Newscorp international. The far reaching Murdoch Empire, owning vast swathes of the English speaking media.
Sky. 21st Century Fox. Telstra. The Sun. The Australian Telegraph. The Times. Sunday Times. Press Association. New York Times. Dow Jones & Company. Wall Street Journal. The Australian. HarperCollins.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of companies and publications owned by Rupert Murdoch, it purely illustrates the power he holds over the political and social narrative stretching over three continents. You don’t hear that much about Murdoch in the media because he IS the media.
I could talk about phone hacking, I could talk about “king making”, I could talk about controlling governments by controlling the electorate. All very worthwhile topics regarding Murdoch, but there is one particular subject I want to cover here today.
Murdoch’s heavy involvement in Genie Oil and Gas. A subsidiary of IDT energy, spun off in 2011. Afek Oil and Gas is an Israeli subsidiary of Genie. Rupert Murdoch holds shares in Genie, as well as sitting on their Strategic Advisory Board, alongside a stellar cast:
Michael Steinhardt (SAB Chairman) – Noted Wall Street investor and Principal Manager, Steinhardt Management LLC.
Richard Cheney – 46th Vice President of the United States.
Marry Landrieu – United States Senator from Louisiana from 1996 to 2014. Senator Landrieu served as chair of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. In her capacity as chair, she sponsored and passed the U.S.-Israel Energy Cooperation Bill.
Rupert Murdoch – Founder and Executive Chairman of News Corporation, one of the world’s largest diversified media companies. News Corporation’s holdings include significant media assets on six continents.
Bill Richardson – Governor of New Mexico from 2003 to 2011. Mr. Richardson served as Energy Secretary in the Clinton administration (1998-2001).
Jacob Rothschild, OM, GBE – Chairman of the J. Rothschild group of companies and of RIT Capital Partners plc. Chairman of Five Arrows Limited. Lord Rothschold is a noted philanthropist and Chairman of the Rothschild Foundation.
Dr. Lawrence Summers – Charles W. Eliot University Professor and President Emeritus at Harvard University. Dr. Summers served as the 71st Secretary of the Treasury under President Clinton and as Director of the National Economic Council for President Obama.
R. James Woolsey – Director of Central Intelligence from 1993 to 1995. Mr. Woolsey is co-founder of the United States Energy Security Council.
This board reads like a who’s who of Washington, and there’s a good reason for that. Genie Oil was a company set up for the purpose of extracting oil from Golan Heights.
The Golan Heights is a 700 square mile stretch of land on the Syrian / Israeli border. Formally recognised by the UN as Syrian land, the Israeli government seized Golan during the 6 day war of 1967. Israel began constructing settlements in the 1970s and extended Isreali law across the area in 1981. Isreal’s occupation is internationally recognised as illegal.
Back to Genie. Their subsidiary Afek was awarded exploratory drilling rights in Golan in February 2013 by the Israeli government. In October 2015 the company announced a significant find, with WorldOil reporting a 350m oil depth, which is up to 10 times the average oil field.
Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has even asked President Obama to formally recognise Golan as a part of Israel, citing the Syrian war as justification.
In November 2015, at the first meeting between Netanyahu and Obama in over a year, the Israeli leader allegedly said as Syria was no longer a fully functioning state, this allowed “for different thinking”.
An article from October 2015 in The Jewish Press stated:
Syrian rebels, the Islamic State (ISIS) and the Assad regime, and today that means Russia, now have another reason to capture the Golan Heights – oil.
If Genie manage to extract this oil it would leave Israel independent of its Arab neighbours for fuel for decades, as well as providing a friendly source for the USA. The political ramifications of oil in the Golan are complex and far reaching.
Murdoch is no stranger to using his media control to manipulate voters. He helped Thatcher in the 80s, Blair to power in 1997 and Bush in 2000. He uses his power to influence public opinion. His outlets were all in staunch support of the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
The war in Syria has been incredibly complicated by the actions of other nation states each supporting their favoured factions. As can be seen from the Jewish Press article, the belief that Russia is supporting Assad for its own gains is a theory considered by Israeli media. From Murdoch’s point of view, continued instability in the region is necessary for business. Genie need Golan Heights to be internationally acknowledged as part of Israel prior to extracting billions of barrels of oil from it. A master of manipulation, a well publicised control freak, and quite likely a narcissist; is Murdoch once again using his control of public opinion and of government heads to suit his own agenda?