Tuesday, October 7, 2008

International Politics and Schapelle Corby

In the latest Schapelle video I have used the phrase "Australia's strategic relationship with Indonesia trumps Schapelle Corby's human rights". Perhaps this is a good time to elaborate a little on this.

Australian-Indonesian relations are of enormous importance on the world stage. Why? Broadly speaking, because Indonesia is a Muslim majority country of over 220 million people which is not currently under the control of religious fundamentalists. It is thus relatively closer to the West than a number of other similar cultures. It is therefore seen as strategically important that its political stance with respect to the West remains stable, particularly regarding issues such as terrorism. Australia, through its proximity, is clearly instrumental in maintaining this equilibrium.

None of this is particularly contentious. It is fairly obvious. It has been the case for many years.

And then came the Schapelle Corby case. I am sure that Australians will recall the events of 2004/5 reasonably clearly. The show trial, the barbaric sentence, and the clear breaches of Schapelle's human and legal rights caused uproar.

The repercussions of this were also political. For example: John Howard, the Australian Prime Minister writing to the judge; the Indonesian president again breaching Schapelle's human rights by urging the court to 'send a signal' to Australians;.... the case was rocking the strategic relationship between those two nations. At the time many Australians were also urging a direct response to free her. This was suddenly a significant political issue.

And politicians are politicians. Howard was in a corner: the people of Australia wanted her to be freed, but to the West, and to politicians, the international relationship was vital. No prizes therefore for guessing which took precedence.

But how? How could the Australian government extract itself from the hook of public opinion?

Again, no prizes for guessing: the media.

The media are of course expert at influencing opinion. This happens in every nation: the press are never neutral. In this situation though they quickly saw a win-win scenario.

Media proprietors are not stupid. They understood all of the above. They will also have had high level contact with the government. They will have known the reasons for the government's back tracking, and will have believed this to be in the national interest. Politically alone, they will have decided to support Howard on this issue.

But they also saw years of revenue spinning headlines, through smears, insinuation, and gutter journalism. They eagerly grabbed the winning hand. The loser was Schapelle. The loser was human dignity, and human worth.

This is the REAL hidden truth, but it is not really hidden. It is obvious to those who see the world objectively and are not naive enough to simply believe the sound bites they are fed by those who always have an ulterior motive (either commercial or political).

It is cruel, and it is vile. But it is reality.

So take your pick: choose human dignity and compassion and support Schapelle, or go for political expediency and walk away.

The video explains the crude implementation of this media agenda, via a six step process. There is nothing clever or unique about this procedure: it is a process which has been used often in the past, most regularly under regimes of a dubious nature. It outlines each step, and explains the intended impact in terms of public perception.

It can be viewed directly here:

Creating a video of this nature is emotionally draining, so I will take a short break before working on the next. Rest assured though: there will be a next.


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Friday, September 5, 2008

ABC Admit Schapelle Corby Smears

Back in 2005 the facts of the Schapelle Corby case were laid bare for the public to see. She was denied a fair trial, and her human and legal rights were cast aside. She was sentenced to an unprecedented 20 years in an Indonesian prison cell.

Quite naturally, there was uproar in her own country. All this, and more, was visible to the public.

The refusal by the police and judiciary to test the drugs for origin, which could have cleared her instantly, was open information. The refusal to fingerprint or DNA test, was known by all. The record of the show trial judge, of never having acquitted anyone in over 500 drugs cases, was exposed. The burning of the evidence to prevent it being subsequently used to free her was shown starkly in photographs and images.

The cat was out of the bag. The truth was there to be seen.

Unfortunately, truth alone is not enough. The Australian government was apparently transfixed, wringing its hands and claiming impotence. The Australian media? Surely they would rally round, campaign, and help an Australian citizen in grave need?

No. Large sections of the media adopted a far more sinister approach, choosing to pick at her like vultures on a dead carcass. This went way beyond the vulgar but expected cheque book journalism the world is familiar with. A process of smear and innuendo was initiated. Muck was thrown at the Corby family from all directions. This went on and on, week after week, month after month, year after year.

However ridiculous the stories, however unsubstantiated, however untrustworthy (or paid!) the sources, throw enough muck and some will stick. Schapelle Corby will eventually be seen as guilty by association. Over a period of time, people will forget the very facts they have actually seen with their own eyes.

This is precisely what has happened.

Some of the worst excesses in Australian journalistic history have been evident with this case. Stories have been fabricated, and legally shown to have been fabricated. Opinion has been presented as fact, and real facts have been buried. The Australian public have slowly but surely had a false reality pulled over their eyes, to blind them from what they had seen for themselves.

As Schapelle Corby lies in a squalid cell suffering from serious clinical depression and related conditions, her family have been in turmoil. Such is the serious impact this has had upon her, even Civil Liberties Australia (CLA) have taken an interest, openly accusing their own media of undermining her.

Only recently have a small number of people started to respond to this unprecedented abuse. Malicious unfounded stories, for example, are starting to be challenged by individuals, not only from Australia, but also overseas.

The most recent challenge relates to ABC's Lateline report "Corby's dad linked to drug trade" in which it blatantly reported these "allegations" as fact. Of course, this happens regularly, and is merely a footnote within the overall media onslaught. However, in response to a formal complaint by a concerned viewer, ABC was forced to respond:
"On review, the ABC acknowledges that its reporter should have stated that allegations have been made that Mr Corby was involved in the drug trade, rather than stating these claims as fact. We have concluded that the following statements by the reporter are in breach of 5.2.2 of our Editorial Policies;
'It's now clear there were at least two generations of Corbies involved in the drug trade. Together, the father Michael Corby senior and his daughter Schapelle Corby represent 30 years in the marijuana business.' 'But Michael Corby senior's experience in the drug trade involved more than just the occasional puff.' 'Throughout his long drug career, Michael Corby senior avoided going to jail.'
The ABC agrees the report should have included a reference to the fact that Queensland Police found no evidence to suggest that Mr Corby was linked to the cannabis seizure at Tony Lewis' property, given that Ms Moore's testimony was included in the report. Our investigation has found that because Lateline was aware of this information but failed to include it in the report, this lack of context is in breach of 5.2.2 of ABC Editorial Policies."

But what about all those countless other breaches, by so many media organs, over the years? How can they possibly retract the serious damage these have done to Schapelle Corby and her life?

Are ABC and the networks now going to focus on the REAL issues? The show trial? The breaching of Schapelle Corby's legal and human rights? Her conditions? Are they actually going to initiate the campaign they should have launched 4 years ago, to free her?

Or are they going to continue to smear, to increase the pain of someone suffering so badly already, without even a cursory nod to ethics or morality?

Those responsible should be spending some serious time hoping that karma is a false concept. The rest of us, however, should be hoping that the Australian media belatedly recognizes its responsibilities to report fairly, accurately and ethically. Someone's life does actually depend upon it.


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Monday, June 23, 2008

Burying The Truth and Schapelle Corby

I debated recently the evolution of a news story. Time and time again a story begins with the truth. However, if it is a big story, as it runs its course, the media become ever more desperate to report further developments. To find new angles. To find spin-off stories. To present 'exclusives'.

As time passes, the latter become more detached from the actual story itself. Frequently, they also become more detached from reality. Stories appear based upon the most ludicrous of leads - stories which are clearly preposterous. But they make a good headline: they sell newspapers or generate viewers.

Schapelle Corby is a case in point. The desperation for 'exclusive' led some media rags to FABRICATE stories which were of a nature to make her release from a foreign hell hole more unlikely. Think about the implications of that. The invention of a story buys a significant circulation surge, which they apparently view as more important than a human being.

Schapelle's sister, Mercedes, dared to bite back to try to protect her, and took legal action. She WON. The above allegation of fabrication is consequently PROVEN in a court of law to be true.

So where is the great media huzzah which should be front page reporting a mega story which discredits and EXPOSES the industry with the sword of truth? The proof of the nature of much of the media is officially laid out: how they have systematically harmed Schapelle Corby because they made money out of it.

THAT is the NEWS.... but the news will not report it.

They will not report it because it exposes the repulsive inner workings of the media industry itself. Note here that as a bi-product, reporting it would significantly help Schapelle, so they are now yet again implicated in harming her.

Even more obscene, not only will they not report it, they instead create a whole new set of anti-Schapelle propaganda and fire it out to the world. What mightily impressive people they are.

So the Corbys are torpedoed by the barons for daring to stand up and tell the truth (ratified by the courts). Mercedes Corby blows away the invented stories, so instead of now helping her desperate family as they try to assist Schapelle, they manufacture another bullet and fire it at them!

As a result the family are in turmoil... again, as Schapelle lies in a hospital bed suffering from serious clinical depression and related conditions.

I certainly hope readers of this entry are as disgusted as I am. The media (certainly large sections of it) are burying the truth for profit: they are burying Schapelle Corby for profit.

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Monday, June 16, 2008

The Media, The McCanns and the Corbys

I used to believe that the the gutter press here in the UK were about as low as it was possible for the media to be. It appears that I was wrong: the Australian media is even more immoral and blood thirsty in their ruthless pursuit of circulation. The media in both countries do, however, share many similarities, above and beyond significant common ownership.

One similarity relates to the evolution of a news story. Time and time again a story begins with the truth. If it is a big story, as it runs its course, the media become ever more desperate to report further developments. To find new angles. To find spin-off stories. To present 'exclusives'.

As time passes, the latter become more detached from the actual story itself. Frequently, they also become more detached from reality. Stories appear based upon the most ludicrous of leads - stories which are clearly preposterous. But they make a good headline. They sell papers or generate viewers.

The problem is that as a result REAL people often get hurt, and sometimes very badly hurt. Yet the dregs of the journalist profession carry on remorselessly.

Over here in the UK, as in Australia, the media have a long and shameful record of reporting events relating to a person, and then seeking to destroy them through the above route. There are countless examples of this, but a (relatively) recent one relates to the McCanns.

If anyone is unaware, in 2007, a 4 year old British child, Madeleine McCann, was kidnapped in Portugal whilst on holiday with her parents, Kate and Gerry. There was massive media coverage of this, and naturally, substantial national sympathy for her parents. The story ran for months. After a while, as there was actually no new information or real news to report, the stories became more ridiculous. So-called 'sightings' of Madeleine were common. Of course, they were by and large absurd, but running the stories served a purpose in terms of circulation and sales.

As the police got desperate, they also made the parents "arguidas", or suspects, presumably because they had been so unsuccessful in tracking exactly what had happened. This of course opened the door for the media hounds: and a character assasination period ensued. Of course, there was no evidence against the McCanns, but from the immmoral and unethical stance of simply selling newspapers, this was clearly not an impediment.

Fortunately, the McCanns did have contacts, and understood the need for active and professional media management from the very start. They were able to reel this back in, and re-focus attention back on to the case itself, and back on to their missing daughter and investigation.

Not so fortunate was Schapelle Corby. Apart from being held in a cage, she did not have the benefit of such advisors and expertise. When the lower life forms of the media industry began to seek ludicrous spin-off stories, she was totally exposed to them. There was no re-focus on the case itself, just the impact of lies and distortion upon public perception.

Working in a media related industry myself, this was hard to take. To watch the media embark on the same old trusted path, and then seeing that the victim of this innuendo was already suffering horribly, added to my frustration and anger.

The vile people who do this sort of thing really do need to take a good look at themselves. They need to understand that their actions can hurt and kill. They need to accept their responsibilities, not just as journalists, but as human beings. When someone can suffer so badly as a result of distortion and spin, they need to report truth with absolute diligence.

Yes... I know... it is pointless appealling to their conscience. However, I will certainly not refrain from exposing individual 'journalists' in future posts and press releases should the opportunity arise. Morpheus is watching.

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