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Home > Media

They're only journalists: they won't tell...

17 January 2004

On Friday 2nd January, American soldiers arrested three Iraqi journalists who were covering the aftermath of a US helicopter crash for Reuters. The journalists were filming a checkpoint close to where the helicopter was shot down, near the town of Falluja, when US soldiers opened fire on them.

Then, when the journalists - all of whom had the word 'PRESS' screaming across their flak jackets - fled for their lives in their car, they were arrested. 72 hours later they were released.

This week, courtesy of a formal complaint made by Reuters against the US soldiers responsible, we have a much clearer idea of what exactly happened during the journalists' short detention. We know now that they were tortured. No-one seems to want to use the word 'torture', which is odd, as it really is the only word that accurately describes what happened. Particularly when used alongside the word 'gratuitous'.

The words used by Reuters include: 'brutalised', 'intimidated' and 'terrified'. Semantics. Here's what the US army did to three innocent people for no good reason:

- they arrested them

- they put bags over their heads

- they threatened them with Guantanamo Bay

- they threatened them sexually, whispering at one stage, 'let's have sex'; at another, 'If you don't shut up we'll fuck you'

- they made them stand for hours with their arms raised and palms pressed flat against the wall

Also, one of them was allegedly ordered to strip naked and then had a shoe shoved in his mouth. According to his nephew: 'He protested that he was a journalist but they stuck a shoe in his mouth anyway. They also hurt his leg.'

Two US soldiers have since sworn that they were initially reacting to being shot at by the journalists - who, naturally, were unarmed - and General Charles Swannack, commander of the 82nd Airborne Division, has officially stood by them. 'More often than not they are right,' he said.

Right. It's also worth remembering that, more often or not, Ian Huntley didn't murder two girls in his bathroom, burn their remains and bury them in a ditch.

Meanwhile, Simon Walker, a spokesman for Reuters, has expressed hope that the complaint 'will be dealt with expeditiously'. Well, he'll get nowhere with sophisticated language like that. He would do well to remember that he is dealing with professional thugs here. Extremely focused thugs who know where they want to go, but are not intelligent enough to get there. Idiots, in the end, who fail to see how hiring children and hillbillies to create legitimacy and harmony where there is decidedly none to be found, will inevitably result in situations such as these.

And repeatedly covering it all up is only making things worse. Incidentally, the only other response from the US military, at the time of writing, has been to tell Reuters, point-blank, to 'drop it'. Expeditious enough for ya, Reuters, ya faggots?

More Murder.


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