We live in an age where those who work towards realising idealised principles of the rule of law, transparency and due process are smeared by their governments and press.
Julian Assange is the most recent case in point. In the face of the categorical UN ruling that Assange was being subjected to arbitrary detention, the British press has been focussed on his rape allegations. David Cameron has deflected that Assange “should stand trial in Sweden, a country with a fair reputation for justice” so there could be an “end to the sorry saga”. What has been forgotten is that the Swedish prosecutor refused to go to London to interview Assange for more than four years before being questioned by a Swedish court for her failure to progress investigations into what Helena Kennedy QC said was “unlikely to lead to conviction”. Then of course there is the ever so minor detail that Sweden refuses to issue safety guarantees to the Wikileaks founder which would prevent extradition to the US to face potentially the death penalty.
Edward Snowden is another prominent example of a smear campaign. Western security agencies have strongly tried to associate his actions of accountability with the secular blasphemy that is the threat to national security. Incidentally, he also exposed previously unknown British activity with regards to bulk surveillance, and now there is an attempt by Theresa May to ex-post facto legalise the gross invasion of privacy via the Investigatory Powers Bill and in particular the recent, criticised investigatory powers tribunal ruling on GCHQ bulk surveillance.
In all honesty, I feel for the journalists working at establishment papers who have to churn out desperate and utterly dubious rubbish to protect the state’s totalitarian tendencies. Bills need to be paid, afterall. The Telegraph, with its history of neoconservatism is one such paper. With the likes of Dean Godson, and Charles Moore, the Telegraph was, according to its former editor Martin Newland, effectively a mouthpiece for US and Zionist interests. Today, the standard of journalism – or churnalism – is Andrew Gilligan-level: dubious state-propagandist tripe of the neoconservative variety. And it seems with the stalled and now exhumed and resuscitated Telegraph piece attempting to a) delegitimise PREVENT opposition and advocacy group CAGE, and b) intimidate Muslim charities to not work with them, the neoconservative tradition of spin, deception and outright lies continues.
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.