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'Path to 911' is a joke on BBC - UPDATED

by Helen Wed Sep 6th, 2006 at 07:57:49 AM EST

Okay, as revealed last night, the Path to 911 programme that ABC have confected is being broadcast on the BBC. Instead of the 5 hrs, it's been cut to 2 hrs. Nevertheless it still claims in a hold in the credits that "The preceeding dramatization is based on the 9/11 Commission Report and other published sources and personal interview. Composite and representative characters and incidents have been used for dramatic purposes".

However as Sheldon at FDL comments

"if the goal were simply to inform the public, however, ABC would have produced an actual documentary rather than a docudrama, which gives the producers license to distort facts whenever and however they wish, while also pretending that their work is somehow a re-enactment of reality."


The credits also roll fairly quickly through other sources such as based in part on "1000 years of Revenge" by Peter Lance and "Relentless Pursuit" by Samuel Katz (who is also a consultant on the project).

Problems with Path to 911 so far identified.

I apologise for taking so much from Sheldon's post at Firedoglake, but it is eesential that everybody here understand the depth of dishonesty within this film.

http://www.firedoglake.com/2006/09/04/hijacking-911/

According to Barone, one "gripping scene" shows "CIA agents surrounding bin Laden's encampments and then being called back when National Security Adviser Sandy Berger refuses to give a go-ahead for the operation." Conservative filmmaker Govindini Murty was also impressed by the same scene, writing a glowing review that was published both on her own blog and on Human Events, the "national conservative weekly."

She writes:

One astonishing sequence in "The Path to 9/11" shows the CIA and the Northern Alliance surrounding Bin Laden's house in Afghanistan. They're on the verge of capturing Bin Laden, but they need final approval from the Clinton administration in order to go ahead. They phone Clinton, but he and his senior staff refuse to give authorization for the capture of Bin Laden, for fear of political fall-out if the mission should go wrong and civilians are harmed. National Security Adviser Sandy Berger in essence tells the team in Afghanistan that if they want to capture Bin Laden, they'll have to go ahead and do it on their own without any official authorization. ... The episode is a perfect example of Clinton-era irresponsibility and incompetence.

The only problem with this "perfect example", which Murty praises because it "honestly depicts how the Clinton administration repeatedly bungled the capture of Osama Bin Laden," is that it didn't happen. In reality, it was CIA director George Tenet, not Berger, who called off the operation -- which never got anywhere near "surrounding Bin Laden's house in Afghanistan."

According to the 9/11 commision report on which the movie is supposedly based, Tenet told us that given the recommendation of his chief operations officers, he alone had decided to "turn off" the operation. He had simply informed Berger, who had not pushed back. Berger's recollection was similar. He said the plan was never presented to the White House for a decision.
The CIA's senior management clearly did not think the plan would work. Tenet's deputy director of operations wrote to Berger a few weeks later that the CIA assessed the tribals' ability to capture Bin Ladin and deliver him to U.S. officials as low.

In an interview with the far-right Front Page Magazine, "Path to 9/11" screenwriter Nowrasteh said that the 9/11 report "details the Clinton's administration's response -- or lack of response -- to Al Qaeda and how this emboldened Bin Laden to keep attacking American interests.

The worst example is the response to the October, 2000 attack on the U.S.S. COLE in Yemen where 17 American sailors were killed. There simply was no response. Nothing."

Again, the actual commission report described thing differently:

As evidence of al Qaeda's responsibility for the Cole attack came in during November 2000, National Security Advisor Samuel Berger asked the Pentagon to develop a plan for a sustained air campaign against the Taliban. Clarke developed a paper laying out a formal, specific ultimatum. But Clarke's plan apparently did not advance to formal consideration by the Small Group of principals. We have found no indication that the idea was briefed to the new administration or that Clarke passed his paper to them, although the same team of career officials spanned both administrations.

The commission's executive summary explains that by the time Al Qaeda was definitely identified as the party responsible for attacking the Cole, Clinton had left office, and it was Bush who declined to take action:

After the October 2000 attack on the USS Cole, evidence accumulated that it had been launched by al Qaeda operatives, but without confirmation that Bin Ladin had given the order. The Taliban had earlier been warned that it would be held responsible for another Bin Ladin attack on the United States. The CIA described its findings as a "preliminary judgment"; President Clinton and his chief advisers told us they were waiting for a conclusion before deciding whether to take military action. The military alternatives remained unappealing to them.
The transition to the new Bush administration in late 2000 and early 2001 took place with the Cole issue still pending. President George W. Bush and his chief advisers accepted that al Qaeda was responsible for the attack on the Cole, but did not like the options available for a response.

Bin Ladin's inference may well have been that attacks, at least at the level of the Cole, were risk free.

There is another political wrinkle to this that should be noted. The attack on the Cole occurred in October 2000, near the end of Clinton's presidency and at the peak of the election campaign between George W. Bush and Al Gore. A military strike under those circumstances, in the absence of clear evidence linking Al Qaeda to the Cole attack, would have been instantly denounced by Republicans as an election-season publicity stunt designed to benefit Gore. And it was the FBI and CIA that failed to provide the clear rationale that Clinton would have needed to justify such action. In Richard Clarke's book, Against All Enemies, he describes the handling of the Cole attack as follows:

The Yemeni government also dragged its feet in the investigation, leading to President Clinton's becoming personally involved. The U.S. government left the Yemenis in no doubt about the two alternative paths that Yemeni-American relations could take.

Meanwhile in Washington neither CIA nor FBI would state the obvious: al Qaeda did it. ... It was difficult to gain support for a retaliatory strike when neither FBI nor CIA would say that al Qaeda did it.
 ...
Clinton left office with bin Laden alive, but having authorized action to eliminate him and to step up the attacks on al Qaeda. He had defeated al Qaeda when it attempted to take over Bosnia by having its fighters dominate the defense of the breakaway state from Serbian attacks. He had seen earlier than anyone that terrorism would be the major new threat facing America, and therefore had greatly increased funding for counterterrorism and initiated homeland protection programs. He had put an end to Iraqi and Iranian terrorism against the United States by quickly acting against the intelligence services of each nation.

Because of the intensity of the political opposition that Clinton encountered, he had been heavily criticized for bombing al Qaeda camps in Afghanistan, for engaging in "Wag the Dog" tactics to divert attention from a scandal about his personal life. For similar reasons, he could not fire the recalcitrant FBI director who had failed to fix the Bureau or to uncover terrorists in the United States.
 ...
When Clinton left office many people, including the incoming Bush administration, thought that he and his administration were overly obsessed with al Qaeda. ... Why was Clinton so worked up about al Qaeda and why did he talk to President-elect Bush about it and have Sandy Berger raise it with his successor as National Security Advisor, Condi Rice? In January 2001, the new administration really thought Clinton's recommendation that eliminating al Qaeda be one of their highest priorities, well, rather odd, like so many of the Clinton administration's actions, from their perspective.

William Rivers Pitt has written a detailed account of the initiatives initiated under Clinton to deal with Al Qaeda and the threat of terrorism. PBS has produced a documentary (not a docudrama) that offers fascinating insights into the life and career of John O'Neill, the counterterrorism expert who presciently warned about Al Qaeda prior to 9/11 and who is portrayed in "The Path to 9/11" by actor Harvey Keitel. The New Yorker has also written a nuanced, detailed profile of O'Neill that avoids political spin.

If people want to understand the failures that led to 9/11, they should turn to these and other examples of actual journalism rather than the mix of fact, fantasy and deliberate distortion that ABC/Disney plans to broadcast on the fifth anniversary of America's deadliest terrorist attack

Although the full programme has been shortened, these scenes are still in the version to be broadcast here.

Now the question is "what do we want to do about it ?" And if so, "what tack do we take?" The fact is that although this is fake history, it has no direct impact on domestic British politics. Fake history has been broadcast before and few, if anybody, died as a result. So what is our approach ?

The BBC is the broadcaster of record. There is a tendency, despite the fulminations on websites such as "BBC Biased", for its productions to attain an aura of the official record. So if this is broadcast unchallenged it will attain the imprimature of "this is what happened". So what approach do we take to make British people care that the version portrayed is misleading and deceitful ?

Once we decide on that, I would suggest that we make the editors of the Guardian (which had a woeful war and may wish to catch up), the Independent (obviously) and maybe even the Mirror aware of the firestorm over the deceptions in this programme and let them run with it.

As Public enemy nearly sang;-
You better wake up and smell the real flavor
Path to 911 is a Bush repute saver

So get up, get, get get down
Path to 911 is a joke in yo town
Get up, get, get, get down
Path to 911 wears the fake crown

Path to 911 is a joke

Update [2006-9-8 10:56:3 by Helen]: I've sent this letter to the editor's of the Guardian, Independent and Mirror. I just feel it is the least I can do

This weekend the BBC intends to broadcast a shortened form of the ABC/Disney docudrama "The Path to 911. However, this production has a such a rabidly partisan political slant that there is a growing concern in the USA as to whether it should be broadcast at all.

This mockudrama, which takes real people and creates about them fake events with fake dialogue to completely misrepresent their intentions & actions is an insult to the memory of the 3,000 dead who died that day. For instance, the opening half hour sequence portrays a US team in position to "take-out" Osama Bin-Laden, only to have their mission aborted by Presidential dithering has only one flaw…it never happened. Not. Even. Close.

The entire programme takes the same viewpoint from start to finish, it invents episodes that never happened and puts dialogue into people's mouths. The point at all times is to consistently blame Clinton and the Democrats for apparent inaction and to praise Bush and the Republicans for their supposed decisive activity. As the firestorm developing in the USA right now testifies, this programme which is allegedly based on the 9/11 Commission is a travesty of misinformation and dishonesty.

So why does it matter ? On the one hand we should say that when it comes to honouring the dead of that day, we owe then nothing less than the most honest Truth. Even by the standards of Hollywood re-modellings of history this is a step too far. Taking a national tragedy and using it for short-term Party Political gain.

There is a critical election in the USA this November. to say it will determine the future course of American politics may seem like hyperbole, but is not too far from reality The BBC has become a global "Broadcaster of Record" and world-wide it is assumed that when the Corporation speaks, it speaks The Truth. This programme is nothing more-nor-less than a $60 million commercial for the Republican party (ABC are not even showing adverts !!!). So after broadcast in the USA this weekend when a more widespread fury erupts, ABC will be able to say "But this was shown on the BBC and they never complained"

So the BBC is reduced to providing a fig-leaf of credibility for an act of dishonour in a domestic American political war. And in doing so it will collude in insulting all who died that day.

Popular culture has a way of inculcating certain concepts into people's minds, especially young minds, far more effectively than talking head programs or earnest debates among political bloggers and columnists. This is the kind of thing that could taint the debate for generations if it takes hold. The short form of which is "a lie will be halfway around the world before the truth can pull its boots on"

We owed them only The Truth and the BBC have let them down.

An example

This is an extract from an article about an 18 month old victim, Christine Lee Hanson.

Her father was on the phone with her grandfather during those last moments. Her father knew they were about to die. Imagine if you will what it was like to be Christine's father and mother. You know you are about to die with your young daughter next to you. Your dreams of growing up together with her, teaching her to read a book, watching her climb a tree, playing catch with her, sending her off to school, are about to end.

It must have been horrifying. Yet at the same time you probably fight to reassure her and reassure your father on the phone with you that it is all right because you do not want her last moments on earth to be terrifying. You probably want to fill them with love, with comfort. Christine's grandfather said later that his son told him, "don't worry Dad, when it happens, it'll be quick"

One plane had already crashed into a Twin Tower. Then their plane sped into the second tower.

Christine's father said, "Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God" and her grand father heard a scream and he watched on television as the second plane flew into the World Trade Center.

Moments after Christine died, the president's top adviser whispered in Bush's ear.

Bush went back to listening to children read "My Pet Goat" to him.

Sources
DailyKos
Democratic party response to ABC/Disney
Bill Clinton's response
FireDogLake
Overview of errors

Display:
An early response from Avedon Carol

http://sideshow.me.uk/ssep06.htm#09051859

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Sep 6th, 2006 at 08:43:20 AM EST
I won't blockquote it all as that would miss sheldon's comments, so this is all Sheldon from here on till otherwise stated.

You can

blockquote
within blockquote.


Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Sep 6th, 2006 at 08:45:36 AM EST
Why are the blockquote borders orange? Isn't the site colour supposed to be blue? This must be changed immediately for site branding coherence! And the blockquote background ought to be a bluish-grey.
by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Wed Sep 6th, 2006 at 09:03:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think this
The BBC is the broadcaster of record. There is a tendency, despite the fulminations on websites such as "BBC Biased", for its productions to attain an aura of the official record. So if this is broadcast unchallenged it will attain the imprimatur [!] of "this is what happened".
is the answer to
So what approach do we take to make British people care that the version portrayed is misleading and deceitful?
The spin should be that "Path to 9/11" is designed to help the Republicans electorally when they are at their lowers point and seriously risk losing control of both houses for the first time since 1994, and that the BBC is going to be used to buttress the credibility of what is, at the end of the day, politically motivated distortion of facts.

The media storm should be given enought lead time to hopefully force the BBC to schedule a debate on the content of the film.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Sep 6th, 2006 at 08:52:06 AM EST
The BBC is the broadcaster of record...in Britain. Why should the British care that it's showing something with no easily discerned consequences for this country ?

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Sep 6th, 2006 at 08:58:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The BBC is the broadcaster of record worldwide, English-speaking or not. That is the first point. There was a time when Brits were proud of this, have you people forgotten? Has cynicism over the TV tax gotten the best of you? People still turn to BBC News and the BBC world service.

Given the character of the "special relationship" it does matter that the BBC is bamboozled into lending credibility to a Republican spin operation in an election year. The bits about Clinton should be especially useful as I am sure Brits of all stripes like Clinton better than Bush.

But if you tell me that the British media and public cannot agree with these arguments, I'll take your word for it and go cry in a corner.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Sep 6th, 2006 at 09:04:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, I don't think they need to be reminded as perhaps told in the first place. We've gotten so used to assuming we're ever so slightly crap at everything that the idea that the BBC is a genuinely considered as such might baffle many.

Nevertheless, even if the BBC does give credibility at 3rd hand to this project we really do need a selling point as to why we should care over here that we are being fed a crock. Simply saying it's lies invites a "who cares ? It's their problem" response.

It has to matter to us that it's fraudulent.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Sep 6th, 2006 at 10:28:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I suppose all you can do is write up why you care. If that doesn't resonate with the British press and public, too bad.

If you think it doesn't matter to people that they are fed lies because they are lies about other people... On the other hand, it might be the "docudrama" genre that is fraudulent in itself, like "infotainment". When you blur the line between information and entertainment, or between documentary and fiction, things like this happen.

How is "The Path to 9/11" worse than "The Da Vinci Code"?

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Sep 6th, 2006 at 02:46:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Da Vinci Code didn't defame any living, identifiable celebrity. The Road to 9/11 is packed with real-life "characters."
by Matt in NYC on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 04:51:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It was full of anti-French and anti-Catholic stereotypes and invented facts about just about everything. Not that I don't think that Opus Dei is evil, but I mean, come on. Unlike "path to 9/11" it claims to be fiction, but also to be based on research which is, to say the least, questionable.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 05:32:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually, had you read the book to the end, you'd seen Opus Dei coming off lightly. I'm not sure whatz kind of invented facts you mean (I mean, the book had a lot of facts invented by persons other than the didactic author).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 05:36:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't care who invented the facts (there was a high-profile plagiarism case in the UK last year), and I admit I couldn't make it past the first third (although I was already horrified after a couple of chapters). It was utter crap.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 05:39:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But the problem is that many people took it seriously.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 05:40:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I suppose that's true but I don't really see any harm in that. (I should maybe put in here that I was raised in a family so devoutly Catholic they made the original Holy Family look like a trio of, uh, Jews!:-) When I think of the propaganda I was fed through thirteen years of the most traditional Catholic schools, it's a miracle that I'm not scourging myself bloody as I key in this post!

At any rate, the Church has not only survived almost 2000 years of defamation, it's also done an excellent job of giving back as good as it gets. The same, unfortunately, cannot be said of Clinton, Albright or Democrats in general. They are in real danger of being vilified in American culture for (at least) the next 20 years.

So what? you say. Were you by any chance in the U.S. during the ten-day Reagan funeralathon? If you were, you'll know, like 99% of Americans between the ages of five and forty, that Reagan single-handedly won the Cold War, made the U.S. a wealthy, fast-growing country for the first time since the Great Depression and, best of all, bequeathed us all a Thousand Year Republican Reich that will have the entire world chanting U-S-A!, U-S-A! U-S-A for all eternity.

This is why the way "history" is imagined on American TV matters. The Church has weapons at its disposal that Democrats can only dream of. And so do Republicans. I am convinced that the Deification of Ronald Reagan was the moment America lost all hope for  the future. It set the stage for Bushco and, I fear, created a country as brain-dead as our first Dear Leader, the godlike St. Ronnie.

I suspect that it's already years too late to get the U.S. back on the right (i.e., left) course, but I don't think that excuses us from at least trying. And one thing we can do is to try to keep the current generation of children from being indoctrinated in the same lies the last two generations were force-fed, with such tragic results.    

by Matt in NYC on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 06:24:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, I was in the US when Reagan died, and I learnt that ketchup is a vegetable.

All you can do is try to protect your own children from indoctrination by teaching them the importance of critical thinking at home.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 06:31:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I am convinced that the Deification of Ronald Reagan was the moment America lost all hope for  the future. It set the stage for Bushco and, I fear, created a country as brain-dead as our first Dear Leader, the godlike St. Ronnie.

I would as an alternative propose a date of September 10th 1975 (Coincedentally 31 years ago today) as the day on which the American dream died. That is the day on which Lt Calley was pardoned under preassure from the militaristic right, and the perverted view of patriotism really took hold. The point where they realised that if they shouted loud enough, no-one would fight back.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 08:05:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, that was a day of shame for the U.S. And the venom unleashed ever since on people (like Kerry) who dared to talk about atrocities in Vietnam seems to prove your point. At the time, however, while I didn't approve of the pardon, I thought it was a sign that Americans recognized that their leaders were ultimately the guilty ones, since it was they who subjected draftees to the hell that was Vietnam.

Also, the next year Americans elected the last president to give a shit about human rights. The Americans of the late 1970s deserve some credit for that.

by Matt in NYC on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 09:15:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think the venom would have been unleashed anyway. Kerry and others messed with the myths of the right.

Also, the next year Americans elected the last president to give a shit about human rights. The Americans of the late 1970s deserve some credit for that.

Huge ammounts of credit for that, although there have been some unintended consequences to some of his actions.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun Sep 10th, 2006 at 04:52:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I am convinced that the Deification of Ronald Reagan was the moment America lost all hope for  the future. It set the stage for Bushco and, I fear, created a country as brain-dead as our first Dear Leader, the godlike St. Ronnie.
When did this deification take place, in your view? It can't have been his funeral, that happened years after BushCo was on stage.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Sep 10th, 2006 at 03:08:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It started while he was in office. The corporatist media, then in its infancy, collaborated with his handlers to create an image of a grandfatherly "great communicator," aging sadly, yes, but still sharp enough to best the Soviets and restore the U.S. economy to the glory days of the 1890s (aka the Robber Baron Era). The reality -- that was when reality began to have a liberal bias -- was that he was a senile old fool, with personality problems so severe that not one of his children was even on speaking terms with him during his last years in office. Fortunately for wingnuts, his Hollywood spokemodel skills were the last to go. They persisted long enough to put a kindly Republican face on crimes that included Iran Contra, the outrageous Grenada War, depraved indifference to the deaths of thousands of gay men until it was too late to stop the AIDS epidemic, and the dismantling of half of what Democrats from Roosevelt through Johnson had managed to achieve for America.

And all the Americans who were too young at the time to see past the media image grew up believing the myths. Religiosity made for better television than real faith ever could. And it didn't really matter if an American president were competent or even compos mentis. The important thing was that he be someone you'd want to share a joke with at your local country club. The idea of "performance" of the duties of the presidency took on a whole new meaning.

I was aware of much of this but I didn't appreciate the full monstrosity of the Legend of St. Ronnie until his "untimely" death, at the tender age of 93, and the weeks of Mourning in America that followed. That was when I realized  how many writers, memoirists and producers had collaborated over the preceding twenty years to create a virtual library of Divine History, more than enough to addle and pervert American minds for generations to come.

by Matt in NYC on Sun Sep 10th, 2006 at 06:35:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Now, why should any of this matter to the BBC?

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Sep 10th, 2006 at 03:09:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's a really good question. Why indeed? Maybe someone at the BBC is dreaming of an old age in Southern California and a twilight career with Disney?
by Matt in NYC on Sun Sep 10th, 2006 at 06:38:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I mean "why should the BBC care" as in, why should it care that this is all bullshit, and why should the British public care? That is the underlying theme of the discussion.

"You are being used to lend credibility to a lie over in the US" doesn't seem pressing enough, after all it's a lie about the US.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Sep 10th, 2006 at 06:50:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, it's also last-ditch support for Blair and, more significantly, the tougher "anti-terrorist" policies he's been pushing. If the British police just had the legal authority to shoot every suspicious dark-complected person on sight, you wouldn't have to worry about riding the Tube -- unless you have the misfortune of looking Arab, or Pakistani, or Brazilian ...  
by Matt in NYC on Sun Sep 10th, 2006 at 08:11:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
...we really do need a selling point as to why we should care over here that we are being fed a crock. Simply saying it's lies invites a "who cares ? It's their problem" response.

It has to matter to us that it's fraudulent.

So, 117 dead British soldiers is not enough reason to want to know the truth?  And is that not enough reason to not want the BBC to lie for U.S. neocons as the U.S. elections approach?

If not, then what?

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. -Margaret Mead

by blueneck on Wed Sep 6th, 2006 at 02:59:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The attack on the World Trade Center on 9/11 caused the largest number of deaths of British subjects from a single terrorist attack: 67.  

Manipulation of the tragedy led directly to the invasion of Iraq.  There have been 117 British soldiers killed in Iraq.

I suggest the truth about 9/11, even though it occurred in New York City, is of more than passing interest to the UK.

Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot

by ATinNM on Wed Sep 6th, 2006 at 09:53:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But if you tell me that the British media and public cannot agree with these arguments, I'll take your word for it and go cry in a corner.

I can't speak for the media, but the public are probably rather agnostic about the BBC.

I have nothing to do with radio or TV in the UK, and I've become increasingly disappointed with the poor levels of journalism on the BBC website. A lot of people are paying less attention to the MSN in general in the UK, so generally authority of the BBC isn't quite as robust as it used to be.

Politically the BBC received a good kicking after Kelly/Gilligan, and has drifted much more towards following the party line since then.

You're exactly right that this is pure electoral spin, and I think an LTE is in order to put the BBC in its place on this.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Sep 6th, 2006 at 04:18:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hi Helen,

  This is Kurt from FDL. Questions about what you have to work with...What exactly do you have there? A DVD? The televised program on video tape?

  Do you have any video ripping/conversion software on your computer?

  Have you downloaded BitTorrent?

  What kind of internet connection do you have, and do you the rights/ability to stream a large amount of data over a long period of time?

Thanks!

by Kurt (sivian at sbcglobal dot net) on Wed Sep 6th, 2006 at 03:53:23 PM EST
An edited version of the program is to be shown on Sunday and Monday nights on BBC2 in the UK. I have just written this to them (use the complaints link if you wish to contact the BBC, not the Radio Times one given in some diaries)


I note that the web site listing on here for this programme still quotes the publicity from ABC claiming authenticity as being "based on the findings of the 9/11 commission".

You will no doubt be aware of the controversy in the USA surrounding this programme in its longer form, particularly in that there are fictional episodes which are intented to cast a bad light on the Clinton presidency and its counter-terrorism effort. I gather that one shows "Osama bin Laden's house" being surrounded by CIA operatives only for them to be called off.

My understanding is that far from being based solely on the 9/11 Commission findings, these fictional episodes are drawn from the works of right-wing writers. I also understand that the full version has been shown to Republican supporters in press and other advance showings but ABC have refused to offer the same facilities to those sympathetic to the Democrats, including senior members of Congress.

For these reasons, the ABC presentation is being regarded as right-wing propaganda designed to assist the Republicans in the November mid-term elections. The showing of an edited version by BBC2 is also causing some consternation as it will add the imprimateur of truth to a programme which is at the best biased.

You will understand that in similar circumstances a similar programme regarding the actions of the British government would not be suitable for broadcast in an election period. While the UK system has a period of three weeks or so from the date of last nominations to the election day, the traditional start of the campaigning period in the USA is 1 September (Labor Day).

While I would not wish you to withdraw the programme from showing, I would respectfully suggest that it is necessary for it to be put into context at least by means of announcements at the start and end of each transmission and to correct the misleading advance publicity. Simply leaving it to any discussion programme after the event is not in my opinion sufficient to correct the political bias of the writers. You will remember that just such a solution was employed during the showing of "Jerry Springer - the Opera".


by Londonbear on Wed Sep 6th, 2006 at 08:10:17 PM EST
Helen:

"The BBC is the broadcaster of record. There is a tendency, despite the fulminations on websites such as "BBC Biased", for its productions to attain an aura of the official record. So if this is broadcast unchallenged it will attain the imprimature of "this is what happened". So what approach do we take to make British people care that the version portrayed is misleading and deceitful ?"

This is an over-simplification, the BBC is not just a news organization, so is not just a "broadcaster of record". It would accept this as a description of its news broadcasts, but it would point out that it puts out a wide range of programmes. These include dramas and docu-dramas, where the point is that they are not news reports but expressions of points of view about issues - which it should be putting out.

The criticism might be, not that a programme was less than the whole truth (as if we knew and all agreed), but that an insufficient range of points of view had been presented. It's a bit early to establish the latter.


Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.

by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Wed Sep 6th, 2006 at 08:38:07 PM EST
i dont get how/why a reputable medium like BBC, took the decision of broadcasting this GOP propaganda.
by fredouil (fredouil@gmailgmailgmail.com) on Thu Sep 7th, 2006 at 03:44:30 AM EST
See this article for Clinton Admin reaction about the film.  Guess there is quite and uproar as your diary portends.  Good work!!

I can swear there ain't no heaven but I pray there ain't no hell. _ Blood Sweat & Tears
by Gringo (stargazing camel at aoldotcom) on Thu Sep 7th, 2006 at 06:35:50 PM EST
Hi Helen, I wrote to the BBC, Guardian and Independent.

Did you get any response?

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Sun Sep 10th, 2006 at 09:19:28 AM EST
Just got a reply from the BBC


Thank you for your e-mail.

'The Path to 9/11', to be transmitted over September 10 & 11 is a drama based on real events and, as with any drama, the writer's perspective will be brought to bear on those events.   A statement at the beginning of the programme is clear about the sources and methods which have been used:

"The following dramatization is based on the 9/11 Commission Report and other published sources and personal interviews.   Composite and representative characters and incidents, and time compression have been used for dramatic purposes".

It is not our practice to engage in public debate about the contents of programmes before they've been transmitted, but what we will say is that this subject matter is always going to be politically controversial. Most of the events take place when the Clinton administration was in power so naturally it will feature heavily.

The programme has been reviewed by the Editorial Policy team and we are confident it lives up to high standards of fairness and accuracy.

With this in mind, we hope you will enjoy the drama.

Regards

BBC Information



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun Sep 10th, 2006 at 11:05:03 AM EST
My original email to them was

I am outraged that the BBC is about to show a program, that from all
accounts misrepresents the events leading up to the attack on America
five years ago.

As you are probably aware there have been legal threats made in the
states over the showing of this program and there will no doubt be libel
 cases brough over this program. I have always thought of the BBC being
a responsible and impartial broadcaster, and am shocked that they would
show such a transparent rewriting of history, in favour of a foreign
political party.

Guess I'l have to wait till the program is complete before I put another more strongly worded complaint in.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun Sep 10th, 2006 at 11:11:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No reply from anybody.

However there's a diary on kos about encouraging everybody defamed in PT911 to sue ABC & BBC for libel in British courts.

Could get messy if somebody with deep pockets to pay for the lawyers decides it's worth the effort.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Sep 10th, 2006 at 01:32:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I've seen a couple of people over there with Identical replies to mine. so there's obviously a corporate response going on.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun Sep 10th, 2006 at 01:38:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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