What an interesting time for James Bond to return to popular consciousness. What an even more interesting incarnation. Spectre. What a marvellous title to close out a year of ghosts! I leave it up to you to look into its in-universe history.
I leave it up to you because you are the only person left with the capacity to do the semantic heavy lifting required to navigate this particular
darkest timeline. Signals must be dredged up from the noosphere like recently-discovered Japanese warships, surface vessels must be thoroughly interrogated. Why?
Because I am struggling to find a time -perhaps in the weeks and months leading up to Bush II's invasion of Iraq- where official reality has been so dangerously at odds with actual reality. A few choice bits, firstly from a Vietnam vet turned military journalist turned rogue superhero:
It is curious: Though I have spent a lifetime in journalism, I do not read a newspaper, not the New York Times nor the Washington Post nor the Wall Street Journal. Nor do I have television service.
Why? Because, having worked in that restaurant, I know better than to eat there. The foregoing media are quasi-governmental organs, predictably predictable and predictably dishonest. The truth is not in them.
Within the news racket, this isn’t news. More interesting is that a large part of the intelligent population agrees. We now have a press of two tiers, the establishment media and the net, with sharply differing narratives. The internet is now primary. The bright get their news from around the web and then read the New York Times to see how the paper of record will pevaricate. People increasingly judge the media by the web, not the web by the media.
The major outlets (this will not be a blinding insight) as always are in near-lockstep—that is, controlled. Reporters understand the rules perfectly. You do not, not ever, criticize Israel. You don’t say anything remotely interpretable as racist. Women are sacrosanct. Do not offend the sexually baroque. The endless wars get minimal coverage and almost nothing that would upset the public. Huge military contracts get almost no mention.
None of this is accidental.
Now a brief diversion into my work life. If I have to hear the words 'native advertising' again I will hijack whatever space-based superweapons are convenient and destroy the earth. Just look at this.
You know he's not a journalist, right? You know he is a dancing monkey, yeah? This drives me nuts. What I found so fascinating observing broadcast television in New York last month was that it appears to come in two flavours:
- There is programming designed to make dumb people feel smart. That would be the journalistic stylings of an English comedian.
- Then there is programming designed to make other dumb people feel angry. That would be Fox.
As the SPECTRE of global conflagration is summoned, it is no longer clear to me which one of these is more dangerous. Think that's overstating it? Well -inevitably and unsurprisingly- they are accomplishing the same thing: blacking out the reality of NATO's war footing.
Let's consider the Pulitzer Prize winning bastion of Liberalism, the Grauniad, and its treatment of Israel and the blogger they fired for covering the energy angle to the country's obliteration of the Palestinians.
After writing for The Guardian for over a year, my contract was unilaterally terminated because I wrote a piece on Gaza that was beyond the pale. In doing so, The Guardian breached the very editorial freedom the paper was obligated to protect under my contract. I’m speaking out because I believe it is in the public interest to know how a Pulitizer Prize-winning newspaper which styles itself as the world’s leading liberal voice, casually engaged in an act of censorship to shut down coverage of issues that undermined Israel’s publicised rationale for going to war.
I joined the Guardian as an environment blogger in April 2013. Prior to this, I had been an author, academic and freelance journalist for over a decade, writing for The Independent, Independent on Sunday, Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, The Scotsman, Foreign Policy, The Atlantic, Quartz, Prospect, New Statesman, Le Monde diplomatique, among others.
On 9th July 2014, I posted an article via my Earth Insight blog at The Guardian’s environment website, exposing the role of Palestinian resources, specifically Gaza’s off-shore natural gas reserves, in partly motivating Israel’s invasion of Gaza aka ‘Operation Protective Edge.’ Among the sources I referred to was a policy paper written by incumbent Israeli defence minister Moshe Ya’alon one year before Operation Cast Lead, underscoring that the Palestinians could never be allowed to develop their own energy resources as any revenues would go to supporting Palestinian terrorism.
The article now has 68,000 social media shares, and is by far the single most popular article on the Gaza conflict to date. Contrary to the conventional wisdom, Israel has seen control of Gaza’s gas as a major strategic priority over the last decade[.]..
Since 2006, The Guardian has loudly trumpeted its aim to be the world’s leading liberal voice. For years, the paper has sponsored the annual Index on Censorship’s prestigious Freedom of Expression Award. The paper won the Pulitzer Prize for its reporting on the National Security Agency (NSA). Generally, the newspaper goes out of its way to dress itself up as standing at the forefront of fighting censorship, particularly in the media landscape. This is why its approach to my Gaza gas story is so disturbing.
The day after posting it, I received a phone call from James Randerson, assistant national news editor. He sounded riled and rushed. Without beating around the bush, James told me point blank that my Guardian blog was to be immediately discontinued. Not because my article was incorrect, factually flawed, or outrageously defamatory. Not because I’d somehow breached journalistic ethics, or violated my contract. No. The Gaza gas piece, he said, was “not an environment story,” and therefore was an “inappropriate post” for the Guardian’s environment website[.]..
In the end, my polite protestations got nowhere. Within the hour, I received an email from a rights manager at The Guardian informing me that they had terminated my contract.
When I began speaking in confidence to a number of other journalists inside and outside The Guardian about what had happened to me, they all consistently told me that my experience?—?although particularly outrageous?—?was not entirely unprecedented.
A senior editor of a national British publication who has written frequently for The Guardian’s opinion section, told me that he was aware that all coverage of the Israel-Palestine issue was “tightly controlled” by Jonathan Freedland, the Guardian’s executive editor for opinion.
Another journalist told me that a Guardian editor commissioned a story from him discussing the suppression of criticism of Israel in public discourse and media, but that Freedland rejected the story without even reviewing a draft.
Several other journalists I spoke to inside and outside The Guardian went so far as to describe Freedland as the newspaper’s unofficial ‘gatekeeper’ on the Middle east conflict, and that he invariably leaned toward a pro-Israel slant.
These anecdotes have been publicly corroborated by Jonathan Cook, a former Middle East staff reporter, foreign editor and columnist for The Guardian, who is currently based in Nazareth where he has won several awards for his reporting. A profile of Cook at the progressive Jewish news site Mondoweiss points out that a key turning point in Cook’s career occurred in 2001 when he had just returned from Israel, having conducted an investigation into the murder of 13 non-violent Arab protestors by Israeli police during the second intifada the year before.
Read the whole damn thing. The piece is particularly gratifying for me because, unlike crack journalist John Oliver, I did actually 'cover' the energy angle to the Palestinian obliteration. Now let's turn to my favourite hack battleaxe, John Pilger, for the wider context:
Why has so much journalism succumbed to propaganda? Why are censorship and distortion standard practice? Why is the BBC so often a mouthpiece of rapacious power? Why do the New York Times and the Washington Post deceive their readers?
Why are young journalists not taught to understand media agendas and to challenge the high claims and low purpose of fake objectivity? And why are they not taught that the essence of so much of what's called the mainstream media is not information, but power?
These are urgent questions. The world is facing the prospect of major war, perhaps nuclear war - with the United States clearly determined to isolate and provoke Russia and eventually China. This truth is being turned upside down and inside out by journalists, including those who promoted the lies that led to the bloodbath in Iraq in 2003.
The times we live in are so dangerous and so distorted in public perception that propaganda is no longer, as Edward Bernays called it, an "invisible government". It is the government. It rules directly without fear of contradiction and its principal aim is the conquest of us: our sense of the world, our ability to separate truth from lies.[..]
In 2003, I filmed an interview in Washington with Charles Lewis, the distinguished American investigative journalist. We discussed the invasion of Iraq a few months earlier. I asked him, "What if the freest media in the world had seriously challenged George Bush and Donald Rumsfeld and investigated their claims, instead of channeling what turned out to be crude propaganda?"
He replied that if we journalists had done our job "there is a very, very good chance we would have not gone to war in Iraq."
That's a shocking statement, and one supported by other famous journalists to whom I put the same question. Dan Rather, formerly of CBS, gave me the same answer. David Rose of the Observer and senior journalists and producers in the BBC, who wished to remain anonymous, gave me the same answer.
The most effective propaganda is found not in the Sun or on Fox News - but beneath a liberal halo. When the New York Times published claims that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, its fake evidence was believed, because it wasn't Fox News; it was the New York Times.
The same is true of the Washington Post and the Guardian, both of which have played a critical role in conditioning their readers to accept a new and dangerous cold war. All three liberal newspapers have misrepresented events in Ukraine as a malign act by Russia - when, in fact, the fascist led coup in Ukraine was the work of the United States, aided by Germany and Nato.
This inversion of reality is so pervasive that Washington's military encirclement and intimidation of Russia is not contentious. It's not even news, but suppressed behind a smear and scare campaign of the kind I grew up with during the first cold war.
I return to this now because -not that you'd know it from the John Olivers of this world- the US is on 'hot footing' for a Russian war. Just look at this absolute garbage in the Grauniad today: Russia is secretly funding the far right in Europe. That is EXACTLY what we have been doing in Ukraine for years... and indeed right across Europe via Operation Gladio since the end of the war. It is a complete, 100% inversion of reality. But that's not the scariest bit of 'news'. The scariest bit of news is actual news. Congress has effectively declared war on Russia:
On December 4, the US House passed what I consider to be one of the worst pieces of legislation ever. H. Res. 758 was billed as a resolution “strongly condemning the actions of the Russian Federation, under President Vladimir Putin, which has carried out a policy of aggression against neighboring countries aimed at political and economic domination.”
In fact, the bill was 16 pages of war propaganda that should have made even neocons blush, if they were capable of such a thing.[..]
The resolution gives the green light (paragraph 45) to Ukrainian President Poroshenko to re-start his military assault on the independence-seeking eastern provinces, urging the “disarming of separatist and paramilitary forces in eastern Ukraine.” Such a move will mean many more thousands of dead civilians.
To that end, the resolution directly involves the US government in the conflict by calling on the US president to “provide the government of Ukraine with lethal and non-lethal defense articles, services, and training required to effectively defend its territory and sovereignty.” This means US weapons in the hands of US-trained military forces engaged in a hot war on the border with Russia. Does that sound at all like a good idea?
Think on your sins, indeed.