Below is a BBC news video of a man named Darcus Howe trying to explain what he has observed as being the cause of the violent rioting that is burning down parts of London and other cities across Great Britain. The news woman should probably be dismissed as quickly as possible because she is incompetent and obviously has a problem with the answers she’s getting.
Mr. Howe’s honest attempt to communicate his ideas about what has led to these riots should be listened to carefully. It is common knowledge that Great Britain has descended in the past ten years into the western world’s most closely observed police state. Everyone is watched on every street corner everywhere every day. Police routinely suppress free expression and demonstrations. According to Mr. Howe, they are also searching non-whites for no reason. Under such conditions, with the addition of worldwide financial panic and ‘austerity measures’ being put into place that strip services from the poor and middle classes, all it takes is a single flashpoint to ignite massive riots.
In case you had not gotten the picture yet, we are seeing a global explosion of rebellion, demonstration and riot. I firmly believe that all the rioting and revolt in the Middle East is directly connected to the rioting and revolt going on in Europe. People are finally seeing a broad general picture of a world and its governments, whether they be democratic or authoritarian, being controlled and dominated by a handful of powerful global corporations. Under such control, governments lean their decisions in favor of these corporate entities and the very wealthy people behind them.
The UK riots have broken out very shortly after the expanding news story of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporations committing crimes in partnership with the police as part of what they represent as ‘journalism.’ That is basically a tip of the iceberg example of corporate control of a nation.
To call the riots simple acts of vandalism by thugs is a gross simplification of the situation. All riots start from some cause which comes at the end of a long resentment and building desperation. When the riots actually break out they include all sorts of people, many of whom are simple thugs and criminals. But those thugs don’t normally break into riots that burn cities down. They are normally robbing convenience stores and shooting each other. Something much larger than them brings them out into open battle on the streets.
Widespread unemployment, idleness and the easy access to video information from all over the world builds anger and resentment toward governments that seem locked into corporate bonds. People begin to realize that it doesn’t matter who they elect. All the candidates are run by the corporations. The defining signal to the world, much to everyone’s surprise, was the election of Barack Obama. He won his office by seeming to promise something new – something independent and free. But as soon as he took office the world saw that he was just another corporate middle man. The ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are simply at the behest of the corporations that insist upon such a course which includes the very profitable activity of ‘nation building.’ That Obama signal – that horrific disappointment – has led directly to this global explosion of rage. Obama, by not being who he should have been, lit the fuse. The bomb is now going off.
Here’s a man explaining the riots to a journalist in London:
The ongoing worldwide explosion of violence is the beginning of a global war against corporate control of nations.
We are watching the beginnings of a worldwide effort to break government away from this corporate control. It mirrors the efforts of prior centuries to break away from the control of the Church.
It’s going to get worse and it’s going to spread virulently. The fact that London has exploded should indicate to everyone that it is leaping past all predictability.
Michel Montecrossa continues his underground assault on currently active oppressors, liars and cheats who simply don’t know how to live properly. I like this guy, Montecrossa. He’s hitting something that is sorely lacking these days and he keeps hitting it cheerfully and with conviction. He digs himself and what he does and that is good because it puts irony in the dumpster where it belongs. You know, of all the basic forms of humor, irony is actually the most depressingly childish. Here is Montecrossa countering the bullshit from Rupert Murdoch and keeping it simple.
This is a film by Tim Hetherington, the photojournalist who was killed yesterday in Libya. This film is his personal statement on being immersed in violence and trying to make some sense of it through the lens of journalism.
The United States government is attempting to physically destroy the Wikileaks organization. The ‘Cablegate’ release of diplomatic communications has begun to reveal that Western democracies maintain shadow governments that are outside the reach of their electorates. They appear to have a system in place that is not subject to the outcomes of elections. For me, that is the main thing suggested by the leaks.
The Obama administration is fully engaged in a very serious information war that threatens to turn the public eye toward the inner workings of a government sliding very quickly toward a new form of corporate/government fascism. The obvious connection between government, corporations, and the military is now under public scrutiny as we watch officials tell companies like Amazon and Paypal to cut off the Wikileaks operations. A democratic superpower is influencing, through threats or friendly suggestion, the behavior of companies that are enormously powerful on the Internet. It has become clear that we absolutely cannot expect any form of free expression to exist where Amazon or Paypal are concerned. The fact that Amazon controls most of the book trade in the U.S. is an emergency and should ultimately result in a move toward a more open source form of book selling. I would not want to be in the position of trying to sell a book on Amazon that contained thorough investigative reporting on U.S. government secrets or corruption. One call from Joseph Lieberman could shut everything down for my book.
The important thing about the Wikileaks is that they change journalism. They open a deep wound in the side of government that bleeds secrets, incompetence and corruption. The wound will continue to bleed because there will always be someone willing to leak the information. It’s simple human nature. There will always be a place to send that information and there will always be journalists to sift through it and print it for us to read. If this Wikileaks is killed, another will pop up.
Wikileaks is nothing more than a reporter sitting at a desk answering the phone and taking notes from a confidential source. Wikileaks is a reporter. President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have openly declared themselves to be extremely dangerous enemies of a free press. They have already begun threatening university students who try to download or link to the Wikileaks data (the data is here, by the way). They will stop at nothing to end Wikileaks. We should be prepared for this. They will stop at absolutely nothing. Just wait for the leak. Then you’ll know.
YouTube has built an open-source application called YouTube Direct that allows news organizations to request and accept uploaded videos from citizen journalists anywhere in the world. The idea is to give news organizations the ability to put out a call for videos on a specific news story and then review the direct uploads to select the ones they want to broadcast on their web sites or even over the air. The video creators get to keep their videos on YouTube for access just like any other video on the site. There’s more information available in their Citizen Tube information area.
The camera in the hands of the average citizen has proven to be an extraordinarily powerful tool for news-gathering over the past few years. Instances of police abuse, natural disasters, and political turmoil have been captured by cell phone cameras all over the world. This seems like a very smart move by YouTube that could have a profound effect on the news. I can see this as a major benefit to smaller start-up news organizations that mostly rely on the web.
It remains to be seen, however, if YouTube makes this widely available to small sites and creative outlets, or if they stick to a larger scale more corporate membership. That would be disappointing, but it would still broaden the availability of citizen journalism.
A fascinating development at YouTube: The Reporters’ Center, where you can get tips on effective journalism from prominent reporters. The new YouTube channel went live today and is already offering some interesting how-to videos like the one above by reporter Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times. He shows you how to be careful when trying to interview war lords with big guns, how to hide your money, and how to always be a little skeptical and double-check witness accounts and stories that sound too good. Arianna Huffington of The Huffington Post has a video about the impact of citizen journalism best demonstrated by the recent uprising in Iran. During the past few weeks, the government of Iran tried to shut down the operations of journalists and restrict the use of internet and text messaging in order to suppress information about government violence against protesters. But they were not able to prevent people with cell phone cameras from making videos and sending them out of the country for the world to see. These people have also been reporting on the situation via Twitter to give real-time coverage of many events in Iran.
This movement toward citizen journalism is extremely interesting because it democratizes the press. Cameras in the hands of millions become a formidable tool for keeping an eye on government and limiting its ability to suppress information. The press has always functioned like a fourth branch of the U.S. government, preventing the administrative, legislative, and judiciary from thinking they operate out of sight. In fact, it probably wouldn’t hurt to constitutionally formalize the press as some kind of fourth branch!