Shocker: BBC Cricitices US Government For Poor Protection of Libyan Consulate…But It’s Still Not the President’s Fault

Last week, I complained that the BBC was hiding the truth about just how badly the doomed US consulate in Libya was staffed for security. There were no marines, and precious little else in the way of proper security in a known trouble spot at a known time of conflict. I pointed out that, while Frank Gardner’s “Analysis” bit admitted that the consulate was “under-prepared”, it was a far cry from reporting the truth. I added the usual charges of the BBC not informing you properly when it makes The Obamessiah look bad.

Credit where due, Gardner wrote up a more detailed report over the weekend, in which he says outright that the US deliberately watered down the security at the consulate.

US consulate in Benghazi ‘did not have enough security’

But sources have told the BBC that on the advice of a US diplomatic regional security officer, the mission in Benghazi was not given the full contract despite lobbying by private contractors.

Instead, the US consulate was guarded externally by a force of local Libyan militia, many of whom reportedly put down their weapons and fled once the mission came under concerted attack.

I applaud Gardner for stepping up to the plate here, a pretty rare event for a BBC correspondent reporting on something that directly affects the President. It’s a little late coming, but naturally we always expect the BBC to wait until all the facts are in and verified before reporting, right? Er….except when they can declare the filmmaker is Israeli, or show a sexy photo of dead bodies to support a story about an alleged massacre, or opining on air that the Toulouse killer was a white supremacist, or….well, you get the idea.

In any case, Gardner also reports about a suspected inside informant at the consulate, who gave the attackers pretty accurate information about where to go. This doesn’t reflect badly on the President in my view. This kind of thing is almost impossible to prevent, which means that more trustworthy security staff is even more necessary.

Fortunately, the BBC found a credentialed academic (well, he’s still working on his PhD, but it’s at Harvard, but has given lectures and is a research fellow at the Royal United Services Institute, so that’s credential enough) to say that none of the violence is His fault.

Film protests: What explains the anger?

Shashank Joshi opens by saying that the whole Arab Spring scene has created an environment where violent protests break out more easily than ever. It’s not racist to say that Mohammedans easily become violent when left to their own devices, because Mr. Joshi is, well, you guessed it. Rest assured,though, that it’s racist when people here say that. Joshi then explores the reasons why the protests have spread.

Additionally, such violence long pre-dates the Arab Spring and frequently took place under dictators, the most prominent examples occurring in the Middle East in 2006 after a Danish newspaper’s publication of cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.

The second argument is that we are witnessing profound anti-Americanism, dormant for much of last year, fused with religious extremism – with the controversial Innocence of Muslims film merely a trigger.

It’s not His fault, you see. And never mind the claims that this was pre-planned, and the film was merely a pretext to rouse the rabble.

According to a June 2012 Pew survey, just 15% of those in Muslim countries held a favourable opinion of the United States, compared to 25% in 2009.

You don’t say. But I thought The Obamessiah was going to heal the planet, restore the US’s position in the eyes of the Arab World, etc. when He praised Islam, sucked up to Mohammedan sensibilities, promised to stop with the interventionism, and to help the Palestinians in His infamous Cairo speech in 2009. What’s gone wrong? Surely some of it must be His fault.

Polls indicate that anti-Americanism stems from a variety of grievances, including US policy towards the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, American wars in the Middle East, and US backing for friendly dictators.

Nope, all of that predates His reign, and He’s “ended” those wars (we can still keep killing people and have troops in country and send hundreds of unmanned bombing runs so long as we don’t call it a war) and has kinda sorta spoken out, gently, after much prodding, against a couple of dictators.

The irony is that, whereas Barack Obama is sometimes pilloried by critics in the West for naively supporting the revolutions, most Arabs see his actions as too late and too little. In Tunisia, for instance, only a third believe that the US response to their revolution had a positive impact.

Most critics weren’t so much saying the President was wrong for supporting the various revolutions, but that He was doing it all wrong. The main criticism was that He was going to let them all run wild, without getting involved to help guide them into the kind of free democracy many were hoping for. And then there’s the criticism that the President dithered far too long over getting the US involved in removing Ghaddafi, which led to the rather ugly overall situation in Libya. In other words, His critics in the West felt just like “most Arabs”: too little and too late, and not much of a positive impact at all.

What makes me laugh out loud, though, is that, if we’re to take the word of this well-credentialed academic as the BBC expects us to, the Arab World actually wanted us to help, wanted us to get rid of Ghaddafi and Mubarak and all the rest of them. Which means that people like Mark Mardell and all those Beeboids who were warning against and criticizing any kind of intervention at all were completely wrong, and did not in fact have their finger on the pulse of the masses, did not accurately gauge what the Arab Street was feeling, and reported from their own biased perspectives instead.

In case anybody’s staring to worry that the rest of the article starts to really give us a reason to blame the President for the chaos and widespread anti-US sentiment, rest assured that it doesn’t. Joshi shifts to explaining that there’s a difference between anti-Americanism and plain old religious extremism. This is obviously correct, no problem there. Much of this, he says, is due to religious leaders exploiting the extreme religious devotion of the masses for their own anti-US purposes. Again, correct. But again, this means that the BBC reporting has been wrong about the film being the cause. Clearly it was a pretext. And again, none of this is His fault.

Then we get this howler:

The US has no legal mechanism to censor the provocative film and, with eight weeks to go before a national election, President Obama will be careful not to appear unduly willing to appease mob violence.

I’ll pause for a moment while everyone wipes away tears of laughter. Hey, at least there’s no value judgment about how the US doesn’t have a law in place to censor free speech.

Still think that there’s something for which we can blame the President? Think again:

American freedom of expression cannot be a subject of compromise for any administration. This means that such triggers for protest will recur, as there is no shortage of provocateurs.

There is very little that the United States can realistically do. Broader US foreign policy is not going to radically change in a way that addresses regional grievances.

It’s not His fault, you see. And never mind all that healer stuff the BBC was shoving down your throat in 2008-09. The BBC sure won’t be reminding you of how the then-junior Senator from Illinois declared in 2007 that His personal experience of living as a Muslim will make them all trust the US more and “ultimately make us safer” because He understands their point of view. Some might say (he says, using the standard journo trick – ed.) that this might mean that the President hates the US just like they do. No, no, I’m sure that’s not what he meant at all.

Joshi adds more analysis with which I agree:

Mr Obama’s own experience with intervening in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict ended in humiliation years ago, after he was rebuffed by the Israeli government, and Iran’s nuclear programme has now crowded out the peace process.

Above all, however, many Americans will rightly or wrongly see this week’s protests as indicative of the failure of engagement, not a sign that more is needed.

“Rightly or wrongly”. How even-handed, yet gratuitous.

Some will argue that Mr Obama’s efforts to temper anti-Americanism were exercises in naivety; others that he went nowhere near far enough.

What more could He have done, I wonder, besides surrendering completely?

Either way, the irony is that just as fragile post-revolutionary governments are most in need of assistance to build institutions, small sections of their populations are making that task much harder.

In other words, the critics who said the President made a mistake by sitting back and letting them all run wild, because He didn’t want it to look like evil US intervention, were right. And the Beeboids were wrong. Except that’s not what Joshi wants you think, as he spent a lot of time explaining how there’s nothing He could have done.

Even when there’s an intelligent analysis which goes some way towards understanding the situation – and there is some good stuff here – the BBC still manages to find an opinion that helps shift blame away from the President.

Now that we’ve learned that – contrary to actual BBC reporting – the dopey film was not the direct cause of spontaneous protests but was used as a pretext by religious and paramilitary (one and the same, I know) leaders to inspire their people to violence and murder, let’s see how the BBC has been covering the fact that the Libyan President says that the attack in his country was planned in advance, and how Ambassador Susan Rice has been saying the film was the direct cause of spontaneous protests.

Oh, wait….the BBC has censored all news of this. They’ve also gone silent on the identity of the filmmaker, now that it turns out he’s not a white Evangelical Tea Party operative, and was removed from his house – “voluntarily” – for questioning on direct orders from the FBI. How curious. On Today this morning, Sarah Montague opened her segment with Tony Blair by saying that the film caused the violence. It’s all just a “shrill minority” who are upset that the West doesn’t understand their religion. Except that it’s the small minority who are in charge of the damn countries. Ah, well, nothing to see here, move along.

Send In the Marines – Because They Weren’t There In The First Place

Most people here will by now have read that the US is sending 50 marines to help guard what’s left of the US consulate in Libya.  The BBC reported it here, and gives a brief mention here. The latter article has an “Analysis” inset by BBC security correspondent (a weird title for a war reporter) Frank Gardner. He says this:

In Benghazi, in eastern Libya, the US consulate was not so fortunate.

The security team there had worked out a fallback plan in case of an attack, evacuating staff to a second building, but this too came under attack and it is clear in hindsight that the consulate was under-prepared for the sort of concerted, heavily armed assault that killed four US staff.

“Security team”. And an admission that the consulate was “under-prepared”. Sure, if it was only a handful of marines, that wouldn’t have been sufficient. But that’s not why Gardner chose the term “security team”, as we’ll see in a moment.

In their time-line of events, the BBC editor who put it together similarly refers to a “regional security guard” and “security team”. Oh, that’s “accurate”, alright, but doesn’t tell you the real story.

Gardner and this editor chose to put it that way because there weren’t any marines stationed there at all, and they don’t want to report it.

Ambassador Stevens killed at site with no Marines

The consulate where the American ambassador to Libya was killed on Tuesday is an “interim facility” not protected by the contingent of Marines that safeguards embassies, POLITICO has learned.

Ambassador Chris Stevens was killed with three other Americans in an attack on the U.S. consulate in the city of Benghazi, where Libyan rebels ousted strongman Moammar Qadhafi last year.

Marine Corps spokeswoman Capt. Kendra Motz said that Marines were not posted to the consulate, unlike the embassy in the capital, Tripoli.

This is in Politico, ladies and gentlemen, which means the Beeboids know about it. Like I said before, a handful of them wouldn’t have made much of a difference against what’s clearly a coordinated quasi-paramilitary attack. But they should have been some kind of security there, given the overall situation. I know it’s only a consulate, and they’re traditionally not so set up, but it’s insane to think having “regional security” (translation: locals who might be about as trustworthy as all those Afghan soldiers who keep turning on and killing US soldiers) in a place like this and at a time like this is a good idea.

Worse, CNN reported yesterday that it’s not unusual to leave these places unguarded (by US marines or other proper troops) because they can be “viewed as politically sensitive”. In other words, it’s not just about how I’m wrong to complain because consulates are never guarded properly. We bowed to caveman sensitivity at the expense of our own peoples’ safety.

This is just another glaring foreign policy fail, a sign of sloppy thinking and poor planning. But we don’t want the audience to know about it, do we, BBC? Yes, the mainstream media in the US is also keeping a lid on this, not wanting to make too much out of it. But the BBC’s top man in the US, Mark Mardell, has already pretty much admitted that most of them are Left-wing liberals. So if the BBC follows their lead as to what’s important and what isn’t, that’s tacit approval of a Left-wing agenda.

This isn’t about my personal opinion of how consulates should or shouldn’t be guarded, or whether or not this is a failure of the current Administration. I’ve given my opinion because I’m not bound by the BBC’s Charter and Agreement, nor am I pretending not to have one.  It’s also a way to draw attention to the fact that there don’t seem to be any voices let through by the BBC censors editors who are expressing that viewpoint.Note, though, that there are people now admitting that this incident – and the one in Egypt – is making people worried about the craziness unleashed by the so-called “Arab Spring”. Suddenly we’re allowed to think it might be a problem, but until the other day there was no reason whatsoever to put real guards on the Libyan consulate? No, I think not.

Really, though, this is about how the BBC follows the Left-wing agenda of the US media on certain issues, and fails to inform you in the process.

Since I don’t work in a news room, so couldn’t possibly understand what Mardell really meant, our news and media professionals who like to defend the indefensible here are welcome to explain it to me.

 

MAKING OMELETTES

The BBC opposed military intervention in Libya and when Cameron and Sarkozy actually committed to the air campaign (with Obama “leading from behind, as ever) there was a lot of BBC huffing and puffing. We all know how things worked out and it is clear the BBC called it wrong. So when the organisation Human Rights Watch produces a report that alleges NATO air strikes killed 72 civilians and that it needs “to bear responsibility where appropriate” the BBC was quick to follow up. There was a quite disgraceful interview on Today this morning @ 7.33am with David Mepham, UK Director of Human Rights Watch, and Oana Lungescu, Nato Spokesperson for the Public Diplomacy Division. Lungescu was harangued throughout and it was perfectly obvious that in the BBC world view, wars must be fought without ANY collateral damage. Further, in the BBC world view if HRW says something then it must be true. Finally, the BBC seems to think that it knows better than the Libyan government. This is both unreasonable and unbalanced but what one expects from this organisation.

Come, let us tell in Zion what the Lord our God has done

Sorry I’m a little late in getting to this, but life intrudes occasionally. I saw this the day it was posted, but didn’t have time to deal with it until now. BBC US President editor blogged about Libya and the death of Gaddafi. And it’s classic Mardell in full acolyte mode.

Gaddafi killed: A new kind of US foreign policy success

“Wow”, said Hilary Clinton as she was handed a Blackberry with the news out of Libya.

Gaddafi’s death will be a relief to President Obama and his administration. That’s on the fairly simple grounds that he backed NATO action, called for him to go, and now he’s gone.

Wait a second…..that’s not what I saw originally. I remember it well because I literally smacked my forehead, stood up, and walked away when I saw it. It’s the reason I went back to do this now. It appears that Mardell had a rethink and made a stealth edit. Fortunately, he can’t escape Google. The original post seems to be lost down the memory hole, but the opening line in question is still there:

The death of Col Gaddafi is a vindication of sorts for Barack Obama’s foreign policy, and the awkward US decision to ‘lead from behind’.

A vindication, eh? Killing Gaddafi in cold blood, without due process of law, is vindication of a foreign policy strategy? Did the BBC ever say that when Sadaam was put on trial by his own people, judged, convicted, and sentenced by his own people, that was a vindication of Bush’s foreign policy? I forget. What color is the sky on your planet, Mark? I wonder who told him to tone it down. But make no mistake: Mardell’s true thoughts were revealed in his original words. His beloved Obamessiah has been vindicated. Was it the not doing anything part that was vindicated, or the not having boots on the ground which led to a killing in cold blood without trial or due process of law that was the vindication? Yeah, whatever. Don’t bother wondering if we had put boots on the ground that Gaddafi might have been captured and granted his human rights, put on trial, etc. Nah. The Obamessiah knows best, regardless.

Has His Nobel Peace Prize been vindicated yet? FFS.

In any case, let’s recall the facts. Originally, the President didn’t want to get involved at all. In fact, He had to be dragged, practically kicking and screaming, into it. (There you go again, always wanting an unapologetically aggressive America storming ahead – ed.) At the time, of course, Mardell was trying to convince you that this was “deliberating”, not dithering. We know for a fact, however, that He really was dithering, and had to have reality shoved in His face before reluctantly agreeing to act (once again, Al Jazeera beats the BBC, eh? ) In fact, Sec. of State Clinton and her Department were complaining that it was basically amateur hour at the White House, and were thinking that the lights were on but nobody was at home. It’s also important to remember that the Libyan people themselves were asking for our help, and that Mardell himself was trying to big up The Obamessiah by saying that He felt a personal connection, an emotional attachment, to the Libyans’ cry for justice.

Okay, so back to the current post. Mardell explains that Gaddafi’s death will come as a relief to the President because that means the mission was a success. Naturally, what he really means is that ugly, barbaric United Statesians wanted him slotted, not that the President Himself would be so crass. But Mardell’s main point is that this represents the “Obama Doctrine”, of a less aggressive US. The fact that he has to then admit that we carried the main load of warmongering, and that the essential defeat of Gaddafi’s forces wouldn’t have been possible without US muscle is amusing, but then irritating because Mardell still maintains that it’s totally cool simply because we didn’t start it. I’ll leave it to others to explain how that makes sense, because I sure as hell can’t. Either we made it possible, or we didn’t, no?

Mardell’s main point here is that it’s a significant improvement over the Bush Cowboy years because the Muslims won’t view this as the nasty US imposing our will on the poor brown-skinned folk. There won’t be a generation of Libyans growing up the name “Barack”, I guess. He still sticks to his position that the President wanted to “lead from behind”, and not that He didn’t want to do anything at all. This is White House spin, and not the facts.

Let’s also recall now that Mardell himself was originally against taking action in Libya. He felt that the President frowning at Gaddafi would be sufficient, and tried to convince you that the President’s approach to this conflict was “very deliberate, very rigorous, rather academic.” It was a lie then, and it’s a lie now. The President didn’t want to do it, and had to be convinced by others to act. There’s a big difference between being unsure and trying to work it out and not wanting to do it, full stop. But Mardell constantly told you that the President was trying to figure it out anyway, and that only the uglier side of the US wanted to rush out, guns blazing.

In fact, Mardell was so against the notion that the US was going to save the day that at one point he even praised the President for making the UN relevant again. This is the same UN, mind, that’s now whining about how Gaddafi didn’t get his human rights affirmed before he was whacked. Who didn’t see that coming?

I won’t bother to get into a discussion about how US involvement was illegal anyway, because the President actually needed Congressional approval to send troops out in this case, where Libya wasn’t relevant to immediate US foreign policy and security needs, or that some people like St. Michael and St. Jon (Moore and Stewart) were displeased, as the BBC censored all of that. They’re both totally cool now because they support the Occupiers, so forget about old news that might make the President look bad.

Mardell continues his in blog post to reassure you that it’s great because the Libyans will think they did it themselves, and didn’t have it forced on them by Western Imperialists (he doesn’t use those terms, but that’s what he means). If that’s the case – if Gaddafi’s killing in cold blood vindicates that strategy – then why was it so great for the President to dither over it for weeks?

This is where it becomes clear that Mardell was spinning for Him the entire time. If the President’s plan the whole time was to bomb from afar and let the Libyans themselves do the heavy lifting on the ground, then why dither deliberate about whether or not to get involved? If “leading from behind” was the plan all along, why did He have to have His arm twisted to do it?

Even Mardell admits it, sort of:

In the end it was fear of being judged a moral failure that drove the decision.

Ah, yes. He wanted to be “on the right side of history”, right?

The president was told that thousands could die in a massacre in Benghazi and he wasn’t going to be held responsible for that.

Hell, even the odious, now departed, Matt Frei was worrying about that before Mardell was. And Mardell is still trying to tell you that this is a success story.

But if President Obama’s policy has been a success on its own terms, it leaves others in the US deeply worried. They don’t think their country should encourage, cajole, help and guide. They think it should lead – that it should be seen to lead in fact and in deed.

And if it doesn’t it is not clever – it is defeatist, and will inevitably lead to a diminution of power. They may raise their voices, not today, but when the dust settles.

It’s worth repeating: Forget that Sadaam was captured without harm, put on trial by his own people, and sentenced in a court of law by his own people, according to the laws of his own country. Mardell will hate that to his dying day, yet the cold-blooded killing of Gaddafi, without trail, without legal justice, is a success, a vindication, in his view. How twisted can you get?

In Mardell’s biased worldview, the President’s plan was a success, even if He didn’t actually have this plan and it was forced upon Him. Cold-blooded killing is vindication, whereas a trial according to the laws of the country concerned is Cowboy justice. No effort is spared at the BBC to praise Him and prove to you that He knows best.

"MODERATE" ISLAM

I was touched to read this BBC report on Libya.

Mustafa Abdul Jalil outlined his plans to create a modern democratic state based on “moderate Islam” to thousands of flag-waving supporters in the newly renamed Martyrs’ Square. The head of the National Transitional Council has delivered his first speech in Libya’s capital, Tripoli, since the ousting of Muammar Gaddafi.

Great news, “moderate Islam” it is then – not the gay-hanging. adulterer stoning, limb amputating variant. But soft, what news of transgender rights and the other big issues the BBC likes to pursue?

“He also warned against secularism, envisaging a state “where sharia [Islamic law] is the main source for legislation”.

Might be a while before we get that all important Libyan Gay Pride parade but still, it’s a step in the right direction from the sounds of it…if one believes BBC analysis, that is….

GHADAFFI IS SADDAM

BBC meme is clear; Libya is the new Iraq and chaos will descend. I listened to Robert Fisk (Sigh – who else) being interviewed on local BBC news channel and he was given free rein to indulge his every hard left whimsy, with no challenge, Then this morning, the BBC has been talking to a Manchester doctor who is in Tripoli (Driven there by hateful Tory cuts?) and he was bemoaning lack of facilities there. The local BBC reporter chirped in that there was no electricity for air-conditioning and “it’s the height of the summer”. Gosh – isn’t war hell?

Priorities and Agendas

One of the worrying things about the BBCs current wall-to-wall coverage of the Murdochalypse* is that when the Eurozone utterly collapses your average BBC viewer will ask themselves “when did that start?” and “how come nobody put that on the telly“?

It’s been brewing for months…years…eh? Why didn’t anyone say anything?

The BBC, mindful of this, are getting their defence in first. Good tactics, lads.

Interesting because it flies in the face of the facts.

Consider the results of searching the BBC News site for references to “hacking”, “euro” and “libya” over the last week:

Libya: 23 mentions
Euro: 32 mentions
Hacking: 246 mentions

Still – let’s not allow BBC gloating to get in the way of impartial news reporting, eh?

* Copyright SeanT 🙂

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 and Andrew North Caught Spinning For The White House

Just the other day, both Mark Mardell and Andrew North defended the President’s position that the current US involvement in the war against Libya is legal and He doesn’t need Congress’s permission to continue. Mardell’s contention was that it was just a political attack by His enemies, those nasty Republicans, looking for a cheap attack line. To further push the Narrative that there is no legal problem and it’s just a partisan talking point, Mardell suggested that Speaker Boehner was merely reacting to the Republican candidates bringing it up in the recent debate. In other words, the BBC’s explanation is: Republican monkey see, Republican monkey do. Nothing to see here, move along.

I commented on Mardell’s spin in a previous open thread here, and Craig pointed out in a reply that North took the same Narrative in another report.

Except as it turns out, there really is a legal issue. Both the Pentagon General Counsel and the State Justice Dept.’s (h/t John Anderson) legal adviser told the President that we’re in too deep, and that the situation meets the legal definition of “hostilities”. And The Obamessiah, He who was supposed to end Bush’s illegal wars and redeem the US, blew them off. He says He doesn’t need anyone’s permission to continue bombing the crap out of any Muslim He chooses. The silence from the anti-war crowd is deafening, as is the silence from the BBC asking why that is. But I digress.

It’s so bad that, not only has the New York Times reported it, but reality has once again forced the BBC to report it as well, Read this article and ask yourselves if it doesn’t mean that Mardell and North were lying. They’ve been caught disseminating White House talking points.

BBC Correspondent Bridgette Kendall Tells A Little White Lie on the News

I just now saw BBC diplomatic correspondent Bridgette Kendall on the News Channel telling a lie to Sophie Long. It’s either a lie or a display of inexcusable ignorance. While discussing the very real concerns in nearly all corners about the legal and practical ramifications of arming the rebels in Libya, Kendall said that some people were wondering if it we could trust them.

“Some people in The States are saying” that they have links to Al Qaeda. No, BBC, it’s not just some people in the US. The leader of the rebel forces himself says so:

Libyan rebel commander admits his fighters have al-Qaeda links

Abdel-Hakim al-Hasidi, the Libyan rebel leader, has said jihadists who fought against allied troops in Iraq are on the front lines of the battle against Muammar Gaddafi’s regime.

In an interview with the Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore, Mr al-Hasidi admitted that he had recruited “around 25” men from the Derna area in eastern Libya to fight against coalition troops in Iraq. Some of them, he said, are “today are on the front lines in Adjabiya”.

Mr al-Hasidi insisted his fighters “are patriots and good Muslims, not terrorists,” but added that the “members of al-Qaeda are also good Muslims and are fighting against the invader”.

There is no doubt that there are Al Qaeda connections with the rebels in Libya. By suggesting that it’s only a concern put out by some people in the US, Kendall is either saying this man lied, the Italian newspaper created a false story and the Telegraph reproduced the fraud, or that she is simply unaware of this revelation. It also suggests a dismissive attitude towards certain factions in the US. Either way, it’s very poor behavior for a BBC correspondent, and indicative of a misguided attitude towards the realities of the Muslim world. It’s a pity, because the rest of her contribution was pretty straightforward stuff, clearly laying out the basic issues being discussed by the various politicians and advisers involved.

How can the BBC be trusted if the expert correspondent they bring out to explain things to you either doesn’t know the facts, or does know them and tells a fib to play down the truth? This is one of the most important international issues going right now, both for Britain and for the US, not to mention the rest of Europe and at least a dozen Muslim countries. Yet the BBC cannot tell the truth, or simply isn’t aware of it.

Your license fee hard at work.

The BBC and The Obamessiah: The Veil Lifts Ever So Slightly

Something very interesting happened the other day: BBC News Online allowed through an article that was slightly critical of the President, and even pointed out His escalation of Bush’s war policies. Because the BBC is generally relentless in their positive coverage, support, and plain old propaganda on behalf of the White House, I thought it was important to give credit where it’s due, even if there are a couple of problems with the piece. If it wasn’t such a rare event, it wouldn’t seem so remarkable. But it is.

Andrew North is actually allowed to frown, if only gently, at the fact that a Noble Peace Prize winner was the deciding vote in starting yet another war. Even the sub-editor tasked with writing the headline gets into the act.

Libya: Barack Obama’s step from Nobel winner to warrior

Why it took Andrew North to do this and not the BBC North America editor, Mark Mardell, I have no idea. Mardell is the one who is supposed to be giving his insight on these things, explaining the issues to us, helping create that rapport with the US the BBC wants you to have.

North begins by outlining the current wars He’s running:

It probably wasn’t what the Nobel committee had in mind when it awarded the Peace Prize to President Barack Obama two years ago.

Two months later he ramped up the war in Afghanistan, sending in 30,000 extra US troops.

Now he has ordered massive air strikes on Libya – with United Nations backing, but still with the United States in the lead.

Judged by his actions, this supposedly anti-war president looks almost as warlike as President George W Bush.

If you include Mr Obama’s increased use of drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen, he’s got the US involved in more conflicts than his much-criticised predecessor.

I have to say I’m impressed. This is the first time I’ve seen this presented in a BBC report. There have been others mentioning various elements individually, but no one has put it together like this and actually point the finger at the Nobel laureate this way. Of course, it’s a bit silly to say that the current President is “almost as warlike” as His predecessor when the very next sentence contradicts it by saying that He is involved in even more conflicts, but I’ll let that slide. After all, one can’t expect a believer to abandon his faith all in one go.

Then we get the obligatory defense:

Judged by Mr Obama’s words though, he is in plenty of internal conflict over his decisions.

Far from beating the drums of war, he keeps highlighting the risks and promising US action on Libya will last “days not weeks”.

He is conflicted, alright. He ran on a platform of shrinking the US’s position in the world (whether one likes it or not, that’s what it amounts to), and allowed the media to define His foreign policy goals as being dialogue and smart diplomacy above all else. President Teddy Roosevelt used to say that a good policy was to “speak softly, and carry a big stick.” (He didn’t originally use it in regards to military action, but it came to be used that way later.) The current President, however, wanted to speak softly and carry not a stick but a big carrot.

One can imagine how difficult it must have been for Him, then, when the world asked Him to bring out the big stick of US military force. He must hate it. North’s analysis of the hows and whys, though, seems to misunderstand what’s really going on.

Take a glance at the opinion polls and you can see why.

Less than a week since the first cruise missiles were launched, the clock is already ticking on how long Americans will back him.

Polls by Gallup, CBS and CNN since the attack show Mr Obama’s approval ratings hovering around 50%.

Now, I can find a couple of other polls which show His approval ratings even lower, but it’s only a few percentage points, and not not worth splitting hairs over. We all know this is more or less where His ratings have been for some time, even dipping a couple points below 50% here and there, which is key to North’s goal here. What he’s trying to do is point out how odd it is that His approval ratings are still so low.

Hardly encouraging, when the start of a military campaign is usually the high point of public support.

This is where North’s analysis goes off the rails. The public isn’t displeased with the fact that He’s started a military campaign, per se, but with the way he dithered deliberated for weeks while the rest of the world (including the Secretary of State and other officials) was wondering if there was anyone at home. North then makes an astonishing comparison:

Surveys gave President Bush 90% approval ratings when he went into Afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks.

Even for the early stages of the 2003 Iraq invasion, his ratings were over 60%. They went downhill from then on.

Now, I don’t believe that North thinks that we United Statesians are such warmongers, always calling for what Mardell described as an “unapologetically aggressive America storming ahead”, full stop, regardless of the circumstances. So when the President starts yet another war, North doesn’t expect us to foam at the mouth and wave the flag and worship our leader, just because we’re happy for another bit of the old ultra-violence. It’s very clumsy, but North is setting up the reader to understand that, while the public had a reason to be overwhelmingly in favor of invading Afghanistan, there is no such motivation this time.

Alternatively, it might be that many in the country have been unhappy with the way He’s acted for the last month and more. Contrary to Mardell’s belief that we’re mostly a bunch of knuckle-dragging warmongers, “obsessed with the notion of American decline”, many of us wanted the President to lead when asked to do so by the Libyans themselves, as well as by the UN. As I’ve said before, it seems a bit silly to claim that only extremists want their country to have a strong international position (which, please, let’s not define as merely blowing up and occupying whatever we want, whenever we want, but rather something more prosaic and diplomatic). Standing with Muslims hoping for freedom is exactly the kind of thing He promised in that infamous Cairo speech, and of course He never expected to have to actually do it.

But that would only explain part of why His approval numbers are not in the stratosphere. North invites us to “dig deeper”, and notice that only 47% of the public actually approve of the military action against Libya.

North earns more points in my book by actually pointing out the hypocrisy contradiction between the words of Candidate Obamessiah and His incarnation as President:

“We need better judgment when we decide to send our young men and women into war,” said one of the candidates in the 2008 White House race.

He listed three key benchmarks: “an imminent threat”, protecting “American interests” and a “plan to succeed and to exit”.

That candidate of course was Barack Obama. Does President Obama meet his own benchmarks in going into Libya?

North goes on to point out that only 40% of us think Libya is important in this way, and many more are unsure. It’s fair to say that this is a bipartisan thing. Lots of people on both sides of the political spectrum don’t think it’s necessarily a priority for us. Militarily, strategically, it really isn’t. But there’s more to geopolitical strategy than where one puts the troops. There is also the notion that the US could have put our money where our mouth is and taken the lead – like everyone was asking us to – in helping Muslims gain the freedom and independence they were asking for. If we had started this no-fly zone stuff a month ago, things would be very different now. Ghaddafi wouldn’t have been emboldened so much, wouldn’t have had time to strengthen his military position, wouldn’t have watched us blink and felt like he could go the distance. The US military could have done the exact same thing they’ve done in the last few days, and then backed off and handed the reins over to NATO or Cowboy Dave or whomever, and the President would have looked like a star.

But that’s not what happened at all. Instead, the President made us look weak, and made Himself look feckless. To everyone except Mark Mardell, of course, who was recently trying to tell us He was a genius and the only reason the stupid United Statesians were upset is because He made the UN relevant again. He’s still defending the President on his blog now, but that’s a matter for another time. Back to Andrew North:

Leading that charge is the Republican House Speaker John Boehner, but rumblings of discontent are being heard from the Democratic side too.

Rumblings, eh? Too bad North didn’t find space to mention all those Democrat Congressmen calling for His impeachment, or the anger of Michael Moore, or – *gasp* – St. Jon Stewart.

The President is not looking good to very many people these days. And it’s not just because He’s doing something some people don’t like. It’s because of a total lack of leadership, communication, and capability in this situation. People on both sides have seen it and commented on it, yet North only focuses on the fact that many people don’t think we should be going after Ghaddafi as the reason why His approval numbers aren’t up. That’s only part of the story, and certainly not the real lesson to be learned here.

Still, though, I want to give Andrew North and his boss credit for even daring to point out that the President has escalated Bush’s wars, killed more people with drones, and started yet another military action, all in the face of the Nobel prize.

And to his credit, North even emailed the Nobel committee asking for comment. No surprise that they didn’t respond.

So, is this a sign that the veil is being lifted ever so slightly? Is it dawning on the Beeboids that He isn’t everything they thought He was? I’m not sure, as this piece is mostly about how the public simply don’t approve of the war on Libya, and not about how He handled the situation for the previous six weeks or so. But it’s pretty clear that there’s a separation between what North is saying here and the Narrative we keep hearing from Mardell and others. The agenda has not been forced all the way through. So there may yet be hope.

It’s a rare occasion, so I think it’s worth noting.

HAGUE IN THE DOCK!


Anyone catch Foreign Secretary William “Lost his Mojo” Hague on the BBC this morning? Here is the interview in case you missed it. The sneering tone used by Humphrys is no big surprise and Hague did all he could do dodge around the elephant traps being set. But in a way that is what annoys me. Hague felt obliged to repeatedly swear fealty to the “world’s highest moral authority ” – the UN. Hague also felt obliged to repeat that the Arab League was in support of the action when in fact they are taking two contradictory positions, one for domestic and one for foreign consumption. So we have a British Government giving supplication the corrupt UN and running with Arab League sentiment. So the BBC slowly but surely shifts the right leftwards and the right obliges.I know that this Libyan situation is very tricky and I appreciate that Hague must feel like he is standing on quicksand when in the lair of the BBC but sometimes I just wish he would tell Humphrys a few home truths.

Mardell and the President and Libya Continued

No sooner had I posted my complaints about Mark Mardell’s continued, slavish defense of the President and use of the BBC website to set forth his own personal opinions on foreign policy, the BBC’s North America editor put up another post on the matter. Actually he’s done two posts, but I’ll get to the second one in a minute.

The Enigma Variations

As if in rebuttal to my post, Mardell tells us that the President is, in fact, telling a couple Mohammedan leaders to get with the program and back the use of military force against Ghaddafi. Why we never heard about this before is unknown. Not only that, but apparently the reason the US hasn’t been leading the call for a no-fly zone in the first place is not because the President can’t make a decision or simply doesn’t want to do it, but because the US military and Sec. of Defense are against the whole idea. It’s still not His fault.

Now, it’s not exactly a shock that the top brass really don’t want to get involved in this, for a variety of valid reasons which we need not get into here. But Mardell’s whole defense here is based on the idea that the only way a no-fly zone could possibly happen is if the US sends in massive amounts of military force, distracting from Iraq and Afghanistan, that we’ll get bogged down in a country which is not a major priority, and that nobody wants this to look like yet more Western imperialism.

Firstly, while it may be the conventional wisdom that only the US has the military might to do anything worthwhile, who says that’s how it has to be? If The Obamessiah is, as Mardell constantly reminds us, against the childish concept of military invention, why isn’t He doing something else to put pressure on Ghaddafi? Where is His speech to the UN about sanctions? Where is His diplomatic pressure on China and Russia to help out? Oh, that’s right, both countries had their way with Him last time He tried to negotiate anything with them (There you go again, still obsessed with the notion of America’s decline – ed.).

Surely a great humanitarian who, as Mardell told us, feels an emotional attachment with the Libyans’ quest for freedom, and was dead set against using military force, would be working night and day on alternative solutions. Yet we see….what? Scowling? Thoughtfulness? I mean, I’m not even one of those demanding an “unapologetically aggressive America storming ahead”. I’m just asking for the President to do what Mardell said He wanted to do: be on the right side of history. I could care less about military intervention per se. If there are other alternatives, it’s fine by me, and would, I suspect, be fine with most of my fellow United Statesians who are looking for our President to act like a world leader when called upon.

And that’s the key element missing in all of Mardell’s blogposts and reporting about the President and this situation: the people of Libya are asking for help. Unless we’re getting yet another vox pops from Benghazi or something like that, the BBC’s reporting makes it seem as if the only people calling for intervention are ill-advised or foolish warmongers. As Ghaddafi gets closer and closer to shutting down the rebellion and continues to slaughter his own people, it’s looking less and less moral to sit back and watch it happen.

What’s really wrong with the perspective from which Mardell and the BBC report is the Narrative that the President has sat on His hands because He doesn’t want it to seem like US imperialism, forcing dumb ol’ democracy on people who are culturally opposed to who don’t necessarily want it right now. What about all those Libyans we keep hearing asking for help? How would we be imposing a nasty foreign idea on people who are telling everyone who will listen that this is what they want? If that’s what the President and His Administration think, then I say they’re pretty misguided and missing the point. Mardell seems uninterested in considering this either way, as he’s stuck in ideologue mode.

Bahrain may be more strategically important in one sense, but Libya is the poster child everyone’s looking at right now, including the Bahrain leaders. Ghaddafi chose not to follow Mubarak’s laudable example, and should face the consequences, and the leaders of Bahrain would get a clear choice of options if he does. It’s not a difficult concept.

But none of this is seriously addressed by the BBC. Most of the talking heads they have on have been advocating against a no-fly zone. Sure, they’re full of admonitions about the practicality of it, and sounding very sober, yet the discussion has been mostly one-sided. And I don’t even mean we need to hear more from people calling for the bombs to start falling. Where is the discussion of alternatives to a US/UK bombing run? If there isn’t one, do we ever get to blame the world leader who was supposed to be The One to make the US a world leader of morality?

Now for the second post.

To Mardell’s horror, the US has now given its blessing to a UN-backed military action against Libya. Continuing his adamant advice against it, Mardell gets it wrong about how things work:

Now the US Ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, has said that the resolution which is being discussed may need to go beyond this proposal, adding that no-fly zones have “inherent limitations” in protecting citizens at immediate risk.

She said the UN Security Council is focused on swift and meaningful action to halt the killing on the ground. We’re told that is diplomatic speak for airstrikes and bombardment from the sea. Sending in troops has been ruled out.

Sounds like a bombing run to me. In order to create a no-fly zone, one must first bomb the crap out of the enemies air defenses. Now here’s where Mardell gets it wrong:

She has a point. Most in the US top brass are scornful about the idea of a no-fly zone. The US flew more than 30 sorties a day over Iraq and it didn’t bring down Saddam Hussein.

Except the no-fly zone wasn’t meant to oust him. It was meant to stop him from slaughtering the Kurds, the Marsh Arabs, and loads of other people he didn’t like, and invading other countries again. And it worked. I can sense reality quietly slipping away here.

No-fly zones would have been no good against the awful massacres of Rwanda and Srebrenica.

What does this have to do with anything? Nobody was calling for a no-fly zone then. Different deal entirely, required troops on the ground, and nobody wanted to do anything because it was an “African problem”, to be solved only by Africans. Same with Zimbabwe, in case Mardell is thinking of bringing that up next time he’s advocating against military action. Or Darfur, for that matter.

And Srebrenica? Is he joking? What does he think stopped the massacres in the Balkans of getting even worse? A BBC charity telethon? Even Matt Frei understands what happened there, and how it relates to Libya.

Then Mardell repeats his standard line of defense:

There’s been serious debate inside President Obama’s administration about the wisdom of using military force at all.

There’s an aversion to getting involved in another war with another Muslim country, or giving the impression that democracy is a Western plot. Libya is seen as a distraction, not a core US interest.

Again we get the blame spread around, and again Mardell puts forth the lie that this is going to look like US imperialism. Again we’re asked to pretend that George Bush was wrong and nobody in the Arab and/or Muslim world really wants democracy. Again we’re asked to sweep all those cries for help under the rug. Again we’re supposed to pretend that Britain and France and a few other countries couldn’t do a nicely symbolic move with only auxiliary support from the US. All to maintain ideological purity.

Also, I love how it’s acceptable again for the US to let dictators slaughter their own people where it’s not a core US interest. It’s not selfish or parochial at all now that Bush isn’t in charge. What happened to the criticisms of US hypocrisy because we invaded Iraq and Afghanistan but won’t do it in other cases?

Sometimes leadership doesn’t look pretty, or look like a choreographed TV speech. Sometimes it requires compromise and cooperation. Sometimes leadership requires actually leading. But it never looks like taking a back seat and hoping somebody else steps up, no matter how Mardell wants to spin it.

There is still no discussion from Mardell or anyone from the BBC about why, if the President doesn’t want the US military to go in there, He hasn’t been working night and day to get every other Muslim country to put real pressure on Ghaddafi. If the US has no useful influence in the region now, what was the point of all that bowing and scraping when the President was doing His first meet-and-greet sessions? What happened to the world leader whom the BBC told us was going to redeem the US in the eyes of the world? This is His chance to make the US look good, but since He’s ideologically opposed to it, it’s making Him – and the country – look not so good. Again, I’m not talking exclusively about a bombing run. There are many other options which would put pressure on Ghaddafi and be just as positively symbolic. A naval blockade, neighboring countries other than Egypt putting serious troops on the borders, shutting down his bank accounts, just to name a few. There are many ways the President can lead and make the US look good without blowing anything up.

But that’s not happening. Not because the President is so deliberate or thoughtful, not because His Administration wants to “base decisions on facts” (a sly dig at Bush there), and not for any other reason Mardell wants to push on you. It’s because of poor leadership, and an ideological opposition to having the US take a strong position on the world stage. We knew that during the election in 2008, and we’re seeing the fruits of it now. The BBC continues to dismiss that notion, and spin the story every other way possible.

Mark Mardell Continues to Defend the President

Mark Mardell is still desperately supporting the US President about His behavior regarding Libya. The President still hasn’t made a decision, is in fact hoping the problem is solved for Him, and Mardell is faithfully defending Him.

After explaining how others want action (the Chinese and Russians “have questions”, and Mardell leaves it at that so he doesn’t have to speak a truth which might harm his agenda), he dutifully reports the words of Katty Kay’s personal friend and husband of her business parter, White House spokesman Jay Carney:

“Our position is that action like that should be considered and taken if decided upon in co-ordination with our international partners, because it’s very important in the way that we respond to a situation like we see in Libya, that it be international and not unilateral; that it include the support and participation, for example, of the Arab League and other organisations and countries in the region… precisely so that it is not viewed by those who oppose positive democratic reform as the dictate of the West or the United States.”

Translation: I’m not gonna try it – you try it. Oh, and He’s not George Bush.

Mardell makes the obvious point (granted, part of his job) that sitting on His hands looks bad back home. Then he makes his personal opinion very clear:

It may be grown up, it may be sensible in the long run, but it is so unfamiliar that to many it will look like dithering, not deliberation.

“Grown up” is an editorial appraisal of policy. Of course, by making it epistemic, he probably gets through a loophole in the BBC style guide. But this is so obviously where he stands, especially framed in the context of his other blog posts and reports on the subject in which he comes from the same perspective. Mardell also spells out the correct interpretation for you: it’s “deliberation”, and anyone who thinks otherwise just doesn’t get it.

Why isn’t Mardell asking whether or not the Administration is pressing the Arab League to get off their asses? If, as is alleged here, He would “dearly love” for them to lead the attack on Ghaddafi, surely we’d hear about how much He’s working towards that goal? And wouldn’t Mardell be reminding us of that here, just to support his case that his beloved Obamessiah is actually showing leadership and the fools just don’t see it? If not, one would be forgiven for suspecting that maybe He doesn’t want it to happen at all, or simply has no opinion, and is just waiting for others to do it for Him. Mardell seems uninterested in addressing this obvious point.

Then Mardell spins this against the public and in support of the President:

In a country where some are obsessed with the notion of America’s decline, it will confirm some people’s worst fears.

“Obsessed” is an editorial choice which suggests an excessive, inappropriate, possibly unhealthy attitude. A more accurate and less biased term would be “concerned”. I’d even accept modifying it with “very” or “seriously”, or possibly “overly”, if I’m feeling really generous.

Furthermore, this ignores the argument about the President actually not wanting the US to have such a strong position in the world. In fact, Mardell has been spinning this whole thing away from the idea that it’s, you know, normal for people to want their country to be in the best possible position for economic and security issues. Who wants their country diminished? Why is that considered “grown up”? How maintaining this strong position is achieved (or how one even defines it, I suppose) is of course a topic for another discussion entirely. Here I’m concerned with the idea that people naturally want their country to have the best position possible, and that it’s not right to define this as a being somehow unnatural or incorrect behavior.

The main idea of my last post was that there is a valid reason to be concerned about the President actively wishing to reduce the US’s standing on the world stage. It may be out of a far-Left desire to stop being individuals and let the committee decide what to do, or it might simply be out of a lack of interest and deep understanding of world affairs, and just how much foreign policy can sometimes affect the domestic scene. Either way, it’s a legitimate debate to be had, especially the way He spoke during the election and just how much the BBC and Leftoid media kept telling us that this was pretty much what He was going to do if elected.

Mardell lets the White House get in the last word again, even making sure to tell us that criticism is so bad and unfair that the White House has had to “push back”.

In all, it’s another White House propaganda piece, with personal opinion thrown in, from the BBC’s North America editor.