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Thomas Paine

To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead.

Saturday, April 10, 2010


European economic alliancesImage via Wikipedia

 in full British Broadcasting Corp.

Publicly financed broadcasting system in Britain. A private company at its founding in 1922, it was replaced by a public corporation under royal charter in 1927. 

The state of grassroots opinion

Civil liberties, teaching of British history, freezing the BBC licence fee, maintaining the nuclear deterrent and energy security top Tory members' list of policy hopes
Yesterday we noted the Tory grassroots' strong Euroscepticism and their overwhelming preference for spending cuts rather than tax increases for budget deficit reduction.  Today we unveil the Tory membership's other policy instincts.


The Manchester United of the policy league table is a Civil Liberties Bill that overturns ID cards 

Teaching of British history

Maintenance of Britain's nuclear deterrent  
"A nuclear free world is an illusion.  Nuclear weapons cannot be disinvented and Britain should maintain its independent nuclear deterrent."

"Within the next few years the average voter will be much more worried about the cost and availability of energy than they'll be worried about climate change."

84% support more general environmental measures, 81% support action against loan sharks, 70% support high-speed rail links connecting the north and south and 62% support investment in energy efficiency. 

# 68% of Tory members want a fundamental change in Britain's relationship with the EU
# Only 16% of Tory members say ratification of Lisbon should be accepted
# Only 12% of Tory members want George Osborne to set out very detailed tax and spending plans
# Tory members want spending cuts from George Osborne, not tax rises, to close the deficit
# William Hague is also the clear choice of members to be Tory leader if, God forbid, David Cameron vacated the leadership
# William Hague is the most popular member of David Cameron's team with Liam Fox and George Osborne on the silver and bronze steps
# 99% of party members expect David Cameron to be Prime Minister after the next General Election
# 92% of Tory members are satisfied with David Cameron

( Keep your enemies close. What a Rogue's Gallery of portraits ! )

Ha-Joon Chang: ‘Do as we say, not as we do’
Over at New Left Project David Wearing has a fantastic interview with leading development economist Ha-Joon Chang, discussing the impact of neoliberal development policies on poorer countries and Britain’s record on international development.
The understanding of what is really going to help developing countries is faulty, in terms of Labour’s policies, because – with some of the rough edges smoothed out – they basically go along with the free trade, free market orthodoxy, and they’re not doing anything fundamental to change that.
( Ah,yes, it's all just a mistake, misunderstanding, poor planning. What garbage! )

My review of Norman Finkelstein’s new book on the Gaza massacre is up at New Left Project – read it here.
“Norman Finkelstein’s latest, This Time We Went Too Far: Truth & Consequences of the Gaza Invasion, is a damning chronicle of both the invasion itself and the cynicism and wilful blindness of those who defended it. He adopts a similar approach to that of his previous book, Beyond Chutzpah, using high-profile defences of Israel’s conduct as a foil to examine the realities of what Israel did.
‘Proximity talks’
Israeli Vice Prime Minister, Minister for Strategic Affairs and close Netanyahu ally Moshe Ya’alon explains that Netanyahu’s attempts to resume “indirect negotiations” with the Palestinian Authority are just a “maneuver” designed to “create the illusion that an agreement can be reached”

Goldstone report: a manufactured controversy

Avi Shlaim rocks Cambridge - 3 Mar

 On Monday the prominent Middle East historian Avi Shlaim came to Cambridge to speak on the ‘history and historiography of the Israeli-Arab conflict’. He gave a brief overview of the conflict to date and sketched the development of and subsequent split within the ‘New Historians’ (a group of Israeli historians – notably Benny Morris, Ilan Pappe, Avi Shlaim and Tom Segev – who challenged the official Zionist account of the events surrounding the Nakba and the creation of the State of Israel). Nothing he said will come as a surprise to either of this blog’s readers, but it’s worth summarising a few of his key points.

Oslo was about grooming a Palestinian collaborator class to run the occupation on Israel’s behalf
Rejecting the myth of Barak’s “generous offer” at Camp David in 2000, Shlaim placed the blame for the collapse of the ‘peace process’ squarely on Israel, which “reneged on its side of the deal”. The Palestinian leadership and the Arab states have been calling for a two-state settlement since the late 1970s

Elijah Wald – Corrido Censorship: A Brief History
There have been calls for censorship of corridos associated with drug trafficking or the crime world ever since Los Tigres del Norte hit with “Contrabando y Traición” and “La Banda del Carro Rojo” in the 1970s, but these calls have intensified in recent years. While both drugs and crime cause real problems for society at large, and for many individuals, I am extremely dubious about the purposes of such censorship. It seems to me to be a attempt by politicians to get publicity as defenders of public morals and safety without doing any of the difficult things that would be necessary to genuinely deal with the problems, such as providing poor people with other ways to improve their economic situation.

( Decrying the romantization of druglords. One might also note 24's false rationale of torture as interrogation  - it isn't - or movies such as Dirty Rotten Scoundrels vicarious romanticizing of torture. Bloggers Against Torture's fundraiser link to 'Not In Our Names' shows how past initiatives become lost. Regardless, I can think of few pictures more chilling than this one. )

The British Broadcasting Corporation remains in war as in peace the sole broadcasting authority in this country....development of a network of news and propaganda services directed over the air to all parts of the world.
( Note the asymmetry. One sided presentation calculated to develop minds moulded worldwide according to UK programming. )

The BBC, the State and Cold War Culture: The Case of Television's The War Game (1965)
The Cold War was as much a propaganda conflict as one fought between soldiers and politicians. The BBC, as a broadcaster of news and entertainment in large parts of the world, stood at the very centre of this battle. Indeed, the corporation's role during the 45-year long war was arguably unique. No other media organization combined such a powerful domestic and external reach with a reputation for impartiality and accuracy.

This article examines the BBC's relationship with the state during the Cold War, and focuses in particular on the corporation's attitude towards and treatment of the issue of nuclear weapons. These two themes are brought together through a detailed analysis of one of the most controversial episodes in the history of British broadcasting: the BBC's banning of Peter Watkins' film The War Game in 1965, on the grounds that it was ‘too horrifying’ to be shown on television. The article sheds new light on the origins, production and censorship of this hour-long nuclear docu-drama. It also traces the political and cultural impact of the film, following the BBC's decision in 1966 to grant it a limited release in cinemas and via film clubs. By the time The War Game was televised for the first time anywhere on the BBC in 1985, the film had become a highly effective recruiting tool for international peace groups, and was ranked (as it still is today) as perhaps the most moving and influential depiction of nuclear destruction produced in any medium.

Advance Access to Top Reviews

When is a secret not a secret? | BBC NEWS
Last night's injunction served on the Guardian and at least one other national newspaper was meant to stop the papers reporting that the MP Paul Farrelly had tabled a Parliamentary question about the oil traders Trafigura and its solicitors Carter-Ruck. 
In the anarchic, anything-goes world of the internet, where free speech is a frequently-heard rallying cry, injunctions banning publication of anything are unpopular. This one seems to have acted like a red rag to a bull.

The social networking site Twitter was soon awash with posts deploring a threat to media freedom and the reporting of Parliament.

LibDem Lords seek to ban web-lockers (YouSendIt, etc) in the UK
1. Web-lockers are useful for more than piracy. I routinely use web-lockers for my own business and personal affairs.Web-lockers are also how I communicate with my attorneys and accountants for transmission of sensitive documents, such as scans of my passport and bills.

2. The reason web-lockers are useful for piracy is because they support privacy. The entertainment industry's principle objection to web-lockers is that their contents are private, and cannot be readily survielled by copyright enforcement tools. When I send a video of my daughter in the bath to her grandparents, the only people who can download that video are the people who have access to the private URL for the locker. This is the same mechanism that infringers use to avoid detection: upload an infringing file and share the URL with friends. You can't fix the web-locker problem without attacking the right of Internet users to privately share large files with one another.

3. The establishment of a national blocklist is itself a bad idea. Creating a facility whereby ISPs can be compelled to block entire websites is a bad idea on its face. The security problems raised by such a facility are grave .

4. There is no evidence that this will work.

5.The only country to enact anti-web-locker legislation to date is South Korea, which brought in a similar measure to the LibDem proposal as a condition of its Free Trade Agreement with the USA, whose IP chapter focused largely on locking down the Korean Internet. In the time since the US-Korea FTA, Korea has slipped badly in the global league tables for ICT competitiveness, going from being a worldwide leader in technology to an also-ran.

( Go to the original to read the conflict of interest notes - in red at the bottom. This is an extract only : as is usual. )

BBC World Service: Encyclopedia - BBC World Service
 Unlike the BBC's main radio and television services, which are primarily funded by a licence fee, the World Service is funded by the British Government through the Foreign and Commonwealth Office ...

One of the primary purposes of the BBC World Service is to disseminate fair neutral news and information around the world. In many countries in the world the World Service is relied on as the only source of reliable news not manipulated by the local government.

( Good Mission Statement. It is not always agreed with, nor perceived as honoured, either. )

BBC Green Book
The influence that it can exert upon its listeners is immense and the responsibility for a high standard of taste correspondingly heavy. Its aim is for its programmes to entertain without giving reasonable offence to any part of its diversified audience. It must therefore keep its programmes free from vulgarity, political bias, and matter in questionable taste.

Mention of all firms, trade and proprietary names is barred.

N.B. The following trade names are now regarded as generic terms:-


The inclusion of any of these is therefore permitted in scripts but derogatory references to them must be avoided as constituting a form of 'trade slander'.

Reference to and jokes about different religious or religious denominations are banned.
( In advertising,as with children,attention is always sought. Any kind. Ignoring may be thought of as 'Shunning' : a subtle dismissal of differences. )

Here's what I suspect as a religious cover organization broadcasting to China : Dawn is under the BBC

Azerbaijan Bans RFE/RL, Other Foreign Radio From Airwaves
2008 By Daisy Sindelar
Azerbaijan's National Television and Radio Council has ruled that it will ban international radio stations from broadcasting on national frequencies.

The ban, which is due to come into effect on January 1, will terminate radio broadcasts by the BBC, Voice of America, and RFE/RL's Azeri-language service, Radio Azadliq.

The council first announced the proposal in late October, but this ruling finalizes the decision.

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Supreme Court stays suspension of independent radio station
November 29, 2005—The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomed an interim ruling by Nepal's Supreme Court today preventing the government from suspending Radio Sagarmatha. Police raided the independent Kathmandu-based station on Sunday to stop it from broadcasting a BBC interview with Maoist rebel leader Prachanda. Police accused Radio Sagarmatha of "helping terrorists and terrorism."

Do you think that B92 played a major part in the downfall of Milosevic, and if so, how?
B92 along with all other independent and professional media outlets greatly contributed to the downfall of Milosevic. However, we were different from the others, as we are not an ordinary media outlet but rather an umbrella institution which comprised various activities which in turn contributed to bringing people to their senses that Milosevic's fall was inevitable. The Association of Independent Electronic Media (ANEM) also played a crucial role in informing people, as it broadcast news programmes and other shows of B92 production, thus contributing to better distribution of information throughout Serbia, and this only accelerated Milosevic's ousting. It is enough just to mention that most of the energetic and resolute protesters that came to Belgrade on October 5, on the day of the fall of Milosevic's regime, were the people from the cities where our programmes were being rebroadcast through their local stations!

August 18, 2007

Kremlin orders BBC off the air

Russia’s strained relations with Britain deteriorated further yesterday when local transmission of the BBC Russian Service was taken off air for being “foreign propaganda”.

In an echo of the Cold War, when BBC broadcasts were jammed by the Soviet Union, the FM broadcast station in Moscow said that it was taking off air all BBC Russian Service transmissions. Most Muscovites who listen to the BBC’s six hours of daily programmes tune in on the FM signal.

The step was seen as the latest punitive action by Moscow in the bitter row that broke out between Britain and Russia over the murder in November of Alexander Litvinenko, the former KGB officer who was poisoned in London with the radioactive isotope polonium-210.

At the time of his death broadcasts of the BBC Russian Service in Moscow and St Petersburg mysteriously went off air for “technical” reasons. Richard Sambrook, the director of BBC Global News, said that he would be appealing to the Russian broadcasting authorities to reconsider their decision.

BBC News - Somalia Islamists al-Shabab ban BBC transmissions

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