More on the Farrel SAS Rescue

#1
Note that Marvin Kalb, the self appointed dean of US journalism says there can be no rules on media activity in combat zones. If this is so, then there should be an express understanding that the privilege of doing that carries with it an express release for the sending nation to have to rescue the guy later. Of course even with that all the bleeding hearts would scream foul if the reporter gets his head lopped off later.

Bloody Afghan rescue puts journalism in the dock

By Andrew Beatty (AFP) – 2 hours ago

WASHINGTON — The bloody rescue of a New York Times reporter in Afghanistan has spurred accusations of media recklessness, a charge the paper's editor denies but one that has prompted some soul searching.

Early on September 9, the buzz of military aircraft over northern Afghanistan gave British-Irish journalist Stephen Farrell the first inclination he was about to be rescued.

Within moments, the veteran New York Times reporter was free -- wrenched by British special forces beyond the grasp of his Taliban captors, ending four terrifying days of detention.

But Farrell's liberation cost the lives of his Afghan colleague, Sultan Munadi -- a father of two, 29-year-old British paratrooper John Harrison, an Afghan woman and child, and scores of Taliban fighters.

As details of the rescue emerged they were quickly followed by recriminations.

Four days earlier Farrell and Munadi, both dressed in local clothes, had set off to investigate a NATO air strike near Kunduz, where there were reports of numerous civilian casualties.

It was just the latest in a series of deadly coalition air strikes that killed civilians, deepening Afghan opposition to NATO's eight-year-long mission and making a mockery of a US drive to limit civilian casualties.

Munadi's brother accused the British government of being too quick to launch the raid, claiming that negotiations to the free the pair may have worked. He also lashed out at the Afghan governments, the Taliban and the New York Times.

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband, under heavy criticism for ordering the raid, lambasted Farrell for ignoring what he said was "very strong" advice not to travel to the area.

Richard Kemp, a former member of COBRA, the British government's top-level crisis group often called on respond to kidnappings, acknowledged the story was an important one, but said Farrell had more than his own life to consider.

"He unnecessarily risked the lives of his Afghan fellow journalist Sultan Munadi -- and those who might have to rescue him," Kemp wrote in the Daily Mail.

Con Coughlin, executive foreign editor of London's Daily Telegraph was more scathing, writing that Farrell was "gung-ho" and "increasingly seen as a reckless idiot who deliberately placed himself and others in jeopardy in pursuit of journalist glory."

In an email to AFP, Times executive editor Bill Keller defended the paper's role in the "heartbreaking" episode and described the formidable calculus of deciding whether to embark on an important, but potentially dangerous assignment.

"It was an important story -- a report of scores of dead innocents at a very sensitive period in the politics of Afghanistan -- that could not be verified by phone calls or the Afghan rumor mill," Keller wrote.

"It called out for on-the-scene reporting if possible."

"I have seen no evidence that his reporting mission was reckless or irresponsible," he said.

On the Times website, Farrell said he was comfortable with his decision to go to the area, but admitted he and Munadi may have lingered there too long.

There seems little doubt that today's conflict zones, particularly in the Islamic world are dangerous places for the western media, or locals who are linked to it.

Reporters Without Borders, a group lobbying for press freedom around the world, said 60 journalists were murdered and 29 were kidnapped in 2008. The war in Iraq has killed over 200 members of the media.

As well as being viewed as partisan, "journalists become targets in war zones because they hold information," said Clothilde Le Coz, director of the organization's Washington office.

Against this backdrop western governments have steered the media toward "embeds" -- having journalists travel with coalition forces to the front lines.

Christopher Paul, a Rand Corporation expert on military-media relations, said this option offers the military an opportunity to show its side of the story and limit the risk of causalities that could bolster opposition to the military mission at home.

But according to Paul, the fact that many journalists working in Afghanistan and Iraq, like Farrell, are from countries prosecuting the war poses additional questions of control.

"There are government advisories not to travel to certain places so it is implicit you do so at your own risk," said Paul. "Does a journalist have any more claim to protection... than a civilian from the same country?"

The debate, he said, "is about who makes the call."

For Farrell's supporters journalists must always be able to make the call, because there are always places and events that governments would rather reporters don't cover, for reasons that are far from altruistic.

They also point to the role that independent journalism has played in exposing the realities of the Vietnam War, Cambodia's killing fields, or the Cold War conflicts in Central and South America.

Marvin Kalb, a doyen of American journalism and Harvard professor emeritus, said the basic dilemma is long-standing: "It comes down to a question of what a reporter is prepared to do to get a story.

"I don't know whether Farrell should have dug so deeply on that story," Kalb told AFP, "but how are you going to say that to a journalist.

"There can't be any rules.
"

http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5iRqzjkAf087gOHRQG2QHTD_jd_pw
 
#2
It is without a doubt that this idiot journalist put his own desire for fame ahead of the safety of the lives of his interpreter and those who would rescue him. His wrecklessness has cost the life of a British soldier as well as three other innocent parties. His foolish actions forced the hand of ISAf to rescue him as no doubt (as has been said) he would have appeared on TV in an orange boiler suit which would have been bad for him and the mission. Who the hell does he think is is to put others at risk and the mission in jepardy, thus possibly causing more loss of life? Personally I would have said leave him and let him lie in the bed he has made, but unfortunatly as mentioned earlier, that would not have been good for anyone. I hope that this case serves as a lesson to other such foolhardy idiot reporters, but sadly I doubt it will as most journalists are a bunch of self serving fools chasing after fame and fortune.
 
#3
If your rescue missions are going to keep on killing 50% of the hostages it's probably in everybody's interest that you go and play cowboys somewhere else.

As for the journalists going after a story, who else can we rely on for some honest attempt to tell the truth? The military or the politicians?
 
#4
littlejim said:
If your rescue missions are going to keep on killing 50% of the hostages it's probably in everybody's interest that you go and play cowboys somewhere else.

As for the journalists going after a story, who else can we rely on for some honest attempt to tell the truth? The military or the politicians?
Firstly fcukwit, the other journalist could have been shot by the kidnappers. Every rescue mission is fraught with risk as the kidnappers are on tenderhooks and as in this case, a firefight ensues. To even say such a thing tells me that you are one of those fcukwit hippy types who has no idea about whatever cause he or she is supporting.

Secondly, when have journalists ever told the truth? They twist the story to make the make it more dramatic, heart wrenching or whatever. I personally would trust a journalist about as much as a politician and that means I don't. In particular this one as he was working for the US media and we know how they like to jazz things up. The only way to find the truth is to actually go and see for yourself, and you obviously wouldn't even think about that as you have stated yourself that you trust journalists.
 
#5
littlejim said:
If your rescue missions are going to keep on killing 50% of the hostages it's probably in everybody's interest that you go and play cowboys somewhere else.

As for the journalists going after a story, who else can we rely on for some honest attempt to tell the truth? The military or the politicians?
Your post implies that there have been a few rescue missions and the average death rate for hostages is 50%. That makes me think that you are a buffoon.

Your post implies that journalists are all very truthfull. That makes me think that you are a buffoon.

Do you enjoy your freedom of speech? Who do you think gives you that freedom? BTW, I think you are a buffoon.
 
#6
This article from the mail has been posted on other threads but it still is the best description of what happeneda nd why and condemns the journalist who puty our soldiers lives at risk for no reason accept his own self glory

Inside Cobra: How last week's extraordinary Special Forces mission to rescue Taliban kidnap reporter unfolded
By Richard Kemp
Last updated at 3:58 AM on 13th September 2009

British journalist Stephen Farrell owes his life to a remarkable rescue by Special Forces in Afghanistan – organised last week by Cobra, the crisis committee that sits in Cabinet Office Briefing Room A.
Here, Richard Kemp, a former member of Cobra and the author of the newly published book Attack State Red, an account of combat in Afghanistan, explains how the dramatic operation unfolded.

One of the most repeated mantras drilled into our troops in Afghanistan is ‘don’t let anyone get taken’. This is so important that military operations are sometimes delayed, disrupted, reshaped or even cancelled if the risk of capture is too high.
Apart from care for the lives of their men, commanders recognise the disproportionate political damage caused by a hostage situation and the risks inherent in a rescue mission.

But Stephen Farrell, the British journalist working for the New York Times
in Afghanistan, did get taken. His story was an important one – the alleged killing of many innocent civilians by a German-directed airstrike near Kunduz.
But as soldiers must, so journalists should temper tenacity with judgment. Farrell should not have been where he was for as long as he was, and he knew it.
I don’t question his ability as a journalist, and I certainly don’t question his courage.
Placing himself in grave danger in pursuit of his story would have been acceptable if there was only his life to consider.
But he unnecessarily risked the lives of his Afghan fellow journalist Sultan Munadi – and those who might have to rescue him.
There were special reasons why Farrell was important and why the opportunity to rescue him was taken with such speed and decisiveness.
Farrell was a great prize: a British journalist working for an American paper. His death would have been drawn out, probably preceded by a drip feed of videos in which he pleaded for Nato withdrawal from Afghanistan in exchange for his life.

The aim: to deepen domestic opposition to military involvement in Afghanistan, to humiliate the West, to demonstrate the weakness of America and Britain – and to gain much-needed extremist support and funding in south Asia and the Middle East.
Bitter experience shows us that in these dire situations there is never a moment to lose, and the history of failure can almost be summed up in two words: ‘too late’.
That is why the minute news was received that a British citizen had been captured, the shadowy Cobra organisation sprang into action.
I worked for Cobra for four years from 2002 to 2006. For much of that time I chaired the Cobra Intelligence Group – made up of representatives from MI5, MI6, GCHQ, the Joint Intelligence Group, the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre, the Defence Intelligence Staff and Special Branch.
I was responsible for briefing Cobra, Cabinet Ministers and the Prime Minister on the intelligence pictures in every crisis.
I spent hours in the Underground Crisis Management Centre, accessed through special layers of security inside a normal government office building.
Sometimes Cobra would run round the clock.
In addition to several major terrorist attacks involving British interest, I chaired the group through several high-profile kidnappings including Ken Bigley, Margaret Hassan and Norman Kember.
Cobra’s membership is tailored to each specific crisis. When it met on July 7, 2005, half an hour after the London bombings, pretty much the entire Cabinet sat round the table.
For the Farrell kidnapping, Cobra was chaired by a senior Foreign Office civil servant and its members were officials from the Cabinet Office, Ministry of Defence, Foreign and Home Offices, National Intelligence agencies, Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre and police.
They were joined, on huge plasma screens, by military commanders, MI6 officers and diplomats 3,500 miles away in Afghanistan, who provided up-to-the-minute situation reports.
The members of Cobra sit in plush leather swivel chairs round a huge brown table.
The sensitive electronic equipment built into the conference table precludes any refreshments in the room – a spilt tea could cause havoc – though nobody questioned Tony Blair’s mug of coffee when he was in the chair.

Members will switch their attention between what is being said around the room and information coming up on the monitors in front of them which give a live connection to their backroom teams.
Cobra’s top intelligence priorities in a hostage situation are: 1. Confirm the identity of captives and that they are still alive; 2. Identify or confirm where they are being held and whether they are likely to be moved; 3. Identify who the kidnappers are, their motives, intent and track record.
Negotiation is always the preferred option, even though the UK does not pay ransoms or cave in to political demands.
Diplomats and MI6 officers on the ground would have been busy calling in their local and regional contacts to try to establish lines of communication and influence direct to the kidnappers or via intermediaries.
But in every volatile and dangerous kidnap situation Cobra will look for a Special Forces rescue option as an alternative to negotiations.
These operations are so sensitive that only a tight ‘inner Cobra’ is briefed on the details.
At the point where the Special Forces commander believed he had accurate enough intelligence of where the hostages were to risk a rescue mission, Cobra made its decision.

Negotiations had been established, but they were between local Afghans, with no British control, and far too difficult to read.
Reports of what was being said and what the chances were of success were contradictory and unclear. Intelligence indicated that Farrell and Munadi were being moved constantly.
The time window was horribly narrow. The military advice was to go in. The chairman of Cobra made the committee’s recommendation to the Defence Secretary and Foreign Secretary.
They were given a detailed briefing, made the decision to authorise the mission, and obtained the agreement of the Prime Minister.
It was made entirely clear to them that a night rescue mission among Afghan compounds – with helicopters landing on the target against a heavily armed group of Taliban fighters – was one of the most complex and dangerous operations it is possible to conceive.
A helicopter packed with troops could crash or be shot down. There was also a high likelihood that the hostages would be executed as the Special Forces hit the ground and that there could be blue on blue or civilian casualties.
Sultan Munadi’s fate was probably sealed the moment he was captured with the smash of a Taliban rifle.
But the reason we didn’t see Stephen Farrell on our TV screens in an orange jumpsuit with a knife at his throat was because the Cobra machinery responded to the need for swift and decisive action.
Of course, all of this would have been so much hot air without the supremely professional fighting men of the Special Boat Service and the 1st Battalion The Parachute Regiment, the Special Forces Support Group, acting with the crucial assistance of US forces.
Their astonishing success is all the more impressive as the constant movement of the kidnappers and their captives meant our troops could not conduct detailed combat rehearsals, normally considered an indispensable precursor.
They had to hit the ground and deal with whatever they came across.
The risks had been immense, and Corporal John Harrison was tragically killed. He did not think twice about putting his life on the line to save Stephen Farrell.
But Farrell should have thought twice before putting himself in a situation where Cpl Harrison and his comrades had to fight their way in to rescue him.
 
#7
littlejim said:
If your rescue missions are going to keep on killing 50% of the hostages it's probably in everybody's interest that you go and play cowboys somewhere else.

As for the journalists going after a story, who else can we rely on for some honest attempt to tell the truth? The military or the politicians?
Don't be a twunt all your life, take a day off every once in a while
 
#8
littlejim said:
If your rescue missions are going to keep on killing 50% of the hostages it's probably in everybody's interest that you go and play cowboys somewhere else.
Stupid boy.


littlejim said:
As for the journalists going after a story, who else can we rely on for some honest attempt to tell the truth? The military or the politicians?
Apply the logic of your first statement to your second.
 

Andy_S

LE
Book Reviewer
#9
As a "self serving fool chasing after fame and fortune" who has written for both US and British media, I can assure you it is the latter that like to "jazz things up a bit."

And while I fully understand that this is an Army-focused site, one key tenet of journalism is using multiple sources whenever possible. However, I have yet to read a single article posted here by journalists on why they take risks. Jon Swain (yes, the Jon Swain who appeared as a character in 'The Killing Fields') wrote a very good piece on this subject in The Times last week, and the NYT's editors have gone on the record as to why Farrel was covering what the paper considered to be a very important story.

Finally, the reason the rescue was launched was not because Farrel was a journalist, but because he was a British citizen. If people believe that journalists are somehow unentitled to government protection due to their profession (which, contrary to much comment here, is not particularly well paid), well....where do you draw the line?
 
#10
Andy_S said:
Finally, the reason the rescue was launched was not because Farrel was a journalist, but because he was a British citizen. If people believe that journalists are somehow unentitled to government protection due to their profession (which, contrary to much comment here, is not particularly well paid), well....where do you draw the line?
I think the point is not that he is a journalist, it is the fact he went into an area and needlessly endangered others. this wasn't the first time he had done this either.
 
#11
Andy_S said:
And while I fully understand that this is an Army-focused site, one key tenet of journalism is using multiple sources whenever possible. However, I have yet to read a single article posted here by journalists on why they take risks. Jon Swain (yes, the Jon Swain who appeared as a character in 'The Killing Fields') wrote a very good piece on this subject in The Times last week, and the NYT's editors have gone on the record as to why Farrel was covering what the paper considered to be a very important story.
I don't disagree with you but the fact is there's good journalists and bad journalists and Farrel has got to be just about the worst journalist out there . To be kidnapped once is a tradgedy . To be kidnapped twice smacks of being a total daft cnut
 
#13
littlejim said:
If your rescue missions are going to keep on killing 50% of the hostages it's probably in everybody's interest that you go and play cowboys somewhere else.

As for the journalists going after a story, who else can we rely on for some honest attempt to tell the truth? The military or the politicians?
Please regale us with some detail on your comment. Have you ever been in anything like a hostage situation, either as the hostage or as the extracting force?

Playing cowboys? Possibly a statement better left for those who venture onto the battlefield against good advice and whose stupidy leads directly to the deaths of innocents? In this case Farrel.
 
#14
WannabeWorker said:
Andy_S said:
Finally, the reason the rescue was launched was not because Farrel was a journalist, but because he was a British citizen. If people believe that journalists are somehow unentitled to government protection due to their profession (which, contrary to much comment here, is not particularly well paid), well....where do you draw the line?
I think the point is not that he is a journalist, it is the fact he went into an area and needlessly endangered others. this wasn't the first time he had done this either.

I'm not a big fan of 'Look at Me' journalists - but how do think YOU get to hear about what happens in these God-awful places?

Think of every major dreadful event, be it war, famine, genocide, that has happened in the last 80 years. You will no doubt have seen images that will have burnt themselves into your mind.

How do think that these images were obtained? By some poor unarmed sod pointing his camera at them.

Journalists don't just cover wars, indeed although I have been in a few - had near misses and been detained for doing my job in 5 different countries - once by 'terrorists' - covering a Famine in Eastern Africa can be as - if not more, dangerous.
 
#15
Jip Travolta said:
When out there; don't trust the Media. Not even ones with Unit sanction. Don't talk to them. Don't even give them the time of day.
I bet you'd talk to Ross Kemp
 
#16
The media are only interested in making money. The more shocking the story, the more money they make. They don't do this job out of the goodness of their heart. I have more respect for the taliban then the media and would sooner slot the media If I am truthful.
 
#17
Andy_S said:
As a "self serving fool chasing after fame and fortune" who has written for both US and British media, I can assure you it is the latter that like to "jazz things up a bit."

And while I fully understand that this is an Army-focused site, one key tenet of journalism is using multiple sources whenever possible. However, I have yet to read a single article posted here by journalists on why they take risks. Jon Swain (yes, the Jon Swain who appeared as a character in 'The Killing Fields') wrote a very good piece on this subject in The Times last week, and the NYT's editors have gone on the record as to why Farrel was covering what the paper considered to be a very important story.

Finally, the reason the rescue was launched was not because Farrel was a journalist, but because he was a British citizen. If people believe that journalists are somehow unentitled to government protection due to their profession (which, contrary to much comment here, is not particularly well paid), well....where do you draw the line?
May I ask which publications you have been writing for? The likes of CNN, Fox news most definatly jazz things up and I would say Sky tv does as well. Personally I do not read any news papers (whether yank or British) as I know that they do twist the story a lot and I have no time for the likes of that and as such do not have time for any journalists.

Obviously the reason he was rescued is because he is British. The rescue attempt was not for his collegue. However, it is the fact that his idocy as a journalist got him into that situation. His ignored warnings and in my book that means more fool him, unlucky, suffer the concequences. Sadly the fact that this idiot could have been shown on tv wearing an orange boiler suit with the knowledge that he would have been beheaded would have been a pr nightmare for Britain and as such a rescue mission had to be done.
The shit thing is, this fool of a reporter is probably going to make a lot of money from his experience and a film will be made about this incident. Which no doubt will be full of lies, just like the Killing Fields.

Why do I dislike journalists...well just look at this fiool. He has caused the death of a British soldier and his (the reporters) assistant/translator because he wanted some fame. Look at what that reporter Jon Swain caused his assistant. They caused the death of Princess Diana due to the same want.
I have not time or respect for journalists (even less so after this) and would rather shit on one then speak to them. I am sorry if that offends you being one, but quite frankly I do not give a flying fcuk.
 
#18
Fallschirmjager said:
The media are only interested in making money. The more shocking the story, the more money they make. They don't do this job out of the goodness of their heart. I have more respect for the taliban then the media and would sooner slot the media If I am truthful.

Hmm.
I'm sorry to hear that mate. I know what you do do and I respect you for it but maybe not as much now.

I get paid less (daily) to film in places like Afghnistan than if I was to film a decent wedding.
 
#19
Cabana said:
Andy_S said:
As a "self serving fool chasing after fame and fortune" who has written for both US and British media, I can assure you it is the latter that like to "jazz things up a bit."

And while I fully understand that this is an Army-focused site, one key tenet of journalism is using multiple sources whenever possible. However, I have yet to read a single article posted here by journalists on why they take risks. Jon Swain (yes, the Jon Swain who appeared as a character in 'The Killing Fields') wrote a very good piece on this subject in The Times last week, and the NYT's editors have gone on the record as to why Farrel was covering what the paper considered to be a very important story.

Finally, the reason the rescue was launched was not because Farrel was a journalist, but because he was a British citizen. If people believe that journalists are somehow unentitled to government protection due to their profession (which, contrary to much comment here, is not particularly well paid), well....where do you draw the line?
May I ask which publications you have been writing for? The likes of CNN, Fox news most definatly jazz things up and I would say Sky tv does as well. Personally I do not read any news papers (whether yank or British) as I know that they do twist the story a lot and I have no time for the likes of that and as such do not have time for any journalists.

Obviously the reason he was rescued is because he is British. The rescue attempt was not for his collegue. However, it is the fact that his idocy as a journalist got him into that situation. His ignored warnings and in my book that means more fool him, unlucky, suffer the concequences. Sadly the fact that this idiot could have been shown on tv wearing an orange boiler suit with the knowledge that he would have been beheaded would have been a pr nightmare for Britain and as such a rescue mission had to be done.
The s*** thing is, this fool of a reporter is probably going to make a lot of money from his experience and a film will be made about this incident. Which no doubt will be full of lies, just like the Killing Fields.

Why do I dislike journalists...well just look at this fiool. He has caused the death of a British soldier and his (the reporters) assistant/translator because he wanted some fame. Look at what that reporter Jon Swain caused his assistant. They caused the death of Princess Diana due to the same want.
I have not time or respect for journalists (even less so after this) and would rather s*** on one then speak to them. I am sorry if that offends you being one, but quite frankly I do not give a flying fcuk.

Classic frothing rant culminating in blaming the 'meeja' for killing Diana.
 

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