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To Paxman and Newsnight re Libya

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Joined: 03 Oct 2004
Posts: 724
Location: Glasgow

Post Post subject: To Paxman and Newsnight re Libya Reply with quote

Dear Jeremy Paxman and Newsnight Editor

Please could you look through this complete list of studio guests/commentators on last night's Newsnight (22 August 2011) and tell me which of them was there to challenge the Western case for regime change in Libya.

Shashank Joshi, Royal United Sevices Institute
Andrew Mitchell, International Development Secretary
John Bolton, ex-US Ambassador to the UN and arch neoconservative
Guma El-Gematy, UK Coordinator, Libyan National Transitional Council
Rory Stewart, Conservative MP and former Deputy Governor in Iraq
John Rentoul, Political Editor for the Independent and Tony Blair's biographer
Sir Richard Dalton, ex-UK Ambassador to Libya
Elliott Abrams, Deputy National Security Adviser to George W Bush
Lord Mark Malloch-Brown, Foreign Office Minister, 2007-09
Rushanara Ali, Labour MP

After opening the programme with a jibe about Gaddafi's "dyed hair and pantomime military uniforms", you asked Andrew Mitchell: "You must be delighted our side won?"

Bearing in mind the BBC's supposedly sacrosanct codes of 'balance' and 'impartiality', why do you assume the words "our side"?

Alongside the probing questions to Mitchell over whether Gaddafi should be brought to trial in Libya or at the International Criminal Court, why didn't we hear any mention of Nato's own outright violations of its 'civilian protection mandate', its relentless bombing of those civilians or the case for war crime indictments against those Western leaders responsible?

This all fits with the BBC's selective presentation of Nato as an effective 'peace-seeking/facilitating force' rather than the principal player in overthrowing Gaddafi.

Your questions to Mitchell on whether we might see similar action against Syria was also a red herring, feigning concern over the West's 'double standards' while ignoring Nato's actual aggressions. Were we to assume from your questions to Mitchell that those same murderous methods, posing as 'civilian protection', could, or should, be used against Syria?

This view of Nato as an effectively benign force linked neatly into the next section, in which you note:

"But there were plenty who said it [removing Gaddafi] couldn't be done. Instead, it's a victory of sorts for what's become known as liberal interventionism, Western democracies making war to spread their values."

We then had what passed for a critical examination of this proposition from some of the above-noted figures.

Why do you and Newsnight readily accept that this was such a "victory"? And why was there no voice here to dispute that claim?

Dennis Kucinich has just written a fine piece damning Nato and the West's determined refusal to countenance a negotiated, humanitarian settlement, arguing, in effect, that Nato's attack on Libya was actually about political-corporate interventionism.

Given the West's key stake in Libyan oil and vast profits the military-corporate industry will derive from Nato's bombing, why was this set of motives ignored in favour of discussing the "victory" for "liberal intervention"?

With a guest list bereft of alternative opinion, film reports crammed with supportive soundings on the 'rebels' and the issue of Nato's criminal actions carefully avoided, Newsnight has proved itself, once again, to be a talking shop for liberal warmongering.

Kind regards

John Hilley
Wed Aug 24, 2011 12:49 am
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