TO KILL INDEPENDENT
REPORTERS IN IRAQ
10th March, 2003
by Fintan Dunne, Editor
The Pentagon has threatened to fire on
the satellite uplink positions of independent journalists in Iraq, according
to veteran BBC war correspondent, Kate
Adie. In an interview with Irish radio, Ms. Adie said that questioned
about the consequences of such potentially fatal actions, a senior Pentagon
officer had said: "Who cares.. ..They've been warned."
According to Ms. Adie, who twelve years ago covered the last
Gulf War, the Pentagon attitude is: "entirely hostile to the the
free spread of information."
"I am enormously pessimistic of the chance of decent
on-the-spot reporting, as the war occurs," she told Irish national broadcaster,
Tom McGurk on the RTE1 Radio "Sunday Show."
Adie made the startling revelations during a discussion of media freedom
issues in the likely upcoming war in Iraq. She also warned that the Pentagon
is vetting journalists according to their stance on the war, and intends
to take control of US journalists' satellite equipment --in order to control
access to the airwaves.
Another guest on the show, war author Phillip Knightley, reported that
the Pentagon has also threatened they: "may find it necessary to
bomb areas in which war correspondents are attempting to report from the
Transcript follows below.
of this very frank discussion of the problems facing reporters in Iraq.
Guests: Kate Adie, BBC; Phillip Knightley, author of The
First Casualty, a history of war correspondents and propaganda; Chris
winning human rights journalist, and former Irish Times Editor Connor
Brady on the Sunday
Show, RTE Radio1
9th March, 2003.
Realplayer 3 mins
full Gulf media freedom segment
26 minutes[ Realplayer] Links valid until 16 March
DOWNLOAD ENTIRE SHOW HERE
Now, Kate Adie, you join us from the BBC in London. Thank you very
much for going to all this trouble on a Sunday morning to come and
join us. I suppose you are watching with a mixture of emotions this
war beginning to happen, because you are not going to be covering
Oh I will be. And what actually appalls me is the difference between
twelve years ago and now. I've seen a complete erosion of any kind
of acknowledgment that reporters should be able to report as they
" The Americans... and I've been talking to the Pentagon ...take the
attitude which is entirely hostile to the free spread of information."
" I was told by a senior officer in the Pentagon, that if uplinks
--that is the television signals out of... Bhagdad, for example--
were detected by any planes ...electronic media... mediums, of the
military above Bhagdad... they'd be fired down on. Even if they were
journalists ..' Who cares! ' said.. [inaudible] .."
...sorry Kate ..just to underline that. Sorry to interrupt you. Just
to explain for our listeners. Uplinks is where you have your own satellite
telephone method of distributing information."
The telephones and the television signals."
And they would be fired on? "
" Yes. They would be 'targeted down,'
said the officer."
Extraordinary ! "
Gulf Media Freedom segment
26 minutes[ Realplayer]
" Shameless! "
' Well... they know this ...
they've been warned.'
This is threatening freedom of information, before you even get to
The second thing is there was a massive news blackout imposed.
In the last Gulf war, where I was one of the pool correspondents with
the British Army. We effectively had very, very light touch when it
came to any kind of censorship.
We were told that anything which was going to endanger troops lives
which we understood we shouldn't broadcast. But other than that, we
were relatively free.
Unlike our American colleagues, who immediately left their pool, after
about 48 hours, having just had enough of it.
And this time the Americans are: a) Asking journalists who
go with them, whether they are... have feelings against the war. And
therefore if you have views that are skeptical, then you are not to
Secondly, they are intending to take control of the Americans technical
equipment ...those uplinks and satellite phones I was talking about.
And control access to the airwaves.
And then on top of everything else, there is now a blackout (which
was imposed, during the last war, at the beginning of the war), ...ordered
by one Mr. Dick Cheney, who is in charge of this.
I am enormously pessimistic of the chance of decent on-the-spot reporting,
as the war occurs. You will get it later.