The Guardian and Honest Reporting? – Not Even About Arms Trade

The Guardian doesn't deserve support

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While The Guardian wines on about “independence” and “honest journalism”, it mostly is biased towards NATO, pro-War and anti-Trump narrative. A recent article about the US Arms deal with Saudi Arabia a prime example again.

I don’t think there’s a normal; there is no average people’s; and no 1%-like kind of soul in the world who’d really wish war on their family. I’d even be inclined to think that there really isn’t anybody who’d wish it on their neighbor – even should they have an extremely bad relation between them. There’s none, nobody. The masses all despise it. As we all know the 99% does not dictate though. They are offered pro-forma fake elections to keep up appearances while after it, the machine just revolves again. At ever increasing speed.

As the war drums pick up pace we, the people, are kept “informed” by loan-whore presstitutes working for cartels owned by the same people who win with war. Independent media like FRN isn’t owned by these. They get their ammo from honest journalists making zero wage and often spend hours researching on Sundays or Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and every day of the week evenings. Heck. Keeping up with all this is like a full-time job. And it is wholly done after hours. After coming home from doing your part in the rat-race. You know who often pays for travel expenses? They often do themselves. On their own. Like yours truly. While dishonest “ladies” negotiate $30 million exit deals. Funny that but, fortunately, I am not here to make money.

Who dunnit? Trump dunnit!

It ain’t about me. It’s about an article in The Guardian. It is so chock-full of half-truths and plain falsehoods (again) that I could not help but write about it. After all, The Guardian’s self-proclaimed independence of “the influence of billionaire owners, politicians or stakeholders” with “No one editing their editors” and “No one steering their opinion“, it should be factual really. Surprise: it is not.

The title’s misleading but I’ll skip to the first paragraph which states the same half-truth.

US arms sales to Saudi Arabia give Washington extensive leverage on Riyadh, while accounting for fewer than 20,000 US jobs a year – less than a twentieth of the employment boost Donald Trump has claimed.

Trump really didn’t claim so. He never mentioned that arms sales would create 400.000 jobs. And just as a disclaimer: I am entirely disregarding the opening paragraph which could rile up all these seeking justice for various countries all over the Middle-East. What he says first merely is in-line with Government policy ever since the Clintons. Trump may even have stated that to appease “them” and to appease the DNC and his imperialist GOP colleagues. Who cares? I’ll stick to the subject at hand.

On Saudi arms exports and jobs he said, from the statement The Guardian did not link to (again): “The Kingdom agreed to spend and invest $450 billion in the United States. It will create hundreds of thousands of jobs, tremendous economic development, and much additional wealth for the United States,” before continuing with, “of the $450 billion, $110 billion will be spent on the purchase of military equipment“.

Note how The Guardian first connects all of the projected jobs to only arms sales while Trump’s statement was quite a lot more balanced. Reading The Guardian’s Julian Borger piece one would think that Trump’s the warmonger while in fact he has sought peace with axis-of-evil North-Korea and arch-enemy Russia repeatedly.

Back in March 2017 during Trump’s first year, The Guardian’s Simon Tisdall wrote: “Trump is also expected to give the go-ahead soon for an expanded new arms package for Saudi Arabia. The sale, of $300m (£240m) of precision-guided munitions, was also blocked by Obama.” Again it seems as if Trump’s the bad guy. On Saturday May 13 it stated: “The United States is close to completing a series of arms deals for Saudi Arabia totaling more than $100bn.” Trump was mentioned five times over the same amount of short paragraphs.

To any casual reader it’s entirely clear who the culprit was. It was Trump acting in his own self-interest and his often touted billionaire friends. But do explain me why The Guardian now specifically writes: “All of the major sales in the pipeline were initiated by the Obama administration” in their recent article. Huh – have we misread things a year ago?

Gazillions of jobs

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I’ll not defend having the same resources as the Center for International Policy (CIP). You’d be laughing your arses off. I’m pretty damn sure FRN doesn’t have it either. But let’s look at the numbers from a different angle. Let’s address the CIP’s with an open, honest and inquisitive mind. One which has no relation whatsoever to the ordeals the arms trade brings to many; nor with the benefits of course. I’d be a paid journo for The Guardian, WaPo, Vox and Vice if I had.

First off is US Arms Export data. Google quite prominently shows that – yes indeedy – Saudi Arabia is the largest buyer of American weaponry by far. Belgium, where I live, is found way below and right above powerhouses like Senegal, Estonia, Chad and… The Syria Rebels (!) – but I digress. Saudi Arabia in that Statista list accounts for over 27% of transactions for a monetary value of $3.425 billion.Is that figure correct though? Looks awfully low given that my country just signed a contract for only a few F35s which costs significantly more…

The site openly mentions they use “trend indicator values” (TIV) as well as “constant U.S. dollars as of 1990“. They explain that using TIV means that “The depicted value only is an indicator and does not correspond to the actual financial value of the transfers.” All while 1990 U.S. dollars now equals almost two times as much (1,93 to be precise) of the currency.

Luckily we have figures of the State Department at hand – given the US is a notoriously transparent democracy. The page offers us the total amount of Americans directly employed by the military-industrial complex for example: 2.500.000 Americans (over 1,5% of the American labor force, ed). As the State Department specifically states directly employed we clearly need to be conscious of the observation that it does not include bankers, insurance companies, marketing agencies, lobbyists, lawyers, catering, transportation, utilities, factory builders, infrastructure workers and so on who’d not survive without the massive cash involved in “defense”.

We’re here to question The Guardian though, as well as the CIP’s report. They stated that only and at most 40.000 Americans were dependent on the Saudi arms sales on page 10. Page 10 mentions something else: “The true number of jobs tied to Saudi sales cannot be precisely determined because the Pentagon does not report systematically on final contracts or which equipment has been delivered. Thus, the status of any given order – whether it has been abandoned, or is at the stage of a non-binding political commitment, or has resulted in a formal agreement or a final contract – is often hard to determine.

If the multi-million sponsored CIP can be allowed guesswork to present Mainstream-quoted reports with, then FRN is equally entitled to it, no? We should’t even feel bad about it.

Getting to better figures…

Back to friggen numbers then. Workforce directly employed by the US killing machine: 2,500,000. Arms sales to the Saudis in 2017: 18 billion according to CBS. That’s up from the Google’s Statista numbers mentioned above right? But Statista were using this concept of “TIV”. The State Department published a recent press release mentioning an export totalling 192.3 billion on November 8th. Bear with me here. Couple that to a stated 681 billion domestic budget.

Now we are getting somewhere. According to official figures, the defense industry is worth 873.3 billion and it directly employs 2.500.000. If Saudi-Arabia is responsible for 27% of arms sales, it takes up 51 billion of exports. That would amount to 5,84% of all money in the US defense industry and thus of the persons directly involved in it. In real directly employed figures that goes to tally 146.000 American workers paid for by the Saudis.

Keep in mind that Nr. 45 has more exact figures than we do. The arms trade always is shrouded in veiled mystery. We can however deduct that The Guardian’s, nor the CIP’s not really telling us like it is. Nor are we – concerning this immensely difficult topic. Nobody can. Exact figures are just hard to come by.

In other words. I wrote this article not to be cocky and a know-it-all but to indicate there just might be sides to the story we do not know. Writing for FRN and as a human being, I refuse to parrot press releases. I try to reflect and give insights. So should you really. If you do not, you can not make up your own mind.

I am not in this for the money. The arms trade and all those earning big bucks with it are.

The Jamal Kashoggi smokescreen? – That’s just a joke. There’s so much about him which goes unheard. I’ll write about it if there’s interest. Ask me so in the comments.

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