The Oxford Dictionaries have named ‘post-truth’ as the word of the year. ‘Fake news’ and ‘post-truth’ politics have been blamed for both the Brexit vote in the UK and the victory of Donald Trump in America.
It seems the uneducated plebs are falling for ’fake news’ they read in ’new media’ and the lies of dreadful rabble-rousing populist politicians who are relying on people’s emotions, instead of ’objective facts,’ to get votes. It’s all terribly worrying and poses a dire threat to Western civilization as we know it.
Well, forgive me for laughing out loud. For this establishment ‘fake news’/’post-truth politics’ concern is the funniest thing I’ve come across in politics since Lord Jenkins of Hillhead, the very grand Chancellor of the University of Oxford, repeatedly called distinguished Sheldonian guest Mikhail Gorbachev, “Mr. Brezhnev.”
Why is it so hilarious? Because the people and the outlets warning of the dangers of ‘fake news’ and ‘post-truth politics’ have been the biggest peddlers of ‘fake news’ and ‘post-truth politics’ out there. It’s like receiving lectures on the immorality of bootlegging from Al Capone or being told to sit up straight by the Hunchback of Notre Dame.
Without a doubt the best, or rather the worst example of ‘fake news’ in the last 25 years or so, was the neocon lie that Iraq had WMDs in 2002/3. That wasn’t peddled by ‘obscure bloggers’ and ‘new media,’ but by mainstream Western politicians, from ‘mainstream’ political parties, establishment-approved ‘experts’ on the BBC/ITV/CNN, etc., and Op-ed columnists in ‘serious’ and ‘respectable’ media outlets.
There was absolutely no evidence that Saddam possessed WMDs. The story was complete and utter BS. Yet this fake news dominated the headlines for months in 2002/3 and led to an illegal invasion in which many people lost their lives. Unlike today’s manufactured ‘fake news’ hysteria the Iraq war was no joke. An entire country was destroyed.
And guess what? Those who pushed the ‘Iraq has WMDs line’ are now coming on television to express their concern over ‘fake news’!
John Hilley notes “The BBC even had Alastair Campbell (Tony Blair’s spin doctor), in the studio defending the term ‘post-truth’ as a way of exposing the ‘dangers’ of ‘fake news.'”
Campbell stated: “It’s acknowledging that politics, which has always been rough, has moved to a different phase where politicians who lie now appear to get rewarded for it.” (BBC2 Jeremy Vine Show, 16/11/2016).
What might Orwell have said about Campbell, master spinner and Blairite warmonger, sitting inside the BBC being rewarded for his thoughts on ‘post-truth and ‘fake news?’ Hilley asks.
Once again, I’m sure old George is spinning in his grave in Sutton Courtenay.
Then there’s that serial warmonger Bernard-Henri Levy. The Sunday Telegraph today told us in its headlines: ‘Leading French philosopher: Marine Le Pen may win election as people have lost interest in whether politicians tell the truth.’
Oh, the irony!
Because if the French people really have ‘lost interest in whether politicians tell the truth,’ Henri-Levy and his fellow liberal interventionist ‘regime changers’ have got a lot to do with it.
Think back to the war against Libya, which the ‘leading French philosopher’ lobbied hard for. To sell the war to the Western public, we were told that Muammar Gaddafi was about to commit a ‘Srebrenica-style’ massacre in Benghazi. Media Lens noted the claims that were made at the time.
But again it was a load of ‘rollocks.’ Five years after Libya, like Iraq before it, had been destroyed by Western ‘interventionists,’ a report of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Commons declared: “the proposition that Muammar Gaddafi would have ordered the massacre of civilians in Benghazi was not supported by the available evidence.”
It wasn’t the only claim made about Libya by Western politicians that was ‘not supported by the available evidence.’ In February 2011, UK Foreign Secretary William Hague insisted that he had seen ‘information’ which suggested that Gaddafi was on his way to Venezuela. An unnamed ‘diplomat’ said that this was ‘credible information.’ But it wasn’t. It was the same old fake news that we get every time the Western elites are trying to achieve ‘regime change.’
In April 2011 we heard that the devilish Gaddafi (who had not, after all, fled to Caracas), was supplying his troops with Viagra “to encourage mass rape.”
“Gaddafi’s security forces and other groups in the region are trying to divide the people by using violence against women and rape as tools of war, and the United States condemns this in the strongest possible terms,” declared Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, whose supporters are now complaining about ‘post-truth politics.
Again, no evidence was put forward for the Viagra/mass rape claim and, surprise, surprise, none was ever found.
A clear pattern can be discerned. To get public support for its illegal regime change wars, the Western establishment energetically promotes a number of ‘fake news’ stories. These stories are usually reported unquestioningly in ‘respectable’ outlets and are regularly cited by neocon/liberal interventionist commentators as a reason for taking action against the target state. ‘Anonymous’ sources feature heavily in these stories, which like MI6’s ‘Operation Mass Appeal’ are often planted by the security services.
Meanwhile, people’s emotions are shamelessly played upon by the ‘something must be done’ brigade of ‘liberal’ laptop bombardiers, the same crowd, note well, who accuse ‘populist’ politicians of ignoring ‘objective facts’ and playing on people’s emotions.
The fake news continues while the regime change operation is ongoing. After its over, we’re all meant to forget about the false stories we were fed and focus on the next ’New Hitler’ who needs to be dealt with. In 2011, it was the despicable Gaddafi, now it’s the despicable Assad and the despicable Putin who we’re told: “have to be stopped.”
The term ‘post-truth’ politics implies there was a time when politics was truthful. I doubt if that ever was the case, but certainly in the last 25 years, thanks to the influence of neocons and ‘liberal interventionists’, the lies have been off the scale. Remember the Niger uranium forgeries? And Saddam’s horrific ‘People Shredder‘?
And before the Iraq war, we had the ‘humanitarian’ NATO bombing of Yugoslavia, where again fake news dominated. US Defense Secretary William Cohen claimed “about 100,000 military-aged” Kosovan Albanians were missing… “they may have been murdered.”
As John Pilger reminded us, “Kosovo, the site of a genocide that never was, is now a violent “free market” in drugs and prostitution.”
It wasn’t the only lurid claim that was made to sell the war. But again the ‘genocide’ and hundreds of thousands killed stories were false, as a UN court itself ruled in 2001.
Fake news also featured heavily in the neocon campaign to get Iran sanctioned for an entirely unproven nuclear weapons program. It’s dominated the coverage of recent events in Ukraine, with Russia’s non-existent ‘invasion of Ukraine’ routinely referred to as a fact. The conflict in Syria too has been marked by ‘fake news,’ and theories being reported as if they’re 100 percent proven. How many times have you read that “Assad gassed his own people” at Ghouta in 2013, even though we still don’t know for sure who carried out the attack?
If it’s ‘official enemies’ we’re talking about ‘fact-checking’ and citing sources isn’t all that important for those who pounce on a mere typo if it’s an anti-war writer who’s making a claim.
Now, the same people who have disseminated fake news for so long and who are still, even after Iraq and Libya, embedded in the West’s political and media establishments, are lashing out because they no longer control the narrative as they used to. The public is getting their news from a much wider variety of sources and voting for ‘populist,’ i.e., non-neocon/liberal interventionist-anointed candidates/parties at elections.
Instead of admitting that it’s their ’fake news’ and ‘post-truth politics’ which has caused people to switch off from establishment media and to stop voting for status quo candidates, the endless war lobby has the effrontery to accuse others of the things they have been guilty of.
Concern over ‘fake news’ and ‘post-truth politics’ from the West’s endless war propagandists?
It’s hard to think of a better example of what psychologists call ‘projection.’
Follow Neil Clark @NeilClark66
RT’s YouTube channels have surpassed 4 billion views, sustaining RT’s title as the world’s leading news network on YouTube, and widening its lead on mainstream media TV news channels such as CNN and the BBC.
The record-breaking number of views from across RT’s varied news channels including RT, RT Documentary and Ruptly TV, amount to three times the YouTube views that Euronews enjoys and more than seven times those of the BBC’s news channels combined.
“The future of media is inextricably linked to the internet. Once you fall behind in this field, it’s difficult to catch up. From the very beginning RT has focused on developing its digital platforms, and this has been the key to our success,” said RT Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan.
RT has been leading the way in YouTube news delivery since the platform became available in Russia in 2007.
At the time, RT was the first Russian TV channel to embrace the new media concept and by 2011, RT’s content had gained the recognition of YouTube and was awarded the most popular news video of the year.
The award marked the beginning of RT YouTube’s rise to international acclaim; the following year, 2012, the Pew Research Center named RT the top news producer on the platform. By 2013, RT had become the first news channel in the world to hit 1 billion views on YouTube.
“For many years now RT has been an unconditional leader on YouTube, the most popular video-hosting platform in the world. Four billion views is a new milestone, and we are aiming to raise the bar even further,” said Kirill Karnovich-Valua, RT’s Head of Online Projects.
Without doubt, 2016 has been RT’s best year to date. In April it received the People’s Choice award at the prestigious Webby Awards ahead of BBC News, ABC News, NBC Nightly News and the New York Times.
In September, RT took home seven Lovie Awards, the pan-European awards honoring online excellence. And RT finished the year on a high by solidifying its seat at the top with over 4 billion YouTube views.
Aside from its YouTube success, RT broadcasts in six languages, has more than 13 million Facebook fans, 6 million Twitter followers, and a live audience of millions around the globe.
White Helmets Phenom
Unknown to most people, the White Helmets brand was conceived and directed by a marketing company named “The Syria Campaign” based in New York. They have managed to fool millions of people. Walt Disney might have made a great movie about this: unarmed volunteers fearlessly rescuing survivors in the midst of war without regard to religion or politics. Like most other “true life” Disney movies, it is 10% reality, 90% fiction.
Due to its success, Western countries are dedicating ever larger amounts of funding. The White Helmets were the 17 October TIME magazine cover story. Nikolas Kristof at the NY Times has gushed over them for years. They recently won a 2016 Right Livelihood Award. Netflix has recently released a special ‘documentary’ movie about the White Helmets. With impeccable timing, the mainstream media acclaim reached a crescendo with both the UK Guardian and The Independent calling on the Nobel Committee to award this year’s Nobel Peace Prize to the White Helmets.
It’s not just establishment that has gushed over the White Helmets. CODEPINK recommended the Netflix movie and DemocracyNow! ran a puff piece interview with the infomercial directors. The Intercept published an uncritical promotion of the White Helmets and their dubious leader. (CODEPINK received a lot of criticism and later issued a correction.)
The Reality Behind the White Helmet Image
In contrast with the uncritical promotion of the White Helmets, there have been some investigations of their reality during the past 1.5 years. This timeline shows the early investigations. In April 2015 Dissident Voice published an expose of their actual creation and purpose. Since then there have been an increasing number of articles and videos revealing what is behind the ‘feel good’ veneer. Vanessa Beeley has produced numerous articles including documentation of the REAL Syrian Civil Defense which was founded six decades ago. She initiated an online Change.org petition which gathered 3.3 thousand signatures to NOT GIVE THE NOBEL PEACE PRIZE to the WHITE HELMETS. That was twice as many signatures as the petition to GIVE the Nobel Prize to them. Apparently that fact upset someone influential because Change.org removed the petition without explanation. Did it violate “community standards”? You can judge for yourself because the petition is shown here.
Another online petition, also at CHANGE.ORG, is still up and running. It calls on the Right Livelihood Foundation to RETRACT their award to the White Helmets. The petition includes ten reasons they do not deserve the prize and are not what they are presented to be. They stole the name Syria Civil Defense from the real Syrian organization. They appropriated the name “White Helmets” from the Argentinian rescue organization Cascos Blancos/White Helmets. They are not independent; they are funded by governments. They are not apolitical; they actively campaign for a No Fly Zone. They do not work across Syria; they ONLY work in areas controlled by the armed opposition, mostly Nusa/Al Qaeda. They are not unarmed; they sometimes do carry weapons and they also celebrate terrorist victories. They assist in terrorist executions.
In recent weeks, information about the true nature of the White Helmets has been spreading. Max Blumenthal has a two part expose at Alternet: “How the White Helmets became International Heroes while Pushing US Intervention and Regime Change in Syria” and “Inside the Shadowy PR Firm that’s Lobbying for Regime Change in Syria” Scott Ritter has written an article which critically looks at the White Helmets’ “lionization”. Internationally, the Israeli TV station I24 ran a special report with the title “White Helmets: Heroes or Hoax?”, giving equal coverage to supporters and critics. Even The National out of United Arab Emirates has documented the controversy around the White Helmets.
Franklin Lamb Lashes Out at White Helmet Critics
Some supporters of the White Helmets have lashed back. The British military contractor who initially set up the organization has accused his critics of being ‘proxies’ for the Syrian and Russian governments. And in recent days, Franklin Lamb leaped to the defense of the White Helmets with an article titled “Political Defamation Campaign targets Rescue Workers in Syria.”
Lamb’s critique is almost as misleading as the group he defends. It appears he has not read many of the serious criticisms and exposes of the White Helmets. He does not provide references or sources so that a reader can compare his description with what critics actually said.
Lamb accuses critics of waging a “malicious campaign” against the Syrian Arab Red Crescent and International Committee of the Red Cross as well as the White Helmets. That is false. Here is what has been actually said: “Unlike a legitimate rescue organization such as the Red Cross or Red Crescent, the “White Helmets” only work in areas controlled by the armed opposition.” The online petition to RETRACT the Right Livelihood Award says “The NATO White Helmets actually undermine and detract from the work of authentic organizations such as the REAL Syria Civil Defense and Syrian Arab Red Crescent.”
Lamb echoes White Helmet propaganda by repeatedly referring to them as volunteers. But they are not. They are all paid — with the White Helmet media managers in Brooklyn New York, Gaziantep Turkey and Beirut Lebanon making sizable salaries. As to the on-the-ground ‘White Helmets’ based Nusra territory in Aleppo and Idlib, they are paid much more than full time Syrian soldiers for their part time real and staged rescue operations.
Lamb laments the fact that MSF (Medicins Sans Frontiers/Doctors without Borders) has been criticized. However, MSF has shown itself to be politically biased. The organization has no staff inside Syria yet continues to issue statements as if they had clear compelling evidence when it seems they do not. Recently MSF claimed that four hospitals in terrorist controlled sectors of East Aleppo had been bombed and two doctors injured. They do not identify the names or locations of the hospitals or the names of the doctors. The report is apparently based on hearsay.
Perhaps MSF does not identify the name or location of the hospitals because when they did report names and locations, such as with Al Quds Hospital in April 2016, it was found that their report was inconsistent and full of contradictions. MSF claimed “According to hospital staff on the ground, the hospital was destroyed by at least one airstrike which directly hit the building, reducing it to rubble.” Photographs from before and after the event showed this assertion to be untrue. The so called “Al Quds Hospital” was an unidentified largely vacant apartment building with sandbags at the ground floors. MSF’s bias is also shown by the fact they refuse to provide any services or support to the 90% of the Syrian population which is in government controlled areas. MSF has not responded to a previous open letter questioning their bias. Nor have they responded to invitations to visit government controlled Aleppo to evaluate the reality versus the claims of their allies in Nusra/Al Qaeda territory.
Lamb says “The White Helmets are being attacked with all sorts of unfounded accusations and conspiracy theories.” On the contrary, the evidence is overwhelming. White Helmets are funded by Western governments which want ‘regime change’. White Helmets pick up bodies after execution. White Helmets carry weapons and celebrate jihadi victories. White Helmets ONLY work in areas dominated by Nusra or an ally. White Helmets actively campaign for a No Fly Zone. These are not “conspiracy theories”; they are facts easily proven in the videos and articles about them.
Lamb says, “White Helmet rescuers are much like Syria’s population in general, including most of the 12 million refugees, who have come to abhor politics.” It is true that nearly all Syrians abhor the war that has been imposed on them. However, the vast majority of Syrians also hate the terrorists while most ‘White Helmets’ are allied with them. Lamb is also wrong on the refugee count. There are about 12 million internally displaced persons but the number of refugees is closer to 4 million. Two thirds of the internally displaced persons are living inside Syria in areas under government control.
The White Helmets were “branded” by a marketing company called The Syria Campaign which itself was “incubated” (their term) by a larger marketing company called Purpose. Along with managing the online and social media promotion of the White Helmets, the Syria Campaign has parallel efforts in support of “regime change” in Syria. One of these efforts has been to criticize United Nations and humanitarian relief organizations which supply aid to displaced persons living in areas protected by the Syrian government. This situation is documented in an editorial here where the author says: “The allegations made by the Syria Campaign and others were written by people who know nothing about the UN and how it must work.” Apparently unaware of the facts about The Syria Campaign, the outraged Franklin Lamb calls this “defamatory nonsense!”
Lamb echoes the White Helmet propaganda that they have saved “65,000 Syrian citizens, many being their neighbors, families and friends.” This is extreme exaggeration. The areas controlled by the terrorists have very few civilians living in them. A medical doctor visiting east Aleppo two years ago described it as a ‘ghost town’. When cat videos were popular on social media, the White Helmet video team produced their own fake cat video. It showed White Helmet members playing with stray cats in empty neighborhoods. They say, “The homeowners abandoned this district and its kittens.” Yes, most of the civilians abandoned it because the terrorists invaded it. In short, this number of rescues is an extreme exaggeration. The real number is probably just a few percent of that.
Lamb believes the critics of the White Helmets are ‘defaming” them. It’s almost laughable except it’s bitterly ironic. The REAL Syrian Civil Defense works on a shoestring budget with REAL volunteers without a video team accompanying and promoting them. Most in the West are unaware they even exist. The situation for the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, which is a genuinely neutral and independent relief organization, is similar although they at least have a good website.
Lamb complains about “the massive use of pejorative language to smear rescue workers.” The reality, of course, is the precise opposite in the case of the “White Helmets.” There has been a flood of uncritical praise for this three year old organization created by the West and for goals of the West. On the contrary, they have not been sufficiently examined and exposed. Lamb’s heartfelt concern about the poor White Helmets being unfairly criticized is bizarre.
Franklin Lamb claims to have filed his article from Aleppo University Hospital. This is located in government protected Aleppo. Why does he make no reference to the victims of terrorist bombings, sniping and attacks who fill the Aleppo University Hospital? Why does he make no reference to the REAL Syrian Civil Defense which brought to the hospital many injured victims? In his closing, Franklin invites anyone interested to visit the White Helmets with him. Is he serious? Very few journalists or Western ‘observers’ have been in terrorist controlled Aleppo for years. Two of the last batch were James Foley and Stephen Sotloff, subsequently murdered by ISIS. Franklin needs to provide some evidence that he actually was in East Aleppo with the Nusra and the White Helmets. Otherwise one might question whether his conversations with White Helmet ‘volunteers’ were actually in Gaziantep Turkey.
The Controversy Continues
As the Syrian government and allies try to finally crush or expel the terrorists from Aleppo, the White Helmets have become a major tool in the West’s propaganda tool chest. The image of the White Helmets deflects attention from the sectarian violent and unpopular nature of Nusra and other armed opposition groups. This is used in parallel with accusations that Syrian and Russian attacks are primarily hitting civilians. Western media gives an image that there are only civilians and White Helmets under attack in east Aleppo; the terrorists have been whited out of the picture.
White Helmets have gone from being talked about to the ones doing the talking. News stories increasingly use White Helmet witnesses as their theme or source. One day CNN says a White Helmet aid center has been hit. Another day it is claimed that White Helmet individuals are being “hunted.” A White Helmet performs the role of journalist not first responder as he claims to be “eye witness” to Syrian barrel bombs destroying the humanitarian convoy and warehouse on September 19 in Orem al Kubra.
There are reasons to be suspicious. For example, in the case of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) convoy that was attacked in Orem al Kubra:
* This is the same town where the documentary “Saving Syria’s Children” was filmed. A detailed investigation has shown that sequences in that BBC movie were largely if not entirely staged.
* This town is controlled by the infamous Nour al Din al Zinki terrorist group which recently filmed itself beheading a young Palestinian Syrian boy.
* It is illogical that Syrian or Russian planes would attack a SARC convoy. They could have stopped the convoy when it was in government held territory. The Syrian government works together with SARC. Why would they attack the convoy?
* The one to ‘benefit’ from the atrocity is the US Coalition and those supporting the regime change project. The attack took attention away from the US killing of 70+ Syrian soldiers on September 17 and facilitated the resumption of accusations against Syria and Russia. More contradictions and inconsistencies regarding the White Helmet witness are pointed out in this incisive analysis.
* The Russian and Syrian governments called for an independent investigation of the attack site but this has not been done, presumably because the terrorists controlling the area have not allowed it.
With massive publicity, there is now greatly increased public awareness of the three year old White Helmets. Ironically SARC, which works with neutrality, have been largely ignored. And the original 60+ year old Syrian Civil Defense continues to work with absolutely no recognition in the West.
Are the White Helmets heroes or a politically motivated hoax? The time to investigate is now. It does little good to uncover falsehoods and manipulations years later. This is especially true because the people who created and uncritically promoted previous hoaxes such as Nayirah and the Kuwaiti incubators, Curveball and the Iraqi WMD have gone without penalty or punishment despite the enormous cost in lives and resources. The White Helmets should be seriously investigated lest they be used to promote more war in Syria.
Rick Sterling is a retired aerospace engineer who now does research/writing on international issues. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
NatWest’s latest comments concerning its bizarre and unexplained decision to close all of RT’s UK accounts, claiming only “one of the suppliers” is affected and the move is under review, have caused some confusion in the British media.
Here are the facts:
On Tuesday, BBC posted an article citing NatWest, which said that “a letter had been sent to one of RT’s suppliers, not RT itself, and no accounts had been frozen.” The channel included RT’s comment on the story, but kept the headline saying that “NatWest denies shutting accounts of Russian TV channel.”
In reality, however, it is misleading to refer to Russia Today TV UK Ltd as one of RT’s suppliers, as RT is the brand name of a global network, and Russia Today TV UK Ltd it is the sole provider of all of RT’s operations in the UK, which includes servicing the salaries of the entire 60+ staff of the RT UK television channel.
As NatWest is Russia Today TV UK Ltd’s sole banking facility, the bank is, in fact, closing banking access to all of RT’s operations in the UK.
The actual situation, as it stands now, is described in the letter from NatWest published by RT, which says that all of Russia Today TV Ltd’s bank accounts will be canceled and closed by December 12, 2016. Moreover, the entire Royal Bank of Scotland Group, of which NatWest is part, is refusing services to RT, according to the letter.
Following RT’s publication of NatWest’s letter, and the massive public backlash to the bank’s decision that followed, the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) claimed it was “reviewing” the case, in contradiction to the text in the letter, which explicitly stated that the decision was “final” and that NatWest was “not prepared to enter into any discussion in relation to it.” The RBS also noted that RT’s bank accounts have not been frozen or closed – yet. A number of UK outlets reported this without mentioning the December deadline, while calling the source document “a redacted letter.”
The world once again finds itself hurtling to the brink of war, and once again the establishment mouthpiece puppet propaganda media is leading the charge. This time around their lies defy description. In the sick world of the would-be warmongers, child beheading terrorist scum are now the heroes. The blood of the innocents that spill from here on in covers the hands of the mainstream media propagandists.
SHOW NOTES: https://www.corbettreport.com/?p=20107
National newspapers were ‘unimpressed by Jeremy Corbyn’s victory’ in the Labour leadership election, Roy Greenslade noted in the Guardian, surprising no-one. Corbyn secured almost 62% of the 506,000 votes cast, up from the 59% share he won in 2015, ‘with virtually no press backing whatsoever’.
In reality, of course, Corbyn did not just lack press backing. He won in the face of more than one year of relentless corporate media campaigning to politically, ethically, professionally, psychologically and even sartorially discredit him. That Corbyn survived is impressive. That he won again, increased his vote-share, and took Labour Party membership from 200,000 to more than 500,000, is astonishing.
None of this moves journalists like the BBC’s political editor, Laura Kuenssberg, who commented: ‘there’s been no big new idea or vision this week that Labour can suddenly rally round’.
Polly Toynbee explained: ‘I and many Guardian colleagues can’t just get behind Corbyn’. Why? ‘Because Corbyn and McDonnell, burdened by their history, will never ever earn the trust of enough voters to make any plans happen.’
Toynbee fails to recognise the nature and scale of the problem. In supporting Corbyn, the public is attempting to shape a genuinely democratic choice out of the sham choices of corporate-owned politics. This awesome task begins with the public waking up to the anti-democratic role of the corporate media in defending, of course, corporate-owned politics. So-called ‘mainstream media’ are primarily conduits for power rather than information; they are political enforcers, not political communicators. To the extent that the public understands this, change is possible.
Supported by non-corporate, web-based media activism, Corbyn has already smoked out these media to an extent that is without precedent. Many people can see that he is a reasonable, compassionate, decent individual generating immense grassroots support. And they can see that all ‘mainstream’ media oppose him. It could hardly be more obvious that the corporate media speak as a single biased, elitist voice.
The Benghazi Massacre – No Real Evidence
The smearing of Corbyn fits well with the similarly uniform propaganda campaign taking the ‘threat’ of Iraqi ‘WMD’ seriously in 2002 and 2003. Then, also, the entire corporate media system assailed the public with a long litany of fraudulent claims. And then there was Libya.
Coming so soon after the incomplete but still damning exposure of the Iraq deception – with the bloodbath still warm – the media’s deep conformity and wilful gullibility on the 2011 Libyan war left even jaundiced observers aghast. It was clear that we were faced with a pathological system of propaganda on Perpetual War autopilot.
The pathology has been starkly exposed by a September 9 report into the war from the foreign affairs committee of the House of Commons. As with Iraq, this was no mere common-or-garden disaster; we are again discussing the destruction of an entire country. The report summarised:
The result was political and economic collapse, inter-militia and inter-tribal warfare, humanitarian and migrant crises, widespread human rights violations, the spread of Gaddafi regime weapons across the region and the growth of ISIL in North Africa.
The rationale for ‘intervention’, of course, was the alleged threat of a massacre by Gaddafi’s forces in Benghazi. The report commented:
The evidence base: our assessment
Despite his rhetoric, the proposition that Muammar Gaddafi would have ordered the massacre of civilians in Benghazi was not supported by the available evidence… Gaddafi regime forces targeted male combatants in a civil war and did not indiscriminately attack civilians. More widely, Muammar Gaddafi’s 40-year record of appalling human rights abuses did not include large-scale attacks on Libyan civilians. (Our emphasis)
Professor Joffé [Visiting Professor at King’s College London] told us that:
the rhetoric that was used was quite blood-curdling, but again there were past examples of the way in which Gaddafi would actually behave… The evidence is that he was well aware of the insecurity of parts of the country and of the unlikelihood that he could control them through sheer violence. Therefore, he would have been very careful in the actual response… the fear of the massacre of civilians was vastly overstated.’
Analyst and author Alison Pargeter agreed with Professor Joffé, concluding that there was no ‘real evidence at that time that Gaddafi was preparing to launch a massacre against his own civilians’. Related claims, that Gaddafi used African mercenaries, launched air strikes on civilians in Benghazi, and employed Viagra-fuelled mass rape as a weapon of war, were also invented.
These are astonishing comments. But according to the Lexis-Nexis media database, neither Professor Joffé nor Pargeter has been quoted by name in the press, with only the Express and Independent reporting that ‘available evidence’ had shown Gaddafi had no record of massacres; a different, less damning, point.
As disturbingly, the report noted:
We have seen no evidence that the UK Government carried out a proper analysis of the nature of the rebellion in Libya… It could not verify the actual threat to civilians posed by the Gaddafi regime….
In other words, the UK government’s relentless insistence on the need to support freedom-loving rebels against a genocidal tyranny were invented ‘facts’ fixed around policy.
That the war was a crime is hardly in doubt. Lord Richards (Baron Richards of Herstmonceux), chief of the defence staff at the time of the conflict, told the BBC that Cameron asked him ‘how long it might take to depose, regime change, get rid of Gaddafi’. British historian Mark Curtis describes the significance:
Three weeks after Cameron assured parliament in March 2011 that the object of the intervention was not regime change, he signed a joint letter with President Obama and French President Sarkozy committing to “a future without Gaddafi”.
That these were policies were illegal is confirmed by Cameron himself. He told Parliament on 21 March 2011 that the UN resolution “explicitly does not provide legal authority for action to bring about Gaddafi’s removal from power by military means”.
Cameron, then, like Blair, is a war criminal.
The ‘Moral Glow’ From a ‘Triumphant End’
The foreign affairs committee’s report is awesomely embarrassing for the disciplined murmuration of corporate journalists who promoted war.
At a crucial time in February and March 2011, the Guardian published a long list of news reports boosting government propaganda and opinion pieces advocating ‘intervention’ on the basis of the West’s supposed ‘responsibility to protect’, or ‘R2P’. Guardian columnist, later comment editor (2014-2016), Jonathan Freedland, wrote an article titled: ‘Though the risks are very real, the case for intervention remains strong.’
Brian Whitaker, the Guardian’s former Middle East editor, wrote: ‘the scale and nature of the Gaddafi regime’s actions have impelled the UN’s “responsibility to protect”.’
Menzies Campbell, former leader of the Liberal Democrats, and Philippe Sands, professor of law at University College London, wrote in the Guardian: ‘International law does not require the world to stand by and do nothing as civilians are massacred on the orders of Colonel Gaddafi…’
An Observer leader agreed: ‘The west can’t let Gaddafi destroy his people.’ And thus: ‘this particular tyranny will not be allowed to stand’.
No doubt with tongue firmly in Wodehousian cheek, as usual, Boris Johnson wrote in the Telegraph :
The cause is noble and right, and we are surely bound by our common humanity to help the people of Benghazi.
If Colonel Gaddafi is permitted to murder hundreds or thousands of his citizens from the air, and we stand by and let it happen, then our inaction will return to haunt us… We have a side here, let’s be on it. (Aaronovitch, ‘Go for a no-fly zone or regret it,’ The Times, February 24, 2011)
Later, a Guardian leader quietly celebrated:
But it can now reasonably be said that in narrow military terms it worked, and that politically there was some retrospective justification for its advocates as the crowds poured into the streets of Tripoli to welcome the rebel convoys earlier this week.
Simon Tisdall commented in the same newspaper: ‘The risky western intervention had worked. And Libya was liberated at last.’
An Observer editorial declared: ‘An honourable intervention. A hopeful future.’
The BBC’s Nick Robinson observed that Downing Street ‘will see this, I’m sure, as a triumphant end’. (BBC, News at Six, October 20, 2011) Robinson appeared to channel Churchill:
Libya was David Cameron’s first war. Col. Gaddafi his first foe. Today, his first real taste of military victory.
The BBC’s chief political correspondent, Norman Smith, declared that Cameron ‘must surely feel vindicated’. (BBC News online, October 21, 2011) In Washington, the BBC’s Ian Pannell surmised that Obama ‘is feeling that his foreign policy strategy has been vindicated – that his critics have been proven wrong’. (BBC News online, October 21, 2011)
The BBC’s John Humphrys asked: ‘What apart from a sort of moral glow… have we got out of it?’ (BBC Radio 4 Today, October 21, 2011)
Andrew Grice, political editor of the Independent, declared that Cameron had ‘proved the doubters wrong.’ Bitterly ironic then, even more so now, Grice added: ‘By calling Libya right, Mr Cameron invites a neat contrast with Tony Blair.’
An editorial in the Telegraph argued that Gaddafi’s death ‘vindicates the swift action of David Cameron and Nicolas Sarkozy in halting the attack on Benghazi’. Telegraph columnist Matthew d’Ancona (now writing for the Guardian) agreed: ‘It is surely a matter for quiet national pride that an Arab Srebrenica was prevented by a coalition in which Britain played an important part…’
An Independent leader observed:
Concern was real enough that a Srebrenica-style massacre could unfold in Benghazi, and the UK Government was right to insist that we would not allow this.
The Times, of course, joined the corporate herd in affirming that without ‘intervention’, there ‘would have been a massacre in Benghazi on the scale of Srebrenica’. (Leading article, ‘Death of a dictator,’ The Times, October 21, 2011)
But even voices to the left of the ‘mainstream’ got Libya badly wrong. Most cringe-makingly, Professor Juan Cole declared:
The Libya intervention is legal and was necessary to prevent further massacres… If NATO needs me, I’m there.
Robert Fisk commented in the Independent that, had ‘Messrs Cameron, Sarkozy and Obama stopped short after they saved Benghazi’, disaster could have been avoided.
Ironically, in an article ostensibly challenging the warmongers’ hysterical claims, Mehdi Hasan wrote in the New Statesman:
The innocent people of Benghazi deserve protection from Gaddafi’s murderous wrath.
Even Noam Chomsky observed:
The no-fly zone prevented a likely massacre… (Chomsky, ‘Making the Future: Occupations, Interventions, Empire and Resistance,’ Hamish Hamilton e-book, 2012, p.372)
To his credit, then Guardian columnist Seumas Milne (now Corbyn’s director of communications and strategy) was more sceptical. He wrote in October 2011:
But there is in fact no evidence – including from other rebel-held towns Gaddafi re-captured – to suggest he had either the capability or even the intention to carry out such an atrocity against an armed city of 700,000.
Media Reaction to the Report
The media reaction to the MPs’ demolition of their case for war made just five years earlier inevitably included some ugly evasions. A Guardian editorial commented of Libya:
It is easy in retrospect to lump it in with Iraq as a foreign folly…
It is indeed easy ‘to lump it in’, it is near-identical in key respects. But as a major war crime, not a ‘folly’.
… and there are important parallels – not least the failure to plan for stabilisation and reconstruction.
The preferred media focus being, as usual, so-called ‘mistakes’, lack of planning; rather than the fact that both wars were launched on outrageous lies, ended in the destruction of entire countries, and were driven by greed for resources. With impressive audacity, the Guardian preferred to cling to deceptions exposed by the very report under review:
But it is also important to note differences between a gratuitous, proactive invasion and a response to a direct threat to the citizens of Benghazi, triggered by the spontaneous uprising of the Libyan people. Memories of Srebrenica spurred on decision-makers. (Our emphasis)
In fact, propagandistic use of Srebrenica from sources like the Guardian ‘spurred on decision-makers’. The whole point of the MPs’ report is that it found no ‘real evidence‘ for a massacre in Benghazi. Similarly, the Guardian’s ‘spontaneous uprising’ is a debunked version of events peddled by government officials and media allies in 2011, despite the fact that there is ‘no evidence that the UK Government carried out a proper analysis of the nature of the rebellion in Libya’. In fact, the MPs’ report makes a nonsense of the Guardian’s claims for a humanitarian motive, noting:
On 2 April 2011, Sidney Blumenthal, adviser and unofficial intelligence analyst to the then United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, reported this conversation with French intelligence officers to the Secretary of State:
According to these individuals Sarkozy’s plans are driven by the following issues:
a. A desire to gain a greater share of Libya oil production,
b. Increase French influence in North Africa,
c. Improve his internal political situation in France,
d. Provide the French military with an opportunity to reassert its position in the world,
e. Address the concern of his advisors over Qaddafi’s long term plans to supplant France as the dominant power in Francophone Africa.
The Guardian apologetic continued:
Perhaps most critically, western intervention – fronted by France and the UK, but powered by the US – came under a United Nations security council resolution for the protection of civilians, after the Arab League called for a no-fly zone.’
But this, again, is absurd because the resolution, UNSCR 1973, ‘neither explicitly authorised the deployment of ground forces nor addressed the questions of regime change’, as the MPs’ report noted. NATO had no more right to overthrow the Libyan government than the American and British governments had the right to invade Iraq.
In 2011, it was deeply disturbing to us that the barrage of political and media propaganda on Libya received far less challenge even than the earlier propaganda on Iraq. With Guardian and BBC ‘humanitarian interventionists’ leading the way, many people were misled on the need for ‘action’. In a House of Commons vote on March 21, 2011, 557 MPs voted for war with just 13 opposing. Two names stand out among the 13 opponents: Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell.
Predictably, last month’s exposure of the great Libya war fraud has done nothing to prompt corporate journalists to rethink their case for war in Syria – arguments based on similar claims from similar sources promoting similar ‘humanitarian intervention’. Indeed, as this alert was being completed, the Guardian published an opinion piece by former Labour foreign secretary David Owen, calling for ‘a no-fly zone (NFZ), with protected land corridors for humanitarian aid’ in Syria, because: ‘The humanitarian imperative is for the region to act and the world to help.’
In February 2003, the Guardian published a piece by the same David Owen titled: ‘Wage war in Iraq for the sake of peace in the Middle East.’ In 2011, Owen published an article in the Telegraph, titled: ‘We have proved in Libya that intervention can still work.’ He had himself ‘called for… intervention’ that February.
The Perpetual War machine rolls on.
Media Lens is a UK-based media watchdog group headed by David Edwards and David Cromwell. The second Media Lens book, Newspeak: In the 21st Century by David Edwards and David Cromwell, was published in 2009 by Pluto Press.
Nine months after a massive propaganda campaign based on outright lies, the BBC quietly sneaked out an admission on its website tucked away in “corrections and complaints”. As the BBC went all out to galvanise support for bombing Syria, the meme was pumped out relentlessly that opponents of bombing Syria were evil and violent misogynist thugs, bent on the physical intimidation of MPs. Leading the claims was Stella Creasy MP.
9 months after the propaganda had its effect – run on every news bulletin of every single BBC platform – the BBC published this correction, carried on zero news bulletins of any BBC platform.
Two listeners complained that the programme had inaccurately reported that a peaceful vigil in Walthamstow, in protest against the decision to bomb targets in Syria, had targeted the home of the local MP, Stella Creasy, and had been part of a pattern of intimidation towards Labour MPs who had supported the decision. The claim that the demonstration had targeted Ms Creasy’s home, and the implication that it was intimidatory in nature, originated from a single Facebook posting which later proved to be misleading (the demonstration’s destination was Ms Creasy’s constituency office, which was unoccupied at the time, not her home, and it was peaceful).
The BBC response goes on further and gets increasingly mealy-mouthed, the essence of the excuses being “the other media were all doing it and we just joined in.” They also say they did eventually report – across a much more limited spread of news platforms – a more accurate version of events. But they then go on to admit that, even after this, Nick Robinson went on to repeat all the original lies in an aggressive high profile headline news interview with John McDonnell.
Former President of Oxford University Conservatives, Nick Robinson has form as a liar. The new documentary London Calling, forensically examining the appalling BBC bias during the Scottish referendum campaign, calls Robinson out as a liar in claiming on BBC News that Alex Salmond had failed to answer Robinson’s question, where the documentary has the footage of Salmond answering Robinson in great detail. Robinson’s replacement, Laura Kuenssberg, has of course continued the theme of tendentious reporting of fabricated violent intimidation by the left wing.
That the BBC took 18 months to admit to its lies is astonishing, because the information was immediately available, and indeed reported by me at the time. This article includes footage of the peace vigil outside Ms Creasy’s office which led to the BBC story – a vigil of some very nice people led, I kid you not, by the local vicar. In a delightfully circular argument, Ms Creasy complained that my article pointing out that her allegations of intimidation were false, itself was “offensive.”
If the Labour Party continues to allow people like Ms Creasy to run as its candidate, then nobody should vote for it. As for the BBC, remember whatever lies they are putting out today are likely to be very quietly disowned about next July.
Western media rejoiced over the meagre gains made in recent polls by what they described as “anti-China activists” of the “localist” movement, political groups in Hong Kong who advocate “independence” from China.
In the UK, former colonial administrator of Hong Kong, the BBC would report in their article, “Hong Kong election: Anti-China activists set to take LegCo seats,” that:
A new generation of anti-China activists have won seats on Hong Kong’s Legislative Council (LegCo), preliminary results indicate.
Among them is Nathan Law, one of the young leaders of the mass pro-democracy demonstrations of 2014, who is now on course to win a constituency seat.
It is the first taste of real political power for the young protest leaders.
But pro-Beijing politicians will retain a majority of seats, partly because of the electoral system.
What the BBC conveniently omits is that while pro-Beijing politicians will retain a majority of seats “partly because of the electoral system,” anti-Beijing politicians made their gains almost entirely because of US-funding and support. This includes Nathan Law himself, poised to take a constituency seat, showered with awards by the US State Department for his role in US-backed protests in 2014.
Ironically, in an attempt to add further gravity to these minor electoral gains, the BBC hailed what they called a “record voter turnout” of 58%, while BBC reporters just last month claimed a 60% turnout for Thailand’s charter referendum “undermined the legitimacy of the result.” The only difference being that gains made in Hong Kong favoured Western interests, while gains made in Thailand favoured the Thai people at the expense of Western interests.
The BBC’s politically-motivated bias is easily explained as the layers or rhetoric are stripped away and the foreign networks that created and are currently supporting Hong Kong’s supposed “independence” movement are exposed.
The BBC and other Western media organisations portray the recent polls as a continuation of the so-called “Umbrella Revolution.” In this respect, they are partially right.
What they are omitting is that the 2014 protests were organised and carried out by US-funded opposition groups, representing a slim minority of Hong Kong’s population and were eventually moved off the streets when Hong Kong residents themselves lost patience over the protest’s disruptive behaviour.
Months preceding the 2014 protests, two of the movement’s leaders were quite literally in Washington D.C. lobbying the US State Department for support ahead of the planned protests. The US State Department’s own National Endowment for Democracy (NED) would admit in a statement titled, “The National Endowment for Democracy and support for democracy in Hong Kong,” that:
(Benny Tai, Joshua Wong and Martin Lee stand to Freedom House president Mark Lagon in Washington D.C. during a ceremony celebrating their role in the 2014 Hong Kong protests.)
After the protests ended, NED’s subsidiary Freedom House would even invite Martin Lee to an event titled, “Three Hong Kong Heroes,” which also included protest leaders Joshua Wong and Benny Tai. Lee would shuffle onto stage with an umbrella prop in hand, a virtual admission to his leadership role in the protests and confirmation that the NED’s previous statement was intentionally false.
NED would also deny providing funding to the movement, despite the fact that each member of the movement’s senior leadership were documented grantees of the NED and its various subsidiaries including Freedom house and the National Democratic Institute (NDI).
Toward the end of the 2014 protests, Western media organisations began making partial admissions that indeed the US was funding various segments of the movement’s leadership. Dan Steinbock in an October 2014 article in the South China Morning Post would enumerate the various confirmed accusations and concluded, “perhaps efforts at foreign interference are not entirely unfounded.”
Considering this, claims that Hong Kong’s “anti-China activists” represent “democracy” or “localism” when they represent foreign interest, not those of the Hong Kong’s residents, nor source their support “locally,” are at face value contradictory.
It is also particularly ironic that this strain of political opposition predicates itself on establishing “independence” when in reality it seeks to return Hong Kong back under the influence of Anglo-American hegemony. This is particularly obvious considering the repetitious calls from such groups for “One Country, Two Systems,” the parting demands the British colonialists themselves tabled as a condition to returning the seized territory back to the Chinese.
Nathan Law —America’s, Not Hong Kong’s Candidate
The BBC made particular mention of Nathan Law, chairman of “Demosisto,” a political party that sprung forth from the US-funded “Umbrella Revolution.” According to the BBC, he was expected to win a constituency seat, but what the BBC fails to mention is his ties to the US State Department and the alarming conflicts of interest this poses considering his potential role in Hong Kong’s governance.
(Nathan Law, left, embraced by US State Department NED chairman Carl Gershman.)
The US State Department’s NED “World Movement for Democracy” website in a post titled, “Democracy Courage Tribute Award Presentation,” would write in regards to the award presented to Nathan Lee:
The Umbrella Movement’s bold call in the fall of 2014 for a free and fair election process to select the city’s leaders brought thousands into the streets to demonstrate peacefully. The images from these protests have motivated Chinese democracy activists on the mainland and resulted in solidarity between longtime champions of democracy in Hong Kong and a new generation of Hong Kong youth seeking to improve their city. The Hong Kong democracy movement will face further obstacles in the years to come, and their idealism and bravery will need to be supported as they work for democratic representation in Hong Kong.
Nathan Lee would even pose for pictures with NED chairman Carl Gershman, apparently unconcerned of the immense conflicts of interest invited by such compromising associations.
The BBC’s coverage of Hong Kong’s recent legislative elections attempts to spin inroads made by foreign interests as “localism” and “democracy” taking root in the former British colonial holding. While the BBC alludes to Beijing’s influence preventing further gains by the opposition, its intentional omission of which foreign interests are propping up the opposition reveals systemic and intentional bias in the BBC’s reporting. Such bias is echoed across Reuters, CNN, AP and AFP as well.
Democracy, in theory, is supposed to be the expression of the people. Hong Kong is part of China, thus those participating in its political process should represent Chinese interests. An opposition party that spends its time in Washington D.C. and maintains its growing networks through foreign cash do not represent China or the Chinese in a wider sense, and certainly not Hong Kong and its residents in a more local sense.
Foreign interests working through collaborators resembles a dictatorship from abroad more than anything resembling a “democracy” of the people, even if such a dictatorship drapes itself in public polls, elections and street mobs. That before, during and after the “Umbrella Revolution” each and every leader is tied to foreign interests, completely undermines the narrative that they represent “democracy” rather than the foreign interests transparently directing (then rewarding) them every step of the way.
Joseph Thomas is chief editor of Thailand-based geopolitical journal, The New Atlas.
I gather that the embarrassment to science, Peter Wadhams, was on BBC News again this week, and was naturally treated with due deference and reverence.
Wadhams has, of course, made a living out of forecasting that the Arctic would be ice free for the last decade now. Neither he, nor the BBC, ever seem to learn from the way that his predictions repeatedly turn out to be such humiliating failures.
Only in June this year, he was at it again:
The Arctic is on track to be free of sea ice this year or next for the first time in more than 100,000 years, a leading scientist has claimed.
Provisional satellite data produced by the US National Snow & Ice Data Centre shows there were just over 11.1 million square kilometres of sea ice on 1 June this year, compared to the average for the last 30 years of nearly 12.7 million square kilometres.
This difference – more than 1.5 million square kilometres – is about the same size as about six United Kingdoms.
Professor Peter Wadhams, head of the Polar Ocean Physics Group at Cambridge University, told The Independent that the latest figures largely bore out a controversial prediction he made four years ago.
“My prediction remains that the Arctic ice may well disappear, that is, have an area of less than one million square kilometres for September of this year,” he said.
“Even if the ice doesn’t completely disappear, it is very likely that this will be a record low year. I’m convinced it will be less than 3.4 million square kilometres [the current record low].
“I think there’s a reasonable chance it could get down to a million this year and if it doesn’t do it this year, it will do it next year.
Yes, of course, there is always next year!
Well, with just a couple of weeks or so left before the Arctic ice hits its minimum, this is what Wadhams’ “ice free Arctic” is looking like:
Back in 2007, when Wadhams began to run his peddle his scare stories, the Arctic looked much different. Not only was ice extent much lower then, it was also much thinner in that area.
Meanwhile, average ice thickness is currently running much higher than it was from 2010-13. (Average thickness is lower than 2007 because much of the new ice is, naturally, fairly new and therefore thin).
Final word goes to that BBC report from 2012:
The loss of Arctic ice is massively compounding the effects of greenhouse gas emissions, ice scientist Professor Peter Wadhams has told BBC Newsnight…….
The melting ice could have knock-on effects in the UK. Adam Scaife, from the Met Office Hadley Centre told Newsnight it could help explain this year’s miserable wet summer, by altering the course of the jet stream.
“Some studies suggest that there is increased risk of wet, low pressure summers over the UK as the ice melts.”
There may be an effect for our winters too: “Winter weather could become more easterly cold and snowy as the ice declines,” Mr Scaife said.
Or, to put it another way, summers could become warmer and drier, and winters mild and wet! (Which just so happens to be, very conveniently, the latest Met Office thinking).
There is only one certainty in climate science these days – the BBC will continue to give broadcasting time to these charlatans, without a glimmer of critical journalism, and certainly no thought of offering time to those scientists who don’t agree wholeheartedly with the alarmist narrative.
The Labour party is on a perilous path. That it may end in an irrevocable split is the least of our worries. Of greater concern is the prospect of fighting in the streets. The party conference – scheduled for next month in the fissiparous city of Liverpool, but in some doubt because no security has yet been secured – will attract protesters, probably thousands of them. If it goes ahead, it could turn into the notorious Democratic Convention of 1968 in Chicago, a pitched battle outside the amphitheatre in which police used mace, tear gas and batons, and dozens were hurt including reporters and an observing British MP. Not surprisingly, the subsequent election was won by a Republican, Richard Nixon.
Whence this anger, this prospect of civil disobedience? First, consider a proposition: Jeremy Corbyn is the most popular politician in Britain. That the government and the media and the parliamentary Labour party are all in denial about it does not stop it being so. No leader has ever received a mandate comparable to Corbyn’s a year ago. No leader’s election has ever swelled the membership of any party like Corbyn’s has. No politician draws crowds like Corbyn does. No politician has so many groupings supporting him and promoting him on social media and through traditional word-spreading methods. Ignore the discredited opinion polls – Labour has done better than predicted in every actual electoral test since Corbyn became leader and is frequently gaining more than half the votes in this summer’s local by-elections. The support for Corbyn is unprecedented in modern British politics. Labour should be so lucky to have such a revered leader. Unelectable? Puh-lease.
Now consider the last eighteen months from the viewpoint, not of those in the Westminster bubble whose daily priority is gossiping and plotting, but of the Labour grassroots out in the sticks, where they want nothing more than a government that brings them relief from austerity and PR language and cronyism.
From the get-go, the media has sought to bring down Corbyn. Several academic studies of the coverage have demonstrated that the bias against him is unparalleled. The BBC’s charter-enshrined impartiality has been so lacking that unprecedented petitions were launched against the Corporation and its political editor. Corbyn’s supporters expected this, ruefully predicting headlines of the “Corbyn Punched My Granny” kind.
Less predictable was how comprehensively the parliamentary party would reject the democratic mandate of the membership. A swathe of frontbenchers declined to serve; many of them made the pharisaic gesture of boycotting Corbyn’s address at last year’s conference. Though Corbyn sought to embrace all shades of opinion in his shadow cabinet, the MPs reciprocated only fitfully. Incidentally, despite each of his (to date) three front bench teams being put together in the face of widespread opposition, non-cooperation and blank refusal, Corbyn is the only political leader in British history all of whose teams have featured a majority of women. Yet he is accused of privileging men.
The MPs and the party hierarchy stop at nothing to undermine his authority. Mass resignations and an overwhelming vote of no confidence proved futile because he has more mettle than they had imagined. Constant denigration dents neither his serenity nor his support in the party. Absurdly, he is held uniquely responsible for the failure of the campaign to remain in the EU. Yet he delivered 65 percent of Labour voters as against 39 percent of Tory voters secured by Cameron (Theresa May was largely silent) and 64 percent of the SNP’s voters (Nicola Sturgeon is hailed as a hero). Though the media favoured the Tories over Labour at a rate of 2:1 in the referendum coverage, Corbyn managed 123 media appearances on behalf of Remain, compared with 19 by Alan Johnson, the nominal leader of Labour’s campaign. Johnson could only deliver 33 percent of his own voters to the Remain vote and Owen Smith 47 percent of his. 75 percent of Corbyn’s constituents supported the stay side, the seventh highest rate in Britain. Lukewarm?
A Labour donor went to law to try to get Corbyn as the incumbent struck off the ballot paper in this year’s leadership re-election. The party’s National Executive Committee, flouting the universal understanding of the notion of “any other business” in meetings, hustled through an arbitrary restriction on those who could vote in that re-election. This was challenged in court by representatives of those excluded and found to be a breach of contract, but the appeal court reversed the judgment. Then it emerged that one of the appellate judges is a long-standing professional colleague of Tony Blair.
Such attempts to manipulate the rules strike the unconsulted membership as dishonest, shabby and against natural justice. But at the same time, that membership is insulted and patronised as though its views are somehow illegitimate and certainly not as reliable or significant as those of MPs. The members were dismissed first as naïve youngsters who don’t know the (rewritten) history of the party in the 1980’s, then as bullies and trolls, now as Trotskyite entryists, streaming back from years in the political wilderness and given “the oxygen of publicity” by Tom Watson. Those who left the party in the Blair years – about a quarter-million of them and not only over Iraq – are justly aggrieved to be blackguarded as the “enemy within” in the post-Chilcot party. They remember that Labour under Blair declined by 4 million in the popular vote and that the rot in Scotland began in those years.
Labour toppling Corbyn would create a perfect storm. The party membership has doubled on his watch. If he goes, that support will know that socialism in the Labour party is dead for generations. They won’t take it quietly. Owen Smith presents himself as a man of the left but everyone knows that he is a mere stalking horse for the New Labour programme that Margaret Thatcher herself named as her own greatest achievement. If the fallout is ugly, the parliamentary party will be unable to claim that they have not been warned.
W Stephen Gilbert is the author of ‘Jeremy Corbyn – Accidental Hero’.
Jewish influence, or power if you like, in mainstream media is one of those pink elephants in the room that everyone at some level realizes, but which badly needs to be openly discussed. This is happening more and more today due to, to their infinite credit, the efforts of the anti-Zionist left, which has found itself stymied by this influence and has spent some time documenting it. (1)
In order to contribute broadly to this discussion I thought it would be appropriate to explore the influence that Jews, be they pro or anti-Zionist, have in British state broadcaster; the BBC. This is important because the BBC has long been viewed, although less so today, as a relatively impartial broadcaster around the world and has been the subject of the umbrage of many a Zionist over the years.
The fact that Jews, as a minuscule part of the population of the British Isles, have so many members of their community in positions of power and influence in a state broadcaster committed to journalistic impartiality is obviously extremely concerning to any individual in their right mind. After all Jews, like any other group, are always going to promote their interests or push their particular perspective as a group and as such will knowingly or not distort the narrative to favour their perspective and interests.
When we look at the Executive Board we find the following individuals: (2)
Tony Hall (Director General, BBC)
Helen Boaden (Director, Radio)
Danny Cohen (Director, Television)
James Harding (Director of News and Current Affairs)
James Purnell (Director, Strategy and Digital)
Annie Bulford (Managing Director, Finance and Operations)
Tim Davie (CEO, BBC Worldwide and Director, Global)
Simon Burke (Non-Executive Director)
Sir Howard Stringer (Non-Executive Director)
Dame Fiona Reynolds (Non-Executive Director)
Sir Nicholas Hytner (Non-Executive Director)
Alice Perkins (Non-Executive Director)
Dharmash Mistry (Non-Executive Director)
Of these thirteen executives; three are jewish.
The executives who have jewish backgrounds are Danny Cohen, (3) James Harding (4) and Sir Nicholas Hytner. (5) This seems superficially reasonable until we note that, according to the 2011 census, jews are 0.5% of the British population. (6) Comparatively those of Jewish origin are 23% of the membership of the Executive Board of the BBC.
When we compare that to Indians who are a similar minority group in the United Kingdom; we note that while in the 2011 census they made up 2.3% of the British population. (7) They only have one representative (Dharmash Mistry) on the Executive Board of the BBC.
Therefore we can see that jews are both significantly over-represented among the individuals who are members of the Executive Board as well in them of themselves. In addition to being significantly over-represented relative to more populous ethnic minority groups such as those of Indian origin.
This situation becomes more concerning when we note that James Harding, one of the Jewish members, has made it explicitly clear that, after making the British daily The Times newsroom pro-Israel, he wants to do precisely the same at the BBC. (8)
This obviously already a violation of the BBC’s neutrality, which is explicitly required in its periodically renewed charter, since Harding is explicitly setting out to modify the BBC’s relative objectivity to a partisan pro-Israel stance.
Naturally Harding claims it is ‘injecting balance’ into the BBC newsroom, but such verbiage is a common linguistic trick (9) and is explicitly how Israel projects ‘soft power’ to attempt to create a pro-Israeli narrative (i.e. Hasbara). (10)
Even more concerning is the backgrounds of some of the other non-Jewish members of the Executive Board.
James Purnell is the former Chairman of the pro-Israel lobby group ‘Labour Friends of Israel’. (11) This group explicitly exist to influence the members and policy making of the Labour Party in Britain and has a substantial membership among Labour party Members of Parliament. (12)
Combined with James Harding this is enough cause for serious concern about jewish and Zionist influence within the Executive Board of the BBC.
However Sir Howard Stringer also has a strong Zionist connection given that he was the honorary chairman of the ‘American Jewish Committee’, a powerful Jewish communal organization dedicated to promoting Zionism in the United States, in 2004. (13)
That he has not repudiated his pro-Zionist views since this time is suggestive of the fact that Sir Howard continues to support the objectives and methods of the ‘American Jewish Committee’.
While Sir Nicolas Hytner, a Jewish member of the Executive Board, has often abused his positions in the world of acting and theatre to oppose the BDS (Boycott Divest Sanctions) movement against Israel. (14)
It is unlikely that Sir Nicholas will act any differently while he is part of the BBC’s Executive Board than he has when he was at the National Theatre. Indeed he has given us absolutely no reason to think he will do an about face on his track record of running political interference on behalf of Israel.
Danny Cohen, a jewish member of the Executive Board, has also publicly endorsed the Zionist cause only a year ago. (15) Since he has not given us reason to think otherwise; we may be confident that he will continue in his support for Israel and the pro-Zionist narrative.
Once we take the political affiliations of the Executive Board of the BBC into account we can see that all three of the Jewish members are openly pro-Israel/pro-Zionist, while two of the non-Jewish members are also pro-Israel/pro-Zionist.
This takes the pro-Israel/pro-Zionist bloc in the BBC’s Executive Board to five members, while none of the other members have any known anti-Israel/anti-Zionist convictions.
This means that 38% of the BBC’s Executive Board is pro-Israel/pro-Zionist. When added to the fact that three of those five members (James Harding, James Purnell and Sir Nicholas Hytner) have a track record of political interference on behalf of Israel in organizations then it becomes even more sinister.
When we further note that Harding is in charge of the BBC’s newsroom it suggests that the narrative the BBC will produce going forward will be pro-Israel/pro-Zionist and not in any way neutral.
James Purnell’s role as the head of Strategy and Digital makes him an invaluable ally for Harding in manipulating the pro-Israel/pro-Zionist narrative in such a way as to promote it as the ‘wave of the future’ for the BBC.
Danny Cohen’s role as the head of television, the BBC’s most powerful arm, is even more subversive given that it is by news, documentary/factual and entertainment television programming that many people, in the United Kingdom and elsewhere, get their informational prism with which they view the world.
We get an absolutely intolerable situation where the neutral BBC has been/is being progressively hijacked by avowed pro-Israel/pro-Zionist activists with the stated aim of abusing its reputation for neutrality in order to promote Israel politically and neutralize dissenting views/unflattering coverage.
When we look at the next organizational layer down, the BBC’s Executive Team, we find the following individuals: (16)
Ken MacQuarrie (Director, BBC Scotland)
Rhodri Talfan Davies (Director, BBC Cymru Wales)
Peter Johnston (Director, BBC Northern Ireland)
Peter Salmon (Director, England)
Ralph Rivera (Director, BBC Digital)
Valerie Hughes-D’Aeth (Director, HR)
David Jordan (Director, Editorial Policy and Standards)
Philip Almond (Director, Marketing and Audiences)
Alan Yentob (Creative Director)
Francesca Unsworth (Director, BBC World Service Group)
Of the ten members of the Executive Team; one is Jewish.
The member of the Executive Team with a Jewish background is Alan Yentob. (17)
Peter Salmon is sometimes listed as being Jewish, (18) but while ‘Salmon’ could well be a contraction of the common Ashkenazi surname ‘Salomon’ there is no evidence I can find of such occurring here. Indeed ‘Salmon’ is a perfectly English surname to have (19) and without evidence to the contrary we can only assume that Peter Salmon is not Jewish.
While Yentob’s presence in the Executive Team takes the Jewish representation on it to 10%. The fact that it is only one individual that is Jewish suggests that the numbers alone here relative to the Jewish representation in the population of the British Isles (i.e. 0.5%) are in some-way reasonable (as you cannot get less than 10% of the membership of the Executive Team with representation).
It is worth noting however that the Indian population in the United Kingdom (i.e. 2.3%) are not represented at all, while no other ethnic or religious minorities are represented either.
This makes Yentob’s presence rather concerning given the general lack of diversity among the BBC’s Executive Team since Jews are a tiny minority even by ethnic minority standards and their having a voice on the Executive Team while no others do is inconsistent with the BBC’s fervent support for racial diversity and propagation of an anti-nativist narrative. (20)
We also need remember that there are internal politics in every organization and while Yentob seems rather innocuous as the ‘Creative Director’; he has recently openly boasted that he is very closely involved in the running of the BBC in general. (21)
Some would dismiss this as merely hot air, but we know that Yentob has long been tipped as a potential future Director-General of the BBC. (22) It was also Yentob who lead the charge against those BBC journalists who dared to doubt the BBC party line on the Jimmy Savile paedophile scandal and branded them ‘traitors’. (23)
One wonders why the BBC’s ‘Creative Director’ would get so closely involved in such things if he was not a significant political force within the BBC’s internal political world?
Contrast that with the fact that no other members of the BBC’s Executive Team have been named as behaving in a similar manner or censoring their own employees on said scandal and we can see that Yentob, in spite of being only one man, is a political force to be reckoned with within the world of organizational politics in the BBC.
Yentob is also quite active in the Jewish community (24) and is known to produce programming that lionizes said community. (25)
While I cannot link him directly to Zionist activity; given his background and lionization of the Iraqi Jews (who immigrated to Israel). It is reasonable to assume that, while not an open political partisan, Yentob is at least willing to allow a pro-Israel/pro-Zionist narrative on the BBC. Therefore while Jewish and Zionist influence in the BBC’s Executive Team is seemingly small; the fact that its only known representation is an obvious key political player in the BBC is suggestive that at the very least there would be no significant resistance to a pro-Israel/anti-Zionist, as opposed to a neutral, narrative from the Executive Team.
When we move on to the BBC’s editors and correspondents we find the following individuals listed: (26)
Mark Easton (Home [UK] Editor)
Bridget Kendall (Diplomatic Correspondent)
Andrew Harding (Africa Correspondent)
Carrie Gracie (China Editor)
Soutik Biswas (Delhi Correspondent)
Katya Adler (Europe Editor)
Anthony Zurcher (North American Reporter)
Robert Peston (Economics Editor)
Kamal Ahmed (Business Editor)
Mark D’Arcy (Parliamentary Correspondent)
Laura Kuenssberg (Political Editor)
James Landale (Deputy Political Editor)
Rory Cellan-Jones (Technology Editor)
David Lee (North American Technology Reporter)
David Shukman (Science Editor)
Jonathan Amos (Science Correspondent)
Nick Triggle (Health Correspondent)
Fergus Walsh (Medical Correspondent)
Hugh Pym (Health Editor)
Branwen Jeffreys (Education Editor)
Sean Coughlan (Education Correspondent)
Will Gompertz (Arts Editor)
Of these twenty-two editors and correspondents; six are Jewish.
Those with a Jewish background are: Katya Adler, (27) Robert Peston, (28), Laura Kuenssberg, (29), David Shukman, (30) Jonathan Amos and Will Gompertz. (31)
This means that the representation of Jews among the BBC editors and correspondents is currently running at a frankly frightening 27%. Compare this with their representation in the British population (0.5%) and it becomes obviously a matter of likely pro-Jewish/pro-Israel/pro-Zionist bias.
It is more difficult to prove sympathies (one way or another) with the BBC’s editor and correspondents than with the BBC’s Executive Board and Executive Team. Since editors and correspondents by the nature of their profession are very aware of the need to carefully manage any statements they make outside of a professional context as they are aware of how closely scrutinized they will be once they pass into the public domain.
However something of the pro-Jewish/pro-Israel/pro-Zionist views of some of the editors and correspondents can be gleaned from the fact that both David Shukman (32) and Will Gompertz (33) have abused their positions to insert an unbalanced historical narrative of Jewish suffering into the content they have produced for the BBC.
Meanwhile Rory Cellan-Jones, the non-Jewish Technology Editor, has been a major figure in the anti-BDS/pro-Israel movement since early 2007 (34) and has abused, like James Harding and Sir Nicholas Hytner have done in the past, his position as a BBC editor to give credence to his pro-Israel views (which was regarded as a significant contribution to the Zionist cause by the website ‘Totally Jewish’). (35)
Then we have Robert Peston, the Jewish Economics Editor, who believes that his Jewish heritage has provided him with superior genes compared to non-Jewish heritage. (36)
This clearly suggests that Peston holds to some form of Jewish nationalism (i.e. Zionism) given these, essentially, Jewish supremacist sentiments that necessarily label non-Jews as inferior beings when compared to Jews.
I would also be remiss if I didn’t mention that Laura Kuenssberg is a very recent appointment to the position of Political Editor; previously the position was held, for several years, by Nick Robinson. He is, like Kuenssberg, Jewish. (37)
Interestingly Kuenssberg was promoted to the position of political editor over Robinson’s non-Jewish deputy James Landale, (38) which suggests that Kuenssberg may have been promoted (she was formerly merely a guest blogger) (39) merely because she is Jewish and Landale is not.
I cannot prove it one way or the other, but the otherwise inexplicable appointment of Kuenssberg over Landale would then explicable.
Given all this information we can see there at least four of BBC’s editors and correspondents (David Shukman, Will Gompertz, Robert Peston and Rory Cellan-Jones) who are pro-Jewish/pro-Israel/pro-Zionist activists, while three others (Katya Adler, Laura Kuenssberg and Jonathan Amos) are likely to be such.
This then suggests that the pro-Jewish/pro-Israel/pro-Zionist narrative that seems to be part of James Harding’s overt plan for the BBC would find at least seven supporters out of the twenty-two current editors and correspondents at the BBC (i.e. 32% of all those concerned).
What we can see from the foregoing analysis is that the BBC has a disproportionate number of Jewish ethnic and non-Jewish pro-Zionist activists, particularly on its Executive Board and among its editors and correspondents to seriously impede the BBC charter’s requirement for neutrality.
In essence the bald way of putting it is that the BBC has been all but captured by Jewish ethic and non-Jewish pro-Zionist activists. We should therefore reasonably expect the BBC, a-la James Harding’s explicit plan, to become a particularly insidious weapon in the Israeli Hasbara arsenal.
(1) Notably Grant Smith, 2006, ‘Deadly Dogma: How Neoconservatives Broke the Law to Deceive America’, 1st Edition, Institute for Research: Middle East Policy: Washington D.C.; James Petras, 2007, ‘Rulers and Ruled in the US Empire: Bankers, Zionists, Militants’, 1st Edition, Clarity: Atlanta; James Petras, 2014, ‘The Politics of Empire: The US, Israel and the Middle East’, 1st Edition, Clarity: Atlanta
(9) See: http://www.sott.net/signs/hasbara.pdf
(18) For example: http://radioislam.org/islam/english/jewishp/gbmedia/update.htm
(20) http://biasedbbc.org/blog/category/anti-british/; http://whitegenocideproject.com/the-bbcs-white-problem/
(22) http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/profile-alan-yentob-the-insiders-extrovert-1096476.html ; http://www.theguardian.com/media/2010/jun/13/alan-yentob-bbc-creative-director-imagine
(24) For example: http://www.thejc.com/community/community-life/57205/bbc-yentob-gets-role-young-norwood
(25) For example: http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/proginfo/2011/48/the-last-jews-of-iraq.html and http://www.thejc.com/news/the-diary/yentobs-expensive-account
(26) Compiled through the BBC’s online news portal: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news
(39) http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/nickrobinson/2009/06/a_call_for_deba.html ; http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/nickrobinson/2009/08/prospective_mps_selection.html
UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has blasted the BBC for being “obsessed” with efforts to damage his leadership and accused some party members of playing into its hands.
Britain’s opposition leader made the comments in an interview with Vice News as part of a documentary about the workings of his office.
The film, which was aired on Wednesday, follows Corbyn over almost two months during the run-up to the May elections and features a series of interviews with Ben Ferguson, a Vice journalist and Labour member who voted for Corbyn.
In response to Ferguson expressing concern about Labour’s performance in May, Corbyn revealed the depth of his feelings about his portrayal in the media, launching a fierce attack against the BBC in particular.
“There is not one story on any election anywhere in the UK that the BBC will not spin into a problem for me. It is obsessive beyond belief. They are obsessed with trying to damage the leadership of the Labour party and unfortunately there are people in the Labour party that play into that,” he said.
Corbyn said one of the main lessons of being the leader is “how shallow, facile and ill-informed many of the supposed well-informed major commentators are in our media,” accusing them of shaping a debate that was “baseless and narrow.”
The Labour leader is filmed calling “utterly disgusting” a Guardian column that had accused him and his party of having an anti-Semitism problem.
The anti-Semitism row within the Labour Party became the center of media attention last month after the party suspended a number of its key figures for condemning Israeli crimes.
The latest uproar against Labour flared up when the former mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, was suspended by Corbyn over denouncing Israel’s crimes against the Palestinian people and arguing that Adolf Hitler, the former leader of Nazi Germany, was a supporter of Zionism.
As the controversy deepened, David Abrahams, a major party donor, called for Corbyn to resign, saying “Labour needs strong leadership.”
However, Corbyn said in a statement that he would propose a new code of conduct banning any forms of racism in his party.
“There is no place for anti-Semitism or any form of racism in the Labour Party, or anywhere in society,” he said.