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[] War of Misinformation Has Begun (R. Fisk),

Sehr schön: Die "Weasel words to watch for" am Ende.

The Independent/UK 
Sunday, March 16, 2003 

War of Misinformation Has Begun 
by Robert Fisk
All across the Middle East, they are deploying by the thousand. In the
deserts of Kuwait, in Amman, in northern Iraq, in Turkey, in Israel and
in Baghdad itself. There must be 7,000 journalists and crews "in
theatre", as the more jingoistic of them like to say. In Qatar, a
massive press center has been erected for journalists who will not see
the war. How many times General Tommy Franks will spin his story to the
press at the nine o'clock follies, no one knows. He doesn't even like
talking to journalists.

But the journalistic resources being laid down in the region are
enormous. The BBC alone has 35 reporters in the Middle East, 17 of them
"embedded" - along with hundreds of reporters from the American networks
and other channels - in military units. Once the invasion starts, they
will lose their freedom to write what they want. There will be
censorship. And, I'll hazard a guess right now, we shall see many of the
British and American journalists back to their old trick of playing toy
soldiers, dressing themselves up in military costumes for their nightly
theatrical performances on television. Incredibly, several of the
American networks have set up shop in the Kurdish north of Iraq with
orders not to file a single story until war begins - in case this
provokes the Iraqis to expel their network reporters from Baghdad.

The orchestration will be everything, the pictures often posed, the
angles chosen by "minders", much as the Iraqis will try to do the same
thing in Baghdad. Take yesterday's front-page pictures of massed British
troops in Kuwait, complete with arranged tanks and perfectly formatted
helicopters. This was the perfectly planned photo-op. Of course, it
won't last.

Here's a few guesses about our coverage of the war to come. American and
British forces use thousands of depleted uranium (DU) shells - widely
regarded by 1991 veterans as the cause of Gulf War syndrome as well as
thousands of child cancers in present day Iraq - to batter their way
across the Kuwaiti-Iraqi frontier. Within hours, they will enter the
city of Basra, to be greeted by its Shia Muslim inhabitants as
liberators. US and British troops will be given roses and pelted with
rice - a traditional Arab greeting - as they drive "victoriously"
through the streets. The first news pictures of the war will warm the
hearts of Messrs Bush and Blair. There will be virtually no mention by
reporters of the use of DU munitions.

But in Baghdad, reporters will be covering the bombing raids that are
killing civilians by the score and then by the hundred. These
journalists, as usual, will be accused of giving "comfort to the enemy
while British troops are fighting for their lives". By now, in Basra and
other "liberated" cities south of the capital, Iraqis are taking their
fearful revenge on Saddam Hussein's Baath party officials. Men are
hanged from lamp-posts. Much television footage of these scenes will
have to be cut to sanitize the extent of the violence.

Far better for the US and British governments will be the macabre
discovery of torture chambers and "rape-rooms" and prisoners with
personal accounts of the most terrible suffering at the hands of
Saddam's secret police. This will "prove" how right "we" are to liberate
these poor people. Then the US will have to find the "weapons of mass
destruction" that supposedly provoked this bloody war. In the
journalistic hunt for these weapons, any old rocket will do for the

Bunkers allegedly containing chemical weapons will be cordoned off - too
dangerous for any journalist to approach, of course. Perhaps they
actually do contain VX or anthrax. But for the moment, the all-important
thing for Washington and London is to convince the world that the causus
belli was true - and reporters, in or out of military costume, will be
on hand to say just that.

Baghdad is surrounded and its defenders ordered to surrender. There will
be fighting between Shias and Sunnis around the slums of the city, the
beginning of a ferocious civil conflict for which the invading armies
are totally unprepared. US forces will sweep past Baghdad to his home
city of Tikrit in their hunt for Saddam Hussein. Bush and Blair will
appear on television to speak of their great "victories". But as they
are boasting, the real story will begin to be told: the break-up of
Iraqi society, the return of thousands of Basra refugees from Iran, many
of them with guns, all refusing to live under western occupation.

In the north, Kurdish guerrillas will try to enter Kirkuk, where they
will kill or "ethnically cleanse" many of the city's Arab inhabitants.
Across Iraq, the invading armies will witness terrible scenes of revenge
which can no longer be kept off television screens. The collapse of the
Iraqi nation is now under way ...

Of course, the Americans and British just might get into Baghdad in
three days for their roses and rice water. That's what the British did
in 1917. And from there, it was all downhill.

Weasel words to watch for

'Inevitable revenge' - for the executions of Saddam's Baath party
officials which no one actually said were inevitable.

'Stubborn' or 'suicidal' - to be used when Iraqi forces fight rather
than retreat.

'Allegedly' - for all carnage caused by Western forces.

'At last, the damning evidence' - used when reporters enter old torture

'Officials here are not giving us much access' - a clear sign that
reporters in Baghdad are confined to their hotels.

'Life goes on' - for any pictures of Iraq's poor making tea.

'Remnants' - allegedly 'diehard' Iraqi troops still shooting at the
Americans but actually the first signs of a resistance movement
dedicated to the 'liberation' of Iraq from its new western occupiers.

'Newly liberated' - for territory and cities newly occupied by the
Americans or British.

'What went wrong?' - to accompany pictures illustrating the growing
anarchy in Iraq as if it were not predicted.

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