‘Shining lies’ and distortion: how the West creates wars
JAN 26, 2015

2014 was not just the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I — the war that was supposed to end all wars — it was also the 50th anniversary of the August 1964 Tonkin Gulf resolution that ushered in a war that has never ended.

The resolution claimed to be the response to an alleged attack against a U.S. destroyer by a North Vietnamese patrol boat. Today no one even pretends the attack took place. It was, to borrow the words of American reporter in Vietnam, Neil Sheehan, “a bright shining lie.” But some 2 million to 3 million people had to die as a result.

1964 was also the anniversary of an extraordinary event that I happened to witness inside the Kremlin. It was never publicized. Apart from the actors involved, I am probably the only one who knows the details — details that showed even better than Tonkin Gulf the ignorance, distortion and irresponsibility that the West uses to create its wars.

In October of that year and at Washington’s instigation, an Australian foreign minister, Paul Hasluck, traveled all the way to Moscow to demand a meeting with the top Soviet leadership. He then set out to warn them of Chinese ambitions not only against Vietnam but also against what he said was the Soviet territory of Xinjiang (in fact czarist designs on Xinjiang had ended more than a century earlier).

Therefore, he said, the Soviets should join us in Vietnam to help curb Beijing’s blatant aggressions. Soviet Premier Alexei Kosygin’s reply to this nonsense can be imagined. But back in Australia details of the debacle were never released. Some time later, Australia sent troops to Vietnam to help stop those mythical Chinese.

Soon we were to see more “shining lies” — this time about the alleged weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and secret contacts with al-Qaida needed to justify the invasion of Iraq. And this time a million or so had to be die as a result.

Then came Afghanistan. There we were told that the Islamists who earlier had opposed the Soviets were freedom fighters. But they became terrorists when they opposed the United States.

Now we have another enemy, this time Russia in Ukraine. Yet from the beginning Moscow had made clear it wanted only to help Russian-speakers in eastern districts gain the same federal status as is granted readily by many other nations with minorities or that need better government in the regions. It did not want those Russian-speakers to break away and join Russia.

Even so it was accused of land-grab aggression. When Russia later intervened to help protect local citizens from brutal Ukrainian attacks (much basic infrastructure has been destroyed and close to 1 million have been forced to flee) Moscow was again accused of aggression and hit with severe sanctions.

In the former Yugoslavia the Western propaganda machine had to work even harder to turn black into white. Highly justified Serbian resistance to the ethnic Albanian attempt to expel the large Serbian population in Kosovo was somehow portrayed as a Serbian attempt to expel the ethnic Albanians.

Once again sanctions were imposed and Serbia was bombed viciously to force it to bow to this fiction.

Why this shameless eagerness to ignore facts and create wars? And why is it accepted so unquestioningly by a supine media? After World War I, many tried hard to construct a new world based on the morality of laws, truth and justice. Today theology has taken over from morality. Laws, truth and justice are readily sacrificed so that our version of good can prevail in the world.

And the media does little to query the events, including even the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center, used to perpetuate the good versus evil mythology.

I was on Canberra’s China desk during the 1962 China-India frontier war. Myself and colleagues in London and Washington had the maps and information to show that India had started the confrontation.

But that made no impression on our governments. Denunciations of unprovoked Chinese aggression began immediately and did much to lead to the fiction that China was responsible for the Vietnam War.

The London Economist devoted a special issue pillorying those of us who they said had failed to realize Chinese southward thrusting ambitions not just in India and Vietnam but allegedly in Afghanistan too!

Media mythology went overboard with the 1989 Tiananmen Square incident. At first our propaganda machine told us how Chinese troops had machine-gunned hundreds of protesting students in the square. When on-the-spot witnesses said they saw nothing like that, the action was shifted to outside the square, where it is true that revenge-seeking soldiers had been shooting wildly at the crowds.

But we heard nothing about why this might have happened — that anti-regime crowds earlier had firebombed the soldiers as they came into Beijing, with dozens badly burned or killed and their charred corpses strung up under bridges. Western sanctions imposed to punish Beijing for the distorted version of the incident continue to this day, perpetuating the myth of China as yet another source of evil that has to be countered.

Tiananmen saw media bias at its worst. A photo of a student standing before a row of army tanks during the incident is often used to prove regime brutality and student bravery. We now discover from the photographer that the student was standing playfully before the tanks as they were trying to leave Beijing a day later.

But no matter: If anyone wants further to demonize Beijing, photos of “tank man” are dragged out. But we never get to see the readily available photos of those charred corpses.

Switch to the Middle East and we see this same bias at work. Vandalistic Israeli bombing attacks on Gaza inhabitants were blamed on rocket firings from Gaza. But those rocket firings were a desperate effort to try to force an end to the cruel and inhuman siege Israel had imposed on Gaza for years — something the West should have moved to halt decades ago if it had any sense of justice.

Today Islamic activists upset by this and other injustices, Iraq especially, are being hit by drone attacks. But when those attacked try to seek revenge our governments and media cry “terror.”

Sometimes they add the word cowardly, as if those who risk their lives to get that revenge are guilty while those who sit in secure Florida barracks pressing drone-control buttons that can wipe out entire families in an instant are the heroes.

At times the button-pushers like to fire another rocket, when rescuers are trying to remove the dead and wounded from the first attack.

The Western nations face a difficult enough task in trying to cope with Islamic extremism. Their insensitivity to realities will make it even harder.

“真っ赤なうそ”と歪曲── 米欧流戦争のつくり方



1964年はまた、私がクレムリン内で目撃した異常な出来事の記念日でもあった。公表されることのなかった事件だ。事件の当事者以外には、その詳細を知るのは、おそらく私ひとりではなかろうか。── それはトンキン湾以上に欧米が戦争を作り出すのに使う、無知と歪曲と無責任さを暴露している出来事だ。



まもなく、さらに“輝けるうそ”の数々がまかり通る。── イラク進攻を正当化するために必要だった、イラクにおけるいわゆる大量破壊兵器と、アルカイダとの秘密コネクションであり、これによる死者は今回は、100万以上といわれた。


そしていま、新しい敵が生まれた。── ウクライナにおけるロシアである。ところがモスクワは最初から、彼らが求めているのは東部地域のロシア系住民が連邦的地位を獲得することへの支援に限っていることを明確にしていた。このスタイルの地位は、少数民族を抱える地域あるいは、よりマシな政府を立てたいとする地域をもつ、他の多くの国々が実施している方式である。モスクワは、ロシア系住民がウクライナと分かれてロシアに入ることを目的としたわけではなかった。









ロンドン・エコノミストは、彼らのいう“中国の野心”── インド、ベトナムだけでなく、いわゆるアフガニスタンも含めた南方侵攻野心── を見ようとしないわれわれをきびしく攻撃した特別記事まで載せたのである。


けれども、なぜ復讐を求めたのか、全く説明がない。── つまり、それに先立ち、反体制派の群衆が、北京に入ってきた兵士たちを火炎瓶で攻撃、数十名の兵士が死亡あるいは重症のやけどを負い、彼らの黒こげ死体がいくつか橋から吊り下げられたという事実が示されていない。この歪められた報道に基づいた米欧による北京制裁がいまも続いている。これもまた中国の悪の新しい証拠で対決が必要だという神話が、恒久化してしまった。




今日、あれやこれやの不正義──とくにイラクに関して── に怒ったイスラム活動家たちは、無人機の攻撃の的になっている。ところが、これらの攻撃の被害者が報復しようとすると、われわれ米欧の政府やメディアはテロだと息巻く。