6th June 18:28
Media: The Vanishing World Tribunal on Iraq (history beliefs goal order case)
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[NYTr] Media: The Vanishing World Tribunal on Iraq
[This article takes only the Brit media to task, but the US mainstream
media have been equally guilty of ignoring the same stories.-NY Transfer]
sent by Tim Murphy (activ-l)
MediaLens - July 6, 2005
THE MYSTERIOUS CASE OF THE VANISHING WORLD TRIBUNAL ON IRAQ
"The best relationship with our viewers is no longer one of parent-child but
of consenting adults trying to piece together the best picture of the
world." (Roger Mosey, head of BBC TV news)
"A good case can be made that propaganda is a more important means of social
control in open societies like the United States than in closed societies
like the late Soviet Union... This system of thought control is not
centrally managed... It operates mainly by individual and market choices,
with the frequent collective service to the national interest arising from
common interests and internalised beliefs." (Edward Herman)
World Tribunal? What World Tribunal?
Media Lens has detected a recent shift in media reporting. It is hard to
quantify, but there is a palpable uneasiness amongst media professionals at
the increasing rise of the 'blogosphere' and internet-based 'alternative'
media sites. Joe and Jo Public are increasingly aware that the news and
commentary distributed by the BBC, ITN, Channel 4 news and the liberal
broadsheets, are protecting major war criminals in London and Washington.
A blanket of almost total media silence covers Bush and Blair's crimes in
Iraq, and their support for relentless corporate exploitation around the
globe. These war criminals continue to be presented as world-straddling
father figures who could "solve" poverty in Africa and so become the beloved
figureheads of a "great generation".
Consider that virtually the entire British media ignored the deliberations
of the World Tribunal on Iraq in Istanbul from June 24-27. Modelled on
Bertrand Russell's tribunal on the US invasion of Vietnam, the tribunal
consisted of hearings into numerous aspects of the invasion and occupation
of Iraq. A jury of conscience from ten different countries listened to the
testimony of 54 advocates. This jury declared the war one of the most unjust
"The Bush and Blair administrations blatantly ignored the massive opposition
to the war expressed by millions of people around the world. They embarked
upon one of the most unjust, immoral, and cowardly wars in history. The
Anglo-American occupation of Iraq of the last 27 months has led to the
destruction and devastation of the Iraqi state and society. Law and order
have broken down completely, resulting in a pervasive lack of human
security; the physical infrastructure is in shambles; the health care
delivery system is a mess; the education system has ceased to function;
there is massive environmental and ecological devastation; and, the cultural
and archeological heritage of the Iraqi people has been desecrated." (World
Tribunal on Iraq, 'Press Release about Jury Statement,' June 27, 2005,
The jury presented 13 findings against the US and UK governments that
* Planning, preparing, and waging the supreme crime of a war of aggression
in contravention of the United Nations Charter and the Nuremberg Principles.
* Targeting the civilian population of Iraq and civilian infrastructure.
* Using disproportionate force and indiscriminate weapon systems.
* Failing to safeguard the lives of civilians during military activities and
during the occupation period thereafter.
* Using deadly violence against peaceful protestors.
The jury also levelled charges against the security council of the United
Nations for "failing to stop war crimes amongst other crimes". It also
charged "private corporations for profiting from the war" and accused the
corporate media of "disseminating deliberate falsehoods and failing to
report atrocities". (ibid.)
Veteran activist Walden Bello, reporting from Istanbul, pointed in
particular to the "combination of eyewitness accounts that made clear beyond
a shadow of doubt that the siege of Fallujah in November 2004 was a case of
collective punishment". (Bello, 'The Perfect Storm: the World Tribunal,'
June 28, 2005; http://www.focusweb.org/main/html/Article631.html)
Bello noted, too, that the tribunal clearly showed the extent of "the
western media's participation in the manipulation of public opinion".
At a press conference after the tribunal, jury chairperson Arundathi Roy
said: "If there is one thing that has come out clearly in the last few days,
it is not that the corporate media supports the global corporate project; it
+is+ the global corporate project."
This is a perfect summation indicating why corporate crimes rarely surface
in the corporate media. A newspaper database search on July 5 revealed that
only one newspaper - the small-circulation Morning Star - had reported on
the Tribunal. There was nothing in the Guardian, the Observer, the
Independent, the Independent on Sunday, the Financial Times, the Times or
any of the other 'watchdogs of democracy'. There were also zero mentions at
BBC news online. Although Media Lens is unable to monitor all television and
radio news bulletins, we are not aware of any broadcast reports of the
The level of professional media discipline required to fail to report such
an important event is truly remarkable. But then, as we have frequently
noted, this is standard practice when 'our' crimes are under scrutiny,
rather than the crimes of official 'enemies'.
Violent And Barbaric US Soldiers
BBC news director Helen Boaden was pressed by several Media Lens readers -
acting of their own volition, an uncomfortable thought for some in the
media - just why the BBC had ignored all the evidence of Bush and Blair's
war crimes presented at the World Tribunal on Iraq. She replied:
"We've covered the issues discussed many times and will continue do so,
though we did not cover this - not least for logistical reasons." (Email to
Media Lens reader, June 29, 2005)
Readers may well be scratching their heads, wondering how they managed to
miss all of these BBC reports covering the G8 leaders' culpability for war
crimes. You may also be wondering why the BBC, one of the world's most
lavishly-funded news corporations, could not manage even one short item from
Istanbul on any of its flagship news programmes.
Regular readers may recall that Boaden has already declared publicly that:
"you can be certain that if we had proof of [US war crimes], it would be
leading every bulletin." (Email to Media Lens, May 19, 2005)
But despite the copious evidence presented at the World Tribunal in
Istanbul, the BBC maintains a stoic refusal to report US/UK atrocities and
However, the BBC can no longer maintain, for example, that there is no
evidence of napalm use by US forces in Iraq. It is now on the official
record that the US +has+ deployed an updated form of napalm - and that US
officials even lied about it to Britain (See: Colin Brown, 'US lied to
Britain over use of napalm in Iraq war,' The Independent, June 17, 2005;
Andrew Sparrow, 'Parliament misled over firebomb use,' Daily Telegraph, June
20, 2005; Richard Norton-Taylor, 'US misled UK over Iraq fire bombs,' The
Guardian, July 1, 2005).
We have seen no BBC bulletin leading with - or even mentioning - the
appalling issue of napalm use by "coalition" forces in Iraq.
Nor have we seen any mention of the urgent humanitarian crisis in the
western Iraqi cities of Haditha and Al-Qa'im, an area that is home to
300,000 people, where hospitals have been attacked and damaged by US forces.
Eyewitnesses, including medical personnel, claim that US soldiers violated
the Geneva Convention and international law by preventing civilians from
accessing healthcare. US forces also prevented food and medication reaching
Haditha and Al-Qa'im and targeted the cities' two main hospitals, medical
staff and ambulances. According to Dr. Salam Ismael, general secretary of
the Doctors for Iraq Society:
"Eyewitnesses reported at least one patient being shot dead in his bed on a
hospital ward. Doctors were prevented from assisting patients and civilians
in need. A number of doctors and medical personnel were killed in the attack
and others were arrested by US forces in the hospital. They were later
released, along with the hospital manager who was detained for two days.
"The huge military operations in the area have caused widespread damage and
an unknown number of civilians were killed and injured during the attack.
"Video footage shot by doctors shows a badly damage medical store in the
Haditha hospital and damaged surgical theatres. The medical store contained
medicine and equipment for all hospitals and medical centres in the west of
Iraq. Staff and patients say the damage was carried out by 'by violent and
barbaric US soldiers.'" (Ismael, 'Iraqi hospitals attacked and damaged by US
forces,' July 2, 2005;
Reports of brutal "coalition" attacks on Iraqi hospitals, however, are
deemed unsuitable for British audiences of mainstream media, including the
The goal of Media Lens is to promote rationality, compassion and respect for
others. When writing emails to journalists, we strongly urge readers to
maintain a polite, non-aggressive and non-abusive tone.
Write to Helen Boaden, director of BBC news,
Email: helenboaden.complaints at bbc.co.uk
And Roger Mosey, head of BBC television news:
Email: roger.mosey at bbc.co.uk
And Mark Byford, deputy director-general
Email: mark.byford at bbc.co.uk
Ask why the BBC is failing to cover the many reports of alleged US war
crimes in Fallujah and elsewhere in Iraq. Why did the main BBC news
programmes ignore the recent World Tribunal on Iraq? When has the BBC ever
reported on Bush and Blair's culpability for war crimes?
Please copy your emails to the following:
Pete Clifton, BBC news online editor
Email: pete.clifton at bbc.co.uk
Mark Thompson, BBC director general
Email: mark.thompson at bbc.co.uk
Michael Grade, BBC chairman
Email: michael.grade at bbc.co.uk
Ask the following newspaper editors why they ignored the recent World
Tribunal on Iraq:
Martin Newland, editor of the Daily Telegraph:
Email: Martin.Newland at telegraph.co.uk
Simon Kelner, editor-in-chief of the Independent and Independent on Sunday,:
Email: s.kelner at independent.co.uk
Guardian editor, Alan Rusbridger:
Email: alan.rusbridger at guardian.co.uk
Observer editor, Roger Alton:
Email: roger.alton at observer.co.uk
Financial Times editor, Andrew Gowers:
Email: andrew.gowers at ft.com
Please send copies of all emails to us at: editor at medialens.org
This is a free service. However, financial support is vital. Please consider
giving less to the corporate media and donating more to Media Lens:
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8th June 10:29
Media: The Vanishing World Tribunal on Iraq
Take off your burka you cowardly bitch!
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