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Collateral Murder – Video of US mistaken killing of Reuters journalists and civilians 5, April 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in American ME Relations.
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The following is a harrowing video showing the wrongful killing of civilians by US forces in Iraq. The video is taken from the gun camera of a US attack helicopter.

This incident shows the killing of two Reuters journalists and numerous civilians. Reuters have been demanding the release of this footage for sometime. Yet the US DOD have been obfuscating. Enter Wikileaks.

A few points to note:

  • This tragedy is essentially the story of a simple misidentification. The cameras of the Reuters reporters are taken for AK-47s and RPGs.
  • Whilst there are pertinent and important questions regarding the apparent ease with which this mistake was made and the resulting horrific consequences, I think that the video clearly shows that it was the result of a simple yet inordinately costly mistake.
  • The US DOD are embarrassed by this video. They obviously did not want it to be released. Yet, by now they ought to know that it is exceedingly difficult to keep such things under-wraps. Had they come out with it immediately with a full and frank mea culpa, they at least would have retained some notion of credibility and honesty.
  • This is a war. Mistakes happen. I would only say that there is a great rhetorical difference between one side that attempts to avoid the killing of innocent civilians versus another which willfully and openly targets anyone and everyone as a tactic. At the same time, however, a dead body is a dead body.
  • This video is called ‘Collateral Murder’. This is unfair. Murder is a premeditated act, willfully and knowingly carried out. Neither is the case here. Whilst the result is the same (see last point) this is a key difference.

Al Jazeera move into Balkans 5, April 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Al-Jazeera.
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The National reports that Al Jazeera news international are seeking to expand into the Balkans. They are in the process of buying Studio 99, a TV and radio station in financial difficulties based in Sarajevo. Reports suggest that Al Jazeera will pay roughly £150,000 for the station, which they are expected to use as a regional base.

This is, as The National point out, but a part of Al Jazeera’s recent expansion.

– July 2009 – Al Jazeera finally break into the US market

– November 2009 – Al Jazeera bought Arab Radio and Television, unequivocally making it the Middle East and North Africa’s biggest sports broadcaster.

This news will find a mixed reception in the West. Some view Al Jazeera as something of an insidious propaganda machine spreading extremism, whereas others take a more moderate view.

Hat Tip: ML