Financial Times goes anti-American

By

After having followed the Financial Times for quite a while now, the other day I called the editors' very pleasant PA, and expressed my conviction that they were increasingly playing the anti— American card. She didn't seem too perturbed by my outrageous suggestion, so I guess I'm not being paranoid after all.

 

I look forward to the day when my accusations are robustly challenged by the offended individual or media organization, but it hasn't happened yet. The BBC, the Guardian, and the Independent are good at slinging the mud at Americans, but not so good at taking it.

 

I welcome the Financial Times to the anti—American hall of fame.

 

The new anti—Semitism of our times has infected much of the British press since Bush's 2000 election victory, with an ensuing surge of contamination after 9/11. Perhaps, expecting the poison not to reach into a paper of longstanding repute such as the FT was a naive assumption.

But it certainly is common knowledge that the FT is a pro—EU newspaper. They must have some kind of admiration for a bureaucracy that's never had its books signed off by an independent auditor, or they wouldn't support it. 

 

Finance is supposedly the FT's domain of expertise — and they are always editorializing about good corporate governance — so it strikes me as odd that such a mindset would be as supportive as it appears to be, of a wasteful and blatantly corrupt EU.

 

The champagne—colored newspaper sure made a fuss, and quite rightly, over the Enron and Parmalat debacles. Make what you will of the contradiction in their treatment of corporate baddies on the one hand, and the admired European Union, on the other. Doesn't make an awful lot of sense, but then again, these days much of the British press makes no sense at all.

 

However, leaving generalities aside, the FT provided us with a good example of their anti—American bias in this weekend's Saturday edition.

 

The article in question [available only with a paid subscription] is sheepishly titled: 'Tehran supports Sistani calls for calm', and is written by Gareth Smyth in Tehran. After dissecting this rather biased and shallow report, it appears as if Gareth may have spent a little too much time in Iran. The whole gist of Mr Smyth's piece is that the Iranians aren't meddling in Iraqi affairs (honest), as the dumb Americans would have us believe.

 

Tehran has, like Mr Sistani, condemned the US for failing to establish security and called for power to be handed over to Iraqis. But there is no sign Iran is endorsing the violent attacks on American forces by supporters of the Shia cleric Moqtada al—Sadr.

 

Condemning the US and other Coalition forces and personnel for being attacked by radicals, and calling for the non—existent Iraqi security forces to take over is a pretty good hint that al—Sadr is Iran's boy.  Is Mr. Smyth so naive that he doesn't realize what would happen if the Coalition just packed up and left? In such an event, al—Sadr would most likely make his play for power, and the Iranians —— who are great chess players as it happens —— understand that only too well. Someone had better wake up the FT editor.

 

US officials this week said that Mr Sadr was receiving $5m (2.9m, £4.1m) a month from Iran. "We know the Iranians have been meddling," said Donald Rumsfeld, the defence secretary.

 

However, Saaed Leylaz, a political analyst in Tehran with links to the leadership, dismissed the US claims. "Sadr is very dangerous for the regime [in Tehran]," he said. "He's too wild, almost like a Shia Osama bin Laden."

 

It appears as if Mr. Smyth will believe any pack of lies as long as it's not the Americans telling them. Here we have a professional journalist clearly implying that Rumsfeld is either lying, or being misled, and in contrast the Iranian analyst described as close to Iran's leadership is a fountain of truth. Otherwise Mr. Smyth wouldn't have stated earlier that there was 'no sign' that Iran was endorsing al—Sadr and his mob.

 

The FT makes up their minds pretty quick about it: We believe the Iranians but not the Americans.

 

Secondly, al—Sadr has far more in common with the equally wild Hezbollah, and they are openly supported by the Iranians. Mr. Smyth's quoted use of Saaed Leylaz's ridiculous bin Laden reasoning as some sort of trump on Rumsfeld, demonstrates clearly the author's biased frame of mind. He obviously believes this source because he uses him to death:

 

Mr Leylaz said that Mr Sadr's visit to Tehran last year, when he met Mr Rafsanjani, reflected Tehran's desire for good relations with all groups in Iraq.

 

Maybe the Pentagon have already got fed up with the FT and wont talk to them anymore, and this is why Mr Smyth seems so restricted to quoting his Mr. Leylaz.

 

Mr Sadr has ruffled Iranian sensibilities by criticising Mr Sistani for his Iranian origins and accent, and his rhetoric is laced with an Arab nationalism that evokes unhappy memories in Iran of Saddam Hussein.

 

So what if he criticized Sistani for having Iranian origins? In the context of Iran's strategic interests in the region, al—Sadr's politicizing Sistani's Iranian heritage is neither here nor there. He accused Sistani and many of Iraq's senior clerics of all kinds of things including their 'quietist' approach after the failed Shiite rebellion against Saddam in 1991. These are the types of things one does when involved in a power struggle.

 

Is Mr Smyth having a laugh comparing a potential al—Sadr regime with that of Saddam Hussein's? One is a Sunni secularist and the other a Shiite cleric — sure, they've really got a lot in common.

 

What seems incredible and rather biased is that Mr Smyth has not mentioned that Mr Sistani has totally rejected hard—line Iranian influence in Iraq. This is well known, as is the fact that he also believes in some separation of religion and government, unlike al—Sadr, Rafsanjani and the other Conservative Iranians who control the Iranian government.

 

There was bitter rivalry between Mr Sadr's father, Ayatollah Mohammed Sadiq Sadr, given his rank by Saddam Hussein, and Ayatollah Mohammad Baqr al—Hakim, leader of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (Sciri), who supported Iran during the war from exile in Tehran.

 

So what if Sadr senior was given his rank by Saddam Hussein? He later killed him, which Mr Smyth conveniently fails to even mention. He is leaving out every piece of known information that could possibly suggest that the situation is not as he paints it. This is stark eye—opening bias from the Financial Times.

 

Ayatollah Kazem al—Hairi, Mr Sadr's Iranian—born mentor based in the Iranian city of Qom, issued a conciliatory statement telling followers in Iraq to respect public building and not to prevent state employees and the Iraqi police "from doing their duties."

 

And predictably, Mr Smyth fails to mention to the FT reader that Ayatollah Kazem al—Hairi is as hard—line as they come, and one of Rafsanjani's closest friends. Just another missing piece of the puzzle that the Financial Times feels would be irrelevant to disclose.

 

The question that keeps coming up is why the FT are so keen on characterizing Iran as some harmless and passive state, uninterested in supporting al—Sadr. Because the fact is that Iran will support whoever they think can successfully gain the reigns of power in Iraq, as long as they aren't friendly with the US. Iran recently rigged their own elections so the Conservatives would come out on top in the Parliament. They don't want democracy in Iraq because it may just rub off on them. They have the motive, the will and the security structure to make sure that doesn't happen.

But Mr. Smyth sees to be under the impression that his Iranian chums just aren't like that, and no matter what the Americans say, Tehran isn't supporting al—Sadr.

 

Could the FT's bias have anything to do with the toothless 'constructive engagement' policy pursued by the EU? Remember this is the same EU that is so supported by the folks at the FT.

 

Is it a coincidence that they treat Rumsfeld's assertions about Iran as dubious, but those of an Iranian leadership lackey as the gospel truth? I'm certainly not suggesting that every word uttered by Rummy should be chiseled in stone, but then again, why not give him the same benefit of the doubt as that bestowed on Iran's Mr Saaed Leylaz.

US is bad, Iran is good. That's the message from the FT.

 

Posted by Michael  04 11 04


After having followed the Financial Times for quite a while now, the other day I called the editors' very pleasant PA, and expressed my conviction that they were increasingly playing the anti— American card. She didn't seem too perturbed by my outrageous suggestion, so I guess I'm not being paranoid after all.

 

I look forward to the day when my accusations are robustly challenged by the offended individual or media organization, but it hasn't happened yet. The BBC, the Guardian, and the Independent are good at slinging the mud at Americans, but not so good at taking it.

 

I welcome the Financial Times to the anti—American hall of fame.

 

The new anti—Semitism of our times has infected much of the British press since Bush's 2000 election victory, with an ensuing surge of contamination after 9/11. Perhaps, expecting the poison not to reach into a paper of longstanding repute such as the FT was a naive assumption.

But it certainly is common knowledge that the FT is a pro—EU newspaper. They must have some kind of admiration for a bureaucracy that's never had its books signed off by an independent auditor, or they wouldn't support it. 

 

Finance is supposedly the FT's domain of expertise — and they are always editorializing about good corporate governance — so it strikes me as odd that such a mindset would be as supportive as it appears to be, of a wasteful and blatantly corrupt EU.

 

The champagne—colored newspaper sure made a fuss, and quite rightly, over the Enron and Parmalat debacles. Make what you will of the contradiction in their treatment of corporate baddies on the one hand, and the admired European Union, on the other. Doesn't make an awful lot of sense, but then again, these days much of the British press makes no sense at all.

 

However, leaving generalities aside, the FT provided us with a good example of their anti—American bias in this weekend's Saturday edition.

 

The article in question [available only with a paid subscription] is sheepishly titled: 'Tehran supports Sistani calls for calm', and is written by Gareth Smyth in Tehran. After dissecting this rather biased and shallow report, it appears as if Gareth may have spent a little too much time in Iran. The whole gist of Mr Smyth's piece is that the Iranians aren't meddling in Iraqi affairs (honest), as the dumb Americans would have us believe.

 

Tehran has, like Mr Sistani, condemned the US for failing to establish security and called for power to be handed over to Iraqis. But there is no sign Iran is endorsing the violent attacks on American forces by supporters of the Shia cleric Moqtada al—Sadr.

 

Condemning the US and other Coalition forces and personnel for being attacked by radicals, and calling for the non—existent Iraqi security forces to take over is a pretty good hint that al—Sadr is Iran's boy.  Is Mr. Smyth so naive that he doesn't realize what would happen if the Coalition just packed up and left? In such an event, al—Sadr would most likely make his play for power, and the Iranians —— who are great chess players as it happens —— understand that only too well. Someone had better wake up the FT editor.

 

US officials this week said that Mr Sadr was receiving $5m (2.9m, £4.1m) a month from Iran. "We know the Iranians have been meddling," said Donald Rumsfeld, the defence secretary.

 

However, Saaed Leylaz, a political analyst in Tehran with links to the leadership, dismissed the US claims. "Sadr is very dangerous for the regime [in Tehran]," he said. "He's too wild, almost like a Shia Osama bin Laden."

 

It appears as if Mr. Smyth will believe any pack of lies as long as it's not the Americans telling them. Here we have a professional journalist clearly implying that Rumsfeld is either lying, or being misled, and in contrast the Iranian analyst described as close to Iran's leadership is a fountain of truth. Otherwise Mr. Smyth wouldn't have stated earlier that there was 'no sign' that Iran was endorsing al—Sadr and his mob.

 

The FT makes up their minds pretty quick about it: We believe the Iranians but not the Americans.

 

Secondly, al—Sadr has far more in common with the equally wild Hezbollah, and they are openly supported by the Iranians. Mr. Smyth's quoted use of Saaed Leylaz's ridiculous bin Laden reasoning as some sort of trump on Rumsfeld, demonstrates clearly the author's biased frame of mind. He obviously believes this source because he uses him to death:

 

Mr Leylaz said that Mr Sadr's visit to Tehran last year, when he met Mr Rafsanjani, reflected Tehran's desire for good relations with all groups in Iraq.

 

Maybe the Pentagon have already got fed up with the FT and wont talk to them anymore, and this is why Mr Smyth seems so restricted to quoting his Mr. Leylaz.

 

Mr Sadr has ruffled Iranian sensibilities by criticising Mr Sistani for his Iranian origins and accent, and his rhetoric is laced with an Arab nationalism that evokes unhappy memories in Iran of Saddam Hussein.

 

So what if he criticized Sistani for having Iranian origins? In the context of Iran's strategic interests in the region, al—Sadr's politicizing Sistani's Iranian heritage is neither here nor there. He accused Sistani and many of Iraq's senior clerics of all kinds of things including their 'quietist' approach after the failed Shiite rebellion against Saddam in 1991. These are the types of things one does when involved in a power struggle.

 

Is Mr Smyth having a laugh comparing a potential al—Sadr regime with that of Saddam Hussein's? One is a Sunni secularist and the other a Shiite cleric — sure, they've really got a lot in common.

 

What seems incredible and rather biased is that Mr Smyth has not mentioned that Mr Sistani has totally rejected hard—line Iranian influence in Iraq. This is well known, as is the fact that he also believes in some separation of religion and government, unlike al—Sadr, Rafsanjani and the other Conservative Iranians who control the Iranian government.

 

There was bitter rivalry between Mr Sadr's father, Ayatollah Mohammed Sadiq Sadr, given his rank by Saddam Hussein, and Ayatollah Mohammad Baqr al—Hakim, leader of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (Sciri), who supported Iran during the war from exile in Tehran.

 

So what if Sadr senior was given his rank by Saddam Hussein? He later killed him, which Mr Smyth conveniently fails to even mention. He is leaving out every piece of known information that could possibly suggest that the situation is not as he paints it. This is stark eye—opening bias from the Financial Times.

 

Ayatollah Kazem al—Hairi, Mr Sadr's Iranian—born mentor based in the Iranian city of Qom, issued a conciliatory statement telling followers in Iraq to respect public building and not to prevent state employees and the Iraqi police "from doing their duties."

 

And predictably, Mr Smyth fails to mention to the FT reader that Ayatollah Kazem al—Hairi is as hard—line as they come, and one of Rafsanjani's closest friends. Just another missing piece of the puzzle that the Financial Times feels would be irrelevant to disclose.

 

The question that keeps coming up is why the FT are so keen on characterizing Iran as some harmless and passive state, uninterested in supporting al—Sadr. Because the fact is that Iran will support whoever they think can successfully gain the reigns of power in Iraq, as long as they aren't friendly with the US. Iran recently rigged their own elections so the Conservatives would come out on top in the Parliament. They don't want democracy in Iraq because it may just rub off on them. They have the motive, the will and the security structure to make sure that doesn't happen.

But Mr. Smyth sees to be under the impression that his Iranian chums just aren't like that, and no matter what the Americans say, Tehran isn't supporting al—Sadr.

 

Could the FT's bias have anything to do with the toothless 'constructive engagement' policy pursued by the EU? Remember this is the same EU that is so supported by the folks at the FT.

 

Is it a coincidence that they treat Rumsfeld's assertions about Iran as dubious, but those of an Iranian leadership lackey as the gospel truth? I'm certainly not suggesting that every word uttered by Rummy should be chiseled in stone, but then again, why not give him the same benefit of the doubt as that bestowed on Iran's Mr Saaed Leylaz.

US is bad, Iran is good. That's the message from the FT.

 

Posted by Michael  04 11 04