The Liberty of Balochistan.

October 13, 2013

In his infamous reply to Edmund Burke’s essay on the how he believed the English had no right to overthrow a Monarchy – based on Parliament passing an Act in 1688 that insisted the English submit themselves to the Monarch ‘forever’ – Thomas Paine argued that no one generation has the right to tie any other generation to its laws and declarations, and that:

“Every age and every generation must be free to act for itself in all cases, as the ages and generations that preceded it.”

– It is important when considering the dream of freedom of a community in south west Pakistan, who never wished and never submitted to Pakistan rule, nor to a religious order that wishes to control it, to remember the words of Thomas Paine.

On August 14th Pakistan comes alive with celebrations of their national Independence Day. Parties are held, streets are filled with revellers, pride in the National flag and the struggle for independence is something to behold and echoes in Pakistani communities across the World. But on the same day, on August 14th every year, the Baloch people of south western Pakistan mourn “Black Day”; a day they consider the be the moment their region was occupied by an unwelcome colonial Pakistan.

On August 4th, 1947, ten days before the creation of Pakistan, an agreement was signed between Britain, Balochistan leaders, and Pakistan, that declared Balochistan a sovereign state. On the 12th, Balochistan was declared independent, two days before Pakistan. It was recognised that its people were culturally very different from their Pakistani neighbours to the east and Iranian neighbours to the west, and so a natural right to independence and self determination was carved out

After the creation of Pakistan on August 14th, 1947, the independent Baloch people – who speak their own language, have their own customs, are incredibly pluralist and secular, and are the oldest settlers in that particular region – were suddenly given a choice progressed by Lord Mountbatten and influenced by Jawaharlal Nehru the first Prime Minister of India; either join Pakistan, or India. No independence. This, despite the fact that the Parliament of Balochistan of the time voted against a merger and for their own declaration of independence. That vote was disregarded, and Balochistan soon – on the insistence of the Khan – became a province of Pakistan. And just like that, every future Baloch generation had their right to independence and self determination signed away to a colonial Pakistan. Predictably, the region has been unstable ever since, and recently has become the centre of a violent Pakistan backlash against independence movements, and Islamists seeking to gain an advantage.

In 2006, The New York Times noted:

“One visit makes it clear that, despite official denials, the government is waging a full-scale military campaign here.”

– And they’re not wrong. Independence movements have been violently crushed by Pakistan over the decades following the occupation. In 1973, President Zulfikar Ali Bhutto of Pakistan ordered the dismissal of the entire provincial governments of Balochistan and soon after, martial law was imposed. What followed was a Baloch uprising against the Pakistani regime resulting in the deaths 5000 Baloch fighters and countless civilians. Very little has changed since the 1970s. But the rise of Islamist groups in the area makes the situation more dangerous than ever.

But it is the Pakistan security forces that are the most violent in the region. The Daily Tawar – a newspaper in Balochistan – has reported receiving threats from the security forces for the paper’s pro-independence stance, and several of its reporters have been murdered.

Haji Mohammad Anwar Baloch, a senior member of the Baloch Republican Party, fled Pakistan for Switzerland after his office was raided, and his son – who worked as a volunteer teacher – kidnapped by security forces. His son’s body was later found in Karachi, having shown wounds consistent with being tortured with an electric drill. Countless bodies with similar wounds, have been discovered at the same location in Karachi.

In the last decade, anyone suspected of being a part of Baloch independence movements have been rounded up, thrown into white vans, only to be discovered viciously tortured, murdered, and dumped by the side of roads. Pakistani security forces are relentless and often conduct raids out in the open; they kidnap students, lawyers, doctors, or anyone suspected of ties to Baloch Nationalist movements, and those people seldom turn up alive. One 22 year old student told the Guardian:

“We provide moral and political support to the fighters. We are making people aware. When they are aware, they act.”

– Students make up about one-third of all kidnap, torture, murder, dump victims of the Pakistani armed forces. The unbearable torture is designed to break any resistance to Pakistan’s control over the region. In the past ten years, thousands have disappeared this way.

Similarly, rebel groups are accused of campaigns of murder, with civilian settlers from Punjab murdered in an attempt to deter them from settling in the region. In 2011, the militant group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (one of whom’s main leader is an ethnic Balochi named Dawood Badini – the nephew of 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammad) claimed responsibility for the Mastung bus shooting in which 26 innocent people were gunned down. Their desire is a 7th Century-style Caliphate enforced on a secular, and pluralist people. This is imperialism, and cannot be described as anything else.

Balochistan is an economic and strategic goldmine for Pakistan. And so freedom for Balochistan isn’t likely to come about without active resistance to the regime in Pakistan. The people matter little. The copper, oil and natural gas is their main concern, this is evident because despite the region being rich in natural resources, it remains deep in poverty. In 2005, a report into areas of Pakistan with populations living in a high degree of deprivation shows Punjab region 28% living in a high degree of deprivation, Sindh on 35% and Balochistan on 91%. It is held in poverty whilst its natural wealth is exploited, and its people lacking basic welfare, as well as basic rights. The Pakistan security forces do this, whilst – according to the London School of Economics among others – providing funds and training to a Balochistan-based military group; Quetta Shura… the Taliban.

Amidst the chaotic nature of the conflict, is an independence movement that desires not only independence for Balochistan, but secular, democratic citizenship rights for all who live there. It is a beacon of hope in a region torn apart by dreams of violent imperialism. It is a movement engaged in conflict not just against the Pakistani government, but against a rising violent Islamist movement within the region. The Baloch people are not religious conservatives by nature, and have long been secular and very pluralistic in their cultural structure. It is a distinctive culture – though split into many tribes – that has survived for centuries, with even the dress sense traced back hundreds of years. The fight for independence and the preserving of their ancient cultural heritage and way of life is fought by both Baloch men and women. The Pakistan Development Fund interviewed the ‘Women of Balochistan’ group fighting for their independence. The group said:

“Women are part of Baloch society, so their demands are no different than demands of the rest of the Baloch people. Baloch women in the past have also taken part in the liberation struggle in one way or other. This time as the struggle is more organised and expanded in all four corners of Balochistan…the involvement of women is also more obvious. Baloch women demands have always been education for women, equal rights and status in society.”

“Baloch are quite tolerant and secular. We believe that religion should be separated and kept personal. It should not be mixed with politics.”

– A feminist movement, dedicated to secularism, and equal rights, is a movement that should have the full support of nations across the World that enjoy similar protections and standards. Especially given that women in Balochistan are increasingly falling victim to acid attacks by Islamic extremists who seek to impose a tough Theocratic, Patriarchal system upon the female population they consider to be inferior. At the moment it seems the plight of those pursuing liberty in Balochistan goes largely unnoticed throughout the rest of the World.

The Chief Minister of Balochistan, Abdul Malik Baloch – of the National Party – is spearheading the fight for a secular, democrat, liberal Balochistan. He echoes the thoughts and sentiments of the majority of Baloch people whose wish is for a secular Balochistan, and who fear the rise of Islamism in the region, as much as they disapprove of Pakistan. Christian Congress leader in Pakistan, Dr. Nazir Bhatti said of the radical Islamist group:

“Baloch political giants like the late Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti, the late Mir Ghous Bakhsh Bizenjo, Sardar Ataullah Mengal and Nawab Khair Bakhsh Marri, through their secular politics had kept the religious extremists out of the Baloch political landscape. The Jama’at-ud-Da’wah will destroy the politics and history of Balochistan.”

– There is a real fear that Islamism could pose the biggest threat to the Baloch way of life and culture that has endured happily for centuries.

The promise – and the fundamental issue – is that of a historically secular and democratic population that has managed to remain so, despite attempts by Pakistan to destroy their heritage and all resistance, and attacks by Islamists to impose a radical religious agenda. For a secular democratic state to ever emerge as an independent Balochistan, would of course prove to be a counter in a region that is increasingly, and dangerously Theocratic & oppressive. There is no justifiable reason for Balochistan to be any part of a Pakistan that the people do not feel their culture and heritage belong to, nor overpowered and subdued by an Islamist onslaught that bears little resemblance to the lives of the Baloch people.

Liberty for Balochistan can only be secured by insisting upon a secular, and democratic framework. The ethnically Baloch people are not the only people in Balochistan, and those from other ethnic groups should be afforded equal political and social rights under the law. Liberty for Balochistan also requires control of its own resources. And so to my mind, I see no reason why the Baloch people in 2013 are under any obligation to respect the annexation of their homes 65 years ago to a state power that none of them wanted to submit to. The Baloch people have a far stronger claim to the right of independence, self determination and fundamental political and social rights than Pakistan has to controlling the region for itself.

On the 4th July 2006, a blogger for freedom in Balochistan wrote:

When Patrick Henry said, “Give me liberty or give me death”, he wanted independence and liberty of a country that did not yet exist. Your Founding Fathers tried to do something that no colonial people had ever achieved before – to break away from the mother country and create their own country. They were willing to risk everything to achieve it. They were not concerned with what was going to happen in the long haul.

But, in our case, Balochistan was a sovereign country until Iran and Pakistan took away our freedom. Through brute force, the Iranian and Pakistani governments suppressed the aspirations of the Baloch people to liberate Balochistan. Our sense of nationhood was systematically crushed. But, the seed of freedom remained in our hearts. Today, that seed has sprouted and we have risen again to challenge the occupation of Balochistan by Iran and Pakistan. We want liberty or give us death, and we are willing to risk everything to achieve the independence of Balochistan.

– I find it increasingly difficult to argue with his point. We in the UK, Europe, and the US enjoy the protections of laws and constitutional frameworks that our ancestors fought centuries ago for the same liberty and rights that the people of Balochistan now wish for themselves. Principle, and consistency dictate that they must have our support in that fight for the victory and implementation of shared values and goals that we know to be the height of human brilliance.


… at least you don’t have an I.D Card.

September 8, 2013

In 2010 – and still taking a prominent place on their website today – The Conservative Party released their ‘Quality of Life Agenda‘; a pamphlet setting out Conservative values for a modern age. Section 4 is titled ‘Defending Civil Liberties‘ and lists the Labour Party’s civil-liberty failures whilst in government:

“Labour have shown complete contempt for the rights of the individual. In opposition we have fought them every step of the way; forcing them into a humiliating u-turn over 42-day detention. In government we’ll go further, scrapping
the Contactpoint database and abolishing ID cards. But these blows for our civil liberties will only happen with the clean break of a new Conservative government.”

– So, please note….. effortlessly carrying around an inconsequential ID card is – according to the Conservative Party – an unacceptable attack on individual civil liberties. Keep that in mind throughout this article.

In July 2013, Conservative MP Philip Hollobone – who voted strongly against any ID scheme – introduced a Bill into Parliament calling for a compulsory one year National Service for 18-26 year olds. The Bill reads:

“Non-exempt individuals who do not serve one year of national service before the age of 26 years shall be guilty of an offence.”

– So for Philip Hollobone, effortlessly carrying around an inconsequential ID card is an unacceptable attack on individual civil liberties. Stealing a year out of the life of young people and punishing them if they don’t comply with that theft, is perfectly acceptable.

Parliament’s website describes the Bill in rather manipulative language:

“A Bill to provide a system of national service for young persons; and for connected purposes.”

– This Bill doesn’t “provide” anything. It removes. It forcibly takes a year from the life of every young person in the country.
When a young person finishes college or university and perhaps has the perfect career opportunity presented before them with which they would ordinarily choose to pursue, would – upon passage of this Bill – have to factor in leaving that position within 8 years whether they wished to do so or not, to comply with Hollobone owning a year of their life.

The horrific Bill continues:

“(2) Regulations shall also provide that the scheme shall include—
(a) a residential element, requiring that participants live away from home;”

– Not only will you not be able to take on the job of your dreams because you’ll inevitably have to give it up whether you wish to or not, but you will have to live where Hollobone demands that you live. Don’t you dare stay at home. You will face punishment. It doesn’t set out the punishment, but that is irrelevant. The fact that a punishment exists at all, and thereby criminalises the act of staying at home, and not wilfully giving up your right to owning your own life, cannot be spun as anything other than an extreme overreaching of centralised government into the lives of individuals, on a level far beyond anything the previous Labour government could have even proposed.

If an 18 – 26 year old is to give up one entire year of his or her life through no free choice, and not as a result of an intrusion upon the rights of others, but through compulsion by threat of punishment, a liberty has therefore been offended. Life is short, and our life is our most sacred property, and with this Bill Philip Hollobone – espousing a Paternalistic society based on the born-to-rule-over-you delusions of Tory Party members – proposes stealing that sacred property. He proposes owning a year of a human being’s life without that person’s consent. A year will been stolen and whilst those who vote “Yes” on the Bill – and if it passes – are the ones who partook in the theft of a youth’s liberty, the author of the bill is the ringleader. He orchestrated it. He is to blame. That year of your life belongs to Hollobone, and if you disagree you will be punished.

The Conservative ‘Quality of Life Agenda’ states:

“And what about giving people more power over their lives?”

– Before launching into a tirade upon the legacy of the previous government. But if an 18-26 year old did not owe a year of their life to a Tory MP before 2010, does owe a year of their life to a Tory MP by 2015, then I’m afraid the Conservatives have taken more power away from that individual and handed to the State, on the terms of Philip Hollobone. And this is a rather massive intrusion upon the civil liberty of an individual. And what will the individual be compensated for being forced to give up an entire 12 months of their life on the terms of one Tory MP?

“Participants in national service shall be paid the national adult minimum wage.”

– Of course. The bare minimum. The least he can possibly pay someone. This is grotesque. Not only is he suggesting paying the bare minimum for labour, but he is suggesting paying the bare minimum for forced labour. That giving up the liberty of owning every year of our life through no choice of our own, is worth nothing to this hideous man. Your labour, and a year of your life combined are only worth the bare minimum to Philip Hollobone. One suspects that if he could get away with it, you’d be paid far less.

Article 2(c) leaves me a little bewildered. It sets out what you will be required to learn:

“treating elderly and disabled people with dignity.”

– I’m not entirely sure that when I was 18-26 (I’m now 27) I would be happy to take deluded lectures on the treatment of the disabled or the elderly from a Party that has systematically abused both over the past three years to the point where every charity for those with a disability that I can find, insists that the people they represent – and those in the most need of care – are the hardest hit by the Conservatives dogmatic obsession with rolling back the State. I would suggest that the majority of young people in this nation are far more respectful toward the sick, those with disabilities, and the elderly, than the entire Conservative Party – and its bedfellows over at Atos – have ever been.

Hollobone makes the Conservative line of “defending civil liberties” appear almost a parody. Not only does he wish to steal and own a year of the life of every young person in the country, he’s also voted against the right for a gay couple to marry, and against removing Hereditary Peers from the House of Lords, and in favour of raising tuition fees to £9000. So if you’re between 18-26 and you happen to be gay; remember that Philip Hollobone is the reason that you cannot afford to go to university, he tried his best to ensure you can’t marry your partner, and now he wants to own a year of your life, uproot you from your home, and all for the bare minimum he’s legally allowed to pay you. But at least you don’t have an inconsequential ID card.

The Conservative Party; defending civil liberties!


The BBC Scandal.

November 11, 2012

“In the light of the fact that the director general is also the editor in chief and ultimately responsible for all content; and in the light of the unacceptable journalistic standards of the Newsnight film broadcast on Friday 2 November, I have decided that the honourable thing to do is to step down from the post of director general.”

-George Entwistle

Entwistle really never had a chance. He became Director General of the BBC, and within days, the BBC was embroiled in a scandal that he could not possibly have foreseen. By a strange mix of job titles and responsibilities, the DG is also editor-in-chief as set out by the BBCs constitution. This is a flawed mix. It requires an extraordinary amount of oversight from one job, given the size and scope of the Beeb. So for that reason, Patten is right that the management at the BBC needs radical overhaul. It is absolutely the case that the Newsnight program was flawed, massively, (though they showed restraint in not naming the Tory Peer) and a fundamental degree of irresponsible journalism is at the heart of that. Entwistle did the decent thing, and resigned. He absolutely had to. There is no excuse for lack of oversight of one of the most controversial shows Newsnight has aired.

The issue I see with the direction the BBC crises is taking, is that it is slowly becoming surrounded by the vultures on the Right who take ideological issue with the BBC as a tax payer funded institution, rather than the moral and structural problems that the BBC is currently facing. It is opportunistic nonsense that chooses to ignore the mass of despicable scandals the commercial media is currently embroiled in.

The Savile scandal, is not to the BBC what hacking was to News International. The abuse scandal involves people, not businesses. Savile used his position at the BBC to abuse, by the abusers go far beyond the BBC. Phone hacking is entirely the realm of commercial media, for the purposes of profiting as commercial media. Newsnight made a catastrophic mistake, but it remains a trusted and excellent provider of quality news. The agenda of those who seem to be hysterically painting Newsnight and the BBC as some sort of evil empire, rotting away, should not be mistaken. They are not morally outraged. They are ideological enemies of the BBC and nothing more.

The scandal must focus on the structural problems that lead firstly to the abuse scandal involving Saville (though the BBC’s Child Protection Policy, now ignored apparently, is pretty strict and the sort of abuse by people like Saville absolutely couldn’t happen again at the BBC) and the failings of the Director General to adequately perform his job as editor-in-chief. It must not focus on the public vs private media battle. And here is why.

The feigned right winged moral outrage is pretty intriguing, as well as damned hypocritical. Take today’s Sun. As we know, the Sun is a Murdoch owned newspaper. Here is the front page:

– Here the Sun takes the moral high ground. Entwistle had to go. The words ‘slur’ and ‘chump’ suggest an air of journalistic superiority from The Sun. They are poking Entwistle, for doing the decent thing and resigning, noting that responsibility ultimately lies with him. And yet for all their moral rage, I don’t seem to remember any Sun editors, journalists, or owners resigning when they spent weeks wrongly accusing Christopher Jefferies of the Joanna Yates murder, simply because he looked ‘weird’…

– Not only did no Murdoch executive do the honourable thing and quite after Jefferies. They still haven’t quit over the disgusting handling of the Hillsborough disaster:

And it strikes me as wholly hypocritical of an organisation that quite happily hacked the voicemail of a dead schoolgirl, deleting messages, thus giving the family hope that she might still be alive – to take to the offensive and attempt to undermine the BBC at every possible turn. Here is perhaps the highlight of the day yesterday for me. A tweet from Rupert Murdoch:

– This is unbelievable hypocrisy. For those of us who sat and watched Murdoch at the Leveson inquiry, we recall the amount of questions asked to Murdoch on his knowledge of the widespread phone hacking scandal at the News of the World, to which almost entirely, he answered: “I don’t recall“. Asked about his bidding for the Times and Sunday Times, and his lunch with Thatcher to discuss, “I don’t recall”. In fact, he didn’t even remember having the meeting, apparently. A meeting that would have been incredibly important, given the size of The Times. Asked whether he’d supported Blair because Blair agreed that there would be no tighter control on his media operations (tighter controls, may have prevented hacking the voicemail of a dead school girl), Murdoch said: “I don’t recall”. On the subject of wide spread phone hacking, James Murdoch, then Chief Exec. of News Corp Europe and Asia said:

“None of these things were mentioned to me”

– When asked about whether he had seen a report of overwhelming evidence of illegal practices at News of the World, said:

It didn’t seem necessary for me to ask for a copy

– A Parliamentary Select Committee report stated that James Murdoch had shown:

“Wilful ignorance”

“This culture, we consider, permeated from the top throughout the organisation and speaks volumes about the lack of effective corporate governance at News Corporation and News International,”

– Pretty damning. The Parliamentary Select Committee are not the only ones to condemn James’ handling of the Phone Hacking scandal.

A recent report by Ofcom stated that James Murdoch….

“…..repeatedly fell short of the conduct to be expected of as a chief executive and chairman”

One could say he did the decent thing and quit. Except, he stepped down as Chief Exec, but remained as Deputy Chief Operating Officer at News Corp and looks like he’s heading for the top job at Fox in the US. Remember all of this, when you look at that tweet from Rupert.

It is unsurprising that the Murdoch family is using the BBC crises to promote its own particular brand of right winged, anti-BBC bullshit. At the Leveson Inquiry, when asked about the decline in local newspaper circulation, he blamed the BBC entirely. At the Edinburgh International Television Festival, James Murdoch said this:

“There is a land grab going on – and it should be sternly resisted. The land grab is spearheaded by the BBC. The scope of its activities and ambitions is chilling.”

– Spearheaded by the BBC? He clearly believes the BBC has too much market influence in the media business. And yet, the BBC can most definitely not be considered an election decider as a media outlet. Whilst News Corp, well, even by its own remarks, insists it won the election for the Tories back in 1992:

– It would seem that Murdoch thinks it is perfectly acceptable for his empire to choose exactly what the public should be exposed to when it comes to political information, to have meetings with top politicians in order to strike deals in return for News Corp support, yet it is not acceptable for the BBC to exist at all. Is the BBC really spearheading a land grab? Is the media World drowning under the sheer power of the BBC? Is News Corp struggling in this landscape?
Well, here is a list of Media outlets owned by the Murdochs:

Publishers:
HarperCollins book publishing company
HarperCollins India (40%) joint venture with India Today Group
Zondervan Christian book publisher
Inspirio – religious gift production.
Newspapers
Australia….
The Australian (Nationwide)
Community Media Group (16 QLD & NSW suburban/regional titles)
Cumberland-Courier Newspapers (23 suburban/commuter titles)
The Courier-Mail (Queensland)
The Sunday Mail (Queensland)
The Cairns Post (Cairns, Queensland)
The Gold Coast Bulletin (Gold Coast, Queensland)
The Townsville Bulletin (Townsville, Queensland)
The Daily Telegraph (New South Wales)
The Sunday Telegraph (New South Wales)
Herald Sun (Victoria)
Sunday Herald Sun (Victoria)
The Weekly Times (Victoria)
Leader Newspapers (33 suburban Melbourne, VIC titles)
MX (Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane CBD)
The Geelong Advertiser (Geelong, Victoria)
The Advertiser (South Australia)
The Sunday Mail (South Australia)
Messenger Newspapers (11 suburban Adelaide, SA titles)
The Sunday Times (Western Australia)
The Mercury (Tasmania)
Quest Newspapers (19 suburban Brisbane, QLD titles)
The Sunday Tasmanian (Tasmania)
Northern Territory News (Northern Territory)
The Sunday Territorian (Northern Territory)
The Tablelands Advertiser (Atherton Tablelands and the Far North, Queensland)
Fiji
Fiji Times (National) (10%)
Nai Lalakai (10%)
Shanti Dut (10%)
Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea Post-Courier (National) (62.5%)
UK and Ireland newspapers, published by subsidiaries of News International Ltd.
News Group Newspapers Ltd.
The Sun (published in Scotland as The Scottish Sun and in Ireland as The Irish Sun)
The Sun on Sunday
Times Newspapers Ltd.
The Sunday Times
The Times
The Times Literary Supplement
US newspapers and magazines
The New York Post
Community Newspaper Group
The Brooklyn Paper
Bronx Times-Reporter
Brooklyn Courier-Life
TimesLedger Newspapers
Dow Jones & Company
Consumer Media Group
The Wall Street Journal
Wall Street Journal Europe
Wall Street Journal Asia
Barron’s – weekly financial markets magazine.
Marketwatch – Financial news and information website.
Far Eastern Economic Review
Enterprise Media Group
Dow Jones Newswires – global, real-time news and information provider.
Factiva – provides business news and information together with content delivery tools and services.
Dow Jones Indexes – stock market indexes and indicators, including the Dow Jones Industrial Average.
Dow Jones Financial Information Services – produces databases, electronic media, newsletters, conferences, directories, and other information services on specialised markets and industry sectors.
Betten Financial News – leading Dutch language financial and economic news service.
Local Media Group
Ottaway Community Newspapers – 8 daily and 15 weekly regional newspapers.
STOXX (33%)- joint venture with Deutsche Boerse and SWG Group for the development and distribution of Dow Jones STOXX indices.
Vedomosti (33%) – Russia’s leading financial newspaper (joint venture with Financial Times and Independent Media).
SmartMoney
The Timesledger Newspapers of Queens, New York:
Bayside Times, Whitestone Times, Flushing Times, Little Neck Ledger, Jamaica Times, Astoria Times, Forest Hills Ledger
The Courier-Life Newspapers in Brooklyn
The Brooklyn Paper
Caribbean Life
Flatbush Jewish Journal
Times-Herald Record (Middletown, New York)
The Leader – Corning, NY
Magazines
U.S.A
SmartSource Magazine (weekly Sunday newspaper coupon insert)
Australian
Alpha Magazine
Australian Country Style
Australian Golf Digest
Australian Good Taste
Big League
BCME
Delicious
Donna Hay
Fast Fours
GQ (Australia)
Gardening Australia
InsideOut (Aust)
Lifestyle Pools
Live to Ride
Notebook
Overlander 4WD
Modern Boating
Modern Fishing
Parents
Pure Health
Super Food Ideas
Truck Australia
Truckin’ Life
twowheels
twowheels scooter
Vogue (Australia)
Vogue Entertaining & Travel
Vogue Living
Inside Out (UK Based Magazine)
Music and radio
Fox Film Music Group
Russia
Nashe (50%)
Best FM (50%)
Fox News Radio
Sport
50% of the National Rugby League (Australia and New Zealand)
Majority ownership of the Brisbane Broncos (68.9%) and full ownership of the Melbourne Storm rugby league team.
Colorado Rockies (15%)
Studios
Fox Filmed Entertainment: 20th Century Fox’s parent company
20th Century Fox: a film production/distribution company
Fox Searchlight Pictures – specialised films.
Fox 2000 Pictures – general audience feature films.
20th Century Fox Television – primetime television programming.
20th Television – television distribution (syndication).
Fox 21 – low scripted/budgeted television production company.
Fox Television Studios (productions)- market specific programming e.g. COPS and network television company.
Fox Television Studios International
Fox World Productions
Fox World Australia
Fox TV Studios France
Fox TV Studios India
Natural History New Zealand – natural world documentaries, non-fiction programming.
Fox Faith – Promotion and distribution of Christian and related “family friendly” movies on DVD and some theatrical release.
Fox Studios Australia, Sydney, New South Wales
Blue Sky Studios – production of CGI films e.g. Ice Age.
Fox Entertainment Group
New Regency Productions (20%) – general audience feature films.
Regency Enterprises (20%) – parent company of New Regency Productions (50%).
FOX Star Studios New Delhi, India
Broadcast
Fox Broadcasting Company (Fox), a US broadcast television network
MyNetworkTV, a US broadcast television network
Fox Television Stations, a group of owned and operated Fox television stations
Saeta TV Channel 10, channel of Uruguay
ITV plc (7.5%), a British broadcast television network and the UK’s largest advertising revenue based broadcaster
News Corp Europe
bTV, a broadcast television network in Bulgaria. They sold this to CME in February 2010.
B1 TV (12,5%), a broadcast television network in Romania, in partnership with Ismar International NVkkkk
Fox Televizija, a broadcast television network in Serbia (49%). They sold this to Antenna Group in January 2010
Fox Turkey, a Turkish terrestrial channel (56,5%) (formerly TGRT)
Imedi Media Holding (100%), a Georgian radio and TV broadcaster.
Imedi Television
Radio Imedi
Israel 10 (9%), a terrestrial channel in Israel.
LNT (100%), a terrestrial channel in Latvia
TV5 Riga (100%), a terrestrial channel in Latvia
Cielo (100%), a free channel in Italy
ANTV (20%), a private television station in Indonesia, under the administration and label of STAR TV
Prime Television New Zealand – commercial TV station, interest held through stake in SKY Network Television
Satellite television
British Sky Broadcasting, United Kingdom & Ireland (39.1% holding). In practice, a controlling interest.
Sky Network Television, New Zealand (44%)
Sky Italia (100%), Italy’s largest pay TV service (previously owning part of Stream TV)
Sky Deutschland (49.90%), Germany’s largest pay TV provider
Tata Sky (30%), an Indian DirectToHome TeleVision Service Provider. (in partnership with Tata Group (70%))
Foxtel (25%), Australia, a joint venture with Telstra (50%) and Consolidated Media Holdings (25%)
FOX Italy, Italian Broadcast and Production Company (with 2 HDTV)
Star TV Channels (Satellite TeleVision Asian Region), an Asian satellite TV service having 300 million viewers in 53 countries, mainly in India, China & other Asian countries
Phoenix Television (17.6%), satellite TV network with landing rights in Hong Kong, and select provinces on Mainland China.
Cable
Cable TV channels owned (in whole or part) and operated by News Corporation include:
Fox Business Network, a business news channel.
Fox Classics, a channel airing classic TV shows & movies
Fox Movie Channel, an all-movie channel that airs commercial-free movies from 20th Century Fox’s film library
Fox News Channel, a 24-hour news & opinion channel
Fox Sports Networks, a chain of US regional cable news television networks broadcasting local sporting events linked together by national sports news programming. Local channels include “Fox Sports Southwest”, “Fox Sports Detroit”, etc. (some affiliates are owned by Cablevision).
SportSouth, a regional sports network in the United States, with its headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, and affiliate of Fox Sports Net.
Sun Sports a regional sports network in the United States, with its headquarters in Miami, Florida, and affiliate of Fox Sports Net.
Fox College Sports, a college sports network consisting of three regionally aligned channels, mostly with archived Fox Sports Net programs but also some live and original content.
Fox Sports International
Fox Soccer Channel, a United States digital cable and satellite network specialising mainly in soccer.
Fox Soccer Plus, a sister network to FSC, but including coverage of other sports, most notably rugby. Launched in 2010 after News Corporation picked up many of the broadcast rights abandoned by Setanta Sports when it stopped broadcasting in the U.S.
Fox Sports Middle East – English language sports network airing in Middle East countries including Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, UAE & Yemen.
Fox Pan American Sports (37.9%) – joint venture with Hicks, Muse, and Tate & Furst.
Fox Sports en Español (50%), a Spanish-language North American cable sports network; its sports line-up is tailored to appeal to a Latin American audience.
Fox Sports en Latinoamérica, a Latin American satellite and cable sports network.
FX Networks, a cable network broadcasting reruns of programming previously shown on other channels, but recently creating its own programming, including the Emmy Award-winning programs The Shield and Damages.
SPEED
FUEL TV
Big Ten Network, cable and satellite channel dedicated to The Big Ten Conference, launched Aug 2007 (49%)
National Geographic Channel (joint venture with National Geographic Society) 67%
National Geographic Channel International 75%
Nat Geo Mundo (joint venture with National Geographic Society)
Nat Geo Wild (joint venture with National Geographic Society)
Fox International Channels, domestic cable channels offering different formats of Fox programming in over thirty countries worldwide.
Fox
Fox Life
Fox Life HD
Fox Crime
FX
Fox Horror
Fox Movies
Fox Sports
Speed Channel
National Geographic Channel
National Geographic Channel HD
National Geographic Wild
National Geographic Adventure
National Geographic Music
National Geographic Junior
Cult
Next:HD
Voyage
Real Estate TV
BabyTV
Fox Toma 1 – Spanish-language television production.
Fox Telecolombia – Spanish-language television production. (51%)
Utarget.Fox – European and Latin American online ad company, plus now handles TV ad sales.
Central & South America
Fox Latin American Channels – channels available in over 17 countries in Latin America
National Geographic Channel
National Geographic Channel HD
National Geographic Wild
Nat Geo Music
Universal Channel
Universal HD
Fox Channel
Fox HD
FX
Fox Life
Syfy
Fox Sports
Speed Channel
Baby TV
Utilisima
Fox One-Stop Media – advertising sales for company owned and third party channels in Latin America
LAPTV (60%) (Latin American Pay Television) operates 8 cable movie channels throughout South America excluding Brazil.
Telecine(12.5%) operates 5 cable movie channels in Brazil.
Australia
Premier Media Group (50%)
Fox Sports 1
Fox Sports 2
Fox Sports 3
SPEED
FoxSportsNews
Fuel TV Australia
Premium Movie Partnership (20%) – movie channels, a joint venture between 20th Century Fox, Sony, NBC Universal, Viacom and Liberty Media
India
Hathway Cable & Datacom (22.2%), India’s 2nd largest cable network through 7 cities including Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Mumbai & Pune
Taiwan
Total TV (20%), Pay TV platform with JV partner KOO’s Group majority owner (80%). News Corp also has a 20% interest in the KOO’s Group directly
Internet
News Corp. Digital Media
Foxsports.com – website with sports news, scores, statistics, video and fantasy sports
Hulu (27%) – online video streaming site in partnership with NBC Universal and The Walt Disney Company.
Flektor – provides Web-based tools for photo and video editing and mashups.
IGN Entertainment – Internet entertainment portal (Includes the sites IGN, GameSpy, TeamXbox, 1up.com, and Askmen.com)
Giga.de
Slingshot Labs – web development incubator (Includes the sites DailyFill).
Strategic Data Corp – interactive advertising company which develops technology to deliver targeted internet advertising.
Scout.com
WhatIfSports.com – sports simulation and prediction website. Also provides fantasy-style sports games to play.
Indya.com – ‘India’s no. 1 Entertainment Portal’
ROO Group Inc (5% increasing to 10% with performance targets)
News Digital Media
News.com.au – Australian-oriented news website
News Lab
CareerOne.com.au (50%) – recruitment advertisement website in partnership with Monster Worldwide.
Carsguide.com.au
in2mobi.com.au
TrueLocal.com.au
Moshtix.com.au– a ticket retailer
Learning Seat
Wego News owns minority stake in Wego.com
Netus (75%) – investment co. in online properties.
REA Group (60.7%)
Realestate.com.au
Casa.it (69.4%), Sky Italia also holds a 30.6% share
atHome group, operator of leading realestate websites in Luxembourg, France, Belgium and Germany.
Altowin (51%),provider of office management tools for realestate agents in Belgium.
Propertyfinder.com (50%), News International holds the remaining 50%
Sherlock Publications, owner of hotproperty.co.uk portal and magazine titles ‘Hot Property’, ‘Renting’ and ‘Overseas’
ukpropertyshop.co.uk, most comprehensive UK estate agent directory.
PropertyLook, property websites in Australia and New Zealand.
HomeSite.com.au home renovation and improvement website.
Square Foot Limited, Hong Kong’s largest English Language property magazine and website
Primedia – Holding co. of Inside DB, a Hong Kong lifestyle magazine.
TadpoleNet Media (10%) Hosts of ArmySailor.com
New Zealand
Fatso – leading online DVD subscription service (ownership through stake in Sky Network Television).
Fox Networks – one of the largest international ad networks.
Expedient InfoMedia blog network.
Other assets
NDS Group – Conditional access technology and personal digital video recorders (PVRs) (49%)
SiVenture
Jungo
CastUP
Broadsystem Ltd (UK) – Telephony provider for media companies, bought in 1991
Broadsystem Australia (Australia)
Broadsystem Ventures (UK) – provider of cheap-rate telephone calls, particularly for customers of Sky Television. Bought outright in 1999.
Jamba! – Mobile Entertainment/Mobile Handsets Personalisation/Games.
News Outdoor Group – Largest outdoor advertising company in Eastern Europe with over 70,000 ads including billboards and bus shelters, operating in Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, India, Israel, Poland, Romania, Russia (96 cities), Turkey & Ukraine.
Maximedia Israel (67%)
Mosgorreklama (50%) – Russia sign and marketing material manufacturer
Kamera Acikhava Reklamclik (?) – leading outdoor advertising company in Turkey
Australian Associated Press (45%) – real time news service.
STATS, Inc. (50%) – worlds leading provider of sporting information and statistical analysis (a JV with Associated Press)
Fox Sports Grill (50%) – Upscale sports bar and restaurant with 7 locations – Scottsdale, Arizona; Irvine, California; Seattle, Washington (U.S. state)|Washington; Plano, Texas; Houston, Texas; San Diego, California; and Atlanta, Georgia (U.S. state)|Georgia.
Fox Sports Skybox (70%) – Sports fan’s Bar & Grill at Staples Center and 6 airport restaurants.
News America Marketing (US) – (100%) – nation’s leading marketing services company, products include a portfolio of in-store, home-delivered and online media under the SmartSource brand.
Rotana (9%) – Largest Arab entertainment company owned by Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal
The Daily – iPad only newspaper delivered daily.
Making Fun – social game developer for making games for social networking sites, smartphones, tablets and other devices.
Stockpoint

So quite obviously the real reason that the Murdoch’s are hostile to the BBC at every possible opportunity, is that the BBC is embedded into the market, and cannot be bought out, or beaten out of the market, by the Murdoch’s, despite the Murdoch’s having such power and influence over what we see, hear, and think.

Let us also not forget just who commercial media – such as News International – are accountable to. Advertisers deciding what makes the news, can be devastating for press freedom. We must get out of the mindset that government control over press freedom is terrible (which it is) yet corporate control is ‘free’ (which it isn’t). For example, the Times reported in 2005 that General Motors had pulled it’s advertising for the L.A Times, after the L.A Times called for Rick Wagoner, the CEO of General Motors, to be sacked.
Morgan Stanley went one step further in May 2005 and added threats into it’s advertising contracts with newspapers across America, the following:

“In the event that objectionable editorial coverage is planned, news agency must inform Morgan Stanley, as a last minute change may be necessary. If an issue arises after hours or a call cannot be made, immediately cancel all Morgan Stanley ads for a minimum of 48 hours”.

Advertising, big business, has the potential to control what makes the news, and that is far more worrying that a large publicly funded BBC. As is the fact that media outlets that do not follow mainstream pro-free market fundamentalism, cannot attract advertisers. Advertising distorts the media market more than any other form.

Let us not forget that the BBC is at the very forefront of quality programming.
Blue Planet, Planet Earth, Francesco’s Venice, Walking With Dinosaurs – all great BBC documentaries. Blackadder, Fawlty Towers, The Young Ones, The Office, The Mighty Boosh – all great BBC comedies. Question Time, Newsnight, The Politics Show, Panorama, the coverage of Parliament – all great informative BBC shows. Panorama is by far the best investigative broadcast on British TV. There is no other show that comes close. It exposed bribery at Fifa before the voting for the 2018 World Cup, in 2010, whilst The Sun was busy telling us that a shop had banned a toy pig in case it upset muslims. In 2011, Panorama exposed care home abuse on a huge scale (where were the commercial investigative journalists?) An investigation that even the Daily Mail said:

“Without the investigation by the BBC’s Panorama, given huge coverage in the Mail, the abuse of patients at Winterbourne View might be continuing to this day.”

In 2009 it aired an investigation into the child sex abuse scandal surrounding the Catholic Church and suggested that the Pope may have known more than the ‘nothing’ he claims to have known about the scandal.
– Let’s not lose sight of what makes the BBC so essential.

The BBC is without a doubt the best news and information platform in the UK. It is revered the World over. It inspires creativity, and ingenuity in its programming. It 99% of the time performs quality journalism, essential to a country like the UK in which gutter journalism is the norm. It is not beholden to advertisers, it doesn’t provide support for political parties in exchange for an easy ride through to owning, for example, BSKYB. It makes mistakes, it has massive internal issues, and it is going to have to deal with its shady and frankly disgusting past when it comes to child abuse. It must remain independent, impartial, and public. We must protect it. It cannot be allowed to fall because of the noise created by those on the right who have longed for the day that it is privatised. It’s independence and its impartiality are crucial. Addressing misleading remarks by dutifully resigning is the right step (A step that Jeremy Hunt unfortunately chose to ignore) But restoring integrity and quality is the most important hurdle it must over come. A hurdle that media outlets like Sky, The Sun, Fox, and the Daily Mail (surprisingly all right winged) kicked over and pissed on long ago.


Phone Hacking, The BBC, Left Wing Conspiracies and Boris!

July 20, 2011

There are a lot of blogs and articles surrounding the staggering resignations, deaths, arrests and revelations surrounding the Met and its Press Office run almost entirely by ex-News Corp journalists and their incompetent handling of two investigations; the utterly absurd judgement and ignorance of the Prime Minister; the shameful opportunism of Ed Milliband; with regard to the News Corp hacking issue. There are hundreds of articles and new revelations popping up every day. So I wanted to a somewhat different angle to this, and run down a tangent.

Though first, it seems that the Prime Minister is on the very brink of being dragged underwater and his Premiership drowned (I say that, with a lasting smirk on my face) as it emerged that not only was Coulson brought into Tory Party HQ, but also Ex-News of the World deputy editor Neil Wallis, who is one of the people who have been arrested so far, was an adviser to Coulson after Coulson began work for the Tories. This is particularly toxic for Number 10, because Wallis has already brought down Met Chief Sir Paul Steve Stephenson and Deputy Met Chief John Yates after it was revealed that the Met had employed Wallis as a PR consultant. This will be worth following, because even Tory blogger Iain Dale makes the extraordinary suggestion that Cameron could be brought down by this scandal. This is echoed with Tory blogger Mark Thompson offering up Theresa May as a replacement for Cameron, after betting agencies were taking 6-1 bets on Cameron being brought down, down from 100-1 two weeks ago.

Anyway. Onto the main point.

At Prime Minister’s questions last week, Tory MP for Beverley and Holderness, Graham Stuart asked the Prime Minister if the police would also be investigating what he refers to as a “criminal conspiracy” at the heart of the previous Labour Government and the Murdoch Empire, into the desire to undermine Tory Peer Lord Ashcroft in the run up to the General Election.

I think it necessary to evaluate the character of Graham Stuart MP directly, as to discern whether his little outburst is worthy of our attention.

When Graham Stuart was at Cambridge, he was the Chairman of the Cambridge University Conservative Association. His term also coincided with a scandal, in which voting for his election was seen as suspicious and irregularities in the outcome meant that eight of his colleagues in the CUCA resigned in protest. Eight!

As well as having a face you just want to slap, and being a little bit untrustworthy at election time, he also managed to acquire the services of the repair men to resurface his private road leading up to his luxury mansion, at a usual cost of £2,500….. for free. There are potholes on the public roads around the town that he lives, but instead the resurfacing was used for his private estate.

But even if he had to pay for the road (which he didn’t), he would be able to, with the money he saves on his fortune, through his expense claims, which he thinks are perfectly legitimate. According to his forms, that I have spent the past couple hours of my apparently boring life reading through, he claimed half the electricity bill, half the rent on the flat which comes to £1400 a month, half the council tax, food, internet, phone, mobile phone, digital camera, tripod, an Egyptian cotton satin sheet worth £40, £240 on bed linen from John Lewis which he says represented “good value for money“, four £86 pillow cases, £8,500 on food between 2005-2009, he claimed £85 from a company called “Freestye Design” whom design company logos. I wondered why he’d be using a company like that. When his expenses were released, he said:

“if anyone has any questions or queries about individual claims they are more than welcome to email me or contact my office and I will do my best to answer them.”

So that’s exactly what I did.
He didn’t reply.

So, given that this man has a bit of a dodgy typical Tory character, one has to examine his question. The point he was trying to raise, was that Tom Baldwin, Head of communications for Ed Miliband, had obtained information about the Tory Lord’s tax affairs illegally. It’s an odd charge to make, given that no one is likely to feel all that sympathetic toward a Lord, worth over £1bn at the heart of a Government (who, indeed, is the largest donor to the Tory government) whose mantra is “save save save!!” Money must be saved everywhere, disabled people must lose out, children must lose out, everyone who isn’t rich must lose out…….. except for Lord Ashcroft, who isn’t contributing to the save save save mantra, because the “illegally obtained information” showed that he is classified as a non-dom, which means he doesn’t pay any UK tax on his fortune made abroad. Yet, he is part of a legislature, that insists the UK is on the “brink of bankruptcy“. He is hardly likely to foster the sympathy of a public, in the same way that the hacking of Millie Dowler’s phone gained. The Tories are actively trying to divert attention away from themselves, because not only did David Cameron appoint Andy Coulson (they clearly want, and desperately need an Alistair Campbell), but Boris Johnson, the Tory Mayor of London referred to the hacking scandal last year, as a Left Wing conspiracy. Whenever a Right Winger uses the term “left wing conspiracy” to refer to something they do not like (it happens alot in America, who, any time a gay guy says he wishes to get married to the love of his life, some lunatic Republican insists it’s all part of the “gay agenda“), I often want to bang my face against a wall and weep for the sanity of that particular section of humanity. Take Janet Daley writing in the Telegraph yesterday:

…..that great edifice of self-regarding, mutually affirming soft-Left orthodoxy which determines the limits of acceptable public discourse – of which the BBC is the indispensable spiritual centre.

Firstly, she does what most right wingers do, and suggests the BBC has a horrid left wing bias. She will no doubt point to some illogical evidence to back up her point, whilst ignoring all evidence to the contrary. The BBC, to me, has no real bias. It is almost impossible for a media organisation to be objective when objectivity itself is impossible with regard to politics. For example, whilst Daley will claim that Euroscepticism doesn’t get treated as a legitimate political view on the BBC, it is equally as important to point out (which she doesn’t) that the BBC personality who presents all their Westminster shows, is Andrew Neil, a man who was in the Conservative Club at the University of Glasgow, was a Conservative Party Research Assistant, and stood side by side with his former boss; Rupert Murdoch at the launch of Sky in the 1980s, before becoming a writer for the Daily Mail. It is almost impossible to become more right winged, before morphing into Margaret Thatcher. And he presents all of the BBCs Westminster coverage. The Daily Politics, sees Andrew Neil flanked by Labour MP for Hackney, Diane Abbott (never been a minister, or taken particularly seriously in politics) and Michael Portillo, a former Tory Defence Secretary, Shadow Chancellor, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Secretary of State for Employment, and potential leadership candidate. The balance is tipped very much in the direction of the Right on this one.
The political editor at the BBC is Nick Robinson. One quick google search shows that Robinson, during his time at Oxford, was not just a member, but President of the Oxford University Conservative Association. He was National Chairman of the Young Conservatives. Before the 2010 election he compared Cameron to Disraeli. After the election when the coalition agreements were being debated and drawn up, he referred to a Lib/Lab coalition as a “Coalition of losers“. And contrary to the views of the those of us on the Left, on his blog Robinson says of Cameron:

David Cameron prides himself on being bold when big moments occur – challenging for the Tory leadership in 2005, calling on Gordon Brown to have a snap election in 2007 and that “big, bold and generous” offer to form the Coalition in 2010.

What Robinson has done there, has metaphorically kissed and caressed a photo of David Cameron.

Daley is so blissfully ignorant to the fact that the past two years has seen the political discourse dominated by the desire to see deep public sector cuts rather than tax hikes for the wealthy; it has seen the emergence of the desire to revert back to the Capitalism that indeed failed and brought the World crashing down with it from both Labour and the Tories, and it has seen the discourse in the media and from the mouths of politicians everywhere throw spear after vicious spear at the hearts of anyone on benefits or in a Union. The NHS has been attacked, the Welfare state has been attacked, Universities have been attacked, the public purse has been attacked, and yet the very people who caused the mess in the first place have been given vast pensions and allowed to go free. A Guardian poll yesterday showed the Tories ahead of Labour, which all suggests that the public discourse and its limits are very firmly in the court of the Right Wing. A left wing discourse would, above all, launch a sustained attack on the very need for public sector cuts in the first place, it would be calling for a complete reinvention of the economic system as opposed to ignoring the inherent flaws which WILL lead to another crash, it would be unequivocally supportive of the Unions and public sector workers rather than painting them as out of touch, greedy, and overpaid, it would be constantly presenting the information surrounding Corporate tax avoidance and the obscenely high cost to the taxpayer rather than attacking the single mum who claims a few quid more than she perhaps should. As a left winger, it is an insult to hear the discourse of the political landscape in this country referred to as left wing. But that is the superb nature of right winged discourse, unless we’re throwing anyone with an Asian complexion out of the country, privatising the NHS, and shooting the families of Union leaders in the face, they will insist the Country is too left wing. Boris Johnson did that when he claimed the coverage of Phone hacking was all part of a left wing conspiracy. The same Boris Johnson who will now, in his short term as Mayor of London, see the arrival of the third Met Commissioner on his watch. Not a great record. So that’s Boris, Cameron, The Met, Lord Ashcroft (who we are now supposed to feel sympathetic toward) and Graham Stuart MP, who have not had the greatest of records pertaining to the phone hacking scandal.

Back to Ashcroft. In 2005, he commissioned two polls by YouGov and Populus. The polls were huge, and were set up to help the Tories target marginal seats, therefore it is most certainly in the public interest. He commissioned them and paid for them through his company which is based in Belize, which means he didn’t pay any VAT on them. The Guardian estimated that he owed £40,000 in unpaid VAT. Ironically, Vince Cable, now part of the Tory government funded by Ashcroft, said at the time:

“This is quite serious. We are now not talking just about Ashcroft’s non-dom status, but about systematic tax avoidance in funding Conservative party activities such as polling.”

– So why on Earth should I care that a man who sort to keep his tax details private whilst funding a Party who would almost certainly allow his abuses to continue as they gutted the public purse, had his details extracted illegally? There are levels of poor conduct within the journalist arena, and those conducted by Brooks and Coulson and the Met (the Chief of the Met had a meeting with the Guardian to urge them to drop the phone hacking investigation last year) and in-directly, David Cameron, is far far worse than those by Tom Baldwin.

Graham Stuart MP should quit his ramblings and just go back to his mansion, and lay on his Egyptian Satin tax payer funded sheets.

The saga continues…


Rise of the filth

December 15, 2010

When we were kids, the police were known by their more mellifluous title of “the filth“. They managed to gain this nickname, by insisting on turning up and supervising any group of teenagers standing around doing nothing. The result was not only a bunch of teenagers standing around doing nothing, but a bunch of police standing around doing nothing, and both groups inherently disliking and mistrusting each other. The difference between the two groups standing around doing nothing, was that the taxpayer didn’t fund teenagers to stand around doing nothing. If public funds were directed more at the kids, maybe we wouldn’t have been so bored we ended up standing around doing nothing, and maybe the police could concentrate on, you know, their job.

As we grow up, we learn to respect the police a little more. You note that they protect your property rights and at times, it must be difficult for them. And, we all love Gene Hunt. We suddenly respect what they do a little more, because we know we’d need their support if our house was broken into. Granted, that support would turn up 45 minutes after the actual brake in, take notes, and then spend the rest of the evening not actually finding your stolen stuff and instead supervising the next generation of bored teenagers in case they light up a spliff; but it’s nice to know they exist. But the respect we have for the police, does not give them the freedom to be vicious thugs.

The Metropolitan Police in London seem to have gained even more reason for the public to refer to them as “filth” recently. They are a formidable force of filth. Whenever they are on TV explaining themselves, I find I am more and more inclined to dismiss everything they say, as a crock of shit.

This tendency toward my absolute dismissal of everything the Met say (so that’s The Met, The CBI, and The IMF), stems entirely from the fact that they are, in fact, a crock of shit. First, the shooting in the head seven times, of Jean Charles de Menezes at Stockwell Tube Station, by the Met, because he looked a bit like a terrorist. Despite an IPCC investigation, which found that not only did the Met kill an unarmed innocent man, in the most violent of ways, but they tried to cover it up. It stated the Met:

made or concurred with inaccurate public statements concerning the circumstances of the death. The alleged inaccurate information included statements that Mr de Menezes had been wearing clothing and behaving in a manner which aroused suspicions.

The Chief of the Met at the time, Sir Ian Blair even tried to suppress an investigation, wishing instead to conduct an internal inquiry. Internal inquiries always clear the party involved. It is the equivalent of being your own judge at your murder trial. You’re not likely to send yourself down. Later, it became known that Metropolitan police surveillance officer codenamed “Owen” had deleted files off his computer, that involved a recording of deputy assistant commissioner Cressida Dick saying that de Menezes was not a threat at all.

The Crown Prosecution Service decided it would not press charges against anyone in the shooting of de Menezes. Shooting an innocent man seven times in the head apparently doesn’t even come under manslaughter.

And then we move onto the infamous G20 protest in London in 2009. The Met used the kettling technique to contain the crowd. A bystander on his way home named Ian Tomlinson had a heart attack and died during the kettle. First, the Met denied they had anything to do with his death. Suddenly, a youtube video appeared, showing PC Simon Harwood hit Ian Tomlinson with a baton, and then push him to the ground with ridiculous force, about a minute before Tomlinson had a heart attack and died. The police do not help him off the ground, instead they stand there, smug, doing nothing. A fellow bystander helps Tomlinson back to his feet.
Again, the Crown Prosecution Service said that they were unable to bring any charges against PC Simon Harwood. Harwood was known to have taken his police number off, and covered his face, to avoid detection. In 2009, a second and third postmortem on Ian Tomlinson revealed that he had died as a result of massive internal bleeding caused by a shock to the abdomen. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to point out that Harwood first hit Tomlinson with a baton, to the abdomen, and then shoved him to the floor…… a pretty closed case.

This is where the Met tend to act like great saviours in a land of crazed Anarchists, just trying to protect us all. They released a statement four hours after Tomlinson had died, stating that the police had noticed a man collapse, and had tried to rush in and help him but were bombarded by missiles from protesters. Those damn protesters. The only problem was, another youtube video surfaced, minutes later, after Tomlinson had collapsed. It shows police surrounded him, but not actually helping. It shows a female protester trying to help and saying “these are the bastards that did it“, and curiously, absolutely no “missiles” at all. This video surfaced just after The Sun, in its vast attempt to insult all protesters whilst masturbating furiously over the wonders of The Met, lead with:

“Man dies as bottles lobbed at rescuers.

POLICE were battered with beer bottles and cans as they desperately tried to save a dying man at the height of the G20 riots in London last night. But when cops struggled through the crowd to reach him, they were pelted with missiles. They finally got to him and set up a cordon as two ambulances rushed to the scene. ”

It’s amazing “journalism“. The Sun appear to have received a press statement from the IPCC, and manufactured a story around it. What is even more amazing, is that Harwood was hired by the Met, even though he had previous disciplinary action taken against him over the past decade. The Met are hiring lunatics.

Skip forward to the Student Protest in London last week.
Alfie Meadows, a Philosophy Student from Middlesex University is found wandering in a dazed state covered in blood, by his Philosophy Professor also at the protest. Meadows had been struck on the head by a police baton, with such force that he required brain surgery. The Met were kettling again at this point, and when the Professor begged them to let him and Alfie out of the kettle, they only allow Meadows to leave….. on his own……. in the middle of London……. needing brain surgery. Despite students and reputable professors from across the Country all claiming the violence started after kettling began, and after several unprovoked horse back charges by police took place, the media and the government still seem intent on keeping quiet on the subject of police brutality, instead choosing to focus their crocodile tears on a bit of paint on Charles’ armoured car.

This monday night, the BBC conducted a shameful interview of a man named Jody McIntyre. They asked him if he’d been throwing rocks at the police and if he were a “revolutionary” attempting to paint him as violent. The reason for this, is a video surfaced showing a Met officer pull Jody McIntyre ……. from his wheelchair…… which he can’t operate without the help of his brother, because of his celebral palsy, and dragged across the street. The BBC interviewer asked him if he’d provoked the attack….. by wheeling toward the police…. the muscular, trained, armed police. The BBC surely shouldn’t be acting as a mouthpiece for the angry right wing who are stuck in a tornado of shouting “omg it’s political correctness gone mad” arguing for “sanity” whenever it suits them, but claiming rather outlandishly that they’re second class citizens whenever someone with slightly darken skin complexion gets a job ahead of them? They aren’t the Daily Mail. Although The Daily Mail took it one step further, by comparing McIntyre to Andy from Little Britain, with the quite insufferable turd Richard Littlejohn stating:

“…he should have kept a safe distance.

Jody Mcintyre is like Andy from Little Britain.
‘Where do you want to go today, Jody?’
‘Riot.’
‘Are you sure? Wouldn’t you rather go to hear Bob Crow speak at the Methodist Central Hall. You like Bob Crow.’
‘Yeah, I know.’
‘So, we’ll go there, eh?’
‘Riot!’
‘Ken Livingstone will be there, too. He’s your favourite.’
‘Riot!’
‘All right, then.’
Five minutes later at the riot . . .
‘Don’t like it.’ ”

Littlejohn apparently thinks disabled people should not stand up for what they believe in, and if they dare to, they apparently shouldn’t complain when police drag them out of their wheelchair.

The Tory Party aren’t exactly the friends of disabled people, what with cutting adult social care funding for those suffering a disability. But Tory Councillor Phil Taylor took it one step further, when, on his blog, he said:

” Although he presents himself as a cerebral palsy victim in a wheelchair he does not mention that by his own account he walked up the 9 stories of stairs of the 30 Millbank building during the student riots of 10th November.”

– How utterly irrelevant. Even if he did an elegant handstand, all the way up the stairs, with a cartwheel finish, into a double somersault….. it still doesn’t justify police dragging a kid from a wheelchair and throwing him into the street.
Taylor posts a quote from McIntyre’s website, in which Taylor highlights certain areas of the text, that in Taylor’s odd opinion, paint a picture of a disabled kid who deserves to be pulled from his wheelchair by The Met. Let’s take the sections of McIntyre’s blog that Taylor highlighted one by one:

The sun was shining on the morning of November 10th, and our blood was boiling.

– Yup. That was the feeling among all 50,000 of us. I was there too. We didn’t go down to show how happy we are with the Coalition. Absolutely no reason to highlight this. Also, John Major, the former Tory Prime Minister, and a man who lost his personality in the 1970s, told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, that Labour’s attacks on Coalition policy……. “makes my blood boil“. The violent bastard. The Met need to be kicking the shit out of the ex Tory PM for that. They can count on Phil Taylor’s support too!

We passed Trafalger Square, and half way down Whitehall found ourselves approaching the main bulk of the demonstration, which had assembled there. It was an endless sea of people, but unfortunately, they had been corralled by police and NUS stewards into one lane of the dual carriageway. Me and Finlay immediately set to work, tearing down the metal barriers which separated the two lanes.

– Good! I’m glad someone did. We were squeezed in. For a guy in a wheelchair, it couldn’t have been easy. Even if he were stood up and walking, it couldn’t have been easy. I moved a barrier twice, to make a bit more space. There was no reason for the divide whatsoever. Taylor wasn’t in the mesh of people being held together like sheep.

A group of 200 followed, including me in my wheelchair, and Finlay pushing at full speed.

– Erm, okay. So he quite likes to go fast. I’d hate to see how angry Taylor gets at the Paralympics. “THEY AREN’T DISABLED!!! THEY’RE GOING TOO FAST TO BE DISABLED!!!” presumably.

We continued down the sixty stone steps at the other end of the Treasury road without so much as a pause for breath. We were on the rampage.

– It’s a figure of speech. He wasn’t literally on a rampage, shooting innocent bystanders (or pushing them over inducing a heart attack). It is a figure of speech, and its a soundbite. Like when Taylor himself refers to a man in his constituency who said “I see broken windows as being totally justified compared with the damage being done to the public sector. This is just the beginning“, as a “Leftie, nutter headbanger“…….. he isn’t literally saying that the man quite likes to bang his head, nor is he even suggesting that the man in question listens to music one might “headbang” to. Figure of speech, Phil. The same sort of figure of speech that he used, when in his latest blog about a rather useless cowboy builder, with the phrase “It took a lot of kicking and screaming from local councillors to get this site sorted out“……. if we are to go by Phil’s new found literal approach to sentences that quite clearly, aren’t meant that way, we must presume that local councillors Taylor is speaking of, literally did kick and scream……. the violent thugs.

It was an epic mission to the top. Nine floors; eighteen flights of stairs. Two friends carried my wheelchair, and I walked.

– Having just spoken to my lovely girlfriend Ashlee about the effects of cerebral palsy (she is a physio at a disabled kids school, and deals with this everyday), she has informed me, after watching the BBC interview herself, that of course McIntyre can walk, but judging from his posture, and the way he spoke and his twitching, he would find it difficult to get too far without help. It would take him a long time to get to where he was heading, he wouldn’t be able to balance himself properly for very long at any one time, and he’d get overly tired very very quickly. So, he should be commended for fighting for what he believes in, at the same time as going through the trouble it must have been to achieve it. But, the fact remains, the police considered it perfectly okay to pull a man from a wheelchair and drag him across the street. Phil Taylor, is a tremendous scrotum. His entire blog is drivel. Right winged, miserable, vicious drivel in which anyone slightly left of Reagan is considered a thug. It is people like Taylor that make me proud to wear the badge of the Left Wing, with pride.

Tory Blogger Guido Fawkes waded in on the subject, stating on his blog:

“Jody Macinytre, radical pro-Palestine supporter and sufferer from cerebral palsy”

– They are his only two attributes apparently. He also isn’t “radical” pro-Palestine supporter, although even if he was, i’m not sure why that’s a bad thing. Fawkes continues:

“However he has revelled in, and incited, violence on his website……”

“Macintyre can’t hide behind his disability when the police treat him like any other violent trespassing thug. It’s called equality…”

– Yes he can. Because he’s disabled. And the police are fully armed, trained guards. And also, because 1) he wasn’t trespassing, and 2) he wasn’t being violent. What a horrible sense of equality Tory bloggers have. Disabled people causing no problems are apparently just as equal as the rest of us causing no problems, in being beaten by the Met. We should all be thankful for that little gem of equality.

The point is, despite the talk of violence from protesters…. the only serious injury, was caused by the police, and the only shameful attack on a disabled man, was caused by police. The media tend to tread carefully with the issue, because criticising an institution like The Met, who they clearly still consider to be a reputable source, could provoke anger amongst right winged commentators like Phil Taylor and Guido Fawkes, who would inevitably refer to the BBC as “left wing” if they dared to criticise the police. The Government keep telling us that the “full force of the law” will come down on violent student protesters, but never mention any such repercussion for Police. The Met are not on a higher moral plateau. They are dangerous, provocative, murdering, violent, lying…………. filth.


The Presentation

October 19, 2010

Yesterday at University I had my first presentation of the year. I had under a week to prepare it. It went pretty well though. I quite like being the first to present, and I have no problem talking in front of people. I get quite passionate when I talk too. Which must be a good thing. I get my grade back next week. I thought i’d publish my guidelines on here, for what I wanted to present. The presentation follows the question.

Presentation 1 – Debate and discuss: ‘Increasing concentration of media ownership into fewer hands means news will become less reliable as a source of information and public scrutiny’. Explain why you agree or disagree.

The corporate media is a business; enshrined by law to protect shareholders.
A media corporation is not unusual, it is a corporation. It has to play by the very same rules as every other corporation. This presents institutionalised problems right at the very fundamental making of a media corporation.
Joel Bakan, author of The Corporation, writes:

The law forbids any motivation for their actions, if it is to assist workers, improve the environment, or help consumers save money. As corporate officials; stewards of other peoples money, they have no legal authority to pursue such goals as ends in themselves – only as means to serve the corporation’s own interests, which generally means to maximise the wealth of its shareholders. Corporate social responsibility is thus illegal – at least when it is genuine.

Corporate media is no different. Its only concern and its only legal requirement, is to make money. It is not concerned with preserving and progressing democracy through what it likes to call an open and free press. It merely wants to make money, become dominant, and have influence. Wealth and power centralized within the State are considered great evils; wealth and power concentrated in very very few hands within a wealthy private elite, who remember are unelected and who are not in any way concerned with the public good, is strangely considered free.
When Jefferson stated that “The only security of all is in a free press” he was writing at a time when Corporations, including the press, had social responsibility enshrined in law. Corporations in those days were not allowed to attempt to influence elections, nor could they fund campaigns and if they were seen to be committing a public harm, they would be dismantled. The free press in Jefferson’s time, were not media conglomarates ruled by very wealthy elites.

Justice Hugo Black asserted that “The first amendment rests on the assumption that the widest possible dissemination of information from diverse and antagonistic sources is essential to the welfare of the public”. When corporate media attempts to consolidate its power, we don’t particularly receive diverse and antagonistic sources.

I wont try to suggest that all media outlets in the UK have the same agenda. It’s obvious to anyone that the Daily Mail has a far more right winged approach to the society and Nationhood and economics, than the Guardian. But, this doesn’t mean that they aren’t similar in other ways. The media is generally conservative, because it exists as a result of the economic and social structure that is in place and that it benefits from, and so anything that might threaten the power of business (for example; a working class or left wing version of events) is only ever going to be published in a negative light. For example, the top story on Sky News this morning was that 35 business leaders have backed George Osbourne’s plans for spending cuts. It was reported as if this is some sort of proof that the Conservatives are doing the exact right thing. The Sky News report said the document of support was signed by Stuart Rose, the M&S Chairman. What it doesn’t say, is that Stuart Rose is set to be made a Lord, by the Conservative Party and is a life long supporter of them. It also says that a group called Diageo signed the letter. It doesn’t go into any detail. Diageo is the parent company of Guiness and Johnny Walker and other big alcohol names. However, what the report doesn’t say is that over the past couple of years Diageo has restructured itself so as to avoid as much tax as possible, despite making most of its money in the UK. Another businessman to sign the statement in support of the Conservative Party, is Justin King, chief executive of J Sainsbury. What the report doesn’t say is that The President of J Sainsbury, is John Sainsbury, Baron of Preston Candover, with a net worth of £1.3bn, he is a Conservative Party donor, and member of the Conservative Party. Another businessman to sign the statement in support of the Conservative Party is Simon Wolfson, chief executive of Next. What Sky or any other broadcaster or newspaper doesn’t say, is that Wolfson is a member of the Conservative Party and donated to David Cameron’s 2005 campaign, and named by the Telegraph as the “37th-most important British conservative.” None of the British press or media in general today, have published this side of the story. And so information, it could be argued, has been withheld.

To own and run a successful newspaper in the UK, you have to have money. To have money, it is fairly unlikely that you are a pro-union left winger with socialist ideals. To enhance your wealth, you need to be somewhat dedicated to neoliberal ideals. This is one of the main reasons we do not have working class publications any more. And so one side of the argument is very much presented. Reliable sources of information, as well as two sides of the argument are almost never presented.

For example, during the election campaign, every party ran on the notion that spending needed cutting drastically, and that Gordon Brown referring to Gillian Duffy as a bigot was awful. None of them challenged the consensus. None of them bothered to point out that Gillian Duffy had actually asked Brown before hand “What are you going to do about all the Eastern Europeans”. To me, that stinks of bigotry and ignorance. On the economy, the Sun printed last Monday, a double page spread about benefit cheating, entitled “Benefit Ghettos: Worst welfare blackspots finally revealed”. It began the story with “Britain’s benefit black spots where up to eight out of ten people live on State handouts are exposed in shocking new figures released today”. This struck me as particularly over dramatic. Words like ‘exposed’ and ‘shocking’ add to the idea that we should all be intensely angry at a few people on benefits. This isn’t new, or exposing, or shocking, most Papers have ran stories on benefits over their life time. The suggestion is, during time of economic hardship, those living on benefits; if they aren’t the biggest problem, then it’s immigrants. Always the same story, time and time again. Now, what wont get published much, is the fact that according to statistics, in 2007 to 2008. Benefit cheating cost us around £800mn, whilst Corporate tax avoidance cost us £18.5bn. It would seem that when men in expensive suits do it, the papers aren’t too bothered by it. When a single mum in a council house in Liverpool does it and about 300% less, it’s a National scandal. The papers stay clear of it. I’d suggest this is simply because half of the companies who owe a fortune in lost revenue due to elaborate tax avoidance schemes, are key advertisers. Andy Coulson, the Tory party communications Director, and ex editor of the News of the World, must have had a say in the fact that both the Sun and the News Of The World tend to stay entirely clear of the Lord Ashcroft tax avoidance affair.
During the Summer of 2008, Rupert Murdoch’s son-in-law paid (around £34,000 in total) for the leader of the Conservative Party, David Cameron, to fly Santorini (a Greek Island) for private talks on a yacht, with Rupert Murdoch. Also in Santorini for the talks was a lady named Rebekah Wade……………. Editor of The Sun.
It is no coincidence, that a couple of days after Murdoch spoke in the Sun, stating of David Cameron:
“What does he really feel in his stomach? Is he going to be a new Thatcher, which is what the country needs? The UK desperately needs less government and freer markets“
Cameron then made a speech, in which he said of Ofcom:
“So with a Conservative Government, OFCOM as we know it will cease to exist.“
Surely that’s no coincidence. I pick on Murdoch because he’s the current king of the media. He really pushed for a Conservative government and not just with the Sun. After every leaders debate, Sky News awarded victory to Cameron. Even the first, in which Clegg mania took off and the entire Country was pretty certain Clegg won; Sky News said 45% of people polled said Cameron won and only 23% said Clegg won. I don’t think 45% of Conservative HQ would have said that Cameron won.

To conclude, the concentration of media into fewer private hands, is no different to concentration of media in government hands; it provides only a certain side of a story, which is to say to side of the story which least affects its advertisers negatively, or the business community in general. Profit comes before responsibility much of the time.


Campbell vs Boulton

May 10, 2010

We all know Fox News is so ridiculously bias, it makes us laugh to watch it. Sky News, is a Murdoch run news network in the U.K. We have laws that prevent our news coverage becoming too much like Fox – manipulative. Sky, along with other Murdoch Publications; The Sun newspaper, have spent the past few months attacking Gordon Brown and Labour constantly.

An entire day’s lead story, last week was a Labour candidate in an unwinable seat, crazily rambling about “we’ll get all socialism and stuff in, like, England, and stuff” and how Gordon Brown is the worst prime minister ever. That was Sky’s lead story, all day.
A day or two later, a Tory MP, is was revealed (not by Sky), is a member of a Church that claims it “cures homosexuality”, Sky did not even mention it.
A day or two later, a Tory peer said “Muslims don’t have morals or principles”. Sky did not even mention it.
So yes, Sky is ridiculously bias.

Today, has proved it more than ever.

Today Gordon Brown announced his resignation as Prime Minister. Effectively, he will remain in power until the Conservatives and the Liberals agree on a way forward together, and until the Labour Party can elect a new leader. Which is obvious. Otherwise, there is no Prime Minister, no Executive branch, and no leader of the Labour Party. He is right to stay on until this Constitutional nightmare is over.

Sky HATE it. They have spent years suggesting everyone in the Labour Party should burn to death, and that Brown should resign, now that he has, they are accusing him of trying to cling to power.

What this means is, the talks between the Tories and the Liberals has been thrown into a little bit of chaos. The Liberals always said they did not want a coalition that propped up Gordon Brown. Well, now Brown has gone. It was paved the way for a Labour/Lib Dem coalition, on the same day as the Liberals announced they have opened discussions with the Labour Party.

Sky have had a mental breakdown at that.

In this video, you see Adam Boulton. He is Sky’s answer to Bill O’Reilly. He is in essence, an idiot. A very very bias news “person” (I wont say Journalist). He has spent the past few months defaming Labour and Brown as much as possible, and given David Cameron a free ride. He even (along with the Sun) went as far as to claim Cameron has a lot in common with Obama.

The other man is Alastair Campbell. Campbell was Tony Blair’s Director of Communications, during the Blair years. Campbell was essentially, Blair’s spin doctor. He is known for being the King of Spin over here in the UK. A lot of people took a dislike to him. Myself included, especially over the September dossier.
Now he’s out of Government, I quite like him. He knows what he’s talking about. He has been around Government and Journalism along time. He know’s media bias when he sees it. This is a good example of that.

This outburst comes days after Sky’s equally as useless presenter, Kay Burley told a pro-electoral reform spokesperson to “just go home“.

Sky, you can tell today, are panicking hugely. They did not expect this at all. It has been hour after hour of wheeling people out to tell England how evil Brown is for clinging onto power. How awful it is. How Britain sacked Gordon Brown, and yet he’s still here. Britain may have sacked Gordon Brown, but they did not employ David Cameron.

Alastair Campbell 1 – 0 Murdoch’s fucking idiotic English version of Fox’s Bill O’Reilly.