The anti-war movement will be rejoicing at the upheaval in Rupert Murdoch's media empire, which has given unqualified support to all the US-UK wars waged over the past thirty years.
By Robin Beste
Stop the War Coalition
8 July 2011
Rupert Murdoch admits his papers tried to shape public opinion on the Iraq war
Rose Gentle, mother of 19-year-old Gordon Gentle, killed in Iraq in 2004, comments on News of the World phone tapping families of dead soldiers.
Cartoon by Steve Bell
Rupert Murdoch's newspapers and TV channels have supported all the US-UK wars over the past 30 years, from Margaret Thatcher and the Falklands war in 1982, through George Bush Senior and the first Gulf War in 1990-91, Bill Clinton's war in Yugoslavia in 1999 and his undeclared war on Iraq in 1998, George W Bush's wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, with Tony Blair on his coat tails, and up to the present, with Barack Obama continuing the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and now adding Libya to his tally of seven wars.
Notoriously in the Falklands war, Murdoch's Sun newspaper celebrated the sinking of the Argentinian navy cruiser the General Belgrano -- in which 320 crew members lost their lives -- with the front page headline, Gotcha. The sinking of the Belgrano was a war crime, as the ship was not in Falklands' territorial waters and was sailing away from the battle zone.
As Murdoch cheerfully admits in the video on this page, he used all of his media outlets to try and get public opinion to support the Bush-Blair war on Iraq, but he says, "public opinion has grown very tired of the whole enterprise".
What a quaint term, "enterprise", to describe an illegal and immoral war that slaughtered hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, made four million more of them refugees and devastated the whole country.
As well as beating the drums of war, Murdoch's media ran endless features demanding that we support "our boys" fighting them. The soon to be defunct, and never to be lamented, News of the World was most prominent in using the grief suffered by families of soldiers who were killed or injured as a means of bolstering public opinion for the war in Afghanistan, most notably by exploiting the Hope For Heroes campaign.
What a shock it now is to those bereaved families that "the paper that supports our boys" was tapping their phones to try and get some salacious details to use in its articles.
As Rose Gentle, tireless campaigner for Military Families Against the War and mother of 19-year-old Gordon Gentle who was killed in Iraq in 2004, says, those responsible should be charged and brought before a court of law (see video).
Steve Bell's cartoon sums up the hypocrisy and unrivalled immorality behind the News of the World's warmongering and nationalistic fervour. It's now to be hoped that it is not just the News of the World that is shut down, but the whole of the Murdoch news empire which has been such a stain on public life for so long.
That really would be worthy of the headline, Gotcha!