Tuesday, January 23, 2007

NYT: Who died? Santora's not interested

At the site of the car bombings, the popular market in Bab al Sharji, next to the Museum of Modern Art, Iraqi Army troops spotted someone on a nearby rooftop shortly afterward filming the carnage.
They went after him as he tried to escape by jumping from rooftop to rooftop before he was shot dead, according to an Iraqi Army official. The official said the man was Egyptian and was filming the attack to use as propaganda for the Sunni insurgents.

The above is from Marc Santora's "88 Killed as Car Bombs Devastate Busy Baghdad Market" in this morning's New York Times. I don't see anything (other than the above) that we didn't note already in the snapshot (I do notice much of other reported violence doesn't make the paper -- no surprise -- but that does include the two women killed -- one a teacher on her way to work) but just wonder about justice in Baghdad.

From press reports in real time, a group of people/students were filming the attacks on the twin towers on September 11th. A number of phone calls alerted the authorities (who responded far swifter than the federal government -- maybe they weren't entranced by a children's story). The men were questioned. They weren't shot dead. Bully Boy can't stop bringing up September 11th (and will no doubt do so again). But even on that day, they weren't reported to be shot dead.

So who made the "propaganda" judgement?

And when did "propaganda" become a crime for which you could be killed? (Somebody warn Michael Gordon!)

Let's be clear, the Iraqi puppet government apes the US administration pulling their strings in the hostility to the press. When Nouri al-Maliki began the cracked up crackdown (mid-June) a number of things happened including the press in the US treating it as though it was 'new' (it wasn't, the security councils were local councils that were already in place and created and devised by local areas -- he just claimed credit for something already in place) and a number of things were overlooked in the 'plan' including the further hostility towards a free press.

Was the man a 'propagandist'? Was he even Egyptian? Was he a member of the working press? Why isn't the Times interested in that?

Why was he shot? Why was he killed? Why isn't All The News That's Fit To Print even interested in exploring that?

Would a reporter run in Iraq? If they were smart they'd run like hell. Especially if they were non-American. If they were even remotely aware (which would mean getting their news somewhere other than from the Times), they'd be fully aware of the attacks on the press that have come from the military in Iraq. They'd be fully aware that an AP journalist can be locked away and, though ignored in the US, it does outrage the international community but nothing much happens.

But let's assume what was taken on faith when the man was killed, let's assume he was a "propagandist." When did it become a crime punishable by death? (When did it become a crime? It actually is in Iraq. The Times never told you about that because they only emphasized the points in al-Maliki's 'plan' that they liked.) When did it become a crime punishable by death and when was it decided that the determination of a crime didn't include anything other than snap judgements on the spot?

Who knows who the man was? We may never find out. But propagandist or journalist, he had a camera. And in this war of photo ops, that's apparently the most deadly tool in Iraq.

Santora's apparently not even interested in where he was shot. Very likely he was shot in the back. Justice?

If you don't like the news, kill the messenger? You'd think a newspaper would ask a few questions and offer more than what Santora's story does today.

Ehren Watada is interviewed on today's Democracy Now! Remember that you can listen, watch or read.

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