Tuesday, 3 October 2017

On media credibility

Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the shooting in Las Vegas, which resulted in more than fifty dead and hundreds injured. This claim has been dismissed by US authorities and the corporate media. The FBI has stated that there is no evidence that the shooter was linked to any international terrorist group. The authorities have instead claimed that he was mentally ill and was acting alone. The corporate media have taken these claims at face value and added the spin that Islamic State routinely falsely claims responsibility for acts of violence. However, there is simply no evidence of Islamic State making such false claims - and there is a great deal of evidence of the political media elite making false claims: so much so that one could reasonably characterise it standard operating procedure.

According to Amaq, Islamic State's news agency, Mr Paddock converted to Islam some months ago. The news agency gives his name as Abu Abd Abdulbar al Ameriki and states that he had apparently planned the attack for some time. The publication is of a piece with previous claims of responsibility, which have invariably turned out to be true. This stands in stark contrast to claims made by Washington and repeated as facts by the corporate media, which often turn out to be completely false.

Another problem with the official narrative is that according to witnesses, about forty-five minutes prior to the attack a woman warned the crowd that they were about to die. This testimony casts doubt on the notion that Paddock/Abdulbar was acting alone. It also seems odd that this woman, who was removed by security, does not appear to have been interviewed by law enforcement officers.

It may also be worthy of note that some months ago Islamic State called for an attack on the Las Vegas strip.

Given the political and media elite's track record of lies and propaganda, it will not be surprising if many people find the official story lacking in credibility. 

Monday, 2 October 2017

Political violence

Violence for political purposes is the very definition of terrorism. The actions of the Spanish state in attempting to prevent the people of Catalonia from exercising their rights in Sunday's independence referendum fit the definition perfectly. The police attacked people who were peacefully participating in the vote. They vandalised polling stations. They stole ballots. They arrested politicians. The Spanish state had closed down websites promoting the vote. People were threatened with being charged with sedition if they expressed support for the referendum. The Spanish state, under the personal direction of the Spanish prime minister, behaved exactly like the Italian fascists under Mussolini. Yet the people voted and ninety percent voted for independence.

The Catalan government had said before the referendum that if the yes voted carried the day, they would declare independence within two days. The Spanish prime minister has declared that the referendum did not happen and that Catalonia cannot be independent. His behaviour in the run up to, and during, and immediately after the referendum suggests that the Spanish state will continue with its fascist response to the democratic will of the Catalan people.

The so called international community has responded to the fascist Spanish state in precisely the same way it responded to the fascist dictators in the interwar era. The predominant response is one of silence and the attempt to spin the issue as an internal matter for Spain. The European Commission has called for dialogue - as though one can have a meaningful conversation with a police baton bashing one's head; as though it is possible for a people to negotiate with a prime minister who is prepared to use of all the power of the state, including violence, to deny the rights to freedom of expression and deny democracy. Such pusilanimity by the international community in the face of fascism provided the inter-war dictators with all they needed to overthrow democracy in country after country, including Spain itself.