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Old 02-June-2003, 18:30
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Default Congratulations to BBC "Correspondent" - 'Al-Jazeera'

"The Sun" is not normally a paper that I would purchase but I did so on 31st May because it had comprehensive coverage of sex abuse of Iraqi PoW's - allegedly shown on a roll of film taken by Fusilier Gary Bartram.

On page 6 "The Sun Says" - 'Switch off the BBC Tomorrow' in support of Alison Cullingworth's protest about the BBC screening pictures of her husband and his comrades lying dead in Iraq.

My immediate reaction is that I trust the BBC and I am sure they would have given very, very careful consideration in arriving at a decision as to whether or not such images should be shown.

I probably would not have watched the programme had it not been for this intervention by "The Sun"

Sadly, during the war, I was carried along with the anti Al-Jazeera criticisms created by the media supporting the invasion of Iraq. I'm ashamed I accepted the implication that Al-Jazeera were part of the pro-Iraq propaganda machine.

Thanks to the BBC I now know that Al-Jazeera is a dedicated international satellite news service and they were trying to present the true face of war and how many civilians were being killed and mutilated in contrast to the claims of designated and accurate bombing.

The shock distress and concern in the eyes of the Al-Jazeera news room were genuine and could be compared with those dealing with the horrors of the Twin Towers.

Obviously both the invading forces and the defending forces are responsible for ensuring the Geneva Convention is upheld as for the treatment of PoW's. The media are there to record what they are allowed to see and, in the case of potential war crimes extend their journalistic investigations.

Through the film I came to respect the independence and professionalism of Al-Jazeera

I shared with them the loss of their colleague when their "safe" Baghdad base was hit.

Their description of their colleague as 'term martyr' is appropriate because the premises in which their colleague was killed was clearly designated as a "no-bomb" building that would have housed media personnel.

One feels that the bombing could have been a deliberate attempt to suppress, by the invading forces, the independent news gathering.

Don't forget Al-Jazeera were also threatened with expulsion from Iraq by Saddam's machine because they reported truthfully the progress of American troops towards Bagdad.

Finally the BBC were in my view entirely justified in showing the images of dead British soldiers none of whom could be identified This clearly demonstrated the independence of the Al-Jazeera reporting in showing the mutilations caused by war to both sides of the conflict.
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Old 02-June-2003, 18:45
fabienne
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I liked the report too. One thing bothered me, though, who was the main smoking man taking his orders from? (I mean we didn'tt see the boss, did we?) Or maybe he was making the decisions, i don't know.

The bombing of the Palestine hotel always bothered me, it was too obvious a building to be mistaken, i think, and it happened after the bombing of their headquarters. Weird to say the least.

The report of the Basra unrest was most unbelievable, we were given the gospel according to the US, then a version according to the Brits, and a version according to AlJazeera. Just amazing how one event can be twisted, misinterpreted and made to fit someone's agenda. frightful in fact.

Anyway, a good insight into how they "do" the news over the fence.
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Old 03-June-2003, 19:05
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Fabienne did you follow the points concerning the application of the Geneva Convention to the work of Al-Jazeera? The documentary for me was not very clear on this point

Stepping aside from the documentary for a moment as far as I recall both the US and Iraqi armies allowed camera crews or to film their POWs in whatever "surrender position" they deem appropriate. Images of civilians killed or injured in the course of the battle were also shown.

The news companies then decided whether or not to broadcast the images and whether or not to digitally obscure the faces.

It seems to me that both sides - as national military forces - were guilty of subjecting the surrendered to humiliation. POW and civilians were filmed whilst in a submissive positions. Both sides showed terribly injured civilians either from their own resources or other agencies.

News companies are not signatories of the Geneva Convention, so so how can they be guilty of contravening the Convention?

It would seem to me that some people would wish to deny the horrors and reality of war by managing the media to present a sterile clean images of only precision weapons that always hit the correct targets and don't kill people.
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Old 03-June-2003, 19:26
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I am not sure about how the Geneva convention applies to broadcasting companies, or not. Looks like a grey area.

In passing, the US have bypassed it neatly with their treatment of the Afghans in guantanamo bay!

It would seem to me that some people would wish to deny the horrors and reality of war by managing the media to present a sterile clean images of only precision weapons that always hit the correct targets and don't kill people.
I agree with that, although maybe i would replace your "deny" by "hide" ! That's the impression that i was left with after seeing that alJazeera docu.
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Old 04-June-2003, 21:54
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The Geneva Convention does not apply to the media. The US were clutching at straws at the time to try and paint the worst picture possible with regard to Aljazeera.

I notice at the time that following this accusation the "embedded" western news teams stopped showing individuals faces when broadcasting pictures of Iraqi's being searched or arrested...

I was following the war via an arab Aljazeera mirror site - hastilly put together after the FBI screwed the original.

I've got almost all the footage (in mpegs) shown in the documentry as it was shown at the time (minus the blurring).

Although it is within the bounds of decency for arab audiences - showing the face of a five year old boy who's had his brains blown out the back of his skull tends to upset europeans...

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Old 05-June-2003, 12:29
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by The2ndLoser
showing the face of a five year old boy who's had his brains blown out the back of his skull tends to upset europeans...
The actions that cause a five year old boy to have his brains blown out are done with the best possible reasons and to impose our high moral values and remove a corrupt regime.

In the UK we are highly concerned for the welfare of children and we ensure that images of abused children are not published.

As with the paedophile issues I think the main thing is to take action against those responsible for the abuse rather than those publishing the images. The published images are of course evidence that the abuse took place.

Damned unpatriotic that girl in the photoshop getting a loyal British soldier into trouble merely because he had a few unpleasant pictures of Iraqi PoW's

Sorry I'm feeling in a very sarcastic mood today with our Prime Minister wriggling out of the charges of misleading us about the prime reason for this war - the Weapons of Mass Destruction that cannot be found.
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Old 05-June-2003, 15:05
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Thanks to the BBC I now know that Al-Jazeera is a dedicated international satellite news service and they were trying to present the true face of war and how many civilians were being killed and mutilated in contrast to the claims of designated and accurate bombing.
Hmmm. I heard that although Al-Jazeera was initially set up with public funding, it is nowadays totally self-financing. Yes - it does carry ads, from some big household names, though a few boycotted them during the war. However, much of its income is from other news media, who pay them royalties to use their footage. In fact, some news sources have standing agreements with Al-Jazeera where they pay a flat rate, and are thus permitted to rebroadcast any Al-Jazeera material without phoning them up and asking about each one. And I'm led to believe that the camp of Fox/Sky/Sun is one of them. Which is odd, because many people accused Fox/Sky/Sun of being the most hawkishly pro-war news source. My point here is that although I don't think Al-Jazeera is inherently unbiased, by the same token, I don't think it's inherently more biased than any other news source.

News companies are not signatories of the Geneva Convention, so so how can they be guilty of contravening the Convention?

It would seem to me that some people would wish to deny the horrors and reality of war by managing the media to present a sterile clean images of only precision weapons that always hit the correct targets and don't kill people.
Totally agree. Snag is, though, it does seem that some news sources go along with it sometimes anyway. It's hard to suss out exactly what's in a news' sources' interests. I do believe that commercial interests lead on to political interests, though, because they want to preserve or expand particular markets, and one political administration might make that easier for one media company than for another. Complicated - but interesting, and worth knowing about I think.

I mean, it has been said that if it wasn't for certain sections of the right wing press in New York, this war wouldn't have happened. Let's face it, the link between Saddam Hussein and Al-Qaeda was always a bit tenuous - but certain sections of the press saw it in their interest to talk it up. Editorials would write at great length about how patriotically American they are, but they would also insinuate that the president can't be much good if he doesn't do anything about the so-called threat of terrorism that brought down the World Trade Center. They must be right about this, mustn't they? If you say you're proud to be American, your voice carries far further than it does if you say you're ashamed to be American. So when they talk up the link between Saddam and Al-Qaeda, George Bush listens, and gets totally suckered by it.

But do these sources really care about the common people? Nah - they just want good copy. Wars create good copy, and thereby also sell newspapers and cable TV subscriptions.
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Old 06-June-2003, 02:01
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I'm just waiting for President Blair to say in his defence:

"Destruction?"

"No, I said weapons of mass Distraction - so that you wouldn't all think we were after the oil"


I'm sorry, I said it at the time and I still believe that the b@stard lied through his teeth about the reason for going to war...

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Old 06-June-2003, 08:45
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I am resigning from The Doctor Hans Blix Fan Club because he seems to be supporting Tony Blair!!!!

We had the opening rounds of Tony's next stage of wriggling by the start of a smear campaign against the intelligence services.

Is Hans Blix saying the intelligence was incorrect or is he saying the intelligence reports were misused and misinterpreted by politicians?

So how come the USA and GB have different findings that they were not prepared to share with the United Nations and ask Han Blix to investigate?

Why are they unable to substantiate their different findings that were the basis for war.

I would not now trust Tony Blair any more than a tarmac salesman calling at my door!!!!!!
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Old 07-June-2003, 08:46
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distraction, that's brilliant.

Mind you, I have heard commentators suggest that it would very much have been in OPEC's interest if the war hadn't happened in the first place. Correct me if I'm wrong, but the pre-war jitters made oil prices go up - but they came down again once the war had actually started. So I honestly don't think it's just about oil.

There are other things that I think it's just about, though. Incidentally, how many of you have heard of an organisation called "PNAC"? http://www.newamericancentury.org

Apparently Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney are key members. The left wing media treat PNAC as though it's a big hush hush imperialistic conspiracy. In fact nothing is further from the truth, PNAC is very open, it even has its own web site, and you can probably get its books from your local library. It's just not very widely publicised, that's all - especially in the sorts of media that like to suggest that wars are all about oil.

And I think you can probably see why!
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Old 07-June-2003, 14:33
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Thanks for your link Squidgy. It is really interesting to read the views of moderate Americans about the European contribution to the International affairs

I live in Brussels, famed "capital of Europe," and have traveled across the continent over the past year, speaking with intellectuals, journalists, foreign policy analysts and government officials at the endless merry-go-round of highbrow European conferences. The settings couldn't be nicer; the food and wine couldn't be better; the conversations couldn't be more polite. And the suspicion, fear and loathing of the United States couldn't be thicker. In London, where Tony Blair has to go to work every day, one finds Britain's finest minds propounding, in sophisticated language and melodious Oxbridge accents, the conspiracy theories of Pat Buchanan concerning the "neoconservative" (read: Jewish) hijacking of American foreign policy. Britain's most gifted scholars sift through American writings about Europe searching for signs of derogatory "sexual imagery." In Paris, all the talk is of oil and "imperialism" (and Jews). In Madrid, it's oil, imperialism, past American support for Franco (and Jews). At a conference I recently attended in Barcelona, an esteemed Spanish intellectual earnestly asked why, if the United States wants to topple vicious dictatorships that manufacture weapons of mass destruction, it is not also invading Israel.
It is said that the truth hurts - has this writer been hurt by the truth?
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Old 07-June-2003, 14:44
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Default Report by the the Pentagon Defence Intelligence Agency

In September,as President Bust was embarking on the campaign to convince the UN that Saddam Hussein and his arsenal were a threat to the international community and should be removed by force if necessary a report by the Pentagon Defence Intelligence Agency (PDI) said there was no reliable information that Iraq had battlefield-ready chemical and biological weapons.

A summary obtained by CNN says "There is no reliable information on whether Iraq is producing and stockpiling chemical weapons or where Iraq has or will establish its chemical warfare agent production facilities"

The DIA director Vice Admiral Lowell Jacoby said yesterday

We could not specifically pin down individual facilities operating as part of the weapons of mass destruction programme, specifically the chemical warfare portion"
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Old 07-June-2003, 21:10
squidgy
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Not sure what to think of all this stuff about mass graves that's coming out now. Perhaps we were right to have had the war after all. But then again, there's a popular opinion that says that Saddam Hussein was put where he was by the US, during the days that their foreign policy didn't quite see eye to eye with Iran, and Ayatolla Khomeni (is that what he was called?). So ..... maybe there's been something bigger going on all this time ....?
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Old 07-June-2003, 21:29
squidgy
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In London, where Tony Blair has to go to work every day, one finds Britain's finest minds propounding, in sophisticated language and melodious Oxbridge accents, the conspiracy theories of Pat Buchanan concerning the "neoconservative" (read: Jewish) hijacking of American foreign policy.
Well well well - so the neoconservatives now feel they might have to go down the road of playing upon the whole Nazi holocaust thing, huh?

Of course, I'm not a Jew, so I can't comment; but I'd suggest that the thing which holocaust survivors and their relatives find most offensive would be every last Tom, Dick and Harry exploiting people's guilt feelings about it in order to make their political point. Jews are unwillingly coming to be defined by their status as a "victim" race, and not by their cultural history. Let's face it, the holocaust can be used to justify practically any point of view. But you usually only do it when you can't put across a more rational point. If I may be permitted to be less rational for a moment, I could say that if you allow this to happen, it means Hitler's won. But I'm more rational than that, so I won't say it.

Oh, and more to the point, the holocaust happened here in Europe. Not over there in America. But far be it from me to suggest that us Europeans have learnt the lessons from it better than those Americans have, good God no I'd never suggest that.

I hate to have to say it, but this is the sort of thing that makes people cook up conspiracy theories about the holocaust, and wonder if the whole thing was staged to pave the way for this American Neoconservatism. But that would definitely be a conspiracy theory too far. I wouldn't believe it, so forgive me for being so grossly offensive as to suggest it - but even if it were true, it wouldn't have washed with us Europeans anyway.
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Old 07-June-2003, 21:53
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From pnac's statement of principles ...

American foreign and defense policy is adrift. Conservatives have criticized the incoherent policies of the Clinton Administration. They have also resisted isolationist impulses from within their own ranks. But conservatives have not confidently advanced a strategic vision of America's role in the world. They have not set forth guiding principles for American foreign policy. They have allowed differences over tactics to obscure potential agreement on strategic objectives. And they have not fought for a defense budget that would maintain American security and advance American interests in the new century.

We aim to change this. We aim to make the case and rally support for American global leadership.
That's nice.

As the 20th century draws to a close, the United States stands as the world's preeminent power. Having led the West to victory in the Cold War, America faces an opportunity and a challenge: Does the United States have the vision to build upon the achievements of past decades? Does the United States have the resolve to shape a new century favorable to American principles and interests?
To my way of thinking, if they want us to be favourable to American principles and interests, they should allow us Europeans to vote in US Presidential and Congressional elections.

Post this in mainly US-based forums, and peeps they say they think it's silly. When I push the point, they also say they think it's hypocritical, because we don't let residents of New York vote for MEP's. To, that, though, I say that our government, at local, regional, national and European level, respects the jurisdiction of its borders. The US, on the other hand, has a foreign policy which has no respect for the fact that the majority of people affected by it (ie, you and me) are never given an opportunity to vote on it.

If citizens of Europe got votes in Presidential and Congressional elections, then I might even support PNAC's policies. Somehow I don't think it's going to happen, though - sure, I believe they'd like us all to benefit from American freedom, values and principles, though I also believe they'd like to make sure that they don't accidentally allow the wrong person to vote under them.
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Old 08-June-2003, 10:00
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To my way of thinking, if they want us to be favourable to American principles and interests, they should allow us Europeans to vote in US Presidential and Congressional elections.
Squidgy, you're priceless! I think you should have stood for election instead of WL !

Joke aside, i do understand your point about US policies affecting the rest of the world.
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Old 08-June-2003, 10:47
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Only to Vote!!!

Why not go the whole hog ? We are, for our services to Bust, entitled to opt out of Europe and become the fiftieth State of America in name rather than just deed

PS Folks didn't seem to notice my last typo" Bust" for "Bush" and it has happened again. What is the significance of the repeated typo? The "t" is not even the right finger
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Old 08-June-2003, 11:53
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well, that's what the anti UE lobby have said all along, perhaps it's time we woke up to the fasts and concede that yes, the US rule and we should all go on our knees, hail Bust and vote for him forever after!
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Old 08-June-2003, 19:26
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The thing is, that's all very well, but I thought that these American values and principles weren't about ruling. I thought they were supposed to be about democracy, freedom, the First Amendment and all that. It seems like we're conceding that yes, it's all very hypocritical; but we're not doing anything about it.

Not saying I have any suggestions, mind, it's just I think the suffragettes managed to do a bit better than that when they got votes for women. I just think, being able to vote over where the real power lies is every bit as big an issue as votes for women - if not bigger.

Then again, perhaps it's the big ten who really have power. Not really sure who rules the world but I'm sure someone does somewhere.
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