by Anthony Hall
The Leveson Inquiry into Media Ethics
Royal Courts of Justice
Dear Mrs. Chakrabarti;
I am taking this step to intervene in the work of the Leveson Inquiry on the advice of my friend and colleague, human-rights lawyer Paul Warburton. As I understand it, Mr. Warburton’s contribution to the work of Lord Justice Leveson and his staff flows consistently from the former’s longstanding complaint about a very serious and ongoing instance of disinformation and fraud perpetrated for over a decade by the BBC and many other media venues whose credibility has quite properly been tarnished by revelations concerning the collaboration between police and the communications empire of Rupert Murdoch.
The Leveson Inquiry and the Role of the Police-Media Complex in the Subversion of Peace, Order and Good Governance
As Mr. Warburton and I see it, there is already much on the public record to indicate that the media-police collaboration exposed in the phone-hacking scandal goes far higher in the chain of command than anything that has been publicized so far in the revelations giving rise to the work of the Leveson Inquiry. This media-police collaboration pollutes the mental environment in ways that in many instances reduce electoral processes to cynical exercises in “public relations.” The term, “public relations,” was created decades ago by Edward Bernays to make more acceptable the investment of vast resources into the manipulative enterprise that until the era of Nazi thought control was openly identified in the West as “propaganda.”
In our current system, where the work of police officials and media manipulators sometimes becomes virtually indistinguishable from one another, most of our elected officials have been reduced to the role of actors playing out dramas concocted for them by operatives of both state-owned and corporate-owned info-entertainment cartels. These vehicles for the manufacturing of public opinion are integral agencies of the well-funded lobbies that have occupied and perverted our parliaments, legislatures and congresses.
The influence of these lobbies, but especially those representing the interconnected activities of the financial sector and the war machine, has become so immense that they have robbed our governments of legitimacy. I believe I speak for many when I assert that the corporate sponsors funding so much of the work of our dominant political class have overwhelmed the capacity of average men and women to exercise genuine self-determination through the agencies and individuals that are supposed to represent us. This stripping of legitimacy from our shared instruments of public governance has helped fuel the transformation of the Arab Spring into the worldwide Occupy Movement during the American Fall.
The convergence of police and media activities has interacted with particularly deliterious effects on the public interest and common good at the highest levels of the so-called “national security” apparatus. As first highlighted in the 1970s by revelations concerning the covert hiring by “national security” officials of many thousands of journalists to become agents of censorship, distortion and outright disinformation in Project Mockingbird, the media-police complex tends to operate in society as a force whose directors are essentially above the law. Their functioning as officials to whom the laws do not apply often extends to licenses to murder and steal with impunity, frequently on behalf of those powerful corporate clients that exist at the core of what US President Dwight D. Eisenhower once labelled the military-industrial complex. This pattern has intensified with the post-9/11 emergence of the privatized terror economy. The viability of the privatized terror economy depends most heavily on the commodification and political manipulation of fear, a specialty integral to the media-police collaborations that the Leveson Inquiry is charged to investigate.
Any informed student of what Canadian professor Peter Dale Scott has referred to as “deep politics” need only scan the contents of so-called news reporting in much of the print and broadcast media to see how landscapes of public perceptions are regularly constructed in ways that do not conform with landscapes of empirically-verifiable reality. This pattern is especially pronounced when the stakes are highest; when questions of war and peace, life and death, are front and centre in the formulation of public policy. Closely connected to justifications for the unbridled militarism of our
times are issues about who will benefit and who will lose from the activities of the Anglo-American war machine, the planet’s most lethal agency of mass destruction as well as the world’s most lucrative source of corporate profits.
The “public relations” branches of this war machine act through agencies like the BBC in Great Britain, the CBC in Canada, as well as the busy mind-manipulation factories disguised as news-reporting agencies epitomized by, but certainly not limited to, the Murdoch propaganda empire. In order to direct the increasingly privatized activities of the Anglo-American war machine, which frequently acts in conformity with the military objectives of the Israeli state, patsies are regularly smeared and criminalized even as those officials are lionized who most aggressively promote the expanded violence of our increasingly militarized and transnational police state. In the process the public’s attention is diverted from grappling with the huge and mounting evidence on the public record of the most obvious cases of international criminality– of crimes against humanity, war crimes, and crimes against the peace.
Documentary: Rupert Murdoch’s War on Journalism
Because of the distortions regularly presented as fact by operatives of the media-police complex whole populations, but especially Arab and Muslim peoples these days, are dehumanized and demonized with the aim of averting concerted public outcries when the manufactured enemies are targeted for illegal incarceration, prohibited torture or for collective attacks. Increasingly these murderous attacks are advanced through drones whose robotic nature obscures issues of legal accountability for acts of aggressive warfare, acts which the Nuremberg Tribunal defined as the supreme international crime. Increasingly the drone and missile attacks deliver “pay loads” that are radioactive in nature, generating cancer epidemics and genetic deformities that will be with us in perpetuity.
The purposeful promotion of Islamophobia by so-called think tanks, media spin doctors and their police-state extensions was recently the subject of a major meeting in which I took part on October 11 at the Westminster Parliament. Hosted by MP Simon Danczuk, The Middle East Monitor, and the Cordoba Foundation, the meeting focused on the contents of a report by Prof. David Miller et. al. entitled “Cold War on British Muslims.”
The systemic media cover-up of the vast and many-faceted citizens’ investigation into the existing evidence of what did or did not happen on September 11, 2001 forms the most glaring example of media-police malfeasance aimed at giving specious justifications to the domestic and international incursions of the Anglo-American/NATO/Israeli war machines. While we have learned much about the collaboration between media and government in generating a litany of lies about weapons of mass destruction alleged to have been developed by the government of Saddam Hussein in Iraq, there is a vast body of evidence on on public record to demonstrate that the lying does not end there, not by a long shot.
Evidence of Systemic Malfeasance by the Media-Police Complex
Even the most rudimentary research on the part of your staff will easily bring to light information demonstrating that the media-police complex supposedly under investigation by Leveson Inquiry is a major party to the cover-up of information concerning the originating acts used to justify the invasions, regime change and illegal occupations that have taken place in Afghanistan and Iraq as well as in other sites of the ongoing 9/11 Wars. Moreover, there is an ample body of evidence brought to light by Professor Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed and others to indicate that similar genres of misrepresentation surrounding the 9/11 debacle apply also to the 7/7 debacle in London.
9/11 and the BBC Conspiracy: A Documentary by MI5 Whistle-Blower David Shayler and Adrian Connock
This autumn I have made two major presentations on the havoc wrought by tens years of systematic misrepresentation of what is known and not known about the events of September 11, 2001. I presented the first of these papers in San Francisco California on the tenth anniversary of 9/11. It is entitled “When War is Promoted as a Remedy for Terror.” The text is available on several sites on the Internet including at www.salem-news.com/911 Facts
I delivered the second paper on related subjects in London England on October 15. It was during my time in the Commonwealth’s capital that I was able to attend the important discussion in parliament on the sources of Islamophobia. It was also during this period that I was able to take part in the Occupy London event on the sacred grounds of St. Paul’s Cathedral. The text of my London presentation is entitled, “Cheney in the Bunker; Cheney in Canada.” Please find it at salem-news.com/Cheney In The Bunker; Cheney in Canada and also at www.veteranstoday.com/ Cheney in The Bunker Cheney in Canada
In both these texts I draw upon the research I have done in primary and secondary sources on 9/11 and the so-called 9/11 truth movement. Some of the fruits of this research appear in my peer-reviewed book published in Canada by McGill-Queen’s University Press. That book is entitled Earth into Property: Colonization, Decolonization, and Capitalism (2010). It was chosen by The Independent in the UK as one of the best history books of 2010. The best books for Christmas: Our pick of 2010
Diagnosis and Recommendations
The Murdoch media empire’s propaganda for the aggrandizement of police powers accompanied by the worldwide expansion of aggressive war since 9/11 has set the standard for depravity in journalism. But the radical extremism evidenced in this pollution of the mental environment by the media-police complex centred on the Murdoch media empire is just one aspect of a larger phenomenon mirrored across a broad spectrum of media venues including by the Crown-owned BBC and CBC. The hard line maintained by both public broadcasters in repressing the results of the citizens’ investigation on 9/11, including the very solid findings brought to light in the ten books on 9/11 scepticism authored by Professor David Ray Griffin, demonstrates the cohesiveness of a tight media monopoly when it comes to core issues of war and peace, life and death.
The unrelenting tenacity of the 9/11 cover-up across many domains of the media-police complex epitomizes the negative outcome of a generation of business deregulation that has allowed for enormous concentrations of ownership and control over the instruments of mass communication. The Faustian bargains made to advance this process of deregulation and media concentration have often provided the quid pro quo that facilitated the ascent of many Anglo-American politicians. The rise of Tony Blair with the backing of the Murdoch propaganda empire is of course the superlative example of the Anglo-American-Israeli war machine’s capacity to subvert in its own interests the political culture of the trans-Atlantic world.
The failure of truth and pluralism in reporting in so many media arenas has become intolerable to millions. The failure of so many media venues to deal with the contested ground of 9/11 studies brings to light the need for the public to take collective action in order to regain some measure of collective control over what is in theory, but clearly not in fact, our own instruments of public governance. The centrality of the media-police complex in the activities of the Murdoch media empire help to underline the need to assert public control as opposed to corporate control over our key instruments of mass communication. The revelations that are coming to light help underline to need for government to intervene in order to help balance the power of wealth with the power of people.
Accordingly, monopolies of ownership and interpretive power must be broken up in the so-called private sector even as Crown-owned media venues such as the BBC and CBC must be brought back to their underlying missions of genuine public broadcasting.
As a tenured and full professor in the system of Canadian university education I find it necessary to include in the curriculum of my courses illustrations of how dramatically our democratic aspirations have been been betrayed not only by for-profit media venues such as those of Rupert Murdoch but also by our own public broadcasters. I find it necessary to incorporate illustrations of the extent to which the media-police complex dominating so many venues of mass communication is capable of outright lies when it comes to justifications for state violence and the cover-up of the kleptocratic practices that maintain the influence of some of our most powerful elites. The litany of public misrepresentation concerning the lies and crimes of 9/11 form the essential case study that demonstrates the strength of both propensities. The failure to bring to light new knowledge on what did and did not happen on 9/11 perverts the accuracy of reporting every day of every week of every year because the original disinformation presented on day one has been made the basis of a sacred myth used to justify the ongoing deluge of military and police incursions that are made to seem normal rather than extraordinary.
I draw on this experience in the classroom and in the fulfillment of my academic responsibilities to research and publish the truth to the best of my abilities with the hope that this intervention will assist the work of your inquiry, one invested by the British government with such a broad and important mandate.
Anthony J. Hall
Professor of Globalization Studies
University of Lethbridge
Edward Bernays on Propaganda and Public Relations