There’s plenty of material out there on the technical whys and wherefores of fracking, though publicly available data isn’t at the level it might be thanks to rigging by none other than Dick Cheney and his foul companions (someone suggested I remind you who Cheney is – he’s a cancer, look him up)
This piece is about the spin and corruption that render mere fact as near obsolete.
Briefly sketching the broader context in which fracking belongs: It is one of the new and rather desperate, energy intensive and environmentally damaging ways of sourcing fossil fuels made possible by rising prices, in turn caused by increasing demand and anticipation of scarcity.
Other such methods include the horrific tar sands extraction (it’s easy to find grim accounts of eco-damage in places like Alaska) and deep water drilling (Deepwater Horizon having been an even bigger catastrophe than was admitted)
Our species needs to balance economy, environmental risk, geo-politics and other factors in deciding which energy avenues to pursue. The broad range of possibilities include various incarnations of fossil fuel, renewables, nuclear power, the ongoing quest for “free” energy and attention to efficiency / reduced use per capita.
The more open minded one is, the more of a headache it becomes to discern the right mix for each society. There seems to be no sure-fire answer. But throughout the process, democracy should be independent and accountable, debate should be as informed and balanced as possible.
Fracking has become a prime example of both these staples of “democracy” breaking down beyond recognition.
Many people are understandably neutral in the first instance. They tend to rely on mainstream coverage for information. This has become increasingly untrustworthy, and it is right and proper for us to sow mistrust.
24 hour news media relies increasingly heavily on public relations firms to provide them with basic stories, this is a financial pressure as much as anything – “home grown” journalism is very expensive by comparison.
Such firms have vastly improved at exploiting and manipulating the press. It is testament to their success that people are generally not conscious of this. In many ways, mainstream news is now little more than an extension of the PR industry.
Bell Pottinger are the PR firm hired by the prime corporation involved in UK, Cuadrilla. Headed by Lord Bell, a key figure in a nexus of corrupt corporate/government relations around fracking, Bell Pottinger’s website gives a flavour of the sort of thing they sorted out for a South African arms company (aka “defence”)
“Interviews with key company figures and features were arranged on CNN, the BBC and Bloomberg, and with The New York Times and International Herald Tribune. A Foundation was created for Paramount’s charitable work. “
In the run up to the protests, all or nearly all features and interviews related to fracking will have be overseen by these people. As the story develops they will continue to exert large pressure on high up positions in broadcasting, especially if something goes out that is not too much to the liking of the corporation.
Mere citizens complaining against bias can just speak into a computer. It’s true that groups like Friends Of The Earth will have press teams working on this, but guess who is far better funded? (Clue : it will be the lot that have just had a massive tax break.) In many cases, a wagging finger from Bell Pottinger won’t be necessary of course, there being a natural prejudice towards establishment and private corporations across huge swathes of the press. This is shown in the presentation of cardboard cut-out stereotypes of protesters: Locals can be implied as NIMBY, but those from further afield are “rent-a-mob”. Middle class protesters can be sneered at for hypocrisy, while poorer protesters should get a job and have a wash.
If you think the above website claims were a little bland and unsurprising, that’s because Bell Pottinger would hardly put darker truths on their own site (especially as they are a PR firm!) This article shows the true insidious menace to democracy and human decency that Bell Pottinger represent.
The large passage is quoted to eradicate doubt that this may be a garden variety spin merchant or ruthless corporation. Bell Pottinger are a cesspit of degenerate scum.
A company insider was caught:
* Suggesting that the company could manipulate Google results to “drown” out negative coverage of human rights violations and child labour;
* Revealing that Bell Pottinger has a team which “sorts” negative Wikipedia coverage of clients;
* Saying it was possible to use MPs known to be critical of investigative programmes to attack their reporting for minor errors.
Reporters from the Bureau [of investigative journalism] posed as agents for the government of Uzbekistan – a brutal dictatorship responsible for killings, human rights violations and child labour – and representatives of its cotton industry in a bid to discover what promises British lobbying and public relations firms were prepared to make when pitching to clients, what techniques they use, and how much of their work is open to public scrutiny.
In Uzbekistan, child labour is used in cotton fields to fulfil state quotas and the country also has a terrible human rights record: the think tank Freedom House put it on its 2011 list of the “Worst of the Worst” repressive regimes.
One further note is that Uzbekistan is known for political dissidents being boiled alive. It’s difficult to overstate how disgusting Bell Pottinger are.
As I alluded to earlier, there’s also an astonishing range of conflicts of interests at the heart of government decision making, illustrated by this diagram:
and this article
As an aside, the presence of Lord Green in this quagmire is worth taking note of as an example of what the putrid parade of filth also known as “the government” is about. He presided at HSBC when they money laundered for Al Qaeda and Mexican drug cartels who specialise in mass decapitations. He sits in the Cabinet, is a Trade Minister and member of The House Of Lords. He has never been voted for by anyone.
Private Eye reports that Friends Of The Earth uncovered that a new all part group on fracking (“Unconventional Oil And Gas” as I outlined earlier) is funded by the fracking industry and run by fracking lobbyists. Yet Dan Byles MP (Conservative) said of his group that it would “cut through rhetoric and hyperbole on both sides” and “get to the facts”. It’s one thing to be rigged, another to posture as balanced and reasonable while doing so, but it’s par for the course because they think we are stupid and they know they can get away with it.
The article, with details is photographed here, but I can’t guarantee all will be able to read it.
Finally for now, details on how even the local decision to allow drilling in Balcombe was a farce:
I would urge concerned people to share these links in persuading more agnostic people that the whole “debate” and “democracy” game is rigged.
“Oh we know that” they may smugly say, but as I so often point out: How often does the same preening skeptic bray that they believe what they read and hear from the establishment, only to trot out something they read or heard from the establishment within minutes, with the same know-all tone? We need to get the shocking detail out there.
Though it is too early to tell, fracking may yet see part of a major turning of the tide as masses more people come to realise the full extent of open corruption and deeply cynical propaganda that has ruined democratic process and distorted “debate” to the point of near uselessness.