How the Press lies About Iraq--the secret British cabinet dossier and the Times of London
I woke up this morning to find the Times of London on-line publishing a secret British cabinet dossier about the recruitment of British Muslim terrorists.
The dossier is dated 6 April 2004, and was commissioned after the 3/11 Madrid bombings of last year.
The Times report is a classic example of how the Western media misrepresents the truth about the war in which we are now engaged--with the damning evidence supplied by the Times itself. Here writes the Times:
The Iraq war is identified by the dossier as a key cause of young Britons turning to terrorism. The analysis says: “It seems that a particularly strong cause of disillusionment among Muslims, including young Muslims, is a perceived ‘double standard’ in the foreign policy of western governments, in particular Britain and the US.
“The perception is that passive ‘oppression’, as demonstrated in British foreign policy, eg non-action on Kashmir and Chechnya, has given way to ‘active oppression’. The war on terror, and in Iraq and Afghanistan, are all seen by a section of British Muslims as having been acts against Islam.”
In an interview yesterday, Blair denied that the London terrorist attacks were a direct result of British involvement in the Iraq war.
And Afghanistan. The bold is my highlight. Note what the Times does: in a report that explicitly mentions both Iraq AND AFGHANISTAN, the Times begins by writing The Iraq war is identified by the dossier as a key cause of young Britons turning to terrorism. It then implicitly accuses the Prime Minister of lying: In an interview yesterday, Blair denied that the London terrorist attacks were a direct result of British involvement in the Iraq war. Blair's summary is exactly correct: the dossier never states that British terrorism is a direct result of the Iraq war; it consistently lists the Iraq war as only one of a series of perceived grievances. The Times falsifies the content of the dossier: the clear assertion of the dossier that anger over Afghanistan was a contributing factor is neatly snipped out by the article's authors, and reduced by the Times to Iraq alone.
Why has the Times falsified the report? The reason is clear. Afghanistan had broad support among the British population. The British public had a clear sense that Islamic terrorists were a threat to the West. The Iraq war has been more controversial. Key parts of the West want to believe the illusion that it was Iraq alone that got Islamic terrorists angry at the West--thereby forgetting September 11th and the long history of pre-September 11th Islamic terrorism.
So the Times reporters manipulate the dossier to make it look as though Tony Blair is lying--which is absolutely disreputable. The dossier makes it clear that that Islamic anger towards the West is broadly-based and cannot be limited to the question of Iraq.
Having read the Times reporters' falsifications, I then began to read what the dossier really said.
In this section the dossier makes it crystal clear that Muslim anger in Britain is wide ranging: "a perception of 'double-standards' in British foreign policy, where democracy is preached but oppression of the ummah (the one nation of believers) is practised or tolerated; eg in Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, Kashmir, Chechnya". (Part 1/Page 9) So: according to the dossier, key British Muslims think that the liberation of Afghanistan from the Neanderthal dictatorship of the Taliban is an act of "oppression". They think that the elimination of that dictatorship, the creation of a constitution, and the institution of democracy is an example of British "double-standards" with respect to democracy. If our Times reporters had included this quotation from the dossier it would have made it clear what we are dealing with: blood-thirsty fanatics who cannot be appeased, whose anger began long before Iraq, and whose thirst for vengeance will only be further envenomed by appeasement in Iraq.
Here the dossier writes: "Polls between November 2001 and December 2002 suggested that a relatively small, but not insignificant number of British Muslims felt some sympathy for terrorist attacks on the USA, did not feel loyal to Britain, did not condemn British Muslims who fought against allies in Afghanistan or thought Muslims have gone too far in integrating into British society." (Part 2/Page 1) So: the dossier makes it crystal clear that even before the Iraq war Britain was harboring a small but not insignificant number of terrorist sympathizer who thought September 11th was justified, and thought that it was right for Muslims to fight for the Taliban in Afghanistan.
"[The] war on terror, and in Iraq and Afghanistan are all seen by a section of British Muslims as having been acts against Islam." (Part 2/Page 3). And Afghanistan. So it's not just Iraq: British Muslims contain a section of pro-Taliban terrorist sympathizers who think that the war against terrorism in Afghanistan is an act of war against Islam itself. Appeasement, anyone?
(Part 2/Page 3)
How strong is the pro-terrorist sympathy among British Muslims? The dossier then cites a poll in which 47% of British Muslims say that if they lived in Palestine they would consider becoming suicide bombers--only 43% disagree. (Part 2/Page 3)
The polls cited by the report indicate that up to 13% of the 1.6 million British Muslims defend terrorism; up to 26% do not feel loyal to Britain (Part 2/Page 8). If up to a quarter of British Muslims are willing to tell pollsters that they don't feel loyal to Britain, what is the real percentage? If then roughly half of these (up to 13%) are willing to defend terrorism, how many will help those who practice it? And why worry about Iraq, when many British Muslims have no loyalty to Britain in the first place?
We can take only cold comfort from the fact that the dossier goes on to estimate active participation or support for terrorism among British Muslims at under 1% (Part 2/Page 9). The network of sympathizers is large, threatening, and will not be changed by appeasement in Iraq.
Part 3 is simply damning for the Times' "blame Iraq" view of the dossier. It begins with a chilling description of two British Muslim extremist groups, and their efforts to recruit British Muslims into terrorism against the West (with the caveat that direct acts of terrorism by British Muslims against Britain itself are nixed--foreign Muslims, however, are free to target Britain and the Queen). Then it pulls out the polling data: "up to 80%" disapproved of the war against Afghanistan; only 61% thought it would be wrong for a British Muslim to fight for the Taliban in Afghanistan (Part 3/Page 9). So when nearly 40% of British Muslims are open to idea that it is right to go to war to defend the Taliban, it should be clear how deep the sympathy for terrorism among British Muslims is...and it didn't start with Iraq.
Part 4 further undermines the Times reporters' reading of the document.
It is clear that British Muslims showed more opposition to Iraq than Afghanistan: On whether it was wrong to bring down the Taliban: 33% Yes/42% No (November 2001). On the Iraq War: 10% favourable/80% unfavourable (March 2004) (Part 4/Page 16).
But then the polls ask if after September 11 further acts of terrorism against the USA would be justified. In December 2002 the figures are 11% Yes/79% No. After the Iraq war it shifts to 13% Yes/73% No (March 2004)--which is basically unchanged. A November 2001 poll asks about justifying acts of terrorism in general (as opposed to specifically against the USA): 7% Yes/67% No. In sum, these polls suggest that the willingness of Muslims to justify terrorism has not shifted substantially as a result of the Iraq War. (Part 4/Page 14)
Needless to say, these figures are not deemed important enough to make it into the Times' summary.
Today's article in the Times of London makes it clear what the West is facing. That journalists will lie, distort, and misrepresent the truth in time of war is not anything new. Western reporters sent home pro-Communist propaganda masquerading as journalism when Stalin was slaughtering millions in Russia. American journalists such as Teddy White and others presented Chairman Mao of China as a hero to the West when he was well on his road to being the greatest mass-murderer of modern times with some 70 million deaths to his most criminal credit. In 1968, American journalists falsified the truth about the Tet offensive, and helped lead the American people to defeat. In Nicaragua in the 1980s, western reporters glorified the Sandinistas as they set up a Communist dictatorship and eliminated a free press. What we are seeing now in the war on terrorism is simply a continuation of the Western practice of war-propaganda masquerading as journalism.
Today's article in the Times is a sorry contributer to this same tradition--with the important caveat that by putting the dossier on-line, the reporters inadvertently showed how false their summary of it was.