Archive | July 10th, 2011

Will the IsraHell Lobby Cause the Republicans to Lose the Presidential Race Again?

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by James Buchanan

 

 

The 2012 election should be a slam-dunk for Republicans. All we need to do is find a candidate who is tough on immigration and a lot like Ronald Reagan to run against Obama and his trillion-plus deficits and Depression-level economy. There’s just one little problem. A secret cabal decides who gets to be the Republican candidate, which is why we have been stuck with candidates like Bob Dole, Gerald Ford and John McCain. Ronald Reagan should have been the Republican candidate for president in 1976, but he was forced to wait until he was a very old man before he was allowed to run for president.

Most Americans don’t realize that both the Democrat and Republican candidates have to get a seal of approval from the IsraHell Lobby before they can run for president.

If you don’t have a kosher seal of approval, like Pat Buchanan or Ron Paul, expect to be smeared as a “Nazi” or totally ignored by the Jewish news media as if your presidential campaign doesn’t even exist.

And it gets worse than that. You’ll need poll-watchers and even if 70 percent of Republicans support you, don’t expect to win any primaries unless they’ve gotten rid of those Diebold machines and even then there’s a chance of last minute vote fraud.

One famous video from the 2008 GOP primary shows a spreadsheet with vote totals for McCain, Ron Paul and the other candidates. Paul is getting the largest vote totals in the towns of New Hampshire by a large margin with only the “tough on immigration” candidate Tom Tancredo giving him any competition. The boring RINO Romney’s column was about 20 percent of Paul’s numbers, and John McCain was frequently getting just single digits with a lot of zeroes for the vote totals in the towns of New Hampshire.

Most conservative White people that I know, want someone who is tough on immigration as a first priority. Because McCain supported an illegal alien Amnesty in 2007, he is seen as a traitor, who would destroy America just to advance his political career. It was absolutely no surprise to me to see ones and zeroes in McCain’s column for various towns because most informed conservatives absolutely hate him.

The IsraHell Lobby however loved McCain, and the final vote tally appeared to have the columns switched between Paul and McCain. The least popular Republican candidate literally became the “most popular” candidate with some voter fraud, a few phony opinion polls and the Jewish media telling people that they had to choose between McCain and Romney when the real choice should have been between Tom Tancredo and Ron Paul.

The Jews will not only give you terrible media coverage if you don’t have their approval; apparently outright vote fraud is another hazard that awaits a patriotic candidate, who doesn’t support America’s current slavish support of IsraHell and the “open borders” policy that high-level Jews have always promoted.

Perhaps a good analogy is that our government is a lot like the Egyptian government under Mubarak which was recently overthrown. The elections in Egypt were a total sham and everyone knew it. After years of phony elections, millions of people woke up to the vote thievery and started taking to the streets to protest crooked elections. We desperately need that to happen in the US before anything will change.

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Petition to tackle the rise of Islamophobia

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To:  British Government

Islamophobic crime and hate speech has been on the increase in recent years without any effective government or police action

There have been some very high profile Islamophobic attacks on Muslims and Mosques all over the UK:
• A Muslim pensioner died from his injuries a week after he was ambushed outside the mosque and beaten unconscious by an anti-Muslim gang in front of his terrified 3 year-old granddaughter.
• Imams have been attacked by Islamophobic thugs, entering the mosque and gauging their eyes.
• Many mosques have been attacked with firebombs, bricks and even pigs’ heads, or vandalised and scrawled with hateful graffiti.
• Muslim sisters have had their scarves pulled off in the street and been spat at and verbally abused.

Islamophobic hate speech from Politicians and media outlets:
1. Boris Johnson – ‘Islam is the problem’ comment (Source: The Spectator, 16th July 2005)
2. ‘All Muslims, like all dogs, share certain characteristics’ (Source: The Guardian, 2nd May 2003)
3. Phil Woolas – Supports banning of Hijab in schools (Source: timesonline.co.uk)

We are demanding:
1. MPs sign an EDM for parliamentary debate on legislation to ban Islamophobic crimes & hate speech
2. The Police publish annual statistics on crimes against Muslims motivated by Islamophobia
3. The Government ban the English Defence League (EDL) for inciting hatred against Muslims

I agree that Islamophobia is a real and serious threat to Muslims and it should be countered at every level

Sincerely,

The Undersigned

View Current Signatures

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Independence Day Reflections

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Why should the UNALIENABLE rights  proudly celebrated by Americans on the 4th of July not be extended to humans everywhere?

by Paul J Balles

No matter what Biblical right has been claimed by Israel for six decades of the subjugation of Palestinians and the theft of their land, America violates its own most basic principles by failing to support Palestinian statehood.

I’m writing this on the 4th of July, the American Independence Day.  In America and on US military bases and embassies around the world, it’s a day for celebration of a memorable day in 1776.

It’s a day for outdoor barbecues–hotdogs, beer and beans–and fireworks, like independence days everywhere.

Revellers often use the holiday to toast the country’s founding fathers who, like Washington, Jefferson, Madison and Franklin were revolutionary signers of the Declaration of Independence.

Their names and those of Adams, Jay and Hamilton to a lesser degree, have been memorialized in the names of cities, streets and institutions everywhere in America.

Though much of the history of American independence is unknown by many, a few notable remnants from the declaration have become widely known, the most popular being:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

The slogan that permeated the air during the revolution, like all chants of revolutionaries, has been equally famous: “No taxation without representation” they repeated.

The British parliament under King James II had insisted on collecting taxes from the British colonists in America who had no representatives in the British parliament.

If, as the Declaration says, “all men are created equal,” why do Americans act as if that fundamental principle applies only to citizens of the USA?

Why should the UNALIENABLE rights — among them life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, proudly celebrated by Americans on the 4th of July, not be extended to humans everywhere?

As former US intelligence analyst Ray McGovern observes, “The Declaration of Independence was meant to be a statement expressing the ‘self-evident’ rights of all mankind. Those principles had a universality that was a beacon to the world.”

McGovern points out that many Americans think of the “Declaration of Independence as applying to Americans, but not to many others — like the 1.6 million people locked in the narrow confines of Gaza.”

No matter what Biblical right has been claimed by Israel for six decades of the subjugation of Palestinians and the theft of their land, America violates its own most basic principles by failing to support Palestinian statehood.

America has no compunction against infringing on others’ independence. The US occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq has robbed those countries of their independence.

The same thing can be said of the victims of all of Israeli and American occupations. After the celebrations of this Independence Day, Americans should take a sober look at the independence they are depriving others of in the Middle East.

The questionable justification for the occupation of Afghanistan ceased to exist once Osama bin Laden was assassinated by an American Seal unit.

The excuse for continuing occupation of Afghanistan has been “nation building”. America has no legitimate business building any other nation but its own.

The rationale given for the destruction, invasion and occupation of Iraq was a complete fabrication designed only to destroy that country’s independence.

There should be no doubt in anyone’s mind that the criminal supporters of Israel in the American government engineered the travesty in Iraq for one reason only: to prevent Iraq from EVER threatening Israel with WMDs.

To achieve this, America will have to keep troops in Iraq, continuing its prevention of Iraq’s independence. US troops have no legitimate business in Iraq or Afghanistan or Pakistan or anywhere else.

Finally, now that the July 4th celebrations are over, America desperately needs to declare its independence from Israel.

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Zio-Nazi steals more land in West Bank

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A progressive NGO says Zionist regime has seized about 20 hectares (50 acres) of Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank in order to legalize a settlement outpost.

Peace Now reported on its website on Friday that the stolen land belonged to residents of the Palestinian village of Karyut near Ramallah, AFP reported.

The NGO said that over the years, IsraHell has used the tactic to take over nearly 16 percent of the West Bank and then allocated it to Nazi racist settlers.

Zio-Nazi occupied the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East al-Quds (Jerusalem) in 1967 and later annexed both. It also occupied the Gaza Strip and the Golan Heights in 1967.

The international community has refused to recognize either the occupation or the annexation. The United Nations and the European Union say the settlements are illegal because they are constructed on occupied territories.

The UN also considers Zionist settlement expansion to be illegal under international law.

In September 2010, direct talks between Zio-Nazi regime and the Palestinian Authority reached a stalemate after Tel Aviv refused to lift a partial 10-month freeze on its construction of illegal Zionist settlements on the occupied lands.

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Syrians call for expulsion of US envoy

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Posted by: Sammi Ibrahem

 

Syrians have gathered outside the US Embassy in Damascus, calling for the expulsion of the American ambassador over meddling in the country’s internal affairs.

Protesters carrying the Syrian flag and placard denouncing Ambassador Zionist Robert Ford, threw bottles, eggs and shoes at the US Embassy on Friday, the official Syrian Arab News Agency reported.

This comes as the Syrian Foreign Ministry criticized Zionist Ford on Thursday for his unauthorized visit to Hama without prior arrangements with Syrian officials, describing it as a “clear evidence” of a US attempt to incite instability in the country.

”The presence of the US ambassador in Hama city without obtaining a prior permission from the Foreign Ministry, as stipulated by instructions distributed repeatedly to all the embassies, is clear evidence of the US involvement in the ongoing events in Syria and its bid to aggravate the situation which destabilizes Syria,” the Foreign Ministry statement said.

The protesters further saluted the Syrian army, saying that all Syrians support it.

Thousands of people also gathered in the Bab Touma Square in Damascus, stressing that the Syrian people were well aware of the lies propagated in media channels across the world, with one protester describing the material as “expired horror moves.”

Similar protests were held in several locations throughout the country.

The Middle Eastern country has been experiencing unrest over the past months, with demonstrations being held both against and in support of the country’s President Bashar al-Assad.

The opposition accuses security forces of being behind the deaths of those killed during the unrest. The government, however, blames armed gangs for the deadly violence, saying that the unrest is being orchestrated from abroad.

Assad has vowed to bring those behind the killings to justice as several members of armed terrorist groups have been arrested so far.

In early June, at least 120 Syrian forces were killed when armed groups attacked them in the northwestern town of Jisr al-Shughour.

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US, allies force new travel ban on Iran

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The US, Britain and Canada have imposed travel bans against a number of Iranian government officials over alleged violations of human rights or connections to Tehran’s nuclear program.

The new measures include some 52 “government ministers, military and law enforcement officers, and judiciary and prison officials” barred from entering the US, Britain and Canada. The names of the Iranian individual have not been made public.

“Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States will coordinate to prevent Iranian human rights offenders or individuals connected with the nuclear program from entering our countries,” AFP quoted Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird as saying on Friday.

“The UK is working closely with its partners to prevent a wide range of individuals connected with Iran’s nuclear enrichment and weaponization programs from entering our countries. These include scientists, engineers and those procuring components,” British Foreign Secretary William Hague said, neglecting that Iran has repeatedly said it has no “weaponization” program.

The US and its allies accuse Iran of pursuing a military nuclear program and have used this pretext to pressure the UN Security Council to impose a fourth round of sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

Iran says that as a member of the IAEA and a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, it has a right to use the peaceful applications of nuclear energy for electricity generation and medical research.

“Today’s actions are an important reminder to Iran that the international community will continue to hold accountable those officials who commit human rights abuses and suppress the democratic aspirations of fellow citizens,” US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in a statement.

On April 14, the European Union imposed travel bans and other sanctions against 32 Iranian police commanders, judges and prison officials over alleged violations of human rights.

In February, the US Treasury Department imposed sanctions against Commander of Iran’s Volunteer Basij Force Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Naqdi and Tehran Prosecutor General Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi over allegations of human rights abuse during the 2009 post-election sedition in Iran.

At the time analysts described the move as a shift of policy in the West, saying that the US and its allies are alleging human rights violations in Iran after failing to bring its peaceful nuclear program to a halt.

In May, Iran took a stance regarding human rights violations in the West, and imposed sanctions against 26 US officials who have a history of rights violation.

The officials on the list included commander of US forces in Iraq Raymond Odierno, USS Vincennes Captain Will Rogers III, former FBI chief Thomas J. Pickard, and the former commander of the US detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Geoffrey D. Miller.

Current Guantanamo commander Rear Admiral Jeffery Harbeson, former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, and another US military official were also blacklisted.

Pickard is charged with human rights violations over his involvement in the siege of the Branch Davidians in Waco, Texas in 1993, and the death of over 80 followers of the cult.

He is also accused of human rights violations during his tenure as the CIA station chief in Afghanistan and Iraq in 2003.

Miller, who commanded the US prison at Guantanamo Bay between 2002 and 2007, is charged with torture of inmates, while Harbeson is charged in connection with human rights violations at the detention center since 2010.

Rogers will have sanctions imposed on him over the killing of 290 Iranian civilians on board Iran Air Flight 655, which was shot down by the USS Vincennes on July 3, 1988.

Rumsfeld, who was US secretary of defense from 1975 to 1977 and from 2001 to 2006, is also on the list for the killing of thousands of civilians in the US-led wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. He is also charged in connection with human rights violations and torture at two notorious prisons, Abu Ghraib in Iraq and Bagram in Afghanistan.

Paul Bremer, the US administrator in Iraq from May 2003 to June 2004, and General Tommy Franks, who led the US invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, are also on the list of US officials that the Iranian Parliament (Majlis) has imposed sanctions on.

Earlier this month, Amnesty International censured the US for its indefinite detentions of suspects in Afghanistan and at the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba.

In October 2010, the United Nations Human Rights Council issued a report in which it expressed serious concern about human rights violations in the United States.

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Friends of the Zio-Nazi army: watching a Zionist fanatic becomes US ambassador in IsraHell

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“Among the guests at the ceremony were Ambassadors of IsraHell, Turkey and Morocco, the head of the Palestine puppet diplomatic mission, former Zio-Nazi Defense Forces Chief of Staff Nazi Gabi Ashkenazi, American Taskforce for Palestine founder Zionist puppet Ziad Assali, other diplomats and Administration officials. Zionist Shapiro’s wife and three young daughters, Liat, Merav and Shira, were also in attendance.

Zionist Dan Shapiro’s training in Middle East studies

“Dan emerged as a real leader and helped enact new sanctions on Syria and to designate Hezbollah’s satellite television operation as a foreign terrorist organization.”  In the past, a US diplomat spy’s got his/her training in the Middle East by studying.  Nowadays, a US diplomat gets his training through activism and advocacy on behalf of AIPAC.

 

Jewish American diplomat Zionist Dan Shapiro says will act to prevent isolation of IsraHell around world

New United States Ambassador to IsraHell Zionist Dan Shapiro on Friday was sworn in by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at a ceremony attended by hundreds of guests at the State Department building in Washington.

Guests included former Zio-Nazi Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi, Zionist Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren, the ambassadors of Turkey and Morocco, as well as congressmen.

Shapiro made a speech in English, and concluded with a greeting in Hebrew, expressing hope for friendship and cooperation between the United States and IsraHell.

Shapiro, 42, arrived in IsraHell for the first time at the age of four during the Yom Kippur War and later on studied in Jerusalem.

He has visited IsraHell dozens of times, and has repeatedly expressed his deep connection with the Jewish State.

During his speech, Shapiro said his first instruction from US President Barack Obama was to maintain IsraHell’s security, adding that he will act against attempts to isolate and delegitimize IsraHell.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Shapiro is being sent to IsraHell during trying times, and stressed that the safe future of IsraHell hinges on a peace agreement with the Palestinians.

Zionist Shapiro will replace current Ambassador James Cunningham, who is ending his three-year term.

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House Amendments Defunding Libya War Fail

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antiwar.com

 

Following yesterday’s votes, the House once again rejected an Amendment offered by Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D – OH) which would have defunded the war in Libya. The vote failed 169-251 and saw solid Republican support, but coupled with overwhelming opposition from Democrats.

The new vote would have conditioned any funding of the war on the President obtaining a formal declaration of war from Congress. Yesterday’s vote was a more straightforward defunding effort, co-sponsored by Rep. Amash (R – MI), and failed 199-229.

Though both of these votes failed, they showed a solid faction opposed to the Libya conflict remains in the House of Representatives, and makes it difficult to predict if the president would be able to get a pro-war resolution through. A less ambitious amendment by Rep. Cole (R – OK) passed yesterday with overwhelming Republican support, and blocked weapons or training funding for the conflict. The vote was 225-201.

President Obama has argued he doesn’t need congressional approval for the war because, in his estimation, it doesn’t count as hostilities.  He has also insisted that questioning the legality of the conflict  under the War Powers Act amounts to “defending” Moammar Gadhafi. This  claim about “hostilities” and legality was the opposite of the opinion  he got from both Justice Department and Pentagon lawyers. The war began  on March 19 and was officially in violation of the War Powers Act  starting on May 20.

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If American Exceptionalism Were a Reality: Here’s What Life in America Would Be Like

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By Michael Payne

 

I occasionally hear someone in the news speak of “American Exceptionalism”, the theory that the United States is qualitatively different from other nations; that we are unique among nations and generally superior to them in almost any measurable category. That’s a nice thought but it’s just not reality. That’s not to say that it cannot be attained at some future time. So, let’s discuss what America would be like if this nation could truly be called exceptional.

That America would resemble the one that existed after the Second World War when people felt really good about themselves. Tom Brokaw even wrote a book about Americans of that time and coined the term, the “Greatest Generation.” During those times, the future was bright, and the sky was the limit; everything was looking up as the nation entered an era of what was anticipated to be an indefinite period of peace and prosperity.

That generation had the opportunity, and the potential, to lead the nation in exactly that direction and it did, for a time, but then a succession of wars and military actions interrupted those hopes and dreams. But what if America had not taken that turn in the wrong direction? Let’s attempt to describe a future America as it might have been initially envisioned by those in the 1950′s as they contemplated how America could evolve into an exceptional nation and society.

The America that they envisioned would be a prosperous country with a robust economy. The American dream would be in effect with lots of upward mobility for all citizens. There would be plenty of wealthy people, a vibrant, hard-working middle class and, yes, we’d have a lower income class — but it would not be nearly as large and disadvantaged as that of today.

The distribution of wealth between the classes would be balanced, it wouldn’t be a situation such as we find today in which most analyses show that the top 1% own about 35% of total wealth, the next 19% own 50% and the bottom 80% own only 15%. No, it would be much more fair and balanced than that because of a system of taxation that our government had created to make certain that every person in America, regardless of their income, paid their fair share; tax breaks, unnecessary incentives and loopholes, together with offshore tax evasion accounts, by corporations and the wealthy would have been eliminated.

There would be a thriving manufacturing sector because the Congress would have set up a system of tax incentives and penalties, plus appropriate tariffs that created millions of new jobs in America, and minimized overseas outsourcing. Corporations and workers would have reasonably good relationships, not perfect, but civil. Workers would earn good wages and CEO’s would be very well paid but nothing like their salaries today which often are 700 times greater those of their workers.

Our government and the business community would have recognized that petroleum would certainly become much more scarce and expensive in the future and they would have worked together to create and develop new sources of alternate energy such as solar, wind, geothermal, and biofuels. The new industries and their energy saving products would fuel the consumer-driven economy, increase the nation’s exports dramatically and, once again, make American manufacturing a force in the world.

In that America we would have a superior, well funded education system as we did in the past. Our students would be proficient in math and science, and would place very high in world academic rankings, far better than that of today where we rank 21st in math, 25th in mathematics and 15% in reading literacy among the industrialized nations. Teachers would no longer be prime targets for layoffs by Republican governors and they would restore our educational foundations.

The nation would have a universal health care system that covered every citizen from birth to death. It would be a single payer system as effective as those of all of the other industrialized nations of the world. The massive health care industry, with its monumental profits derived from constant increases in premiums, would be phased out. Americans would no longer be going bankrupt as a result of astronomical health care bills. The Congress and the president would have initiated this great change as they fully realized that health care for all Americans were a basic right.

The nation’s infrastructure would rank with the best in the world, not 23rd as it does today. Our interstates, roads, highways, bridges and waterways would be well maintained. There would be far fewer over-the-road trucks on our highways and fewer automobiles. There would be efficient, affordable public transportation, greatly increased railroad traffic, high speed trains between cities and even bullet trains, say from Los Angeles to Las Vegas. We would see a significant movement to electric and hybrid cars; huge SUV’s and V-8′s would become totally obsolete.

Wall Street and our financial systems would be stable and growing, based upon reasonable and appropriate rules and regulations instituted by Congress to prevent abusive and manipulative practices. Many of the financial crooks and manipulators would be in prison after our Justice Department, at the president’s urging, would have been investigated and prosecuted them. As a result home foreclosures and related personal bankruptcies due to illegal and manipulative mortgage practices would no longer be a problem.

Congress would be a place where the interests of the people were paramount, where Corporate America had no more influence, where one party could not block legislation or presidential appointments; there would be no such thing as a filibuster as the Congress would have overhauled the legislative rules. Presidential and congressional election campaigns would be six months long, they would be financed by public funds; corporate contributions would be illegal and all voting would be done by paper ballots with audit trails to prevent abuse.

There would still be a threat of terror in the world but America would address it by a combination of intelligence agencies, Special Forces and highly sophisticated electronic surveillance systems. Gone would be the vast military empire and its hundreds of bases. The annual defense budget would be about one third of what it had been at its peak of $1.3 trillion. America would have a real Defense Department not one that specialized in offensive military actions around the world.

There would be three political parties in America and a new breed of politicians that would have no need for monetary ties to corporations because of newly instituted campaign finance reforms; our elected representatives in Washington would be free to enact legislation in the best interests of the people. Corporate America would no longer own the Congress and call the shots. Corporations would assume their proper place as a driving force in the new economy.

And last and best of all there would be an American president with courage and strong moral beliefs that could not be cowed by the military or beholden to Corporate America and lobbyist organizations; a new breed of president who understood that war was a last resort, not to be launched by pre-emptive strikes and invasions of sovereign nations. This would be a president who put the interests of the American people above all, listened to their views and responded to their needs and problems.

We need to contrast the America that I’m portraying here with the America of today. Quite a bit different, aren’t they? Many might say that the exceptional America I’m describing is a totally unrealistic supposition at best, that it sounds like some kind of Utopian society in which everything would be perfection. No, what I’m describing is not perfection; it is simply how a stable, responsible society would be expected to function if its government had put its priorities in the proper order, with the needs and interests of the American people at the top of the list.

I’m describing the America that might have been.

Michael Payne is an independent progressive who writes articles about domestic social and political matters as well as American foreign policy. He is a U.S. Army veteran.

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A. Loewenstein Online Newsletter

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How Rupert should think about Watergate and worry

Posted: 09 Jul 2011

 

One half of the Watergate investigators who hasn’t spent the last decades fawning before power, Carl Bernstein, writes in Newsweekthat the current Murdoch controversy has historical reverberations:

But now the empire is shaking, and there’s no telling when it will stop. My conversations with British journalists and politicians—all of them insistent on speaking anonymously to protect themselves from retribution by the still-enormously powerful mogul—make evident that the shuttering of News of the World, and the official inquiries announced by the British government, are the beginning, not the end, of the seismic event.

News International, the British arm of Murdoch’s media empire, “has always worked on the principle of omertà: ‘Do not say anything to anybody outside the family, and we will look after you,’ ” notes a former Murdoch editor who knows the system well. “Now they are hanging people out to dry. The moment you do that, the omertà is gone, and people are going to talk. It looks like a circular firing squad.”

News of the World was always Murdoch’s “baby,” one of the largest dailies in the English-speaking world, with 2.6 million readers. As anyone in the business will tell you, the standards and culture of a journalistic institution are set from the top down, by its owner, publisher, and top editors. Reporters and editors do not routinely break the law, bribe policemen, wiretap, and generally conduct themselves like thugs unless it is a matter of recognized and understood policy. Private detectives and phone hackers do not become the primary sources of a newspaper’s information without the tacit knowledge and approval of the people at the top, all the more so in the case of newspapers owned by Rupert Murdoch, according to those who know him best.

As one of his former top executives—once a close aide—told me, “This scandal and all its implications could not have happened anywhere else. Only in Murdoch’s orbit. The hacking at News of the World was done on an industrial scale. More than anyone, Murdoch invented and established this culture in the newsroom, where you do whatever it takes to get the story, take no prisoners, destroy the competition, and the end will justify the means.”

“In the end, what you sow is what you reap,” said this same executive. “Now Murdoch is a victim of the culture that he created. It is a logical conclusion, and it is his people at the top who encouraged lawbreaking and hacking phones and condoned it.”

Could Murdoch eventually be criminally charged? He has always surrounded himself with trusted subordinates and family members, so perhaps it is unlikely. Though Murdoch has strenuously denied any knowledge at all of the hacking and bribery, it’s hard to believe that his top deputies at the paper didn’t think they had a green light from him to use such untraditional reportorial methods. Investigators are already assembling voluminous records that demonstrate the systemic lawbreaking at News of the World, and Scotland Yard seems to believe what was happening in the newsroom was endemic at the highest levels at the paper and evident within the corporate structure. Checks have been found showing tens of thousands of dollars of payments at a time.

For this reporter, it is impossible not to consider these facts through the prism of Watergate. When Bob Woodward and I came up against difficult ethical questions, such as whether to approach grand jurors for information (which we did, and perhaps shouldn’t have), we sought executive editor Ben Bradlee’s counsel, and he in turn called in the company lawyers, who gave the go-ahead and outlined the legal issues in full. Publisher Katharine Graham was informed. Likewise, Bradlee was aware when I obtained private telephone and credit-card records of one of the Watergate figures.

All institutions have lapses, even great ones, especially by individual rogue employees—famously in recent years at The Washington Post, The New York Times, and the three original TV networks. But can anyone who knows and understands the journalistic process imagine the kind of tactics regularly employed by the Murdoch press, especially at News of the World, being condoned at the Post or the Times?

And then there’s the other inevitable Watergate comparison. The circumstances of the alleged lawbreaking within News Corp. suggests more than a passing resemblance to Richard Nixon presiding over a criminal conspiracy in which he insulated himself from specific knowledge of numerous individual criminal acts while being himself responsible for and authorizing general policies that routinely resulted in lawbreaking and unconstitutional conduct. Not to mention his role in the cover-up. It will remain for British authorities and, presumably, disgusted and/or legally squeezed News Corp. executives and editors to reveal exactly where the rot came from at News of the World, and whether Rupert Murdoch enabled, approved, or opposed the obvious corruption that infected his underlings.

Strong reasons Murdoch should be shunned from decent society

Posted: 09 Jul 2011

 

One:

Throughout his years in power, Blair had regular secret meetings with Murdoch, many abroad, and was in regular telephone contact. Price has gone as far as to claim that Murdoch “seemed like the 24th member of the cabinet”.

Blair insisted no record was ever kept of the meetings or calls, so they were totally deniable. Cherie Blair has said that her husband’s decision to go to war in Iraq in 2003 was a “close call”. So it was – and there is evidence that the final decision was taken only after Murdoch’s encouragement was received and his blessing given. Blair talked to the media tycoon three times on the telephone in the 10 days before the US-led invasion. Details obtained under freedom of information show Blair called Murdoch on 11 March, 13 March and 19 March 2003. British and US troops began the invasion on 20 March, with the Times and Sun voicing total support.

Two:

To begin with, [David] Cameron was wary of Murdoch. His first meetings with the tycoon went badly. After one meeting, a senior News International figure complained to me: “We told David exactly what to say and how to say it in order to please Rupert. But Cameron wouldn’t play ball. I can’t understand it.”

Cameron had made the deliberate decision to gain power without Murdoch’s assistance. Urged on by his senior aide – and probably his closest political friend, Steve Hilton – the future prime minister kept his distance.

But this strategy led to disaster in the polls. David Cameron was mocked and ridiculed in the Labour supporting Murdoch press, and by the summer of 2007 matters reached a crisis. There was talk that Gordon Brown, newly elected as Labour leader and Prime Minister, would call a snap election that autumn which he was widely expected to win handsomely.

It was at this point that George Osborne, then shadow chancellor and also Cameron’s closest strategic advisor, entered the fray. The immensely ambitious Osborne – who was already cultivating his own links with News International – made the case that Cameron should hire Andy Coulson.

Coulson was a brilliant News of the World executive, hand picked by Murdoch himself to go to the very top of the News International organisation. But his career had met with a setback a few months previously when he had been forced to resign as editor after the royal reporter Clive Goodman was sentenced to jail for hacking into the mobile phones of members of the royal household.

Cameron accepted Osborne’s view that there was no need to worry about this blot on Coulson’s record. This turned out to be a fatal miscalculation. Disastrously, Cameron imported Coulson into his inner team of advisors. In the short term, Coulson proved to be an excellent decision. He gave sound strategic advice, which helped Cameron see off the threat from Brown and enjoy a remarkable recovery in the opinion polls. But Coulson also performed one other function. He helped draw Cameron deep into the inner circle that surrounds Rupert Murdoch. In particular Cameron allowed himself to become a member of what is now known as the Chipping Norton set, a group of louche and affluent Londoners who centred around Rebekah Brooks’s Oxfordshire home, barely a mile from Cameron’s constituency residence.

Soon News International, through Coulson, had a key say in Conservative Party decision-making and even personnel appointments. It was News International, once again acting through Coulson, which effectively ordered Cameron to sack Dominic Grieve as his shadow home secretary in the autumn of 2008. Grieve was duly reshuffled in January 2009, after less than a year in the job. The irony of that decision is bitter today, for the decision given by News International for wanting Grieve out was that he was too soft on crime. Finally Cameron’s friendship with News International delivered the ultimate prize – the support of the Sun in the 2010 general election.

US (nearly) declares death of terrorism but will only expand wars

Posted: 09 Jul 2011

 

So let me get this right. The US spends billions annually to fight countless wars, defend the homeland, launch drone attacks against “enemies” in at least six countries and the threat is only this?

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta declared Saturday that the United States is “within reach” of “strategically defeating” Al Qaeda as a terrorist threat, but that doing so would require killing or capturing the group’s 10 to 20 remaining leaders.

Heading to Afghanistan for the first time since taking office earlier this month, Panetta said that intelligence uncovered in the raid that killed Osama bin Laden in May showed that 10 years of U.S. operations against Al Qaeda had left it with fewer than two dozen key operatives, most of whom are in PakistanYemenSomalia, and North Africa.

Handy advice to News Limited

Posted: 09 Jul 2011

Rupert cares about family and power; ideology always comes second

Posted: 09 Jul 2011 05:00 AM PDT

Andreas Whittam Smith in the Independent reminds us what the Murdoch empire is really about:

At its heart, News Corporation, for all its immense global interests, is a family company.

The Murdochs may not control all the voting rights in the group, but they run it as if they did. It is not a place where shareholders come first. Nor do employees (see the plight of the News of the World staff), nor old servants (see Andy Coulson thrown to the wolves). First, second, third, and last come Rupert Murdoch and his children. Not Rupert’s wives, as it happens, because they can be let go – as they have been. Rebekah Brooks isn’t a family member and that is why she should remain apprehensive.

For everything and anything will be sacrificed to maintain the family’s position. It is not so much the Murdochs’ financial interests that weigh heaviest in the balance, though they are important, but their power. Essentially they say to the world: this is ours and we are not going to let it go.

Rupert and his son James are bullies with the characteristic that often accompanies a ruthless manner – there is something cowardly about them. They won’t face their staff in meetings when they have bad news to deliver. Rupert Murdoch wouldn’t say a word when confronted by TV reporters in the US on Thursday evening. Rebekah Brooks, who apes the Murdoch manner, hurried away from the News of the World newsroom after announcing the closure of the newspaper on Thursday, only addressing shocked staff yesterday. This former editor doesn’t appear on television in case she stumbles over her words.

British Labour MP Chris Bryant takes on Murdoch and shows politicians how to lead

Posted: 09 Jul 2011

Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger on Murdoch’s week of shame (and it ain’t over)

Posted: 08 Jul 2011

Investigate the Murdoch empire in Australia

Posted: 08 Jul 2011

 

An eminently reasonable call. This should be extended to the influence and power of all corporate media interests. How are benefits achieved? Who is meeting whom? When and how? A real democracy doesn’t allow one family to own so many media titles:

The leader of Australia’s Green party has called on the government to investigate Rupert Murdoch’s extensive media holdings in Australia.

Party leader Bob Brown, a senator, urged the inquiry following fresh revelations in the UK over the News of the World phone-hacking scandal.

The Murdoch-owned paper is accused of hacking into the phones of crime victims, celebrities and politicians.

Mr Brown said the potential for similar activity in Australia should be probed.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard relies on the Greens to keep her minority Labor government in power.

Speaking in the Senate on Thursday, Bob Brown called on Communications Minister Stephen Conroy ”to investigate the direct or indirect ramifications to Australia of the criminal matters affecting the United Kingdom operations of News International”.

News International runs Mr Murdoch’s UK newspapers, including the News of the World, The Sun, The Times and The Sunday Times.

On Thursday, News International shut down the News of the World following a spate of fresh revelations.

Speaking later to Reuters news agency, Mr Brown said: “We have the most Murdoch media ownership of any country in the world with eight of the 12 metropolitan dailies owned by the Murdoch empire.

“I think that it’s just prudent to take a raincheck at this stage, because the events unfolding in London are so serious, and it would be irresponsible for us not to look at the potential for similar operations to have occurred in Australia,” he said.

Tabloid hack claims phone-hacking is good for democracy

Posted: 08 Jul 2011

My Al Jazeera English interview on Murdoch’s excessive global power

Posted: 09 Jul 2011

 

As Rupert Murdoch’s empire faces unprecedented pressure in Britain over phone-hacking, criminality, ethical breaches and romancing of the political and media elites, it’s time to assess how one man and one family has amassed so much power in countless Western democracies. It should be challenged.

Here’s my interview on Al Jazeera English yesterday:

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