FW: BBC complains of Pentagon lies
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BBC complains of Pentagon lies
By Julie Hyland
29 March 2003
The BBC has become so concerned at false and
misleading information being put out on the war
against Iraq that it has stressed to its journalists
that they must clearly attribute military sources.
According to the Guardian, BBC news chiefs met to
discuss the problem after the broadcaster carried
several reports later shown to be inaccurate. The
misleading reports were all favourable to the US/UK
forces and so their exposure has undermined the BBC's
claims to be providing unbiased coverage.
On Sunday March 23, British military sources claimed
to have taken the port of Umm Qasr in southern Iraq.
Three days later, they were still fighting to quell
The BBC then ran headlines with reports of the
discovering of a chemical weapons factory in An Najaf,
which was later dropped.
On Tuesday, March 25, the British news was filled with
reports of an uprising under way in Basra, Iraq's
second largest city. Claims of the "popular uprising"
were first made by British military forces, but were
later found to be untrue.
On Wednesday, March 26, the British military were
cited reporting that "up to 120 tanks" were leaving
Basra. The convoy was later found to be just
Numerous other examples can be cited, including the
continuous downplaying of the extent of popular
opposition to the US/UK invasion and the particularly
cynical claim that the Iraqi regime was responsible
for the missile attack on a Baghdad market that killed
A BBC spokeswoman confirmed that a meeting had been
held to discuss recent events.
"There's been a discussion about attribution and it=92s
been reinforced with people that we do have to
attribute military information," she said. "We have to
be very careful in the midst of a conflict like this
one to be very sure when we're reporting something
we='ve not seen with our own eyes that we attribute
An unnamed "senior BBC news source", cited by the
Guardian, went further, stating: "We're getting more
truth out of Baghdad than the Pentagon at the moment."
"We're absolutely sick and tired of putting things out
and finding they're not true. The misinformation in
this war is far and away worse than any conflict I've
covered, including the first Gulf war and Kosovo."
Many news sources in Britain are now admitting that
much of the key information they are relaying has been
proven to be inaccurate. But this is often put down to
the pressures of 24-hour coverage and the "fog of
war". For example, the BBC source cited by the
Guardian went on to claim that the misinformation was
an accident, rather than deliberate deceit: "I don't
know whether they [the Pentagon] are putting out
flyers in the hope that we'll run them first and ask
questions later or whether they genuinely don't know
what's going on - I rather suspect the latter."
In truth, much of the British and US media is simply a
propaganda tool of their respective military forces.
Some 900 journalists and reporters are "embedded" with
US/UK troops, effectively functioning as part of an
act of armed aggression against the Iraqi people and
paid to conceal that fact. The concern expressed by
the BBC's top brass is that this fact has become so
obvious to millions in Britain and around the world
that its own credibility - and hence its considerable
political influence internationally - will never
Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk
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