The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
Views expressed in this archived message are those of the author, not of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
[Main archive index/search] [List information] [Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]
News, 11-18/6/03 (3) PROBLEMS WITH THE PEOPLE * U.S. Military Stages Major Operation in Iraq * Iraqi intelligence document instructs on postwar sabotage * Iraqi tribal chief assassinated in Al-Basrah * Muqtada Al-Sadr in Tehran as followers rally against British * War may have killed 10,000 civilians, researchers say * US 'copter shot down in Iraq - 15 Saddam loyalists killed in operation * Iraqi shepherd sues Rumsfeld, Franks over loss of relatives and flock * Fighters' Camp Hit By Major U.S. Strike * 5 U.S. soldiers injured in fighting on streets of Mosul * '113 killed in US bid to crush Iraqi resistance' * US troops ambushed in Iraq * Organized 'sabotage' undermines Iraq's crude oil deliveries MEDIA PROBLEMS * Iraq: US military & free speech * Al-Jazeera hacker pleads guilty * Turning the tanks on the reporters PROBLEMS WITH THE PEOPLE http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A45604 2003Jun11.html?nav=hptop_tb * U.S. Military Stages Major Operation in Iraq by Daniel Williams Washington Post, 11th June THULUYA, Iraq, June 11 -- U.S. military forces, responding to increasingly frequent and lethal attacks by Iraqi gunmen, staged a major operation this week aimed at rounding up suspected Saddam Hussein loyalists in this Tigris River town 45 miles north of Baghdad. The campaign, designated Operation Peninsula Strike, was described by U.S. officials as the biggest since the end of the Iraq war. Working from intelligence tips, U.S. troops tried to track down members of the Fedayeen Saddam militia, a fighting force loyal to the ousted Iraqi president, as well as high-ranking members of the Baath Party and former Iraqi security agencies, U.S. officials say. The operation targeted inhabitants of two dozen houses and rounded up about 390 suspects, some as they fled down streets and into the river. A U.S. officer said at least three Iraqis died --one of a heart attack -- during the operation, which lasted from about midnight Monday until Tuesday morning. U.S. casualties appeared to be light -- 10 wounded, officials said. During a meeting today with local police in this intolerably hot and volatile town, Lt. Col. David Poirier of the 720th Military Police Battalion laid out the reasoning behind the operation. "We met with you last week," he told the Iraqis. "We came in peace and only asked that no one try to hurt U.S. forces. That night and the next, people attacked us. Now, we've come in and done what we had to do and the attacks stopped. That's the way it's got to be." The raid in Thuluya appeared to herald a new phase in the U.S. occupation of Iraq. Units have been mobilized for massive sweeps of other towns and cities in central Iraq, where Iraqis have carried out guerrilla-style assaults on U.S. military convoys and checkpoints. In the past two weeks, at least eight Americans have been killed by Iraqi fire; on Tuesday, a soldier with the U.S. Army's 82nd Airborne Division in Baghdad was killed by a rocket propelled grenade fired at troops collecting weapons. "There are going to be more of these operations. They will be intensely coordinated. There will be no sanctuary for the Fedayeen or Baathists," said Maj. Michael Fenzel, executive officer for the 2nd Battalion of the 503rd Airborne Infantry Regiment. Fenzel and other officers continue to attribute the recent attacks on Americans to "remnants" of Hussein's security and political establishment. They insist the ambushes are not centrally organized. Nonetheless, tactics have grown steadily more effective than the occasional random shootings that occurred in early postwar days. Ambushes are designed to hit convoys from a variety of directions, frequently with rocket-propelled grenades. Diversionary fire is becoming common. Mines make travel a hazard. "These things are being carefully prepared," said Poirier, who said two U.S. convoys were ambushed near Thuluya over the weekend but that no one was hurt. Thickly wooded with date palms, Thuluya is located not far from the main road between Baghdad and Tikrit. It was virtually untouched by the war, and U.S. troops rarely entered after combat ended in April. The neglect enabled Baathists and Fedayeen to take refuge there, U.S. and Iraqi officials said. "Thuluya is the most dangerous place in Iraq," said Nabel Darwish Mohamed, the mayor of Balad, a nearby town. "There are lots of high-ranking Baathists, and they have lost their privileges. They will fight back. Also, lots of people have nationalist feelings that the Baathists will encourage. It will be easy to find someone to attack Americans." "We think Fedayeen came here to escape and then carried out attacks using Thuluya as their base," Fenzel said. Operation Peninsula Strike, described today by American and Iraqi witnesses, was an elaborate operation designed to end that. A pair of U.S. battalions blocked exits from the city to the south and north. Patrol boats scoured the Tigris for fugitives. Apache helicopters, F-16, A-10 and AC-130B warplanes roamed the skies. Troops entered the town in armored vehicles and exchanged fire with roving bands of gunmen. Prisoners were trucked to an airfield near Balad. Throughout today, detainees trickled back to Thuluya, some with white tags attached to their clothing that designated them as enemy prisoners of war. Just how many "hostile elements" the operation succeeded in sidelining remains to be seen. Some of the detainees were as young as 13 years old, and Maj. Josslyn Aberle, a spokeswoman for the 4th Infantry Division, said 37 elderly Iraqis were released shortly after questioning. Today, U.S. troops were still manning checkpoints and occupying houses in Thuluya in hopes of capturing more suspects. Three Hussein loyalists on the American list of 55 most-wanted were being hunted. Among them was Ali Majid Hussein, an Iraqi commander notorious for having used chemical weapons in a 1988 attack on a village in Kurdistan, killing hundreds of men, women and children. Hussein, nicknamed "Chemical Ali," was reported killed during the war, in a bombing raid on the southern city of Basra. But rumors have begun to circulate that he is alive. "They asked me over and over about him," said Mohamed Mahdi Ali, a detainee who was freed today but whose father, Mahdi Ali Jassem, died during the American assault. Relatives said Jassem was beaten to death. U.S. troops are occupying the Jassem home, a large house on the Tigris. Iraqi officials in Balad said Jassem belonged to Saddam Hussein's secret police. "They asked me if I knew Saddam Hussein's bodyguard," said a 14-year old named Hikmat, who was rounded up in the raid. During his visit to Thuluya today, Poirier said that police there misled him with assurances that no one in town was armed. "People laughed when we handed out leaflets telling them to turn in their weapons. Now, we find RPGs, AK-47s, grenades and shotguns all over the place," he said. In any event, Poirier said that American forces will employ more than force in the effort to pacify Thuluya. He promised Chief Abed Omar and Mayor Marwan Mitab that the Americans would work to restore water and still-spotty electrical utilities to the town. Omar off-handedly acknowledged that he was a low-ranking Baath Party member. "All of Iraq was Baathist," he insisted. Mitab was just appointed six days ago by the provincial governor in Tikrit, Hussein Jubara. Balad officials say Jubara is a former Republican Guard commander. "If we know anyone wants to harm you, we will catch him ourselves," Omar promised Poirier. "That's good," Poirier answered through an interpreter. "But we need cars and radios and identification cards," Omar pleaded. "So long as things are peaceful, we can help," answered Poirier. "God willing," the mayor said. "Look, I will get you two squad cars," Poirier then offered. "Can we take them home?" "No, they have to be here at the station in case of emergency." "Okaaa-y," Omar said in English, with a smile. "This is a beginning of a relationship built on trust," Poirier continued. "We're in this together." "God willing. Okaaay!" the mayor said. The pair shook hands. Staff writer William Booth in Tikrit contributed to this report . RFE/RL IRAQ REPORT, Vol. 6, No. 26, 12 June 2003 * IRAQI INTELLIGENCE DOCUMENT INSTRUCTS ON POSTWAR SABOTAGE A document issued by the Iraqi intelligence service before the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom reportedly instructed personnel to commit acts of sabotage, looting, and murder in the event that Iraq loses the war, "The Washington Times" reported on 9 June. The one-page document titled "Emergency Secret Plan" and labeled "Extremely Confidential" was uncovered in Al-Basrah in April. Signed by the "Head of General Intelligence," it also ordered agents to infiltrate political parties and religious institutions in the event that the regime of Saddam Hussein was deposed. According to "The Washington Times," the document lists 11 directives, including "looting and setting alight of all government offices," particularly intelligence and military security buildings. It also calls on agents to "assassinate religious scholars and preachers" and to "cause damage" to water and power plants. Three directives advise operatives to "make contact and become close" to returning exiles, to "employ all elements you can depend on and send them to the mosques and places of worship," and to enroll themselves in Shi'ite religious schools in Al-Najaf -- presumably all three directives aimed to spy on Iraqis that would pose a threat to the Hussein regime. The document, "Order 549," is dated 23 January 2003 and is noted as a continuation of a previous "secret letter 3870" issued on 19 January, "The Washington Times" reported. The document helps substantiate U.S. claims that U.S. forces have come under attack by elements loyal to the deposed Hussein regime. U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told reporters on 10 June that he expects the attacks to continue for some time, but insisted that the coalition troops will eventually eliminate those elements. "Do I think that's going to disappear in the next month or two or three? No. Will it disappear when some two or three divisions of coalition forces arrive in the country? No," Reuters quoted Rumsfeld as telling reporters in Lisbon. "It will take time to root out the remnants of the Saddam Hussein regime and we intend to do it." RFE/RL IRAQ REPORT, Vol. 6, No. 26, 12 June 2003 * IRAQI TRIBAL CHIEF ASSASSINATED IN AL-BASRAH Shaykh Ali al-Sa'dun, the chief shaykh of the Al-Sa'dun tribes, was shot and killed in Al Basrah on 5 June, Al-Jazeera Television reported the same day. Al-Sa'dun's car came under attack by four masked assailants as he and two family members were being driven to their home, the broadcaster reported. Many members of the Sa'dun tribe reportedly have strong ties to the Iraqi Ba'ath Party and held positions in the government of deposed President Hussein. Al-Jazeera reported that the slaying appears to be just one of a number of attacks against Ba'ath Party members in Al-Basrah in recent days. Unknown assailants attacked the home of a woman associated with the party on 3 June, setting it ablaze. Prior to that incident, a former army colonel who worked in the Iraqi security apparatus was killed on the road connecting Umm Qasr and Al-Basrah. (Kathleen Ridolfo) RFE/RL IRAQ REPORT, Vol. 6, No. 26, 12 June 2003 * MUQTADA AL-SADR IN TEHRAN AS FOLLOWERS RALLY AGAINST BRITISH Some 2,000 Iraqi Shi'a staged a rally on 7 June in front of the British military headquarters in Al-Basrah, AFP reported. They chanted, "Leave peacefully lest we expel you through our jihad," and they handed British officers a petition demanding that the British withdraw to the outskirts of Al-Basrah. The demonstration was called by the Sadriyun, an organization currently headed by Hojatoleslam Muqtada al-Sadr, the son of the assassinated Ayatollah Muhammad Sadiq al Sadr. Muqtada al-Sadr, meanwhile, is in Tehran to participate in events commemorating the anniversary of the death of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. He told Ayatollah Khomeini's grandson, Hassan, that he hopes Iraq will have an Islamic government, ISNA reported. Al-Sadr met with Expediency Council Chairman Ayatollah Ali-Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani, who said, "If the Americans want to put in power a puppet government that acts contrary to the interests of the people, then they will certainly face many problems," IRNA reported on 8 June. The Iranian state news agency referred to al-Sadr as the envoy of Ayatollah Kazim al-Ha'iri-Shirazi (see "RFE/RL Iraq Report," 2 May 2003). (Bill Samii) http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,2763,976392,00.html * WAR MAY HAVE KILLED 10,000 CIVILIANS, RESEARCHERS SAY by Simon Jeffery The Guardian, 13th June At least 5,000 civilians may have been killed during the invasion of Iraq, an independent research group has claimed. As more evidence is collated, it says, the figure could reach 10,000. Iraq Body Count (IBC), a volunteer group of British and US academics and researchers, compiled statistics on civilian casualties from media reports and estimated that between 5,000 and 7,000 civilians died in the conflict. Its latest report compares those figures with 14 other counts, most of them taken in Iraq, which, it says, bear out its findings. Researchers from several groups have visited hospitals and mortuaries in Iraq and interviewed relatives of the dead; some are conducting surveys in the main cities. Three completed studies suggest that between 1,700 and 2,356 civilians died in the battle for Baghdad alone. John Sloboda, professor of psychology at Keele University and an IBC report author, said the studies in Iraq backed up his group's figures. "One of the things we have been criticised for is quoting journalists who are quoting other people. But what we are now finding is that whenever the teams go into Iraq and do a detailed check of the data we had through the press, not only is our data accurate but [it is] often on the low side. "The totality is now producing an unassailable sense that there were a hell of a lot of civilian deaths in Iraq." A spokesman for the Ministry of Defence said he had not seen anything to substantiate the report's figures. "During the conflict we took great pains to minimise casualties among civilians. We targeted [the] military. So it is very difficult for us to give any guidance or credence to a set of figures that suggest there was x number of civilian casualties." IBC's total includes a figure of at least 3,240 civilian deaths published this week by the Associated Press news agency, which was based on a survey of 60 Iraqi hospitals from March 20 to April 20, when the fighting was declining. But many other bodies were either buried quickly in line with Islamic custom or lost under rubble. Prof Sloboda said there was nothing in principle to stop a total count being made using forensic science methods similar to those used to calculate the death toll from the September 11 attack: it was a question of political will and resources. He said even an incomplete record of civilian deaths was worth compiling, to assist in paying reparations and in assessing the claim before the war that there would be few civilian casualties. Lieutenant Colonel James Cassella, a US defence department spokesman, said the Pentagon had not counted civilian deaths because its efforts had been focused on defeating enemy forces rather than aiming at civilians. He said that under international law the US was not liable to pay compensation for "injuries or damage occurring during lawful combat operations". The Iraqi authorities estimated that 2,278 civilians died in the 1991 Gulf war. http://jang.com.pk/thenews/jun2003-daily/13-06-2003/main/main3.htm * US 'COPTER SHOT DOWN IN IRAQ - 15 SADDAM LOYALISTS KILLED IN OPERATION News International, 13th June BAGHDAD: US forces lost an attack helicopter to enemy fire on Thursday as they mounted a massive military campaign in central Iraq killing 10 to 15 Iraqis and injuring four US soldiers against what some officials are calling an organised resistance against the American occupation. The campaign came as the top American civilian administrator, L Paul Bremer, issued a notice banning all gatherings, pronouncements or publications that incite to disorder, riot, violence against the US-led occupation forces, or espouse the return of the Baath Party. The decree said violators would be arrested and held. Bremer blamed former Baathists or members of Saddam Hussein's paramilitary forces -- the Fedayeen -- for the attacks and said on Wednesday they were responsible for an organised campaign aimed at sabotaging the reconstruction effort. American troops are being targeted by organised resistance in Iraq, with Saddam Hussein loyalists engaging in "pure political sabotage" and spreading rumours that the toppled president is poised for a comeback, Bremer said. Ten to 15 Iraqis were killed in the "Operation Peninsula Strike" and four US soldiers suffered gunshot wounds, said US Sgt Forest Geary. Three of the injured Americans were flown to Germany for medical care, he said. [.....] In Thursday's fighting, one Apache attack helicopter from the US Army's 101st Airborne division was apparently shot down in western Iraq and an F-16 fighter bomber crashed south-west of Baghdad, the US Central Command said. The cause of the jet crash was not known. The three pilots, two from the helicopter and one from the jet, were not injured. The 101st Airborne was taking part in an assault against what was described as "terrorist camp" 150 kilometres north of Baghdad. Thousands of American troops -- backed up by fighter jets and Apache attack helicopters -- swept through a region 70 kilometres north of Baghdad. About 400 people have been captured so far. The raid came as troops for the third day engaged in the operation, one of the largest military actions since the end of the war. Ground forces chief Lieutenant-General David McKiernan, however, declined to say exactly how many Iraqis had been killed but said that there had been no coalition dead in the operation. Clashes erupted in Mosul on Thursday as several hundred former members of the Iraqi army demanding their salaries tried to storm the government building in the northern Iraqi town, witnesses said. A Kurdish official said initial reports indicated three demonstrators were killed by local police. http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/afp/iraq_us_sue * IRAQI SHEPHERD SUES RUMSFELD, FRANKS OVER LOSS OF RELATIVES AND FLOCK Yahoo, 13th June RAMADI, Iraq, June 13 (AFP) - An Iraqi shepherd is seeking 200 million dollars in damages from the US military for the deaths of 17 members of his family as well as 200 sheep in a missile strike, in the first such suit filed through the courts of the US-led occupation administration. The first hearing will take place on July 20 at the tribunal of Ramadi, 100 kilometers (60 miles) west of Baghdad. "The trial will be Iraq's first against US troops because we believe they used excessive force against the Iraqi people who cooperated with the United States to topple Saddam Hussein's regime," Abud Sarhan's lawyer told AFP. Lawyer Rabah al-Alwani was approached by Sarhan, 71, to file a suit against US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and General Tommy Franks, commander of US forces in Iraq, after the shepherd claimed a US missile landed on his tent on April 4. Days before, Sarhan had left his home village of Al-Altash, near an Iraqi military base that was heavily bombed by coalition warplanes. He had set up a tent in the nearby desert to host 20 of his family members and relatives in three distinct sections, one for women, one for men and the other for children, said his half brother Hamad Sarhan, 25, who was wounded in the attack. "We thought we would be safe there. There were no military positions, only shepherds and their flocks. "Before the night prayer, a missile landed next to us, shortly afterwards another one fell right into the women's section. "It was horrible. We could not make out whose limbs were scattered on the ground," he said. All his family members died, except for him and his half-brother as the two had stepped outside the tent to perform their ablutions in preparation for the evening prayer. He said 200 of their 700 sheep also died in what he said was a coalition raid. Missile debris, children's clothes and sheep carcasses were still littering the ground two months later, an AFP correspondent at the scene reported. The shepherd could not be interrogated as he had taken his 300 cows to graze up north, in the lush fields of Makhmur. "We went to Ramadi's tribunal to file a suit and it was deemed receivable because we produced all the requested documents," said Alwani. The tribunal then informed the coalition through Iraq's justice ministry where one of the coalition advisers is providing technical assistance, he added. His colleague Aref al-Dulaimi said the shepherd could reasonably argue for 200 million dollars in compensation. "We hope the two US leaders will appear in front of the tribunal or that they will be represented," he also said. He said Ramadi's tribunal had sent a letter to the Iraqi justice ministry which must now contact the foreign affairs ministry. The latter will send a letter to Iraq's embassy in Qatar to inform the US military's Central Command there of the trial date in Ramadi. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A57155 2003Jun13.html?nav=hptop_tb * FIGHTERS' CAMP HIT BY MAJOR U.S. STRIKE by Daniel Williams Washington Post, 14th June RAWAH, Iraq, June 13 -- The scorched cliff side, the charred bulrushes and the burned and bloodied mattresses showed how it started. Here in the desert, 200 miles northwest of Baghdad and 30 miles east of the Syrian border, dozens of anti-American guerrillas were killed when U.S. helicopters swooped in and rocketed the two large tents where they slept. The attack in the early morning hours Thursday was the most devastating since the war in Iraq officially ended more than a month ago, killing at least 68 fighters. For a day, this bleak landscape was the center of a new, vicious phase of combat between U.S. troops and underground groups and individuals bent on disrupting the U.S. and allied occupation. Officials in Washington said the site was a "terrorist training camp." However, there were no signs of firing ranges or other facilities that suggested military training. Residents of Rawah, three miles south of the camp, said the fighters had pitched their tents just three days before and were on the run from Samarra, a city about 100 miles to the southeast. Nonetheless, the presence of such a large force underscores the breadth of anti-American armed opposition in central Iraq. Rawah residents said that the dead were mostly foreigners from Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Yemen and Afghanistan. They were apparently supporting a wide range of Iraqi fighters who are harassing U.S. troops throughout the central region, from Baghdad north to Baqubah and Tikrit and west through Fallujah and Ramadi. U.S. soldiers in the area describe almost daily assaults, especially at night. The hostilities are largely limited to the Sunni Muslim belt of central Iraq, a zone where deposed president Saddam Hussein enjoyed wide support. The heavily populated Shiite Muslim south, by contrast, has been relatively peaceful. While Lt. Gen. David D. McKiernan, commander of the occupation forces, has declared the south "stable and secure," other U.S. officials warn of "political and paramilitary meddling" by Shiite groups sponsored by Iran. The Rawah operation was carried out by the 101st Airborne Division and units of the 4th Infantry Division now headquartered in Tikrit. One U.S. soldier was wounded in the attack, and an AH-64 Apache helicopter was shot down, U.S. officials said. The main target of the assault was an encampment stretching about 75 yards along a pond. The group of fighters had apparently chosen the spot because it is near a freshwater spring. The tents were torn and burned. Five propane gas canisters bore large shrapnel scars. Sacks of grain had burst open. A large flatbed truck was twisted; its tires melted. Many of the fighters died on their mattresses, said Abdullah Aziz Gharbi, the preacher at the mosque in Rawah. Some died among the reeds. Gharbi and dozens of townsfolk buried the dead in trenches beneath rough-hewn tombstones at the mosque's cemetery. Dozens of shoes, mostly athletic wear, lay off to the side. "I think many of them didn't know what was happening," Gharbi said. "Many of them were blackened like charcoal." Gharbi said the attack began at about 2 a.m. He heard explosions and could see flashes over the low hills leading to the spring. Humvees and heavy armored vehicles also poured through the town, which lies on cliffs at a picturesque bend of the Euphrates River. Sporadic shooting continued until dawn, and some witnesses estimated that as many as 20 Apache attack helicopters were involved. Some of the rebels had apparently tried to flee through a gulch into the desert and were pursued by U.S. troops, who left piles of heavy-caliber shells on several hilltops near a ravine where some fighters were apparently holed up. Helicopters rocketed a cave where three had taken refuge, according to residents who pulled out two of the bodies. At one point, an Apache helicopter was shot down, apparently by enemy fire. All that was left at the crash site today were two pods containing a cluster of cylinders that held dozens of rockets. Bullets pockmarked the sides of one of the pods; the other had exploded. Witnesses said that Thursday morning, soldiers brought a bulldozer and cranes to lift the helicopter's fuselage onto a truck that hauled it away. U.S. officials said both Apache crew members were rescued unhurt. It was the first helicopter downing since Baghdad fell on April 9. Pentagon officials depicted a more two-sided battle than did residents. "It was a tough fight," Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said at a Pentagon briefing Thursday. "They were well-trained and well-equipped and clearly well prepared for this, for the fight they had." U.S. officials said that soldiers recovered 70 to 80 SAM-7 surface-to-air missiles at the encampment, along with about 20 AK-47 assault rifles. The only apparent guerrilla weapon left at the scene today was an unexploded rocket propelled grenade. U.S. officials said they were unsure about the identity of the fighters. McKiernan, speaking to reporters at the Pentagon on a videophone from Baghdad, said, "I will just simply tell you that it was a camp area that was confirmed with bad guys, and specifically who the bad guys are will be determined as we exploit the site. We struck it very lethally, and we're exploiting whatever intelligence value we can get from that site for future operations." The battle created worry among Rawah's residents. Some insisted they did not know the Arab fighters had taken up residence near their town. Others said they knew the men were there but were afraid to ask about their purpose. Still others claimed to know that the group had fled Samarra because Americans had discovered their presence and that a local guide had led them to the spring. "Our philosophy is to get along with everybody and hope that everybody lets us alone," said Ahmed, who identified himself as the mukhtar, or town elder. Word of the fighting had spread all along the highway from Baghdad to Rawah. Several truck and bus drivers who traverse the route daily hailed the dead as heroes and martyrs. "The Americans are cowards. They shot them in their beds. They should at least fight man to man," said Mohammed Jassem, a gas station attendant at the nearby town of Anah. Ali Dulaimi, a bus driver in the city of Ramadi, 55 miles from Baghdad, cursed and said, "God take revenge on the spy who informed for the Americans." http://www.thestate.com/mld/thestate/news/world/6083829.htm * 5 U.S. SOLDIERS INJURED IN FIGHTING ON STREETS OF MOSUL by John Sullivan The State, 14th June MOSUL, Iraq - (KRT) - Five U.S. soldiers were wounded Friday night as U.S. troops battled Iraqi fighters for a second day in the streets of the provincial capitol. Two Iraqi citizens were killed and three more were wounded in the fighting. Six U.S. soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division have been wounded in grenade attacks over the past two days as demonstrations by ex-Iraqi soldiers demanding to be paid have turned violent. On Thursday, Iraqi police killed two Iraqis and wounded two others after hundreds of demonstrators stormed a government building and shot at police in the city center. U.S. commanders said fighting broke out again today after a crowd of about 100 angry Iraqis hurled stones and makeshift explosives while gunmen fired from rooftops. U.S. military commanders said they stepped up security Thursday in anticipation of more violence. Kiowa helicopters circled the city's downtown, and platoons of soldiers walked along the roads. Teams of soldiers assembled on side streets near Mosul's downtown. Sporadic gunfire could be heard near the government building, and two rocket-propelled grenades hit a building near the U.S. compound in the palace of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. Passers-by warned American civilians that they should leave the area. Mosul has enjoyed relative calm for the past six weeks, and the fighting suggested that while many Iraqis welcomed Saddam's fall, they're increasingly frustrated by the chaos that's succeeded the dictator. Mosul was one of the few Arab-controlled cities in mostly Kurdish northern Iraq, and it's home to many former Iraqi soldiers. Women in Mosul had a saying that they would prefer to remain spinsters rather than marry someone who wasn't an Iraqi officer. Now, however, many former soldiers haven't been paid in three months, and they're growing angry. U.S. Army officials said they're working to solve the problem. "We are grateful to the Americans, but we need to be paid," said Abdul Kadil, a former Iraqi soldier. "Why don't they open the factories? Why don't they disperse the money they found? Why don't they sell the oil?" asked Yousef Zahran. The burned out hulk of a truck sat crumpled in front of a local police station. Witnesses said men attacked the police station after demanding that U.S. forces remove policemen they said belonged to the former regime. "If America paid us our salaries, we would ask them to stay until judgment comes," said Wahad Faroud. "It's the police we want removed. We look at them and they remind us of the old regime." NO URL * '113 KILLED IN US BID TO CRUSH IRAQI RESISTANCE' Jordan Times, 15th June 2003 BAGHDAD (AFP) ‹ The US army's ongoing bid to mop-up resistance in northern Iraq has left at least 113 dead this week, according to US and Iraqi sources, as a top Iraqi politician warned that attacks would continue until local people are given more power. US forces killed 82 combatants at a desert training camp at Sahl, near the border with Syria, a mosque imam from a neighbouring village told AFP. The dead included at least one non-Iraqi, said Sheikh Gharbi Abdul Aziz, imam of the main mosque at Rawa, a few kilometres from Sahl. He said he had taken part in the burial of the 82 bodies after fighting erupted Thursday at dawn at the suspected extremist training camp. The US military had reported killing 27 Iraqis after clashes broke out late Thursday when a US 4th Infantry Division armoured patrol came under rocket propelled grenade attack near Balad, about 80 kilometres northeast of Baghdad. Four other Iraqis died in Dhuluiya during a hunt for "Chemical Ali," Hassan Al Majid, a cousin of Saddam, witnesses told AFP. Fighting this week ‹ the most intense since US President George W. Bush declared on May 1 that major combat was over ‹ has been concentrated in areas north of Baghdad, where many people still express sympathy for the regime of Saddam Hussein, which was ousted by US-led coalition forces in April. [.....] A senior oil ministry official, meanwhile, said damage to the oil pipeline between Iraq and Turkey, the main export route from the country's northern fields, could be repaired within two days. Residents in the village of Makhoul, near the northern city of Kirkuk, said the pipeline was attacked on Thursday, the same day Iraq awarded its first postwar oil contracts in preparation for the relaunch of exports. US Central Command (Centcom) said Saturday that US troops killed an Iraqi and wounded seven others when they tried to escape from the Abu Ghraib prison, west of Baghdad. The seven injured Iraqis, including two in critical condition, were evacuated to a US field hospital for treatment. A prisoner was killed in similar circumstances at the Baghdad International Airport detention centre on Thursday, Centcom said. The International Committee of the Red Cross estimates that about 1,000 Iraqis have been detained by coalition troops in the Baghdad area alone. Near the northern city of Mosul, an Iraqi arms dump exploded, killing three people at Al Hadhr, witnesses said. Three local men died in the blast on Thursday, said the witnesses who did not know if the explosions were accidental or deliberate. http://www.jordantimes.com/Mon/news/news4.htm * US TROOPS AMBUSHED IN IRAQ Jordan Times, 16th June NEAR BALAD, Iraq (Reuters) ‹ Iraqi fighters ambushed a US convoy in the hostile region north of Baghdad on Sunday, wounding several soldiers, as a new US mission was launched to hunt for Saddam Hussein loyalists blamed for recent attacks. A crippled US truck smouldered on the highway south of the restive town of Balad after the ambush, its tyres and canopy ablaze. Apache helicopters buzzed overhead, searching for the attackers. Tanks and armoured vehicles surrounded the truck. Troops trained their guns at the fields around the road. Soldiers said several casualties had been evacuated. They said the convoy had been travelling from Baghdad to Balad, about 90km to the north. It was attacked about 20km south of Balad. The ambush came as the US military launched a new mission, Operation Desert Scorpion, to root out resistance after a spate of attacks that have killed about 40 US occupation soldiers since major combat was declared over on May 1. The new US military sweep followed last week's Operation Peninsula Strike ‹ the biggest such US manoeuvre in Iraq since May 1 ‹ when a series of raids were mounted in the fertile plains around Balad near the Tigris River. The army said in a statement on Friday that it had killed 27 Iraqis who ambushed a tank patrol near Balad, but a military spokesman later said he could not confirm the death toll. Locals said five civilians had been killed in the incident. The US military has said that some 400 Iraqis were detained in the operation around Balad, which began last Monday and was winding down by the weekend. It said about 60 were still in custody, and four US soldiers were wounded during the operation, along with two Iraqi "hostile civilians." Angry locals said US troops had ransacked houses and assaulted residents. They said the operation would only serve to fuel hostility towards the US occupiers of Iraq. The US military said its Operation Desert Scorpion aimed to win hearts and minds as well as hunt resistance fighters. A Central Command statement said it was "designed to identify and defeat selected Baath Party loyalists, terrorist organisations and criminal elements while delivering humanitarian aid simultaneously." In the Sunni town of Falluja, 70km west of Baghdad, troops searched some houses overnight, but by morning they were distributing food and supplies. Hostility to the Americans is widespread in Falluja after a series of clashes, but the town was quiet on Sunday with a low-key army presence. The attacks have been concentrated in Baghdad and two nearby areas ‹ to the west around Ramadi and Falluja, and to the north around Balad, Baquba and Tikrit, Saddam's home town. Many locals in the troubled areas say they have no love for Saddam but that anger is mounting towards US soldiers. "We were oppressed under Saddam and now we are oppressed under the Americans," a trader in Falluja said. US General Richard Myers, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, said in a television interview that Saddam was probably still alive and several groups were behind recent attacks. "I think, probably the majority opinion is that he is alive and it's something that has to be dealt with," Myers told the US Fox News Channel on Saturday. http://ogj.pennnet.com/articles/web_article_display.cfm?Section=OnlineArticl es&ARTICLE_CATEGORY=Trasp&ARTICLE_ID=179053 * ORGANIZED 'SABOTAGE' UNDERMINES IRAQ'S CRUDE OIL DELIVERIES by Eric Watkins Oil & Gas Journal, 16th June NICOSIA, June 16 -- Even as oil tankers are preparing to lift the first exports of Iraqi crude since the outbreak of the US-led war in March, organized sabotage continues to undermine efforts to restore the country's oil and gas production to prewar levels. "We are currently producing just short of 600,000 b/d (of oil), which is probably about the domestic demand," Ambassador L. Paul Bremer, Washington's top administrator for Iraq, told the House Armed Services Committee last week by closed-circuit television from Baghdad. "We will be ramping that production rate up to a level of about 1.5 million b/d by the end of the year, and maybe more. So we will be able to export a substantial amount of oil, even after we have depleted the last barrels. . .that are now in storage in the pipeline to Turkey, Bremer added. But even as Bremer spoke from Baghdad on Thursday, the Iraq-Turkey oil pipeline suffered two explosions that will hinder the country's export capacity, according to the US appointed Iraqi Oil Minister Thamir Ghadhban. "There is an incident in the pipeline somewhere near Baiji refinery. We are now assessing and evaluating the damage. I don't know exactly how it happened, and why it happened, but we will do our best to fix it. "It will affect export capability. It is a pipeline and any incident in a pipeline would affect exports, but it can be repaired," Ghadhban told Reuters in an interview. In Ankara, Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul said the pipeline had been sabotaged and an investigation was under way. But US Army spokesman Capt. John Morgan said the explosions appeared similar to previous accidents, and dismissed reports of deliberate bombing. The pipeline was still burning on Monday, reports said. Bremer is well aware of acts of sabotage from Iraqi diehards that have hindered US efforts to restore the country's oil exports. He told Congressmen of destruction to Basra's South Gas LPG plant (SGLPG), which he visited last Wednesday. "It was a pure act of political sabotage, almost certainly, by elements of Baathists who want to show that the coalition is unable to run this country," Bremer said, adding, "we still face this kind of activity, and we need to defeat it." SGLPG, which produces about 50% of Iraq's LPG, is not operational because of sabotage to equipment and a lack of adequate electricity. According to Jabbar Al Eaby, the facility's director, it was professionals who carried out the sabotage since they knew "exactly" how to most severely damage the plant's equipment. Although enough electricity should be in place by Friday, the parts to repair the plant's damaged equipment will not be available until later. Al Eaby, who escorted Bremer through the SPLPG Wednesday, could not even estimate when the facility would be back online. While the explosions along the Iraq-Turkey pipeline have already raised concerns over the continued security of the country's oil operations, whether from sabotage or operational defects, the blasts will not affect Iraq's first oil tender since the outbreak of the war. Iraq's State Oil Marketing Organization (SOMO) last Thursday awarded 5.5 million bbl of Kirkuk crude to Spain's YPF-Repsol SA, Cepsa SA, Turkish refiner Tupras, and Italy's ENI SPA. SOMO also awarded 2 million bbl of Kirkuk crude to Total SA and a further 2 million bbl of Basra crude to ChevronTexaco Corp. Oil shipments totaling 9.5 million bbl will be taken from stocks of some 9 million bbl of crude from Iraq's northern Kirkuk fields at the Turkish terminal of Ceyhan on the Mediterranean Sea and 2 million bbl of Basra Light lifted in the south‹almost all of it pumped before the outbreak of war in March. Shipping sources on Sunday said the 147,275 dwt tanker Sandra Tapias, owned by Spain's Tapias Naviera F. SA, will arrive at Ceyhan Friday to lift 1 million bbl of Iraqi oil, the first loading from Ceyhan since Mar. 20, when US air attacks commenced against targets in Baghdad. The Iraq-Turkey pipeline, which has been idle since Apr. 10, when Kurdish forces allied to the US took over the town of Kirkuk, is expected to resume operations after a few vessels are loaded and space becomes available, assuming there are no further accidents or incidents along the line. MEDIA PROBLEMS http://www.indexonline.org/news/20030611_iraq.shtml * IRAQ: US MILITARY & FREE SPEECH by Rohan Jayasekera Index on Censorship, 11th June To the average Iraqi, almost nothing the Americans do makes sense. Each one is a schizophrenic beast, as likely to smile and hand out a sweet to a child as it is liable to open fire on a street protest or club a careless driver. The contradiction is in the mission; the US military came to Iraq to win a war, not wage a peace. The majority of US troops believe they came to Iraq as liberators. The Iraqis tend to think differently. The US authorities think their problem is their failure to get their message across. The Iraqis already get too many messages from the Americans, and almost all of them are contradictory. What kind of message did the US military send to the Iraqis when it seized "editorial control" of Mosul city's only TV station because of its "predominantly non factual/unbalanced news coverage" - meaning the re-broadcasting of Qatari Arab satellite network al-Jazeera? "We have every right as an occupying power to stop the broadcast of something that will incite violence," Major General David Petraeus told reporters after being alerted to the offending broadcasts. "Yes, what we are looking at is censorship but you can censor something that is intended to inflame passions." According to a Wall Street Journal report, a US army major was relieved of her duties and removed from the base when she argued that the order contravened principles of free speech. After all, these are principles guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States, which every US soldier must "solemnly swear" to "support and defend". But these contradictions fly everywhere. Having invested $20 million dollars over three months in the rebuilding of Iraqi state TV & radio, renamed the Iraqi Media Network (IMN), the US officials in charge of the contract began balking at the new network's news output immediately it went on air. Managers were told to drop the readings from the Koran, the 'vox-pop' man-in-the-street interviews (usually critical of the US invasion) and even to run their content past the wife of a US-friendly Iraqi Kurdish leader for a pre-broadcast check. The station rejected the demands and dug in their heels. "As journalists we will not submit to censorship," Dan North, a Canadian documentary maker training Iraqis at the station, told Reuters. US civilian administrator L. Paul Bremer III, in charge of the occupying powers' Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), was said to be infuriated by the conflicting strategies in place at the IMN, which has two TV stations, a brace of local and national radio stations and two newspapers under development. Even more annoyingly for the US chief, the country's Shi'a broadcasters had made much more use of much less extensive support from Iran to get their networks on air, for more hours with more news. Almost all of it was hostile to the US-British occupation forces. A daily drip feed of increasingly embittered media coverage is turning into a flood, with every political faction in the new Iraq opening up new newspapers in Baghdad, and using them to voice popular frustration at the rising crime rate and failing public services on the Americans' watch. Every day brings new allegations and abuse. The papers representing political parties hostile to the US post unattributed reports of all kinds, accusing the western forces of gang rape, robbery and numerous 'insults to Islam'. One of Baghdad's scores of scrappy publications has begun printing clips from the so-called 'Protocols of the Elders of Zion' - the anti-Semitic Russian Tzarist-era forgery that purports to reveal plans for Jewish world domination. But now the US authorities have declared 'enough'. Bremer issued tough new rules governing the Iraqi media on 28 May to sort the mess out. All Iraqi media must now be registered. Licences will be revoked and equipment confiscated from media sources that break the rules. Individual offenders "may be detained, arrested, prosecuted and, if convicted, sentenced by relevant authorities to up to one year in prison and a $1,000 fine". Appeal is to Bremer only, and his decision is final. Bremer's nine point list of "Prohibited Activities" include incitement to racial, ethnic or religious hatred, advocating support for the banned pre-war Ba'ath party, and publishing material that "is patently false and is calculated to provoke opposition to the CPA or undermine legitimate processes towards self-government". Officials say the order is intended to stop 'hate speech' - the kind of hot language they say could trigger violence between Iraqis and westerners, or possibly Iraqi Sunni and Shi'a or Arab and Iraqi Kurd. "There's no room for hateful and destabilising messages that will destroy the emerging Iraqi democracy," former IMN official Mike Furlong told the Associated Press in June. "All media outlets must be responsible." This is a long way from the stand made by Furlong's IMN colleague Don North the month before. "This whole idea (IMN) was about starting the genesis of an open media," he said at the time, "so we will not accept an outside source scrutinising what we produce." No more. And Bremer's order was only the start. It also marked a transformation for the IMN - from independent broadcaster driven by First Amendment principles to something else again entirely. On Bremer's order the IMN has been transformed into a mini-ministry to replace the old Iraqi ministry of information, made world famous by wartime Saddam propagandist minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf. Bremer "reserves the power to advise" the IMN on any aspect of its performance, "including any matter of content" and the power to hire and fire IMN staff. Thus the man in absolute authority over the country's largest, richest and best equipped media network is also his own regulator and regulator of his rivals, with recourse to the US Army to enforce his rulings. Under the direction of former Voice of America chief Robert Reilly, the IMN was created in April 2003 by US defence technology giant Scientific Applications International Corp (SAIC) under contract to the Pentagon. SAIC's relevant speciality is what it calls "Information Dominance/Command and Control" - a nine point programme, according to its website, that begins with 'Battlefield Control' and ends with 'Information Warfare/Information Operations'. This kind of seamless link between military command and media management was what the Pentagon had in mind when it issued the contract to SAIC. A successor to the fuzzy TV broadcasts from USAF EC-130E 'Commando Solo' psyops (psychological operations) planes and the radio broadcasts beamed from US army transmitters mounted on Humvee jeeps. It was the Pentagon that objected loudest to the resignation of the politically conservative Reilly as the director of the Voice of America, and welcomed his appointment as chief of the Defense Department's media programme in Iraq. Reilly fell out with the VOA board of governors over his 'ideological' views on what he and the Defense Department thought was the VOA's duty, to tell America's story to the nations it opposed. He famously called the fighting in Afghanistan a "war of ideas," with the VOA "on one side in that war". With Reilly gone the VOA joined a 'coalition of the unwilling' with the Pentagon in Iraq. "We are not in the psychological operation or propaganda business," VOA middle east chief Norm Pattiz told the Christian Science Monitor, citing the Pentagon initiatives. "Without the credibility of balanced, reliable, and truthful news, we would have no audience." "Under the last regime, it was illegal to criticise the government," Bremer told Iraqi journalists. "Now you are free to criticise whoever, or whatever you want." But, he added, "with freedom comes responsibility". Reilly says he hopes IMN will evolve into a "PBS-style" responsible public broadcaster. Even the censorious paratrooper Petraeus told the Washington Post that Iraq needed "something akin" to the Communications Regulatory Agency set up in Bosnia "to establish standards and procedures for cases in which those standards are broken." The issue is whether Reilly, and the IMN - a media network sired by Pentagon contract out of US Army psyops, soon to be Iraq's largest, most powerful and only truly national media corporation, topped by L. Paul Bremer III, a man with absolute power over its activities and its rivals - have taken the right route to these destinations. If Iraq needs media regulation, it should be independent. If it needs media at all, it should be more independent than this. Rohan Jayasekera visited Iraq in May as part of Index on Censorship's contribution to a combined survey of the Iraqi media, shortly to be published by its partner author groups. Index on Censorship is currently developing training programmes for the independent Iraqi media to run during 2003. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/2987342.stm * AL-JAZEERA HACKER PLEADS GUILTY BBC, 13th June An American web designer is to formally plead guilty to hacking the Arabic TV channel al Jazeera's website during the Iraq war. John William Racine II, 24, on Thursday admitted diverting al-Jazeera's traffic and e-mails to a site called Let Freedom Ring, featuring pro-US messages, prosecutors said. The attack is said to have been motivated by al-Jazeera's decision to show pictures of dead and captured American soldiers during the war. Both al-Jazeera's Arabic and English-language sites were hacked into or shut down frequently during the war. Mr Racine, who contacted the authorities in March, has agreed to plead guilty to two charges of wire fraud and unlawful interception of an electronic communication when he appears in court in Los Angeles on Monday. He is expected to be sentenced to three years' probation, 1,000 hours of community service and a fine of $1,500. Al-Jazeera's technology manager welcomed the charges, but said the hacking of the site was a costly operation that could not have involved just one person. "It is not difficult for one person to have the brain to do this, but the financial capabilities needed for the hacking are hard to find with one person," Salah Siddiki told the Associated Press. The US has criticised al-Jazeera over its coverage of the war in Iraq and for airing statements from Osama Bin Laden's al-Qaeda network. The independent Qatar-based station has also angered Arab leaders for speaking out against them and their policies, but remains popular with Arab audiences. http://www.observer.co.uk/iraq/story/0,12239,977702,00.html * TURNING THE TANKS ON THE REPORTERS by Philip Knightley The Observer, 15th June The Pentagon made it clear from the beginning of the Iraq war that there would be no censorship. What it failed to say was that war correspondents might well find themselves in a situation similar to that in Korea in 1950. This was described by one American correspondent as the military saying: 'You can write what you like - but if we don't like it we'll shoot you.' The figures in Iraq tell a terrible story. Fifteen media people dead, with two missing, presumed dead. If you consider how short the campaign was, Iraq will be notorious as the most dangerous war for journalists ever. This is bad enough. But - and here we tread on delicate ground - it is a fact that the largest single group of them appear to have been killed by the US military. Brigadier General Vince Brooks, deputy director of operations, has told us the Americans do not target journalists. But some war correspondents do not believe him, and Spanish journalists have demonstrated outside the US embassy in Madrid shouting 'murderers'. I believe that the traditional relationship between the military and the media - one of restrained hostility - has broken down, and the US administration has decided its attitude to war correspondents is the same as that set out by President Bush when declaring war on terrorists: 'You're either with us or against us.' Journalists prepared to get on side - and that means 100 per cent on side - will become 'embeds' and get every assistance. Any who follow an objective, independent path, the so called 'unilaterals', will be shunned. And those who report from the enemy side will risk being shot. The media should have seen it coming. Last year the BBC sent one of its top reporters, Nik Gowing, to Washington to try to find out how it was that its correspondent, William Reeve, who had just re-opened the Corporation's studio in Kabul and was giving a live TV interview for BBC World, was blown out of his seat by an American smart missile. Four hours later, a few blocks away, the office and residential compound of the Arab TV network Al-Jazeera was hit by two more American missiles. The BBC, Al-Jazeera, and the US Committee to Protect Journalists thought it prudent to find out from the Pentagon what steps they could take to protect their correspondents if war came to Iraq. Rear Admiral Craig Quigley was frank. He said the Pentagon was indifferent to media activity in territory controlled by the enemy, and that the Al-Jazeera compound in Kabul was considered a legitimate target because it had 'repeatedly been the location of significant al-Qaeda activity'. It turned out that this activity was interviews with Taliban officials, something Al-Jazeera had thought to be normal journalism. All three organisations concluded that the Pentagon was determined to deter western correspondents from reporting any war from the 'enemy' side; would view such journalism in Iraq as activity of 'military significance', and might well bomb the area. This view was reinforced in the early days of the war in Iraq, when the Pentagon wrote officially to Al-Jazeera asking it to remove its correspondents from Baghdad. Downing Street made the same request to the BBC. In the US a Pentagon official called media bosses to a meeting in Washington to tell them how foolhardy and dangerous it was to have correspondents in the Iraqi capital. But no one realised it might also be dangerous to work outside the system the Pentagon had devised for allowing war correspondents to cover the war: embedding. In total, 600 correspondents, including about 150 from foreign media, and even one from the music network MTV, accepted the Pentagon's offer to be embedded with military units. I found only one instance of an embedded correspondent who wrote a story highly critical of the behaviour of US troops and which went against the official account of what had occurred. On 31 March, American soldiers opened fire on a civilian van that had failed to stop at a checkpoint, killing seven Iraqi women and children. US officials said the driver of the car failed to stop after warning shots and that troops had fired at the passenger cabin as 'a last resort'. But William Branigin, of the Washington Post, embedded with the Third Infantry, witnessed the shooting. He reported that no warning shot was fired and that 10 people, not seven, were killed. It will be interesting to see what becomes of Branigin's relations with the US military. For the rest of the embeds, the conclusion of veteran New York Times journalist Sydney H Schanberg applies: 'Embedded means you're there,' he said. 'It also means you're stuck'. But that is what the Pentagon wanted, and after the death of ITN reporter Terry Lloyd, and the probable deaths of two of his team (they're still listed as missing) who had been operating unilaterally, the Coalition Commander, General Tommy Franks, pointed out that no embedded correspondent had been killed. What Franks did not reveal was exactly how Lloyd died. Now, more than a month after Lloyd's death, neither the Ministry of Defence nor the Pentagon has told ITN what the investigation into his death has revealed. It may turn out this was an unfortunate accident, another 'friendly fire' incident. But what happened at the Palestine Hotel was a different matter. On 8 April, three war correspondents were killed when an American tank fired a shell at the suite on the 15th floor. Tarek Ayyoub, a cameraman for Al-Jazeera, was killed when a US plane bombed the channel's office in Baghdad. American forces also opened fire on the offices of Abu Dhabi TV, whose identity is spelled out in large letters on the roof. In the Iraq war the Pentagon regarded Al-Jazeera as an enemy propaganda station, putting out devastating accounts of Iraqi civilian casualties to a vast Arab audience, fuelling anti American sentiment. Al-Jazeera was apprehensive about US reaction and repeatedly informed the US military of the exact co-ordinates of its Baghdad office. It was a waste of time. The Pentagon has offered neither explanation nor apology. When the news of the Palestine Hotel attack first came, the American command said nothing until it emerged that the French TV channel, France 3, had filmed the tank aiming and firing. Then the coalition put out a series of contradictory accounts. Colonel David Perkins, commander of the Third Infantry Division's Second Brigade, said Iraqis in front of the hotel were firing rocket-propelled grenades at the tank. The division's commander, General Bouford Blount, issued a statement saying the tank had come under sniper fire from the hotel roof and had fired at the source of the shooting, which had then stopped. Correspondents in the Palestine Hotel insisted there had been no grenades and no sniper fire. But the most telling evidence is that France 3's cameraman had started filming some minutes before the tank opened fire, and his camera's sound track records no shots whatsoever. More puzzling was an official Spanish government statement that the coalition had actually declared the Palestine Hotel a military objective 48 hours before it was attacked and that the correspondents should have left. This was news to the correspondents, all of whom denied knowledge of any warning. I am convinced that in the light of all the evidence the Pentagon is determined there will be no more reporting from the enemy side, and a few deaths among the correspondents who do will deter others. And the Pentagon's policy will work. Al-Jazeera seriously considered pulling all of its correspondents out of Iraq because it could not guarantee their safety. Arab TV and British media bosses will think twice in any future war of sending staff reporters to the enemy side - not least because insurers will refuse to underwrite the risk. I think the Pentagon is not concerned in the slightest about its attacks on journalists because it is convinced that the public will support its view and its actions. With five out of 10 Americans believing that most of the terrorists who carried out the attack on 11 September were Iraqis, the American media decided that its readers and viewers were not interested in the plight of Iraqi victims. The New York Times said it aimed to capture the true nature of the war but avoid 'the gratuitous use of images simply for shock value'. The biggest radio group in the US, Clear Channel, used its stations to organise pro-war rallies. McVay Media, one of America's largest communications consulting companies, advised its radio clients to play 'patriotic music that makes you cry, salute and get cold chills', and under no circumstances cover war protests. When New York magazine writer Michael Wolff broke ranks at the coalition's daily press conference at Qatar and asked General Brooks: 'Why are we here? Why should we stay? What's the value of what we're learning at this million-dollar press centre?' Fox TV attacked him for lack of patriotism, and right-wing commentator Rush Limbaugh gave out Wolff's email address - in one day he received 3,000 hate emails. Finally, a mysterious civilian in army uniform took him aside and told him: 'This is a fucking war, asshole. No more questions for you.' Wolff realised that the press conferences were not for the benefit of correspondents. The correspondents were extras in a piece of theatre. The farce could not have taken place if the correspondents had gone home, but given the competitive nature of war reporting, there was no danger of that. Let's finish with a look at the image that everyone will still remember when the debate and all these issues are long forgotten. As seen on television and on the front pages of newspapers around the world, cheering Iraqis attach a rope and a chain to Saddam's neck then call on the services of an American vehicle to haul him down. The statue hesitates, bends at the knees and topples into the dust. In an information war heavy with symbolism, this marked the end of Saddam Hussein and the coalition's victory. But this image was not quite what it seemed. The statue was pulled down by American troops using American equipment - the Iraqis on their own would not have been able to do it. Although there were lots of other statues, the toppling of this one took place opposite the Palestine Hotel, where most members of the international media were still staying. Without the media, the event would have meant nothing. Long-distance shots show that the Iraqis who helped topple the statue and later celebrated its fall numbered no more than 100. So what happened? Was it as portrayed - a spontaneous outpouring of joy by ordinary Iraqis? Or was it a photo opportunity, a staged event in the theatre of propaganda? Excited TV presenters told their viewers they were witnessing history. But whose history? Philip Knightley is the author of 'First Casualty' (Carlton), a history of war correspondents and propaganda. A longer version of this article appears in the BJR edition 14(2), available from SAGE Publications, 6 Bonhill Street, London EC2A 4PU. Subscription hotline: 020 7330 1266. E mail: email@example.com _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email firstname.lastname@example.org All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk