Paranoid Warfare

How the US Military Sees Journalists

The “Law of War Manual” contains 1,176 pages and is intended to be a sort of handbook for the conduct of war. The publisher of the manual is the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. Eighty-one pages are dedicated to defining and classifying groups of people that the average soldier is likely to encounter on the battlefield. Everyone should read this before they are likely to come into contact with these average soldiers, especially journalists, who are – according to the handbook – “unprivileged belligerents.” That is to say, they are participants in the fighting who deserve no special rights. Again, that is to say that a journalist is deserving of no greater special protections than those accorded to a member of the Taliban or other so-called “irregular” combatants.

In that respect, any prosecution for alleged treason here in Germany is almost harmless, even if it arises from the same motives. The viewpoint of the American military is in agreement with the intelligence prosecutor in Cologne: The public is just an aberration in the kind of democracy they want. Demands for transparency are nothing less than the devil’s doing. Every member of the public who doesn’t swallow the “official” (or better said, the prefabricated version of events as presented in the media) and doesn’t just silently concur and pass it on is suspected of being a spy.

The forward to the manual states that martial law is part of what they are. That’s true – and it can be described in a single word: paranoid.

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