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Articles from the Peace News log: Media

Articles from the Peace News log.
For articles in this category from the whole site, look here

How the British mass media exploded with outrage over Jeremy Corbyn's speech linking terrorism with British foreign policy - and then pretended the speech never happened

The Haditha massacre, Iraq, 2005

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn made an extraordinary speech just days after a suicide bomber killed 22 people, nine of them teenagers, one an eight-year-old, at the end of a pop concert in Manchester on 22 May.

In his speech on 25 May, Jeremy Corbyn linked the Manchester attack to British foreign policy, breaking a deeply-held taboo in British politics. (The taboo was also broken in the aftermath of the 7/7 attacks in 2005 by a number of Conservatives, including current foreign secretary Boris Johnson.) Despite a torrent of abuse from the media, Corbyn emerged unscathed politically, and went on to run the Conservatives a close second in the general election on 8 June.

Here are some key passages from Corbyn's speech:

'Our approach will involve change at home and change abroad.... At home, we will reverse the cuts to our emergency services and police....

'We will also change what we do abroad. Many experts, including professionals in our intelligence and security services have pointed to the connections between wars our government has supported or fought in other countries, such as Libya, and terrorism here at home.

'That assessment in no way reduces the guilt of those who attack our children. Those terrorists will forever be reviled and implacably held to account for their actions. But an informed understanding of the causes of terrorism is an essential part of an effective response that will protect the security of our people, that fights rather than fuels terrorism.

'Protecting this country requires us to be both strong against terrorism and strong against the causes of terrorism. The blame is with the terrorists, but if we are to protect our people we must be honest about what threatens our security.

'Those causes certainly cannot be reduced to foreign policy decisions alone. Over the past fifteen years or so, a sub-culture of often suicidal violence has developed amongst a tiny minority of, mainly young, men, falsely drawing authority from Islamic beliefs and often nurtured in a prison system in urgent need of resources and reform. And no rationale based on the actions of any government can remotely excuse, or even adequately explain, outrages like this week’s massacre. But we must be brave enough to admit the war on terror is simply not working. We need a smarter way to reduce the threat from countries that nurture terrorists and generate terrorism.'

Without justifying what had just happened, or previous terrorist attacks, the leader of the Labour party connected 'foreign policy decisions' by the British government with the increased risk of terrorism.

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On-going cross-border military actions in northern Iraq are killing civilians and being underreported.

ImageOmission is a key part of the propaganda model proposed by Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman in their classic text on the subject and it can also be used to ascertain bias within the media. Whilst recent media attention has rightly been focusing on military actions in the Middle East in relation to both Syria and to Israel there has been a virtual blackout on reporting when it comes to this month’s military incursions by Turkey into the predominately Kurdish areas of northern Iraq.

Outside of the wire agencies it is hard to find western reporting on these most recent attacks; following a fairly extensive search I’ve yet to find anything in any of the UK broadsheets or in any of the leading US papers on the issue. Indeed, a lengthy article in Sunday’s Washington Post (25/11/12) on the ‘resurgent Kurdish threat’ to Turkey failed to even mention any historic incursions into northern Iraq but did mention a single PKK (Kurdistan Worker’s Party) suspected deadly car bombing on three separate occasions in the article.

Human rights organisations have reported that 40,000 people have been killed and numerous human rights abuses have been committed in the on-going conflict between Turkey and the PKK.

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Milan Rai interviews a key speaker at the 2011 Rebellious Media Conference.

Taesun Kwon was a co-founder of South Korea’s only non-corporate national daily newspaper, the Hankyoreh, born of South Korea’s democracy movement in 1988. She is now executive editor of the paper, which has a circulation of 300,000 (South Korea has a population of 49 million). Taesun Kwon will be speaking at the Rebellious Media Conference organised by Peace News, Ceasefire, the National Union of Journalists, Red Pepper, Undercurrents, and visionOntv. Peace News interviewed Taesun Kwon by email ahead of the conference.

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