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[casi] News, 11-18/6/03 (3)

News, 11-18/6/03 (3)


*  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


*  Iraq: US military & free speech
*  Al-Jazeera hacker pleads guilty
*  Turning the tanks on the reporters


*  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

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


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


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


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

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),2763,976392,00.html

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

The Iraqi authorities estimated that 2,278 civilians died in the 1991 Gulf

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

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.

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

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

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.

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

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

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."

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

"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."


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

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


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.

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

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

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

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

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.


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

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

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

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

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

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

"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

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

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:

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