BBC Wages Propaganda War on Syria
Stephen Lendman, May 30 2012
Millions globally follow BBC reports regularly. Most perhaps don’t know they get propaganda, not real news, commentary and opinion. Since established in Oct 1922, it’s operated as a UK imperial tool. Its first general manager, John Reith, set the tone, saying:
They know they can trust us not to be really impartial.
Straightaway he betrayed the public trust. Operating as a reliable business and government partner got BBC labeled the “British Falsehood Corporation.” Some today call it the “British Bombing (or Bombast) Club.” Reith used BBC as a strikebreaker. He secretly wrote anti-union speeches. He refused air time for worker representatives. He and current officials represent elitist interests, not public ones media outlets are supposed to serve. Job applicants are vetted to assure pro-government, pro-business credentials. Aberrant ones aren’t wanted. Whether on domestic or foreign issues, fair and balanced reporting isn’t tolerated. How can it be when government officials appoint senior managers. Any stepping out of line get fired. Nothing changed from inception to now. Its claim about “honesty, integrity (being) what the BBC stands for, free from political influence and commercial pressure” is willful, deceptive hype. UK-based Media Lens offers independent, “authoritative criticism.” Its reports reflect “reality.” It’s free from corporate or government influence. It covers BBC reporting. It once called it fundamentally one-sided, imbalanced, “biased, blinkered and culpable.” It said:
Anyone can spot the propaganda with a modicum of vigilance while watching the news.
Western interests alone are represented. Viewers and listeners get one side only. They’re “clearly expected to identify with NATO.” They’re “asked to assume there is a moral basis to (its) killing.” Attacking nations Washington and Britain declare “officially-decreed enemies” is supposed to be just and righteous no matter how lawless and indefensible. BBC does what it’s told. It’s government funded, operated and controlled. It’s Britain’s official voice. It pretends to be independent and impartial.
In each decade, from its inception to the present day, the BBC bears the scars of its entanglements with those in power.
Media Lens quoted BBC news director, Helen Boaden. On Jun 10 2011, she spoke the above words. She discussed the “value of journalism speech.” She quoted Groucho Marx once saying:
The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. And if you can fake that, you’ve got it made!
Journalists are supposed to speak truth to power. Few, in fact, do it. None working for scoundrel media. BBC falls woefully short. It represents interests it’s supposed to confront and hold to account. Instead it serves wealth and power. It’s a “propaganda system for elite interests,” says Media Lens. Viewers and listeners are betrayed, especially on issues mattering most. What’s more important than war or peace? When the UK/US rage to fight, BBC marches in lockstep. On Feb 1 2012, the Campaign Against Sanctions and Military Intervention in Iran (CASMII) headlined “BBC Peddles War Propaganda,” saying BBC willfully misrepresents Iran’s nuclear program. For example, on Jan 26, it “explicitly stated that Iran has nuclear bombs!” A “tirade of demonization and misinformation” followed. Spurious accusations claimed Iran threatens world peace. Question Time host David Dimbleby breached journalistic fairness and accuracy codes. He featured guests stating spurious misinformation, not truth and full disclosure Journalist Melanie Phillips claimed:
Iran is threatening genocide against Israel virtually every week, and it means it.
She referred to the canard about wiping Israel off the map. She continued saying:
You are dealing in Iran with people who are not rational. You are dealing with people who believe that if they provoke the apocalypse, the end of days, they will bring to earth the Shi’a Messiah, the Mahdi, and so they are in the business of provoking an apocalypse. It does not matter to them that in a nuclear exchange they may lose half of their own country. It doesn’t matter. This is the mentality that you are dealing with. And the threat is to all of us.
Broadcasting these type comments is unconscionable. Other guests say similar things. BBC features them. Viewers and listeners are misinformed. It repeats daily, especially when the UK/US plan war. CASMII had every right to complain. Doing so fell on deaf ears. Last March, Alastair Crooke headlined his Asia Times article “Syria: Straining credulity?” He quoted Ralph Peters’ 1997 US Army War College Quarterly article, “Constant Conflict”, defining the future of warfare:
We are already masters of information warfare. Hollywood is ‘preparing the battlefield.’ We will be writing the scripts, producing them, and collecting the royalties. Our creativity is devastating. Hatred, jealousy, and greed, emotions rather than strategy, will set the terms of struggles.
Media scoundrels play the same role. The Syrian conflict "is scripted in emotional images and moralistic statements that always trump rational analysis." Baseless suspicions bring charges of crimes against humanity. Opposition and Western sources are cited. Warmongering officials write the scripts. Media scoundrels regurgitate their misinformation. "Those who try to argue that Western intervention can only exacerbate the crisis are confronted (with images) of dead babies." Those who write the scripts set the tone. Who'll contradict them without major media support? Expect none from BBC. "Are we now to (believe) that armed opposition (insurgents are) motivated by" humanitarian concerns? "Will a Kosovo-type solution (improve things) in Syria?" Does "anyone really believe US and European objectives in Syria (are) purely humanitarian?" Info-wars have other things in mind. At issue is regime change, not reform. It's about isolating Iran. It's about setting the stage for toppling its government after disposing of Syria. "Do these reporters really believe" the agitprop they air? "Perhaps some do, but others (say things) to prepare the battlefield." It bears repeating. When UK/US and rogue partners go to war or plan one, media scoundrels march in lockstep. BBC's done it for decades. Now it's at it again. Spurious accusations claim Iran is developing nuclear weapons. In fact, none exist, and Iran threatens no one. On May 27, Houla’s massacre was featured. Reporting from Beirut, Jim Muir said:
Some opposition groups are saying this could be a turning point. Western nations are pressing for a response to the massacre in the Syrian town of Houla, with the US calling for an end to President Bashar al-Assad’s “rule by murder.”
US, UK, French, and UN officials were quoted. They all pointed fingers one way. So did BBC by featuring them. The blame game accuses victims. Perpetrators get scant mention. Heated interventionist calls increase. “Indiscriminate and disproportionate use of force” was charged. On May 29, BBC reported on “how a massacre unfolded,” saying:
Anti-government activists, eyewitnesses and human rights groups, including the UNHCR, point the finger at the Syrian army and the shabiha, a sectarian civilian militia that supports the regime of Bashar al-Assad.
BBC claimed army shelling began the attack. Syria categorically denies it. No tanks or artillery targeted Houla. None were positioned nearby. Hundreds of heavily armed Western-sponsored gunmen bear full responsibility. Like other scoundrel media, BBC reported a tsunami of misinformation and lies. On May 27, the London Telegraph headlined “BBC News uses ‘Iraq photo to illustrate Syrian massacre,” saying:
Photographer Marco di Lauro said he nearly “fell off his chair” when he saw the image being used, and said he was “astonished” at the failure of the corporation to check their sources. The picture, which was actually taken on Mar 27 2003, shows a young Iraqi child jumping over dozens of white body bags containing skeletons found in a desert south of Baghdad. It was posted on the BBC news website today under the heading “Syria massacre in Houla condemned as outrage grows.” The caption states the photograph was provided by an activist and cannot be independently verified, but says it is “believed to show the bodies of children in Houla awaiting burial.”
Willful deception was caught red-handed. Photographer Marco di Lauro said:
One of my pictures from Iraq was used by the BBC web site as a front page illustration claiming that those were the bodies of yesterday’s massacre in Syria and that the picture was sent by an activist. Instead the picture was taken by me and it’s on my web site, on the feature section regarding a story I did In Iraq during the war called Iraq, the aftermath of Saddam. What I am really astonished by is that a news organization like the BBC doesn’t check the sources and it’s willing to publish any picture sent it by anyone: activist, citizen journalist or whatever. That’s all.What is amazing it’s that a news organization has a picture proving a massacre that happened yesterday in Syria and instead it’s a picture that was taken in 2003 of a totally different massacre. Someone is using someone else’s picture for propaganda on purpose.
BBC pulls stunts like this often. So do US and other Western media. Notoriously they misreport on imperial wars and events preceding them. Propaganda substitutes for real news and information. Apologies after the fact when caught don’t matter. Damage done can’t be reversed. What could Assad gain by killing babies, young children, women and the elderly? How would cutting their throats or shooting them at point blank range help? Obvious questions go unanswered. Regurgitated lies substitute. The pattern repeats when Washington, Britain, and rogue partners want independent governments toppled. Media propaganda promotes wars. It rages against Syrian civilians. Insurgent death squad assassins target them. They’ve been doing it since early last year. Like other scoundrel media, BBC ignores truths and features willful misinformation and lies. Fake images are prominently featured. Viewers and listeners are misinformed and betrayed. Many wonder what’s next. Domestic needs suffer to serve ravenous imperial appetites. No end of conflicts appear near. Iran parliamentarians condemned the Houla massacre. They compared it to Israel’s Sabra and Shatila slaughter. They called it “blatant terrorist acts of mass murder.” Insurgents bear full responsibility. Assad is wrongfully blamed.USAia should be held accountable, they said. Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said it was done “to create chaos and instability.” It’s also about preventing peace and paving the way for war. On May 29, Press TV reported that the Habilian Association human rights group said:
We have conclusive proof and documents showing that the MeK has a strong and significant presence in Syria. The terrorist group has begun, in an all-out fashion, acts of sabotage and terrorism against the Syrian government and nation, and has found major influence among the Syrian rebels.
Washington is directly involved. So are Western and regional partners. MeK plans a “large-scale attack.” Preparations are underway. Everything ongoing facilitates Washington’s war plans. The worst could erupt any time. First Syria, then Iran, then new targets in an endless cycle of violence, killing, and destruction. Expect it. It’s coming.