Pentagon threatens journalists

Pentagon threatens journalists

By Joe Baker, Senior Editor

If you are expecting accurate, objective reporting from the front in the war against Iraq, sorry, you’re in the wrong country.

The Pentagon has made it plain to journalists that any independent reporting on the war will be suppressed.

The Pentagon said this will be done by firing on satellite uplink positions used by these journalists. Further, according to author Phillip Knightley, the Pentagon has said they “may find it necessary to bomb areas in which war correspondents are attempting to report from the Iraqi side.”

BBC correspondent Kate Adie confirmed that the Pentagon is “entirely hostile to the free spread of information.” She said when a senior Pentagon officer was questioned about the policy, he said: “Who cares? They’ve been warned.”

Adie said she is very pessimistic about the prospect of objective reporting as the war progresses. “…What actually appalls me is the difference between 12 years ago and now. I’ve seen a complete erosion of any kind of acknowledgment that reporters should be able to report as they witness,” Adie said.

She went on to say: “In the last Gulf War, where I was one of the pool correspondents with the British Army, we effectively had very, very light touch when it came to any kind of censorship.

“We were told that anything which was going to endanger troops’ lives we shouldn’t broadcast. But other than that, we were relatively free,” Adie said.

“This time,” she said, “the Americans are asking journalists who go with them whether they are … have feelings against the war. And therefore, if you have views that are skeptical, then you are not to be acceptable.

“Secondly, they are intending to take control of the Americans’ technical equipment … those uplinks and satellite phones I was talking about, and control access to the airwaves.

“And then on top of everything else, there is a blackout (which was imposed during the last war, at the beginning of the war) ordered by one Mr. Dick Cheney, who is in charge of this,” Adie said.

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