

 The two men reported the shootings, were suspended, then were fired. Smith said Triple Canopy told them they were fired for not reporting the shootings quickly enough. Schmidt asserts that when he asked who was investigating the incidents, Triple Canopy told him no one was investigating.

 Smith said she does not know how many people might have been wounded or killed in the shootings. She said that Schmidt and Sheppard could not see into the truck that was fired on but that they did see a cabdriver in the second vehicle.

 Attempts to oversee American contractors in Iraq, including the thousands who have been hired to provide security, have "gone from completely absent to spotty," said Peter W. Singer, a specialist in warfare and the Middle East at the Brookings Institution.  Most oversight is focused on how U.S. money is spent, Singer said. But as to the regulating of contractors' conduct, "that part of the discussion is pretty much missing still."

 

 

IRAQ WAR REPORTS

  

THIS ENVIRONMENT IS HAZARDOUS TO YOUR HEALTH;

TIME TO COME HOME, NOW

Photo

172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team soldier in central Baghdad's Karradah district, Oct. 24, 2006.  (AP Photo/Karim Kadim)

  

NEED SOME TRUTH?  CHECK OUT TRAVELING SOLDIER

Telling the truth - about the occupation or the criminals running the government in Washington - is the first reason for Traveling Soldier.  But we want to do more than tell the truth; we want to report on the resistance - whether it's in the streets of Baghdad, New York, or inside the armed forces.  Our goal is for Traveling Soldier to become the thread that ties working-class people inside the armed services together. We want this newsletter to be a weapon to help you organize resistance within the armed forces.  If you like what you've read, we hope that you'll join with us in building a network of active duty organizers.  http://www.traveling-soldier.org/  And join with Iraq War vets in the call to end the occupation and bring our troops home now! (www.ivaw.net)

  

TROOP NEWS

  

THIS IS HOW BUSH BRINGS THE TROOPS HOME:

BRING THEM ALL HOME NOW, ALIVE

Photo

The casket of Army Spc. Nicholas Rogers at Deltona Memorial Gardens in Deltona, Fla., Nov. 2, 2006.  Rogers, who was in the Army's 10th Mountain Division, was killed Oct. 22 in Iraq. (AP Photo/Nigel Cook, Pool)

 

 

A Café For Troops Opens To Serve A Mission:

End The War

Miles Manchester, left, at a new cafe in Watertown, with John Hartlaub, 41, who showed up out of curiosity.  Photo: Bill Wingell for The New York Times

 

[Thanks to JY and Elaine Brower, The Military Project, who sent this in.]

 

November 19, 2006 By MICHELLE YORK, The New York Times Company

 

On Veterans Day, John Hartlaub wandered into the newest cafe in Watertown, N.Y.

 

It was sparsely furnished, with three Internet stations, a black sofa and an offering of hot or cold cider.  A customer who actually wanted coffee would have to buy it a few doors away.

 

Mr. Hartlaub stayed most of the afternoon anyway.  He browsed a few dozen military books for sale, then pulled up a folding chair to watch “Poison Dust,” a documentary about the health effects of depleted uranium weapons on soldiers returning from Iraq.

 

He left with mostly positive feelings. “It could end up being very informative and helpful,” said Mr. Hartlaub, 41, who has served in the military on and off since 1985.

 

The organizers of the cafe were hoping for such a reaction.  But, being not far from the largest military installation in the Northeast, they are prepared for backlash, too.

 

They say theirs is the country’s first G.I. coffeehouse for the war in Iraq.  It is a project of the peace movement that is focused on changing opinions within the military, with an ultimate goal of ending the war.

 

During the Vietnam War, about 20 G.I. coffeehouses, as they were known, operated around the country.  Each was close to a large military base and was intended to support the efforts of soldiers who were against the war. The coffeehouses were incubators for war resistance and part of the counterculture. Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix were on the jukebox.  A decent cup of coffee was on the menu.

 

“It was extremely important,” said David Zeiger, the writer and director of “Sir! No Sir!” a 2005 documentary about the G.I. movement to end the Vietnam War.  “One thing coffeehouses will do is link civilians and soldiers.”

 

The idea is that the two can meet, learn about movements against the war and talk about the contradictions of what the public hears versus what soldiers have witnessed, he said.  In the past, coffeehouse patrons were sometimes subjected to arrests and intimidation.  A cafe in Mountain Home, Idaho, was firebombed, and another near Camp Pendleton, Calif., was shot up.

 

But the main organizer of Watertown’s new coffeehouse, called Different Drummer Internet Cafe, said he did not expect such confrontations this time around.  “The military today is very different, and we have to adapt to that,” said Tod Ensign, the organizer, who is also a lawyer and director of Citizen Soldier, a veterans advocacy group in New York City. “The soldiers are all volunteers. The Vietnam protests were driven very much by the draft.”

 

After Mr. Ensign decided this year to open the coffeehouse, he sent out a few dozen letters asking for financing, including one to the Ben & Jerry’s Foundation.  “They talk a lot about peace,” he said.

 

The appeals went unanswered.  Undeterred, he used small donations from activists, farm workers and war resistance leagues to start the project, which he estimates will cost $50,000 a year.  He chose Watertown, a city of 27,000 people near the Canadian border and Fort Drum, home of the 10th Mountain Division.  

 

The division has deployed more soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan than any other in the Army.

 

Mr. Ensign has three goals for the cafe.  They are to allow the free exchange of ideas, to provide accurate information and to be an enjoyable gathering place, with live bands and karaoke.  He and his supporters have not decided whether they will serve coffee.

 

Most in the community do not seem to know what to make of the cafe, several people said. Watertown’s mayor, Jeffrey E. Graham, said he did not attend its ribbon cutting on Oct. 27.  In part, because it was inconvenient and in part because he was not sure of the cafe’s purpose. “I don’t think people want to be openly antiwar for fear of dissing the families that make that sacrifice,” he said.  “On the other hand, I don’t see any harm.”

 

In the cafe’s first three weeks, foot traffic has been minimal. Its manager, Cinthia Mercante, who served for eight years in the military before the Persian Gulf war started, recently found herself calling out to a few soldiers hovering near the entrance: “Folks, you can come in.  We won’t bite.”

 

Paul Foley, a volunteer who works in highway design, said he hoped the community would warm up to the cafe.  “There’s been a little talk,” he said.  “But the people who come will see that we’re not dangerous rabble-rousers.  We’re just giving people a place to talk.”

 

 

“If People Find Out They Have Another 75,000 Truck Drivers Coming Back With Stress From Iraq, They Are Going To Lose Any Support For The War They Have Remaining”

 

November 19, 2006 Anna Badkhen, San Francisco Chronicle Staff Writer [Excerpts]

 

Asheboro, N.C.:  When Steven Thompson returned from Iraq to North Carolina, the war followed him home.

 

He scans pastures and chicken farms for roadside bombs. He shoots wary glances at the faces of shoppers and moviegoers, searching for potential suicide bombers. Explosions blow off Thompson's limbs, over and over, in nightmares that stalk his sleep.

 

The war haunts him the way it haunts thousands of U.S. troops returning from their tours of duty in Iraq.

 

But Thompson is not an Iraq war veteran.  He is a civilian truck driver, one of tens of thousands of private contractors hired to go to Iraq for fundamental support missions.

 

Lured by the promise of good pay, usually unarmed and untrained for combat, constantly exposed to violence, contractors such as Thompson comprise an untold toll of the war that extends far beyond the kidnapping Thursday of four Americans and one Austrian who are still missing, or the videotaped beheading of U.S. civil engineer Eugene "Jack" Armstrong in 2004.

 

No one knows how many of them have been injured and killed. No one keeps track of how many contractors there are in Iraq.  And when they come back, many find themselves abandoned.

 

"Nobody ain't doing nothing for us," said Thompson, 43, who for six months in 2004 drove a supply truck in Iraq for Halliburton subsidiary KBR, the largest corporate contractor in Iraq.

 

Two doctors in North Carolina have independently diagnosed Thompson with post-traumatic stress disorder, a psychological ailment with symptoms that typically include anxiety, loss of sleep and flashbacks.  The government has acknowledged that he is disabled, and he receives a $1,224 monthly Social Security payment.

 

But Thompson says his claim for treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder was denied by American International Group Inc., or AIG, the insurance company for KBR, on the grounds that there was not enough medical evidence of his trauma.

 

No one keeps track of how many contract workers suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. Thompson has his own estimate.

 

"The government don't want us to be a statistic," he said.  "If people find out they have another 75,000 truck drivers coming back with stress from Iraq, they are going to lose any support for the war they have remaining."

 

 

Military Called No Witnesses, Withheld Evidence >From Prisoners At Guantanamo:

“These Were Not Hearings.  These Were Shams”

 

November 17, 2006 AP

 

SAN JUAN:  The U.S. military called no witnesses, withheld evidence from detainees and usually reached a decision within a day as it determined that hundreds of men detained at Guantanamo Bay were "enemy combatants," according to a new report.

 

The analysis of transcripts and records by two lawyers for Guantanamo detainees, aided by more than two dozen law students, found that hearings that determined whether a prisoner should remain in custody gave the accused little opportunity to contest allegations against him.

 

"These were not hearings.  These were shams," said Mark Denbeaux, an attorney and Seton Hall University law professor who along with his son, Joshua, is the author of the report. 

 

They provided an advance copy of the report to The Associated Press late Thursday and planned to release it Friday on the Internet.

 

Their report, based on an analysis of records of military hearings of 393 detainees, comes as the U.S. government seeks to severely restrict detainee access to civilian courts, arguing that the Combatant Status Review Tribunals should be their main legal recourse.

 

The military held Combatant Status Review Tribunals for 558 detainees at the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay in southeast Cuba between July 2004 and January 2005 and found all but 38 were enemy combatants.

 

Handcuffed detainees appeared before a panel of three officers with no defense attorney, only a military "personal representative."

 

According to the report, the representatives said nothing in the hearings 14 percent of the time and made no "substantive" comments in 30 percent. In some cases, the representative appeared to advocate the government's position, the report said.

 

The report is based on transcripts of tribunals that the government first released earlier this year in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by The Associated Press as well additional records provided by lawyers for 102 Guantanamo detainees.  Twenty-one first-year law students at Seton Hall University in Newark, N.J., analyzed the documents to create a database analyzed by eight second- and third-year students.

 

Among their findings:

 

The government did not produce any witnesses in any hearing.

 

The military denied all detainee requests to inspect the classified evidence against them.

 

The military refused all requests for defense witnesses who were not detained at Guantanamo.

 

The U.S. military now holds about 430 men at Guantanamo on suspicion of links to al-Qaida or the Taliban and holds Administrative Review Boards for them once a year to determine whether they should still be held, released or transferred to another country.

 

The Military Commissions Act, which President Bush signed on Oct. 17, strips all non-U.S. citizens held under suspicion of being an enemy combatant of their right to challenge their detention in civilian courts with petitions of habeas corpus.

 

 

 

IRAQ RESISTANCE ROUNDUP

 

 

(Graphic: London Financial Times)

 

Assorted Resistance Action

 

Nov 19 By STEVEN R. HURST, Associated Press Writer & (Xinhua) & Reuters

 

Insurgents captured Iraq's deputy health minister at his home in northern Baghdad. They wore police uniforms and arrived in seven vehicles to take Ammar al-Saffar.  Saffar is a member of Shi'ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's Dawa [collaborator] party.

 

Guerrillas in sport utility vehicles intercepted the car of an Iraqi police officer in eastern Baghdad on Sunday, killing him and a policeman along with capturing his driver, a police source said.

 

"Yasin Ibrahim, a Colonel in Baghdad's Risafa Police Directorate, was killed on the al-Qanat Street near the al-Ghadier neighborhood," the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

 

A noncommissioned police officer, accompanying Ibrahim, was killed.

 

Earlier, unknown fighters stormed the house of Mudhaffar al-Ubaidy, a judge working for the Iraqi cabinet, in Baghdad's western district of al-Khadraa and captured him.

 

A roadside bomb targeting a police patrol killed three civilians and wounded three policemen in eastern Baghdad, an Interior Ministry source said.

 

Guerrillas attacked a police checkpoint and wounded a policeman in Baquba, 65 km (40 miles) north of Baghdad, and killed an Iraqi soldier in Mosul.

 

A car bomb at a police checkpoint in Haditha, west of Baghdad, killed one policeman and wounded another on Saturday, the U.S. military said on Sunday.

 

Insurgents killed Lieutenant Colonel Mohammed Ganim from the Facility Protection Services (FPS) along with his driver in a drive-by shooting in the northern city of Mosul, 390 km north of Baghdad, a hospital source said.

 

IF YOU DON’T LIKE THE RESISTANCE

END THE OCCUPATION

 

 

FORWARD OBSERVATIONS

 

 

One day while I was in a bunker in Vietnam, a sniper round went over my head.  The person who fired that weapon was not a terrorist, a rebel, an extremist, or a so-called insurgent.  The Vietnamese individual who tried to kill me was a citizen of Vietnam, who did not want me in his country.  This truth escapes millions.

 

Mike Hastie

U.S. Army Medic

Vietnam 1970-71

December 13, 2004

 

 

At a time like this, scorching irony, not convincing argument, is needed.  Oh had I the ability, and could reach the nation’s ear, I would, pour out a fiery stream of biting ridicule, blasting reproach, withering sarcasm, and stern rebuke.  For it is not light that is needed, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder.  We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake.  Frederick Douglas, 1852

 

 

“The War Is Lost.  It Was Lost Before It Began”

“The Majority Of The American Electorate Knows That”

 

November 17, 2006 ANDREW GREELEY, Chicago Sun-Times [Excerpts]

 

What serious neutral expert could possibly predict that more troops will solve the problem? Does not all the literature on guerrilla war suggest that traditional military force, no matter how large, cannot cope with dedicated shadow warriors?

 

There were a half million Americans in Vietnam and they could not end the war. Gen. Earle "Bus" Wheeler asked for 200,000 more troops without any guarantee that they could find the light at the end of the tunnel. Lyndon Johnson finally said "no" and in effect resigned from the presidency.

 

The war is lost.  It was lost before it began.

 

The majority of the American electorate knows that.

 

I daresay the majority of the Iraq Study Group also knows that. Some of them probably know that the only way George W. Bush can emerge with any honor from a terrible blunder that is finally his responsibility is to imitate Reagan (and John Kennedy after the Bay of Pigs or Lyndon Johnson after the Tet Offensive).

 

 

 

OCCUPATION REPORT

 

 

“The Least We Can Do Is Stop Killing Them And Leave Iraq”

“When The Bush Administration Criticizes The Iraqi Government For Being Weak, They Forget That They Deliberately Made It Weak And Dependant On Their Dictates”

 

Nir Rosen, November/December 2006 Boston Review [Excerpts]

 

In an attempt to limit Muqtada’s power and appease Sunnis, the Americans pressured Prime Minister Ibrahim al Jaafari to step down.

 

He was replaced in May 2006 by Nuri al Maliki, his close friend, but American and British bullying cost them the few Shia allies they had and only convinced Iraq’s Shias that Americans were playing a game of divide and conquer. The debate over Jaafari was framed as Kurds and Sunnis competing with Shias for power.

 

It was one more sectarian battle, fought this time inside the Green Zone.  But it was too late for that game because the Americans had long since lost the Sunnis and were continuing to alienate them with daily killings and their protecting with force the Shia-dominated order that they created in April 2003.  This American blunder has only pushed Iraq closer to Iran and Syria.

 

Nuri al Maliki is ideologically at least as extreme as Jaafari, and as committed to preserving the new order. He has already threatened to use “maximum force” against “terrorists,” the code word for Sunnis.

 

Even if Maliki was committed to a national unity government and nonsectarian security forces, and even if the Americans tried to reverse the sectarian trend in Iraq, it is too late.

 

Muqtada’s supporters will not voluntarily relinquish control of the army or the police, and having fought the Americans in the past, many would be eager to fight them again.

 

And who would replace them?  There are no nonsectarian Iraqis left, no nonsectarian militia, and no physical space for those rejecting sectarianism.

 

Even secular Sunnis and Shias are embracing sectarian militias because nobody else will protect them

 

Although the Bush administration has criticized the Iraqi government for not disarming the militias, and this is certainly the most important problem facing Iraq, apart from the occupation, this is an untenable first step.

 

The militias exist because there is no security in Iraq. 

 

And when the Bush administration criticizes the Iraqi government for being weak, they forget that they deliberately made it weak and dependant on their dictates.

 

The American failure to provide security has led to the militias.

 

The American sectarian approach has created the civil war.

 

We saw Iraqis as Sunnis, Shias, Kurds.  We designed a governing council based on a sectarian quota system and ignored Iraqis (not exiled politicians but real Iraqis) who warned us against it.  We decided that the Sunnis were the bad guys and the Shias were the good guys.

 

These problems were not timeless.  In many ways they are new, and we are responsible for them. 

 

The Arab world had always been dominated by Sunnis, who make up 85 percent of the world’s Muslims.  The new Shia Iraq is overturning the Ottoman and colonialist legacies that entrenched Sunnis.

 

Along with Hizbullah’s victory against Israel this summer, this will threaten the status quo throughout the Arab world. 

 

The unpopular Sunni regimes of Jordan, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia, seeing their power wane, can no longer be anti-American or anti-Israeli, having sold out on those issues by supporting the Americans and practically supporting Israel against Hizbullah in July.

 

Instead, they are playing the sectarian card to regain the respect they lost from their population and galvanize them against a new threat, the Shias.  Most recently, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak accused Shias of being fifth-columnists, loyal to Iran.  Egypt does not recognize Shiism as Islam.

 

The effects of Hizbullah’s victory remain to be seen, but they further discredit the unpopular Sunni dictatorships who criticized Hizbullah but who were always impotent to stand up to the Americans or Israelis despite their large armies and wealth.

 

Hizbullah’s leader, Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah, became the most popular leader in the Arab world.

 

But Iraq was pulling in a different direction, for Muqtada was no Hassan Nasrallah.

 

Rather than remaking the Middle East, the Iraq war has destabilized it.  Sunnis throughout the region who already have so many reasons to hate the United States, Abu Ghraib, the Haditha massacre, the rape and murder of an Iraqi girl, Guantánamo, would now have one more, for the Americans would have handed Iraq over to the Shias.

 

We are seeing the death throes, not the birth pangs, of a new Middle East.

 

The Bush administration persists in its assertions of progress and clings to the idea that something called victory is possible. 

 

What victory?

 

By every measure, life is worse for the Iraqis (leaving aside the Kurds, who don’t want to be Iraqis anyway).  They are dying by the dozens or the hundreds every day, nobody even knows how many, since the Anbar province and much of the south, and even much of Baghdad, are black holes, with no information coming out.

 

Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have died violently since the war began, probably eclipsing the number of Saddam’s victims.  The ministry of health was recently ordered again not to disclose the number of casualties.

 

The United Nations’ torture expert has stated that torture in Iraq is now worse than it was under Saddam

 

SCIRI’s calls for a Shia superstate have grown more strident, and Sunnis have made their own demands.  Already in March 2006 Harith al Dhari reminded the rest of Iraqis that Sunnis had means of their own available: just as there was oil in the south, there was water in the center and the north, and it could be held off until “the barrel of water in the south was worth a barrel of oil,” or it could flood the south and drown it.

 

More recently, maps have been circulating on Sunni Iraqi Web sites showing an enlarged Anbar province including Baghdad, Mosul, and the so-called Sunni Triangle in a large Sunni superstate.

 

Iraqi comedians joke about different neighborhoods of Baghdad becoming their own republics. Iraq is dying, falling apart.

 

America did this to Iraq.

 

We divided Iraqis.

 

We set them at war with each other.  The least we can do is stop killing them and leave Iraq.

 

OCCUPATION ISN’T LIBERATION

BRING ALL THE TROOPS HOME NOW!

 

 

Welcome To Liberated Iraq:

TV Stations Shut Down For Showing Hussein Protests

 

6 November 2006 Statement, Reporters Without Borders

 

Reporters Without Borders today condemned the Iraqi government’s decision yesterday to close down two privately-owned TV stations for “inciting violence and murder” by screening footage of protests against former President Saddam Hussein’s death sentence.  The main daily newspapers have also been suspended for three days beginning yesterday under a curfew decreed prior to the verdict.

 

“As well as the growing violence against journalists in the field, press freedom violations are also on the increase,” Reporters Without Borders said.  “We fear that the Iraqi authorities are exploiting the public’s concern about the bombings and sectarian violence in order to restrict press freedom more and more.  Both Iraqi and foreign journalists should be able to freely report the Iraqi people’s reactions.”

 

The interior ministry yesterday ordered the closure of the Al-Zaura and Salah-Eddin TV stations for broadcasting images of demonstrators brandishing pictures of Saddam and protesting against the court’s verdict.  They had incited sectarian violence, the ministry claimed, without specifying when they would be allowed back on the air.

 

Reporters Without Borders learned that around 50 policemen also overran the Baghdad studios of the privately-owned Iraqi TV station Al Sharkiya and threatened to close it down if it broadcast programmes about Saddam’s trial.

 

Ahmed Al Rashid, one of Al Sharkiya’s journalists, was killed in his car two days before, on 3 November, as he was leaving the station.

 

Reporters Without Borders also learned that two Iraqi journalists were attacked by policemen last month in the city of Najaf.

 

Amir Al-Akaishi, a correspondent of the newspaper Al-Mada, was attacked for writing about the local population’s difficulties.  Saadun Al-Jabairi of the satellite TV station Al-Nahrain was prevented from filming religious festivities marking the death of Imam Ali Bin Abi Talib.

 

What do you think?  Comments from service men and women, and veterans, are especially welcome.  Write to The Military Project, Box 126, 2576 Broadway, New York, N.Y. 10025-5657 or send to contact@militaryproject.org:.  Name, I.D., withheld on request.  Replies confidential.   Same to unsubscribe.

 

 

Do you have a friend or relative in the service?  Forward GI Special along, or send us the address if you wish and we’ll send it regularly.  Whether in Iraq or stuck on a base in the USA, this is extra important for your service friend, too often cut off from access to encouraging news of growing resistance to the war, at home and inside the armed services.  Send requests to address up top or write to: The Military Project, Box 126, 2576 Broadway, New York, N.Y. 10025-5657

 

 

 

GI Special distributes and posts to our website copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner.  We are making such material available in an effort to advance understanding of the invasion and occupation of Iraq.  We believe this constitutes a “fair use” of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law since it is being distributed without charge or profit for educational purposes to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for educational purposes, in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.  GI Special has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of these articles nor is GI Special endorsed or sponsored by the originators.  This attributed work is provided a non-profit basis to facilitate understanding, research, education, and the advancement of human rights and social justice Go to: www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml for more information.  If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. 

 

If printed out, this newsletter is your personal property and cannot legally be confiscated from you.  “Possession of unauthorized material may not be prohibited.”  DoD Directive 1325.6 Section 3.5.1.2.







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