Finnish media Media activism Tomfoolery

Editorializing The News, A Case Study…….

Central Finland’s main news daily, the Keskisuomalainen, ran a “news story” in its Saturday (07/07/07) edition of the paper, that was of such low quality that Amnesty International activist/journalist, Suvi Arapkirli earns a spot in the Tundra Tabloids’ Journalist Hall of Shame, as well as the “gate keeper” of the KS’s foreign news section, Tapani Luotola.

The reason why I placed “news story” within quotation marks, is due to the fact that upon reading the article, I quickly realized that the Keskisuomalainen’s foreign news editor had placed an overt opinion-editorial within its foreign news section, and presented it as a “news article”. It was nothing of the kind.

All of Arapkirli’s claims were old “rehashes” of earlier “ankle biting” arguments that certainly did not contain anything “new”, resembling more like the default positions of an anti-war activist on a Left wing debate forum, than the product of a serious news journalist for a major Finnish news daily.

The Keskisuomalainen –which is very much a Central Party paper– has sunk so low in their biased news reporting on the Iraq war, that they resort to publishing this kind of blatant opinionated op-ed screed by a AI activist, and parade it as news “journalism” to help fill their pages. At the very beginning of her article, Suvi Arapkirli let off an opening salvo with the following:

“Yhdysvallat ja Britannia harjoittavat valtioterroria Irakissa ja Afganistanissa. Irakin miehitys ja terrorismin “vastainen” sota horjuttanut ihmisoikeuksia kaikkialla maailmassa. / The US and Britain are practicing state terror in Iraq and in Afghanistan. Iraq’s occupation and the war against terrorism has shaken human rights throughout the world

Un-flipping-believable. Not only does the AI activist/journalist fail to distinguish between terrorism and just war ethics/Geneva Conventions, she believes that before the US dislodged the Taliban in Afghanistan and removed Saddam Hussein in Iraq, the condition of human rights throughout the world…were better. What utter nonsense.

To help further bolster her outlandish claims, Arapkirli then quotes the Lancet’s bogus number of 650 000 Iraqi dead:

“Syksyllä 2006 yhdysvaltalais-irakilainen, Johns Hopkins ja Al-Mustansiriya -yliopistojen tutkimus osoitti 650 000:n irakilaisen kuolleen miehityksen seurauksena. Tutkimus julkaistiin arvovaltaisessa lääketieteen brittiaikakauslehdessä, Lancetissa. In the Fall of 2006, US-Iraqi, John Hopkins and Al-Mustansiriya university’s research found that 650 000 Iraqis died as a result of the occupation which war published in the respected medical British journal the Lancet.”

In order for that to be the case, (which it is not) the city of Bayji which has a population of 60,000 would have to be losing around 1 600 people annually to murder. Any one coming from a small city of that size can tell you that it wouldn’t go unnoticed. The studies which make up the Lancet report are not accepted by many as being entirely trustworthy, the Iraq Body Count has strongly disagreed with the Lancet report which is 12 times larger than their own findings of 50 000 as well as contrasting greatly from Iraq’s own governmental findings.

The AI activist/free lance journalist goes further to tell us:

“Yhdysvaltain armeijan sotilaat ovat kertoneet julkisesti, miten Irakissa joukot “ampuivat kaikkea mitä liikkui” ja tappoivat “siviilejä umpimähkäisesti”. / US soldiers that have turned against the war have spoken openly , how forces in Iraq “shoot anything that move” and kill “civilians randomly”.

I’ll take war correspondent, Michael Yon’s word on how things are faring in Iraq over what AI activist/freelance journalist Suvi Arapkirli has to say. Click here. Yon states that:

“For many Iraqis, we have morphed from being invaders to occupiers to members of a tribe. I call it the “al Ameriki tribe,” or “tribe America.” “I’ve seen this kind of progression in Mosul, out in Anbar and other places, and when I ask our military leaders if they have sensed any shift, many have said, yes, they too sense that Iraqis view us differently. In the context of sectarian and tribal strife, we are the tribe that people can—more or less and with giant caveats—rely on.”

The rest of her op-ed –parading as a serious news article– goes on to further cast the US in the role of chief murderer and cover up artist of which few are ever brought to justice…bla bla bla. Then there is this last pearl:

Saddam Husseinin hirmuvallan aikana irakilaisilla oli erinomainen terveydenhuolto ja koulutus. Taloussaarto, pommitukset ja miehitys ovat tuhonneet Irakin perusrakenteita. Jälleenrakennusta estää valtava korruptio, joka hyödyttää eritoten amerikkalaisia suuryhtiöitä. / During the time of Saddam Hussein’s tyranny, Iraqis had excellent healthcare and schooling. Economic boycott, bombings and occupation has destroyed Iraq’s basic infrastructure. Rebuilding has been stifled by incredible corruption, which benifits especially US big firms.

Iraqi healthcare and schooling within Saddam’s highly tyrannical Stalinist system, where the least of offences guaranteed the supposed “offender” a systematical execution. According to Yasmine Rassam, Saddam was no feminist either (for those who support the myth that Saddam’s schooling of women was a fine example of modernist thinking in the Arab world).

Much of the anti-war propagandists’ defense of Saddam as a champion of women’s rights rests on his willingness to allow women to vote (for him), drive cars, own property, get an education and work. What they choose to ignore, however, is the systematic rapes, torture, beheadings, honor killings, forced fertility programs, and declining literacy rates that also characterized Saddam’s regime. A few examples can only begin to illustrate the cruelty and suffering endured by thousands of Iraqi women.

One torture technique favored by Saddam’s henchman and his sons involved raping a detainee’s mother or sister in front of him until he talked. In Saddam’s torture chambers women, when not tortured and raped, spent years in dark jails. If lucky, their suckling children were allowed to be with them. In most cases, however, these children were considered a nuisance to be disposed of; mass graves currently being uncovered contain many corpses of children buried alive with their mothers.

During Saddam’s war with Iran, nearly an entire generation of Iraqi men were killed, injured or captured, leaving a dearth of men of military age in Iraqi society. As a result, Saddam launched “fertility campaigns” that forcibly administered fertility drugs to school girls as young as 10 in an effort to drive up the population rate.

So much for the social infrastructure nightmare of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. The rebuilding of Iraq –contrary of Arapkirli’s claims– has indeed proceeded along, according to Newsweek, its economy is growing at great leaps and bounds, in spite of fighting a difficult insurgency. Of course US firms have benifited, seeing that it is US blood and money flowing in Iraq, it’s only right that US firms be included in the rebuilding of it.

But to omit that the murderous terrorist insurgency which has played a major role in impeding Iraq’s development, speaks more about Suvi Arapkirli’s activist journalism, than her list of sources for the op-ed/”news story”.

Lähteet: BBC, ABC, CNN, Guardian, Independent, Unicef, Washington Post, New York Times, Boston Globe, ZNet, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch


2 Responses

  1. What happened with Hannu Reime who was briefly featured in your Hall of Shame?

  2. He’s quietly waiting in the back wings, I’m waiting for his reply to an ongoing exchange we’re presently having.

    No doubt that his face will again be hung in the “Hall of Shame”.

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