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US police arrest anti-nuclear weapons activists at UN

Press TV – June 20, 2017

A number of anti-nuclear weapons activists have been arrested in New York during a protest against Washington’s decision to boycott negotiations on a nuclear weapons ban treaty.

The arrests were made after the activists chanting slogans such as “US join the talks, ban the bomb,” blocked the entrances to the US mission to the United Nations.

The protesters sat in front of the doors before the police moved in. police said they warned the demonstrators that they would be arrested if they did not leave the place.

In March, US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley announced that the United States, Britain and France had decided not to join talks on a nuclear weapons ban treaty.

The United Nations is currently holding a second round of negotiations about the issue.

The world body adopted a resolution in December to negotiate a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading toward their total elimination and encouraged all member states to participate.

A total of 113 nations voted in favor of the resolution but 35 countries, including the United States, Britain and France, voted against it. Thirteen countries abstained.

According to the US military’s recent declaration, the United States has 806 deployed ICBMs (intercontinental ballistic missile), SLBMs (submarine-launched ballistic missile), and heavy bombers as well as 1,722 deployed nuclear warheads.

The Pentagon is also equipped with a multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle (MIRV), a highly advanced version of the intercontinental nuclear missile carrying several independent warheads.

June 20, 2017 Posted by | Militarism, Solidarity and Activism | , , , | 1 Comment

What Phillip Williamson Forgot To Tell You

By Paul Homewood | Not A Lot Of People Know That | June 17, 2017

The Spectator has published an article by Dr Phillip Williamson, who works at the University of East Anglia as a science coordinator for the Natural Environment Research Council.

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Readers of The Spectator will be familiar with the argument that climate change, like Britpop, ended in 1998. Raised on a diet of Matt Ridley and James Delingpole, you may have convinced yourself that climate scientists, for their own selfish reasons, continue to peddle a theory that is unsupported by real-world evidence.

You may also have picked up the idea that the ‘green blob’, as it has been called in these pages, is somehow suppressing the news that global warming is a dead parrot. That was the case made by Dr David Whitehouse, science editor of Lord Lawson’s Global Warming Policy Forum in a Spectator blog in February last year. He accused the world’s media of ignoring a paper in Nature Climate Change which concluded that the rise in global surface temperature had stalled, contrary to the narrative of man-made climate change. In contrast, an earlier paper by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in Science magazine, which questioned the existence of that hiatus, had been given huge coverage.

Those of us who work in climate research do not, of course, ignore evidence. A study published in Nature Climate Change does not go unnoticed. But the particular paper to which Whitehouse referred does not counter the reality of man-made change. By the time he wrote his piece, the hiatus in global air temperatures had already come to a blistering halt. The years 2014, 2015 and 2016 were the three hottest years on record — an unprecedented run.

But this is only part of the story. Anyone who considers climate change to be all about air temperatures at the Earth’s land surface misses something rather important. The evidence is not just blowing in the wind; it is 500 fathoms deep.

As a land species, it’s hardly surprising that we’re more concerned about what’s going on in the atmosphere than with conditions under the sea — but in the context of global warming that’s a big mistake. Around 93 per cent of the extra heat gained by the Earth over the past 50 years has sunk into the ocean, while 3 per cent has made ice melt, and 3 per cent has warmed the land. Only around 1 per cent has stayed in the atmosphere. So if we just measure air temperatures, we’re looking in the wrong place for climate change. Recent analyses by the World Meteorological Organisation and independent researchers have looked at deep-ocean as well as sea-surface temperatures, and both groups found that significant increases in total ocean heat content began around 1980, continuing more rapidly after 1998.

Not all the heat which is absorbed by the ocean stays there. Changes in circulation in the Pacific involve warm water shifting towards South America, raising air temperatures as it does so. Such El Niño events have contributed to the sharp rise in global air temperatures over the past three years.

The apparent slowdown in global temperature rise in the early years of this century was nothing more than the Earth’s climate system expressing its natural variability. Like the weather in London, the Earth’s climate is fickle: what we see in the climate from year to year is much like what we see in the weather from day to day, or week to week. The years between 1998 and 2013 were the equivalent of a spell of cool weather following a heatwave. Yet all the while, taking air and ocean heat content combined, the Earth was warming. Now that the most recent El Niño event has ended, global air temperatures ought to be falling, but they aren’t. The world saw its third hottest January ever, followed by the second hottest February, March and April. The atmosphere and the ocean are warming in tandem, as predicted by climate models.

It is not easy to measure how much extra heat has entered the ocean as a result of human influences on the climate. Given that seawater is around 1,000 times as dense as air, small increases in water temperature represent a huge amount of heat being absorbed. It’s tough to demonstrate a whole-ocean average temperature increase of less than 0.1°C in about 1.4 billion cubic km of seawater. Tough, but not impossible — steadily, scientists have managed to complete the picture. Four years ago, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concluded that such ocean warming was ‘virtually certain’. Following new findings of recent weeks and months, the qualifier ‘virtually’ is now unnecessary, putting to bed any contention that global warming ended in 1998 — it is just that for a while the main effect was on water, not air, temperatures.

What happens in the ocean matters, because rising sea temperatures reinforce climate change in several ways. Warmer sea water can release methane trapped on the sea floor. Some of it finds its way to the surface and into the atmosphere, where it acts as a greenhouse gas, trapping heat — at least 30 times more effectively than carbon dioxide. Warmer water also means less sea ice. That matters, because ice reflects the sun’s rays. With less sea ice, the ocean will absorb even more heat. As the ocean warms, it expands, lifting coastal ice-shelves and making it easier for glaciers to slip into the sea. New analyses now suggest that sea levels could rise by up to a metre, and maybe more, in our children’s lifetimes.

Genuine scepticism can be constructive, since science responds to challenges by obtaining new evidence to test ideas. But those who summarily dismiss evidence when it has become overwhelming no longer deserve the name sceptics — it’s then out-and-out denial. There is no hoax; scientists like me gain nothing from exaggeration.

Yet the worst-case scenarios are not inevitable. They can be averted by action to reduce, and eventually end, greenhouse gas emissions. While Donald Trump and others might dismiss inconvenient truths, science is now in no doubt that the planet is warming, and that there is a need to take action on a worldwide basis. The Paris agreement will be the future, whereas the so-called global-warming hiatus is already history.

https://www.spectator.co.uk/2017/06/the-great-myth-of-the-global-warming-pause/

What could have been a constructive essay has depressingly ended up as a cheap propaganda piece.

He grossly misrepresents the position of David Whitehouse and Matt Ridley, to all intents dismissing them as “deniers”. Neither denies the greenhouse effect, but they believe there is a proper debate to be had about climate sensitivity and effects.

But to Williamson, there is only one gospel, and others shall not be heard.

He claims, by the time he [Whitehouse] wrote his piece, the hiatus in global air temperatures had already come to a blistering halt. The years 2014, 2015 and 2016 were the three hottest years on record — an unprecedented run.

This may be true for the widely discredited surface temperature record, but not according to satellite data for the atmosphere, which shows last year as only in a statistical tie with 1998.

It is, of course, Williamson’s prerogative to refer to surface data, but he needs to explain why he chooses to ignore the satellite data. To make no reference at all to data, which would undermine his argument, is not the behaviour one associates with a proper scientist.

He goes on to say, now that the most recent El Niño event has ended, global air temperatures ought to be falling, but they aren’t.

This is totally untrue, global temperatures have fallen back by half a degree and more since the El Nino peaked last year, and are back to levels seen in the years after 2001.

[Click on here for clearer image]

The heart of the Williamson article however concerns oceans and how they are somehow hiding the missing heat.

However, things are not quite as black and white as he makes out.

We only have ARGO data since 2004, which is far too short a period to be drawing conclusions from. Prior to that, we had very little idea what was happening to ocean heat content.

It is certainly debatable just how much we know now.

He states, it’s tough to demonstrate a whole-ocean average temperature increase of less than 0.1°C in about 1.4 billion cubic km of seawater. Tough, but not impossible — steadily, scientists have managed to complete the picture.

In fact, the temperature increase detected is much less than 0.1C, approximately 0.02C since 2004.

It is certainly questionable whether any statistical significance can be attached to such a small amount at all, or whether such a figure is genuinely detectable.

http://climate4you.com/

Then there is the question of just what is causing this increase in ocean temperatures, if it really exists.

He claims that around 93 per cent of the extra heat gained by the Earth over the past 50 years has sunk into the ocean. Unfortunately this is just mumbo jumbo. It is a physical fact that long wave radiation can only penetrate the top few millimeters of the ocean, where any warming would quickly lead to evaporation.

Even if there was a way for this extra heat to be mixed up with the deep ocean, the difference would be too small to detect.

This raises the question of whether other factors are at play in raising ocean temperatures, with the obvious one being the sun. After all, climate scientists have long known that ocean cycles can have major effects on the climate. Not only are they very powerful, but also very long lasting. The idea that man has caused sudden changes in the deep ocean is frankly scientific gibberish.

Williamson’s logic is that the pause in air temperatures, which he seems to accept existed until the 2015/16 El Nino, was because the world’s climate was going through a period of natural cooling, with the oceans holding back the heat (think La Nina).

But this ignores the AMO, which has been running through the warm phase since the mid 1990s. As even NOAA accept, when this happens, global air temperatures rise.

Meanwhile, the PDO has not really got into negative phase yet, partly because of the recent record El Nino.

Neither of these facts are consistent with his argument. Air temperatures have in fact plateaued despite the AMO and PDO.

But perhaps most importantly of all is the longer term trend. Williamson gives us a clue, when he says, “as the ocean warms, it expands”. In other words, sea levels rise.

But we know from tidal gauges all around the world that sea levels have been rising since the late 19thC, and for most of that time at a similar rate as now, and long before man made CO2 had any significant influence.

There is therefore no evidence that what we are seeing now is not just a continuation of that natural trend.

We in fact know very little about these ocean processes, and it is certainly a subject which deserves much greater attention.

Now that would be a good topic for the Spectator, but don’t expect Mr Williamson to be writing it!

FOOTNOTE

It was Phillip Williamson in his role as science coordinator (whatever that means!) who made a formal complaint about one of James Delingpole’s articles about ocean acidification to the UK press regulatory body IPSO last year.

Dellers has his usual forthright account of how IPSO threw out the complaint!

Sounds as if one of Williamson’s jobs is to shut down free speech.

June 19, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | | 2 Comments

The “revolution” is being televised – & we should ask why

By Catte | OffGuardian | June 17, 2107

There is something strange about the media coverage of the Grenfell tragedy. The BBC is giving over acres of space to the pain and anger of the residents. The Guardian’s front page currently looks like The Canary, and in its Opinion section Jonathan Freedland, of all people, is saying Grenfell will “forever stand as a rebuke to the Right”.

He’s correct of course, but that’s not the point. The point is Freedland, the BBC and the Guardian are the “Right” now and have been for many years, in so much as they have been, until a week ago, staunch defenders of the rabid, fascistic and despoiling policies that have characterised the “liberal” agenda since Blair. They have approved illegal wars, mass murder, “austerity”, mass surveillance, the despoiling of the NHS, the deprivation of the weak and vulnerable. They believe the suffering of the poor and powerless is merely a necessary adjunct to social “progress.”

So, what is going on here?

Maybe the “liberal” media is seeing the light and realising the years of deprivation have gone too far? Maybe the Guardian suddenly really supports social justice and the welfare state? Maybe Grenfell will be a catalyst for real change, ignite the dormant sense of decency in our champagne “socialists” and left-of-centre opinion-makers.

Well, maybe. But it doesn’t seem like a good bet does it?

Maybe the media are bandwagon-jumping. Following the story, not creating it because the social tide is currently too strong to ignore?

This is a bit more plausible, but the BBC and the rest of the tame media can easily ignore a crowd of ten thousand marching through central London when it wants to. They do similar things all the time. If they didn’t want us to know about this upsurge of anger wouldn’t they simply not talk about it, just as they didn’t talk about the mass anti-war demos and didn’t cover the anti-austerity demos, and (mostly) didn’t cover the huge crowds Corbyn was collecting?

I think when the BBC’s front page looks like this:

when social unrest is televised by state-controlled channels and when line-toeing neoliberals like Jonathan Freedland are rebuking the “Right” we need to be a bit more sceptical than to simply assume the good guys are suddenly in ascendancy and the media has no choice to but to scutter along in their wake.

There are not many examples in history where major news events or catalysing moments just happened through spontaneous popular movements, with the press corps and establishment running to catch up. Mostly even seemingly spontaneous events have been planned and provoked or exploited by vested interests of one sort or another. “News” isn’t an objective entity. It’s created by the act of narration. If you don’t tell the story the story isn’t “news.” The only reason we ever know an event has occurred is because the paid scribes were detailed to tell us it did. The Peasants’ Revolt may have started as a social protest of sorts but it ended up as a PR exercise for the Divine Right of Kings, and the extant narratives make sure Richard II got all the best lines.

This is the reality of what the establishment-serving media is. It doesn’t exist to pass on facts, it exists purely to create narratives. We shouldn’t just forget that when the current narrative appears to serve decent interests or to tell some sort of truth. Because it probably isn’t ultimately doing either.

Does it matter in this case? Isn’t any publicity good publicity if it helps bring justice and help to the victims of the Grenfell tragedy? If May can be arm-twisted into handing over cash, and if the publicity helps make sure such events become less likely in the future, does it matter what agenda the media may be following

To an extent that is obviously true. And let’s hope some good does come from the publicity being given to the anger of the people in the streets. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t question and remain sceptical when the wolf slips on his sheepskin.

June 17, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | Leave a comment

Theresa May’s war on the internet

By Dan Glazebrook | RT | June 17, 2017

Last night, Theresa May was in France for a joint press conference with new French President Emmanuel Macron. As far as I could tell, it was only Al Jazeera that broadcast it live in Britain.

The only time it was mentioned during BBC radio 4’s flagship news show, the Today program, was during the five-minute religious slot Thought for the Day. It was not covered in the news section at all.

But this should be major, major news. This was Theresa May’s first policy announcement since last week’s election. And it wasn’t on Brexit, the reason she supposedly called the election. It wasn’t on austerity, which she apparently told her own MPs was over in a private session two days ago. No, her first major public policy announcement was – the end of internet freedom.

Specifically, what was announced was that both countries would be introducing heavy fines for internet companies that failed to remove what they, very loosely, defined as “extremist content.”

Now, taken at face value, this might seem to be referring to ISIS [Islamic State, formerly ISIL] recruitment videos or online suicide bombing training videos, or whatever. But the direct encouragement of violence is already illegal. So, what exactly is being proposed? Who exactly will be targeted?

It was former PM David Cameron who originally came up with the idea that “nonviolent extremism” should be criminalized alongside violent extremism. Intriguingly, as an example of what he meant, he included the idea that the “West is bad,” as well as elsewhere arguing that the promotion of “wild conspiracy theories” would also qualify.

Well, the collusion between, for example, British intelligence and Al-Qaeda might sound like a wild conspiracy theory. But, in the context of Britain and Al-Qaeda’s shared enemies in the form of Gaddafi and Assad, this collusion actually did take place. MI5 was facilitating the passage of fighters between Britain, Syria, and Libya, the SAS were training them, and MI6 was equipping them. Indeed, this collusion is not even secret: as late as 2016 the British government openly pledged to send more British troops to Syria to train rebel groups that even the BBC admitted were likely to be allied with Al-Qaeda.

So, is the publication of this information going to be barred now as extremist? Will YouTube and Facebook and Google and Twitter pull these revelations in fear of getting fined for promoting the “wild conspiracy theories” that, according to Cameron, qualify as extremism?

It is clear why the British state is so keen to clampdown on the internet once this kind of information starts going viral. But the election just gone has raised the stakes even further, demonstrating that, if the government does not reassert its authority over the internet, it may well have lost control of the political narrative for good. Let’s review what’s just happened:

A month ago, almost everybody was predicting a wipeout for the Labour party, a repeat of the disastrous 1983 election in which Margaret Thatcher really did win the landslide Theresa May had been predicting. Oh, how times have changed.

Back in 1983, pretty much everyone got their political information from either the newspapers or the BBC. In other words, between them, the big press barons – about 4 or 5 of them – and the British state had total monopoly control of political information.

This meant that when they portrayed Labour leader Michael Foot as a bumbling Oaf, that became the abiding image of him. A tiny handful of millionaire Tories effectively had total control over the public image of every politician in the land.

This time around, it’s a different story. The newspapers and the TV threw everything they could at Corbyn – ‘he’s a terror-supporting, magic money tree-mongering, Brexit-frustrating Remainiac’ – but people weren’t buying. And why weren’t they buying? Because they’re not reading the newspapers, and they’re not watching terrestrial TV. This time around, people, young people in particular, were increasingly getting their political information from social media – and on social media, the conservatives did not control the narrative.

For example, an RT interview I did about British collusion with terrorism shortly before the election got over one and half million views on Facebook – higher than the daily readership of the Daily Mail. Jonathan Pie’s fantastic piece tearing apart the Tory’s ‘strong and stable’ nonsense, got 11 million views. That is two and half million more than the combined circulation of the Daily Mail, Daily Express, Guardian, Sun, Daily Star, Times, Telegraph, Evening Standard, and the Mirror and Metro – the country’s ten leading newspapers.  And hilariously, when I had just watched one of Theresa May’s speeches on YouTube during the campaign, immediately afterwards, YouTube automatically played Liar Liar, the anti-May anthem that reached number four in the UK pop charts last week. And I suspect YouTube auto played that video after anyone watched anything about Theresa May due to the algorithms that they employ.

So, you can see why the Tories are furious about the internet. They, and the British state more generally, have totally lost control of the narrative. And that’s what cost them this election.

So that’s what this new crackdown on the internet is really about; it’s about regaining control of that narrative. It’s about turning the CEOs of YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Google into the Rupert Murdochs of the 21st century – the political allies and mouthpieces of the British state and the capitalist class, and doing this by forging a new relationship that explicitly punishes them if they refuse to play ball.

Even the government’s own ‘reviewer of terrorism laws’, Max Hill, has come out against the move, explaining that “my view is that… we do have the appropriate laws in place, and that essentially the police and security services, and those whose job it is to keep us safe, do have the powers at their disposal.”

He noted that, in his experience, the police unit responsible for identifying online extremist material receive full co-operation from the tech companies already.

Similarly, The Open Rights Group has warned that “to push on with these extreme proposals for internet clampdowns would appear to be a distraction from the current political situation and from effective measures against terror.”

“The government already has extensive surveillance powers. Conservative proposals for automated censorship of the internet would see decisions about what British citizens can see online being placed in the hands of computer algorithms, with judgments ultimately made by private companies rather than courts. Home Office plans to force companies to weaken the security of their communications products could put all of us at a greater risk of crime.”

Those who are worried about extremism should be calling for an end to the British intelligence services’ collaboration and facilitation of terrorism and the extradition of those who have carried out or facilitated attacks abroad, as well as an international investigation and prosecutions of all those involved.

Theresa May’s new proposals do nothing to end the impunity of her own government in the grooming and facilitation of terrorism. Rather, they serve to extend this impunity. They must be resisted.


Dan Glazebrook is a freelance political writer who has written for RT, Counterpunch, Z magazine, the Morning Star, the Guardian, the New Statesman, the Independent and Middle East Eye, amongst others. His first book “Divide and Ruin: The West’s Imperial Strategy in an Age of Crisis” was published by Liberation Media in October 2013. It featured a collection of articles written from 2009 onwards examining the links between economic collapse, the rise of the BRICS, war on Libya and Syria and ‘austerity’. He is currently researching a book on US-British use of sectarian death squads against independent states and movements from Northern Ireland and Central America in the 1970s and 80s to the Middle East and Africa today.

June 17, 2017 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Fake News, Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | Leave a comment

Election Backlash is About More than Gloating

By Jonathan Cook | Dissident Voice | June 17, 2017

Guardian columnist John Harris, like a lot of liberal journalists at the moment, is moving rapidly out of a brief interlude of atonement for so badly misjudging the outcome of the UK’s recent election to a sense of resentment. Those of us who held firm against the media doomsayers over the past two years – rejecting their predictions of a Labour rout under its leader Jeremy Corbyn – are being accused of triumphalism.

In Harris’ words:

Haters, doubters and sceptics have been rounded on. Journalists with any history of disbelief or hostility should apparently resign or be sacked. Labour MPs who once wanted Corbyn to quit should be reciting the socialist equivalent of Hail Marys, and burying any hopes of a return to the shadow cabinet. …

Looking back at the very real woes that preceded the party’s breakthrough, there seems to be some implicit suggestion that a huge crowd of true believers always knew things were on track but could not be heard above the hostile braying. But this, obviously, is not true.

That “obviously” needs examining. The desire to hold journalists to account for their treatment of Corbyn is not about gloating – even if it looks that way to those now facing the backlash. Harris badly misunderstands and trivialises the current mood, just as he misunderstood the mood of the past two years.

There is real frustration and anger, and it is being directed at individual journalists because there is no one else to vent the rage at. Faceless media corporations have no meaningful presence on Twitter or Facebook. We cannot berate them directly. But we can channel our protests at the corporate media’s employees, those who acted as its spokesmen and women.

Our problem is not that individual journalists reached mistaken conclusions about Corbyn. The concern runs much deeper than that. It is that most journalists, even among the most liberal parts of the media, rejected Corbyn and what he stood for from the outset. Even those who had some sympathy for Corbyn’s politics, like Harris, were easily swayed by their colleagues into abandoning him. And therein lies our grievance. It is not a new grievance; Corbyn’s wholesale abuse simply clarified it for us.

The corporate media earnt its name for a reason. Like other corporations, it has a collective agenda. Its bottom line is support for a political, social and economic environment that is good for corporate profits.

That doesn’t make media outlets identical. There are liberal and right wing parts of the media, just as there are branding variations in other markets. Apple wants to persuade you that it is a progressive and socially conscious company, even as underpaid and overworked Chinese workers throw themselves out of the top-floor windows of its factories. The reality is that Apple is no more concerned about workers rights than Microsoft – its packaging is simply better designed to persuade you that it cares, because that is what its users expect from it.

Harris and others at the Guardian did not fail just because they could not foresee how popular Corbyn would prove when put to the electoral test. They failed because it was their role to fail. Whether they understand it or not, they reached their positions of influence in the media either because their imaginative horizons had long ago been so beaten into submission that Corbyn’s success was impossible for them to contemplate or because their defences were so weakened – or maybe their desire to succeed in their organisations so strong – they could not withstand the tide of elite opinion.

Moreover, their failing is not just that they doubted Corbyn; it is that they collectively ridiculed those who thought differently. We were dismissed either as naïve fools or as dangerous subversives. Where were the outraged voices in the Guardian putting that calumny to rest?

Harris is right about one thing. The times are volatile, indeed:

Events of all kinds now seem to move at light speed. And look at how wildly the political pendulum swings: from Obama to Trump; from the SNP triumphant to Nicola Sturgeon in sudden abeyance; from Europe supposedly in hopeless crisis to the twin leadership of Macron and Merkel; and from the Brexit victory to the glorious shocks and surprises of last week.

As the cliche goes, the election proved that no one knows anything any more.

That volatility, however, is not as inexplicable as Harris implies. It has an explanation. It is caused by two factors that are coexisting dangerously together.

The first, much of it generated by social media, is a sense of outrage among large parts of the population. New avenues to information – bypassing the gatekeepers of yore, like the BBC and the Guardian – mean that we have access to more real information and analysis than ever before. Many now understand that our political and media class has been lying to them for a long time and that it no longer feels, or is, accountable.

The second factor is a profound sense of loss, alienation and confusion at the dawning realisation that the corporate media cannot be trusted. Social media have helped prove that the media and political class cannot be trusted, but it has not offered a clear path out of the bewilderment. People know they want change, but they have not yet found a compass they feel confident can guide them to a better place. That is why a Trump can be the beneficiary of the new mood as much as a Corbyn.

What we need now is a revolution in consciousness. We need to understand not only who are our enemies, but who are our friends.

The anger directed at Harris is not interested in simply making him feel bad for a day or two. It wants real change. And that change is being delayed by journalists like Harris, who continue to be incapable of understanding their role in the corporate media world.

Until those inside the corporate media become a voice of dissent from within, joining us in our demands for radical reform that stops the media representing only the interests of billionaires, that ends the influence of corporate advertising, and that ensures true pluralism, then they are the problem. And they will find that their social media accounts continue to bother them.

June 17, 2017 Posted by | Economics, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , | Leave a comment

The Breaking Of The Corporate Media Monopoly

Media Lens | June 15, 2017

Last week, Jeremy Corbyn humbled the entire political and corporate media commentariat. With a little help from Britain’s student population. And with a little help from thousands of media activists.

Without doubt this was one of the most astonishing results in UK political history. Dismissed by all corporate political pundits, including the clutch of withered fig leaves at the Guardian, reviled by scores of his own Blairite MPs (see here), Corbyn ‘increased Labour’s share of the vote by more than any other of the party’s election leaders since 1945′ with ‘the biggest swing since… shortly after the Second World War’. He won a larger share of the vote than Tony Blair in 2005.

Corbyn achieved this without resorting to angry lefty ranting. His focus was on kindness, compassion, sharing, inclusivity and forgiveness. This approach held up a crystal-clear mirror to the ugly, self-interested cynicism of the Tory party, and transformed the endless brickbats into flowers of praise.

On Twitter, John Prescott disclosed that when Rupert Murdoch saw the exit poll ‘he stormed out of the room’.

As ever, while the generals made good their escape, front-line troops were less fortunate. Outfought by Team Corbyn, out-thought by social media activists, outnumbered in the polls, many commentators had no option but to fall on their microphones and keyboards. LBC radio presenter Iain Dale led the way:

‘Let me be the first to say, I got it wrong, wholly wrong. I should have listened more to my callers who have been phoning into my show day after day, week after week.’

The Guardian’s Gaby Hinsliff, who had written in January, ‘This isn’t going to be yet another critique of Corbyn, by the way, because there is no point. The evidence is there for anyone with eyes’, tweeted:

‘This is why I trust @iaindale’s judgement; he admits when it was way off. (As mine was. As god knows how many of ours was)’

Hinsliff promised:

‘Like everyone else who didn’t foresee the result, I’ll be asking myself hard questions & trying to work out what changed…’

Annoying as ever, we asked:

‘But will you be asking yourself about the structural forces, within and outside Guardian and corporate media generally, shaping performance?’

And:

‘Is a corporate journalist free to analyse the influence of owners, profit-orientation, ad-dependence, state-subsidised news? Taboo subjects.’

Presumably engrossed in introspection, Hinsliff did not reply.

Right-winger John Rentoul, who insisted four weeks ago in the Independent that, ‘we are moving towards the end of the Corbynite experiment’, appeared to be writing lines in detention:

‘I was wrong about Jeremy Corbyn – The Labour leader did much better in the election than I expected. I need to understand and learn from my mistakes’

Channel 4 News presenter and Telegraph blogger, Cathy Newman tweeted:

‘Ok let’s be honest, until the last few weeks many of us under-estimated @jeremycorbyn’

Translating from the ‘newspeak’: many corporate journalists waged a relentless campaign over two years to persuade the public to ‘underestimate’ Corbyn, but were wrong about the public’s ability to see through the propaganda.

Piers Morgan, who predicted the Conservatives would win a ’90-100 seat majority’, wrote:

‘I think Mr Corbyn has proved a lot of people, including me, completely wrong.’

In a typically dramatic flourish, Channel 4’s Jon Snow’s summation was harsh but fair:

‘I know nothing. We the media, the pundits, the experts, know nothing.’

Guardian columnist Rafael Behr, who wrote in February, ‘Jeremy Corbyn is running out of excuses’, also ate humble pie:

‘Fair play to Jeremy Corbyn and his team. They have done a lot of things I confidently thought they – he – could not do. I was wrong.’

In March, Observer columnist Nick Cohen graphically predicted that ‘Corbyn’s Labour won’t just lose. It’ll be slaughtered.’ In an article titled, ‘Don’t tell me you weren’t warned about Corbyn’, Cohen indicated the words that would ‘be flung’ at Corbynites ‘by everyone who warned that Corbyn’s victory would lead to a historic defeat’:

‘I Told You So You Fucking Fools!’

Apparently frothing at the mouth, Cohen concluded by advising the idiots reading his column that, following the predicted electoral disaster, ‘your only honourable response will be to stop being a fucking fool by changing your fucking mind’.

Awkward, then, for Cohen to now ‘apologise to affronted Corbyn supporters… I was wrong’; presumably feeling like a fucking fool, having changed his fucking mind.

Tragicomically, Cohen then proceeded to be exactly as ‘wrong’ all over again:

‘The links between the Corbyn camp and a Putin regime that persecutes genuine radicals. Corbyn’s paid propaganda for an Iranian state that hounds gays, subjugates women and tortures prisoners. Corbyn and the wider left’s indulgence of real antisemites (not just critics of Israel). They are all on the record. That Tory newspapers used them against the Labour leadership changes nothing.’

Former Guardian comment editor and senior columnist Jonathan Freedland spent two years writing a series of anti-Corbyn hit pieces (see our media alert for discussion). Last month, Freedland wrote under the title, ‘No more excuses: Jeremy Corbyn is to blame for this meltdown’, lamenting:

‘What more evidence do they need? What more proof do the Labour leadership and its supporters require?’

Freedland helpfully relayed focus group opinion to the effect that Corbyn was a ‘dope’, ‘living in the past’, ‘a joke’, ‘looking as if he knows less about it than I do’. Freedland has also, now, had no choice but to back down:

‘Credit where it’s due. Jeremy Corbyn defied those – including me – who thought he could not win seats for Lab. I was wrong.’

Like Freedland, senior Guardian columnist Polly Toynbee has relentlessly attacked Corbyn. On April 19, she wrote of how ‘Corbyn is rushing to embrace Labour’s annihilation’:

‘Wrong, wrong and wrong again. Was ever there a more crassly inept politician than Jeremy Corbyn, whose every impulse is to make the wrong call on everything?’

This week, Toynbee’s tune had changed:

‘Nothing succeeds like success. Jeremy Corbyn looks like a new man, beaming with confidence, benevolence and forgiveness to erstwhile doubters…’

Apparently channelling David Brent of The Office, Toynbee added:

‘When I met him on Sunday he clasped my hand and, with a twinkle and a wink, thanked me for things I had written.’

With zero self-awareness, Toynbee noted that the Mail and Sun had helped Corbyn: ‘by dredging up every accusation against him yet failing to frighten voters away, they have demolished their own power’.

Former Guardian political editor Michael White, yet another regular anti-Corbyn commentator, admitted:

‘I was badly wrong. JC had much wider voter appeal than I realised’

Former Guardian journalist, Jonathan Cook, replied:

‘Problem is you *all* got it wrong. That fact alone exposes structural flaw of corporate media. You don’t represent us, you represent power’

White responded:

‘You’re not still banging on, are you Jonathan. You do talk some bollocks’

Guardian, Telegraph, Independent and New Statesman contributor Abi Wilkinson tweeted:

‘Don’t think some of people making demands about who Corbyn puts in shadow cabinet have particularly earned the right to be listened to…’

We paired this with Wilkinson’s comment from June 2016:

‘Any hope I once held about Corbyn’s ability to steer the party in a more positive direction has been well and truly extinguished’

Wilkinson replied: ‘oh fuck off’, before concluding that we are ‘two misogynistic cranks in a basement’, and ‘just some dickheads who aren’t actually fit’ to hold the media to account.

When a tweeter suggested that Corbyn’s result was ‘brilliant’, New Statesman editor Jason Cowley replied: ‘Yes, I agree.’ Just three days earlier, Cowley had written under the ominous title:

‘The Labour reckoning – Corbyn has fought a spirited campaign but is he leading the party to worst defeat since 1935?’

In March, Cowley opined:

‘The stench of decay and failure coming from the Labour Party is now overwhelming – Speak to any Conservative MP and they will say that there is no opposition. Period.’

Like everyone else at the Guardian, columnist Owen Jones’ initial instinct was to tweet away from his own viewspaper’s ferocious anti-Corbyn campaign:

‘The British right wing press led a vicious campaign of lies, smears, hatred and bigotry. And millions told them where to stick it’

And yet, as recently as April 18, Jones had depicted Corbyn as a pathetic figure:

‘A man who stood only out of a sense of duty, to put policies on the agenda, and who certainly had no ambition to be leader, will now take Labour into a general election, against all his original expectations. My suggestion that Corbyn stand down in favour of another candidate was driven by a desire to save his policies…’

Jones has now also issued a mea culpa:

‘I owe Corbyn, John McDonnell, Seumas Milne, his policy chief Andrew Fisher, and others, an unreserved, and heartfelt apology…

‘I wasn’t a bit wrong, or slightly wrong, or mostly wrong, but totally wrong. Having one foot in the Labour movement and one in the mainstream media undoubtedly left me more susceptible to their groupthink. Never again.’

We will see!

To his credit, Jones managed to criticise his own employer (something he had previously told us was unthinkable and absurd):

‘Now that I’ve said I’m wrong… so the rest of the mainstream commentariat, including in this newspaper, must confess they were wrong, too.’

Despite the blizzard of mea culpas from colleagues, George Monbiot also initially pointed well away from his employer:

‘The biggest losers today are the billionaires who own the Mail, Sun, Times and Telegraph. And thought they owned the nation.’

And: ‘It was The Sun wot got properly Cor-Binned’. And: ‘By throwing every brick in the house at Corbyn, and still failing to knock him over, the billionaire press lost much of its power.’

After receiving criticism, and having of course seen Jones’ mea culpa, Monbiot subsequently admitted that anti-Corbyn bias is found ‘even in the media that’s not owned by billionaires’:

‘This problem also affects the Guardian… Only the Guardian and the Mirror enthusiastically supported both Labour and Corbyn in election editorials.

‘But the scales still didn’t balance.’

This is a change from Monbiot’s declared position of three years ago, when he rejected the idea that the Guardian was part of the problem. This week, he recalled his own dumping of Corbyn in a tweet from January: ‘I have now lost all faith.’ The full tweet read:

‘I was thrilled when Jeremy Corbyn became leader of the Labour Party, but it has been one fiasco after another. I have now lost all faith.’

Monbiot blamed media bias on the way journalists are selected – ‘We should actively recruit people from poorer backgrounds’ – and wrote, curiously, ‘the biggest problem, I believe, is that we spend too much time in each other’s company’.

We suggested to Monbiot that this was not at all ‘the biggest problem’ with ‘mainstream’ media, and pointed instead to elite ownership, profit-orientation, advertiser dependence and use of state-subsidised ‘news’, as discussed by Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky in their ‘propaganda model’.

Jonathan Cook responded to Monbiot, describing the limits of free speech with searing honesty:

‘This blindness even by a “radical” like Monbiot to structural problems in the media is not accidental either. Realistically, the furthest he can go is where he went today in his column: suggesting organisational flaws in the corporate media, ones that can be fixed, rather than structural ones that cannot without rethinking entirely how the media functions. Monbiot will not – and cannot – use the pages of the Guardian to argue that his employer is structurally incapable of providing diverse and representative coverage.

‘Nor can he admit that his own paper polices its pages to limit what can be said on the left, to demarcate whole areas of reasonable thought as off-limits. To do so would be to end his Guardian career and consign him to the outer reaches of social media.’

The same, of course, applies to Jones, who made no attempt at all to account for corporate media bias.

Media grandee Will Hutton, former editor-in-chief of the Observer, now Principal of Hertford College, Oxford, wrote of ‘How the rightwing tabloids got it wrong – It was the Sun wot hung it’. On Twitter, we reminded Hutton of his own article, one month earlier:

‘Er, excuse us..! Will Hutton, May 7: “Never before in my adult life has the future seemed so bleak for progressives”‘

Tragicomically, given the awesome extent of his employer’s anti-Corbyn bias, John Cody Fidler-Simpson CBE, BBC World Affairs Editor, tweeted:

‘I suspect we’ve seen the end of the tabloids as arbiters of UK politics. Sun, Mail & Express threw all they had into backing May, & failed.’

We replied:

‘Likewise the “quality” press and the BBC, which has been so biased even a former chair of the BBC Trust spoke out’

Sir Michael Lyons, who chaired the BBC trust from 2007 to 2011, commented on the BBC’s ‘quite extraordinary attacks on the elected leader of the Labour party’:

‘I can understand why people are worried about whether some of the most senior editorial voices in the BBC have lost their impartiality on this.’

Conclusion – The Corporate Media Monopoly Is Broken

One week before the election, the Guardian reported that ‘a new force is shaping the general election debate’:

‘Alternative news sites are run from laptops and bedrooms miles from the much-derided “Westminster bubble” and have emerged as one of the most potent forces in election news sharing, according to research conducted for the Guardian by the web analytics company Kaleida.’

These alternative articles were ‘being shared more widely online than the views of mainstream newspaper commentators’. Remarkably, ‘Nothing from the BBC, the Guardian or the Daily Mail comes close’ to the most-shared alternative media pieces. The Canary reported that it had doubled the number of visitors to its site to six million in May. A story by Evolve Politics, run by just two people, was shared 55,000 times on Facebook and was read at least 200,000 times. These websites ‘explicitly offer a counter-narrative to what they deride as the “MSM” or mainstream media’.

Indeed, the evidence is now simply overwhelming – the 100-year big business monopoly of the mass media has been broken.

It is obvious that the right-wing press – the Daily Mail, the Sun, The Times and Telegraph – play a toxic role in manipulating the public to favour elite interests. But many people are now realising that the liberal press is actually the most potent opponent of progressive change. Journalist Matt Kennard commented:

‘The Guardian didn’t get it “wrong”. It is the mouthpiece of a liberal elite that is financially endangered by a socialist program.’

In truth, the Guardian sought to destroy Corbyn long before he became Labour leader (see here and here). This means that it did not target him because he was an ineffective leader imperilling Labour. And this hostility was no aberration, not a well-intentioned mistake that they got ‘wrong’. To this day, the Guardian remains Blair’s great cheerleader, despite his awesome crimes, just as it was Hillary Clinton and Obama’s cheerleader, and just as it was Bill Clinton’s before them.

While employing a handful of compromised fig leaves, the Guardian has ruthlessly smeared anyone who has sought to challenge the status quo: Julian Assange, Russell Brand, Hugo Chavez, Noam Chomsky, Edward Herman, John Pilger, George Galloway and many others. It has also been complicit in the great war crimes of Iraq, Libya and Syria – accepting fake government justifications for war at face value, ignoring expert sources who made a nonsense of the claims, and propagandising hard for the West’s supposed ‘responsibility to protect’ the nations it so obviously seeks to destabilise and exploit.

In our view, the corporate journalists who should be treated with most caution are precisely those celebrated as ‘dissidents’. Corporate media give Owen Jones, George Monbiot, Paul Mason and others immense outreach to draw 100,000s of progressives back to a filtered, corporate version of the world that favours established power and stifles progressive change. Above all, as Jonathan Cook says, the unwritten rule is that they will not speak out on the inherent structural corruption of a corporate media system reporting on a world dominated by corporations.

This is crucial, because, as last week confirms, and as we have been arguing for 16 years, if change begins anywhere, it begins with the public challenging, exposing and rejecting, not just the right-wing press, but the corporate media as a whole, the ‘liberal-left’ very much included.

In the last month, we witnessed astonishing numbers of people challenging all media, all the time on every bias – we have never seen anything like it. The young, in particular, are learning that they do not need highly-paid, privileged corporate employees to tell them what to think.

We don’t need to tolerate a corporate-filtered view of the world. We can inform ourselves and each other, and we can do so with very much more honesty, courage and compassion than any corporate journalist. If there is one message from last week, it’s a simple one – dump the corporate media; all of it.

June 15, 2017 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | 1 Comment

Last White Helmets in Aleppo: in lieu of a film review

By Tim Hayward | June 14, 2017

In the wake of Netflix’s Oscar winning The White Helmets comes the Sundance Festival Grand Jury Prize winning Last Men of Aleppo. According to early reviews, audiences leave screenings with a desperate feeling that something ought to be done, but with a sense of helplessness about not knowing what.[1]

While that is very understandable, there are some things we can know if we really want to, even though the film does not reveal them.

First, in case it is true that among audiences are people who wish there was something they could do to just make the bombing in Aleppo stop, I would mention that it has stopped. It stopped before Christmas 2016. The siege of Aleppo ended, and the citizens who had been trapped there, essentially as human shields, were able to leave. Most went to the Western part of the town that had remained under government control.[2] The fighters who had been in control of the eastern quarters were given amnesty and left town in green buses laid on by the Syrian government. They were allowed to take their handheld weapons. The White Helmets went with them to Idlib, although some may have gone to Turkey (where their video clips were edited into this new film).

Since their departure, law and order has been restored across the whole of Aleppo. The eastern part is no longer bombed. Nor does it any longer experience the kidnappings, rape, murder, crucifixion, torture, sexual exploitation and organ trafficking that had been permitted and perpetrated by the “rebels”. It also no longer serves as the launch pad for mortars and hell cannon fired into the civilian population in the Western part of town.[3]

believe

Aleppo 2017

Citizens are returning and starting to rebuild their lives in East Aleppo. The White Helmets, meanwhile, are providing their services in the Al Qaeda held territory of Idlib.

Viewers of the film may find this puzzling news, given they’ll have heard ‘the White Helmets’ collective insistence that they’ll never abandon Aleppo’ and that ‘Aleppo will always be their home’.[4] The fact is no White Helmets operate in Aleppo now, just as none did before the “rebels” seized its Eastern part. Incidentally, the real Syrian Civil Defence volunteers, who have operated in areas under legitimate government since 1953, wear red helmets.[5]

Several further facts about the White Helmets are not much publicised either in the news media or these films. One is that they are not actually volunteers in the usual sense, for they are paid. The funding comes from foreign governments, notably UK and USA (as explained, respectively, by Boris Johnson and Mark Toner).

The White Helmets do not typically put others first, at least according to witnesses, and in Aleppo had a reputation for robbing the houses they entered and the people they helped.[6] Not that they helped ordinary citizens, for the most part, since it appears their main practical role was to provide support to the fighters.[7] Their filmed rescues are not all necessarily genuine.[8] Nor is it true that they assembled as a group spontaneously. This was the work of British military man James Le Mesurier, with funding from Western governments, notably Britain and America. He organised training for them in Turkey.

Among the White Helmets are fighters who, despite what we are told, can be seen with weapons.[9] They are also accessories at executions.[10]

A beauty of film is that it can conjure a world of pure imagination. When this potent capacity is applied in the making of a documentary it can make the material more compelling. It can, of course, also serve to manipulate and distort the evidence it presents.

The film does not aspire to help audiences understand better “what they can do” about the terrible situation in Syria. It tends to reinforce the received wisdom about the supposed heroes of Aleppo. But anybody wondering how truthful it is will want to review that received wisdom, and perhaps consider some of the now numerous critical accounts of the role the White Helmets have actually been playing in the Syrian war.

One might then also try to understand what the deep motivation is for Western media and even film industry award institutions to be involved in glorifying people who are at a maximum of one degree of separation from active terrorists. By thinking about this, one may better understand – unswayed by the artful manipulations of a motion picture – exactly what one should really be worrying about.

The West’s support for regime change wars has brought devastation to whole countries. Think about Iraq or Libya as well as Syria. It has brought refugees. It has involved allowing British citizens freely to train for jihad. It has allowed them to fight against legitimate governments abroad and return home. We have seen them here. We saw them in Manchester recently, and on Tower Bridge. I fear we may see more.

We live in a time, I believe, when it is vital to be challenging the assumptions that support the escalation of conflicts. While the message of White Helmets films may seem to be about the need for peace and humanity, their underlying function – and the reason for their being funded by hawkish governments – is to reinforce the need for intervention to overthrow another country’s government.

That is why I think films like this are not really best described as documentaries. For what the White Helmets are, as John Pilger has succinctly observed, is ‘a complete propaganda construct’.[11]

Not having seen the film ‘Last Men in Aleppo’, I am not in a position to recommend it. A short film I can recommend is this. At less than 4 minutes, a view of it will be time well spent if you are tempted to believe what is said in White Helmets promotional material.

Notes

[1] ‘I suspect it’s the filmmakers’ wish that once those initial feelings ebb, moviegoers will ask what they can do to help. This picture doesn’t offer hope; its aim is to compel us to create some.’ Glenn Kenny in the New York Times 2 May 2017 https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/02/movies/last-men-in-aleppo-review.html?_r=0

[2] This is recorded by Aron Lund in an article that is by no means sympathetic to Assad’s government: https://www.irinnews.org/analysis/2017/04/12/eastern-aleppo-under-al-assad

[3] You would not know it from this film, or the Netflix one, or the Western media more generally, but the Western part of Aleppo is far more populous than the eastern part and has remained functioning – despite the incoming shells from the “rebel” areas – throughout the war.

[4] This is from the review by Vikram Murthi, 3 May 2017 http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/last-men-in-aleppo-2017

[5] http://21stcenturywire.com/2017/04/02/the-real-syria-civil-defence-saving-real-syrians-not-oscar-winning-white-helmets-saving-al-qaeda/ This resource gives detailed information about the real Syrian civil defence as well as some further insight into operations by the White Helmets.

[6] See for instance this account by Aleppo journalist Khaled Iskef: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bSl1wT6Q0Lg . Indicative is this interview with a young boy from Aleppo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WSBvd9i_jAs

[7] Abu Jaber Al-Sheikh, the leader of Hay’at Tahreer Al-Sham (Al-Qaeda in Syria) thanks the White Helmets and calls them “the hidden soldiers of the revolution”. This was part of his speech commemorating the 6th anniversary of the Jihadist insurgency in Syria: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lvTAi0MXY6w See also the evidence on the ground in Eastern Aleppo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wpyCkk47Hhs

[8] We cannot be certain exactly what is and what is not staged in White Helmets films, but we can be certain of their capacity to make convincing fakes for the camera, since they demonstrated it with their notorious Mannequin Challenge video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zgl271A6LgQ .

[9] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5k6hSS6xBTw

[10] Evidence can be found on social media but I have opted not to link to it here since it is disturbingly graphic.

[11] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X27B0yuazGo.  Since Pilger is known to be on the political left, it is interesting to note that a similarly critical view of the White Helmets is given by someone usually regarded as on the political right, Peter Hitchens:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iwjw0vkV7_I

June 14, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Film Review, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Leave a comment

Is Michael Foster a Chameleon?

By Gilad Atzmon | June 13, 2017

The utterly repellent Michael Foster who has spent the last 2 years waging a relentless campaign against Jeremy Corbyn has now apparently become a Corbyn supporter. Foster now admits that he was “wrong on Corbyn.”  The Jewish labour donor used the notorious Zionist Times of Israel to “tip his hat to the leader’s success”

In a spectacular admission that portrays total cultural and political detachment Foster says, “I was wrong on that his brand of leadership and socialism would not appeal.”

The same character who a year ago professed that he despised Corbyn and labelled his supporters “Sturm Abteilung” (Nazi storm troopers) has conveniently changed his spots.

However, don’t let the sly Foster mislead you. Foster is not a chameleon. He didn’t transform into a British patriot who cares for the working people or the resurrection of the NHS. Foster is a Jewish ethnic campaigner. Foster is interested in only one thing: Jewish tribal interests.

“To the future, Jeremy (note the shift to personal language) from my point of view has two things that matter to me, to deal with. He must continue to stamp out any sign of anti Semitism within Labour; and he must on that score make I think more of an effort, both private and public to meet with, and meet the legitimate fears of, the Jewish Community.”

And now the warning: “Jeremy’s legitimacy as a leader of all factions within Britain will in part depend on him achieving this. He can make the Jews of Britain feel safe, without in any way abandoning his strong and righteous belief in the need for a self governing and free, Palestinian homeland.”

Can he? Will the Fosters of this world let Corbyn be? Will they let him support Palestine and denounce Israeli brutality? Seemingly Foster and the Jewish lobby have yet to read the picture. Corbyn’s success means that although every Jewish institution in the kingdom was determined to destroy him, Corbyn was able to prevail by turning Labour into a popular movement. He is likely to become PM within a year.

Corbyn proved that Western politics can survive without an injection of shekels. This must be devastating news for the Lobby, for AIPAC, ADL, BOD, LFI, CFI, Criff and for the Michael Fosters. However, for the rest of us, it is  encouraging news, it arouses a spirit of emancipation.

June 13, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , | Leave a comment

Britain’s Real Terror Apologists

By Finian Cunningham | Sputnik | June 11, 2017

Despite a vicious smear campaign to denigrate Britain’s Labour leader as a “terrorist sympathizer,” Jeremy Corbyn still pulled off an amazing achievement in the general election.

Hardly has a politician in any Western state been so vilified with character assassination, and yet he has proven to be most popular Labour leader in Britain since the Second World War.

After weeks of trailing his Conservative rival Theresa May in the polls, Corbyn’s socialist manifesto appealed to a record number of voters – closing the gap between the parties to only two percentage points behind the Tories.

This was in spite of a concerted media campaign to destroy Corbyn in the eyes of the British public as a “terrorist stooge.” The irony here is that the Conservative party is forming a governing coalition with a little-known Northern Ireland party whose history is steeped in British state terrorism. (More on that in a moment.)

For Corbyn, the election outcome was a stunning moral victory. For Prime Minister May it was a humiliating defeat. The Conservatives lost their overall majority in the British parliament and now they have to rely on this reactionary fringe party from Northern Ireland to form a government.

May called the snap election because she thought her party would increase its majority and also because she calculated that Corbyn’s socialist direction of Labour would be wiped out. Many Blairite naysayers in his own party thought so too.

The opposite happened. The British public largely rejected May and her neoliberal capitalist, pro-austerity, pro-NATO policies. They instead rallied behind Corbyn. Granted, the Tories still won the election – only narrowly – but the surge in support for Labour under Corbyn means that he has galvanized a party that stands a strong chance of winning if another election is called. And that could be soon, perhaps in the coming months owing May’s shaky ad hoc government collapsing.

Another riveting factor in all this is that Corbyn’s success came amid a torrential Tory and right-wing media campaign to denigrate him as a terrorist sympathizer. The propaganda onslaught was conducted for months since May called the election back in April. And it grew to a frenzy as election day approached last Thursday, especially when the opinion polls showed Labour steadily whittling away the earlier Conservative support.

The day before the public went to the polling booths, the Daily Mail ran the front page headline: “Apologist for terror,” with Jeremy Corbyn’s photo below. It looked like a “wanted poster” from the Wild West. The only thing missing was the subhead with the words: “Wanted dead or alive.”

The scurrilous allegation pounded over and over by the largely pro-Conservative British media that Corbyn is “soft on terrorism” stems from his otherwise principled history of campaigning on international justice and peace.

Over his 35 years as an MP, he has voiced consistent support for Palestinian rights under illegal Zionist occupation; he has supported Hezbollah resistance against Israeli and American aggression; and during the conflict in Northern Ireland, Corbyn gave a voice to Irish Republicans who were being assailed by British military violence.

Many other international causes could be mentioned, such as Corbyn opposing British government weapons dealing with the despotic Saudi regime which is propagating terrorism in Syria, Iraq and Yemen.

He has also campaigned to abandon nuclear weapons and is critical of NATO’s reckless expansion in Europe, which have earned him the jingoistic pillorying by the British establishment of “being soft on Russia.”

Corbyn has never condoned terrorism. Rather he has always sought to properly put it in a wider context of other parties also, unaccountably, using terrorism and thus fueling conflict.

This brings us to so-called Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) from Northern Ireland whose 10 MPs Theresa May’s Tories are now relying on to form a government. This party was formed in the early 1970s by the firebrand Protestant preacher Ian Paisley. While Paisley mellowed in later years before his death in 2014, he spent most of his career preaching vile hatred against Catholics and Irish Republicans, whom he saw as a threat to the political union between Northern Ireland and the rest of Britain. In British-run Northern Ireland, it wasn’t acceptable to have a democratic aspiration for an independent Ireland. You were either a pro-British unionist or a “threat.” So much for British democracy.

Senior members of Paisley’s pro-British party played a crucial role in smuggling massive caches of weapons into Northern Ireland during the 1980s to illegally arm unionist paramilitaries. These paramilitaries went on to murder hundreds of innocent people simply because they were Catholics, who tended to be Republican. A favored tactic of these paramilitaries was to storm into pubs and homes and indiscriminately mow people down with assault rifles.

One notorious pro-British killer was Gusty Spence who belonged to the Ulster Volunteer Force paramilitary. He later expressed remorse and deplored Ian Paisley, the DUP founder, as the person who incited him to murder innocent Catholics due to his sectarian hate speech.

The paramilitary murder gangs were not just supported covertly by members of the DUP. The British government of Margaret Thatcher – Theresa May’s predecessor and political heroine – orchestrated these same death squads in a covert policy of “dirty war.”

British military intelligence colluded with the pro-unionist militants to assassinate Republican politicians and ordinary Catholics alike in a covert policy of state-sponsored terrorism. The objective was to terrorize people in submitting to British rule over Northern Ireland, rather than allowing the island country to become united and independent.

The British government provided intelligence and cover for the death squads and the unionist politicians had helped supply the AK-47 assault rifles and Browning handguns smuggled from Apartheid South Africa.

This secret dirty war policy of the British government and their unionist proxies in Northern Ireland has been uncovered by investigative journalists such as Paul Larkin (see his groundbreaking book “A Very British Jihad: Collusion, Conspiracy and Cover-up in Northern Ireland”); as well as human rights campaign groups like Belfast-based Relatives for Justice and Pat Finucane Centre.

Not even the present government of Theresa May can deny this murderous legacy in Ireland, although there is a determined silence now as she fights for her political survival in the wake of the British election disaster.

It is a proven fact that May’s Conservative party and the unionist politicians whom she is now partnering with to govern Britain were complicit in terrorism.

Northern Ireland has since gained a peace settlement in which unionist and republican politicians have been able to work together to form a local governing administration. The Irish peace process was possible partly because of the courageous and principled intervention by British politicians like Jeremy Corbyn.

Corbyn has never apologized for terrorism. He has sought to overcome it by making politics work. The same cannot be said for Theresa May’s Conservative party. It was an accomplice and an apologist for a covert policy of state-sponsored terrorism during Northern Ireland’s recent 30-year conflict.

The very party whom she is now allied with for governing Britain – the DUP – were also apologists for paramilitaries who routinely smashed their way into family homes and slaughtered victims in cold blood in front of their loved ones.

The ongoing muted policy of May’s government and her unionist proxies about their murderous legacy in Ireland is a testimony to who the real apologists for terror are.

June 12, 2017 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Such a “Surprise” in the UK!

By Thomas S. Harrington | CounterPunch | June 12, 2017

I just can’t believe what happened in the British elections.

I can’t get over the fact that that when a politician with real convictions honed over 40 years of political life—generous and forward-looking convictions rooted in an understanding of how social progress for the many has actually been engineered in previous times—speaks out unencumbered by corporate-minded, fraidy-cat image doctors, people actually respond enthusiastically.

It’s shocking, absolutely shocking.

Why am I so confused?

Well, for thirty years, the brilliant people at the NYT, NPR,  PBS,  the BBC and The Guardian  have told me again and again that candidates from Labor in the UK and the Democratic Party  in the US must always  be oh-so-careful careful to not veer too far left in their policy prescriptions,  to not appear too “populist” and, most of all, to not to go “too far outside the mainstream”.

The question of who defines what is the mainstream, or how lavishly-funded pro-business and pro-war think-tanks might actually be the people establishing its functional parameters by funding armies of think-tank “scholars” and “experts” were, of course, a complex hermeneutical problems that I never had the time  nor the energy to ponder or deconstruct.

If those smart Ivy and Oxbridge-type guys and gals in the prestige media were telling us time and again that our societies were all fundamentally center-right collectives with a deep suspicion of government action (except, that is, when it came to making unceasing war on a world-wide scale) who was I, an obscure analyst of Iberian nationalisms and other sundry issues, to say anything about it?

Can you imagine someone like me actually believing he had the right to question brilliant and connected people like David Brooks, Tom Friedman or Jonathan Freeland or Polly Toynbee?

It would have been the height of hubris on my part to do so. After all, unlike them, I don’t spend my time networking each day with ambitious like-minded people deeply enamored of power, nor do I have the option of knowing exactly what stories and messages will provoke society’s centers of financial and military power to pressure a media conglomerate to trim a pundit’s  paycheck or to convince well-heeled seekers of transcendent insight  to stop paying her fat speaking fees.

Because I lack this essential information, I have always assumed my rightful place as an uncritical consumer of their deeply though-out and always prescient nostrums.

True, today I am feeling a little confused and bereft. But I know that by the time the next news cycle comes around they’ll have it all figured out for me, providing explanations that will in no way contradict or vitiate all the brilliant things they’ve been saying over so many years.

June 12, 2017 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Corbyn and the Jews

By Gilad Atzmon | June 11, 2017

British Jews have made no secret of their united political opposition to Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour party under his direction. Since Corbyn’s selection as its leader, the Labour party has been subjected to a relentless defamation campaign by the MSM and Jewish bodies. The Jewish anti Corbyn campaign rapidly devolved into a ruthless purge conducted by the Jewish Labour Movement and the Labour Friends of Israel. And then it didn’t take long before we saw some clear evidence that the assault against Corbyn was directed by Tel Aviv.

The reaction of many prominent Jewish voices and Jewish media outlets to Corbyn’s recent electoral success leaves no room for doubt – we are witnessing an emerging clash between the Brits and Judea.

On June 9th just a few hours after Corbyn’s popularity amongst Brits was formally established, Stephen Pollard, the editor of the staunch Zionist Jewish Chronicle, wrote in The Daily Telegraph (AKA The Daily Tel Aviv ) an extended tirade about the Brits, the gist of which is captured in the headline:  “to the millions of people who voted for Jeremy Corbyn: you scare me.”

Pollard is tormented by the democratic choice of almost half of the British voters. “In fact forgive me, please, if I say this to each of the 12.8 million people who voted Labour on Thursday: you scare me.”

Pollard is distressed by Ken Livingstone’s truth telling about Zionism’s early collaboration with Hitler. He is dismayed that so many young Brits are excited by Corbyn’s platform of truthfulness and universal cooperation.

To support his argument Pollard asks us to engage in a “thought experiment.” Imagine that instead of having a problem with Jews, “many Corbyn supporters were misogynists. Instead of tweeting about ‘Zios’ they tweeted about ‘bitches’ who had got above themselves.”

I will help Pollard out. It wasn’t women’s lobbies that pushed us into immoral interventionist wars in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Iran. It was Lord Cashpoint Levy and the LFI that dominated Blair’s government’s fundraising when Britain launched its criminal war in Iraq. It was David Aaronivitch and Nick Cohen, two of Pollard’s Jewish Chronicle writers, who advocated these wars in the media.

Being kind natured, I’ll use this opportunity to advise Pollard that pretty much half of British adults go to bed every night with a woman. They form families with them and bring up kids together. We see women as our partners; something we cannot say about Stephen Pollard, Jonathan Pollard, Michael Foster, Lord Janner or Sir Philip Green. Pollard should spend some time and produce a better analogy in support of his ludicrous tribal politics.

Pollard is not alone. James Rubin, a former American diplomat and the ‘husband of’ is also scared of Corbyn.

“Who’s Afraid of Jeremy Corbyn? Me that’s who,” was the title of Rubin’s  Politico article. Unlike Pollard who is scared as a Jew, Rubin claims to be scared on behalf of all Americans. According to Rubin “all Americans who fear for the future of the West” should be fearful of Corbyn. Rubin attempts to spread a duplicitous message that Corbyn puts the West at risk.

Rubin is kind enough to enumerate Corbyn’s ‘crimes: he has been “a public opponent of British and American foreign policy for some 25 years, and so his record and his views are impossible to hide.” He has “made a career of attacking U.S. foreign policies time and again.”

Rubin misses the point. Corbyn was supported last Thursday by more than 12 million Brits, in large part because he has a clear record of opposition to Anglo-American Zio-con immoral interventionist wars.

Rubin goes on, Corbyn has always found a way “to be supportive of America’s enemies and critical of American policies.” Correct and this is exactly why close to half of the British voters trusted him last Thursday. I would take it further, would Corbyn be brave enough to call a spade a spade and name our foreign wars for what they are: Israeli wars, his share of the vote would increase from 40% to 70%. Corbyn would be the British Prime Minster by Friday and the Tories would be reduced to a marginal political entity.

Rubin complains that Corbyn finds that “America is almost always in the wrong for the wrong reasons.” If so, Corbyn is absolutely right. America is too often on the wrong side, capitulating to AIPAC’s demands or desperately attempting to appease the Goldman Sachs and Soroses of this world.

Those who still fail to see that British Jews are at war with Corbyn and the Labour party should read The Jewish Algemeiner. According to Ben Cohen, it was the Jewish vote in London that saved Theresa May. Despite the popular swing towards Labour in most of London, it was the “voters in four London districts with significant Jewish populations have likely made it much easier for embattled British Prime Minister Theresa May to form a coalition government.”

Britain’s Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis released a statement that the election demonstrated the dramatic polarization of British society: “The General Election results make it quite clear that it is not only our political representatives who are sharply divided on what is in the best long term interests of our country, but also that the electorate is similarly divided.”

I am not convinced at all that Britain is ‘divided’ as the chief Rabbi claims. If anything, the election reveals a growing unity amongst young Brits who are disgusted by the politics of Theresa Je Suis Juif May and her Zio-friendly government.

“As Theresa May seeks to form a new Government, my prayer is that she be blessed with the insight and the wisdom to lead the country with a spirit of understanding and a commitment to the common good,” the Rabbi added. I can advise the British Jewish leader that his prayers may fall short of delivering the good. What Theresa May needs at this stage is divine intervention and the Jewish institutions rallying for her and her dirty politics is a curse rather than a blessing.

June 11, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , | 5 Comments