Misinformation, the media and the foiled terror plot

By Lahai J Samboma

airport terror plot.jpgSoon after the alleged terror plot to blow up trans-Atlantic flights last week, one of the first things that became apparent was that the so-called independent media were being far from independent in their reporting of this alleged plot foiled by the British police and security services, for long plagued by accusations of being inept and trigger-happy.

Although bias was evident in all media, it was especially prevalent in the round-the-clock coverage of their broadcasting counterparts - and it was almost physically painful to behold. For example, it was clear from the outset that what we were being told was devoid of any analysis; what was being served up was being served up straight from the mouths of the securitariat, verbatim.

For example, we were told that the alleged plot entailed blowing up five US-bound planes from London with liquid explosives. That was on Thursday, the day the alleged plot was foiled. Had the alleged plot been successful, we were told, it would have resulted in the deaths of “hundreds of innocent civilians”. This was credible, in the sense that five aircraft would obviously be capable of carrying hundreds of passengers.


However, this figure would clearly not do, given that the very next day a top cop was featured claiming that its success would have resulted in “mass killing of unimaginable proportions”. This was on both the BBC and Sky. Since “hundreds of deaths”, by any stretch of the imagination, did not qualify for the tag of “unimaginable proportions”, the figure for aircraft targeted was swiftly revised upwards the following day to “at least ten”.

It was thus not surprising to learn several hours later from the “independent” media that the alleged plot would propaganda.jpghave resulted in the “mass murder of thousands”. Given this slight adjustment of the figures, our friends were now able to say that this “mass murder” would have been “unprecedented”. If anything, we were witnessing misinformation and propagandising in real time.

Some might say that it is possible that the figures were progressively revised as and when information from the securitariat became available to our friends in the corporate media. However, even if that was the case, why was there no questioning of the figures and the rest of the information being spoon-fed to the media by the authorities? Given the fiascos of the execution of the innocent Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes on the pretext he was a would-be suicide bomber, the bogus “ricin plot” and the Forest Gate Two, this lack of independence and journalistic detachment was glaring. These guys were in bed with the politicians!

An inquisitive person may ask why the basis for these revisions in the figures was not made public. It may be the case that certain information was being withheld until the alleged plotters were formally charged, but something so crucial as the reliability of data emanating from sources which have engaged in misinformation on previous occasions should have been treated with more professionalism.


massacre.jpgThe media were indeed remiss in their duty to the public and the democratic process. Also, how could the deaths by terrorist bombing of “thousands of innocent civilians” by these alleged plotters be described by any right-thinking person as “unimaginable” or “unprecedented”, in a new world order with reference points such as Bush Senior’s 1991 Gulf Slaughter of innocent Iraqis (at least 250,000) , Junior’s in 2003 (at least 100,000) and 9/11?

The casual observer would be forgiven for drawing two obvious conclusions from this. First, that the lives of Arabs and Muslims, or non-Western or non-white victims of terrorism do not matter. Second, that the whole coverage of the alleged plot was being hyped up for some nefarious purpose. And one did not have to wait long for the latter suspicion to be confirmed, for just a few hours later the BBC informed us that the government was planning to rush through parliament new anti-terror legislation.

That misinformation and propagandising was involved here has other things going for it. Aside from providing ample justification for the introduction of more repressive, fascist-like anti-terror legislation, it very conveniently came at a crucial time in the neocon “war against terror” - after the “civilised” nations were frantically searching for much-needed cover for the carte blanche accorded Israel to commit war crimes in its attempt to crush the Hizbolla and Hamas resistance to neocon/Zionist ambitions in the Middle East.

The rationale here is that people would be thus persuaded to connect the dots of a spurious equivalence between the alleged plot to “commit mass murder on an unimaginable or unprecedented scale”, and the legitimate resistance by Hizbolla and Palestinian freedom fighters. Since both sets of “perpetrators” were labelled as “Islamic terrorists”, then their methods and objectives would be seen as an attack on “our way of life” and, to use the refrain of the extra-planetary “war president” Bush, “an attack on freedom and democracy”.


The decision to massively disrupt trans-Atlantic air travel, even after the plot’s alleged perpetrators had been apprehended, is also problematic. Was this aimed at justifying the ensuing blanket, mass hysteria-inducing coverage? And then you have the timing of the revelation itself. If these alleged plotters were already in the sights of Western and Pakistani intelligence agencies for at least a year, why were they intercepted before they even had time to begin to put their plan into action? Will we be provided with their respective airline tickets. Media reports point to the fact that the arrests of the alleged British perpetrators were brought forward after a “chief Pakistani suspect” was apprehended. But the arrest of the latter was prompted by the Americans.

Did the approaching mid-term US Congressional elections have any play in the timing of the arrests? Was it imperative to prove to “my fellow Americans” that their “way of life” was under threat from these vile “Islamic fascists” and that the moronic war-president was winning his “war on terror”? Would it not have been better to wait till the plan was set in train before effecting the arrests? But I suppose these and other complex, esoteric issues will be revealed to us, dumb and gullible masses, in due course. Big Brother knows best!

As the alleged foiled terror plot has been used to justify the Bush-Blair “war on terror“, it is instructive to note that, in their circular logic, both the media and our naked emperors have very democratically refused to have an open debate on how Western foreign policy has served to fuel terrorism. This very obvious link has become taboo in mass media discourse. Instead, what we have is the corporate media’s parroting of Blair’s very disingenuous claim that “it is the other way round”. This is despite the fact that both the Madrid and 21/7bombers have said during interrogation that they were motivated by Western policies towards the Muslim world, in particular, Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan.


However, in an attempt to stifle legitimate debate, people who bring this up are labelled “appeasers” of “Islamofascism”. But let us examine this for one moment. Blair, Bush’s more coherent mouthpiece for creeping Anglo-American fascism, says that there is no link between their foreign policies and terrorism. If anything, the argument goes, it is terrorism that is fuelling their policies. In whichever way one decides to look at it, the motivations of these powerless actors self-evidently deserve serious examination.

This is not pandering to terrorism, as the sophists would like us to believe. It is simple logic - and psychology. It is intellectual dishonesty to say that the professed motivational factors of a subject are not worthy of consideration, and to dismiss them outright.

Second, they assert that the “war on terror” was declared after 9/11, whereas acts of “Islamic terrorism” predated 9/11; ergo, or so the reasoning goes, it is invalid to say that “Islamic terrorism” is a reaction to Western policy because there were acts of terrorism, for example, in 2000. This is very disingenuous, to say the least. This convenient, selective construction fails to consider the Palestinian Question, the 1982 Zionist invasion and massacre of over 2,000 Palestinians in Lebanon - both with Western complicity - and the 1991 Iraq turkey shoot. Oh, and the sanctions by the “international community” in the aftermath of the first Iraq Slaughter that culminated in the deaths of at least three million children.


The other canard is that, by citing Western Middle East policy as a motivating factor, Muslims who make up less than three per cent of the British population are trying to blackmail the government into changing government policy. Lord love a duck! The overwhelming majority of the British population are opposed to Blair’s Bush-dictated foreign policy - and there is no denying that. All recent polls bear that out. The British people want a more ethical foreign policy from Blair, but it seems that this “straight kinda guy” prime minister is hell-bent on sticking to his mass-murderous guns to the detriment of his country’s national interest. Anything for the boss!

I would hazard that those desperate individuals ready to kill themselves and others in terrorist acts are not trying to blackmail anybody into anything; rather, they are simply engaging in what they see as acts of revenge. It is a case of blind lashing-out. On the other hand, those who are lobbying for this “Labour” government to come to its senses - among them millions of anti-war demonstrators - are roundly ignored by an increasingly authoritarian government that has lost all legitimacy in the eyes of many who voted them into power.

These are all issues which should be up for serious debate, but the media are determined to confine all discourse same shit 2.jpgon the matter to parameters dictated by a nominally democratic government and parliament filled to the brim with self-serving careerists whose only loyalty is to their feeding troughs. The “independent” media have become cheap harlots, like the farmer-pigs who dictate their frames of reference. On current evidence, the “civilised” West have no right to lecture even Kim Jong Il’s Korea on human rights, freedom or democracy. Onward to 1984! Heil Bush!