Advertising private enterprise By William Bowles

27 May 2003

At last, the truth is out. Bremer’s ‘state of the dis-union’ address this past weekend spelled out the real reason for the invasion of Iraq; the protection of private ownership as the best guarantee of political freedom. This was on BBC Radio 4 news but when I came to find this quote in the Guardian, the Independent or even on the BBC website, no luck, this critical quote was nowhere to be found. One has to ask the question why as it goes to the very heart of the issue of why the US invaded Iraq.

I continued to search other news sites including the New York Times and the closest I could get was the following:

”A free economy and a free people go hand in hand,” said Bremer, a former State Department anti-terrorism official who took over the civilian operation in Iraq on May 12.” (AP, May 26, 2003). But all trace of the interview I heard on BBC radio has strangely disappeared from our ‘information overloaded’ environment.

The AP story goes on to tell us:

‘While Garner was perceived as rough-hewn, Bremer’s smooth style and his efforts to court the media through more frequent public appearances and decrees that keep his name in the newssuggest his handlers realize a higher profile must be maintained.’ (AP, May 26, 2003)

High profile? Name in the news? What is interesting about the media’s coverage of the post-invasion situation is precisely the almost complete lack of coverage of the situation even if, like me you’re prepared to listen to the radio, watch the TV, read a whole bunch of stuff all over the place, like this interesting ‘snippet’ on Bremer’s plans for the privatisation of Iraq’s business.

But interestingly, the search page on the NYT was sponsored by, guess who? Marsh Crisis Consulting which delivers ‘Crisis Readiness Solutions’, the company that L Paul Bremer III runs.

Suicide bomber or national liberation fighter? Today’s Independent (27/05/03) has the following headline:

‘The story of Hiba, 19, a suicide bomber. Can the road-map put an end to all this?’

The story has a gigantic (4 columns wide by half a page high) photograph of 19 year-old Hiba (replete with a pure white costume) looking more like the Virgin Mary than anything else.

‘Even her family is baffled’ open’s the Independent’s piece ‘that Hiba Daraghmeh insisted on covering herself from head to toe in a dark brown, all enveloping robe at all times’. What is this, a fashion review or a news story about a desperate nation driven to commit desperate acts?

‘Only her almond-shaped eyes were visible to the outside world’ which is not what the photograph reveals even the one used on the Independent’s website, which strangely, is different than the one used in the print edition. Or is it? Does the version used in the print edition make her look more ‘martyred’ I wonder?

Hiba: The Independent’s Website Photo
Hiba: The Independent’s print edition photo

In any case, the front page article says absolutely nothing about why this young woman died except the predictable references to ‘Islamic fundamentalism’, her ‘religious zeal’ and that ‘She used to pray for two hours, standing, stooping and kneeling in devotion’ her eldest sister, Jihan tells us. But the Independent’s writer qualifies this statement by adding, ‘She demonstrated that in her religious obsession.’ Demonstrated what? Oh, the fact that according to her sister, ‘She saw herself as a special person.’ I’ll leave you to sort out the logic of it.

It then goes on with multiple column inches of personal stuff which would have been at home in the House and Garden but in no way does it deal with the fundamental issue of why this young woman felt so desperate that she was prepared to die, except the implied reason that she was driven by religious ‘obsession’. We have her family home described to us even down to what kinds of trees there are in the garden (since dynamited by the Israelis as part of their illegal ‘collective punishment’ regime) and that her brother was shot in Nablus in a demonstration, which ‘visibly affected her’. He was later arrested for weapons possession and carrying out attacks for the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, events which surely call into question the reason posited for her ‘suicide’ as being religiously motivated.

Ironically, the story next to the lead is titled:

‘THE ISRAELI EXTREME Settlers vow: We will never leave’

Need I say more?


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