I have been following the huge coverage surrounding “Easongate”, and what he did or did not say about the US military targeting journalists in Iraq. For those of you unfamiliar with the news, and so big has the story been on all the top blogs, there is now a blog devoted entirely to the story. Eason Jordan is CNN’s top news executive, and made a speech at Davos where he claimed, and may have later retracted, that US soldiers had deliberately targeted journalists. Just about every US blog has something on it, and I would direct readers to my daily reads on the right for the latest.
It should also be noted that back on the 14th of March 2003, I blogged a story about the veteran BBC journalist, Kate Adie, making a similar claim on Irish radio. This was just before the war started. Her crucial claim is that a source she spoke to said that journalists would be ‘targeted down’. I have added emphasis below.
I will quote her exact remarks here. McGurk is the presenter with Adie on the phone from London:
Tom McGurk: Now, Kate Adie, you join us from the BBC in London. Thank you very much for going to all this trouble on a Sunday morning to come and join us. I suppose you are watching with a mixture of emotions this war beginning to happen, because you are not going to be covering it.
Kate Adie: Oh I will be. And what actually appalls me is the difference between twelve years ago and now. Ive seen a complete erosion of any kind of acknowledgment that reporters should be able to report as they witness. The Americans
and Ive been talking to the Pentagon
take the attitude which is entirely hostile to the free spread of information. I was told by a senior officer in the Pentagon, that if uplinks – that is the television signals out of
Baghdad, for example – were detected by any planes
mediums, of the military above Baghdad
theyd be fired down on. Even if they were journalists
sorry Kate ..just to underline that. Sorry to interrupt you. Just to explain for our listeners. Uplinks is where you would have your own satellite telephone method of distributing information.
Kate Adie: The telephones and the television signals.
Tom McGurk: And they would be fired on?
Kate Adie: Yes. They would be targeted down, said the officer.
Tom McGurk: Extraordinary!
Kate Adie: Oh, shameless, he said, well he said, they know this, theyve been warned. This is threatening freedom of information before you even get to a war.