At long last, the culminating session of the World
Tribunal on Iraq is upon us. As a witness providing testimony, I'm being interviewed
by many outlets. Today, one of them was by reporters for one of the larger newspapers
in Turkey, Yeni Safak.
I'll leave the reporters nameless, for reasons you'll soon see.
The newspaper has been translating various articles of mine into Turkish and
running them, particularly those concerning the most recent Fallujah massacre.
The reporter who was interviewing me today told me that the former American
consulate here, Eric Edelman, asked the prime minister of Turkey to pressure
his paper to not run so many of my stories.
"Why did he do this?" I asked him.
"Edelman said it was the wrong news," he told me with a smile.
Turns out Edelman also asked that articles by Robert Fisk and Naomi Klein not
be run so often in Yeni Safak, either.
He smiled at me while he watched the wheels turning in my head before I smiled
back and said, "That makes me very happy; it means I'm doing my job as
We laughed heartily together at this, as did everyone else at the table.
Reminds me of the obtuse hate mails I sometimes receive confirmation
that I am doing my job. They always make me smile.
So the American government is pressuring foreign countries to censor their
news. Aside from the fact that this act is the height of arrogance by the United
States, it makes it exceedingly clear why so many Americans who rely on the
corporate media for their news continue to be so misinformed/uninformed about
the goings-on in Iraq. If the American government is attempting to censor the
news in foreign countries, you can imagine what they are doing at home.
Because people like Edelman don't want citizens of the United States to
know that events like the massacre of Fallujah or the atrocities in Abu Ghraib
are not isolated incidents.
People like Edelman don't want people to know what one of my sources in
Baquba just told me today.
His e-mail reads:
"Near the city of Buhrez, five kilometers south of Baquba, two Humvees
of American soldiers were destroyed recently. American and Iraqi soldiers came
to the city afterwards and cut all the phones, cut the water, cut medicine from
arriving in the city, and told them that until the people of the city bring
the 'terrorists' to them, the embargo will continue."
The embargo has been in place now for one week now. He continued:
"The Americans still won't [allow] anyone or any medicines and supplies
into Buhrez, nor will they allow any people in or out. Even the al-Sadr followers
who organized some help for the people in the city (water, food, medicine) are
not being allowed into the city. Even journalists cannot enter to publish the
news, and the situation there is so bad. The Americans keep asking for the people
in the city to bring them the persons who were in charge of destroying the two
Humvees on the other side of the city, but of course the people in the city
don't know who carried out the attack."
People like Edelman don't want people to know about the recent U.S. attacks
in al-Qa'im and Haditha, either. Attacks that Iraqis are describing as just
as bad as the massacre of Fallujah.
On Haditha and al-Qa'im, an Iraqi doctor sent me this e-mail yesterday:
we witnessed crimes in the west area of the country of
what the bastards did in Haditha and al-Qa'im. It was a crime, a really big
crime we have witnessed and filmed in those places and recently also in Fallujah.
We need big help in the western area of the country. Our doctors need urgent
help there. Please, this is an URGENT humanitarian request from the hospitals
in the west of the country. We have big proof on how the American troops destroyed
one of our hospitals, how they burned the whole store of medication of the west
area of Iraq and how they killed a patient in the ward
how they prevented
us from helping the people in al-Qa'im. This is an URGENT Humanitarian request.
The hospitals in the west of Iraq ask for urgent help
we are in a big
humanitarian medical disaster
People like Edelman don't want the public to know that the same tactics were
used in Fallujah by the U.S. military posting snipers around the city
to shoot anyone who moved, targeting ambulances, impeding medical care, and
detaining innocent civilians en masse.
After all, Fallujah is the model. Fallujah is our Guernica. And now, Haditha
and al-Qa'im can be added to the list, with Baquba and Buhrez under deconstruction.