Reporters on the Job

OUR EYES ONLY: This week, the US military's Central Command (this page) is running a hush-hush computer-assisted wargame called "Internal Look" from Qatar. But Monitor correspondent Cameron Barr found the operation's name a bit misleading. "For reporters, no look is possible, internal or otherwise," he says.

On Sunday, Cameron and a colleague drove out to the sprawling base on the outskirts of Doha. But when they arrived, they were asked to wait. "After about 15 minutes, a young officer came out to see us. He called inside, wrote down some numbers for the public-affairs office there, and asked us to call for an appointment."

Mysteriously, none were available. "Later, several military spokesmen invited journalists to a bar at a Doha hotel - a long way from the exercise."

A LONG MARCH: For Monitor correspondent Scott Peterson, reporting today's story on Iraqi Kurds (page 7) brought back somber memories of the chaos that accompanied the first Kurdish exodus in 1991, after the Gulf War. At the time, he trekked with the flood of more than 1 million refugees as they fled Iraq's oncoming forces for the "sanctuary" of the snow-swept mountains that lined the border.

"The Turks were not welcoming, but they couldn't stop the flow," Scott recalls. "They received bad press; there were reports of soldiers stealing food meant for refugees." The weather was atrocious, as was the sanitation. "Many people died, especially children," Scott recalls. "Turkey doesn't want to face that again. It would rather there were no war at all."

I'LL TAKE MINE COOKED: Among the tomes of European Union regulations (Page 1) is a rule about the preparation of Czech pickled sausage, something Czechs hold dear. But reporter Arie Farnham felt differently. "They are cold, squishy, uncooked sausages in vinegar," Arie relates. She says it's not hard to understand why the EU is skeptical of how they're made. "I was at a big party where that was all they ate." Her solution? "I cooked mine over a campfire. That helped a bit."

Amelia Newcomb
Deputy World editor

Follow-up on a Monitor Story

• On July 8, Monitor correspondent Danna Harman reported that Liberian officials arrested journalist Hassan Bility and charged him with plotting to kill President Charles Taylor. Human-rights advocates had voiced concern that Mr. Bility, who had been critical of the government, may have been tortured to death. But Bility was released to the US Embassy Saturday after US officials questioned his long detention. A condition of release was that Bility leave the country, which he has.

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