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ALERT: MEDIA COMPLICITY IN WAR CRIMES

Wednesday 23 February 2005

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’’ Stupidity, outrage, vanity, cruelty, iniquity, bad faith, falsehood - we fail to see the whole array when it is facing in the same direction as we.’’ - Jean Rostand

NUREMBERG - ARTICLE SIX - February 23, 2005

On February 13, The World Tribunal on Iraq (WTI), an international peoples‚ initiative, declared much of the Western media guilty of deception and incitement to violence in its reporting on Iraq. The tribunal, meeting in Rome, made its pronouncement after taking testimony from independent journalists, media professors, activists, and a member of the European Parliament.

The panel of WTI judges noted that the United States and British governments had deliberately impeded the work of journalists and knowingly spread lies and disinformation. But the panel also accused the Western corporate media of filtering and suppressing the truth. The tribunal described how journalists had violated article six of the Nuremberg Tribunal which states:

"Leaders, organisers, instigators and accomplices participating in the formulation or execution of a common plan or conspiracy to commit any of the foregoing crimes (crimes against peace, war crimes and crimes against humanity) are responsible for all acts performed by any persons in execution of such a plan." (’’Media Held Guilty of Deception’’ - Inter Press Service, February 14, 2005)

The media’s complicity in war crimes continues unabated, of course. Thus, in covering the results from Iraq’s January 30 election, Peter Marshall announced grandly on the BBC’s Newsnight television programme:

"So, democracy has come to Iraq." (BBC2, Newsnight, February 14, 2005)

Instantly revealing the usual bias in mainstream reporting, Marshall added:

"Things could be worse... the rule by mullahs, a Shia theocracy, looks less likely now with the Shia list‚s failure to reach 50 per cent of the vote."

He meant things could be worse for Western interests, of course - the real concern. John Pilger has noted how in the media, "one of the most potent assumptions is that the world should be seen in terms of its usefulness to the West, not humanity. This leads journalists to make a distinction between people who matter and people who don’t matter."

(The Progressive Interview, by David Barsamian, November 2002, http://www.progressive.org/nov02/intv1102.html)

Put crudely, the impoverished people of Iraq do not matter to the top 5% of the British population who own 45% of the nation’s wealth and who run the country.

Elite journalists are very much members of this 5% club. And so they take for granted that democracy‚ for Iraqis means the freedom to make ’reasonable’ choices as defined by the people who matter. To do otherwise is not to express democratic freedom of choice, it is to invite bombing and invasion.

The disregard for the people of Iraq - as clearly evidenced by long-standing Western support for Saddam Hussein, and by the genocidal sanctions imposed from 1990 to 2003 - makes the sudden determination ’’to bring them liberty and democracy’’ very hard to swallow.

GUYS WITH TURBANS

How do we know democracy has come? Newsnight‚s Jon Leyne explained. He noted that the victorious Shia United Iraqi Alliance needed to choose a new Iraqi prime minister. There were two main candidates, "both religious Shiites, but also both acceptable to the Americans".

Acceptable, in other words, to a superpower army occupying the country and launching major military offensives against centres of population. Now that’s democracy!

Leyne continued: "We call them a religious Shiite alliance... but they’re very sensitive to what the Americans would feel if guys with turbans took over this country."

’’Guys with turbans’’ sounds like a polite version of ’’towel heads’’. But Leyne had a point - everyone knows that Brent Scowcroft, national security adviser to Bush I, was stating obvious truth when he said in April 2003:

"What’s going to happen the first time we hold an election in Iraq and it turns out the radicals win? What do you do?

We’re surely not going to let them take over." (Quoted, Walter Gibbs, ’’Scowcroft Urges Wide Role For the UN in Postwar Iraq’’ - The New York Times, April 9, 2003)

Everyone knows it, but still every journalist under the sun describes the Iraqi election as ’’democratic’’ and ’’successful’’ - superb examples of what 20th century American foreign affairs advisor Reinhold Niebuhr called ’’necessary illusions’’ and ’’emotionally potent over-simplifications’’.

Leyne added that bringing the Sunnis into the political process might not stop the suicide bombers, but it could split the insurgency and drain popular support.

Nowhere in Newsnight‚s review of the election results was there mention of whether the political process might help lessen the far worse violence committed against Iraqis by the US-UK „coalition„. Last year, a report in The Lancet found that eighty-four per cent of an excess 100,000 Iraqi deaths since the invasion had been caused by the actions of "coalition" forces, with 95 per cent of those deaths due to air strikes and artillery.

(http://www.jhsph.edu/Press_Room/Press_Releases/PR_2004/Burnham_Iraq.html)

Newsnight also failed to mention the prospects for alleviating the ’’coalition’s’’ criminal mismanagement of its already illegal occupation. A 2004 post-war nutritional assessment carried out by UNICEF in Baghdad found that acute child malnutrition or wasting had nearly doubled from four per cent in 2003, to almost eight per cent.

UNICEF also report that the under-5 infant mortality for 2003 was 110,000 in occupied Iraq, 292,000 in occupied Afghanistan, as compared to 1,000 in the invading and occupying country Australia (countries that have populations of 25, 24 and 20 million, respectively).

(Cited, Gideon Polya, ’’Non-reportage of US-linked infant mass mortality’ - December 23, 2004, http://newswire.indymedia.org/en/newswire/2004/12/816196.shtml)

As if reporting this catastrophe from some far-distant galaxy, the New York Times describes Iraq as „a country with high unemployment, mediocre public services and some of the highest crime rates in the world’’. (Adriana Lins de Albuquerque, Micahel O’Hanlon and Amy Unikwiicz, ’’The State of Iraq: An Update’’ - The New York Times, February 21, 2005)

WHAT FUTURE HISTORIANS WILL SAY

In the autumn of 1999 US Vice President Dick Cheney - then CEO of Halliburton - said:

"Oil companies are expected to keep developing enough oil to offset oil depletion and also to meet new demand... So where is this oil going to come from?... The Middle East with two-thirds of the world’s oil and the lowest cost is still where the prize ultimately lies."

(Quoted, Ray McGovern, ’’We Need the Oil, Right? So What’s the Problem?’’ - Truthout, http://uruknet.info/?s1=2&p=9699&s2=16)

Reviewing these comments, Ray McGovern, a CIA analyst for 27 years, notes that it will be entirely obvious to future historians that oil was a key factor in the decision to invade Iraq:

„They will point to growing US dependence on foreign oil, the competition with China, India, and others for a world oil supply with terminal illness, and the fact that (as Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz has put it) Iraq ’’swims on a sea of oil. It will all seem so obvious as to provoke little more than a yawn.’’ (Ibid)

But for now a very different version prevails as the ’common sense’ view. To select at random, the Daily Telegraph notes:
„The success of the election does not absolve Britain and the United States from their duty as guardians of democracy. That role has historically been the destiny of the English-speaking peoples.’’ (Leader, ’’The people of Iraq speak’’ - The Daily Telegraph, February 14, 2005)

At a stroke Britain and the United States are transformed from illegal invaders on utterly false pretexts, the killers of more than 100,000 Iraqi civilians, into ’’guardians of democracy’’.

Alas, one group of people rejects the Telegraph’s view: the Iraqis themselves. A recent US-run poll of Baghdadis showed that one per cent agreed that the goal of the invasion was to bring democracy to Iraq. Five per cent thought the goal was to help Iraqis.

The majority assumed the US wants to control Iraq’s resources and to use its new bases there to control the region. Demonstrating insight far beyond the capacity of most Western journalists, Baghdadis felt that the US did want ’’democracy’’, but not one that would allow Iraqis to run their lives "without US pressure and influence."

(Quoted, Noam Chomsky, ’’Imperial Presidency’’ - Canadian Dimension, January/February 2005, http://www.chomsky.info/articles/20041217.htm)

All of this will indeed one day be obvious. But not now, for we live in a time when the conforming influence of concentrated political and economic power has devastated the media‚s capacity for honest and rational thought.

As long as journalists continue to submit to this oppression of the human spirit, they will continue to be complicit in the gravest imaginable crimes against humanity.

SUGGESTED ACTION

The goal of Media Lens is to promote rationality, compassion and respect for others. In writing letters to journalists, we strongly urge readers to maintain a polite, non-aggressive and non-abusive tone.

Write to Peter Marshall - Email: peter.marshall@bbc.co.uk

Jon Leyne - Email: jon.leyne@bbc.co.uk

Newsnight editor, Peter Barron - Email: peter.barron@bbc.co.uk

Please also send all emails to us at Media Lens - Email: editor@medialens.org
This is a free service. However, financial support is vital. Currently only one of us is able to work full-time on this project. Please consider giving less to the corporate media and donating more to Media Lens: http://www.medialens.org/donate.html
Visit the Media Lens website: http://www.medialens.org

FOOTNOTES/LINKS TO THE ABOVE:

Annan: ’The war in Iraq is illegal’ -BBC - Url.: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/3661134.stm

’’The Lancet’’ and the ’’Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’’ report: ’’Over 100.000 killed in the illegal Iraq war’’ - Url.: http://tinyurl.com/5gys7

Bush interv. ABC: No WMD’s but many killed: "It was worth it" - Url.: http://tinyurl.com/6bal9

Former Secr. of State Madeleine Albright in her comment on half a million dead children in Iraq: "We think it’s worth it" On CBS 60’ Minutes - Url.: http://tinyurl.com/2vmc8

Iraq Body Count - Url.: http://www.iraqbodycount.net/

A crime against humanity is an act of persecution against a group, so heinous as to warrant punishment under international law: Please scroll - Url.: http://tinyurl.com/6rphj

Latest international ’Google News’ on the fake election and the violence in Iraq - Url.: http://tinyurl.com/42krg

Former PM Kok - and other Dutch Government’s war criminals - heard in Court - Url: http://tinyurl.com/662pp - It can be done!

Fwd. by:

FOREIGN PRESS FOUNDATION
http://tinyurl.com/4ar5e
Editor : Henk Ruyssenaars
http://tinyurl.com/6v8ru
The Netherlands
FPF@Chello.nl

http://www.cmaq.net/fr/node.php?id=19998

Forum posts

  • I don’t know who made this observation first, but it is undeniably true that the "Mainstream," or "Establishment" media is an integral part of what Eisenhower called the "Military/Industrial Complex."

  • The Web-accessible Searchable Archives of the mainstream Anglo-American media have provided devastating evidence of the massive EXTENT of media Lying by Commission and Omission over UK-US war crimes.

    Arguably one of the BIGGEST LIES of history is that about the Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs) – this lie was massively presented by the mainstream media to billions worldwide and enabled the illegal 2003 US-UK invasion of Iraq that has SO FAR been associated with about 0.4 million avoidable Iraqi deaths.

    The pre-war Bush-Blair claim of Iraqi WMDs was rejected by experts and millions of sensible people world-wide in the absence of any concrete evidence - and it has finally been laid to rest recently by a huge US investigation team that failed to find anything after nearly 2 years of scouring Iraq.

    UN and UNICEF data show that the under-5 infant mortality in Iraq has been 1.2 million since 1991 and 0.2 million since the US invasion in 2003. The total post-invasion avoidable deaths in Iraq total about 0.4 million. The post-2001 avoidable mortality and under-5 infant mortality in conquered Afghanistan total 1.2 million and 0.9 million, respectively.

    However the total post-1950 under-5 infant mortality (also calculated from publicly-accessible UN data) has been 870 million for the World, 840 million for the First World-devastated Third World and about 400 million for the Muslim World. This horrendous, post-1950 Third World under-5 infant mortality has been largely avoidable and correlates with malignant and often violent First World impositions – and is surely the GREATEST CRIME IN HISTORY.

    Nevertheless, an English-language Advanced Google Search for “WMD”, “weapons of mass destruction” and Iraq plus “weapons of mass destruction” has yielded 3.1, 4.1 and 3.5 million results, respectively – indicative of massive media coverage of the Big Lie.

    In contrast, Advanced Google Searching for the phrases “under-5 infant mortality” and “under-five infant mortality” has yielded meagre results of 394 and 125, respectively (and 284 and 11, respectively, if Polya is included in the Search, reflecting my success with Alternative Media in humane attempts to inform the World – see http://members.optusnet.com.au/~gpolya/links.html).

    Similar but more specific results can be obtained by directly addressing the Searchable Archives of major newspapers and media groups. The Anglo-American mainstream media are overwhelmingly guilty of simultaneous Lying by Commission about one of the biggest lies of history and Lying by Omission about the biggest crime in human history.

    Exposure of this mendacious mainstream media complicity in Anglo-American “democratic imperialism” (democratic Nazism) applied to Afghanistan and Iraq may help constrain further illegal Anglo-American violence throughout the World that has been foreshadowed in the 2005 Presidential Inauguration.

    Countries presently under acute threat and "targeted" recently by the US Administration include Belarus, Burma, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela and Zimbabwe.

    Dr Gideon Polya
    29 Dwyer Street, Macleod, Melbourne, Victoria, 3085, Australia
    e-mail: gpolya@optusnet.com.au
    Website: http://members.optusnet.com.au/~gpolya/links.html
    Day & night telephone: +61 3 9459 3649
    Credentials: Dr Gideon Polya published some 130 works in a 4 decade scientific career, most recently a huge pharmacological reference text "Biochemical Targets of Plant Bioactive Compounds" (Taylor & Francis, New York & London, 2003), and is currently writing a book on global mortality - numerous articles on this matter can be found by a simple Google search for "Gideon Polya" or consulting his website: http://members.optusnet.com.au/~gpolya/links.html

    • cmag and dr polya thank you for a most informative and comprehensive account of this very real problem - of how the media are complicit in the greatest examples of mass-murder we have ever seen.
      if in some future time the world comes to its collective senses and all the perpetrators of the phony 911 attacks and subsequent ruthless wars that they justified are brought to trial - then hot on their heels should be all the heads of the mainstream media for supporting these atrocities and crimes against humanity.