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BBC Slammed 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.

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From CADU News 11 : Summer 2002

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Page last updated: January 28, 2003