5 April 2006
Condi ‘not nice’ Rice was given extensive and extremely favourable coverage by the BBC when she visited foreign minister Jack ‘the lights are on but nobody’s home’ Straw’s constituency in Blackburn Lancashire, last week.
And the Beeb PR pieces tracked Ms. Rice to Liverpool, then onto Baghad where they did some arm-twisting of the ‘prime minister’ of ‘independent’ Iraq.
Then it was back to Downing Street, no doubt to plan how to sell us Phase II of the PNAC, taking out Iran and pushing the ‘final’ frontier further Eastward.
Not that you’d know it from BBC ‘news’ reports as it seems that the BBC was reporting from what appears to be an almost identical parallel universe that defies the laws of credibility by co-existing with the one you and I live in.
My pal ‘oop North’, Edward Teague wrote a series of on-the-scene reports on the visit (available on his Website, here, here, here, here and here) excerpts of which I’m including in an attempt to uncover how the BBC ended up in a universe that none of us recognise (henceforth known as Earth II).
What mechanism was used to transport such a vast and ponderous institution as the BBC into this alternate universe? Unnamed for fear of retribution (what else?) physicists speculate that secret work conducted under the cover of GCHQ and top secret government research institutes directed by the Foreign Office played a significant role in the relocation.
Some wild conspiracists have even speculated that the vast amounts of energy (or hot air to you and me) may have been used and could in fact be a contributing factor to global warming, a hypothesis I find somewhat farfetched but not without merit.
This remarkable phenomenon appears not to have gone unnoticed by the people of Blackburn as Teague’s on-the-spot reportage reveals.
So, whilst the BBC was telling its viewers that:
Earlier she and Mr Straw had arrived to noise from both protesters and supporters.
“I find them an exercise in democracy, I don’t find them off-putting or disconcerting,” she told reporters.
Mr Straw described crowds of supporters outside as “remarkable” and dismissed the number of demonstrators as “not large”. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/4866786.stm
My gallant colleague recorded the actual extent of the supporters’ presence, all two of them. Note the rain on Earth II, whilst on Earth I the country is experiencing the driest winter in 100 years.
Photo by Edward Teague
The best the BBC could come up with was the following:
The pair did not pause, as they had earlier, to wave at supporters who had gathered further down the street.
Judith Hodgkinson, 35, from Blackburn, who was among the supporters, said: “I think it is a major coup for Blackburn that she (Ms Rice) is here.
” She’s a very powerful woman and she makes very important decisions. To me it’s astonishing to have a person like that in a town like Blackburn.”
Mrs Hodgkinson’s view contrasted with protesters who booed Ms Rice and branded her a “war criminal”.
The BBC doesn’t tell us the actual number of ‘supporters’. Instead the BBC’s report creates the impression that supporters and protestors were equal in numbers.
And in another story from Earth II, under the heading “In pictures: Rice visit protests” (a typically murky Beeb headline), the BBC has a series of seven photos, of which only two are actually of protestors, the rest are what are known on Earth I as puff pieces.
It’s obvious however that the US media are still stuck on Earth I with the rest of us as the following stories reveal (it’s possible that the US media also report from an Earth III but that’s yet another story). Thus the New York Times told its readers:
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice faced more protests and public embarrassment here on Saturday that have turned a trip meant to be a friendly follow-up to an American trip by Foreign Secretary Jack Straw into a two-day run through a raucous, mishap-ridden gantlet.
She was heckled by protesters and faced criticism from Muslim leaders hand-selected to meet with her by the Foreign Office during a visit here.
Although the names of the 21 Muslim leaders had been made public, several of them requested that their names not be published or broadcast, for fear of repercussions. Five who agreed to be interviewed clearly feared they might be viewed as traitors. – ‘Rice Finds British Muslims Want to Give Her an Earful’ By JOEL BRINKLEY, New York Times April 2, 2006
Public embarrassment? Not according to the BBC, it’s all lovey-dovey like a day out at Margate with your babe.
And the Los Angeles Times told its readers:
Protests Continue for Rice in Britain
From the Associated Press April, 2 2006
BLACKBURN, England — A second day of loud antiwar protests greeted Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Saturday, and the top U.S. diplomat heard more subtle pleas for peace and tolerance from Christian and Muslim leaders in this multiethnic but divided northern town.
Well would you ever! It just lends further credence to the thesis of multiple realities co-existing and a theory fully justifed by the following paean to pornography in the Sunday Telegasp (comments by E.Teague (‘Lord Patel’)).
[Probably the most stomach wrenching weekend press piece of hagiography was Condimania By Elizabeth Day (Filed: 02/04/2006) Sunday Torygraph]
“The Dean of Blackburn is a holy man and, as such, is not generally touched by earthly desires. He has serious misgivings about the Iraq war. He is a sensible, mild-mannered sort of fellow, not given to unnecessary exaggeration. But that was yesterday. That was BC. Before Condoleezza.
“Oh, I thought she was charming,” says the Very Rev Christopher Armstrong, reflecting on his hour-long meeting with the US Secretary of State in Blackburn Cathedral. [He pauses. A playful half-smile curls his lips. His eyes glaze over slightly and gaze into the middle distance. It is as if he is recalling a particularly pleasing experience, such as winning the egg-and-spoon race at his primary school.
Condoleezza Rice left men powerless in her wake]
“She looks nice, she’s interesting, she’s very aware, very concerned, and she can handle the protesters so well. She knows other people’s opinions are important and she values them.” [We’ll skip over that earlier observation about the Dean…”not given to unnecessary exaggeration”]
A few hours earlier, Mr Armstrong had been declaiming the war in Iraq in forceful tones in front of the nation’s media. Now, he appears to have undergone a quasi-religious conversion. But you can’t blame him. This, it seems, is quite simply the Condi effect.
[Pass the sick bag Alice…]
Meanwhile, back on the Planet of the Apes, sorry Blackburn, the gorillas and the people while away the time photographing each other.
Pic by ‘Lord Patel’ (E. Teague)
Then on to a ‘flying’ visit to BAE systems, one of the companies that bought you the Typhoon or as it’s now known, the Euro-fighter, 16 years in the making (and breaking @ £50 million a pop) and still not quite finished, that is, it just about flies and obviously has trouble landing, but has no armaments as the damn thing is too heavy to take off when loaded with weapons.
Designed to fight the Soviet Union, no doubt also on Earth II, it has absolutely no use here on Earth I except to produce spectacularly expensive pyrotechnic displays. Perhaps it works better on Earth II where the laws of physics, just like those governing political reality, obey different laws.