Did U. S. Troops Raid Iraqi Journalists?

There is a disturbing report from the International Federation of Journalists that alleges an assault by American soldiers against the Iraq Syndicate of Journalists. The IFJ’s account of these events says that…

“United States soldiers caused destruction and havoc last night when they broke into the offices of the Syndicate, which is a member of the IFJ’s global union network. They destroyed furniture, ransacked the offices, arrested state-employed security guards, and confiscated 10 computers and 15 small electricity generators destined for the families of killed journalists.”

This action, if true, constitutes a severe violation of the principles of democracy. Remember democracy? It is what we invaded Iraq to bring to them. It would not be the first time that Americans sought to suppress or distort the free expression of local media. A little over a year ago, the U.S. military was caught secretly paying Iraqi newspapers to publish stories intended to portray operations there in a positive light. As bad as that is, this new story has much more frightening implications. The IFJ also reports that…

“the confiscation of computers and records of membership also suggests that US forces could now target all members of the Syndicate. ‘Anyone working for media that does not endorse US policy and actions could now be at risk,’ said [IFJ General Secretary, Aidan] White.”

There is certainly cause for concern here. Which makes me wonder, where is that concern? I have been unable to find a single story from any conventional news outlet. Not from newspapers, nor television, nor wire services, not even the Internet arms of those organizations. If the IFJ were a shadowy, obscure association, this could be dismissed as unreliable. But they are a recognized international trade group representing half a million journalists in 100 countries. At the very least I would expect a CBS or a New York Times to be inquiring of the Pentagon as to the allegations in this report.

The job of reporters in Iraq is difficult and dangerous, but this story is too important to ignore. If the military is attempting to enforce a media blackout, we need to shine a light onto it. Censorship cannot be tolerated, particularly when it is imposed by American soldiers in the name of freedom.


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