Monday, February 28, 2011

NYT journalists 'miss' the assault on journalists in Iraq

On Sunday, BNO News reports, protests continued in Iraq with 27 protesters left wounded in Amara City by Iraqi forces. Kelly McEvers (NPR's Morning Edition) reports on the weekend protests.

Friday saw a number of journalists arrested. Saturday we noted Hossam Serail and three other journalists were eating lunch in a Baghdad restaurant Friday afternoon when Iraqi security forces stormed the place and attacked the four, hitting them repeatedly with the butt of their rifles while cursing the press and then arresting them. To that, Alsumaria TV adds, "Iraqi security forces released on Friday Alsumaria reporters Sanan Adnan and Idris Jawad in addition to cameraman Safaa’ Hatem. Alsumaria reporters were arrested while covering the protests of Baghdad’s Tahrir Square. Security forces attacked as well Alsumaria employees Ali Hamed and Muhannad Abdul Sattar who managed to escape." Stephanie McCrummen (Washington Post) reports, "Iraqi security forces detained about 300 people, including prominent journalists, artists and lawyers who took part in nationwide demonstrations Friday, in what some of them described as an operation to intimidate Baghdad intellectuals who hold sway over popular opinion."

Meanwhile Jack Healy and Michael S. Schmidt, as well as the paper they work for, win the Stupidity Prize. If I were footing the bill for the villa and the security to protect NYT reporters and I looked at the output and saw that they reported nothing, NOTHING, about the arrests and beatings of journalists, that the most are two lazy frat boys could do was a Friday 'report' insisting that the protests were violent because of the protesters -- writing in the sort of alarmist style that I believe the New York Post copyrighted long before Rupert Murdoch ever came sniffing -- I think I'd wonder why we were spending money there? Reading Schmidtty and Healy's 'report,' Friday was a great day for Nouri and the Iraqi security forces. Reading any other outlet makes you wonder what drug the two have grown addicted to. The Irish Times' Michael Jansen's report on Friday's protests can be found here.

Al Rafidayn reports that Salman Nasser Hamidi, Governor of Babylon Province (more commonly called Babil Province by most outlets), became the third governor to resign in the last three days as a result of the protests. Like the other two who have resigned, Hamidi was a member of the State Of Law slate. State Of Law is Nouri's political slate and Alsumaria TV notes that demonstrators on Friday in Baghdad, when confronted by security forces, began calling for the resignation of Nouri.

In an attempt to circumvent the rage, Al Rafidayn reports Nouri held an emergency meeting with his Cabinet insisting that they had 100 days to produce results on the corruption issue or, Nouri swears, he's firing. Really? It's nearly ninety days since November 25th when Nouri officially became prime minister-designate. He was supposed to have 30 days to announce a Cabinet. All this time later, he's still not named a full cabinet. And you really think he's going to fire many people? Honestly? New Sabbah reports on Nouri's announcement and notes that Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi is calling for provinicial elections to be held early to address concerns. Dar Addustour adds that al-Nujaifi pledged to investigate the efforts to suppress the demonstrations, to torture protesters and to prevent journalists from covering the events and he pledged to investigate the violence in Mosul. He also declared the ban on live satellite coverage would be lifted. He decried those who fired guns at the protesters and who used excessive force on them and on journalists and he condemned the arrest of journalists. Jane Arraf (Al Jazeera) reminds that "al-Nujaifi is a member of the opposition, and it would also be two years early to replace provincial councils. Anger from anti-government protesters is being mainly directed at local officials, for primarily corruption, lack of services and high unemployment."

Meanwhile Nasiriyah reports that Maj Gen Qassim Atta, the spokesperson for Baghdad Operations Command is insisting he has no idea about targeting of the media, specifically four journalists being arrested on Friday, and insists there will be an investigation. He's calling on witnesses to come forward . . . so they can be disappeared?

Kat's "Kat's Korner: Radiohead, I'm going to need a cigarette" went up Sunday morning. Today on Law and Disorder Radio (begins broadcasting at 9:00 am EST on WBAI and around the country throughout the week), Michael Ratner, Heidi Boghosian and Michael S. Smith speak with Chris Hedges about his latest book s Death of the Liberal Class., with Rick Wolff about the economy and they have an update regarding Bradley Manning.

We'll close with specifically this report by Jane Arraf on Friday's protests.

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