No Spirit of Liberty: The Salisbury Case, Corbyn and the Need for Dissent

Fifteen years ago this month, the US-led ‘Shock and Awe’ offensive began against Iraq, supposedly to disarm the country of its ‘weapons of mass destruction’. The illegal invasion and subsequent brutal occupation led to the loss of around one million lives, created millions of refugees, destroyed the infrastructure of a country already ravaged by over a decade of cruel UN sanctions, and contributed significantly to the rise of Islamic State. All of this might never have happened were it not for an intense campaign of propaganda and deception in which the so-called ‘mainstream’ media, including ‘impartial’ BBC News, were enthusiastic participants.

In the Guardian, Martin Woollacott had declared of Saddam’s supposed ‘WMD’:

Among those knowledgeable about Iraq there are few, if any, who believe he is not hiding such weapons. It is a given.

This conformity throughout the corporate media was remarkable. Ardent armchair war supporter David Aaronovitch, also writing in the Guardian, confidently asserted:

If nothing is eventually found, I – as a supporter of the war – will never believe another thing that I am told by our government, or that of the US ever again.

As the Downing Street Memo showed, intelligence and facts were ‘fixed around’ the pre-existing policy of invasion. The Chilcot Report, finally released in 2016, was damning of the way Tony Blair’s government took the UK into war. Analysis of the report published last year by…

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