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Highlighting news stories important to the Civic Republican
particularly those that are overlooked or little covered in the main media.
The narrative is simple. A cell of Al Qaeda terrorists comprising three (or four) young people who are Muslims feel insulted by a satirical magazine showing cartoons of the prophet, Muhammad, who according to Islam, should never by depicted.
Two of them stage a raid on the undefended offices of the magazine, Charlie Hebdo, killing eight and escaping, later to be cornered and killed by the police. Meanwhile a second lone terrorist, attacks a Jewish supermarket, also in Paris, killing four and holding several others hostage. Finally the police launch a raid on the supermarket. The terrorist comes out shooting and dies in a blaze of gunfire.
The incidents provoke a wave of public demonstrations and world leaders gather in Paris to march in the streets in sympathy with those murders and to proclaim the inviolability of the free press.
This is official narrative, duly reported by all the mainstream media. But there is something about it that just does not feel right. Clearly to the thousands of people who marched with banners claiming that they “were Charlie” (JE SUIS CHARLIE), whatever that might mean, it did feel right – nothing smelly about the whole episode.
Our world leaders were standing up for freedom of speech and making clear they would not be intimidated.
The hugest and most blaring irony is the spectacle of world leaders marching in defence of free speech and freedom of the press, is that we have no such thing. To march in defence of something presupposes we already have it, but the compliant mainstream media reported the resolve of the leaders without a trace of irony.
The fact that many of the leaders represented countries that nowhere near have freedom of expression seemed to bother no one.
But even in the ‘free world’, France, Britain and USA for example, a true free press does not exist. Our press and our television are all controlled by by a small global financial oligarchy who actually own most media outlets and a compliant government serving their interests. Even a relatively financially independent paper like the Guardian has become a lame reporter, dumbed down and servile.
Our ‘free press’ has no interest in questioning the official narrative. And to a degree it cannot, for any departure from the official line will result in withdrawal of access to information. The days of (expensive) investigative journalism are long gone. The press and TV rely on being spoon fed the ‘news’ by doctors of spin.
In the case of Paris, we are left in the dark chanted puerile slogans in the street in support of an offensive, puerile rag, that hardly any of us have ever read. Ah, but, they tell us, it is not the quality of the writing but the principle of freedom. If only we had the freedom we are supposed to be defending.
So why did the world leaders get together in such a public way? The only explanation can be that there is a different story behind their display of solidarity. This was not about freedom, but about showing unity against the Islamic world.
These are heads of government and every action they take will be interpreted in different ways by different people and there can be no doubt that with all their advisors they will have considered this. Whereas many, in the west especially, may, in spite of the glaring hypocrisy, take their actions and statements at face value to Muslims everywhere it looks like a show of strength and unity against Muslims, their culture and their religion.
Now the leaders would have certainly calculated this. This was exactly the effect intended and the one delivered. Many of the people who demonstrated in support of Charlie Hebdo would not have been aware this reading. But equally many would have. The ultra-right and racial groups who joined the marchers would fully recognise this message that was being given out.
If we are going to truly demonstrate for freedom of the press, why not highlight how our cowed press simply toes the government line on everything from draconian security measures, that deprive us of civil freedoms, to economic policies, that drive inequality and suffering?
Why defend the right of a comic magazine to offend a religious minority? Insulting Muhammad has absolutely no value to our culture. We cannot ban people from doing it. But we can disown them instead of championing them.
It is a great tragedy for democracy for it is as if now we have become inured to lies and obfuscation and holes in reporting. Perhaps one of the legacies of the scandal of the Blair/Bush lies over Iraq is that we now simply accept lies as part of the normal scenery of the political life. The DRP recently tried to get some traction on Cameron’s lies to the British people on the reasons for the war in northern Iraq but not a single newspaper was interested. Lies have become the new normal, the new truth.
And no mainstream media has thought to ask the obvious questions about the facts reported about the Paris attacks, such as why were the terrorists killed when it appears they need not have been? In killing the terrorist they eliminated a vital source of intelligence about terrorist activities. How dumb was that? Or was it deliberate?
No mainstream media has dipped into the contradictory information we have regarding the attacks and their sequel.
In the case of the two killed in the factory near Paris we will never know the truth unless an insider decides to tell us. But for the Jewish supermarket events we have video records.
These show clearly that the police shot to death an unarmed suspect who was wearing handcuffs or whose hands were tied. This video repeatedly shows the suspect, Coulibaly, with tied hands containing no weapons shot down and killed when he could easily have been captured. It is as if the order was to make sure that there would be no live suspect whose story might have to be explained away.
How is it that in spite of this telling evidence the “mainstream” print and TV media parroted the official line and raise no unsettling questions?
Here is more weird evidence to judge for yourself
We can be sure that now, there will be no attempt to uncover the truth and so unanswered questions will remain just that. Meanwhile our Muslim neighbours will be harassed and made to feel responsible for what happened. Every time a politician asks them to condemn the attacks verbally, he or she is effectively accusing them. If a condemnation is issued, another one is demanded and then another and another.
Terrorism and hatred of the west is fabricated where Muslims have no hope and live in poverty. This is true whether we look at the European countries or countries elsewhere in the Middle East or Africa. But we are not interested in our non-Muslim poor either. The poor of any background are excluded. And they feel it.
The ray of hope is that people ignore the mainstream dominant media and turn to the internet for information. Personally I never read a standard British newspaper either on or offline. I watch a few dinosaur programmes on the TV that were invented before TV went crap – for example, Newsnight and Question Time.
By the way on the net the best general source I have found is RT. This appears to be financed by Russia but the western news uses interviews with established western reporters who are prepared not to be bought. So don’t be put off. Judge for yourself. Especially good are Abby Martin and Boom Bust.
In French JE SUIS CHARLIE has a double meaning I AM/I FOLLOW CHARLIE. I am inclined to think people meant the second meaning
I follow Charlie – unthinkingly, unquestioningly