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Request to NATO for clarification on Libya TV attack

Qaddafi on state TV in February. (AP)

On July 30, NATO warplanes attacked three transmission towers in Libya. The goal apparently was to knock Libyan state television off the air because, NATO alleged, "it was being used as an integral component of the regime apparatus designed to systematically oppress and threaten civilians and to incite attacks against them." 

Today, CPJ sent a letter to NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen requesting additional information about the strike. "As an organization of journalists dedicated the defense of press freedom around the world, we are concerned any time a media facility is the target of a military attack," we wrote. "Such attacks can only be justified under International Humanitarian Law if the media facility to being used for military purposed or to incite violence against the civilian population. For this reason, we believe it is essential for NATO to provide a more detailed explanation as to the basis for July 30 attack on Libyan broadcast facilities."

The full letter is here.

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The attack “was necessary,” said NATO spokesman Colonel Roland Lavoie ?!?
But NATO and the US have a ling history of attacking the press. On April 23, 1999, during the needless Kosovo War, a NATO missile blew up Serbian Radio and TV in Belgrade, killing 16 people and using the same excuse.
On November 13, 2001, a US missile hit Al-Jazeera’s office in Kabul. On April 8, 2003 a US missile hit an electric generator at Al-Jazeera’s offices in Baghdad leading to the death of one reporter and hurting a second.
In April 2003 they shelled the Basra hotel where Al-Jazeera reporters were the only guests. Al-Jazeera reporters have been arrested with at least one sent to Guantanamo.
On November 22, 2005, according to minutes received by The Daily Mirror , US President George W. Bush, in a White House meeting in April 2004, speculated with his good friend, then UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, about a US bombing raid on Al-Jazeera world headquarter is Doha, Qatar and other locations. The Mirror says Blair convinced Bush to take no action. The UK government run BBC came to the rescue saying that Bush’s comments could have been intended as “some kind of joke.” The Independent countered “official note takers don’t normally record jokes”. The Pentagon denied the story.
On July 12, 2007, a US helicopter killed a group of men in Baghdad including two Reuters staff. The US denied any knowledge of the incident until Wikileaks put the secret helicopter video online showing clearly the US soldiers not only shot unarmed civilians but also shot the wounded and those who came to help them.
Of the 189 journalists killed in Iraq since the invasion, at least 18 have been killed by the US. The Geneva Conventions stipulate that parties that have “no active part in the hostilities” shall “in all circumstances be treated humanely, without any adverse distinction founded on race, color, religion or faith, sex, birth or wealth, or any other similar criteria.” This includes journalists and media technicians.

[read article: NATO’s attack on Libyan TV an Outrage By kazodaily]

CPJ should change its byline from "defending journalists worldwide" to "defending journalists except from murder by the United States and its allies."

CPJ's chauvinist servility and its complaisance with NATO crimes are egregious. It is simply a propaganda servant of the US regime.

When NATO bombed Serbian radio and TV, CPJ managed to redefine the Serbian media not to be journalists so they wouldn't have to include NATO's murders in their accounts. That goes beyond hypocritical to downright disgusting.

CPJ also avoided denouncing the US attacks on al Jazeera during the criminal aggression in Iraq.

And now it has failed to denounce NATO's clear threat to kill Libyan journalists for doing their jobs, even after that threat was actually carried out and several media workers were murdered.

CPJ is a fraud and a travesty, but what can you expect: CPJ expresses the interests of the US media barons and their servants. Hypocrisy in the service of US imperialism is their bread and butter when at work, and only to expected when they put on a "defending journalists" NGO hat.

Richard Cheeseman August 12, 2011 2:01:53 AM ET