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Name: Antony Loewenstein
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Saturday, August 13, 2005

No freedom

Robert Fisk returns to Iraq and paints a terrifying picture of the country's mania:

"My Iraqi fixer offers to buy groceries for me but I decide I've got to buy them myself. Once you let Iraqis buy your food on the streets, tell you what people are saying, come back to you with their observations, you have entered the pointless hothouse of hotel journalism, the reporter with the mobile phone trapped in his room who might as well be broadcasting or writing from Co Mayo. So we slink off down side streets to the Warda grocery store in Karada. It's a broad street with lots of men languishing on the pavements, many holding mobiles. That's how it's done these days. A guy with a mobile sees an American patrol, a police unit, a foreigner, and squeezes the dial pad and a bunch of gunmen in a car not far away roar round to blow themselves up or kidnap the stranger - for money, for execution, for politics."


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