The people of the US and Britain have become victims of the corruption of their democratic institutions that are no longer serving the interests of ordinary people. Democracy as a system of government has been subverted to serve multinational corporations, powerful lobbyists and the military-industrial complex. The corporate media is recruited to keep the truth from the people and to sanitise endless wars led by the US with Britain acting as its outrider. Public discussions, and the questions asked are manipulated as if by an invisible hand to leave the ordinary person constrained into accepting solutions that entrench the interests of such groups and enhance their profit margins. These powerful entities that perch above politics are in control regardless of which party or president is in power. If this is not an abuse of democracy, I don't know what is.
John Pilger, in the New Statesman, urges the people to develop a healthy cynicism towards the media thus: " This acute scepticism, this skill of reading between the lines, is urgently needed in supposedly free societies today. Take the reporting of state-sponsored war. The oldest cliche' is that truth is the first casualty of war. I disagree. Journalism is the first casualty. Not only that: it has become a weapon of war, a virulent censorship that goes unrecognised in the United States, Britain and other democracies; censorship by omission, whose power is such that, in war, it can mean the difference between life and death for people in faraway countries, such as Iraq". In his excellent film "The War You Don't See", he powerfully demonstrates the complicity of the media in the deception of the public to justify endless wars.
Progressives, and those on the left of politics, need to find the language that resonates with ordinary people, to open their eyes to the corruption that is diminishing their lives and those of future generations. The manipulation of public opinion by the powerful in the US and Britain is corruption. Its aim is to transfer trillions of tax dollars, from the poor and middle classes, to voracious corporations and the Military-Security-Industrial complex through endless immoral senseless carnage called "the war on terror"
Transparency international has just produced a "corruption perception index" (CPI). It defines corruption as "the abuse of entrusted power for private gain.... it encompasses corrupt practices in both public and private sectors........Broadly speaking, the surveys and assessments used to compile the index include questions relating to bribery of public officials, kickbacks in public procurements, embezzlements of public funds, and questions that probe the strength and effectiveness of public sector anti corruption efforts".
The CPI rates 178 countries on a scale from 10 (very clean) to 0 (highly corrupt). Britain comes in at 20th and the US at 22nd with scores of 7.6 and 7.1 respectively. On the face of it these are not bad scores. However, although the index defines corruption as "the abuse of entrusted power for private gain" it does not follow through to include in this definition the abuse of power through lying purposefully to manipulate public opinion to support endless wars as a response to 9/11. It includes as corruption the fiddling of expenses by British MPs, for example, but says nothing about the lies used to justify the illegal war against Iraq. Many MPs in Britain have been publically shamed and some may go to prison, rightly, for fraud. But Tony Blair continues to prosper massively, treated with respect, by corporate media and powerful corporations. Whose crime was the greatest? Would he have continued to prosper, after leaving politics, if he had not supported a war against Iraq?
Politicians making decisions that could impact the lives of millions, anchored not on international law, moral principles and the national interest but on enhancing their careers, their power base, and future earning, are not listed as corrupt. Why not? Of course bribery, kickbacks etc. are corrupt practices and should be condemned. But let us open our eyes a little wider to see the bigger picture.
Transparency International states:" across the globe, transparency and accountability are critical to restoring trust and turning back the tide of corruption. Without them, global policy solutions to many global crises are at risk"
Here is a challenge for Transparency International. To put its money where its mouth is, to publically support WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange for bringing transparency into the machinations of governments, exposing their deceit, and their undermining of the democratic process. Would it do that? Would it heck!
Wars, financial rip offs, and irresponsible energy policies are all manifestations of corrupt practices in the US and Britain. But they are not recognised as such by Transparency International, or the law courts.
Industrialists, politicians, journalists, and lobbyists engaged or complicit in such practices are corrupt, and should be so designated. Has Transparency International got the guts to do that?