2 Reasons to Watch Aljazeera

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1. "Maged," their rooftop guy in Baghdad, is in the middle—and I mean right in the fucking center—of whatever area we're trying to pulverize. For a good twenty minutes tonight his camera picked up blinding flashes from explosions no more than a few blocks away, on at least two sides. One particularly close hit sent the camara reeling, and after it settled down, there was a long, stationary, eerily silent shot of a rising mushroom cloud of smoke, while the anchorman kept asking, "Maged?…Maged?" It looked like Maged hadn't made it, or that maybe the whole crew had been neutron-bombed, leaving only the buildings and the camera standing, but eventually he came back on the line.

2. There's been plenty of footage of crazy riots in Yemen, Cairo, Bahrain and other places I didn't know, all of them being terminated with extreme prejudice by the local cops. The riot in Cairo looked pretty touch and go. Maybe I'm not tuning in at the right times, but I haven't seen any of this stuff on EuroNews, BBC or CNN (where pathetic New Murrow Walter Rodgers is still riding around like Custer with the 7th Cavalry).

NEXT: Jack B. Trick

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  1. Is that guy’s name really William Rogers? I hadn’t caught that. “I never met a panicky dude yammering into a videophone I didn’t like.”

  2. Do I have to have a dish to get Al Jazeera? My digital calbe yields bupkis on the pan-Arab cable tv front.

  3. I prefer the Spice Network myself.

  4. Al Jazeera, EuroNews, the Beeb? Geez, if CNN is the most pro-American outlet you’ll even sully your eyes with, then you better not tune to Fox News; your head might explode.

  5. Billy Beck: “Completely unprecedented”? Look up the name “Ernie Pyle”.

  6. (ahem)

    The man’s name is Walt Rodgers, and he’s been doing something completely unprecedented in world history.

    I’d like to see any of you roll out for sixty hours or so across that desert with a bunch of hard-ass young men who’ve been training for it professionally. And he’s not the only one. Ollie North was in the same flight with the helo that went down the other night. Martin Savidge was with the 7th Marines last night when an RPG sniper started taking his shots at ’em and all you people were safe in your beds.

    I say they’re doing a pretty good job.

  7. Billy Beck:

    Read up on Robert Capa. He photographed combat in the Spanish Civil War, WW II (Normandy Invasion, Africa, Sicily, Italy), Palestine in 1948, and French Indochina (where he was killed by a land mine).

  8. Billy Beck:

    Another person to look into is Margaret Bourke-White. During WWII, she was on a transport ship crossing the Atlantic to North Africa when the ship was sunk; she survived. Later, she covered the infantry in Italy, the siege of Moscow, and crossed the Rhine into Germany with Patton’s Third Army.

    She also was a war correspondent during the Korean war, traveling with South Korean troops. One of her photos is of two South Korean soldiers triumphantly presenting the just-severed head of a North Korean.

    What’s new about ’embedding’ is mostly that we get to *watch* the really boring part of war, for example the endless driving through the featureless desert night.

  9. >>when an RPG sniper started taking his shots at ’em and all you people were safe in your beds

  10. “The man’s name is Walt Rodgers, and he’s been doing something completely unprecedented in world history.

    I’d like to see any of you roll out for sixty hours or so across that desert with a bunch of hard-ass young men…”

    Thanks for the correction on Rodgers’ name, which is now reflected on the site. The idea that the rest of us should be feeling like pussies because some reporter/fanboy gets to ride around on a tank is even more pathetic than Rodgers himself.

  11. Unfortunately, I have been unable to watch any type of unbiased news here in the states. I have been flipping between CNN and MSNBC…same channel as far as I am concerned. The only person that I believe was even worth listening to was the Iraqi Ambassador to the UN. I believe he said something to the effect of “why are americans invading our country if not to colonize it”. As an recently naturalized American citizen I am also questioning the same thing.
    Also, I’ve been looking through the internet for any better news. I looked at one Al Jazeera website and it looks pretty outdated…any advice?

    Peace

  12. Re the American prisoners who appeared on Iraqi television – the American parading of blindfolded and bound prisoners at Guantanamo Bay also struck the world as ugly and propagandistic – in the war of words that accompanies conflict images can be used and twisted for all manner of reasons. Obviously the American people are going to cry foul on images of their sons and daughters in captivity far away but the images from Guantanamo Bay and the pictures of surrendered and surrendering Iraqis flashed around the world by US media agencies in recent days were just as much disgusting propaganda as that which is being objected to today. Get real – there’s a conflict on and people want to push your emotional buttons. Whether it’s ‘your side’ or the ‘other side’ that makes use of prisoner pictures, and whether those images convey / arouse a sense of anger, revenge, pity, humiliation, shock, fear, demoralisation or defeat will depend very much on where you’re coming from. And don’t forget there’s always two audiences the image makers want to reach – the ‘home’ audience they hope to make feel positive and avenged and the ‘enemy’ audience they hope to anger and demoralise. We can’t complain about things we’ve done before the world ourselves – and maybe now, through our anger, we can begin to understand the anger of other people at our broadcasts. Let’s not lose sight of the nature of propaganda – if we swallow all of our own uncritically we may as well be locked in a darkened room.

  13. “Parading?” I thought the knock was that we were being too secretive about the Guantanamo Bay prisoners. “What’s REALLY going on at Camp X-Ray?”, etc. Now we’re “parading” them?

  14. and another reason to watch al j. tv:
    the parade of POWs.

    condolences to the families of those soldiers lost or captured. it’s sad to see that there are deaths, whether US, Iraqi, British, Polish, Kurd, or anybody else who’s down there. war is an awful business. it’s not the soldiers who make the policy. remember: for those who even are against this war, you can still support the soldiers and be proud of their bravery. MUCH RESPECT TO THE SOLDIERS.

    i’ve just been reading some of the european papers (der Standard, Berlingske, Aftonbladet, Sueddeutsche Zeitung), and there’s some incredible comments, either in the articles or in the postings. the austrian paper’s spin is that the US isn’t as strong as the world thinks; there was panic among ths US troops the first night…

    and the postings are incredible — pro iraq, pro sadaam, cheering that POWs were taken. cheering on iraqi resistance, cheering (a la football match) US setbacks.

    fortunately, the other left-wing papers (Politikken (denmark)) i’ve seen are much more to reporting than cheering- -phew.

    has anybody seen similar stuff from french, spanish, italian, etc. papers or sites?

    cheers,
    drf

  15. Balance, you’re saying that we’re just as bad as the Iraqi government? If this is so, where are the pictures of the bodies iraqi soldiers murdered in captivity? Where are the flagrant, laughable lies such as the ones from the so-called Iraqi Minister of Information? Where are the pictures of Americans shooting blindly into bodies of water at supposedly downed iraqi pilots?

    Any suggestion of equivalency between American public relations and Husseinian propaganda are wholly ridiculous, not least because of our institution of a free and vigilant press.

  16. 100 millions soldiers lost their lives in the last century. 170 million non-combatants lost their lives in the last century as well. It is therefore poignant that the last century was known as the ‘Century of Blood’.

    Whether the war is illegal, immoral, misguided and wrong is a moot point at this time.

    War is obscene. Lives are lost on both sides.
    Innocent civilians are victims too.

    Has the world not experienced enough pain and misery????

    Spending $50 billion would go a long way towards eliminating disease, famine, hunger, homelessness among every needy man, woman and child on this planet. Think about it.

    It is blasphemy against the very one who created us all.

  17. To: David F/drf
    Where did you see the German news articles? (URLs?) Isn’t it ironic? Daimler-Chrysler keeps repatriating profits from the US — the only place it makes money. And Germany, as a country, is wallowing in a surreal revisionist history self-pity party about their “suffering” during WW2. (See Gunter Gras, “Crabwalk”; Joerg Friedrich, “The Fire”. Why do Americans buy BMWs, Mercedes…?

  18. Guys..We all like to believe that Western media is free and is all about telling the story but I am afraid its not as simple as that. The war in Iraq has dispelled the myth that there is such a thing as freedom of speech. By ‘imbedding’ journalists with the advancing troops, there is a marriage of convenience taking place between the media and the US/UK governments. Most reports start with the usual mantra of ‘we can’t specify where we are for obvious reason!’ . Now if these journalists are allowed to travel in convoys with the army then surely they are not going to say anything that might be interpreted as detrimental to the war effort. Wars are ugly and those of us who had the misfortune of being in a war zone know full well that wars are about killing and dying. Perhaps people in the West sometimes like to delude themselves by believing that they are the goodies fighting the baddies but sadly this is a naive view. Any student of history will testify that many horrific crimes were committed by Westerners against poor people in third world countries since the Portugese reached the Indian subcontinent in the 15th century. Although I don’t subscribe to his theory of the Clash of Civilisation neverthelss, Samuel P. Huntington hit it on the head when he said “the West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence. Westerners often forget this fact, non-Westerners never do.”
    ———-

    Samuel P. Huntington

  19. Colton, show me the link to information on these two deaths, since I don’t have any knowledge of this. still, it hardly goes toward your argument to cite these deaths. two deaths, the causes of which are still sketchy (as far as i am aware), is a bit different from the summary execution by the iraqi equivalent of the german SS, and the subsequent displaying of their corpses on state television. your comparison is bullshit, and i think you know it. react to my whole post, rather than singling out one piece of it to be labelled “self-righteous”. a label that you should clearly be wary of using lest you be accused of it yourself.

  20. Geophile:

    Re: info about the Afghan POW homicides:
    http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/ISL243253.htm

    Re: comparison is bullshit
    I think with the facts at hand the likelihood that the two prisoners were tortured to death is just as probable that the Americans were summarily executed. The comparison is valid.

    As far as the other claims in your original post …

    Re: pictures of dead soldiers
    There were many pictures of dead Iraqis during the first Gulf War. The ones from the highway of death were very disturbing. But I agree that showing the dead GIs was inexcusable.

    Re: flagrant, laughable lies on the part of the US:
    http://media.guardian.co.uk/iraqandthemedia/story/0,12823,921649,00.html
    http://www.dailykos.com/archives/002126.html#002126

    Re: random shooting into the reeds
    From what I saw this was for show and I’m not sure why you think it is a war crime – weren’t they searching for armed US soldiers who had yet to surrender?

    Re: a free and vigilant proress
    Embedding soldiers is a sign of a free and vigilant press? CNN is running all war coverage through censors, is that the sign of a free and vigilant press? Here are some other articles that give a different perspective on who is providing better war coverage:
    http://www.csmonitor.com/2003/0325/p01s04-woiq.html
    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/pages/ShArt.jhtml?itemNo=276036&contrassID=2&subContrassID=5&sbSubContrassID=0&listSrc=Y&itemNo=276036

    Re: self-righteousness
    You are correct, such labels only serve to anger rather than lead to an understanding of alternative points of view. I’ll try to avoid doing that in the future.

    Again, war leads to atrocities on all sides. US citizens are no different than other humans. There are bad people in there along with the good – consider that the US has civilian and military prisons. You have to expect that some of the US troops will commit illegal actions or atrocities.

    I am sure that the vast majority of US soldiers are good, but if the US hadn’t have been so willing to get into this war then this wouldn’t even be an issue.

    Kevin Colton

  21. Brian:

    > If we autrocities during peace time and the percecutor does not respond to diplomacy, what do we do?

    If you are insinuating that Iraq had a hand in 9/11 then that is false. Although tragic, that atrocity does not justify illegal actions on the part of the US forevermore. There is (was) a well-defined multilateral process for determining how to respond to the thread from Iraq that the US chose not to follow. Diplomacy was working and the US is the aggressor in this war.

    Kevin Colton

  22. Geophile:

    There are two bodies in an American POW camp in Afghanistan that have the word “homicide” on their death certificate. You’re self-righteousness is a little much. History shows that all sides commit atrocities during wartime. That’s why we shouldn’t go to war in the first place.

    Kevin Colton

  23. Self-righteousness is self-righteousness does there Kevin. If we autrocities during peace time and the percecutor does not respond to diplomacy, what do we do?

  24. It fantastic to see such open and frank debate. I am personally and pro-peace. I believe that there is no excuse for war. I am an Australian and everyday, everywhere I go I have to listen to bloody CNN or boring, biased US BS, and I am sick to death of having to hear US propaganda and warmongering. What is even worse, is to know that many of my fellow Australian buy into the Bull Shit.

    The people have lost the power, Multinational oil, energy, weapons, media companies dictate policy.
    I believe that the US government has become a world tyrant, that threatens true democracy and freedom of the individual everywhere, of every faith, every nationality (including US citizens).
    I just want everyone to live in peace. Forget bull shit nationalism/patriotism, we all human!!
    So I urge each and everyone of you, please express your anger and outrage to the government in what ever country you live in, to the US/UK governments, to your friends, family ect. Make it peaceful, make it constructive, and refuse to live in ignorance!
    If the ideal of democracy is to work we all have to help bring the power back to the people.

  25. It fantastic to see such open and frank debate. I am personally pro-peace. I believe that there is no excuse for war. I am an Australian and everyday, everywhere I go I have to listen to bloody CNN or boring, biased US BS, and I am sick to death of having to hear US propaganda and warmongering. What is even worse, is to know that many of my fellow Australian buy into the Bull Shit.

    The people have lost the power, Multinational oil, energy, weapons, media companies dictate policy.
    I believe that the US government has become a world tyrant, that threatens true democracy and freedom of the individual everywhere, of every faith, every nationality (including US citizens).
    I just want everyone to live in peace. Forget bull shit nationalism/patriotism, we’re all human!!
    So I urge each and everyone of you, please express your anger and outrage to the government in what ever country you live in, to the US/UK governments, to your friends, family etc. Make it peaceful, make it constructive, and refuse to live in ignorance!
    If the ideal of democracy is to work we all have to help bring the power back to the people.

  26. Re: Aljazeera.net

    I was able to access it from London yesterday and I can’t get into it at all today.

  27. According an Arabic news article from http://www.aljazeera.net, dated Mar 25, 2003:
    (http://www.aljazeera.net/news/arabic/2003/3/3-25-27.htm)

    1. Aljazeera’s web site have been under heavy “organized” attack (probably DDOS) since early the morning of Sat, 03/23/03. It is possible that those attacks are under control now. It is stringly beleived that those attacks came from “major authorities”

    2. The site traffic increased by 100% within the last week only!

    a. The site rank in the global internet jumped up to from number 444 (on 03/21) to number 45 (on Saturday).

    b. The bandwidth increased from 35 Mbps to 185 Mbps!!

    b. The average number of pages viewed per visitor reached 4.4, while the same metric is only 3 pages/visitor on major news web sites such as CNN.

    3. Major web advertising companies and sites refused to run the ad for the launch of the English version of Aljazeera.Net, and the reason (according to those companies/sites) was that they couldn’t confront the “pressure” that was exercised on them by “some authorities”.

    4. The web hosting company that hosts aljazeera.net asked aljazeera to find another hosting company “preferably outside the entire US” within a few days. Same reason of “official pressure from authorities” was given. This is even with the fact that the hosting company will loose a lot of money from contracts that are already signed with aljazeera.

  28. Mao Tse Tung
    Quotations from Mao Tse Tung

    Every Communist must grasp the truth; “Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.”

    “Problems of War and Strategy” (November 6, 1938), Selected Works, Vol. II, p. 224.

    The enemy will not perish of himself. Neither will the Chinese reactionaries nor the aggressive forces of U.S. imperialism in China step down from the stage of history of their own accord.

    “Carry the Revolution Through to the End” (December 30, 1948), Selected Works, Vol. IV, p. 301

    Who are our enemies? Who are our friends? This is a question of the first importance..

    We should support whatever the enemy opposes and oppose whatever the enemy supports.

    After the enemies with guns have been wiped out, there will still be enemies without guns;

    WHERE WE ARE STANDING?

  29. Fourth, as President Ronald Reagan warned us: We have forgotten who we are and where we came from. To America?s cultural elite, the Crusaders are villains, the great explorers and conquerors of the New World were genocidal racists, our Founding Fathers were evil slaver-owners, the old cowboys and soldiers who won the West are accused of cultural genocide and atrocities against the Indians. The battle flags and the statues of Civil War heroes from the South are being torn down. America?s young learn no history at all. Many are ignorant of their past. Our civilization will not survive if we do not know who we are or where we came from, or if we hate those who went before us and gave us all that we have.

    ABOUT WHAT ALL THE FUSS?

  30. hi Ahmed:
    derstandard.at
    diepresse.at
    informationen.dk
    politikken.dk
    profil.at
    nrk.no
    aftonbladet.se

    cheers!
    drf

  31. I find it great that many can come together and discuss current issues without falling into swearing and childish acts.
    Every one agree that war is ugly and many would agree that the heros of the past were really nothing but ruthless tyranns and many of us regard the rengades and terrorists of the past as heros. Present events occur and the story will be written by the victoreous. Have we really become “civilized”? I think the rules that our ancestors lived by are virtually the same we apply. The major difference, we are far more brutul and advanced. We feed people while we kill them. We go to war in the name of peace and justice. We steal and bribe for the sake of humanity. We resort to secret activities such as fund “freedom fighter” to fight their “none-democratic” governements. We disturb the peace over seas in order to achieve new resources and keep our inflation low… I agree that the only way for us to survive is to re-evaluate ourslef. Be critical of our government.

  32. Can I just say that I LOVE that whenever I discover anything good on the web, like say this, I always find Jim Treacher’s found it before me.

    He may not blog as much as we’d like, but he’s Johnny on the Spot with the comments. And funny ones, too.

  33. I’m new here just want to give an update re: Al Jazeera site
    It has been taken down after the three days of dos attacks.source: RDI, out of Mtl

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