"Patriotism is the willingness to kill and be killed for trivial reasons." Bertrand Russell

Monday, June 20, 2005

If I didn't see it, it didn't happen

In May the Media Lens Editors wrote to BBC Editor Helen Boaden asking for her to address the issue of brutal force and atrocities against Iraqi civilians by US forces, citing a number of sources detailing the use of Napalm, a banned weapon under the UN charter.

"We napalmed both those bridge approaches," said Colonel James Alles, commander of Marine Air Group 11."

"Unfortunately there were people there... you could see them in the cockpit video. They were Iraqi soldiers. It's no great way to die. The generals love napalm. It has a big psychological effect." (Buncombe, 'US admits it used napalm bombs in Iraq,' Independent on Sunday, August 10, 2003)

Allegations about the use of weapons that have "melted" people have appeared in the US press. For example, the Washington Post reported that: "Some artillery guns fired white phosphorous rounds that create a screen of fire that cannot be extinguished with water. Insurgents reported being attacked with a substance that melted their skin." (Jackie Spinner, Karl Vick and Omar Fekeiki, 'U.S. Forces Battle Into Heart of Fallujah,' Washington Post, November 10, 2004) (1)

Her reply was simply that "Our correspondent in Falluja at the time, Paul Wood, did not report any of these things because he did not see any of these things" and "Far from covering up American use of banned weapons in Iraq, you can be certain that if we had proof of this, it would be leading every bulletin."

In another reply to a Media Lens reader (Ekky Iron) regarding the use of banned weapons, Mrs. Boaden stated "Our job is to report - as fully and fairly as we can, the situation in Iraq. It's not our job to take sides but to reflect as full a range of views as possible." (2)

In today's Telegraph Andrew Sparrow writes "Ministers misled MPs about the use of a napalm-style firebomb in Iraq, John Reid admitted yesterday. The Defence Secretary blamed American officials for the fact that Parliament was told that the incendiary bombs, designated MK77, were not used in the invasion.

In fact US forces used 30 of the firebombs, which spread a type of burning fuel gel, against military targets between March 31 and April 2 of 2003."

"Claiming it was a "cock-up" rather than a conspiracy, he also sought to play down the significance of the Americans using MK77s.

"First of all, they didn't use napalm. They used a firebomb. It doesn't stick to your skin like napalm, it doesn't have the horrible effects of that," Mr Reid told ITV's Jonathan Dimbleby programme.

"Secondly, we have never used anything that even approximates to what they were using."" (3)

The Age reports "Australian Democrats leader Lyn Allison told the Senate the US had used 30 MK77 napalm firebombs in its attack on Iraq. She claimed that the bombs breached a 1980 international convention on such artillery. According to the American Federation of Scientists (AFS), the bombs in question are still in use and do not breach the convention. Senator Hill said he was confident that the US had complied with its international obligations.

"In fact I am confident that it would exceed its obligations under the international conventions," he said.

"Because its basic values are ones of humanitarian response and a requirement to achieve the military objectives in the best possible way."" (4)

Last week The Independent reported "The MK77 bombs, an evolution of the napalm used in Vietnam and Korea, carry kerosene-based jet fuel and polystyrene so that, like napalm, the gel sticks to structures and to its victims. The bombs lack stabilising fins, making them far from precise." (5)

The testimony of officials does not constitute 'proof' for the BBC, plainly showing the 'liberal' media's subservience to power. One will not report the use illegal weapons by coalition forces. However, one will accept the fact those 'we' oppose would use them, without a shred of evidence.

"People blithely imagine that journalists are where the news is. Alas, not so; the news is where journalists are." (Martin Bell "In Harms Way")

Will The Irish Times be reporting the use of these "weapons of mass destruction"?

Yours sincerely...

1. http://www.medialens.org/alerts/05
2. http://members5.boardhost.com/
3. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news
4. http://www.theage.com.au/news
5. http://news.independent.co.uk/uk
6. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Napalm