Media Misinformation Roundup: How the BBC and the Guardian transform torture into bad PR and “history” for the occupiers By William Bowles

19 February 2006

Ghraib 1

The Western propaganda onslaught is relentless and most goes unnoticed largely because it appears to be ‘objective’ reporting. What is important to note with this alleged news is the insidious nature of the way events are presented to us, cloaked in seemingly innocuous language, yet an entire mindset is embedded in the way events are presented. Take this piece on the BBC’s Website:

Oil attacks costing Iraq $6.25bn

Iraqi oil exports have been hit by attacks on oil pipelines

Attacks by insurgents on Iraq’s oil industry cost the country $6.25bn (£3.6bn) in lost revenue during 2005, according to the Iraqi oil ministry.

A total of 186 attacks were carried out on oil sites last year, claiming the lives of 47 engineers and 91 police and security guards, a spokesman said.

Iraq’s government has been struggling in the wake of a violent insurgency following the US-led invasion in 2003. news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/4729178.stm

Hidden in this piece of newspeak are a couple of assumptions about the cause of the losses. Firstly, surely it’s the illegal occupation that’s responsible for the losses, not the resistance which has every right to use whatever means necessary to make the USUK occupation untenable, especially depriving them of the oil that belongs to the Iraqi people.

Secondly, the piece uses the phrase “violent insurgency following the US-led invasion in 2003″. Surely the invasion, which led to at least 100,000 deaths, was violent, so why doesn’t the article say ‘following the violent invasion…’? The “violent insurgency” is in reality a quite legitimate and legal response to an invasion that broke every international treaty the US and the UK are party to.

Abugraib2

And in another piece of BBC newspeak:

The return of Abu Ghraib

By Paul Reynolds
World Affairs correspondent, BBC News website

The images come amid tensions between Muslims and the West

Abu Ghraib has come back to haunt the US government.

The latest pictures from the prison are another disaster for the image of the US presence in Iraq (formally an occupation at the time the photos were probably taken, in 2003).

They could hardly have come out at a worse time, amid the furore over the Danish cartoons and immediately after the emergence of a video showing British troops beating up Iraqi protesters. news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/4717486.stm

Note that the article phrases the release of the thousands of photos and videos as a “disaster for the image of the US presence in Iraq”. So as far as the BBC is concerned, it’s merely an PR problem!

It then compounds the media reporting crime by going on to tell us that the release “could hardly have come out at a worse time” but fails to mention the fact that both the Danish cartoon publication as well as the damning video of Brit occupation troops beating up Iraqis are all the result of US and British policies in Iraq and Afghanistan and for whipping up a xenophobic frenzy about Muslims.

And in another piece, also on the BBC Website we read:

The BBC’s James Coomarasamy in Washington says it seems there is little political or indeed public appetite for a painful wound to be reopened, and the images are getting less prominence in the US media than elsewhere. news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/4718328.stm

How does Coomarasamy arrive at the conclusion that there seems “little political or indeed public appetite for a painful wound to be reopened”? Because the corporate press has downplayed the release of images, that’s why and hence public response is understandably muted.

“Painful wound”? Painful for the US government which obviously doesn’t want public exposure of its crimes nor of course does it want the public to get involved in any kind of meaningful debate about the reality of the illegal occupation.

It’s the kind of BBC ‘reporting’ above that removes the culpability of the US and British governments in these crimes against humanity that above all else leads to a public that fails to condemn its murderous leaders.

In the Guardian we find a comparable whitewash of Abu Ghraib and one limited to a couple of paras!

Ghraib 4

Images of Abu Ghraib return to haunt US

Saturday February 18, 2006
The Guardian

Just as the scandal of US treatment of Iraqi prisoners in Abu Ghraib was seeping into a murky area of American history, an Australian television company reignited the issue by broadcasting new and more chilling images of torture at the Iraqi prison. As the White House tried to fend off a new wave of international anger, Salon, an American website, posted 546 images of dead detainees and 1,325 images of abuse, from a leaked US army investigation report into the abuse.

As the administration fought this fire, another started nearby, when a UN report into the detention camp at Guantánamo Bay called for its closure and accused the US of continuing to use torture there.
www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,,1712462,00.html?gusrc=rss#article_continue

“American history”? “Reignited the issue”? So does this mean that the Guardian considers torture, murder and rape not an “issue” merely because it happened two years ago?

Furthermore, it sidestep the fact that suppressing the events served to downplay the scale of the obscenity that is the USUK occupation by misleading the public into assuming that they were an ‘exception’ rather than the rule of imperial aggression. It’s all very well the Guardian relegating war crimes to its dustbin of history as it attempts to do in this short piece, but it sure ain’t history for the victims or their families!

Likewise events that are contemporaneous have been relegated to history by the Guardian and according to the Guardian’s thoroughly twisted logic (never mind use of language), it’s a “murky” one, though it fails to explain what’s murky about officially sanctioned torture and death.

Note that in both the Guardian and the BBC’s coverage there is not a single mention of the fact that all of the events that both media outlets would rather we not be concerned with, break a raft of international laws and surely that’s the point as to why these crimes are merely a “murky” part of US “history” and in the other a case of really bad PR for the occupiers.

Folks, doesn’t it make you want throw up that we are daily subjected to this kind of obscene reporting of events. How much longer should we put up with this kind of crap. It’s time these smug apologists for imperial power are called to task.

Write to these whores of capital and tell ‘em what you think

Helen Boaden: HelenBoaden.Complaints@bbc.co.uk

Paul Reynolds: Paul.Reynolds-INTERNET@bbc.co.uk

Guardian editor, Alan Rusbridger: alan.rusbridger@guardian.co.uk

Guardian readers’ editor, Ian Mayes: reader@guardian.co.uk

Simon Tisdall, Guardian leader writer on foreign affairs: simon.tisdall@guardian.co.uk

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