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Saturday 26th
posted by Paddy McGuffin in Features

The Paddy McGuffin column

A LIE can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.” Mark Twain. 

The fourth estate has not exactly covered itself in glory of late, which is pretty much par for the course. But even by its own legendarily barrel-scraping standards it has outdone itself in the last few weeks in the craven toadying stakes.

First up there was coverage of the shooting down of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 with the loss of almost 300 lives. The wreckage had hardly cooled when the propaganda machine kicked into gear and the finger of blame started being pointed.

Still, paucity of evidence has never been a hindrance in the past for the ladies and gentlemen of her majesty’s press.

Now this column does not subscribe to the current trend for wild conjecture and partisan postulation, unless it’s doing it. 

Just because something makes good pub debate it does not necessarily follow that it should find its way into the pages of the august organs of the press. Unless you work for the Scum in which case that’s pretty much where ALL your stories come from.

Don’t get me wrong, I like a conspiracy theory as much as the next man, unless the next man’s David Icke in which case it’s just weird. Paranoia is a sane reaction to an insane world.

The only conspiracies this column can see in all this however are these… When scrabbling for historical precedents for such atrocities Lockerbie was of course frequently cited. 

This is curious for two reasons. Firstly, while the appalling loss of life was comparable the methodology was not. Pan Am flight 103 was blown up by a bomb planted on the plane. It was not shot down.

What no-one, with the honourable exception of Dr Jim Swire who lost his daughter in the Lockerbie bombing, seems to have mentioned is that there was an incident six months before Lockerbie that almost exactly replicates what occurred with flight MH17.

On July 3, 1988, Iranian Air flight 655 was blown out of the sky with surface-to-air missiles fired from the USS Vincennes. All 290 passengers, including 66 children, were killed.

The parallels, I’m sure you will agree, are uncanny yet not one so-called expert wheeled in to pontificate on MH17 saw fit to mention it.

The US claimed it had thought the Airbus was an F-14 Tomcat, refused to apologise and the entire incident appears to have been all but airbrushed from history.

The second conspiracy is why the story is still receiving more coverage than the ongoing situation in Gaza.

It would take a brave — well, foolhardy anyway — individual who could pick a side when it comes to the ongoing dust-up in Ukraine. 

Conversely it is an act of absolute craven cowardice not to take a stand when it comes to the ongoing slaughter in Gaza.

At time of writing over 800 Palestinians, many of them children, have been massacred by the Israeli forces.

Yet the pusillanimous parasites of the press persist in regurgitating the Israeli line that the murderous assault is “proportionate” and necessary.

The sheer level of mendacity and connivance required to continue with this sickening sham is truly disgusting.

Eight hundred Palestinian lives against the deaths of two Israeli civilians and around 30 IDF troops. Hardly proportionate.

This column has spoken before of Israel’s almost unique policy of pre-emptive retaliation. 

However, there is also the equally thorny issue of retrospective justification. 

This is not unique to Israel of course, but they are past masters.

Gaza has been under siege since the murderous Operation Cast Lead, which claimed an estimated 1,400 Palestinian lives and saw white phosphorous fired into the most densely populated region on Earth.

The Israeli government has repeatedly and cynically claimed that civilians are only being killed because they haven’t left Gaza, therefore effectively being responsible for their own fates and, in the Israeli state’s warped judgement, proving their support for Hamas.

There are 1.8 million people in Gaza in what is effectively the largest concentration camp in history. Where exactly are they supposed to go? 

The IDF is one of the best equipped armies in the world, thanks to billions of dollars of military “aid” from the US each year. 

It is using fighter jets, tanks and missiles to decimate the civilian population.

Hamas too is targeting civilian areas in Israel, although targeting is perhaps not the right word as the Qassam rockets they habitually use are so inaccurate you’d be lucky to hit a barn door at 20 paces. 

Yet if you believed the slavish Western media you could be forgiven for thinking there was a parity of arms.

According to the IDF over 1,500 of these rockets have been fired into Israeli territory yet only two fatalities have occurred. Which gives you some idea how effective they are.

By contrast much as been made about the “precision strikes” launched by Israel. 

Those would be the “precision strikes” which have hit hospitals, killed entire families of civilians and, on Thursday, destroyed a UN-run school housing children evacuated from their homes.

Well, call me pedantic, but if they are as precise as is claimed then these targets must have been hit deliberately. You can’t have it both ways.

It’s a good job we’ve got such a hard-working and dedicated Middle East peace envoy isn’t it otherwise God knows what would happen …

Blair has been conspicuously absent from the region since the crisis began although he did turn up in London this week to give a self-aggrandising speech to mark the 20th anniversary of him sliming his way to the Labour Party leadership.

Now there’s a man who’s got his priorities straight.

During the Q&A he was quizzed about his personal wealth.

The former PM and general dictator-botherer claimed that suggestions he was worth £200 million were laughable.

For once I agree with the man — I wouldn’t give you tuppence for him.