BBC: Imperial Tool
by Stephen Lendman
At a time of growing public disenchantment
with the major media, millions now rely on alternate sources.
Many online and print ones are credible. One of the world's most
relied on is not - the BBC. It's an imperial tool, as corrupted
as its dominant counterparts, been around longer than all of them,
now in it for profit, and it's vital that people know who BBC
represents and what it delivers.
It was close but not quite the world's
first broadcaster. Other European nations claim the distinction
along with KDKA Pittsburgh as the oldest US one. BBC's web site
states: "The British Broadcasting Company Ltd (its original
name) was formed in October 1922....and began broadcasting on
November 14....By 1925 the BBC could be heard throughout most
of the UK. (Its) biggest influence....was its general manager,
John Reith (who) envisioned an independent British broadcaster
able to educate, inform and entertain the whole nation, free from
political interference and commercial pressure."
That's what BBC says. Here's a different
view from Media Lens. It's an independent "UK-based media-watch
project....offer(ing) authoritative criticism" reflecting
"reality" that's free from the corrupting influence
of media corporations and the governments they support.
Its creators and editors (Davids Cromwell
and Edwards) ask: "Can the BBC tell the truth....when its
senior managers are appointed by the government" and will
be fired if they step out of line and become too critical. It
notes that nothing "fundamentally changed since BBC founder
Lord Reith wrote the establishment: 'They know they can trust
us not to be really impartial.' " He didn't disappoint, nor
have his successors like current Director-General and Chairman
of the Executive Board Mark Thompson along with Michael Lyons,
Chairman, BBC Trust that replaced the Board of Governors on January
1, 2007 and oversees BBC operations.
On January 1, 1927, BBC was granted a
Royal Charter, made a state-owned and funded corporation, still
pretends to be quasi-autonomous, and changed its name to its present
one - The British Broadcasting Corporation. Its first Charter
ran for 10 years, succeeding ones were renewed for equal fixed
length periods, BBC is in its ninth Charter period, and is perhaps
more dominant, pervasive and corrupted than ever in an age of
marketplace everything and space-age technology with which to
It's now the world's largest broadcaster,
has about 28,000 UK employees and a vast number of worldwide correspondents
and support staff nearly everywhere or close enough to get there
for breaking news. It's government-funded from revenues UK residents
pay monthly to operate their television receivers - currently
around 22 US dollars, and it also has other growing income sources
from its worldwide commercial operations supplementing its noncommercial
ones at home.
Most important is how BBC functions, who
it serves, and Media Lens' editors explain it best and keep at
it with regular updates. They argue that the entire mass media,
including BBC, function as a "propaganda system for elite
interests." It's especially true for topics mattering most
- war and peace, "vast corporate criminality," US-UK
duplicity, and "threats to the very existence of human life."
They're systematically "distorted, suppressed, marginalized
or ignored" in a decades-long public trust betrayal by an
organization claiming "honesty, integrity (is) what the BBC
stands for (and it's) free from political influence and commercial
In fact, BBC abandoned those notions straight
away, and a glaring example came during the 1926 General Strike.
Its web site says it stood up against Chancellor of the Exchequer
Winston Churchill who "urged the government to take over
the BBC, but (general manager) Reith persuaded Prime Minister
Stanley Baldwin that this would be against the national interest"
it was sworn to serve.
Media Lens forthrightly corrects the record.
Reith never embraced the public trust. He used BBC for propaganda,
operated it as a strikebreaker, secretly wrote anti-union speeches
for the Tories, and refused to give air time to worker representatives.
It got BBC labeled the "British Falsehood Corporation,"
and proved from inception it was a reliable business and government
partner. It still is, of course, more than ever.
Consider BBC's role during WW II when
it became a de facto government agency, and throughout its existence
job applicants have been vetted to be sure what side they're on.
Noted UK journalist John Pilger explains that independent-minded
ones "were refused BBC posts (and still are) because they
were not considered safe."
Only "reliable" ones reported
on the 1982 Falklands war, for example, that Margaret Thatcher
staged to boost her low approval rating and improve her reelection
chances. Leaked information later showed BBC executives ordered
news coverage focused "primarily (on) government statements
of policy" and to avoid impartiality considered "an
This has been BBC practice since inception
- steadfastly pro-government and pro-business with UK residents
getting no public service back for their automatic monthly billings
to turn on their TVs - sort of like force-fed cable TV, whether
or not they want it.
Back on BBC's web site, it recounts its
history by decades from the 1920s to the new millennium when post-9/11
controversies surfaced. BBC only cites one of them rather pathetically.
This critique gives examples of its duplicity across the world.
Misreporting on Iraq - Deception over
The controversy BBC mentioned was the
so-called Hutton Inquiry into the death of Ministry of Defense
weapons expert Dr. David Kelly. On July 18, 2003, reports were
he committed suicide, but they were dubious at best. Here how
BBC explained it: "a bitter row with Government" emerged
after a "Today programme suggested that the Government 'sexed
up' the case for war with Iraq in a dossier of evidence about
weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. (BBC governors) backed the
report, rejecting (PM) Tony Blair's (demands) for a retraction."
"The row escalated over the following
weeks when editorial flaws became evident." Then came Kelly's
"suicide." It made daily headlines because he was the
source of the BBC report. "The Hutton Inquiry followed, and
on January 28, 2004 chairman Gavyn Davies resigned when Lord Hutton's
findings were published. The following day the remaining governors
accepted the resignation of Director-General Greg Dyke."
True to form, BBC suppressed the truth,
so here's what we know. David Kelly, as an insider, accused authorities
of faking a claim of Iraq WMDs that could be unleashed in 45 minutes
with devastating effects. He then mysteriously turned up dead
(three days after appearing before a televised government committee)
to assure he'd tell no more tales with potentially smoking-gun
evidence for proof. He apparently had plenty.
What BBC and the Blair government suppressed,
a Kelly Investigation Group (KIG) examined and revealed. Consider
-- Kelly's death was pronounced suicide
without an autopsy;
-- Lord Hutton was aging and never before
chaired a public inquiry, let alone one this sensitive making
-- no formal inquest was ordered and was
subsumed into the Hutton Inquiry;
-- evidence showed Kelly's body was moved
-- a supposed knife, bottle of water,
glasses, and cap reported by later witnesses weren't seen by the
first ones who found Kelly;
-- hemorrhaging from a left wrist arterial
wound was ruled the cause of death, but there was little blood
to substantiate it; other suspicious findings also suggested a
thorough independent investigation was warranted.
In fact, evidence became clear that the
real agenda was cover-up. Key witnesses weren't called to testify.
An anesthesiologist specialist read two KIG accounts (of known
facts) about Kelly's death and concluded that "the whole
'suicide' story (was) phony in the extreme....He was clearly murdered."
Another surgeon confirmed that Kelly couldn't have died of hemorrhage
as reported. It's impossible to bleed to death from that kind
of arterial severing.
Three other doctors also examined evidence,
commented, and concluded that Kelly didn't commit suicide. The
doctors and KIG then wrote an 11 page letter to the Coroner, cited
their concerns in detail, and got no response. In a follow-up
phone call, the Coroner said that he saw the police report and
felt everything was in order.
In the meantime, the Hutton report came
out and was leaked a day early to defuse a possible murder angle.
Concurrently, the Coroner refused to reopen the investigation,
the Hutton Inquiry was bogus, it never proved suicide and, in
fact, was commissioned to suppress Blair government lies, whitewash
the whole affair, and end it with considerable BBC help.
In this instance, things didn't play out
as BBC planned, thanks to correspondent Andrew Gilligan. On May
29, 2003, he delivered what became known as his "6:07 AM
dispatch" and said his source (David Kelly) alleged that
the government "sexed up" the September dossier with
the 45 minute WMD claim knowing it was false. He was immediately
reigned in on subsequent accounts, but the damage was done, and
Gilligan upped the stakes in a June 1 Mail on Sunday article.
In it, he quoted Kelly blaming Alastair
Campbell (Blair government's 1997 - 2003 Director of Communications
and Strategy) for embellishing the dossier to provide cause for
war against Iraq. The fat was now in the fire with Kelly through
Gilligan accusing the Blair government of lying and BBC having
to find an out and get back to business as usual.
It wouldn't be simple with an exposed
Campbell diary entry revealing he intended to go after Gilligan
and apparently Kelly and do whatever it took to nail them. It
all played out for days with Campbell demanding an apology and
retraction, BBC wanting it to go away, Kelly's July death, and
other Blair allies defending the government with threats about
reviewing BBC's Charter until it ended predictably and disgracefully.
BBC cut a deal. Saying they resigned in
late January 2004, it fired Gilligan along with Chairman Gavyn
Davies and Director-General Greg Dyke. Even they weren't immune
to dismissal at a time of an "aberrant" report that
later proved true. For BBC, it was back to business as usual under
new management supporting two illegal wars showing no signs of
ending or BBC reporting truthfully about them.
From the start, it championed Tony Blair's
"moral case for war," was a complicit cheerleader for
it with the rest of the media, and found no fault with Washington
and London's blaming Iraq's regime for what it didn't cause or
could do nothing to prevent. Instead, round the clock propaganda
ignored the facts and barely hinted at western responsibility
for the most appalling crimes of war and against humanity that
continue every day.
It's the way BBC reports on everything.
Fiction substitutes for fact, news is carefully filtered, wars
of aggression are called liberating ones, yet consider what former
BBC political editor Andrew Marr wrote in his 2004 book on British
journalism: Those in the trade "are employed to be studiously
neutral, expressing little emotion and certainly no opinion; millions
of people would say that news is the conveying of fact, and nothing
Even worse (and most humiliating) was
his on-air 2003 post-Iraq invasion comment that he'd like to erase:
"I don't think anybody (can dispute) Tony Blair. He said
that they would be able to take Baghdad without a bloodbath, and
that in the end the Iraqis would be celebrating. And on both these
points he has been proved conclusively right. (Even) his critics
(must) acknowledge that tonight he stands as a larger man and
a stronger prime minister as a result."
So much for truth and accuracy and a free
and impartial BBC. It continues to call a puppet prime minister
legitimate; an occupied country liberated; a pillaged free market
paradise "democracy;" with millions dead, displaced
and immiserated unreported like it never happened.
Supporting Aggression in Afghanistan
BBC was no better on Afghanistan and considered
the war largely over when Kabul fell on November 13, 2001. The
bombing continues, but it was yesterday's news, and only Taliban
"crimes" matter. Unmentioned was how John Pilger portrayed
the country in his newest book "Freedom Next Time."
He called it more like a "moonscape" than a functioning
nation and likely more abused and long-suffering than any other.
Contrast that description with BBC's reporting
that Afghanistan is now free from "fear, uncertainty and
chaos" because the US and UK "act(ed) benignly; (their)
humanitarian military assault is beneficial (but those) meddlesome
(Taliban) are trying (to) undermin(e) our good work." Unreported
is what really lay behind the 9/11 attack and the price Afghans
and Iraqis keep paying for it.
BBC's Disturbing Balkan Wars Reporting
BBC's shame is endless, and consider how
it reported on the 1990s Balkan wars that evoked popular support
on the right and left. Slobadon Milosevic was unfairly vilified
for the West's destruction of Yugoslavia. Things culminated disgracefully
with a 1999 seventy-eight day NATO assault on Serbia. Its pretext
was protecting Kosovo's Albanian population, but its real aim
was quite different - removing a head of state obstacle to controlling
Central Europe, then advancing east to confront a few others.
Milosevic was arrested in April 2001,
abducted from his home, shipped off to The Hague, hung out to
dry when he got there, then silenced to prevent what he knew from
coming out that would explain the conflict's real aim and who
the real criminals were.
The war's pretext was a ruse, Kosovo is
a Serbian province but in 1999 was stripped away. Ever since,
it's been a US-NATO occupied colony, denied its sovereignty, and
run by three successive puppet prime ministers with known ties
to organized crime and drugs trafficking. It's also home to one
of America's largest military bases, Camp Bondsteel, and it's
no exaggeration saying the territory is more military base than
a functioning political entity.
Then on February 17, 2008, during a special
parliamentary session, Kosovo unilaterally declared its independence.
It violated international law but got something more important
- complicit western backing (outweighing a one-third EU nation
block opposition). It also got one-sided BBC support. Its reporting
took great care to ignore an illegal act, leave unmentioned that
Kosovo is part of Serbia, or explain the UN's (1999) Security
Council Resolution 1244. It recognizes the "sovereignty and
territorial integrity of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia"
and only permits Kosovo's self-government as a Serbian province.
No longer with plenty of BBC help making it possible.
Targeting Hugo Chavez and Assailing His
BBC misreports everywhere at one time
or other, depending on breaking world events and the way power
elitists view them. Consider Venezuela and how BBC reported on
Chavez's most dramatic two days in office and events preceding
them. Its April 12, 2002 account disdained the truth and headlined
"Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez (was) forced to resign
by the country's military. (His) three years in power (ended)
after a three-day general strike....in which 11 people died....more
than 80 others (were) injured," and BBC suggested Chavez
loyalists killed them. It reported "snipers opened fire on
a crowd of more than 150,000 (and it) triggered a rebellion by
the country's military."
During anti-Chavez demonstrations, "Mr.
Chavez appeared on the state-run television denouncing the protest,
(then BBC falsely reported corporate TV channels it called independent
ones) were taken off the air by order of the government. (High-ranking)
military officers rebell(ed) against Mr. Chavez. (He) finally
quit after overnight talks with a delegation of generals at the
Miraflores presidential palace."
"BBC's Adam Easton, in Caracas at
the time, says there are noisy celebrations on the streets, (and
former army general) Guaicaipuro Lameda said Mr. Chavez's administration
had been condemned because it began arming citizens' committees
(and) these armed groups....fired at opposition protesters."
In another report, BBC was jubilant in
quoting Venezuela's corporate press. They welcomed Chavez's ouster
and called him an "autocrat," "incompetent"
and a "coward." They accused him of "order(ing)
his sharpshooters to open fire on innocent people (and) betray(ing
BBC went along without a hint of dissent
or a word of the truth, but where was BBC when a popular uprising
and military support restored Chavez to office two days later?
It quietly announced a "chastened....Chavez return(ed) to
office after the collapse of the interim government....and pledged
to make necessary changes." In spite of vilifying him in
the coup's run-up, cheerleading it when it happened and calling
it a resignation, BBC put on a brave face. It had to be painful
saying: "The UK welcomed Mr. Chavez's return to power, saying
that any change of government should be achieved by democratic
It's hard imagining Caracas correspondents
Greg Morsbach and James Ingham see it that way. Morsbach called
the country a "left-wing haven" on the occasion of 100,000
people taking part in the 2006 World Social Forum in the capital.
He said the city is "used to staging big events (opposing)
'neo-liberal' economic policies," then couldn't resist taking
aim at Chavez. "Five hundred metres away from the (downtown)
Hilton," Morsbach noted, "homeless people scavenge in
dustbins for what little food they can find." He then quoted
a man named Carlos "who spent the last three years sleeping
rough on the streets" and felt Bolivarianism did nothing
It's done plenty for Venezuelans but Morsbach
won't report it. Under Chavez, social advances have been remarkable
and consider two among many. According to Venezuela's National
Statistics Institute (INE), the country's poverty rate (before
Chavez) in 1997 was 60.94%. It dropped sharply under Bolarvarianism
to a low of 45.38% in 2001, rose to 62.09% after the crippling
2002-03 oil management lockout, and then plummeted to a low of
around 27% at year end 2007. In addition, unemployment dropped
from 15% in 1997 to INE's reported 6.2% in December 2007.
Morsbach also omitted how Chavez is tackling
homelessness. He's reducing it with programs like communal housing,
drug treatment and providing modest stipends for the needy. His
goal - "for there (not) to be a single child in the streets....not
a single beggar in the street." It's working through Mission
Negra Hipolita that guides the homeless to shelters and rehab
centers. They provide medical and psychological care and pay homeless
in them a modest amount in return for community service. No mention
either compares Venezuela under Chavez to America under George
Bush (and likely Britain under anyone) where no homeless programs
exist, the problem is increasing, nothing is being done about
it, and the topic is taboo in the media.
Instead in a BBC profile, Chavez is called
"increasingly autocratic, revolutionary (and) combative."
He's a man who's "alienated and alarmed the country's traditional
political elite, as well as several foreign governments,"
(and he) court(s) controversy (by) making high-profile visits
to Cuba and Iraq" and more. He "allegedly flirt(s) with
leftist rebels in Colombia and mak(es) a huge territorial claim
The account then implies Chavez is to
blame for "relations with Washington reach(ing) a new low
(because he) accused (the Bush administration) of fighting terror
with terror" post-9/11, and in a September 2006 UN General
Assembly speech called the president "the devil."
Chavez's December 2007 constitutional
reform referendum was also covered. It was defeated, the profile
suggested controversial elements in it, but omitted explaining
its objective - to deepen and broaden Venezuelan democracy, more
greatly empower the people, provide them more social services,
and make government more accountable to its citizens. Instead,
BBC highlighted White House spokeswoman Dana Perino saying: Venezuelans
"spoke their minds, and they voted against the reforms that
Hugo Chavez had recommended and I think that bodes well for the
country's future and freedom and liberty."
In another piece, Inghram took aim at
the country's "whirlwind of nationalisations, and threats
to private companies (are) changing Venezuela's economic climate
and threaten to widen a tense social divide." It's part of
Chavez's "campaign to turn Venezuela into a socialist state"
with suggestive innuendoes about what that implies, omitting its
achievements, and reporting nothing about how business in the
country is booming or that Chavez's approach is pragmatic.
Instead, Inghram cites his critics saying
"his plan is all about power" (and) bring(ing) no benefit
to the nation" in lieu of letting business run it as their
private fiefdom. It's how they've always done it, Venezuelans
were deeply impoverished as a result, and BBC loves taking aim
at a leader who wants to change things for the better and is succeeding.
It refers to his "stepp(ing) up his
radical revolution since being re-elected in December 2006."
Venezuela is "very divided" and its president "far
too powerful (and) can rule by decree" - with no explanation
of Venezuela's Enabling Law, his limited authority under it, its
expiration after 18 months, and that Venezuela's (pre-Bolivarian)
1961 constitution gave comparable powers to four of the country's
BBC further assailed Chavez's refusal
to review one of RCTV's operating licenses and accused him of
limiting free expression. Unreported was the broadcaster's tainted
record, its lack of ethics or professional standards, and its
lawless behavior. Specifically omitted was its leading role in
instigating and supporting the aborted April 2002 coup and its
subsequent complicity in the 2002-03 oil-management lockout and
multi-billion dollar sabotage against state oil company PDVSA.
Despite it, RCTV got a minor slap on the
wrist, lost only its VHF license, and it still operates freely
on Venezuelan cable and satellite. Yet, if an American broadcaster
was as lawless, it would be banned from operating, and its management
(under US law) could be prosecuted for sedition or treason for
instigating and aiding a coup d'etat against a sitting president.
BBC ignored RCTV's offense, assailed Hugo Chavez unjustifiably,
and reported in its usual deferential to power way.
It falsely stated RCTV's license wasn't
renewed because "it supported opposition candidates (and
said) hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets in Caracas....some
to celebrate, others to protest." Unexplained was that pro-government
supporters way outnumbered opponents, it's the same every time,
and they gather spontaneously for every public Chavez address.
Also ignored is that opposition demonstrations are usually small
and staged-for-media events so BBC and anti-Chavistas in the press
can call them huge and a sign Chavez's support is waning. As BBC
put it this time: The situation "highlight(s), once again,
how deeply divided Venezuela is" under its "controversial"
president - who's popular support is so considerable BBC won't
BBC's War Against Mugabe
On April 4, The New York Times correspondent
Michael Wines wrote what BBC often reports: "New Signs of
Mugabe Crackdown in Zimbabwe." It highlighted "police
raids....against the main opposition party, foreign journalists
(and) rais(ed) the specter of a broad crackdown (to keep) the
country's imperiled leaders in power."
Below is what BBC reported the same day
in one of its continuing inflammatory accounts in the wake of
Zimbabwe's March 29 presidential and parliamentary elections.
It pitted the country's African National Union - Patriotic Front
(ZANU-PF) President Robert Mugage against two opponents - the
misnamed Movement for Democratic Change's (MDC) Morgan Tsvangirai
(a western recruited stooge) and independent candidate Simba Makoni.
In its role as an unabashed Tsvangirai
cheerleader, BBC headlined: "Mugabe's ZANU-PF prepares for
battle" after its parliamentary defeat - MDC winning 99 seats;
ZANU-PF 97 (including an uncontested one); a breakaway MDC faction
10 seats and an independent, one, in Zimbabwe's 210 constituencies
with only 206 seats being contested; ZANU didn't contest one seat,
and three MDC candidates died in the run-up to the poll.
Results for the 60 (largely ceremonial)
Senate seats were announced April 5 with ZANU-PF winning 30 and
the combined opposition gaining the same number. In addition,
ZANU-PF announced 16 parliamentary seats are being contested and
ordered recounts for them that could change the electoral balance.
Mugabe is also challenging the presidential tally, asked the Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission (ZEC) to delay releasing it and wants it
retabulated because of what he calls "errors and miscalculations."
MDC officials called the move illegal,
BBC seems eager to agree, and then went on the attack the way
it always does against independent black republics. It can't tolerate
them, but it's especially hostile to Zimbabwe. It's the former
Rhodesia that British-born South African businessman, politician
and De Beers chief Cecil Rhodes founded shortly after Britain
invaded in 1893 and conquered Matabeleland. UK soldiers and volunteers
were given 6000 (stolen) acres of land and within a year controlled
the area's 10,000 most fertile square miles through a white supremacist
land grab. They went further as well, confiscated cattle, and
coerced the native Ndebele people into forced labor. Brits also
exploited the Shonas, they rebelled, and a year later were crushed
at the cost of 8000 African lives.
Decades of exploitation followed, a 1961
constitution was drafted to keep whites in power, Rhodesia declared
its independence in 1965, but Britain intervened to protect white
privilege. UN sanctions and guerrilla war followed, Southern Rhodesia
declared itself a republic in 1970, then became the independent
nation of Zimbabwe (the former Southern Rhodesia, then just Rhodesia
in 1964) in April 1980 after 1979 elections created independent
Robert Mugabe was elected president, won
overwhelmingly, remained the country's leader for 28 years, and
at age 84 ran again for another term on March 29. He's called
outspoken, controversial, and polarizing but for millions in Zimbabwe
(and in Africa) he's a hero of his nation's liberation struggle
against white supremacist rule.
America, Britain and other colonial powers,
however, don't view him that way, and therein lies today's conflict.
A racist UK can't tolerate an independent black republic and uses
its state-owned BBC to vilify Mugabe and target him for regime
change in a pattern all too familiar.
In a close March 29 election, vote-rigging
is suspected, results days later weren't announced, and BBC accused
ZANU-PF of knowing and concealing them as well as governing dictatorially.
With no official totals, it stated "Mugabe....failed to pass
the 50% barrier needed to avoid a second-round run-off."
It's now been announced, by law must be held within 21 days of
March 29 (by or before April 19), but AP reports "diplomats
in Harare (the capital) and at the UN said Mugabe (wants) a 90
day delay to give security forces time to clamp down."
BBC expects trouble, appears trying to
incite it, and denounces Mugabe loyalists as hard-line, militant
and known for their violence. In battle mode, correspondent Grant
Ferret from Johannesburg (BBC's banned from Zimbabwe because of
its anti-Mugabe reporting) states: "Intimidation is....likely
to be part of the second round. Offices used by the opposition
were ransacked on Thursday night (April 3) (and) two foreign nationals
(were) detained (for) violating the country's media laws."
An NGO worker "promoting democracy" was also detained.
Correspondent Ian Pannell joins the assault.
He stresses a crumbling economy, out-of-control inflation, people
unable to cope and talking everywhere about "a struggle to
make ends meet." They "spend hours queuing at the bank
or waiting in line at a bakery where lines stretch around the
corners. Many shops have as many empty shelves as full ones,"
Zimbabweans are suffering, and "80% of the workforce"
has no regular job. People survive anyway they can, there's "a
thriving black market," overseas remittances help, but "fields
(are) without crops, shops without goods, petrol stations....low
or empty, women at the side of the road begging for food, traders
desperate for customers and hard currency."
There's no denying Zimbabwe is under duress,
but BBC won't explain why. It never reported that ever since Mugabe's
ZANU-PF ended white supremacist rule, he's been vilified for being
independent, redistributing white-owned farms, mostly (but not
entirely) staying out of the IMF's clutches, and waging a valiant
struggle to prevent a return to an exploited past.
Doing it hasn't been easy, however. It's
meant getting little or no outside aid, bending the rules, restraining
civil liberties, banning hostile journalism like BBC's, but up
to now (most often) holding reasonably free and fair elections
and winning every time. Despite Zimbabwe's problems, Mugabe's
popular support has been strong, especially from the country's
war veterans who didn't fight for freedom to hand it back to new
But it looks like that's where Zimbabwe
is heading. The March 29 election showed weakness. The opposition
made it close and forced a runoff (unless a retabulated count
shows otherwise). It controls the parliament (barring a retallied
change) and has strong western support that smells blood. Behind
the scenes, regime change is planned and this time may succeed.
An 84 year old Mugabe's time may be passing - if not now, soon.
Zimbabwe's economy has collapsed, drought
problems have been severe, food and fuel shortages are acute,
83% of the population lives on less than $2 a day, half the people
are malnourished, more than 10% of children die before age five,
and the country's HIV/AIDS rate is the fourth highest in the world.
In addition, average life expectancy plunged to 37.3 years, inflation
is out of control, conditions are disastrous, and it was mostly
engineered by 2002 western-imposed sanctions.
Fifteen EU member states and Australia
support them plus America after passage of the Zimbabwe Democracy
and Economic Recovery Act of 2001 (ZIDERA). Its effect has been
devastating on an already weakened economy. It cut off the country's
access to foreign capital and credit, denied its efforts to reschedule
debt, froze financial and other assets of ZANU-PF officials and
companies linked to them, and effectively brought the economy
to its knees.
ZIDERA states that economic and other
sanctions will be enforced until the US president certifies that
the "rule of law has been restored in Zimbabwe, including
respect for ownership and title to property....and an end to lawlessness."
Unmentioned is the Act's real purpose - restoring white supremacist
rule, exploiting the black majority and doing to Zimbabwe what's
happening throughout Africa and in nearly all other developing
If Mugabe goes, the IMF can swoop in with
a promised $2 billion (renewable) aid package for a new MDC government
with the usual strings attached - sweeping structural adjustments,
privatizing everything, ending social services, mandating mass
layoffs, crushing small local businesses, escalating poverty,
and returning the country to its colonial past under new millennium
management under a black stooge of a president to make it all
BBC has a role in this, and it's been
at it for decades. It's waged a multi-year anti-Mugabe jihad and
seems now to be going for broke. For days, broadcasts practically
scream regime change. Reports are inflammatory, visibly one-sided,
with correspondents saying (MDC's) Tsvangirai won, election results
are being withheld, no runoff is necessary, and when it's held
Mugabe will use violence to retain power.
On April 5, BBC quoted Tsvangirai accusing
Mugabe of "preparing to go to war against the country's people
(and) deploying troops and armed militias to intimidate voters
ahead of a possible runoff....thousands of army recruits are being
recruited, militants are being rehabilitated and some few claiming
to be war veterans are already on the warpath."
Tsvangirai wants the courts to force officials
to release the results, Zimbabwe's High Court is hearing MDC's
petition, but earlier it was claimed "armed police prevented
MDC lawyers" from petitioning the Court to get them. BBC
quoted one of them saying "police had threatened to shoot
them," then quoted Tsvangirai again saying Zimbabwe's central
bank was printing money for bribes and government-financed violence
and intimidation campaigns.
BBC also suggests that international intervention
is needed "to prevent violence if a second round is held
(because) violence and intimidation (have) been characteristic
of past (Zimbabwe) elections." It quotes another MDC spokesman
saying ZANU-PF will "use a runoff to exact revenge....it's
a strategy for retribution."
Its correspondent Peter Biles reports
"the ruling party remains divided....many (want) a change
of leadership, and believe under Mr. Mugabe, Zimbabwe has no future."
BBC hammers at this daily in a full-court press to force out Mugabe
either willingly or with outside intervention, and now is the
A broadcaster is supposed to be neutral,
fair and balanced and BBC states "Honesty and integrity (is)
what (it) stands for." BBC is dedicated to "educate
(and) inform, free from political interference and commercial
The US-based Society of Professional Journalists
states in its Preamble that it's the "duty of the journalist
(to seek) truth and provid(e) a fair and comprehensive account
of events and issues. (They must) strive to serve the public with
thoroughness and honesty. Professional integrity is the cornerstone
of a journalist's credibility....Seek truth and report it....honestly,
In serving power against the public interest
for 86 years, BBC fails on all counts.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can
be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.