Skip to comments.REPORTER FACES DEATH TOMORROW (in Iraq)
Posted on 08/19/2004 4:48:55 AM PDT by stockpirate
A New York journalist who was kidnapped in Iraq will be killed as soon as tomorrow unless U.S. forces leave the holy city of Najaf, according to a videotaped demand issued by his supposed captors. The Arabic news network al-Jazeera aired the video, in which a group calling itself the Martyrs Brigade claims that it is holding Micah Garen, a documentary filmmaker and journalist who was kidnapped last Friday with his translator, Amir Doushi.
In the video apparently made yesterday the kidnappers threatened to kill Garen within two days if U.S. forces do not pull out of Najaf, where they have been fighting Muqtada al-Sadr's rebels for two weeks.
On Friday, Garen and Doushi were walking through a market in Nasiriyah, south of Baghdad, when two men in civilian clothes and armed with assault rifles seized them, police said.
(Excerpt) Read more at nypost.com ...
Pray for this reporter and his family.
You think the terrorists will trade him for Michael Moore?
Kidding aside, prayers to the family.
I pray for his safe rescue.......
Why anyone would remain in this cesspool called a "holy" city is beyond me, risking capture and death for a "documentary".
If they carry out their evil plan, so be it. At least they have locked themselves inside of an area in which all they to do is wait long enough until we get to them - and send them on their way to "Paradise" and their 72 year-old virgin.
Muslims are earth's human equivalent of vermin. The religion of "peace" and "love" has very, sick and strange requirements. No other religion on earth honors oppression, slavery, murder, evil, viciousness and hatred the way that Islam does.
I pray that the murder threat is a bluff and the reporter is released unharmed. My prayers and thoughts are with him and his family.
Is this the same guy who appears to be staunchly anti-war? Nevertheless, I pray for his safe return.
What was he doing in the city after they were told to leave by the Iraqi in charge?
For the moment, he looks a little like George Michael.
The horror of this....
I have not heard much about this man before yesterday. Was this in the news before then?
I heard the MSM call him a "western" journalist. Didn't even claim him as an American.
While no one here supports socialism, don't confuse it with a religion.
I hope he's safely released and my thoughts go out to him and his family.....
...however, I'm pretty sure the terrorists should pick someone besides a reporter if they want to arouse any real concern for his well-being.
ENOUGH! ? ?
Prayers going out strong for this young man and his loved ones.
The terrorists are chipping away, one beheading at a time, at the hearts of the allies and their supporters. Though these actions strengthen most in their resolve, each time this happens a few more fall by the wayside.
The strongest weapon the terrorists have is their hateful patience and total lack of moral bearing. With or without WMD, they are by far the most dangerous enemy the world has ever faced. And STILL, there are those who question our actions in Iraq?!?
I hope that "amnesty" is permanently banned from any future cease fire negotiations, and a firm deadline given, at this point.
Plus a general statement: henceforth, any "holy place" that is used for military purposes will be instantly destroyed. Their war, our rules.
I want to share some very enlightening and thought-provoking comments that were made by an American journalist we met with the other day. A group of us had a round-table discussion with Micah Garen, a freelance journalist and documentary producer who has spent a good portion of the past year working in Iraq. (See some of his work at www.fourcornersmedia.net) The free flowing discussion took place here in New York at the Carnegie Council on Ethics and International Affairs. The topic of the discussion was Ethical Challenges Facing Journalists in Iraq".
I wont go into everything we discussed but I would like to highlight some of his views and his impressions of the situation in Iraq and in particular what the thoughts and feelings of the local Iraqi people are that he has met and worked with. Our discussion centered on the ethical dilemma facing journalists every day. In particular how they present news to the public and how difficult it is to keep personal opinions and bias out of their work.
One way he illustrated this dilemma was by showing us 2 short videos of the same subject matter and shot by the same film crew, but which different people edited. Micah Garen and his crew shot the video while they were embedded with a group of soldiers from the 2nd Brigade 1st Infrantry in Baghdad. Their mission was to take into custody Sahyeeb al-Duri who was wanted by Coalition Forces for his alleged role as a courier between Saddam Hussein and the number six man on the "black list", Izat Ibrahim al Duri, who is still at large. It showed the Marines as they prepared for their mission on Christmas Eve 2003 and then entering the home of al-Duri, questioning his family and finally capturing al-Duri. The video also showed interview clips with the soldiers and their reaction to what they were doing and their feelings about the mission.
What was illustrative about the 2 videos was the way they were edited and subsequently perceived by our group who just viewed both of them. The first video was shot and edited by the journalist Micah Garen. The second video used the same film footage that Micah shot but was edited by Michael Moore. This second version was to be used in Moores new film Fahrenheit 9/11. I felt the first video did a better job of portraying how the soldiers felt about their mission and their sympathetic feeling towards some of the Iraqis. The second (Moore) video seemed to be more jingoistic and had a much more US army recruitment poster feel to it and focused seemed to me to focus more on the anguish of the Iraqi family whose home was being entered.
It is hard to portray the difference between the two videos unless you actually view them both. But what was instructive was the fact that even among our group we could see that there was a clear difference in tone and presentation in the way the same exact film footage was edited. While some us had different views about how the material presented itself, the lesson about how easy it can be to change tone or bias of events through the actions of editors/writers/filmmakers was pretty clear.
What was most enlightening for me were Micahs impressions of what is currently taking place in the hearts and minds of local Iraqis and the situation on the ground. I am paraphrasing a lot of the important questions and responses below in no particular order.
· One of the predominant concerns among locals in Iraq currently is the breakdown in security. They feel that the American military has lost control of the situation and chaos is undermining any progress that has taken place. Insurgents, looters and the violence threaten all Iraqis, whether they support the occupation or not.
· Are the locals glad that Saddam is gone? His response is that the Iraqis think it is good he is gone but that it is no longer an issue for them. Their concern now is the current breakdown in security. That honeymoon period after Saddam fell lasted only a few months.
· Were the Iraqis glad that the Americans got rid of Saddam? The Iraqis were glad that Saddam was removed from power but they were not happy that the Americans did it for them. They would have preferred to do it themselves. The Iraqis are a very proud people and to have had the Americans do something that they think they should have done themselves is a blow to their ego and pride.
· News organizations. Al-Jazeera is the only news organization that a large number of Iraqis view with credibility. The US sponsored news organizations so far have a small audience and it remains to be seen whether they will ever have a sizeable audience.
Micah also said that most of the journalists and news crews working in Iraq seem to him to be more liberal in their views. He even mentioned that all the people he had met who worked for Fox News were fairly liberal, but it is the editors who are conservatives and therefore give Fox News its conservative slant.
· What effect did the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal have? The abuse scandal and photos had a disastrous effect in terms of the way Iraqis saw the American occupying force. Even those who may have been pro-American were genuinely disturbed by the abuse scandal. Micah brought up the example of his driver, a local Iraqi family man who was generally pro-American. When asked what he thought of the Abu Ghraib scandal he responded, only half-jokingly, that perhaps he too would now fight the Americans.
· What about the Nick Berg beheading video, what effect did it have? While most of the Iraqis Micah spoke to thought the beheading was a bad thing, given the violent situation in Iraq now they feel it is just another tragic event among many tragedies going on daily. As another example, he said he knew of a whole family that was shot and killed by bandits on the road who wanted to take their car. This sort of violence is rampant throughout Iraq due to the breakdown in security. So for the Iraqis who see this violence everyday, hearing about the Nick Berg beheading wasnt considered that big an issue. They are more concerned about their personal safety and their familys safety.
· What about the infrastructure in Iraq, is there positive news there? Micah agreed that the news coming out of Iraq had a tendency not to focus on any of the good news or work that had been taking place. He said that things like schools and water issues had seen a lot of improvement. There are a lot more Iraqis around with cellphones, satellite dishes, Internet access, etc. However, the electricity infrastructure was still fairly bad. Bechtel, one of American firms contracted to do the work, has had a lot of difficulty completing projects. The breakdown in security has contributed to this but also the way the contracts were awarded was also partly responsible. No local firms were involved in the bidding process, which could have served to make the work go smoother, and with more cooperation from the locals.
· Cultural/Antiquities destruction. Micah is currently working on a documentary on the wholesale destruction of Iraqi cultural sites. Due to the violence and lack of police or military presence in large parts of the country, looters are targeting all the excavation and cultural sites in order to sell the antiquities in foreign market. There are literally hundreds of sites that have been picked clean, vandalized or destroyed by looters. There are small contingents of customs police who try to protect some of the sites but most of the looters are heavily armed, even more so than the police. He said that the level of looting that has taken place over the past year has been equal to the looting that took place over the 10 years prior. Most of these sites are thousands of years old and include even sacred Muslim shrines.
· Do the Iraqis have hope that at least the situation will get better? Iraqis are hopeful that things will get better but they dont see this happening until the Americans pull out.
· What about the June 30 deadline? The locals feel that they will not have real sovereignty until all the American troops pull out.
· Micahs personal view was that the training of the Iraqi police and military force has been a disaster. The danger in his eyes is that as soon as the Americans leave, civil war will ensue and there will be no real stability. Although he did caution that it is very difficult to predict what will happen in Iraq since the situation is so fluid and volatile.
I really found Micah's comments from his dealings with the local Iraqis enlightening. I think a lot of us forget that this conflict in Iraq should primarily be about the Iraqi people and how it should affect them. While this war was supposedly started in Iraq on the premise that it is on the front-line of the war on terror, I think in order to ultimitely succeed there, the US (or the coalition) has to eventually win their hearts and minds. Especially if we want that country to eventually pro-Western or pro-democracy. There is certainly nothing now that indicates that they are leaning that way.