BBC Brash: Confirming the CIA covert conspiracy? Bala Ibrahim
In 2007, Julian Paul Assange, the Australian editor, publisher, activist and founder of WikiLeaks, released a report, alleging that Boko Haram is a CIA covert operation in Nigeria, the aim of which is to ultimately eliminate Nigeria, as a potential strategic rival to the US in the African continent.
Julian Assange’s report said, “The US embassy in Nigeria is a forward operating base for wide and far reaching acts of subversion against Nigeria, which include but not limited to, eavesdropping on Nigerian government communication, financial espionage on leading Nigerians, support and funding of subversive groups and insurgents, sponsoring of divisive propaganda among the disparate groups of Nigeria and the use of visa blackmail to induce and coerce high ranking Nigerians into acting in favour of US interests”.
Of course the CIA was quick to deny the allegation, by accusing WikiLeaks of endangering Americans, helping US rivals and hampering the fight against terror threats by releasing what it claimed was, a trove, or store of valuables of the CIA hacking tools.
According to Heather Fritz Horniak, the then CIA spokeswoman, “The American public should be deeply troubled by any WikiLeaks disclosure, designed to damage the intelligence community’s ability to protect America against terrorists and other adversaries”. But she didn’t confirm or deny the authenticity of the report.
Looking at the barrage of hate speeches, and the ever-increasing divisive propaganda against the government and different people of different ethnicity, alongside the multitude of subversive activities that are perpetrated by a number of foreign agencies in Nigeria, one may be tempted to believe in toto, that indeed, there is a camouflaged policy by some agents against Nigeria.
Recently, piqued by the BBC Africa Eye’s report, which portrayed Nigeria as the epicentre of violence in Africa, Kadaria Ahmed, a former staff of the BBC, accused the medium of acting at variance with it’s own ethics, and the Royal Charter of the BBC, which constitutionally sets out the BBC’s objective, mission and public purposes.
Kadaria was blunt, because as a one time staff of the BBC, she is very familiar with the editorial policy of the medium, especially the regular sermon to staff, to stand on the character of objectivity, and refrain from bias.
So when the BBC put out a documentary that said in the last 10 years, a new form of insecurity has settled in Nigeria, seizing the innocence of children and the peace of adults, taking lives, destroying homes, and displacing hundreds of thousands, and went on to glorify the terrorists, by meeting them in their dens and giving them undue publicity at the BBC’s prime time, Kadaria asked the medium and other journalists, to question their conscience, and see whether their action is not in tandem with the promotion of terrorism. The documentary was too promotional for the terrorists, and unmistakably intended to instigate more violence, by implicitly suggesting, and showing the invincibility and superiority of the terrorists.
In protest, the Nigerian government threatened to sanction the BBC, along with the Trust TV, which had done something similar, for airing such documentaries that glorify and fuel terrorism and banditry in the country.
For starters, the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission, NBC, announced the imposition of a fine of N5 million each, on Multichoice Nigeria Limited, owners of DSTV, TelCom Satellite Limited, TSTV, and NTA-Startimes Limited, for broadcasting the BBC Africa Eye documentary, titled, the Bandits Warlords of Zamfara.
Rather than seek ways of quietly resolving the issue with the Nigerian government, the BBC is said to be adamant, with a threat that it would even do more. Do more? I hope not.
I am yet to confirm officially, if truly that is the position of the BBC, because, if it turns out to be true, the brash would only confirm WikiLeaks’s allegation, that indeed Boko Haram is a CIA covert operation, and some foreign media are the agents of propaganda in the operation.
Some of us that worked with the BBC, still carry the stigma stamp of the infamous ‘sexed up’ dossier on Sadam’s weapons of mass destruction, which since publication, has left the BBC vulnerable to attacks for falsehood, the devastating effect of which, lead to the suicide of Dr. David Kelly, a weapons expert.
Many heads rolled on the floor of the BBC as a result of shame, starting with the Chairman, Gavyn Davies and followed by the Director General, Mr. Greg Dyke. The journalist that aired the report on the BBC Today programme, Andrew Gilligan, also threw in the towel.
The guys resigned because the Hutton’s inquiry, which was set up by the British government to unravel the truth, had accused the British government of involvement in deceit, and indicted the BBC for being reckless, through the airing of false reports, that were evidently economic with the truth. This bruised heavily, the reputations of the BBC’s management and its supervisory board of governors. Hence, such compulsory resignations.
On its part, the BBC, through the then newly appointed acting chairman, Lord Richard Ryder, apologized for errors in reportage.
“On behalf of the BBC I have no hesitation in apologising unreservedly for our errors and to the individuals whose reputations were affected by them,” – Lord Richard Ryder.
That is the essence of morality-allowing one’s instinct to know the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behaviour.
It is my hope that the BBC would be guided by the past, so that it does not permit ego, to poison or pollute it’s future.
Regretful acknowledgement of an offence or failure, is a demonstration of strength, which the medium has in abundance, I think.
Ibrahim, a media advisor writes from Abuja.