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Unfiled May 16, 2002
 
Holy Shit!
By Mark Ames Browse author Email
 
Page 3 of 3
 
"For me this is shocking and depressing. I look up to American ideals, we all do. Our belief that journalism means questioning and doubting everything comes from America. Yet you question nothing. You kill thousands of innocent civilians in Afghanistan because maybe they have some indirect connection to the terrorist group that attacked you -- and no one questions this, or even reports it. We go into the West Bank, and suddenly you count every single casualty as if it is a crime against humanity."

I reminded him that the Pentagon controls the press movements in Afghanistan, and thus their news coverage.

"Then this should be reported. This should be the story every time. Just a few weeks ago I covered Jenin. I gave wide coverage to the Palestinian claims of a massacre of hundreds. And when it came to the Israeli side, I simply reported that they would not let me into the camp to verify. Of course it made the Israeli side look bad, like it was covering something up. You cannot believe the calls I got from senior commanders yelling at me, telling me that I was supporting the Palestinians, that I was promoting their lies. I told them, 'I simply reported that you wouldn't let me into the camp. How can I say the Palestinians are lying if I can't see for myself?' We argued, but eventually they let me into the camp, and I could report the truth as I saw it.

"The Americans don't even fight with their government. They don't criticize or question anymore. Thousands of completely innocent people were killed in Afghanistan by America, but it's not a story. It doesn't exist. Why were they killed? This is not what America taught me. You have one terrorist attack, and suddenly you abandon all of your high principles?

"The most ridiculous thing for me is seeing buffoons like Geraldo Rivera here, searching the West Bank for massacres and evil Israelis. What did he do in Afghanistan? Who is this guy? Do Americans take him seriously? It is all too depressing, really. I don't know what to believe anymore, who to look up to. I have risked a lot over the last years following the American ideal, but the American journalists won't risk anything for it." * * *

Snideman was happy to get the hell out of Israel.

"Those people will never learn," he said. "If you can't iron a linen shirt, how the hell can you end fifty years of war?"

On our way out, we were interrogated again, this time by a young blond woman in uniform. "Why did you come to Israel? Don't you know there's a war here? Aren't you afraid?"

"Aren't YOU afraid?" Snideman shot back. She pulled him aside; three fully armed guards escorted Snideman to an unmarked door. He returned twenty minutes later, calm and pale, his shirt untucked.

"What happened to you?" I asked.

"I told her I'm a man of peace," Snideman said, looking a little shaken.

When we took our seats on the Transaero flight to Moscow, Snideman, ice cold gin and tonic in hand, sighed with satisfaction. He was happy to be heading back to the Christian world, "where things make sense."

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Ames
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Email Mark Ames at editor@exile.ru.
 
 
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