The Null Device

Controlling the informational environment

Veteran BBC war correspondent Kate Adie (you know, as in "war, famine, pestilence, Kate Adie") claims that the US military has threatened to shoot to kill unlicensed journalists in the upcoming Iraq war. Satellite uplinks will be targeted under the policy, and anyone not under Pentagon control is fair game. Meanwhile, the Pentagon are vetting the political views of journalists it gives licenses to and plan to maintain control of their satellite uplinks. Which makes you wonder what they're trying to hide. (via FmH)

There are 9 comments on "Controlling the informational environment":

Posted by: Chris Adams http:// Fri Mar 14 08:41:57 2003

Another tempest in a teapot. It sounds an awful lot like Kate isn't aware that the world doesn't revolve around her. Every statement presented as a direct quote has could be taken in one of two ways:

The boring, sensible take is that the Pentagon, being a large bureaucratic institution full of people who follow the prime rule of the paper pusher ("Cover Thy Butt"), is providing a disclaimer reminding everyone that combat zones tend to feature weapons going off and that it's unhealthy to a) be near a target or b) operate an unknown radio transmitter which will be indistinguishable from an enemy communications link, which is why it'd be a really good idea to register with the guys who are deciding what to bomb and we don't promise that we'll figure it out in time if you don't.

The other possibility is that the US is actively planning to deliberately attack the highest profile targets in the area ("Gee, let's bomb a TV crew during a live broadcast. I bet nobody will ever notice that!") and instantly move

Posted by: Chris Adams http:// Fri Mar 14 08:43:10 2003

all of the fence-sitters and mild supporters into the opposition camp.

This is as bad as the right-wingers who were convinced that Bill Clinton was personally executing People Who Knew Too Much during the time he could spare from his busy schedule receiving CIA drug shipments at abandoned airfields and plotting the UN subjugation of the few remaining free people in the US.

Posted by: mark Fri Mar 14 09:04:56 2003

<q>(you know, as in "war, famine, pestilence, Kate Adie")</q> -- actually, I don't. I've never heard of Kate Adie :-)

Wherefore the comparison to Death?

Posted by: acb Fri Mar 14 12:39:34 2003

Well, for several decades, she has been reporting from the world's killing fields.

Posted by: Graham Fri Mar 14 14:32:49 2003

Hmm. Who here's read Good Omens?

Posted by: mark Fri Mar 14 14:44:12 2003

Yes, of course. Pestilence left them sometime around the '30s, muttering something about 'damn penicillin', to be replaced by Pollution.

How's the ol' memory doing?

Posted by: Hobbes http:// Fri Mar 14 21:34:23 2003

Well, I am mostly skeptical of this (as you said, the idea that the military is going to deliberatly target American or British reporters with anti-war stances to silence them is unlikely at best, I am concerned by two things:

1) She covered last gulf war and is in a position to know if they are being a lot less accomodating to journalism, and 2) If they really are vetting reporters based on their opinion of the war, that is bad.

The latter could easily be misrepresenting the claims of the pentagon, and the former her imagination. However, it is enough to concern me, especially given a lot of other things that have gone on in the US recently.

Posted by: Chris Adams Tue Mar 18 07:45:19 2003

It looks like someone emailed her:

If true, this definitely seems less exciting than the story made it out to be - it's not a new problem and almost everyone's aware of it.

Posted by: Graham Tue Mar 18 13:46:15 2003

Of course, Pestilence might be making a comeback...

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