Impotence in the face of impunity? By William Bowles

29 February 2012

A fellow writer tells me that she feels overwhelmed by events and I feel the same way. An awful sense of deja vu that we have as much chance of stopping the march to total war as they had in the 1930s. Except that this time it will not be us citizens of Empire who are on the receiving end of Western industrial-scale murder and pillage. The world’s first colonial world war, with the haves pitted against the have-nots. As I have remarked before, without a non-capitalist alternative to not only reign in some of the ‘excesses’ of capitalism but also curtail its relentless expansion, the world is essentially defenceless.

That for as long as we remain disconnected from events beyond the shopping mall or the small screen, the Empire will act with impunity, knowing full well that the only opposition will be from those on the receiving end, those unfortunate enough to get some Western ‘humanitarian aid’.

It is no accident that at the heart of the propaganda war, but buried away in the small print, the real objective of the ‘right 2 protect’, the 21st century’s replacement for being on a ‘civilizing mission’, is the spread of the ‘free market’. This is not merely an economic imperative but also ideologically driven, perhaps best illustrated by the grande dame of neoliberalism, Maggie Thatcher’s “there’s no such thing as society”.

Hopefully, capitalist Russia and China as well as the rest of the BRIC members have at long last realized that it’s not really about the West’s hatred of socialism, handy though this is in the propaganda war, but about their economic and political independence, free from the machinations of global capitalism. This is what Syria is all about.

Now politicos such as yours truly are not meant to get personal when we write, we’re meant to remain ‘objective’ and ‘impartial’ in an attempt to get a handle on things, to try and explain things the way they actually are as opposed to the way they are normally presented to us by a complicit corporate/state media.

That there are at least two sides to every situation, should be fairly obvious but being ‘impartial’ assumes that the writer/observer actually includes all the sides, or at least a reasonable facsimile of the facts so that the reader/viewer has enough information to go on in order to arrive at a conclusion (this also assumes the reader has an understanding of the context within which events take place). A long-winded way of saying there is no such thing as objective journalism.

It’s as simple as what stories are chosen to be singled out as ‘news’, never mind what happens to the ‘news’ once Editorial has gotten its hands on it.

A case in point: Both the BBC and Channel 4 News have gone on a blow-up Syria binge for the past few weeks. All pretense at some kind of ‘objectivity’ has been tossed out of the window as surplus to requirement and especially now that ‘all-hallowed’ Western journalists have become casualties in what is yet another MSM crusade to ‘save the people of Syria from themselves’.

News is only ‘news’ when the MSM says it is and only for as long as it considers it to be ‘news’. Thus Libya is no longer ‘news’, this in spite of the fact that one news story talks of Libya’s potential breakup as a nation state. Is this not only news but major news considering what a crucial role the MSM played in promoting the country’s destruction?

For months the MSM quite eagerly pursued the idea of destroying Gaddafi aka LIbya, indeed fomented a national ‘consensus’ around the idea of ‘taking out’ Gaddafi. Acting as cheer leader for the multi-national corps and their political servants (which includes the corporate/state media), they have achieved their end:

Libya “close to disintegration’ – PM
Speaking on the first anniversary of the anti-Gaddafi revolution in Misurata Monday, interim Libyan Prime Minister Mustafa Abdeljalil warned of complete national disintegration if the rival tribes and clans that had laid hands on Gaddafi’s arsenals continued to refuse to submit to the authority of the central government. — Voice of Russia, News 27/2/12

Without doubt this was one objective of NATO’s (unseen by us what paid for it) aerial visitation: to reduce Libya to little more than a source of oil and the other to turn it into a launch pad into the rest of Africa for NATO/AFRICOM’s ‘humanitarian’ missions. There is no clearer example of the real nature of capitalism than the calculated destruction of Libya: that the Empire doesn’t give damn about the people whose lives and livelihood it is destroying.

An entire country and its infrastructure wiped out and carried out virtually invisible to the world. We were all sidetracked by the endless video bytes of ‘heroic rebels fighting the evil (and mad) Gaddafi’. In reality a total sideshow to the real war conducted from above and in secret on a defenceless country.

Genuine independence from Western control will simply not be tolerated and if possible, the irritant will be removed, eliminated, either by threats, subversion or ultimately invasion under some pretext or other. It’s been like this for literally centuries, until the Russian Revolution came along and messed it all up but now it’s out of the way, the Empire can get on with business the way it used to be done: with brute force and gunships.

That the reason these facts (amongst others) are missing from the MSM’s coverage of major events is surely obvious: Western supremacy in all things is a given, thus there is no need to explain the MSM’s conflict of interest or why certain facts are omitted from its ‘news’ coverage. In any case, what corporate newspaper or news program is going to announce to the world that it has a vested interest in maintaining the status quo and must for example, dismiss the cry ‘it’s all about oil’ as nutty conspiracy nonsense.

Not that it is all about oil, but without the oil the Empire is going nowhere. Oil literally as well as figuratively lubricates the Empire’s wheels and has done so since before WWI, when oil replaced coal as the motive power for the Empire’s weapons of war and conquest.[1]

So am I being ‘impartial’ and ‘objective’ when I write about these events from a different perspective? Of course not. Firstly, this is not the weather forecast and secondly, my ‘bias’ or partiality is quite clearly stated and that’s the difference between the mainstream media and much independent journalism. As a human being I have declared what side I am on based simply on the view that there is a better way to do things, a better way to live than this endless madness.

Bound up with the nature of the media of course is the idea of professionalism and professional standards, all of which lie in tatters after l’affaire Murdoch blew the lid on the illegal, immoral and unprofessional relationship between News Corp’s various publications, the police and the government, with bribes, kickbacks and cover-ups being the norm. Which by the way is going from bad to worse to downright dangerous to the political class as the true nature and scale of the corruption is now seeing the light of day. How the mainstream media handles this is crucial.

Corruption across Whitehall! Three words I never expected to put in one sentence, but the evidence of Deputy Assistant Commissioner Sue Akers from Scotland Yard at the Leveson Inquiry is complete dynamite. DAC Akers is leading the investigation into allegations that employees of Rupert Murdoch’s News International ran a covert, systemic operation in which they paid huge sums to public officials in the police, the military, the Department of Health and many other areas of Whitehall. The payments were dressed up and in at least one case involved sums as high as £80,000. — Channel 4 News Email, 27 February 2012

From the government side it was all ‘nudge-nudge, wink-wink, don’t worry we’ll take care of it’ and from News Corp’s side it was cash, lots of filthy moola greasing the hands of various police officers and government officials. Surely business as usual as far as I can see. Thus Jon Snow’s amazement on the ‘revelations’ made public (but not for the first time I might add) yesterday during the Leveson Inquiry is itself amazing.

The mainstream media, when forced to gaze at itself gets a sudden attack of severe myopia as well as a goodly dollop of self-righteousness. ‘What me?’ After all, we had what was it, nine years of ‘new’ Labour where the incestuous relationship between Murdoch’s News Corp and the government was not only self-evident but boasted about by the MSM and Blair and his motley crew of war criminals. But there was, and is no media equivalent of a blitzkrieg concerning the unhealthy, indeed undemocratic relationship between the media barons and the ruling political class.

But the most surprising evidence of the day centred on evidence that whilst Ian Blair was commissioner of the Met, the former editor of the News of the World, Rebekah Brooks had been allowed to borrow a police horse. — Channel 4 News, Email, 28 February 2012

Murdoch’s newspapers (amongst others) effectively determined how large chunks of those who bothered to vote, would vote. Why this is so takes more than this short essay to explain but essentially it comes back to the issue I referred to in my previous piece on ‘science fiction’ namely that the ruling political class has hijacked working class consciousness and effectively turned it against working people.

Thus we have the phenomenon of the ‘Red Tops’, all written and run by well paid, university trained media professionals who have learned how to communicate their master’s message to its target audience, the working class. The same media professionals perform an identical function when talking to themselves, the only difference is the language used.

As independent journalists this is what we are up against: a sophisticated amalgam of the very best skills and talents a modern university system can produce, all geared to propping up and justifying a system that is at the very least plainly unjust and at the worse culpable of mass murder and theft on a global scale. That without the mass media attaching our name to the actions of its masters, such activities would simply not be possible.


1. In no small measure did Japan’s invasion of the US hinge on the US blockade of Japan’s oil supplies (without which of course, it couldn’t fight its wars). Moreover, the US knew that the oil blockade would trigger an attack by Japan, that was entirely the point of it. So to say that it’s all about oil is another way of saying it’s all about capitalism and why the mainstream media refuses to acknowledge its centrality to events.

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