Iraq

GUERNICA

Today is the anniversary of the Guernica bombings where German and Italian fascist forces killed hundreds of people in the Basque town in  the first large scale aerial bombing attack in history.

The story of this event is known to most people. What is less well-known is something that happened more recently.

The above picture is Picass0’s famous work depicting the scene. This work is reproduced in the United Nation’s building in New York and when Colin Powell made his bulls**t speech at the UN , which he later described as “not his finest moment” (oh well that’s fine then), the painting was covered so that it wasn’t in the background.

Diplomats later told journalists that the Bush administration had “leaned on” UN officials to cover it up.

BBC IMPROVES…ONLY 4/5 YEARS LATE THIS TIME

The BBC today carried this story…

Fallujah doctors report rise in birth defects

Doctors in the Iraqi city of Fallujah are reporting a high level of birth defects, with some blaming weapons used by the US after the Iraq invasion.

They are reporting this only several years after independent journalists, medical organisations and several websites have been saying the same thing. Even other mainstream media sources reported it long ago. Nevertheless, I suppose we must conclude that only 4 or 5 years off the pace is an improvement for the BBC.

However, they managed to report the story without once saying “depleted uranium” or “white phosphorus”. They instead preferred to use more neutral phrases like “the highly sophisticated weapons the US troops used in Fallujah six years ago.”


SATURDAY MATINEE 5 – WHY WE FIGHT

This week we have Eugene Jarecki’s Why We Fight which, amongst other things, examines the lies that are used to manipulate the public into supporting wars…

AMERICAN OFFICIALS SAY

Here is an abridged version of a story on BBC news about the situation in Yemen. Please pay attention to the parts I have highlighted…

Yemeni forces have arrested three suspected al-Qaeda militants who were wounded in a raid on Monday, security sources say.

They were captured at a hospital north of the capital, Sanaa. AFP news agency says they include Mohammed al-Hanq, a key local al-Qaeda leader.

AFP quoted an unnamed security official saying: “Mohammed al-Hanq and two others who were wounded were captured in a hospital in Amran.”

The agency said the local al-Qaeda leader was thought to be behind the security threats that had prompted the embassy closures.

The British embassy said its public services still remained closed, and that the security situation was being assessed on a daily basis.

The US had reopened its embassy on Tuesday, saying successful counter-terrorism operations by Yemeni forces had addressed a “specific area of concern”.

This was an apparent reference to Monday’s raid some 25 miles (40km) north of Sanaa, in which two other suspected members of al-Qaeda were killed.

The difficulties of travel within Yemen have prevented the BBC from independently verifying details of the reported raid.

But the BBC’s Jeremy Bowen, in Sanaa, says he saw military jets flying over the capital on Monday afternoon and into the evening, suggesting some kind of operation was under way.

American intelligence officials say the failed plot to bomb a US-bound jet on 25 December originated in Yemen – where the suspect was allegedly trained by al-Qaeda.

Now, it is not a difficult thing to go through most stories in mainstream news and find exactly this style of reporting so I made and uploaded something from Robert Fisk which brilliantly highlights the problem (1m 34s). I went to a similar talk he gave in Glasgow and it was wonderful. You can find slightly different versions of the same talk all around the web.

Brilliantly put by Fisk I am sure you will agree.

It is however worth saying that in many cases this systemic problem is not the fault of the journalists themselves. As “the NEWS” morphed into the “the NEWS BUSINESS” the standard model was to cut money from the investigative side of reporting and if it was reinvested at all it was reinvested into the presentational side.

Furthermore, even when journalists do have stories despite their limited budgets, real stories are often squashed and never allowed to air – leaving the airwaves full of Michael Jackson type stories.

Nevertheless, what Fisk describes is where we are now.

BIZARRE WAY TO START THE WEEK

Wasn’t expecting this headline…not at all….

Mystery tribute channel to Saddam Hussein launched

A television channel dedicated to former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein has appeared on Arab satellite networks.

Its launch came on the third anniversary, on the Islamic calendar, of the former president’s execution.

It is not clear who is behind the channel which broadcasts the speeches, images and even poetry of Saddam Hussein, backed with patriotic music.

 

 

OBOMBYA’S PEACE PRIZE

Worth reprising this from Andy Best I think…

barack_obama_120x120So, Obama’s in and all us ‘liberals’ are happy.

Just imagine if McCain had won and we saw the following aspects of his campaign carried through:

– Continuation of the ‘war on terror’ including more troops into Afghanistan (back to the stone age not enough) and promises to cross borders (invade) others if they ‘don’t comply’ – ie invade Iran and Pakistan.

– a promise to take intervention in latin America “further south” ie ‘deal with’ Venezuela and Bolivia

– national/single payer healthcare completely off the table.

– full support of the Cuba embargo

– refusing to be photographed with the mayor of SF so not to appear as supporting same sex unions.

– commitment to draconian immigration policies such as the mexico border wall.

– penal system and capital punishment off the table as is gun control

– 700 billion handout to companies who preach no nationalization and private competition

… hey ..oh ..wait a minute … my bad! That’s a list of Obama’s campaign – I got confused.

PODCAST TWO

In this one I speak with Professor David Miller of the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland.

David Miller is the author/co-author/editor of several books including “A Century of Spin: How Public Relations Became the cutting Edge of Corporate Power” and “TELL ME LIES. Propaganda and Media Distortion in the Attack on Iraq.” He is also the co-founder of http://www.spinwatch.org and http://www.spinprofiles.org. He occasionally appears on the BBC too,  including this rather amusing one from Newsnight.

In fact, in this podcast we discuss the BBC, it’s history and origins, how it has been controlled and manipulated by governments and how all this fits into the wider media context.

I hope the production is a little better on this one than the last.

If you go to THIS LINK HERE then you can listen to it online or download it as an mp3. You want the VBR MP3 link where it says ‘Audio Files’.

You can also LISTEN ONLINE HERE

Hope you like it and thank to ourmedia.org for making a great little service.

SCUNNERT BUT NOT SURPRISED

From the Online Scots Dictionary

scunnert – scunnered [‘skʌnərt -d, U. ‘skʌndərt -d]
disgusted, bored, fed up, have ones hopes or expectations shattered

And from the blog scunnert-nation [thanks] comes this entirely believable video.

You see, if you believe the hype then democratically [ahem] elected leaders are supposed to represent the views of their constituents and their nations. They are supposed to exress our will, not force us to get in line with theirs.

Let’s suppose for a moment that this system works beautifully and that each leader expresses the views, hopes and wishes of his countrymen.

Isn’t it a little strange then that the leaders of two completely different countries on opposite sides of the world could have their constituents want them to say EXACTLY THE SAME THING…

Yes, that was the Prime Ministers of Canada and Australia both saying the exact same nonsense.

FUN AND GAMES [BUT NOT REALLY]

Was having a bit of fun with http://www.sockandawe.com/ but apparently the guy who really did it is not having too much fun.

According to his brother [who told the AFP] and someone at opednews…

The Iraqi journalist who hurled his shoes at US President George W. Bush has a broken arm and ribs after being struck by Iraqi security agents, his brother told AFP on Tuesday. He said he had been told that his brother was being held by Iraqi forces in the heavily fortified Green Zone compound in central Baghdad where the US embassy and most government offices are housed.

People seem to be reacting to this news in a ‘Well, what did he expect?’ way, but really, is that where we are now – he threw a couple of shoes so he should expect to be tortured?