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My own view is that the BBC has a key part to play in all of this! The support of the UK is very important to the US. The UK government can only give unquestioning support if it is not strongly challenged on the home front. One can discount Parliament and the newspapers for obvious reasons. The major influence on public opinion is the BBC (more than ITV from whom we can expect less) and both during the Gulf War and now, the BBC has come under attack from our leaders which shows how important their role is. The BBC do distort their reporting eg over emphasis on 'Saddam', qualifying comments from Iraq but stating as fact UK comments etc. [I would argue that the UK's mess in Northern Ireland was able to continue for so long because of a similar approach]. The biggest danger, however, is that of omission. There was going to be a documentary on President Assad of Syria saying how bad he was - this was shelved when the Gulf War was being mounted. Iraq felt strongly that Israel was being treated differently (having occupied land and annexed East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights). The papers relating to Iraq's longstanding claim to Kuwait from Edward Heath's time as prime minister (due for release) were buried. Mounting concern and protests by UK citizens was minimised by the BBC's reporting. Eloquent opponents of British policy did not appear on prime time news eg Edward Said and Tony Benn. Are casualties mentioned on the 9 or 10 o'clock news? The BBC often refers to the 'oil for food' arrangement. This is convenient but fails to include that a proportion of the oil revenue is going to Kuwait which apart from being enormously wealthy has already paid a lot of money over to the UK & US to fund the War on Iraq. The BBC could at least say 'the so-called oil for food' arrangement. The BBC keep repeating how Iraq must conform to UN resolutions but fail to clarify when the US and UK act without authority from the UN. Have you heard repeated on the news the UN figures on the deaths of children in Iraq as a result of sanctions? Have we seen a BBC documentary on the effect of sanctions on Iraq? Yet the sanctions have been going on for longer than the 2nd World War and are far more damaging than what the UK suffered then. What is more our Government is one of the prime movers and yet we do not feel any ill effects so it is all the more important for the population to be kept informed. I would suggest that a prime target for lobbying and challenging is the BBC and to a lesser extent ITV. I do not have access to the facts but I have been told that the BBC in their Arab Language World Service broadcasts greatly play down the role of Kuwait and Saudi Arabia in hosting US and UK troops and hardware. > Even when the BBC releases 'information', it turns out to be > disinformation. ALL of these facts came into the public arena between 17 > and 21 December; they were already in the German press before > christmas. The BBC, however, waits until 6 January before publishing > details which it claims have only just been discovered. > > Jeff Vernon Mark Parkinson Head of IT and Computer Services Bodmin Community College Cornwall PL31 1DD United Kingdom tel: 01208 72114 fax: 01208 78680 -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To be removed/added, email email@example.com, NOT the whole list. Archived at http://linux.clare.cam.ac.uk/~saw27/casi/discuss.html