Syria: Old whine, new bottle By William Bowles

26 October 2005

The UN ‘report’ on the assassination of Rafik Hariri, the former Lebanese PM, bears all the hallmarks of yet another set-up, no doubt ‘inspired’ by US pressure as part of the build-up to yet another Middle Eastern ‘adventure’.

Even less remarkable is the uncritical, indeed blind acceptance by the Western media of the Report’s conclusions concerning those allegedly behind the assassination.

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Media Lens: Thought Control and ‘Professional’ Journalism – Part 1

25 October 2005 — Media Lens

Early last century, industrial technology allowed business interests to produce mass media at a cost that outclassed the capacity of non-corporate media to compete. As a result, radical publishers were marginalised and media diversity rapidly narrowed.

To counter claims that society was being, in effect, brainwashed by this media monopoly, corporate publishers promoted the idea of “professional journalism”. For the first time, reporters would be trained in special “schools of journalism” to master the arts of objective, balanced reporting. Big business moguls would be in control but, as good democrats, they would see to it that their journalists were scrupulously fair. Continue reading

Kiss your ‘democracy’ goodbye (But did you ever have one?) By William Bowles

21 October 2005

There are … potentially desirable limits to the indefinite extension of political democracy … A government which lacks authority … will have little ability, short of cataclysmic crisis, to impose on its people the sacrifices which may be necessary. – 1975 Trilateral Commission Report on the Governability of Democracies

Just how pervasive is the myth of our ‘inalienable rights’ is illustrated by the following quote from an article in the Independent that even as it warns of the “drift…toward a police state” tells us:

… the Government is undermining freedoms citizens have taken for granted for centuries and that Britain risks drifting towards a police state. – ‘Judges liken terror laws to Nazi Germany’ By Marie Woolf, Raymond Whitaker and Severin Carrell, The Independent, 16 October 2005 [my emph. WB]

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Media Lens: Real Men Go To Tehran

20 October 2005 — Media Lens

The Roman historian Tacitus observed: “Crime once exposed has no refuge but in audacity.”

What better example than Tony Blair’s declaration at an October 7 press conference:

“There is no justification for Iran or any other country interfering in Iraq.”? (Adrian Blomfield and Anton La Guardia, ‘Stop meddling in Iraq, Blair tells Tehran,’ Daily Telegraph, October 7, 2005)

In a sane society, Blair’s audacity would have been denounced far and wide. But in more than 70 mentions we saw in the British press, there were just two published letters and one editorial, in the Daily Mirror, indicating the obvious. This was all the Mirror had to say: Continue reading

Media Lens: Killing with Impunity – Nine-Second Coverage For Dozens of Dead Iraqi Women and Children

18 October 2017 — Media Lens

Last night’s BBC Newsnight programme reported the deaths of 70 “Iraqi militants” in US air raids on the western Iraqi city of Ramadi. The item lasted just nine seconds. This included three seconds of scepticism from an Iraqi doctor who reported that in fact civilians were amongst the dead. Viewers’ attention was then rapidly diverted elsewhere; a familiar pattern of mainstream news coverage.

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Sleepwalking into Slavery? By William Bowles

13 October 2005

The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth becomes the greatest enemy of the State. – Dr. Joseph M. Goebbels, Nazi minister of propaganda

The great British public, apparently don’t think that home secretary’s Clarke’s proposed additions to the anti-terror legislation including the 90-day detention without trial, apply to them, at least as far as we know, as nobody has actually asked them. Perhaps they need to be reminded that almost identical laws were passed by the Apartheid regime of South Africa. Commonly known as the ‘90-day law’, it was first used to imprison ‘terrorist’ Ruth First, later murdered by a South African assassination squad in Maputo, Mozambique.

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Statewatch News Online, 12 October 2005 (35/05)

12 October 2005 — Statewatch

Full contents see:

1. EU: Data retention: Council to back down over legal basis, but asks EP to rush through
2. EU: European Ombudsman finds Council has given no valid reasons for continuing to legislate behind
3. EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 12 October 2005, Luxembourg
4. Italy: A diary of life in Lampedusa
5. UK: Letter from the Metropolitan Police to Home Secretary to justify holding people for 3 months for questioning
6. Morocco/Spain: Six migrants die in Melilla
7. Migrants shot dead at the border fence, Spain deploys army
8. EU: Commission: Data protection activities of police and judicial co-operation in criminal matters
9. Greece: Amnest International report
10. AI UK: launch a campaign on “Seeking asylum is not a crime”
11. EU: Mandatory data retention: EP rejects Council’s proposal
12. EU Commission proposals on the mandatory retention of telecommunications data
13. Civil society letter to European Parliament on data retention proposals, from 21 NGOs
14. UK: Statewatch’s ASBOwatch updated

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Media Lens: The Independent – Power, Privilege, And The Projection Of Establishment Values

11 October 2005 — Media Lens

A Special Kind of Independence

“I am a maximalist. I want more of everything.” (Sir Anthony O’Reilly, chief executive, Independent News & Media Plc)

“More than a million species could die out as a result of global warming. And it is not an asteroid that will have caused this, of course: it is us. The Sixth Great Extinction will be an entirely human achievement… the effect on the atmosphere of two centuries of burning coal, gas and oil on an ever-increasing scale.” (Independent, Leader, ‘The sixth great extinction is avoidable – if we act now’, January 8, 2004)

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Information Clearing House Archive Part 2 6-10 September 2005

10 September 2005 — Information Clearing House

[I’ve been archiving ICH digests since early 2003. Unfortunately, an unknown number of the links are now dead, so I can’t guarantee that the link will take you where you want to go. WB]

Information Clearing House Digest
6-10 September 2005
Date: Sat, 10 Sep 2005

Charge Him or Release Him

Jose Padilla : U.S. Citizen Imprisoned Without Trial or Charges for 3 Years and 125 Days


Jose Padilla and The Death of Personal Liberty

Americans seem unaware of the great loss we’ve all suffered by the Padilla verdict.

by Mike Whitney

The verdict confers absolute authority on the President to incarcerate American citizens without charge and without any legal means for the accused to challenge the terms of his detention. It is the end of “inalienable rights”, the end of The Bill of Rights, and the end of any meaningful notion of personal liberty. Continue reading

Awakening the Slumbering Giant By William Bowles

6 October 2005

Maybe it’s a sign of old age creeping up on me but I keep getting drawn back to the past, at least insofar as the culture within which I have spent my entire life – the Left, the progressive movement – is concerned.

Back around 1991 I was in London for a short visit and I hung out with a South African comrade then living in exile in London. Over (at least) two bottles of wine in a bar on Islington High Street, we commiserated on the demise of the Left, which following the end of the Soviet Union had also led to the end of the Left as we then knew it pretty much everywhere, and he made the comment that the worst aspect of the entire depressing affair was the fact that in the ‘Left’s’ haste to dissociate itself from the former socialist projects lest they get ‘tainted’, it had also ditched the most important aspect – our culture, our history.

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Information Clearing House Archive Part 1 October 1-5 2005

5 September 2005 — Information Clearing House

[I’ve been archiving ICH digests since early 2003. Unfortunately, an unknown number of the links are now dead, so I can’t guarantee that the link will take you where you want to go. WB]

Information Clearing House Digest
Date: Wed, 5 Oct 2005

Charge Him or Release Him

Jose Padilla : U.S. Citizen Imprisoned Without Trial or Charges for 3 Years and 150 Days

A Tale of Two Lives Destroyed by Abu Ghraib

Nine US soldiers have now been sentenced for their role in the Abu Ghraib torture scandal. But is it enough?

By Marian Blasberg and Anita Blasberg

Davis says that his country punished him for crimes over which he had no control. Instead, he says, the people who were responsible for creating the system of torture and abuse at Abu Ghraib should be brought to justice. Davis wants to talk and wants to set things right. Continue reading