samedi 23 août 2008

Plausible denial, Self-justification, move on

The routing is tediously predictable. People are killed (or not!). Mitigating circumstances are put forward (again, or not) then they say "it is only to be expected and stop being so naive for thinking these things don't happen. This is a war." before getting their embedded journos to tell us again that it's not a war but a security operation. The item becomes old news.

This is how the MSM drowns horror stories where its controlers are the main culprits. The recent murders in Afghanistan of 76 (?) civilians is following the same road map. First the story appears in inverted commas. True, the region where the collateral bombing victims were killed is a long way from here but even so, the degree of scepticism is still quite high. The story is catastrophic. 2005, 52 people died in London on the July 7th explosions. It shook the country to its core. The 'culprtis' were done and dusted within days - "It's them muslims." No inverted commas to be seen. This mass death in the west of Afghanistan, is of a similar order but already the story has started to slip down the charts, and just a day after it came out.

The story nevertheless, heads Al Jazeera/English for the afternoon, where we see the secong leg of the media management. Make no mistake, this is a real shocker of a story. And no '. . . if it's true.' equivocation. Not to believe the Afghan authority and by-stander accounts here is to fall immediately into the MSM trap of 'Softening the Blow'. We've all done it. Denied in full then let things slip bit by painful bit. Only there's no remorse on display from the Occupation moutpieces pushed forward to do their bit and read out press realeses and refuse to answer any further questions. These days, we find that they can't even ber bothered to remain consistent within the drivel they utter; Hence,

"The coalition denied killing civilians. It said 30 militants had been killed ...A spokesman for the defence ministry in Kabul said US special forces and Afghan troops had struck against a commander named Mullah Sidiq. "Twenty-five Taliban were killed, including Sidiq and another commander," said a spokesman General Zaher Azimi. "Five civilians were killed."

Maybe they don't really know what's going on ("every effort is made to prevent the injury or loss of innocent lives". or maybe they're so used to thinking they can baffle people with this double speed double think that they really just don't give a fuck. Yet, get passed that, since, - "plausible denial" -, it could be that they've killed 30 militants (and 'Hey ok some militant relatives but you know those fuckers had it coming sometime sooner or later.......). Or 30 resistance soldiers or freedom fighters however you want to define it.

It's all effect. It's a psychological operation that's as much part of the whole deal as the missiles themselves. This is a war on at least two fronts. The killing and the numbing, one might say. There are many who just don't believe this sort of stuff, of course. This, by now, is the only way to treat anything that our glorious leaders say on at least this subject. If they say 'it's not about oil' then it is. If they say 'This is a war for democratic values' - then this means we had better find out the real reason. If they say 'There were no civilians killed during this operation' - then you accept what the eye-witnesses say. After all, what have they got to believe - the evidence of their own eyes? And what have we got to believe, again? The distant sounding crackly voice of an army spokesmen and a photograph of somze old kalachnakovs - scary maybe in downtown Manchester, but out in the rocky wildness of Afghanistan, pretty much as common as cars.

Doubtless it has its desired effect on some of the people some of the time. You get lulled, can't really believe it, chain of command, geostationary satellites, integrity of purpose, smrat weapons, [yeh, sic] our boys. Time passes. The inverted commas get dropped though, later on. But once you've heard the truth plausibly denied, the truth itself becomes that bit easier to swallow. If I say 'Don't think of fried eggs', what do you unavoidably think of? When the incontrovertible evidence finally breaks through the circle of censorship placed around it, it appears as born out of the doubt surrounding its media inception. It is easier not to get shocked by it. What was once 'Denial and shock', in that order becomes 'Shock and denial'. But both are presented so as to minimise any viewer reaction.

If the story does not go away, (awkward questions, meetings, international outrage. . .) then the story passes over into the next stage. The tone is still distinctly psychopathic, in that inhumane things have been done, lied about, admitted begrudgingly under duress but are then furiously defended. No apologies of course. War means never having to say you're sorry. Here, the Sarkozies, Bushes Blairs steadfastly remind us that it is our troops who are fighting and that we must defend what they are doing come what may. You are with us or against us.

Later, the critics, having shot their bolt in the first flurry of words, are now made to look naïve. "We are fighting a ruthless terroroist enemy and neutralising them and regrettably [clutching onion] sometimes these things happen." There, the MSM can down tools, its task complete. The show moves on.

We know all this, but it needs repeating every now and then.

Earlier, the item, whatever it was again, didn't even make it to the 8 o'clock French news. Reminder here