Published on Dissident Voice, by John Pilger, December 8, 2012.
In the week Lord Leveson published almost a million words about his inquiry into the “culture, practice and ethics” of Britain’s corporate press, two illuminating books about media and freedom were also published. Their contrast with the Punch and Judy show staged by Leveson is striking.
For 36 years, Project Censored, based in California, has documented critically important stories unreported or suppressed by the media most US people watch or read.
This year’s report is Censored 2013: Dispatches From the Media Revolution by Mickey Huff and Andy Lee Roth (Seventh Stories Press). They describe the omissions of “mainstream” journalism as “history in the un-making”.
Unlike Leveson, their investigation demonstrates the sham of a system claiming to be free. Among their top 25 censored stories are these:
Since 2001, the United States has erected a police state apparatus including a presidential order that allows the US military to detain anyone indefinitely without trial.
FBI agents are now responsible for the majority of terrorist plots, with a network of 15,000 spies “encouraging and assisting people to commit crimes”. Informants receive cash rewards of up to US$100,000.
The bombing of civilian targets in Libya last year was often deliberate and included the main water supply facility that provided water to 70% of the population.
In Afghanistan, the murder of 16 unarmed civilians, including children, attributed to one rogue US soldier, was actually committed by “multiple” soldiers, and covered up.
In Syria, the US, Britain and France are funding and arming the icon of terrorism, al-Qaeda.
In Latin America, one US bank has laundered $378 billion in drug money.
In Britain, this world of subjugated news and information is concealed behind a similar facade of a “free” media, which promotes the extremisms of state corruption and war, consumerism and an impoverishment known as “austerity”.
Leveson devoted his “inquiry” to the preservation of this system. My favourite laugh-out-loud quote of His Lordship is: “I have seen no basis at any stage for challenging the integrity of the police.”
Those who have long tired of deconstructing the cliches and deceptions of “news” say: “At least there is the internet now” … //
… In December 2010, Twitter was ordered by the US Justice Department to surrender its clients’ personal information relevant to the Obama administration’s pursuit of WikiLeaks, no matter where in the world people lived. Obama has pursued twice as many whistleblowers as all other US presidents combined.
—This is why Assange and alleged WikiLeaks whistleblower Bradley Manning are targets ― along with those rare journalists who do their job and publish in the public interest. Like Assange they, too, are liable to be prosecuted for espionage, regardless of what the US Constitution says. A whistleblower at the NSA, Bill Binney, describes this as “turnkey totalitarianism”.
The iniquity of Rupert Murdoch was not his “influence” over the Tweedledees and Tweedledums in Downing Street, nor the thuggery of his eavesdroppers, but the augmented barbarism of his media empire in promoting the killing, suffering and dispossession of countless men, women and children in the US’s and Britain’s illegal wars.
Murdoch has plenty of respectable accomplices. The liberal Observer was as rabid a devotee of the Iraq invasion.
When Tony Blair gave evidence to the Leveson inquiry, bleating about the media’s harassment of his wife, he was interrupted by a filmmaker, David Lawley-Wakelin, who described him as a war criminal. At that, Lord Leveson leapt to his feet and ordered the truth-teller thrown out and apologised to the war criminal.
Such an exquisite display of irony is contemptuous of all of us.