Britain is said to be approaching its Berlusconi Moment. That is to say, if Rupert Murdoch wins control of Sky, he will command half Britain’s television and newspaper market and threaten what is known as public service broadcasting. Although the alarm is ringing, it is unlikely that any government will stop him while his court is packed with politicians of all parties. The problem with this and other Murdoch scares is that, while one cannot doubt their gravity, they deflect from an unrecognised and more insidious threat to honest information.
On September 18, elections were held in Afghanistan amid killings of civilians. The Taliban had said it would disrupt the vote by killing those taking part, but the elections’ sponsors — the US-led occupation forces — also killed civilians on polling day. Afghan and international media reported election day deaths from Taliban attacks, US air strikes, and fighting between foreign troops and insurgents, as well as between supporters of rival candidates.
“Two American soldiers have been killed and nine wounded after a gunman in Iraqi army uniform attacked them at an Iraqi base, US officials said. “The soldiers were part of a security detail for a United States company commander who was meeting members of Iraq's security forces at a commando compound near the city of Tuz Khurmato, 170 kilometres north of Baghdad, US military said. “They were the first American soldiers killed since US forces formally ended combat operations in Iraq a week ago … [I]nsurgents continue to launch attacks daily, many targeting Iraqi soldiers and police.”
“Tony Blair's autobiography, A Journey, is being subversively moved to crime sections in book shops by members of a Facebook protest group. “Over 10,000 Facebook members have joined the group ‘Subversively move Tony Blair’s memoirs to the crime section in book shops’ and have been posting photos of them doing so … “The Facebook group description said: ‘Make book shops think twice about where they categorise our generation’s greatest war criminal.’” — September 8 Webusers.co.uk.
“Tony Blair today cancelled a second event scheduled to mark the launch of his memoirs after anti-war campaigners prepared to mount a protest against him … “The decision comes just days after Blair announced he was cancelling a signing session due to be held at the Waterstone's book store in London's Piccadilly this lunchtime, amid concerns over planned protests … “A book signing in Dublin a few days earlier had seen eggs and shoes hurled by protesters, with one individual attempting to make a citizen’s arrest.” — September 8 Guardian.
Edward Bernays, the US nephew of Sigmund Freud, is said to have invented modern propaganda. During the World War I, he was one of a group of influential liberals who mounted a secret government campaign to persuade reluctant Americans to send an army to the bloodbath in Europe. In his 1928 book Propaganda, Bernays said the “intelligent manipulation of the organised habits and opinions of the masses was an important element in democratic society” and that the manipulators “constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power in our country“.
Venezuela’s decision to re-establish diplomatic, political and economic relations with Colombia on August 10 was only possible thanks to a range of circumstances and actions. Venezuela cut ties on July 22 in the face of allegations made by Colombia at the Organisation of American States (OAS) of alleged Venezuelan support for left-wing Colombian guerrillas. The Venezuelan government said the allegations were part of an attempt, backed by the US, to spark a war between the two nations.
US-NATO command and their puppets in Kabul are pushing ahead with lower house elections in Afghanistan on September 18. This is despite civilian casualties rising by 31% this year, a surge of occupying troop numbers and new evidence of widespread corruption emerging. A scandal surrounding the country’s largest commercial bank, Kabul Bank, has implicated one of Afghan President Hamid Kazai’s brothers. Mahmoud Karzai, when head of Kabul Bank, is said to have made millions from risky investments in the collapsing Dubai property market.
Peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority started on September 2. After the resumption of negotiations, Israel refrained from attacking Gaza for just two days. Then it ordered the bombing of two Rafah tunnels that connect the besieged Gaza Strip to Egypt, killing two workers, and leaving two severely injured.
“Twelve American soldiers face charges over a secret ‘kill team’ that allegedly blew up and shot Afghan civilians at random and collected their fingers as trophies”, the September 9 Guardian said. “Five of the soldiers are charged with murdering three Afghan men who were allegedly killed for sport in separate attacks this year.” The other seven are charged with helping to cover up these atrocities and assaulting a soldier who exposed the murders, the Guardian said.