Wednesday, May 04, 2005

With us, or we terrorise ya!

Too busy being a diligent lil’worker bee at the moment, so I’ll pilfer from Crikey’s email;

Iraq hostages: journalists as second class citizens

Hugo Kelly writes:

Kim Beazley was asked by Radio National's Fran Kelly this morning for his reaction to the kidnapping in Iraq of Australian contractor Douglas Wood: "Is this what you feared might happen?" she asked. "Yes I have, and I'm surprised it hasn't happened till now," replied the opposition leader.

How quickly they forget. It's already slipped Beazley's mind that it has already happened. Just over six months ago, SBS TV journalist John Martinkus was kidnapped from outside the Australian embassy in Baghdad. His ordeal lasted less than 24 hours before he was released.

What's clear is that the government is taking a markedly different approach to this latest hostage taking than its approach to the Martinkus kidnapping. Back in October, Alexander Downer criticised Martinkus for putting himself at risk by being in Baghdad, thereby contributing to his own capture.

Yesterday, both Downer and the prime minister steered clear of criticising the latest Australian hostage. Both have expressed sympathy for his plight – a far cry from the attacks levelled at Martinkus. We'll do all we can to save hostages, says Howard.

Could it be that the government views the work of contractors for the US army as a legitimate reason for being in Iraq, while journalists are discouraged? With the arrival in Iraq of the latest Australian military contingent, it will be interesting to see to what lengths our government tries to control media coverage – and discourage journalists who seek to report from the war front.

It is a scary World we now live in: if you are likely to have knowledge, and have the ability and medium to convey that knowledge, of the Government’s modus operandi (and all that entails i.e. evil lies) then they will do nothing for you, if they don’t hurl a few shells at your hotel.

This is the war on terror. Terror I tells ya. I hates me some terror.

As usual, whatever they accuse others of doing, the Government is most likely to actually be doing it themselves, only in a much more systematic approach with greater efficacy and using taxpayer's money.