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Index on Disgrace

By Craig Murray | April 22, 2018

The second half of my life has been a continual process of disillusionment with the institutions I used to respect. I suppose it started with the FCO, where I went from being Britain’s youngest ambassador to being sacked for opposing the use of intelligence from torture, at the same time having an insider view of the knowing lies about Iraqi WMD being used as a pretext for invasion and resource grab.

I still had some residual respect for the BBC, which respect disappeared during the Scottish independence referendum where BBC propaganda and disregard for the truth were truly shameless. My love of the universities was severely tested during my period as Rector of Dundee University, when I saw how far the corporate model had turned them from academic communities developing people and pursuing knowledge, to relentless churners out of unconsidered graduates and financially profitable research, with nearly all sense of community gone. My respect for charities vanished when I discovered Save the Children was paying its chief executive £370,000 and had become a haven for New Labour politicos on huge salaries, which was why it was so involved in pushing a pro-war narrative in Syria. When Justin Forsyth and Brendan Cox – both massively salaried employees who came into Save the Children from the revolving door of Gordon Brown’s office – were outed over sexual predation, that seemed a natural result of “charities” being headed by rich party hacks rather than by simple people trying to do good. As for respect for parliament, well the massive troughing expenses scandal and all those protected paedophiles…

It has become difficult to hang on to respect for any institution, and that is unsettling.

Which brings me to last week’s annual awards from Index on Censorship. The winners of the awards – from Cuba, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Honduras and Egypt – all seem worthy enough, and there is even some departure from the neo-con narrative in recognising a human rights problem in Egypt.

But the Chairman of Index on Censorship is, incredibly, Rupert Murdoch lead hack David Aaronovitch, and he presided over the awards, in the very week in which the newspaper for which he writes produced this appalling attack on freedom of expression:

Inside there was a further two page attack on named academics who have the temerity to ask for evidence of government claims over Syria, including distinguished Professors Tim Hayward, Paul McKeigue and Piers Robinson. The Times also attacked named journalists and bloggers and, to top it off, finished with a column alleging collusion between Scottish nationalists and the Russian state.

That the Chairman of “Index on Censorship” is associated with this kind of attack on freedom of speech, freedom of thought and freedom of research is sadly unsurprising. The guest list of the Index ceremony had a distinct right wing tinge including A C Grayling and Sara Khan, as well as a good smattering of the BBC, which was also represented on the judging panel. The irony of the state broadcaster being part of a panel on freedom of expression is plainly lost.

I realised something was very wrong with Index on Censorship when I contacted them over a decade ago, when Jack Straw attempted to ban the publication of my book Murder in Samarkand, after it had passed successfully through the exhaustive FCO clearance process over a time-consuming year. I tried to interest them again when my second book The Catholic Orangemen of Togo was dropped by my publisher following libel threats from mercenary commander Tim Spicer of Aegis/Executive Outcomes/Sandline. On both occasions I was told that then Chief Executive of Index, John Kampfner, did not regard these attempted book bannings as incidents of censorship. Presumably because they weren’t somewhere like Cuba or Zimbabwe…

The truly appalling Times attack on academics was part of a coordinated and government-led campaign to delegitimise anybody doubting the official narrative on Salisbury and Syria. The BBC weighed in with this horrible effort:

The government then issued a ridiculous press release branding decent people as “Russian bots” just for opposing British policy in Syria. In a piece of McCarthyism so macabre I cannot believe this is really happening, an apparently pleasant and normal man called Ian was grilled live on Murdoch’s Sky News, having been named by his own government as a Russian bot.

The Guardian uncritically published the government’s accusations in full, and astonishingly seemed proud that it had made no attempt to investigate their veracity but had merely published what the government wished them to publish:

The Guardian naturally was just as reliable as the BBC in driving home the message that anybody who doubted the government’s word on Syria was a flat-earth denier of the truth:

Mr Freedland is of course a perfect representation of an interesting fact. Those who are most active in telling us that we must attack Syria, and that anybody who questions the government’s pretexts is insane or evil, are precisely the same individuals who supported the war in Iraq and attacked those who doubted the existence of Iraqi WMD. Indeed these people – Jonathan Freedland, David Aaronovitch, Oliver Kamm, Alan Mendoza, Andrew Rawnsley, John Rentoul, Nick Cohen – are the leaders of the tiny, insignificant number of people who still believe that the invasion of Iraq was both justified and beneficial in its result.

Yet these people of proven terrible judgement, they and others of their media class, are the arbiters who are allowed to dictate the terms of what is and what is not an acceptable public utterance on the situation in Syria.

When Jeremy Corbyn became leader of the opposition, one of two things had to happen. Either the Overton window had to shift to allow for the reflection of views held by the leader of the official opposition and his myriad supporters, or the leader of the opposition had to be castigated and humiliated as an unreasonable lunatic. Corbyn’s rational scepticism on British involvement in the conflict in Syria is a key moment in this process. Despite the fact Corbyn’s scepticism is supported by a wide swathe of diplomatic and military opinion within the UK, it has to be portrayed as fringe, extreme and irrational.

We thus have the extraordinary spectacle of a coordinated government and media onslaught on anybody who doubts their entirely fact free narratives. Those who were demonstrably completely wrong over Iraq are held up as infallible, and given full control of all state and corporate media platforms, where they deride those who were right over Iraq as crackpots and Russian bots.

Meanwhile public trust in the state and corporate media hits new lows, which is the happy part of this story.

Support Craig Murray’s continued writing.

April 22, 2018 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Neo-Liberal paranoia is extreme, and it is everywhere

By Kit | OffGuardian | January 8, 2017

I consider Nick Cohen an unpleasant man. His columns are smug, rude, ill-informed, intellectually dishonest, hypocritical and self-righteous. A perfect example of the modern journalist, in his natural habitat. However, before today, I never considered him to be truly, literally insane.

Russian Treachery is extreme and it is everywhere!

This startlingly subtle sentiment is the headline to Cohen’s latest… offering. I haven’t changed it or exaggerated it, with the exception of adding an exclamation point that is, in the original, only heavily implied.

In the past I have written detailed, point by point refutations of pieces from the Guardian – similarly bizarre ramblings from Cohen and Natalie Nougayrede – but when the message is so rampantly hysterical… what is there to say? There’s nothing to refute here but the loud and incoherent repetitions of made up facts and establishment lies, already disproven a million different times by a thousand dedicated and honest alt-news sites. The work has been done. The truth is out there. To not see it, at this point, is an act of willful blindness.

There’s no evidence any of the European “far right” are funded by the Russian government, there’s no evidence the FSB (or whoever) hacked the US presidential election, there’s no evidence the Syrian or Russian military deliberately targeted hospitals. Corbynistas aren’t anti-semites. Brexiters aren’t neo-Nazis. Hashtag fakenews.

A year of Brexit and Corbyn and Syria and Trump seems to have pushed the whole world of establishment journalism right up to the ragged edge, and recent frothing op-eds from the WaPo to the NYT to the Guardian suggest they are due a big fall and a hard landing.

This isn’t journalism, true mainstream journalism died generations ago… if it ever truly existed. This isn’t even propaganda, the coherent and dishonest distortion of reality to suit an agenda. This is rudderless, leaderless, meaningless. It is the dying breath of a flabby king. The wild-eyed, claw-handed, scrabbling desperation of brittle delusions impacting a hard truth.

It’s a drunk muttering threats in a doorway, an old man shaking his fist at the sky. A tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury and signifying nothing. It’s almost sad.

Almost.

January 8, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | Leave a comment

The Times, RT and an obsessed neocon stalker

By Neil Clark | RT | October 23, 2016

The Times used to be regarded as Britain’s newspaper of record. But in recent years, the historic title, once renowned for its sober and balanced coverage, has morphed into a crude neo-con propaganda organ.

It’s shilling endlessly for US-led wars and ‘interventions’ and attacking – often in the most obnoxious way possible – those who dare to question the War Party narrative. Needless to say, RT – which urges its viewers to ‘Question More’ (a very dangerous thing in an age of Imperial Truth Enforcement) – has been in the Times’ line of fire.

In fact, over one weekend at the end of July and the beginning of August – a time when most normal people turn their mind to things like ice cream, sun loungers and beaches – the Murdoch-owned newspaper ran at least six articles on RT (and attack pieces on Russia’s Sputnik news agency too, making it a total of seven Russian-media-focused hit-pieces in just two and a half days).

These pieces are not just about criticizing RT, which of course everyone has the right to do. They also seem to be about trying to exert pressure on regulatory bodies to go after RT and take action against a channel that doesn’t toe the neo-con editorial line.

One of the articles was an opinion piece claiming that RT was a “fake news channel” which had “no place on our screens”.

The author, one ‘Oliver Kamm,’ has been in the forefront of The Times campaign, and, based on the tone and the general take, might have been the author of otherwise ‘author-less’ introduction editorial to the aforementioned 7-piece Times slam.

Earlier, in October 2014, Kamm wrote a hit piece on the launch of RT UK in which he urged UK media regulator Ofcom to take action against what he called “a den of deceivers”.

Kamm‘s anti-RT diatribe was cited by the BBC and subsequently even made it to a prominent placement on Wikipedia’s page about RT UK.

This week, he was at it again. One day after the news broke that NatWest was to close RT UK’s bank accounts, Kamm declared in a furious Times column that denying RT a bank account was “the least of the problems we should be making for it”.

“It’s past time that Britain’s civil society, broadcasting regulator and elected government ceased pussyfooting around with RT,” he thundered. Once again, Kamm’s piece made it to a prominent placement on RT UK’s Wikipedia page.

But who is this ‘Oliver Kamm’, the man who sets himself up as a media censor and an arbiter of journalistic standards? Based on my personal experience, he seems to be more an obsessive and extremely creepy cyber-stalker, rather than a journalist.

Kamm’s Internet behavior (which involves the relentless hounding of principled anti-war activists) is truly shocking, but no less scandalous is the way that powerful and influential members of the UK’s neo-con establishment, have promoted and protected him.

Having been digitally stalked and defamed by Kamm for over ten years, after I critically reviewed his pro Iraq-war book for the Daily Telegraph in 2005, I decided earlier this month to publish a detailed 6,000 word expose of Kamm’s very disturbing and very vicious stalking campaigns – prior to launching a crowd-funded legal action against him and his employers.

Rather than reining Kamm in after detailed evidence of his stalking was presented to them, The Times instead clearly decided to make the ex-banker and hedge-fund manager, who had no background in journalism before he was appointed a leader writer on the paper in 2008, the man to spearhead their attacks on RT.

By doing so, the credibility of the paper has been tarnished still further. Kamm tweets obsessively about RT – denigrating it as a ‘fake’ station that hardly anyone watches.

But if it were true that hardly anyone watches RT, the obvious question is: why does the Times’ leader writer devote so much time and energy to attacking it? The answer is clear: Kamm targets RT not because it’s unpopular, of course, but because too many are watching.

A European Parliament briefing paper from last November admitted that RT had “garnered a huge global audience.”

“It is estimated to have 2.5 million viewers in the UK (year-on-year, a rise of 60%) and 3 million in US urban areas, while in South Africa it is by far the largest European news channel.”

The paper also conceded that: “Russian-language media broadcast from Western countries do not enjoy the same popularity in Russia as RT does in the West.”

In 2014, we were told that the BBC World’s Service feared losing ‘the information war’, because of the expansion of RT.

Meanwhile, the journalist Glenn Greenwald has noted Kamm’s prominence in the anti-RT campaign and highlighted the double standards involved:

“The most vocal among the anti-RT crowd – on the ground that it spreads lies and propaganda — such as Nick Cohen and Oliver Kamm — were also the most aggressive peddlers of the pro-U.K.-government conspiracy theories and lies that led to the Iraq War. That people like this, with their histories of pro-government propaganda, are the ones demanding punishment of RT for “bias” tells you all you need to know about what is really at play here,” Greenwald wrote.

The good news for those who want to see a media landscape where a wide range of views are heard (and not just neo-con and ’liberal interventionist’ ones officially approved by The Times ), is that the attacks seem to have been counter-productive. Establishment gatekeepers who think they have the right to tell us what channels to watch and which to boycott are finding that their influence is on the wane.

RT’s popularity, despite the relentless neo-con campaign against it – or perhaps partly because of it – continues to grow.

Read more:

RT HAS TV AUDIENCE OF 70 MILLION WEEKLY VIEWERS IN 38 COUNTRIES – IPSOS

Neil Clark is a journalist, writer, broadcaster and blogger. He has written for many newspapers and magazines in the UK and other countries including The Guardian, Morning Star, Daily and Sunday Express, Mail on Sunday, Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph, New Statesman, The Spectator, The Week, and The American Conservative. He is a regular pundit on RT and has also appeared on BBC TV and radio, Sky News, Press TV and the Voice of Russia. He is the co-founder of the Campaign For Public Ownership @PublicOwnership. His award winning blog can be found at http://www.neilclark66.blogspot.com. He tweets on politics and world affairs @NeilClark66

October 23, 2016 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 2 Comments

Enough of Elie Wiesel and His Lies!

By Gilad Atzmon | August 8, 2014

According to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, the London Times refused to run an ad featuring Elie Wiesel speaking out against Hamas’ use of children as human shields.

The ad’s headline reads: “Jews rejected child sacrifice 3,500 years ago. Now it’s Hamas’ turn.” Wiesel’s statement is a blatant lie and the London Times knew it.

Jews have never stopped sacrificing their children. The Hannibal Protocol is an IDF directive that orders soldiers to take ‘necessary measures’ to prevent their comrades from being captured by enemy forces. ‘Necessary measures’ include risking the life of the Israeli soldier and anyone who happens to be in his vicinity.  Similarly, the Kastner Affair shows that at the peak of the Shoah, Ben Gurion and the Zionist establishment were willing to sacrifice many Jewish lives on the altar of the Zionist goal.

The growing number of genocides and massacres committed by Jews in the last hundred years suggest that at least some Jews are pretty careless with other people’s children. Wiesel should examine the Holodomor and the role of ‘Stalin’s willing executioners’ as Jewish American historian Yuri Slezkine elucidates in his invaluable book The Jewish Century.  Wiesel can also read Israeli Sever Plocker’s declaration that “some of (the) greatest murderers of modern times were Jewish.”  Just a few years after the Holodomor, the Yiddish speaking International Brigade murdered Catholics and burned their churches in Spain (1936).  The tragic and violent circumstances in which the Jewish State was born didn’t sate the lust for violence among some of its Diaspora supporters, quite the opposite. The immoral Neocon interventionists that have been advocates for the death and carnage of millions of Muslims for the past two decades are largely Jewish Zionists. Wasn’t Lord Levy, the chief fundraiser for Tony Blair’s Government at the time we were led into an illegal war in Iraq, a proud Zionist Jew? Weren’t the Jewish Chronicle writers David Aaronovitch and Nick Cohen, who enthusiastically endorsed the Iraq war in the British media, Jewish? Perhaps the time has come for Aaronovitch and Cohen to explain their advocacy of lethal ‘moralism.’  Consider the infamous Bernard Henri Levy who admitted that “as a Jew” he “liberated” Libya. Isn’t it time for him to take responsibility ‘as a Jew’ for the sacrifice of other people’s children?

I would like to advise Elie Wiesel that the argument that Hamas is using civilians and children as ‘human shields’ is not only wrong, it actually provides a glimpse into Zionist cultural morbidity and intellectual barbarism. Let’s imagine a volatile situation in which a bank robber failed to escape in time and is surrounded by police. Scared for his life, the robber takes a hostage and hides behind his/her back while sticking a pistol to the hostage’s head.  Could you imagine a police officer ordering a sniper to kill the hostage together with the villain? The answer is, of course, NO.  But Israel’s logic is very different. If it is true (and I don’t suggest that it is) that Hamas is using the Palestinian civilian population as hostages, then the IDF is clearly murdering the hostages and on a scale that has reached industrial homicidal proportions. Israeli officials occasionally admit that this is their tactic and it is consistent with Israeli military doctrine that adheres to the ‘power of deterrence.’ Israeli decision makers believe that civilian deaths discourage Arabs from entering into a conflict.  The emerging number of casualties from recent rounds of violence suggests that Israel’s tactics are homicidal. They target innocent civilians and on purpose. This shows clearly that the Jewish State is an outlaw among nations and it may even be possible that the London Times realises that this is the case. The humanist message is obvious. The time is ripe for cleansing our cultural and public life of Elie Wiesels and other Jerusalemites who promote dubious non-universal ethics in our midst.

August 9, 2014 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes | , , , , , | 1 Comment