The mainstream media has once again attempted to terminate and destroy the ever growing rise of independent journalism through new media outlets.
The latest attack — led by the Murdoch-owned Times of London — has dealt a serious blow to all those who challenge the corporate media propaganda system — one which we must all fight back against — unless we wish to live in a world in which only a hand full of corporate moguls and political elites are the ones allowed to decide what we can discuss, how we can discuss it, and what journalists are allowed to report on.
The attack on new alternative media is not just about silencing dissenting voices or differing opinions: it is an attack on freedom of speech itself — the basis of any of form of liberal democracy.
If we cannot at least strive for this ideal, then we may as well just admit that we live in a corporate owned version of a totalitarian state like North Korea, instead of pretending — like gormless and floppy-eyed children — that we don’t.
The latest onslaught, led by the Times — follows earlier attempts to silence independent non-corporate approved news outlets — such as forcing Facebook to clamp down on “fake news” after blaming fake news for the election of Donald Trump as US President — a story which never seemed particularly plausible, and as suspected turned out not be, as is evidenced by this study into the claim fromStanford University.
None the less though, the mainstream media forced Facebook into filtering out content under the guise of stopping the supposed plague of fake news. Now corporations such as the US’ABC, and theBBCare the ones deciding whether independent news is fake or not.
The BBC launched their “Reality Check” series as a response to this “crisis” — I have already fact-checked and debunked one of theirarticles here.
That’s the problem with these fact-checking organizations, they tend to leave out a lot of facts, for some reason…
Of course, the fake news hysteria led by the mainstream media was always about silencing and killing independent media. I wrote an article hypothesizing this as the story unfolded in November of last year forEvolve Politics.
A week after the article was published right-wing Labour cronies Tom Watson and Michael Dugher (a former Murdoch employee) announced they would be leading the charge against fake news — as some sort of crusade for truth — a claim so silly it’s hard not laugh in the process of writing this. Part of this crusade involved directly naming the similar left-leaning independent news outletthe Canary as a target of their campaign.
Following the fake news attack on independent media the corporate mainstream media has concocted yet another way to potentially silence, and bankrupt new independent media: this time by linking advertisers on YouTube and Google Ads to videos about terrorism, ISIS, hate speech, Nazis, etc.
By doing this they have created a wide-reaching clampdown on YouTube and any website using Google Ads that discusses “extremist” political issues.
The Murdoch-owned Times of London lead the attack, launching a so-called investigation into YouTube’s hosting of “extremist content” (such as videos about ISIS) — claiming that big brand advertisers were unwittingly funding extremist views and content.
Beginning in early February this year, the Times ran a series of articles which consistently claimed that:
Dozens of YouTube videos promoting Combat 18, a violent pro-Nazi group, Isis or hate speech from al- Qaeda preachers, all run pop-up ads from reputable brands such as Marie Curie, the hospice charity, and Mercedes-Benz. The adverts play either during or just before the videos and generally pay out between $5-$8 (£4-£6.40) per 1,000 clicks or views, depending on the particular advertiser. Advertising revenue is split 55 per cent to 45 per cent in the poster’s favour, raising the prospect that marketing spending from western brands is finding its way into the pockets of extremists.
They called on YouTube and Google to implement better techniques to remove the ads from these extremist videos — something which YouTube and Google appeared to be doing, saying:
When it comes to content on YouTube, we remove flagged videos that break our rules and have a zero tolerance policy for content that incites violence or hatred.
However, this wasn’t enough for the Times who continued to peruse their agenda and proceeded to force YouTube and Google into clamping down harder.
The Times repeatedly claimed that brands are funding extremist views through YouTube videos.
Apparently, pornographic content was also being funded by these ads on YouTube. How this is even possibly true on a website where the ultimate crime is considered to be showing a glimpse of tit or anything resembling sex, I really don’t know. YouTube is surely the most sex-free place on the internet, and that takes quite a lot of effort in this day and age.
The fact that they and other mainstream publications openly call for wars on nations likeIran, orNorth Korea— that aren’t threatening us in any serious way — and doing their best to ramp up apossible nuclear war with Russia— based on a bunch of allegations that nobody can provide evidence for to justify — apparently that isn’t extremism.
If it was extremist, it would surely mean that the Times has to force its own advertisers to boycott it…..
Following the recent terrorist attack in London, the Times unsurprisingly used it as yet another away to push through their advertising boycott on “extremist” content on YouTube and Google Ads.
Linking the terrorist attack to YouTube — no real evidence is presented, but why should it be? How many people actually watched these videos? If you just type in — as they suggest “ISIS caliphate” — into YouTube’s search engine all you get is a bunch of mainstream news reports — some of which could contain the kinds of violent acts they describe here.
The mainstream media, after all, it seems through articles like this and their endless fevered coverage of ISIS, are the terrorist group’s unwitting chief promoter.
Perhaps further into the search you could find material directly from ISIS or similar, but even so, given the extent to which YouTube manages to remove sexual content, it seems quite unimaginable that it would’ve been some sort of epidemic and widespread problem.
The Daily Mail joined in — attacking YouTube for hosting this video.
The man in the video (most likely a martial artist — apparently making self-defence videos will also be a crime in the future) has absolutely no relationship to ISIS or terrorists — he explained the purpose of this video, saying:
I just want to show that people who wear these vests should not feel invincible
They are still vulnerable. These vests should not be described as stab proof.
The fact that Masood was an ex-con with a record stretching back to the 80’s for crimes such as knife possession, and had spent time in prison — the place where these kinds of things are taught by inmates to other inmates — apparently isn’t even worth considering.
No, it must’ve been YouTube’s fault.
On the 23rd of March (the same day as the London terrorist attack) this year a list of big brand advertisers banded together to boycott YouTube’s “extremist” videos.
Advertisers include the UK government and the BBC. The move appears to have been further justified by the attack, but has clearly been a few months in the making — the date of the advertiser’s boycott, most likely being coincidental to that of the terrorist attack, rather than a reaction to the attack alone…
The result of the boycott and Google’s action has been to vastly demonetise alternative media content that involves any of the extremist topics, such as ISIS, or drug use, religion or just about anything that makes up the content of the increasingly popular alternative media, news, and political commentary outlets available on YouTube, and other Google Adsense platforms.
Both left and right wing alternative political channels hosted on YouTube, such as the US’ Secular Talk, Amazing Atheist, the Jimmy Dore Show, and the UK’s Sargon of Akkad — have all suffered intense and catastrophic revenue plunges as a result of this — reporting an up to 90% decrease in revenue as a result. The move will likely hit any alternative news and media outlets using Adsense to help fund them.
These channels hardly promote “extremist” views about any of the boycotted topics — rather they discuss them outside of the mainstream corporate framework.
Meaning that they challenge, for instance, the atrocities carried out by the US/UK governments in the middle eastern bloodbaths. Whereas the mainstream media politely refers to these wars as strategic blunders or tries to cover up the truth of what is going on, the targeted commentators and channels never fail to speak about them.
Content about less controversial topics — therefore far more boring topics — containing corporately acceptable content, such as makeup tutorials, clothes, and videos of cats falling over — will no doubt remain fully monetised.
Unless Google considers their android-based professional Primark saleswoman Zoella to also be a creator of extremist content, then we can rest assured that she and the many other popular corporate monotonies that already make up about 97% of the YouTube universe will remain fully monetised, promoted, and will continue their ascension of total domination, and therefore total banality on the platform.
Corporate advertisers have no interests in ever funding alternative news media — and the mainstream media sees alternative media as a serious threat to themselves, so, therefore, the two forces have combined to take down those of us who challenge the mainstream narratives, propaganda, and lies.
Corporations, of course, also feel threatened by alternative media as it operates outside of the boundaries of “acceptable” debate that is normally held within the narrow spectrum of the corporate mainstream media. The mainstream media never challenges corporations or their power, quite purposely, partly because they are owned by corporations who have tentacles in all sorts of other ventures, and partly because they rely on money from corporate advertisers themselves — therefore there is no reason for them to ever challenge the status quo, the opposite is true: they are there to maintain it, as it is in their primary interest to do so.
The corporate media uses its power to control and influence the power elite politicians, rather than ever challenging them in the interests of the population, they challenge them in the interests of corporations and the rich and powerful.
The Murdoch press endlessly champions politicians who do nothing but systematically attack the working class — and in a broader sense the rest of the general population, yet rather than ever challenging this, he and the other powerful corporate elites help to maintain this collusion and the propaganda system that sells these politicians as if they are people who somehow care about us — they don’t, it’s obvious, they don’t.
This is a story repeated throughout history — the internet a relatively new invention, that can be easily used to spread information to the mass of the public — has so far been a relatively free area of discussion.
Yet, just as with the invention of printing press which provided a mass of working-class and socialist newspapers and literature in its early days, leading to a rich, intellectual political and social culture of theworking-class during this period, the internet too, must be crushed by corporations.
The working class press became the corporate press. Up until the 1960’s the UK had a widely circulated working class newspaper calledThe Daily Herald— a genuinely working class newspaper, containing general socialist thought, ideas, and discussion — by the mid 60’s the paper was unable to compete against the corporate press, and by the end of the 60’s was owned by Murdoch, under its new name: The Sun.
The deep irony of the mainstream media, and corporations pretending to care about being associated with or fuelling ISIS — they more than anybody act as an unwitting propaganda arm for ISIS — endlessly glorying and martyring ISIS terrorists, giving them more attention than they ever warrant, dressed in a feverish and lurid language that is almost designed to attract a certain type of (unhinged, ex-con, etc) person to the ISIS cause.
The corporations themselves, of course, are most likely buying the oil that ISIS holds. Further to this some of the biggest corporations in existence through their oil buying, investment of so-called petrodollars, and arms sales all make huge wads of cash from the most brutal Islamic fundamentalist regimes on the face of the earth — Saudi Arabia being perhaps the worst of all of them.
This mixed with their complete contempt for the many lives destroyed in the process of the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars and the many other war crimes carried out in the Islamic world to this date — ramping up potential support for ISIS in the process.
The corporations have to own our minds in order to control our thoughts about the world — when they can’t do that as much — they panic, and that’s when we get new forms of censorship, such as the fake news debacle, and this latest attempt.
Labour MPs like Chuka Umunna and Tom Watson have been working for quite some time now at clamping down on alternative media — when asked to comment by the Times about their investigation Umunna — a member of the home affairs select committee said:
This is deeply disturbing
There is no doubt the social media companies could be doing far more to prevent the spread of extremist content.
None of this is true — when these people speak of extremist content they speak of the extremist content they do not approve off: which when translated from politician to plain English means: challenging the status quo — the only form of “extremism” that truly sends fear into their hearts.
They approve of the most widely available extremist content — that which the powerful offer through the mainstream publications. Nuclear war with Russia, Middle-east war brutalities, refugees being locked up and dehumanised, the list of extremist content in the mainstream media is endless — yet that is never under attack from the powerful.
Because they agree with it.
For independent media outlets we have only one solution: to be funded by the people who read/watch/listen to us, and support the work we do. That’s really the only way to ensure any possible survival for alternative news media.
The corporate attacks will keep on coming — like grotesquely bloated, spoiled, greedy brats they clamber for more and more of what they desire — throwing crying hissy fits until they get what they want:
more money, more control.
They could’ve easily just demonitised, and removed the genuinely extreme content. Google may claim it hasn’t the resources: that’s quite hard to believe given how much money they make every year — but the reality is they aren’t interested in saving a portion of their content that doesn’t make much money anyway for them. The fact this content actively challenges the corporate world, means they have no interest in protecting it.
Once again the corporate media has fought back against the growing popularity of those who actively critique the lies, distortion, and nonsense they spout on a daily basis.
Let’s not let them take our media away from us — let’s make sure we keep it in the hands of the people, if that means chipping in a few quid every now, surely that alone is worth it, just to break up the corporate media lies, monotony, and propaganda.
It will be interesting to see if videos about these extremist topics, such as ISIS will be demonetised when they are produced by the BBC, ABC or similar corporate media.
I suspect that no matter what, they will continue to receive advertising revenue through Google for their “work”.
That, in itself, is enough to illustrate just how morally bankrupt the system of corporate media is — the only way the corporate media can make money is from corporations.
The whole point of the media should be to challenge all forms of power, especially corporate — yet, clearly, nothing could be further from the truth.
WATCH — Animation: Noam Chomsky Explains How The Media Is Controlled by Corporations (amongst other things).
A new poll published by industry journal PR Week recently revealed that we have comically low levels of trust in public institutions, with Pollsters (people who conduct or analyse polls) having the lowest trust ratings of all, at just 2.25%.
The survey also found that statements made by civil servants (such as politicians) are far less trusted than those of people in the professions, such as medicine and teaching.
Considering that the professions have been demonised increasingly over the years by politicians and the media — especially when taking strike action such as the Junior Doctors — the findings are a cause to be optimistic.
People aren’t buying the lies and propaganda of the government, they trust the professionals far more than they do the state propaganda system.
The survey carried out by Atomik Research (an online market research company) on behalf of PR Week, asked a cross-section of 2,000 people to choose from a list of public sector professions — asking them whose statements they trusted the most if they saw them quoted in the mainstream media — the results are highly telling….
The public trusts statements made by Pollsters the least, gaining a rating of just 2.25% — basically meaning that absolutely nobody trusts Pollsters anymore.
This is not surprising given the election of Trump as US President — in which Pollsters endlessly claimed that Clinton had a 98% chance of winning.
Mixed with other polling disasters such as Brexit (to be fair the polls were always close for that, but the mainstream media quickly forgot that part, preferring instead to blame incorrect polling.) And our 2015 general election, which the polls indicated would be much closer than it actually was.
This also raises the question: how much do people trust the polling taken about Corbyn?
Somebody who are told by “expert” left-wing pundits like Owen Jones — is chronically unelectable according to polling, and that a snap general election would certainly lead to a victory by Theresa May (given that supposed certainty, why don’t the Tories call a snap election? Has anybody else ever wondered that?)
Trust ratings for statements made by government figures, bodies, institutions, etc also show incredibly poor ratings — none of them managing above 10%.
Polling consistently shows a widespread distrust of government — the results here are not surprising, however, the incredibly low trust ratings of Pollsters actually does seem somewhat surprising, given the claims of the Pollsters that they are “scientific”, etc. Apparently then, nobody is buying their scientific methods these days (with good reason in my opinion.)
The survey says that statements made by Doctors in the mainstream media are the most trusted.
With teachers coming second place.
The police came third with a trust rating of 29%.
The survey also revealed — as has been shown consistently — that the public has little faith in the way that the government is handling Brexit. Further to this, they found that the public has almost no awareness of the “Department for Exiting the European Union”.
The survey also holds some (slightly) surprising findings — with young people having more trust in statements made by the government than older people. Although, it is still worth remembering that even 14% is a pretty low number.
The survey also reveals that (much to my surprise given the Iraq War fiasco) the public has a comparatively high level of trust in the MOD.
Just as surprising (given the banking collapse) is the public’s trust level in the treasury — less surprisingly, the public’s level of trust in the Department of Health.
The survey highlights the communication methods used by the government that people trust the most.
The sad fact is, that for some reason — one I won’t really ever understand — people still think that television is some form of authority and therefore trust messages from politicians more when delivered through this medium.
The survey, therefore reveals dismal findings of our levels of trust in government and public institutions.
They show overwhelmingly that Pollsters lost their credibility with the general population along time ago — perhaps then the commentariat and political pundits ought to re-think their relentless reliance on field polling as some sort of crystal ball — the public doesn’t trust them or their predictions.
The PR industry often conducts these polls with a view to learning about how they can better manipulate our opinions — so as a likely consequence of this, they could use more professionals such as Doctors to tell us — perhaps subtly — why the NHS should, for instance, introduce a special tax to fund it — given the ongoing funding “crisis”.
Meaning that people become more perceptive to the message as it is delivered by someone in a profession they trust (as opposed to the government who are clearly trying to privatise it.)
In a way this is not that dissimilar to the use of Doctors to sell cigarettes to people in the 1950’s — the PR industry, alongside evil twin the advertising industry, really are the most loathsome “professions” in the world.
None the less, though, the polling results are interesting showing that we no longer have any faith or trust in government — the less faith and trust people have in government the better in my opinion because the closer they come to working out that we can things for the better in the future.
Rather than relying on the government to tell them what to think it seems that people are actually waking up and starting to at least withdraw trust from these institutions — good.
That’s the first step to challenging the government for yourself, and thinking about the world for yourself — if everybody started to do that then perhaps we could actually change things for the better around here.
The endless lies of the state have become increasingly transparent over the years, now it seems absolutely nobody believes a word they say — rightly so. Instead, prefering the voices of the professionals who help to run the country.
The working class, however, as usual, have no voice, and so one cannot even ask the question in polling as to whether or not their opinion is trusted — says a lot really, doesn’t it?
The most interesting question these results pose though is: if only 2.25% of those being polled trust the polls, then does that mean that only 2.25% of those polled trust the results of the poll they just took?
We live in a strange day and age in which no one seems to trust much of anything (rightly so in my opinion).
Luckily, however, Theresa May has just announced her plan to establish a Ministry of Truth to try and correct any possible confusion…
A new report from Oxfam gives an insight into the ways in which insatiably greedy mega banks are using tax havens to hide their huge profits from the taxman (therefore us).
The research shows that Europe’s 20 biggest banks reported over £18 billion in profits squirreled in tax havens last year — with UK-based banks being some of the worst offenders.
Oxfam notes that by depriving countries of the tax revenue owed to them, greedy and selfish bankers are creating yet more poverty for people in countries in which public services are being slashed through brutal austerity — the so-called medicine inflicted on us for the bankers recklessness that led to the financial crash of 2008 — for some reason…..WE have been forced to pay for it ever since — and now they continue to simply take the p*ss out of us.
A study conducted by the IMF a few years ago showed that the profit of US banks was almost entirely due to government subsidy — the situation is unlikely to be too different here — meaning that the banks profits are essentially funded by the state — a large portion of which we don’t even get returned: socialism for the rich, neo-liberal poverty and misery for everybody else.
Oxfam notes the grotesque, growing global wealth inequality between the top 1% and everybody else:
Since the turn of the century, the poorest half of the world’s population has received just 1 per cent of the total increase in global wealth, while half of that same increase has gone to the rich- est 1 percent
Commenting on the damage that the ultra-rich inflict on the rest of us by using tax havens just to secure yet more profit they say:
This extreme concentration of wealth at the top is holding back the fight to end global poverty. Consequently, when governments lose tax revenues, ordinary citizens pay the price: schools and hospitals lose funding and vital public services are cut.
They note that the tax burden is then passed onto everybody else, meaning that we all pay for the use of tax havens:
Alternatively, governments make up the shortfall by levying higher taxes, such as value added tax (VAT), which impact disproportionally on poorer populations. At the same time, increased profits as a result of lower corporate taxation benefit wealthy companies’ shareholders, further increasing the gap between rich and poor.
This describes quite adequately the neo-liberal experience, I’m sure we can all agree on that.
They go on to say:
Public resources, funded by government levies, are key to development and the well-being of citizens, but they are constrained by a system which allows wealthy individuals and multinationals to circumvent or reduce their tax liabilities, choking out the revenues that societies need to function. Major banks play a pivotal role in tax dodging practices globally.
The report says that the Banks claim to have made a quarter of their global profits in the tax haven countries, despite the fact that they account for only 12% of their turnover and 7% of staff.
The UK banks are even worse than this: between them, HSBC, Barclays, RBS, Lloyds, and Standard Chartered reported profits of £9 billion in tax havens — an incredible 67% of their profit.
Over £500 million of this profit was supposedly made in six British overseas territories and crown dependencies, such as Jersey and the Cayman Islands where banks pay just 7% on profits — compared to 20% in Britain (which is still one of the lowest rates in the Europe, and is due to be cut to 17% by 2020.)
They highlight some of the ludicrous ways that banks are using these tax havens — Barclays being the worst example:
Barclays’ 42 employees in Luxembourg beat all records and managed to generate €557m of profits in 2015, putting the average productivity per employee at €13.255m, 348 times higher than the bank’s average of €38,000.
The report cites Luxembourg as being one of Europe’s most popular tax havens, calling it:
With Ireland, and Belgium not being far behind:
The banks are also using Delaware in the US to avoid tax, employing this rather bizarre set-up.
Oxfam concludes that it is time for the banks to start paying their fair share, and that they must be held accountable through tougher legislation, and that they should start to show some responsibility to the rest of society.
Unfortunately for us all — banks — or politicians, such as the Chancellor Phillip Hammond (whom last week was found to be benefiting directly through his own business rate cut from his own budget by as much as 10%) — don’t seem to be in the habit of listening to moral arguments.
Perhaps if we nationalise the banks, and take these state funds out of the hands of the greedy bankers, we can put an end to tax dodging once and for all.
After all, if we owned the banks, why would we dodge tax and defund our own public services?
Would we allow our NHS to be run into the ground — victims dying in the process — would we avoid tax like this?
With banking profits booming — isn’t it time we are started to share in the glory of the banker’s wealth? We, after all, have funded this boom, the least they could do is pay some of it back.
Once again the answer is quite simple, the question is how to get there.
Last Monday marked the 14th anniversary of the illegal never ending war crime known formally as the invasion of Iraq.
Those who peddled the lies surrounding the Iraq War have never been held to account, and no doubt they will never face justice.
In this video, The Director of the BBC World Service Group Francesca Unsworth tries to explain why the BBC acted as a propagandist agency for the government — championing and validating the lies that sent our country to war in Iraq — a war that we are still in, with no end in sight.
As is to be expected — she has no answer beyond apparently being ignorant of our government’s lies. She shows absolutely no critical thinking ability, nor the ability or desire to challenge powerful western leaders — she has blood on her hands as far as I’m concerned, and like so many of those in positions of authority she basically denies responsibility and pleads ignorance.
The BBC with its hilarious self-importance and authoritarian tone was set up as a Tory propaganda agency in the 20’s — spouting the Tory Prime Minister’s anti-union speeches, whilst shutting out the Labour Leader’s response — so in nearly 100 years of the BBC, it seems little has changed.
Also interviewed are:
David Mannion — Former ITV Editor in Chief, and current Special Advisor To ITN
In which I said that the government will respond to last week’s terrorist attack by increasing “security” and restricting our liberty — all for our own good, of course….
We didn’t have to wait long for my prediction to be born into reality — as is the (ever) predictable nature of the government…
Yesterday, for his BBC politics show Andrew Marr conducted an “interview” with the Home Secretary Amber Rudd, in which he fed her a bunch of loaded questions/Tory talking points.
Marr asked Rudd about the dangers of messaging service WhatsApp (apparently terrorists use it, because it’s encrypted) and apparently Masood used it minutes before carrying out last week’s attacks — the reason he did so is unclear, but given the fact he acted alone, it’s hard to know the relevance of this information — if any.
Rudd assured Marr that the government will be seeking to break into encrypted services such as WhatsApp in the future — because of terrorism, of course — and she assured him that the intelligence agencies need to have the ability to break into services like WhatsApp.
The idea that we do not have enough mass surveillance as it is in this country is so ludicrous that anybody sane would surely burst out laughing at Rudd’s comments — not Marr though, this apparently is a serious matter.
WhatsApp has shared details with security agencies in the past and has already stated that they are fully co-operating with the police over last week’s incident.
Also, it would appear that the police have already been able to access the messages in Masood’s phone as the BBC pointed out:
“BBC home affairs correspondent Danny Shaw has highlighted that the police had declared that they believed Masood had acted alone on the day, and would not have done so unless they had accessed and read messages stored on his phone.”
Despite all of this Rudd has summoned WhatsApp’s owner, Facebook and other similar tech companies to a meeting on Thursday to discuss ways in which the security agencies can get access to the personal encrypted data — that they apparently need to stop terrorism.
The government has been trying to get access to encrypted data for some time now through the so-called Snooper’s Charter — which was at least partly shot down by the European Court.
Following last week’s attack — and Rudd’s comments — we can see the government will use this as an excuse to push through the most draconian, and invasive aspects of the Snooper’s Charter.
Marr went on to set Rudd up for yet another softball question about cracking down on internet freedom.
Apparently, you can easily access terrorist material on the internet such as “guidelines for doing just terrorist operations” a site which Marr claimed he managed to access after about 30 seconds of googling.
The site apparently tells you how to stab someone to death if they are wearing a stab proof vest. Marr called the site completely unacceptable, calling for a crackdown on access to such materials on mainstream platforms such as Google.
I have never once come across such a site — although I haven’t looked for one to be fair — but even so, surely if you’re determined to carry out an attack like this, you would find the material from somewhere? The IRA managed to do terrorism without the use of the internet, so surely other people in this day and age would be able too? It’s not exactly academic stuff, is it? Stabbing someone through a knife-proof vest — considering Masood had a background in knife crimes — and a criminal record going back to the 1980’s — I would imagine that he was already an expert in the field of stabbing people.
Rudd responded by reassuring us that the government already does its best to ensure that this kind of material is taken off platforms such as Google — perhaps then, that is why I have never seen such a website? This wasn’t enough for Marr though, who wants the government to enforce yet more censorship of the internet. Rudd assured him that the government has absolutely no problem forcing Google — or similar — into taking down such websites, and cited that the Home Office had already successfully worked in a similar way with Google to combat child sex exploitation — again, though — not that I ever want to see it (obviously) — but I have never seen child porn anywhere on google. Of course, such material should be taken off the internet, but, what exactly, is the kind of material that Rudd talks about when it comes to terrorism?
The main concern that I have comes in the definition of terrorism by the government — a few months ago the government put a group of anti-fracking campaigners in Yorkshire on a terrorist list alongside ISIS.
Would this mean that the government would, therefore, be able to restrict access to material about anti-fracking campaigns? And therefore force Google to take such information out of web search results?
When the government talks about its definition of terrorism — all too often they just target people they don’t like — such as the anti-fracking campaigners.
The PKK — a secular, Kurdish political group, fighting for the rights of the Kurds across the middle east — who have been successfully combating ISIS in the middle east are also considered a terrorist group by the British government — yet all they are fighting for is democratic, secular, nationalism, and against the tyrannies of the Turkish, Syrian, etc, governments.
Yet, as they are considered terrorists by the British government, does this mean that I wouldn’t be able to access material about them through Google? Would it become a crime to do basic research and learn about the world we live in? This is what people don’t seem to understand when the government speaks about censoring information on the grounds that it will keep us safe:
1. They don’t care about our safety, that’s just obvious.
2. Is this not just a modern version of book burning? Making sure that we can’t access certain materials, and being able to criminalise anybody who is researching or showing an interest in causes that the government hasn’t laid its stamp of approval upon.
How does any of this affect actual terrorists? People, who are committed to carrying out attacks? Let us not forget that the British government has a long proud history of supporting Islamic terror over more peaceful, secular democratic movements — so why should they start caring now? Osama Bin Laden, whilst being known for carrying out jihadist terrorism in the 1990’s had a base in London — the government not only knew about it — they seemed to have absolutely no problem with it at the time.
Marr continued — almost begging Rudd to have more armed police on the street, claiming quite hysterically that the attack was only stopped because the Secretary of State for Defence Michael Fallon’s armed police were present, and thus ready to shoot the attacker. Marr then claimed that there weren’t any other armed police there saying that for many people it is:
really strange that the main gate into Parliament at a time of the severe terror alert has no armed police on it
Interestingly Rudd couldn’t confirm that it was Fallon’s armed police who shot the attacker – this most likely means that it wasn’t his police — so once again the BBC presents a fact that probably isn’t a fact at all.
If a politician says that they won’t confirm something like this, then it most likely means it isn’t true.
Rudd then stated that the Palace of Westminster already has lots of armed police, and that security may need to be increased for MPs as they do feel “under threat sometimes”.
But more importantly (and this is the key) she said this wasn’t just an assault on MPs, it was also an assault on the country, tourists etc — this most likely means that when security is reviewed we will end up with more armed police on our streets as a result of the attack. More armed police guarding Westminster, and more armed police guarding MPs.
The further militarization of the police is a real concern — given how these weapons get used against innocent people (as discussed in my article on Friday). But apart from that, it’s just unsettling — that we are now being drawn into what ISIS wants — ISIS don’t even have to kill innocent people in this country — the further milatirisation of the Police means that our own government does it for them.
We only have to look at the US to understand that when you start going down the road of arming the police, it ends up with many innocent — often black and brown, poor — people being killed.
If the aim of ISIS is to turn us into barbarians who are as bad as they are — on our own soil (we are in my opinion far worse than them when it comes to our “foreign policy” ) then they are succeeding.
I live in an area in which gun crime used to be so prevalent that it was almost a weekly occurrence — the police didn’t respond by sending officers with arms on 24/7 patrols — instead, they combatted it by less militaristic means and certainly the level of gun crime has fallen as a result.
However, the imperative to stop such crime — black people killing each other — is far less, to begin with from the point of view of the police, so that’s probably another factor as to why they didn’t send out armed police during the height of the violence.
Something which I hadn’t actually thought about, until after I posted Friday’s article is that perhaps the Police should not have shot last week’s terrorist.
We still don’t know whether or not the man surrendered, and I can find no information stating how or why he was shot, beyond the fact he was shot.
This is not to say that he shouldn’t have been shot, if it was the only option then, of course, they had to do it. However, if it wasn’t — and they could’ve arrested him as they normally would for such an incident, then that is yet another illustration of how having armed police all too ready to fire bullets can go wrong.
It is too early to give a judgment at this point as to whether or not the Police were right to shoot him — we have to wait for the evidence to come in.
However, if they shot him when they didn’t have to, then apart from it being morally wrong — even the Nazis were put on trial — they may have also martyred this man for the cause of ISIS, again feeding into the goals and aims of the jihadists.
No doubt, if this is the case ISIS will use it to strengthen their propaganda — how can we claim the high moral ground, when we do not even apply the rule of law in our own country?
For contrast just look at the way that this incident in December 2016 at Forest Hill Overground station, southeast London was handled by the Police and the media.
The attacker, not described as a terrorist in the press because he shouted:
“Muslims…kill them all”
Whilst waving a knife around on a train — before proceeding to stab a Muslim man, and then getting off the train at Forest Hill station.
The victim stretchered away into an ambulance (naked) — bleeding profusely from stab wounds all over his body. A horrific scene and a horrific crime, the crime described by the British Transport Police as not being terrorism — despite the clear Islamophobic nature of the attack.
The police later arrested the attacker and charged him with GBH. Although the situations are far from identical, they do show the difference between what the state calls terrorism, and differences in how they handle such incidents based on whether or not they deem it to be terroristic.
If the attacker, in this case, had have been brown with a beard and stabbed a businessman on his way to work in the City, shouting ” Allahu Akbar” and “death to the west” — would the police have been so quick to decide it wasn’t an act of terrorism? And would they have been so quick to ensure that the attacker was arrested, rather than gunned to bits?
The state then has, as I predicted (I’m not Mystic Meg, it’s just the standard pattern) has reacted by increasing security, and further gained what it sees as justification to snoop through our private messages, texts etc, And clampdown on the freedom of the internet.
Although I do not wish to sound too dramatic here — how long before this website gets taken out of Google’s search results or Facebook, put on a list of banned websites, and then dismissed as harboring “terrorist sympathizing” views, etc?
For the crime of trying to look rationally at what is going on, why it is going on, and challenging the illegitimate terrorist power of the state?
It sounds like it could never happen — we live after all in a free country, don’t we?
Well, any country that spends millions upon millions every year on security to encase Wikileaks founder Julian Assange — in what is essentially a prison in the form of his darkened room in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London — Assange the man who has been brave enough to reveal a myriad of state abuses, from the Iraq war, to Hilary Clinton, to offshore tax havens — when a country spends so much effort and money just trying and stop someone as important to democracy as Assange, then really what freedom do we have? What freedom is that?
Given that this is our starting point, and that “security” will now be increased — how long before they start to silence more and more of us, for the same crime as Assange:
standing up to state power, and daring to expose their lies and hypocrisy.
That’s the only thing the state really fears — terrorists they can live with — the truth, now that’s a different story.
The lack of concern that people show over the ever growing intrusions into privacy, is I think safe to say shocking. After all, this is just the digital equivalent of the state coming round to search your house without a warrant, and just looking through your stuff whenever it wants.
Yet, because it happens in cyberspace and under the guise of fighting terrorism — for which no evidence exists showing it is successful at doing — people seem to accept it.
In Soviet Russia, or communist China the state would/does do exactly that — they inspect people houses whenever they like, just because it happens in cyberspace doesn’t change the principles of the British legal system — protection from unreasonable search and seizure — yet this seems to go largely unnoticed.
Rudd’s interview demonstrates — quite perfectly — how consent is manufactured for things like state snooping. The questions, not real questions, just propagandist talking points, designed to lull a fearful population into accepting the totalitarian, authoritarian rule of the government’s endless abuse of our basic civil liberties.
The Real Terrorists Are The Government & We Are Their Victims
The 20th of March 2017 marked the 14th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq — perhaps then it is no coincidence that this week’s terrorist attack (in which 4 people were killed — the attacker shot dead — and 40 were injured) took place just two days after the anniversary of a war in which hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians have been killed — a war based on pack of see through lies — a war that has lead to the creation of ISIS — and a war which we will never win.
The target of the attack was the political class: the terrorist drove into the gates of the Palace of Westminster — running down pedestrians, fatally stabbing a police officer, before being shot dead by the police. As usual, the victims were probably not the primary targets — they were just innocent civilians such is the nature of the chaos created by the legacy of the Iraq War.
The attacks illustrate a common pattern emerging within the west: a lone wolf ex-con — attracted to Islamic terrorism, carrying out some sort of attack mainly on innocent civilians.
The reasons for the attack, and likely motivations behind it, will no doubt (as is the standard practice at this point) be ignored, and disregarded, by our mainstream media — which fails time and time again, to ever give insight into why these attacks are happening, let alone try and explain or understand them.
What is often left out of the debate is the fact that the west has been at war with parts of the middle east for 16 years now — it is a war that has (predictably) lead to widespread misery, suffering, and the deaths of over a million innocent people in those middle eastern countries. Essentially these wars created the monster known as ISIS — a monster which unless we can find some sort of peaceful, sensible diplomatic way to stop, will only continue to grow.
Of course, the opposite is happening — the west time and time again are feeding this monster. Obama’s drone assassination program — now extended under President Trump — which kills 90% civilian targets: people suspected of one day perhaps being a terrorist, have acted as a brilliant recruitment tool for ISIS — just one small example of how we not only started this war but continue to fuel it.
The winners of the terrorist attacks are not just the terrorist’s groups — they are also the global government security system itself. Following these kinds of attacks domestic and global security systems — the state — ramps up its security system, and uses it to impose even more restrictions on the liberty of the population.
The justification for this is always given under the guise of protecting us — there is no evidence to justify this claim. Instead, those security systems are further used to restrict, monitor, and dismantle our civil liberties and freedoms. Thus playing into the hands of ISIS who openly want to restrict our freedoms and liberties.
And no doubt further to this, the increasing demonisation of Muslims as all being terrorists will continue and be escalated, despite the fact that the majority of Muslims oppose and denounce these kinds of terrorist attacks.
The Real Threat Of Terrorism — The State Uses Fear To Control You
And yet despite this, an insane amount of media coverage is dedicated towards terrorism. Perhaps then it should be no surprise that terrorism in the second most worrying concern of the British population according to an extensive survey carried out by The Guardian in 2015.
More people have worried about terrorism than poverty, the economy, and most tellingly involvement in foreign conflict — you would think given the clear correlation between terrorism and foreign policy the two issues would sit side by side as matters to be worried about — apparently not according to the survey.
Perhaps it is the striking images, and random nature of terrorist attacks, covered by the media in a lurid and fevered tone that distorts and exaggerates the threat of terrorism in the mind of the public.
The victims, and intimate details of their lives and families members displayed in a voyeuristic manner for all to bear witness too. The victims humanized by a media language which gives validity to their lives — we relate to these victims, they could, after all, be us.
Vigils held and promoted as a sign of solidarity and remembrance for the victims of the attack.
Yet, what is often forgotten in the proceeding inevitable chaos and mourning of an ISIS-related terrorist attack, is that this country has been at war with parts of the middle east for 15 years now.
In 2015 it was estimated that around 1.2 Million people have died as direct result of the West’s wars in the middle east following the September 11 attacks. The number could be as high as 2 Million — the truth is nobody really knows, and who is really counting?
The lives of those people are written out of history as if they simply don’t matter — as if they deserved their fate just being born in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The U.S. military’s extensive use of depleted uranium (DU) and white phosphorus in Iraq, has led to a mass of birth defects in Fallujah — the results of which are said to be worse than that of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in World War 2 (yet another western war crime — the effects of which are still felt to those say). The rate of cancer has also substantially increased since the invasion of Iraq.
These children, born in a state of contortion, and mutation are yet more victims of our war in Iraq, strangely, though, unlike Wednesday’s terror victims in London, they have been hidden away from us, as if they simply don’t exist. The use of DU and white phosphorus are considered illegal under the international law, but of course, the war is illegal in the first place — so it seems almost irrelevant at this point to mention it.
The US recently announced that they have used DU yet again, this time in Syria — the effects will no doubt also be horrific. To punish unborn children for the crime of being born in the wrong place at the wrong time — and then we wonder why some in the Islamic world might hate us?
The amount of British service personnel left sick, wounded or psychologically damaged during the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts is said to be as many as 75,000 out of the 220,000 that were deployed according to statistics collated in 2014 — nearly 30% of those who were deployed.
The amount who have died is said to be just above 600 in 2014.
The British services along with other western allies are still in Iraq to this day — fighting a war which we will never win, for reasons that never had anything to with building democracy — a war aim that is now forgotten — looked at as a distant, faint and optimistic fantasy: that’s because it always was.
A war that was based on a pack of see-through lies, and for which those responsible for the horrors of it will most likely face no form of justice. Championed by a media that ignored the realities of the lies that took us to war, preferring instead to simply repeat hysterical, and fraudulent claims about Weapons of Mass Destruction, and Saddam’s links to Jihadists — none of which was true, none of which was even likely to be true.
Failing, as they did to even comprehend the scale of the war they were gunning for, and without any care, for the mass suffering, it was always going to cause. The media now say that they weren’t to know about these obvious lies — perhaps then they should’ve paid more attention to those who protested the war before it even began.
The protests against the war were the biggest protests in history — taking place on a global scale — all, but ignored by the mainstream media, after all, they knew better than we did, they were the enlightened experts.
It was, of course, the much demonized current Labour Leader, Jeremy Corbyn who at the time was one of the few politicians to stand up against the war in Iraq. The media now concedes that they were wrong to champion this war and ignore the people who protested against it — yet, or course they have actually learned nothing as is the ever obedient to power nature of the mainstream media.
We are supposedly locked into a war with Daesh and ISIS — yet those forces increase no matter what the west does. When the western powers rushed into war in Afghanistan in 2001 following the September 11 attacks Jihadi terrorism was all but confined to a small region of Afghanistan — today it has spread outwards across the world — as usual it is the innocent civilians in all of this — in all parts of the world that pay the price for these wars.
Western powers through their reckless actions have substantially increased the amount of terror in the world today — that is because they do not care about the people of the countries they represent, nor anybody else other than their own power elite groups.
And at home, the government also carries out a softer version of a terrorist slaughter of the domestic population: more people have died as result of government policy and austerity since 2010 than British Troops died in the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts since 2001.
The modest number of over 2000 disabled people who died shortly after being found fit for work by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), the hundreds of people who have committed suicide as result of the DWP’s decisions, and the estimated 27,000 people who have died as a result of NHS, and social care cuts.
The government then, it must be said, are the true terrorists — who through neglect and insane hard line “free market” neo-liberal ideology are carrying out slaughter on us all.
Not to mention the brave men and women in our armed forces who they sacrifice through a pointless, brutal war for resources such as oil, and of course the innocent civilians we are responsible for killing and mutating across the world.
This makes the political classes outpourings and faux displays of sympathy all the more disgusting to watch, as they bathe in a juice of hypocrisy. Manufacturing these kinds of self-serving messages delivered with the minimum amount of sincerity that one can imagine.
And then the inevitable rhetoric about “our values” and “freedom” prevailing.
And yet, of course, the opposite will be true — the attacks will be used to justify clampdowns on “our values” and “freedoms” just as they always are.
Another Terrorist Attack — Another Excuse To Increase The Police State
Yesterday’s attack in which the Kent-born, 52-year-old man named Khalid Masood, drove a car into the gates of Westminster Palace, killing 4 people along the way (including a police officer) before being shot dead — will no doubt become an excuse to increase the militarization and surveillance of the state.
ISIS have apparently claimed that they are responsible for the attack — why would a terrorist organization claim anything other than this? They are after all dedicated to spreading terrorism…
The attack itself resembles more of crazy, ex-con lone wolf style killing spree, rather than some sort of highly organized terrorist attack.
It should be no surprise then that Masood indeed is an ex-con with a record stretching back to the early 1980’s for crimes such as GBH.
They are one of the most well-funded terrorist organizations in the world. Leaked emails from The US’ former Secretary of State Hilary Clinton show that the US was well aware of this fact and that ISIS were receiving this funding from the Qatar and Saudi governments.
This, of course, is no surprise, the US and UK government have a long and proud history of supporting Suadi Arabia and Jihadists.
In the Afghanistan conflict of the 1980’s Margaret Thatcher proudly armed jihadists to defeat the Russians, as did her US counterpart Ronald Reagan — and of course Osama Bin Laden was one of the Jihadists we armed.
ISIS may well be one of the most organized, and well-funded terrorist’s groups in the world, yet in the west, it is more of a shambolic and ramshackle affair. Almost all of the ISIS attacks carried out in the west follow the same kind of pattern, carried out by ex-cons acting either in a small group or alone — this is who is attracted to joining ISIS from the west in general, so it should be no surprise that Masood fits the bill.
The anti-terror laws in this country — apparently designed for our own good — will no be further justified now and increased. For our own good and safety (of course).
The terror threat now escalated and of course, security measure increased. This we are told is for our own good — to protect us — yet nothing could be further from the truth.
The anti-terror legislation in our country already allows suspects to be detained for a period of up to 14 days — the longest pre-charge detention of any comparable democracy. In the USA the limit is two days, in Ireland, it is seven, in Italy, it is four.
Meaning that suspects are held without any charge against them because the state does not have convincing evidence to charge them with.
Keeping people imprisoned without being able to present evidence as to why they are imprisoned — we already live in a police state that violates basic principles of civil liberty. No doubt the latest attack will increase this draconian violation.
These draconian laws have already been abused by the state — and in 2015 terrorism arrests hit an all-time high.
The sight of armed police on our streets is becoming increasingly common and unsettling. This summer London Mayor Sadiq Khan announced a massive increase in the amount of armed police to be deployed on the streets of London — this time the reason was because of the French attacks over the summer.
Whether or not increasing the amount of armed police on the streets actually does decrease the likelihood of a terrorist attack is rarely talked about or mentioned — just that we should do it.
Walking around my local shopping center on a quiet Sunday afternoon — Westfields in Stratford a few months ago — were also groups of armed police. Apparently they were there for our safety — apparently living in a police state makes us safer.
By feeding into this kind of clampdown on liberty, and increasing militarisation of our country we help to justify and further the cause of ISIS. The goal of terrorism is to create terror, to restrict freedom and gain control through fear, yet it seems then that our government, yet again is giving the terrorists what they want. ISIS wants a fight with the west, we always give them one.
To understand the potential for these weapons to be turned on the innocent just turn your mind back to the slaughter of Jean Charles de Menezes — an innocent man gunned down by anti-terror police in Stockwell underground station in 2005…The crime, it seems: being a bit too brown.
Of course de Menezes isn’t the only innocent victim of police bullets — they include 7 people gunned down for the crime of displaying signs of mental illness. None of those killed were terrorists either.
Apparently, this is the price we pay to be kept safe by the government.
Our government already openly spies on us and monitors our daily lives. They watch through our webcams, read our emails, and listen in on our phone calls. Again, the justification for this will be increased. It is after all for our own good, isn’t it? As usual terrorist prevention was used as a way to silence those who opposed the so-called ‘Snoopers Charter” bill, which essentially legalised what the government was already doing: spying on us all.
They also condemn the way that politicians use fear to justify these infringements on liberty and privacy.
We already live in one the most surveilled countries in the “free’ world — CCTV cameras recording in abundance our boring daily routines, again they are just there for our own good, and to protect us. No longer limited to just hanging from ceilings, or stalked on street corners, these cameras are now commonly worn on people’s bodies, are attached to drones, and used in a multiple of other ways.
The building of forts around “important areas” of the country that are supposedly at a high level of threat from terrorist attack will also be given further justification, such as this plan to encase the City of London in a wall, with checkpoints along the route — just to make sure “terrorists” don’t get in and do terrorism on bankers. This proposal followed the attacks in Germany just before Christmas 2016.
Of course, the financial sector — with its increasing tyrannies on us all — creating poverty for the majority, killing the environment, creating homelessness, and entrapping us in a life of debt and servitude — that kind of terrorism needs, and requires nanny state protection (that you and I as taxpayers inevitably have to foot the bill for.)
The Muslim Community Will Now Be Further Demonised
Within the lack of understanding, and chaos following these kinds of attacks, of course, the demonization of Islam will become even more justified in the eyes of some. Unable, as they are, to understand that Islamic terror is far from being a popular tool, among many Muslims themselves.
Following the September 11 attacks, for example, many prominent Muslims denounced the attacks and were openly appalled by them.
The former President of Iran Mohammad Khatami expressed the feelings of his country — despite the long-time hostilities between the US and Iran — by saying:
On behalf of the Iranian people and the Islamic Republic, I denounce the terrorist measures, which led to the killing of defenseless people, and I express my deep sorrow and sympathy with the American people.
The idea that one group of people are the bad ones — in this case, the Muslims — is a tactic as old as time for controlling the population and distracting them from the real issues causing the problems in their societies.
It is the hallmark of any fascist and totalitarian society to employ this tactic.
This demonisation of all Muslim’s then, in turn, fuels the propaganda, and justification for ISIS recruitment — who desperately want war with the West — ISIS wants to be seen a danger to the west and at war with it — and they want this to be a war involving as many “true Muslims” as possible. By treating all Muslims as if they are terrorists the West plays right into the hands of Jihadi fundamentalists.
This is not saying that Islamic terror has nothing to do with Islam, the ideology comes from a certain interpretation of Islam — one which incidentally our long -time allies Saudi Arabia are responsible for promoting and teaching throughout the middle-east (due to the similarities this is probably why the Saudia’s are so happy to fund ISIS.)
But this doesn’t mean that all Muslims are terrorists, most are not, and most are as appalled as anybody by terrorism whoever is carrying in out. Yes, Islam can be used to motivate some people to carry out acts of atrocity — but as discussed earlier so can so-called principles and rhetoric about spreading democracy. The Bible can also be used to justify war — as many graveyards throughout history can testify too — as can “science” in the form of eugenics which, for example, which saw the slaughter of thousands of jews in the holocaust, and the annihilation of indigenous people by western powers throughout the world.
The majority of Muslims are peaceful that is clear — the reasons why some of them are taking up arms, and carry out terrorist attacks should be understood, rather than simply screamed at by the West who fail to understand the complexities of the wars that their governments have started, and the players on the world stage such as Suadi Arabia — whom our governments have always and no doubt will continue to support.
He was also the President who started the Muslim ban — a fact which has been distorted after Trump extended the framework laid by Obama for his own Muslim ban — a Muslim ban which went much further than Obama’s. None the less, though, Obama did start the Muslim ban, and unlike Trump’s the media was all too happy to ignore it, illustrating hypocrisy at the heart of the establishment.
It is OK to be Islamophobic, it seems, so long as you do it in the right way.
And, of course, at home we have our beloved Prime Minister Theresa May, who as Home Secretary a few years ago designed billboards attached to the side of vans driven around the country with the words “GO HOME OR FACE ARREST” written in big letters on the side of them — a clear, crude and ridiculous attempt at demonising immigrants — one that is said to have only lead to 11 immigrants actually leaving the country.
But, of course, it wasn’t about immigrants leaving, it was about demonising anybody who’s different for the reasons described above — a tactic commonly used by totalitarian dictators such as our own unelected ruler, known formally as the PM.
May’s immigrant bashing van seemed more like a Chris Morris sketch than a real thing, yet it sadly was a real thing.
May also openly refuses to allow in lone refugee children fleeing from wars that we’ve created — Muslims, innocent children — but most importantly just humans who deserve a better life – into the country. After agreeing to take in around 3,000 May slammed the door on these lone children, after generously allowing in just 350 of them.
These are the acceptable forms it seems of Islamaphobia, touted by world leaders as if they are ever acceptable. At least with Trump, the media goes into a fit when he says something, or does something bigoted — they all but ignore it when other world leaders do similar bigoted and disgusting things.
This week’s tragic events deserve the compassion of us all to be given to those victims — and it is in this spirit that I would like to offer to my compassion and thoughts to the victims, but I would also like to extend that compassion and thought to the victims of the multiple atrocities across the world carried out by my government.
We as members of the general population are the ones who pay the highest price for terrorist activity, whether it be carried out in the form of corporate tyranny, state brutality, or Jihadist Islamic fundamentalism.
There can be no doubt that only real winners in all of this are the power systems who gain justification to increase their stranglehold on our liberties, all in the name of protecting us.
The media no doubt will continue to champion the lives of the innocent in our country, and ignore the lives of the innocent who we are responsible for killing in the countries we are in illegal wars with.
The terrorists are easy to spot when they’re dressed like Jihadists and standing next to an ISIS flag with a big sword — they are not so easy to see when they are wearing suits and nice clothes — running the very centers of power that we are all taught to blindly respect, and obey so much.
Yet, the similarities between these groups, have over recent years become impossible to ignore.
Prominent Left-wing commentariat, activist and author Owen Jones has become an increasingly divisive figure among the left, and socialists ever since Jeremy Corbyn was elected Leader of the Labour Party in September 2015.
Jones’ often hysterical, but sometimes valid criticisms of Corbyn has been met with a wide-range of opinion from the socialist left (and Corbyn) supporters in general — who have questioned — quite reasonably — the motivations, validity, and belief of Jones in the work that Jones does and the causes he claims to support.
The situation has lead to widespread confusion about who Jones is — this has not been helped by the fact that Jones increasingly uses ill-thought through and intellectually lazy arguments to shut down debates with those that challenge him (such as claiming that people are accusing him of being part of a right-wing conspiracy as a way out of answering justified questions about his involvement in certain political groups.)
It is within this context— this confusion— that I think it appropriate to examine just who Jones is, what he represents, and what his goals are likely to be. This is not intended to be some sort of guide on Owen Jones, but rather a much-needed look at what the available evidence is likely to indicate about Jones so that we can hope to gain some clarity within this confusion, and thus increase our understanding of this occasionally divisive, but none the less influential and important member of the educated, opinion forming, political class.
Studying Jones — trying to unravel who he really is — is in many ways like trying to crack some sort of enigma — a task which causes multiple headaches along the way.
The headaches however I believe are worth it — hopefully, from this, we can gain some clarity, and finally un-crack the enigma that is Owen Jones.
The Role Of Owen Jones In The Media
Jones is in some ways a difficult character to pin down — he seems to be in favour of much of what Corbyn supporters are in favour of too, yet for various reasons (which we will get into later) no longer supports him. In order to understand Jones and more importantly his purpose within the structure of the media, we have to look at who he is, and what he really represents.
Jones has one of the most important roles within the mainstream media: that of defining the limits of the debate on the left in the mainstream media: meaning this far and no further. Anything left-wing or socialist beyond what Jones supports has almost no voice within the mainstream media and is considered dangerously outside of the acceptable spectrum of debate.
Jones himself has mentioned this theory in his work — noting the importance of the Overton Window: the limits within which mainstream political debate is acceptable to discuss, and anything outside of those pre-determined limits is viewed as dangerous or crazy — presumably (from what I can gather) Jones considers himself to be at the very limits of this mainstream spectrum — this shows us that he views himself as being the limits of debate on the left, therefore illustrating that he is aware of his role in constraining the limits of the left within the mainstream media.
Quite different from the way in which other members of the left — those slightly further to the left of Jones are treated within the mainstream media. For instance, Ken Loach who in some respects is slightly further to the left than Jones and embodies more of the “dangerous” socialist traditions, such as consistently supporting Palestinian rights (and has stood by Corbyn, and his movement) — although sometimes given a mainstream platform — is often treated as if he is a crazy, dangerous, radical outsider, and described as a member of the “hard left” “Trot” “Marxist” or “revolutionary” as a way to discredit the impact of his work. We saw much of this kind of language banded about when Loach was promoting “I, Daniel Blake”. Loach was embraced by some of the establishment and praised in terms of his “fictional work”.
This is evidenced not only by the way that Jones is allowed to have a voice on mainstream platforms but also the fact that so many members of the media establishment — ironically the same establishment which Jones wrote about and criticized in his 2014 book called The Establishment — wrote sparklingly positive reviews about. The reviews of The Establishment illustrate how Jones is seen as the daring and challenging voice of the left, with a breathtaking insight into politics and the issues of the left.
Unsurprisingly the left-leaning papers heaped praise upon him.
Yet, some of the most sterling praise came from right-wing papers, such The Spectator’s well known Conservative writer Mathew Parris, and the Evening Standard.
This illustrates how Jones exists to limit the frame of debate on the left within the mainstream platform, is accepted by the mainstream, and yet appears to be fiercely challenging it. Jones’ critique and awareness of the so-called Overton Window is almost like a post-modern form of media critique from a left-leaning perspective.
Jones tells us what the Overton Window is and that he sits outside of it — yet the evidence demonstrates the opposite, he doesn’t sit outside of it, but rather at the limits of it, defining the left at the most extreme spectrum that is allowed within the mainstream media. In The Establishment Jones noted that he was hoping through his work to reshape the Overton Window and bring the mainstream spectrum back to the left — yet when it comes to stepping outside of the limits he has established it appears to be a rather different matter.
Jones Is The Acceptable & Safe Face Of Socialism In The Media
This essentially means that Jones is the acceptable, clean and safe face of socialism in the media. This is why Jones is allowed to speak on Question Time, Daily Politics, and write for the Guardian. His voice and his brand of socialism is the acceptable one to the mainstream media — he doesn’t challenge to any great degree the status quo of political debate, nor does he seriously challenge the fundamentals which drive it.
Jones opposes capitalists brutality, but does he oppose capitalism altogether?
Owen Jones Is An Opinion Former — Who Does He Appeal To? And Who Listens To Him?
As we have established Jones plays an exceptionally important role in the media, that of setting the limitations of the debate on the left, this, in turn, means that his opinion can be used to manage, and influence the opinions of the public and in particular those who listen to him, buy his books and read his articles, etc. Jones of course mainly writes opinion pieces, stressing a heavy emphasis here on OPINION.
It is this opinion which then can be used to shape talking points within the mainstream media, and be repeated by those that absorb them in the general public — particularly as it pertains to the left.
Based on YouGov’s extensive survey data we can see that Jones appeals mainly to “ABC1” which is generally defined as meaning middle class. People in professions such as middle management, law, etc, typically university educated. This is by far the group who Jones appeals to the most — his reach to this group fits in pretty much in line with the national average — the people who like him from this group are most likely to be the educated professional, somewhat influential Guardian reading types.
We can see that Jones has a pretty much average following with the “C2DE” group (working class). This group is defined as people who work in skilled manual occupations, the semi-skilled, and unemployed — typically without a degree level education.
We can see that Corbyn has an almost identical split in terms of class following — he has a wide appeal to a similar percentage of the middle-classes as Jones. But with some key differences, Corbyn has above average approval from the working class, and below average favorability with the middle classes.
And it is these middle-class voters who are increasingly becoming the key to winning elections. As this chart illustrates New Labour’s share of the middle-class vote ensured victory at the 1997 General Election — the working class support for New Labour was massive compared to just 13 years later.
The working class fled the Labour Party (however according to YouGov the working class has itself declined over the years). The fact that the working class fled from Labour — the traditional base — is the reason that Labour lost the last two general elections.
Corbyn is correct to say that this is the reason Labour keeps losing, the working class base has been abandoned, given up, gone to UKIP/the Tories, that’s why we need to bring them back to win.
We can also compare the age groups that Jones and Corbyn appeal to.
Both Jones and Corbyn have an above average appeal to young people — the 18-24 demographic for Corbyn being quite astounding when you consider that he is a politician in his mid-60’s! Both Jones and Corbyn have a surprising favorable margin with older people too.
This means that many of those who take an interest in Jones and listen to his views are also likely to be interested in Corbyn. Those views can then, in turn, shape views of Corbyn.
Corbyn’s appeal to both these groups is a real achievement — both the young and working class poor have all but abandoned politics over the last 30-40 years. This has been a point of great concern for many years now, as illustrated by this article from LSE.
Corbyn’s potential to reach both and activate them into participating in democracy and actively taking part is in many ways a breakthrough that was both unexpected, and much needed.
The ability of Corbyn to reach these groups — if maximised through mass popular action and support is enough to win the next general election.
Perhaps unintentionally — and perhaps with good intentions — Jones is potentially dissuading these groups from supporting Corbyn on the basis that Corbyn’s current strategy which utilises their enthusiasm and support, cannot actually win.
The political apathy of the working class, poor and young is particularly justified given the obvious reality that the lower down you are on the income scale (ie class scale) the less important you are too political parties both left and right. Those at the bottom of the income scale barely get anything they want from politics — those higher up — whose votes and opinions are considered more important do get a little bit more of what they want. The young of course are becoming increasingly poor — we are the poorest generation since World War 2 — a fact often overlooked by the mainstream media.
The importance of the middle-class vote cannot be underestimated and it has been relied upon by both parties for so long now — logically in the mind of strategists and commentators like Jones it is not possible for Labour to win without middle England.
The education system, for example, is basically tailored towards getting middle-class votes. The best state schools exist in middle-class areas, and are attended by middle-class children — those children will then go on to the best universities, and generally are more likely to enjoy better opportunities.
That is why both parties gravitate towards trying to win the votes of the middle classes — they need somebody to vote for them after all — and it is clear by now that both parties have given up on the working-class vote as they simply don’t need it to get into power — they have for the last 40 years had no interest in trying to reach the working class voters. However, of course, as we know by now it’s those the very top who get pretty much everything they want.
In some ways this explains the split that Jones is causing among the left at the moment, he appeals to these two groups and tries to please both.
Those in the middle classes who consider themselves to be socialists on the left — the Guardian reading types — the “educated” opinion-forming class — who absorb the opinions of the “educated” and “articulate” opinion forming left journalists such as Jones — and are concerned with the issues that Jones comments on, but are not necessarily feeling the brunt of the the capitalist system and the pain inflicted on them by the Tories.
And the second group — working class — who really is feeling the brunt of the pain inflicted on them by capitalism and the Tories. Jones also appeals to them, however, this group may be the ones more interested in a deeper more fundamental change in politics itself.
As they are the ones suffering at the hands of all this, they are the ones who don’t just want superficial change, they want real change to reverse the neo-liberal agenda. And can see that Corbyn really does mean what he says, and have simply had enough of being beaten down by power.
For us it is not just unpleasant and disgusting that the DWP is killing people — these are our friends, our families, and we have everyday experience of living through this hell.
The marrying of these two groups is a testament to the blurring of class lines in political allegiance, the general abandonment of the working class and young by politics and new commonalities that they have found over the years.
The middle-classes (traditionally Conservative voters) have also become increasingly affected by the Tories intensely aggressive neo-liberal agenda, meaning that the struggles of the working class have also become the struggles of the middle-class.
For instance, Junior Dr’s going on strike over pay — almost unthinkable that people in one of the most highly regarded professions in the world would have to go on strike for better working conditions and pay — and yet this is a commonality which unites two quite different groups, and therefore interest in commentators like Jones.
The middle classes are also been attracted to Labour — particularly younger people — because of Labour’s perceived progressive stance on social issues such as racism, sexism, and xenophobia.
From this I think we can safely say that Corbyn and Jones have quite a similar following, therefore this means that Jones is key in forming opinions on Corbyn — given that Jones has a level of middle-class followers, of the same age-range as Corbyn supporters I really do believe that Jones is instrumental in shaping the way that Corbyn is viewed by the middle-class left-leaning educated — those who in turn have been increasingly chased for votes when it comes to election time from Labour. Not to mention that as an early Corbyn supporter, Jones was likely instrumental in helping Corbyn to get elected the first time round (maybe not so much the second).
This is similar to (one) of the line that splits the criticism of Jones as well. The middle classes who identify with Jones believe that he is a knowledgeable, educated person who we should all listen to what he has to say and take his advice seriously. The working class, however, see him as yet another member of the elite telling us what to do — telling us that our beliefs are crazy and stupid.
This also reflects the split in the Labour party itself, the corporate neo-liberal left “Blairites” and the working class/socialists. With-in this spectrum Jones sits between the two groups — and acts a sort of spokesperson negating between the two. However, rather than uniting to them he is splitting them further along these established class and party lines.
This is a great shame, and perhaps the worst thing about Jones, if he was to help Labour supporters unite rather than divide, then this would almost certainly be our best path to victory at the next election.
Whether or not Jones realises it, his endless talk of Labour dying in the polls is neglecting the fact that if a Corbyn led Labour Party unites and plays its cards right it could activate those lost from politics — that Corbyn and Jones have started reaching out too — and with enough effort win the next general election. The numbers are there, the interest sparked — it is now a matter of how to use it, rather than waste it.
Owen Jones’ Background
Jones grew up in what would be classified as a middle-class household (by all standard measures) his mother worked as IT lecturer at Salford University, and his father was a local authority worker and trade union shop steward.
Jones studied at Oxford University to masters level, going on to work as a trade union lobbyist, and then to serve as a parliamentary researcher for the current shadow Chancellor John McDonnell (Jones’ current attacks on McDonnell and Corbyn may seem odd given the fact he used to work for him — we’ll get to that later.) Jones family is well known to have socialist links, and politics plays an important role in their lives. Jones has said that his father was a member of the communist party in the 30’s (actually not that rare at the time).
Oxford remains one of the most class driven elitist institutions in the country, in 2016 90% of its students came from middle-class and above backgrounds.
The students within institutions (like Oxford) who call themselves leftists or Labour tends to have the Jones style socialist ideas kind of built into their heads. Having met a few of these people, I’m sorry to say that they tend to be very elitists and frankly snobbish, I’m not saying that Jones is — however, the strand of young socialist bred in these institutions, the kind that then goes on to work for the Labour Party or left-leaning think tanks are usually the most out of touch with the general population you could ever meet.
Considering the appeal of Corbyn to young people — which is down to policy, not because he listens to 2nd wave grime music and gains some sort of great understanding young people from this — well, not my knowledge anyway — these are the kinds of topics, this strand of Labour Party insider/ “socialists” come up with, and they pose questions like this quite seriously.
This is just how lost and out of touch, they are with reality. Their current leader has connected to many young people already, yet they can’t accept that and instead are prepared to waste time asking questions about how to attract young people to politics. The answer is obvious: policy. The same way you attract anybody to politics.
This is the strand of “socialism” that gets bred within these elitist institutions.
Interestingly Corbyn also attended elitist institutions when he was young: a prep school and a grammar school, and his background is also very middle class. However, he never pursued higher education and left his local polytechnic at 18 with two E-grade A-Levels, before going on to pursue a life in political activism and parliament. This shows a key difference between Corbyn and many others the political class — a lack of obedience to unjustifiable authority (academia) — very different from Jones’ path.
Is Owen Jones A Socialist?
Jones claims to be a socialist and then gets angry when people accuse him of not being one. The simple fact is he is a socialist, but there are different kinds of socialism.
The basis of any socialism is generally accepted to be that the workers control the means of production. That is the starting point of socialism, and from this springs different forms.
Arguably the most “extreme” form of socialism is that of libertarian-socialism/anarcho-syndicalism — a system which at its core believes that workers should control/own the means of production, and should be united (rather than in competition) with other federated organisations through free workers association.
Within this system, all levels of society would be democratically controlled by the people of that society. The institutions within such a society would all be democratically controlled and held to the highest level of scrutiny — if those institutions could not hold themselves to this wide-spread democratic justification then they would be dismantled and re-built (if needed).
The effects of such a society would mean an end to all forms of corporate/state/supported capitalist tyranny — as well as other destructive forces of unjustifiable institutions and authority. The structure of class divides — based on such unjustified authority would cease to exist, as within this structure arbitrary class-based hierarchies would be dismantled.
The other core feature of any form of socialism is the redistribution of wealth (inherently present in the anarcho model, but also a common theme to any socialist system. )
This can take many forms — it is not just taxing the rich and giving to the poor and deserving (such as the welfare state) but also applied to wider social institutions such as healthcare, schools, etc.
The Owen Jones style of socialism if far less ambitious than the libertarian-socialist view, and fits more in line with the classic Labour Party left view — about as socialist as the Labour Party has ever been or is likely to ever be.
If you get past the rhetoric about “fairness” and “social justice” that Jones talks about, and look at the actual policies that he advocates, they really just represent a very modest left-wing program, based on some socialist ideas — but at the core of it remains the capitalist structure, and extends the power of the state.
Jones often speaks of “public ownership” of the rails, or the banks, but really this is just state ownership. Jones says that these publicly owned concerns would have members of the public sitting on the boards of the directors, or some sort of similar public representation, thus eradicating the charge that these would actually be state-owned concerns rather than publicly owned ones.
He bizarrely cites Germany as an example of what he envisions to be the correct system with which to model certain socialist ideas on. For example, having worker representation on the boards in companies. This policy was recently advocated by Theresa May, who then dropped it quietly a few months later — an indication that far from opposing capitalism as any true form of socialism would — Jones’ version is more about making capitalism less brutal.
The fact that Jones calls his beliefs socialist is correct in some ways, but from the broader perspective of what is generally accepted to be socialist, he is being very modest in his approach. At the core of pretty much any form of socialism is the concept of ridding the world of capitalist tyranny altogether and putting ownership into the hands of the people.
What Jones presents is quite different in this respect, it is more of a hybrid of socialism and capitalism. When you look at what Jones proposes it is really just a kinder more socially ‘responsible” version of capitalism.
Jones then — considering the scope of socialism — presents the very safe face of what is called socialism within the mainstream media. He is the acceptable, middle-class, educated and experienced voice of socialism for the mainstream media. Jones advocates some socialism, but largely leaves the capitalist system unchecked, preferring instead to make alterations to the capitalist system in order to make it slightly more like socialism.
The principles of socialism — that workers should control the means of production — thus eradicating capitalism is not only a popular idea among the population, it is clearly the best way to run any society, it is the most natural way that you can think off. The idea that you rent yourself to the capitalist class — who are making millions off of your work — and controlling the important decisions around your life, and society and the world at large — and then selling those same products that you’ve slaved over back to you, is inherently degrading, demeaning , miserable and un-natural.
The capitalist system contains within it so much misery, that it is vital to always repress alternatives to it. Efforts at every level of society are made to stop us from realising what is right in front of our noses. Not that socialism is some sort of radical idea of the loony left, but that socialism is just a normal way to think about how the world should be run.
If every level of society was democratically run — the responsibility shared by the people — then how different would it be?
For example, rather than having clueless ministers sitting in Whitehall commanding teachers what to teach, how to teach etc, and allowing them no scope to use their own creativity, experience and initiative —how different would it be if those teachers actually made the syllabus themselves? Taught the way that they felt it be best to teach? Decided on how best to spend the funds allocated to the school, by the community? The community itself also helping to hold to account the school for its job, and the education of its children. The children themselves could also play a role within this — when old enough to decide what they interested in and how they what they would like to learn. This is just one small example of how democratization in the broader sense could work.
This kind of democratisation through socialism represents the most obvious thing that the population is told it cannot ever have. That we should be in control of our own lives, communities, and decisions — not living under the rule of those who have no interest in doing anything other than maintaining a system of state-capitalist-corporate tyranny.
These are the kinds of creative ideas, and possibilities that I think any socialist should be making. They are not the kinds of ideas that Jones puts forward.
This is why the charge that Jones isn’t a real socialist, in my opinion, does hold weight. He speaks in some of the languages of socialism and presents some of the ideas of socialism, but concedes that ultimately the capitalist structure will remain no matter what. Jones may not be a “real” socialist in the broad sense, but certain it’s unfair to say he isn’t a socialist at all — he believes in some elements of socialism, but not an end to capitalist tyranny.
There is nothing wrong with this position, but I think the confusion around it really requires thought and understanding as opposed to assuming that Jones is a full blown socialist and then beating him for not being one. He isn’t really claiming to be — so don’t expect it.
Is He Genuinely Trying to Do the Right Thing?
I believe that Jones is being completely honest when he says he passionately believes in what he says and does — I do not doubt this, he does believe he is right and that he’s acting in the best interests of what he believes in. However, there is no reason to accept that this means he is right about what he says.
This is why he should embrace and accept criticisms of his work, and try his best to understand the anger that he is sparking, some of which I think is justified.
Jones Acts as a Middle-Man Between the Two Factions Of Labour Party
As I said earlier Jones essentially acts as a sort middle man between the two main factions of the Labour Party: that of the more left leaning socialists (Corbyn supporters/ people that want actual change) and the Neo-Liberal left New Labour style. This is reflected by the fact that he often doesn’t take clear positions on key policies that define the left.
For instance, Jones has kind of flip-flopped on the Trident Nuclear upgrades program. Corbyn is a strong opponent of nuclear weaponry — and so has opposed the Trident upgrades, this is the classic stance on the issue of the left-wing socialists, yet Jones who once appeared to oppose the upgrade...
…later changed his opinion — turning the issue into a discussion which must be heard.
He states that the Left has failed to convince people to descale nuclear arms — perhaps this is because the arguments against nuclear arms have not been heard properly? In this sense a debate should be had — and the many good arguments against Trident should be heard, yet it seems that left-wing commentators such as Jones are unable to construct a coherent viable narrative against Trident.
The fact that we have a mainstream socialist commentator who doesn’t seem to be able to construct a strong convincing case against Trident — upgrading of nuclear weapons — at a time when destruction from the threat of a pointless and dangerous nuclear war has never been greater (The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists recently announced that the hands of the doomsday clock have been placed at two and a half minutes to midnight — the closest to midnight that they have been since the height of the Cold War in the 80’s.)
The fact that the upgrade will cost us billions in a deal which esssentally hands taxpayers money to arms manufacturers — basically giving them a blank cheque — just so that they can increase there already massive misery driven profits, at a time when we should be de-escalating our nuclear arms capability in line with our obligations under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) is pretty shocking. The fact that a prominent left wing commentator is unable to challenge this even more shocking.
I don’t think there are any mainstream commentators who have seriously opposed the Trident upgrade, whether on the left or right. Again this is a testament to the narrowness of the debate, and illustrates the ways in which Jones is used to limits the frame of debate on the left: if even the most left-wing socialist commentator in the mainstream media thinks that the Trident upgrade requires much debate — without being able to offer a strong argument against it, and seems to belive that the left has lost on the issue, then it follows that anybody who thinks it is a bad thing and the simple fact that we should oppose it just on principle and our legal obligations is considered too far-left and on the fringes of any debate on the issue. Infact they are considered to be wasting time, debating matters which have already been settled — according to Jones’ opinion that is.
Jones says that the left has failed to make the case against the upgrade, yet this survey shows that the majority of young people are not in favour of nuclear arms in general, and made great efforts towards getting thier voices heard by policy makers — all of which appear to have been ignored. Given the lifespan of the weaponry, why was this not even mentioned in the mainstream debates?
If the public were exposed to the real debate, including the actual dangers of nuclear arms, illustrated quite perfectly by the £13 Million Trident test missile which accidentally launched in the wrong direction and was subsequently covered up by Theresa May a few months ago — just as the Trident bill was being out through Parliament — as well as a whole host of other times we have come close to nuclear war due to the systems being accidentally activated (we are frankly lucky to still be here when you learn about them.) Then perhaps the public would change its mind, certainly it would be enough to convince a majority of young people who are already leaning in that direction.
If Jones presented the full spectrum of the arguments against Trident then perhaps opinion really would change in favour, of de-scaling nuclear arms. I don’t feel like the “debate” has ever been had, and there are certainly many good arguments we can use to mobilise against Trident. Many other countries have given up nuclear arms, we’re one of the last ones left to still have them, let alone upgrade.
Part 1 — Conclusion
We can see then that Jones is exceptionally important for framing issues within the media, and containing those of the left to within reasonably safe limits — his opinion is used to influence (in particular) the middle-class educated opinion-formers who vote for the Labour Party, or may vote for them. The same group that has become increasingly important in winning elections since over the neo-liberal period. But are not the key to winning elections in the future — this can and should come from mass popular support from the working class, and poor joined in unity with current Labour supporters.
The opinions that Jones expresses of the left and Corbyn — due to his mainstream reach also shape wider political mainstream narrative and debate. This means that his opinion of the core issues is often seen as some sort of benchmark by which the state of the left can be judged and decided upon from across all areas of the spectrum. In this way Jones’ opinions of Corbyn — if incorrect as I believe many of them to be, are actually more likely to be damaging to Corbyn than outright attacks from the right-wing establishment, the Murdoch press etc.
Jones acts a middle man between the two factions of the Labour Party and a spokesperson between the two in order to bring the two groups together — but increasingly this is becoming a separation due to his opinions. Jones (often) does not do a good job of presenting the core values of the left, in the sense that he often caves into arguments — such as Trident — without taking into account the full scope of the evidence. This represents a pattern of behavior by Jones of always trying to navigate this middle ground between the two main factions of the Labour Party/supporters — rather than fighting extensively for the views he claims to espouse.
In the next part we examine the relationship between Corbyn and Jones — and the reasons why Jones swapped his early support for Corbyn, the arguments he presented for this, the reasons that these arguments — many of which do not hold up under scrutiny — have come under fire, and Jones’ reaction to these criticisms of his work.