Tag: bbc

Is the BBCs Ian Pannell complicit in crude anti-Syrian propaganda?

By Daniel Margrain

This is Ian Pannell’s latest BBC report on Syrian chemical weapon use (September 10) allegedly by the Syrian government. Apparently this is yet more evidence of chemical attacks.

I want to declare from the outset that I am not a conspiracy theorist. That’s not to say, historically, there have not been genuine conspiracies’ undertaken by the state against adversaries that have served the political agendas of their protagonists.These have come in many guises from false flag attacks such as the Russian apartment bombings in 1999, the Gulf of Tonkin incident in 1964 and the nurse Nayirah affair in 1990.

After having studied the contents of Robert Stuart’s blog in which he has meticulously and tenaciously examined the September 30, 2013 edition of the BBC Panorama documentary, ‘Saving Syria’s Children’ and other related BBC news reports by presenter Ian Pannell and cameraman Darren Conway, Stuart has attempted, without much success, to negotiate around its Orwellian complaints procedure.

Pannell’s reports’ appeared peak time on BBC TV a few days after the attack in Ghouta and were seemingly intended as a propaganda tool in the prelude to war. After having studied Pannell’s work and Stuart’s detailed analysis, it’s impossible to disagree with journalist Jonathan Cook who said that we, the news consumers, “are being constantly spun by the media machine that’s the modern equivalent of “soma”, the drug in Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World that its citizens were fed to keep them docile and happy.” 

What the Panorama documentary and related reports actually illustrate, in line with Chomsky and Herman’s Propaganda Model, is the media’s apparent ability to be able to keep many of us in a state of perpetual hypnosis. Stuart contends that sequences filmed by BBC staff and others at Atareb Hospital, Aleppo on 26 August 2013 purporting to show the aftermath of an incendiary bomb attack on a school in Urm Al-Kubra are largely, if not entirely, staged.

Scenes from the documentary were shown as part of a brief BBC News at Ten broadcast report by Pannell and Conway which contained harrowing scenes of teenage boys and young men, their skin apparently in tatters, racing into what the report describes as “a basic hospital funded by handouts” to be treated for burns. In one particularly disturbing scene a tableau of young men writhe, drool and groan, seemingly in great distress.

My first impression after having seen the film was that it was totally contrived and staffed by actors. What initially led me to this conclusion were the actions of the central figure, Mohammed Asi, who looked directly into the camera for several moments before raising his arm, at which point the group around him instantly became animated before moaning in unison.

Many other anomalies and contradictions too numerous to mention here in detail were evident throughout the Panorama documentary and the related reports’. These included conflicting and contradictory accounts, a “victim” who appeared to be grinning, implausible demeanours’ of alleged victims, questions as to the authenticity of the alleged burns to victims by experienced doctors, apparent choreographed behaviour, unconvincing injuries and testimonies’ that challenge the BBC version of events.

But perhaps the most controversial aspect of all was the participation of Dr. Rola Hallam who appeared anonymously to report on the aftermath of another attack in Syria. Her emotional call for humanitarian intervention in the shape of bombs drew parallels with “Nurse Nayirah“‘s lies to the Congressional Human Rights Caucus in the run up to the US vote on the 1990-91 Gulf War.

But arguably most significantly of all, in a report headlined BBC Crew returns to Aleppo on 30 September 2013, rehashed footage from the original programme was aired again. The BBC explains “In a special edition, Panorama travels with British doctors inside Syria to exclusively reveal the devastating impact of the war on children caught in the conflict”  It is a heart-rending report of the suffering of the Syrian people, made so as to demonise the Syrian government.

Close inspection of the two different versions reveals that there were actually two or more takes of this scene.  The easiest tell is the arm position of the man in the fluorescent jacket next to the doctor.

If Dr Rola was as “overwhelmed” as the video claims, why take time off to do multiple almost identical takes of an interview?

The BBC portrayed this as a live action piece with casualties being rushed in. But clearly this is nonsense given that it must of been rehearsed because several takes were done. Furthermore, nobody else in the courtyard is wearing a face mask. One would have thought that if the doctor had time for various takes she would also have time to take her mask off to talk to camera.

Both Panorama programmes talk of two British female doctors, “volunteers for the Charity Hand-in-Hand-for Syria“, suspected to be Dr Rola Hallam and Dr Saleyha Ahsan. The BBC did not mention the backgrounds of either of the “charitable volunteers”. Dr Rola’s connections to the SNO and FSA and the fact that she was shilling for military action under medical/charitable/ altruistic volunteer credentials, all of which the BBC clearly understood but deliberately witheld from the viewer.

Her father is Dr Mousa al-Kurdi, a senior SNO member – who actually taught Assad at university; the Dep leader of the FSA is Col Malik al-Kurdi. Her on-site colleague is a former Captain in the British Army Medical Corps. There is plenty of other clear corroborating evidence of her support for the rebellion too.

All of it was hidden by the BBC who gave the impression she is just an ordinary doctor with selfless humanitarian concerns and plays to the Western interventionist agenda perfectly.

The BBC has not addressed any of the legitimate issues raised. All of the anomalies and contradictions call into question the authenticity of the entire alleged attack. George Galloway said:

The Bush-Blair Corporation as it became known leading up to the Iraq war has lost almost all journalistic integrity. A full inquiry must be launched into why the BBC used a piece of material that was not just wrong but was falsified…for the purpose of propelling our country into war. That’s not what the British public pays its TV license for so that it can be tricked into a war

It’s my view that it’s probable some kind of chemical attack did indeed take place but in a different location to the one depicted but the BBC embellished, fabricated and falsified the aftermath for propaganda purposes. The claims made throughout were that the Assad regime was responsible for the alleged attack despite the fact that there is no evidence supporting the assertion that he was responsible for the chemical attacks in Ghouta in the suburbs of Damascus on September 16 prior to the BBC documentary.

What both Pannell’s latest BBC report and Jonathan Rugman’s recent piece for Channel 4 News before that highlight, is that once again, the British public is being conditioned for war. Two years ago, when the majority of MPs voted against intervention in Syria, would seem to suggest that MPs were sensitive to the views of a highly sceptical and hostile public. But Cameron’s cynical exploitation of the little boy found washed up dead on a Turkish beach, might change all that.

Bee Killers

Bee

When I was young it used to be a common sight to see cars splattered with insects and numerous species of bees collecting nectar from plants. Bees and insects are wonderful and part of the connectivity of living processes in our world. Nothing human beings do, and nothing that takes place in the natural world, occurs in isolation. And yet we are using pesticides that kill pollinators whose role is essential to the human food chain.

Neurotoxins that kill much of life on earth on both land and in water, and degrade entire foodchains, are resulting in the ‘colony collapse disorder’ (ie the sudden disappearance) of honeybees (1). In the United States, half the colonies of bees exposed to neonicotinoids disappeared in the course of one winter. The findings of an analysis of 800 scientific papers show that worldwide contamination is indiscriminately wiping out wild animals, including those on which farming depends (2).

The use of pesticides that impact negatively on bees and soil animals seriously threaten the food supplies of humans. So why is Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Elizabeth Truss, seemingly subservient to chemical companies like Bayer and Syngenta to the detriment of the science?

The UK government appears to want to throw everything it has against an EU proposal to suspend their use on flowering crops. Last year the Department of the Environment commissioned a study claiming to show that bees were not being harmed (3). It was so flawed that no journal would take it. The lead author soon left to work for Syngenta (4).

The government’s lifting of the ban on neonicotinoid pesticides and their seemingly appeasing of the chemical corporations who are clearly in their pocket, would suggest that Cameron and Truss are prioritizing the interests of these corporations over and above the sustainability of the eco-system.

This is the take of the BBC who imply that the National Farmers Union (NFU) are complicit:

The government has temporarily lifted a ban on neonicotinoid pesticides in certain parts of the country.

An EU-wide moratorium was put in place after some studies showed the pesticide caused significant harm to bees.

But following a second emergency application by the National Farmers Union, two neonicotinoid pesticides can now be used for 120 days on about 5% of England’s oilseed rape crop.

Environmental and wildlife groups have called the decision “scandalous”.

‘We have fully applied the precautionary ban on the use of neonicotinoids introduced by the EU’
Defra spokesperson

The areas where farmers will be allowed to use neonicotinoids has not yet been decided. According to the NFU, it will be those areas where there are records over the last season or so that the pests – primarily the cabbage stem flea beetle – have inflicted most damage on oilseed rape crops.

Farming Minister George Eustace MP told BBC’s Farming Today that it was “predominantly farmers in Suffolk” who would now be able to use neonicotinoids. He said that the government was approaching the issue “with an open mind” and that there was “a lot of ambiguity” about the evidence (4).

Meanwhile on 23 July 2015, the independent British not-for-profit political-activism organisation 38 Degrees issued an emergency petition:

“Fresh batches of bee-killing pesticides are on their way to British farms right now. Prime Minister David Cameron could stop these toxic chemicals before they are spread across our fields and wreak havoc on bees. But he’ll only do it if enough of us pile on the pressure.

Environment minister Liz Truss has just approved this fresh use of bee-killing pesticides. It’s no surprise – she’s been exposed holding cosy meetings with chemical industry lobbyists. If our environment minister won’t protect bees, we need to turn the pressure onto David Cameron. He’s her boss – and that means he has the power to overturn her decision.

Please can you sign the emergency petition to Cameron now, asking him to overrule his minister and act to protect the bees? It will only take a few seconds.(5).

Jobs For The Boys

Whilst a ‘glass floor’ protects the children of higher income middle class families from any reversal in social mobility, the same cannot be said for the children from poorer working class families. What research from The Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission reveals is that not only are the poor disadvantaged by a glass ceiling but their wealthier peers are less likely to fall through the trap door on the floor. The commission found less able, richer children were 35% more likely to become high earners than brighter, poorer peers.

That must be the kind of emphasis on social cohesion David Cameron keeps lecturing us about.

Here’s more from the BBC:

The report for the commission, which advises the government on social mobility issues, was based on a long-term study of 17,000 British-born children born in a single week in 1970 that measured their ability at the age of five….It said wealthier families helped their children accumulate skills valued by the labour market and they also used social networks to secure internships and employment. That meant poorer, but more able children were often blocked from the finite number of top jobs, it added.

The research suggests there is a clear correlation between the social background of a child’s grandfather and eventual labour market success.

The report also highlighted a “private school wage premium”, where recruitment to high-earning occupations is biased towards those educated in private schools.”

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-33655791