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June 30, 2005


Ghurab al-Bain

The canard that severely wounded Al-Arabiyya correspondent Jawad Kazem (severely wounded by anti-Shi'a terrorists or kidnappers) was "denied permission to leave the country" is a lie. If you don't believe me, you should call the Al-Arabiyya office in Washington or Dubai and get the details and correct this false information.

Nur al-Cubicle

Ghurab, it is not a lie. It was reported by L'Orient-Le Jour, Le Monde, AFP and Reuters in who I have more faith than your handle.

Kazem Chronology
21 June. Amman. Al-Arabiya reporter wounded in an attempted kidnapping has been transferred to a Jordanian hospital in critical condition. Jawad Kazem, 37, is partially paralyzed. Al-Arabiya had complained that US military authorities prevented an earlier evacuation of Mr. Kazem.

19 June. 21:55 Dubai. The al-Arabiya television network protested the refusal of the US military to evacuate its reporter Jawad Kazem, wounded by armed men in a kidnapping attempt in Baghdad. Al-Arabiya officials say Kazem is in serious condition with wounds to the jaw, trachea and spinal column. Al-Arabiya says it will hold the US responsible for any deterioration in Kazem's condition. Al-Arabiya has lost two reporters and a cameraman while covering events in Iraq. In September 2004, reporter Mazen al-Tomaizi, employed by al-Arabiya and on contract for the Saudi network al-Ekhbariya, was killed by US troops. In March, reporter Ali al-Khatib, 32, and cameraman Ali Abdel Aziz, 35, were also killed by US troops. In October 2004, seven people were killed when Al-Arabiya's bureau in Baghdad was carbombed.

18 June. 17:02 Baghdad. Jawad Kadhem, a journalist for al-Arabiya was wounded in an attempted kidnapping.

31 May. 22:56 Dubai. A journalist for al-Arabiya TV was struck by several bullets during an armed clash in Mosul.

And by the bye, the wife of Samir Qassir is Gisèle Khoury, a celebrity television anchor on al-Arabiya TV. Perhaps Qassir's killing was a message to al-Arabiya.


Here is an article on the subject of journalist killings by a leading Indian journalist who has been in Iraq. He makes comparisons between British colonialism in India and the American occuption in Iraq. He isn't a raging Leftie either, but works for a centrist, sometimes conservative paper (Indian Express). I think it shows the level of cynicism about US intentions that prevails in much of the world.

A longago Lucknow in today’s Iraq


Posted online: Friday, July 01, 2005 at 0030 hours IST

When Prime Minister Manmohan Singh sits across the table from President Bush, Iraq will obviously surface as an issue. Fortunately, Manmohan Singh will be in full possession of the knowledge that public opinion in the US is turning rapidly against the occupation.

George Bush says: “As Iraqis stand up, we will stand down.” The reference is to 1,60,000 US troops trying to make way for Iraqis to take their place.

During India’s first war of independence, the effort was similar: “We don’t want to fight. But, by jingo, if we do, we won’t go to the front ourselves, we’ll send the mild Hindoo.” In Lord Salisbury’s celebrated description: India was “an English barrack in the oriental seas from which we may draw any number of troops without paying for them.”

In Iraq, on the other hand, the great US project now boasts of precisely 2,500 Iraqi troops running helter skelter to escape car bombs. So, when will the Iraqis “stand on their feet”?

After, in a moment of exasperation, they have been nuked with some cleaner version of that ghastly thing? I am not indulging in hyperbole. General Wesley Clark, who prosecuted the first Gulf War, told Wolf Blitzer on CNN’s Night Edition programme that at one stage during the First Gulf War “all bets were off and even the nuclear option was considered”.

One of the great casualties of the Iraq war has been the credibility of the western media. We lived with the myth that the British media — from which we learnt so much — was generally fair. But clearly that is not the case in moments of jingoism.

After the 1857 uprising, when news reached Britain that the “Hindoos” had “boiled alive an English girl in pure ghee”, retaliation was savage: 47 Indian soldiers in Peshawar were strapped to cannons and blown to smithereens. In Cawnpore, British officers made the “mutineers” lick the blood of their English victims, then shot them one by one. The great Times of London proclaimed: “every tree and gable-end in place should have its burden in the shape of the mutineers’ carcass.” Lt Kendal Coghill records: “We burnt every village and hanged all the villagers who had treated our fugitives badly until every tree was covered with scoundrels hanging from every branch.” One huge banyan tree was “decorated with 150 corpses”.

Such macabre exhibitionism has not been on show in Iraq’s streetsides. The American preference appears to be to exceed the British behind closed doors at Guantanomo Bay or at Abu Ghraib. What ghastly ammunition was used to take Baghdad airport, Fallujah, Samaarra and a host of other places will come to light in gradual stages as the awakened US public seeks explanations.

Heaven knows how many of the 60 journalists killed in Iraq have been targeted by US soldiers. Targeting of journalists is unique. I have not located such incidents at least in British imperial history.

Eason Jordon, chief news executive of CNN, told a group at a discussion in DAVOS that of the 60, “12 had been targeted and killed by coalition forces”. He narrated the story of an unnamed Al Jazeera journalist who was “tortured for weeks” at Abu Ghraib, made to eat his shoes, and was called “al-Jazeera boy” by his American captors.

There has been an effort to cover up Easongate. Let me add what I saw in Iraq. It all happened on a day when Colin Powell was on one of his secret missions to the high security Green Zone. A press conference was scheduled in the evening. During the day, Cameraman Ali Aziz and Correspondent Ali Al Khateeb, while taking pictures outside a hotel popular with Kurds, were shot dead by a US solders, irritated by their coming in the way. There was commotion at the Al Arabia office in the Mansour district — not far from the residence of the Indian ambassador. Arab journalists came to the office in droves (no western journalist, please note) to commiserate with the manager, Wahad Jacoub. He was incoherent with grief.

At Powell’s press conference when Arab journalists raised a protest, troops not only pushed them out of the hall but also out of the Green Zone with rifle butts. Next day a note reached the US authorities: “Iraqi journalists and all Arab media working in Iraq, condemn the atrocious crime at killing two of our journalists.We demand immediate investigation. Killing journalists is considered a very serious act denounced by all international accords.” The note ends: “Glory be to all martyrs of Iraq. Shame be to all killers”.

This is just a tiny strand in the macabre tapestry being knitted by troops in their bloody occupation. And since only 2,500 Iraqi troops are now ready for combat, desperation might cause them to drop a bomb that will silence everything. This is the fear Iraqis are talking about. Heaven knows what desperate plots are being outlined in that Green Zone which, in my perverse historical echo, sometimes resembles the Residency in Lucknow after India’s first uprising against the colonists.

Ghurab al-Bain

The information in the story and above commentary on Jawad Kazem is still inaccurate and I think I know a lot more than Noor al-Cubicle (and Abu Aardvark) about it since I was on the phone with Nabil al-Khatib of Al-Arabiyya in Dubai during the whole event, and with Jawad's colleagues at the hospital in Baghdad (even while the station indeed did say - once - what the wires initially reported). For me this underscores the gap between reality and what is reported in the news -something that should come to no one's surprise on this website. For instance, no one reported how the Americans opened the airport checkpoints and tarmac access to Jawad's ambulance - even though the exact same entry point had been hit by an IED half an hour before. There is plenty to criticize the US on in Iraq - but Jawad Kazem's case is definitely not one of them.



Like I said in my update above, if new information appears about the case I'm happy to hear it - I have nothing at stake in the story being right or wrong. But the information you present here hasn't been published anywhere that I've seen - nor, to my knowledge, has al-Arabiya retracted or corrected its original faxed complaints. The original stories were well-sourced, directly to al-Arabiya's own faxes and not to hearsay or rumour. I hope your version is right, and if it is you should get it written up somewhere.

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