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hi, Does anyone know if there has been any response to Sweeney's documentary or article in the mainstream press? I couldn't find any.. best, Abi > > [ Presenting plain-text part of multi-format email ] > > <http://www.boneill.blogspot.com/2002_06_01_boneill_archive.html> > > Brendan O'Neill > > The story about Iraq storing dead babies' bodies so that it then can parade > them through the streets in propagandistic mass funerals has united > everyone from gore merchants to right-wing journalists to supposedly > left-wing bloggers. Many have latched on to the dead baby claims as > evidence that Saddam Hussein's regime is wicked beyond belief, and probably > in need of a good bombing to bring it to its senses. But where does the > story come from? > > It originated in a report by British-based journalist John Sweeney for the > BBC, where Sweeney writes of '...the faking of the mass baby funerals. You > may have seen them on TV. Small white coffins parading through the streets > of Baghdad on the roofs of taxis, an angry crowd of mourners, condemning > western sanctions for killing the children of Iraq'. > > Sweeney points out that 'usefully, the ages of the dead babies - "three > days old", "four days old" - are written in English on the coffins', before > asking ominously 'I wonder who did that?'. He then quotes Iraqi sources > claiming that dead babies are stored until there are enough for a fake mass > funeral. > > So where did Sweeney get this information? From a man called Ali, who > recently fled central Iraq to the relative safety of the Kurdish north, > after being suspected of having a hand in the murder of Saddam Hussein's > son Uday. Even Sweeney admits that Ali doesn't look like the most > trustworthy person in the world (he's 'not exactly a contender to be the > next Archbishop of Canterbury', and has previously been involved in > violence), but Sweeney half-reassures his readers that 'I don't think he > was lying to us'. > > However, the 'evidence' for the fake funerals doesn't even come directly > from Ali, but from a friend of a friend of Ali's. Sweeney tells us that Ali > is a friend of a taxi driver whose son has a position in the Iraqi regime - > and the son told his taxi driver dad who then told Ali who then told > Sweeney that babies are stored for mass funerals. Whatever happened to > journalistic proof? Ali's story is nothing more than hearsay presented as > evidence. And it is now being presented by some as further justification > for bombing Iraq. > > As it happens, Sweeney was embroiled in another journalistic row earlier > this year, when the BBC was accused by its own staff of being 'colonial' in > the way it reported the Zimbabwe elections in March 2002. As the Guardian > reported: > > 'Senior figures at the BBC World Service have expressed concern to the > domestic news division that coverage of the Zimbabwe elections has been > driven by a "colonial" agenda, potentially causing damage to the > corporation's reputation for impartiality. Particular anxieties have been > expressed about the tone of coverage on Radio 4's Today programme and about > a Correspondent documentary in which...Sweeney smuggled himself into > Zimbabwe in the boot of a car.' > > The Guardian went on: 'Sweeney appeared to suggest it was necessary to hide > in a car to interview the opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai. In fact, Mr > Tsvangirai has been interviewed many times by different BBC outlets, even > appearing in person at Bush House.' > > Back to Iraq: why are so many willing to believe the dead baby story > without the same standards of proof we would normally demand - especially > for something so shocking? It seems that when it comes to Iraq, some people > will buy any story. Many on the right champion reason and rationality, but > Iraq is their blindspot, the issue on which they will trumpet anything that > bolsters their case for invading and bombing Iraq. And in the absence of > any hard, coherent evidence that Iraq poses a threat to the West, any old > hearsay will do. > > > > _______________________________________________ > Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. > To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss > To contact the list manager, email email@example.com > All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk > _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email firstname.lastname@example.org All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk