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Re: [casi] All The Bloody Children

Hi! Yes, Although I partly agree with both correspondents, I'm more than a
little surprised that 'only' sanctions are mentioned. If some of the hawks
carry out their plans, against Iraq, matters could get even much worse. I'm
not saying this to unsettle you, just to draw your attention to a possible
scenario.  Greetings,  Bert (Birmingham, U.K.).

>From: "Ghazwan Al-Mukhtar" <>
>To: "Yasser Alaskary" <>,
>Subject: Re: [casi] All The Bloody Children
>Date: Sat, 23 Mar 2002 11:26:21 +0300
>Yasser Alaskary wrote:
><iraq is not saddam hussein, and saddam hussein is not iraq. the two are
>seperate, lets not confuse them. lets concentrate on defending the iraqi
>people and removing the suffering they have endured, not try to use their
>suffering to defend saddam.>
>Yes Iraq is not Saddam Hussein, and Saddam Hussein is not Iraq.
>The west is using their political problems with Saddam to compound the
>suffering of the innocent people of Iraq.The people need protection from
>disastrous effects of the sanctions and not who did or said what. The
>suffering of the innocent people is not acceptable for any reason what so
>ever specially if the people are oppressed. Sanctions are double
>Ghazwan Al-Mukhtar
>Baghdad, Iraq
>----- Original Message -----
>From: "Yasser Alaskary" <>
>To: <>; <>
>Sent: Saturday, March 23, 2002 1:24 AM
>Subject: Re: [casi] All The Bloody Children
>thank you for that. i agree iraq has been ignored by the world as its
>are massacred. however, is the article trying to call for an end to
>sanctions or arguing against the removal of saddam hussein? it seems to
>fudge and mix the issues; while it argues very well for lack of coverage of
>the devastating effects of sanctions on the iraqi people, it tries to use
>that to suggest saddam hussein shouldn't be removed.
>instead what should've been said, had they approached this from the need to
>help the suffering iraqi people, would be to say that the fact there is
>of the need to use military action to remove saddam hussein proves - if
>it needed proof - that sanctions hardly effect the regime's control on
>and have resulted in only millions of iraqis being killed. it should have,
>if it wanted to argue about proposed military action - as it did, by the
>same logic of wanting to end the suffering of iraqis, called for the
>military action to be against saddam hussein and not the iraqi people
>(unlike 1998 was, unlike all the bombings by US/UK planes over the years
>which have done nothing to saddam but only killed and harmed the iraqi
>people) - to remind them how when the iraqi people rose up against saddam
>hussein in 1991, america decided that "the devil we know is better than the
>devil we don't" and gave saddam hussein permission to use his helicopters
>massacre the uprising (during the uprising the iraqi people 14 out of the
>provinces in iraq had been liberated by the iraqi people from saddam
>hussein's control).
>iraq is not saddam hussein, and saddam hussein is not iraq. the two are
>seperate, lets not confuse them. lets concentrate on defending the iraqi
>people and removing the suffering they have endured, not try to use their
>suffering to defend saddam.
>yasser alaskary
>imperial college iraqi society
>----Original Message Follows----
>From: "AS-ILAS" <>
>To: "casi" <>
>Subject: [casi] All The Bloody Children
>Date: Fri, 22 Mar 2002 22:17:59 +0100
>Hi All,
>All The Bloody Children
>by David Edwards And David Cromwell
>Media Lens
>March 20, 2002
>Following our Media Alert Update, 'The Observer's Nick Cohen Responds On
>Iraq' (March 15, 2002), Media Lens received this reply from Nick Cohen on
>March 15, 2002:
>"Dear Serviles I would have more respect for you if you showed the smallest
>awareness that a tyrant bore some responsibility for tyranny. I appreciate
>this is difficult for you, it involves coming to terms with complexity and
>horribly Eurocentric principles such as justice and universality, and truly
>I share your pain. But your for [sic] sake far more than mine, I'd like to
>know roughly how many deaths in Iraq are down to Saddam. If you admit that
>we're in double figures, or more, what should be done about it? Viva Joe
>Also on March 15, a Media Lens reader forwarded this reply to his letter on
>Iraq from Observer editor Roger
>"This is just not true ... it's saddam who's killing all the bloody
>children, not sanctions. Sorry"
>As Media Lens readers will know, we have so far sent two closely argued,
>rational and referenced challenges to Cohen. We have refuted his arguments
>point by point, presenting credible facts, sources and evidence. In
>response, we have received, again, no serious arguments, just more abuse.
>Recall that Cohen is a highly-paid professional journalist, whose job it is
>to report accurately - he is in the business of communicating and promoting
>debate. But like the Guardian's Middle East editor, Brian Whitaker - who
>wrote back to us despite, as he put it, "the risk of provoking further
>correspondence" (Whitaker, email to Media Lens, March 1, 2002) - Cohen
>seems to feel that attempts to engage him in honest debate are an insult to
>his integrity. Why do journalists take challenges to what they write so
>personally? Why do they so often respond with contempt, sneering abuse, or
>silence, to honest challenges from the public they are supposed to serve?
>Presumably by "Serviles", Cohen also means John Pilger, Noam Chomsky, Denis
>Halliday, Hans von Sponeck, Unicef, Save the Children Fund UK, The Catholic
>Relief Agency, Human Rights Watch, the International Committee of the Red
>Cross, and so on. We presume the "Viva Joe Stalin" sign-off is meant to
>suggest that all of the above are preserving the spirit of Stalin in some
>way. Further comment from us seems unnecessary - Cohen's words speak for
>On the point about our lacking the "smallest awareness that a tyrant bore
>some responsibility for tyranny", we note merely that in our initial email
>to Cohen we wrote, "Iraq was (and is) certainly governed by a brutal
>dictatorship - as are most countries in the Middle East." It is of course
>the classic response of mainstream commentators to smear critics of US/UK
>actions as apologists for the targets of Western aggression. In reality,
>though, it is quite reasonable to be opposed to all brutality and
>injustice - no matter which government is responsible - as we are. But this
>possibility is not allowed to interfere with this convenient device for
>dismissing rational arguments.
>The recipient of Roger Alton's email is an 83-year-old veteran of the
>Second World War (who has asked to remain anonymous), an officer who served
>for seven years in XIV Tank Army. In our view, he is a remarkable
>individual, both rational and compassionate. He told us that he wrote to
>Alton and Cohen because he is all too familiar with the horror of war, with
>what it means for innocent civilians and soldiers. We feel that his letter
>to Alton merits reprinting in its entirety:
>"I have read with some astonishment the defence you have attempted with
>Media Lens about your recent article and further comments about Iraq, as I
>had looked to you previously more as a source of enlightenment than most
>There is it seems to me, (an 83 year old man and for many decades a reader
>of the Observer), a tendency on the part of so many
>journalists/analysts/commentators to now go along with what they appear to
>assume is the line which will best ingratiate them with or not estrange
>them from 'the establishment', by accepting the arguments of those such as
>Hain, Bradshaw, Straw whose axes are continuously being ground with a view
>to being wielded to ensure ongoing political power. That power is looking
>sideways all the time to the umbrella of the hegemony of the present US
>government (not the American people) to forward their ambitions - such
>ambitions are not those of the Labour Party, (associated with which I have
>been for best part of 70 years) but more of those who have consigned a New
>role for it once they have achieved a position gained on the backs of
>generations of party workers.
>I say with all courtesy, please examine information/facts in more depth and
>try and resist the temptation to assume/use the arguments of others...hope
>that doesn't sound too much like the great-grand-father I am, but there is
>satisfaction to be had if you attempt "From pois'nous herbs (to) extract
>the healing dew". I will still look forward to your next effort...
>(Name Deleted)"
>It was in response to this courteous and cogent letter that Alton wrote,
>"This is just not true ... it's saddam who's killing all the bloody
>children, not sanctions. Sorry"
>The callousness of Alton's response revived uncomfortable memories of an
>extraordinary article in the Guardian by David Leigh and James Wilson,
>entitled "Counting Iraq's victims - Dead babies always figure heavily in
>atrocity propaganda, and Osama bin Laden is merely the latest to exploit
>them. But what is the truth?" (The Guardian, October 19, 2001)
>Under a graphic reviewing various estimates for numbers of excess child
>deaths in Iraq, were the words, "Those dead babies", as though the subject
>were somehow a matter for levity.
>Curiously, despite the title, the article described bin Laden's claims but
>then went on to recognise that "the awkward fact is that it was not bin
>Laden who originated these claims of baby-killing in Iraq. It was America's
>critics in the west.
>The film-maker John Pilger has been among the most trenchant... But are
>Pilger and his western colleagues correct? In part the answer is that there
>were never any dead babies at all. The 'dead babies of Iraq' are a
>statistical construct." (ibid)
>The cold-hearted brutality of the article, with its casual talk of "dead
>babies", "atrocity propaganda" and a "statistical construct", elicited a
>large number of complaints to the Guardian.
>To his credit Roger Alton has since apologised for his reference to "the
>bloody children", claiming that he was referring to "the interminable
>nature of this debate, not obviously to the children themselves".
>But perhaps Alton should apologise to the British public more generally,
>and also to the suffering people of Iraq, for his paper's performance in
>conducting this "interminable debate", for in fact there has been no such
>debate in the Observer.
>In a previous Media Alert, we revealed that, as of March 5, 2002, the
>Guardian and Observer had mentioned senior UN diplomat, Denis Halliday, in
>just nine articles since September 1998. Having checked again (March 18,
>2002), we find that all of these mentions were in the Guardian - Denis
>Halliday (who resigned in September 1998) has not been mentioned once in
>the Observer since September 1998. Hans von Sponeck (who resigned in
>February 2000) has also received no mentions. Remarkably, these highly
>credible senior UN diplomats - who sacrificed long and distinguished
>careers in courageous acts of protest, describing the sanctions programme
>+they+ ran as "genocidal" - have been granted no mentions, not even on the
>letters page, by Alton and the Observer. This, in our view, is outrageous,
>particularly given the belief among many people that the Observer is a
>liberal newspaper willing to provide space for arguments that challenge
>establishment power.
>Cohen and Alton's views on Iraq are clear enough. So too is that of
>Observer reporter David Rose, who wrote last December:
>"...the decisions made by the Western-led coalition at the end of the Gulf
>war in 1991 were a catastrophe.
>Now, as the United States and its European allies argue over extending the
>'war on terrorism' to Iraq, the doves are using the arguments they deployed
>10 years ago. They were wrong then, and they are wrong now... There are
>occasions in history when the use of force is both right and sensible. This
>is one of them." (Rose, 'The case for tough action against Iraq', Observer,
>December 2, 2001)
>We find it ironic indeed that last Sunday's Observer boasted that the paper
>provided "the broadest debate on Iraq". ('Where next on Iraq?', March 17,
>But the Observer is only a small part of the political and moral disaster
>that is the corporate press. The Guardian has mentioned Halliday in just 9
>articles since September 1998, the Independent has mentioned him in two
>articles, the Times records two mentions, and the Telegraph one. A check of
>the New Statesman (March 19, 2002) reveals that Halliday has received 8
>mentions, all of them by John Pilger. Pilger aside, no other journalist in
>the New Statesman has mentioned Halliday. And again, barring one excellent
>documentary by Pilger, there has been close to zero coverage on both BBC TV
>and ITN. Where are people to turn for access to Halliday's and von
>Sponeck's devastating indictments of Western policy in the mainstream
>media? The answer is that there is nowhere to turn - our government is
>protected by a blanket of 'free press' silence.
>Is it any wonder that genocidal Western sanctions have been able to
>proceed, at the cost of hundreds of thousands of lives, largely untroubled
>by a public that is pacified by a flood of government and media propaganda?
>Is it any wonder that, for much of the public, Iraq is a non-issue? Is not
>the media's failure to honestly report the charge that our government is
>responsible for genocide a stunning betrayal of the British public, and the
>people of Iraq?
>This is only one example of how the free press consistently stifles
>democracy by filtering the free flow of information challenging powerful
>interests. On issue after issue, the 'free press' reveals itself to be an
>establishment press promoting power-friendly views, while ignoring or
>marginalising views that damage power.
>The corporate press is able to function as a support for state-corporate
>interests because journalists will not speak out against papers, editors,
>or the structural dishonesty of the media system as a whole. There are a
>number of fine radical journalists who support what Media Lens is doing.
>But not one of them is prepared to directly challenge the performance of
>the Guardian, Observer and the New Statesman. Why? Because they recognise,
>as several have told us, that to do so would mean career death. It is
>simply not done to criticise the paper that publishes one's work, or to
>criticise the media system in a way that reflects badly on that paper. With
>cynical journalists too indifferent to care, and honest journalists too
>afraid to speak, the 'liberal' press is never subjected to serious
>challenge. As a result honest debate is replaced by silence masquerading as
>consensus. We spend our time well when we consider that, in a truly free
>press, such criticism would be welcomed as absolutely essential to the
>ongoing struggle for freedom and honesty against compromise and corruption.
>If Iraq is subjected to a further military onslaught, we should be in no
>doubt that a large part of the burden of responsibility will fall on the
>shoulders of journalists like Alton, Cohen and Rose, whose job it is to
>challenge cynical power, to promote compassion, understanding, restraint
>and rationality. At the very least, it is their job to allow the public to
>make up its own mind on the views of people like Halliday and von Sponeck.
>Editors may apologise in retrospect but that will be of precious little
>comfort to the bloodied children of Iraq.
>Contact Nick Cohen:
>Ask Cohen why he believes that Media Lens is "servile". Ask him if he
>includes John Pilger, Noam Chomsky, Denis Halliday, Hans von Sponeck,
>Unicef, Save the Children Fund UK, The Catholic Relief Agency, Human Rights
>Watch, and the International Committee of the Red Cross in this category.
>If not, ask him to explain why not. What is the difference between their
>positions and ours?
>Contact Observer editor, Roger Alton:
>Ask him why his paper has not mentioned either Denis Halliday or Hans von
>Sponeck at all since September 1998. Ask him if he finds their views
>lacking in credibility or importance. If so, ask him why. Ask him if he
>agrees that it is his responsibility to present the public he serves with a
>wide range of views, not just those that accord with his own.
>Please bear in mind that your comments will be more effective if you
>maintain a polite, non-aggressive tone. Similarly, it is better to
>paraphrase points made above, rather than repeat them word for word.
>Please cc:  with your correspondence.
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