US military censors own paper in Iraq

This video from the USA says about itself:

Embedded journalism’s one point of view.

How reporters lose perspective.

Sports commentary war. Entertainment replaces truth.

Ted Koppel admits he never saw any casualties whilst in Iraq as an embedded journalist.

Fox news and how Rupert Murdoch imposes his world view.

From CNN in the USA:

Stars and Stripes accuses U.S. military of censorship in Iraq

June 23, 2009

WASHINGTON (CNN) — Stars and Stripes, the newspaper that receives U.S. military funding to help it cover and get distributed free to American forces in war zones, complained Tuesday of censorship by military authorities in Iraq.

In a story on its Web site, the newspaper known as Stripes said the military violated a congressional mandate of editorial independence by rejecting a request to embed reporter Heath Druzin with the U.S. Army’s 1st Cavalry Division, which is attempting to secure the city of Mosul.

The military cited various problems in Druzin’s reporting on previous embed assignments with units of the division, according to the story.

One example noted by the military was a March 8 story that said many Mosul residents would like the American soldiers to leave and hand over security tasks to Iraqi forces, the Stripes Web site said. …

Terry Leonard, editorial director at Stars and Stripes, denied the Army’s allegations, calling Druzin’s previous reporting on the division accurate and fair.

“To simply say ‘you can’t send him because we didn’t like what he wrote’ is unacceptable,” Leonard said. He noted that Congress set up Stripes as an independent newspaper so that “no commander can decide what news troops in the field receive.” …

Stripes receives close to $10 million a year from the Department of Defense to help defray the costs of covering “contingency” operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, including the publishing and distribution of roughly 85,000 free newspapers a day, Leonard said.

The newspaper receives additional government subsidies, with the total amounting to less than half of its budget, he said. Other revenue comes from ad sales and circulation at permanent U.S. military bases and elsewhere, Leonard said.

CNN has been denied embed requests on occasion but never because of the past conduct of individual journalists.

As CNN in general has supported the Iraq war.

In itself, the embed system raises grave questions about journalistic independence, or lack of it, from armed forces. Now, apparently the big brass are trying to eliminate even the small margins for critical writing, for anything but Polyanna style Hip hip hoorah for the war-style journalism.

Big salaries are tempting civilians to become bodyguards in Iraq where two Britons doing a similar job were found dead, a security guard has revealed: here.

Britain: A civilian engineer who was seriously injured by a roadside bomb in Iraq has said that he plans to take court action against the Ministry of Defence: here.

Oil corporations which were booted out of Iraq over three decades ago are poised to begin bidding for the country’s vast crude reserves: here. And here.

It is fitting that today’s deadline for the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq’s cities coincides with a meeting in Baghdad to auction off some of the country’s largest oil fields to companies such as ExxonMobil, Chevron and British Petroleum: here. And here.

‘Çurveball’, Iraqi ‘WMD’ liar: here.

To Get Someone to Say US Must Stay in Iraq, CNN Has to Find a Drunk Guy: here.

Pentagon Keeps Wary Watch as Troops Blog: here.

7 thoughts on “US military censors own paper in Iraq

  1. Withdrawal leads to public holiday

    Iraq: The government has declared a public holiday to mark next week’s withdrawal of US combat troops from Baghdad and other cities.

    US occupation forces have already begun pulling back from outposts inside the cities ahead of a June 30 deadline, the first phase of a full withdrawal due to be completed by the end of 2011.

    Government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said ceremonies will be held on Monday.


  2. Jun 25, 1:49 PM EDT

    Bidding opens up in Baghdad; big oil eyes a bigger role in Iraqi fields

    Associated Press Writer

    List of companies and oil fields in Iraq’s first postwar bidding

    Bidding opens up in Baghdad; big oil eyes a bigger role in Iraqi fields

    Despite rise in insurgent bombings, Obama stays on course for pullback of US troops from Iraq

    US military deaths in Iraq war at 4,316 Wednesday, according to Associated Press count

    BAGHDAD (AP) — More than three decades after they were booted from the country by Saddam Hussein, international oil companies are poised for a return to Iraq where next week they will bid for a slice of the country’s vast crude reserves.

    Iraq needs the expertise of internationals that can develop its dilapidated oil and gas industry. The country lacks the oil revenues needed for reconstruction following a U.S.-led war that toppled Hussein and tipped the country into chaos.

    Yet a constitutional fight pitting Oil Minister Hussain al-Shahristani against the parliament and the semiautonomous Kurdish government threatens to undercut the bidding process and turn Iraq’s hopes for a new beginning into a story of missed opportunities and unrealized goals.

    “The upcoming bid round really does not have much political support within the country,” said Raja Kiwan, a Dubai-based oil analyst with consultancy PFC Energy.

    Only a small group of people surrounding al-Shahristani believes the auction will work as intended, Kiwan said.

    Discord over the two days of bidding scheduled to begin Monday lies in a struggle between Iraq’s various religious and ethnic factions over control of one of the world’s largest proven reserves of oil – an estimated 115 billion barrels. And the debate in Baghdad is tinged with a troubled past that includes some of same international companies now back at the table.

    Exxon Mobil, Royal Dutch Shell, Repsol, the China National Petroleum & Chemical Corp. and Russia’s Lukoil and other approved companies, have been asked to put up a total of $2.6 billion for what the ministry calls “soft loans.”

    In return, they will have the right to develop Iraq’s main oil fields, which could net the companies a total of $16 billion. There are none of the lucrative production sharing agreements that oil companies covet. The companies must also shoulder the costs of creating a national oil and gas joint-venture.

    In return, Iraq has offered limited access, through the service contracts, to its oil fields that hold 43 billion barrels of reserves. Those fields produce about 2 million of Iraq’s current 2.4 million barrels per day in output.

    The upfront cash is critical for Iraq. The country, which relies on crude for 90 percent of its budget, is reeling from the collapse of oil prices over the past year.

    But the contracts provide little in the way of security, physically or contractually, to big oil companies. Nothing in the contracts state explicitly that they cannot be undone by any new government.

    That scenario is not so far-fetched, given that there are members of the parliament and the oil ministry who believe Iraq is opening the door for a repeat of history – providing outsiders unbridled access to its most precious resource.

    Iraq offers one of the few remaining sources of cheap crude, which has tempted oil giants to look beyond the nation’s perennial security woes.

    It is a big gamble.

    Several of the companies say they will wait until contract terms become clearer before they commit fully.

    “We’ve signaled earlier that we’re very interested in participating in the development of Iraq’s oil industry, but the terms and conditions need to be right,” said Kurt Glaubitz, a spokesman for Chevron Corp.

    During an appearance last week in the Netherlands, Exxon Mobil Chairman and CEO Rex Tillerson said a decision has not been made on whether to bid at all.

    On Wednesday, the company would only say that “Exxon Mobil will pursue profitable business opportunities that meet our investment criteria.”

    But just days before the auction, it’s unclear of any of those standards have been met.

    Al-Shahristani’s troubles only add to the uncertainty.

    The oil minister, a nuclear scientist by training, went before parliament on Tuesday to present his case for international bidding. Opponents say al-Shahristani has largely failed in his post and that six years after Hussein’s ouster, Iraq is still producing less oil than before the U.S. invasion.

    Al-Shahristani told skeptical lawmakers that the accepted bids would have to “protect Iraq’s interests.”

    Based on an oil price of $50 a barrel, Iraq could rake in as much as $1.716 trillion if the six fields are fully developed over 20 years, he said.

    But, in a comment sure to rile opponents, al-Shahristani said the selected bids would be sent to the Cabinet – not the parliament – for approval.

    Jabir Khalifa Jabir, secretary of the influential oil and gas committee and one of the oil minister’s fiercest critics, said if the contracts are not discussed and approved by parliament, they will lack legitimacy and Iraqis can be assured that the country “will enter a new age of economic occupation.”

    Those comments are a reflection of widespread fears that the return of international oil companies may also herald the return to the monopolies of the 1920s, when Iraq’s huge reserves were first tapped.

    Shell, the company now known as BP, and Exxon’s forebearer, Standard Oil, were all operating in Iraq then.

    But it could just as easily be a reference to the widely held belief in Iraq that the U.S. was eying the nation’s crude when it invaded in 2003.

    Then there is the ongoing struggle between the central government in Baghdad and the semiautonomous Kurdistan regional government in the north.

    Iraqi officials say that roughly two dozen deals that the Kurds signed with international oil companies are illegal since they were not approved in Baghdad. The Kurds counter that the upcoming bids are unconstitutional, particularly when they involve two fields in the Kirkuk region.

    The Kurdish regional government issued a statement saying that international oil companies should think twice about signing contracts with the oil ministry without consulting with the Kurds.

    “Given that security in most of that area is handled by the Kurdish security forces …, the threat is bound to carry significant resonance,” said Samuel Ciszuk, Middle East energy analyst London-based consultancy IHS Global Insight.

    AP Energy Writer John Porretto in Houston contributed to this report.

    © 2009 The Associated Press.


  3. Oil bidding delay as airport shuts

    Iraq: Oil Ministry spokesman Assem Jihad has said that Iraq’s first oil bidding process in over 30 years will be delayed by one day after a sandstorm forced the Baghdad airport to close.

    Iraq had been planning to award eight oil and gas fields to international oil corporations for long-term development tomorrow and on Tuesday, but Mr Jihad said that the airport closure has prevented representatives of the oil giants from landing in Baghdad.


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