Journalist Abused by US TroopsFrench TV journalist Grégoire Deniau describes his ordeal in U.S. custody in Iraq.
French TV journalist Grégoire Deniau describes his ordeal in U.S. custody in Iraq. He was detained for a day during the siege of Fallujah in April 2004. He says despite showing his passport and French press ID, U.S. soldiers forced him to kneel for hours, gaffer-taped a hood over his face and hurled insults at him, calling him a dog and accused him, as a Frenchmen, of being pro-Arab. Deniau says he was released late at night, in the middle of the desert and was warned by the soldiers that US forces shoot everything that moves.
It has been more than 2 years since the Bush administration began the invasion and occupation of Iraq. These have been some of the bloodiest years for journalists worldwide and in Iraq in particular. And the situation remains very dangerous for media workers operating in the country, particularly those few who dare to report from Iraq unembedded from the occupation forces. Today, two French journalists speak about their time in captivity in Iraq. I met them this weekend in Riccione, Italy where I was attending the annual conference remembering Ilaria Alpi–a young Italian woman journalist who was killed in 1994 covering Somalia. One of the French journalists I met, Christian Chesnot, was kidnapped for four months by the Iraqi resistance. We’ll hear his story in a moment.
But first, we turn to one of France’s most experienced war correspondents, Grégoire Deniau, of France 2. He too was detained – for a day – by the US military. His ordeal in US custody begins in April 2004 in the besieged city of Fallujah. US forces picked Grégoire Deniau up in Fallujah where he and a photographer colleague were documenting the story of the siege of the city from the inside. At the time, he was the only Western journalist there. Deniau says he and the photographer were taken by US soldiers along with two Red Crescent workers.
He says that US soldiers forced them to kneel for hours, gaffer-taped hoods over their faces. Deniau says he showed the soldiers his passport, his ID and his French Press Identification. He says the soldiers hurled insults at him, called him a dog and accused him, as a Frenchmen, of being pro-Arab. When the US forces finally released them, they did so late at night, in the middle of the desert and warned them that US forces shoot everything that moves. This is French TV journalist Grégoire Deniau.