Friday, February 25, 2005

Media complicity in war crimes: "Stupidity, outrage, vanity, cruelty, iniquity, bad faith, falsehood - we fail to see the whole array when it is facing in the same direction as we." (Jean Rostand)

"Article six of the Nuremberg Tribunal ... states:

"Leaders, organisers, instigators and accomplices participating in the formulation or execution of a common plan or conspiracy to commit any of the foregoing crimes (crimes against peace, war crimes and crimes against humanity) are responsible for all acts performed by any persons in execution of such a plan."

"Put crudely, the impoverished people of Iraq do not matter to the top 5% of the British population who own 45% of the nation's wealth and who run the country. Elite journalists are very much members of this 5% club. And so they take for granted that 'democracy' for Iraqis means the freedom to make 'reasonable' choices as defined by the people who matter. To do otherwise is not to express democratic freedom of choice, it is to invite bombing and invasion. The disregard for the people of Iraq - as clearly evidenced by long-standing Western support for Saddam Hussein, and by the genocidal sanctions imposed from 1990 to 2003 - makes the sudden determination to bring them 'liberty' and 'democracy' very hard to swallow."

"Leyne added that bringing the Sunnis into the political process might not stop the suicide bombers, but it could split the insurgency and drain popular support. Nowhere in Newsnight's review of the election results was there mention of whether the political process might help lessen the far worse violence committed against Iraqis by the US-UK "coalition". Last year, a report in The Lancet found that eighty-four per cent of an excess 100,000 Iraqi deaths since the invasion had been caused by the actions of "coalition" forces, with 95 per cent of those deaths due to air strikes and artillery.

"Newsnight also failed to mention the prospects for alleviating the "coalition's" criminal mismanagement of its already illegal occupation. A 2004 post-war nutritional assessment carried out by UNICEF in Baghdad found that acute child malnutrition or wasting had nearly doubled from four per cent in 2003, to almost eight per cent. UNICEF also report that the under-5 infant mortality for 2003 was 110,000 in occupied Iraq, 292,000 in occupied Afghanistan, as compared to 1,000 in the invading and occupying country Australia (countries that have populations of 25, 24 and 20 million, respectively)."

"In the autumn of 1999 US Vice President Dick Cheney - then CEO of Halliburton - said:

"Oil companies are expected to keep developing enough oil to offset oil depletion and also to meet new demand... So where is this oil going to come from?... The Middle East with two-thirds of the world's oil and the lowest cost is still where the prize ultimately lies."

"Reviewing these comments, Ray McGovern, a CIA analyst for 27 years, notes that it will be entirely obvious to future historians that oil was a key factor in the decision to invade Iraq: "They will point to growing US dependence on foreign oil, the competition with China, India, and others for a world oil supply with terminal illness, and the fact that (as Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz has put it) Iraq 'swims on a sea of oil.' It will all seem so obvious as to provoke little more than a yawn."

""The success of the election does not absolve Britain and the United States from their duty as guardians of democracy. That role has historically been the destiny of the English-speaking peoples." At a stroke Britain and the United States are transformed from illegal invaders on utterly false pretexts, the killers of more than 100,000 Iraqi civilians, into "guardians of democracy".

"Alas, one group of people rejects the Telegraph's view: the Iraqis themselves. A recent US-run poll of Baghdadis showed that one per cent agreed that the goal of the invasion was to bring democracy to Iraq. Five per cent thought the goal was to help Iraqis. The majority assumed the US wants to control Iraq's resources and to use its new bases there to control the region. Demonstrating insight far beyond the capacity of most Western journalists, Baghdadis felt that the US did want 'democracy', but not one that would allow Iraqis to run their lives "without US pressure and influence."

"All of this will indeed one day be obvious. But not now, for we live in a time when the conforming influence of concentrated political and economic power has devastated the media's capacity for honest and rational thought. As long as journalists continue to submit to this oppression of the human spirit, they will continue to be complicit in the gravest imaginable crimes against humanity."

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