Sunday, August 20, 2006

More Propaganda Than Plot?

In a recent article on the World Socialist Web Site, Kate Randall writes that, "more than a week after the US and UK announcements that an alleged terror plot to blow up commercial airliners flying from Britain to the US had been foiled, the official claims are unraveling."

"Authorities," notes Randall, "have been unable to provide any concrete evidence to back up the story that police raids and mass arrests in Britain thwarted an imminent attack that would have taken the lives of thousands of transatlantic travelers. Significant details, in fact, have come to light that indicate the opposite. Not only has it been revealed that no bombs were actually in the process of being assembled, but none of the suspects—British-born Muslims, who at this point remain in custody without having been charged—had purchased airline tickets. Some did not even hold passports."

Randall then proceeds to offer an insightful analysis of the wider context of this most recent "plot", noting that, "it is becoming increasingly evident that the government-media hysteria about the alleged plot was prompted not by security concerns, but rather by a politically motivated desire to divert attention from the growing crisis of both the Bush and Blair governments. Under conditions of a deepening military and political debacle in Iraq, growing domestic opposition to the war, a deteriorating military situation in Afghanistan, and the unfavorable outcome for the US and Britain in Lebanon, the eruption of the latest alleged terror plot has served to 'change the subject,' while fostering an atmosphere of fear and panic that both governments hope will disorient the public and facilitate new attacks on democratic rights.

"It is now clear that there was no imminent attack to be thwarted. But the massive provocation unleashed by Washington and London has succeeded in creating a climate of near-hysteria, at least within official circles, the media, the airline industry, and police agencies, that has spawned a string of incidents in which minor occurrences were sensationalized and reported, replete with wild claims and lurid rumors, as new 'terror events.' "

Such "events," notes Randall, "follow a common pattern: allegations are leveled by the authorities; the media swings into action to uncritically promote and embellish the official line. In short order, the initial claims are abandoned and the stories drop out of the headlines, with no accounting for the initial false reports, while the media waits with bated breath for the next 'terror threat.' "

To read Kate Randall's article in its entirety, click here.

Award-winning journalist and host of Pacifica Radio's New York-based Democracy Now! program, Amy Goodman, has also been exploring this important issue. Last Friday she noted that "questions have been raised over whether British authorities were pressured by the United States to make the arrests last week in the alleged terror plot to blow up transatlantic airliners." She also reported that "a judge in Britain has ruled police have until next week to continue to hold 23 suspects arrested in the alleged plot."

Goodman then interviewed Craig Murray, Britain's former ambassador to Uzbekistan, who suggested that the timing of the arrests should be viewed with skepticism. Said Murray: "The one thing of which I am certain is that the timing is deeply political. This is more propaganda than plot."

For the full transcript of Democracy Now!'s interview with Craig Murray, click here.

See also the previous Wild Reed post:
"When Terror is the Foil"

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