Bush_junta & Rumsfeld Defense Department Authorize Murder of More Reporters in Iraq--Real Investigation Demanded
In a letter today to US defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Reporters Without Borders said it was "appalled and shocked" by the fatal shooting of Reuters cameraman Mazen Dana by a US soldier yesterday in Iraq. The press freedom organisation called for an immediate enquiry that would be "honest, rapid and designed to shed full light on this tragedy, not whitewash the US army."
Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Robert Ménard said that US troops had committed many blunders during the war in Iraq "but none has been the subject of an investigation worthy of the name." The Pentagon's so-called enquiry into the shelling of the Palestine Hotel on 8 April, of which only the unconvincing conclusions have been made public, "shamelessly exonerates the US army," he said.
"In isolated cases, we have seen soldiers being hostile to news media personnel," Ménard continued. "Such behaviour is unacceptable and must be punished. It is essential that clear instructions and calls for caution are given to soldiers in the field so that the freedom of movement and work of journalists is respected in Iraq."
A Palestinian aged 43, Dana was shot dead by a US soldier as he was filming for the British news agency Reuters the Abou Ghraib prison on the outskirts of Baghdad on the afternoon of 17 August. According to a statement the same day by US Capt. Frank Thorp in Washington, Dana's death was the result of an error of judgement. He said Dana was targeted because his camera was mistaken for a grenade-launcher.
However, Reuters soundman Nael Choukhi, who was with Dana when he was killed, said the US soldiers had seen them and knew they were journalists. He said he and Dana had previously asked the US soldiers guarding the prison for permission to film.