Governments have turned Journalists into Legitimate Targets

British journalist-photographer Jack Hill was beaten by Syria insurgents.
British journalist-photographer Jack Hill was beaten by Syria insurgents.

US – Since the breakup of the former Yugoslavia a feature of modern warfare is that an increasing number of journalists have been killed whilst reporting wars.

In theory the Press is neutral and the safety of journalists depends on both sides in any conflict accepting that it is true. It is for this reason that journalists wear clothing that clearly identifies them as the press, and travel in cars that are also clearly marked.

The fact that an increasing number of journalists are being kidnapped and murdered, shows that the assumption of neutrality can no longer be relied on.

The reporting of wars has always been a risky business. Journalists have sought to gain safety by cooperating with or embedding with one or other of the warring faction.This is considered fine as long as the reporting remains truthful and neutral.

Facing up to Defeat in Vietnam

But events, especially military defeats, have a habit of leapfrogging reality. The right wing nut jobs in the USA otherwise known as the Republican party could not accept that the USA had been defeated during the American Vietnam war. Notwithstanding the fact that it was the Republican president Richard Nixon who pulled the US military out of that war. They looked for a scapegoat for this strategic and military defeat.

They found many scapegoats. Hippies, Students, Communists and Journalists. They studiously ignored the fact that the USA went bankrupt as a result of the Vietnam war. It was a direct consequence of the Vietnam war that the USA quit the Gold Standard. AKA the Nixon shock in 1971 No empire in history has survived going bankrupt.

In the future historians will point to the American Vietnam war and the Bretton Woods agreements as the start of the decline of of the American empire. Not that the ultimate fall of the US empire will happen overnight. The USA is still dangerous and will remain so for a long time to come.

The War on Drugs

There is little that the Republicans could do about the Hippies apart from launch the so called War on Drugs. Ultimately this War on Drugs will be lost too. All it has done is put money in the pockets of organised crime and the military industrial complex.

Doubly so if the persistent rumors about the involvement of the CIA in the distribution of heroin are true. The word is that the CIA has financed many of its operations on the back of these profits.

What is clear is that the US learned nothing from the experience of prohibition between 1920 to 1933. The only way to control something is to regulate it. This takes away the link to organised crime, and more importantly allows the government to raise tax on it.

The War against Education

Students the republicans felt needed punishing for their disloyalty during the Vietnam war and the civil rights movement. Then some bright spark saw a business opportunity by putting a monkey on students backs. His bright idea was to charge students for their courses and add tuition fees. The rate of interest charged can be stacked up at later date to keep them in debt.

Control rebellious students by forcing them to take on a heavy burden of debt. Then another bright spark suggested that if more people became graduates, then a larger proportion of the population could be controlled by debt.

More graduates means that a degree is worth less to its holder. This inevitably damages a country’s ability to compete in world markets.

The result is that the idea was exported to US allies. Some like the UK government were all too willing to inflict the same insanity on its own young people.

News Management

Journalists however are an altogether different kettle of fish. The solution is obvious. If the Military industrial complex owns the media channels, then the Journalists will be controlled not by the demands of their readers, but by the lords of war.

This presents a new problem. Credibility. This in turn led to the cult of celebrity. Whole TV channels devoted to the vacuous non lives of complete airheads. The likes of which the world would be a far better place.

Typical examples of which are the Kardashian, Jordan, Honey Boo Boo and the Osbournes. The Trash magazines soon got in on the act. In reality they were kicking at an open door. What they did not realise is that they were led like lambs to the slaughter.

So now you have a situation where most people people care more about vacuous celebrities than the murder and mayhem being created worldwide by US corporations.

But all this is in the future.

When the Soviet Union collapsed. The USA being the only significant superpower seized the moment. Wars were stage managed and choreographed. Interesting News film was provided only to news organisations that that towed the official line. Journalists that refused to tow the line became unwelcome. If they persisted they became targets for state sanctioned murder.

Journalist as Targets

During the Kosovo war, the USA bombed the Serbian TV company claiming that it was a legitimate target. The USA wanted no independent or dissenting witnesses to its action. The western press swallowed the official line wholesale. If you want the best pictures then accept the total control of your output by our media handlers.

No doubt there was unease at this acceptance. Next time you go out you are a legitimate target. If it is legitimate to bomb the enemies press than it is equally legitimate for them to bomb yours.

The Iraq war has US forces deliberately targeting independent news organisation. The deliberate targeting of an Al Jazeera news team in 2003 for not reporting the official line, or more likely as an example to other of just how far the the US war machine would would go to control the release of information about the war.

This control makes the embedded press partisan. That said Governments have long used Journalists as spies or spies as journalists. What better cover does a spy need than that of a member of the press. It is to the credit of most journalists that they have mostly managed to resist this. But as governments are not noted for caring about their citizens, insist on sending spies into conflicts and countries posing as Journalists and charity workers.

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Author: Dr Suusi Watson

Editor of the Bastard

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