Skeletons in the British Closet

Documents now available in abandoned Baghdad government offices reveal strong ties between Saddam Hussein’s regime and two important British figures: a popular journalist and a Member of Parliament. Meanwhile, last week’s homicide bombers in Tel Aviv were carrying British passports.

HonestReporting encourages members to monitor your local media to see if they are reporting these disgraceful activities by British nationals.

— THE SCUD STUD —

The Times of London reported Friday that the BBC’s star Baghdad correspondent, Rageh Omaar, “developed a close and potentially embarrassing relationship” with the former Iraqi government. The Times obtained warm letters written by Omaar to the director of the Iraqi Ministry of Information, marked by effusive statements such as:

“After promising and promising to have dinner with you for such a long time — we finally did it. Alhamdullilah!!!!! [Thanks to Allah] For me, this was the main achievement of my visit.”
https://acs.thetimes.co.uk/?gotoUrl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.thetimes.co.uk%2Ftto%2Fnews%2Fworld%2Fmiddleeast%2Firaq%2Farticle1989730.ece

One might have expected independent reporting to constitute the main achievement of a senior journalist’s Iraqi visits. The letters reveal an improper and entirely unprofessional relationship between the Western journalist and a dictatorial official.

Omaar’s war dispatches were syndicated broadly across the U.S., where the press nicknamed the newly popular reporter, “The Scud Stud.” With Omaar in Iraq, TV ratings for BBC News in the U.S. jumped 28 percent from the outset of the war. The director of airtime sales at BBC World claimed more American viewers tuned into his network during the war due to its uniquely “balanced and impartial” reporting.
http://media.guardian.co.uk/bbc/story/0,7521,938597,00.html

Do Omaar’s letters to the Iraqi minister describe an “impartial” attitude to the fallen leadership?

On the heels of CNN’s admission to covering up Iraqi atrocities in order to maintain its Baghdad bureau (see: http://honestreporting.com/cnns-iraqi-cover-up/), the Omaar expose further demonstrates the media’s challenge — and frequent failure — to uphold impartiality behind dictatorial lines.

— GEORGE GALLOWAY —

Meanwhile, The Daily Telegraph (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/1490168/Galloway-accuses-senators-over-Iraq-oil-claims.html) has revealed an Iraqi memo indicating that George Galloway, Member of Parliament from the governing Labor party, received a portion of Iraq’s oil earnings to the tune of 375,000 pounds (587,500 dollars) a year.

Galloway was a consistent, outspoken opponent of military action against Iraq. He now stands accused of receiving these massive payments to propagandize for the Iraqi regime in the halls of Parliament.

Relationships such as Omaar’s and Galloway’s were by no means isolated. A cogent, in-depth description of how Saddam Hussein’s regime influenced journalists and politicians in the Arab world and beyond may be found at:
http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/002/605fgcob.asp

— PEACE ACTIVISTS? —

The perpetrators of last week’s homicide bombing at a Tel Aviv beachside bar had posed earlier in Gaza as Western peace activists. The terrorists, carrying British passports, sipped tea with members of the pro-Palestinian International Solidarity Movement (ISM) before joining a protest march to commemorate Rachel Corrie, the American “human shield” who died under an IDF bulldozer in March.
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/290542.html

In light of this admission, can the media continue to describe the ISM and similar groups as “peace activists”? As well intentioned as many of their members may be, anti-Israel hatred has deeply infested such groups.

Rabbi Michael Lerner learned this lesson in March when organizers of a California “peace rally” against the Iraq war refused to allow Lerner to speak, due to his pro-Israel views. This, despite the fact that Lerner has often been an extremely outspoken critic of Israeli policy.
http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/Printable.asp?ID=6109

HonestReporting members may find eye-opening a new 5-minute video by Evan Coyne Maloney, where he explores anti-Israeli sentiments in the modern peace movement. See “Peace, Love & Anti-Semitism?” at:
http://brain-terminal.com/posts/2003/04/04/peace-love-anti-semitism#298

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