« His master’s Voice » (La Voix de son maître), a painting by Francis Barraud, became the emblem of a famous recording company at the beginninng of the 20th century. The animal is fascinated by the quality of the gramophone recording which restitutes the voice of his master. Our relationship to the media is identical - we are attracted to them when they tell us what we already know.

They say that silence is golden. And there’s no doubt that it is, but not only in the meaning indicated by the proverb. Above all, it can be especially precious as an instrument for the manipulation of public opinion – if the newspapers, the TV news and the talk shows don’t mention acts of war, then they simply do not exist in the minds of those people who are convinced that only what the media talks about is real.

For example, how many people know that one week ago, the Sudanese capital of Khartoum was bombed?

The attack was carried out at night by a group of fighter-bombers which bombed a munitions factory. According to Tel Aviv, this factory supplied weapons for the Palestinians from Gaza. Israël is the only power in this region which has planes capable of striking targets 1,900 kms from home, avoiding radar detection, provoking telecommunications blackouts, and launching precisely-guided missiles and bombs tens of kilometres distant from their targets. The satellite photos show six enormous craters left by highly powerful warheads at up to 700 metres from the epicentre, and they caused a number of dead and wounded. The Israeli government remains officially silent, simply affirming that Sudan is "a dangerous terrorist state supported by Iran".

On the other hand, strategic analysts are talking, giving clear plans of the attack, and underlining that this could constitute a test for later attacks on Iranian nuclear sites. Sudan’s request that the UN condemn the Israeli attack, and the declaration of the Arab Parliament accusing Israel of violating Sudanese sovereignty and international law, have been ignored by the mainstream media.

The Israeli bombing of Khartoum has thus disappeared under the cape of media silence. Like the massacre of Bani Walid, the Libyan city which was attacked by "governmental" Misrata militia. Videos and photos broadcast on the Internet show shocking images of the massacre of civilians, including children. In a dramatic video report from the besieged Bani Walid hospital, Dr. Meleshe Shandoly spoke of the symptoms suffered by the wounded, typical effects of white phosphorous and asphyxiating gases. We then learned that immediately after giving this report, the doctor had his throat slit. However, there are other reports, like the one by lawyer Afaf Yusef stating that a number of people were killed without being hit by projectiles or explosions. The bodies were intact, as if they had been mummified, like the corpses in Fallujah, the Iraqi city which was attacked in 2004 by US forces using white phosphorous projectiles and new uranium-based weapons. Other witnesses speak of a ship transporting weapons and munitions which arrived in Misrata shortly before the attack on Bani Walid. Still others speak of aerial bombing, assassinations and rapes, and houses destroyed by bulldozers. But these voices too have been gagged by media silence. Just like the news that the United States, during the assault on Bani Walid, persisted in blocking the Russian proposal to the UN Security Council for seeking a resolution of the conflict by peaceful means.

This sort of news does not reach our homes, and will reach us more and more infrequently. The world satellite network Intelsat, whose headquarters are in Washington, has just blocked Iranian transmissions in Europe, and the European staellite network Eutelsat has done the same. In the era of "global information" we must only hear our Masters’ voice.

Pete Kimberley
Il Manifesto (Italy)