HomeArticleBBC Reporter Discourages Syria Questions Due To “Information War” With Russia

BBC Reporter Discourages Syria Questions Due To “Information War” With Russia

A BBC interview is making the rounds today among opponents of western interventionism in Syria. The subject of the interview, Admiral Alan West, voiced some much needed skepticism about the establishment narrative around the alleged gas attack in Douma. Everybody’s talking about it because West is an empire loyalist that nobody in their right mind would accuse of being an “Assad apologist” or “useful idiot of the Kremlin”, as anyone else who doesn’t swallow the official story hook, line and sinker is uniformly labeled.

West made some sensible comments about the White Helmets and the fact that Jaysh al-Islam had far more incentive to stage such an attack than Assad had to perpetrate it. Even more helpful was his personal account of having been aggressively pressured to make false reports about the success of the British bombing campaign in Bosnia, suggesting that those pressures can lead to bad intelligence and erroneous military responses.

“I just wonder, you know we’ve had some bad experiences on intelligence,” West said. “When I was chief of defense intelligence, I had huge pressure put on me politically to try and say that our bombing campaign in Bosnia was achieving all sorts of things which it wasn’t. I was put under huge pressure, so I know the things that can happen with intelligence.”

So that’s a very significant addition to the dialogue. For me, though, the most interesting comments made in that interview came not from West, but from the BBC reporter who was interviewing him.

In the latter half of the interview, BBC’s Annita McVeigh asked the following questions after West’s comment about Bosnia:

“We know that the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday, or accused a western state on Friday, of perhaps fabricating evidence in Douma or somehow being involved in what happened in Douma. Given that we’re in an information war with Russia on so many fronts, do you think perhaps it’s inadvisable to be stating this so publicly given your position and your profile? Isn’t there a danger that you’re muddying the waters?”

Whoa.

Wait a minute, did that just happen? Did a BBC reporter just suggest that it could possibly be “inadvisable” for a retired naval officer to make public statements questioning what we’re being told to believe about Syria? That the conversation shouldn’t even be had? That the questions shouldn’t even be asked? Because we’re trying to win an “information war”? Did McVeigh really suggest that the intelligence of the same war machine which led us into Iraq on false pretenses should not be questioned at the risk of “muddying the waters”?

West was introduced as someone who was skeptical of the official Douma narrative, so he didn’t spring this stuff on McVeigh out of the blue and her questions could easily have been prepared in advance. I am genuinely curious if she came up with this bizarre line of inquiry on her own or was given it by a superior. Attempts to contact McVeigh via email and Twitter have thus far gone unanswered; I’ll update this if she responds.

You know you’re in trouble when the military man tries to do the journalist’s job by asking questions and holding power to account… and the journalist tries to stop him.

I have said that truth is the first casualty in war and that this is doubly true of cold war, but it isn’t supposed to be that way. We all know that the BBC has an extensive history of functioning as a propaganda firm for the western war machine, but it isn’t supposed to be that way. It isn’t supposed to be a BBC reporter’s job to concern herself with beating Russia in an “information war”, it’s supposed to be her job to tell the truth and hold power to account.

By suggesting that winning an “information war” with Russia should take priority over critical thinking and truth telling, McVeigh essentially admitted that she is a propagandist for the western war engine. Her comments say a lot about how she sees her role at the BBC, and it’s likely that this is a culture that is being fostered within the entire outlet as well.

This is very concerning. Anyone who’s studied the situation in Syria understands that western military involvement always comes with a risk of confrontation with not just the armed forces of the Syrian government, but with those of Russia and Iran as well. All that it would take right now is a miscommunication or a weapon discharging in an unintended way to set off a swift chain of events that could lead to all out hot war, which when Russia is involved always comes with the possibility of a nuclear warhead being deployed by either side in the chaos and setting Mutually Assured Destruction into effect.

These are not at all outlandish possibilities to consider; they are breathing down our necks as you read this. And yet in this hotly volatile climate, people are being dissuaded from asking questions.

We as individuals are all vastly smarter and wiser than the oligarchs who rule us, and we can handle picking our way through a wide array of information, even information which runs counter to western interests in an “information war”. Ideas are not inherently dangerous. What is dangerous is truth being hidden from the public, making us incapable of making accurate determinations about what’s true and what’s false and using that knowledge to make our wishes known to power. What is dangerous is escalations with a nuclear superpower and its allies and a steadily increasing hostility toward skepticism and detente advocacy.

It isn’t their place to protect us from ideas and information. It isn’t their place to use us as pawns in their idiotic “information war”. They need to stop concerning themselves with controlling the way we think. We are not children that they get to lie to because they believe it is in our best interest. The state of the world today shows that the people running our media and our governments are the very last people on earth who should be making such calls on our behalf.

UPDATE: I had a brief and unsatisfactory interaction with McVeigh on Twitter shortly after this article was published. I don’t feel like any relevant questions were answered; what a BBC reporter is doing arguing for an “information war” against Russia, to what extent this concept of information war impacts her work, if other BBC staff saw themselves as fighting an information war against Russia, if she was asked to conduct that line of inquiry with West by a superior at the BBC, etc.

__________________________

Internet censorship is getting pretty bad, so best way to keep seeing my daily articles is to get on the mailing list for my website, so you’ll get an email notification for everything I publish. My articles and podcasts are entirely reader and listener-funded, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking me on Facebook, following my antics on Twitter, checking out my podcast, throwing some money into my hat on Patreon or Paypalor buying my new book Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers.

Bitcoin donations:1Ac7PCQXoQoLA9Sh8fhAgiU3PHA2EX5Zm2

Liked it? Take a second to support Caitlin Johnstone on Patreon!

Latest comments

  • “In depth” from the BBC… laughable. Actually, no, angryable!
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-trending-43745629

  • In the late 1990’s when I was working in IT industry the issue of backdoors for the NSA and CIA in CPU chips and encryption software like PGP was being discussed in the MSM. Then, suddenly, all public discussion ceased. It definitely smelled like the order came down to the MSM to stop all discussion of the issue. I know from being in that industry that in fact the backdoors exist.

    Now we have the drift to censorship on the internet. Soon the order will come down to cease discussion of it because it is a ‘security issue’. The intention of button pushers in the US and UK is for total control over what information we are exposed to in order to control the narrative assumptions in our heads. They will be creating the narratives that we think. To a large extent this is already the way it is with most Americans.

    Welcome to a hybrid of Brave New World and 1984.

  • http://www.larsschall.com/2018/04/18/colin-powell-still-cant-come-clean/

    Article posted today reminds us of how our current cycle of war and destruction got kicked off evidence-free, and decades later Colin Powell still has nothing more to say.

  • Thanks

  • NEWS ALERT:
    YES, –– this was on MSNBC !!
    .
    Prof. Jeffrey Sachs debates Syria with war-hawk Navy Admiral
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vGTOdBDp37E
    .

    • Great share. Thanks

  • The “information war” isn’t against Russia, it is against the British and U.S. publics. The BBC should be required to register as a “propaganda agent”. McVeigh’s statement about an “information war” offers an interesting line of questioning. What exactly is an information attack by Russia supposed to be and what threat does it pose to our minds. How long has this “information war” been going on– when did it start? How do you distinguish between the “information war”, regular journalism, and advertising. Who is winning the information war and how do you decide when victory has been achieved? Is the BBC allowed to report positive news about Russia or negative news about Britain? Did the technique of information warfare start with the WWI British lie that the Germans were bayonetting babies?

  • For me BBC lost whatever cred it ever had when Lord Blair of Basra purged it in the propaganda buildup to Iraq War II. Now they are just regime media, bad as ever was Radio Moscow during Cold War I.

    • Same with NPR here in the states. Newt Gingrich got them reorganized to toe the line by threatening government funding for NPR.

  • And so the foundation is laid for all out Newspeak and the Ministry of Truth.

leave a comment