Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Reuters cameraman Mazen Dana was murdered by American troops in Iraq:

  1. The Americans claimed he was killed because they mistook his camera for a rocket-powered grenade launcher. There are four huge problems with this pathetic excuse:

    • Mazen Dana was extremely close to the Americans when he was killed;

    • television cameras do not look like rocket-propelled grenade launchers, especially as close as the Americans were;

    • a group of journalists who witnessed the killing said they had all been there for at least half an hour, and the Americans were fully aware that they were journalists;

    • the Reuters team had identified themselves to American soldiers guarding the perimeter of the prison where Mr. Dana was murdered, and they had been given permission to film. Mr. Dana's soundman Nael Shyioukhi said:

      "After we filmed we went into the car and prepared to go when a convoy led by a tank arrived and Mazen stepped out of the car to film. I followed him, and Mazen walked three to four meters. We were noted and clearly seen."

    Note that he was standing there filming, in full view, and did not appear in a surprising manner. The convoy arrived as if the Americans were sent specifically to murder this particular person.

  2. This murder is part of an obvious pattern of Pentagon targeting of journalists which we have seen over and over again, and comes right on the heels of the official Pentagon cover-up of the shelling of the Palestine Hotel. Robert Menard, secretary general of Reporters sans frontières, said:

    "Not only have U. S. troops committed numerous blunders during the war but - at this point - these have not been the subject of an investigation worthy of the name. The so-called inquiry by the Pentagon into the shelling of the Palestine Hotel . . . exonerates the U. S. army in a shameful way."

  3. The Israelification of the United States continues, and it ain't pretty. Mr, Dana had previously worked in the Palestine, and had been shot at and beaten up so often by Israeli troops for covering the truth there that Reuters had decided he would be safer if they assigned him to Iraq. Eventually, the United States is going to be known as the 'Shitty Big Country'.

  4. The brother of Mazen Dana, Nazmi Dana said:

    "Mazen told me by phone few days before his death that he discovered a mass grave dug by U.S. troops to conceal the bodies of their fellow comrades killed in Iraqi resistance attacks. He also told me that he found U. S. troops covered in plastic bags in remote desert areas and he filmed them for a TV program. We are pretty sure that the American forces had killed Mazen knowingly to prevent him from airing his findings."

    You might scoff at this story, except for the fact that:

    • it is clear that the Americans both knew who he was and specifically targeted him;

    • the story is extremely specific, doesn't sound like something that has been made up, and the brother has no obvious gain from telling it; and

    • it is likely, given what we know about Pentagon fudging about casualty figures, that it is greatly understating American losses in order to forestall the domestic political fallout when Americans find out how many American troops have actually been killed in Iraq.

  5. The immorality of their mission; the heat; the justified hatred of the Iraqi people towards them; the improper support provided to them by privatized military contractors who only care about profits and who provide inadequate food, water, and housing; the insanity of Rumsfeld's idea that the occupation can be conducted with about a third of the troops that are actually needed; and the fact that many of them are doomed to die at the hands of the Iraqis, from mysterious 'diseases', or from the long term effects of the depleted uranium, has driven the American soldiers completely insane. Stephan Breitner, of France 2 television, said:

    "We were all there for at least half an hour. They knew we were journalists. After they shot Mazen, they aimed their guns at us. I don't think it was an accident. They are very tense. They are crazy."

This senseless murder only became publicized because the victim was a journalist. Just think of all the anonymous Iraqi victims of the same American madness.