censorship

Silencing The Redundant

I think I only follow one footballer on Twitter and he is an ex-Celtic player so this isn’t anything that is likely to affect me too much but I am always uneasy about headlines like this…

Premier League issues social networking guidance for players

The Premier League has drawn up guidelines for players about how to use social media. 

They offer advice on the endorsement of brands, goods and services and also warn players not to reveal confidential information about team matters.

I don’t like things like this because even though they say “guidelines” and not “rules” or “laws”, it still seems that people are being told what they can and cannot say. Transgressors of the guidelines are likely to be punished.

Although I personally might not want to follow too many players (though I do follow a lot of fan media) that is beside the point.  These guidelines are still a little whittling away of free speech at the margins, and the fact it is done so publicly normalises the little loss too.

I am sure there have been “guidelines” given to olympic athletes about what they can and cannot say as well.

FEELING THREATENED?

[If the cartoon is yours please contact me and I will add link or delete as requested. I really don’t remember where I found it]

Judging by the fury of the political classes at the moment, the biggest threat to our freedom and security is not terrorism,  crime or even those pesky protestors. It certainly isn’t the degradation of the environment or the pollution of the air and water.

No, none of those things seem to be as important or worrisome as a group of people who have had the temerity to publish what the people who are supposedly our representatives are actually doing and saying when they think no one is looking.

In that light, I suggest you have a quick look at John Pilger’s latest article (click the link below). It is about Wikileaks.

The part about Christine Amanpour is very interesting. This is because she is one of the journalists that appeared in a number Iraq war documentaries saying that the media swallowed and reprinted the governments position instead of critically analysing it. John Pilger here more or less accuses her of doing it again.

WHY WIKILEAKS MUST BE PROTECTED – John Pilger

SATURDAY MATINEE 5 – WHY WE FIGHT

This week we have Eugene Jarecki’s Why We Fight which, amongst other things, examines the lies that are used to manipulate the public into supporting wars…

SATURDAY MATINEE 3 – HOLLYWOOD AND THE PENTAGON

A shortish but good documentary about the history of Hollywood and the pentagon working together.

I also wrote a review of it which you can read here.

AMERICAN OFFICIALS SAY

Here is an abridged version of a story on BBC news about the situation in Yemen. Please pay attention to the parts I have highlighted…

Yemeni forces have arrested three suspected al-Qaeda militants who were wounded in a raid on Monday, security sources say.

They were captured at a hospital north of the capital, Sanaa. AFP news agency says they include Mohammed al-Hanq, a key local al-Qaeda leader.

AFP quoted an unnamed security official saying: “Mohammed al-Hanq and two others who were wounded were captured in a hospital in Amran.”

The agency said the local al-Qaeda leader was thought to be behind the security threats that had prompted the embassy closures.

The British embassy said its public services still remained closed, and that the security situation was being assessed on a daily basis.

The US had reopened its embassy on Tuesday, saying successful counter-terrorism operations by Yemeni forces had addressed a “specific area of concern”.

This was an apparent reference to Monday’s raid some 25 miles (40km) north of Sanaa, in which two other suspected members of al-Qaeda were killed.

The difficulties of travel within Yemen have prevented the BBC from independently verifying details of the reported raid.

But the BBC’s Jeremy Bowen, in Sanaa, says he saw military jets flying over the capital on Monday afternoon and into the evening, suggesting some kind of operation was under way.

American intelligence officials say the failed plot to bomb a US-bound jet on 25 December originated in Yemen – where the suspect was allegedly trained by al-Qaeda.

Now, it is not a difficult thing to go through most stories in mainstream news and find exactly this style of reporting so I made and uploaded something from Robert Fisk which brilliantly highlights the problem (1m 34s). I went to a similar talk he gave in Glasgow and it was wonderful. You can find slightly different versions of the same talk all around the web.

Brilliantly put by Fisk I am sure you will agree.

It is however worth saying that in many cases this systemic problem is not the fault of the journalists themselves. As “the NEWS” morphed into the “the NEWS BUSINESS” the standard model was to cut money from the investigative side of reporting and if it was reinvested at all it was reinvested into the presentational side.

Furthermore, even when journalists do have stories despite their limited budgets, real stories are often squashed and never allowed to air – leaving the airwaves full of Michael Jackson type stories.

Nevertheless, what Fisk describes is where we are now.

PODCAST TWO

In this one I speak with Professor David Miller of the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland.

David Miller is the author/co-author/editor of several books including “A Century of Spin: How Public Relations Became the cutting Edge of Corporate Power” and “TELL ME LIES. Propaganda and Media Distortion in the Attack on Iraq.” He is also the co-founder of http://www.spinwatch.org and http://www.spinprofiles.org. He occasionally appears on the BBC too,  including this rather amusing one from Newsnight.

In fact, in this podcast we discuss the BBC, it’s history and origins, how it has been controlled and manipulated by governments and how all this fits into the wider media context.

I hope the production is a little better on this one than the last.

If you go to THIS LINK HERE then you can listen to it online or download it as an mp3. You want the VBR MP3 link where it says ‘Audio Files’.

You can also LISTEN ONLINE HERE

Hope you like it and thank to ourmedia.org for making a great little service.

FINALLY

I’ve finally arrived at my first proper bit of time off in a long time.

Naturally, I will be spending the first night or two of that in the pub.

After that I can do something about the appalling lack of posting on here lately. Got a lot of good things that just need touching up almost ready to go but haven’t had the time or energy.

I am also just beginning to understand what Twitter is all about [sort of] and so am using that too now. My name on it is just mgreenwell if anyone wants to find me.

Sorry about delay in the release of the podcast. It is coming very soon, and after that there should be one a month to begin with and then we’ll see. I am learning the technology on the job and that and work are the reasons for the delay.

I have also recently had a story that is in the Nepal book published on a Celtic Football Club website called lostbhoys.com, so that is one ambition fulfilled.

In the meantime…here is a repost because I like it. I was calling for God Save the Queen to be banned for inciting racial hatred….

BANNED

The new anti-terror laws that the UK government have been passing since the London bombings got me thinking. One of them in particular, which is the new law about ‘Indirect Incitement’ whereby people said to incite terrorist acts can be prosecuted. This is all seems alarmingly vague so lets get some definitions…

Terrorism as defined by the US Department of Defense is “the unlawful use of — or threatened use of — force or violence against individuals or property to coerce or intimidate governments or societies, often to achieve political, religious, or ideological objectives.”

That seems both a reasonable and clear definition. So what does ‘Indirect Incitement’ constitute?

Hazel Blears…

“[it] would apply to people who seek to glorify terrorist activity, perhaps by saying: ‘It’s a marvellous thing that this has happened. These people are martyrs.’ ” Such comments could be construed “as an endorsement of terrorism”.

Asked to define “indirect incitement”, she said: “It is very difficult to give examples of this. It would depend on what words were used. Were they an endorsement, were they a glorification? In some cases, the tone of your endorsement might take it into glorification.”

The new offence would also apply to both public and private statements, Miss Blears said.[i]

This means a whole host of things will have to banned. One of them is the UK national anthem ‘God Save the Queen’. The fourth verse of this song states that…

Lord grant that Marshal Wade
May by thy mighty aid
Victory bring.
May he sedition hush,
And like a torrent rush,
Rebellious Scots to crush

This song of ‘hatred’ then is clearly invoking religious power (’Lord Grant that Marshal Wade…’) in order to achieve a political aim – hushing sedition – and also to achieve this by violence by crushing ‘Rebellious Scots’. If any Englishman attacks a Scot therefore, he could be said to have ‘indirectly incited’ by this song. Not only will he be arrested but so could anyone else who has sung this. Say goodbye to the ‘national’ anthem.

Another favoured song down in England (not in Scotland) is ‘Jerusalem’. It is often sung at state events and also in Churches up and down the country. It is a song that clearly invokes religious, middle-eastern and violent imagery…

And was the holy Lamb of God
On England’s pleasant pastures seen?
And did the Countenance Divine
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here
Among those dark Satanic mills?
Bring me my bow of burning gold!
Bring me my spear! O clouds, unfold!
Bring me my chariot of fire!
I will not cease from mental fight
Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand
Till we have built Jerusalem
In England’s green and pleasant land

This song clearly suggests that God is on the side of those wishing violence upon others. It also has defined religious and political/military objectives. If someone goes on holiday to Jerusalem and takes home a souvenir have they been incited by this song to rebuild it in England? This one then, will also have to go. [here is a picture of some people inciting terrorism]

Other laws are being enacted to deal with so-called ‘Radical Clerics’. This should please the Northern Irish Catholic community who have been dealing with a community ‘incited’ by a radical cleric …Ian Paisley.

Some Ian Paisley quotes…

“I will kill all who get in my way”, after a loyalist rally in 1968. He shouted this out at some reporters

During a visit from the Pope, Ian Paisley yelled “I denounce you. Anti-Christ” several times at the European Parliament.

After a Loyalist rally in 1968, Ian Paisely justified outrages by claiming: “Catholic homes caught fire because they were loaded with petrol bombs; Catholic churches were attacked and burned because they were arsenals and priests handed out sub-machine guns to parishioners”; he also said the massive discrimination in employment and allocation of public housing for Catholics existed because “they breed like rabbits and multiply like vermin”.[ii]

Surely then this religious and political leader is fomenting intolerance,violence and hatred and should be subject to retroactive arrest under the new laws?

So, can we soon expect mass arrests at football matches, rugby matches and churches up and down the country. All those caught on camera singing some of these songs at the remembrance day services will have to be retroactively arrested. The majority of the English public will be imprisoned. Only a few ‘rebellious Scots’ and ethnic minorities will be left in all of Great Britain and the patriotic white English public, protected inside their prisons, will be finally be safe and free from all the horrors that Scots, immigrants, catholics and muslims and single mothers always seem to be trying to inflict on them.

[i] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2005/07/16/ncleric16.xml
[ii] From http://www.answers.com/