Tuesday, December 21, 2004

War against information

"Item 1: Two months ago, thugs blew up the offices of the TV station al-Arabiya, killing five people. (Al Arabiya staffers have also been killed as a result of U.S. actions.)

Item 2: Asharq al-Awsat, a London-based paper that is one of the leading journals in the Middle East, has announced that it will close its Baghdad bureau to protect its staff. The paper had reported that Omar Hadid, supposedly a leader of the Fallujah gangs, is not only an aide to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, but also the brother of al-Jazeera's Baghdad bureau chief. (Jazeera has denied the report.) According to the BBC, armed men threatened to attack the newspaper demanding that Asharq al-Awsat publish a retraction. Instead, the paer said it would close the bureau.

Item 3: The British newspaper The Times reports that an Iraqi TV journalist named Mohamed Abdul Razzaq recently interviewed a group of non-Iraqi thugs in Fallujah after he had received the following threat: "Interview us or we will kill you." Leaving the house after conducting the demanded interview, and even before he had reached his car, the reporter was confronted by a different group of thugs, these apparently Iraqis, who told him, "Broadcast that [tape] and we will kill you.""


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