Tuesday, 26 April 2016

prison essays (2) Rehabilitation of prisoners

Bertrand Russell, in his famous pamphlet, Why I am Not A Christian, asserts he does not believe a person that is humane can believe in everlasting punishment. Many Britons appear to be fond of punishment, more so than most other countries, but bizarrely enough the government also wishes to “cure” prisoners with courses which, in many instances are forced to attend in prisons. This, to me, appears rather farcical, for one reason in particular. The 1974 Rehabilitation Act stipulates that a prisoner sentenced to three or more years is unable to be rehabilitated, that however has been amended, it is now four years. Even so, if a person spends two-years in prison they are unable to be rehabilitated. Yet are still made to go on “rehabilitative courses”. These prisoners or ex-prisoners who are unable to be “rehabilitated” after attending courses to “rehabilitate” themselves are driven out of the job market because they have to disclose their criminal record, and the jobs require Disclosure Barring Checks (DBS), formerly Criminal Record Checks (CRB), the jobs which require a DBS are so excessive that the ex-prisoner departs from normal society, and enter the society with a fascist structure, eliminating them from work, thus after completing a rehabilitative course.

This, of course, is very Orwellian. It is, nevertheless, important to understand from the outset how the process works in regard to courses. For arguments sake allow me to assume the prisoner is remanded in custody, and having been found guilty of a particular offence is due to be sentenced, often before sentencing they are visited by their Offender Manager (Probation Officer). This probation officer asks the condemned man or woman a series of questions, files a report, this is known as a pre-sentence report. This report, on the day he/she is sentenced is handed to the judge and are sentenced based on the report itself, or maybe not as the case maybe. After sentencing they of course are taken back to prison, depending on the sentence received. If it is a custodial sentence and is considerably longer than their remand time then they will be expected to do these courses while they remain in custody. After so long, once again they will see their Offender Manager. If they receive a sentence of over three years they must visit them within sixteen weeks to devise a sentence plan; under sixteen weeks then the period is eight weeks.

During this period the Offender Manager devises a “sentence plan” without consulting the “offender”, and the “sentence plan” is exactly what it says it is. It has aims and objectives to plan the sentence of the convicted prisoner. The most important aspect of this are the courses the prisoner is coerced into doing. I use the word coerce for two reasons. (1), the prisoner serving a determinate sentence must attend courses whilst in custody, if such courses are refused then they are offered when released from their incarceration, and if they refuse it while they are on licence then they must return to custody. Of course this is not always the case, but I must add, often it is; (2), the indeterminate prisoner is a victim of rampant psychological warfare. Unless they agree to do the course(s) they will never be released and inevitably die in prison, but I will speak more of indeterminate sentences shortly.

Domestic and foreign affairs within parliament and elsewhere operate under a propaganda framework, any deviation from it will eliminate you from these elite groups. Under this framework then a word which is often overused is “transparency”. This is an interesting choice of words concerning the present discussion because there is zero transparency. The prisoner has no say whatsoever in what courses they will attend. It is all done behind closed doors, and they are unable to contribute to the development of their own lives. It is quite easy for people in all corners of the world with differing ideologies to use the word rehabilitation but in effect it means nothing. Josef Stalin spoke of rehabilitation but his idea of rehabilitation and the Scandinavian models are quite different, as they are by today’s standards.

Current prisoners in England and Wales who are serving indeterminate sentences are at an unfair disadvantage. In 2005 Mr Deegan was the first person in the country to receive an IPP (Imprisonment for Public Protection) sentence, yet few of us know what an IPP is. The people that are subject to it are of various sorts. It was an insidious policy aimed at coercing people to attend courses for those that have the temerity to refuse. This proved a dilemma for those who maintained their innocence, because often people are innocent of the crime(s) they are convicted for. Prisoners are “assessed” before they attend the course itself. Part of this “assessment” is crucial because you are unable to pass the “assessment” unless you are willing to admit guilt, if not and the prisoner is serving an indeterminate sentence they will never be released until they succumb.

With the IPP prisoner or lifer it is psychological torment. With the prisoner serving a determinate sentence it is still torment of a kind. The content of these courses have not been discussed in this short essay, it need not be. It would take another separate essay and a far longer one to discuss the different Kafkaesque courses available in the industrial prison complex. The courses then are dictated to by the general population as rehabilitative, while still holding prisoners to ransom on a number of issues. Much of the job market is restricted after the “rehabilitative” courses have been completed, court orders are in place, even after the completion of such courses, and with this we could go on. The courses, are, in effect, useless.

The cost of these useless courses funded by the taxpayer, cost an outrageous fortune. To me, it seems utterly ridiculous to “punish” the “offender” and then to “rehabilitate” the “ex-offender”, if we are to use official state jargon. This is what I would describe as an oxymoron. If Britain wishes to be a nation based on hatred, on greed, as wretched annihilators of freedom and liberty and so they ought to carry on with their criminal policies. Yet this little hidden misdemeanour is so furtive that not even the educated elite are aware such abuses are taking place.

There is an element to these courses which has not been touched upon in this essay and that they do more harm than good, encourage reoffending and not deter it. This very notion is ignored, predictably. The very idea of rehabilitative courses is very Orwellian and even Kafkaesque, what makes them Kafkaesque is what follows from these infantile courses. After they have been completed, certain “offenders”, we are told, must be monitored until the day they die. This is the sort of society and justice people are content with. It is dangerous and could only happen in a country which is dominated by legal corruption and the extreme form of free market thuggery.

January 7-8th, 2014

See my previous post on my 'prison essays', the next prison essay shall be posted shortly

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Prison essays (1) on Suicide



For one to even to consider suicide is quite a lamentable thing, and so are the current conditions in British prisons. It goes without saying there are all sorts of interventions going on in these establishments to prevent such things: they happen nonetheless. For prisoners in these places who are at risk of suicide and self-harm are referred to what is called an ACCT (Assessment, Care in Custody, Teamwork) document. This document, according to one senior prison officer is “an arse-covering exercise”, and this phrase has been reiterated ten times over by prison officers and medical staff alike in these wretched establishments. The process of the ACCT document is simple: It is opened once the prisoner is deemed a risk to themselves, they are checked on regularly during the night-time, depending on the risk they pose, it can be from every hour from the moment they are locked up until early the next morning. They also have regular meetings with the Mental Health Team, a senior officer on the wing and other officers. Only when they can be totally sure to pose no risk to themselves can they be taken of it. But what is seldom analysed is why they have gotten themselves in this rotten state in the first place.

People in prison are at risk of suicide for a whole manner of different reasons. One reason is because of the dreadful conditions in some of these prisons, and as the worsening conditions exacerbate, so does the prisoner’s health. For example, the Ministry of Justice are making life in prison desperately unbearable. In prisons throughout England and Wales the institutions fall into four categories, that is category A, B,C and D. Sometimes, however, it is hard to differentiate which is which. It would be helpful to determine which prisoner falls into which category. Category A is for the most serious prisoner. It is usually lifers who are subject to this, but not all lifers. Category B is, almost without exception, for people who are given a prison sentence of ten years or more. Those given a sentence under ten years are categorised as category C status. Finally, category D prisoners are for people who are ready to be released but not all of them; most prisoners are released from category C prisons. The men and women placed in category D prisons, which are open prisons, are often for people who have committed: “minor offences” or lifers and for people serving indefinite sentences, end their incarceration here.

Any right-thinking person would think these prisons are easily categorised; they are not. Category A prisons, of which there are only eight, alarmingly, are near identical to some category C prisons. So these prisoners who are serving relatively short sentences are living in high-security conditions, which makes the likelihood of suicide evermore possible. And as is the case, category A prisons and for that matter category B ones too, receive more funding than category C prisons, and in these prisons fewer privileges are available. In HMP Liverpool, formerly Walton, is a category B prison, and is worse than any category A establishment. It is a vast understatement to say it is a rather unpleasant abode; there have been reports by prisoners and this has been verified by the prison authorities that is infested with cockroaches and rats. This, one may add, are third world prison conditions. No wonder people continue to kill themselves in British jails.

The difference between HMP Manchester and Forest Bank are huge, and these prisons are both in the city of Manchester, if we pretend for a moment that Salford is in Manchester, the latter is a private prison and the conditions are somewhat better than the prison most famously known as Strangeways. On the face of it, it would appear both prisons existed in two separate countries. At present Strangeways only offers only one-hour visits for its prisoners; Forest Bank offers double that. By prison standards, the food at category B prisons is pretty impressive, and has little complaints. The food at Strangeways, at times, is quite inedible. The portions are miniscule and the mash and chips, which is all, so it appears, prisoners appear to get, is rather disgusting. For dessert it gets no better. “Rock cakes” are served, which really is not a desert at all, and when desserts are served, the custard is not made with milk, but with water, which proves, for the prisoners, to be grotesque. A sort of mental torture is implemented there also, and this should be shocking to many; but it is not. Because the prison has category A status it justifies what is calls using “working dogs”. These dogs are there to prevent prisoners from escaping, and sleeping, so it seems. These same dogs just happen to bark themselves into a bolivian at feeding time, the officers allow them to torment the prisoners and regularly wake them up at untimely hours. Forest Bank prison has no dogs. It is true it holds category A, B, C and D prisoners, because like Strangeways, it is a dispersal prison, but every prisoner at Strangeways are subject to category A conditions.

John Podmore, the former Governor and Chief Inspector of prisons, wrote a book about prison conditions amongst other things, called Out of Sight Out of Mind, in it he describes a plethora of shocking revelations. For example he tells us 40% of prison suicides are committed by people on remand. Now remand prisoners are mixed with convicted prisoners, and are thus treated as criminals. This appears to increase suicide rates in prisons.

Because prisons throughout England and Wales are so overpopulated, many of them have double cells, which makes a remand prisoner’s life ever more unbearable than it need be. Some of these people are subject to intense bullying, are often sexually assaulted, forcing them to perform sex acts, they mix these poor souls with people who have committed crimes so serious that they will receive nothing less than a life sentence, when they may share a cell with someone who has received a four-week sentence, perhaps less. All these things discussed in the essay do not reduce suicides in prison but evidently increase them, and this ought to be reported but seldom is.

The Secretary of State for Justice, whoever that is, offer their own brand of “reforms”, and because of these “reforms”, as their faithful enthusiasts like to call them, suicides in prison increase. Upto 20% of the prison population, at any one time, are innocent and wrongly convicted, the vast majority, suffer from mental health problems, yet they are criminalised nonetheless, and this is a society we like to call a “fair society”. More and more prisoners appear to be departing from the world of their own choosing, and it seldom reaches the mainstream media, and unless there is a social revolution, which is only a fool’s dream, policies of the present and future administrations will only continue to make prison conditions tougher, and thus contributing to lost souls taking their own lives in prisons throughout England and Wales.

January 7th, 2014

This is my first 'prison essays', there are 9 more to follow. The second prison essay will be posted on my blog soon.


Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Essays on Crime ( 7) Judges

“The magistrate had learned that I’d ‘displayed a lack of emotion on the day of my mother’s funeral’...then he asked me if he could say that I’d controlled my natural feelings that day. I said, ‘No’, because it’s not true...Do you want my life to be meaningless?’ he cried. As far as I was concerned, it had nothing to do with him so I told him so’..”You do believe and put your trust in him (God), won’t you?’ I obviously said no. He sat back in his chair”’.

So says the magistrate to Meursault in Albert Camus’ the Outsider. The judge is somebody who has something many do not; that is autocratic and despotic power and control. This is not just the judge or magistrate as represented in the Outsider, but of judges in every society. At times, they know they are sentencing people to years in prison, and worse, condemning them to death, even, at times, they are aware the defendant has done no wrong; they are simply innocent. They, in essence, have total control over the lives of others.

The power they have must not be underestimated. It must be made clear these judges, once in court, can send anyone to prison whom they wish whatever reason they choose to invent. Before, men have been sent to prison for yawning. The police officer trembles in front of the judge as they make statements and act as witnesses; the same is true of barristers and of course, the defendant. When this same defendant is sentenced to a period in prison the judge can decide on a number of things: they decide how long they spend in prison, how long they will spend on probation, whether to take the remand time of their sentence; what prison to send them to; what conditions, what long-term conditions they will be subject to once they leave prison. These are just some of the decisions a judge can make.

Nevertheless, as it should be known, their power is far greater than this. It is they who can decide whether a case can go to trial, whether the media are able to print and reveal names of the defendants, and to shield the alleged victims or not as the case may be. In fact, the judge must determine every aspect of the case, and all this, so we are told, exists in social democracies. This is what we may call absolute power. But the potent empathy in judges lies in the fact that they are perfectly content to see innocents locked up, as well as those committing the most minor misdemeanours, but often spend many years in prison and are therefore subject to psychological torture, and sometimes even worse. They are paid handsomely for these services, and during that time, as indeed after it, sleep serenely at night-time, or indeed, any time. Their victims’ voices silent, their suffering invisible.

Take two cases, which are identical, ending in the judge, in both cases, condemning the defendant to death; both cases took place in England. The first case concerns Timothy Evans. In the early 1950s, he was convicted for a murder he did not commit. Police officials described Evans, at the time at the time as “retarded”, if he were of sound mind he would never have found himself in this position. The judge knew this but still decided to send the poor man to his death by hanging. He received a pardon in 1966, and this means nothing to anybody.

In 1952, Derek Bentley, as a teenager had already spent time in prison. He had a certain amount of difficulties and a remarkably low intelligence, possibly even more so than Evans. Bentley, before being convicted for murder, spent a lot of time with the want-to-be gangster, Christopher Craig. On one evening Craig, who was only sixteen, lured Bentley onto a rooftop. Enraged by the imprisonment of his brother, Craig shot a police officer dead, before he pulled the trigger, Bentley shouted: “let him have it”, meaning, give the police officer the gun. In any case Bentley was convicted of the murder, and despite the jury’s recommendation of “mercy”, the judge, picked for his barbarity, sentenced him to death, because Craig was sixteen, three-years younger than Bentley, he was given a life sentence. Craig was released after ten years; Bentley was hanged.

These men and countless others are what Orwell would call “unpeople”. That is they do not really exist, they never will and therefore we need not worry about such things because they are just fragments of a people that bear no significance to the lives of these judges and people like them. Their lives bear the name of a rather unfortunate existence. As our final years of misery unfold, it may well be determined by the judge. Nevertheless, no matter because this is the suffering of others and people do not appear to be concerned about these things. They are only condemned, reproached, lambasted, lampooned, ridiculed, reviled, detested, abhorred, threatened, and despised. It is only the innocent who are spared an inch of our remorse. Oh, well, people say. At least they are given compensation. Soon after that, people forget about this and find other things to speak nonsense about.

We seldom hear the private lives of judges and of the crimes they have committed. However, we can be sure some of the people who commit crimes of various sorts receive a certain amount of protection from the powers that be. Whatever these judges do in their spare time, they are irrational and befuddled. It is not even clear many are even human, but just automated machines; what do they do at home? Do they beat their wives with iron bars? Assault their sleeping children? Commit high-level corruption when nobody is looking? Alternatively, do they take part in lude behaviour, like masturbating in children’s playgrounds? The truth is that we do not know about any of these things but we ought not to be too surprised if judges on a grand scale have committed some of these perversities. They are quite eager to condemn others, but they may be hiding their own depraved crimes.

There is a concerted effort like there is with the all areas of totalitarian power, to humanise judges on television and film but even this is rather difficult to do. It is uncertain whether judges have feelings, emotions, empathy and the like. There is little proof of this. If they did, one could argue they would not be in this lamentable job in the first place. For the history of judges and their actions is hardly anything to be proud about, despite this they seem perfectly content with practising these horrors in the past, and continue in the present, and will continue in the future.

The fact of the matter is that it appears the judge possesses no humanity at all. Neither do they possess human qualities we expect from good and decent people. Psychopaths, it is true, sleep peacefully during the night time and the reasons are entirely evident. Why on earth, people must ask themselves, would such a person become a judge in the first place. I believe this question is unable to be answered adequately. The reason, possibly, is this group of people, have numerous reasons... Some of the reasons are evident: power, control, debauched perversity, and a whole new manner of other things. If God, and life after death did exist, judges would be in the lowest depths of hell. Their screams would replicate their victims in this world.

George Orwell, before becoming a writer, was a police officer; Siegfried Sassoon was a soldier; John Steinbeck was a journalist; Franz Kafka an insurance broker; Anton Chekhov an insurance broker; Herman Melville a cabin boy on a cruise liner and so on. These people are remembered for having some humanity at least, but none of these writers were judges. Even artists have worked in government, Peter Tchaikovsky, for example. However, no judges to speak of. It is possible the judge is incapable of such things, and ever was. They choose not to write, compose, conduct, paint, because they do not have the capacity or humanity to do this, and that is the plain truth.

Instead they plummet themselves into something far darker and rather unpleasant. They have more in common with de Sade’s 120 Days of Sodom, rather than David Copperfield because with the former they are able to revel in licentiousness and debauched suffering. Who is to say the judge does not masturbate while passing sentence? They are never reported so we can only surmise what some of these reprobates get up to. They put their wigs on and become psychopathic lunatics who enjoy seeing suffering, misery and eventual destruction of others. Yet the judge is seldom spoke of in this manner

Emma Goldman, the feminist-anarchist led a somewhat turbulent life. She was unfortunate to be imprisoned on a number of occasions for laughable practices. In one instance, she was addressing a judge in court; or rather, the judge was addressing her. The judge said, if you do not like this country referring to the United States-why not leave? She responded by saying because she is an anarchist it would make little difference where she lived. In any case, the judge, unconcerned with her woes, decided to send her to prison for a certain amount of time. Some things, so it appears, never seem to change.

Every now and again, there is a terrible war of sorts against a particular group of people. There have been wars against communists, Marxists, the ‘left’. Jews, blacks and so on. Another vicious was fought against anarchists of every kind and this was sadistically executed in Emma Goldman’s lifetime. In 1901 William McKinley, the U.S President at the time, was assassinated by Leon Czolgosz, a Polish immigrant. The young man, responsible for the murder, was in turn executed but only fifteen years prior to this, another major event occurred concerning anarchists: the Haymarket massacre. Four anarchists were hanged but it was clear they had done nothing wrong and this was well known, certainly by the judge sentencing them. The judge who condemned them to death said quite bluntly that it is not because you are criminals you are being executed but because you are anarchists. In addition, their lives came to an end.

In 1886, 1901, 1950, 2005 or whatever year we choose to select the morality of the judge never changes. There were times in so-called democratic states that police officers beat people to death quite habitually, that is hardly the case anymore; the prison officer beat and tortured the prisoner, in many societies that is now unheard of; soldiers today, are far less savage than they have been in the past. Unlike the rest of these groups, the judge is able to go beyond physical violence and torture. The judge is condemning these people to perpetual persecution and nightmares.

The judge, in many respects, resembles the tyrannical monarch in many ways. They do so on at least five points (1). They are seldom seen in public; (2). They dress in the most absurd and asinine uniform; (3). They care only for the perversities and riches and subject everybody else to a sort of misery; (4). Any criticism if these judges paint you as a pariah; (5). Tyrannise, subject and terrorise people until they no longer become people any more, they are only people we find in a Bulgakov novel, a short story by Gogol or a play by Moliere.

It would be a queer thing to read a dialogue of Plato’s with a conversation taking place not between philosophers and sophists but with judges. What would they say? What views would they air? The fact of the matter is that such questions will not be known, because everything concerning judges is furtive; we must not know how they live their lives; what views they have; their beliefs, if they have any, and so on. That is a twisted piece of irony that ought to concern us all. The infantile celebrity cultures are broadcast to us and learn of their puerile existence and are told rather stupid things that ought to interest nobody. Quite amazingly, such things are unheard of with the judge, because, after all, they only punish the miserable further, and people seem to applaud this.

The attitude of the public towards the political class is rather interesting. Crowds are seen in the streets protesting against police corruption, as they brutally take part in shooting dead people from time-to-time; others rage their anger against individual members of the social services, demanding their resignations; there is even scrutiny with private power; members of parliament seldom escape diatribes, and at times, inevitably, their careers are thrown in the garbage bin of history; journalists and newspaper editors have had a great amount of vitriol directed at them. Nevertheless, when it comes to judges of all kinds there is nothing.

The media, the capitalist press often report misinformation or at times, no information and help judges get away at giving monstrous sentences. They have given, in the U.K and U.S for example, indefinite sentences for almost anything, or nothing as the case might be. In a court case, at trial, it is often a clandestine affair. Is there some hidden law that stipulates that judges are unable to be criticised? This, to my knowledge, has never been adequately elucidated.

Of course it is not only through sentencing and criminal cases which judges preside over, they make very important decisions regarding moral and ethical issues. However, it is clear, like politicians, these judges have never been chosen at the ballot box, and for that, their power is tyrannical.

15th-19th May, 2013
This is the final essay 'on crime', for the other six essays, check my previous posts.

Saturday, 2 April 2016

Essays on Crime (6) the Mass Media

"Propaganda is to a democracy what violence is to a dictatorship”, said Noam Chomsky. This is quite correct but few would agree. In Stalinist Russia or Nazi Germany, propaganda was less necessary than it is under the modern so-called democratic states. The reason is rather simple. In these more totalitarian states-and by totalitarian states I mean the ones that are openly fascist-these sorts of governments then care little about what people think because they control what people do.

Nevertheless, when you lose the bludgeon, then what is required is another weapon to oppress, control and marginalise people. The obvious answer to this lies in the mainstream media. It is crucial that people in these countries believe they are “free” and have an array of “rights” and “liberties” bestowed upon them. Because such countries have the vote, they depend on the media to replace violent totalitarianism. Laws then creep in under the carpet because the media often do not report them. This is all going on while we have a “free press” under brainwashing freedoms. For it is clear, at least it should be, the mind has a more rational, liberal outlook when the media is removed from circulation.  

In the printed and digital media, it often makes little difference what the headline stories are because that is not their main function. What matters is selling power. It is important for certain publications not to report stories with complications because it hinders “selling power”. So more essentially, the advertising industry, as it is known, induces us to buy items we do not really want or need. We are persuaded to watch propaganda on television, which we dislike, to buy products that are of no interest to us, discuss things, which are popular but not even remotely interesting. This is the power of the corporate media, and this is just one of its many functions.

Another is indoctrination and brainwashing freedoms. Often it is not what is reported but what is not reported. For example Israeli mass media groups often do not report on Israeli aggression against Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank: Britain never did on the role it played in the East Timor massacres or the terror and horror it subjected Ireland to over a sustained period; America’s bombing of Cambodia was never reported and the sustained bombing against Laos was also neglected; Australian media groups ignore abuses against the Aborigines and so on. These things, and an array of others have been removed from history. The people’s suffering made invisible, and if we look closely at this, it is extremely disturbing considering practically all media groups conform to this propaganda framework.

In the twentieth century Haiti, Cuba, Guatemala, Grenada, Venezuela, South Africa, North Korea, Indochina, Indonesia, Russia, Iraq, Iran, Bolivia, Libya, Brazil, Argentina, Italy, Chile, the Dominican Republic and of course many countries have been reported in the capitalist press not detailing the suffering of its people but the support of free market fascism, and the aim? The crushing of social movements and people: the unpeople, oppressed, and powerless, unrepresented, downtrodden are never reported, and thus, allowing such horrors to go on. People, it is said, act upon their conscience and humanity but people are unable to act upon this when it gets unreported. They are, in turn, being prevented from doing things, because they are unaware these things are happening at all. So the only people aware of such things are intellectuals and scholars who have the time and facilities to study, research and find out about such things. As for the rest of the population they are indoctrinated to such a large degree they would never believe it even if a million people revealed these facts. For societies that preach democracy that is quite another thing entirely.

Under a mainstream liberal press under brainwashing freedoms there is no Marxist voice, leftist, anarchist, socialist, feminist, ecological. All that remains is the one run by the liberal intelligentsia. These same ‘liberals’ are open supporters of market corporate fascism and they stick to this framework which stretches right throughout the entire capitalist press. This framework then gives these news programs and media journals the licence to lambast the government but only up to a certain point; but anything beyond this is largely forbidden. It is not forbidden by the government either but this is what is known as self-censorship, there is little need to censure anything Orwell says because, we ought to add, journalists and editors behave themselves and do exactly what is expected of them.

Practically every journalist writing in the popular press are just acting as servants of power. They write trivial pieces of nonsense telling the government off because they are not looking after the elderly properly or are not taxing the rich as much as they perhaps should. In the 1960's American journalists, almost without exception were apologists for U.S aggression in Indochina, and when some were opposed to it they would refer to it as a tragic mistake and that is when a bad decision by the American government. No other criticism is permitted. They refused to reveal the truth about the real aims of the war. Comically enough practically all these journalists put the lie to their very own throats. That this war of sorts was a “mistake”, not a monstrous and criminal bombardment, as it was, and at no time do they cite the real aims of the war. It has everything to do with communism, they claim. But this is a fabrication. It had nothing to do with communism and they know this well.

Polly Toynbee is another liberal journalist. She sticks to the propaganda framework as is expected of her. She criticises government policies on this and that but applauds Tony Blair’s “humanitarianism” on his actions in Kosovo. She, much like Dickens in his novels attacks government policy but not the structure of power and the nature of “democracy” itself. For a woman so vehemently opposed to the 2003 invasion of Iraq she did not appear so keen on opposing more popular “wars”. After the death of Margaret Thatcher, her biographer, Charles Moore, made the audacious claim on a television debating show that Thatcher supported the ANC struggle in South Africa during the 1980s. This was clearly a fabrication. After Thatcher’s death, Toynbee’s newspaper, the Guardian had a headline which read “How Margaret Thatcher helped end apartheid”, another English newspaper (the Telegraph) ran another headline saying “Margaret Thatcher’s secret campaign to end apartheid”. Toynbee on the debating show then failed to point out Charles Moore’s lies, instead she went on with this charade.

Another ploy the liberal press use to marginalise debate is quite a clever one. An individual or a group of people who are openly fascist, are not fascist at all according to the corporate press but “conservative’, conservatives then become “liberals’, liberals become “left wing” and left wingers become “demagogues”, “criminals”, “deranged”, “out of touch” and “crazed lunatics”. So the entire political class have become right wing, within various factions. Britain, wrote John Pilger, the Australian journalist, is a one party state with two factions. In the real world somebody who is right wing is somebody who likes to smash the undeserving poor on the head with an ideological sledge hammer while filling the pockets of wealthy business elites. Conservatives are nothing more than autocrats, liberals have similar views and the left have never been in a position of power in so-called democratic states.

Mark Curtis is an historian and has written a number of important books. Some of his works include Unpeople and Web of Deceit. They detail a furtive account of crimes and clandestine wars conductive by the British government over decades and this is interesting because most of the allegations and charges documented in these books never reach the mass media. The crimes are conducted in many countries including Yemen, Malaya, Kenya, even Vietnam. The deaths of these innocents in these countries are so many we could even describe it as a holocaust itself. This same writer attempted to get articles published in the Guardian newspaper in the 1990s, detailing the British support for genocide in East Timor, carried out by Indonesia, but such requests were denied.

The main and most important aspect of media propaganda is the marginalisation of dissident debate and comment. Harold Pinter’s 2005 Nobel Prize winning speech for literature, was, rather predictably, ignored. The speech itself was broadcast on terrestrial television..late, very late. In the speech he spoke about American agression in Vietnam, Iraq and Nicaragua. He quoted Father father Metcalfe and went on to offer his own thoughts:

'Sir, I am in charge of a parish in the north of Nicaragua. My parishioners built a school, a health centre, a cultural centre. We have lived in peace. A few months ago a Contra force attacked the parish. They destroyed everything: the school, the health centre, the cultural centre. They raped nurses and teachers, slaughtered doctors, in the most brutal manner. They behaved like savages. Please demand that the US government withdraw its support from this shocking terrorist activity.'

Raymond Seitz had a very good reputation as a rational, responsible and highly sophisticated man. He was greatly respected in diplomatic circles. He listened, paused and then spoke with some gravity. 'Father,' he said, 'let me tell you something. In war, innocent people always suffer.' There was a frozen silence. We stared at him. He did not flinch.
Innocent people, indeed, always suffer.

Other British playwrights including Howard Barker and Edward Bond are also ignored. In Britain, the country to which they are native to, are removed from the political arena. They do not fit into the propaganda framework Polly Toynbee and others fit into. They - Bond and Barker - are dissidents, who do not waste their time and energy writing about trivialities concerning British politics, saying things like which political party are the most benevolent and that this or that policy works. The reason for this is that are not interested in propaganda but in more serious matters. But these men have interesting things to say on the state of contemporary British politics.

The only people that have heard of Edward Bond in Britain are the people who study him in the universities and drama schools. Even so, they will be lucky to see anything performed from Bond in his own country. People like him are dangerous of course because he does not utter dogmatic platitudes as he is expected to. He, like Camus’ hero in the outsider, Meursault, has a set of values and does not subvert the truth, and in turn rejects his own societies values. He, in turn, is repaid by being ignored.

In Howard Barker’s 1975 play, Claw, we see a corrupt politician, as well as a corrupt police officer and a working class victim, Victor, sentenced to seven-years imprisonment for smashing a Karl Marx picture over his son’s head. Noel, his son is an unsavory character; a pimp. He ends up in a mental institution, Noel that is, and gets murdered by two nurses. At one point  during the play, Victor says: “In an unjust society, the weak will always be the persecuted...so they are brutalized by the system. But when the system falls, so will all forms of cruelty”. Barker is an intellectual, and in Britain intellectuals of all kinds, are kept out of harm’s way, unless, they are part of the establishment itself. These sorts of people are the ones that are spineless, with no backbone. They are useless, and pathological.

Ken Loach is another person who refuses to adhere to the practices of the criminal state. His overriding themes in his films has always been “class”. Often in his work, we see working people subject to monstrous and terrible conditions. He was asked, along with ten other directors to make an eleven-minute film, along with ten other international directors, about that famous date, September 11th. Loach decided to make it about the the 1973 coup in Chile which took place on that infamous date in September, with Western complicity and support in the terror. Salvador Allende was the democratically elected President in the Latin American country in 1970, eventually committing suicide. But we are not supposed to know this. Again, Loach is dangerous in his own country because he refuses to submit to the propaganda framework.

The mass media is effective in controlling people. It is more effective than say putting people in gulags, gas chambers and so on, because these torturous methods are not required for the mass media to control and marginalise people, so people do not get out of hand and they do as they are told. The troubling thing is that people believe they have deep-seated values but that is hardly the case. All these people do is regurgitate what is presented to them. That is just a scrap-yard society. Everything has become one-dimensional. If you do not succumb to the free market fascist democratic ideal you must be totally removed from society, and treated like you no longer exist; if you do not buy into the puerility of power and mass culture you are a snob and a traitor. This is a society like any other. It is monstrous and contemptible. It is the sort of the Kafka could not have dreamt up. It is a totally rotten and retarded society.

“You would not fit into my circle of friends”, a man once said to me. This is because he insisted, my knowledge on popular culture was “weak”. This intelligent man, with an unusually high IQ, could not comprehend anything beyond this. He, it is true, went to private school, paid by his father, who worked in some capacity for the government. In other words his parents paid him large sums of money to give him the world’s greatest education and make them think like themselves: like fascists. Everything about British society, in particular, is infantile to stupendous degrees. Books are fine to read but must contain at least some element of escapism. Films watched by a mass audience must be made by Hollywood studios, and have nothing but infantile stupidity in them. The topic of conversation has to be surrounded around the television system, gossiping about various celebrities and so on. It is, with all things considered, the media which have us believe we are more free than freedom itself when the truth is the Jew is Auschwitz had more freedom.

10th-13th May, 2014
For my earlier posts on crime, see previous posts in my blog; my final post on crime essays will be posted soon.