Reuters is reporting that “[u]nknown gunmen kidnapped a female U.S. journalist in Baghdad on Saturday after shooting dead her driver … she had been on her way to a meeting with a Sunni Arab leader when she was kidnapped in the Adel district near Malik bin Anas mosque in west Baghdad.” Update [2006-1-7 15:5:20 by susanhu]: It is very important not to disclose the reporter’s name. Some of us found out, because unfortunately one news organization is reporting her name despite her employers’ pleas. I have removed all comments below that disclose her identity. E-mail me immediately if you see any more … susanhu at earthlink dot net .)

On Wednesday, Reporters Without Borders announced: “More journalists and media staffers have been killed during the Iraq war than during 22 years of conflict in Vietnam.”

As Simon Jenkins wrote yesterday for Huffington Post (via Daou Report):

Reliable reporting from Iraq is now so dangerous that the level of insecurity can be gleaned only from circumstantial evidence. Baghdad outside the American green zone is now all “red zone”, off limits to any but the most reckless foreigner. The death rate and the number of explosions are rising. While some rural areas are relatively safe there is no such thing as national security. Iraq’s borders are porous. Crime is uncontrolled. The concept of an “occupying power” is near meaningless.

Sometimes I wonder if we really know much of anything that is going on in Iraq. Journalists are in constant peril and severely confined. Pat Lang blogged here about the WaPo‘s Robin Wright and her latest visit to Iraq …

On this latest trip to Baghdad, the bubble shrank even more. No roaming the Green Zone. Not even a stop at the convention center. The press corps, including veteran war correspondents, was sequestered in Hussein’s old palace for most of the seven-hour stay. We were discouraged from wandering the palace and were provided escorts to go to the bathroom.”

The visits by world leaders are as constricted, making their BS blather all the more ridiculous …

On December 22 Tony Blair paid his Christmas call on British troops in Basra to tell them how much things were improving. This time he said security was “completely changed” from last year. What he meant was unclear. It was as if Gladstone had visited Gordon during the siege of Khartoum. Did it not seem strange to Blair that he could not move outside his walled fortress, could not drive anywhere or talk to any Iraqis? Did he wonder why British troops have withdrawn from two anarchic provinces? Was he really told that security is transformed for the better? If so he is horribly deceived. — Simon Jenkins (Emphases mine.)

Jenkins’ essay, “Leave the Field Now – The Iraqi Endgame is About to Begin,” is a particularly blistering piece of writing.

Here’s the link to the 211 stories on the kidnapping of the U.S. female journalist. None, best I can find, identify who she is. An ITN report says it was her translator, not her driver, who was killed.

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