Covering Terrorism in the National Post

Page A12 of the April 29th edition of the National Post makes for an interesting read.

Above the fold, the page is dominated by a huge picture of an April 27th ‘Iranian-American rally in New York to denounce Iran’s continued nuclear activities.’ The picture sits above a commanding headline: ‘Bush tears into Iran over "intransigence".’ Two smaller headlines–‘Deadline Passes’ and ‘United Nations nuclear inspectors stonewalled’–precede Steven Edwards’ byline, whence the usual distortions and glaring omissions begin.

What makes this page interesting is not Edwards’ rehearsal of White House spin, but the placement of the prominent photograph of the ‘Iranian-American rally’ (five columns wide out of a possible six) next to another, shorter story running down the single remaining left-hand column entitled ‘Canada a ‘haven’ for terrorists: Washington,’ by Sheldon Alberts.

Alberts’ story is based on the US State Department’s recently released Country Report on Terrorism, but, ironically, the photograph running next to his article (which is obviously meant to reinforce the Edwards’ story’s point about Iran’s alleged nuclear-weapons program) ends up demonstrating that the United States is, itself, a ‘haven for terrorists.’

The demonstrators the National Post has chosen to feature are holding signs and banners bearing the names and pictures of ‘Massoud Rajavi’ and ‘Maryam Rajavi,’ Iranian exiles who have played a variety of leadership roles in the Mojahidin-e-Khalq (MEK) and its associated organizations over many years. The MEK and its various fronts seek the ‘violent overthrow of the Iranian regime.’

How do I know that about the MEK?

Well, since 1997, the MEK has been considered a terrorist organization by–you guessed it–the US State Department, and is, in fact, listed in section 8 of the very report Sheldon Alberts quotes in calling Canada a ‘safe haven’ for terrorists.

Among the activities ascribed to the MEK by the US State Department are the following:

Killing US civilians and supporting the takeover of the US embassy in 1979.

Killing 70 high-ranking Iranian officials in a 1981 bomb attack.

Assisting the government of Saddam Hussein in its war against Iran, and in the crushing of the of the Shi’ite and Kurdish rebellions following the Gulf War.

This one’s worth quoting in full, because of its similarity to the tactics of Al’Qaeda: ‘In April 1992, the MEK conducted near-simultaneous attacks on Iranian embassies and installations in 13 countries, demonstrating the group’s ability to mount large-scale operations overseas.’

Other assassinations and attempted assassinations.

Sadly, one learns from the BBC, that the MEK enjoys ‘considerable’ support in the US Congress, despite its history of terrorism.

So, let’s review:

To bolster a story portraying Iran as a global renegade, the National Post runs a huge picture of what can only be called US-based supporters of terrorism (according to the US State Department’s own definition, that is), and, furthermore, it runs this picture next to another article criticizing Canada for being a ‘haven’ for terrorists and their supporters.

The ironies are almost too many to count.

I guess we could laugh this whole thing off, except that we know our governments in the US and Canada (and their friends in the media) repeatedly tell us that we’re engaged in a ‘war on terror,’ and need to do whatever it takes to stop the ‘terrorists’ from destroying democracy, freedom and civilization itself.

In fact, as the supporters of an acknowledged terrorist organization march freely in New York, receiving ‘considerable’ support in the US Congress and benign coverage in the National Post, what we do learn is what the so-called ‘war on terror’ is all about: It’s a war on ‘their’ terror against ‘us.’

As for ‘our’ terror against ‘them’…

rabble.ca – 30 April 2006

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