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Central Finland Newspaper’s Reporting; a Hostage of Its Own Politics…….

The managing editor for the Keskisuomalainen‘s foreign news, Tapani Luotola, wrote an op-ed in yesterday’s paper (31.3.07) under the title “Kielletty sana”, or “The Forbidden Word”. Taking on the subject of the recent hostage taking by Iran of fifteen British sailors and marines, Luotola first gives the reader a history lesson on hostage taking, starting from the Trojan wars all the way to the present day crisis.

In the second half of the op-ed, Luotola then “primes the pump” for his readers, juxtaposing Saddam’s Iraq with the US:

“In the First Gulf War with Iraq’s leader Saddam Hussein sudden occupation of Kuwait, all the foreigners that remained were used for months as hostages, but formally they were Iraqi “guests”. In January when the United States arrested five Iranians inside Iraq, the Iranians said they were diplomats, for the US, Republican Guards. Representatives from Iran have not been able to visit those arrested, nor have any charges been brought against them, nor are their present whereabouts and condition been made known.”

Even to the casual observer, there is no comparison in what Saddam Hussein did inside Kuwait (invading its neighbor and using civilians as hostages) with the US’s arresting of five Iranian Republican Guards inside Iraq, who by the way, were busy helping an insurgency to kill both civilians and US/Coalition soldiers. The strange but typical thinking by the managing foreign news editor continues:

“The British soldiers falling into the hands of the Iranians have already been linked by some, to the Americans’ arresting of Iranians. On hand is a classic example of hostage taking, even though the Iranian’s formal justification for the Brits’ arrest was for violating territorial waters, which the Brits have emphatically denied. What is undeniable in the confused happenings, is that the Brits were not putsing around in territorial waters, but in a disputed waterway. The Iranian charges could very well be true, especially since the Coalition has lied so much during the Iraq war.”

I assume that the purpose behind the Luotola op-ed was to enlighten his readers, but how can he possibly hope to do that by obfuscating the issue for them, by (a) first appearing to morally equate both sides, (b) making it into a “he said she said” type of argument and then (c) then in spite of all the evidence available, it’s the Iranians that are wrongly being blamed as “the bad guys”, the real villains are “the lying US and its Coalition” ?

Another interesting point to be made, is that even if Luotola is right about “the 15 Brits being taken in a”disputed waterway”, the fact that it is “disputed” does not constitute a de facto right to the area in question by the disgruntled party who’s making the claim. Legally, the area in which the incident took place –and the Brits have the evidence to prove it– is Iraqi territory.

Just what is the Keskisuomalainen’s foreign news editor trying to prove with his half baked logic? This is the type of “editorializing” and “news reporting” that can be expected from the Central Finland’s main news daily. Both departments are indistinguishable from the other when it comes to their open hostility towards both the US and Israel .

In the Keskisuomalainen’s alter universe, Iran, a terrorism supporting dictatorship has more credibility than the fellow democracies of the US and Britain, who are risking life and limb in trying to ensure a better future for Iraq and the region. *L* KGS

Note:Here’s another newsdaily with a problem of seperating its foreign news and editorial department. More here.

The Sun has an interesting take on the hostage taking here.

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