The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes
Wednesday, July 14, 2004
Marie-Léonie and Iraqi WMD: studies in wishful-thinking
Even in the Arabush-loving Guardian, the story (July 12) - bylined by the improbably-named Amelia Gentleman - was without the least qualification:
A group of young men attacked a mother travelling with her child on a Parisian suburban railway, chopping off her hair and drawing swastikas on her stomach in the latest anti-semitic incident to unsettle France.
A festival of vigorous onanism was celebrated by those intent on using any evidence from the universal rolling pogrom that is Europe to chill the speech of non-Likudniks Stateside.
It turns out, however, that the victim was no victim at all, except of her own lunacy: according to AFP,
L'histoire de l'agression antisémite du RER D, qui a soulevé l'indignation pendant le week-end, s'est avérée être une "affabulation"
Marie-Léonie is said to be fragile - which I suspect is some sort of French jargon for looney.
The momentary joy given to American calumniators was as nothing, however, to the pig's breakfast made of the issue by French pols and journos: what Le Figaro calls
un emballement politico-médiatique comme l'actualité en offre régulièrement
According to the piece, just a little more than two hours elapsed from the first AFP wire till the Interior Ministry issued a statement. Our old friend Dominique de Villepin is the Minister, and, needless to say, is less than his urbane self on the issue. He points out that
la matérialité des faits n'était pas en cause
Just as in the US, facts are for the little people.
Then media whore President Chirac gets in on the act, condemning
Des "actes de haine, odieux et méprisables" qui "salissent notre pays", avait insisté Jacques Chirac, avant de réclamer "la plus grande sévérité" de la justice.
His media people must have told him it was a slam-dunk: provide a soundbite or two which might help with audiences moderately sceptical about his attitude, bash Brer Bicot - popular on both sides of the pond - and sound generally presidential.
The entire waggonload of monkeys got what they richly deserved. (It seems. Subject to further research, natch!)
Today, we get the Butler Report - kinda-sorta Hutton Mark II - into the handling of Iraqi intelligence within HMG. Ninth Beatitude is very much in point: there wasn't much whitewash left on world markets after Hutton had finished, but the pre-release spin (caveat maxime lector!) is to expect the stuff to be liberally splashed around. Even a whore like John Scarlett, at the time link man between Blair and the spooks as Chairman of the JIC, is likely to feel no pain - or get kicked out of his new job as head of MI6.
Just like Chirac with Mad Marie, Blair on Iraqi WMD believed what he wanted to. And his winged monkeys picked and chose amongst the intel to serve up just what scratched his itch.
No doubt, Blair's favourite straw-man - that he liedabout WMD - will be much in evidence, post-Butler. With the likes of Ahmed Chalabi around, there was no need to lie, as such. One needed only to suspend disbelief.
There's a lot of it about.
Marie-Léonie URL dump: here, here, here, here, here.
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