The Cameron government has suffered a number of set-backs and U-turns in the past year in terms of policy. In most of these cases, the policies have been challenged by the public due to their adverse impact. What fiascos like the junior doctors pay have demonstrated is that a well-informed public, which has not pandered to the government’s fear mongering, or smoke-and-mirrors tactics, is one of the best checks on state excesses.
A further frontier is to be established with the Queen’s Speech setting out the Counter-Extremism Bill. With this area too, the public must stand up and see through the “terrorism” façade which is being used to justify spurious, draconian legislation.
Through the 90s, Gary Webb, an award winning journalist, experienced the wrath of the CIA through the corporate media for exposing CIA’s link with the Contras in Nicaragua and the cocaine epidemic in the US. There was a suggestion that the black communities were being targeted with these drugs. An internal CIA document authored by Nicholas Dujmovic, an employee of the CIA Directorate of Intelligence at the time of publication, noted the “already productive relations with journalists,” which allowed the CIA’s reputation to be left intact thanks to distractions by major newspapers. Webb’s career was destroyed and some years later, was ruled to have committed suicide with two bullets to his head. Much of his core findings however, were found to be accurate. As the Intercept spread articulates, the corporate media spent,
“ …far more time trying to poke holes in the series than in following up on the underreported scandal at its heart, the involvement of U.S.-backed proxy forces in international drug trafficking.”
More interestingly, Dujmovic wrote that the papers had deflected the core allegations, using stories which cited, “[r]espected columnists, including prominent blacks.” In other words, people “representing” the black communities, which were enraged by the allegations, had been abused to successfully shift opinion.
According to Drury (The Political Ideas of Leo Strauss, 2003), Leo Strauss’ ideology, neoconservatism, which influences Michael Shawcross (the current head of the Charities Commission), George Osborn, Michael Gove and his friend Douglas Murray (i.e. the people around the Prime Minister),
“…endorse[s] Machiavellian tactics in politics – not just lies and manipulation of public opinion, but every manner of unscrupulous conduct necessary to keep the masses in a state of heightened alert, afraid for their lives and their families, and therefore willing to sacrifice themselves for the nation.”
To maintain this state of secrecy and to manipulate public knowledge, the media must play a key part. This of course undermines democracy as the freedom of the press is imperative in maintaining checks and balances and ensuring the protection of citizens against government abuses. In the ideal world, such freedom of the press would be a given, but as I have already argued, the current government and indeed the undercurrent neoconservative ideology has done nothing but shatter the ideal and is heading towards latent tyranny.
Under the guise of the narrative of “Islamist extremism” the government and its officials such as the governmentally recognised extremist Theresa May, have eroded the civil liberties to the point that the mechanisms to maintain the checks and balances are being weakened. David Miranda, Edward Snoden and Moazzam Begg have been demonised, arrested and illegally detained for supporting, in essence “British values”.
To protect governmental secrets, according to journalists themselves, the journalists are being treated like terrorists.