Friday, December 02, 2005


I groaned a little at the headline on the Beeb: 'Insurgents attack Iraqi city' (not sure if there were quotemarks there at the time). I glanced morosely at the article: Ramadi- one of the usual suspects. Yet I knew that when the BBC reports an 'insurgent' 'attack' it usually means something like a a few discharged weapons, a suicide bombing, and somebody's little brother starting a fire somewhere. And so I moved on.

And then I came to another article: US 'admits' propaganda drive. The article said that the US had 'implicitly admitted' paying for positive articles in the Iraqi press. Yet an 'implicit admission' is not an 'admission', and the two are not made equivalent by the insertion of a couple of quotemarks- rather, it is a matter of interpretation. I choose to intepret this 'BBC infers propaganda from US commander's comments'.

The only interesting part for me was whether the US was directly planting articles, and this actually could not be 'inferred' from the commander's comments. I would think it amazing and actually incompetent if the US army did not have some close links with the Iraqi media. However, why not just pay Iraqis to write positive articles under US direction? And, surely we know by now, to be an Iraqi known for a positive stance towards the US in Iraq is to risk one's life. Some danger money and life insurance would be only sensible. It is a difficult issue; yet there is no doubt there are Iraqis positive about the US' presence there, and relatively few who oppose it except by the violent option favoured by Islamofascism.

And so, with that reflection, it seemed just the usual negativism where the worst interpretation is placed on the US' words and the highest value placed on the terrorists' actions.

And then I noticed this. And this.

According to one report,

'An AP Television News video showed the insurgents walking down a shuttered market street and a residential neighborhood, as well as firing four mortar rounds. The masked men, however, appeared relaxed, and the U.S. command dismissed the video as little more than a publicity stunt.'

According to another,

'Insurgents launched a brief assault west of Baghdad on Thursday, firing mortar rounds and rockets at a U.S. base and local government buildings' (nb there are specifics here)

Yet according to the BBC:

''Insurgents attacked US bases and government offices in Ramadi, in central Iraq, and then dispersed throughout the city, reports say.'

The BBC, it's clear, is reporting the worst case they can. I could 'infer' that ('heavily armed'- see report) insurgents launched a multi-pronged attack on military and government targets and then spread out around the city. I am not informed that they were not in charge of the city. I could infer that too.

But what about those 'reports'. One, unmentioned by the Lebanon Star, and the BBC, seems to have been the video tape. The other seems to have been based on the civilian witness accounts. But am I alone in being extremely sceptical of the first (the insurgents are well-known for staged videos), and being struck by the 'duh' moment in the Lebanon Star report:

'Residents said that heavily armed men wearing masks attacked a U.S. garrison in the center of Ramadi, a rebellious city 110 kilometers west of Baghdad, and fired on nearby council offices before seizing several streets'

So, were those the unrebellious ones then, whom we should be trusting? All a bit confusing.

The bottom line is and will be this: attacks on US and Govt. installations in Ramadi by hundreds of heavily armed men should, no, must, have caused casualties. If the US military can hide those from the US press and the presumably interested families, then woahhh, they are certainly real propagandists. If not, then the video was a little stage-managed, the attack was a squib, and the trustworthy residents of the rebellious city were gilding the lily, backed up by helpful leaflets- and the BBC bought it hook, line and sinker with their usual quotemarking disclaimer and their 'reports say' bullshit. It's all about the casualties, stupid!

There is a clearly a major propaganda effort going on somewhere. I wonder if the BBC know where. They seem to think this is the right place to start.

Of course, I should note that the BBC has used multiple sources for their report. But that just really demonstrates an important point: it seems that the so-called insurgents are well-capable of launching multi-pronged propaganda offensives targeted at multi-media. The BBC is channelling even the mose baseless of these minor propaganda lies into a narrative of doom. As I said: where are the bodies?

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