29 July 2006

Where is British media coverage of the Lebanese oil spill?

Why is there no coverage in any British media of the environmental disaster in Lebanon?

According to Reuters' Lin Noueihed:

"BEIRUT, July 27 (Reuters) - Along Lebanon's sandy beaches and rocky headlands runs a belt of black sludge, 10,000 to 30,000 tonnes of oil that spilled into the Mediterranean Sea after Israel bombed a power plant.

Lebanon's Environment Ministry says the oil flooded into the sea when Israeli jets hit storage tanks at the Jiyyeh plant south of Beirut on July 13 and 15, creating an ecological crisis that Lebanon's government has neither the money nor the expertise to deal with.

"We have never seen a spill like this in the history of Lebanon. It is a major catastrophe," Environment Minister Yacoub al-Sarraf told Reuters.."

The Australian press, it appears, are not so backward in coming forward with this news. The Daily Telegraph printed the story, but in the UK? Nothing. Yet more blatant censorship of 'uncomfortable' news.

Reuters have left out some very relevant information (thanks to bloggingbeirut.com):

1. The storage tanks were civilian not military.
2. The massive oil spill has spread to over 40% of the Lebanese coast, south of Beirut (Damour, Jiyyeh, Rmeileh, Saida, Sour).
3. No ships have been sunk on or around the lebanese coast.- this was not an accident or the result of an exchange of fire in hostile territory.- this was a deliberate and precise targeting of the oil tanks and powerplants along the lebanese coast by Israeli warplanes.

See the video here. More photos at Beirut Update blog here.

Considering this disaster may impact all the Eastern Mediterranean basin, including Turkey, Syria, Cyprus, Greece, and others including Israel itself, its a little strange there is no mention in the MSM.

This is the e-mail I sent the BBC:

Sent: viernes, 28 de julio de 2006 14:06
To: Helen Boaden BBC
Cc: Media Lens; Paul Reynolds; Jim Muir
Subject: Israel hits more Lebanon targets
Importance: High


I have read the BBC online report and I have 2 questions:

1. With its box: "LEBANON TWO WEEKS ON" where we are given a (very) brief summary of damage done:
Three airports bombed
62 bridges destroyed
Three dams and ports hit
5,000 homes damaged

There is also a link to anther online page "Lebanon damage report" with just a little more information. However, nowhere can I see anything about the environmental disaster caused by the Israeli bombardment of a power plant which has released, according to Reuters, an estimated 10,000-30,000 tons of oil into the Mediterranean:
"A man pours sludge skimmed from the sea into a plastic container in Beirut July 27, 2006. Along Lebanon's sandy beaches and rocky headlands runs a belt of black sludge, 10,000 to 30,000 tonnes of oil that spilled into the Mediterranean after Israel bombed a power plant"
Why is that?

2. As for the paragraph "At talks in Rome on Wednesday, the US, UK and regional powers called for a ceasefire with "utmost urgency", but stopped short of calling for an immediate truce.",

This is a classic case of BBC bias and is not a true reflection of what happened in Rome. In fact, other reports tell us that all the parties, except the US and the UK demanded an immediate ceasefire. This was rejected by the US/UK axis, which insisted on a watered-down version to give time to the Israeli Occupation Forces to continue their mass slaughter.

We only have to leave the BBC website to find the truth:

"Limited cast list spells doom for peace process" Ewen MacAskill, diplomatic editor Wednesday July 26, 2006 Guardian Unlimited

"The international conference in Rome to draw up a Lebanon peace package ended, as expected, in failure. The US succeeded in blocking calls from almost all the other participants, apart from Britain, for an immediate ceasefire. Incredibly, with warring raging for two weeks, the US has again managed to gain yet more time for Israel by delaying the diplomatic process. The conference decided that discussions should now shift to the UN security council, but that could take days or even until next week. The longer the diplomatic process is stalled, the longer Israel has to keep up its military offensive. The conference lasted four hours, an hour-and-a-half longer than expected. Those 90 minutes were taken up with a slanging match, with Condi Rice, the US secretary of state, in one corner with Margaret Beckett and everyone else in the other, over the issue of an immediate ceasefire."

Bearing in mind what Ewen MacAskill reports, I wonder if the BBC author could comment as to why he worded that sentence so specifically? This appears to be a purposeful attempt to mislead the reader.

Yours Sincerely

Reuters images:

Update 09 August 2006: The BBC eventually had to report on the oil spill and did so:

Last Updated: Monday, 31 July 2006, 22:41 GMT 23:41 UK

Environmental 'crisis' in Lebanon
By Richard Black Environment correspondent, BBC News website

Last Updated: Tuesday, 8 August 2006, 14:07 GMT 15:07 UK

'Damage is done' to Lebanon coast
By Mark Kinver Science and nature reporter, BBC News

1 comment:

Kebz said...

Perhaps because it is a deliberate act of environmental terrorism committed employing weapons that we supplied, it is not sporting to mention it. One cannot imagine the fuss if it had happened near the British coast.

best wishes