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July 07, 2006



This is fascinating: could things possibly come to the point when US military might be wiling to let an al-Jazeera journalist "embed" with them (and I mean in the sense in which Colonel Baker uses the term, i.e. letting them stay with a unit for 2-3 months.)? If an Arab journalist is granted a near all-access look at the operations of a US military unit in Iraq, it could be an enormous coup, both for the image of the US in the region and for reforming the regimes in the region, if the US personnel can show themselves to be earnest, honorable, and respectful in their deeds. Of course, the question is, whether this is at all feasible--i.e. the laundry isn't already so soiled that nobody sane would dare show it off without tons of red tape.



It appears, I suppose, that the US military is learning.

Anthony Shadid, unembedded, wrote "Night Draws Near" while embedded George Packer wrote "Assassin's Gate" and both came out, well. Read them.

More to the point, given the current administration's hostility to Al-Gizerah. Though Al-Arabiyyah is viewed moderately more favorably, I can't imagine that it'd be such a coup to tag along in the form described by any of the Western journalists. Obviously, an Arab journalist would face even further reduced opportunity, if they were to embed.

I suppose that the Administration could hire out some of its favorite 'journalists' from the puppet papers of the Saudis, perhaps. Or maybe whomever survives the purges here in Egypt--I'm sure that there'd be a sufficiently docile 'journalist' to be sent with some unit, who could 'report' the news that Lara Ingraham thinks is missing so badly.

OTOH, it takes almost no imagination to guess what a complete and utter cluster-F**k that the country has become.

Personally, I'd love to see Rummy embed a half-dozen journalists from Fallujah, Ramadi, and Telafar, with a few sprinkled in from the various parties that aren't 'ruling' 'soveriegn' Iraq. Or al-Manar.

I suppose it's no surprise that this sort of thing is being done--the people running the show do recall the Tet Offensive. They're Nixonites, after all.

Nur al-Cubicle

The military intelligence domestic spying scandal breaking in Italy is marginally related.

The Italian Government has arrested a number if SISMI agents: Northern Italy chief of operations General Gustavo Pignero; former Trieste Station Chief Lorenzo Pillinini; Former Padua Station Chief Marco Iodice; Milan Station Chief Maurizio Regondi; Deputy Director Marco Mancini, Mancini's aide Giuseppe Ciorra, and Pio Pompa, aide to SISMI Director Niccolò Pollari relating mainly to an illegal joint SISMI-CIA extraordinary rendition of Abu Omar. But it' only the tip of the iceberg.

Mancini ran a domestic black ops operation (as well as surveillance of persons on his "Enemies List") targeting Premier Prodi. The newspaper Libero was paid by SISMI to print a story claiming Romano Prodi had authorized the CIA prison flights while serving as European Commissioner. He also have several investigating magistrates under surveillance as well as the pair of reporters who broke the Yellowcake forgeries story.

Putting 2 and 2 together, it is likely that the DoD runs a similar psy-ops operation in the United States.

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