A new Pentagon legal guide, the “Department of Defense Law of War Manual,” which comprises the legalities of war for the U.S. military, explains and outlines the legally acceptable methods of killing opposing soldiers.
Federal courts and Geneva Convention still acknowledge protection provisions for military personnel, including journalists, however, this “Law of War Manual” details that cutting, stabbing, bombing, exploding and shooting are tolerable means of killing the enemy. However, there is also a clause which states that the use of suffocating gases are prohibited.
Outrageously, the manual also contains a section on “unprivileged belligerents,” a new term that replaces “enemy combatant”; journalists based within a designated war zone are encompassed within this term.
Al-Jazeera news reporter, Mohyeldin, experienced military censorship first hand mid last year.
“In general, journalists are civilians. However, journalists may be members of the armed forces, persons authorized to accompany the armed forces, or unprivileged belligerents,” the “Law of War Manual” declares.
Ambiguous terms such as these are meant to provide legal cover; allowing the U.S. military to essentially kill innocent people without facing any legal repercussions.
In an interview with RT, shown below, Georgetown journalism professor Chris Chambers discusses these terms, explaining that “because the Geneva Convention, other tenets of international law, and even United States law – federal courts have spoken on this – doesn’t have this thing on ‘unprivileged belligerents’.”
As Chambers states, “it excuses the murder of [the journalist they don’t like] journalists that WikiLeaks made famous.” Under the Geneva Convention, journalists were defined as a civilian that warranted protection. Protocols that are already in place to censor our journalists within military units will now force neutral journalists further, influencing them to follow the favored military account closely.
“It gives them license to attack or even murder journalists that they don’t particularly like but aren’t on the other side,” Chambers said.
The Pentagon declined to respond to the term unprivileged belligerents’, however, Chambers was adamant that “their legal department is going over it, as is the National Press Club and the Society of Professional Journalists.”
The fight for the truth is becoming a difficult task to honor. The Government is continuously increasing the pressures placed on the media; they often limit the amount of press that is released, and challenge any content engaging with ‘freedom of speech.’ The job of an investigative journalist or correspondent is becoming increasingly difficult, especially if they choose to go against the preferred and official line.
Suddenly, we are witnessing an ambiguous document that threatens our freedom of speech; not only will the civilians die, but so will our truth.
This Article (“Unprivileged Belligerents” or Journalists’ Murder acceptable in War) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to the author and AnonHQ.com.