Book review: The Racket. A Rogue Reporter Vs. The Masters of the Universe by Matt Kennard by Ian Sinclair
Having worked as a reporter at the Financial Times, Matt Kennard left to write this barnstorming expose of the US-led economic, political and military elites that rule the world. “A class war is being fought and the poor are losing”, he notes.
Following Amy Goodman’s dictum that “the role of journalism is to go where the silences are”, Kennard fires off incendiary dispatches from the parts of the world rarely covered by the Western mainstream media. With the secrets uncovered by Wikileaks underpinning the reportage, the book focusses on Turkey’s US-backed ethnic cleaning of the Kurds and US attempts to undermine progressive change in Haiti, Honduras and Bolivia.
Refreshingly, Kennard is unafraid to highlight the inconvenient facts often overlooked by his professional colleagues. “Israel is – by any definition of international law – a rogue, terrorist state”. Elsewhere he explains that in the 1970s the US helped to set up Operation Condor, a South America-wide terror network which targeted those opposing the right-wing dictatorships that were supported by the US. At the highly undemocratic United Nations, since the 1960s the US has used its veto on the Security Council far more than any other nation. NATO designed the 1999 Rambouillet peace talks with Slobodan Milosevic’s Yugoslavia to fail.
Echoing Noam Chomsky, his key intellectual influence, Kennard argues that throughout the West there exists “a well-stocked army of intellectuals whose sole purpose is to make theft and brutality acceptable to the general population”. The media is a central player in this deadly propaganda war. And with power selecting for obedience, Kennard writes that journalists “have to block out the truth of how the world works” if they wish “to flourish in the corporate media”.
Like the best work of John Pilger, George Monbiot and Naomi Klein, The Racket is investigative, passionate journalism with a purpose – to defend the powerless against rapacious power. A hugely important tour de force, it will inform and inspire resistance movements for years to come.