There’s News, News and then there’s damn lies! By William Bowles

29 May 2003

Am I angry or what?

The front pages of many of the newspapers in the UK today carried stories about Blair’s lies over the reasons for invading Iraq. The Independent carried the headline:

‘The case for war is blown apart’ (29/05/03)

Well good for them is all I can say but the reality is, as Blair and co scramble to cover their tracks over just one of the more obvious fabrications created to justify the (illegal) invasion, the real issues still seem to escape examination by the media even when it runs them over.

The BBC this morning, talking like it was walking on soft-boiled eggs, sought to deflect the issue by not exactly accusing the government of lying but on the other hand, implying that it was some kind of ‘blurring’ of the line between truth (whatever that is in media-speak) and ‘mis-interpretation’. The leaked memo which has exposed the government’s lies, supposedly from the intelligence agencies and which has caused all the fuss, centres around the infamous ’45-minutes’ that Saddam had to launch his WMDs, which according to the memo was from a ‘single source’, whereas the intelligence agencies need at least two sources before they’ll consider the information reliable.

The memo also referred to the fact that the draft document which was released last September with much fanfare was heavily amended in the week before its publication (to include Blair’s 45-minute scenario) because, we are told, ‘it wasn’t sexy enough’. Not sexy enough? Not inflammatory enough would be closer to the truth, though of course, the craven BBC wouldn’t dream of accusing the government of actually lying to us in order to justify a war that it knew the vast majority of the public were opposed to. Instead, we’re left hanging in mid-air, with the ‘truth’ swinging in the breeze, neither one thing nor the other, until one supposes, like all the other questions the media refuses to ask let alone demand answers to, get blown away on the winds of time.

Of course the UK government has denied fabricating proof, using the ‘evidence’ given to it by the intelligence agencies as an out. And to add to their troubles, Rumsfeld’s statement that, ‘It is…possible that they [Iraq] decided that they would destroy them prior to a conflict and I don’t know the answer’, has just added fuel to the flames.

But what is most infuriating about all the news coverage whether from a supposedly pro- or anti-war position, is that not a single news outlet will ask the question, why?

Why the lies? Why the need to fabricate if the issue is so clear cut? Why the desperate desire to go to war? And as the weeks and months pass, and the governments of USUK have retreated from such strongly held positions to the point where they are now, the burning question of why, is still not being addressed.

The Independent’s editorial for example, makes Blair’s ‘credibility’ the centre of its critique but finally, in the last paragraph belatedly asks the question,

‘We are left with two possibilities: either Mr Blair believed what he was telling the Commons and the public, in which case he was culpably naïve. Or he lied in order to justify a war he supported for other reasons.’

Other reasons? What other reasons? We search in vain for anything that remotely suggests that the Independent has any desire to search for or even suggest the other reasons. Talk about being in denial! Yet the burning issue is still the real reason why the USUK went to war if it wasn’t to destroy the WMDs? And it won’t go away no matter how much the media prevaricate. But of course to investigate the ‘other reasons’ would mean challenging the entire rationale of the USUK’s foreign policy and especially its hypocritical application of its supposed commitment to ‘human rights and democracy’. Which brings me to at least one of the reasons why:

Is the world a safer place?

In the same issue, the Independent carries a story head-lined:

‘War on terror leaves world in fear, says Amnesty’

”The UNITED STATES and Britain are using the ‘war on terror’ as a pretext to abuse human rights and their oppressive actions have made the world ‘more insecure than since the Cold War’, Amnesty International said yesterday.”

The report, which according to the Independent’s writer is ‘controversial’ (Why? Just in case you get the idea that the Independent actually agrees with AI or even more dangerous, that it might actually be true?), goes on to say that:

‘The US continues to pick and choose which bits of its obligations under international law it will use, and when it will use them.’

Why, one must ask, was there no reference to this report in the Independent’s editorial, given the obvious linkage between the lies we are being told and the increasing repression we all live under and the invasion? The UK’s Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act, the US’s ‘Patriot Act’ [sic] have all fueled the climate of paranoia being created as part of the propaganda campaign designed to create an atmosphere conducive to waging war against anybody who voices opposition to the USUK’s imperialist agenda.

One would expect any honest journalist (are there any left?) to raise these questions. Instead, events occur in some kind of a-historical vacuum, emerging out of nowhere and for no particular reason other than the suggestion of ‘naivety’ or for ‘other reasons’. One is left feeling totally frustrated and angry with the dissembling and prevarications of the mass media who finally, are patently either too cowardly to ask the question why, even when the answer stares them in face on another page. Or, is it stating the obvious when one comes to the conclusion that mass media serves a master who demands that reporting the ‘news’ means, ‘don’t rock the boat’ by asking the right questions, questions which might make the public ask questions of the people who drag us into wars for totally fabricated reasons.

The world we live in today has more in common with the world of 1914 than it does the 21st century, where comparable ‘reasons’ were piled onto a public to justify going to war with the ‘dastardly Hun’ and a generation of young men were slaughtered in their millions all in the name of ‘patriotism’ and ‘freedom’. Can you spot the difference?

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