Just imagine… if the US (not Russia) had reportedly killed ISIS leader
How would Western media have responded if it was reported that it was 'highly likely’ that US air strikes had killed the head of ISIS? We’d have been told, of course, how it proved that the US was the ’greatest nation on earth.'
We'd also be reminded how grateful we should be that America - aka ‘The World’s Policeman’ - always went after - and got - ‘the bad guys.'
Then there would be those ‘We Came, We Saw, He Died'-style comments from leading US politicians. Donald Trump would be boasting about the killing for the rest of his life.
al-Baghdadi vs. Osama bin Laden - spot the difference
But Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the head of ISIS, was reportedly killed by Russian airstrikes, not US ones, so there hasn’t been much fuss made. In fact, many leading pundits and commentators didn’t even bother to tweet the news.
It’s revealing to compare the low-key coverage of the al-Baghadi story to the great fanfare which greeted the news that Osama bin Laden had reportedly been killed by US Navy SEALs in Pakistan in 2011. Then, large crowds - waving the stars-and-stripes - gathered in Times Square and other US cities to celebrate. Former President George W. Bush hailed a "momentous achievement." NATO Secretary Rasmussen lauded a "significant success." The media was equally euphoric. 'Got Him! Vengeance at last - US nails the bastard,' was the splash on the New York Post. ‘Justice has been done - US Forces kill Bin Laden,’ announced the Washington Post. ‘Rot in Hell’! Osama bin Laden killed in secret attack by US forces,’ exclaimed the Toronto Sun.
The headlines surrounding the killing of the head of ISIS, by contrast, have been rather more muted - and skeptical. ‘Russia claims to have killed ISIS leader,’ says Newsweek. ‘Little proof to back Russian claims they killed al-Baghdadi in air-strike,’ declared the Toronto Sun. ‘White House casts doubt on Russia’s claims it killed ISIS leader,’ reported Politico in an article that - surprise, surprise - made it straight to al-Baghdadi’s Wikipedia page.
Although it's true that we still don’t have physical evidence that the ISIS head honcho was killed in a Russian airstrike, it's worth pointing out that we never actually saw physical evidence of Osama bin Laden’s death either.
But it was the US government which claimed to have killed him, so skepticism did not feature in the newspaper headlines. In fact, any doubting of the official narrative in 2011 would have seen you dismissed as a crazy conspiracy theorist. If Uncle Sam says something is true, well, we are all expected to believe it. It’s all very different though if someone else claims to have killed the ‘bad guy’- particularly if the country in question is an ‘Official Enemy‘. Russia killing the head of ISIS doesn't fit the State Department-friendly narrative. So let’s either rubbish it or ignore it.
No need to hurry Theresa - we’re on your side!
Just imagine… if Labour had been the largest party in the House of Commons following the UK election on 8th June, but was nine seats short of a majority. And that Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn had then spent over two weeks trying to do a deal with the Irish Republican party Sinn Fein - who traditionally don’t take their seats in Westminster - to enable him to form a government. We can be sure that the pressure from the Establishment on Corbyn to step aside and let Tory leader Theresa May try and form a government would have been unrelenting. Elite pundits would be on TV 24/7 telling us that Corbyn attempts to form ‘a coalition of chaos’ was endangering our democracy.
But it’s Theresa May who has spent over two weeks desperately trying to get an agreement with a Northern Irish political party (the DUP), and there’s been no great pressure on her to ‘get a move on.’ It’s more a case of ’Take your time Theresa, whenever you’re ready.’ The Establishment is not always this indulgent of Prime Ministers trying to hang on to power following a loss of seats in a General Election. When Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown lost his majority in the 2010 general election he was told in no uncertain terms that he had to step down with immediate effect ‘for the good of the country.'
"In the space of five tumultuous days, Britain has gone from democracy as we know it to the brink of dictatorship," declared an editorial in the Sun newspaper as the ‘squatter’ Gordon Brown hung on. Other commentators accused Brown of trying to carry out a ‘coup’.
While it’s true that Brown polled a significantly lower share of the vote to May (29 percent to 42.3 percent) they were both Prime Ministers who lost their majority, but who still, post-election, had the possibility of staying on if they were able to pull off deals with other parties. But their treatment was very different. As Corbyn’s would have been - and indeed will be - if he finds himself in the same position as May next time.
'Target states bring terrorism upon themselves'
Just imagine... if there had been deadly ISIS attacks on Capitol Hill and the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, killing 13, and the Iranian President had issued a statement in response that declared, "we underscore that states that sponsor terrorism risk falling victim to the evil they promote... "
Elite newspapers would, I’m sure, be full of 'outraged' opeds saying that the comments showed the 'moral depravity of the Iranian regime.' Yet President Trump published those comments following ISIS attacks on the Tehran parliament and the tomb of Ayatollah Khomeini and no one in the mainstream seemed particularly outraged - not even professional Trump-bashers.
What made his comments even more shocking is that Iran has been fighting ISIS terrorism in Syria. But of course we can’t really big that up, can we, as it goes against the neocon narrative of Iran being "the world’s number one sponsor of terrorism."
‘Target states’ like Iran can never be the innocent, undeserving victims of terrorist attacks, even when they clearly are. It’s also worth remembering that when the US was hit by the 9/11 attacks in 2001, the Iranian leadership strongly condemned the act of terrorism and candlelight vigils for the victims were held throughout the country. There was no talk of the US falling victim to an 'evil' which they had 'promoted.’
US shooting down YOUR planes inside YOUR own country is self-defense!
Just imagine… if the Syrian government and its allies had spent the past six years funding, backing and training anti-government radical Islamist 'rebels' in the US. Then the Syrian Air Force had started bombing the US and unilaterally declared its own 'De-Confliction Zones’ on American territory to protect its ‘assets’ on the ground. After this, a US fighter jet that was attacking what the US government called 'terrorists' in Texas was shot down by the Syrian forces. Would the action be called 'self-defense'?
And if the US- and its allies- then said they would treat Syrian jets bombing the US as potential targets- would they be cast as the aggressors? I think not. But if we reverse the two countries around this is exactly what the US has been doing in Syria. They’re illegally bombing a sovereign state-but then say they’re acting in ’self-defense’ when that country’s military takes action over its own territory. The imperial arrogance is off the scale, but we’re meant not to notice.
Don’t mention who’s arming the war! (if the ‘good guys’ are responsible)
Just imagine… if ‘the world’s worst cholera outbreak’ had broken out in a country which a close Russian ally had been bombing back to the Stone Age for over two years? And that the close Russian ally had been armed, trained and given logistical support by Russia. Don’t you think the Kremlin involvement would have been mentioned in this report here?
And because ‘we’ in the west are always ‘the good guys’ our responsibility for the human catastrophe in Yemen can’t be mentioned, in the same way as the UK/US role in transforming Libya into a terrorist-ridden failed state is also taboo.
Strange silence of the anti-censorship brigade
Just imagine… if Russia, or Iran, gave the tiny country of Qatar a 10-day ultimatum to agree to 13 demands, which included taking the international broadcaster Al Jazeera off air and Qatar changing its foreign policy. That’s after Russia or Iran had imposed and got others to agree to a diplomatic and trading embargo on Qatar.
We can be sure that this obnoxious, bullying behavior would have made headlines around the world, and led to widespread condemnation as well as calls for military action against Moscow or Tehran.
But it's that very close Western ally Saudi Arabia giving the ultimatum to Qatar, so there's silence. Let's keep shtum about the ’threats to media freedom,’ and carry on tweeting our attacks on RT, shall we?
Follow Neil Clark on Twitter @NeilClark66
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.