“Unprivileged Belligerents” or Journalists’ Murder acceptable in War

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 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-anchor

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.

 

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4 COMMENTS

  1. I know first hand how good the government is at hiding scary military information. Like a couple months ago one of my best friends’ twin brother was caught working with someone to do a task for ISIS: Attempting to blow up Fort Riley here in Kansas. But there wasn’t a single thing about it in the news on TV or on the radio. Only with Kansan’s from the Topeka area and people from the Fort Riley area…

  2. If this quote is true,

    “However, journalists may be members of the armed forces, persons authorized to accompany the armed forces, or unprivileged belligerents”,

    this could all be a problem of poor syntax or punctuation.

    It could mean the journalists are accompanying unprivileged belligerents, not that they ARE unprivileged belligerents.

    No one in any freedom-loving society considers journalists as belligerents of any flavor.

  3. The statement in question is “In general, journalists are civilians. However, journalists may be members of the armed forces, persons authorized to accompany the armed forces, or unprivileged belligerents Belligerents” What the intention of this passage seems to be is an attempt to include journalism such as helmet cameras into the law. A journalist could also be a soldier, or a rioter/rebel (persons not officially in a military could be defined as an unprivileged belligerent. I believe this is the intention). It is still clearly against Military law to engage a target without warranted aggression on the enemy’s part. This revision appears to be an attempt to clear a gray area involving the legality of eliminating a target who is a journalist but also a soldier. It’s the same principle as a medic being “off-limits” unless they are fighting. Once that Doc picks up a rifle and attempts to use it he/she is no longer protected. (disclaimer, I a member of the army medical corps, not a lawyer. this is simply my opinion and does not reflect the opinions nor intentions or the armed forces in anyway.)

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