Rony Abovitz repiles about Eason Jordan’s comments at the WEF.
I’m thinking this story is going to hit the MSM this week. Good. How the hell can a guy in Jordan’s position makes these comments and get away with it??
here’s the link and story
hughhewitt.com/#postid1348 (scroll down)
Friday, February 4, 2005
Posted at 10:00 AM, EST
Rony Abovitz replies to some questions on Eason Jordan’s accusation that the American military targeted journalists. A long list of relevant links appears below the interview.
Rony Abovitz posted the first account of Eason Jordan’s now infamous remarks at Davos. Abovitz responded to some questions I sent him:
HH:Thanks very much for agreeing to reply to some questions. I will post your response in its entirety, along with my questions.
First, how many people were in the room?
RA: My guess is between 250-350, but the WEF records should have an exact count of who actually attended. We all had special badges that were scanned at the door, so the exact number of attendees, as well as exactly who was there, is stored on some WEF computer database.
HH: Can you describe the makeup of the crowd?
RA: At least one U.S. Senator (Dodd), journalists from the major media (Fortune, Wall Street Journal), a number of dignitaries and journalists from Middle Eastern countries, scientists, professors, corporate CEO’s and senior executives…it was a a good mix of the powerful and influential people who essentially run the world.
HH: [b]Was the session videotaped?
RA: I saw a cameraman operating a camera throughout the session filming everything. Unless he was just there going through the motions, it was taped. [/b]
HH: Was any announcement made about the availability of tapes or transcripts?
RA: There was no announcement made about this specific session, but in general watered down summaries of each session and bits of webcasts of other sessions floated about the WEF. I am not sure what the WEF is going to do about releasing this particular session in its unedited entirety.
HH: Did Mr. Jordan make his “targeted” remark in response to a comment by Congressman Frank?
RA: I believe that Congressman Frank was dragged into all of this after the fact. Mr. Jordan gave us all a monologue that evolved from his personal experiences in Iraq about this idea of U.S. soldiers targeting U.S. and foreign journalists. I first challenged Mr. Jordan, and then moderator David Gergen (of Harvard’s JFK School of Government) brought Frank in as a member of the U.S. government to respond to claims that shocked all of us. I remember Gergen in particular being flabbergasted and disturbed to a very high degree by Mr. Jordan’s statements. Congressman Frank told the audience that his briefings indicated that all the journalists killed to date in Iraq were due to “collateral damage”. Jordan disagreed, and gave us an example of U.S. soldiers deliberately shelling a hotel in Iraq which was known to all as a haven for journalists covering both sides of the war. Congressman Frank was pretty much a bystander being dragged into all of it.
HH: Can you recall the reaction of the audience to the initial Jordan statement concerning “targeting?”
RA: Some members of the audience were shocked and in disbelief. Others supported Mr. Jordan’s statements and seemed visibly impressed that Mr. Jordan had the courage to say such things to a world audience. One thing I will never forget: Arab journalists coming up to Mr. Jordan at the end of the session and praising his sheer bravery for standing up to the U.S. military in such a public way. I will also never forget the absolute look of horror on Professor Gergen’s face, the disbelief that the U.S. military would ever do such things. Gergen went on to describe that in his own experience, the U.S. military were always the “good guys”, rescuing journalists, never deliberately targeting them for death. Gergen also felt obligated to basically halt the debate at some point because the Pentagon and U.S. military were not represented at the session, and therefore no balanced discussion could be had (Congressman Frank is probably not a good proxy for the Pentagon). Another observation: those of us from the U.S. in the crowd were by and large disturbed, but it seemed that those from Europe or the Middle East were in large agreement with Mr. Jordan, as if he was confirming what they already knew and believed. The divide between the U.S. and the rest of the world seemed large. I do want to note that the topic seemed to be an emotional one for Mr. Jordan, and I believe that he has had friends and co-workers who were journalists killed in Iraq. He seemed so moved and passionate about the subject that it only compounded the level of uncertainty and severity about what was being discussed. A number of people in the audience, including Senator Dodd, came up to me and thanked me for directly challenging what was a serious charge against the U.S. military. I wonder why Senator Dodd didn’t take Mr. Jordan on himself right then and there. A lot of us were disturbed by the possibility of Mr. Jordan’s statements being true, and at the same time equally disturbed by the lack of hard data, or any data, to back up what he said.
HH: Will some members of the audience fairly conclude that Mr. Jordan meant that American military forces had targeted for assassination
RA: The Arab journalists and WEF members who were in the audience and congratulated Mr. Jordan for his bravery and courage for standing up to the U.S. heard what we all heard, and it was pretty damning. Someone should search the Arab language press (web and print) for their reaction to what was said. If the WEF 2005 videotape of this meeting is ever released for public view, it will not help Mr. Jordan at all. He is much better off if the tape (in classic “1984” style) just disappears. I can only imagine the reaction of a U.S. audience to a broadcast of what he said prior to being challenged, prior to his backtracking, and prior to having time to realize the implications of what he said. To be fair, we are all only humans and in the heat of the moment many people say all sorts of things that they later regret.
The contrast of what he was saying before and after he realized what he was saying was pretty incredible. His media savvy, professional executive brain did kick in, but not soon enough. The content and context of what he said would allow groups with an anti-American bias to take what he said and believe that the American military forces had targeted for assassination journalists. For someone with a pro-U.S. posture, you were left confused and in disbelief. It was easy and even credible to believe (in the WEF setting, post Abu Ghraib Prison scandal) that the U.S. military was capable of doing anything. A good answer to this question can come from someone like Afghan foreign minister, Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, who also shared the stage with Mr. Jordan. I would also encourage you to get responses to this question from a wide spectrum of Arab journalists. Understanding how they understood Mr. Jordan’s message could be helpful. Getting Senator Dodd’s viewpoint, as well as Professor Gergen’s, would also shed some more needed light.
Last comment. This issue is turning into a right vs. left agenda issue, a lynch mob against Eason Jordan issue, and feeding into many different agendas. I hope that any news media (bloggers, print, major, minor) covering this can respect my original intent which was to not leave this kind of allegation hanging in the air, but to carry it through to the point where the truth is known, and known to all sides.
The WEF video would resolve the “what Eason said” component of the story. As to the other components, there must be hundreds of people around the world (soldiers, journalists in Iraq, and friends and family of journalists in Iraq) who can weigh in as to what is actually happening on the ground.
HH: Thanks for your assistance in this matter.
No wonder Eason Jordan won’t answer any questions. He is hiding out and hoping the video doesn’t surface.