Friday, February 29, 2008

Bonnie Prince Harry and the blackout of the free press.

AP reports:

"Britain's defense chief decided Friday to immediately pull Prince Harry out of Afghanistan after news of his deployment was leaked on the U.S. Web site the Drudge Report. Air Chief Marshal Jock Stirrup, chief of the Defense Staff, said he decided to withdraw the prince after senior commanders assessed the risks, the Defense Ministry said in a statement. Harry, third in line to the British throne, has been serving on the front line with an army unit in Afghanistan's southern Helmand province since mid-December."

I hear on the BBC this morning that the news media in the UK (and according to this story, the AP as well) knew that Prince Harry was in Afghanistan but chose not to report the news for his protection.

My question is what about the 8000 or so other British troops in Afghanistan? Are their lives that much less important? Aren't they sharing the same danger Harry was? He's not the only bullet magnet over there. Oh, but he's a royal, can't allow him to get killed.

Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup says "This decision has been taken primarily on the basis that the worldwide media coverage of Prince Harry in Afghanistan could impact on the security of those who are deployed there, as well as the risks to him as an individual soldier."

Sure blame the media for the Taliban. It isn't the worldwide coverage that endangered the Prince, it's the war, Air Chief Marshall -- and the shoddy condition of the British army. In 2006 the Independent reported that an MOD document stated that the condition of the British army was in pretty dire straights.

"The British Army suffers from 'critical weaknesses' to the point that, it is 'almost impossible' to fulfil commitments in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to a Ministry of Defence briefing document obtained by The Independent on Sunday. The Army is so stretched from having to fight on two fronts that 40 per cent of army divisions report they are suffering from 'serious or critical' problems. Manning shortages mean that soldiers are having to go on to tours of duty before they are properly rested or trained. And there are such serious problems recruiting for key military professions that colleagues in the field are having to forgo leave and extend their tours."

I'm sure not much has changed since then, either. Judging by the priorities of the British government it's not hard to see why. I mean, really, what a freakin' joke. When are the Brits going to finally abandon their silly obsession with those blue blooded inbreds? Seriously, here's a modern democracy in the 21st century still clinging to an ancient outmoded system of governance that exists solely for the purpose of making some people feel better and for the tourist money. Does anyone even know how much the British government even spends on these freeloaders?

And what does this story reveal about the state of the media in the UK? The BBC has been in Russia all week bemoaning the sorry state of affairs of Putin's new model democracy, but look at what they're doing.

The BBC reports:

"The prince's deployment was subject to a news blackout deal struck between the MoD and newspapers and broadcasters in the UK and abroad. . . In a statement, the Ministry of Defence described the reporting of Harry's deployment by foreign media as 'regrettable.'"

That damn foreign media, why don't they mind their own business?

And what was in it for the UK media?

"In exchange for not reporting the prince's deployment, some media organisations were granted access to the prince in Afghanistan for interviews and filming."

Wow, they got access to Bonnie Prince Harry! The Queen's subjects back home love those photos of hunky, rugged Prince Harry playing soldier. They just eat it up! Man, at least in Russia the reason they no longer have an independent media is because Putin either arrested or killed any journalist who dared report the news. In the UK all you have to do is offer these whores a pack of cigarettes and a beer and they roll right into the sack!


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