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Hacking shows state's corrupt underbelly

The News of the World phone-hacking scandal shines a spotlight on the sinister side of the tabloid media, the police and Parliament at a time when these institutions are already in crisis and increasingly discredited.

Coinciding as it does with deepening economic and financial problems, the hacking saga sums up all what is rotten and threatening about British capitalist society.

The fact that the News of the World was hacking phones of murdered children, and families of people killed in the London underground bombings or in the Afghan war, is not separate from, but all of a piece with their POLITICAL position.

The paper offer regular doses of jingoism and racism. They support the cuts absolutely, and would like them to go further. They are anti-union to the core, and they supported New Labour on the basis that they were too. When the economic crisis got out of control, they quickly switched back to the Tories.

NoW's circulation is falling by more than 5% year on year, but in spite of that, their revolting agenda has had incredible power over British politics. Members of Parliament have been "gelded" by fear, as Tory Zac Goldsmith put it in Parliament yesterday.

Ed Miliband may have called for a public enquiry – an old political trick to kick an issue into the long grass – but it was a different story on the evening of June 11, when he and his ex-Rupert Murdoch hack adviser Tim Baldwin joined Cameron and leading figures from big business, politics and the state at Murdoch's annual summer party. Champagne and oysters were on the menu.

The police and undoubtedly New Labour knew as long ago as 2005 what was going on. But the police investigation was mysteriously restricted in terms of resources. A nod and wink between ministers and Murdoch, whose papers at that time supported the Blair government, seems a plausible explanation.

Prime minister Cameron is squirming on the hook too, hoping to survive a scandal that couldn't be closer to home. Andy Coulson, NoW's editor during the period under investigation, was his communications advisor. And Cameron is also part of a wealthy social set in Oxfordshire which includes Rebekah Brooks, former editor of NoW, and the odious Jeremy Clarkson. They all have regular drinkies together.

Culture and Media Secretary Jeremy Hunt was due to give the nod for News Corporation, News International's parent company, to buy a majority holding in BskyB tomorrow. Now even some City dealers are asking for a pause – they don't want the sale going through when NC shares fell by more than 3% in the US and Australia yesterday.

The revealing of these corrupt relations continues the unravelling of the credit-fuelled boom, of New Labour's rule and everything that went with it: the obsession with celebrity; vulgar displays of wealth; get-rich-quick fantasies that led to the impoverishment of millions through debt.

There are plenty in the Tory Party itself who would like to see this scandal sink Cameron himself. They want to see coppers focused on beefing up the methods developed during the miners’ strike and indeed at Wapping, when Murdoch smashed the print unions with their help.

Stop bugging models and footballers and start bugging those involved in opposing the state – that's the desire at the top of the state. There are reports that the army is stepping up riot control training. All state forces are being told, get ready for resistance in myriad forms – from riots against supermarkets and food prices to strikes and occupations.

And on the other side, we see the difficulty the state has in operating in secret in the digital age. The new generation don't buy these newspapers, and they don't buy their political line either. They get their news on the net, from their peers on Facebook, on YouTube, Twitter and WikiLeaks.

Using these new methods of communication, with all their problems, the mass of the people bypass the reactionary media and develop their own views and understanding. This is laying the groundwork for bold and independent political initiatives aimed at creating a real people’s democracy based on self-determination in every sphere, to take society forward.

Penny Cole
7 July 2011

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Jonathan says:

Just another link in the chain.

That this also has involved the Crown Prosecution Service (and will involve the judges – at the very least in awareness – separating cases on the roles is where the skill lies, if the DPP hasn't protected the state) and is not a matter of rot, in my opinion, but of structure, and one in crisis, is essential to grasp with this snake as it will grow, and with its growth will wiggle like a python. Yes, the form is undergoing change, and rot is always an opportunity for another organism, parts are decaying: but let us not believe their morals are falling when they have never had any that did not fit their political masters. That we are talking of differing papers showing elegance to differing layers of the ruling class, and indeed separately to differing sectional interests of the state, is demonstrated well by the AWTW's The curious outing of David Laws which point to MI5 as the probable source. And the motives for the disk with the parliamentary expenses issue on them were many fold – again the Telegraph – see: Rats desert sinking Parliamentary ship for it seems that the secret state is lining up the pieces – knowing the depth of the crisis world wide, and fearful of the worldwide risings. Indeed nothing done in the press could take minds off the nature of the banks in the world crisis but a big play, and emasculating an effeminate parliament was serious business. In essence all this is a very dangerous, as well as threatening, development all round. The role of the 30 titles involving 300 reporters quoted from 2008 by John Prescott (taking the lead as 'kiss and tell' a little peaked that he hasn't much to tell – after being bugged in the '66 NUSeaman's strike; a slow learner) and he repeats this in one outlet after another to deafening silence, shows it played a central role in the state machine. Yes; it is part of, and parcel to their POLITICAL position – now we will find out other roles it plays. As Bryant stated in the Commons the NoW target police officers, and the slip made by Rebekah Brooks to the Parliamentary Committee regarding payments was 'the Police', acknowledging a structural and disciplined relationship – a definite object (words are their world remember) – but not as much as the Met targeted the press as a whole as did ACPO also. Bryant also stated as to the murder of a Private Investigator: [PressGazette] , and is now adding that a lot more 'invasive' technological equipment was used. Now the relationship between these matters and the secrete state are glaring.

Closing the paper, is a defensive measure by the political elite and the state: a decision taken by a cabal. It is to protect, as best it can, the battery of the 30+ Prescott refers to; a weapon, under the direct control of the ruling class, put at service to the state. The whip hand seemed to be the police – especially under ACPO with its role in 'protection' of the whole of the Establishment and its knowledge of their dirty deeds, and its control of an intelligence network and data – secret of a digital resource it has less trouble with, and may be giving us much trouble now – a resource that may go some way to explain it, and the Met's, symbiotic relationship with the press. Countless times yesterday the terms 'brave to bring this up' and such comments: that this would apply to their career is not the issue. Prescott knows more: they all know. It would be more fitting to refer to the levels of limitation exercise throughout the political class. The mirror mirror on the wall for the press itself is really difficult: suddenly journalism needs journalists and they need their unions.

The use of the News of the Underworld for the police was also in that culture, where it is perfectly and, as a whole and in its parts, and members, absolutely at home. Although on the surface it would seem 'the power of the press', a ubiquitous term that ought to be measured against 'under great pressure to deliver the story' , hides the fact that these (mostly and in this 'case' they are trying to limit it to) low life’s are just squaddies fulfilling a definite role and one they are not, or need not be, altogether ignorant of.

The hacking of families was as much about the skilful use of pathos as it was sensationalism: a horror stories sense of enthralment within the 'horror' of the reported event . But atmosphere was politically used to 'force' sections to the position needed. They learnt from Hillsborough, they took the 'hit' and copper fastened the relationship with the police and the, then, Tory Government. With regard to Kelvin MacKenzie as the editor and his layout then (no doubt with the agreement of Murdoch) in the history The Sun with regard the front page: Peter Chippendale and Chris Horrie said: “It obviously wasn't a silly mistake; nor was it a simple oversight. Nobody really had any comment on it — they just took one look and went away shaking their heads in wonder at the enormity of it. It was a 'classic smear'.” One issue here is that it was a step too far, it was 'the enormity'; not the wrong direction. Now, as in the Somme or anywhere: send over the top, put against the wall. They are Sacrificed for the 'greater good'.

The trouble is while the 'mass of the people' do as put above (and yesterday; Wednesday 6 – there was a never ending reference to 'people', one Member in Westminster using it twice in each sentence to show opposites) those that will be relied on to be the strike breakers and the scabs, those that will be put on the streets – for it is not just the issue, true as it is in-its-self, of exactly that use of the police thugs as before in Wapping, during the miners strike and over decades in Ireland – but the split caused by the crisis takes this up a notch which, here, will be more akin to the six counties with calling on the mobs. There are not just 'two sides' to the issue, or any issue, there are many facets and many moments. So: two are as put, but in Ireland they learnt – as elsewhere – when the statelet was challenged another facet needed to be creataed, stocked, helped, even armed. Yesterday I caught three members of parliament get up who had been directly involved in the dirtier, murkier side of this. Key to all this 'side of the matter' was the press. The state on its own can not put down what is about to unfold, and without assemblies – which will be targeted openly – the danger is on the rise. Its real economic base being so small as to offer no flesh to put up as has been shown by the failure of 'the big society'.

There may well be a lumpenprolatarian underbelly, it may be growing as the crisis deepens but the role of this particular paper is in giving it its culture not in whipping it up, though it does that also when necessary. When the scabs are needed this paper was lined up, with the Sun, in creating the cultural aspect of that as well. It is a most dangerous moment as the necessary leadership to see this off seems a bit behind their own organisation to prepare for a deeper crisis. They are not just organising state forces.

The internet may have played a pivotal, even central, role in the actual triggering of events in Tunisia and Egypt, falling off, except in the US's use to shape matters to their advantage in Libya and Syria, but those in Egypt on horses and camels probably didn't have access through poverty and cultural style to the internet. Indeed in Egypt they were organised by mouth and the various government publications signifying differing forces. That is the importance they put to the little local difficulty – and as the oldest capitalist state there is much to draw on - within Global Capital of what will undoubtedly happen as the crisis, unemployment, and all noted above, intensifies here. Assemblies and all those who oppose will be targets of more than just those forces noted here. While it is true those forces necessary to 'challenge' Capitalism as organised pivotal forces are reachable on the whole through the internet, those whipped up to defend it mostly aren't. But they may not be too pleased to look so foolish, and complicit.


'This story will run and run' call in the markers.

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