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Articles from the Peace News log: Terrorism

Articles from the Peace News log.
For articles in this category from the whole site, look here

Ian Sinclair looks beyond the "babbling brook of [mainstream media] bullshit" about the Iraq crisis.

ImageJust over ten years since it failed the public so completely over the 2003 Iraq War, the mainstream media’s coverage of the current Iraq crisis has been predictably awful.

“Stop droning on Mr Cameron… SEND IN THE DRONES” was The Sun’s considered front page on 4 September 2014. At the opposite end of the British press spectrum The Independent’s front page read “Your move, Mr President”. Egging the US and UK on, The Independent noted “The leader of the free world has begun to look alarmingly impotent.” The other liberal outpost of the British media, The Guardian, supports the US air strikes against the Islamic State of Iraq (ISIS or Islamic State).

As always, the BBC has been working hard to amplify the British elite’s concerns. On 4 September 2014 the BBC Today Programme invited on Jack Straw, the former Foreign Secretary who played a central role in the illegal 2003 invasion of Iraq, to speak in the prime interview slot about why he supports the bombing of ISIS. Interviewing former Chief of the Defence Staff David Richards the next morning, Today Programme presenter John Humphrys made the following biased statement: “We have this bunch of mad men rampaging across the Middle East and they have to be stopped. They have to be not only contained but – I don’t know whether you’ll agree with this – but destroyed.”

Then there was the 30 August 2014 BBC Newsnight special on the fallout from the August 2013 parliamentary vote against UK military action in Syria. The diverse range of studio guests invited to discuss the topic were former Defence Secretary Liam Fox MP, Paddy Ashdown, former First Sea Lord Lord West, former Head of the British Army Lord Dannatt, Neo-Conservative Francis Fukuyama and Professor Mary Kaldor (Kaldor was able to squeeze in a couple of sentences pushing for a more measured response to ISIS before she was cut off).

Reading, watching and listening to this “babbling brook of bullshit”, like many people I’m sure, I’ve become increasingly angry at the narrowness of the debate and just how closely the media’s framing of the issue follows that of the US and UK governments. Therefore, I’ve decided to pull together some of the pertinent facts and arguments that the media refuses to mention and discuss.

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How the British mass media exploded with outrage over Jeremy Corbyn's speech linking terrorism with British foreign policy - and then pretended the speech never happened

The Haditha massacre, Iraq, 2005

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn made an extraordinary speech just days after a suicide bomber killed 22 people, nine of them teenagers, one an eight-year-old, at the end of a pop concert in Manchester on 22 May.

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Milan Rai on the origins of "al-Qaeda"

I’m doing a talk about al-Qa’eda for Peace News Summer Camp which is in two weeks. (Really looking forward to seeing Tracy Curtis perform – I’ve heard Seize the Day and the Carbon Town Cryer before – they’re fantastic.)

I’m marvelling once again that the name al-Qa’eda was invented by the FBI.

The FBI led the investigations into the August 1998 embassy bombings in East Africa, when over 230 people were killed near the US embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. They used their normal Mafia-style-organisational model, with a hierarchical pyramid and a supreme leader, and they looked for the name of the organisation, and ‘members’ of the organisation, to help secure convictions.

The CIA had used the title ‘al-Qa’eda’ for the network around bin Laden, probably tracing it back to an article by Abdullah Azzam, bin Laden’s mentor in Afghanistan during the war against the Soviet occupation – the FBI picked it up and it became the US term for the bin Laden grouping. (Jason Burke explains all of this well in the first pages of his excellent study Al-Qaeda.)

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