The – now very real – prospect of house arrest at the order of Mr Rupert Murdoch

This entry was posted on
Friday, January 28th, 2005
8:16 am and is filed
under George W. Bush, It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s Lovely!, Rupert ‘The Evil One’ Murdoch, The War on Stupid, Tony ‘King Blair.

Seymour Hersh – “We’ve Been Taken Over by a Cult”: …the amazing thing is we are been taken over basically by a cult, eight or nine neo-conservatives have somehow grabbed the government. Just how and why and how they did it so efficiently, will have to wait for much later historians and better documentation than we have now, but they managed to overcome the bureaucracy and the Congress, and the press, with the greatest of ease. It does say something about how fragile our Democracy is. You do have to wonder what a Democracy is when it comes down to a few men in the Pentagon and a few men in the White House having their way… there’s been a tremendous sea change in the government. A concentration of power…. We’re nowhere. The press is nowhere. The congress is nowhere. The military is nowhere. Every four-star General I know is saying, “Who is going to tell them we have no clothes?” Nobody is going to do it. Everybody is afraid to tell Rumsfeld anything. That’s just the way it is. It’s a system built on fear. It’s not lack of integrity, it’s more profound than that. Because there is individual integrity. It’s a system that’s completely been taken over – by cultists.

How can they get away with such a thing you ask?

In a word; television.

How Democracy Was Subverted in Peru: What they found was a stunningly bold and effective effort to circumvent three institutions key to maintaining democracy in Peru: the judiciary, the legislature, and the media. “Montesinos and Fujimori maintained the facade of democracy – the citizens voted, judges decided, the media reported – but they drained its substance,” McMillan and Zoido wrote. What’s more, by analyzing the size of the bribes, they demonstrate that the media, or more specifically, television, has become the most forceful of the checks and balances that underpin constitutional government.

But this is also enabled by an echo chamber in the press and on Teh Interwebs. And money. Lots and lots of dirty money.

McPaper – Report: PR spending doubled under Bush: The Bush administration has more than doubled its spending on outside contracts with public relations firms during the past four years, according to an analysis of federal procurement data by congressional Democrats.

Now, let’s turn our heads toward home…

Europhobia: As Clarke also told Channel Four News presenter Jon Snow, it is the media’s job to help the government spread “the truth” about the terrorists lurking around every corner, in the wardrobe, under the bed and behind the curtains (gotta love the Murdoch press). If the media carries on questioning the government, people might start to think that our wondrous leadership is doing things wrong. We can’t have that now, can we?

It almost sounds as if we’re going to end up with a system where people are detained without trial.. unless it’s a trial-by-media. Hang on a mo; retract “It almost sounds like…”

The Sun – I stayed at terror camp with Osama: One of the four Camp Delta prisoners now walking Britain’s streets came face to face with Osama Bin Laden in a terror camp, court documents reveal.

Court documents? Why, that almost suggests that this man had a trial. If so, then that’s news to me. Anyway, he’s been convicted by Murdoch, and that’s what counts…

The Sun – Truly terrifying: From his own mouth, Briton Richard Belmar admits that he was trained as a Muslim terrorist. He confirms he came face to face with al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden in Afghanistan. He reveals he was a disciple of Abu Qatada – Bin Laden’s so-called “Ambassador in Europe”. These admissions were not made under fear of torture but in a military tribunal with lawyers present. And yet Belmar is a free man. Despite warnings from the Pentagon that America considers Belmar a threat to security, Britain has taken him from the safety of Camp X-Ray in Cuba and set him loose in London. The transcript of Belmar’s legal hearing casts grave doubts on the wisdom of that action.

Ah, I see. When they say ‘court’, they mean a US military tribunal… one that has no bearing on this man’s legal status in this country. But trial-by-media operates a little differently, as you may well expect.

Oh, and I just love that – because he wasn’t actually strapped into a chair and being beaten at the time – The Scum presents Belmar’s statements to this tribunal as being untainted by 2+ years of incarcaration without hope of release, solitary confinement and torture.

Anyway, getting back to the burning beans, that nice Mr Murdoch is taking the assurances of the Bush administration and feeding them to the British public as ‘proof’. And – as Charles Clarke seems to think – it is their duty to do so.

You may want to revisit a few public reactions to the release of these men and see how many arguments in favour of their continued detention rely on total belief in their guilt. This belief is based largely on what they are fed by butt-munching neo-con media barons like Murdoch, who take ‘evidence’ that’s deemed inadmissible in this country, bypass all of that ‘due process’ nonsense and go straight to the lynching.

You may also want to get in touch with Mr Clarke today and have a few words. You can do so via his homepage (which helpfully advises us that Mr Clarke is still Secretary of State for Education and Skills, and therefore is well-placed to teach those pesky terrorists a lesson or two).

UPDATE (Feb 1) – Washington Post – Judge Rules Detainee Tribunals Illegal: A federal judge ruled yesterday that the Bush administration must allow prisoners at the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to contest their detention in U.S. courts, concluding that special military reviews established by the Pentagon as an alternative are illegal. U.S. District Judge Joyce Hens Green said that the approximately 550 men held as “enemy combatants” are entitled to the advice of lawyers and to confront the evidence against them in those proceedings. But, she found, the Defense Department has largely denied them these “most basic fundamental rights” during the reviews conducted at Guantanamo Bay, in the name of protecting the United States from terrorism.

About Tim Ireland

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