Archive for July, 2011

Murdoch – a toxic stream since 1919 . . .

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

Heinz Fuchs, poster, Germany, 1919

An  article in Counterpunch reveals the true legacy of the Murdoch newspaper empire stretches back to those defining years just after World War One at the beginning of the last century.

During the recent hearing into the phone-hacking scandal in the British Parliament – when Rupert Murdoch received a pie in the face despite the efforts of his wife to apprehend the shaving-foam assassin –  he claimed that his father [‘a modest newspaper proprietor’] had left him one small provincial newspaper to run, which Rupert had then transformed into a media empire.
He also made claims about his father’s role in exposing the ‘scandal of Gallipoli’, which Ian Jack in The Guardian dismissed as – at the least – an exaggeration;
Sir Keith was “not rich” only by Rupert’s standards, and the disclosure of the mess at Gallipoli owed at least as much to the Daily Telegraph’s reporter, Ellis Ashmead-Bartlett, as to him.
The article in Counterpunch describes how ;
Rupert’s father, Sir Keith, founded the dynasty during World War I as a dirty-tricks minion for “Billy” Hughes, probably Australia’s nastiest prime minister.
It then tells how after a malicious anti-semitic campaign against the Jewish General in charge of  the Australian troops – which failed – Keith Murdoch threw the weight of his paper’s influence behind the parties at Versailles who were determined to exact the cruellest vengeance on the German population.
Already starving, and with large areas of Germans being either ethnically-cleansed or handed over to neighbouring powers, the continuing blockade as well as the financial sanctions imposed on the German economy proved a fertile ground for the early versions of the Nazi party – the Freikorps and Nationalists – to grow and prosper in the desperate climate.

At Versailles, Keith was Billy’s ever-present aide in striving to make the Peace Conference into a vicious cock-up, rich in racist and imperialist content. Curiously, the pair would have had zero leverage but for the failure of a plot of Keith’s, which sought in 1918 to remove Australia’s battlefield commander on the Western Front, John Monash, for being an unheroic Jew. (Monash wrote home that it was a bore having to fight a “pogrom” at the same time as fight Ludendorff.) The overall commander, General Douglas Haig, wouldn’t play: and Monash’s divisions led the British breakthrough at Amiens which, ruining Ludendorff, put Germany – suddenly, unexpectedly– at the Allies’ mercy. Haig and other soldiers hoped there might be space for a decent peace. But politicians of various brands thought otherwise and none outdid Keith’s boss in vengeful demagoguery,  destroying at last all the credit Monash had gained for Australia. Billy and Keith weren’t prime authors of the Versailles debacle in 1919. But none toiled harder in its cause.

Murdoch’s other smokescreen – that he is an outsider battling the Establishment; a representative of the common man is also demolished in another Counterpunch article called The Phony Populism of Rupert Murdoch ;

The ‘Dirty Digger’ himself might have lacked the right accent, but even when he was first challenging the newspaper establishment, he was scarcely proletarian. Murdoch inherited his first paper, the Adelaide News, from his father, Sir Keith; he did his schooling at Geelong Grammar, a quintessential finishing college for the rich and entitled that also educated a young Prince Charles.

The journalist David Marr tells of attending a lecture in which Lachlan Murdoch, Rupert’s son, denounced the Australian Broadcasting Corporation for drawing attention to his shenanigans in the mobile phone business: the particular program in question was, he said, a ‘disgracful and biased attack’ by ‘our media elite’. So powerful has the peculiar vocabulary of New Class anti-elitism become that a man born into the most powerful media dynasty the world has ever seen can still present himself, without any trace of irony whatsoever, as an outsider being done down by society’s rulers.

Since Murdoch’s appearance at the Parliamentary Committee, a number of other significant developments;

  • Evidence given by James Murdoch to the Committee concerning his knowledge of the endemic phone-hacking at News International has been called into question by various ex-NI executives and ex-employees.His agreement to a massive payout to keep a case out of a public court now looks like an attempt to pervert the cause of justice.
  • A laptop and phone in a bag found near Rebekah Brooks’ house has been claimed by her husband, who claims that she has nothing to do with either, and is attempting to retrieve said items from the police. This story was covered extensively for two days, and then disappeared from the media. Mr Brooks is an old Etonian racehorse owner.
Sean Hoare, the former News of the World journalist who first claimed Andy Coulson had knowledge of phone hacking.

Sean Hoare, the former NOTW journalist; the first to claim Andy Coulson knew about phone hacking.

  • Sean Hoare, a real journalist and the first real ‘whistleblower’ in this story,  a 47-year-old who was sacked by the NOTW by then-editor Andy Coulson because of drink and drugs “problems,” was found dead at his London residence by police last Monday, 18 July [from here – a site that strangely comes very near to the top of a Google search on this subject, which seems to suggest that the public is not as convinced by the ‘no suspicious circumstances’ line as the British media].As one of the comedians on the BBC ‘satire’ the Now Show put it – it’s been investigated by the police – the same police who’s top officers are currently resigning in the wake of this scandal. So that’s alright then . . . 
  • Two of the Met’s top police officers, including Sir Paul Stephenson, the Chief Commissioner,  have resigned over their links with the News International corporation. The other is John Yates, the policeman who twice resisted calls to reopen the investigation into phone hacking, and who resigned as Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police over his relationship to Neil Wallis, the former deputy editor of the News of the World.
  • Les Hinton, NI Chief Executive and old friend of Murdoch has also resigned from the company, pending investigations into his time at the NOTW. Ex-editor of The Sun and the NOTW Rebekah Brooks has been arrested over suspicions of involvement in phone-hacking and the corruption of police officers.

This toxic seam has only just started to reveal a corruption that has spread throughout the ruling class of Britain – it is impossible to say how much further the Establishment will let the investigations proceed.

Needless to say, there are probably more than a few people who saw the news about Sean Hoare and thought it might be better to keep their lips carefully sealed; and a few others who are checking their backs, waiting for their Brutus to bring them down; especially the ones who – as on old friend of mine from the East End commented ‘know where the bodies are buried . . . ‘

Good luck folks !

Schadenfreude – NewsCorp goodbye !

Friday, July 8th, 2011

Rebekah Brooks leaves NotW earlier - NewsCorp on the run . . .

For those of us living in South East London, the scandal which could yet do for Murdoch’s NewsCorp empire and has led to the demise of the world’s biggest-selling English language newspaper is the culmination of a long, sordid story that has been running like a sceptic sore through the whole of British society for over 30 years.

Murdoch first came to public notice in the UK as the son of a millionaire newspaper magnate who acted as the shock force for the Thatcher Government’s assault on the unions in the early 1980’s, when he moved his titles to an automated plant at what became known as Fortress Wapping.

The plant had been set up and equipped secretly; with the aim of introducing automation to the extent that most of the printers would be left without jobs.

A strike developed into nightly battles outside the plant, with vast fleets of TNT lorries being escorted past the rioting crowds by armies of police. For Thatcher the benefits were twofold.

Murdoch could break the power of the print union – one of the workforces who had managed, since the Second World War to actually take a share in the vast profits of the capitalist class. Secondly, she was able to rely on Murdoch, who laughingly called himself a ‘libertarian’ but is in fact the worst sort of old monopolist capitalist. He duly provided support for the Conservatives until the public finally revolted after 18 years, and he quickly switched allegiance to the neo-con patsy Tony Blair.

And one for the memories ! Thatcher leaves No. 10

With the ‘death of the print’ came the slow decline of many inner city East End and South East London communities;  their pubs, old jazz bands, and local Labour [not Nu Labor] parties. After the death of the docks –  when dockers were replaced by containers and some guy in a crane – the death of ‘the print’ was the final straw. It also set the model for other industry post the ‘white heat of technology’ revolution proclaimed in the Wilson era; when workers, instead of working less and being paid more, would end up working more to produce more profit for less pay, with less rights than their parents.

If you were not prepared to accept the new debt-slavery, you would join the millions of other unemployed on the scrapheap that increasingly piled up at the base of the pyramid.

And meanwhile Rupert would steer his papers to clean up through a mix of scandal, bile and witch-burning bigotry  – thus obscuring even more the real social news of the country; in which the world he and his media helped create was becoming increasingly cruel, stupeified and unequal. Like the republicans in the USA – whose cause he has unfailingly promoted – he could make the poor vote for their own oppression, with a combination of ignorance, misdirection and tawdriness, reducing life to twitching net curtains, stained sheets and a trail of blood.

And that leads to the other untold tale of how the Murdoch Empire has corrupted the body of everyday society in the UK.

Daniel Morgan - still awaiting justice after 24 years

The story concerns a private eye [PI] in South-East London beheaded in the car park of a pub called the Golden Lion in Forest Hill, South East London on Tuesday 10 March 1987.

Involved in the plot – in a away that at least five police ‘investigations’ and two court cases have not been able to fully determine – are a sordid bunch of fellow PI’s and ex-policemen, who have been convicted of other crimes including drug running and framing a woman on a cocaine charge in a divorce case.

They were working for the News of the World when it was edited by Andy Coulson, David Cameron’s Director of Communications in 10 Downing Street; digging the dirt on anyone and everyone – and that’s all we know so far.

Rebekah Brooks, now Chief Executive of News International actually had the lead Detective investigating the murder followed and bugged whilst she was editor of the News of the World. She later told police that she thought he might have been having an affair with a fellow officer [who was, in fact, was obviously his wife].

Andy Coulson’s evidence at the Tommy Sheridan ‘trial’ is now also being called into question – which could lay him open to a charge of perjury and throw more doubts on the case against the Scottish socialist leader.

The corruption which was endemic in the London police in the 1980’s, especially the drug squads – and was hinted at in various inquiries into the Stephen Lawrence murder – and its effect on the street from then until the present day was in no short measure due to the pernicious, deceptive media of Murdoch. By making his papers so viscious and tacky but profitable – where you had no professional printers to pay, and no journalists because you’d replaced them with phone hackers, gossips, snitches and smut peddlers – he was slowly dragging all the others down into the same gutter.

It will be interesting to see how the dice fall now – these people built the gallows for enough – often innocent – people. It will be interesting to see how they fancy taking the long walk themselves now, as their masters scramble to distance themselves from their once so-loyal minions . . . .

Fukushima cover-up in UK – Government conspires with nuclear industry to spin disaster

Wednesday, July 6th, 2011

Guardian Online - front page 30/06/11

A report in the Guardian on the 30th June 2011 has revealed what we all suspected [see previous blogs] with the release of information about the true extent of the disaster in the Japanese nuclear plants following the earthquake and tsunami.

With the hard evidence of leaked emails between Government and the nuclear industry, the Guardian article details just how far the spin has extended to an attempt to cover-up the amount of radioactive leaks and their effects on the surrounding population in Japan, as well as its spread across the globe.

Here are just some of the articles in Counterpunch in recent weeks, which reveals the amount of alarm in the scientific and medical communities not being reported in the general media.

Is the Dramatic Increase in Baby Deaths in the US a Result of Fukushima Fallout?

Same Old Tricks From the Nuclear Gang ; The People Who Brought You Fukushima

Will GE Get Whacked for the Catastrophic Failure of Its Fukushima Reactors? ;The Hubris of Nuclear Engineers

~These articles are interesting as a different perspective on the problems of global warming, and attempts by the nuclear lobby to manipulate the whole debate, using it as a way of persuading desperate environmentalists [eg. George Monbiot ] that nuclear power is the only solution.

In the Midst of Fukushima: Ahoy There, Nuke-Loving Greens, Welcome to the Real World!

How Global Warming Rescued the Atomic Lobby ; The “Green” Nuclear Cabal

Bi-Partisan Atomic Flackery ; Nuclear Power Madness

And also a couple of activist sites with handy updates on the crimes and cover-ups of the nuclear industry around the world . . . (USA)


And now a report that a French reactor is in trouble . . .

and in the UK;

Jellyfish shut down nuclear reactors

Both units at Torness power station closed after jellyfish found in seawater filters