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Re: [casi] Media and press agencies cooperating in faking mass grave sites?

> In light of the revelations in the Bulletin magazine of Australia,
> that an ABC photojournalist killed in Northern Iraq had also been
> free-lancing for Rendon Group - an important CIA subcontractor - its
> worth remembering just how powerful images can be in shaping the
> publicīs view of the morality of their governmentīs actions.
Thank you Tom.  As a contextual note, it is worth bearing in mind that
mass killings by the previous Iraqi regime are well-documented.
Whether any particular photo turns out to be doctored does not
influence this.

The photo in question has NOT been doctored.  Its a real photo of white plastic bags, the question 
is whether the bags contain corpses or sand or earth.  If the later we need to examine why are 
press agencies (it is an Associated Press photo) co-operating in stage managing such a scene and 
why it is being done to benefit a supposed left wing humanitarian envoy of Tony Blair.

While I think it obvious the scene has been staged, I can guarantee there is not a newspaper in the 
length and breadth of Britain that would touch that story.  Draw your own conclusions on quite how 
real the freedom of the press is.

As to whether the extent of Saddams massacres are well documented, that is not wholly without 
controversy.  For instance, Stephen Pelletiere, former Defence Analyst is on record as saying it 
was the opinion of the CIA/Defencce Department that the death toll at Halabaja was much lower than 
the 1000s claimed and caused predominantly by Iranian cyanogen agents.  Its not a claim I could 
give informed comment other than to say that the claim exists.  Similiar criticisms have been given 
on Human Rights Watch (described elegantly as a cooperation between George Soros and the US State 
Department ) reports, with accusations of gross exaggerations.  Indeed at the only mass grave site 
that appears to have been slightly documented and investigated,  al-Mahawil, HRW claimed that it 
contains 15 000 bodies (it has sinced revised the total down to 2000), before the war Amenesty 
International had issued a report saying it was site of up to 150 executions of the Shite uprising. 
 In fact it had a
lways been HRW claim that the victims of the Anfal and other repressions had been shipped south and 
buried in Iraq proper, therefore they were under some pressure to come up with some sizeable mass 
grave sites.

The point is not to claim the Saddam Hussein was some kind of angel (no one wants to turn back the 
clock), but rather to be aware of how news organisations and supposedly independent Human Rights 
groups are used to manipulate public opinion and to try and stop that process.  Otherwise Western 
countries are just going to "liberate" regime after regime that "are worse than Hitler".

Finally, while I am always suspicious of people who claim to be in Iraq but whose originating IP 
address of their email is England.  I would point out in regard to that AP photo that the caption 
has been mislabelled because Ann Clwyd never went to  al-Mahawil but only close by at Hilla - so we 
can assume the photo has been taken at Hilla.  Therefore if anyone had travelled from Baghdad to  
al-Mahawil looking for a deceased relative than they had gone to a different site from that shown 
in the photo.

But doubtless such a person would realise that from looking at the photo and immediately recognise 
that it was not  al-Mahawil. Not all manipulation of public opinion is confined to the news media.

Peace and love.
Tom Young

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