August 17, 2003This story is dedicated to Mazen Dana.
It is part truth and part fiction,
and I leave it as an exercise for the reader to determine,
where one ends,
and the other begins.
Killing the Truth in Iraq
Murder, Inc. Doing What It Does Best
hile covering the partisan attack on the US prison at Abu Ghraib on Sunday, August 17th, Mazen Dana, 41, was killed by point-blank gunfire from an American tank. Witnesses said Mazen, a Palestinian national with 14 years of experience as a journalist and an employee of Reuter's, was filming from outside the prison.
A Reuter's staffer with access to Dana's video camera said the footage showed two U.S. tanks coming toward him, two shots being fired, and Dana falling to the ground. Dana's body was taken away by a U.S. helicopter.
Stephen Jukes, Reuters' global head of news said, "Mazen was one of Reuters' finest cameramen and we are devastated by his loss. He was a brave and an award winning journalist who had worked in many of the world's hotspots. He was an inspiration to friends and colleagues at Reuters and throughout the industry."
In 2000, shortly after being wounded by Israeli Defense Forces gunfire in Hebron, Dana said, "The message that makes me be here, covering what's going on and going to work, especially because all journalists have a message, and they carrying the message. They are not part of the story of the conflict. They are filming what's going on. And journalists and especially the camera man showing the people the truth. My motive to be and to continue my work even if it is costed for me a lot of problems, and a lot of injury, my motive to continue my work, even if it cost me my life...
The voice component of the Killing Machine said, "There was a fatal accident involving a civilian at Abu Ghraib prison. There was a fatal accident involving. There was a fatal accident. There was. A coverup is underway. A coverup is. A coverup."
After a few hours the ready light came on and the KM said, "His camera looked like a grenade launcher. His camera looked like. His camera looked. While we did our job."
The ready light went off. The malfunction light came on.
And no one could say, "I didn't know."