for Speaking the Truth
THE BBC has been accused of peddling propaganda on behalf of Saddam
Hussein after it broadcast a report highlighting claims that DU shells
used in the Gulf war caused cancer in Iraqi children.
The Telegraph reported (7/4/02) that there is now speculation - denied
by the BBC - that it was trying to curry favour with the Iraqi regime
in order to get access to the country in the event of war.
Rageh Omaar, the BBC journalist reporting from Basra, stated that
Iraqi doctors reported a 20-fold increase in cancers since the end
of the Gulf war. He quoted Iraqi claims that such cases were non-existent
before the outbreak of the conflict. The news showed harrowing footage
of children suffering from eye and brain cancers, and focused on the
case of a six-year-old girl who has cancer of the cervix.
The report has been subjected to a barrage of criticism from all quarters
of the establishment. Peter Hain, the Foreign Office minister, said:
“Any British journalist, especially one working for the BBC
reporting from Iraq, must surely be aware that they are doing so only
because the Iraqi regime wants them to. Objective journalism in Iraq
is well-nigh impossible.” Other reports imply that the report
was inaccurate because it “was not based on any new scientific
research by the BBC and did not interview any Western scientists”.
Not only will campaigners be aware of how specialist a task it is
to research DU in Iraq (and therefore the BBC cannot be expected to
undertake such), but the idea that only western scientists have the
truth is nothing short of racism. The Telegraph ‘reported’
that links between DU and cancer are ‘discredited’ by
a huge body of scientific evidence. It quotes the Royal Society, the
National Radiological Protection Board (whose interests are in maintaining
the status quo), and claims that it was possibly Saddam’s use
of chemical weapons which caused cancers. CADU has never denied that
there are other potential causes of cancers in the Gulf, but the fact
that DU can cause cancer has been backed by much scientific evidence.
It is disgusting that journalists are subjected to such abuse when
they report a different side of the story to that favoured by the
government & nuclear industry.
CADU has written a letter of support to Mr Omaar.