Category Archives: BBC bias

EU to allow Syrian ‘rebels’ to sell oil to fund their violence, in contravention of international law

EU to allow Syrian ‘rebels’ to sell oil to fund their violence, in contravention of international law

Gearoid O’Colmain tells the truth about the western plan for control of Syrian oil

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BBC correspondent in Afghanistan admits pro-army bias ‘Embedded in Iraq: ‘a tool in the military tool box, willingly or not’

http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/blogcollegeofjournalism/posts/Embedded-in-Iraq-a-tool-in-the-military-tool-box-willingly-or-not?postId=116764291#comment_116764291

Caroline Wyatt has covered the conflicts in Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq for the BBC. In the first instalment of a two-part blog to mark the 10th anniversary of the Iraq invasion, she describes the nature of the relationship between the media and the military in 2003 and what that meant for embedded journalists:

Caroline Wyatt reporting from Iraq
It is hard to believe that 10 years have passed since we stood nervously by our vehicles on the Iraq border with Kuwait, scarves over our faces to protect us from the vicious sandstorm that whipped up in the region that long March day, waiting for our war to start.

For the dozens of journalists ‘embedded’ with British forces as they drove into Iraq that day, the war was threatening a rather belated beginning.

A Kuwaiti border guard was insisting that, even if we were part of a higgledy-piggledy column of British military and civilian vehicles, driving through long after the initial US tanks and Humvees, we didn’t have the right stamps in our passports to invade Iraq.

Thankfully, after much shouting and gesticulating through mouthfuls of sand, someone in British uniform persuaded the border guard that he really should let us through. We had a war to cover and it wasn’t going to wait for us.

It was almost worthy of Evelyn Waugh’s comic yet brilliantly accurate novel of war corresponding, Scoop. For a journalist, conflict provides some of the most vivid and powerful stories of humanity; of individual or collective acts of great courage; of good versus evil. But just as often we end up covering stories in shades less identifiable – where it can be hard to tell friend from foe, victory from stalemate, or when tragedy and comedy sit perilously close, and information is hard to come by – as it was in the early days of Iraq, a war that was, and remains, deeply controversial in the UK and elsewhere.

We often talk about the media and the military. But really there are no such things. I prefer to think of us first as individuals, and then as tribes, rather than homogenous blocks: the broadcasting tribe and the newspaper tribe within the media and the Army tribe and all its sub-units, and the RAF and Royal Navy and Royal Marine tribes that make up the military.

Just as any of those tribes can work together, and are part of a collective, each can also come into conflict with the other or within its own sub-tribes at any moment, and loyalties can be stretched in unexpected ways.

In 2003, we had to sign up to embed as official ‘war correspondents’, sign the Green Book with the MoD/military, and agree that all our copy and images would be screened by our military media minders.

We had to train to protect ourselves from chemical/biological/nuclear warfare with the NBC respirators and rubber suits that the MoD would provide us with that February. And agree to embed for up to a year if necessary – if the war lasted that long.

We agreed, and were issued with our smart blue ‘war correspondent’ armbands. I learned that I would be one of the BBC team embedding with British forces attached to the media ‘hub’, which began in a desert somewhere in Kuwait before we crossed into Iraq.

On day one in the desert, in the heat and the sand, we quickly realised where the power lay – and it wasn’t with us. We knew that as embedded journalists our lives were in the forces’ hands. British forces cooked our meals, dug our shelters, gave us information, and controlled where we could go – and that was an uncomfortable position for any journalist to be in.

That first day we were told to put our tents up while wearing our unwieldy and hot NBC kit. It wasn’t necessary, but it did show us that we were not in charge and didn’t make the rules here. We did have our own vehicle but we were told not to use it. So we were also relying on the British forces we were with for access to people and places, as well as information.

It also meant that we had chosen a side to report from, albeit as part of a wider BBC team that also had journalists and crews inside Saddam Hussein’s Baghdad, giving a different perspective and the other side to the war.

And all those embedding, wherever they were, knew that they had become a tool in the military toolbox, willingly or not, which the military and governments on both sides would seek to use to send messages to each other and to the wider watching public around the globe. It was hard not to feel an instinctive sympathy and indeed empathy with the troops looking after us. A benign form of ‘Stockholm syndrome’, if you like.

But at the same time embedding did not mean that we gave up the right to be analytical or indeed critical in the best sense when reporting on what we saw.

People often talk about the fog of war. In and around Basra in spring 2003, the fog and dust of war kept getting in the way. One day we were briefed that 80 Iraqi tanks were seen coming out of Basra. Two hours later it was down to just one or two tanks.

All the media that day – whether us, Sky, ITN or Channel 4 – in the ‘Press Information Unit’ had to go back on air to say, rather sheepishly, that the 80 tanks we’d been briefed about didn’t exist. Had never existed. Well, at least 79 of them hadn’t. And as for the other one – who knows?

Edward Snowden’s nightmare comes true

http://www.politico.com/story/2013/07/edward-snowden-nsa-93742.html?fb_action_ids=10151761440457658&fb_action_types=og.likes&fb_ref=.Udc_r-hzq9Q.like&fb_source=ticker&action_object_map=%7B%2210151761440457658%22%3A358649504260749%7D&action_type_map=%7B%2210151761440457658%22%3A%22og.likes%22%7D&action_ref_map=%7B%2210151761440457658%22%3A%22.Udc_r-hzq9Q.like%22

Edward Snowden’s nightmare may be coming true.
Not exile; not the danger of imprisonment or prosecution; and not his newfound association with dictators, lawyers and impresarios.

Snowden’s worst fear, by his own account, was that “nothing will change.”
“People will see in the media all these disclosures, they’ll know the lengths the government is going to grant themselves powers, unilaterally, to create greater control over American society and global society,” he told The Guardian last month after he’d asked it to identify him as its source. “But they won’t be willing to take the risks necessary to stand up and fight to change things, to force their representatives to actually take a stand in their interests.”

One month after The Guardian’s first story, which revealed an order from the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court authorizing the National Security Agency to collect the phone records of every Verizon customer, there has been no public movement in Washington to stop the court from issuing another such order. Congress has no intelligence reform bill that would rein in the phone tracking, or Internet monitoring, or cyberattack planning, or any of the other secret government workings that Snowden’s disclosures have revealed.
There is no modern day Sen. Frank Church ready to convene historic hearings about the intelligence community, like the ones Church ran in the 1970s, proceedings that radically transformed the U.S. intelligence services. Far from having been surprised by Snowden’s disclosures, today’s intelligence committee leaders stepped right up to defend the NSA’s surveillance programs. From Republicans, led by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers, to Democrats, including Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein, they’ve been nearly unanimous in their support.
“I feel I have an obligation to do everything I can to keep this country safe,” Feinstein told The New York Times. “So put that in your pipe and smoke it.”

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2013/07/edward-snowden-nsa-93742.html#ixzz2YGIXyIUG

How the BBC is still spinning lies and myths about the Iraq war

How the BBC is still spinning lies and myths about the Iraq war.

As a participant in BBC Newsnight special, “Iraq – 10 Years On“, I found myself feeling slightly miffed at the lack of real debate on the crucial issues.

On the one hand, Newsnight presented a number of narratives of the war and its aftermath as ‘fact’, which are deeply questionable. On the other, there were no serious, factually-grounded criticisms of the war, despite a diverse panel which included people who did not support it.

MYTH 1. Sectarian violence has increased in postwar Iraq because sectarianism has always existed in Iraq, and the removal of Saddam allowed it to erupt

One of the first Newsnight bloopers started with a short introductory clip from John Simpson, the BBC’s World Affairs Editor.

Amongst other things, Simpson talked about the rise of sectarian Sunni-Shi’a violence in postwar Iraq, and argued that while Saddam’s regime had clamped down on sectarian divisions, regime change effectively unleashed those previously suppressed divisions and allowed them to worsen.

This was the first of many oversimplifications about the escalation of sectarian violence in Iraq. The reality, as pointed out on the show by my colleague in the audience, anthropologist Professor Nadje al-Ali, is that prior to the war, genericsectarian antagonism was unheard of in Iraqi society. Although Saddam’s regime was unequivocally sectarian in its own violence against Shi’as and Kurds, as a mechanism of shoring up the Ba’athist regime, Iraqis did not largely identify in sectarian terms. As one Iraqi blogger living in Baghdad noted:

Senior BBC official insists that all of Jerusalem is an “Israeli” city

Senior BBC official insists that all of Jerusalem is an “Israeli” city.

The masscare in Huwaisa (106 people killed) – Locals says it was carried out by anti-Assad forces (‘rebels’)

Claim and counter-claim surrounds latest Syria ‘massacre’

When an opposition group alleges a massacre by regime forces in Syria, it is often very difficult to establish what really happened.

‘Who did what to whom’ is one of the riddles of the Syrian revolution.

But today when a British-based group alleged that 106 people had been killed on the outskirts of Homs by pro-regime forces, I was able to go to the scene and investigate.

The allegation is that Assad’s army and militia had perpetrated a gruesome mass killing, shooting and stabbing, burning the bodies of men, women and children.

In Homs, I first of all put these allegations to the Governor, Ahmad Moneir Mohammed, a regime man.

He stated that there had been killings. Civilians had died; four children and four women, he thought, as well as men who had been killed in fighting between the army and rebels.

He alleged that the rebels were from the Islamist group Jabhat al Nura, which is linked to Al Qaeda and which the United States has designated a terrorist group. He categorically denied that regime forces had perpetrated a massacre.

FSA Syrian REBELS Caught FORCING a PRISONER to become a SUICIDE BOMBER

War Crimes by FSA : Evidence supressed by the BBC

 

Western Media lying about UN report on Syrian Deaths

This report has been widely presented as showing that the Syrian government killed 60,000 people. In fact it totals all deaths on all sides of the conflict as well as innocent people not involved. The authors say that it is not possible to count how many of the dead are rebels or pro government forces.

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jan/02/60000-killed-syrian-war-un

Galloway speaks the truth on Syria

Syria – The REAL Story — MUST SEE — CIA & MOSSAD Death Squads

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