British royalty, army and media in Afghanistan

This video says about itself:

Corporate media support war crimes?

Dana Loesch, a CNN contributor, has come forward and admitted she’d join the troops to urinate on dead Afghans. Earlier this week a video of US Marines urinating on dead Afghans has gone viral and caused uproar around the world. Other members of the media have come forward and confessed that they don’t see anything wrong with the Marines’ disgraceful acts. Some American war vets disapproved of the actions of the troops. Abby Martin, founder of MediaRoots.Org, joins us to examine the situation.

By Harvey Thompson:

The unholy nexus between Britain’s royal family, the military and the media in Afghanistan

19 September 2012

According to the Taliban, Saturday’s assault on Camp Bastion in Afghanistan was inspired by opposition to the provocative anti-Islamic video concocted by right-wing elements in the US, and the stationing at the base of the third in line to the British throne, Prince Harry.

The response of the British military was a typical mixture of evasion and bluster. The Ministry of Defence (MoD) said it was “entirely predictable” that a claim would be made that Prince Harry was the primary target regardless of whether he was near the point of attack or not.

A senior British Army officer told the Sunday Telegraph: “This was a determined attack which achieved its aim of getting global press coverage…. But they are deluded if they really think they can storm Camp Bastion and kill or seriously injure Prince Harry.”

In reality, the assault on the heavily fortified NATO base has revealed Afghanistan—subject to a bloody 11-year-long US-led occupation-—as a country seething with a popular and increasingly sophisticated insurgency.

NATO forces are increasingly besieged by the hostile population and unable to rely on their Afghan “allies”. Also at the weekend, a series of so-called green-on-blue shootings of NATO troops by NATO-trained Afghan forces left six US and British soldiers dead.

In the person of Prince Harry, the Camp Bastion attack has thrown into sharp relief the unholy nexus between the British royal family, the military and the media.

Harry was first dispatched to Afghanistan’s Helmand province in 2008, after a previous decision to deploy him to Iraq was rejected as too risky.

Censorship over the details of his deployment revealed an unprecedented level of covert collaboration between the MoD and the palace, with media in Britain and internationally—all of whom conspired to deceive the public.

Brokered during three meetings of 30 to 40 media representatives and military top brass between September and December 2007, the media agreed on a collective blackout until Harry’s tour of duty was completed, in return for pre-deployment interviews and several journalists being embedded with his regiment to pool interviews, video footage and photographs. It was even arranged for Harry to be brought home on a Friday for the convenience of the printing schedules of daily and Sunday newspapers.

When the story eventually broke, a statement by General Richard Dannatt, then head of the British Army, praised the British media for their “highly responsible attitude.”

The BBC justified its complicity by saying, “A news blackout is unusual, but not unique” and claimed it was to “minimise the danger” to Harry and other troops fighting alongside him.

But as the World Socialist Web Site wrote at the time, the attempt of the media to rationalise its actions only further exposed the central fiction.

“If the issue was Harry’s safety and that of his fellow soldiers, how was this facilitated by having reporters and cameramen follow him around Helmand, supposedly only hundreds of metres away from the front line?”

The deployment and ensuing press coverage was aimed at serving up raw propaganda in support of US and British-led aggression against the peoples of the Middle East.

Britain: The government’s strategy in Afghanistan was once again exposed as “chaotic” yesterday following news the coalition was scaling back Western operations: here.

A Labour MP was suspended from the Commons yesterday for accusing defence ministers of lying about how British troops were in Afghanistan to protect our national security: here.

Peace campaigners are to target a northern RAF base where a squadron is being deployed to operate deadly drones in Afghanistan: here.

2 thoughts on “British royalty, army and media in Afghanistan

  1. Marines charged with murder over Afghanistan death

    Five Royal Marines charged with murder over the death of an insurgent in Afghanistan in 2011

    Jonathan Haynes and agencies

    Sunday 14 October 2012 08.34 BST

    British soldiers in Helmand: the incident took place last year but it is thought investigators only began inquiries in recent weeks. Photograph: Corporal Barry Lloyd Rlc/AFP

    Five Royal Marines have been charged with murder over the death of an insurgent in Afghanistan in 2011.

    Seven marines were arrested on 11 October by the Royal Military police. Two more were later arrested, one on Friday and one on Saturday. Four have been released without charge pending further inquiries, the Ministry of Defence said.

    The incident took place in Helmand province last year, but it is thought investigators only began an inquiry in recent weeks.

    An MoD spokesman said: “The Royal Military police has referred the cases of the remaining five Royal Marines to the independent Service Prosecuting Authority.

    “Following direction from the SPA these marines have now been charged with murder and they remain in custody pending court proceedings.

    “It would be inappropriate to comment further on this ongoing investigation,” the spokesman added.

    The soldiers, believed to be members of 3 Commando Brigade, were arrested in connection with an incident described as “an engagement with an insurgent”, with no civilians involved.

    During a six-month tour of duty in 2010, which lasted from April to October, seven servicemen from 3 Commando Brigade were killed in action, all from 42 Commando. The tour, Operation Herrick 14, was the unit’s fourth and saw the force score notable successes in capturing explosives from the Taliban.

    The rules of engagement, largely derived from the Geneva conventions, dictate under what circumstances British troops are allowed to open fire, whether to prevent an attack by the enemy or in direct contact.

    The arrests are thought to be the first time UK servicemen have been held on suspicion of such charges during the conflict in Afghanistan.

    A Territorial Army soldier was investigated by military officials after shooting dead a suspected Taliban bomber in the Nahr-e-Saraj area of central Helmand in the summer of 2010.

    Senior officers believed the man may have been an innocent farmer. But after an 18-month inquiry no charges were brought against Fusilier Duane Knott, who said he had no regrets over his action.


  2. Friday 22nd September 2017

    posted by Morning Star in Features

    IAN SINCLAIR probes the supposed neutrality of the BBC by looking at reporter Mark Urban’s role with US forces in Afghanistan

    THE myth of the BBC exerts a powerful grip on many liberals and leftists in Britain. The Guardian’s Polly Toynbee recently described the corporation as “the nation’s crucible, upholding an idea of fair reporting in the turmoil of these bitterly divided times,” while in 2015 the National Union of Journalists general secretary Michelle Stanistreet wrote an article for the Morning Star that argued the BBC “plays a major role in presenting balanced, impartial news coverage.”

    For BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg it’s a matter of life or death. “I would die in a ditch for the impartiality of the BBC. That’s what we do,” she told the Press Gazette after collecting the prize for Journalist of the Year at the British Journalism Awards last year.

    Compare these platitudes with what the first BBC director-general said at the height of the 1926 General Strike. Considering the tacit understanding that existed between the government of the time and the BBC to give the latter operational autonomy, John Reith noted in his diary the government: “know that they can trust us not to be really impartial.”

    The publication of Tom Mills’s book The BBC: Myth of a Public Service 90 years later suggests little has changed.

    Surveying the history of the BBC, Mills notes its structure is “profoundly shaped by the interests of powerful groups in British society,” which means its news journalism “has overwhelmingly reflected the ideas and interests of elite groups and marginalised alternative and oppositional perspectives.”

    The mainstream media’s bias towards established power tends to increase during wartime. Take the BBC’s John Simpson’s whitewashing of the British occupation of Afghanistan when British forces officially withdrew in 2014, for example.

    Afghanistan “is stable, it is working and it doesn’t look as though the Taliban are coming back. I think in the grander view of things you’d have to say it has been pretty successful even though it ought to have been more successful,” Simpson reported on the Today Programme.

    The BBC’s usually Western military-friendly coverage resonates with much of the British media’s reporting of Afghanistan. “With few honourable exceptions, in the Afghanistan war the media failed “to tell the people what is really going on, as distinct from what the government says is going on; to penetrate propaganda and lies” and “to provoke debate,” according to the late veteran reporter Philip Knightley.

    Rarely mentioned during Britain’s direct military occupation of Helmand was the wider historical context for the intervention.

    Speaking about the war in 2014 Hew Strachan, professor of the history of war at University of Oxford, was clear: “Quite frankly, what drives British defence policy in the first decade of the 21st century is its alliance with the United States. No government says that openly because it wants to pretend it continues to have an independent defence policy.”

    Speaking at an event earlier this month organised by the Royal United Services Institute think tank, the BBC’s diplomatic editor Mark Urban highlighted just how serious he was about the cementing the so-called special relationship.

    “They [British unit commanders] were lacking in intellectual curiosity. If you told them you had been there when the Russians had been there, there was almost never a follow up question about: ‘Oh, how did they do this?’” Urban commented about his experiences of reporting on the ground in Afghanistan.

    “Whereas I was contacted by officers from US marine battalions that were deploying saying: ‘We are doing our study day and we’ve got your [1987] book on the Soviet war in Afghanistan. Can you explain X, Y and Z?’ And as a result of which I built relationships with some of these US marine guys that then resulted in embeds when they were taking over some of these places.”

    To summarise, Urban appears to reveal he advised the US military on how to fight better in Afghanistan — a war, we shouldn’t forget, that was deeply unpopular in Britain, involved the military occupation of another country and tens of thousands of conflict deaths.

    Moreover, through building a friendly relationship with the US military Urban believes he was given embedded reporting posts with US forces.

    How, exactly, does this fit with the BBC’s claims to be impartial and independent?


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