BBC helps Saudis whitewash arms trade to Syrian jihadis


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It’s depressing but monotonously familiar to see how the BBC cringingly censors itself to avoid upsetting anyone powerful. They’re hyper-aware that the Tories will attack them and threaten their funding at the drop of a hat, but they don’t seem to have grasped the difference between criticism and bullying.

The Tories’ employers have ordered them to get rid of the BBC, and like obedient, dimwitted Saint Bernards they have been plodding away at the task for the last 30 years. They accuse the BBC of left-wing bias; the Beeb meekly increases the “balance” of pro-establishment comment; and then once the new baseline is established, Tories accuse them of left-wing bias again. It doesn’t matter how authoritarian the BBC gets, this ratchet will never stop, because the goal isn’t “balance”, it’s “Rupert Murdoch wants the BBC gone”.

I just really wish the BBC would wake up to this and say “fuck it, we’ll just report the news in a principled and honest way”. Apart from being a moral duty, it’d probably make their funding more, not less secure, because then the Tories would be seen as trying to censor a critical voice, instead of defunding a public institution that does nothing but apologise for how wrong and evil it is.


From a military-industrial-complex point of view it sounds like things are operating like a well-oiled machine.


Careful there, Cory. Have you somehow forgotten that we’ve always been at war with Eastasia?


Umm - the report doesn’t say that British manufactured arms are going to AQ affiliates. It suggests that Saudi arms are - but the kit that SA buys from the UK (Eurofighters etc) isn’t going anywhere near them. The UK has almost no small arms manufacturing, and some cursory googling suggests that the TOW missiles that SA are supplying come from the USA. So, irrespective of the BBC’s usual attempts to cover it’s blushes, there’s no suggestion British kit is going to jihadis…


That’s true-- it was the Saudi government, rather than the British government, for which the BBC were directly covering-- and it’s unhelpful for a post about journalistic ethics to blur the details like that.

Still, as a defence of the UK establishment’s (and the BBC’s) relation to Saudi Arabia, it’s pretty thin. Even if you pretend the Saudi state itself uses weapons only for good, and even if the UK only sold “good” weapons, there’s still a pretty direct link between (1) rolling around on a big pile of weapons and (2) being able to generously give weapons to other people.


Only in the sense that SA needs to be secure in itself before it can export foreign policy. Having lots of tanks may make them a bit happier to give others anti-tank weapons, but not much so. And an insecure SA would be a pretty massive problem for the world.


Why the outrage?

Haven’t we always been at war with EastAsia?


[bows low]


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