Saturday, 28 November 2015

State Propaganda

“Power is tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again in new shapes of your own choosing”
George Orwell – ‘1984’.

Those of us who support an independent Scotland are well aware of the levels to which UK-based broadcasters and newspapers are prepared to stoop in perpetuating propaganda issued by the British State.

The anti-independence campaign was well-served during last year’s referendum, particularly, but far from exclusively, by the BBC.

The dissemination of state propaganda has reached such a degree that mainstream news-broadcasts really should begin with the presenter saying, “It’s six-o’clock, and here is what the government wants you to think…”

The latest example, in the past week, saw UK news channels and newspapers report how Turkey defended its national interests when a Russian military jet entered Turkish airspace.  In ‘defending its people’, Turkey shot-down the Russian jet.

One of the Russian pilots was killed as he parachuted from his stricken aircraft.  He was machine-gunned from the ground by “Syrian rebels”.

This is the story we have been told by UK media, but the facts do not chime with the propaganda, which is skewed to always portray Russia as the bad-guys.

The Russian aircraft did not enter Turkish airspace.  It was shot-down while over Syria, and was returning from an attack against the Da’esh (ISIS) terrorist organisation.

Even if we were to accept the Turkish version, their claim is that the Russian jet entered Turkish airspace for around one-minute.

The “Syrian rebels” who shot and killed a Russian pilot as he drifted to the ground were actually Turkish nationalist-extremists, in Syria fighting government forces, not Da’esh.

In UK mainstream media reports, no mention was made of Turkey’s hypocrisy in shooting-down an aircraft for allegedly entering its airspace.  In the past two-years, Turkish military jets have entered the airspace of Greece on more than 2,000 occasions.  Most of these incursions have been within the 10-nautical-mile limit Greece applies to airspace around Greek islands in the Aegean Sea.

Turkey disputes the 10-mile limit, arguing it should only be 3-miles.  So it would seem that the vast majority of the Turkish incursions have been deliberate attempts to challenge the Greek limits and to provoke the government in Athens.

The Greek military records 40 incursions by Turkish military aircraft over Greek territory where there is no dispute in terms of the legitimacy of Greek airspace.

UK media also regularly runs stories about Russian military jets entering UK airspace and having to be chased-away by the RAF.  These stories have led to British politicians and the media portraying Russia as an aggressor, apparently constantly challenging the UK’s sovereignty by attempting to invade our airspace.

This year, after yet another story claiming Russian jets had entered UK airspace, a web-based news site – not a mainstream newspaper or broadcaster – actually asked the UK Ministry of Defence for clarification of what, exactly, had happened.  This is the statement received in response from a MoD spokesperson:

“The Russian military aircraft remained in international airspace at all times and they are perfectly entitled to do so.  Russian military flights have never entered UK sovereign airspace without authorisation.”

Don’t expect to see this quote in newspapers or hear it on the BBC, Sky News or ITV.  It’s not what the UK government wants you to know.

Friday, 27 November 2015

Bombing Syria isn't the answer

“I believe there is a compelling case for taking action to keep our country safe.”

With those words, UK Prime Minister David Cameron seeks to justify his desire to use British forces in attacking Syria.

Mr Cameron, his Conservative Party and many Labour MPs want to send British war-planes to bomb parts of Syria where, they believe, the barbaric terrorist organisation Da’esh is active.  The terrorists are better-known in the West as ISIL (Islamic State in the Levant) or ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria).  Such bombing would, according to David Cameron, “keep our country safe”.

Two-years ago Mr Cameron led a parliamentary debate calling for British bombs to be dropped on areas of Syria under the control of the regime led by President Assad.  Such attacks would, inevitably, have assisted those opposing Assad, including Da’esh.

At least Cameron is consistent: he really wants to bomb Syria, and he’s not particularly bothered about which side he attacks.

The UK Prime Minister also fails to explain how dropping British bombs from war-planes flying at 30,000-feet will keep safe people in the UK.  France has been part of a ten-country-strong coalition that has been bombing Syria for years, but two-weeks-ago 130 people in Paris were brutally murdered in an attack claimed by Da’esh.  The ‘reasoning’ of the terrorists is that they were fighting-back against those attacking them in Syria.

The 7/7 London bombings in 2005 and the attempted bombing of Glasgow Airport in 2007 were a direct consequence of British involvement in military attacks in Afghanistan and Iraq.  Those illegal invasions and occupations of sovereign nations made UK citizens less-safe.  If Cameron gets his way on his plan to bomb Syria, the same result is inevitable.  Syrian-based terrorists will attempt to fight-back against their attackers by bringing suicide-bombers to the streets of UK cities, and people in Britain will be less-safe as a consequence.

We should bear in mind that Middle-East-based terrorist organisations that attack the West have mostly been created, funded, trained and armed by the United States of America, assisted by the UK.

Few people now dispute that al Qaeda was a creation of the US State Department.  The organisation that spawned Osama bin Laden was intended to fight a proxy war for the United States against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. 

More recently, militant groups that transformed into Da’esh received American support to perform a similar role in the so-called ‘Arab Spring’, which was actually a series of American-backed coups aimed at overthrowing national leaders and governments perceived to be anti-American or of not serving Western capitalist interests.

America and the UK has been perfectly happy to fund, train and arm some clearly dangerous groups in the Middle-East, even those born of the Wahhabi sect in Saudi Arabia. 

It is Wahhabism that preaches a perversion of Islamic teaching.  It is Saudi Arabia that funds, harbours and encourages extremist Wahhabi terrorists, including many in leading roles within Da’esh.  Of course, Saudi Arabia is a friend of America, the UK and other Western countries.  Well, that is if we can stretch the meaning of the word ‘friend’ to include someone who trades with us – buying our war-planes and selling us oil – while, at the same time, encouraging those who would strap bombs to their bodies and murder innocent people going about their business on our streets.

Dropping bombs from British war-planes flying at 30,000-feet will not make-safe people in the UK, nor will it help resolve the civil war in Syria.

The human disaster unfolding in Syria was created by Western governments – mainly the USA – as they pursued the interests of multi-national corporations and the desire for ever-greater financial profits.  The West was perfectly happy to tolerate barbaric dictators in the Middle East – Saddam Hussein, Colonel Gadaffi, Bashar al Assad – just as long as they played the capitalist game and allowed mainly-American corporations to exploit their nations’ resources, wealth and people.  Only when the dictators began looking elsewhere for deals and influence did we suddenly see the emergence of surprisingly well-armed uprisings of ordinary people seeking to bring democracy to their nations.

Look at Iraq and Libya today: both are essentially lawless states where militant and heavily-armed militias control large swathes.  The areas outwith control of militias tend to be those with oil reserves, which – surprise-surprise - remain protected by pro-Western ‘governments’.  The people of Iraq and Libya have been handed-over to brutal gangs: all that was important to the West was regaining control of the countries’ oil reserves.

It is the same motivation that drives the current Western intervention in Syria, and the UK Prime Minister’s desire to be part of the gang.

British war-planes bombing Syria will not protect ordinary people on the ground – the same people already desperately fleeing US, French and Australian bombs, not to mention the inhuman actions of Da’esh.  The same Syrian people seeking refuge in Europe, only for right-wing media and politicians to brand them as free-loading economic migrants coming here to steal our jobs and milk the system for free housing and operations on the NHS.  In reality, those people would much rather be living in peace and safety in their own homes in Syria.

British war-planes bombing Syria will not bring to an end the current conflict.  A Western coalition has been bombing Syria on a daily-basis for two-years: thousands of attacks have been carried-out.  What difference is half-a-dozen RAF fighters going to make?  Incidentally, British forces have already been part of the ongoing bombing of Syria: RAF pilots have carried-out attacks while ‘embedded’ with US forces.

British war-planes bombing Syria will not “keep our country safe”, as claimed by David Cameron.  As mentioned above, the 130 people killed recently in Paris were targeted by Da’esh specifically because France has been a prominent part of the Western coalition bombing Syria.

Bombing Syria is not the answer to the problem of terrorism carried out by those who pervert the teachings of Islam.  The core of that particular problem lies in the corrupted interpretation originated by the 18th-Century Islamic ‘scholar’ Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab and primarily funded by the repressive dictatorship-Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

If the West really had any interest in bringing to an end the terrorism that killed 130 people in Paris and slaughters a similar number every day on the streets of Syrian towns and cities, the first step would be to publicly identify Saudi Arabia as the principle backer of the Wahhabi-inspired perversion of Islam that preaches violence and hate.

If the West really wanted to end the terrorism of Da’esh, it would require them to totally ostracise Saudi Arabia: don’t buy their oil, don’t sell them weapons, don’t have anything to do with them, do not legitimise the country’s barbaric regime.  

Sadly, that will not happen.  It won’t happen because the Western-world is driven, not by a desire for justice, peace and safety, but by the pursuit of wealth.  The ruling elites who run the global corporations that benefit from oil deals, from arms-sales and from the exploitation of people and resources don’t care how many are killed on the streets of Paris or in Syria. 

Western multi-national corporations will deal with the devil if it turns a profit.

This is the world we have allowed to be created: it is the reality we will continue to experience until we, the people, chose to change it.  We can achieve such change by electing politicians who prioritise the needs and interests of the people before the bottom-line of big business and corporations.

People before profit: peace before war.