SEPP, BACK ON THE ROAD
Mickey Blue Eyes
... ... ... ...
In olden days, a glimpse of stocking
Was looked on as something shocking.
But now, God knows,
Good authors too who once knew better words
Now only use four-letter words
... ... ... ...
Just think of those shocks you've got
And those knocks you've got
And those blues you've got
From that news you've got
And those pains you've got
If any brains you've got
From those little radios.
So Missus R., with all her trimmin's,
Can broadcast a bed from Simmons
'Cause Franklin knows
From ANYTHING GOES, a popular song (1934) by Cole Porter.
It is now cliché, but people of a certain age can tell you with great precision where they were and what they were doing when they heard of the murder in 1963 of US President Jack Kennedy, literally cut to pieces in the arms of his wife in full public view in Dallas, Texas. Not terrible tragedy enough, it was quickly followed up by a culture and its media in full blown denial of what had actually happened and who was responsible. The only police investigation ever carried out was led by a crackpot transvestite blackmailer who himself ordered and paid for murders from his office at the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the FBI, in Washington. The results were predictable. The USA became a Tarantinoesque parody of itself.
Historically, be that as it may.
Now fast forward half a century. Priorities have changed drastically. It is entirely likely assassination of an incumbent president would be a media event, not a source of genuine horror and global shock. The present generation is more likely to recall current happenings at FIFA, or the Fédération Internationale de Football Association as we say on County Road.
By now you will know ad nauseam that
(a) Fourteen FIFA executives were arrested and charged by the FBI with "systemic and rampant " corruption in respect of the World Cup bids for 2018 and 2022, the former awarded to Russia, the latter to Qatar, offences allegedly committed on US soil, charges which include fraud, racketeering, money laundering and marketing and broadcast deals; some of the accused have already pleaded guilty,
(b) In spite of (a), Swiss national Joseph S. Blatter was re-elected President of FIFA for yet another four years, a fifth consecutive term, which means he will have been in office for twenty one years if completed. He defeated his challenger by 133 votes to 73. He has not been charged with anything.
Well I never.
Of course I cannot know your own thoughts, but I smell a rat nest not entirely inside the rotting house of cards that is FIFA. Something else is in play here. If precedent is anything to go by, there always is. Especially in the timing.
Firstly, if any of the charges are proved the guilty parties should be sentenced accordingly. Secondly, Blatter (affectionately dubbed "Sepp") should resign on the grounds that if he did not know what was happening on his watch, then he should have known: ignorance is no defence. He is paid not to be ignorant. We might as well get these two observations settled immediately.
Your correspondent had a distinct sense of déjà vu watching dear Sepp's acceptance speech. It was eerily reminiscent of Richard Nixon during the Watergate saga when he announced, "There can be no whitewash in the White House." You thought then, and you think now, "Yeah, right." Nixon too won an election in spite of. Then he was gone to avoid impeachment, sweaty lip and all. This may yet be Sepp's fate whatever brass neck he might have on show. There was more than a hint of glinty-eyed, "Fuck you" when his speech included the words "I like you" to delegates. I bet he did: he won. It was more than Nixon, it was Reagan and Iran-Contra, Bush and a stolen election, Blair/New Labour and nonexistent weapons of mass destruction, Cameron and "public debt," the ruination of millions of lives in the Eurozone. It is the kind of global culture we have. And that is the point. Institutional corruption and hypocrisy is built in at every level. Where corruption is concerned, Britain and the USA and Europe are the very last people to be lecturing the rest of the world.
Take our own dear leader, David Cameron, the well-scrubbed Bullingdon Boy who now threatens use of the Serious Fraud Office in the matter, a task he noticeably fails to summon, as did his predecessors, as the country continues its disgusting slide into Canary Wharf-led theft of national wealth, arms deals sleaze, transnational companies tax dodging, enrichment of his pals, and brutal economic assault on our most vulnerable citizens. If Blatter is to be held accountable for crimes in FIFA, as he should, what about Cameron and his predecessors? And what of Obama and drone mass murders and impoverishment of whole swathes of US society? Or European and transnational bankers who seek to bankrupt entire countries? By comparison, FIFA is a flea on the back of an elephant. They are all cut from the same saddle cloth, large or small denier.
None of the FIFA shenanigans and alleged criminality have come as a shock to those fans who kept themselves up to date thanks to the excellent work of genuine investigative journalists like Tom Bower and David Conn and others. But their largely unheralded and ignored essays over many years are some distance away from the opportunist media tide of the last few days. This is why the timing is suspicious, as it was during the British media "exposures" that accompanied the failed England World Cup bid for 2018. There is more than a touch of xenophobia in this, there are traces of geopolitics. Hence the US involvement.
Now, of course, the apparatchiks at the FBI and the US Department of Justice are just doing their job while sharing their special orthodontistry and self-righteousness with us. If you want to see that type of deathliness in "action" check out, for instance, the next "press briefing" of the US State Department fronted by mss. Psaki or Harf. Their inhuman frigidity is not in doubt, part of Yankee private/public bureaucratic life. Since the US establishment openly hates football because globally it relegates their own eccentric rounders and grid iron street fights, the logical question is who pointed the FBI and the DoJ in this direction and why? Why now, after all these years?
Not to beat around George Bush, my entirely instinctive suspicion is that the real target is World Cup Russia 2018. Not justified revulsion at FIFA corruption, or Sepp Blatter obduracy, or the terrible deaths of expat construction workers in Qatar - after all, FIFA corruption has been on display since at least 1974 and the conditions of construction workers in the Middle East have been notorious since the oil boom started in the early 1960s. No, my feeling is there is a much broader motivation, which is the continuing demonising of Russia and Vladimir Putin, a country and a politician no better or worse than what passes for Western Civilisation. It adds sports isolation to sanctions imposed following the West-instigated civil war in Ukraine. The same thing was attempted with a boycott of the Moscow Olympics 1980 (over, tragic irony, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan), which of course was followed by a retaliatory Soviet (and fifteen other countries) boycott of the Los Angeles Olympics 1984. So who said keep politics out of sport?
It will be recalled that England bid for the 2018 tournament, but could garner only a humiliating two votes. A US bid for 2022 also failed. Earlier, an English bid for the 2006 tournament was lost in similar fashion after the English FA double-crossed Germany and used "undue influence" to try to get the Welsh FA vote. Ever since, English media, xenophobia gung-ho to a man and woman, have been after FIFA and hapless Sepp and the lads. Prior to that, messrs. Bower and Conn and their ilk had ploughed a lonely furrow. The affect can be imagined in the crackpot English Defence League of the Sun, Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph and the Murdoch boot boy gang and all the rest of the motley crew.
The whole thing is a mess of lies, hypocrisy, propaganda and corruption, now probably opportunely fed by the geopolitical loonies in Langley, Vauxhall Cross and Foggy Bottom. For them, it will be a major propaganda coup if World Cup 2018 bids are rerun and Russia lose the tournament. Whether this will happen is a moot point, as is the notion of UEFA countries pulling out of the next two World Cup tournaments or even out of FIFA itself.
Meantime, it is reasonable to ask why 133 delegates actually voted for Blatter in spite of a full frontal assault by the usual gun-toting Yanks and Western media. Can they all be corrupt, stupid or plain ignorant? Or do they justifiably resent being told what to do by former colonial Western governments and media who themselves as a matter of public record are riddled top to bottom by hypocrisy and corruption?
That rat nest is a good deal bigger than FIFA.