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What Passes for Journalism and Opinion in America

September 11, 2011 Leave a comment

By Steve Lendman

What Passes for Journalism and Opinion in America

On the 10th 9/11 anniversary, a September 9 Washington Post editorial highlights what readers hungry for news and information face. Titled, “Ten years after Sept. 11: The gains outweigh the mistakes,” it says:

“(C)onventional wisdom (suggests) “We will be hit again” to “Osama bin Laden won by provoking us into a decade of overreaction.”

Fact check

Bin Laden had nothing to do with a US state-sponsored attack. Criminal militarists, in fact, planned permanent war on humanity “overreaction.”

America “made big mistakes over the past decade…But the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon alerted Americans to genuine dangers that only a relative few had previously noticed.”

Fact check

Americans only are endangered by rogue government elements, not “crazed Arabs” wanting to harm them.

“The overreaction argument holds that al Qaeda goaded the nation to curtail civil liberties and construct a monstrous homeland security apparatus while bungling into adventures abroad that birthed new enemies….”

Fact check

Clinton’s 1996 Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act followed the 1995 false flag Oklahoma City bombing.

Air Force General Benton K Partin (a noted explosives and ordnance expert) revealed that high-grade military explosives, detonators, and proper internal placements heavily damaged the Murrah building and 300 others within a sixteen-block radius.

The 300 + page USA Patriot Act was written well in advance of 9/11 as were plans to establish a “monstrous homeland security apparatus” now in place.

Moreover, “adventures abroad” weren’t “bungl(ed) into.” They were planned months or years in advance, ready to be launched at a chosen moment.

“The United States went to war in Iraq on the basis of faulty intelligence.”

Fact check

US lies became pretexts for wars on Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and other nonbelligerent states. Lies launch all wars, not “faulty intelligence.”

With America at war, “(t)here’s a danger that the nation will, once again, withdraw too soon from the challenges. Al Qaeda (is) a well-organized, capable organization intent on causing America mortal harm.”

Fact check

America’s wars create problems. They never solve them.

In the 1980s, Al Qaeda was a US creation to fight Soviet forces in Afghanistan. Ronald Reagan called them “freedom fighters.” Today they’re “terrorists.”

“Confronted with those realities, (Bush and Obama) accepted the same strategic truths: the United States must protect itself at home as much as it sensibly can while taking the fight to its enemies overseas….”

Fact check

America’s had no enemies since Japan surrendered in August 1945, except manufactured ones to justify permanent wars, because the business of America is war.

“Given the scope of the challenge, the country should give itself some credit for what it has achieved.”

Fact check

America’s “achieve(ments)” can be simply explained. They’re lawless, preemptive, permanent imperial wars on humanity, causing millions of deaths and injuries, as well as vast destruction.

On this 9/11 day or any other, it’s hardly a legacy to exude pride. It’s far worse than shame. It monstrously describes the rotting stench of out-of-control imperialism, ravaging planet earth to achieve hegemony.

“There was in fact no large-scale assault on personal freedoms – no equivalent to the Supreme Court-sanctioned roundup of Japanese Americans, no repeat of the Red Scare infringements on freedom of speech and association.”

Fact check

A monstrous police state apparatus followed 9/11, including repressive legislation, presidential directives and executive orders, a total surveillance society, and virtual war on democratic freedoms.

Muslims and so-called undocumented immigrants (mainly Latinos) are today’s Japanese!

Latinos are persecuted, detained, then deported for needing work to support their families back home because NAFTA destroyed their livelihoods.

Muslims have been targeted, hunted down, rounded up, held in detention, kept in isolation, denied bail, restricted in their right to counsel, tried on secret evidence, and convicted on bogus charges.

Afterwards they’ve been incarcerated for extra harsh treatment as political prisoners in segregated Communication Management Units (CMUs), in violation of US Prison Bureau regulations and the Supreme Court’s February 2005 Johnson v. California decision.

That’s police state harshness, also unleashed ruthlessly against other designated domestic and foreign targets.

“The Patriot Act enabled a modest, mostly court-supervised expansion of law enforcement vigilance.”

Both Bush and Obama administrations insisted “that the US war (is) not against Islam.

And though it took too long, (political Washington) eventually made clear that torture is not acceptable.”

The editorial’s concluding comment praised those “who have fought and worked to keep the country safe.”

Fact check

The Patriot Act eroded four Bill of Rights Freedoms, including due process; free expression, association and assembly; legal representation; and freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures.

Moreover, state-sponsored Islamophobia rages, and torture is official US policy. It continues out of sight and mind in numerous prison hellholes, including in America.

That’s today’s state of the nation, but it didn’t happen by chance. It was well-planned long in advance and carefully implemented. As a result, in America’s post-911 world, no one anywhere is safe, including at home.

Fundamental international and constitutional laws are in tatters, replaced by out-of-control rampaging to advance America’s imperium.

As a result, the nation never has been less safe or free, and the worst is yet to come.

The Post editorial can be summarized in two words – disgraceful and scandalous.

But what else could be expected from a leading US broadsheet, infamous for publishing managed news, commentaries and opinions, especially about what’s most important.

A September 9 New York Times editorial matched the Post’s reinterpretation of hard truths neither paper will address. Headlined “A New Start for Libya,” it says:

It “would be unrealistic to expect a smooth transition in the early days of Libya’s post-Qaddafi era.” However, “(t)here are also signs of progress on military, diplomatic, economic and political fronts.”

Fact check

Dozens of previous articles explained reality on the ground in Libya, described as:

— a Nuremberg level crime;

— US/NATO state terror on a ferocious scale;

— NATO called a killing machine;

— initiated was months of planned bloodbath;

— the genocidal rape of Libya;

— NATO’s latest charnel house;

— besieging and terror bombing cities;

— carving up the Libya corpse for profit;

— Libya, Inc.: coming waste, fraud and other forms of plunder on a grand scale; and

— American and Western media cheerleading war and its fallout, inflicting daily crimes and atrocities on a massive still ongoing scale.

Libya pre-March 19 no longer exists. It’s been laid waste by US-led NATO terror bombing and paramilitary killers on the ground.

They were enlisted, armed, funded, and licensed to slaughter, maim, terrorize and loot. They’ve taken full advantage.

As a result, minimally over 100,000 Libyans were killed, multiples that number injured, and many more aggrieved family members affected.

Moreover, war keeps ravaging Libya, inflicting many more daily casualties.

With a population 50 times Libya’s, if America experienced a similar catastrophe, the toll would be five million dead, perhaps another 25 million injured, and multiple numbers of aggrieved family members.

It would be an unprecedented disaster.

Imagine if a foreign journalist or opinion writer called it “a new start.”

The Times said “there is reason to be encouraged,” despite migrant African workers being terrorized and slaughtered, while admitting “(m)uch hard work remains.”

Two late August Times op-eds were just as disgraceful. On August 29, Roger Cohen headlined, “Score One for Intervention.” He compared Libya’s “successful Western invention” with its 1990s Balkan wars and 1999 Serbia/Kosovo terror bombing.

From March 24 – June 10, NATO’s “success” included around 600 aircraft flying about 3,000 sorties. They dropped thousands of tons of ordnance plus hundreds of ground-launched cruise missiles. To that time, the attack’s ferocity was unprecedented, given the destructiveness of modern weapons and technology.

Nearly everything was struck, causing massive destruction and disruption. Included were known or suspected military sites and targets; power plants; factories; transportation; telecommunications facilities; roads, bridges, rail lines, and other infrastructure; fuel depots; schools; a TV station; China’s Belgrade Embassy; hospitals; government offices; churches; historical landmarks; and more in cities and villages throughout the country.

An estimated $100 billion in damage was inflicted. The humanitarian disaster was horrific. Environmental contamination was extensive. Large numbers were killed, injured or displaced. Two million people lost their livelihoods. Many their homes and communities, and for most their futures from what America planned and implemented jointly with NATO.

They replicated it in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya.

“Score One for Intervention.”

For years, Cohen’s produced numerous pro-war trash pieces like other corporate media scoundrels, selling their souls for a buck.

On August 31, so did Nicholas Kristof in his op-ed titled, “Thank You, America!” claiming fake Tripoli celebrations portray Americans and NATO partners as “heros.”

He, in fact, was there and knows, but lied, calling it “a historic moment….a rare military intervention for humanitarian reasons….a model (for future) intervention(s).”

Ignoring reality on the ground, he claimed “no looting (and) little apparent retaliation,” despite Tripoli streets strewn with corpses and its residents cowering inside homes in fear.

Instead, he hailed “great progress in the last few days. Tripoli now feels reasonably safe….Pro-Americanism now is ubiquitous.”

His contempt for civil values and intellectual dishonesty didn’t even match the level of a B horror movie script.

A previous article said corporate media scoundrels like him prostitute themselves daily, making street whores, pimps, and dope peddlers look respectable by comparison.

They indeed reveal the shocking state of America’s journalism and opinion.

Another article imagined freedom from all managed news and commentaries. Avoid them and make it happen.

Final 9/11 Comments

On September 9, a Washington Blog.com posting headlined:

“High-Level Officials Eager to Spill the Beans About What REALLY Happened on 9/11….But No One in Washington or the Media Want to Hear”

“9/11 Commission Admits it Never Got the Facts….But No One Wants to Hear From the People Who Know What Happened”

9/11 Commission co-chairman Lee Hamilton said:

“I don’t believe for a minute we got everything right,” adding that the commission was set up to fail.

Commission member Bob Kerrey said:

“There are ample reasons to suspect that there may be some alternative to what we outlined in our version,” adding commission members didn’t have access to important information.

Other commission members also expressed frustration because key facts were suppressed, misrepresented, and military officials lied.

Commission member Max Cleland resigned in disgust, calling the inquiry “a national scandal.”

Senior Commission counsel John Farmer said “At some level of the government, at some point in time….there was an agreement not to tell the truth about what happened,” adding:

“I was shocked at how different the truth was from the way it was described.” A “culture of concealment” describes the spin that became the official story.

All Commission members and various other present and past government officials knew that 9/11 mythology substituted for full disclosure.

To this day, nothing changed as Americans commemorate what’s best described as “The Big Lie of Our Time.”

As a result, the price they keep paying is incalculable.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.

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Fundamentalism Kills

People embrace and mourn at the massive flower field laid in memory of victims of Friday’s twin attacks in Norway.

By Chris Hedges

Fundamentalism Kills

The gravest threat we face from terrorism, as the killings in Norway by Anders Behring Breivik underscore, comes not from the Islamic world but the radical Christian right and the secular fundamentalists who propagate the bigoted, hateful caricatures of observant Muslims and those defined as our internal enemies. The caricature and fear are spread as diligently by the Christian right as they are by atheists such as Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens. Our religious and secular fundamentalists all peddle the same racist filth and intolerance that infected Breivik. This filth has poisoned and degraded our civil discourse. The looming economic and environmental collapse will provide sparks and tinder to transform this coarse language of fundamentalist hatred into, I fear, the murderous rampages experienced by Norway. I worry more about the Anders Breiviks than the Mohammed Attas.

The battle under way in America is not between religion and science. It is not between those who embrace the rational and those who believe in biblical myth. It is not between Western civilization and Islam. The blustering televangelists and the New Atheists, the television pundits and our vaunted Middle East specialists and experts, are all part of our vast, simplistic culture of mindless entertainment. They are in show business. They cannot afford complexity. Religion and science, facts and lies, truth and fiction, are the least of their concerns. They trade insults and clichés like cartoon characters. They don masks. One wears the mask of religion. One wears the mask of science. One wears the mask of journalism. One wears the mask of the terrorism expert. They jab back and forth in predictable sound bites. It is a sterile and useless debate between bizarre subsets of American culture. Some use the scientific theory of evolution to explain the behavior and rules for complex social and political systems, and others insist that the six-day creation story in Genesis is a factual account. The danger we face is not in the quarrel between religion advocates and evolution advocates, but in the widespread mental habit of fundamentalism itself.

We live in a fundamentalist culture. Our utopian visions of inevitable human progress, obsession with endless consumption, and fetish for power and unlimited growth are fed by illusions that are as dangerous as fantasies about the Second Coming. These beliefs are the newest expression of the infatuation with the apocalypse, one first articulated to Western culture by the early church. This apocalyptic vision was as central to the murderous beliefs of the French Jacobins, the Russian Bolsheviks and the German fascists as it was to the early Christians. The historian Arnold Toynbee argues that racism in Anglo-American culture was given a special virulence after the publication of the King James Bible. The concept of “the chosen people” was quickly adopted, he wrote, by British and American imperialists. It fed the disease of white supremacy. It gave them the moral sanction to dominate and destroy other races, from the Native Americans to those on the subcontinent.

Our secular and religious fundamentalists come out of this twisted yearning for the apocalypse and belief in the “chosen people.” They advocate, in the language of religion and scientific rationalism, the divine right of our domination, the clash of civilizations. They assure us that we are headed into the broad, uplifting world of universal democracy and a global free market once we sign on for the subjugation and extermination of those who oppose us. They insist—as the fascists and the communists did—that this call for a new world is based on reason, factual evidence and science or divine will. But schemes for universal human advancement, no matter what language is used to justify them, are always mythic. They are designed to satisfy a yearning for meaning and purpose. They give the proponents of these myths the status of soothsayers and prophets. And, when acted upon, they fill the Earth with mass graves, bombed cities, widespread misery and penal colonies. The extent of this fundamentalism is evident in the strident utterances of the Christian right as well as those of the so-called New Atheists.

“What will we do if an Islamist regime, which grows dewy-eyed at the mere mention of paradise, ever acquires long-range nuclear weaponry?” Sam Harris, in his book “The End of Faith,” asks in a passage that I suspect Breivik would have enjoyed. “If history is any guide, we will not be sure about where the offending warheads are or what their state of readiness is, and so we will be unable to rely on targeted, conventional weapons to destroy them. In such a situation, the only thing likely to ensure our survival may be a nuclear first strike of our own. Needless to say, this would be an unthinkable crime—as it would kill tens of millions of innocent civilians in a single day—but it may be the only course of action available to us, given what Islamists believe.”

“We are at war with Islam,” Harris goes on. “It may not serve our immediate foreign policy objectives for our political leaders to openly acknowledge this fact, but it is unambiguously so. It is not merely that we are at war with an otherwise peaceful religion that has been ‘hijacked’ by extremists. We are at war with precisely the vision of life that is prescribed to all Muslims in the Koran, and further elaborated in the literature of the hadith, which recounts the sayings and teachings of the Prophet.”

Harris assures us that “the Koran mandates such hatred,” that “the problem is with Islam itself.” He writes that “Islam, more than any other religion human beings have devised, has all the makings of a thoroughgoing cult of death.”

A culture that exalts its own moral certitude and engages in uncritical self-worship at the expense of conscience commits moral and finally physical suicide. Our fundamentalists busy themselves with their pathetic little monuments to Jesus, to reason, to science, to Western civilization and to new imperial glory. They peddle a binary view of the world that divides reality between black and white, good and evil, right and wrong. We are taught in a fundamentalist culture to view other human beings, especially Muslims, not as ends but as means. We abrogate the right to exterminate all who do not conform.

Fundamentalists have no interest in history, culture or social or linguistic differences. They are a remarkably uncurious, self-satisfied group. Anything outside their own narrow bourgeois life, petty concerns and physical comforts bores them. They are provincials. They do not investigate or seek to understand the endemic flaws in human nature. The only thing that matters is the coming salvation of humanity, or at least that segment of humanity they deem worthy of salvation. They peddle a route to assured collective deliverance. And they sanction violence and the physical extermination of other human beings to get there.

All fundamentalists worship the same gods—themselves. They worship the future prospect of their own empowerment. They view this empowerment as a necessity for the advancement and protection of civilization or the Christian state. They sanctify the nation. They hold up the ability the industrial state has handed to them as a group and as individuals to shape the world according to their vision as evidence of their own superiority. Fundamentalists express the frustrations of a myopic and morally stunted middle class. They cling, under their religious or scientific veneer, to the worst values of the petite bourgeois. They are suburban mutations, products of an American landscape that has been perverted by a destruction of community and a long and successful war against complex thought. The self-absorbed worldview of these fundamentalists brings smiles of indulgence from the corporatists who profit, at our expense, from the obliteration of moral and intellectual inquiry.

Stephen Dedalus in James Joyce’s “Ulysses” acidly condemned all schemes to purify the world and serve human progress through violence. He said that “history is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake.” Dedalus in the same passage responded to the schoolmaster Deasy’s claim that “the ways of the Creator are not our ways,” and that “all history moves towards one great goal, the manifestation of God.” A soccer goal is jubilantly scored by boys in the yard outside the school window as Deasy expounds on divine will. God, Dedalus tells Deasy as the players yell in glee over the goal, is no more than the screams from the schoolyard —“a shout in the street.” Joyce, like Samuel Beckett, excoriated the Western belief in historical teleology—the notion that history has a purpose or is moving toward a goal. The absurdity of this belief, they wrote, always feeds fanatics and undermines the possibility of human community. These writers warned us about all those—religious and secular—who call for salvation through history.

There are tens of millions of Americans who in their desperation and insecurity yearn for the assurance and empowerment offered by a clearly defined war against an external evil. They are taught in our fundamentalist culture that this evil is the root of their misery. They embrace a war against this evil as a solution to the drift in their lives, their economic deprivation and the moral and economic morass of the nation. They see in this conflict with these dark forces a way to overcome their own alienation. They find in it certitude, meaning and structure. They believe that once this evil is vanquished, an evil that extends from Muslims to undocumented workers, liberals, intellectuals, homosexuals and feminists, they can transform America into a land of plenty and virtue. But this fundamentalism, which cloaks itself in the jargon of scientific rationality, Christian piety and nativism, is a recipe for fanaticism. All those who embrace other ways of being and believing are viewed, as Breivik apparently viewed his victims, as contaminates that must be eliminated.

This fundamentalist ideology, because it is contradictory and filled with myth, is immune to critiques based on reason, fact and logic. This is part of its appeal. It obliterates doubt, nuance, intellectual and scientific rigor and moral conscience. All has been predicted or decided. Life is reduced to following a simple black-and-white road map. The contradictions in these belief systems—for example the championing of the “rights of the unborn” while calling for wider use of the death penalty or the damning of Muslim terrorists while promoting pre-emptive war, which delivers more death and misery in the Middle East than any jihadist organization—inoculate followers from rational discourse. Life becomes a crusade.

All fundamentalists, religious and secular, are ignoramuses. They follow the lines of least resistance. They already know what is true and what is untrue. They do not need to challenge their own beliefs or investigate the beliefs of others. They do not need to bother with the hard and laborious work of religious, linguistic, historical and cultural understanding. They do not need to engage in self-criticism or self-reflection. It spoils the game. It ruins the entertainment. They see all people, and especially themselves, as clearly and starkly defined. The world is divided into those who embrace or reject their belief systems. Those who support these belief systems are good and forces for human progress. Those who oppose these belief systems are stupid, at best, and usually evil. Fundamentalists have no interest in real debate, real dialogue, real intellectual thought. Fundamentalism, at its core, is about self-worship. It is about feeling holier, smarter and more powerful than everyone else. And this comes directly out of the sickness of our advertising age and its exaltation of the cult of the self. It is a product of our deep and unreflective cultural narcissism.

Our faith in the inevitability of human progress constitutes an inability to grasp the tragic nature of history. Human history is one of constant conflict between the will to power and the will to nurture and protect life. Our greatest achievements are always intertwined with our greatest failures. Our most exalted accomplishments are always coupled with our most egregious barbarities. Science and industry serve as instruments of progress as well as instruments of destruction. The Industrial Age has provided feats of engineering and technology, yet it has also destroyed community, spread the plague of urbanization, uprooted us all, turned human beings into cogs and made possible the total war and wholesale industrial killing that has marked the last century. These technologies, even as we see them as our salvation, are rapidly destroying the ecosystem on which we depend for life.

There is no linear movement in history. Morality and ethics are static. Human nature does not change. Barbarism is part of the human condition and we can all succumb to its basest dimensions. This is the tragedy of history. Human will is morally ambiguous. The freedom to act as often results in the construction of new prisons and systems of repression as it does the safeguarding of universal human rights. The competing forces of love and of power define us, what Sigmund Freud termed Eros and Thanatos. Societies have, throughout history, ignored calls for altruism and mutuality in times of social upheaval and turmoil. They have wasted their freedom in the self-destructive urges that currently envelope us. These urges are very human and very dangerous. They are fired by utopian visions of inevitable human progress. When this progress stalls or is reversed, when the dreams of advancement and financial stability are thwarted, when a people confronts its own inevitable downward spiral, dark forces of vengeance and retribution are unleashed. Fundamentalists serve an evil that is unseen and unexamined. And the longer this evil is ignored the more dangerous and deadly it becomes. Those who seek through violence the Garden of Eden usher in the apocalypse.

Chris Hedges is a weekly Truthdig columnist and a fellow at The Nation Institute. His newest book is “The World As It Is: Dispatches on the Myth of Human Progress.”

Copyright © 2011 Truthdig, L.L.C. All rights reserved.

 

Wikileaks and the War for your Mind

By Joe Quinn

Wikileaks and the War for your Mind

In November 2008, current advisor to President Obama, Zbigniew Brzezinski, described to a group of British political and corporate elite two very basic transforming developments that he believes are occurring on the world scene:

“The first change concerns the surfacing of global issues pertaining to human well being as critical international issues such as climate, environment, starvation, health and social inequality. The second change concerns a global political awakening.”

Brezezinski described this second change as “a truly transformative event on the global scene”. He said that: “for the first time in all of human history, almost all of mankind is politically awake, activated, politically conscious and interactive. There are only a few pockets of humanity here or there in the remotest corners of the world which are not politically alert and interacted with the political turmoil and stirrings and aspirations around the world. And all of that is creating a world wide surge for the worldwide surge for personal dignity and cultural respect in a diversified world.”

To an audience in the US he described the global ‘terror threat’ in this way:

“I’m deeply troubled that a very vague emotionally stated semi-theologically defined diagnosis of the central global menace is obscuring our national ability to comprehend the historically unprecedented challenge which is being posed in our time”

The historically unprecedented challenge is:

“A massive global political awakening and this is obstructing our ability to deal effectively with the global political turmoil that this awakening is generating.”

Brzezinski went on to describe another new reality that global powers such as the US must face: “”while the lethality of [our] power is greater than ever, [our] capacity to impose control over the politically awakened masses of the world is at an historical low”. He further noted that:

“In earlier times, it was easier to control a million people than physically to kill a million people. Today it is infinitely easier to kill a million people than to control a million people.”

Brzezinski is no political light-weight. He has been on the Washington scene for 40 years and served as Jimmy Carter’s National Security Adviser not to mention his long-term membership of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Bilderberg group. As such, his opinions hold significant weight, not so much as an indicator of how things are on our planet, but rather how the US government and the global corporate elites would like things to be. It is clear from Brzezinski’s comments therefore that a potential global political awakening is of great concern to the elite of this world and it would be naive of us to think that they are not taking steps to confront this ‘unprecedented challenge’.

Historically, governments have relied on control of information to control the people. In the last 100 years, that control has been effected largely by control of the media. From government officials as ‘experts’ on the evening news or columnists in newspapers to media representatives ’embedded’ with troops overseas at war, it was a relatively easy task for the government to present a very one-sided picture of world events. With the dawn of the internet age however, and particularly in the first ten years of the 21st century, came the ability for the ordinary person to provide news and analysis to a wide audience and effectively challenge the monopoly of the mainstream media and government control of information.

With the launch of the illegal invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq in 2001 and 2003, the need for the US government to control information reached new heights. In response to the threat posed by a virtual army of amateur journalist bloggers and web-site owners, the US government has not been idle.

In 2006 a US military document obtained under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) gave a fascinating insight into the US government’s plans for ‘information operations’. Written in 2003, the document, entitled ‘Information Operations Roadmap‘, describes the new methods that were being used to fight what the White House understood as an electronic information war. Signed by then Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld, the ‘roadmap’ called for military and government public affairs officers to brief journalists and admitted that information put out as part of the US military’s psychological operations would be directed also at the computer and television screens of ordinary Americans and, as a result, English-speaking people the world over.

Psyops messages will often be replayed by the news media for much larger audiences, including the American public,” the document reads. The term “fight the net” appears several times in the document and makes clear that the US government views the internet, and the information available thereon, as an enemy.

In a 2007 book entitled Information Strategy and Warfare: A Guide to Theory and Practice, Professor of Defense Analysis at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, John Arquilla, and Douglas A. Borer, Associate Professor in the Department of Defense Analysis at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, assert that US government information strategists could “consider clandestinely recruiting or hiring prominent bloggers or other person of prominence […] to pass the US message. Sometimes specific numbers can be effective; hiring a block of bloggers to verbally attack a specific person or promote a specific message, for example, may be worth considering. An alternative strategy is to ‘make’ a blog or blogger […] if a [covert] military blog offers valuable information that is not available from other sources it could rise in ranking fairly rapidly.”

As regards blogs or web sites that speak too much truth to the people, the strategy outlined involves: “hacking the site and subtly changing the messages and data – merely a few words or phrases – may be sufficient to being destroying the bloggers credibility with the audience. […] There may also be times when it is necessary to pass false or erroneous information through the media. […] In these cases, extra care must be taken to ensure plausible deniability and nonattribution and to employ a well thought out deception operation that minimizes the risk of exposure.”

The Israeli government too has recruited an ‘army of bloggers’ to combat anti-Zionist web sites according to an article in the Israeli Haaretz newspaper in January 2009.

Recent polls suggest that the US and Israeli government’s fears in this regard are well-founded. A 2008 Pew Research Center poll for example found that 40% of people in the USA get most of their news about national and international issues from the internet, compared to 35% who say they use newspapers. While 70% of all respondents said they used television as their main source of news, almost 60% of people under 30 years old reported using the internet rather than television as a main source of national and international news.

So the question is, if the US and Israeli governments view the internet as the ‘fifth battlefield’ (behind, land sea, air and space), to what lengths are they likely to go to win the ‘war’? More to the point, does winning this ‘war’ ultimately involve shutting down internet freedom of speech and all dissent against the government?

Today it is public knowledge that, in the lead-up to the Iraq invasion, the mainstream media acted as a mouth-piece for government in unquestioningly spreading the lies and propaganda of the Bush administration and the Washington Israeli lobby far and wide. The effect was to generate public support for what were clearly imperial wars of conquest. Independent news sources sprang up in response to this utter failure on the part of the mainstream media corporations to fulfill their supposed role of holding government officials to account.

Confronting government lies with truth then has been the means through which truth-tellers on blogs and web sites the world over have gained public attention and respect. It would make sense therefore that, to effectively counter or neutralize this ‘threat’, the US and Israeli governments would have to come up with something rather special as a replacement. They would have to produce a convincing facsimile that appeared to be a genuine ‘whistle-blower’ operation capable of re-directing public attention away from the independent media and monopolizing the market for truth in an age of deception. At the same time however, any such operation would have to remain under the control of the same governments. Subtle deception with “plausible deniability and nonattribution” would be the name of the game.

Enter Wikileaks

Wikileaks is officially an international non-profit organisation that publishes submissions of private, secret, and classified media from anonymous news sources and news leaks. Its first document was published in December 2006. The site claims to have been “founded by Chinese dissidents, journalists, mathematicians and start-up company technologists, from the US, Taiwan, Europe, Australia and South Africa”. WikiLeaks started out with the aim of “exposing oppressive regimes in Asia, the former Soviet bloc, Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East.” Interestingly, these are very same areas that are primary geo-strategic and political interest to the US and Israeli governments.

Julian Assange is generally described as the director of Wikileaks. In September 2010 Herbert Snorrason, a 25-year-old political activist in Iceland, questioned Mr. Assange’s judgment over a number of issues in an online exchange in 2010. In response, Assange told him: “I am the heart and soul of this organization, its founder, philosopher, spokesperson, original coder, organizer, financier, and all the rest. I don’t like your tone, if it continues, you’re out. If you have a problem with me, you can f**king quit.” In a July 2010 interview with Belfast Telegraph reporter Matthew Bell, Assange had this to say about “conspiracy theories”

“Any time people with power plan in secret, they are conducting a conspiracy. So there are conspiracies everywhere. There are also crazed conspiracy theories. It’s important not to confuse these two. Generally, when there’s enough facts about a conspiracy we simply call this news. I’m constantly annoyed that people are distracted by false conspiracies such as 9/11, when all around we provide evidence of real conspiracies, for war or mass financial fraud.”

Assange appears to be unaware of the fact that the US wars crimes that he is allegedly so eager to expose were only possible because of the 9/11 attacks and that the official US government story about how the attacks occurred is so full of contradictions and omissions that it is safe to conclude that it is a complete fabrication.

As of June 2009, the Wikileaks site had over 1,200 registered volunteers and listed an advisory board comprising Assange and eight other people. One such board member, Tashi Namgyal Khamsitsang, said that while he received an e-mail from WikiLeaks, he had never agreed to be an adviser. Phillip Adams, another putative board member, said he’d never met Assange or been asked for any advice and suggested that the board was just “window dressing”.

For the first few years, Wikileaks was a relatively unknown to the general public. It wasn’t until March 2010 when the organisation acquired and released a video from a 2007 incident in which Iraqi civilians and journalists were killed by US forces that Wikileaks’ true rise to global fame began. In July of the same year, WikiLeaks began what has turned out to be a sort of ‘strip tease’ for the politically awakened when it released the ‘Afghan War Diary’, a compilation of 92,201 records of individual events or intelligence reports from US troops and agents in Afghanistan. In October 2010, the group released a package of almost 400,000 US military field reports from the US invasion of Iraq called the ‘Iraq War Logs’. In November 2010, WikiLeaks began releasing U.S. State department diplomatic cables.

Beginning with the Afghan War Diary, Wikileaks teamed up, bizarrely, with three mainstream media ‘partners’ – the UK Guardian, Germany’s Der Spiegel, France’s Le Monde and The New York Times – ostensibly to facilitate the organisation and dissemination of the documents. Few Wikileaks enthusiasts seem to have considered the problems with the very idea of such a partnership. It was, after all, the mainstream media who were largely responsible for selling the lies that led to the illegal Iraq and Afghan invasions and the massive suffering and deaths that have resulted. The New York Times for example on September 8, 2002, led with a front-page story by Judith Miller and Michael Gordon, which falsely claimed that Saddam Hussein was seeking to buy aluminum tubes as part of its ‘worldwide hunt for materials to make an atomic bomb.’ As contributing editor of the Columbia Journalism Review, Michael Massing later wrote, “In the following months, the tubes would become a key prop in the administration’s case for war, and the Times played a critical part in legitimizing it”. Despite this, Assange himself stated that he chose the NY Times because it is “one of the best newspapers in the world for investigative research“. How could Assange and Wikileaks possibly expect that ‘secret documents’ exposing US government war crimes would be delivered uncensored to the public by media corporations with such a track record?

Indeed, the first raft of documents concerning the US presence in Afghanistan were transformed into headlines that did more to support the US government’s position on the Afghan conflict than to expose any grand lies. Via Wikileaks mainstream media ‘partners’, the public was regaled with stories of Iran’s ties to al-Qaeda, Iran’s development of suicide bombs in Iraq, Pakistan’s aid to the Taliban, Iran’s growing nuclear threat etc. Subsequent document releases have followed suit with the most recent ‘Cablegate’ documents supposedly revealing that several Middle Eastern governments secretly wanted the US and Israel to ‘deal with’ Iran. There were, of course, a few crumbs thrown to the anti-war community in the form of rather benign ‘leaks’ about US spying at the U.N. and already publicly known details of the US military killing civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan and condoning torture, but overall there was little in the documents to cause more than temporary embarrassment to big government and much to support their war-mongering policies.

But perhaps the most worrying result of the Wikileaks documents release is the reaction of US and other government officials in calling for changes to laws designed to protect freedom of speech. For example US Senator Mitch McConnell called Wikileaks founder Julian Assange a “high-tech terrorist” on NBC’s Meet the Press and said, “if it’s found that Assange hasn’t violated the law, then the law should be changed.” On December 3rd 2010, Sens. John Ensign, Joe Lieberman and Scott Brown introduced the Securing Human Intelligence and Enforcing Lawful Dissemination Act (SHIELD) which would give the government the flexibility to pursue Assange for allegedly outing confidential U.S. informants. Brown said the law would prevent anyone from compromising national security in a similar manner. While Wikileaks supporters have denounced such moves and claim them as evidence that Wikileaks constitutes a real threat to government secrecy and lies, given that the Wikileaks documents themselves have so far proven ineffective in reigning in government corruption, it is difficult to see the entire Wikileaks fiasco as anything other than a cunning set-up.

Israeli Fingerprints

Further suspicion has been cast on the integrity of the Wikileaks operation due to the fact that, despite the large number and the wide array of political and military subjects that the documents detail, not one of them portray either the Israeli government or military in a negative light. Indeed, only a handful of documents make reference to the Israeli government in any way. Given the well-known close relationship between the US and Israeli governments and the close involvement of the Israelis in Middle Eastern affairs in general, this fact is rather astonishing and has given rise to further suspicions about the source and integrity of Wikileaks as an organisation.

Suspicions of ties to the Israeli government were partly confirmed when, in December 2010, Julian Assange admitted in an interview with Al-Jazeerah TV that only a meager number of files related to Israel had been published so far because ‘Western’ newspapers that were given exclusive rights to publish the secret documents were reluctant to publish “sensitive information about Israel“. “The Guardian, El-Pais and Le Monde have published only two percent of the files related to Israel due to the sensitive relations between Germany, France and Israel. Even the New York Times could not publish more due to the sensitivities related to the Jewish community in the US,” he added. In the same interview, Assange said: “We were the biggest institution receiving official funding from the US but after we released a video tape about killing people in cold blood in Iraq in 2007, the funding stopped and we had to depend on individuals for finance.” Assange also appears to hold Israeli Prime Minister and accused war criminal, Benjamin Netanyahu, in high regard calling him a “sophisticated politician“. Writing in the Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz, Aluf Benn wrote, “Thanks to Wikileaks, there is now no fear Washington will exert heavy pressure on Israel to freeze settlement construction or to accelerate negotiations on a withdrawal from the territories.”

What this amounts to is a tacit admission by Assange that the mainstream media had indeed been censoring documents, that Wikileaks was, at least in the beginning, funded by the US government and that the Israeli government has been afforded special treatment by Assange and Wikileaks. This last revelation came hot on the heels of the allegation in November 2010 by a Syrian newspaper reporter that Assange had met with Israeli officials and agreed to not release documents that were critical of Israel. In late December 2010, and apparently in response to the allegations of ties with Israel, Assange claimed that he would “release 3,700 files related to Israel over the next six months, depending on our sources.” Several questions arise as a result of Assange’s remarks: Why wait 6 months? Isn’t Wikileaks fundamentally about speaking truth to power and informing the public of facts that government’s would rather keep secret? Why withhold information about an Israeli government and military that has already been proven guilty of war crimes and opt instead for spreading US and Israeli government lies and disinformation about Iran?

When taken with other aspects of the overall Wikileaks phenomenon, Assange’s comment that the Israel documents would be released “depending on our sources” is highly suggestive of the fact that the Israeli government itself could be the source of these documents. Indeed, when viewed from a broad perspective, the Wikileaks organisation fits the profile of an Israeli operation designed to manipulate both the global public and the US government. After all, Israel excels at manipulating the world’s only super-power and has done so very effectively for many decades via its firmly entrenched US spy network. In truth, the Wikileaks operation affords the Israelis a wonderful new tool with which to subtly pressure and threaten US officials into playing the game the way Israel wants. If Obama comes on a little too strong in his condemnation of Israeli expropriation of Palestinian land, there are undoubtedly as yet unreleased documents that would make US spying at the UN look like a misdemeanor offense. And then of course there is the claim by Assange that he has received documents that relate to that mystery of mysteries: UFOs. If those behind the Wikileaks documents desired to truly throw the cat among the pigeons and radically transform human society and perhaps carry out the greatest deception of all, a ‘smoking gun’ disclosure on the ‘reality’ of extra-terrestrials would be the way to go.

I should make it clear that, when I speak of ‘Israel’, I am not simply referring to the public face of the Israeli government but more specifically to a small group of global ‘financiers’ who have adopted the Israeli national and Jewish religious ideology. To these individuals, both the geographic position of the gerrymandered state of Israel (a wedge and source of division between East and West, old and new), and the religious position of Judaism (a wedge and source of division between Christianity and Islam) is essential to achieving their aims of complete control of the global population.

In summation: based on the available data (past and present) we can reasonably conclude that, through the media hype afforded to the Wikileaks documents and the side show of Assange’s alleged rape charges, a concerted effort is being made to distract public attention from the efforts of genuine anti-war and truth-teller bloggers and web sites to expose the true crimes of the US government and the hidden hand behind global affairs; at the same time, the US government is given an excuse to clamp down on internet freedom of speech and prepare the way for an eventual terminal shut-down of the world wide web.

Psycho Politics: Technicians of Influence Legitimize Mass Murder And Economic Slavery

By Michael Vail

Psycho Politics: Technicians of Influence Legitimize Mass Murder And Economic Slavery

Commentary Based on The Works of Jacques Ellul

Propaganda must also furnish an explanation for all happenings, a key to understand the whys and the reasons for economic and political developments. News loses its frightening character when it offers information for which the listener already has a ready explanation in his mind, or for which he can easily find one. The great force of propaganda lies in giving modern man all-embracing, simple explanations and massive doctrine causes, without which he could not live with the news” –Jacques Ellul, Propaganda: The Formation of Men’s Attitudes

Propaganda is nearly as ubiquitous as oxygen and is as rarely noticed by society. At every waking moment we are bombarded by latent messages telling us how we should feel, how we should live and who to trust. These technocrats are masters of persuasion and manipulation, in this fear laden society we live in they invade our perceptions and distort our morals. The image of the normal family has been altered as well as the American way. Advertisements on radio, television and the movies tell us what to buy and who to vote for. Who has the fortitude not to be indoctrinated in this war on the psyche?

Modern propaganda reaches individuals enclosed in the mass and as participants in that mass, yet it also aims at a crowd, but only as a body composed of individuals. What does this mean? First of all that the individual never is considered an individual, but always in terms of what he has in common with others, such as his motivations, his writings, or his myths.” –Jacques Ellul, Propaganda: The Formation of Men’s Attitudes

Propaganda tends to make the individual live in a separate world; he must not have outside points of reference. He must not be allowed a moment of meditation or reflection..Instead, successful propaganda will occupy every moment of the individual’s life: through posters and loudspeakers when he is out walking, through radio and newspapers at home, through meetings and movies in the evening. –Jacques Ellul, Propaganda: The Formation of Men’s Attitudes

The mainstream mockingbird media will never address individuals directly but connects people together with what they have in common. It is far easier to control groups than people. They seek out what you have in common with those groups. If you are a Democrat, Republican, Baptist, Lutheran or Protestant you have similar goals and desires. The technocrats work on the level of mass communication and work to indoctrinate the masses. It is far easier to infiltrate an organization than go door to door propagandizing people.

A related point, central in Ellul’s thesis, is that modern propaganda cannot work without ‘education’; he thus reverses the widespread notion that education is the best prophylactic against propaganda. On the contrary he says, education, or what usually goes by that word in the modern world, is the absolute prerequisite for propaganda. In fact, education is largely identical with what Ellul calls ‘pre-propaganda –the conditioning of minds with vast amounts of incoherent information, already dispensed for ulterior purposes and posing as ‘facts’ and as ‘education’.” –Jacques Ellul, Propaganda: The Formation of Men’s Attitudes

To make the organization of propaganda possible, the media must be concentrated, the number of news agencies reduced, the press brought under single control and radio and film monopolies established. The effect will still be greater if the various media are concentrated in the same hands.”–Jacques Ellul, Propaganda: The Formation of Men’s Attitudes

Modern humans believe that we have everything in control, we know the mysteries of space and time, yet our brains are filled with useless drivel and we easily default to our original paradigm or pattern during any debate. We cannot handle the idea that we might be wrong about something as we are so well read and take much effort to read the Wall Street Journal daily. We boil down and simply the most complex ideals which is truly the goal of indoctrination. We are immersed in it so deeply that the smartest men on the planet today are blithering idiots. Every so many decades we have to throw out many of the theories we so strongly believed because in the final analysis we know so little it is appalling. We rely on experts, leaders and vacuous puppets in expensive suits to get our daily information. The real question isn’t how much of our information is propaganda but how much is factual and verifiable?

Stalinist propaganda was in great measure founded on Pavlov’s theory of the conditioned reflex. Hitlerian propaganda was in great measure founded on Freud’s theory of repression and libido. American propaganda is founded in great measure on Dewey’s theory of teaching” –Jacques Ellul, Propaganda: The Formation of Men’s Attitudes

Each medium is particularly suited to a certain type of propaganda. The movies and human contacts are the best media for sociological propaganda in terms of social climate, slow infiltration, progressive inroads, and over-all integration. Public meetings and posters are more suitable tools for providing shock propaganda, intense but temporary, leading to immediate action. The press tends more shape general views; radio is likely to be an instrument of international action and psychological warfare, whereas the press is used domestically…Direct propaganda, aimed at modifying opinions and attitudes, must be preceded by propaganda that is sociological in character…Sociological propaganda can be compared to plowing, direct propaganda to sowing; you cannot do one without doing the other first.” –Jacques Ellul, Propaganda: The Formation of Men’s Attitudes

The black arts have been used for centuries. It is not surprising that both Obama and Hitlery Clinton both were community activists, direct and indirect students of Saul Alinsky. Agitation Propaganda is perfect for activists so that they can spur people to action, making the propaganda effect permanent. Integration propaganda is used to bring people into a mass consensus and integrate into a mass consciousness. Propaganda created for persuasion always has bits of truth to it so it can be adopted rapidly. Obama has hired a propagandist to manage media relations to spin negative press in his bid to remain in the white house in 2012. The technicians of influence are paid a handsome price to con the populace into thinking torture is merely pressure and undeclared wars are kinetic military actions. The Newspeak Dictionary is updated constantly, so much so that the citizenry is required to watch many hours of television to stay up to date. Cut your strings and see the shadow puppet theatre for what it truly is, a desperate attempt by Lilliputians to control our thoughts and actions.

The West Is Trapped In Its Own Propaganda

By Paul Craig Roberts

The West Is Trapped In Its Own Propaganda

One of the wishes that readers often express to me came true today (May 11). I was on the mainstream media. It was a program with a worldwide reach–the BBC World Service. There were others on the program as well, and the topic was Hillary Clinton’s remarks (May 10) about the lack of democracy and human rights in China.

I startled the program’s host when I compared Hillary’s remarks to the pot calling the kettle black. I was somewhat taken aback myself by the British BBC program host’s rush to America’s defense and wondered about it as the program continued. Surely, he had heard about Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo detainees, CIA secret torture prisons sprinkled around the world, invasion and destruction of Iraq on the basis of lies and deceptions, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Libya. Surely, he was aware of Hillary’s hypocrisy as she demonized China but turned a blind eye to Israel, Mubarak, Bahrain and the Saudis. China’s record is not perfect, but is it this bad? Why wasn’t the Chinese Minister for Foreign Affairs criticizing America’s human rights abuses and rigged elections? How come China minds its own business and we don’t?

These questions didn’t go down well. None of the other interviewees or guests thought that Hilary had made a good decision, but even the Chinese guests were not free of the common mindset that frames every issue from the standpoint that the West is the standard by which the rest of the world is judged. By pointing out our own shortcomings, I was challenging that standard. The host and other guests could not escape from the restraints imposed on thought by the role of the West as world standard.

What has happened to the West is that it can see itself and others only through the eyes of its own propaganda. There was a great deal of talk about China’s lack of democracy. As the BBC program was being broadcast, the news intruded that Greeks had again taken to the streets to protest the costs of the bailout of the banks and Wall Street–the rich–being imposed on ordinary people at the expense of their lives and aspirations. The Irish government announced that it was going to confiscate with a tax part of the Irish people’s pension accumulations. It simply did not occur to the host and other guests that these are not democratic outcomes.

It is a strange form of democracy that produces political outcomes that reward the few and punish the many, despite the energetic protests of the many.

Political scientists understand that US electoral outcomes are determined by powerful monied interests that finance the political campaigns and that the bills Congress passes and the President signs are written by these interest groups to serve their narrow interests. Such conclusions are dismissed as cynicism and do not alter the mindset.

While the program’s host and guests were indulging in the West’s democratic and human rights superiority, the American Civil Liberties Union was sending out a bulletin urging its members to oppose legislation now before Congress that would give the current and future Presidents of the United States expanded war authority to use, on their own initiative, military force anywhere in the world independently of the restraints imposed by the US Constitution and international law.

In other words, in the great American “democracy,” the president is to become a Caesar.

The Corporate State Wins Again

By Chris Hedges

The Corporate State Wins Again

When did our democracy die? When did it irrevocably transform itself into a lifeless farce and absurd political theater? When did the press, labor, universities and the Democratic Party—which once made piecemeal and incremental reform possible—wither and atrophy? When did reform through electoral politics become a form of magical thinking? When did the dead hand of the corporate state become unassailable?

The body politic was mortally wounded during the long, slow strangulation of ideas and priorities during the Red Scare and the Cold War. Its bastard child, the war on terror, inherited the iconography and language of permanent war and fear. The battle against internal and external enemies became the excuse to funnel trillions in taxpayer funds and government resources to the war industry, curtail civil liberties and abandon social welfare. Skeptics, critics and dissenters were ridiculed and ignored. The FBI, Homeland Security and the CIA enforced ideological conformity. Debate over the expansion of empire became taboo. Secrecy, the anointing of specialized elites to run our affairs and the steady intrusion of the state into the private lives of citizens conditioned us to totalitarian practices. Sheldon Wolin points out in “Democracy Incorporated” that this configuration of corporate power, which he calls “inverted totalitarianism,” is not like “Mein Kampf” or “The Communist Manifesto,” the result of a premeditated plot. It grew, Wolin writes, from “a set of effects produced by actions or practices undertaken in ignorance of their lasting consequences.”

Corporate capitalism—because it was trumpeted throughout the Cold War as a bulwark against communism—expanded with fewer and fewer government regulations and legal impediments. Capitalism was seen as an unalloyed good. It was not required to be socially responsible. Any impediment to its growth, whether in the form of trust-busting, union activity or regulation, was condemned as a step toward socialism and capitulation. Every corporation is a despotic fiefdom, a mini-dictatorship. And by the end Wal-Mart, Exxon Mobil and Goldman Sachs had grafted their totalitarian structures onto the state.

The Cold War also bequeathed to us the species of the neoliberal. The neoliberal enthusiastically embraces “national security” as the highest good.  The neoliberal—composed of the gullible and cynical careerists—parrots back the mantra of endless war and corporate capitalism as an inevitable form of human progress. Globalization, the neoliberal assures us, is the route to a worldwide utopia. Empire and war are vehicles for lofty human values. Greg Mortenson, the disgraced author of “Three Cups of Tea,” tapped into this formula. The deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocents in Iraq or Afghanistan are ignored or dismissed as the cost of progress. We are bringing democracy to Iraq, liberating and educating the women of Afghanistan, defying the evil clerics in Iran, ridding the world of terrorists and protecting Israel. Those who oppose us do not have legitimate grievances. They need to be educated. It is a fantasy. But to name our own evil is to be banished.

We continue to talk about personalities—Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama—although the heads of state or elected officials in Congress have become largely irrelevant. Lobbyists write the bills. Lobbyists get them passed. Lobbyists make sure you get the money to be elected. And lobbyists employ you when you get out of office. Those who hold actual power are the tiny elite who manage the corporations. Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson, in their book “Winner-Take-All Politics,” point out that the share of national income of the top 0.1 percent of Americans since 1974 has grown from 2.7 to 12.3 percent. One in six American workers may be without a job. Some 40 million Americans may live in poverty, with tens of millions more living in a category called “near poverty.” Six million people may be forced from their homes because of foreclosures and bank repossessions. But while the masses suffer, Goldman Sachs, one of the financial firms most responsible for the evaporation of $17 trillion in wages, savings and wealth of small investors and shareholders, is giddily handing out $17.5 billion in compensation to its managers, including $12.6 million to its CEO, Lloyd Blankfein.

The massive redistribution of wealth, as Hacker and Pierson write, happened because lawmakers and public officials were, in essence, hired to permit it to happen. It was not a conspiracy. The process was transparent. It did not require the formation of a new political party or movement. It was the result of inertia by our political and intellectual class, which in the face of expanding corporate power found it personally profitable to facilitate it or look the other way. The armies of lobbyists, who write the legislation, bankroll political campaigns and disseminate propaganda, have been able to short-circuit the electorate. Hacker and Pierson pinpoint the administration of Jimmy Carter as the start of our descent, but I think it began long before with Woodrow Wilson, the ideology of permanent war and the capacity by public relations to manufacture consent. Empires die over such long stretches of time that the exact moment when terminal decline becomes irreversible is probably impossible to document. That we are at the end, however, is beyond dispute.

The rhetoric of the Democratic Party and the neoliberals sustains the illusion of participatory democracy. The Democrats and their liberal apologists offer minor palliatives and a feel-your-pain language to mask the cruelty and goals of the corporate state. The reconfiguration of American society into a form of neofeudalism will be cemented into place whether it is delivered by Democrats, who are pushing us there at 60 miles an hour, or Republicans, who are barreling toward it at 100 miles an hour. Wolin writes, “By fostering an illusion among the powerless classes” that it can make their interests a priority, the Democratic Party “pacifies and thereby defines the style of an opposition party in an inverted totalitarian system.” The Democrats are always able to offer up a least-worst alternative while, in fact, doing little or nothing to thwart the march toward corporate collectivism.

The systems of information, owned or dominated by corporations, keep the public entranced with celebrity meltdowns, gossip, trivia and entertainment. There are no national news or intellectual forums for genuine political discussion and debate. The talking heads on Fox or MSNBC or CNN spin and riff on the same inane statements by Sarah Palin or Donald Trump. They give us lavish updates on the foibles of a Mel Gibson or Charlie Sheen. And they provide venues for the powerful to speak directly to the masses. It is burlesque.

It is not that the public does not want a good health care system, programs that provide employment, quality public education or an end to Wall Street’s looting of the U.S. Treasury. Most polls suggest Americans do. But it has become impossible for most citizens to find out what is happening in the centers of power. Television news celebrities dutifully present two opposing sides to every issue, although each side is usually lying. The viewer can believe whatever he or she wants to believe. Nothing is actually elucidated or explained. The sound bites by Republicans or Democrats are accepted at face value. And once the television lights are turned off, the politicians go back to the business of serving business.

We live in a fragmented society. We are ignorant of what is being done to us. We are diverted by the absurd and political theater. We are afraid of terrorism, of losing our job and of carrying out acts of dissent. We are politically demobilized and paralyzed. We do not question the state religion of patriotic virtue, the war on terror or the military and security state. We are herded like sheep through airports by Homeland Security and, once we get through the metal detectors and body scanners, spontaneously applaud our men and women in uniform. As we become more insecure and afraid, we become more anxious. We are driven by fiercer and fiercer competition. We yearn for stability and protection. This is the genius of all systems of totalitarianism. The citizen’s highest hope finally becomes to be secure and left alone.

Human history, rather than a chronicle of freedom and democracy, is characterized by ruthless domination. Our elites have done what all elites do. They have found sophisticated mechanisms to thwart popular aspirations, disenfranchise the working and increasingly the middle class, keep us passive and make us serve their interests. The brief democratic opening in our society in the early 20th century, made possible by radical movements, unions and a vigorous press, has again been shut tight. We were mesmerized by political charades, cheap consumerism and virtual hallucinations as we were ruthlessly stripped of power.

The game is over. We lost. The corporate state will continue its inexorable advance until two-thirds of the nation is locked into a desperate, permanent underclass. Most Americans will struggle to make a living while the Blankfeins and our political elites wallow in the decadence and greed of the Forbidden City and Versailles. These elites do not have a vision. They know only one word—more.  They will continue to exploit the nation, the global economy and the ecosystem. And they will use their money to hide in gated compounds when it all implodes. Do not expect them to take care of us when it starts to unravel. We will have to take care of ourselves. We will have to create small, monastic communities where we can sustain and feed ourselves. It will be up to us to keep alive the intellectual, moral and culture values the corporate state has attempted to snuff out. It is either that or become drones and serfs in a global, corporate dystopia. It is not much of a choice. But at least we still have one.

American Interventionism: Protecting the Profit Machine

March 24, 2011: By Richard William Posner

American Interventionism: Protecting the Profit Machine

Why America is really so concerned about the push for democracy in the Middle East.

A Brief Refresher Course

America is the spawn of empire building and from the start has itself engaged heavily in that activity. In nearly all cases it has shown a preference for bribery, coercion, intimidation and force over diplomacy and cooperation.

As a nation founded on invasion, occupation and genocide, America has maintained its empire by those means to this day.

Although Spain began the slaughter with the voyages of Columbus, the British colonies that became the United States continued it with a vengeance.

On October 26, 1606, King James I of England granted a royal charter to establish The London Company, a for-profit, joint stock venture that was also known as the Charter of the Virginia Company of London. The company’s purpose was the colonization, for profit, of North America.

From the Start; Murdering the Real Americans

In 1607 the British arrived in Jamestown and, shortly thereafter, began the calculated extermination of the indigenous population. By 1890 an estimated 90,000,000 people, in North, Central and South America had been systematically slaughtered in the fulfillment of Manifest Destiny.

The overt genocide in North America was curtailed after the infamous massacre at Wounded Knee in 1890.

I did not know then how much was ended. When I look back now from this high hill of my old age, I can still see the butchered women and children lying heaped and scattered all along the crooked gulch as plain as when I saw them with eyes still young. And I can see that something else died there in the bloody mud, and was buried in the blizzard. A people’s dream died there. It was a beautiful dream. And I, to whom so great a vision was given in my youth, — you see me now a pitiful old man who has done nothing, for the nation’s hoop is broken and scattered. There is no center any longer, and the sacred tree is dead. —

Black Elk, Oglala Holy Man on the aftermath of the Massacre at Wounded Knee, South Dakota, December, 1890. The United States Army Seventh Cavalry used Gatling guns to slaughter 300 helpless Lakota children, men and women.

Although efforts at limited, selective genocide have continued, they have become much more clandestine.

Lee Brightman, United Native Americans President, estimates that of the Native population of 800,000 (in the US), as many as 42% of the women of childbearing age and 10% of the men…have been sterilized… The first official inquiry into the sterilization of Native women…by Dr. Connie Uri…reported that 25,000 Indian women had been permanently sterilized within Indian Health Services facilities alone through 1975…

No one actually knows how many native women were sterilized during the seventies. You may rest assured that the eugenics movement, although out of sight, is not extinct.

Motivation for Mass Murder

Throughout most of American history, the primary motivation for innumerable annexations, invasions, occupations, coups, assassinations and the installation of genocidal dictators has been to advance the agenda of capitalist globalization and to protect the privatized profit machine wherever footholds have been established.

Whatever the nature of the “business” that has entrenched itself in any sovereign nation, it can count upon the protection of its private security company; the U.S. government.

Chiquita Banana Republic?

Jacobo Arbenz became the democratically elected president of Guatemala in 1951, winning 65% of the vote. In 1952 Arbenz announced an Agrarian Reform Program which threatened to nationalize the United Fruit Company (Chiquita Banana). Faced with the reforms of a socialist democracy, the corporation sought American intervention. (emphasis added)

The democratically elected, progressive government of Guatemala was overthrown in 1954 by a CIA-organized and funded coup. The pretense for this assault on democracy was the alleged, ubiquitous threat of Soviet takeover when, in fact, Russia had no interest in the country. They did not even maintain diplomatic relations. (emphasis added)

This act of U.S. terrorism resulted in one of the most inhumane chapters of the 20th century. A forty year reign of terror ensued, eight years of which was supported by the Reagan administration. This was a period of torture, military-government death squads, mass executions, disappearances and inconceivable cruelty resulting in the extermination of at least 200,000 civilians.

In 1982 Reagan went to visit General Efrain Rios Montt, possibly the worst of the military dictators, who had slaughtered the Guatemalan Indians and peasants indiscriminately. Montts’ actions had won him global condemnation. After meeting with the butcher, Reagan stated that the general was getting “a bad deal”.

This is but a single example among many. To gain further knowledge, try What Uncle Sam Really Wants by Noam Chomsky and Killing Hope: U.S. Military and C.I.A. Interventions since World War II by William Blum.

Also visit Serendipity for some rather stark and ghastly revelations.

Ronnie Strikes a Blow for “Democracy”

In Nicaragua the proxy army of Ronald Reagan, AKA the Contras, was formed from the vicious National Guard of Somoza, a mercilessly repressive, U.S.-friendly dictator.

From 1981-1989 the Contras waged all-out war, on behalf of Washington, against the Sandinistas. Their goal was to destroy progressive government social and economic programs, which were not favorable to the capitalist “free market” agenda.

The civilian death toll was well over 13,000.

John Stockwell, 13-year veteran of the CIA and former U.S. Marine Corps major, had this to say about the American method of “spreading democracy”.

They go into villages. They haul out families. With the children forced to watch, they castrate the father. They peel the skin off his face. They put a grenade in his mouth, and pull the pin. With the children forced to watch, they gang-rape the mother, and slash her breasts off. And sometimes, for variety, they make the parents watch while they do these things to the children.

These are the activities done by the Contras. The Contras are the people President Reagan called ‘freedom fighters.’ He said: ‘they are the moral equivalent of our founding fathers’.

Source

The Addicted Empire

Venezuela is the largest oil producer in South America.

In 2002, a U.S. backed coup in Venezuela became a U.S. back-fired coup. The democratically elected Hugo Chavez was temporarily ousted and replaced by the Bush-approved businessman Pedro Carmona. The outraged response from the people of Venezuela, including most of the military, was so overwhelming that the U.S. puppet was forced to give up his stolen prize after less than 48 hours. He fled Venezuela after he was placed under house arrest pending trial for his part in the failed coup, sought and was granted asylum by Colombia and later turned up in Miami. (emphasis added)

The American instigators/enablers of this recent “intervention” were appointees to the Bush administration whose careers were established orchestrating the dirty wars of Ronald Reagan.

The reason this coup was attempted and why Chavez has a target painted on his back by America can be summed up in a single word: oil. That’s probably the single most important commodity on Earth today, though water may soon overtake it, but that’s another discussion. America’s petroleum industry wants global control of oil production and the profits from it. They don’t want to share those profits with the People of Venezuela or anyone else, but that’s exactly what they’ve been forced to do by the Chavez government.

Since Venezuela is a democracy — in fact, and not in name only like the U.S. — there is a much stronger social component. That is to say, the government attempts to act in the best interests of the majority of the citizens rather than in service of powerful special interests.

The social democracy of Venezuela is hindering the capitalist profit machine in its impossible quest for infinite growth. That the filthy peasants of some back-water Third World country should have their lives improved at the expense oil company stockholders and billionaire CEOs is simply unacceptable.

The U.S. is attempting to do in Venezuela what it did when it came to the rescue of the United Fruit Company in Guatemala. Hugo Chavez is a marked man. I’m surprised he’s still alive. Then again, look how many assassination attempts Fidel Castro has survived.

Go East Young Empire!

The U.S. planned an invasion of Afghanistan well before the conveniently timed “attack” of September 11th. There are strong economic and strategic interests, centered on the control of oil reserves in Central Asia, which are the true motivation for the occupation of Afghanistan.

The U.S. is eying those reserves in the Caspian and Central Asia as an alternative to oil from the unstable Persian Gulf region. Afghanistan is the preferred gateway to and delivery route for the oil, for which American oil companies have acquired rights to as much as 75 percent. Big Oil wants a pipeline through Afghanistan to the Pakistani port of Karachi on the Arabian Sea.

It seems apparent however, that there is little enthusiasm for such a project from whatever powers may be in Afghanistan. In order for the pipeline to become a reality, an obedient puppet regime, enabling U.S. remote control of the country, is required.

The slaughter taking place in Afghanistan has little to do with “the war on terror”, which is nothing more than a pretext for escalating American aggression, and much to do with advancing the agenda of the capitalist profit machine. It’s simply a variation on a theme.

Don’t Mess With the Dollar!

Saddam Hussein made a fatal error when he became the first OPEC member to demand payment for oil in euros rather than dollars. A shift from petrodollar to petroeuro would have a catastrophic effect on the American economy.

Continued American control of Iraqi oil is the reason for the illegal invasion and occupation of that sovereign nation. Anyone who was paying the least attention knew long before the attack was launched; there were no weapons of mass destruction and no connection with Al Qaeda.

One of the first things done after the invasion was to put Iraq back on the petro-dollar. America was largely in control of the inputs and outputs of Iraqi throughout the 1990s. Payment for the oil was in petrodollars, and there was no invasion. No sooner was the switch made to petroeuros than incontrovertible evidence of imminent danger from Saddam’s awesome military might and close ties with Al Qaeda were discovered (invented) and used as a pretext for invasion and occupation.

Once again the capitalist enforcer, U.S. military might, was brought in to ensure that “business as usual” would not be interrupted. In the years following the illegal invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, with the loss of hundreds of thousands of lives, big oil is making the highest profits of any industry in the history of the world.

War profiteering and weapons sales have also been very profitable.

The Peasants are Revolting!

At least that’s how the globalist elite feel.

Suddenly, as if some multi-lingual epiphany has simultaneously struck in several places, common people in the Middle East and elsewhere are getting uppity. They are demanding democracy and insisting that their human rights be recognized. They are taking inspiration from each other and, hopefully, a chain reaction has begun that will lead to a better world for all.

Even in America, lowly, insignificant, middle-class blue collar laborers are emerging from a long sleep of indoctrinated complacency and demanding their civil liberties be returned and their human rights honored. Could things get any worse for our masters?

I certainly hope so. Imagine if you will, several OPEC nations suddenly being transformed from capitalist-friendly monarchies and dictatorships into social democracies like those that are beginning to emerge in Central and South America.

Envision the peoples of Third World countries all over Earth coming to the understanding that the internal strife in their societies, which is often fomented and exaggerated by outside forces, is allowing those same forces to steal their resources and heritage, destroy their culture and environment and deprive them of their dignity, integrity and humanity.

It’s one thing for America and its “allies” to bring in the enforcers and abort one or two isolated, nascent, “socialist” experiments. It would be quite another to deal with a global flare-up of societies, especially those in oil producing nations, suddenly awakened and enraged by the injustices they have endured for centuries at the hands of a cadre of parasitic, psychopathic, self-proclaimed rulers.

“It’s the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine!” — R.E.M.

Could it be possible that we are about to witness, even participate in, a global, societal sea change? Is there a chance that homo sapiens are beginning to access their species consciousness, awakening their potential to embrace the reality of a single human family?

Perhaps the would-be rulers of the world have finally pushed too far, hard and wide in their quest for supremacy over all. Their actions, made so highly visible today by the nearly instantaneous global spread of information, may become the catalyst that will initiate the disintegration of their dystopian dream. Their lust for power and control and the ruthless pursuit of them may be about to backfire.

The technological “shrinking” of our world, the sudden ability of practically everyone to know what is happening, almost everywhere, nearly in real time, is making us all more aware of each other and our shared humanity than ever before in history. That awareness also brings the recognition of the injustice, oppression and exploitation we are all being subjected to.

If sufficient numbers of people realize they ultimately share the same goal; if they instinctively work toward that single, identical purpose, however independently, nothing will stop them from achieving it.

If it’s true that the darkest hour is just before dawn, then the sun is just about to rise.

Richard Posner is a writer, computer graphics and image editor, and is skilled at electronic music applications.  The full range of his political and ideological views, and the background for those, can be found on his own site.  Richard can be contacted directly at coldwarbaby@gmail.com

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