Global Independent Analytics
Navid Nasr
Navid Nasr

Location: Croatia

Specialization: Global security, Politics

Paul Mason: Vigilant Defender of "Europe's Political Centre"

"Give me mass media, and I'll make a herd of pigs out of any people"

The key to being a truly successful mainstream liberal political columnist is to collect, recycle and regurgitate what is euphemistically referred to as conventional wisdom and pass it off as a divine revelation come down from the mountain on stone tablets. New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman is a master at this, able to pass off the banalest "insights" that can easily be gleaned by eavesdropping on any three-martini lunch on Capitol Hill as the Wisdom of the Ancients.

On the other side of the Atlantic there's no clear equivalent of Friedman in terms of star power, if you want to call it that, or the "dahling, you simply must read" factor, but there are a few who come close, two among them being The Guardian's most widely read columnists, Owen Jones and Paul Mason.

While I'll never be able to deconstruct and demolish Owen Jones' smug, sanctimonious, establishmentarian BS any better than this piece on the must-read website "Off-Guardian," I will attempt to expose the nakedness of Paul Mason as he strides around in his imperial finery.

Like Thomas Friedman and Owen Jones, Paul Mason has real talent in making the establishmentarian wisdom he pukes out in his multiple pieces come across as heretofore hidden revelations. Because of that, I'm going to distill some of his recent columns down to their most bare essence.

17 Jul 2015 - "The end of capitalism has begun:"

Cool. "Post-capitalism" means free stuff. The Greeks are showing us the way. What's happening there isn't a disaster, but a glimpse into a new and better world.

20 Sep 2015 - "The four questions we need to answer before bombing Isis or Assad:"

"We" haven't "done" enough. "We" need to "do" more. "We've" stood on the sidelines long enough. And "the Assad regime" is way, way, way worse than ISIS. (ahem) So... you do the math.

4 Oct 2015 - "Isis or Russia? Labour needs to decide which is the bigger threat:"

Labour are all a bunch of prancing little nancies. Blair was the only one who ever gave them any testicular fortitude. Right now, we need to able to intervene in any number of conflicts in order "to impose humanitarian outcomes," and "to bomb Syria,"defend... civilians" and "bring Assad to the Hague." And looming above it all stands the blood-red spectre of the Russian bear. (tremble) RULE BRITANNIA!

16 Nov 2015 - "What would the world look like if we defeated Isis?"

Only Britain, France and the US are capable of defeating ISIS. Nevermind what the Syrian Arab Army, the National Defense Forces, the Iraqi Army, the Peace Brigades and Hezbollah are actually doing on the ground. In fact, "Assad" is a major impediment to the "moderate opposition" in Syria who are fighting ISIS on all fronts... ahem ... (whistling). Oh yes! Almost forgot! Something something 1939, something-something John Maynard Keynes, something-something Nazis.

7 Dec 2015 "...the dark heart of the radical 1970s:"

Lots of scary stuff was going on back then. Long haired revolutionaries, radical shop stewards, souped up cars, workers' strikes, and, most importantly, corruption. Very scary. Best to just reflect on the corruption and the scandals.

21 Dec 2015: "Podemos: how Europe's political centre is being eaten by the radical left and nationalist right:"

MOTHER OF GOD! THEY'RE COMING AT US FROM ALL DIRECTIONS!!! Also, I'm just going to throw everything together and conflate it all: Podemos, the Scottish National Party, Front National, Corbyn, UKIP, all different manifestations of exactly the same thing.

11 Jan 2016: "As Mein Kampf returns to Germany, the world is again awash with hatred:"

Listen, I'll be honest with you. I don't really have anything substantive to say here so I'm just going to throw some dog-whistle terms and words out and hope that something sticks: Mein Kampf, mass starvation, Assad regime, racism, hatred, irrationalism, demagogues. And the solution against all these horrible, nasty things? Why strengthening the UN and the ICC of course.

18 Jan 2016: "The opening up of Iran will mean a return to barbarity as usual:"

This last one I'm going to tackle somewhat seriously.

In fact, I already addressed two of the issues he brings up here -- capital punishment and Iran's "war on drugs," and the "Revolutionary Guard" owning things -- in a previous column. But several other points remain unaddressed and I'm going to try to remedy that here.

For one thing, and this is hugely important, those "UN" numbers aren't from the actual UN but from a sub-organization headed by Ahmed Shaheed, who was elected "Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights Situation in Iran" by the UN Human Rights Council back in 2011, the first and only person to hold this "post."

It should also be noted that Iran has repeatedly criticized and questioned Shaheed's findings, numbers, and position:

Iran has denounced as unsubstantiated and false a recent report by the United Nations special rapporteurs about the alleged increase in executions in the country.

In a statement released on Sunday, Iranian Judiciary's High Council for Human Rights rejected the report as being founded upon “incorrect information and fabricated sources,” adding that no correspondence has been made with Tehran in order to verify the accuracy of the allegations.

The Iranian rights body called on the UN officials to “refrain from politicizing the issue of human rights and adopt an impartial attitude,” the statement said, noting, “The structure of Iran’s judicial system guarantees the process of a fair trial.”

[...]

On June 17, 2011, the UN Human Rights Council, under pressure from the United States and its allies, named former Maldivian Foreign Minister Ahmed Shaheed as its human rights investigator on Iran.

Tehran insists that the appointment of a UN special rapporteur on Iran's human rights is a selective, politically-motivated and unacceptable move.

Then there's this statement by Mason: "Iran arrested 233 labour activists in the year to May 2015."

While I could find absolutely no corroboration for this number of arrests, I did find the following:

From March 2014 to March 2015, there were at least 233 protests throughout the country

As well as this:

Labor rights in Iran are also appalling, with 233 labor rights activists killed in the 12 months leading up to May 2015.

So, we've got 233 labor activists arrested, 233 labor protests and 233 labor activists killed all in the same period of time in Iran. Either this is a remarkable coincidence, the number 233 has a magical connection to the Iranian labor movement or... a whole bunch of people, including Mason, are pulling the same exact figure out of some orifice in their body and using it for whatever "Iranian labor" propaganda purpose they deem fit.

There is nothing remarkable about Mason, Jones or Friedman. They have been trained, like circus animals, to propagandize on behalf of the establishment, and they're compensated very handsomely for it. The only thing remarkable about any of them is their perch, which lends them an air of undeserved and unwarranted authority. They only thing that they truly deserve from any normal human being is mockery, scorn, ridicule and derision. We, collectively, have to untrain ourselves. To see the world, to see the upholders of the establishment through different eyes, through a different lens. We have to treat their every breath and every utterance as a calculated lie. And as we discover their lies we have to shout them out from the highest rooftops so everyone can hear.

Ultimately, our job is to ensure two things. Their extinction as a class, and the survival of humanity. The latter won't happen without the former, no matter how many people may wish otherwise.

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