Dead Men Left

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Naomi Klein vs the US Embassy in London

Spoke too soon: there's an article by Naomi Klein, also in the Saturday Grauniad, printed as her response to threats from the US Embassy about a previous report of hers. Klein had claimed that

In Iraq, US forces and their Iraqi surrogates are no longer bothering to conceal attacks on civilian targets and are openly eliminating anyone - doctors, clerics, journalists - who dares to count the bodies.

The Embassy official had been particularly concerned about "eliminating". It is extremely unusual, as Klein says, for embassies to openly intervene in the press of the countries they reside in; it might, I suppose, be considered a little threatening. She produces the evidence to substantiate the charge, and concludes:

"We don't do body counts," said General Tommy Franks of US Central Command. The question is: what happens to the people who insist on counting the bodies - the doctors who must pronounce their patients dead, the journalists who document these losses, the clerics who denounce them? In Iraq, evidence is mounting that these voices are being systematically silenced through a variety of means, from mass arrests, to raids on hospitals, media bans, and overt and unexplained physical attacks.