US gives world 'happy' Iraq news

The United States State Department is distributing “news” broadcast videos that are reminiscent of former Information Minister Muhammad Saqqaf’s military predictions during the last days of the US-led invasion of Baghdad.

    Secretary of State provides happy
    news Iraqi service for all

    Featuring cheering throngs on the streets of Baghdad, grateful Iraqis thanking US-led forces for their liberation, food and medical aid pouring into the port of Umm Qasr - the videos make no pretence to factual news broadcasting.

    The propaganda films, produced by the State Department,

    have been translated with the intention of showing the all-English language soundtracks around the world.
    The filmettes, broadcast over the past two months, remain a staple of US-government produced television "news" stories now available to the public over the internet.

    Professionally shot and edited - ranging from two to three minutes in length, ‘happy’ news is the only news  - as the virtues of the US-led war are extolled without a hint of irony.

    No images of looting, hospitals, hungry, wounded or sick people or even patrolling American tanks make it on to these productions.
    The videos, intended for rebroadcast by television outlets, incorporate footage of events in Iraq, soundbites from US officials and "man-on-the-street" interviews. All are narrated by unseen speakers. 
    Website advertised

    The Baghdad reality: this is an

    The majority were produced late last month and placed with little fanfare on the State Department's website but languished in relative obscurity until the weekend when the department compiled them at one internet address and publicised the link.
    "As they rolled into Baghdad, the American troops were cheered by hundreds of Iraqis gathering in the streets," a male narrator intones over footage of the US tank which pulled down the statue of Saddam Hussein.
    "Relief and joy were expressed throughout the city," the narrator continues as the screen fades to soundbites of Iraqis thanking the United States and President George Bush.
    "We love the United States ... They helped us" and "I love Bush. I love USA because they give Iraqi people their freedom," says one Iraqi in broken English.

    One story about Umm Qasr ends with shots of ship-loading equipment and a female narrator saying in English: "Cranes stretch to sky as if reaching for a dream and now, with Iraq's liberation, the dream is a step closer to reality."

    Before the invasion of Iraq, the US administration waxed lyrical of the virtues of bringing democracy to Iraq.

    Freedom of speech and expression were highlighted as the building blocks of a new Iraq.

    As it turns out freedom of speech does not always equate to the freedom to tell the truth.


    How different voting systems work around the world

    How different voting systems work around the world

    Nearly two billion voters in 52 countries around the world will head to the polls this year to elect their leaders.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    The great plunder: Nepal's stolen treasures

    The great plunder: Nepal's stolen treasures

    How the art world's hunger for ancient artefacts is destroying a centuries-old culture. A journey across the Himalayas.