Thursday, 31 August 2017

BBC all on deck, lauding 'benign' state militarism: a further exchange

Following an initial letter/reply and further exchange with the BBC on its reporting of the aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, I received this latest communication (29/8/2017) from the BBC's Sean Moss. My further response is noted below.

Dear Mr Hilley
Ref: CAS-4541173-LC5LL7
Thank you for getting in touch again about our live page reporting on the arrival of new aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth in its home port. (
To take your original points in order, at your request:
1: This isn’t a service we provide.
2:  The premise here is your belief that an unquantified but significant strand of public opinion, which you term as “anti-war,” exists and should have been included in our coverage here. However the fact that alternative views exist on a given story does not mean that we’re obliged to include them and this story, at its core, is about the completion of a new UK aircraft carrier and its journey to its home port. Your characterisation of the alternative view here is also largely based on your interpretation of the navy’s role and the words "maritime power," which you outline exclusively along military lines without referring, for example, to additional functions in humanitarian and emergency scenarios and in supporting efforts against international crime.
3: As above, there’s no obligation we reflect every view on a subject and we believe the contents of this live page adhered to our requirement for due impartiality.
4: This is essentially an entirely separate point, linked here for the purposes of your wider argument and to which we can only add that we’ve reported extensively on the Yemen Crisis, most notably including Orla Guerin’s report from the city of Aden, published last month. (
On September 8th last year Newsnight reported on a draft copy of a report into whether UK-made weapons are being used against civilians in Yemen, asking “Do weapons sold to Saudi Arabia by Britain break international humanitarian law with their use in Yemen, and if so, what should be our response?”
So this isn’t a topic that has gone unexplored by BBC News and we've noted your points but do not consider they have suggested a possible breach of the BBC's standards to justify further investigation or a more detailed reply.
If you are dissatisfied about our decision not to take your complaint further, you can contact the BBC's Executive Complaints Unit (ECU) who will consider whether this was an appropriate decision.
If you wish to contact the ECU please write to it within 20 working days of receiving this reply. You can email  or write to: Executive Complaints Unit, BBC, Broadcast Centre, London W12 7TQ. Please include the case reference number which you have been given.
Best wishes,
Sean Moss
BBC News website 
My response

Dear Sean Moss

Thanks for replying. As expected, your response merely confirms the BBC's capacity for uniform-speak. It's yet another illustration of state media marching in tune with state militarism.

Allow me, in turn, to address your points in the same order.   
1. This is blatant evasion. At the very least, you should provide some justification for the extent of journalistic resources expended on this story, an output, we must suspect, consistent with the wasteful expenditure on the ship itself. Readers of your dismissive reply here can judge for themselves what lies behind such a denial of basic public information.

2. Isn't it all too revealing that you choose to interpret "maritime power" in this case as somehow 'benign'? You object that I didn't note the Navy's "additional functions in humanitarian and emergency scenarios and in supporting efforts against international crime." Why didn't Admiral Sir Philip Jones specifically use that kind of terminology - something like 'major maritime support role' - rather than his very obvious assertion of boastful militarist might? That's the real profile being projected by Admiral Jones, as amplified by Defence Secretary Michael Fallon:

Today we welcome our mighty new warship, HMS Queen Elizabeth to her home for the very first time. She is Britain’s statement to the world: a demonstration of British military power and our commitment to a bigger global role.
The BBC's eager repeating of such messages demonstrates just what kind of part it plays in defining and promoting expansionist UK militarism as legitimate and benevolent. 

Here, via author and historian Mark Curtis, are some helpful links illustrating the British Navy's true, extremist agenda, and the BBC's role in approving it: 

UK Navy's openly-declared goals are to control resource-rich regions and threaten those who challenge this. 
Read what the Royal Navy is saying. Our military is managed by imperialist, militarist extremists. 
The #BBC is simply a medium for the British state, a key part of its information operations 
Again, this can’t be MSM newsworthy since it would serve no political/propaganda function 
How did the Head of UK Navy become radicalised? Was it his private madrassa? The videos he watched? Could MI5 have prevented it? 
UK disinformation system is so extreme, Head of Navy's extremism doesn't even get reported, let alone ridiculed. 
Head of Navy confirms official meaning of 'national' . I.e, 'militarist elite'. Similar to term 'national interest'. 
One of the government's embedded spokespeople at the BBC. 
'Warfighting': the UK's comparative advantage in the global division of labour, as seen by elites  
#Oman, already a crawling UK intell base, has in effect become a UK military colony.
Reminder: New 'UK' aircraft carriers will also deploy *US* combat aircraft. para 3.19 
UK's new Navy warships are appropriately named 'City-class', indicating ongoing commercial/military imperialism 
Head of Royal Navy. Actually, aircraft carriers are offensive attack systems, used in first strike. See use of term ‘deterrent’ to mislead.
Citing the UK government's "massive £178 billion military re-equipment programme", and key speeches given recently by Admiral Jones to the City of London, Curtis observes that the head of the Royal Navy:
"is seriously saying that British sea power and military force will protect and British financial and commercial interests, including those of the City of London, especially in Asia. This is a clear exposition of the return of imperial gunboat diplomacy that Britain envisages in the post-Brexit world."
As Media Lens also put it:
A major function of @BBCNews is to boost public support for 'our' armed forces #PermaWar
I wonder why Permanent War and these core motivations aren't considered by you and the BBC in your understanding of the Royal Navy and its "additional functions.''

3. Again, readers can form their own judgment on your claim here to BBC 'impartiality'. What you're really saying is that the BBC, as 'all-knowing arbiters', will not permit alternative voices to the commissioning of this £3 billion ship, and Britain's dark militarist ambitions, to be aired. As previously noted, that's a subjective editorial judgement, one that weighs decisively in support of a particular, establishment view. That's not editorial 'impartiality'. It's straight propaganda. And, as Media Lens assert, it's a service that must be dutifully maintained:

Challenge anyone @BBCNews about omissions and biases and you'll get silence or a robotic assertion of 'impartiality'
4. My linking of the warship to events in Yemen was not a 'separate issue', or some 'additional argument'. It's internal to the same question about Britain's aggressive militarism, and the BBC's own culpability in failing to convey the true scale of it. 

Also, like other key BBC pieces on Yemen's humanitarian crisis, Orla Guerin's report says precisely nothing about Britain's part in sending arms to Saudi Arabia for the mass bombing of Yemen. More generally, beyond occasional and guarded discussion, many viewers of major BBC news reports on Yemen may likely never know that the UK is deeply involved in the human suffering which Guerin describes, such is the consistent level of BBC omission. Again, given the BBC Charter's own insistence of 'due weight', where is the appropriate level of coverage across BBC news headlining Britain's criminal involvement? As Curtis comments:

Imagine reporting this and not mentioning UK arms/advice/training. Seriously, it takes real commitment. #Yemen 
More BBC pieces on #Yemen without mentioning that this is also a UK war
That complicit blind eye to aggressive UK militarism is the key context to my complaint about the BBC's celebratory coverage of HMS Queen Elizabeth. I suspect that, as part of the 'BBC guard', you will continue to deny and dismiss such connections. As ever with such enquiries and exchanges, my own small purpose here is to help shed a little light on BBC uniformity and service to power.

I will forward my complaint to the Executive Complaints Unit.

Kind regards

John Hilley


Beautiful Sakura said...

Hi John

You Probably Know this... They are War criminals bbc Sky Ect Channel 4.

Resolution of the General Assembly of the United Nations of November 3, 1947 that denounced war propaganda;

“The General Assembly condemns all forms of propaganda, in whatsoever country conducted, which is either designed or likely to provoke or encourage any threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression.”

John Hilley said...


Like the fawning BBC coverage of our archaic monarchy, militarist and war propaganda is now such a routine and 'natural' part of our daily media diet, most people don't even notice it. And those who do, and seek to challenge it, are variously dismissed by the same media as deluded malcontents. Truly Orwellian.