Editor's note: This contribution by the late journalist I.F. Stone first appeared in our January 1975 magazine.
November 23, 2005
Remember Eason Jordan, the CNN news chief who was forced to resign back in February because he dared to say, at a private conference, that the United States had killed about a dozen journalists in Iraq?
Well, he’s looking a lot better today, one day after the Daily Mirror reported that George W. Bush wanted to bomb Al-Jazeera headquarters in Doha, the capital city of Qatar. “He was talked out of it at a White House summit by Tony Blair,” the Daily Mirror said.
The paper said it had a new “top secret” Downing Street Memo that contains a transcript of the Bush-Blair conversation of April 16, 2004.
It has the ring of truth to it.
After all, Donald Rumsfeld has harped on Al Jazeera in none too subtle ways. “We are dealing with people who are willing to lie to the world to make their case," Rumsfeld said. (He’s one to talk.) And he said Al Jazeera is “Johnny-on-the-spot a little too often for my taste.”
The Daily Mirror story also has the ring of truth to it because the United States bombarded Al Jazeera’s Baghdad office when the war started. Al Jazeera reporter Tareq Ayyoub died in that assault.
“Journalists with Al Jazeera have complained of harassment and detention since their first unembedded encounters with U.S. troops,” writes David Enders in the September issue of The Progressive. His article, “Reporters in the Cross Hairs,” notes that Al Jazeera reporters have been detained at Abu Ghraib and “subjected to hooding, forced to stand naked, and abused with water.”
That the U.S. has killed journalists in Iraq is undeniable. The Committee to Protect Journalists notes that 13 journalists have fallen under U.S. fire.
These facts don’t get Eason Jordan his job back.
And they don’t get us a President with any sort of moral compass.
That Bush would even contemplate bombing a news organization because he doesn’t like its coverage shows just how maniacal this man has become.
Who is going to stop him the next time he comes up with another harebrained idea like that?
Hold on to your cowboy hats.