February 10, 2005
Witnesses #8 and #9
Rodger Morrow, of the blog This isn™t writing, it™s typing sheds some light on Witness #8, Bernard Rappaz, a correspondent for Geneva-based TÚlÚvision Suisse Romande.
The surprise came from the chief of CNN, Eason Jordan, who recalled that out of the 45 journalists killed in Iraq since the beginning of bombat [sic], 12 were killed by American troops. He added: "No investigation has been opened by the Pentagon into these blunders. In Iraq, journalists are now targeted by insurgents and by occupation forces." Astonishing statement.
Rodger reports the following:
The fact that Rappaz' blog entry includes a direct quotation suggests that he was taking notes during the session. (He is in the business of journalism, after all.)
Did Mr. Rappaz take notes or record the event? Rodger is working to contact Mr. Rappaz. This is yet another unflattering eyewitness account of Mr. Jordan™s statements at Davos.
Rodger also asks if Eason Jordan pirated portions of his comments at Davos from the BBC™s Nik Gowing.
Good work, Rodger.
Bret Stephens was also in attendence and writes about it in the Wall Street Journal:
Mr. Jordan observed that of the 60-odd journalists killed in Iraq, 12 had been targeted and killed by coalition forces. He then offered a story of an unnamed Al-Jazeera journalist who had been "tortured for weeks" at Abu Ghraib, made to eat his shoes, and called "Al-Jazeera boy" by his American captors.
Here Rep. Barney Frank, also a member of the panel, interjected: Had American troops actually targeted journalists? And had CNN done a story about it? Well no, Mr. Jordan replied, CNN hadn't done a story on this, specifically. And no, he didn't believe the Bush administration had a policy of targeting journalists. Besides, he said, "the [American] generals and colonels have their heart in the right place."
By this point, one could almost see the wheels of Mr. Jordan's mind spinning, slowly: "How am I going to get out of this one?" But Mr. Frank and others kept demanding specifics. Mr. Jordan replied that "there are people who believe there are people in the military" who have it out for journalists. He also recounted a story of a reporter who'd been sent to the back of the line at a checkpoint outside of Baghdad's Green Zone, apparently because the soldier had been unhappy with the reporter's dispatches.
Draw your own conclusions. This account matches the others.
Relent and release the tape.
Bret Stephens' curious little account in the WSJ does not, contrary to the subtitle of the piece, settle the question of what exactly Eason Jordan said and how he said it. It's interesting, isn't it, that Stephens does not call for the videotape or a transcript of the panel to be released.
Run along, nothing more to see here, move on, huh?
Interestingly, Stephens ignores Rony Abovitz's role in directly challenging Eason Jordan during the event. In both his brief Jan. 28 Political Diary dispatch and his brief piece today, Stephens is silent on Abovitz's strong and immediate objection to Jordan's remarks at the forum.