Tag Archives: The Sun

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

“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

Postcards From The Barricades (Part 5): Before and after in the Tory press

 

Before yesterday’s national day of occupations and walkouts, London’s students were told by Nick Clegg to “look and make up your minds” about the coalition’s proposals. I’m sure I heard someone on BBC London News tell us that Clegg advised protesters not to go on the demonstration. I remember thinking “Who the hell does he think he’s talking to”?

Then the Telegraph published this story,

Mr Clegg’s security personnel are understood to have told him that it was no longer safe for him to bicycle from his home in Putney, south west London, to his office in the Cabinet Office, beside 10 Downing Street.

There were fears that the Deputy Prime Minister could be knocked from his bicycle or pelted with objects.

If I were Clegg I’d be more worried about holding onto my Commons seat than being knocked off my bike. It’s the least of his worries.

During the protests, Clegg appeared on BBC Radio 2’s Jeremy Vine Show. He said that he “massively regretted finding himself in this situation”.  He can’t complain. He brought all of this upon himself.

The Tory press has been full of the usual stories of “violence” and so on. The Daily Mail goes for a more misogynistic/patriarchal approach and says,

Rioting girls became the disturbing new face of violent protest yesterday.

They threatened to overturn a police riot squad van as they smashed windows, looted riot shields, uniforms and helmets and daubed the sides with graffiti.

That’s strange. I was about 20 metres from the van in question and there was a mix of male and female students rocking the van. Painting this as some sort of riot that was led by a bunch of Riot Girls is a bit, well, stupid and typical of the Mail’s reportage.

The Telegraph has a habit of employing recent Oxbridge graduates and the occasional Tory student who is still studying at university. The Torygraph tells us that,

India Lenon is at Oxford University, combining her studies of Classics with all the other joys of student life

Lenon is their eyes and ears within the dreaming spires. She asks “can the rage-filled girl rioters get out of my library now”? She starts by saying,

So we’re told that after yesterday’s student protests the “Girls are leading the charge”. This may be true, but it may also have something to do with the fact that pictures of attractive schoolgirls smashing up police vans are, well, a bit more eye-catching than ones of balaclava-wearing men.

And adds,

And here in Oxford, that’s exactly what’s happened – even among the student body, a lot of people are now thoroughly sick of the way the protests have been handled. First, the march on London on November 10 was advertised as some sort of free day out, then yesterday a group of students “occupied” the Radcliffe Camera, one of Oxford’s oldest and most beautiful libraries. They’re still in there, demanding things and (apparently) dancing, and they even have a website. The only problem is that the Rad Cam is where the history and English books are housed, and there are several hundred students who have history and English Finals coursework due in next week.

Aw, what a pity and they’re dancing. Surely that isn’t allowed at a protest? Lenon is quite possibly one of those students who gets an allowance from mater and pater, drives a Porsche and drinks Pimms. She doesn’t need to protest. She’s all right, thank you very much. She makes what is possibly the worst analogy ever,

“Occupying” our own library to protest about government cuts and the rise in tuition fees is a bit like occupying your own house to protest about council tax and stopping the rest of your family getting in.

Er, no it isn’t. This is quite different. Besides, she has no sense of history. Would it be pointless to say to her, “1968”?

The Sun produced a pretty typical headline “Student mob in cop van rampage”. Oh, the drama!

One student was even seen urinating against the van as crowds swelled during the angry protest against rising university tuition costs.

There are no public toilets on Whitehall save for Portcullis House. I guess that escaped the staff reporter’s attention. Oddly enough, The Sun repeats the story it ran the previous day with a few alterations. What a load of cheapskates.

Terrified schoolchildren who had come along for a peaceful protest – some as young as 13 and wearing their school uniforms – became hysterical as balaclava-clad demonstrators threw flaming aerosol missiles and shouted: “F*** the cops.”

It must have been the two journos who were behind me who wrote this tripe.

Students last night claimed an anarchist group called Black Book were responsible for smashing up the police van.

What? No names?  I’ve just done a search for this “anarchist” group and guess what? Nothing has come up. I found this. It’s for a photography company. Not the same thing.

The Daily Express attempts to spin the Whitehall protest as a case of the poor plucky police  (who are also facing cuts) versus the ugly, angry mob. Its article starts with,

POLICE were injured as thousands of students took to the streets yesterday to vent their fury over tuition fee rises.

London again bore the brunt of the protests, with two police officers badly hurt in the clashes that went on into the night.

One had his arm broken and another was knocked unconscious as violence erupted in Whitehall.

Forget the reason why the protests happened and concentrate on what happened to a few cops. Well done. The Express repeats the same line about the police van,

As a police van parked in the middle of Whitehall was abandoned to the crowd, youths leapt on the roof, smashed the windscreen, and sprayed the vehicle with graffiti.

And like all the other papers, it refuses to ask the question of why the van was there in the first place when the police knew they were going to be blocking access to Parliament Square. This is either a case of police stupidity or deliberate provocation.

Last night I heard that there had been a horse charge in Manchester and London.  The Met denies that it horse-charged protesters. The site Demotix has images. Indymedia has photos from Manchester here.

There was no mention of the horse charges in any of the papers.

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