Saturday, April 22, 2006

Dispatches: Spinning Terror

Last night I finally got to see the much acclaimed Channel 4 Dispatches documentary "Spinning Terror", screened on February 20, 2006, thanks to a friend who brought over a videotaped copy.


With Britain facing the greatest terrorist threat in our history, the nation trusts the government to devise policies to protect the nation. But Dispatches reporter Peter Oborne reveals that our trust may be misplaced. He presents the case that the government has reacted to the London bombings by rushing through anti-terror policies motivated by the desire to ward off tabloid criticism, gain electoral advantage and make the government look strong.

Watch the Google video.

Oborne doesn't present anything new regarding Blair's hustled 12-point anti-terrorism plan, the Ricin farce and the Old Trafford fabrication; instead he largely puts the facts in a row and lets them speak for themselves.

Over at GlobalIssues.org they make an excellent job of analysing Peter Oborne's thesis:

This web page has the following sub-sections:

Appeasing The Tabloid Press and Spinning the Need for More Power

The Ricin Plot; Classic Use of Spin and Propaganda

The Plot to blow up Manchester United’s Stadium: Fabrication

Some Ramifications (on poor police and media reporting regarding terrorism matters)

Oborne concludes:

It should be stressed that the Government is by no means solely responsible for this distorted public discourse on terror. The police and, to an even larger extent, the British media organizations have had a reckless attitude. Two key case histories—the “Ricin Plot” and the alleged terrorist conspiracy to blow up Old Trafford football ground—demonstrate the unreliability of both official statements and media reporting about terrorism.

A significant amount of press coverage in the two cases mentioned above was fabrication. But it should be stressed that this level of fantasy and invention was only possible in the first place, and sustainable over time, thanks to official prompting and collusion. Just as it suited Government policy that the “45 minute threat” should gain currency ahead of the invasion of Iraq, so was it helpful to Ministers that the British public should believe that Ricin had been found in a north London flat.

The experience of the past few years teaches us that what the Prime Minister, his Ministers, or the police say on the subject of terror must be treated with great skepticism.


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5 Comments:

At 3:29 PM, Blogger Sophia said...

Gert,
This is an impressive post. I don't watch televsion but I know that you have very good television, specially Channel Four.

I think if our rulers were less focused on electoral gain and more focused on the public interest, the 'war against terrorr' would have been completely different. The way they designed the 'war against terror' is to keep the public in the ignorance of the real issues while taking advantage from this for a less accountable governance and a more watched and monitored society.

Thanks for the video link, I will try to watch it later.

 
At 4:11 PM, Blogger Gert said...

Well, enjoy!

 
At 2:19 AM, Blogger Sophia said...

Gert,

I watched the reportage. Excellent !
Some comments:
Spectacular terror attacks and terror spinning have happened only in countries who participated in the coalition.
The Ricin case was thoroughly studied in the reportage under all its aspects and it can serve as a paradigm for other terror spinnings.
Tony Blair comes across as a cynical politician.
A common feature of all terror spining is the refusal of governmental authorities to conduct an independant inquiry on actual terror attacks when they happen. None of the 9/11 many inquiries was actually independant.
Thanks again for posting the link, the video was actually of a very good quality.

 
At 1:34 PM, Blogger Gert said...

Agreed on all points.

 
At 10:05 AM, Blogger J.UL1R4 said...

Sophia said: 'The way they designed the 'war against terror' is to keep the public in the ignorance of the real issues while taking advantage from this for a less accountable governance and a more watched and monitored society'

Sadly this true, and it's a tragedy as well because it takes eye off the ball of real threats. Of course terrorism has been used to make wars.

Sophia said: None of the 9/11 many inquiries was actually independant.

Indeed, the 9/11 Commission was an outrageous appalling sham and a cruel joke on the familes.

Great post Gert, sorry I haven't been commenting a lot lately.

 

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