Wednesday, March 18, 2009

SELECTIVE VISION: IRAN, ISRAEL AND NUCLEAR ARMS

Media Lens, March 17, 2009

Gullible’s (Endless) Travels

Have journalists learnt nothing from recent history? It truly is a wonder when a reporter can assert in public, on the BBC News no less, that “Tony Blair passionately believed that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and posed a grave threat.” (BBC1, Six O’Clock News, February 24, 2009). When BBC reporter Reeta Chakrabarti was challenged on this remarkable display of naïveté, she compounded her grievous error by responding:

“I said Mr Blair passionately believed Iraq had wmd because he has consistently said so. When challenged he has stuck to his guns.” (Email posted on the Media Lens Message Board, March 2, 2009)

So when a demonstrably mendacious leader claims he “passionately believed” in a lie, the media has to take him at his word. This is the same brand of journalistic gullibility that has had such tragic consequences for the people of Iraq. This is the endless, uncritical obedience to power that boosted the warmongering agenda of London and Washington, allowing them to fit ‘facts’ to a pre-ordained policy of launching a war of aggression. Such an act, sold by the BBC as Blair’s “passionate belief”, is the supreme international crime, as judged by the 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal.

And a similar tragic fate may yet befall the people of Iran, if the corporate media portrayal of Iran as a rogue state lorded over by “ruling mullahs”, desperate to get their hands on nuclear weapons, goes unchallenged.

A Nuclear Programme Under Close Surveillance

At the end of 2007, a thorough assessment by the United States concluded that Iran’s nuclear weapons programme had already halted in 2003. The National Intelligence Estimate was the consensus view of all 16 US spy agencies. (Mark Mazzeti, ‘U.S. Says Iran Ended Atomic Arms Work,’ New York Times, December 3, 2007)

In its latest report on Iran, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) strengthened this assessment when it stated it had “been able to continue to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material [for possible military purposes] in Iran.” (IAEA, ‘Introductory Statement to the Board of Governors by IAEA Director General Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei,’ March 2, 2009; http://www.iaea.org/NewsCenter/ Statements/2009/ebsp2009n002.html)

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Media Lens is our response to the unwillingness, or inability, of the mainstream media to tell the truth about the real causes and extent of many of the problems facing us, such as human rights abuses, poverty, pollution and climate change.
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