Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Other Items

Two CBS journalists are missing in the southern Iraqi city of Basra, the network said in a brief statement on Monday.
"All efforts are under way to find them," said the statement, which also asked other news organizations not to "speculate on the identity of those involved."
But in recent years, Basra has been the venue of attacks on Iraqi and Western journalists, and on Monday a semi-independent Iraqi news network, Voices of Iraq, citing Basra police officials, reported on its Web site that a British journalist, apparently a photographer, and his Iraqi interpreter were abducted by gunmen from their hotel, the Qasr al-Sultan, in Basra. CBS declined to comment on those details.

The above is from James Glanz' "CBS Reports 2 Journalists Missing in Iraq" in this morning's New York Times. Tina Susman and Matea Gold (Los Angeles Times) add:

According to an Iraqi police report, the two had been missing since Sunday evening. It said eight SUVs arrived at their hotel earlier in the day and their occupants asked to see the guest list. Later, when the journalists left the hotel, two SUVs were waiting for them and took them away, the police report said.
[. . .]
There is no U.S. troop presence in Basra, the country's second-largest city, and the British forces who once patrolled there have pulled back to a base on its outskirts. Rival Shiite Muslim militias are vying for control of the oil-rich city, and police said Shiite fundamentalists have attacked unveiled women and others who do not adhere to strict Islamic moral and dress codes.

As if Bob Schieffer's embarrassing act before Summer Redstone (look at those lyrics -- they weren't funny, they were cowardly and begging and have offended a number at CBS News as Bobby made ha-has about the destruction all around them being fine and dandy as long as CBS News went untouched -- it was seen as the ultimate suck up and something that makes it all the harder for CBS to report on the lay offs and lost jobs at other companies since Bobby, a 'face' of CBS News, has made sure to telegraph that it's all one ha-ha to him) hadn't lowered morale enough already, many at CBS in the actual news department are bothered by what they see as a White House approach to news. Two employees are missing, assumed kidnapped, and a news outlet is playing, "Don't ask us questions!" They are in the news business and, as one senior correspondent stated, "We're drawing a veil of privacy we wouldn't honor ourselves on any story we were following." No, they wouldn't. And no, this isn't acceptable. This isn't about a need-to-know-gossip, this is about breaking news and CBS News used to be in the business of news. Bob's little act may have played 'cute' and funny outside the news division. Within it, it's led to large criticism and, on the heels of that, the last thing the division needs to be seen doing is suppressing reality, facts and news. (And as details get out on what other outlets the reporter worked for and his nationality, it's going to be very easy to narrow down his identity -- which everyone at CBS already knows but can't report -- very easy for the public, other news outlets not only already know those details, they know his name and the name of the translator, but everyone's supposed to pretend they don't. FTL, etc.)

Meanwhile, AP reports:

More than half the veterans who committed suicide after coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan were members of the National Guard and Reserves.
A Department of Veterans Affairs analysis of deaths among veterans of both wars has been obtained exclusively by The AP. It found that Guard or Reserve members were 53 percent of the veteran suicides from 2001 through the end of 2005.

Reuters reports "A member of the Anbar awakening council, Ahmed Mahmoud al-Nattah, survived an assassination attempt when gunmen opened fire and wounded two of his guards near Ramadi, 110 km (68 miles) west of Baghdad, police said" and 13 corpses discovered in a mass grave in Diyala Province.

Unrelated subject, a press release sent to the public account:

East Timor and Indonesia Action Network on attacks on the President
and Prime Minister of Timor-Leste

The East Timor and Indonesia Action Network (ETAN) condemns Monday's
violent attacks on the President and Prime Minister of Timor-Leste.
We wish President Ramos-Horta a speedy and full recovery from his
wounds and a quick return to the duties he was elected to carry out.
We deeply regret the loss of life. The people of Timor-Leste have
experienced far too much violence throughout their history. The
pursuit of political goals through violence is unacceptable and must
be rejected. We urge that all reactions to these events be peaceful.

We regret that Major Alfredo Reinado and his followers were allowed
to remain free for so long. It is puzzling to us that some in
Timor-Leste view him as a heroic figure. His use of force during the
crisis in May 2006 and subsequent threats to use force should have
been condemned and rejected by all. These threats were carried out
Monday morning with tragic consequences.

Justice and accountability are lacking for far too many recent and
past crimes in East Timor. Yesterday's events occurred, in part,
because the rule of law remains weak. Major Reinado, who was indicted
for murder for his actions in 2006, should have been brought to
justice long before this attack. Too many in today's Timor-Leste
operate with a sense of impunity, believing that they will not be
held accountable for violent crimes which destabilize and further
traumatize the country's population. This sense of impunity is only
reinforced by the failure of the UN, U.S., Indonesia, Timor Leste and
the rest of the international community to achieve accountability for
crimes against humanity committed in East Timor between 1975 and 1999.

John M. Miller Internet: etan@igc.org
National Coordinator

East Timor & Indonesia Action Network
PO Box 21873, Brooklyn, NY 11202-1873 USA
Phone: (718)596-7668 Mobile: (917)690-4391
Skype: john.m.miller Web:

Send a blank e-mail message to
info@etan.org to find out how to learn more about East Timor on the Internet

The e-mail address for this site is common_ills@yahoo.com.