Wednesday, 23 October 2019

Media persecution of Assange and BBC News at Ten's repeated reporting 'errors'

As the incarceration and inhuman treatment of Julian Assange continues, it's important to remember that a crucial part of his persecution lies at the door of the media.

Assange has been relentlessly smeared and defamed across the so-called 'media spectrum', from the rabid slurs of the tabloid press to an even more mendacious campaign of vilification and ridicule by the Guardian.

Following an intensive investigation of the Assange case, UN Special Rapporteur Nils Melzer concluded that the conduct of leading states and much of the media amounted to "progressively severe forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment", and that Assange “showed all symptoms typical for prolonged exposure to psychological torture”.

Now, unjustly detained beyond his, now-served, heavy sentence for 'bail violation', Assange languishes in maximum-security Belmarsh jail, dangerously unwell, deprived of basic rights and facing the calamitous injustice of extradition to the US.  

Lamentably, very little of this state persecution of a world-renowned journalist is seen as worthy of serious, critical coverage. 

This was evident in the almost blanket media ignoring of a recent John Pilger and Roger Waters-led support Assange event outside the Home Office.

Assange's mental and physical deterioration was obvious for all to see during his latest pre-trial extradition hearings. 

Again, mirroring the magistrate's chilling indifference to Assange's condition, this event was almost completely ignored by the 'mainstream' media, most notably the BBC.  

As Nils Melzer has also stated:
"Media inform us about #Assange’s cat, skateboard and feces, but don't demand justice for crimes he exposed. This complacency with government misconduct is the real scandal, the proverbial elephant in the room, hiding behind a blinding spotlight that is constantly directed at him."
False media repetition of "rape charges"

One of the most relentless myths around this case, explicit and implicit, has been the notion of 'rape charges' against Julian Assange, all serving to stigmatize him in the public eye.

Again, the Guardian has been a leading player in perpetuating this untruth.

Yet, as any credible observer or news organisation should know, there has never been any such charges issued against Assange.

This is made explicitly clear in a Defend Wikileaks document listing such falsehoods, and warning journalists of their responsibility not to state or reproduce them:
Mr. Assange's current isolation, ongoing proceedings and pending extradition also increases the legal and ethical burden on journalists, publishers and others to get their facts straight. Consequently journalists and publishers have a clear responsibility to carefully fact-check from primary sources and to consult the following list of defamations to ensure they do not spread and have not spread falsehoods about WikiLeaks or Julian Assange. The purpose of this list is to aid the honest and accurate and to put the dishonest and inaccurate on notice.
Given its claims to being a 'leading' and 'impartial' news organisation, some might expect from the BBC a more careful and balanced reporting of the case.

But the BBC has also failed in its editorial and journalistic duty to provide accurate and honest information.

Repeated misrepresentations by BBC News at Ten

As noted by Media Lens, on the evening of Assange's forced removal from the Ecuadorian embassy and arrest (11 April 2019), BBC News at Ten presenter Huw Edwards stated:
'[Assange] took refuge originally to avoid extradition to Sweden over charges of sexual assault; charges that have since been dropped.'
After being challenged by Media Lens, a BBC online article was updated, replacing the word "charges" with "allegations".

However, no correction was ever issued by BBC News at Ten.

Media Lens also remind us of the clear message issued by Defend Wikileaks:
'It is false and defamatory to suggest that Julian Assange is, or has ever been, charged with an offence by the United Kingdom or Sweden.'
Yet, remarkably, News at Ten continued to present such false and defamatory statements.

On 13 May 2019, presenter Huw Edwards once again stated in a report piece on Assange:
"He’s always denied the charges".
How, one wonders, could a leading BBC editorial team and presenter persist in such an elementary 'mistake'?

Complaint to the BBC

The following complaint and ensuing correspondence offers some insights into the BBC's own lamentable standards and feeble mitigation.

Initial complaint to BBC
(13 May 2019)

In this news report [13 May 2019], presenter Huw Edwards stated with regard to the Julian Assange case: "He’s always denied the charges".

As the BBC should very well know, Assange has never been charged with anything by the Swedish authorities.

Why was this entirely false statement made by the BBC? Isn't it a clear dereliction of the BBC's proclaimed duty to provide clear and accurate information?

This statement has helped reinforce a very serious misconception around the Assange story.

Will the BBC be issuing an appropriate public correction on a forthcoming edition of News at Ten?

BBC response
(6 June 2019)

Dear Mr Hilley

Thank you for getting in touch about the BBC News at Ten broadcast 13 May, and please accept our apologies for the delay in our response.

We appreciate you feel it was inaccurate for Huw Edwards to say that Julian Assange 'has always denied the charges' against him.

We always aim for the highest standards of accuracy in our reporting, and are grateful you've taken the time to raise this with us. As you've said, a more accurate phrasing of this would be that Assange denies the 'allegations' rather than 'charges'.

Our online articles using this wording have been amended:

After considering your point further we have amended the articles in question (… and… and…)

We have also added correction notes at the bottom which outline these changes. Your complaint about the News at Ten has been shared with the programme's editors, as well as senior staff across BBC News.

We hope you’ll find these changes satisfactory and thank you once again for getting in touch.
Kind regards [..] BBC Complaints Team

My reply
(6 June 2019)

Dear [..]

Thanks for making these important online corrections. However, in full and fair redress to Mr Assange, and in the public interest, the same correction should be aired on News at Ten. I trust you can find a suitable opportunity to do so.

Kind regards
John Hilley

BBC response 
(22 July 2019)

Dear Mr Hilley,

Thank you for taking the time to contact us again. We are sorry to learn that you were not satisfied with our earlier response.

Firstly, we’re sorry about the delay in getting back to you. We know people appreciate a prompt response and unfortunately we’ve taken longer to reply than usual – please accept our apologies.We have spoken with the News at Ten team about your concerns. They would like to acknowledge that it was incorrect to use the word 'charges' in relation to the allegations against Julian Assange. They would like to apologise for this error, and we have also posted a correction to our Corrections and Clarifications webpage:

If you are still dissatisfied, you can contact the BBC’s Executive Complaints Unit (ECU). The ECU is stage 2 of the BBC’s complaints process.

Details of the BBC complaints process are available at where you can read the BBC’s full complaints framework.

If you wish to contact the ECU please write to it directly within 20 working days of receiving this reply. Please explain to it why you believe there may have been a potential breach of standards or other significant issue for it to investigate. You can email, or write to: Executive Complaints Unit, BBC, Broadcast Centre, London W12 7TQ. Please include the case reference number we have provided in this reply.

Thank you again for contacting us.

Kind regards
BBC Complaints Team

Letter to Executive Complaints Unit (ECU) 
(28 July 2019)

Ref: CAS-5478202-SM56R0

Dear ECU

Following a (long-awaited) reply from the BBC Complaints Team regarding the above-referenced case, I wish to request a formal review of their findings.

As you will see from the response, News at Ten and the BBC have acknowledged their mistake in using the word "charges" in relation to Julian Assange's case. They have also apologised and listed the error at the BBC's Corrections and Clarifications page.

However, as was made clear in my second letter, fair and proper redress must include a full and formal statement by the BBC to that same effect on a forthcoming edition of News at Ten.

The BBC have a public duty to provide accurate and impartial information. In this instance, false and misleading information, in essence fake news, was conveyed to a wide viewership, seriously misrepresenting Mr Assange and affecting much of the public's understanding of this high-profile case.

It is surely wrong to believe that this major error can be redeemed via a statement in a corrections page which most of that same viewership will almost certainly never see.

One wonders how the BBC could have made such an elementary error, calling into question its claims to being a leading news organisation. Again, the significance of the word "charges", and its key impressions on viewers, cannot be underestimated. 

Indeed, this journalistic and editorial failure appears to be consistent with a more general antipathy in the BBC's coverage and presentation of Mr Assange. 

Thus, in addition to a formal statement on News at Ten, I am asking for an appropriate investigation into the competency and impartiality of the editorial team which 'researched' and produced this news script.   

I look forward to hearing from you.

John Hilley

Reply from Executive Complaints Unit 
(29 July 2019)

Dear Mr Hilley

Thank you for contacting the Executive Complaints Unit.

I’m writing to acknowledge receipt of your message and to let you know someone from the unit will be in touch with a further response within 20 working days of the date of your email, or 35 working days if your complaint is assessed as complex.

Yours sincerely
Alison Wilson
Executive Complaints Unit

Message to ECU
(30 September 2019)

Dear Alison Wilson

Please could you tell me when the ECU will deal with my complaint? My letter to the ECU was acknowledged in your message of 29 July, and, according to the ECU's own terms, should have been responded to within 20-35 days.

John Hilley

Reply from ECU
(22 October 2019)

Dear Mr Hilley

BBC News (10pm), BBC One, 13 May 2019

I’m sorry it has taken so much longer to reply to your complaint than we initially led you to expect.  I’m afraid it resulted from an administrative error on my part.  However, I’m now in a position to let you know the outcome of our investigation.  The outstanding issue of complaint is whether the inaccuracy, already acknowledged, in the use of the term “charges” requires further correction, your own view being that “fair and proper redress must include a full and formal statement by the BBC to that same effect on a forthcoming edition” of the programme.  Having considered the broadcast in the light of your points, I have to say I don’t agree.  

Immediately before using the term, Huw Edwards had introduced the report in question with the sentence “An investigation into rape allegations against the Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is being re-opened by the authorities in Sweden”, so the subsequent reference to “charges”, while it might have introduced an element of confusion, was hardly likely to have materially misled viewers, either in relation to their understanding of the report that followed or their general understanding of Mr Assange’s position.  It’s the kind of slip which, ideally, would have been corrected within the broadcast itself, but which is not of such moment to require broadcast correction in a subsequent broadcast, and it seems to me that amending the related online article and putting the matter on record on the BBC Corrections and Clarifications website was ample for any issue of redress raised by the inaccuracy.  I therefore don’t believe I have grounds for upholding your complaint.

There’s no provision for further appeal within the BBC, but if you wish to pursue your concerns further it’s now open to you to ask the broadcasting regulator, Ofcom, to consider your complaint. You can find details of how to contact Ofcom and the procedures it will apply at Alternatively, you can write to Ofcom, Riverside House, 2a Southwark Bridge Road, London SE1 9HA, or telephone either 0300 123 3333 or 020 7981 3040. Ofcom acknowledges all complaints received.

Yours sincerely
Fraser Steel
Head of the Executive Complaints Unit

Excusing the 'slip'

As anticipated, the high arbiters of BBC output were never likely to uphold this complaint. The ECU's excusing of BBC News at Ten rests on an evasive argument and paltry piece of mitigation. And, of course, there was no response to the specific request for any in-house check on how the BBC News at Ten editorial team ever came to produce and repeat the 'rape charges' misinformation.  

Still, the above correspondence helps show, at least, how readily our 'leading' state media agency accept and amplify the establishment narrative when it comes to official enemies and power-exposing whistleblowers. 

And, for the US/UK, they don't come any more threatening than Julian Assange.

The response has seen a state/media-directed smear campaign of open denigration, false inference and convenient omission. 

And the BBC's 'oversight' on News at Ten is only part of this compliant and power-serving narrative. 

Where is the full contextual story of Assange's time in Sweden, his co-operative dealings with the Swedish authorities, the unfolding plot against him, his legitimate fear of onward extradition, last resort to asylum, subsequent forms of punitive imprisonment and the looming prospect of enduring incarceration in a US jail? 

Where do we ever hear Assange being referred to as a political prisoner of conscience? 

As Assange's fate, indeed his very life, hangs in the balance, the unconscionable ignoring of his unjust and brutal treatment are a stain on the BBC, wider messenger media and all those complicit 'journalists' who have failed to protect and demand his liberty. 

Saturday, 19 October 2019

False claims of 'noble working class resistance' to Extinction Rebellion protests

Many leftists are mistakenly presenting the brutal violence against climate change protesters at Canning Town tube station as the 'understandable reaction of decent, hard-pressed working-class people'.
Even while condemning the violence, there's been a deeply misguided tendency to pitch such reactions as an 'admirable working class take-down' of 'self-indulgent, middle class eco-zealots'.
Alas, this particular 'weaponising' of class not only distracts from the overarching climate crisis, it merely divides potentially progressive forces, thereby serving the very class interests of those elites behind mass climate destruction.
Besides a statement of regret over the action, the bulk of Extinction Rebellion activists had already expressed deep misgivings over this kind of protest, seeing the obvious disadvantages of targeting relatively benign, low-carbon train travel and those using it.
Yet, whatever the questionable wisdom of such protests, the scenes at the tube station looked more like ugly, fascist-styled vigilantism than useful class-minded action.
Little wonder that both The Sun and a reactionary Tory MP could hail such responses as 'heroic working class conduct'.
There's a false but expediently used notion here that working class people are somehow peripheral to, or exempt from, the prevailing climate disaster, caught up as they are in the difficult daily effort to get by.
But this is just another face of the same neoliberal 'business as usual' narrative, helping to keep any wider population safely detached from the issue.
And for good measure, tabloid and other media 'champions of the poor' are ever-ready with the demonising refrain that XR and their 'layabout ilk' are just 'targeting hard working people'.
Perversely, even for many leftists, this incident has thrown up a false reading of 'class consciousness' in the face of a corporate-driven climate emergency that not only threatens the world's poorest most, but will ultimately bring all daily life to a standstill.
The chief villains of climate destruction - corporations and their political/media agents - should be the primary focus of protests and civil actions.
But people of all classes must come to realise, one way or another, that this climate calamity will reach every aspect of social and economic life. We're all involved as human beings.
If nothing else - with tactical lessons learned here - Extinction Rebellion are starting to get across their core message that the climate crisis happening now means there must also be commensurate disruption of the entire system that's driving it.
And that systemic disruption will mean increasing dislocation and require meaningful reflection for everyone.
Every previous attempt at raising awareness of the climate breakdown has failed. XR's alarm-raising actions, even in eliciting such polarised responses, are largely responsible for the mass mobilisation we're now seeing here and across the globe.
Any development of real class action on this life-defining issue now depends on an understanding that the corporate/neoliberal forces behind mass wealth inequality, warmongering and subjugation of the poor are the same forces responsible for the climate breakdown threatening our very existence.
Whether through that greater class awareness or any other form of collective engagement, the vital and immediate task of all humanity in resisting such destructive forces remains the same.

Wednesday, 24 July 2019

Johnson elevated, Eton rules. Let's use the moment

And so it really does comes to pass. A class-pampered buffoon, political charlatan, crude racist, corporate champion, climate apologist and serial warmonger is now leader of these afflicted and conflicted lands.

Adding insult to injury, he's been delivered by a Tory contest of 160,000 members, seeing Boris Johnson elevated to the highest office of state with under 100,000 votes. 

What kind of 'equitable' system sees a mass electorate excluded from the vital process of prime ministerial placement? And, indeed, what kind of contempt for that mass other has Tory shiredom shown in its indulgence of 'lovable Boris'? 

Sure, they're electing their own leader. It's the rules. But what kind of qualitative 'democracy' does this suggest? The answer is, as ever, establishment-branded democracy. British 'democracy'. Eton rules. 

That Johnson, the classic product of class-gifted education, has made it to Number 10 shows just how deeply elite background still counts. Eton still rules.

Yet, the arrival of Johnson should be welcomed, both as a salutary reminder of what happens when -  as with Trump - conceited liberal centrism fails, and as a new opening for radical change.

Johnson's election now raises the stakes considerably for the emergence of progressive counter-forces. 

As the parliamentary dynamics of the 'Brexit crisis' unravels towards a general election, it now presents voters with an even sharper class-based politics of choice: Johnson or Corbyn.   

Electoral politics can now play out more consciously as an issue of class identity. And Corbyn should play it for all it's worth, exposing the establishment, rank privilege and everything Johnson really stands for. 

It is to be hoped that one of the first actions of a progressive Corbyn government will be the abolition of private and 'independent' schools. Johnson is the twentieth prime minister to be educated at Eton, illustrating the enduring class basis of British political power. Elite institutions like Eton are, indeed, independent - of society as a whole, harbouring and nurturing even the likes of Johnson as 'the right people'.

In the same vein, Johnson's election will provoke new class-infused reactions over the Union.  

Johnson's appointment offers the best opportunity a progressive movement for Scottish independence will ever have to pursue and realise its stalled mission. 

On the back of the 'material change' mandate afforded by Brexit, will a managerial-minded SNP leadership now have the political will to use this vital, additional opening?

With the Tories and Unionist establishment in an historically fragile and weakened state, the Johnson moment - and it may well be just that - should be used to the full.   

It really is remarkable to think that such a small coterie still hold such power and ideological sway over all our political arrangements and 'understandings' of 'permissible democracy'.     

Today sees another seemingly smooth transfer of the elite baton. Yet, Johnson's entry through that 'hallowed' door provides the impetus for new challenges to perpetual privilege, political 'entitlement' and the dominant forces controlling all our lives.             

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Corbyn can lead in the exposure of establishment psychosis

Just like the plot lines against fictional Harry Perkins in A Very British Coup, a multi-fronted campaign is now well underway to take down Jeremy Corbyn.

And on this occasion it might well be titled A Very Establishment Meltdown.

A relentless media-driven frenzy has seen Corbyn maligned as everything from a Hamas/Hezbollah/IRA asset to a Czech spy. 

Shortly after his election as Labour leader, a British army general issued dark warnings of a "mutiny" should he ever look likely to reach Number 10.

Other dark messages imply that Corbyn cannot be trusted with high office and official secrets.

We also now learn that two British soldiers have kept their jobs after being caught using a figure of Corbyn as target practice.

On another key front, senior civil servants have briefed The Times that Corbyn is in frail health and not up to the job.

Disappointingly for the mandarins and the media, this was met with wide incredulity, as even the usual smear press couldn't match such claims to the real garden-chilled, fit-as-a-fiddle Corbyn.

But the botched leak is yet another indication of increasing elite anxiety and panic.

Of all the attack lines, the establishment is placing its greatest hopes in the 'Labour anti-Semitism crisis'. Led by a mutual-serving coterie of Blairite and pro-Israel coup-makers, a ready platform media is now gaslighting the public on a relentless scale.

Look, they shriek, how riddled Labour is with the 'anti-Semitic disease'. And if you can't see this, they howl, you need to question you're own deep anti-Semitism. Thus runs the self-doubt, yield-to psychology of the McCarthyite witch-hunt.

The establishment are acutely aware of how close Corbyn came to power in 2017. And as another general election looms, the calls for a decisive purge are being raised to even more hysterical levels.

In an article for The Spectator, Stephen Daisley wrote:

There is no more pressing moral cause in Britain today than the total destruction of the Labour party. An electoral drubbing will not do. A change of leader will not suffice. The Labour party has spent almost four years defaming, taunting and intimidating Jews. They have made Jews feel unsafe; they have made Jews feel unBritish. There must be a reckoning for this intolerable measure of evil, for both retributive and deterrent purposes. Another party will come along one day and try this again and there must be a warning in place, an object lesson in the wages of anti-Semitism and its indulgence. The debris of a once-great party would make for powerful teaching materials. (My italics.)
 In effect, smear and smite. 

As Jamie Stern Weiner warns:

The rhetoric has become so deranged. The 'Labour antisemitism' smear campaign is taking on the dimensions of a psychosis. The headline is another useful warning for the left to resist the temptations of censorship - the norm will be turned against you.
Daisley is, of course, a known zealot and regular exponent of such biblical bluster. But elite fear of a Corbyn government is now so intense that the smear project does, indeed, appear to have turned effectively psychotic.

Only in such a febrile atmosphere could Jeremy Hunt have said these words:
When I went to Auschwitz I rather complacently said to myself, "thank goodness we don't have to worry about that kind of thing happening in the UK" and now I find myself faced with the leader of the Labour Party who has opened the door to antisemitism in a way that is truly frightening.
This utterly despicable comment should have ended Hunt's leadership candidacy with immediate effect. The media response? Nothing. Just a sickly, obedient silence, a malady of compliance, ensuring there's no awkward interruption to the main anti-Corbyn narrative.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also assured a pro-Israel group of Jewish leaders that he would intervene to prevent Corbyn being elected.

Again, this was treated as nominal news rather than headlined as a menacing threat of interference from an external state. Imagine if a senior Russian politician had uttered such words.

The latest wave of hysteria has seen MP Chris Williamson not only suspended but abandoned by faux left 'vanguards' like Owen Jones, Ash Sarkar, Jon Lansman and Billy Bragg.

In a fine examination of The Fury And The Fakery behind Williamson's suspension, Media Lens remind us of the solid body of evidence undermining claims of 'Labour's institutional anti-Semitism'. 

The key forces and agenda behind the whole fabricated 'anti-Semitism crisis' is also perfectly addressed by Jonathan Cook in The Plot to keep Corbyn out.

It's also worth noting, as context, how Williamson was hounded by right-wing party elites like Tom Watson because of his campaigning for open selection, a clear effort to seize power away from the party membership.

In turn, as Asa Winstanley shows, the membership overwhelmingly want Williamson returned to the party.

You can find much other excellent comment and analysis across alternative media. In contrast, try finding anything remotely rational and informative in the 'mainstream'.

Since Corbyn's election in 2015, a mere 0.06% of Labour members have been investigated over anti-Semitism. Only a mass, concerted campaign of political and media propaganda could have turned that nominal problem into a 'crisis'. 

Amid the continuing media freak-out, Matt Kennard asked Noam Chomsky for his thoughts on Williamson and the 'crisis', receiving this reply:

Media coverage? Again, dutiful silence.

And from Jones and Bragg? Awkward dismissal and ridiculous mitigation.

Beyond such reticence, an admirable letter of support for Williamson from prominent Jews, including Noam Chomsky and Norman Finkelstein, declared:
As anti-racist Jews, we regard Chris as our ally: he stands as we do with the oppressed rather than the oppressor.
In a questionable act of censorship, the letter was subsequently taken down by the Guardian "pending investigation", rather than simply edited and maintained.

A further statement supporting Williamson has been signed by other notable figures, including Ken Loach, Yanis Varoufakis, Francesca Martinez, John Pilger, Ilan Pappe, Avi Shlaim, Alexei Sayle, Media Lens and Roger Waters.

And it's here we see the case for a much more confident positioning.

Rather than falling to the hysteria, Corbyn should be asserting himself as the only sane and rational alternative to this alarming establishment psychosis.

As Cook notes:
Corbyn offers a unique opportunity to hold up a mirror to British society, stripping away the beautified mask to see the ugly skeleton-face below. He risks making the carefully concealed structure of power visible. And this is precisely why he is so dangerous to the status-quo-supporting centrists.
It's also why the establishment is so feverish in trying to hold and control the anti-Semitism narrative. 

It's the same false intensity behind the 'Brexit crisis'. The establishment have somehow managed to convince an entire public that 'leave or remain' is now the defining issue of our times, a test of 'our national health' - with, of course, Corbyn offered up as the scapegoat villain.

This is classic elite projection: their crisis, the crisis of their making, somehow becomes 'our' crisis, all serving to hide the structural conflicts, schisms and fears within the establishment itself.

In the same vein, ex-MI6 chief Sir John Sawers also laments that the country is having "a nervous breakdown".

Besides Brexit, Sawers expressed his alarm here over any Johnson, Hunt or Corbyn premiership.

But as Mark Curtis notes, it's always useful to see what lurks behind such comments:
Ex-MI6 chief Sawyers is also on the board of BP, which has major investments in just about every dictatorship the UK govt is supporting in the world. This might be slightly relevant to his not being over-ecstatic about having a govt led by Corbyn.
In effect, what really matters is preventing any political disruptions that may invoke a further nervous breakdown of the corporate order.

Sir John's 'health warning' for the nation was dutifully carried by the Guardian, which now seems to be the main host platform for head spooks.

Matt Kennard reports how ex-Guardian deputy editor Paul Johnson did his own 'health-restoring' bit for national security by joining the 'D-List' committee.

On retiring from the post, Johnson was thanked by committee head, Brigadier Geoffrey Dodds OBE, for his service to the censors. Shortly afterwards, as an apparent reward, the Guardian was granted an exclusive interview with serving MI5 chief Andrew Parker, warning on this occasion of an 'increasingly aggressive' Russia and its 'threat to the UK'.

As with its relentless 'health warnings' over Corbyn and craven reporting of Labour's 'anti-Semitic infection', it's a further measure of the Guardian's own moral decay that mass murderer Tony Blair is still welcomed there.

Likewise, Blair's chief war propagandist Alastair Campbell is being regaled across media studios as a sage voice on Brexit.

It's illuminating to watch Blair's and Campbell's exasperated pleas on both Brexit and anti-Semitism, seemingly oblivious to, or able to block out, their own dark moral disorders.

You needn't be an expert in medical psychology to see the perversity of these figures still at large after the catastrophe of Iraq being accorded such eager media attention.

Shouldn't it be of deep concern that Corbyn, who rightly opposed every call to illegal war, is so screamingly maligned, while Blair, Campbell and other mass killers are openly feted?

Of course, this kind of media dissonance is part of a wider liberal deflection of state psychopathy.

Indeed, it would be difficult for any rational person to see in the brutal history and ongoing barbarism of the British state any kind of moral authority.

Even the critical questions of more progressive-minded journalists seem safely tempered, almost fearful of looking too deeply at the dark structures of British/Western criminality.     

Thus, Alex Thomson may ask how, in covering events like earthquakes, "why do affluent US lives mean more than poor African/Asian ones?"

And Mark Curtis answers:
I think it's because UK 'mainstream' culture is deeply imperialist, often racist. Same question on Yemen: why have journalists generally not asked May, Hunt, Johnson about their obvious complicity in mass deaths? Because they couldn't care less about unpeople.
Any state that can bomb, murder and export warfare on such a mass scale and still proclaim itself a 'protector of international human rights' must surely be liable for sectioning.

It seems not. Sending bombs to eliminate children in Yemen is still seemingly a sane and acceptable activity. So is sending arms to and conducting friendly military exercises with a murderous, oppressive regime in Israel - imagine seeing those last words applied in the 'mainstream' media to official allies rather than official foes.

If the art of hegemony lies in maintaining public consent for such power and criminality, the elite and its supporting agencies must always be striving to turn defensive narratives into attack narratives. Parties may come and go, politicians lost or sacrificed, so long as there's little critical examination of the actual structural forces and calamitous impact of corporate power.

Think only of the careful media narrative around climate emergency, and the deep failure to probe corporate culpability. 

Contrary to the prevailing hype around Corbyn, the establishment itself has never been more structurally exposed, divided, fearful and, therefore, vulnerable.

There's a veritable choice of crisis faults for any progressive leader or party to highlight and attack. Why not use the moment?

From the 'Brexit trauma' to 'Labour's anti-Semitism crisis', the public have been assaulted by waves of elite propaganda all intended to deflect attention from the establishment's own internal failings and psychosis.

And, as we've seen, no amount of appeasement, mitigation, apology or reform will stop the set of forces now determined to break Corbyn. 

As the brave Israeli journalist Gideon Levy argues, it's time to fight back:
This vicious circle should be broken...We are not ready to play those game any more in which they shut our mouths with accusations which in most of the cases are hollow.
In a more direct statement on Corbyn, Levy warns that:
such smear campaigns and the weaponisation of anti-Semitism must be criticised and fought against: “We should not surrender to those labels and those accusations, because they are there in order to blackmail, in order to fight anyone who dares to criticise Israel”.
So, the lesson is: use the difficulty. It's important to see that this is a concocted and superficial 'crisis', peddled by those who have much to lose. It doesn't rest on any deep popular feeling or belief that resonates with the public. It's a crisis only for the establishment.

And it's in the assertive exposure of that crisis, and the elite narrative serving to mask it, that Corbyn and anyone else who cares about building a real, humanist and caring politics for all can best advance that cause.