The Guardian Conundrum 24

There are a few times when the mainstream media does an excellent job, and it still has the ability to reach vastly more people than the blogosphere. Today’s work by the Guardian on the Guantanamo files is absolutely brilliant, and fully reveals the inhuman absurdity of the torture and suffering of hundreds of innocent people based on ludicrous “evidence”.

I particularly recommend the interview with Clive Staffod Smith. The whole is yet another example of the great work of David Leigh, whose brilliant reporting on BAE was perhaps the best investigative reporting in Britain for a generation.

But that is the conundrum of the Guardian. The British government under New Labour were actively complicit in the whole extraordinary rendition and torture system of which Guantanamo was a part. That in itself was but an adjunct of a policy of illegal war. The Blair years were years of illegal war of aggression, of torture, of extraordinary rendition and of destruction of civil liberties at home. And it was the Guardian which was the most reliable media cheerleader for Blair and New Labour as they carried out that dreadful agenda.

Two-faced doesn’t describe it. The Guardian’s compartmentalised indignation at civil liberties abuse is written on blood-smeared pages.

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24 thoughts on “The Guardian Conundrum

  • Tom Moyser

    Hi – I’m not a fan of New Labour either and always read your blog with great interest. But I feel compelled to point out here, although I know it is obvious, that like political parties etc., a newspaper is not a homogenous blob of unified opinion: the Guardian has hundreds of staff, offiliated and occasional writers, dozens of whom write on this and related topics.
    Isn’t it a misnomer to call an ensemble publication “two-faced” when it is by nature comprised of multiple voices?

  • Andrew

    From the New York Times:
    “These articles are based on a huge trove of secret documents leaked last year to the anti-secrecy organization WikiLeaks and made available to The New York Times by another source on the condition of anonymity.”

    From David Leigh at the Guardian:
    “The files were shared with the Guardian and US National Public Radio by the New York Times, which says it did not obtain them from WikiLeaks”

    or from David Leigh et al. at the Guardian:
    “The Guantánamo files are among hundreds of thousands of documents US soldier Bradley Manning is accused of having turned over to the WikiLeaks website more than a year ago”

    I think I’ve just caught a glimpse of Shroedinger’s Chesire Cat.

  • deep green puddock

    A terrible, dreary depressing story and the comment about the Guardian is very apt.
    The sheer common ineptitude and the hideous collusion to maintain a pretence, all the way through the ‘military’ system and its infection of the civil political system and its checks and balances is now palpable.
    We see the same military minds deploying drones, and being given ‘permission’ by a president held to ransom. He cannot not concede escalation, because he fears he will be damned as ‘weak’ but that is because he is not prepared to face down the toxic nonsense that passes for strategy and mainstream comment.

    It has created a huge problem for us all which personally, I cannot see a way through, at the moment as all change is blocked by forces all trying to protect themselves.

    What seems now even more apparent with all this, is the real problem we have now with true representation and democracy.
    To lance this purulating boil we really need to contemplate dealing with criminal action by people in power. But it just seems impossible to deal with unless there is some other event(s) which bring the current disposition of forces crashing to the ground, something that is looking more likely by the day.

  • Paul Johnston

    So where do you get your “Main Stream Media” information from, “The Daily Mail” ?
    Just a thought but they do say Civil Wars are always the cruellest!

  • anno

    The British Government was not just actively complicit in rendition and torture, it was doing it. The present government are now at the early stage of pre-war lull before the storm that Blair went through over Yugoslavia, posturing as a peacemaker, while actually operating the demolition crane.
    Just because the plan for Muslim bashing is not clear at the moment doesn’t mean that there isn’t a plan. Our minds were unable to travel down the path that politicians took over Iraq and Afghanistan. No sane person could have conceived the stupidity and criminality that our politicians planned.
    Obama is definitely preparing for an almighty show-down with China over Africa, not fought out in international stockmarkets over currencies, but in megabombs and delinquent destruction on the rich soil of Africa. It will make Blair look like a saint, as he had previously made Mrs Thatcher.
    Let’s whip up a bit of a personality gel spike over AV to fool the idiots who vote for us that we are stupid tweedledums and dees. Sorry, but we don’t buy politicians posing any more. They are violent, ruthless, mercenary, amoral, reckless hate merchants. Yes I mean the Tories and the Libdems. Yes I mean their sleepwalking supporters as well, who encourage them with the respect of voting for them, to implement terrible wars for their new world order, evil sponsor/masters, and then wring their hands over the destruction. Yes, I even mean you too, with apologies, Craig.

  • dreoilin

    My comment from earlier on the previous thread is still “awaiting moderation”? (about Wikileaks/Guantanamo?)

  • dreoilin

    I’ll paste it in here:

    This is hilarious:

    “WikiLeaks: Leaked files accuse BBC of being part of a ‘possible propaganda media network’

    “The BBC is accused of being part of a “possible propaganda media network” for Al Qaeda, according to the leaked US files on the Guantanamo detainees.”

    When I read the top I thought “Too right”, and then I read the sub head.

    I’ve been absorbed all day reading up on the Wikileaks Guantanamo files (various sources) and I’ve been furious. Only now getting my BP back to normal.

    One paragraph from McClatchy caught my attention:

    “The file of one captive, now living in Ireland, shows he was sent to Guantanamo so that U.S. military intelligence could gather information on the secret service of Uzbekistan. A man from Bahrain is shipped to Guantanamo in June 2002, in part, for interrogation on ‘personalities in the Bahraini court’.”

    They really didn’t give a shit who they locked up, or for how long. The bastards.

  • glenn_uk

    Strange… it says ‘8 comments’ but only 5 are apparent.

    Haven’t gone through the whole Guardian file thing yet (shame – I spent today cycling) – but I wonder if they mentioned that the entire programme they followed was from Mao’s torture techniques from the 1950s on how to elicit FALSE confessions. That is what ‘waterboarding’ and so on is meant to achieve. A false confession for propaganda purposes, and nothing to do with getting at urgently required truth (to prevent an in-play threat and so on).

    The Guardian is – sadly – part of the MSM, but does have the guts to occasionally go past the task of stenography, which most MSM news-hounds consider the limit of their job. However, while they do the “who, when, how?” job of journalism quite well, they rarely hammer on the much more important question – “why?”. This would put them too much at odds with the establishment, wherein we can question their efficacy even rather harshly, but never ever the desired outcomes. But occasionally it is left as a teaser, an exercise for the reader.

  • mark_golding

    I have become very cynical since my conversation with the late Robin Cook RIP – sorry Clive, a ludicrous policy of assessing and coecion to feed the ‘war on terror’ existed in a Polish ‘black camp’ and torture was the ‘tool’ of choice in a diabolical abuse of intelligence manipulation and misuse of national security secrecy tenants. (will be clarified).

  • Yossi

    Why would anyone with an internet access go to the mainstream media for information? You go there for infotainment. Notice how the Guardian reports was barely able to mention that they got their stuff from Wikileaks – one mention in last sentence. Seems like they can’t get by without Assange but hate to admit it.

  • ingo

    A joke to cheer youi all up. Just been on Radio Norfolk to argue my principled third choice of spoiling my ballot paper in the AV vote.
    george Freeman MP, and I quote verbatim ‘The No to AV campaigns overiding aim has to be seen in the light of increased spending and the costs of this change, that his Government is taking care to be frugal and spend little’

    That would be the Government which has created 107 peers in under a year at the cost of 18.5 million, despite their pre election promise of reversing parliamental spending.

    Sorry for interloping the issue.

  • mark_golding

    Staying on the same ‘two faced’ page we note the rhetorical outburst from Hague that ‘Britons should leave Syria’ amid growing unrest, while he remains silent on the atrocities to protesters in Bahrain.

    Syria is absolutely pivotal in the upwelling of popular support throughout the Middle East because although it’s a tiny country fabricated from colonial cloth, a microcosm of the demographics and interest groups throughout the region. The aspirations of Iran’s ‘Islamic uprising’ are firmly wrapped up in this time-bomb of opposing intelligent agencies where CIA/MOSSAD intent on fuelling revolt directly confront Iranian proxy intelligence forces.

    The role of the United States, as usual, has nothing to do with the real interests of the Syrians, and everything to do with its great power ambitions in the region. Obama looks at Syria, and thinks of Iran; Syrians look at their country, and think of Lebanon.

    Ultimately the West wants to strike Iran and that is moving closer – when that strike occurs a ‘war *of* terror’ begins and the aspirations of the demons behind the events of 2001 are realised.

  • conjunction

    My own sense is that since the last election it has been fashionable and acceptable to criticise Blair whereas it was less so when Labour was in power.

    Now you can criticise Blair and not feel that you’re a nasty little troublemaker, the Blair/Bush hegemony has been dissolved.

    My own view is that for all his difficulties Obama can take much of the credit for this as he is at least attempting to fight the Anglo-American right wing, even if at times he seems to be losing more battles than he is winning.

    I recently watched the debate on Libya in the House of Commons and nearly every speaker from any political party (with the spectacular exception of Mr Straw) was rubbishing Blair and the Iraq war, almost as their entrance ticket to the debate.

  • ingo

    Thanks Mary, a very refreshing historical summary, I think we are soon close to the endgame scenario, with Syrian hard men being castigated and Irans economic/nuclear infrastruture sabotaged by yet another viral attack called ‘star’

  • mary

    Ingo were you referring to this?
    Iran ‘uncovers Stars espionage virus’ Details of the Stars virus were posted on the website of Iran’s civil defence organisation

    Officials in Iran say they have found a computer virus designed to target the country’s government institutions.

    The malicious software – dubbed Stars – was capable of inflicting minor damage, according to the head of Iran’s civil defence organisation.

    If the reports are accurate, it would be the second major attack in a year.


  • ingo

    Yep, the 400 million/annum plus spent on undermining Iran does reveal some amazing IT feats, who knows whats behind this story.
    This is the news story on the BBC pages for Bahrain today, with all other related stories on that page refering to the royal wedding, not to Bahrain, surprise surprise.
    meanwhile the tension in Bahrain is kept on message, they are the bloody key opening the door to a war with Iran.

  • mark_golding

    Mary – Yes thank-you – I read a portion on GlobalResearch I think while researching the massive rise in DEA drug raids since 2001.

    In the UK an inexorable rise in drug enforcement is an added precursor to the dilution of civil liberties; drug enforcement techniques (such as sting operations) are an ideal learning curve conduit against growing dissent from UK foreign policy or domestic counter-terrorism policy. Through that lens it becomes easy to blur the line between intelligence gathering and raids on accepted criminals and the same on legitimate advocacy groups or community groups deemed potential terrorists/criminals merely for speaking out against, for example, UK foreign policy for the occupation/war of/on Afghanistan. This may sound bizarre but remember the police can search a football coach going to or from a football match if they have reasonable grounds for suspecting there is alcohol on board or that someone is drunk on the coach. The police can also stop and search you or your vehicle if they reasonably suspect you of terrorist activity. They can’t stop and search you just for being in a particular area, unless they reasonably suspect you of this ‘terrorist’ activity. If you happen to have a spliff in your back pocket and are arrested, strictly speaking the police can enter and search any premises where you were during or immediately before the arrest. The police in the UK I believe are reasonable and such events I describe have been curtailed by the European Court of Human Rights:

    But be aware:

    In the US the post 9-11 gigantic growth of privatized portions of their bloated national security state not only emulate many Israeli models, they rely upon them in ways that go beyond the psychological normalisation I have described. In the UK many prisons have been privatised under a threat from Clarke to bring in troops and Serco has been appointed by the Cabinet Office to manage and operate the UK Cabinet’s Emergency Planning College (EPC), under a contract valued at around £55m over 15 years. This coalition government have demonstrated their love affair with the private sector and the push for profit could mean our liberty is eventually at stake. Public safety and the National Infrastructure risk strategy are just small steps in the direction of making YOU part of ‘the system’ – Eventually YOU WILL BE FORCED TO COMPLY!

  • evgueni

    Apologies for re-stating the obvious, but the problem is not limited to the Guardian. The schizophrenic nature of our MSM stems directly from the business model, lucidly described by Herman & Chomsky in Manufacturing Consent and elsewhere. The product being sold is the advertising audiences, the customers being served are the corporate advertisers, government agencies and sometimes members of the elite directly (Murdoch etc). To paraphrase, we are all free to speak, but some are freer than others. The nominal subscription charges are an incidental prop helping maintain the illusion of a quite different business model, though this is starting to fray around the edges under pressure from internet competition (the re-launch of the ES as a ‘free’ paper may be a sign of a future trend).

    The result of the business model as described is that it acts as a powerful filter at the levels of employment policies (especially for senior and editorial staff – ‘sound’ individuals only need apply), and ideas that can be expressed openly (not marginalised and buried in the back pages or omitted from the spectrum entirely). In areas of political discourse where the various elite groupings are not united against the common enemy (the covertly exploited majority), a relatively free debate can sometimes take place. Thus real progress can be made with regard to minority rights, women’s rights, the environment, freedom of expression etc giving the appearance of generally progressive MSM. However any discussion that threatens to expose the true economic relationships in our society is subverted. This hypothesis can be tested, and has been tested, by comparing public opinion polls on various topics with how the same topics are covered in the mainstream.

    There are also situations in which the elite groupings do not see eye to eye and squabble amongst themselves openly. This has a side effect of creating a powerful illusion of ‘democratic discourse’ in the media, helping our MSM to be perceived as liberal, questioning, unrelenting seekers of truth. Blair & Co becoming fair game is just the latest manifestation of this. Perhaps a special case is the rumbling controversy of (fossil) energy special interests versus the emerging new AGW elites typified by Gore, Pachauri et al and the various industries that have sprung up in the wake of the popular environmentalist movement. Crucially, the fundamental economic relationships between the owners and the owned are not being challenged by the emerging green elites, thus the controversy can serve as a useful distraction that is better ‘managed’ rather than extinguished.

    Incidentally I think the MSM business model plays a significant role in stifling the development of economics science (in effect preventing it from coming of age as a science). This is because any economic hypotheses that lead on to unpalatable (to the elite interests) conclusions are simply omitted from mainstream discussion and persistently marginalised as a result.

  • conjunction

    sorry Mark Golding, I know its hip to be cryptic, but I don’t understand your point.

  • CanSpeccy

    The Guardian’s like Wikileaks, they fill in some details about what we already know to maintain their radical cred, while making sure to say nothing about what we don’t already know.

    Britain is and was a perfectly normal imperial power: always ready to use torture, always ready to engage in war crimes (like now in Libya).

    Read Mark Curtis on Britain’s secret war in Yemen, in the 1960’s under Alec Douglas Hume, Harold Wilson. The body count was 200,000, about which neither the Guardian nor the New Statesman said a thing.

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