Syria Crisis Raises Question of Mark Mardell’s Bias And Accuracy

As the President of the United States continues to fail in drumming up international support for bombing Syria, and the failure to win now-vital Congressional approval looms on the horizon, the BBC’s Mark Mardell is having a crisis of faith in which he reveals personal bias on the US, war, and the President. He also makes serious factual errors which reveal either his incompetence as a journalist or that a deep personal bias has clouded his judgment.

Syria crisis raises question of US role in the world

Right away, Mardell spells out his dilemma.

The president is clearing his desk, going all-out to persuade for a vote that he has said is vital for America’s credibility.

It is also a critical moment for American perception of itself as a power in the world. But in the details of the debate over Syria, the biggest questions and the larger picture are in danger of being lost.

In essence, it’s whether the world needs a super cop. And whether the US should simply assume that role.

I laughed out loud at this point. A little more than two years ago, back when the President was dithering deliberating over whether or not to send some humanitarian missiles at Libya, Mardell was engaged in contemplation of what he believed was the President’s internal personal struggle:

  • The tug between not wanting to be the world’s policeman and being the only guy with the gun and the muscle to stop a murder.

  • The whole-hearted desire to act in concert with other countries, and the realisation that implies going along with stuff they want to do and you don’t. (Being dragged into a war by the French, imagine.)

  • Not wanting to be out front when many world structures are designed in the expectation that like it or not, America will lead.

  • Intellectual appreciation that the ghost of Western colonialism is a powerful spirit never exorcised, and frustration that an untainted liberal interventionism hasn’t grown in other countries.

It took a long time for Mr Obama to decide to take action, and the route he has taken, a genuine commitment to acting with other nations with the US in the lead, has made for the appearance of more muddle. Now it is time for clarity.

How’s that working out now, Mark? Guess who demanded action first, and who’s our only ally now. Remember when Mardell was worried that the President had accidentally painted Himself into a corner with that “red line” business”? Just the other day, the President, like a child being asked who scribbled with crayons on the wall, told the world, “I didn’t didn’t set a red line: the world set a red line.”  Now Mardell seems to have happily forgotten about his original concern and dutifully shifted blame away from Him. Trapped In A World He Never Made.

The BBC’s top analyst of US affairs has been consistent in his anti-war stance, his defense of the President, and in placing blame anywhere except on Him. Most recently, we saw Mardell in Ohio, reporting about a couple of town hall meetings held by a Congressman, where he found a way to blame George Bush, sort of. Hyper-partisan, intransigent Republicans currently in Washington also shared the blame. Any lack of trust in the President Himself seemed non-existent.

Notice that Mardell portrays Rep. Johnson as having been “unimpressed” by the Administration’s secret intelligence briefing simply because neither the President nor Vice President were there. He says that Johnson merely “had to wait a while to find out” about what the situation was with the chemical weapons, and solid evidence of an actual war plan. Mardell plays his skepticism as personal pettiness, not as a perhaps sincere objection based on legitimately reached opinion. In fact, here’s what Johnson actually said in a public statement, which Mardell would have been given:

“Given how important this Congressional briefing was for the President to make his case for taking military action in Syria, I was surprised that neither he, nor the Vice President, nor any cabinet level official was in attendance.  The decision on whether or not to commit American troops and risk American lives when the United States is not directly threatened is a difficult one, and the President has the heavy burden of convincing the Congress and the American people of its merits. I left this afternoon’s briefing with more questions and concerns than I had when I arrived.”

Sure, he was surprised that nobody of any importance was there. But this appears to be a case where the President and His Administration demonstrated the contempt in which they hold Congress. This wasn’t a snub just at Johnson, it was a snub at all of them. And the bit I’ve bolded is rather important, don’t you think? And it’s not just Johnson who came away skeptical. Congress didn’t actually get satisfactory answers, and even top Democrats say so. Why would Mardell censor that piece of information? No wonder the President is now “clearing His desk”, as Mardell put it today.

Back to the Top Cop thing. Mardell goes on to explain what he sees as the two justifications being used for dropping a few bombs on Syria.

The first is national interest. Mr Obama says Syria does not pose an immediate threat to the US, but its willingness to use chemical weapons threatens its allies and bases in the region.

Less frequently his administration has suggested such weapons could fall into the hands of terrorists who could use them against America.

It is pretty obvious, the bigger the world power the more its vital interests may be harmed by something happening a long way away. If the whole Middle East is in uproar, it might not make a whole heap of difference to Paraguay or Latvia.

The argument for national interest is pretty clear. The desire to intervene for what you might call ‘moral reasons’, is far more murky.

Much of this is fair enough. It doesn’t take a genius to grasp the concepts. But why are moral reasons more murky? Because China and Russia don’t agree. No, really.

Mr Obama and even more forcefully Secretary of State John Kerry have said that the world can’t stand aside and witness such suffering. Particularly not when it breaches, if not international law, then international norms.

It is noticeable that it is senior politicians in the US, France and the UK who are keen on this argument of liberal interventionism. It is not just Russia that won’t go along with it. China won’t either.

On a recent trip there, I became convinced that this is fairly genuine. Academics and ordinary people find it baffling that America wants to impose its values on the rest of the world.

China forcefully repeats that it wants the denuclearisation of its ally North Korea. But it is reluctant to force the issue.

So we’re supposed to question Western moral values in this case because China is baffled by US imperialism? Oh, my goodness. On what other issues are we now supposed to back off now, Mark? Looks like he’s suffering from a little going native syndrome having spent a few weeks in China working on that documentary of his on how deeply entwined our national interests are and how China’s awesomeness may very well rescue the US economy (coming next Tuedsay on Radio 4 – can’t wait!).

Pardon me as I wipe the tears of laughter and dismay out of my eye. Mardell’s also saying that we could be wrong because we haven’t heard particularly loud demands to stop Assad from Brazil, Nigeria, or Japan, either. Well, Mugabe has been pretty silent, too. That’s me convinced. Are we in the world of adult, serious political discussion, or in the proverbial university bar? Hold that thought for later, actually.

So, we’ve gone from the President “accidentally” boxing Himself into a corner and being forced to act to save face, to Him blaming the world for boxing Him into a corner and being forced to act because of our high moral values, to questioning those moral values because they don’t come from Sweden. No, seriously:

I once put it to Tony Blair that the Iraq war might have been more credible if the call for action had come from Sweden. He made the obvious point: “Well, they couldn’t do it, could they?”

Now here’s where Mardell reveals his true bias on the larger issue:

Which makes me wonder about that old saying, “to a hammer, every problem is a nail”. In this case, you have to wonder why the hammer was forged in the first place.

Mardell’s not really old enough to be a child of the ’60s, but he sure is acting like the dippiest of hippies here. Why is there war, mommy? For heaven’s sake, Mark, why not quit the BBC and go to the nearest military base and start putting flowers in rifle barrels. How can anyone take this man seriously at this point?

Speaking of the ’60s, some people here may remember this little journey down the rabbit hole when Mardell was holding session at the BBC College of Journalism. His first reaction on landing in the US after being assigned to replace Justin Webb was, “What happened to the ’60s”? His real bias is on display here. In an attempt to explain himself, he continues:

The British developed their military to defend a globe-spanning empire. The US developed its military might to intervene in Europe and then to challenge the USSR.

The absence of the original purpose has not eliminated an instinct to intervene.

Maybe the word “imperialism” makes you think of arguments “that it is all about oil” or crude land grabs.

But those Victorian imperialists really did think they were bringing civilisation and Christianity, order and the rule of law to people who couldn’t climb to such dizzying heights on their own.

America’s belief in its own mission is more universal and not driven by racism, but there is a similar zealous enthusiasm to remake the rest of the world in its image.

No, there isn’t. This is pure anti-American drivel. And notice how this is suddenly about “America” again. Seems like every time the President does something Mardell or the BBC doesn’t like, He’s not mentioned, and it’s all about “America” as a whole acting unseemly. Is the President not involved? Wasn’t He elected to cure us of this demon? Nobody ‘s making Him do this. In any case, is that what we were doing when Clinton bombed the Serbs? How about when we removed Manuel Noriega from power? Grenada? Nobody in their right mind thought we were going to make Afghanistan into a modern, Western society. Dumbing down such complex situations and issues is silly, and betrays an ideological bias. Disagreeing with policy isn’t the same thing as demonizing it, but that’s what he’s doing here. Having Mark Mardell report on the US is like having St. Mark report on the Pharisees.

Of course, stopping the horror of chemical weapons is not the same as introducing democracy at the point of a gun.

But it raises the same question of who has the authority to make the judgment that norms have been violated, and who deals out the punishment.

Oh, does it now? I don’t know about people here, but I question the wisdom of listening to Russia and China and Nigeria on the issues of human rights. So, who has the authority?

The UN is meant to be the body that can order global cops into action. But the US says the Security Council is broken, because of the Russian veto.

You mean the Security Council which includes such moral heavyweights as Azerbaijan and Pakistan?  The UN which for a while had Libya as the Chair of their Human Rights Council? With Venezuela and Qatar as members? These people are supposed to set moral standards for us all?

While the Russian action does look cynical, it is a bit like a prosecutor saying the jury system doesn’t work because he didn’t get a conviction.

You mean like so many Beeboids said after the Zimmerman verdict?

Or indeed, if David Cameron said parliament didn’t work because of the “no” vote.

Or indeed, if Mark Mardell said Congress didn’t work because they wouldn’t vote for something the President wanted.

President Obama understands how it looks to the rest of the world if the US goes it alone.

But, I thought…..

Mardell again:

It is why he was so reluctant to take the lead over Libya, why he was so slow to develop a Syria strategy.

No, it isn’t. This is where Mardell reveals not only his bias about the President, but even more of his own personal political beliefs. The President took so long to develop a strategy, and has been flailing around ever since He got caught up in His own smart-ass rhetoric, because He and His advisers actually had one all along – only it turned out to be completely, tragically, absurdly wrong.

Remarks by Ambassador Samantha Power, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, on Syria at the Center for American Progress, Washington D.C.

You all remember Samantha Power, right? She’s the President’s former foreign policy adviser who blamed the Jewish Lobby for criticism about His policies, then had to resign when she called Hillary Clinton “a monster” in an interview. After working for George Soros for a while, she was brought back into the fold and is now our voice at Mardell’s voice of morality, the UN. Here’s what she had to say to the far-Left Center for American Progress recently:

We worked with the UN to create a group of inspectors and then worked for more than six months to get them access to the country, on the logic that perhaps the presence of an investigative team in the country might deter future attacks. Or if not, at a minimum, we thought perhaps a shared evidentiary base could convince Russia or Iran – itself a victim of Saddam Hussein’s monstrous chemical weapons attacks in 1987-1988 – to cast loose a regime that was gassing its people. We expanded and accelerated our assistance to the Syrian opposition.

In other words, the President and his super-smart advisers are, just like Mardell, as naive as your average angry student debating world affairs in the university bar. This is just about the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. And remember that last line about stepping up the help for the rebels for later.

Now we see that Mardell has been accidentally right, but wrong all along. The President wasn’t taking so long to develop a military strategy because He was worried about what the world would think. He was taking so long because He was working on another scheme entirely and never expected to need one. And then He thought He could get away with it, because He usually faces no consequences for anything. Just like He thought He could get away with that “red line” statement. How can Mardell not know this? He’s supposed to have been following the President’s every move closely, considering it all deeply and dutifully, researching, talking with experts, getting insider info. How can he have blown this so badly? Especially since this kind of naive negotiation is exactly the kind of thing he supports.

His bias has been driving his analysis. As I’ve maintained from the beginning, the President doesn’t have much interest or deep understanding of realpolitik and international affairs at this level. His ambitions and concerns have always been about domestic policies, domestic transformation. All these foreign issues are nuisances, distractions, things which should be delegated to various minions and apparatchiks. Where He does have opinions, they don’t seem to be very profound. And so we see here that the people doing it for Him share the most naive, ignorant views possible, and have accomplished precious little.

Why do you think we have less allies now after four years of Hillary Clinton as Sec. of State? And here’s another unasked, never mind unanswered question: If so much of the opposition to this war is due to Iraq fatigue, what about Libya? Why was Libya okay and now suddenly everyone is tired of war? That was even (illegal) regime change, he didn’t use unapproved weapons, and this is supposed to be some “proportional” limited bombing campaign.

What does “proportional” mean, anyway? Mardell isn’t interested. All he cares about is how the President looks now, and how He’ll look next week. It seems that the BBC’s North America editor’s job is not to really inform you properly about US issues, or about how the country works or what’s really going on, but how things affect the President. That’s why I often refer to him as the BBC’s US President editor.

Mardell’s journalism over the last five years has shown that his personal political ideology is very close to that of the President. This war campaign – as well as the one against Libya – is the only issue on which Mardell doesn’t approve. So he works to shift blame away from the President at every opportunity. And now he’s not only trying to analyze the situation around Him, he’s trying to figure out what the President can do to be successful. Is that really what the BBC is paying him to do?

Now about what Amb. Power said about accelerating assistance to the Syrian rebels. It’s really starting to look like this is all smoke and mirrors. As is obvious to everyone except Mardell by now, it’s impossible to think that a limited strike on a few military facilities will be the end of it. The President claims He’s not taking sides in the Syrian civil war here. He’s been very clear that this is about sending a message about killing lots of people in an unapproved method. I bet Ghaddafi’s ghost is wondering why the hell all this Iraq fatigue didn’t set in when it was his turn in the spotlight. But I digress.

Doing any real damage to Assad’s military capability is a de facto game changer in the civil war. It’s simply not credible to say that the military installations supposedly used to launch a rocket with a chemical warhead have no other purpose. I don’t mean specifically the rockets themselves which may already be armed with them, I’m talking about the larger picture. It’s impossible to believe that there can be some sort of surgical strikes so accurate that only the chemical weapons and a couple of rocket launchers will be hit. Any attack will limit Assad’s military capability, period, and it’s outrageous that we’re expected to believe that it won’t, and that any military action the US takes won’t affect – or isn’t meant to affect – the civil war. Of course it will.

Where’s Mardell’s astute analysis about that? He’s still caught up in the emotional world of teenage existential angst to notice. I’m trying not to take a position here about the rights or wrongs about taking sides or stopping Assad or regime change or what we should do next. I have opinions, obviously, but that’s not what this is about. This is about Mardell’s personal opinions coloring all his reporting and analysis in a way that makes his journalism unworthy of trusting or given much credence at all.

He’s not wondering about any of what I’ve just mentioned because he’s still stuck in his belief that The Obamessiah really is concerned only about chemical weapons, and truly doesn’t want to force regime change. We can see from Power’s speech that this simply isn’t true, that the US really is working to increase the chances of his downfall. So the President is essentially lying, Sec. of State Kerry is lying, and any BBC journalist who says the President doesn’t want to is either lying or just seriously deluded.

It’s either that, or the President and His entire Administration are a bunch of idiots and shouldn’t be trusted to run a nursery. Take your pick. In the end, this is a massive failure of BBC journalism. At your expense.

PS: Still no mention of His Nobel Prize for Peace. Come on, Mark, even Sweden has called Him on it.

Mardell Drones On

The New York Times has a big feature out about the President personally approving every single unmanned drone attack, and boy is the BBC’s US President editor distraught. It’s been making the rounds of the media today, lots of debate, and Mardell is not taking it well.

Is Obama’s drone doctrine counter-productive?

It doesn’t make the President look bad in the mainstream media, but it sure angers the anti-war crowd. The report features several high-ranking Administration figures, and even Mardell realizes that they’re talking with His approval. It was clearly coordinated with the New York Times as an opening move in the official election campaign now that the Republican race is finally settled. I’m not sure this is going to go over very well on either side, and I don’t think it’s going to give Him any kind of boost in approval. What I think may be going is that this was all going to be revealed in a book due out soon, and the White House coordinated with gave some interviews to the New York Times to give His side of the story in an attempt to head that off at the pass.

The President has to tread a very careful line on the war against Islamist military and terrorist action. On the one hand He needs to keep the anti-war crowd on side and withdraw the troops from Iraq and Afghanistan. On the other, He has to reassure the rest of the country that He’s still taking strong action to fight our enemies. So on one side He’s ending the official war business in Iraq and Afghanistan, drawing criticism from those who say it’s retreat and leaving a mess before our work is really done, but on the other side He gets to have Bin Laden’s head figuratively on the spike outside the Tower of London.

These drone attacks are supposed to help Him walk that line, and it’s pretty obvious from the NY Times piece that’s the message He’s trying to send. He’s telling the people whom Mardell loathes as wanting justice “from the barrell of a gun” that He’s still keeping us safe. He’s also telling the anti-war crowd that He’s really on top of things, and doing this to avoid civilian casualties and not to worry because He has the moral authority to make these decisions. I guess when you win the Nobel Prize for Peace, you get to choose your targets.

And it’s killing Mardell inside. So he spends most of his piece giving you different voices critical of the whole drone process, the usual journo trick for expressing views by proxy. Some say they’re murder, he writes. Some say they’re illegal, and other say the strategy doesn’t work. Then he frets that the President will find the “sci-fi” aspect too attractive anyway, which is him expressing his disapproval of the drone attacks. Not a single word from anyone holding the point of view that maybe killing Al-Alwaki or Zawahiri might have prevented more attacks on civilians or troops or anything of the sort. It’s all negative. Regardless of which side of the issue one is on, there can be no question that this isn’t a balanced or impartial take.

It’s not difficult to guess which side of the issue Mardell is on. One can almost hear him sighing as he types the words. This warmongering continues to be the only one of the President’s policies about which Mardell is critical or has written anything negative. He eventually had to figure out a way to spin Gaddafi’s death as vindication for the President’s supposed strategy of “leading from behind” on Libya. He’s even criticized the fact that troops will still be in Afghanistan for a while longer, until security is finally handed over to the Afghans, showing that he doesn’t know the difference between that and a cease-fire. Amusingly, even though this reads like an angry letter from a spurned worshiper, Mardell still can’t quite bring himself to remind you the very relevant fact that the President has killed more people with these drone attacks than Bush could ever have dreamed of. That would just be too much negative about Him in one place, and we can’t have that.

His piece isn’t journalism: it’s an op-ed disguised as a question. But I guess that’s what he’s really paid to do, isn’t it?

Mark Mardell – Anti-War Correspondent

Sometimes Mark Mardell just can’t help but express his opinion on world affairs. This time he’s expressing his disdain for the way US troops will continue to engage in military action in Afghanistan even though a decision has been made by the President to hand full military control over to the Afghan Government in 2014. The fact that he simply doesn’t understand what this means shows just how naive and ideological the man is.

Mission, sort of, accomplished

After the obligatory dig at George Bush, Mardell gives us an analogy to show us what he thinks about the whole state of affairs. He likens the troop draw-down and continued military policing of the country to the pointless butchery in the last few hours of World War I after the armistice had been signed. No, this highly-paid, world-traveled, expert journalist actually doesn’t know the difference between a cease-fire and the gradual handing over of power to a new government after military reconstruction.

I have been asking some of those involved whether the end in Afghanistan amounts to a prolonged version of much the same thing.

For the next two years British and American soldiers will be risking their lives for a war that we know will end in 2014, no matter what.

See what I mean? He really doesn’t get it. And he’s not done expressing his opinion. Of course, being a clever, trained journalist, he uses the rhetorical device of asking a question behind which to hide his opinion.

Has Nato masterfully spun an acceptance of defeat and subsequent retreat into something that looks a bit like victory?

Defeat? Al Qaeda has long been broken into the tiniest of pieces, really no longer existing, the Taliban we’re fighting bears little resemblance to those who ran much of the country 12 years ago. This is obviously a definition of “defeat” I wasn’t previously aware of. It’s not a perfect, obvious victory in that we haven’t created a stable environment like we did in Germany or Japan after WWII. But Mardell doesn’t see any of that. He sees only continued fighting, ergo it’s a defeat.

So outraged and confused is he by the fact that young men will continue to die for what he sees as someone merely hitting the “off” switch, that he goes to Ft. Bragg to question the last batch of US troops preparing for their tour of engagement. Fortunately, most of the soldiers seem to understand what they’re up against, and can grasp the larger picture better than the man the BBC expects not only you to trust about US issues, but expects their own young journalists to trust for lessons on how to be a correspondent.

The soldiers seem to understand that there are larger issues at play in the long term, but also realize that doesn’t discount everything that’s gone on the whole time. To Mardell, though, the fact that there are larger issues at play is proof that this war never should have happened, and needs to be shut down. Of course, it wouldn’t be a Mark Mardell report without the reflexive praising of the President, and he doesn’t disappoint:

It seems obvious to me that Obama has been pretty hard-headed, deciding to end a war when it was clear to him that it couldn’t be “won” in a conventional sense.

This view is supported by an important article by David Sanger in the New York Times.

Here we see the appeal to authority. Because he realizes most of his readers won’t know who Sanger is, he even explains that authority for us.

Sanger’s record is impressive. He gets the inside story more often than any other Washington journalist.

People who do know who Sanger is, though, will know that he mostly just likes hands-on, authoritative Presidential behavior in this matters. He like Clinton’s quasi-personal approach, mocked Bush as “Incurious George”, and expressed his disappointment when the current President dithered on Libya and then led from behind. Funny how Mardell wasn’t appealing to Sanger’s authority then, eh? So now when the President has acted decisively, Sanger is pleased. Mardell is especially pleased because on this occasion his beloved Obamessiah has done something with which he agrees.

Next comes the required “balance”. Mardell quotes John McCain’s disapproval of setting a date for withdrawal. Never mind how so far this piece is really two against one – Mardell and Sanger in support of the President’s decision to withdraw, and McCain against. And it’s about to get much worse. Where does Mardell go for the final say on the matter? Does he seek out a foreign policy expert? A military historian? A seasoned diplomat? No, becaue none of them with any credibility would call this a defeat, which is what Mardell thinks. To find somebody who agrees with him, he asks an Occupier:

The many anti-war protesters who gathered on the streets of Chicago believe the real problem is the exact opposite.
Riot police and protesters clash in Chicago The Nato summit has attracted many anti-war campaigners to Chicago

Among them is Occupy Washington’s Kevin Zeese. He says soldiers are going on fighting their way towards a deadline for one reason.

“That’s what happens when you lose a war. It is like Iraq. This is how you get out when you lose.

Mark Mardell: BBC anti-war correspondent, and dishonest Beeboid. Why am I calling him dishonest this time? Because Kevin Zeese isn’t just an Occupier or merely one of a number of anti-war protesters: he’s also executive director of the anti-war activist group, “Come Home America“, and co-founder of “Voters for Peace”. The man the BBC expects you to trust most on US issues doesn’t want you to know that, because it would detract from the credibility of his piece, so he left that out. Neither he nor his editor want you to know the truth, because it’s with Zeese that Mardell agrees most of all.

THE FALKLANDS….

 

So, it’s a moment in time. 30 years ago, the United Kingdom under the leadership of arch-BBC hate figure Margaret Thatcher, went to war with Argentina to defend the British people of the Falklands.  I was just our of University so my memory of BBC coverage at the time is cloudy. Can you recall how it was treated? This morning, on Today, there was an interview @ 8.20am with one of those soldiers who had fought in the battle for the Falklands, and the widow of one of our brave men who had died during the campaign. You know the inevitable question that was coming from the BBC correspondent Caroline Wyatt, don’t you? Yes – was it worth it? Back shot the answer, an unequivocal YES! The BBC must have been sickened with that and I am sure they will work hard to find somone who fought in the Falklands and now regrets it.

People ask if we have the military capability to wage a similar campaign in the south Atlantic 30 years on. I would phrase it differently. How would the BBC treat such a military campaign 30 years on? Based on its coverage of Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, the drumbeat of total opposition to war would be loud. And given the emergence of the 24 hour news cycle, would popular support for such a campaign be sustainable? There is a very real question here that needs consideration – is the UK capable of fighting and winning a war when the State Broadcaster has such a grip over the news cycle and can therefore influence and direct public opinion. What say you?

WAR – WHAT IS IT GOOD FOR?

It’s all in the angle taken. Biased BBC contributor Alan observes:


“When Gaddafi’s convoy was hit by NATO aircraft all news reports took similar line…..it was a military convoy trying to escape the NTC troops…even the BBC reported this:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/mobile/world-africa-15387872
’13:55
Nato aircraft on Thursday morning struck two pro-Gaddafi military vehicles in the vicinity of Sirte, a spokesman said. “At approximately 08:30 local time (GMT+2) today, Nato aircraft struck two pro-Gaddafi forces military vehicles which were part of a larger group manoeuvring in the vicinity of Sirte,” Nato spokesman Colonel Roland Lavoie said in a statement.
13:56
The UK’s Ministry of Defence said …”It was targeted on the basis that this was the last of the pro-Gaddafi forces fleeing Sirte,” .’

Reuters reported this:
http://www.trust.org/alertnet/news/air-strike-hit-11-vehicles-in-gaddafi-convoy–nato
Air strike hit 11 vehicles in Gaddafi convoy -NATO
21 Oct 2011 12:55
Source: reuters // Reuters
‘NATO aircraft struck 11 pro-Gaddafi military vehicles that were part of a larger group of approximately 75 vehicles manoeuvring near Sirte, the NATO statement said.
“These armed vehicles were leaving Sirte at high speed and were attempting to force their way around the outskirts of the city,” the statement said.
“The vehicles were carrying a substantial amount of weapons and ammunition posing a significant threat to the local civilian population. The convoy was engaged by a NATO aircraft to reduce the threat.” ‘

or the Telegraph’s reporter on the ground with the NTC in Sirte:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/libya/8843684/Gaddafis-final-hours-Nato-and-the-SAS-helped-rebels-drive-hunted-leader-into-endgame-in-a-desert-drain.html

Why then did 5Live continually broadcast the words of Rear Admiral Chris Parry who stated that ‘
NATO has some questions to answer, the convoy wasn’t threatening anybody and ostensibly this was an attack on civilians.’
http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/console/b01607q8
18:00 5Live News: 21 Oct
Why did the BBC 5Live push a line that this might have been a war crime against civilians when itself had earlier reported this was a military convoy? A fine disregard for the facts in the pursuit of an exciting storyline or one that continues their own narrative…. ie all war is bad and the Western Forces are essentially war criminals killing people for oil contracts.

Is it responsible journalism to report anything anyone says regardless of what the facts are…wouldn’t a little cross checking before the story is headlined be in order? Only a couple of days ago the BBC were castigating the Americans for not co-ordinating information reporting between different intelligence agencies. How is it that the world’s ‘finest’ news broadcaster is unable to ensure up to date information is passed to all its own news teams and co-ordinate and sustain a single line of reporting on a story?

The answer might be of course that it does air whatever it wants to whether or not it is true either to get an ‘exciting’ new slant on a story or to push its own anti-war narrative.”

RUFFLED FEATHERS?

B-BBC contributor Alan notes the following;

“Watching a film recently on the BBC I spotted the name ‘Michael Nyman’ in the credits for musical composition. His name rang a bell and Google delivered the goods on him.

“He is a prodigious anti-war campaigner who works with the Stop the War Coalition and directs much of his energy towards promoting this stance in his public work.”

 From his diary:
‘Tuesday
I sat down at the piano and wrote a five-minute piece of music called Thanks but no thanks, Gordon – a minor protest about government plans to replace the Trident missile.
Wednesday
Lunch with gallery-owner Michael Hoppen to seek his advice about becoming a photographic dealer. Later I went to St James’s Church, Piccadilly for a benefit for Lieutenant Malcolm Kendall-Smith, a medical officer who believes the Iraq war is illegal. I improvised on the piano, trying to express an idealised plea for peace.’

I remembered him from an appearance on the Today programme which told us the BBC had actually commissioned him to write an anti-war piece for them…..how does the BBC get away with that….pure blatant politicised propangada? How much do you want to ruffle feathers? asks the BBC….

http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/today/listenagain/listenagain_20070309.shtml
‘The latest work from Michael Nyman, “Handshake in the Dark”, was commissioned for the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, and received its world premiere at the Barbican in London last night. Rebecca Jones reports.’ 2007. The work is ‘controversial’ says Naughtie…..based on a poem by an Iraqi to his brother captured by the americans (and thought dead)…and is anti-war. Nyman says…’these are disreputable times, wars going on, politicians making terrible illegal decisions about things so this has to be the my anti war piece… it deals with the pain, shock and terror of war.’

What was amusing was scrolling further down the Today programme schedule and you find this prescient(?) diamond of analysis……

 2007
‘The EU will be 50 this year. To mark the occasion a document called the Berlin Declaration has been drawn up. We ask Mark Leonard who wrote the book, “Why Europe will run the 21st Century” and Neil O’Brien Director of the Eurosceptic think tank “Open Europe” what they would like to see in the Declaration.’ Leonard tells us that…’Type Europe and crisis into Google and you get 54 million entries (now 625 million!) but in eyes of an historian it is a miraculous success….so I say bring on the crisis as this is when Europe shines.’

Shining brightly?

COMEDY BY MISTAKE!

I was alerted to this from Melanie Philips a few days back. Well worth a read!

“And last week on BBC News Hard Talk, former New York Mayor Rudi Giuliani repeatedly laughed incredulously at the assumptions of his interviewer, BBC correspondent Stephen Sackur. Wouldn’t you admit, said Sackur, that American policy after 9/11 in Afghanistan and Iraq was a mistake? Why should I admit that? said Giuliani when he had finished laughing; the US has foiled 42 separate terror attacks since then because of that security policy put in place by President Bush.

Sackur tried again. But surely, he said, the police security strategy of targeting the Muslim community ‘gets in the way of the healing’. Giuliani laughed again even more incredulously. Well they would hardly target synagogues or churches he said. Of course the police targeted the mosques. It was from the mosques that the terror plots were coming. This is no more bad for Muslims than it was bad for Italian/Americans when I went after the Mafia in New York! 

No wonder Giuliani laughed – he must have thought he’d wandered onto the set of a BBC comedy show by mistake.”

How Many Wars Is A Nobel Peace Prize Winner Allowed To Have Before The BBC Will Raise An Eyebrow?

The winner of the 2009 Nobel Prize for Peace is currently involved in military attacks on six different countries. Where is the BBC on this? Now the US President has even sent troops to invade yet another Muslim country: Somalia. Where are the BBC’s war correspondents? Where is the BBC North America editor to give expert analysis on why The Obamessiah isn’t a cowboy warmonger? Fortunately, Matt Frei is no longer around to tell you that He is a “reluctant warrior”.

In case anyone here relies solely on the BBC for their information, I’ll list the countries in which the US is currently militarily involved:

Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Yemen, Somalia.

Back when the President was dithering deliberating over whether to join in the war on Libya, Mardell sneered at those who wanted to see “an unapologetically aggressive America storming ahead, out front, leading those who have the guts to follow”. He also said that the President “didn’t want to be seen leading the posse to lynch the bad guy.” So what about now? Why is there no BBC discussion of how the US is blowing people up and targeting them for assassination without UN resolutions and without joining an international, NATO-led effort?

As Mardell himself said before hostilities against Ghaddafi commenced:

Many in Britain and the rest of Europe cheered when Obama was elected. They were fed up with the guy in the cowboy boots who shot from the hip. They seemed pleased with a US President who had no aspirations to be the world’s sheriff. Now, some are shaking their heads, looking for a leader.

So he is perfectly capable of criticizing people who wanted the President to go to war. Why, then, is he incapable of criticizing – publicly, anyway – the President Himself for not only going to a war that Mardell didn’t like, but taking war into even more countries than Bush could ever have dreamt of?

Just before the US joined in with Cowboy Dave and Sancho Sarkozy, Mardell explained that the White House’s reticence was due to the fact that nobody wanted to make the US look like it was doing more of that nasty old imperialist aggression. So why does the bombing of Yemen and invasion of Somalia not look like it? If it walks like imperialist aggression and quacks like imperialist aggression……

Mardell at one point tried to convince you that The Obamessiah made the UN more relevant by forcing them to make the moral decision to attack Ghaddafi. He said it was a big deal because now nobody would think the US was “dictating what happens in the Muslim world”. How about now, BBC? Why is invading Somalia or bombing Yemen without a wink at the UN different?

There’s no dithering deliberation when it comes to wantonly bombing the crap out of Muslims in other countries. And not a single raised eyebrow at the BBC. Mardell can be critical of people who urge the President into war, but he cannot be critical of the President Himself for invading countries without any prompting from an uncouth public.

It was a big deal when everyone agreed that there would be no troops on the ground in Libya, as if that somehow certified the humanitarian bona fides of the “mission”. So why is the BBC completely silent when the US sends troops in to invade another country altogether? I assume Mardell is on yet another vacation, but there are several other Beeboids assigned to the US, some of whom are allowed to give their own expert analyses on US issues. Where are they?

The BBC has no trouble running articles telling you about criticism of the French supplying weapons to the rebels in Libya, but cannot find a single person to criticize the President for ordering drone bombing runs in Yemen or Somalia, never mind Libya. The criticisms of His ramping up the war in Pakistan have been kept extremely low key as well. What a difference between now and when Bush was in charge.

As has been pointed out on this blog by so many people, there is also a marked absence of anti-war protesters. This isn’t the BBC’s fault (much), but surely there must be one curious Beeboid on staff who wonders why the anti-war crowd simply doesn’t care about how many innocents The Obamessiah kills or may kill with His warmongering. I think they simply view the bombings and killings differently because it’s Him. Somehow, He knows what’s best, and wouldn’t do it if it wasn’t good for all of us. He works in mysterious ways, ours is not to reason why, etc.

The BBC’s integrity when it comes to reporting on war has been severely compromised by their deep, unwavering bias in favor of the leader of a foreign country. Your license fee hard at work.

Mark Mardell’s Crisis of Faith, Part III

BBC North America editor Mark Mardell has posted his summary and analysis of the President’s visitation to Ireland and England (not the UK, but England, as we’ll see in a moment). Poor Mardell has been questioning his faith in The Obamessiah for a few weeks now, ever since He decided to listen to reason become a reluctant warrior and finally get on board lead the attack on Libya from behind. Mardell was pretty open about his opinion of military action in previous posts, and is equally revealing here. But his ultimate disappointment is betrayed by the headline:

Obama’s historic speech fails to soar

Aw, poor dear. This isn’t objective analysis, but the expression of a disappointed fan when the latest project by his hero fails to live up to expectations. Mardell shows just how twisted his world view is, and his personal biases are as clear as ever. He certainly didn’t mention the bumbling errors the President made, like writing 2008 in the guest book or screwing up the toast to the Queen or acting like His Irish ancestor meant that He shared the British heritage. Or that He kept saying “England”, when it’s supposed to be Britain or the UK. Imagine if Bush had kept saying England like that, or done any of these things. The Beeboids would have led every programme with a laugh, across the spectrum of broadcasting.

Before getting into what disappointed him, though, Mardell spoke sympathetically about a colleague’s desire to share in this historic event:

I was talking to a colleague beforehand about the eternal tension for broadcast journalists, whether to watch such a speech from an edit suite – which can make practical sense when time is short – or live, which we would all prefer.

He complained: “I’m not going to tell my grandchildren I watched Obama from a cutting room!”

Surely this colleague is a Beeboid, or Mardell would have said he wasn’t, as this is so blatantly impartial. Sadly for the North America editor, the speech didn’t live up to his expectations, but I thought the “historic” bit was that it was The Obamessiah, and the first time a US President spoke at Westminster and not about the content of the speech. But Mardell shares in this worship, and sees nothing biased about his colleague’s attitude or in telling you about it.

So what did Mardell find wrong? Essentially, he felt that the President was too American for his tastes. Sure, he tried to make it sound as if the speech was incoherent, the logic poorly constructed. Have we ever heard Mardell say such a thing about His oration? Only when it’s a message he doesn’t like, like bombing Libya. Mardell does just what defenders of the indefensible accuse us of doing on this blog: complaining when the BBC reports something we don’t like, instead of making an objective case for what they did wrong. Read this bit, and then consider whether or not Mardell says anything further to support the statement:

But it didn’t quite work. It was flat and lacked soaring passion. That is part of the Obama conundrum. Sometimes this tremendous orator doesn’t pull it off. It is often when the argument is over-constructed and the raw emotion can’t burst through the stretched logic.

Nowhere does Mardell explain how the speech didn’t hold together, where the ideas expressed failed to connect into the wonderful whole he was looking for. Instead he complains about certain things the President said, and then reveals his own world view.

For example, the whole middle section of Mardell’s piece is simply laying out various central ideas of the speech. He points out how the President spoke of the historical foundations of the Magna Carta through to how the US and UK still stand for freedom of the individual without state oppression. The rights of liberty espoused by the US and the UK are, the President said, universal rights. This sounds suspiciously like the Bush Doctrine, and so it’s here where Mardell gets upset.

“The future of our children and grandchildren will be better if other people’s children and grandchildren are more prosperous and more free – from the beaches of Normandy to the Balkans to Benghazi. That is our interests and our ideals. And if we fail to meet that responsibility, who would take our place, and what kind of world would we pass on?”

Think about this statement for a moment. This is the kind of American exceptionalism that the BBC hates, the kind that the anti-Bush Leftoids in the US hate, but what most people in the US wanted to hear at last from the first post-American President. It also sounds pretty reasonable. But not to Mark Mardell.

That to me is the key sentence: “Who would take our place?”

He doesn’t spell it out, but it is a reminder many of the rising powers don’t value democracy and human rights. Those that do may not have the desire to promote them in the muscular way that Britain and America can and do – at the point of a gun.

There are two unbelievably biased and wrong-headed things in that last sentence. First of all, I’d like to ask Mardell which “rising powers” are going to promote democracy and human rights at all? I don’t mean which countries are trying to get it right at home, but which ones are, as the term “promote” implies, trying to spread it around and encourage it elsewhere in the world? It’s a fantasy, yet Mardell is ideologically wedded to pacifist isolationism, otherwise known as sticking your head in the sand and keeping it there while someone kicks you in the ass.

Second, and the most biased bit, is Mardell’s lazy sneer: “at the point of a gun”. He’s said it before, and used similar pejorative phrases, about military actions of which he doesn’t approve, and it’s a personal political view. He’s entitled to his opinion, but he is not, as the BBC North America editor, entitled to tell you what foreign policy is correct or not. Yet he does it over and over again.

Where’s the logic failure of the speech, then? How do the President’s points not cohere? Mardell is being dishonest here, either with himself or with his readers. It’s just that he doesn’t like it when his beloved Obamessiah displays attitudes which he finds distasteful: basic US attitudes.

Looking back on Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, some won’t think that such a bad thing.

Some won’t, no. But he does anyway. And then we see Mardell’s heart close to breaking.

But here Mr Obama is nearer to a neo-con than the anti-war movement.

Shed a tear. My God, how can this be? I guess Mardell has been in denial for the past two years as the President ramped up two wars, expanded one of them into Pakistan while killing more people via drones than Bush ever dreamed of, and joined in a third war.

Mr Obama, who went on to talk about the strength of the UK and USA’s “patchwork heritage”, two nations based on values not ethnicity, can get away with this. From an old white man it would have sounded like colonial arrogance.

You know, perhaps it’s just me, but when I look at the President, I don’t see a black man first and foremost. I see a man. The color of His skin is about as relevant as His height or the fact that He’s left-handed. Meaning it’s not relevant at all here. It’s irrelevant to the content of His character or, in this case, His speech. Yet Mardell sees a black man first, and hears the words through that filter. Who’s the real racist here, Mark? Rev. Martin Luther King would be very disappointed.

Aside from that, why on earth would it sound like colonial arrogance to say that our shared values and strength are color-blind and universal? Well, here Mardell is extrapolating from that to the idea of bringing democracy to Libya “at the point of a gun”. When whites do it, I suppose, it’s colonialism. When a black man does it, it’s still wrong, according to Mardell, but not quite as wrong. Again, this is just Mardell’s personal bias against the military action against Libya. He’s entitled his personal opinion, but is not entitled to tell you how to think.

Mardell closes by repeating his earlier assertion that the speech didn’t work.

He got near to the heart of the argument about the way the USA and its allies behave in the world, but he didn’t quite make it all the way.

Which argument, Mark? The one the President was actually trying to make, or the one you wanted Him to? It sounded to me like the President was pretty clear about it all. It’s only unclear if one wanted to hear a totally different attitude.

This felt like an attempt to mix too many elements. Flattering Britain, promoting the essential relationship, American exceptionalism, Britain’s role in creating it, universal values.

So Mardell’s bias is pretty obvious. He just doesn’t like any of these things.

They were all there, but like oil and water stayed stubbornly apart.

Really, how so? What didn’t work? How? Mardell doesn’t ever bother to say. He just claims up front it didn’t work, and then repeats the claim at the end, with no substance offered in between to back it up.

It is perhaps the most important argument in the world today. I want to hear more.

No, Mark. You wanted to hear something else entirely.

One other thing wrong with all of Mardell’s reporting on the President’s visit – as well as that of the entire BBC staff, both on air and online – is that nobody dared express a concern about how inappropriate this campaign trip to an adoring audience of non-voters (for that’s what this was, if we’re honest) was while the Midwest has been battered by floods and tornadoes, with entire towns wiped off the face of the earth, with hundreds dead and hundreds more missing. Never mind the economic troubles He’s running from. Not a single Beeboid raised an eyebrow at this all week long. All out of blind worship of The Obamessiah come among them.

REGIME CHANGE..IN LONDON

It looks like the tyrannical regime is split, divided, at war with itself and surely it is only a matter of time until it falls? Libya? Nope – the Coalition if one judges this on the shockingly biased BBC coverage of the pretend “split” between UK armed forces and the Government. The BBC is determined to portray the Cameron leadership as confused and conflicted and if all else looks pear-shaped for Ghadaffi, well – he can always tune into the BBC world service and look on the bright side of life.

SHOOTING THE MESSENGER

Listen to John Humphyrs doing everything possible to suggest that the British Army is running away from Sangin in this interview with Major General Gordon Messenger. I find it repulsive listening to the mocking and hectoring tone from Humphyrs and his ilk knowing the gallantry and self-sacrifice that characterises our Armed Forces. The Taliban must tune in to Today regularly for this Brit-bashing Taliban worship.

DAILY SKEW

Following on from David’s post Defeated in Iraq…

Whatever your own view of the Iraq War, the BBC constantly campaigned against it. The BBC also loves Obama. So how to report the withdrawal of US combat troops from Iraq?

Clare Spencer, the left-winger who writes most of the Daily View pieces for the BBC website’s See Also column, is back from her holiday today. Her first post is Daily View: US troops leaving Iraq.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/seealso/2010/08/daily_view_us_troops_leaving_i.html

If you were a biased right-wing reporter, who would most want to ignore on this issue? Robert Fisk of the Independent probably. If you were a biased left-wing reporter, who would you go to first? Robert Fisk of the Independent probably. Clare Spencer goes first to Robert Fisk, quoting some of his usual anti-Western, anti-(this-)war bile.

After Fisk comes Steve Benen, a JournOLista at the Washington Monthly (Clare is fond of quoting JournOListas), who ‘balances’ Fisk by taking “some satisfaction” in this milestone being achieved. Bad war yes, but well done Obama!

After the left-wing Fisk and the left-wing Benen comes left-wing blogger Juan Cole of Informed Comment who synthesizes the two views to get the perfect BBC opinion:

What Obama has done is stay true to US commitment to get combat units out by September 1. That should reassure Iraqis – and Arabs and Muslims in general – about US intentions. It is a symbol of a turnaround in US policy, a repudiation of the Bush administration doctrine of preemptive war.

Fourth comes Roula Khalaf of the Financial Times who “argues…that the Iraqis have little to celebrate about the US withdrawal”. (This could be read as a criticism of Obama’s move, but isn’t.)

An article in Foreign Policy by John Negroponte, ex-ambassador to Iraq, is quoted next. His quote offers advice for the future, so it doesn’t really counteract the one-sided appraisal of the war of the article so far.

Clare then quotes the Daily Mail. That’s odd. But when you read the quote you find that the Mail article attacks Bush and Blair and calls the war “shameful, without any winners” – which is exactly what beeboids wants to hear!

The one bit (out of seven) that genuinely does provide balance comes from the Daily Mirror, where “the director of the Iraqi Association, a charity for Iraqi refugees in Britain Jabbar Hasan argues “that the Iraq war was worth it”.

However, it’s back to the far-Left anti-war campaigner Rose Gentle (who lost her son in the war and then joined Galloway’s Respect Party) to finish the article in the same Fiskian spirit as it began:

Life in Iraq hasn’t got any better. It’s got worse. Nothing has been achieved there which is very disappointing. There is still no stability despite thousands of innocent Iraqis being killed during the war.”


DEFEATED IN IRAQ

Anyone else catch THIS disgraceful commentary by Hugh Sykes on the news that the last US combat brigade has left Iraq. Note the sneering contemptuous tone he adopts, note how he mocks the US soldier that dares to suggest they won (Where’s Saddam today, Hugh) and note the clear suggestion that it was all a waste of time – in line with the BBC narrative even before we liberated that wretched country. For years the BBC opposed the notion we would want to remove a terror-enabling mass murderer in the form of Saddam and now that Obama has delivered them the retreat that they want, they put the knife in even deeper. Sykes is not balanced, he is not neutral, his miserable commentary could come straight out of a Guardian editorial.

A BBC VIEW RARELY HEARD ON THE BBC!

Despite the relentless opposition to the liberation of Iraq, just occasionally the odd sensible comment gets through the propaganda machine..

Frank Gardner, BBCsecurity correspondent tells us what he thought of the 2003 invasion of Iraq…46 mins in.

‘….a massive mistake on many fronts….but having been there we knew what ahorrible regime it was. One of Saddam’s cronies kept a mangle through which hewould feed his enemies feet first. The removal of Saddam and his odious sons removed forever the threat of thatregime ever getting nuclear weapons in the Middle East.This was a regime that invaded Iran invaded Kuwait and butchered the Kurds andyou need to remember that.’

Maybe Frank could spend a little more time updating his colleagues as they seem uniquely ignorant, or uncaring, of this perspective?

DRONE DRONE DRONE..


Sunday Morning Live replaces the awful Big Question. Hosted by the lovely pouting Susanna Reid, it kicked off this morning with the usual BBC mantra – time to get out of Afghanistan. In fact the line being debated was “Are our soldiers dying in vain”. The BBC is keen to use the loss of soldiers lives over there to whip up support for their militant pacifism and evidently care little for the impact these discussions have on the next of kin. It is an article of faith in the godless BBC that the British Army should never go to war and so it uses every opportunity to press it home. For good measure they had a guy on from the Muslim Public Affairs Committee to give his sage advice which involved cutting deals with the Taliban.

Next up for debate – should we be allowed to help kill our relatives? BBC not keen on the war on terror but very keen on advocating euthanasia. Then, Erin Prizzie to express her sympathy with child killer and child porn devotee Jon Venables.