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Articles from the Peace News log: Bombing
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Back in November I wrote a blog piece for Peace News about what was essentially a media blackout on cross-border attacks by the Turkish military into the northern regions of Iraq. These Turkish attacks into Iraq have a long and deadly history, taking and disrupted many lives and have historically, in the main, been largely under-reported or simply unreported. It is in part due to this lack of coverage and critical challenge in the media that these attacks have been able to continue, resulting in more lives being lost and torn apart. As such, it is more than unfortunate to report that Turkish cross-border bombings have continued in the months since.
In writing the blog in November last year I cited a human rights organisation that have a team based in Iraqi Kurdistan, Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT), who had met with one of those who was injured during the Turkish bombings in November, Rebaz Ahmed Ismail. At that time only the wire agencies had carried news reports on the deployment of Turkish ground troops into Iraq, an event that is now relatively rare as most of the attacks are carried out from the air, and even then these agencies misreported the fact that civilians had indeed been killed during these attacks; CPT reported the day after the attacks that at least two civilians had been killed in a single Turkish bombing raid along the Iraqi border with Iran.
The last time I myself was in Iraq was in April-May 2009 and I had gone specifically to support the work by international NGOs to document these cross-border attacks that were claiming the lives of many and disrupting the livelihoods of even more who farm and herd animals on the grasses high in the Iraqi mountains. The lushly green covered mountains offer grazing, particularly in the summer months, when the lower lands become arid due to the heat. One only has to look at a map to see that the Turkish-Iraqi-Iranian border region of Iraq is mountainous and fertile compared to the rest of Iraq which is mainly flat and outside the banks of its two major rivers distinctly lacking in plant life. One of the people I traveled to Iraq with in 2009 now works full time in Iraqi Kurdistan and was one of the CPT members that met with Rebaz, who lost a leg and two friends in an F16 fighter-aircraft attack in early November 2012.
Omission is a key part of the propaganda model proposed by Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman in their classic text on the subject and it can also be used to ascertain bias within the media. Whilst recent media attention has rightly been focusing on military actions in the Middle East in relation to both Syria and to Israel there has been a virtual blackout on reporting when it comes to this month’s military incursions by Turkey into the predominately Kurdish areas of northern Iraq.
Outside of the wire agencies it is hard to find western reporting on these most recent attacks; following a fairly extensive search I’ve yet to find anything in any of the UK broadsheets or in any of the leading US papers on the issue. Indeed, a lengthy article in Sunday’s Washington Post (25/11/12) on the ‘resurgent Kurdish threat’ to Turkey failed to even mention any historic incursions into northern Iraq but did mention a single PKK (Kurdistan Worker’s Party) suspected deadly car bombing on three separate occasions in the article.
Human rights organisations have reported that 40,000 people have been killed and numerous human rights abuses have been committed in the on-going conflict between Turkey and the PKK.