How is it that the statements of one single country, the U.S. are more important and newsworthy than what Blix and Baradei themselves have to say — as the officials in charge of the inspections — about the matter?
As BBC reported earlier, recently the US illegally violated the Security Council’s resolution by blocking the non permanent members of the Council from having access to the document Iraq produced. One wonders: how can one criticize this document, when one has worked so hard from letting others see an uncensored copy of the document? That aside, the clear bias on BBC’s site indicates that the pronouncements of the world’s military superpower *about* the inspections, are somehow more important than the very leaders of those inspections. Does military muscle trump truth?
BBC goes on to quote Blix: “We are consistent in the view that there has been relatively little given in the declaration by way of evidence concerning the programs of weapons of mass destruction” but fails to include Blix’s added statement that, nevertheless, “there *has* been some material concerning the period between 1998 and 2002 in the non-nuclear weapon field”. Still more serious examples of one-sided reporting follows below: the news that is fit to print is contrasted with what BBC chose to omit.
BBC: “head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohamed El Baradei, criticised the document too.” Fair enough.
What BBC did not apparently feel its readers deserve to hear was Baradei’s qualification that “We are at a very initial phase of assessing the report..”
2) Furthermore, BBC readers who did not take the trouble to watch the video (or who don’t have the bandwidth to do so) and who rely on BBC’s stories to give a fair, accurate, professional, and balanced coverage of the presentation by Blix and Baradei — would have been spared other parts of the truth that have been sanitized out of the BBC story, including Baradei’s adding:
“I think we are making..both of us [Blix and Baradei] indicated we are making good progress in having access to sites. Iraq is cooperating well in terms of process..”
Before adding that “We both agree we need much more cooperation in terms of substance, in terms of evidence to exonerate themselves…and that is a challenge for both them and us…if they come up with additional information our talks will be shorter, easier and our conclusions more credible…Iraq needs to come with more information, We both want more information from Iraq..”
3) A reporter asked: “Are they [Iraq] cooperating fully?”
Baradei: “As I said Iraq has been opening doors for us. Iraq has been giving us IMMEDIATE access to sites . However we have not gotten what we need in terms of ADDITIONAL evidence [emphasis added]. This assessment was also not present in BBC’s summary, nor that “We are neither optimistic nor pessimistic” Rather a purely pessimistic view was given — the same one the world’s superpower, which openly admits a goal of “regime change” in Iraq, would like the world to see, not coincidentally.
4) Yet another example of BBC’s one-sidedness: BBC quotes Blix as stating “Iraq has missed an opportunity says Blix”
Blix actually used the passive voice: “An opportunity was missed in the declaration to provide a lot of evidence. They can still provide it and I hope they can provide it to us orally [but it would have been better if it was in the declaration]”
5) This much is in BBC story “Iraq accused of UN violation” [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/2592243.stm ]
But that is only half of what blix said.
Yet again the one pro-war negative side is presented, and (one must assume) deliberate decisions were made on BBC omissions are made.
Blix added right away: “Much of [Iraq’s report] was repetition of what was said before. I DON’T THINK YOU CAN PUT TOGETHER A REPORT OF 10,000 PAGES IN ONE MONTH WITHOUT TAKING A LOT OF OLD MATERIALS — BUT THERE IS ALSO SOME NEW MATERIAL — and we are analyzing that. Mostly related to non-weapons activities. [emph added]
So in the next breath Blix added that, given the amount of time Iraq had, there wasn’t enough time to produce a huge amount of new information — why is this not reported to BBC’s readers?
And Blix noted that at least some new material was there — why was this not reported to BBC’s readers?
6) Furthermore, some reports asked for details:
“Q: Can you be more specific…what these items are that you now were there in 1998 that are not in the declaration?”
Around 4:24 minutes Baradei answers,
“We can give you an example..we had report by Iraq during our meetings in Baghdad that there were efforts to procure aluminum-2…there is nothing in the report to give us *details* on the efforts to procure it… [And] we know that there had been a lot production of chemical agents…but there is no evidence that these agents have been were destroyed…we need either to see document, people to speak to us and confirm that these have been destroyed, or even see the destroyed material..the more evidence we have the more… the more we get from Iraq the more assurances we can give to the council that yes, Iraq has been disarmed”
So Baradei clarifying that they are asking for things like *interviews* with people, or *physical samples* , things which by definition cannot be part of a written report.
Likewise Blix: “About Anthrax. Iraq declared earlier that they had produced 8,500 liters of anthrax..there was not sufficient evidence to demonstrate that it was limited to 8,500..if this is so, we must ask ourselves was there more? UNSCOM calculated that with the capacity they had, that they *COULD* have produced three times as much. Then Iraq declared that they had destroyed it all. There was some EVIDENCE GIVEN THAT THEY DESTROYED SOME OF IT [but] there is not sufficient evidence to show that *all* was destroyed, hence there is a question, is there still some anthrax in Iraq, and we would need more evidence, either by someone who participated [ie another case of an interview rather than a written report] in the destruction or in the way of records of their production etcetera. This is the kinds of questions that we have on many items.”
7) Furthermore, one could predict that the following remarks by Blix would not be reported, since they are not on the pro-war side:
Blix: “Cooperation on proceedings, on procedures HAS BEEN GOOD. THEY HAVE BEEN HELPFUL, UH, HELPED US also in terms of logistics, and setting up an office in Massoud, and access, [8:10] YES THERE HAS BEEN GOOD COOPERATION, presumably, an instruction to let us in to sites we have been to so far. [Emph added]
Why did BBC chose to omit this? Could it possibly be due to the political pressure in the UK — where, while polls show very widespread opposition to Washington’s war plans among the British, people, nevertheless the UK government acts almost as shamefully as my own in its pro-war lies and distortions (along the same shameful path of their both having supported Saddam until almost the day of the invasion of Kuwait via military, economic, and diplomatic aid even though the crimes they today pretend to be shocked by)?
8) Finally, a provocative question is asked:
Q: There were two cases of closed doors…how do you see that, and does it show you anything?
BBC did not deem it important to share this Q/A, perhaps because of Blix’s reply:
Blix: “There was an occasion, I think a visit in a hospital or something, on a Friday, the Muslim day of rest, and the place was practically empty, and there were some doors inside to offices that were closed and they didn’t have the keys. The Iraqis offered to break down the doors, and we suggested no, it might not be a good idea, and instead suggested, and they agreed, that we seal the doors, until the Saturday morning”
Again BBC omits critical parts of the 10 minute session — could it be cause by exonerating Iraq of a charge one would have been “off the script”?
In fact, the “Iraq accused of UN violation” story contains exactly 100% negative sounding (and often misleading) statements by Blix, usually omitting the second half of the statement, as documented above — and 0% of anything positive. Further quotes restrict themselves to official Iraqi spokespersons, whom readers will treat with suspicion — but those whom readers would trust more, such as Blix and Baradei, are censored when they have anything positive to say, again, as documented in examples after example above.
Of course this entire game is a sham.
When I and countless like me opposed US aid to Saddam in a prior time, we were either ignored, or worse, as in my case, were called soft on the Ayatollah — “what are you, a friend of the Ayatollah?” This is the response we got for supporting international law and for opposing war-profiting by US arms sales which, it was crystal clear at the time — would strengthen two brutal regimes while killing millions of innocent Iraqi and Iranian people.
Those of us who opposed aid to Saddam are now called “soft on Saddam” for holding the same principles of intentional law — and the equal application of the law — and human rights, justice, and democracy.
Those who at the time were in bed with Saddam, giving him money, giving him arms, supporting him diplomatically — that’s all down Orwell’s memory hole — those like Bush are now portrayed as “tough” while the rest of us who support peace are smeared in the US media — BBC should be ashamed for coming ever closer to this this vile standard of servility to Power that most US corporate media have represented.
It’s a silly game being played in terms of the above principle of equal application of the law: would it be ok for France or China to declare “regime change” their policy towards barbaric countries like Saudi Arabia or Turkey? No, they are US allies, and must not be criticized. Would it be ok to invade Israel (where I was born) for its own countless violations of UN resolutions? And its killing of tens of thousands in Lebanon and the occupied territories? Would it be ok to justify it due to “Israel’s material breach” if it didn’t provide accounting for every last liter, every last ounce, every last document?
Indeed, who other than a madman would think it ok to bomb the U.S. in response to the countless acts of terror, both direct and indirect, across the world including the terrorist bombing of the Sudan destroying half the pharmaceutical infrastructure in a deeply impoverished country? Or which harbors convicted Haitian terrorists and will not hand them over (the Taliban at least offered to hand Osama over once given the documents of evidence we had — whether they would have we don’t know, given that Bush dismissed their offer)?
How did the brutal regime of South Africa get replaced? How did the Saddam-like massively brutal Suharto get replaced? By an invasion in which we outsiders murder tens of thousands of civilians? No, they were replaced by their own people when we stopped supporting their brutal leaders. That is the way to change in Iraq — unless we wish to be consistant but to become monsters having the same ideology as Bin Laden and assert that anyone can bomb anyone else who holds WMDs, or who has committed military aggression [ie, terorrism] around the world, or violated UN resolutions — and everyone knows which country tops that list, and would create more anti-US terrorism and a far more dangerous world by proceeding along the course BBC sadly now seems to cheerlead.