Category Archives: News Corporation

Trevor Kavanagh bangs the war drum

Can you believe anything The Sun says?

I was alerted by tweet (hat tip @mehdirhasan) to this “Sun Says” op-ed piece by headbanging hack, Trevor Kavanagh. It’s an intellectually dishonest attempt (well, he writes for The Sun, what did you expect?) to link the current situation in Algeria and Mali to this country. To be honest, I’m surprised he even knows where these countries are.

He says,

Britain and France justified support for Libyan rebels because they were ridding the world of one of its bloodiest tyrants.

But in destroying Gaddafi, they put thousands of his vicious, battle-hardened Islamist thugs out of a job.

These fanatics fled home to Mali, armed to the teeth, to join a ramshackle but dangerous al-Qaeda network that spreads across Africa from Somalia to Algeria and beyond.

But that isn’t quite true… is it, Trev? Let’s read some more.

They may be loose-knit and sometimes at odds but they share a murderous hatred of non-Muslims.

Mali has no historic links with us. Nor has Algeria. But unless extremist forces are driven out of these two French former colonies, the next target is Nigeria, which certainly does.

Nice bit of scaremongering there. Kavanagh’s banging his war drum.

Nigeria is criminally corrupt and barely democratic. But it is a strategically and economically vital member of the British Commonwealth.

Its vast reserves of “sweet oil” and huge gas fields make it a major player on world energy markets.

You’re forgetting something, Trev, the UK is criminally corrupt, barely democratic and is run by a cabal of upper class thugs, who ride roughshod over the people and are happy to blame the poor, disabled and unemployed for their economic failures. They pit one group of people against another by making artificial and fallacious distinctions. But I guess you can’t see that, because you’re just like them.

But Nigeria is a divided nation, split between Muslims and Christians — ripe for a revolution which is already under way.

Here, Kavanagh pretends to know a great deal about the African continent but is drawn to Nigeria because of its oil reserves. The rest of the continent or, indeed, the region seems to be left out to pursue a certain narrative.

This is pure garbage (it’s the best kind). Who are these “Islamists”?

Islamists in the Saharan North have forged links with the Mali fanatics called, chillingly, Those Who Sign In Blood.

No mention of the Tauregs and their struggle for independence in Azawad. Best not to confuse your knuckle-dragging readers with facts… eh, Trev? Keep them in the dark.

But here’s the worst bit of this desperate piece,

Britain is a melting pot of nationalities and faiths, home to hundreds of thousands of Malians, Iraqis, Syrians, Somalis, Kenyans, Nigerians, Yemenis and Pakistanis.

Not all are grateful. Indeed, many are becoming outspokenly defiant. Some have colonised suburbs in major cities. One London borough is so staunchly Muslim it has become known as the Islamic Republic of Tower Hamlets.

First, he describes Britain as a “melting pot of nationalities”, then he puts the boot in by referring to Tower Hamlets as the ” Islamic Republic of Tower Hamlets”. It would seem he’s been reading Kennite’s drivel about Lutfur Rahman, whom he’s described as “Islamist-supporting” and “extremist supporting”. Hatemongers and warmongers. My, what a combination.

Last week, hooded gangs of self-appointed religious police roamed Muslim- populated suburbs ordering women to cover up and confiscating liquor.

Ah, but doesn’t Islam prohibit vigilantism? You’re not doing such a great job here, Trev. Besides, you don’t say where this “suburb” is located and if I didn’t know any better, I’d say you were lying.  But then, I remember the stuff you used to write in the 1980s about “the enemy within”. You have “plenty of previous”, as they say in the East End.

Kennite often accuses the East London Mosque of being a “hotbed of extremism”, but here’s what they had to say.

Individuals claiming to be self-styled ‘Muslim patrols’ have been harassing members of the public on the streets of east London late at night, including outside our mosque after it has closed. They have anonymously uploaded their exploits to the internet.

These actions are utterly unacceptable and clearly designed to stoke tensions and sow discord. We wholly condemn them. The East London Mosque is committed to building co-operation and harmony between all communities in this borough. The actions of this tiny minority have no place in our faith nor on our streets.

Earlier this week we contacted the Police and the local authorities to alert them to the presence of these individuals and video. We advise anyone who has been harassed by these individuals to contact the Police.

We will monitor the situation closely and our Imams will be speaking out against such actions.

But I guess you wouldn’t talk to them… would you, Trev? Is it really too much trouble to tell the truth? In your case and that of your vile rag, that’s clearly a stupid question.

DON’T BUY THE SUN!

UPDATE 22/1/13 @ 0928

After making some checks, I’ve discovered that “Those Who Sign In Blood” is mentioned on two other sites: one is Pamela Geller’s Atlas Shrugs (I won’t link to her site). Geller, a friend to the EDL and other racists, is fond of lies and disinformation. Geller also apologised for Anders Behring Breivik ( Breivik is rather fond of Geller too). This is the kind of person Trevor Kavanagh is. The other site, SABC News, uses it as a tag but doesn’t mention it in the text.

UPDATE 22/1/13 @ 1419

I found this interesting article on Globalreasearch.ca. Unlike, Trevor Kavanagh, I do my research. This name “Those Who Sign In Blood” is actually “Those Who Sign With Blood”. Sure, there is a slight semantic difference but so what? Kavanagh ignored many details in order to advance a pro-war thesis.

Take this, for example.

This process of escalation is part of a US military and strategic “road-map”, a subsequent stage in the militarization of the African continent, “a followup” to the US-NATO 2011 war on Libya.

It is a project of neo-colonial conquest by the US over a vast area.

While France is the former colonial power, intervening on behalf of Washington, the end-game is to eventually exclude France from the Maghreb and sub-Saharan Africa. This displacement of France as a colonial power has been ongoing since the war of Indochina in the 1950s.

While the US is prepared in the short-run to share the spoils of war with France, Washington’s ultimate objective is to “redraw the map of the African continent”, and eventually, to transform francophone Africa into an American sphere of influence. The latter would extend across the continent from Mauritania on the Atlantic to the Sudan, Ethiopia and Somalia.

A similar process of excluding France from francophone Africa has been ongoing since the 1990s in Rwanda, Burundi and the Republic of the Congo.

In turn, French as an official language in francophone Africa is being encroached upon. Today in Rwanda, English is an official language, alongside Kinyarwanda  and French. Starting with the RPF government in 1994, secondary education was offered in either French or English. Since 2009 it is offered solely in English. The University since 1994, no longer operates in French. (The president of Rwanda Paul Kagame does not read or speak French). In 2009, Rwanda joined the Commonwealth.

Throw China and India (Yes, India) into the equation and what have you got? A new Scramble for Africa. Kavanagh’s not interested in that or the lives of ordinary African people who will get caught up in this mess.

I’ve also changed the title of this blog to better reflect Kavanagh’s chest-thumping narrative.

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Leveson and the Tory press’s myth of free expression

Lies are what passes for the truth in Tory media land.

The Tories and their pals in the media are fond of telling us that we have, in this country, something called a “free press”. This is a lie and those who believe that Leveson will magically remove this “free press” have been tricked into believing that by the spectacle.

No Tory newspaper proprietor or its hacks wanted Leveson in the first place. The journalists who write for these papers have mediated the notion of a universal free press in Britain to the public, many of whom have been taken in by the hacks’ complaint that it will spell an end to a free press that didn’t exist in the first place.

The other fear is that the Leveson Report will suddenly prompt a rash of repressive legislation that will affect bloggers but that’s emotional blackmail on their part and they know it. But I ask you this: under the current system, do you think it is right that British newspapers can lie to the public under the aegis of a free press? Furthermore, do you think it’s responsible for a newspaper to print articles they know to be entirely false?

Under the current self-regulatory system, if a newspaper prints a false allegation about a member of the public, what do you think happens? I’ll tell you, not much. The newspaper in question is required to print a retraction. That is all. The wronged party is not compensated and the paper is free to print more lies. The Press Complaints Commission (PCC) is run by the newspaper industry and even then, some papers don’t participate. Northern & Shell withdrew their subscription last year, which effectively means the Daily Express and OK! can print any old shit it likes. Furthermore, the PCC has also been chaired by former Tory ministers or sympathizers. Do you really think that’s right?

Political Scrapbook tells us that David “Shoot the bastards” Blunkett (who’s also a member of Labour Friends of Israel) and the YBF’s Conor Burns had a letter drafted for them by a Daily Mail executive. There’s your free fucking press.

If freedom of the press means telling lies for the sake of keeping one political party in power over another, then that isn’t a free press. That’s no better than the press in the Soviet Union or Nazi Germany. In fact, it’s worse because they lie about the press being free when it clearly isn’t.

According to Reporters Without Borders’ Freedom Index, the UK is number 28. That’s 3 places behind Mali. Even Namibia has a freer press than the UK.

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Defending the indefensible: LM’s position on paedophilia – it’s hysteria

The Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP) had some funny views about child sexual abuse in the 1980s and 1990s. They saw nothing to get worked up about.  It was all hysteria on the part of those who had recently alleged there was a high-level paedophile ring operating in Britain. So it comes as no surprise that Brendan O’Neill, the Telegraph’s chief contrarian writes another blog in which he paints those concerned about child sex abuse as hysterical.

The headline for his blog sums it up “Is it really true that children are being sexually exploited in every ‘town, village and hamlet’ in England”?  I’ve already written about the laager mentality of those who write for the Tory press but this title is mischief-making on O’Neill’s part. Reaching back into the recent past, O’Neill tell us,

In June, the deputy children’s commissioner Sue Berelowitz got tabloid headline writers hot under the collar when she declared: “There isn’t a town, village or hamlet in which children are not being sexually exploited.”Now, in an effort to back up this Grimm-like claim about the horrors facing British children, Ms Berelowitz has issued a detailed report on the allegedly nationwide scourge of sexual exploitation, which is dramatically titled: ‘I thought I was the only one. The only one in the world’

This blog follows in the wake of ITV’s Exposure update last night and I suppose it was only inevitable that one or more right-wing writers would try to throw the public off the scent or chide them for being “hysterical”. Here’s some more,

The media are lapping it up. Some newspapers are slating Ms Berelowitz for downplaying the specific problem of Asian gangs abusing vulnerable white girls, but for the most part hacks seem pleased that there is yet another shock-horror claim about child sexual abuse for them to write and get angry about. The Daily Mail informs us that “some 16,500 youngsters”, or “the equivalent of 20 medium-sized secondary schools”, are at risk of sexual exploitation by gangs and groups. Which sounds genuinely scary.

What O’Neill seeks to do is shift the emphasis back to the notion that it’s only gangs of Muslim Asian men who groom teenage girls for sexual abuse. In the light of the recent revelations, we know that this isn’t true. O’Neill operates in an unofficial capacity to protect the establishment from possible exposure by penning poisonous pieces like this.

Living Marxism (LM) for which O’Neill and the rest of the RCP once wrote, carried occasional discussion pieces about paedophilia. Take this one from Mick Hume, written in May 1998.

As a father, I do not much care what happens to those individuals who are guilty of violent sex offences against children. Throw away the key, throw them down the stairs, whatever; I won’t lose any sleep over one less Sidney Cooke in the world.

But as a father with libertarian principles, I do care about the implications of the national panic about paedophiles that is now gripping Britain (and, it seems, Belgium, Italy, the USA etc).

So far, so good.

To me, the paedophile panic looks like the latest outburst of one of the most destructive sentiments of our age: ‘stranger danger’, the fear and mistrust of other people that has grown stronger as the old communal ties and collective solidarities weaken.

Stranger danger has helped to create a climate of insecurity where, recent surveys show, British children spend more time than ever before alone with their own TVs, CDs and PCs in the gilded cages of their bedrooms, worrying about what might happen to them to the point where some are already on Prozac. And worse is to come if we continue to fill our children with a fear of life.

The trouble is that while there is hysteria whipped up by the very media for which O’Neill and Hume write, there is a serious case to answer about the child sex abuse and its cover up by the authorities. There is nothing “hysterical” about wanting to get to the truth and wanting to obtain justice for the victims who, I might add, figure very little, if at all, in O’Neill’s articles or those of his fellow LMers.

The Moral Maze’s Claire Fox produced this rather typical piece in the same issue,

Dea Birkett thinks another reason she receives a lot of abuse on this issue is ‘because victims feel as though you are personally attacking them. I think the victims themselves become victims of this hysteria, which is no help to them. When you have Michelle Elliot on television with a victim sitting next to her I think that means being twice victimised – once by the abuse that she has suffered and twice by this parading of her victimisation. I get very cross when I watch those debate shows where the victim of abuse responds “I’ve been abused 135 times”. As if that was an argument. As if I’m going to say “no you weren’t abused” or “that’s good” rather than “that’s bad”. I didn’t say child abuse doesn’t exist; don’t parade a victim in front of me as an argument against me. I’m not talking about that. I am talking about our attitude towards offenders. But when the victim speaks, that’s it; it’s like a statement “There’s no debate now”‘.

But where is the victim in this piece? The victim here is transmogrified into a logical fallacy; the blunt instrument of a discursive hijack. Interestingly enough, Fox appears as a speaker at The Freedom Association’s (TFA) “Freedom Zone” Events.

This is another rationalization of paedophilia.

Paedophilia is not a new problem in Italy; the Roman Emperors were, after all, as famous for their favourite boys as for their harems of women. What has changed is the public reaction to it. In particular, unpopular politicians desperate to make links with their electorate are preying on popular fears about paedophiles in a bid to win new authority.

So because Roman Emperors indulged in under-age sex, this makes it acceptable? Has nothing really changed in two millennia? We no longer have the pater familias as head of the Roman family. So what is this writer trying to say?

Back to O’Neill,

Likewise, the definition of “child sexual exploitation” in Berelowitz’s report is dangerously amorphous. To most of us, sexual exploitation means something like prostitution, the effective selling of a person or persons to perverted or depraved men. Yet Berelowitz’s report defines “child sexual exploitation” as including not only situations where a young person “receives something (eg. food, accommodation, drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, affections, gifts, money) as a result of them performing… sexual activities”, but also things like “being persuaded to post sexual images on the internet/mobile phones” and being involved in “exploitative relationships”. When you read through the report, it seems pretty clear that lots and lots of different experiences have been lumped together to reach this figure of 2,409 children who have been sexually exploited by gangs – not only real and terrible cases in which young people have been abused by gangs, like the one in Rochdale that was exposed a few months ago, but also boyfriends pressuring girlfriends to send them rude pictures, men in their twenties having less-than-admirable relationships with teenage girls, and so on.

Once again, O’Neill drags in Rochdale and attempts to racialize the debate and thereby deflect attention from the obvious fact that there has been a high level cover up. Pederasty cuts across ethnic and cultural boundaries but don’t expect O’Neill to acknowledge this. To make things worse, he says,

Who benefits from this conflation of so many different experiences and the inaccurate depiction of Britain as a hotbed of sexual depravity and perversion? No one, I would argue. Certainly not the majority of children, who are encouraged to believe that they aren’t safe in any “town, village or hamlet” in England. In fact, there is one beneficiary of this scaremongering: the Office of the Children’s Commissioner itself, which gets to launch a grand-sounding, self-serving moral mission to rescue the downtrodden and enslaved from the evil scourge of gang culture.

Who’s hysterical now, Brendan? By painting public concern as “scaremongering” is pretty damned dishonest and hysterical.

O’Neill is the editor of the LM network’s journal, Spiked! Here’s Tim Black railing against the child abuse laws,

First came the Sex Offenders Register in 1997. Currently listing around 29,000 people, from children who’ve groped other children, teachers who’ve had liaisons with students, to those who’ve sexually abused young children, it is an unwieldy, indiscriminate testament to the special place the child sex offender occupies in the contemporary imagination (1). Its effect has been profound. The sex offender has now been officially distinguished as a breed of criminal apart, one that requires constant monitoring and house visits. Unlike others who have broken the law, the sex offender is forever stained by his offence, a subject of endless control. For the public the paedophile has become an everyday nightmare; a faceless threat living amongst us, but not like us – the enemy within. Seen in this way, it’s not surprising that since the compilation of the Sex Offenders Register, there have been periodic attempts to have its listed names made publicly available.

One has to treat Spiked and the rest of LM with a great deal of suspicion. These were the people who argued that making a stand against apartheid was a”bourgeois” pastime. We should also remember that TFA supported the apartheid regime in South Africa and was behind the rebel cricket tour of that country.

On 15 October, O’Neill wrote more about “hysteria”. Here he draws some rather weak parallels between Savile and the Salem Witch Trials.

So as in Salem, Savile-obsessed modern Britain has its alleged conspiracy of witches, in the shape of Savile himself, described by the Guardian as ‘the devil who tries, and succeeds, in passing himself off as a saint’, alongside other named or hinted-at individuals. Together, these ‘blood-curdling child catchers’ (Guardian again) apparently ‘stalked children’s homes and hospitals… preying on the most vulnerable victims one could imagine’. They were part of a ‘child sex ring’, say the tabloids, which ‘lurked’ deep within ‘the corporation’ (the BBC). Savile was even worse than JK Rowling’s Voldemort, journalists tell us; he was a beast more wicked than could have been imagined by ‘even the most gifted weavers of children’s nightmares’.

This amounts to a tacit defence of Savile and those who allowed him access to vulnerable children. Elsewhere in the article O’Neill tries desperately to connect the recent child sex scandals with the American Red Scares of the 1950s. It’s intellectually dishonest. He closes his article with this blast,

There it is; this is where we get to the rotten heart of the Savile hysteria. The Savile story is really a vessel for the cultural elite’s perverted obsession with child abuse, and more importantly its belief that everyone is at it – that in every institution, ‘town, village and hamlet’, there are perverts and innocence despoilers, casually warping the next generation. In modern Britain, the figure of The Paedophile has become the means through which the misanthropes who rule over us express their profound fear and suspicion of adults in general, and also of communities and institutions – even of the institutions they hold dear, such is the self-destructive dynamic triggered by the unleashing of the Salem ethos. If Savile had never existed, the chattering classes would have had to invent him, so perfect an encapsulation is he of their degenerate view of the whole of adult society today.

My emphasis. Notice how he paints this as an “obsession” of the “cultural elite”, a phrase he often uses to describe anyone who disagrees with him and his fellow LMers. This is also his euphemism for “the Left”.

James Heartfield had this to say in a 1993 edition of LM,

In the seventies, before it was prohibited, the Paedophile Information Exchange used to argue that children were capable of making their own decisions about who they wanted to have sex with.

Notice how the author tells what the Paedophile Information Exchange said but doesn’t bother to challenge their view. It’s taken as axiomatic. Heartfield’s view is that children should never be believed. He wrote,

Children’s rights are not just a misnomer. If that were all they were it would not matter. But in fact the growing interest in children’s rights is positively dangerous. The extension of rights to children is not an increase in liberty, but a degradation of the meaning of individual rights.

My question to O’Neill and his LM buddies is this: why do you defend the indefensible? They would tell us that it’s because they’re “libertarians”. But can we take this to mean that they seek to dismiss allegations of paedophilia as trivial nonsense or is it the case that they’re actually doing the bidding of the elites that O’Neill rails against? It’s both.

It’s worth considering O’Neill’s position on the Leveson Inquiry. In February he wrote a piece titled “Why we’re launching The Counter Leveson Inquiry”. I shall quote a small portion.

This is about to change. spiked has been raising concerns about the likely consequences of the crusade against ‘unethical’ tabloids since before Leveson was set up, and we have continually criticised the Leveson process for creating a censorious climate in the here and now, even before its recommendations have been made. And now we plan to gather together our arguments, and intensify them, in a Counter-Leveson Inquiry which will put the case against Leveson, against judges and police getting to tell the press what its ethics should be, and against any stricture whatsoever on the right of the press, whether highbrow or low-rent, to investigate and publish what it sees fit.

Why? Not because we hold a candle for tabloid newspapers, but because we carry a torch for press freedom, because we believe that Milton’s rallying cry is as fitting today as it was in 1644: ‘Give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties.

O’Neill also writes for The Australian, a Murdoch paper. Go figure.

In the 1980s I suspected that the RCP was a state-sponsored front to discredit the Left. It seems that I was, at least, partly right. LM’s successors work tirelessly on behalf of the state, its institutions and the corporations that benefit from state largesse. Its talk of liberty rings hollow when one realizes exactly how close it is to state and corporate power. Their strange brand of libertarianism blinds them to the damage done to those who have been victims of pederasty. They talk of freedom but what about the right of children to enjoy freedom from harm and exploitation? It seems eerily absent from their discourse.

I found this blog from George Monbiot that was written in 1998. Here’s an extract.

As you wade through back issues of Living Marxism, you can’t help but conclude that the magazine’s title is a poor guide to its contents. LM contains little that would be recognised by other Marxists or, for that matter, by leftists of any description. On one issue after another, there’s a staggering congruence between LM’s agenda and that of the far-right Libertarian Alliance. The two organisations take identical positions, for example, on gun control (it is a misconceived attack on human liberty), child pornography (legal restraint is simply a Trojan horse for the wider censorship of the Internet), alcohol (its dangers have been exaggerated by a new breed of “puritan”), the British National Party (it’s unfair to associate it with the murder of Stephen Lawrence; its activities and publications should not be restricted), the Anti-Nazi League (it is undemocratic and irrelevant), tribal people (celebrating their lives offends humanity’s potential to better itself; the Yanomami Indians are not to be envied but pitied) animal rights (they don’t have any), and global warming (it’s a good thing).

O’Neill often refers to himself as a “Marxist”. Some Marxist.

N.B. O’Neill has closed the comments thread to avoid a cyber pasting.

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Filed under Media, News Corporation, propaganda, Tory press, Yellow journalism

The downfall of Kelvin MacKenzie?

I found this video of Kelvin MacKenzie being doorstepped by Channel 4’s News’s Alex Thompson.

Suddenly, MacKenzie doesn’t look as tough as he once did. I especially like the bit where he says “Please, Alex, please…”, as if begging an executioner for mercy.

Squirm, Kelvin, squirm! Feel the pain and suffering of those you once lied about.

He hates Liverpudlians, he hates the working class and he hates the Scots too, despite being of Scottish parentage. Let’s hope this miserable bastard’s career is finally finished.

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“It’s just a bit of fun”. Sexual repression and the bizarre breast obsession of the British tabloid press.

A typical Sun front page

“It was just a joke”. How many times have you heard that and thought, “No, it isn’t”. The Sun, a paper well-known to all of us for Page 3, gossip and sports coverage, is a paper that claims to be “fun”. “It’s just a bit of a larf, love” and “Can’t you take a joke” are trotted out by those who defend The Sun’s breast fixation and trashy news stories. In amongst such trash, one will find “The Sun says” leader column, which is The Sun’s version of the truth along with stories of Muslims doing horrible things to people.  The fact that Christians, Jews, Hindus and Buddhists do horrible things to others is ignored to advance a weak nationalistic thesis, which is invariably based on cultural relativism.

The Sun, like many of the tabloid papers, is possibly one of the best examples of the Spectacle. It is a paper that denies the existence of reality and ignores the lived experience. It pushes a very right-wing agenda that is supported by its use of distractions: bare breasts being one such distraction, the  celebrity gossip being another. Well, it’s something to talk about at work. Innit? “Did you see the bird on Page 3 today? Phwoar”! While this is happening, your rights in the workplace are being stolen from you as your attention is diverted to the tits on Page 3.

The Sun is no friend of the working class, the elderly, the poor, women, minority ethnic groups, the disabled, LGBT, in fact, anyone who doesn’t conform. Its gossip stories are peppered with nationalistic garbage about “our boys” and “Europe: why we should get out”. If you don’t agree with The Sun, then you must be a pinko or just a po-faced misery-guts and a sexual prude to boot.

The Torygraph’s Ed West used to work for Nuts.

But what nation, other than Britain, has such a juvenile obsession with bare breasts? I can think of no other, certainly there are no countries that have daily newspapers that publish pictures of naked breasts for the titillation of their male readers. Normally, you’d have to buy a specialist magazine for that. It isn’t just The Sun either, The Daily Star, Nuts, ZooLoaded and all the other lads mags do it too. I once found a copy of Nuts that had pages of bare breasts that had been detached from their owners. It was as if to suggest that women don’t deserve to have faces, personalities or thoughts of their own; they are objects to gaze upon.  This week’s edition has a section titled “Assess my breasts”. Again, there are no faces, just tits.

The tabloids and lads mags value women for one thing: their breasts. Should a woman complain about any of this, she is labelled a “lesbian” or similar. If a man should complain, their masculinity is questioned. “What? Don’t you like women”, asks the avid Nuts reader. Yes, I like women, I just don’t objectify them, I value them for their intellect, their sense of humour and their company. Such things are alien to these men. Those  men who regularly read lads mags and The Sun, not only have masculinity mediated to them, their relationship with women often tends to be pretty strained. They see women, not as equals or fellow human beings but as people to serve their carnal needs and to cook for them.

The Sun and Nuts’ preoccupation with breasts, reveals an undercurrent of sexual repression and suppression. While blokes are gawping at the bare breasts on Page 3, Britain’s attitude to sex remains curiously prudish. Even the act of sexual intercourse is mediated by these press titans. “Can you do it like Brad and Angelina? The Sun will show you how” and “Mr So and So confesses that he does it 50 times a day and it still isn’t enough” are two of the ways in which people are made to feel inadequate about themselves and therefore they don’t feel confident enough to challenge the authorities that keep them in their place.

Wilhelm Reich wrote in The Mass Psychology of Fascism,

The suppression of the gratification of primitive material needs has a result different from that of the suppression of the gratification of the sexual needs. The former incites rebellion. The latter, however—by repressing the sexual needs and by becoming anchored as moralistic defense—paralyzes the rebellion against either kind of suppression. More than that, the inhibition of rebellion itself is unconscious. The conscious mind of the average unpolitical individual does not even show a trace of it.
The result of this process is fear of freedom, and a conservative, reactionary mentality. Sexual repression aids political reaction not only through this process which makes the mass individual passive and unpolitical but also by creating in his structure an interest in actively supporting the authoritarian order. The suppression of natural sexual gratification leads to various kinds of substitute gratifications. Natural aggression, for example, becomes brutal sadism which then is an essential mass-psychological factor in imperialistic wars.

Is this what we’re witnessing in Britain?  Before The Sun came along, there were no bare breasts in any of the tabloid papers. Naked breasts, along with other parts of the anatomy, could only be found in top shelf magazines or the pages of H&E or National Geographic. Now some would say we live in a liberated age and no longer stiff upper-lipped about our sexual habits. But nothing could be further from the truth. So let’s talk about sex. “You what”? [fnarr, fnarr!]… see what I mean?

Wake up, Britain!

Already there is talk of a war with Iran, yet there are those who, while gazing at pictures of bare breasts, who would repeat the whole nonsense that “We’ve lost our way and need to show the enemy that we mean business”. These men would also claim that we live in a “free country” but ask them what they mean by this and all you’ll get is a mouthful of nonsense about “muzzies” and “commies”. They may even start spouting garbage about Churchill, ignorant of the fact that he sent troops in to shoot miners at Tonypandy or dispatched warships to the Mersey and the Humber.

It was The Sun that perpetuated the lies about Hillsborough for 23 years. The people of Merseyside woke up to the reality of The Sun, it’s time the rest of the country did the same. And the lads mags? The same goes for them too.

Finally, here’s the Artist Taxi Driver from last year talking about The Sun.

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Filed under History, History & Memory, Media, News Corporation, propaganda, Racism, Sexism, Tory press, Yellow journalism

Hillsborough: the truth at last

Liverpool is a unique city in many ways. It is a city that is divided by football but also united by it. My family is like a lot of Scouse families: we’re split between the red and the blue halves of the city’s footballing divide. I’m a Liverpool supporter, so was my grandfather, my mum and one of my aunts who’d married a Kopite. The others, my uncles (one of whom played for Tranmere) and aunt, are/were Toffees.  You’d always find Blues and Reds at Prenton Park on Friday nights to watch Tranmere Rovers before going to their respective side’s matches the following day. What other city would you find supporters from rival sides getting on so well? Only in Liverpool. Hillsborough affected not just the city of Liverpool but the rest of Merseyside.

It was 1989 and I was in the final year of my undergraduate degree at Newcastle Poly. I’d gone to the Student Union bar with some of my friends with the intention of watching a cracking tie. Within minutes of the kick-off it was obvious that something wasn’t right, the camera had panned to the Leppings Lane stand and we could see people clambering over the bars at that end of the ground. After a lot of end-to-end action, police and officials appeared on the pitch and the match was stopped. Within minutes we got the news that people were being crushed to death. I started sobbing; it was uncontrolled sobbing. I told my mates that I could have been there. I could have been one of those supporters who’d been crushed. I felt the unfolding tragedy. I can still feel it today.

In the days that followed, stories emerged in the press that pointed the finger of blame, not at the police’s lack of crowd management skills, but at the fans. The Sun, as we know, was the worst of the lot, with its editor, Kelvin Mackenzie, standing by its front page splash.

Mackenzie was unrepentant. In the years following Hillsborough and the subsequent Taylor Report, he repeated his  version of the ‘truth’ on each and every occasion when he has been asked to retract his lies. To this day, no one on Merseyside buys The Sun. Mackenzie has apologized but it’s 23 years too late. We don’t want his apology. He can go to hell.

Today, the truth behind that tragic day has been revealed when documents were released which includes letters of complaint to the Press Council , the local press agency story from which The Sun’s ‘truth’ was derived (Tory MP Irvine Patnick was also a source), the coroner’s reports and the shocking revelations that 41 of the 96 victims could have survived and the 3.15pm inquest cut off point that sealed the fate of the unfortunates.

Thatcher also believed the lies told her by a senior office of the Merseyside Constabulary.  Many documents and CCTV footage have mysteriously disappeared leaving plenty of unanswered questions. What was Bernard Ingham’s role in all of this? As Thatcher’s press secretary, Ingham was a master practitioner of journalism’s dark arts. He accepted the police’s version of events and went on record as saying,

“You can’t get away from what you were told,” Ingham said. “We talked to a lot of people; I am not sure if it was the chief constable. That was the impression I gathered: there were a lot of tanked-up people outside.”

Ingham was asked about the Taylor report and said rather tellingly,

“I think the police are a very easy target.”

We now have the truth about what happened on 15 April, 1989. What we now need is for those responsible, and I include The Sun and Kelvin Mackenzie for their smear campaign, to face justice. The liar Patnick should also be stripped of his knighthood.

Then perhaps we can get some proper closure.

Justice for the 96!

Don’t buy The Sun!

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Filed under Football, Media, News Corporation, Society & culture, Tory press, Yellow journalism

Life on Gilligan’s Island (Part 41) or Still smearing on polling day

As sure as night follows day, Kennite produces a smear on polling day. While some journalists complain that Twitter is allegedly flouting the period of so-called ‘purdah’, Gilligan deems himself to be above any such considerations. Of course, we here at Nowhere Towers, have a duty to counter his smears.

Today’s blog retreads familiar ground, “Ken is a tax-evader”. But this time, it’s not Ken, it’s an alleged donor. The blog is a bit of a stretch to be honest and Gilligoon strains to make the smear fit his target.  Oddly enough, the very party he continues to support has its own massive problems with non-dom tax-evaders. This doesn’t seem to matter much to him.

The Ken Livingstone campaign’s largest individual donor is a  tax-avoiding property tycoon until recently based in Switzerland and the British Virgin Islands.

Andrew Rosenfeld gave £90,000 to Mr Livingstone’s mayoral election bid in the first quarter of this year, Labour sources say.  The amount makes him by far Mr Livingstone’s biggest single supporter. Mr Livingstone’s spokesman refused to deny the donation last night.

Presumably, Kennite was upset by the revelation that Boris Johnson’s campaign used the offices of a company that paid no tax for three years.

Lycamobile’s Canary Wharf offices have been used on at least five occasions to conduct and co-ordinate telephone canvassing sessions for the Back Boris 2012 campaign.

The latest available figures show the company did not pay any tax between 2008 and 2010, despite generating a turnover of between £47m and £88m.

The disclosure will embarrass Johnson’s campaigners, who have sought to put the issue of tax at the centre of their campaign and accused Ken Livingstone of dodging tax.

Lycamobile gave the Conservative party £136,180 in the current quarter and £40,000 in the quarter before that, making the company the Tories’ third biggest donor over this period.

Neither the Back Boris campaign nor the company has responded to requests to clarify whether the use of the offices has been declared as a donation to the Electoral Commission, or will be declared after the election. A spokesman for the Back Boris campaign said: “All donations are dealt with strictly in accordance with electoral laws.”

Kennite is clutching at straws in a last minute effort to woo voters to Emperor Windbag’s side but he’s playing to his gallery of small-minded little Englanders and racist weirdos. He whines,

If elected mayor today, Mr Livingstone will gain enormous planning powers, representing a potential conflict of interest withhis funding from Mr Rosenfeld. Air Capital invests in “distressed property” in London and elsewhere and is closely linked to Goldman Sachs’ property arm, the Goldman Sachs Whitehall Fund.

But if Bozza gets elected today, it’s more casual racism, vanity projects and no real policies that bnenefit the vast majority of Londoners. Fares will be increased year on year and no new social housing will be built. London will be a city for the rich. Kennite knows this but is unmoved.

Of course Kennite is also completely silent on the small matter of deputy mayor Kit Malthouse’s pleading with the Metropolitan Police to limit their investigations into the News Corp phone hacking scandal.  Bozza’s own silence regarding the affair and his efforts to secure financial backing for his cable car scheme are also wilfully ignored. Instead Kennite squeals that Livingstone is an “Islamist” and a baby-eater.  On this clip, Johnson refers to BBC London’s Tim Donovan’s report as “fucking bollocks”.

Not a peep about this from Kennite.

Here’s Bozza lying about fares.

Not a peep about this from Kennite.

Kennite complains that Livingstone has told lies here, here, and here but ignores the lies that repeatedly trip from Johnson’s tongue. No surprise there.

If Boris Johnson wins the election, Nowhere Towers will continue to expose Kennite for what he really is: a bitter hack with an axe to grind who bangs the drum for a man without an original idea in his empty blond head.

Finally, last December’s Press Gazette carried a story about Gilligan (and his former employer, Associated Newspapers)  facing prosecution for hacking into emails.

Journalist Andrew Gilligan is being sued for damages over allegations he obtained confidential emails for a story published in the Evening Standard four years ago.

Businessman Peter Abbey accuses Gilligan of improperly obtaining passwords to access his emails, or receiving them from someone else with unauthorised access.

Abbey is a shareholder in Complete Leisure Group, a company set up to control Sebastian Coe’s business interests after London won the bid for the 2012 Olympic Games.

The Press Gazette also adds that,

Gilligan and Associated Newspapers have refused to hand over the emails, the writ states.

Have they got something to hide? We think so.

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Filed under Journalism, London, London Mayoral election 2012, Media, News Corporation, propaganda, Racism, Tory press, Yellow journalism

Murdoch: hoist by his own petard or playing a long game?

My work took me much longer to finish than I expected, hence the long gap between blogs. A lot has happened over the last couple of weeks. Events in the phone hacking scandal have moved very quickly: no sooner than we hear of one revelation, another comes along within hours to take its place. Needless to say, Murdoch’s minions have overstepped the mark and acted criminally. Phone taps normally require a court order. The News of the World thought that it was above the law. It wasn’t.  Now the rest of News International and its parent company, News Corporation are under suspicion. The Sun and The Times have both been accused of phone hacking and in the US, it was believed that one of the News Corp companies hacked into the phones of those killed in the Twin Towers attack of September 11, 2001.

The News of the World is no more. No doubt it will be replaced by something just as vile. In many respects The Sun and the News of the World are the same paper. They both print the same kind of gossip and sleazy scandal and both papers believe that they have the right to intrude into people’s private lives.

I had originally begun drafting a blog a couple of weeks ago. My angle on this was the city of Liverpool and how The Sun and NotW had been boycotted by Scousers. The people of Liverpool have known for a long time what News International is capable of doing.  In the aftermath of the Hillsborough tragedy in 1989, The Sun made up a story about Liverpool supporters urinating on the dead. Kelvin MacKenzie, then editor of the paper, refused to apologize and even went so far as to rub more salt into the wound by standing by the ‘story’. To this day, the sales of The Sun and The News of the World on Merseyside are the lowest anywhere in the country. No self-respecting Scouser, red or blue, would contemplate buying such a vile rag.

Many of us have known for some time that Murdoch media and the government enjoy a close relationship. When Cameron hired Andy Coulson as his press secretary, Coulson was already up to his neck in shit.  But what we have seen is that the relationship between the Tories and the Murdoch media is somewhat closer than a mere business arrangement; these people meet socially. Cameron, Rebekah Brooks and Coulson have  broken bread together. Indeed Cameron, Coulson and Brooks live rather close to each other.  They are even referred to as the “Chipping Norton Set”.

The Murdoch press may not be able to inject its views into the heads of its readers but it is an opinion former and its views are taken seriously by many people. British politicians work to please the Murdoch press and will do their utmost to avoid upsetting papers like the The Sun, a paper that can ruin lives and careers at the drop of a hat.

In 1992, The Sun claimed to have won the general election for John Major’s Tories. The day before the polls opened, the Scum ran a front page that said “If Kinnock wins today will the last person to leave in Britain turn off the lights”. Labour lost the election but in the years that followed the Tories were battling allegations of sleaze.

Before the 1997 General Election, Tony Blair met with executives from News International. He understood that he needed to get the Murdoch media on his side in order to win. But it was a poisoned chalice, the Blair and the Brown governments found themselves dancing to Murdoch’s tune.

Yesterday, Murdoch had full page apologies printed in his papers and those of his rivals.  He’s done it again today. I suspect that his lawyers have advised him to do this, so that he can come back in a year’s time with a renewed bid for BSkyB. All he’s doing is trying to remake his image and that of his papers. As far as out politicians are concerned, they talk a good talk but they’re scared of Murdoch. They’ve done just enough to give the impression that they’re reining him in. Ed Miliband has called for a ban on multi-media ownership by a single person or group. This would be welcome. But the press cannot regulate itself properly. The Press Complaints Commission is run by the newspaper industry and membership  is not compulsory. The PCC does not have the power to sanction errant newspapers nor can it impose fines. All it can do is get the paper in question to print an apology, which is, more often than not, a single paragraph buried inside the newspaper.

I’ll leave you with this mindless drivel from LMer and professional shit-stirrer, Brendan O’Neill who blames the NotW’s demise on a “dictatorship of do-gooders”.

When small groups of professional activists help to shut down a newspaper read by millions of everyday Brits, that is not “people power”. When celebrities and well-to-do commentators help to deprive 7.5 million people of their Sunday read – and what’s more, claim to be doing it in order to save those 7.5 million people from being morally corrupted – that is not a “democratic moment”. It is more like a dictatorship of do-gooders.

Lest we forget that O’Neill’s former magazine, LM was shut down because it lost a libel case against ITN whom LM had accused of misrepresenting the Bosnian Civil War.   A “dictatorship of do-gooders” had nothing to do with the NotW’s demise; its death was caused by slipshod journalistic standards and blatant lawbreaking. I, for one, am glad it’s gone. I think that I should point out that O’Neill also writes for the Australian, a title owned by guess who?

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Filed under Ideologies, Journalism, Media, News Corporation, Tory press, Yellow journalism

Glenn Beck blames “New World Order” for civil unrest

Glen Beck is a man who thinks he has his finger on the pulse. Always one to think lazily and draw lines between a limited number of dots, Beck excels himself with this piece of lunacy. He claims that the people of Wisconsin are in cahoots with the Muslim Brotherhood. Yeah, right.

Have a look at this video

What is this “New World Order” of which he speaks?

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Filed under Media, News Corporation

Aaron Porter, the best friend a Tory hack can get

I don’t like cry babies and whingers, so when Fernando Torres left my beloved club for Chelsea, I was half pleased and half upset. He’s spent a lot of time sulking and being a miserable pain-in-the-arse. So good riddance to him.  I feel no such emotions for Aaron Porter who has proved himself to be a liar as well as a cry baby. Though seeing the back of him would give me and many others great relief.

Have a look at his Twitter page

Aaron Porter
AaronPorter Aaron Porter
Will not back down to intimidation, and certainly not to racial abuse. We need unity to win for students.
»
Aaron Porter
AaronPorter Aaron Porter
first interviews of the day done; @SkyNews & local radio in Manchester. #mancdemo #demo2011
So on Sunday he was still repeating the lie that he suffered anti-Semitic abuse, only this time he calls it “racial” abuse. He even talked to Sky News. I’ll bet they loved him: the model student leader who sucks up to the Murdoch press. He’s played right into their hands. Well done, Aaron for doing the work of the Tory press for them. I love the way he says “we need unity”. What a joker. Have you ever thought about doing an open spot at the Comedy Store or Highlights?
Here’s a piece of advice, Aaron: get your hearing tested by a professional. It’s clear that you are suffering from the onset of selective hearing syndrome.

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Filed under Journalism, Media, News Corporation, propaganda, Tory press