Thursday, September 29, 2005

The most censored stories

The ten most censored stories:

The No. 1 pick by Project Censored this year: Bush Administration Moves to Eliminate Open Government.

This administration has drastically changed the rules on Freedom of Information Act requests; has changed laws that restrict public access to federal records, mostly by expanding the national security classification; operates in secret under the Patriot Act; and consistently refuses to provide information to Congress and the Government Accountability Office. The cumulative effect is horrifying.

No. 2: Iraq Coverage. Faulted for failure to report the results of the two battles for Fallujah and the civilian death toll.

No. 3: Distorted Election Coverage. Faulting the study that caused most of the corporate media to dismiss the discrepancy between exit polls and the vote tally; and the still-contentious question of whether the vote in Ohio needed closer examination.

No. 4: Surveillance Society Quietly Moves In. It’s a seep and creep story, where the cumulative effect should send us all shrieking into the streets — the Patriot Act, the quiet resurrection of the Matrix program, the Real ID Act.

No. 5: United States Uses Tsunami to Military Advantage in Southeast Asia. Oops. Ugh.

No. 6: The Real Oil for Food Scam. The oil-for-food story was rotten with political motives from the beginning — the right used it to belabor the United Nations. The part that got little attention here was the extent to which we, the United States, were part of the scam. Harper’s magazine deserves credit for its December 2004 story, “The UN is Us: Exposing Saddam Hussein’s Silent Partner.”

No. 7: Journalists Face Unprecedented Dangers to Life and Livelihood. That a lot of journalists are getting killed in Iraq is indisputable. However, Project Censored honors stories about military policies that could improve the situation of those journalists who risk their lives.

No. 8: Iraqi Farmers Threatened by Bremer’s Mandates. It’s part of the untold story of the disastrous effort to make Iraq into a neocon’s free-market dream. Order 81 issued by Paul Bremer “made it illegal for Iraqi farmers to reuse seeds harvested from new varieties registered under the law.” Iraqi farmers were forced away from traditional methods to a system of patented seeds, where they can’t grow crops without paying a licensing fee to an American corporation.

No. 9: Iran’s New Oil Trade System Challenges U.S. Currency. The effects of Iran’s switching from dollars to euros in oil trading.

No. 10: Mountaintop Removal Threatens Ecosystem and Economy. A classic case of a story not unreported but underreported — a practice so environmentally irresponsible it makes your hair hurt to think about it.


No 11 Police chief- Lockerbie evidence was faked

No 12 Bruce Lait - I don't remember anybody being where the bomb was, or any bag.


Sunday, September 25, 2005

Sunday newspapers' lies and spin?


What the Sunday newspapers will not mention:

Professor Paul Wilkinson, Frank Kitson and pseudo gangs.

What some of the dishonest Sunday newspapers will be telling us:

1. The trouble in Iraq is not caused by the USA or UK.

2. The terrorism around the world is not being caused by agents (including Moslems) recruited by western and pro-western spy agencies.

3. The UK may withdraw its troops from Iraq. (As there are two by-elections and a Labour Party conference coming up, the Labour Party needs this kind of disinformation.)

4. The Scottish National Party is bad and the Scots are too stupid and poor to run their own country. (The by-elections are in Scotland).

5. There have been some anti-war rallies, but not many people attended.


Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Iraq: BBC radio, BBC TV and the BBC on the internet



The BBC TV news can be relied upon to give the point of view of the military. The BBC TV reporters almost sound like agents of MI6.

On the 6pm news on BBC TV on 21 September 2005, there were stories about celebrities, but no mention of the major story of the day which was that the 2 British soldiers who shot at Iraqi policemen 'never left police custody'.

On 21 September 2005, the BBC website has the following information about the 2 British soldiers who shot at Iraqi police:

"Interior Minister Baqir Solagh Jabr told BBC News the men never left police custody or the prison building in Basra and were not handed to militants.

"He said the British army acted on "rumour" when it stormed the prison looking for them."

The BBC radio news at 6 pm led on the Interior Minister's statement to BBC radio.

Iraqi Interior Minister says the 2 British soldiers were not handed to any militia.

Conclusion: don't trust the TV news on the BBC.


Monday, September 19, 2005

The Evening Standard and The Scotsman


From The Evening Standard:

Calls for secret Shayler trial

By Patrick McGowan, Evening Standard, 6 October 2002.

THE Government has been accused by lawyers of trying to interfere in the trial of former MI5 officer David Shayler by insisting that part of the proceedings are held in private.

Ministers are demanding that trial judge Mr Justice Alan Moses agree in advance that the case go into private session without saying why and without hearing arguments to the contrary from the defence.

Shayler's trial, on charges under the Official Secrets Act, was beginning at the Old Bailey today. He is being prosecuted following newspaper interviews he gave five years ago and the trial is expected to last for at least four weeks. On Friday Home Secretary David Blunkett and Foreign Secretary Jack Straw signed identical public interest immunity certificates under which the press and the public will have to leave court if sensitive security issues are raised.

The certificates do not specify what information they are trying to keep secret on the grounds that to do so would cause the very damage the Government is seeking to avoid. They claim:"Publication of information of the kinds referred to would be likely to assist those whose purpose it is to injure the security of the United Kingdom and whose actions in the past show that they are willing to kill innocent civilians, both inside and outside the UK, in pursuance of their aims."

Mr Blunkett and Mr Straw also claim present and future intelligence operations would be compromised. PII certificates signed by Conservative ministers were controversially used during the arms-to-Iraq trials in the Nineties.

Normally the judge in a trial would read documents in the case and, after hearing arguments from both sides, decide whether they should be disclosed. Now he is being asked to make his decision in advance. Shayler, 36, faces three charges. They allege he disclosed information, disclosed information obtained by interception of communications and disclosed documents.

The Crown Prosecution Service has already given notice that it will apply for some parts of the trial to be held in camera. This will apply to evidence on "sensitive operational techniques of the Security and Intelligence Services".

It is expected that the court will also be asked to keep the identities of MI5 agents secret and allow them to give evidence from behind screens. Today Geoffrey Robertson QC, representing civil rights group Liberty, will oppose the Government's move. Michael Tugendhat QC, appearing for various national newspapers, is expected to argue that the Government has provided no evidence that national security will be threatened by the trial and will underline the importance of open justice.

During the arms-to-Iraq cases Mr Justice Moses was prosecuting counsel and Mr Robertson was counsel for the defence when three directors of the machine tool company Matrix Churchill were accused of selling equipment to the Iraqi regime. Shayler will be defending himself during the trial.

He is expected to claim that British secret service agents paid up to £100,000 to al Qaeda terrorists for an assassination attempt on Libyan leader Colonel Gadaffy in 1996.

He is seeking permission to plead a defence of "necessity" - that he acted for the greater good by revealing wrongdoing by the security service. Although much of the trial may end up being held in camera, the arguments about which parts should be kept secret will be held in public. Only after they are concluded is the jury expected to be sworn in so the trial proper can begin.


From The Scotsman, 7 October 2002:

Renegade MI5 agent ready to face jury


DAVID Shayler, the former M15 officer branded a traitor by the government, is due to take on the legal establishment today, as his trial opens at the Old Bailey in London.

The renegade agent, who faces six years imprisonment for breaching the Official Secrets Act after making a number of sensational revelations about M15 to a national newspaper in 1997, will represent himself for part of the landmark case.

The trial will centre around a number of allegations made by Shayler about M15 holding files on prominent politicians, including former cabinet minister Peter Mandelson and Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary.

He also claimed the secret services ignored warnings that might have prevented bombings in the London in 1993 and 1994.

Shayler, 36, faces two charges under section one of the Official Secrets Act for disclosing documents and information about the work of M15 and another under section four, for disclosing information about telephone taps. He has failed so far to win his argument that his revelations were in the public interest.

The High Court, Court of Appeal and the House of Lords, have all ruled that he cannot claim he disclosed information in the public interest or out of necessity.

They also ruled out the main plank of Shayler's defence - that the Officials Secrets Act is incompatible with the Human Rights Act.

Shayler, who made other allegations for which he was not charged, including a claim that M16 was involved in a plot to assassinate the Libyan leader, Colonel Muammar al-Gaddafi, will argue that he is only guilty of "exposing wrongdoing".

"I aim to persist in my argument that the Official Secrets Act as it currently stands is totally incompatible with the Human Rights Act," he told a newspaper yesterday.

Some of the hearing is expected to be taken up by an application by newspapers objecting to plans to hold parts of the trial in secret.

The prosecution applied for hearings to be held in camera after its concerns that Shayler will make fresh allegations to the jury to back up his public interest defence.

Shayler's decision to defend himself, against the advice of his legal team, for part of the trial was prompted by the belief that he will be freer to argue his case than his barrister, Geoffrey Robertson, QC, whose hands are tied by earlier court rulings.


Monday, September 12, 2005

The Guardian or The Times


The Guardian print version deserves to have a higher circulation than it does.

This is because it has articles like the following:,3604,1566916,00.html
London bombs: former UK cabinet minister Meacher says MI6 is trying to cover its tracks.,1320,1036772,00.html

There are always interesting letters in the Guardian. This for example:

September 10 2005

Timothy Garton Ash (It always lies below, September 8) rightly notes that natural disasters can expose the vulnerability of civilisation. But he is wrong to argue that Katrina's lesson is that beneath a thin crust of civilisation lies "the seething magma of nature, including human nature" which produces what Thomas Hobbes described as a war of all against all...

Human nature is best revealed in the fact that the vast majority of people for the vast majority of time live perfectly decent, peaceful lives in productive cooperation.

If Hobbes was correct in his characterisations of selfish human nature, then it would not have been possible, as he argued, for individuals to create the edifice of politics by means of a social contract.

As a later philosopher, David Hume, noted, this would have been "an idea far beyond the comprehension of savages". We are not by nature savages. We are by nature social animals, capable of working together to overcome even the most appalling disasters, although our efforts in this are enhanced if we are governed by those who see it as their duty to provide prompt and efficient help.
Dr David Morrice Helensburgh, Argyll and Bute

Timothy Garten Ash? He is one of the Guardian columnists and is one reason for considering switching to The Times.

The Guardian has a number of dud columnists: Timothy Garten Ash, Martin Kettle, Polly Toynbee, Jonathan Freedland and Max Hastings all seem to be defenders of the 'bad guys' and opponents of perfectly sensible conspiracy theories.

What about The Times and Sunday Times?

Read the following:,,2102-1757744,00.html

The Sunday Times - Books

September 04, 2005

'Terrorism: 9/11 Revealed: Challenging the Facts behind the War on Terror' by Ian Henshall and Rowland Morgan


Scarcely a day had passed before the first conspiracy theories about the 9/11 attacks began to emerge. The “miraculous” recovery of lead hijacker Mohammed Atta’s passport from the ruins of the World Trade Center, the spotting of a team of Israelis who cheered as they filmed the incident in New York, the odd behaviour of George W Bush, who continued to read a story about goats to children for an hour after he had been informed about the attacks — all of these events were grist to the conspiracy theorists’ mill.

One of the strongest (and unsubstantiated) theories to emerge suggested that millions of dollars had been made by speculators on the New York stock exchange who had advance knowledge of the campaign. The passing of four years has diminished neither the breadth and intricacy of 9/11 conspiracy theories nor, it would appear, the public appetite for them. Like JFK and Martin Luther King’s assassinations, it is an event destined to be the subject of intense speculation for generations to come.

Dozens of sceptical accounts have emerged including theories that the attacks were a coup d’etat carried out from within the American administration itself. There are, say supporters of this line of argument, parallels with the continuing debate over whether or not America knew in advance of the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

By allowing the attacks to happen — or in the case of the most extreme theories, by organising them under a “false flag” — the military-industrial complex in America, headed by Dick Cheney and his neocon supporters in the Project for a New American Century, guaranteed that America would stay at war and that profits would stay high. Supporters of this and similar theories point to previous occasions where America has invented incidents to justify continuing hostilities, such as during the Spanish-American conflict or the Gulf of Tonkin incident in the Vietnam war.

A recent DVD from the Blackpool 9/11 Truth Group, for example, states the following: “The two planes which flew into the towers are American KC737 in-flight refuel tankers fitted with missile pods and not passenger airliners.” Similar speculation surrounds the attack on the Pentagon, where the mystery of how a jetliner with a 124-ft wingspan could leave a hole only 14ft wide in the outer wall continues to baffle all who examine the incident.

The behaviour of the Bush administration has not helped those who wish to see a full explanation of 9/11. At first, Bush was determined there should be no inquiry into the biggest attack ever launched on American soil. Then he tried to appoint Henry Kissinger to head a limited inquiry. Following a storm of protest, Kissinger was forced to withdraw when he refused to reveal his sensitive client list.

The authors of Revealed, both radical journalists, have subjected the official version of what happened to intense scrutiny and found huge gaps. Recalling that most of what we know about what happened on the planes comes from alleged calls made by passengers on mobile phones, they point out that most experts say that, for technical reasons, this contact would have been impossible to make. No billing advice has ever been made public to show the calls were made. They highlight the absence of Mayday distress signals, the failure to find the black-box flight recorders for the WTC aircraft, the apparent disappearance of the wreckage, the failure to carry out a full engineering investigation into why the towers collapsed so fast and the failure to scramble military aircraft to intercept the hijacked aircraft.

Even more intriguing is the role of Hani Hanjour, the pilot of Flight 77 that hit the Pentagon. Anyone who examines the route taken by Hanjour will see that it required a complex manoeuvre by an experienced pilot. Yet in 2001, when Hanjour tried to fly down the Hudson air corridor in a light aircraft, his trainer was so unnerved that he denied him a second run.

You don’t have to be a conspiracy nut to see that the official account published by the 9/11 Commission is full of gaps. The interesting question is whether or not all such incidents are, ultimately, unknowable or whether the public has been misled. Take your pick.


Rowland Morgan and Ian Henshall are both one time Guardian writers.


Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Nick Robinson


Nick Robinson is now the BBC's political editor.


On ITN’s Lunchtime News, 8 September 2003, political editor Nick Robinson reported that:

“hundreds of servicemen are risking their lives to bring peace and security to the streets of Iraq”.

Media Lens asked:

Can we imagine an ITN or BBC correspondent reporting how

“hundreds of servicemen are risking their lives to pacify local resistance to Western control of the world’s second largest oil reserves”?

According to Media Lens:

It is simply deemed ‘beyond the pale’ to suggest that British servicemen are risking their lives, and indeed dying, so that small groups of powerful people can make money out of Iraqi oil, out of arms budgets bloated on hyped threats, and as a result of business backhanders from grateful American elites.

Media Lens pointed out that:

In the 1930s, the anarchist thinker Rudolf Rocker declared the truth that is always as obvious in hindsight as it is unthinkable in the present:"We speak of national interests, national capital, national spheres of interest, national honour, and national spirit; but we forget that behind all this there are hidden merely the selfish interests of power-loving politicians and money-loving business men for whom the nation is a convenient cover to hide their personal greed and their schemes for political power from the eyes of the world." (Rudolf Rocker, Culture and Nationalism, Michael E. Coughlan, 1978, p.253)

According to Media Lens:

Nick Robinson, as well as the Guardian and the BBC, are essentially echoing government propaganda.


Sack Grade and Byford of the BBC


Vidkun Quisling (1887-1945) was a Norwegian politician who collaborated with the Nazis during World War II. A quisling is a "traitor".

A "toady" is a person who flatters or defers to others for self-serving reasons; a sycophant.

No other name is so firmly associated with the term propaganda, conjuring lies and deceit, than that of Dr. Joseph Goebbels.


The BBC has rebuked BBC radio reporter John Humphrys because he criticised certain politicians.

Humphrys is not a quisling, not a toady and not a fan of Dr Goebbels.


The Chairman of the BBC is Michael Grade. He should be sacked.

Mark Byford is the deputy director general. He should be sacked.


In the Independent, 7 September 2005, Ciar Byrne and Andrew Grice report that the BBC has rebuked the radio presenter John Humphrys for making "inappropriate and misguided remarks".

The BBC has now been accused of 'caving in to pressure from the New Labour high command.'

Humphrys claims he was "stitched up" after his "light-hearted" speech to public relations executives came to light at the weekend in The Times, which accused him of implying that all ministers are liars.

According to the Independent:

'The only person to request a videotape of the event was Tim Allan, who was deputy to Alastair Campbell, the former Downing Street communications director. He is believed to have passed it to The Times.

'Supporters of Humphrys think Mr Allan's is a revenge attack on the BBC following the Hutton inquiry into the death of the government weapons expert David Kelly, the source of a BBC report that No 10 had "sexed up" a dossier on Iraq's weapons.

'Mr Campbell demanded the scalps of BBC bosses and three central figures involved - the chairman Gavyn Davies; the director general, Greg Dyke; and the reporter Andrew Gilligan. All resigned.

'In a report commissioned by Michael Grade, the current BBC chairman, Mark Byford, the deputy director general, concluded that although Humphrys was speaking in a personal capacity his comments could be used to question his own impartiality and that of the BBC.

'According to the report, Humphrys, who has defended his remarks about senior Labour politicians as "light-hearted", has accepted that some of the views he expressed in a speech to the Communication Directors' Forum in June were "injudicious".

'The presenter of Radio 4's Today programme has given an undertaking that when speaking at outside events in future, he will fulfil the requirements expected of a leading BBC presenter.'

Rod Liddle, a former editor of the daily news programme, said:

"The BBC after Hutton seems to have lost its spine. It has no intellectual grip on what constitutes impartiality, objectivity and subjectivity. It doesn't understand that we know that presenters and journalists within the BBC have views and that if they have given a speech about them, it's a form of transparency.

"If what John said demonstrates anything, it demonstrates utter impartiality. He's the most impartial journalist I've ever come across ... He's sceptical of all politicians.

"It should be noted that the newspaper which published this biased and incorrect report of what John Humphrys said is part of a New Labour cabal which has always hated John Humphrys. That very newspaper, The Times, has since said the comments are of no consequence whatsoever."

David Davis, the shadow Home Secretary, said: "It is outrageous that Alastair Campbell's former henchman is seeking to undermine the reputation of one of the country's foremost journalists. It is the job of the governors not to give in to these bullying tactics."

Lord Tebbit, the former Tory chairman, said: "The BBC is more interested in its relationship with the Labour Party and the Government than with presenting facts fairly and honestly."
Sir Menzies Campbell, the Liberal Democrats' foreign affairs spokesman, said the BBC should have been more robust. "It really is time this Government grew up. John Humphrys gives us all a hard time. The Government should be big enough to take it on the chin - and not to indulge in stings like this."

The offending remarks

On Andrew Gilligan's report on the "sexed-up" dossier

"All of which, with one small emendation [sic] turned out to be true... the fact is we got it right. If we were not prepared to take on a very, very powerful government, there would be no point in the BBC existing."

On Tony Blair

"We have not been the closest of friends over the last four or five years - indeed we've scarcely spoken to each other."

On Peter Mandelson

"Now there is a man they, I think probably all, detest. I said to someone once: 'Why do you all take an instant dislike to Mandelson?'"

On Gordon Brown

"He is quite easily the most boring political interviewee I have ever had in my whole bloody life."

On John Prescott

"All you've got to do is say John Prescott and people laugh... I'm sure he makes sense but it's just that you can't understand a bloody word he says. "

On politicians

"There are those who do not lie at all, ever, and they don't get into government. The whips won't go near you with a barge pole - well they will but only to push you into the lake. The second lot are those who lie but really don't like it. And the third lot couldn't give a bugger whether they lie or not. And there are some of those."

Victims at the corporation

Alastair Campbell called for the scalps of four senior BBC figures on the day the Hutton report was published. Only John Humphrys remains in the same post.


The BBC chairman resigned on the day that Lord Hutton published his damning indictment of the way the BBC handled the row with No 10 over the journalist Andrew Gilligan's report on the Today programme claiming that the Government had "sexed up" its Iraq dossier.


One resignation was not sufficient to quell the furore that engulfed the BBC post-Hutton and much to the chagrin of staff, the director general handed in his notice under pressure from the governors.


The BBC news chief, strongly criticised by Lord Hutton, was moved sideways to oversee the BBC's World Service and its global news division in a management reshuffle ordered by the incoming director general, Mark Thompson.


The veteran Today presenter seemed secure in his job, until comments he made in an after-dinner speech were leaked to the press, with the finger of suspicion pointed at Tim Allan, a former aide to Mr Campbell.


Sunday, September 04, 2005

BBC's Humphreys lets Naseem speak; Humphreys faces BBC probe.

BBC radio presenter John Humphrys interviewed the leader of one of Britain's biggest mosques, Dr Mohammed Naseem on 3 September 2005.

Humphrys allowed Naseem to say the following:

1. The Khan tape did not prove the bombings had been carried out by Muslims.

2. The tape could have been doctored. "We are in the 21st Century. The cows can be made to look as dancing, the horses can speak like humans, so these things can be doctored."

3. There should be an independent inquiry to establish whether the bombers were Muslims.,6903,1562479,00.html

According to Ned Temko, in the Observer 4 September 2005, "'Stitched up' Humphrys faces BBC probe."

Today programme's John Humphrys, made scathing remarks about leading Labour figures.

Humphrys strongly denied the allegations last night, saying his comments had been part of a 'good humoured, light-hearted speech' and 'meant with great affection'.

The form in which they had been reported 'clearly suggest a stitch-up,' he said.

Humphreys reportedly said that Peter Mandelson, now a European commissioner and still close to the Prime Minister, was universally detested. Last night Mandelson hit back publicly at the presenter. He said Humphrys had been seeking revenge for having been criticised over the Today report that accused the government of having 'sexed up' intelligence about Saddam Hussein's 'weapons of mass destruction' before the Iraq war.

'I went on Today during the controversy over [Andrew] Gilligan, the radio journalist behind the report. But I didn't take on Gilligan - I took on what Humphrys had said in his introduction to the report,' Mandelson said.

'It was Humphrys who set the tone for the report, I said, and I read on air three bald assertions made by him as fact.' Humphrys, he said, was 'furious, incandescent'.

Humphrys was reported to have said that the original May 2003 Today allegation of 'sexed-up' weapons intelligence had in fact been correct. The BBC apologised for the report after the Hutton inquiry said it contained inaccuracies.