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Beware the Ides of March

by William Bowles • Sunday, 25 March, 2007
  

“Inspired” “Engineered” “Involvement” “Intelligence” “Circumstantial” “Link” — The BBC hedging its bets on alleged Iranian involvement in the ‘insurgency’ in Iraq

“There is intelligence about this [Iranian involvement], but no hard proof” BBC 6pm News, 23/3/07

Well we all know what ‘intelligence’ means but this didn’t stop the same ‘news’ broadcast leading with the misleading statement of “Iranian involvement in the insurgency”, quoting a British army officer in Basra. It went even further—but again without offering a shred of proof—that the Iranians were up to their necks in the ‘insurgency’ in Basra.

“‘Iran link’ to violence in Basra”, BBC News Website 7 March, 2007

The story leads with

“Most of the violence against UK forces in Basra is being engineered by Iranian elements, a British Army colonel based in the southern Iraqi city says.”

The story goes on to quote a certain Col Justin Masherevski who told the BBC that

“local information” indicated that “the vast majority of the violence against us is inspired from outside Iraq”.

“Inspired”? “Engineered”? “Involvement?” “Intelligence”? “Circumstantial”? “Link?”? But not one iota of actual proof. What does this mean? By any definition inspired is a loaded word, for it could apply to almost anything, including the fact that the American Constitution could have been an inspiration. Unless one carefully notes the choice of words, the impression is that the violence in Iraq has an external source (not the occupation mark you!).

But this is how sophisticated propaganda works, utilising words and phrases that are both emotive and yet vague enough not to be an outright lie. Thus Col. Masherevski’s use of the word “inspired” avoids being directly challenged, let the BBC take any heat instead as we learn that rather than being an “inspiration”, the violence is due to “Iranian involvement” and of “engineering” the violence.

What’s it to be BBC, it is after all, the most respected ‘news’ organisation on the planet? Write your letters of protest for sure, but be assured that you’ll get the usual anodyne response that says nothing of import, let alone an acknowledgement of spreading fear and loathing of all things Iranian.

“All the circumstantial evidence points to Iranian involvement in the violence here in Basra which is disrupting the city to a great extent.”

“The people here very much believe that is [sic] Iran,” [Col Justin Masherevski] said.”

Now what people believe is neither here nor there, let alone the basis for a ‘news’ story and as to the “circumstantial evidence”, well what is it based on? Nothing other than the assertion that Iraqis are incapable of building sophisticated weapons thus they must be getting ‘outside help’. Oh, and a photo of an RPG and some scraps left over after weapons have exploded. It’s all pure supposition and supposition based upon unnamed US government sources.

“The “machining” on the weapons could only have been completed in Iran.”
‘Iranian’ RPG?

It’s a pity that the BBC didn’t bother to research the story for if that had been done they would have learnt that a workshop making these “sophisticated devices” was discovered very recently in Baghdad.

“Michael Knights, chief of analysis for the Olive Group, a private security consulting firm, presented evidence in Jane’s Intelligence Review that Iraqi Shiites have manufactured both the components for EFPs [explosively formed penetrators] and the complete EFPs.” Media Lens

I often wonder what goes on in the editorial offices of the BBC. How does the ‘instruction’ get delivered by the Editor to his minions, for clearly there won’t be an explicit instruction but if there were it might read something like ‘Iraq is an absolute fucking disaster so let’s make it appear to be all Iran’s fault’, but the end product is the same.

One imagines the daily editorial meeting sitting and ‘deciding’ that this week Iraq is ‘news’ as is Iran, time to haul out those well paid journos ‘embedded’ with British troops in southern Iraq, so we’ve had long, daily reports with BBC reporters positively gushing over the weapons being used against the Iraqi people.

For the past two weeks not only the BBC but also Channel 4 and ITV news programmes have been carrying endless accounts on ‘our boys over there’ and how difficult their job is in ‘reconstructing Iraq’.

And inbetween the relentless propaganda on the good job ‘our boys’ are doing in Iraq, we’ve had the relentless propaganda campaign building against Iran, softening us up for the ‘coming war’.

And as a Medialens piece reveals, the ‘coming war’ has its inevitable cheerleaders, urging on the imperium to take out the “mad Mullahs of Iran.”

“Now the mad mullahs of Iran will soon have nuclear bombs, are we all doomed?… Do something, someone! But what and who?” (Polly Toynbee, ‘No more fantasy diplomacy: cut a deal with the mullahs,’ The Guardian, February 7, 2006)

How about a selfless gesture for the Empire Polly? Perhaps a suicide mission to Tehran as you’re so gung ho on the idea of “do[ing] something”? What is really scary about people like Polly Toynbee is firstly that they get such prime coverage in the media and secondly, that her hysterical rantings reveal the fundamental racism that pervades virtually all coverage of anywhere west of Bucharest (or thereabouts). Would Ms Toynbee consider that the ‘mad managers of US capitalism’ development of so-called tactical nuclear weapons or their stated threat of actually using them is doom-laden? Do something Polly, anything!

So perhaps the alleged intrusion of 15 British navy personnel into Iranian territory is the first step in “doing something” and isn’t the timing is just ‘perfect’ coming as it did just before the UNSEC meeting on sanctions? After all, the evidence (and we’re not talking here about what people think) points to a collusion between the British and US governments prior to the March 2003 invasion of Iraq and the need for some kind of provocation as both governments knew that Iraq didn’t possess any WMD.

“[T]he president is cited as saying he is concerned that there may not be weapons of mass destruction found in Iraq, and that there must be some consideration given to finding a different basis for undertaking the action.… I’ll just read you what this memo allegedly says, according to the New York Times: ‘The memo states that the president and the prime minister acknowledged that no unconventional weapons had been found inside Iraq. Faced with the possibility of not finding any before the planned invasion, Mr. Bush talked about several ways to provoke a confrontation.” — ‘Ex-national security adviser warns that Bush is seeking a pretext to attack Iran’, By Barry Grey, 2 February 2007. World Socialist WebSite

“The US was thinking of flying U2 reconnaissance aircraft with fighter cover over Iraq, painted in UN colours. If Saddam fired on them, he would be in breach” — ‘The White House memo’ By Gary Gibbon, 02/02/06, Channel 4 News

Can anyone with an ounce of good sense deny the clearly provocative nature of mainstream media coverage of the situation? And although it’s pissing in the wind, the BBC and other mainstream media outlets still need to be called to task for their central role in whipping up war hysteria around the ‘mad Mullahs’.

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