Shaikh Mahdi al-Sumaidaai accused the media of deliberately distorting the "honourable" image of Iraqi resistance and persisting with the information and figures provided by the US authorities.

"I call on world media to stop twisting the news and portraying Iraqi resistance actions as the mere killing of Iraqi citizens," he told Aljazeera.net. 

"If media provide one hour of honest coverage to what the Iraqi resistance are doing on a daily basis, I bet you the mothers and sisters of US soldiers in Iraq will pour into the streets of America screaming at Bush to pull the troops from Iraq," he said.

He accused the US and its "traitor agents" of planning attacks against Iraqis and their religious sites, saying Iraqi resistance fighters attack only foreign military in the country. 

Witness

Umar Zaidan, an Iraqi journalist and editorial secretary of the Iraqi newspaper al-Basaer said there was a media blackout on armed operations against US-led occupation forces in Iraq.

"It is something all armies do in war time. You do not want the enemy to know about your actual loss, and whether he was successful in the attack he carried out on your troops or not"

Lt-Col TV Johnson,  
US marines public affairs officer
 

"Apart from the fact that I am an editorial secretary of a newspaper, I am a citizen of al-Ramadi city known for constant attacks on US forces, and I have witnessed many attacks on US soldiers and installations.

"For example early in this month, I witnessed an attack on a US check point at al-Ramadi's eastern entry. There were at least 20 either killed or wounded, but the news reported only two casualties," Zaidan told Aljazeera.net.

He accused some media organisations of word manipulation to hide the truth.

"Usually we use the word 'casualties' at the beginning of an incident when the situation is not clear.

"But after we get enough information we say a number of dead and a number of wounded, and sometimes we should elaborate how serious the wounds are, but with US forces in Iraq it is always casualties and the number always less than the truth," he said.

Tactical reason 

Aljazeera.net spoke to Lieutenant-Colonel TV Johnson, public affairs officer of the First Marines Expeditionary Force who said the amount of information given to the media was based on tactical necessities. 

"It is something all armies do in war time. You do not want the enemy to know about your actual loss, and whether he was successful in the attack he carried out on your troops or not," he said.