On 23 August, 2013, a chemical gas attack – perhaps the deadliest chemical weapons attack since the Iran/Iraq war- killed as many as a few hundred civilians to well over a thousand (depending on which sources you read). It is still unknown who was behind the attack. Either it was:
- The Syrian government (which Britain holds responsible)
- The Syrian “rebels” (as blamed by the Syrian government)
Both sides belong to factions in a bloody civil war in Syria. Both sides have committed atrocities, and both sides are capable of doing it. So who was right? As I’ve said, it is still unknown. What is known is that the newspapers – and the UK government- had a field day in convincing the British public that it was the Syrian government (the side Britain isn’t on and doesn’t want to win the civil war). There was a vote to see if Britain would “intervene” to side with the rebel group and “overthrow” the Syrian government. This was all before the United Nations had even managed to send an investigative team in to the country to find out who was really behind it.
Sensibly, the British public decided that they didn’t want to intervene in another far away, expensive war; and perhaps they thought it was a little bit alarming that their government wanted to rush in to another military campaign while:
- Britain was still virtually bankrupt from the 2007-08 banking crisis, and slashing public expenditures
- Britain was still fighting in Afghanistan
- The “rebels” includes Muslim radicals, and elements of Al-Qaeda (who hate Britain and the “West”), who are committing extreme human rights violations and could (would) use any weapons Britain gave to them to endanger British lives in the future
This is one case study. Fortunately it seems the British public were not fooled by the unsubstantiated slush churned out by the tabloids and the news reports, and to the relief of three-quarters of the population, an intervention never happened. Even when informed that such a stance could damage the so-called “special relationship” between the USA and the UK, the British public said they didn’t care. But this may be because the public are war-weary, not because they haven’t been influenced by the opinions of the tabloid press.
The worrying thing is, Britain could very easily have tumbled in to another conflict. The media continue to beat the drums of war, just as they did prior to the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan. We are seeing the same things again, today, in light of the Malaysian Airlines plane that was shot down over Ukraine by “Putin’s rebels”.
Nobody knows as of yet, who was responsible for the shooting. All is known is that the plane was shot down, not who shot it down. And everyone is finger pointing at everybody else. The Western media is again using this to send a message it wants its subjects to hear: this time to smear Vladimir Putin with a dark brush. Maybe Putin did; maybe he didn’t. But this speculation, and these (as of yet) unsubstantiated claims can be a dangerous catalyst designed to fire up public support for whatever the media and the government wants. Who owns the media anyway? (Refer back to my article on Carl Sagan “The Conspiracy Theorist” for more.)
Speculation isn’t even news anyway. Tell us who shot the plane down when you know who shot it down. At least don’t finger point and agenda-set until you have a valid claim to do so.