The BBC: premier propagandist for the imperium By William Bowles

10 February 2005

Zarqawi 1Washington, DC, Feb. 8 (UPI) — If the serial decapitator Abu Musab al-Zarqawi did not exist, then the Bush administration, the Atlantic Alliance and the rest of the civilized world might have to invent him.
‘Walker’s World: Why Rice should thank Zarqawi’ By Martin Walker
UPI Editor.

I have written about the mythological Abu Musab al-Zarqawi several times before as have other writers. The question we need to ask is why does the state and hence its servant, the corporate media have need of such a ‘person’? Walker’s article opened with the quote above, a very revealing statement but one that I made here some time last year but for very different reasons.

Walker goes on:

This poisonous Jordanian terrorist has done the world a service. Almost at a stroke he has eased away the accumulated grievances between Washington and Paris, between America and Europe, by couching the struggle in Iraq in terms that force even the French onto the side of President Bush.

Walker bases his assertion on the following quote by the alleged Zarqawi:

“We are at war with democracy,” Zarqawi declared, in an announcement that coincided with the Iraqi elections on Jan. 30. “Democracy is an evil principle.”

Zarqawi2How convenient of ‘Zarqawi’ who, in common with ‘Osama bin Laden’ manages to say just the ‘right’ thing at just the ‘right’ time. Walker goes on to say:

Zarqawi’s timing was perfect. His fighting words came just in time to guarantee Condi Rice a splendid hearing in Paris; just in time to help Tony Blair explain to the House of Commons why Britain and the United States could now start to think in terms of reducing their troop numbers; just in time to help sweeten the double cease-fire announcement from Israeli and Palestinian leaders in Sharm el-Sheikh.

Odd coming from a ‘news’-paper owned by the Reverend Sun Myung Moon of Unification Church fame. The good reverend, convicted tax fraudster (18 months in a federal slammer), friend of the former dictator of South Korea, Park and buddy of Richard Nixon, Jerry Falwell, Tim LaHaye and George W. Bush. The Unification Church also owns a major news syndication network UPI and has been a long time backer of the World Anti-Communist League that has ties to former Latin American death squads, WWII Nazis still wanted for war crimes. WACL also supported the Nicaraguan contras and the Apartheid created and supported Mozambique RENAMO terrorist organisation. (see for more on the WACL).

Walker’s (UPI) piece ends with the following:

So once again, thanks to Zarqawi, who now takes a humble place at the feet of Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin as other ogres who helped unite the West, and remind the quarrelsome European and American democrats just what it is that unites them.

Zarqawi 1And in fact, ‘Zarqawi’s press release’ formed a substantial basis for Condi Rice’s propaganda offensive when she visited Europe after being crowned US secretary of state and how convenient it was too that Zarqawi should made his statement when he did, just before the Iraq ‘elections’.

The unquestioning acceptance by the Western media of Zarqawi’s existence is all the more amazing when you consider that before Colin Powell’s embarrassing speech at the UN that sought to justify the invasion of Iraq with an outrageous litany of lies and fabrications, nobody had heard of the man, who is now, we are told “Osama’s right-hand man” or sometimes as his “disciple”. A man who was widely reported as having been killed when the US bombed his ‘poison factory’ in Northern Iraq in 2003. The ‘factory’, yet another fabrication of Western propaganda, most likely the CIA, figured highly in Powell’s UN speech.

Zarqawi2The BBC: Premier propagandist for the Imperium

One would think that with such an obvious coincidence of ‘press releases’ that ‘coincide’ so fortuitously with events like elections, eyebrows would be raised, or at the very least, questions asked about the timing and the content. A search of the BBC’s Website revealed 299 articles that mentioned Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Searching through them we find not a single article that raises any questions about his existence or the timing of statements allegedly made by him. Every article accepts without question the utterances of the US goverment.

One article dated 24 January 2005 tells us:

Zarqawi – who tops Iraq’s most wanted list – has apparently declared war on Iraq’s election.

In another ‘news’ piece dated 23 January 2005 the BBC tells us:

Zarqawi has claimed responsibility for many bombings and beheadings in Iraq.

Correspondents say the voice on the latest recording sounded similar to that on other messages attributed to the fugitive, whose group is linked to al-Qaeda.

Zarqawi 1But we are not told who the attribution belongs to, and who, exactly linked ‘Zarqawi’s group to al-Qaeda’? The only source is not surprisingly the CIA but the BBC neglects to mention this fact, nor the wealth of background material on the role of the CIA in fabricating evidence about Zarqawi. We are asked to take these statements as fact.

Every single article by the BBC on ‘Zarqawi’ has in fact only one source, the US (or its puppet, the Allawi regime). Typically, the BBC, along with other corporate/state-run media outlets always frame their stories in the following manner:

Yet despite offering a $25m reward for information leading to his capture or death, he remains at large and is thought to have stepped up attacks ahead of elections scheduled to take place in three weeks time. ‘US hails arrest of Iraq militant’, BBC 8 January 2005 [my emph. WB]

Thought by whom? We are not told. In its coverage of the destruction of Fallujah, the BBC uncritically relays US propaganda via ‘embedded?’ journalist Nick Childs when he tells us:

Insurgent casualties he [US general Metz] described as significant but acknowledged that many of the leaders – including Abu Musab al-Zarqawi – had probably fled.

Who is Metz acknowledging? A question by Childs? The BBC’s reportage is relentless and consistent in the tried and trusted propaganda method of repeating a statement over and over again until it becomes accepted as a statement of fact. Hence we read in a story dated 8 November 2004:

The message, signed “al-Qaeda in Iraq”, was posted on a website known for publishing messages from Islamic militant groups.


No attempt is made to ascertain whether the Website is a genuine source, again we are asked to take it on faith. And in fact, in another piece the BBC accepts that there is no way of substantiating who actually releases these statements. But in the overall scheme of things, this is a piddling detail. What counts is the impression created of a global conspiracy led by a former small-time crook from Jordan who became a paid asset of the CIA in Afghanistan in the 1980s.

In story after story, the existence of ‘Zarqawi’ is not questioned, nor his alleged role in Iraq. Instead the BBC, faithful puppet that it is of the US/UK propaganda machine regurgitates the same story,

Zarqawi aide ‘dies in air strike’

A close associate of Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has been killed in a US air strike on the Iraqi city of Falluja, the US military has said.

Planes attacked what was believed to be safe house used by Zarqawi in a “precision strike” at 0300 (midnight GMT) on Tuesday, the statement said. BBC, 26 October 2004 [my emph. WB]

The repetitious use of the words ‘believed’ and the unquestioning use of US disinformation as its sole source for the almost three hundred stories that mention Zarqawi, should surely test the credulity of the BBC and at the very least, the reader should demand to know why there is not a single story that raises the issue of whether these stories should be presented as news and why is there no alternative presented given that every last BBC story is based on hearsay or US government sources.

Zarqawi 1

A story dated 18 October 2004, and revealingly entitled “Zarqawi and Bin Laden: Brothers in arms?” is the closest we get to any kind of question concerning Zarqawi and his alleged relationship to al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden:

It [referring to another of the alleged Zarqawi Website statements] begins with a personal pledge of allegiance from Zarqawi and his fighters to Osama Bin Laden. But what is the evidence for his relationship with al-Qaeda – and for his status as the mastermind of the Iraq insurgency?

The statement has not been authenticated and verifying the author of web postings is almost impossible.

As I have reported here before, ascertaining who owns the Website takes only a few minutes, so at the very least, the BBC could tell is where the story originates from, if not who the actual author is.

The same article goes on to say:

But even the suggestion of some kind of alliance marks another twist in the much disputed tale of the relationship between Zarqawi and Bin Laden.

What relationship and who asserts that the two actually have a relationship? Read on…

Few have doubted that there have been contacts, but the generally accepted view so far has been that Zarqawi had constructed his own parallel network which may have in some ways been in competition with that of Bin Laden’s al-Qaeda. [my emph. WB]

“Few have doubted”? “Generally accepted view”? By whom? We are not told. It’s all grist for the BBC’s propaganda mill and even though the same article is forced to accept that there is not a single shred of evidence to support either a relationship between Zarqawi and al-Qaeda or even of the existence of a “global jihadist movement”, this doesn’t stop the BBC from telling us:

Some had even begun to suggest that with Osama Bin Laden now strangely absent from the scene for a prolonged period, Zarqawi could become the new figurehead of the global jihadist movement. [my emph. WB]

Or that:

Since the start of the Iraq insurgency, Zarqawi has steadily risen to prominence as the symbol of the Iraq insurgency in the same way Osama Bin Laden has been the symbol of the global Islamist insurgency. [my emph. WB]


Failing to add ‘with the able assistance of the BBC’ and other corporate/state media outlets. Note also the use of the phrase “global Islamist insurgency”, yet another fallacy, for there is not a single shred of evidence to support the existence of a “global Islamist insurgency”.

And in a bizarre reversal of roles, the same BBC article says:

It is not just a question of others perhaps exaggerating his role. Zarqawi himself has proved adept at playing the media. [my emph. WB]

Again assuming that the man exists, just who is playing whom here? Zarqawi only ‘plays the media’ because the media plays the role of propagandist for the US/UK. Take the following, also from the same article:

Recent evidence also points to the possibility that the Baathist former regime loyalists may still be playing a more active role than has recently been assumed even if that is in co-operation with Zarqawi. [my emph. WB]

What evidence? You’ll search the BBC in vain for a single corroborating article that contains a single piece of evidence that proves a connection between Zarqawi and former Ba’athists or even that ‘former Ba’athists‘ are involved. Once more we are forced to accept the BBC’s utterances on faith. The BBC’s real mission is revealed by the following:

The US and Iraqi interim government will be hoping that recent signs in Falluja that residents have become increasingly angry at the way the presence of foreign fighters has made them a target may be just the beginning of a falling away of support for Zarqawi and others. [my emph. WB]

For contained in this statement are two crucial pieces of propaganda: one, that Fallujah was occupied by “foreign fighters”, and two, that their alleged presence made the residents “angry”. And where is the evidence of the ‘recent signs’ that the BBC refers to? Not in the article or anywhere else on the BBC Website either. It’s yet another ‘throwaway’ line that makes the mosaic of propaganda.

Zarqawi 1Perhaps the most outrageous piece of BBC propaganda is to be found in article entitled “Who’s who in al-Qaeda” where we find a ‘profile’ of Zarqawi that informs us in part, that:

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian also known as Ahmed al-Khalayleh, has been accused of spearheading al-Qaeda’s campaign against the US occupation in Iraq.

In February 2004, the US military released a letter it claimed to have intercepted in which Zarqawi apparently asks al-Qaeda to help ignite a sectarian conflict in Iraq.

His name has been linked to the deadly suicide bombings targeting Iraqi Shias and security services. He is also suspected of direct involvement in the kidnappings and execution of foreign workers in Iraq.

A $25m bounty has been placed on his head – although some experts believe that much terrorist activity in Iraq – while inspired by him – may now take place independently of him. His capture, they therefore argue, is unlikely to stop the violence.

The head of Germany’s international counter-terrorism unit, Hans-Josef Beth, has warned that Zarqawi is trained in the use of toxins and could be planning an attack on Europe.

He is believed to have travelled extensively since the 11 September attacks, including in Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Syria, Lebanon and Turkey.

In February 2003, during an address to the United Nations Security Council, US Secretary of State Colin Powell said Mr Zarqawi had been given safe haven in Iraq, although Mr Powell has subsequently said that some of that testimony was based on information that appeared not to be “solid”. [my emph. WB]


As solid as air. So whilst all 299 BBC stories (over 300,000 words in total) that mention Zarqawi hold not a single piece of evidence as to his real as opposed to alleged role in Iraq (or anywhere else for that matter), the overall impression created by the BBC’s coverage forms an integral part of an intensive state-led propaganda offensive that obscures the real reasons for resistance to the occupation of Iraq and of the larger propaganda campaign that legitimates the phony ‘war on terror’.


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