Video: as huge Integrity Initiative scandal breaks, BBC’s ‘coverage’ ices the cake

Social media is abuzz today with the confirmed news that the Tory government used public money to pay a company staffed by former military intelligence officers to conduct online smear campaigns against the leader of the Opposition, Jeremy Corbyn, in what it laughably termed the ‘Integrity Initiative’:

It is a huge democratic and constitutional scandal – as well as confirmation of what Labour supporters have known all along: the Establishment is coordinating smears in desperation to undermine the Labour Party and its leader.

Such a scandal, in a genuinely democratic society with a genuinely free media, should be headline news – in fact, not merely headline news but the kind that makes governments fall and generates rolling coverage as the media’s talking heads and experts pore over every detail, cutting away occasionally for footage of the latest government minister being led away in handcuffs.

Here are the BBC News channel’s half-hourly headlines:

Not a single mention. Old news gets recycled and there’s room for opinion and trivia, so it’s not like the news agenda was brimming over with other breaking items.

But not a single word about the fact that the UK’s government misappropriated taxpayers’ money to pay former intelligence officers to conduct a clandestine operation against the leader of the UK’s main opposition party and likely next Prime Minister.

Labour MP Chris Williamson’s parliamentary written question led to the exposure of the scandal:

He told the SKWAWKBOX:

This is an enormous democratic scandal and political dynamite. Of course, the left has been able to intuit all along that this has been happening, but now it’s confirmed – and it’s tempting to just be appalled rather than shocked, because we’re cynical about the behaviour of this government.

But we should be shocked, because we’re told we live in a democracy – and if £2 million is known about, how much else has gone over the years on similar misuses?

It’s utterly unacceptable – and we should be just as shocked that most of the mainstream media are not covering it. What are they there for? This shows again how essential the alternative media and social media are – without them, the vast majority of us wouldn’t find out about it this and similar scandals.

SKWAWKBOX comment:

The revelation of the government’s abuse both of public funds and of democracy manages to be shocking even while being entirely unsurprising.

But it’s the silence of the BBC and many other media outlets that piles scandal on top of scandal – and puts beyond reasonable doubt that the Establishment’s political and media arms collude to obscure or minimise the impact of the government’s corruption, incompetence and dishonesty.

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    1. Yes. The ‘anti-Semitism’ scam is the most egregious of the right-wing black propaganda efforts.

      But the real problem is not that the right wing and the Israeli lobby are into this sort of misinformation scheme, but that the media is so bereft of individuals who actually do real ‘investigative’ reporting. Thus they become fellow travellers by default, rather than by intent.

      Although people such as Jonathan Friedland [Guardian] are willingly conscripted as propagandists – that’s a given, and ’twas ever thus. But the real problem is that a lot of the rest of the media gang-bang really haven’t the skills to do proper ‘investigative’ journalism, and are happy just to pass on the group-think that has been carefully shaped by the usual suspects.

      Even if they do get some insight, the editorial process will take it out of circulation. Thus, the seminal journalism of Al Jazeera and its exposure of the Israel lobby is ignored, and the Grauniad now disowns the insights of its previous editor (from ten years ago – and on film) about the Israeli front heavy mob putting pressure on the media.

      But, as said – ’twas ever thus. During the 1970s, senior politicians in the Labour government had their residences broken into and searched – logically, by the rogue elements of the ‘security’ services. No, it’s not an urban myth – I was told this by a senior member of those governments who had the evidence, and who I would trust – and was far from a conspiracy theorist with a paranoid bent.

      If you doubt that the far right has more influence than appears at first sight – just note how genuinely concerned individuals have signed up for Brexit.

  1. There are chickens coming home to roost here: for years Labour’s establishment has relied upon such media as the Guardian, the Mirror and the New Statesman to counter the vast weight of the Tory press. There has long been a crying need for a socialist newspaper-of which we have had many in the past- it is no accident, though that no money or resources have ever been sunk into that project. The right is very happy with the current arrangements in which the media does its work for it, smearing the left, at best as impractical dreamers, at worst as traitors.
    Every day The Guardian reinforces the message that, if power is really what Labour wants, it must find a way of making sure that its case, its arguments, its research and its voice can be heard. At the moment, media like this are doing a grand job- socialists are winning the guerrilla campaigns, but now the time is over ripe for a Tet offensive: a daily paper hammering the capitalists, imperialism and war.

    1. The Grauniad was never a ‘socialist’ newspaper. Its endorsement of the LibDems was really just a statement of the obvious.

      And that said, and despite the despicable decision to conceal the facts of Israeli ethnic cleansing, to make an apologia for the Blair dead end, and the disastrous episode of the Viner editorship, it still produces some good journalism. You just have to switch in the intelligent filter and remember the alternatives of the bog paper press.

      As to a more radical paper. OK. But funding? Readership? Coherence of editorial line when the left is split between the majority ‘Remain’ view and the miority sentimental ‘Leave ‘ view?

      1. I made no suggestion that the Guardian ever had been a socialist newspaper. I have been reading it for sixty years. It does produce some good writing, so does the NY Times. The point is that when a medium on which to post the socialist reply to capitalists’ arguments is required, there isn’t one. What is needed is not another Pravda just an intelligent forum, for everyone, in which the socialist point of view is not trivialised, suppressed or deceitfully discredited.
        As to money, when I consider the money the Labour Party has wasted over the years, rather than risk the leadership’s ability to control its message with the cooperation of the bourgeois media…. With 500,000 members and hundreds of thousands of affiliates such a paper could be subsidised ot given away

  2. Could Paul Mason possibly be familiar with the Integrity Initiative? It might explain a lot.

    Similarly George Monbiot and most of the staff at the Fraudian and Channel 4 news (Aditya Chakrabortty & Alex Thompson excepted, respectively)…

      1. Oh dear!! The process of defining ‘allies’ as an empty room full of echoes. I despair of this sort of elimination of disagreement as ‘radical’. More accurately defined as ‘masturbatory’.

      2. What an excellent and insightful article. It rightly skewers Jones as the authoritarian, self righteous and self seeking reactionary in left wing guise that he is. His enthusiasm for neoconservative foreign policy and regime change in both Libya and Syria (“other than a few nutters, we all want Gaddafi overthrown, dead or alive”) clearly show that he swallowed the establishment propaganda whole in both cases, and his refusal to support intervention merely reveals his reluctance to appear full Neo-con and damage his liberal credentials, which amount to nothing more than narcissism. Thoroughly implausible.

      3. On “disagreement”:

        It’s always forgivable for big name Guardian writers to get things wrong, but unwillingness to engage with alternative perspectives, or the evidence as it emerges, is another matter. it’s not that I’m unimpressed with Monbiot (for example) because I disagree with him, I’m just not impressed with him as a journalist. I recall his boorish, almost brutal refusal to engage with some of the emerging evidence on Syria, either because it offended his ego, or more likely because it challenged his whole world view.

  3. It is a shocking, contemptuous, horrific, disgusting, vile, loathsome, abuse of position and power, along with the unrestricted control of the public purse to finance that abuse for personal gains.
    But just another act of corruption condoned by this sick, twisted, psychotic, deluded control freak clinging so desperately to power there can be nothing but bloody shredded stumps beneath her perfect manicure and false nails.
    Her and her vile sycophantic cronies would be baying for blood amid screeches of” evil dictator, the people must be freed., “, if we were uncovering these abuses of power in a Latin American or Middle Eastern country!
    They have nothing to fear, it’s not like they will face any kind of justice, suffer any kind of loss. The worst case will be, they slink quietly into the shadows

  4. Michael Foot was constantly ridiculed by MSM especially the BBC; even Harold Wilson was for a short time until the ‘Beeb’ realised he wasn’t a Socialist. Now with Jeremy Corbyn there is a real Socialist threat to the establishment & the gloves are off. MSM is now managing public opinion to ensure that we cannot leave the EU. Don’t worry Jack, we will never be allowed to leave & Cameron still can’t believe MSM couldn’t control the referendum outcome; but they will not make that mistake again.

    1. Regards your last point steve, the right-wing propaganda rags were churning out anti-EU propaganda on a weekly basis for twenty-five years or more prior to the referendum, and I have no doubt whatsoever that if a survey was done of Leave voters to determine what daily newspaper they read, it would find that the vast majority of them read said right-wing rags.

      1. Hi Allan, Television is the most powerful ‘teacher’ & the NeoLiberal globalist ‘Blairites’ who dominate Public Service Broadcasting (eg Greg Dyke etc) are still calling the tune. Newspaper circulations have collapsed to such an extent that statistically they are irrelevant. All other TV depends on advertising revenue, predominantly from large businesses. She who pays the piper? The other major factor in the construction of opinion are educational institutions; time young people challenged dominant ideologies.

      2. Although readership of the print media has declined, this predominantly right wing influence has considerable power. Stand at any supermarket check-out and watch what is going through in terms of print. It provides a reactionary drumbeat that does shape perception; listen to any vox pop related to Brexit and you will hear the Sun/Mail/Express/Torygraph etc. regurgitated. It’s a mood music taht is always in the background.

        The relationship to the broadcast media is interesting. Here we’re into the wider consensual gang-bang that is essentially shaped by the dominance of the print segment. It’s all very incestuous.

  5. I first became aware of ‘Integrity Initiative’ from the Anonymous leak. I next became aware it was set up by a company called ‘The Institute for Statecraft’, a registered charity (funded by UK FCO and US Gov) from UK Column News on 30th November last. Integrity section @ 22.19
    Statecraft has really posh, well staffed registered offices… not. UK FCO clearly isn’t doling out enough public funds/national debt nor does it ever do even cursory checks into companies it contracts out to… or does it?

    UK FCO needs a good cleansing and ministers current and ex be brought to account.., it appears to fund all sorts of nefarious, manipulative, even murderous terror entities via its conflict and stability fund in foreign countries targeted for regime change.

    Yes I do care about the black propaganda against Corbyn and Milne etc. but UK is not a democracy is it? What’s it called again, a constitutional monarchy I believe and wasn’t that contract with the people? Now Parliament is deemed sovereign, not the people, so I don’t know what to call UK’s political system anymore but it’s the typical western managed democracy for ‘ruling class’ advantage and giving the public a sense they have a say to keep them quiet and arguing amongst themselves about whose fault the s++t we’re regularly in is, for voting the way they did… it’s always the fault of those voters who didn’t vote like us… never the fault of the corrupted and corrupt systems we tolerate.

    1. Democracy is an illusion, and ALL Establishments are inherently fascist. When millions of people voted in left-wingers to run the GLC and the six Metropolitan County Councils back in the 1980s, the PTB were not going to stand for that, and promptly abolished them all. The reality is that we live in a Psychopathocracy, and always have done, and it’s precisely for that reason that the world is the way it is, and our history is what it was.


  6. The elite, THEIR politicians & THEIR media degrade OUR democracy so they can continue to increase inequality & suffering at home as well as exploit, destabilise & war-monger abroad! British ‘fair play’ & ‘free media’??? Don’t make me laugh!!!

    1. Indeed. The elite really stitched up the country over Brexit. The Rees- Mogg/IDS/Redwood etc. nexus actually got people supporting the plutocrat media agenda as a radical alternative!

      They even wrong-footed some in Labour.

      You couldn’t make it up.

  7. “Democracy is an illusion”

    No. It’s just fucking difficult.

    I’m not much enamoured of what we’ve got. But I don’t think that a masturbatocracy with competing parties with no members is an answer that will defeat the current problem of right-wing dominance.

  8. Yes, we are conditioned from an early age to believe that the baddies always get their comeuppance and the goodies always win out – ie Robin Hood, Superman, Batman etc, etc, etc – but the reality is completely the opposite. And the “fair play” and “free press/media” etc are a continuation of the Great Deception, as is the way the Elite and their propaganda machine propagate and then manipulate patriotism. Many people live their whole lives living in the lies that the Elite dissemble. And many others……

  9. I note that on all left wing sites Trolls appear and antagonise rather than making genuine comment. I have also for a long time believed that the Tories pay people to undermine and distort factual information placed by left wing commentators.

    After presenting factual information in defence of my arguments which is ignored by these trolls – who triangulate and obfuscate. I let them tie themselves in knots, where then usually another perhaps senior Troll then takes over applying a different tack. Eventually they out manoeuvre themselves and either become abusive or simply disappear off site.

    What is imperative though is beat them down with facts, and to identify their position politically, which is not usually difficult as they are prone to smears and lies.

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