U.S. Bombs Al-Jazeera and the BBC Off the Air

The Al-Jazeera office was obliterated by U.S.
bombing around 3 a.m., according to the network’s
managing director, Mohammed Jassim al-Ali.
Speaking to the Associated Press, he said
that…the strike could have been deliberate,
because the office sits in a residential area of
Kabul… "I can see no other reason why a
bomb would land in that section of Kabul,"
…As Northern Alliance forces entered Kabul,
Al-Jazeera was forced to broadcast CNN’s footage
of the events.

Here’s the text of an upbeat little segment on
Tuesday’s World News Tonight on ABC:


PETER JENNINGS: "Kabul’s been a very
unpredictable place for the last couple of days. A
colleague of John Simpson, William Reeve of the
BBC was broadcasting live from there today when
this happened."


(Video clip shows Reeve at his desk, followed by
an explosion.)


JENNINGS: "They don’t know if it was a missile or bomb, but they were all very fortunate and no one was hurt."


The quick shot of Reeve at his desk would have
been much more chilling for viewers if ABC had
told them the story behind the explosion they were
seeing.


For this information, we have to go to other sources.


What rattled Reeve at his desk were U.S. bombs
that hit two buildings that housed media. One hit
the Kabul office of Al-Jazeera, the Arab satellite
station. Another hit a house used by the BBC a
block away.


Al-Jazeera’s come under no end of metaphorical
fire since September 11. U.S. officials have
accused the network of being a vehicle for Al
Qaeda propaganda because it broadcasts interviews with Osama bin Laden. (It has also aired
interviews with Donald Rumsfeld and Condoleeza
Rice.) On Monday, the fire was live.


The Al-Jazeera office was obliterated by U.S.
bombing around 3 a.m., according to the network’s
managing director, Mohammed Jassim al-Ali.


Speaking to the Associated Press, he said that
none of the network’s ten staff members was
injured (the office was empty at the time.) But he
did suggest that they strike could have been
deliberate, because the office sits in a
residential area of Kabul.


"I can see no other reason why a bomb would
land in that section of Kabul," al-Ali told
AP. "They know where we are located and they know what we have in our office and we also did not get any warning."


As Northern Alliance forces entered Kabul,
Al-Jazeera was forced to broadcast CNN’s footage
of the events.


In the first three days of the attack on Kabul,
U.S. bombs knocked off the air and entirely
destroyed the office of Radio Kabul.


Appearing on Working Assets Radio last month,
Farhad Azad of
http://afghanmagazine.com/
, bemoaned the loss of the Radio Kabul archives, stored in the basement of the devastated building. The Taliban made music illegal, said Azad, but it was U.S. bombs that physically destroyed the hidden archive.


There can be no doubt that the offices of cable
network Al-Jazeera were a civilian target – as
was the house holding the BBC’s poor rattled Mr.
Reeve.


Bombing civilian targets is barred under
just about every international convention you care
to mention. And while Congress never ratified the
1977 Additional protocols appended to the Geneva Convention, they did sign on, and successive administrations have committed themselves to act in accordance with the law.


The Washington Post writes: "An attack on
al-Jazeera’s offices in Kabul could prove to be a
public relations fiasco for the U.S. government,
which has accused al-Jazeera of broadcasting
Taliban propaganda since the war in Afghanistan
began on Oct. 7."


Indeed. But only if the public find out.


[ also see related items:

Al-Jazeera
TV Leads the New Arab Free Press –
http://www.theexperiment.org/articles.php?news_id=1555

Civilian
Casualties We’re Not Hearing About in the U.S. –
http://www.theexperiment.org/articles.php?news_id=1554

Alarm
Grows Over Scale of Civilian Casualties in Afghanistan –
http://www.theexperiment.org/articles.php?news_id=1521

Coming
This Fall … More Media Deregulation –
http://www.theexperiment.org/articles.php?news_id=1546


ACTION ALERT: Op-Ed Echo Chamber: Little space for dissent to the military
line –
http://www.theexperiment.org/articles.php?news_id=1543


ACTION ALERT: CNN Says Focus on Civilian Casualties Would Be “Perverse” –
http://www.theexperiment.org/articles.php?news_id=1541


US Buys Up All Satellite War Images –
http://www.theexperiment.org/articles.php?news_id=1523


MEDIA ADVISORY: Networks Accept Government “Guidance” –
http://www.theexperiment.org/articles.php?news_id=1519


One Big Happy Channel: Media Consolidation and the Homogenization of the
Public Mindshare –
http://www.theexperiment.org/articles.php?news_id=1398


The War in Afghanistan 101: 47 Questions and Answers –
http://www.theexperiment.org/articles.php?news_id=1539
]

Author: Laura Flanders

News Service: WorkingForChange – 11.14.01

URL: http://www.workingforchange.com/article.cfm?ItemID=12332