Con Coughlin/Telegraph Referred To Press Complaints For Lies

The background from yesterday’s post here (including Coughlin being told to fuck off by former colleagues who have as low an opinion of him as I do) . Now today via Cernig @ Atlargely

Payvand– A complaint was issued today to the Press Complaints Commission concerning an article published in the Daily Telegraph on 12 September which claimed that enriched uranium has disappeared from Iran’s nuclear facility in Isfahan. Quoting an unnamed nuclear official the article, entitled ‘Iran renews nuclear weapons development’, alleged that nuclear material equivalent to that of six atomic bombs have disappeared from Isfahan and are believed to have been relocated to covert installations spotted by American spy satellites.

However the report of International Atomic Energy Agency published on 15th September states that there is no missing nuclear material and that “all nuclear material at the Uranium Conversion Facility in Isfahan remains under Agency containment and surveillance”. Responding to the Telegraph article, IAEA’s media head, Melissa Fleming, said that the allegations are “fictitious” and pointed out that “uranium is not enriched at Isfahan as the Telegraph story states but at the fuel enrichment plant in Natanz.”

The complaint issued today from the Westminster Committee on Iran, raises wider issues of media impartiality when reporting on Iran and raises concerns about the use of unnamed sources and sensationalist headlines. It also points out that the co-author of the piece, Con Coughlin, is none other than the journalist who, with the help of unnamed intelligence sources revealed link between the 9/11 hijacker, Mohammed Ata, and Iraqi intelligence which was latter proved to be inaccurate. On 24 January 2007, relying on an unnamed “European defence official” Coughlin alleged that North Korea is helping Iran prepare a nuclear weapons test. In December the Telegraph ran a headline article, also by Coughlin, claiming that Iran was “grooming Bin Laden’s successor”. Both stories were questioned by Middle East and military experts, and neither has since been substantiated. Jeremy Bowen, the BBC’s Middle East correspondent described the Bin Laden claims as “wholly implausible” and pointed out that Al Quaeda, a Sunni organisation would not be supported by the Shia administration in Iran.

BBC Continues To Steal Work From MOD Spin Doctors

That’s if you make any differentiation at all….anyways under this headline- How UK fights remote control war. The correspondent in …er… Nevada details how …er …American Reaper drones are flown from a USA base by a small contingent of RAF techs & ‘pilots’.

The BBC has been given an inside look at Britain’s latest weapon in the fight against insurgents in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Reaper.

Outside Creech Air Force Base sits the small town of Indian Springs with its gas station and Moe’s Trading Post, selling Native American souvenirs. But behind the barbed-wire fence are a series of hangars housing the Predators and Reapers as well as the all-important Ground Control Station which acts as a nerve centre wherever they are flying.

It is not just the US flying from here. In one corner of the base, the Royal Air Force ensign flutters in a light breeze, signalling the presence of 39 Squadron. Britain’s fleet is small. It did consist of two Reapers but one crashed in Afghanistan in April.

During our visit to the base, the British Ministry of Defence also confirmed the RAF is now arming its Reapers and has already used its weapons system.

And of course the money line-

But those in charge believe the vehicles offer particular advantages. “It’s not the weapons. It’s the persistence. It’s the unblinking eye – how long you can spend over the target,” explains Colonel Chris Chambliss, who commands the US fleet of Predators and Reapers. He believes the ability to conduct long surveillance of a target makes civilian casualties less likely when bombs are dropped.

Honestly, find me a slavering drool-fest over some new military tech by a starry eyed geeky reporter that doesn’t at some point convey that message. It is the moral justification armchair supporters need to claim just wars and believe we are the ‘good guys’. So where was the countervailing argument in this BBC piece….erm….testimony of drone attacks that killed civilians, human rights organisations position on armed drones…there is none, this is a boys and their remote control shiny toys wank session. So here from some balance-

“Assassinations by air” are, writes David Case in Mother Jones magazine, “a relatively new tactic in warfare.” By the beginning of 2006, however, U.S. Predator drones “bearing Hellfire missiles — the preferred weapon in decapitation [strikes] — had already hit ‘terrorist suspects overseas’ at least 19 times since 9/11.” Such strikes and other similar operations by air, land, and sea have been a crucial follow-on to the Bush administration’s proclamations, immediately after 9/11, that there would be no “safe havens” for terrorists on the planet, nor safety for those countries which housed them, inadvertently or otherwise. Within days of the destruction of the World Trade Center towers, Bush administration officials were already identifying up to 60 countries-cum-targets.

This aspect of the Bush Doctrine, of what the President likes to call staying “on the offensive,” when mixed with a couple of decades of “advances” in air warfare, including the development of sophisticated, missile-armed drones, “smart bombs,” “precision-guided munitions,” and the like, has resulted in a lethal globalizing brew of assassination and destruction. It recognizes neither boundaries, nor sovereignty across much of the planet. With all its “actionable” possibilities, it will surely be with us long after George W. Bush has left office.

Of course, those few nameless dead or wounded Somali civilians — swatted like so many flies and forgotten as quickly as flies would be — don’t faintly match up against the “dozens” of Iraqi civilian deaths that, according to Human Rights Watch, were caused by 50 decapitation strikes launched against the top officials of Saddam Hussein’s regime back in March 2003. (Not a single official was harmed.) Nor do they quite make it into the company of the “Afghan elders” being taken to President Hamid Karzai’s inauguration back in 2001, who were mistaken “for a Taliban group” and bombed, with 20 killed; nor the 30 or more guests at an Afghan wedding party back in 2002 blown away by 2,000-pound bombs after celebratory gunfire was evidently mistaken for an attack (no apologies offered); nor that wedding party in the Western desert of Iraq near the Syrian border wiped out in 2004 with 42 deaths, including 27 in one extended family, 14 children in all. They were, of course, taken for terrorists. (As U.S. Major General James Mathis put the matter in offering an explanation: “How many people go to the middle of the desert… to hold a wedding 80 miles from the nearest civilization?”) And these are just a few prominent cases, not including the civilians killed in periodic Predator and other strikes in Pakistani border areas, in Afghanistan, and elsewhere about whom no fuss is ever made — not here, anyway.


BBC’s spearhead into America Matt Frei is interviewed in the Independent, *sigh*

Frei is perturbed by the insularity of the Washington DC bubble, where government policy is drawn up in a highly-intellectual but not cosmopolitan environment. “In London, you walk down the Edgware Road and it’s like the West Bank, you walk down to Piccadilly Circus and you are surrounded by foreigners, you are steeped in international juices and in Washington you are not.”

So at least he acknowledges the beltway elite (at least in an interview) but why the West Bank comparison, what does this mean about his perception of ‘foreigners’? Is the other at home in a war zone?

The journalist has himself enjoyed the liberation of expressing himself in print. “Writing for television is an act of castration, essentially. Good television is about what you leave out, so you don’t use any adjectives and don’t describe what you can already see. It’s quite an unsatisfying form of writing because no-one ever remembers what you’ve written.”

Whoa there Matty, phallo-centric ego much?

He is convinced that the cause of war in Iraq was not oil but rather the President’s desire to settle a score with Saddam, and that the culprits for the current mess are Donald Rumsfeld for trying to “do Iraq on the cheap” and Condoleezza Rice for viewing that country as Germany in 1945 rather than “Germany in 1761, a post feudal tribal state split into different fiefdoms with a relatively low literacy rate and no industrial base”.

Like most of his media class he reduces geopolitical, imperial and cultural complexities to an elite soap opera and that literacy?

Hussein was returning to a very different school system from the one he left in 1975. Early in his rule, Saddam was credited with creating one of the strongest school systems in the Middle East. Iraq won a UNESCO prize for eradicating illiteracy in 1982. Literacy rates for women were among the highest of all Islamic nations, and unlike most Middle East school systems, Iraqi education was largely secular.

But, in the decade after the 1991 Gulf War, UNICEF estimates, school spending plummeted by 90 percent. Teachers’ salaries dropped to $6 a month and buildings deteriorated.

The US says Saddam starved the schools to spend money on his palaces, but many Iraqis say United Nations sanctions are to blame for crippling the school system

Quite apart from it being the supreme war crime not a ‘mess’ ‘on the cheap'(and did sanctions then Shock & Awe have something do to with that eradicated industrial base?) maybe faulty comparisons to European history betray the historical and cultural blindness, the tribalism inherent in the invaders …and their media partners.

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War Pimps Progress- Alton Gets The Independent

Shit. Medialens make the point-

Roger Alton, formerly editor of the Observer, will become editor of the Independent in June. Alton resigned from the Observer last year after rumours of a ’civil war’ with the Guardian. There were also allegations that, in 2002, the Observer had suppressed important testimony on Iraq’s alleged weapons of mass destruction (see below) even as it was publishing false stories from intelligence sources. It was claimed that Alton’s political editor, Kamal Ahmed, had helped Blair’s aides with one of their infamous “dodgy dossiers” on Iraq’s WMD – Ahmed also resigned.

It is a bitter irony that Alton will soon be editing the Independent, which opposed the Iraq war.

Full alert to be archived here-

It’s great, you can be a warmongering crook who is wrong about everything, but have the right elite background-

Alton’s father was a distinguished Oxford don and that Alton was privately educated at Clifton College before attending Exeter College, Oxford.

…and suddenly your shit don’t stink, So the Indy’s correct antagonism towards the Iraq war is now to be under the control of this bloodthirsty ignorant toff. Fuck balls of hell fire!

Go to the media alert or below and tell The Independent what a colossal fucking mistake they are about to make and that it is not too late to reject Alton and get someone not implicit in war crime propaganda to run it.

Write to Simon Kelner

Please send a copy of your emails to

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A Useful Tool

Man I though Martin Kettle was a prick, but John Rentoul is some competition, Lord Haw Haw would be proud. The author of a hagiography of Blair and setting up straw man arguments and disingenuous faux ignorance to continue to claim success in Iraq. See Medialens. That alert archived soon here.

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Vichy Forces Fight Militia

Chancellor Hitler said-

“It’s going to take awhile, but it’s a necessary part of the development of a free society,” a “positive moment”

Excuse the broad strokes but that is how the Iraq fighting is being reported, the fighting which is the puppet government of the occupier attacking nationalist elements. Ok that’s simplified too but more valid than the bullshit raining down from the corporate media. The coverage invites the consumer to identify with the Maliki govt forces (and now as they are failing the US reinforcements). We’re being asked to cheer lead along the balkanisation of Iraq- Maliki being ordered to remove nationalist opposition ahead of ‘elections’, 5 years from now it will be separate ethnic regions, permanent US bases and a client regime being called a democracy.

And another thing (I really shouldn’t listen to the news) just how long have journalists known the UAE had forces in Afghanistan? After five years the BBC ‘reveals’ (in such glowing terms it really belongs in a b&w newsreel circa 1943) their deployment, what were they fucking invisible? Grrrrr.


Bush chooses torture and actively defends its use (with lies, illogic and obfuscation as befits a fascist of low intelligence) and thanks the torturers-

President Bush: “The fact that we have not been attacked over the past six-and-a-half years is not a matter of chance. It is the result of good policies and the determined efforts of individuals carrying them out. We owe these individuals our thanks, and we owe them the authorities they need to do their jobs effectively. We have no higher responsibility than stopping terrorist attacks. And this is no time for Congress to abandon practices that have a proven track record of keeping America safe.”

The UK government chooses to steal the money meant to save lives to fund warfare-

Money set aside to clear landmines and remove arms from conflict zones is t  be raided to pay a private defence contractor to keep Tornado jets flying i  Iraq, according to a confidential memo seen by the Guardian. The Ministry o  Defence plans to pay BAE Systems from the multimillion-pound Conflict Preventio  Fund – which covers projects such as destroying weapons in Bosnia and landmine  in Mozambique – to subsidise the £5m-£10m cost of servicing each of the six planes.

 The memo acknowledges there will be anger about the decision, which will attract “adverse comment from the unions”. It adds: “Defensive news briefs are being developed to counter adverse media comment.” (ht2 Chicken Yoghurt)

And corporate media chooses to portray a Presidential candidate who has enabled torture to pretend he is against it-

But another Senator McCain was on display this week, one who seemed to differ from the former prisoner of war who has made his signature issue out of opposing torture tactics by American interrogators. McCain voted against the bill to ban tactics such as waterboarding, saying he felt agencies like the CIA needed flexibility in terror investigations. Why has this received so little media attention? 

None of these decisions were taken in desperation, no mitigating facts cushion these acts of evil. These are wealthy powerful people & institutions choosing to do terrible things. And to help you choose to help them, sit back, relax, be entertained.

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