1 million Iraqis and 4,486 US service members killed. Another is the destabilization of the region, perpetuated by ISIS’ rise. The US, the UK and their allies went to war on the premise that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction, and that he had cooperated with al-Qaeda. As the 2004 Duelfer report to Congress revealed, there were no WMDs. It had all been fabricated.
The GOP suddenly grew a backbone.
If you’d have said a year ago that the US State Department, Google, and Al Jazeera had been collaborating in pursuance of regime change in Syria, chances are you’d have been casually dismissed as a ‘crank’ and a ‘conspiracy theorist’.
History shows us that propaganda is an inherent part of any wartime society, obscuring facts and motivations in favor of those who initiate and benefit from war
By Vanessa Kairies Earlier on in the year I was analysing a summary of the Budget. Of significant interest to me, was the tens of billions allocated to defence, including setting up a new military base in Afghanistan. I thought this was very odd at the time. I had many a conversation with folks trying…
The Courier Mail reported in its Sunday Mail edition that Timothy Paul Gear, 23, had been sentenced to 12 months imprisonment, fully suspended for 18 months for child sex offences. Gear was the Chairman of the LNP Currumbin Branch and Secretary of the Gold Coast LNP. He had aspired to be a future member of parliament.
The Gold Coast remains a power base for the LNP with voters religiously voting blue. At the 2015 state election, despite MP for Mermaid Beach Ray Steven’s “chicken dance”at reporter Dave Donovan, despite MP for Broadwater Verity Barton’s three confessions to driving without a license and despite the huge swing to Labor, the Gold Coast seats remained barely dented.
So it came as no surprise that Gear, a school captain at Elanora State High School, began his political life with the LNP. He became a protege of LNP MP for Currumbin and former Newman Government Tourism Minister, Jann Stuckey. In 2008, Stuckey praised him in her online newsletter, saying, “Member for Currumbin, Jann Stuckey today congratulated three local students Timothy Gear, Benjamin Naday and Leigh Moran on their selection for the 2008 Queensland Youth Parliament.”
To Stuckey, he was simply the best. Hansard showed that on May 31, 2012, in an Address-in-Reply speech, she told parliament, “To my fantastic campaign team—Richard Stuckey, Carley McNeil, Tim Gear, Peter Barrett, Ben Naday, Anne and Robert Wright, Virginia Freebody and Minna Knight: you are simply the best.”
However, in 2014, a dark side to Gear began to emerge. He publicly admitted to trolling online. In political terms, trolling is the process by which a person uses social media to attack political opponents using anonymous accounts. These apparatchiks tow the party line by reposting messages from politicians of their party. They also attempt to dissuade other social media users from promoting ideas against the party by engaging in personal attacks, use of foul language and propaganda.
Claims that all sides of politics do it have been made before but no one has been so brazen as Gear about it. Labor candidate for the state seat of Burleigh Gail Hislop had blocked a Young LNP member from her facebook page. In response he threatened to, “set up troll accounts closer to the election”. It was then that Gear responded to this by writing, “We all have troll accounts”. The startling confession suggested there existed a network of political trolls on the LNP side.
At 21, he’d been caught by police posing as underage children in an online operation to catch sex offenders. He was charged with two counts “of trying to procure a child under the age of 16″. He entered a guilty plea. A spokesman told The Courier Mail that Gear had resigned from the party before the charges were known to the party.
Gear, now 23, was sentenced on March 16, 2015. He had made two previous court appearances, one in December of 2014 and another during the election campaign in January. His facebook page showed him campaigning with former LNP Premier Campbell Newman, former LNP MP for Brisbane Central Robert Cavallucci and a pre-election photo of Federal LNP Senator for Qld James McGrath. Sources have also told NoFibs Gear appeared with Stuckey during the campaign at Elanora State High School.
A senior member of the Gold Coast LNP, a declared campaigner for a Newman Government Minister and a self-confessed troll had been convicted of a sex crime. Yet, there was no media coverage of any court appearances or the allegations during or prior to the 2015 election. The report of his crimes only appeared 34 days after he had been sentenced.
What had elapsed during all that time?
On March 27, 2015, eleven days after the sentencing, the LNP began its assault on the Labor Government, pushing for a by-election over the allegations made against MP for Cook, Billy Gordon. The Courier Mail launched a barrage of anti-Labor front pages at the Palaszczuk Government. Speaker of the House Peter Wellington described the paper as attempting to “discredit this government”.
So, over the two year period, had the media simply missed the whole story? Possibly, but it seems unlikely when every week on the nightly news and online we hear the court reports on people we’ve never heard of.
Conspiracy theories abound. The deception is almost water tight, however, there is one clear clue in The Courier Mail’s article which shows the outlet must have known all along of the Gear case. It’s the photo of him smoking with the caption, “Timothy Paul Gear after being convicted of child sex offences.” The photo could only have been taken by someone that knew Gear would be appearing on March 16, 2015 for sentencing. It would appear the paper embargoed the story so as not to distract from the upcoming LNP attack against Labor over Billy Gordon.
Three of Rupert Murdoch’s largest and most powerful news outlets promoted baseless conspiracy theories that Google is using its alleged “close ties” with the Obama administration to receive favorable treatment and to push its policy agenda. Murdoch has a long history of attacking Google.
On March 24, News Corp’s Wall Street Journal reported on the purportedly close ties between the Obama administration and Google after discovering that Google employees have visited the White House multiple times since President Obama took office. The piece went on to allege that Google used its ties with the White House to get favorable action from a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) antitrust probe into the company.
The New York Post (News Corp) went further on March 28 in an article titled “Google controls what we buy, the news we read – and Obama’s policies.” The article speculated that Google has used its influence and financial contributions to the Obama administration to receive favors including net neutrality regulation, favorable FTC action, and contracts to fix the Affordable Care Act’s website. The piece speculated on “what’s coming next: politically filtered information.”
21st Century Fox’s Fox News echoed the New York Post during the March 30 edition of Fox & Friends, with co-host Clayton Morris claiming “the same search engine that controls our news also controls the White House.” During the show, Fox Business’ Maria Bartiromo claimed that Google was “being investigated, the president dropped it — net neutrality — Google wanted the president to go that way.” Bartiromo also speculated on whether Google was “editing” the news “to make it more favorable for the president.”
But the Wall Street Journal admitted that the “FTC closed its investigation after Google agreed to make voluntary changes to its business practices.” And the FTC pushed back critically to the Journal‘s piece, writing:
The article suggests that a series of disparate and unrelated meetings involving FTC officials and executive branch officials or Google representatives somehow affected the Commission’s decision to close the search investigation in early 2013. Not a single fact is offered to substantiate this misleading narrative.
Rupert Murdoch, head of both News Corp and Twenty-First Century Fox, has a history of attacking Google. Murdoch has accused Google of being “piracy leaders,” and in 2009 found himself in a war of words against Google and threatened to block his content from the search engine.
How many reports of clandestine actions by governments does it take before the excuse that it was the actions of rogue elements within the system and not the system iself does it take before we believe the Snowdens and Assanges of this world should be listened to and not destroyed. How many laws must we see changed at the expense of our freedoms to ensure government secrecy.
Who are the meglomaniacs Bush, Cheney Rumsfeld or Blair or those that tried to expose them?