Jonathan Cook analyses the role of mainstream media in defending Western imperial elites and peddling their narratives,
and assesses the impact of new media in breaking the elites’ stranglehold on information.
”This is an opportunity and one that we must nurture.
We must demand of the corporate media more honesty;
we must shame them by being better-informed than the hacks who recycle official press releases and clamour for access;
and we must desert them,
as is already happening,
for better sources of information
.“We have a window. And we must force it open before the elites of empire try to slam it shut.” (Jonathan Cook)
Last week the Guardian, Britain’s main liberal newspaper,
ran an exclusive report on the belated confessions of an Iraqi exile, Rafeed al-Janabi,
codenamed “Curveball” by the CIA.
Eight years ago, Janabi played a key behind-the-scenes role – if an inadvertent one – in making possible the US invasion of Iraq.
His testimony bolstered claims by the Bush administration that Iraq’s president, Saddam Hussein,
had developed an advanced programme producing weapons of mass destruction (WMD).
Curveball’s account included the details of mobile biological weapons trucks presented by Colin Powell,
the US secretary of state, to the United Nations in early 2003.
Powell’s apparently compelling case on WMD was used to justify the US attack on Iraq a few weeks later.
Eight years on, Curveball revealed to the Guardian that he had fabricated the story of Saddam’s WMD back in 2000,
shortly after his arrival in Germany seeking asylum.
He told the paper he had lied to German intelligence in the hope his testimony might help topple Saddam,
though it seems more likely he simply wanted to ensure his asylum case was taken more seriously.
For the careful reader – and I stress the word careful
– several disturbing facts emerged from the report.