Rupert Murdoch - head of a criminal corporation - lying for Israel

Why I had to leave the Times
Robert Fisk 11 July 2011

Then, in the spring of 1983, an­other change. I had, with Dou­glas-Home's full agree­ment, spent months in­ves­ti­gat­ing the death of seven Pales­tin­ian and Lebanese pris­on­ers of the Is­raelis in Sidon. It was ob­vi­ous, I con­cluded, that the men had been mur­dered – the grave-dig­ger even told me that their corpses had been brought to him, hands tied be­hind their backs, show­ing marks of bruis­ing. But now Dou­glas-Home couldn't see how we would be "jus­ti­fied" in run­ning a re­port "so long after the event".

Murdoch and Israeli Finance Minister at Invest Israel Conference 10 Sep 2012Murdoch and Israeli Finance Minister at Invest Israel Conference 10 Sep 2012"Mur­doch was owner of The Times when I cov­ered the blood-soaked Is­raeli in­va­sion and oc­cu­pa­tion of Lebanon in 1982. Not a line was re­moved from my re­ports, how­ever crit­i­cal they were of Is­rael. After the in­va­sion, Dou­glas-Home and Mur­doch were in­vited by the Is­raelis to take a mil­i­tary he­li­copter trip into Lebanon. The Is­raelis tried to rub­bish my re­port­ing; Dou­glas-Home said he stood up for me. On the flight back to Lon­don, Dou­glas-Home and Mur­doch sat to­gether. "I knew Ru­pert was in­ter­ested in what I was writ­ing," he told me later. "He sort of waited for me to tell him what it was, al­though he didn't de­mand it. I didn't show it to him."

But things changed. Be­fore he was ed­i­tor, Dou­glas-Home would write for the Ara­bic-lan­guage Al-Ma­jella mag­a­zine, often deeply crit­i­cal of Is­rael. Now his Times ed­i­to­ri­als took an op­ti­mistic view of the Is­raeli in­va­sion. He stated that "there is now no wor­thy Pales­tin­ian to whom the world can talk" and – for heaven's sake – that "per­haps at last the Pales­tini­ans on the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip will stop hop­ing that stage-strut­ters like Mr Arafat can res­cue them mirac­u­lously from doing busi­ness with the Is­raelis."

All of which, of course, was of­fi­cial Is­raeli gov­ern­ment pol­icy at the time.

Then, in the spring of 1983, an­other change. I had, with Dou­glas-Home's full agree­ment, spent months in­ves­ti­gat­ing the death of seven Pales­tin­ian and Lebanese pris­on­ers of the Is­raelis in Sidon. It was ob­vi­ous, I con­cluded, that the men had been mur­dered – the grave-dig­ger even told me that their corpses had been brought to him, hands tied be­hind their backs, show­ing marks of bruis­ing. But now Dou­glas-Home couldn't see how we would be "jus­ti­fied" in run­ning a re­port "so long after the event".

In other words, the very sys­tem of in­ves­tiga­tive jour­nal­ism – of fact-check­ing and months of in­ter­views – be­came self-de­feat­ing. When we got the facts, too much time had passed to print them. I asked the Is­raelis if they would carry out a mil­i­tary in­quiry and, anx­ious to show how hu­man­i­tar­ian they were, they duly told us there would be an of­fi­cial in­ves­ti­ga­tion. The Is­raeli "in­quiry" was, I sus­pected, a fic­tion. But it was enough to "jus­tify" pub­lish­ing my long and de­tailed re­port. Once the Is­raelis could look like good guys, Dou­glas-Home's con­cerns evap­o­rated.

...These past two weeks, I have been think­ing of what it was like to work for Mur­doch, what was wrong about it, about the use of power by proxy. For Mur­doch could never be blamed. Mur­doch was more caliph than ever, no more re­spon­si­ble for an ed­i­to­r­ial or a "news" story than a pres­i­dent of Syria is for a mas­sacre – the lat­ter would be car­ried out on the or­ders of gov­er­nors who could al­ways be tried or sacked or sent off as ad­viser to a prime min­is­ter – and the leader would in­vari­ably anoint his son as his suc­ces­sor. Think of Hafez and Bashar Assad or Hosni and Gamal Mubarak or Ru­pert and James. In the Mid­dle East, Arab jour­nal­ists knew what their mas­ters wanted, and helped to cre­ate a jour­nal­is­tic desert with­out the water of free­dom, an ut­terly skewed ver­sion of re­al­ity. So, too, within the Mur­doch em­pire."

Full report in the Independent 11 Nov 2011