Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Analysing BBC reporting of US airstrikes in Somalia

An important question is how media corporations like the BBC present the actions of a friendly superpower like the USA, when it kills people on the basis of suspicion and it leads to civilian deaths in Somalia. The USA has given itself the power to destroy lives whenever and wherever it chooses, simply referring to Al-Qaida operatives by way of an excuse and referring to previous attacks on its own agencies. Linked below is the BBC article reporting the incident. Note how many times the BBC report refers to US authorities and its supporters and how many times it quotes witnesses to the events who indicate a different sequence of events.


Paragraph one: The US believes

Paragraph two : The US says

Paragraph three: The Somali transitional government says

Paragraph six: The US accuses

Paragraph seven: A Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitmore confirmed

Further down:

(Glamorizing the killing machines:) The attack was carried out by an Air Force AC-130, a heavily-armed gunship that has highly effective detection equipment and can work under the cover of darkness.

One paragraph later:

Somalia's interim President Abdullahi Yusuf backed the US action

"The US has a right to bombard terrorist suspects who attacked its embassies in Kenya and Tanzania," he said in Mogadishu, a day after entering the city for the first time since the Islamists withdrew

Next two paragraphs : More than 250 people died in the 1998 attacks in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, for which al-Qaeda has claimed responsibility.

The US also holds the same cell responsible for attacks on an Israeli aircraft and Israeli-owned hotel in Kenya in 2002, in which 15 people died.

A perspective from local people:

Witnesses told the BBC Somali service that areas near the town of Afmadow were being bombed on Tuesday.

"My four-year-old boy was killed in the strike," Mohamed Mahmud Burale told the BBC from the area.

Local MP Abdulkadir Haji Mohamoud Dhagane told the BBC that 27 people, mostly civilians, had been killed near Afmadow.

"Thousands of Somalis are caught between the rock and hard place as they are in the middle of air strikes, Ethiopian tanks and the Kenyan soldiers who have blocked the border," he said.

Summary: 7 views from the USA or supporter perspective

1 mentions of two attacks on Israeli property

2 mentions of attacks on US embassies in Nairobi and Tanzania.

1 paragraph glamorising the AC130 gunship and 1 picture of gunship.

2 points of view from locals suggesting that innocent civilians have

been killed in these so called strikes against Al-Qaeda militants.

What is the overall impression left on the reader?


Blogger dailysketch said...

Thanks Kebz. Good points. No doubt we will be hearing those disgusting words "collateral damage" once again soon.

I think its important to point out that the US is on a moral equivalence with ETA, the Basque terrorist group, who just yesterday announced that "The aim of this armed attack was not to cause victims" http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/6245013.stm
and that the same victims were "collateral damage" caused by the "repressive policies" of the Spanish government, and by police inefficiency in clearing the terminal (ETA phoned 3 times with warnings): "se solidariza con los daños colaterales causados por la política represiva del gobierno "

All terrorists use the same language.

1:58 PM  
Blogger Kebz said...

Thanks David. The US have a record of punishing populations for 'sheltering' terrorists. Strafing a village full of people with a AC130 gunship is cold blooded murder and cannot be excused as collateral damage (even if such a term was acceptable applied for human life, which it is not). The villagers had no warnings from the US forces that this was about to happen. The aim is simply to kill as many of the UIC people as possible as soon as possible to allow the so called 'transitional government' a chance to establish a hold on the capital.

4:11 PM  

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