INDEPENDENT NEWS

When the Coalition Kills and CNN Lies

Published: Thu 27 Mar 2003 10:24 AM
When the Coalition Kills and CNN Lies
By Firas Al-Atraqchi
The images of carnage and severed bodies are quite telling. On Wednesday, coalition fighter jets bombed what they claimed were missile launchers located 'near' civilian areas in Baghdad. Instead, they hit a bustling marketplace in the heart of Baghdad.
The BBC's Rageh Omar was one of the first western journalists to reach the area: "I saw human remains, bits of severed hands, bits of skull. Al-Shaab is a residential district. I saw people in apartment blocks throwing out their belongings attempting to leave. It was a scene of confusion as emergency services tried to rush to the scene.Our correspondents were unable to find an obvious military target in the area." ( http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/2888429.stm)
Al Jazeera also made it to the scene and was able to film dead bodies being removed from the rubble, some dismembered, others covered entirely in dust and blood.
Images that were broadcast into the homes of more than 50 million Arabs in the Middle East and around the world.
CNN would not budge. They refused to acknowledge that such civilian deaths had occurred. Instead, they persisted in one of their banner headlines that "Iraqi civilians are being killed by Iraqis, not coalition".
They didn't show footage.
Al Jazeera reports that some 40 civilians have been killed with 300 wounded.
No such report from CNN. Instead, we are privy to regurgitated reports from 'embedded' journalists.
Finally, by the afternoon CNN dedicated a whole four seconds of coverage to the marketplace massacre.
Nevertheless, Al Jazeera continues to bring the impact of coalition 'precision' bombing on Iraqi civilians. An Al Jazeera crew in Basra filmed women and children being brought into a Basra hospital for treatment. Most were covered in blood. One child had his shoulder severed. This is the uprising the coalition has been talking about.
(Someone is irked by Al Jazeera. The Al Jazeera website has come under heavy hacker and denial of service attacks and effectively shut down. There are unconfirmed reports at this time that certain agencies may have been involved in the Al Jazeera attacks)
These images are incensing Arab public opinion, turning Arab populations against their leaders, and directly threatening U.S. and U.K. interests in the region.
For their part, the Pentagon says: "Any casualty that occurs, any death that occurs, is a direct result of Saddam Hussein's policies".
The Iraqis who once opposed Saddam, but have now vowed to oppose the coalition forces might disagree.
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- Firas Al-Atraqchi can be contacted at: firas6544@rogers.com

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