The Guardian
How smart was this bomb?
Matt Wells
November 19, 2001,1361,597067,00.html


Al-Jazeera, an Arab satellite news network based in Qatar, is a major
thorn in the side of the Empire, because it broadcasts the other side of
the story in Afghanistan -- the atrocities committed by the Empire and
its loathsome allies, the Northern Alliance. So, was it an accident that
a U.S. bomb wiped out its offices in Kabul?

> The US had scored a direct hit on the offices of the Qatar-based TV 
> station Al-Jazeera, leading to speculation that the channel had been 
> targeted deliberately because of its contacts with the Taliban and 
> Osama bin Laden. If true, it opens up a worrying development for news 
> organisations covering wars and conflicts: now they could be targeted 
> simply for reporting a side of the story that one party wants
> suppressed.

This is not the first time the U.S. has bombed civilian TV or radio
stations. During the war against the Serbs, U.S. bombs hit a Belgrade TV
station, without warning, killing a number of civilians. The U.S. reason
at the time was that the station was broadcasting "lies." So much for
free speech. Now the line seems to have been refined, at least in the
mealy mouth of a U.S. imperial spokesman:

> Speaking to the conference from the US military's central command centre 
> in Florida, spokesman Colonel Brian Hoey denied that Al-Jazeera was a 
> target. "The US military does not and will not target media. We would not, 
> as a policy, target news media organisations -- it would not even begin to 
> make sense." He said that the bombing of Serb television in Belgrade 
> during the Kosovo conflict was a different issue -- the targets in question 
> "appeared to have government facilities associated with them".

I guess "appearances" are enough of an excuse to kill people. Of course,
a lot of U.S. policies don't "begin to make sense," unless one
attributes some hidden motive to them. Take the "accidental" bombing of
the Chinese embassy in Belgrade. The Empire's rather lame excuse was
that their maps were out of date. The intended target was something
else, which, it later turned out, wasn't anywhere close to the embassy's
location, and never had been. What also turned out was that the Chinese
were suspected of sharing electronic intelligence on imperial war
communications with the Serbs.

We have heard so many lies about U.S. bomb targets, from the
pharmaceuticals factory in Sudan, which they "knew" was manufacturing
chemical warfare agents (a lie), to the bombing of a civilian passenger
train on a bridge in Serbia (the targeting-camera film was speeded up to
make it look as if the pilot didn't know the train was coming), to the
"precision bombing" in the Gulf War that wasn't so precise, that right
now the default setting on anyone's doubt meter should be set to "lie."
Does this make me a conspiracy theorist? Or just skeptical?

In either case, for any reporter out there who covers Imperial wars
without relying solely on U.S. press handouts, things just got a little
more complicated.

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