[Marxism] Journalists walk out on Powell in Baghdad

Alain St-Amour alainstamour at mail.com
Fri Mar 19 07:44:49 MST 2004


Journalists walk out on Powell in Baghdad 
Protest alleged killing of Arab correspondents by U.S. troops
Friday, March 19, 2004
BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Several Iraqi and other international journalists walked out of a coalition news conference with U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell on Friday in Baghdad over the alleged killing of two Arabic-TV network journalists by U.S. soldiers. 

Powell, on a tour of Asian nations, arrived Friday in Iraq and met with L. Paul Bremer, the top U.S. civilian administrator in Iraq, and other diplomats. Bremer was also at the news conference.

One al Arabiya correspondent died Friday from injuries received in a shooting that killed his cameraman a day earlier, according to the Arabic-language network. 

An Iraqi journalist made a statement at the opening of Powell's news conference, condemning the deaths of his colleagues and declaring the boycott. 

The journalists who walked out of the news conference demanded a "full and open investigation into the murders of the journalists."

Powell appeared shaken by the walk-out and did not address the incident immediately. 

Later in the news conference he said that while he did not know the details, he was "confident it wasn't deliberate. ... At a scene where there's been a battle or explosion or something of that nature there tends to be confusion, very often it is dark, mistakes can occur," he said. 

Al Arabiya said the two journalists were shot Thursday night by U.S. troops after another vehicle, traveling alongside their car, ran a U.S. checkpoint. 

The network identified the two as cameraman Ali Abdel-Aziz and correspondent Ali al-Khattab. Abdul Wahab Abdullah, al Arabiya's general manager in Saudi Arabia, said the journalists were driving in central Baghdad when another car ran a U.S. checkpoint. 

He said U.S. troops opened fire on both cars and the journalists' car was struck. The journalists were headed to the Burj al-Hayat Hotel to cover the nighttime rocket attack there, according to the network's Amman bureau. 

The U.S. military had no information on the incident. 

Attacks mark one year anniversary
Powell's visit comes as violence marks the week of the one-year anniversary of the start of the war.

Two U.S. Marines from the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force were killed Wednesday in Iraq's al Anbar province, the Coalition Press Information Center said Friday.

The Marine force said only that the two were killed "while conducting security and stability operations."

The two deaths bring to 571 the number of U.S. troops killed in the war's first year, 389 of them from hostile fire. 

Since President Bush declared the end of major combat operations on May 1, 432 troops have been killed, 242 from hostile fire.

On Wednesday a car bomb killed seven Iraqi civilians and destroyed a hotel and surrounding buildings in Baghdad's Karrada district.

A bomb that went off Thursday in the southeast city of Basra killed at least three Iraqi civilians, the U.S.-led coalition said. 

That explosion, caused by what officials think was a car bomb or a roadside bomb, occurred as a British military convoy was passing. The convoy, however, was not affected. 

Afterward, about 2,000 people gathered at the scene and one person, who was suspected of being involved in the attack, was handed over to the British military, the spokesman said. 

Other developments

Former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein thinks he is smarter than his captors, Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage said Thursday. "He's turned out to be a pretty wily guy," Armitage said. "He sure thinks he's smarter than everyone else, that's for sure." (Full story)

Britain's top envoy in Iraq, former U.N. Ambassador Sir Jeremy Greenstock, said Iraqis will have "unbelievably bad days" as the violence continues in the months ahead. (Full story) 

South Korea has canceled plans to send troops to the northern Iraq city of Kirkuk, citing U.S. pressure to participate in "offensive operations" that are contrary to Seoul's mission of peaceful reconstruction, the Defense Ministry said Friday. (Full story)

President Bush will mark the one-year anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq with a high-profile speech on Friday touting the coalition's accomplishments there before broadening into a review of global progress in the war against terror, administration officials said. (Full story)

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