Thursday, 10 January 2008


The recent release of a dramatic video by the Pentagon of Iranian speedboats threatening US Navy ships produced a wry smile from me. I could imagine people all over the west being glued to it and worrying.
I suspect such incidents happen frequently in the Straits of Hormuz, that essential bottle neck for supplies heading up to Iraq. I remember talking to a merchant seaman in the 1980s who spoke of a similar bottle neck at the southern exit from the Red Sea.

It is a vital route for shipping using the Suez Canal.

Yet it was never reported that jamming signals from the Yemeni coast often brought chaos. Similarly, a few months ago, people in the UK heard of Russian bombers violating our air space.
When I was in the Royal Air Force during the Cold War, this was a daily occurrence, which again, was rarely reported. A possible aggressor always snipes at the enemy constantly, testing their defences, keeping them on edge.

To report such things is pointless.

Why whip up hysteria? Indeed, it was Baudrillard who interpreted media reportage as ‘infotainment’, where fact and fiction merge. The Gulf War, and pictures of surgical strikes on Iraqi targets, makes the point.
The reality was these were a minority, the main effort being carpet bombing of village after village, ‘removing’ them for the coming tank assault. So next time you hear of some confrontational scare such as this, just remember, things may not always be as they seem. And play a game like me, and ask: so who benefits from this propaganda today?

© Anthony North, January 2008


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