Tuesday 20 October 2015

A much-needed reality check

[What follows is excerpted from an article headlined Empire where The Sun never sets that was published on the Red Flag Flying website on this date in 2011:]

It seems every time an event of national significance occurs, The Sun is there to put its almighty foot in it with some headline of blinding stupidity. From the hideous ‘Gotcha!’ in response to the arguable war crime of the sinking of the General Belgrano in the Falklands War (a vessel leaving the combat zone), to ‘It’s The Sun wot won it!’ (yes, a tabloid claiming responsibility for the result of a democratic election is a little like proudly owning up to the Omagh bombing), there is always The Sun’s exclusive reductive right-wing trash there to serenade the march of history. (...)

Today’s headline blares ‘That’s for Lockerbie’, accompanied by a picture of a bleeding Colonel Gaddafi. Really? Since when did The Sun laud violence as a solution to political problems? During the tuition fee demonstrations and August riots, they were busily screaming at anyone who took a window, let alone a life (of course, the solution was ‘break all their kneecaps’ or something - the paper has never had a massive problem with hypocrisy.)

As far as Lockerbie goes, it is difficult to imagine how much more of a tenuous link could be made. Professor Robert Black, a Scots law expert, calls the Adelbaset al-Megrahi conviction ‘the most disgraceful miscarriage of justice in Scotland for 100 years’, whilst an independent non-profit thinktank reminds us that ‘all of the Crown’s witnesses in the 36-week trial…have been discredited.’ Assuming for one moment in the absence of much substantive evidence that al-Megrahi was at fault, does that instantly imply Colonel Gaddafi was personally responsible? Not in the slightest.

The headline goes on to refer to Yvonne Fletcher and IRA Semtex victims. It is time for a much-needed reality check. Yes, Gaddafi sold arms to the IRA, and yes, agents of the Libyan regime shot dead a policewoman. We of course assume that selling arms to ‘terrorists’ is wrong, as is shooting people. So where was The Sun when British business was busy selling weapons to the Israeli regime that deploys them against civilians regularly in the Occupied Territories? Where were they when British special forces weren’t merely arming, but training Bahraini forces in the repression of their own people in the midst of the Arab spring? What about the backing for Iraq’s brutal and dirty attack on Iran? The millions dead and millions more displaced in the Iraq War? (Murdoch backed the Iraq War on the grounds it would cheapen oil prices- cutting straight past even a pretence of humanitarianism.)

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