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Imperial Disinformation: The Guardian's Iran/Iraq Coverage

imc-uk-features | 28.05.2007 09:20 | Iraq | Other Press | Terror War | World

On 22nd May, 2007, the front page of The Guardian was taken up by pro-war propaganda, designed to prepare public opinion to accept that war with Iran is an inevitable next step in the Anglo-American 'war on terror'. Simon Tisdall's high-profile piece claimed that Iran has secret plans to do nothing less than wage war on, and defeat, American and British forces in Iraq by August.

Last February, Indymedia UK published a feature on MI6 Iran disinformation being run by The Telegraph and the BBC [ 1 | 2 ], "the British mainstream media are now reflexively boosting the US claim that Iran presents a threat to the West". The feature also contains more details about the looming war and what it's really about.

Guardian Disinfo Newswire Articles: Guardian promotes Bush administration war propaganda against Iran | Pentagon Propaganda Occupies the Guardian's Front Page | Guardian at the Gates: Surging Toward War With Iran | The Grauniad: An Unlimited Conduit for US-UK's War Propaganda | CASMII Strongly Criticises the Guardian for Anti-Iranian Article




Very blatant

29.05.2007 09:05

It clearly is very important to dissect the way the dominant media try to shape public opinion and perceptions.

This Guardian front page was particularly blatant. Two things shocked me most:

1) The obviously dubious provenance of the story. When a paper says information comes from "sources", this basically means the story is planted by someone in authority with an agenda.

2) The way that one of the key rules of journalism is jettisoned to make way for the propaganda impact. The headline states as fact (implicitly authenticated by the paper) the claims made by an anonymous source. This would not normally happen. At the very least there would be inverted commas around the claim, to distance the paper from it slightly, or it would be followed by the phrase " - claims source" or similar. This was obviously something rather special that had been cooked up.

Maybe someone who works on The Guardian could provide some more insight?


Manufacturing Consent

30.05.2007 19:06

There was a conference to mark the 20th Anniversary of the publishing of the book Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of Mass Communication by Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky earlier this month, some text and audio from it has been posted here:


An "Avalanche" Of Complaints

08.06.2007 08:43

On May 24, 2007, we sent out a Media Alert titled ‘Pentagon Propaganda Occupies Guardian’s Front Page’.

The recently appointed readers’ editor of the Guardian, Siobhan Butterworth, has now responded to public criticism of the cover story in question. (Butterworth, 'Open Door. The readers' editor on... questions of credibility raised by a report on Iraq,' The Guardian, June 4, 2007;,,2094694,00.html)

The readers’ editor is ostensibly an ‘independent’ adjudicator, although employed by the Scott Trust, the owners of the Guardian.

Butterworth summarised Tisdall‘s article:

“It quoted US officials extensively and (except for the final paragraph) without contradiction. It relied primarily on a single anonymous source, ‘a senior US official’ who claimed Iran is making strategic alliances with al-Qaida and Sunni Arab militias in Iraq in order to influence US politics and trigger a military withdrawal from Iraq.”

In the wake of its disastrous pre-war reporting on Iraq, the New York Times published a remarkable apology:

“Editors at several levels who should have been challenging reporters and pressing for more skepticism were perhaps too intent on rushing scoops into the paper. Accounts of Iraqi defectors were not always weighed against their strong desire to have Saddam Hussein ousted. Articles based on dire claims about Iraq tended to get prominent display, while follow-up articles that called the original ones into question were sometimes buried. In some cases, there was no follow-up at all.” (From The Editors, ‘The Times and Iraq,’ New York Times, May 26, 2004)

In response, the newspaper implemented new rules governing its use of unnamed sources:

“When we use such sources, we accept an obligation not only to convince a reader of their reliability but also to convey what we can learn of their motivation - as much as we can supply to let a reader know whether the sources have a clear point of view on the issue under discussion.”

The rules go on to advise:

“In any situation when we cite anonymous sources, at least some readers may suspect that the newspaper is being used to convey tainted information or special pleading. If the impetus for anonymity has originated with the source, further reporting is essential to satisfy the reporter and the reader that the paper has sought the whole story. (Confidential News Sources, New York Times, February 25, 2004; company-properties-times-sources.html)

The Guardian - which did not apologise for its equally disastrous pre-war reporting - claims to observe similar rules. Its February 2003 ‘Editorial Code’ actually leads with a discussion of “Anonymous quotations”. The code states:

“The New York Times policy on pejorative quotes is worth bearing in mind: ‘The vivid language of direct quotation confers an unfair advantage on a speaker or writer who hides behind the newspaper, and turns of phrase are valueless to a reader who cannot assess the source.’” ( Guardian/documents/2005/02/25/code2005.pdf)

And yet Tisdall appeared to feel no obligation to convince readers of the reliability of his sources, as the New York Times recommends - not a shred of evidence was supplied in support of their claims. Likewise, there was no sense that Tisdall had “sought the whole story”; the version supplied by the anonymous US official was deemed sufficient - again.

Butterworth continued:

“Large numbers of people read the May 22 story, the paper's print circulation exceeds 360,000 and the online version has more than 420,000 page impressions. Approximately 180 readers contacted the Guardian to complain about it.”

It was apparently important to establish the impression that only a tiny handful of complaints, in proportion to the number of readers, had been received. But in fact this was a massive public backlash (one that began before we published our Media Alert) - hence the rapid response from the readers’ editor. We have heard from a senior staffer on the Guardian that the paper received an "avalanche" of complaints.

Butterworth then explained that she had: “talked to the duty editor and author of the story. It is difficult to get accurate information about Iraq and they saw the article as another piece of the jigsaw puzzle. At the very least it showed what US officials were thinking”.

As ever, there is no recognition that the Guardian gave prominent coverage to what US officials +claimed+ they were thinking: a crucial difference. As for the “jigsaw puzzle” - there are of course vast gaps in areas of the picture that threaten to embarrass powerful interests.

A reader made the point in responding to Butterworth:

"You claim that Tisdall's front page banner story was merely, 'another piece of the puzzle' of what is going on in Iraq. And that, the reporting was part of the 'ongoing' coverage, 'part of a continuum.' The only truth in those observations is that so much of what the Guardian publishes is already pro-British and US war propaganda. The difference in this case is no attempt was made to disguise it. A news story [consisting of] 99% propaganda was elevated to the status of front page lead. This criticism, you address as 'a problem' of 'presentation', rather than of substance. It's nothing short of a cover up." ( story/0,,2094694,00.html)

And as Noam Chomsky asked in response:

“Would they run a similar story about US plans to attack Iran, based on quotes from unidentified Iranian officials, presented as taken at face value?” (Email to Media Lens, June 4, 2007)

Butterworth continued, essentially repeating the bland Guardian response sent to the many readers who complained:

“The story was written by a respected and experienced journalist who has reported from Iran three times in the last year. The reliability and status of the primary source was also considered. He was highly placed, was not paid to talk to the press and had given accurate information before. One of the consequences of relying exclusively on anonymous sources is that the paper is, inevitably, asking readers to trust its judgment.”

Tisdall is indeed a “respected” journalist - an epithet troubling to anyone who understands how the media bestows and withholds approval. Tisdall also has form. In February 2006, he wrote:

"Groundbreaking elections in Afghanistan, Ukraine, Palestine and Iraq, extolled in President Bush's 'dawn of freedom' inaugural address, have encouraged western hopes that democratic values are gaining universal acceptance." (Tisdall, 'Bush's democratic bandwagon hits a roadblock in Harare,' The Guardian, February 16, 2005)

This is the type of commentary that is highly “respected”, and is standard in Tisdall‘s work.

Cause For Concern

In her fearless, independent appraisal, Butterworth ruled merely:

“The extensive use of direct quotes from the sources gave cause for concern.”

She then immediately provided a cop-out on behalf of the paper:

“But this was a news story and the journalists considered comment and analysis to be out of place.”

In fact comment and analysis have a strong habit of creeping into Guardian news reports, not least when rooted in reflexive - and, for journalists, invisible because simply ’understood’ - presumptions of Western benevolence. Thus Guardian reporter Sam Jones noted in a foreign news report on Iraqi elections in January 4, 2005:

"A low turnout might undermine the legitimacy of the first free elections attempted since the overthrow of the monarchy in 1958." (Jones, 'Car bomb in Iraq kills three Britons,' The Guardian, January 4, 2005)

It was apparently not “out of place” to observe that the elections were “free” and had “legitimacy” even though conducted in the aftermath of an illegal invasion and under the guns of a superpower occupation.

Butterworth added:

“The use of so many direct quotes, intended to distance the journalist from the information, seems to have backfired.”

In truth there was precious little information, just dubious claims.

The next issue addressed was “context”. We were told that:

“For those involved in publishing the story, context was key. They assumed that the story would be understood as a part of the Guardian's reporting of the war and that readers would be familiar with [what] had gone before... For the journalists the article was part of a continuum. They felt it would have been stating the obvious to say that US officials' statements could not be verified and that intelligent readers could decide for themselves what to believe.”

But as one reader correctly observes:

"That being the case, the article should never have been on the front page and should never have had the tone it had. The Guardian got busted for showing an appalling lack of judgement and contempt for its audience... The front page prominence wasn't just some additional factor - it was perhaps THE factor; it implied, no matter how you spin it, that the Guardian strongly endorsed the story. Which is the issue." ( story/0,,2094694,00.html)

Butterworth continued:

“In a sense this was right - readers' comments stand as proof of that. But the fact that so many people were left feeling queasy about the story suggests that at some level this approach didn't work. Context should have been explained, rather than assumed.”

Articulate, rational, evidence-based reader criticism is reduced to a “queasy” feeling. Front page Guardian hyping of Pentagon propaganda simply suffered a lack of “context”.

Butterworth though was clear:

“The presentation of the article, its prominence and tone contributed to the problem. [...] The headline added to the confusion - were we simply reporting what US officials were saying, or telling readers that we believed them? The absence of quotation marks suggested that the Guardian took the statements at face value.”

In her closing statement, the readers’ editor asserted:

“At the bottom of this there is a journalistic quandary. Is the important thing that a story proves to be right in the long run, or should we speak plainly about what we don't know when we publish - even if it means stating the obvious and potentially weakening the impact of the story? Reader unrest about this story suggests both propositions are equally important.”

An In-House Media Lawyer

Spurious “journalistic quandary” or not, reader “unrest” is far from being assuaged – as subsequent public comments on her column make clear. Indeed, Butterworth’s own role has been called into question by many. A former staff journalist at the Guardian has written to us on Butterworth’s appointment:

“Siobhain was an in-house media lawyer - and a friendly, approachable one at that. I was quite shocked to learn of her recent appointment. Not that I believe the readers' editor needs to be a journalist, but it probably helps." (Email to Media Lens, June 6, 2007)

With her relative lack of journalistic background and experience, how easy will it be for Butterworth to stand up to the paper's senior editors?

In conclusion, what has the Guardian learned from the lies and deceits that helped launch the 2003 invasion of Iraq? As one commenter writes:

"What the original article conspicuously avoids, and what this miserable excuse for a justification also ignores, is that there is without any doubt a propaganda campaign from the United States regime to justify a military attack on Iran, an attack which the US has repeatedly threatened despite its overt criminality. In that context, a journalist who willingly fires the propaganda missiles of the aggressive US regime is worse than just servile, they will actually share some of the guilt of the crime if the aggression against Iran does eventuate." ( story/0,,2094694,00.html)

All of the above public comments are articulate and serious observations that should concern Tisdall, Butterworth and the Guardian's editors. They have yet to be adequately addressed.

The day after publication of her column, Butterworth responded cursorily to some of the criticism levelled at her and the paper: (June 5,,,2094694,00.html) In essence, her approach was to repeat the same discredited points made in her column.


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The British Army Rebels Against Propaganda

08.06.2007 11:03

An experienced British officer serving in Iraq has written to the BBC describing the invasion as "illegal, immoral and unwinnable" which, he says, is "the overwhelming feeling of many of my peers". In a letter to the BBC's Newsnight and he accuses the media's "embedded coverage with the US Army" of failing to question "the intentions and continuing effects of the US-led invasion and occupation".

He says most British soldiers regard their tours as "loathsome", during which they "reluctantly [provide] target practice for insurgents, senselessly haemorrhaging casualties and squandering soldiers' lives, as part of Bush's vain attempt to delay the inevitable Anglo-US rout until after the next US election." He appeals to journalists not to swallow "the official line/ White House propaganda".

In 1970, I made a film in Vietnam called The Quiet Mutiny in which GIs spoke out about their hatred of that war and its "official line/White House propaganda". The experiences in Iraq and Vietnam are both very different and strikingly similar. There was much less "embedded coverage" in Vietnam, although there was censorship by omission, which is standard practice today.

What is different about Iraq is the willingness of usually obedient British soldiers to speak their minds, from General Richard Dannatt, Britain's current military chief, who said that the presence of his troops in Iraq "exacerbates the security problem", to General Michael Rose who has called for Tony Blair to be impeached for taking Britain to war "on false grounds" – remarks that are mild compared with the blogs of squaddies.

What is also different is the growing awareness in the British forces and the public of how "the official line" is played through the media. This can be quite crude: for example when a BBC defence correspondent in Iraq described the aim of the Anglo-American invasion as "bring[ing] democracy and human rights" to Iraq. The Director of BBC Television, Helen Boaden, backed him up with a sheaf of quotations from Blair that this was indeed the aim, implying that Blair's notorious word was enough.

More often than not, censorship by omission is employed: for example, by omitting the fact that almost 80 per cent of attacks are directed against the occupation forces (source: the Pentagon) so as to give the impression that the occupiers are doing their best to separate "warring tribes" and are crisis managers rather than the cause of the crisis.

There is a last-ditch sense about this kind of propaganda. Seymour Hersh said recently, "[In April, the Bush administration] made a decision that because of the totally dwindling support for the war in Iraq, they would go back to the al-Qaeda card, although there's no empirical basis. Most of the pros will tell you the foreign fighters are a couple of per cent and they're sort of leaderless... there's no attempt to suggest there's any significant co-ordination of these groups, but the press keeps going ga-ga about al-Qaeda... it's just amazing to me."

Ga-ga day at the London Guardian was 22 May. "Iran's secret plan for summer offensive to force US out of Iraq", said the front-page banner headline. "Iran is secretly forging ties with al Qaeda elements and Sunni Arab militias in Iraq," wrote Simon Tisdall from Washington, "in preparation for a summer showdown with coalition int- ended to tip a wavering US Congress into voting for full military withdrawal, US officials say." The entire tale was based on anonymous US official sources. No attempt was made to substantiate their "firm evidence" or explain the illogic of their claims. No journalistic scepticism was even hinted, which is amazing considering the web of proven lies spun from Washington over Iraq.
Moreover, it had a curious tone of something-must-be-done insistence, reminiscent of Judith Miller's scandalous reports in the New York Times claiming that Saddam was about to launch his weapons of mass destruction and beckoning Bush to invade. Tisdall in effect offered the same invitation; I can remember few more irresponsible pieces of journalism. The British public and the people of Iran, deserve better. .

This article was first published by the new Statesman

John Pilger
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CASMII calls for ethical journalism in response to Observer article on Iran

13.06.2007 01:05

CASMII UK Press Release

12 June 2007

CASMII calls for ethical journalism in response to Observer article on Iran

The Campaign Against Sanctions and Military Intervention in Iran (CASMII) is greatly alarmed by the publication in the Observer 10.06.07 of an article "MI6 probes UK link to nuclear trade with Iran", by Mark Townsend, which propagates unfounded allegations and distortions against Iran, similar to the reports in 2003 that paved the way to the bloodbath in Iraq; nearly all of which now discredited.

The article alleges a nuclear conspiracy to transfer "weapons grade uranium" from Russia to Sudan as a "trans-shipment point." It goes on to claim, presenting no supporting evidence whatsoever, that the material was "destined" to Iran. The author further refers to Iran's "nuclear weapons programme", a claim not supported at all by the inspectors of the International Atomic Energy Agency which is overlooking Iran's nuclear programme under a Safeguards Agreement.

Despite admitting in the pen-ultimate paragraph that "the level of involvement, if any, of the governments in Khartoum and Tehran in the alleged nuclear plot is unclear", the paper has chosen to ignore the lack of evidence and by starting with an incriminating headline and first paragraph totally unsupported in the body of the article, it has produced yet another irresponsible journalistic work to be used by the warmongers in their attempts to soften up public opinion for an attack on Iran.

Mehrnaz Shahabi of CASMII UK said today:

"This propaganda piece follows up the article of 22nd March by Simon Tisdall splashed across the Guardian's front page entitled "Iran's secret plan for summer offensive to force US out of Iraq" in which Tisdall claimed Iran's complicity with Al-Qaeda and Sunni Arab Militias in Iraq to wage war against the coalition forces, basing his evidence almost entirely on unsupported allegations from anonymous US officials".

She added: "The totally unsubstantiated allegations in the Observer about Iran's involvement in illegal procurement of enriched uranium and its collaboration with Al-Qaeda are almost exact repetition of now discredited stories about the transfer of uranium from "Niger" for Iraq's 'nuclear weapons programme', the Iraqi regime's '45 minutes capability' to strike European cities, and its complicity with 'Al-Qaeda', all designed to prepare the public opinion for the illegal invasion of Iraq in 2003".

CASMII calls for ethical journalism on news coverage about Iran and asks on all responsible journalists to condemn the Observer for such a grossly unprofessional article which can only serve to pave the way for a military intervention against Iran and a new and even more horrifying catastrophe in the Middle East.

Complaints should be directed to the Observer's readers' editor Stephen Pritchard, on +44 20 7713 4656 (Mon-Fri) or

For more information please visit

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Hide the following 14 comments

why is this an IMC feature?

28.05.2007 16:23

The title to this feature is precognitive and misleading. Nor is there any substance to the article, it merely leads to other articles. Whilst these other articles point out the misinformation in the media they don't hype it quite as badly as 'imperialist disinformation'.

I'm not sure this article has a place on the IMC newswire let alone as a feature. I'm not interested in how M16, psy-ops, or whatever other conspiracy lizard is controlling the media. The media runs according to the market, meaning ruthless exploitation, lies and half-truths in an attempt to sell more papers. To think they have a moral compass much beyond their sales is a fallacy. Can we get on with doing something useful like dismantling the capitalist state and military industrial complex that keeps wars running rather than tired conspiracy theories that make us look like idiots.


Dear @,

28.05.2007 16:55

...disinformation is a weapon of mass distruction as the old song say. I'ts about time indymedia takes the initiative to expose these fucking bastards. It is not 'conspiracy theories', it is what they are spreading, which looks very much like war propaganda to me! How do you fight the state unless you get the masses backing you? and the masses do read newspers and listen to bbc news. But perhpas you are more interested to read about 4 protestors removed by cops from the top of a tree.


I agree. this feature has no place in indymedia

28.05.2007 22:05

Indymedia is about what ordinary people are standing up and doing while this feature is merely piece about what the guardian is saying and doing. It doesn't draw together a bunch of articles in the newswire about what people are doing on this issue, it just points at yet more articles about what the guardian is saying and doing. It's really an editorial piece and I though indymedia wasn't into doing them. No doubt this is important but really sticks out as a something quite different from other indymedia features.

another complaint

Why this should be a IM feature.

28.05.2007 22:09

Classic MI5 post by @. Let's deconstruct that. First off, the smear and the distraction.
"I'm not interested in how M16, psy-ops, or whatever other conspiracy lizard is controlling the media."

@ is claiming not to be interested in how the state influences media. By using the pseudonymn @ they are insinuating that they are an anarchist. It is an odd sort of anarchist who wouldn't be interested in how the state and corporate interests manipulate the mainstream media. Even odder for such a person to post their opinion on an Independent Media website. Not content with boasting of their own delight in being ignorant as to how they 'Manufacture Consent', they then include the smear that anyone who is interested in this most important and obvious PRopaganda must so crazy as to believe in lizard-men or any gullible notion.

"The media runs according to the market, meaning ruthless exploitation, lies and half-truths in an attempt to sell more papers. "

Next, in order to appear reasonable, @ puts every news-story as the fault of the market. This implies a belief in the mythical 'free-market' that corporate-capitlaism would have us believe exists, totally deviod of state-intervention. Hardly very anarchist.

"To think they have a moral compass much beyond their sales is a fallacy."

This sounds like ignorance, but it is contrived ignorance. Most of the mainstream media are certainly motivated by sales, that is true so it seems a reasonable statement. They are also motivated by advertising, perhaps to a greater extent. They are also motivated by access to government and security services sources and press-releases. They are also motivated by their stock-holders who are both influenced by government policy and 'honours' etc as well as by their own financial interests.

"Can we get on with doing something useful like dismantling the capitalist state and military industrial complex that keeps wars running rather than tired conspiracy theories that make us look like idiots."

A further claim to credibility that is totally at odds with @'s previous propaganda - 'See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil'. I bet @ can't point to an action that they were convicted of. I bet @ is precisely the security-services that they claim to condemn.


Comments that make us look like idiots

29.05.2007 00:31

"The title to this feature is precognitive and misleading."

Is this because the serious Imperial Disinformation has yet to start?

"Nor is there any substance to the article, it merely leads to other articles."

Most feature articles link to substantive content on the newswire, this is usual.

"Whilst these other articles point out the misinformation in the media they don't hype it quite as badly as 'imperialist disinformation'."

Misinformation is different from disinformation and in this case it's clearly disinformation designed to further an Imperial agenda.

See the Wikipedia for more on disinformation and misinformation:

Disinformation should not be confused with misinformation, which is not deliberate; i.e., the person or news source forwarding the information doesn't know it's not true and/or actually believes it; thus, disinformation can be relayed as misinformation if the one relaying the message is not aware that the originator of the message deliberately manufactured false information and offered it up for distribution. Whether the target of such an attack is to mislead the end user of the information or if the disinformation is meant to destroy the credibility of those gullible enough to relay it (usually news agencies) and not really caring what damage it does to the ultimate recipient must be judged on a per case basis.

"I'm not sure this article has a place on the IMC newswire let alone as a feature."

So if it was on the newswire the basis for it to be hidden would be what exactly?

"I'm not interested in how M16, psy-ops, or whatever other conspiracy lizard is controlling the media."

Because it doesn't matter? I don't believe you mean that, it clearly matters, and who is the one spreading disinformation now: the person raising nonsenses about lizards?

"The media runs according to the market, meaning ruthless exploitation, lies and half-truths in an attempt to sell more papers."

"Lies and half truths" somehow precludes disinformation?

"To think they have a moral compass much beyond their sales is a fallacy."

There is no moral compass for the Anglo-American Empire, this is clear, is appears to be run by psychopaths: if ordering the mass murder of a million in Iraq isn't psychopathic I don't know what is.

"Can we get on with doing something useful like dismantling the capitalist state and military industrial complex that keeps wars running rather than tired conspiracy theories that make us look like idiots."

Indymedia is a web site, it's a rebel outpost in cyberspace, the modus operandi is information warfare: on the one hand is the "full spectrum dominance" agenda of the Empires military industrial complex and on the other is the resistance to the Imperial Genocide and destruction of the planet, in this struggle Indymedia is *a* journal of the revolution and a part of the battleground.

If Danny is right then it is your comments that "that make us look like idiots", the us is this case being you, not us.


What do we do about?

29.05.2007 11:16

Please enlighten me, as I am a foreigner, but I hear the UK has the strictest libel laws in the world: would it be possible to sue The Guardian and Simon Tisdall?
Another possible thing to do would be to get the NUJ to complain about.
AND we should have a demostration in front of The Guardian, ASAP!



29.05.2007 11:56

"Please enlighten me, as I am a foreigner, but I hear the UK has the strictest libel laws in the world: would it be possible to sue The Guardian and Simon Tisdall?"

No, British libel laws are designed to protect individuals through civil suits. In effect that means protecting rich individuals reputations only. There is no British law against publishing US war propaganda and the various international Courts wouldn't touch this with a barge-pole - they don't yet prosecute far more blatant crimes.

"Another possible thing to do would be to get the NUJ to complain about."

That is a good suggestion. Draft a standard letter and publish it here if you are serious about it. The NUJ, although TUC affiliated, are less blind to British policy that their members output would suggest. Most journalists know they are lying, and are quite honest about the reasons that they lie. Simon Tisdall should certainly be struck from their union if their union is to mean anything.

"AND we should have a demostration in front of The Guardian, ASAP!"

But nobody would report it unless we brought Molotovs. The Guardian has been Blairs mouthpiece for so long, cheerleading genocide while trying to disassociate it's self from blame that whoever still reads it is obviously a 'willing fool'. Stand outside and protest and you will be ridiculed or villified.

For a start, don't work for it, don't contribute, don't click on it's links, don't repost them except critically, certainly don't buy it or the Observer. If you are not non-violent, then beat the shit out of anyone who does do these things. If you are non-violent, do write to the NUJ, and visit the Medialens website which puts polite but direct questions to these war-propagandists.


Danny, it's lucky I'm non-violent

29.05.2007 13:05

or I'd have to beat the shit out of my mum which would be a bit harsh just for sometimes buying the Saturday Guardian which comes with the weekly TV guide.

Seriously, subscribe to medialens, and if you have more patience than me, follow their suggestions and write to some journalists. Better still, start your own local newsletter along the lines of schnews (see the link)

as the bard of Barking put it

"No one out there understands
Start your own revolution and cut out the middleman"

- Homepage:

Hiya Emigre,

29.05.2007 13:59

Yeah, my parents buy the Scotsman for the crossword. I would beat them up for that but they are bigger and stronger than me. As to your mum, if you do want her beaten up for reading the Guardian, and she is small and weak, then I'll do it for you. Otherwise there are plenty of other TV guides you could be buying for her.

Hey, are you a regular Schnews reader as well as a 'Permaculture' magazine contributor ? I'm not but I met a new bunch of pretty smart young anarchists recently. One of them mentioned a Schnews article on a climbing device I invented last year, which freaked me a bit as I never posted it to Schnews.
I should've copyrighted it !

Another of the anarchists is a Spanish girl in her third year of horticulture at some Scottish Uni, and she had never heard of 'permaculture' ! So I tried to bluff it, and said, 'well it is sustainable agriculture, without pesticides, using what naturally occurs, what is naturally, it is 'revolution disguised as gardening'. My own ignorance forced me to rely on slogans so I shut up, but I do hope you will explain it to her properly once you reach the shores of 'Gods country'.

Just to keep this on subject, wouldn't you agree that the Guardian has been at the forefront of promoting not just the Iraqi invasion, it now seems to be promoting neo-con plans to strike at Iran ?

all good things,


Iran in "regional imperialist" shocker!

30.05.2007 10:11

Oh, come off it. So what if the Guardian reports that Iran is planning to arm Iraqi Shia militias, wants the US out of Iraq and wants to be the biggest, strongest player in the region? Hasn't that been bleeding obvious for quite a long time now?

Iran is a horrible state, in the hands of beardy Islamist mentalists, misogynists, brutally anti-working-class nutjobs, and it has a very strong, quite transparent, regional imperialist agenda. It's funding Hizbollah, it's funding the Badr Brigades, it's in cahoots with Syria, and it's been engaged in very fierce competition with Saudi Arabia to decide the fate of Afghanistan basically since the revolution - cf. all the Iranian diplomats killed in Afghanistan by Saudi-backed forces. It's busily suppressing the massive womens', workers' and students' movement - which is calling for "no to war, no to the Islamic Regime".

So what difference does it make if the Guardian reports (probably entirely accurately) that Iran has got its dirty little fingers in the horrible pie of Iraq? What, does any coverage of Iran's imperialist agenda necessarily equate to cheerleading for an American invasion? No. Does any criticism of the state of Iran equate to demanding an immediate Western invasion? No. This is sloppy, knee-jerk reporting. Iran is bad! Saying so doesn't make you a US stooge!

And as for Danny's unbearably elitist post, asking @ if he's ever been arrested on an action (as being arrested on an action is *the* badge of authenticity for all anarchists and there is no excuse for not getting nicked, unless you're a spy), give me a break, Danny! @ just disagreed with you! Of all the things MI5 could spend its time doing, why would they waste man-hours trolling Indymedia? To sow confusion amongst anarchists? Pot dealers do that much more effectively, and we pay for the privilege!

lapsed anarcho

The Guardian: Probably Entirely Accurately

30.05.2007 10:48

"lapsed anarcho" thinks that The Guardian's report is "probably entirely accurately", this indicates that "lapsed anarcho" hasn't read any of the articles this feature links to -- the Media Lens one points out:

22 of the 23 paragraphs in the story relayed official US claims: over 95 per cent of the story. The compilation below indicates the levels of balance and objectivity:

“US officials say”; “a senior US official in Baghdad warned”; “The official said”; “the official said”; “the official said”; “US officials now say”; “the senior official in Baghdad said” “he [the senior official in Baghdad] added”; “the official said”; “the official said”; “he [the official] indicated; “he [the official] cited”; “a senior administration official in Washington said”; “The administration official also claimed”; “he [the administration official] said”; “US officials say”; “the senior official in Baghdad said”; “he [the senior official in Baghdad] said”; “the senior administration official said”; “he [the senior administration official] said”; “the official claimed”; ”he [the official] said”; ”Gen Petraeus’s report to the White House and Congress”; “a former Bush administration official said”; ”A senior adviser to Gen Petraeus reported”; “the adviser admitted”.

No less than 26 references to official pronouncements formed the basis for a Guardian story presented with no scrutiny, no balance, no counter-evidence - nothing. Remove the verbiage described above and a Guardian front page news report becomes a straight Pentagon press release.

So, "lapsed anarcho" actually thinks that US Imperial propaganda is "probably entirely accurately", the conclusion one has to draw from this is that "lapsed anarcho" has totally forgotten the history of the post-WW2 US Empire: "United States most likely has been responsible since WWII for the deaths of between 20 and 30 million people in wars and conflicts scattered over the world."


who will guard the Guardian?

30.05.2007 13:08

I have read both Schnews and Medialens avidly for several years and can't recommend them too highly. Medialens is great, it's really two guys called Dave who have been persistently taking to pieces what the corporate media report, from a compassionate perspective, and talking back to the journalists. But I do still read the Guardian and the Independent (online) to keep abreast of the corporate take on world news.

Maybe it isn't appropriate to repost Guardian articles on indymedia like this, but I think there is a need for a forum where the reports of the corporate media can be analysed and the truth can be dug up. A place where you can go to get the latest news (nicked from the corporate media among other sources) but also see it ripped to shreds by the people who really know what's going on. Needless to say, the pathetic "comment is free*" (*bollocks is it) pages on the Guardian website are a pale substitute for a real open forum. Perhaps someone would like to start something like this as an offshoot of indymedia. Shut down the guardian, not by force, instead by showing what utter tripe they write.

I think that it is a mistake to blame the Guardian specifically for the Iraq war and the other monstrosities of empire. The underlying problem, in my view, is that practically everyone who writes for the Guardian and practically everyone who is in power are products of a system of education which beats down compassion and promotes competition, turning children into needy, desperate adults who are constantly striving to "reach the top" at whatever cost because they are utterly insecure in themselves, not to mention incapable of performing the most basic tasks for self-preservation. They strive for power over others because they are unable otherwise to get what they need in life, e.g. by cooperating with others. To a certain extent nearly everyone in Western cultures suffers from this disease, but the longer you have spent among the "elite" (top universities, corporations, media and government) the worse you are likely to suffer from it. I speak from the point of view of someone who is "in recovery".

What all these people need is permanent removal from any position of power, and a long holiday, preferably somewhere where they can learn about permaculture...

Permaculture ( meaning permanent culture or permanent agriculture, is a system for creating productive, beautiful and self-maintaining landscapes that mimic natural ecosystems, based on careful observation and minimum effort. It's one of the most interesting practical solutions to the current ecological crisis, though I suspect that in many ways it is just a rediscovery of what traditional cultures have always known.

This interview with Bill Mollison, one of the founders of permaculture ( gives you a good idea (a) of what permaculture is all about and (b) that Bill Mollison is himself suffering from a very inflated ego.

- Homepage:

USuk in "global imperialist" shocker!

30.05.2007 13:15

"And as for Danny's unbearably elitist post, asking @ if he's ever been arrested on an action"
@ said "Can we get on with doing something useful like dismantling the capitalist state and military industrial complex" which implies that they are an activist as surely as the @ implies that they are an anarchist. I simply called them on that.

"(as being arrested on an action is *the* badge of authenticity for all anarchists and there is no excuse for not getting nicked, unless you're a spy), give me a break, Danny! "
You think you can 'dismantle the capitalist state and military industrial complex' without getting an arrest-sheet ? How exactly - by petitioning Downing Street ?

"@ just disagreed with you!"
No, @ disagreed with the article and instead of questioning it on the lists where you are supposed to, tried to smear the author using phrases like 'conspiracy theory' and 'conspiracy lizard' for what is a very good article - MediaLens certainly agreed.

"Of all the things MI5 could spend its time doing, why would they waste man-hours trolling Indymedia?
To disrupt, to infiltrate, to monitor, to discourage, to propagandise. Especially in the lead up to an attack on a peaceful and unthreatening country, you may expect some vilification of that country throughtout the mainstream and activist press, such as "Iran is a horrible state, in the hands of beardy Islamist mentalists, misogynists, brutally anti-working-class nutjobs, and it has a very strong, quite transparent, regional imperialist agenda." Blair and Bush would applaud that PRopaganda. So let's ignore your drug-addled rants, let's examine the charge of Iran having a Imperialist agenda. Exactly which countries is Iran occupying ? How many nations have Iranian troops on their soil ? By any neutral interpretation of the facts, it would appear the US and the UK are the ones with the Imperialist agenda, and yet you fail to criticise them once, instead repeating the sort of clap-trap that the worst of the tabloid press uses. And when that bullshit starts getting spread around the 'liberal' mainstream press, and even worse on sites like here, it is an indicator we are being prepared for another war.

"To sow confusion amongst anarchists? Pot dealers do that much more effectively, and we pay for the privilege!"
You are speaking for yourself there. I don't smoke and I am not confused.


See Also

28.06.2007 12:12

Intelligence Services, The Media and anti-Iran Propaganda
Paul Ingram and Mehrnaz Shahabi