April 17, 2004

ITALY UNITED

Everybody worries about war uniting the Arab street in anti-Western anger. But now the Italian street has become united:

Politicians and citizens closed ranks Thursday behind Premier Silvio Berlusconi's vow to stay the course in Iraq after the slaying of an Italian hostage there, and the government worked frantically to save three other Italian captives.

The horrifying news seemed to unite a country that is traditionally bitterly divided in its politics and was largely opposed to war in Iraq. The reaction was somewhat similar to when 19 Italians were killed Nov. 12 in southern Iraq - Italy's worst single military loss since World War II.

"All of us must express a very firm condemnation and feel morally and civilly committed to do our part against terrorism," opposition leader Piero Fassino said Thursday, adding that withdrawing the troops would make Iraq "more out of control."

The New York Post editorialises on Fabrizio Quattrocchi and Al Jazeera:

The Al Jazeera network - owned by the Emir of Qatar, but allied to the thugs and terrorists working to prevent a democratic and stable Iraq - was given a video of Quattrocchi's murder but refused to broadcast it.

The network said the tape was too gruesome - which has never been a problem in the past. More likely, Al Jazeera felt that broadcasting it would have backfired as propaganda.

Agreed. Meanwhile Donald Rumsfeld slams Al Jazeera for vicious, inaccurate and inexcusable coverage:

Rumsfeld, speaking to reports at a Pentagon press conference Thursday, was reacting to a question posed as to the accuracy of Al-Jazeera reports saying hundreds of Iraqis have been killed in the fighting in Falluja.

"Its disgraceful what that station is doing," Rumsfeld said, adding, "They are simply lying."

Posted by Tim Blair at April 17, 2004 02:28 PM
Comments

Well, mamma mia! those Italians have balls. Honest to goodness balls! That means the Spaniards are all castrati, as are the Democrats. Just imagine, even the Opposition lined up behind Berlusconi! Viva Italia!!!

Posted by: Helen at April 17, 2004 at 04:35 PM

I agree Helen. I would even add that the recent election result in Spain is directly responsible for the sudden spate hostage taking, ie. putting pressure on individual countries to withdraw.

Posted by: Brian. at April 17, 2004 at 05:37 PM

That, and the general media hysteria.

Posted by: Sortelli at April 17, 2004 at 05:54 PM

As for Al Jazeera, its role in the rise and spread of Islamic fascism is beyond doubt. To think that those monkeys are utilising technology they played absolutely no part in creating to incite violence against the West, enrages me!
Shoot their bloody satellites down. Their only response would (or could be) the usual bedlam of jumping up and down yelling...Allahu Akhbar, Allahu Akhbar, Allahu Akhbar!

Posted by: Brian. at April 17, 2004 at 05:58 PM

Uh-oh. They got the people of Rome mad. Bad idea when your folks hail from North Africa and the Levant. Enjoy ploughing that salted earth, boys.

Posted by: Uncle Milk at April 17, 2004 at 07:40 PM

Apparently Fabrizio Quattrocchi's last words were "now I'm going to show you how an Italian dies!" If true, maybe that's why Al Jazeera didn't put it to air. It's not a good look for his cowardly murderers and their Al Jazeera backers.

Posted by: Brian. at April 17, 2004 at 10:33 PM

Apparently Fabrizio Quattrocchi's last words were "now I'm going to show you how an Italian dies!" If true, maybe that's why Al Jazeera didn't put it to air. It's not a good look for his cowardly murderers and their Al Jazeera cheer squad.

Posted by: Brian. at April 17, 2004 at 10:34 PM

You people obviously can't take the fact that Arabs would like to watch something other than CNN or Fox once in a while.

Head to head with the US backed stations; the Arabs prefer Al-Jazeera- that's free market economics guys- accept it.

Posted by: rhactive at April 17, 2004 at 10:35 PM


"now I'm going to show you how an Italian dies!"

I can see why this has united Italy. I am half Italian and it makes my blood boil every time I think of it. You can only push us wogs so far.

Posted by: Rob at April 17, 2004 at 10:39 PM

I accept that Arabs choose to watch Al Jazeera. What they watch is entirely up to them. Why wouldn't they watch it? It's driven by populism and being too gutless to take on anything but America, Al Jazeera provides the Arabs who revel in their perpetual victim status, with a convenient scapegoat.

Posted by: Brian. at April 17, 2004 at 10:45 PM

I accept that Arabs choose to watch Al Jazeera. What they watch is entirely up to them. Why wouldn't they watch it? It's driven by populism and being too gutless to take on anything but America, Al Jazeera provides the Arabs who revel in their perpetual victim status, with a convenient scapegoat.

Posted by: Brian. at April 17, 2004 at 10:46 PM

Indeed: no-one ever seem to mention the estimated 100 000 Palestinians who died during the Lebanese civil war - very little of them at the hands of the dreaded Joooooooz.....

Posted by: Joe at April 18, 2004 at 01:25 AM

"The Al Jazeera network - owned by the Emir of Qatar..."

I can understand that. What about BBC, ABC, CNN, the New york Times, the Sydney Morning Herald, The Guardian... I could go on, but you get the point. The Emir doesn't own them, does he?

Posted by: Ernie G at April 18, 2004 at 01:29 AM

Hey, didn't you guys know? All of the other TV Networks Are Controlled By the JOOOOOOOOOS! Only Al Jazeera is free of their taint, and thus suitable for viewing by the Arab world.

Posted by: JeffS at April 18, 2004 at 01:49 AM

Wow, you mean Arab nations have access to CNN and Fox? Well, who knew! Rhactive did! He also "knows" that they "choose" to watch Al-Jazeera instead. Rhactive, where would we be without your omniscience to guide us?

Posted by: Andrea Harris at April 18, 2004 at 03:46 AM

I wonder what rhactive thinks about that Spirit of America ad to the left of this thread. I'm sure an avowed free-marketeer like him has no problem with the marines asking for private donations to establish TV stations in competition to his (err, Arabs') beloved Al Jazeera. Right?

Posted by: PW at April 18, 2004 at 04:31 AM

Al Jazeera is not the problem, as Irish Times reporter Saddam's Trusted Lara Marlowe explains: those dumb Yanks are not correcting media mistakes.

Her April 13, 2004 report headlined "Coalition's media offensive was never really on target" gives a good example of this in paragraph fourteen:

"The US had nothing even approaching the professionalism of al-Jazeera, the Qatar-based Arabic channel. In Falluja, for example, AFP (Agence France Presse) quoted a US colonel as saying that he ordered an air strike which killed 40 people in a mosque. Yet Al-Jazeera's correspondent reported that there were few casualties, if any, and that the mosque was hardly damaged. It took US officials two days to correct the story."

It is indeed sad that it took US officials two days to "correct" the Agence France Presse story. Even if Agence France Presse is not smart enough to read between the lines like Mr O'Brien's readers, it should not have to rely on Al-Jazeera or Blog-Irish to learn that "there were few casualties, if any, and that the mosque was hardly damaged." They should be able to rely on US officials to tell them these things. Otherwise people might think that they are the people "who'll want to make hay from this" that Mr O'Brien was talking about.

Ms Marlowe didn't need to remind us that the US officials were too stupid to "correct" the Reuters report that the Irish Times headlined "US killed 25 in mosque attack, say witnesses". (April 08, 2004)

And the Irish Times knows that its readers are so smart that when it needs to correct a report like "US killed 25 in mosque attack, say witnesses", putting the correction in the third sentence of the fourteenth paragraph of an article about how stupid the Yanks are is good enough.

Read all about it at http://www.blog-irish.com/falluja.htm:

April 14, 2004, "Stupid People".

Posted by: Bran at April 18, 2004 at 06:50 AM

Michael Moore considers these murdering scumbags the same as the "Minutemen".

Fabrizio Quattrocchi died with honor. Michael Moore can't even live with honor.

=darwin

Posted by: Darwin at April 18, 2004 at 08:47 AM

"Its disgraceful what that station is doing," Rumsfeld said, adding, "They are simply lying."

Bugger--I thought he was talking about the BBC...

Posted by: Keith at April 18, 2004 at 09:25 AM

"Quattrocchi" = "Four Eyes"?!!

Posted by: Uncle Milk at April 18, 2004 at 04:20 PM

Andrea- "Wow, you mean Arab nations have access to CNN and Fox? Well, who knew! Rhactive did!"

Oh yes- they have satellite dishes, they even drive cars and live in buildings....

Does anyone know where Andrea is coming from-on her useless posts?

Andrea- "He also "knows" that they "choose" to watch Al-Jazeera instead. Rhactive, where would we be without your omniscience to guide us?""

For most people- it's common sense; for you Andrea it probably is 'omniscience'.

Posted by: rhactive at April 18, 2004 at 09:36 PM

Let's make a few things clear.

Al-Jazeera is an editorially independent provider in a region which used to be dominated by state-run broadasters. Yes, it has been criticised by Western and Arab governments alike- but they are not used to independent opinion in war-time in the Middle East --only the official opinion of state broadcasters.

In fact, it was Colin Powell who asked the Emir to 'rein in' Al Jazeera during the Afghan campaign. Therefore it is clear that any pressure to interfere in this media would be to appease the US rather than the opposite.

Let's also remember that the Emir of Qatar is so confident of his alliance with the US, that he has allowed the upgrading of his country into a Command and Control centre for the US Military in the Middle East theatre. Specifically, the day to day co-ordinating of Iraq operations is directed from Qatar, not the Pentagon.

Without this Qatar command post, the US strikes on Iraq would have been difficult since the
US-Saudi facility has been all but decommissioned.

Criticise Al- Jazeera on specific points - fine, but don't denounce the freedoms of Pan-Arab broadcasting which just happens to have an Arab ruler as a shareholder/founder.


Brian- "yelling...Allahu Akhbar".

Just in case you don't know- it means "God is Great"- which surely is more noble than "Down with USA" !

Posted by: rhactive at April 18, 2004 at 10:04 PM

rhactive:

I am amazed. You actually post something that is not invective or snide comments, and has a semblance of logic and facts. Congratulations on your improvement. Please keep it up.

The problem with Al-Jazeera is that they are clearly biased, but pretend to be objective. They pull stunts that would get people fired even at the New York Times. Passing wild rumors and unsubstaniated statements off as "news" just to improve their standing seems to be standard for them.

This pisses people off when it happens in the western press. It has happened before, and so many people don't trust western networks. I know I don't; that's why I have the web sites of several different news organizations bookmarked.

So when Al-Jazeera is openly supporting terrorists, you'll have to understand some people lose their confidence in that network. I'll agree that Al-Jazeera is not Hanoi Radio, but it awful close.

And it is true that CENTCOM has built a new command-and-control facility in Qatar, largely because we got out of Saudi Arabia. But the site selection was not solely because of the Emir's confidence in his alliance with the US. There were a number of factors in that decision, and I suspect that none of them were related to Al-Jazeera.

In other words, so what? If there was any relationship between Al-Jazeera and the Qatar C2 facility, Al-Jazeera would likely be singing a different tune. Since Al-Jazeera continues to spew out hate and propaganda, we'll just have to decide based on Al-Jazeera's actions.

And most people on this blog don't trust that network. It's a biased news source, open to ridicule.

Posted by: JeffS at April 19, 2004 at 01:02 AM

However, rhactive doesn't recognize sarcasm. This is too great a temptation to pass up:

Wow, you mean Arabs drive cars and live in buildings just like us Americans? I'll bet the next thing you're gonna try to convince me of is that they don't drink sand and eat live snakes! Well, this American isn't buying that! 8|

Posted by: Andrea Harris at April 19, 2004 at 04:43 AM

JeffS- "Congratulations on your improvement. Please keep it up."

Thank you. Good to see that when my opinion is in line with yours- you credit it.

JeffS- "If there was any relationship between Al-Jazeera and the Qatar C2 facility.."

The only reason I mentioned them both in the same post is that I was explaining that the Emir is not in the business of pissing off the US.

Posted by: rhactive at April 19, 2004 at 08:06 AM

Andrea- granted, you had me there.

By the way- your blog site? It's great.

Posted by: rhactive at April 19, 2004 at 08:08 AM

It will take more than compliments to get into my good graces, rhesus.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at April 19, 2004 at 02:03 PM

rhactive

Thanks for making it all clear for us.
Yes, I know what Allahu Akhbar means, and there is nothing noble about a mindless mantra, especially one utter in the context of carnage that one usually is!

Posted by: Brian at April 19, 2004 at 04:24 PM

Brian- It is the call of 1 in 5 of the world's people and is usually said in circurmstances of peace and prayer.

All you see on TV, Brian, is people shouting it when an American or Israeli bomb has inflicted carnage on them.

Posted by: rhactive at April 20, 2004 at 10:15 AM