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To BBCs Hugh Sykes: Freedom craving 'fuelling Iran unrest'

 
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SteveUK2



Joined: 19 Oct 2005
Posts: 280
Location: UK

Post Post subject: To BBCs Hugh Sykes: Freedom craving 'fuelling Iran unrest' Reply with quote

I can't remember the last time I actually got a reply from a BBC journalist. Perhaps because I visit this site (amongst many others) I am blacklisted Smile


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Dear Mr Sykes,

I read your recent article "Freedom craving 'fuelling Iran unrest' " (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/8111695.stm) with interest.

You wrote...

"When the UK (and America) interfered before, conspiring to overthrow the democratically elected Iranian Prime Minister Muhammad Mossadeq in 1953, the law of unintended consequences came fully into play.

The blowback from that case of meddling is still being felt more than half a century later.

The 1953 coup led to more than two decades of repression under the Shah, and sowed the seeds of the Islamic revolution that sent Mohammed Reza Pahlavi into ignominious exile 26 years later."

With just a few sentences you have done more to remove the whitewash from Iranian history than just about any other BBC journalist so far. A lot more really needs to be said though. For example, special mention should be given to the Shah's CIA trained secret police, the SAVAK, who tortured and murdered thousands of dissidents. It is that kind of repression and murder that lead to revolution, not just opposition to westernisation (as stated by John Simpson http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/8099374.stm).

You are also to be congratulated on pointing out that the infamous "wiped off the map" quote is disputed, something I have not seen a BBC journalist doing to date.

The 1953 revolution is perhaps where much of the suspicion about foreign interference comes from. All manner of western-backed destabilising operations were taking place, including "false-flag" operations with groups of thugs going around beating people up while pretending to be supporters of Mossadegh.

Much suspicion of the BBC also stems from 1953, since it was the BBC which broadcast the "go code" which started the coup (see "A Very British Coup" http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/history/document/document_20050822.shtml). I won't hold my breath waiting for a BBC journalist to mention such underhanded activities in any of the Iran reports though. I certainly doubt BBC Persia (funded by the Foreign Office) mention it much.

However, suspicion of western interference doesn't just stem from historic events. Semour Hersh and other journalists have reported extensively on US plans to destabilise the Iranian government (see http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2008/07/07/080707fa_fact_hersh?currentPage=all), and the government is certainly looking quite destabilised now. Despite such reports, no-one seems willing to entertain the merest possibility of western involvement in the current crisis.

"You can't prove a negative, but my sense is that the British are doing all they can to avoid meddling."

Maybe the British are taking a back seat, but there are strong indications that the US has plans to destabilise the Iranian government through a variety of means. These plans are at least worth a paragraph somewhere is all the dozens of articles the BBC have written on the current crisis, but I have not seen a single mention so far.

"I doubt the British want to risk anything like that happening again."

Well, governments are quite capable of being stupid. I do not really need to cite examples I hope.


One thing that interests me is the contrast between the way the BBC is reporting on Iranian police violence and the way it reports on British police violence. This is perhaps therefore aimed more at the BBC in general than you. For example, you wrote.

"The only people I saw "stirring" violence were the riot police and the volunteer basiji militia."

Much the same could be said for many protests in the UK, but you won't see a BBC journalist saying it. In the case of UK protests the BBC would be certain to focus on protester violence. There are nearly always a few people who will throw stones or stir up trouble and that is all you need to demonise protesters. Footage from Iran clearly shows some protester violence, but unlike with UK protests, this has not been focused on.

e.g. Fires can been seen in the street at the end of this report. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mG-loe_VMws&feature=related

Stone throwing can be clearly seen in this report
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MS93sEw7L-s

You also went on to say...

"The day after the election, I watched a small crowd of unarmed, and very courteous Mousavi supporters being charged by baton-wielding riot police."

I can barely imagine the BBC publishing a report which read.

"I watched a small crowd of unarmed, and very courteous climate camp protesters being charged by baton-wielding riot police."


You also wrote...

"A few minutes later, I was in a larger crowd of Mousavi supporters who were demonstrating entirely peacefully when they were attacked by Basiji militia driving motorcycles and wildly swinging wooden batons at anyone in their path.

I saw who was stirring the violence on the streets of Tehran. It was not the unarmed demonstrators."

Again, can you imagine the following going up on the BBC website?

"A few minutes later, I was in a larger crowd of climate protesters who were demonstrating entirely peacefully when they were attacked by riot police on horseback, wildly swinging wooden batons at anyone in their path.

I saw who was stirring the violence on the streets of London. It was not the unarmed demonstrators."

If you want an example of how the BBC reports on a protest in the UK, look no further than this. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/7975597.stm

There is plenty of mention of protesters throwing missiles, but no mention of police swinging batons, either wildly or in fact, at all.
Mon Jun 22, 2009 8:00 pm
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Bern



Joined: 20 Nov 2005
Posts: 14

Post Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Steve
Thanks for referinbg to your letter on the MB. It's really excellent, one of the best crafted I've read for some time.
I think your use of the BBC history file to point out their collusion in the 1953 conspiracy is inspirational.
Since you never get a reply, beyond the perfunctory and abusive one you mention on the MB, I'm all admiration that you can find the patience to continue writing to journalists.
But don't stop, because even when they don't reply they may be smarting at the thought that there are people who see through their distortions andd propaganda. Besides, if they are not interesrted many of us who read ML are, even though we rarely mention it. Just thought I would this time.

best
Bern
Sun Jul 05, 2009 5:06 am
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