Softpanorama

May the source be with you, but remember the KISS principle ;-)
Contents Bulletin Scripting in shell and Perl Network troubleshooting History Humor

Neoliberal war on reality, or the importance of controlling the narrative

The Triumph of Entertainment and Spectacle in under Neoliberalism

News Elite [Dominance] Theory And the Revolt of the Elite Recommended Links Media as a weapon of mass deception Lewis Powell Memo Deception as an art form
Groupthink Disciplined Minds Belief-coercion in high demand cults Fake News scare and US NeoMcCartyism Conspiracy theory label as a subtle form of censorship Discrediting the opponent as favorite tactic of neoliberals
Neoliberal newspeak US and British media are servants of security apparatus British elite hypocrisy Anti-Russian hysteria in connection emailgate and DNC leak Anti Trump Hysteria Pathological Russophobia of the US elite
Corruption of the language Doublespeak Patterns of Propaganda Diplomacy by deception War propaganda Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle
Inside "democracy promotion" hypocrisy fair Patterns of Propaganda Bullshit as MSM communication method Manipulation of the term "freedom of press" Identity politics as divide and conquer The Guardian Slips Beyond the Reach of Embarrassment
Color revolutions Co-opting of the Human Rights to embarrass governments who oppose neoliberalism Democracy as a universal opener for access to natural resources What's the Matter with Kansas Understanding Mayberry Machiavellians  
Neo-fascism Nation under attack meme Nineteen Eighty-Four Manufactured consent Groupthink Big Uncle is Watching You
Who Shot down Malaysian flight MH17? Ukraine: From EuroMaidan to EuroAnschluss Pussy Riot Provocation and "Deranged Pussy Worship Syndrome" MSM Sochi Bashing Rampage Is national security state in the USA gone rogue ? Totalitarian Decisionism & Human Rights: The Re-emergence of Nazi Law
Soft propaganda Classic Papers Media Ownership Propaganda Quotes Humor Etc

The informational function of the media would be this to help us forget, to serve as the very agents and mechanism for our historical amnesia.

But in that cast of two features of postmodernism on which I have dwelt here -- the transformation of reality into images, the fragmentation of 'me' into a series of perpetual presents -- are bother extraordinary consolant with this process.

... We have seen that there is a way in which postmodernism replicates or reproduces -- reinforces -- the logic of consumer capitalism.

Frederic Jameson “Postmodernism and Consumer Society

"The truth is that the newspaper is not a place for information to be given, rather it is just hollow content, or more than that, a provoker of content. If it prints lies about atrocities, real atrocities are the result."

Karl Kraus, 1914

WAR IS PEACE. FREEDOM IS SLAVERY. IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH

1984

We are the world, we are exceptional, we cannot fail. The elite will lie, and the people will pretend to believe them. Heck about 20 percent of the American public will believe almost anything if it is wrapped with the right prejudice and appeal to passion. Have a pleasant evening.

jessescrossroadscafe.blogspot.com, Feb 04, 2015

Journalists manipulate us in the interest of the Powerful. Do you also have the feeling, that you are often manipulated by the media and  lied to? Then you're like the majority of Germans. Previously it was considered as a "conspiracy theory". Now it revealed by an Insider, who tells us what is really happening under the hood.

The Journalist Udo Ulfkotte ashamed today that he spent 17 years in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. ...he reveals why opinion leaders produce tendentious reports and serve as the extended Arm of the NATO press office. ...the author also was admitted into the networks of American elite organizations, received in return for positive coverage in the US even a certificate of honorary citizenship.

In this book you will learn about industry lobby organisations. The author calls hundreds of names and looks behind the Scenes of those organizations, which exert bias into media, such as: Atlantic bridge, Trilateral Commission, the German Marshall Fund, American Council on Germany, American Academy, Aspen Institute, and the Institute for European politics. Also revealed are the intelligence backgrounds of those lobby groups, the methods and forms of propaganda and financing used, for example, by the US Embassy. Which funds  projects for the targeted influencing of public opinion in Germany 

...You realize how you are being manipulated - and you know from whom and why. At the end it becomes clear that diversity of opinion will now only be simulated. Because our "messages" are often pure brainwashing.

Gekaufte Journalisten - Medienwelt Enthüllungen Bücher - Kopp Verlag


Introduction

In many respects, the media creates reality, so perhaps the most effective route toward changing reality runs through the media.  "Controlling the narrative" is the major form of neoliberal MSM war on reality. By providing "prepackaged" narrative for a particular world event and selectively suppressing alternative information channels that contraduct the official narrative, neoliberals control and channel emotions of people in the direction they want.  Often in the direction of yet another war for the expansion of the global neoliberal empire led from Washington, DC.

libezkova said in reply to Fred C. Dobbs...  January 29, 2017 at 08:31 AM  

Neoliberal MSM want to control the narrative. That's why "alternative facts" should be called an "alternative narrative". https://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/06/09/controlling-the-narrative/?_r=0

== quote ==

Maybe this is the same kind of clinical detachment doctors have to cultivate, a way of distancing oneself from the subject, protecting yourself against a crippling empathy. I won’t say that writers or artists are more sensitive than other people, but it may be that they’re less able to handle their own emotions.

It may be that art, like drugs, is a way of dulling or controlling pain. Eloquently articulating a feeling is one way to avoid actually experiencing it.

Words are only symbols, noises or marks on paper, and turning the messy, ugly stuff of life into language renders it inert and manageable for the author, even as it intensifies it for the reader.

It’s a nerdy, sensitive kid’s way of turning suffering into something safely abstract, an object of contemplation.

I suspect most of the people who write all that furious invective on the Internet, professional polemicists and semiliterate commenters alike, are lashing out because they’ve been hurt — their sense of fairness or decency has been outraged, or they feel personally wounded or threatened.

It is hard to disagree with the notion which was put by several authors that American society is living  in a cocoon of illusion which conveniently isolates them from reality: entertainment and escapism infuse our society, economy, and political system with severe consequences. Among such authors are  Aldous Huxley. C. Wright Mills, Sheldon Wolin, Ralph Nader, Karl Polanyi, Jared Diamond, Paul Craig Roberts, Chris Hedge and several others. If we compare dystopias of Huxley and Orwell, and it clear that Huxley in his famous  New Brave World predicted the future much better:

"Huxley feared was that would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one... the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance."

The central idea here is that we now live as a society in which citizens become so distracted (and by extension detached) from reality that they lost any ability to influence their political or economic destiny. It is the same phenomenon that is described under the label of Inverted Totalitarism

This is one of the truly malevolent aspects of today's modern neoliberal world order and we need to confront it. It allows the old game of blaming the weak and the marginal, a staple of neo-fascist and despotic regimes; this illusion empower the dark undercurrents of sadism and violence in American society and deflect attention from the neoliberal financial vampires who have drained the blood of the country

"The tragedy is that we have become a screen culture, televisions, computers, phones, tablets, etc. Our electronic hallucinations have produced a society that has little time or patience for introspection or deep thinking. It reinforced my decision to maintain a television free life. For some, what Chris has to say may cut to close to the bone. But those with the courage to do so are usually the ones that care the most."

The biggest and most invisible elephant in the American psyche is this: our government has long since abandoned the goal of managing this nation as a nation. Instead, America as a nation is managed as a means to global empire.

For example the loss of the critical skills of literacy (seven million total illiterates, another 27 million unable to read well enough to complete a job application, and still another 50 million who read at a 4th-5th-grade level)  have led large part of the US population to become incapable of thinking for ourselves.

In fact they have become as malleable as children. 80% of U.S. families did not buy or read a single book in a year.  Despite technology and internet access we are becoming a society of functionally ignorant and illiterate people.

For example there is widespread illusion of inclusion. This is the illusion that we are or will be included among the fortunate few because misfortune happens only to those who deserve it. There are plenty of people who understand that the corporate model is one in which there are squeezers and those who are to be squeezed. So the illusion of inclusion provides what can be called "a plantation morality" that exalts the insiders and denigrates the outsiders. Those content with this arrangement obviously view themselves as insiders even when they work for companies that are actively shedding employees. Many of these people are happy to be making good money for digging graves for others, never stopping to wonder if maybe someday one of those graves might be their own.

One of the first recorded metaphors which explained this phenomenon of substitution of reality with  illusion was Plato's tale about cave dwellers, who thought the shadows on the wall were the actual reality. Illusion can also serve as a deliberate distraction, isolation layer that protects form unpleasant reality. The point is that now it is illusions that dominate American life; both for those that succumb to them, and for those that promote and sustains them. It is the use of illusions in the US  society that become  prevalent today, converting like into the cinema or theater, where primary goal is entertainment.

Modern MSM are driven by postmodernism which includes among other things substitution of reality with artificial reality, fragmentation of history and push for historical amnesia, decentering of subject and juxtaposition of opposites. But the key feature is controlling the narrative.

Controlling the narrative means control and deliberate selection of the issues which can be discussed

Controlling the narrative means control and deliberate selection of the issues which can be discussed (and by extension which are not)  in MSM. It represents real war on reality.  Non-stop, 24 by 7 character of modern media help with this greatly (The Unending Anxiety of an ICYMI World - NYTimes.com):

We used to receive media cyclically. Newspapers were published once (or sometimes twice) a day, magazines weekly or monthly. Nightly news was broadcast, well, each night. Television programs were broadcast on one of the major networks one night a week at a specific time, never to return until a rerun or syndication. Movies were shown first in theaters and on video much later (or, before the advent of VCRs, not until a revival). There were not many interstices, just discrete units — and a smaller number of them.

Now we’re in the midst of the streaming era, when the news industry distributes material on a 24-hour cycle, entire seasons of TV shows are dumped on viewers instantaneously, most movies are available at any time and the flow of the Internet and social media is ceaseless. We are nearly all interstitial space, with comparatively few singularities.

Media became out windows to the world and this window is broken. The notion of 'controlling the narrative' points to dirty games played by PR gurus and spin merchants with event coverage (especially foreign event coverage) to ensure the rule of elite.  A good part of the White House budget and resources is spent on controlling the narrative. Creation of the narrative and "talking points" for MSM is the task of State Department. With State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki, as a pretty telling "incarnation"  of the trend. 

And MSM are doing an exemplary job controlling the political narrative. This way they demonstrate their faithful service to the state and the ruling political class. Nowhere is more evident then in coverage of wars.

Only social media can smash the official version of events. And in some case that has happened. The USA MSM honchos are now scratching heads trying to understand  how to control their version of events despite Twitter, Facebook and other social networks.

On Ukraine, despite the most coordinated propaganda offensive of Western MSMs, the Western elite failed to fully control the narrative:  a sizable number of Europeans are still clinging to the notion that this story had two sides. You can see this trend from analysis of Guardian comments (The Guardian Presstitutes Slip Beyond the Reach of Embarrassment ). More importantly the EU political establishment has failed to maintain a central lie inside official narrative -- that the EU is benign and a force for good / peace / prosperity. EU elite has shown its ugly face supporting Ukrainian far right.

Another example were initially MSM totally controlled the narrative (the first two-three weeks) and then when the narrative start slipping away they need to silence the subject  Shooting down Malaysian flight MH17

The thing is, once you've lost control of the narrative, as happened with coverage MH17 tragedy, there's no way back. Once Western MSM lost it, no-one any longer believed  a word they said about the tragedy.

And little can be done to win back that credibility on the particular subject. Moreover, due to this Europeans are becoming more and more receptive of a drip of alternative media stories that completely destroy official EU narrative. They came from a multitude of little sources, including this site and they collectively  cements the loss of trust to the EU elite. 

More subtle nuances of controlling the narrative: the role of the scapegoat

 There also more subtle nuances of controlling the narrative. Actually controlling the narrative does not mean that you need to suppress all the negative news (like propagandists in the USSR often did -- leading to complete discreditation of official propaganda in minds of the USSR people -- it simply became the subject of jokes). As John V. Walsh noted:

There is a simple rule that is followed scrupulously by U.S. commentators of every stripe on world affairs and war – with a very few notable exceptions, Paul Craig Roberts and Pepe Escobar among them.

This rule allows strong criticism of the U.S. But major official adversaries of the U.S., Iran, Russia and China, must never, ever be presented as better than the US in any significant way. The US may be depicted as equally bad (or better) than these enemies, but never worse.

In other words, any strong criticism of the US presuppose scapegoating and vicious propaganda campaign against  major official adversaries of the US such as Russia. It  must never, ever be presented in a better light then the US in any significant way. In selected cases, the US may be depicted as equally bad, but never worse.

The most recent incarnation of this rule was during Hillary Clinton campaign for POTUS in 2016.

Chris Hedge book Empire of Illusion

Chis Hedge Empire of Illusion  is a penetrating analysis of this effort of "entertainment society" and converting everything including politics into entertainment. It was published in 2010. Hedges discuss  complex issues and a clear, succinct way. You might agree with him, you might disagree with him but you will enjoy his brilliant prose. 

Those who manipulate  from the shadows our lives are the agents, publicists, marketing departments, promoters, script writers, television and movie producers, advertisers, video technicians, photographers, bodyguards, wardrobe consultants, fitness trainers, pollsters, public announcers, and television news personalities who create the vast stage for the Empire of Illusion. They are the puppet masters. No one achieves celebrity status, without the approval of cultural enablers and intermediaries. The sole object is to hold attention and satisfy an audience. These techniques of theater leeched into politics, religion, education, literature, news, commerce, warfare, and even crime. It converts that society into wrestling ring mesh with the ongoing dramas on television, in movies, and in the news, where "real-life" stories, especially those involving celebrities, allow news reports to become mini-dramas complete with a star, a villain, a supporting cast, a good-looking host, and a neat, if often unexpected, conclusion (p. 15-16).

The first big achievement of Empire of Illusion was "glorification of war" after WWIII. As the veterans of WW II saw with great surprise their bitter, brutal wartime experience were skillfully transformed into an illusion, the mythic narrative of heroism and patriotic glory sold to the public by the Pentagon's public relations machine and Hollywood. The extreme brutality and meaninglessness of war could not compete against the power of the illusion, the fantasy of war as a ticket to glory, honor, and manhood. It was what the government and the military wanted to promote. It worked because it had the power to simulate experience for most viewers who were never at Iwo Jima or in a war. Few people understood that this illusion was a lie. p. 21-22.

Media evolved into branch of entertainment. He gives great insight on American society. Several chapters should be a required read for all sociology, film, journalism students, or government leaders. Much like Paul Craig Robert's How America Was Lost you might feel unplugged from the matrix after reading this book. This is the book that corporate America, as well as the neoliberal elite, do not want you to read. It's a scathing indictment against everything that's wrong with the system and those that continue to perpetuate the lie in the name of the almighty dollar. In a way the USA as the rest of the world are amusing itself into a post apocalyptic state, without an apocalypse. It is simply cannibalizing itself.

That books also contains succinct, and damning condemnation of globalization (and, specifically, the USA's role in it). You can compare it with Klein's 'Shock Doctrine', but it cuts a wider swath. 

The discussion the follows was by-and-large adapted from  D. Benor  Amazon review of the book

We consume countless lies daily, false promises that if we buy this brand or that product, if we vote for this candidate, we will be respected, envied, powerful, loved, and protected. The flamboyant lives of celebrities and the outrageous characters on television, movies,  and sensational talk shows are peddled to us, promising to fill up the emptiness in our own lives. Celebrity culture encourages everyone to think of themselves as potential celebrities, as possession unique if unacknowledged gifts. p. 26-7. Celebrity is the vehicle used by a corporate society to sell us these branded commodities, most of which we do not need. Celebrities humanize commercial commodities. They present the familiar and comforting face of the corporate state. p. 37.

Reporters, especially those on television, no longer ask whether the message is true but rather whether the pseudo-event worked or did not work as political theater for supporting particular (usually State Department in case of foreign events) talking points.  Pseudo-events are judged on how effectively we have been manipulated by illusion. Those events that appear real are relished and lauded. Those that fail to create a believable illusion are deemed failures. Truth is irrelevant. Those who succeed in politics, as in most of the culture, are those who create the most convincing fantasies. This is the real danger of pseudo-events and why pseudo-events are far more pernicious than stereotypes. They do not explain reality, as stereotypes attempt to, but replace reality. Pseudo-events redefines reality by the parameters set by their creators. These creators, who make massive profits selling illusions, have a vested interest in maintaining the power structures they control. p. 50-1.

A couple quotes: "When a nation becomes unmoored from reality, it retreats into a world of magic. Facts are accepted or discarded according to the dictates of a preordained cosmology. The search for truth becomes irrelevant." (p. 50) "The specialized dialect and narrow education of doctors, academics, economists, social scientists, military officers, investment bankers, and government bureaucrats keeps each sector locked in its narrow role. The overarching structure of the corporate state and the idea of the common good are irrelevant to specialists. They exist to make the system work, not to examine it." (p. 98) I could go on and on citing terrific passages.

The flight into illusion sweeps away the core values of the open society. It corrodes the ability to think for oneself, to draw independent conclusions, to express dissent when judgment and common sense tell you something is wrong, to be self-critical, to challenge authority, to grasp historical facts, to advocate for change, and to acknowledge that there are other views, different ways, and structures of being that are morally and socially acceptable. A populace deprived of the ability to separate lies from truth, that has become hostage to the fictional semblance of reality put forth by pseudo-events, is no longer capable of sustaining a free society.

Those who slip into this illusion ignore the signs of impending disaster. The physical degradation of the planet, the cruelty of global capitalism, the looming oil crisis, the collapse of financial markets, and the danger of overpopulation rarely impinge to prick the illusions that warp our consciousness. The words, images, stories, and phrases used to describe the world in pseudo-events have no relation to what is happening around us. The advances of technology and science, rather than obliterating the world of myth, have enhanced its power to deceive. We live in imaginary, virtual worlds created by corporations that profit from our deception. Products and experiences - indeed, experience as a product - offered up for sale, sanctified by celebrities, are mirages. They promise us a new personality. They promise us success and fame. They promise to mend our brokenness. p. 52-3.

We have all seen the growth of a culture of lies and deception in politics, banking, commerce and education. Hodges points out how this has been facilitated by our abandoning the teaching of values and analysis in our schools.

The flight from the humanities has become a flight from conscience. It has created an elite class of experts who seldom look beyond their tasks and disciplines to put what they do in a wider, social context. And by absenting themselves from the moral and social questions raised by the humanities, they have opted to serve a corporate structure that has destroyed the culture around them.

Our elites - the ones in Congress, the ones on Wall Street, and the ones being produced at prestigious universities and business schools - do not have the capacity to fix our financial mess. Indeed, they will make it worse. They have no concept, thanks to the educations they have received, of how to replace a failed system with a new one. They are petty, timid, and uncreative bureaucrats superbly trained to carry our systems management. They see only piecemeal solutions that will satisfy the corporate structure. Their entire focus is numbers, profits, and personal advancement. They lack a moral and intellectual core. They are as able to deny gravely ill people medical coverage to increase company profits as they are to use taxpayer dollars to peddle costly weapons systems to blood-soaked dictatorships. The human consequences never figure into their balance sheets. The democratic system, they believe, is a secondary product of the free market - which they slavishly serve. p. 111.

I quote Hodges at some length because of his cogent, clear summaries of the problems leading us to self-destruction and to ways we might someday restructure society to be supportive and healing to the individual - rather than exploiting people and viewing them only as valuable as they can be manipulated into being gullible consumers.

This is one of the clearest and best focused discussions I have seen on the problems of modern society that are leading us to societal suicide

Hedges points out how a cycle sustains itself between elite educational institutions (Harvard, Yale, Princeton, etc.), the Government (think Congress in particular) and Corporations. Ivy league schools basically turn-out lackeys that do whatever is necessary to maintain their elite, self-absorbed status. The last chapter is entitled, "The Illusion of America," and this is where Hedges does a fantastic job of pulling together all the elements of this dysfunctional society. Other books touch the same themes, sometimes more forcefully but in this book most important elements of this picture put together.

Among the booksHedges cites:

Gekaufte Journalisten by Udo Ulfkotte

The book Gekaufte Journalisten by Udo Ulfkotte was a revelation. Of cause, we suspected many things he  described, but nwo we know detailed methods and mechanisms of suppressing alterative opinion in German society, methods that are probably more effective that anything propagandists in the DDR adn the USSR ever attempted.  One of the central concept here is the concept of "Noble Lie".

Guardian became neoliberal as soon as Tony Blaire became Prime minister. As any neoliberal publication is subscribes to the notion of "noble lie". The latter actually came from neocons playbook.   No they knowingly try to dumb down their reader substituting important topic with celebrity gossip and hate speech. Even political issue now are "served" to the public as dishes under heavy sauce of personalities involved, which is a perfect way to obscure the subject and distract the readers.

geronimo -> MurkyFogsFutureLogs 14 Mar 2015 12:31
Indeed...

Under the retiring editor, all politics seems to have been reduced to 'identity' politics. Forget about class, war, class war and so on... If it can't be reduced to Hillary's gender or Putin's, er... transcendental evil... then it's barely worth a comment above the line.

As I've said before, for the Guardian 'the personal is the political' - or rather, for the Guardian as for Hillary, the political reduces to the personal.

A marriage made, not so much in heaven, but somewhere in political-fashionista North London.

In reality most prominent journalists are on tight leash of "'deep state". As Udo Ulfkotte book attests this is a rule, not an exception. While this was known since Operation Mockingbird  was revealed, nothing changed. As revealed by Senator Frank Church investigations (Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities) in 1975. In his Congress report published in 1976 the authors stated:

"The CIA currently maintains a network of several hundred foreign individuals around the world who provide intelligence for the CIA and at times attempt to influence opinion through the use of covert propaganda. These individuals provide the CIA with direct access to a large number of newspapers and periodicals, scores of press services and news agencies, radio and television stations, commercial book publishers, and other foreign media outlets."

According to the "Family Jewels" report, released by the National Security Archive on June 26, 2007, during the period from March 12, 1963, and June 15, 1963, the CIA installed telephone taps on two Washington-based news reporters. Church argued that misinforming the world cost American taxpayers an estimated $265 million a year.[20]

In February 1976, George H. W. Bush, the recently appointed Director of the CIA, announced a new policy:

"Effective immediately, the CIA will not enter into any paid or contract relationship with any full-time or part-time news correspondent accredited by any U.S. news service, newspaper, periodical, radio or television network or station." He added that the CIA would continue to "welcome" the voluntary, unpaid cooperation of journalists.[21]

But at this point only handlers and methods changed, not the policy. They are still all controlled by deep state. The most recent revelations of this fact were published by Udo Ulfkotte’s in his bestseller book  Bought Journalists. Here is one Amazon review of the book: 

Unicorns & Kittenson May 1, 2015

I've managed to read a bit of the German version ...
 
I've managed to read a bit of the German version and now I think I understand why this is still not available in English although it was supposed to be released in this and other languages seven months ago. I will be very surprised if this shocking and destabilizing book (which names names) is made available to Americans ... even though it's primarily about the abusive tactics of American intelligence agencies. Please keep asking why it isn't published - despite being a best-seller in Germany -- and how we can get it here on Kindle.

As one Amazon reviewer said "This book will change for ever the way you read and watch the mainstream media! " Here is some additional information from russia-insider:

... ... ...

Ironically, however, it’s likely that one of the biggest threats (especially in Europe) to Anglo-American media credibility about Ukraine and other issues is coming from a very old-fashioned medium – a book.

Udo Ulfkotte’s bestseller Bought Journalists has been a sensation in Germany since its publication last autumn. The journalist and former editor of one of Germany’s largest newspapers, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, revealed that he was for years secretly on the payroll of the CIA and was spinning the news to favour U.S. interests. Moreover he alleges that some major media are nothing more than propaganda outlets for international think-tanks, intelligence agencies, and corporate high-finance.

“We’re talking about puppets on a string,” he says, “journalists who write or say whatever their masters tell them to say or write. If you see how the mainstream media is reporting about the Ukraine conflict and if you know what’s really going on, you get the picture. The masters in the background are pushing for war with Russia and western journalists are putting on their helmets.” [8]

In another interview, Ulfkotte said:

“The German and American media tries to bring war to the people in Europe, to bring war to Russia. This is a point of no return, and I am going to stand up and say…it is not right what I have done in the past, to manipulate people, to make propaganda against Russia, and it is not right what my colleagues do, and have done in the past, because they are bribed to betray the people not only in Germany, all over Europe.” [9]

... ... ...

Apparently, Pomeranzev has forgotten that important October 2004 article by Ron Suskind published in the New York Times Magazine during the second war in Iraq (which, like the first, was based on a widely disseminated lie). Suskind quoted one of George W. Bush’s aides (probably Karl Rove): “The aide said that guys like me [journalists, writers, historians] were ‘in what we call the reality-based community,’ which he defined as people who ‘believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality…That’s not the way the world really works anymore,’ he continued. ‘We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality – judiciously, as you will – we’ll act again, creating other new realities which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do’.” [12]

It’s a rather succinct description of Orwellian spin and secrecy in a media-saturated Empire, where discerning the truth becomes ever more difficult.

That is why people believe someone like Udo Ulfkotte, who is physically ill, says he has only a few years left to live, and told an interviewer,

 “I am very fearful of a new war in Europe, and I don’t like to have this situation again, because war is never coming from itself, there is always people who push for war, and this is not only politicians, it is journalists too… We have betrayed our readers, just to push for war…I don’t want this anymore, I’m fed up with this propaganda. We live in a banana republic and not in a democratic country where we have press freedom…” [13]

Recently, as Mike Whitney has pointed out in CounterPunch (March 10), Germany’s newsmagazine Der Spiegel dared to challenge the fabrications of NATO’s top commander in Europe, General Philip Breedlove, for spreading “dangerous propaganda” that is misleading the public about Russian “troop advances” and making “flat-out inaccurate statements” about Russian aggression.

Whitney asks, “Why this sudden willingness to share the truth? It’s because they no longer support Washington’s policy, that’s why. No one in Europe wants the US to arm and train the Ukrainian army. No wants them to deploy 600 paratroopers to Kiev and increase U.S. logistical support. No one wants further escalation, because no wants a war with Russia. It’s that simple.” [14] Whitney argued that “the real purpose of the Spiegel piece is to warn Washington that EU leaders will not support a policy of military confrontation with Moscow.”

So now we know the reason for the timing of the April 15 U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing, “Confronting Russia’s Weaponization of Information.” Literally while U.S. paratroopers were en route to Kiev, the hawks in Washington (and London) knew it was time to crank up the rhetoric. The three witnesses were most eager to oblige.


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NEWS CONTENTS

Old News ;-)

[Oct 15, 2017] Could we reverse a hacked presidential election by Vinay Nayak and Samuel Breidbart

Those two "propaganda solders" from Yale release outright lies about "stealing information from 90,000 voting records in the state of Illinois alone. " as it this is a fact. Looks like those students learned quickly from their Yale "color revolution" teachers ;-)
The USA perfected election interference technique in dozen of color revolution in xUSSR republics and other areas of the globe. Actually the first color revolution was organized in 1974.
Now DemoRats (neoliberal Democrats of Clinton wing of the party) and elements of intelligence agencies and MS who support them simply can not quit... Now quitting involved potential significant PR damage... McCarthyism has its own internal dynamics. The danger for DemoRats (neoliberal Democrats of Clinton wing of the party) now is that if Russian were investigated why Israelis and Saudies (along with other Gulf monarchies) were not.
Please note that Yale is the main US educational institution that teaches foreign students color revolution theory and practice... See, for example Sott.net and Kerry Re-writes History of U.S. Support for Color Revolutions
Notable quotes:
"... Setting Trump aside, what if a foreign government succeeds in the future in electing an American president through active vote manipulation? ..."
Oct 15, 2017 | www.msn.com

In the past few weeks, we have learned that the Russian government reached more than 10 million Americans with a misinformation campaign on Facebook, and that hackers targeted 21 state election systems , stealing information from 90,000 voting records in the state of Illinois alone. These are just the latest of many revelations about Russia's unprecedented interference in the election.

It is cold comfort that we have no evidence so far that Moscow actually manipulated vote tallies to change the election's outcome.

But what if it emerges that Russian operatives were successful on that front as well? Setting Trump aside, what if a foreign government succeeds in the future in electing an American president through active vote manipulation?

The Constitution offers no clear way to remedy such a disaster.

Any evidence that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia raises its own set of important issues -- now being assiduously investigated by special counsel Robert Mueller. But the disturbing scenario in which hackers manipulate election results, conceivably rendering the true vote tally unrecoverable, would pose a unique threat to a foundational principle of our democracy: rule by the consent of the governed. We would in no sense have a government "by the people."

Although such a constitutional crisis now seems all too plausible, we have yet to seriously consider provisions that might protect our democracy -- measures that could allow us to reverse such a result.

... ... ...

Vinay Nayak and Samuel Breidbart are students at Yale Law School.

[Oct 15, 2017] The Mysterious World of Social Media Manipulation by Samuel Earle

When people stop to trust MSM, rumor mill emerges as a substitute. Neoliberal MSM lost people trust. Now what ?
Notable quotes:
"... But social media manipulation did not begin or end with the election. As early as 2011, the US government hired a public relations firm to develop a " persona management tool " that would develop and control fake profiles on social media for political purposes. ..."
"... The British parent company of Cambridge Analytica, Strategic Communications Laboratories (SCL), has been a client of the government for years, working with the Department of Defense, and The Washington Post ..."
"... There is also growing awareness of hundreds of thousands of so-called "sleeper" bots: Accounts that have tweeted only once or twice for Trump, and which now sit silently, waiting for a trigger -- a key political moment -- to spread disinformation and drown out opposing views. ..."
Oct 15, 2017 | www.msn.com

Now the focus is less on Trump's extensive personal social media following and more on the roles that Facebook and Twitter may have played in alleged Russian interference in the election. Congress is calling on Facebook and Twitter to disclose details about how they may have been used by Russia-linked entities to try to influence the election in favor of Trump.

But despite the much-publicized case in the U.S., the pervasiveness of these political strategies on social media, from the distribution of disinformation to organized attacks on opponents, the tactics remain largely unknown to the public, as invisible as they are invasive. Citizens are exposed to them the world over, often without ever realizing it.

Drawing on two recent reports by the Oxford Internet Institute (OII) and independent research, Newsweek has outlined the covert ways in which states and other political actors use social media to manipulate public opinion around the world, focusing on six illustrative examples: the U.S., Azerbaijan, Israel, China, Russia and the U.K.

It reveals how "Cyber-troops" -- the name given to this new political force by the OII -- are enlisted by states, militaries and parties to secure power and undermine opponents, through a combination of public funding, private contracts and volunteers, and how bots -- fake accounts that purport to be real people -- can produce as many as 1,000 social media posts a day.

By generating an illusion of support for an idea or candidate in this way, bots drive up actual support by sparking a bandwagon effect -- making something or someone seem normal and like a palatable, common-sense option. As the director of the OII, Philip Howard, argues : "If you use enough of them, of bots and people, and cleverly link them together, you are what's legitimate. You are creating truth."

On social media, the consensus goes to whoever has the strongest set of resources to make it.

The U.S.: Rise of the bots

America sees a wider range of actors attempting to shape and manipulate public opinion online than any country -- with governments, political parties, and individual organizations all involved.

In its report, the OII describes 2016's Trump vs. Hillary Clinton presidential contest as a " watershed moment " when social media manipulation was "at an all-time high."

Many of the forces at play have been well-reported: whether the hundreds of thousands of bots or the right-wing sites like Breitbart distributing divisive stories. In Michigan, in the days before the election, fake news was shared as widely as professional journalism . Meanwhile firms like Cambridge Analytica, self-described specialists in "election management," worked for Trump to target swing voters, mainly on Facebook.

While Hillary Clinton's campaign also engaged in such tactics, with big-data and pro-Clinton bots multiplying in number as her campaign progressed, Trump's team proved the most effective. Overall, pro-Trump bots generated five times as much activity at key moments of the campaign as pro-Clinton ones. These Twitter bots -- which often had zero followers -- copied each other's messages and sent out advertisements alongside political content. They regularly retweeted Dan Scavino, Trump's social media director.

One high-ranking Republican Party figure told OII that campaigning on social media was like "the Wild West." "Anything goes as long as your candidate is getting the most attention," he said. And it worked: A Harvard study concluded that overall Trump received 15 percent more media coverage than Clinton.

Targeted advertising to specific demographics was also central to Trump's strategy. Clinton spent two and a half times more than Trump on television adverts and had a 73% share of nationally focused digital ads.

But Trump's team, led by Cambridge Analytica for the final months, focused on sub-groups. In one famous example, an anti-Clinton ad that repeated her notorious speech from 1996 describing so-called "super-predators" was shown exclusively to African-American voters on Facebook in areas where the Republicans hoped to suppress the Democrat vote -- and again, it worked.

"It's well known that President Obama's campaign pioneered the use of microtargeting in 2012," a spokesperson for Cambridge Analytica tells Newsweek . "But big data and new ad tech are now revolutionizing communications and marketing, and Cambridge Analytica is at the forefront of this paradigm shift."

"Communication enhances democracy, not endangers it. We enable voters to have their concerns heard, and we help political candidates communicate their policy positions."

The firm argues that its partnership with American right-wing candidates -- first Ted Cruz and then Trump -- is purely circumstantial. "We work in politics, but we're not political," the spokesperson said.

The company is part-owned by the family of Robert Mercer, which was one of Trump's major donors, while Stephen K. Bannon sat on the company's board until he was appointed White House chief strategist (he was dismissed from his post seven months later). According to Bannon's March federal financial disclosure, he held shares worth as much as $5 million in the company . On October 11, it was also revealed that the House Intelligence Committee has asked the company to provide information for its ongoing probe into Russian interference.

But social media manipulation did not begin or end with the election. As early as 2011, the US government hired a public relations firm to develop a " persona management tool " that would develop and control fake profiles on social media for political purposes.

The British parent company of Cambridge Analytica, Strategic Communications Laboratories (SCL), has been a client of the government for years, working with the Department of Defense, and The Washington Post reports that it recently secured work with the State Department.

There is also growing awareness of hundreds of thousands of so-called "sleeper" bots: Accounts that have tweeted only once or twice for Trump, and which now sit silently, waiting for a trigger -- a key political moment -- to spread disinformation and drown out opposing views.

Emilio Ferrara, an Assistant Research Professor at the University of Southern California Computer Science department, even suggests the possibility of "a black-market for reusable political disinformation bots," ready to be utilitized wherever they are needed, the world over. These fears appeared to be confirmed by reports that the same bots used to back Trump were then deployed against eventual winner Emmanuel Macron in this year's French presidential election.

[Sep 18, 2017] The NYT's Yellow Journalism on Russia by Rober Parry

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The New York Times is prepping the American people for what could become World War III. The daily message is that you must learn to hate Russia and its President Vladimir Putin so much that, first, you should support vast new spending on America's Military-Industrial Complex and, second, you'll be ginned up for nuclear war if it comes to that. ..."
"... At this stage, the Times doesn't even try for a cosmetic appearance of objective journalism. Look at how the Times has twisted the history of the Ukraine crisis, treating it simply as a case of "Russian aggression" or a "Russian invasion." The Times routinely ignores what actually happened in Ukraine in late 2013 and early 2014 when the U.S. government aided and abetted a violent coup that overthrew Ukraine's elected President Viktor Yanukovych after he had been demonized in the Western media. ..."
"... The Times and much of the U.S. mainstream media refuses even to acknowledge that there is another side to the Ukraine story. Anyone who mentions this reality is deemed a "Kremlin stooge" in much the same way that people who questioned the mainstream certainty about Iraq's WMD in 2002-03 were called "Saddam apologists." ..."
"... Many liberals came to view the dubious claims of Russian "meddling" in the 2016 election as the golden ticket to remove Trump from the White House. So, amid that frenzy, all standards of proof were jettisoned to make Russia-gate the new Watergate. ..."
"... For one, even if the U.S. government were to succeed in destabilizing nuclear-armed Russia sufficiently to force out President Putin, the neocon dream of another malleable Boris Yeltsin in the Kremlin is far less likely than the emergence of an extreme Russian nationalist who might be ready to push the nuclear button rather than accept further humiliation of Mother Russia. ..."
"... The truth is that the world has much less to fear from the calculating Vladimir Putin than from the guy who might follow a deposed Vladimir Putin amid economic desperation and political chaos in Russia. But the possibility of nuclear Armageddon doesn't seem to bother the neocon/liberal-interventionist New York Times. Nor apparently does the principle of fair and honest journalism. ..."
"... America's Stolen Narrative, ..."
"... The Trans-Atlantic Empire of banking cartels rest upon enmity with the only other Great Powers in the World: Russia and China, while keeping USA thoroughly within their orbit, relying on our Great Power as the engine that powers this Western Bankers' Empire (the steering room lies in City-of-London, who has LONG maneuvered, via their Wall Street assets, to bring us into Empire). Should peaceful, cooperative and productive relations break out between USA, Russia, and China, this would undermine everything the Western Empire has worked to build. ..."
"... THIS is why the phony Russiagate issue is flogged to get rid of Trump (who seeks cooperation with Russia and China), AND keeping Russia as "The Enemy", keeping the MIC, Intel community, various police-state ops, in high demand for "National Security" reasons (also positioned to foil any democratic uprisings, should they see past the progs daily curtain and see their plight). ..."
"... The funny thing about living through the 'fake news' era, is that now everyone thinks that their news source is the correct news source. Many believe that outside of the individual everyone else reads or listens too 'fake news'. It's like all of a sudden no one has credibility, yet everyone may have it, depending on what news source you subscribe to. I mean there's almost no way of knowing what the truth is, because everyone is claiming that they are getting their news from reputable news outlets, but some or many aren't, and who are the reputable news sources, if you don't mind my asking you this just for the record? ..."
"... To learn how to deal with this 'fake news', I would suggest you start studying the JFK assassination, or any other ill defined tragic event, and then you might learn how to decipher the 'fake news' matrix of confusion to learn what you so desire to learn. I chose this route, because when was the last time the Establishment brokered the truth in regard to a happening such as the JFK assassination? Upon learning of what a few well written books has to say, you will then need to rely on your own brain to at least give you enough satisfaction to allow you to believe that you pretty well got it right, and there go you. In other words, the truth is out there, hiding in plain sight, and if you are persistent enough you just might find it. Good luck. ..."
Sep 18, 2017 | consortiumnews.com

The NYT's Yellow Journalism on Russia September 15, 2017

Exclusive: The New York Times' descent into yellow journalism over Russia recalls the sensationalism of Hearst and Pulitzer leading to the Spanish-American War, but the risks to humanity are much greater now, writes Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry

Reading The New York Times these days is like getting a daily dose of the "Two Minutes Hate" as envisioned in George Orwell's 1984, except applied to America's new/old enemy Russia. Even routine international behavior, such as Russia using fictitious names for potential adversaries during a military drill, is transformed into something weird and evil.

In the snide and alarmist style that the Times now always applies to Russia, reporter Andrew Higgins wrote – referring to a fictitious war-game "enemy" – "The country does not exist, so it has neither an army nor any real citizens, though it has acquired a feisty following of would-be patriots online. Starting on Thursday, however, the fictional state, Veishnoriya, a distillation of the Kremlin's darkest fears about the West, becomes the target of the combined military might of Russia and its ally Belarus."

This snarky front-page story in Thursday's print editions also played into the Times' larger narrative about Russia as a disseminator of "fake news." You see the Russkies are even inventing "fictional" enemies to bully. Hah-hah-hah -- The article was entitled, "Russia's War Games With Fake Enemies Cause Real Alarm."

Of course, the U.S. and its allies also conduct war games against fictitious enemies, but you wouldn't know that from reading the Times. For instance, U.S. war games in 2015 substituted five made-up states – Ariana, Atropia, Donovia, Gorgas and Limaria – for nations near the Caucasus mountains along the borders of Russia and Iran.

In earlier war games, the U.S. used both fictitious names and colors in place of actual countries. For instance, in 1981, the Reagan administration conducted "Ocean Venture" with that war-game scenario focused on a group of islands called "Amber and the Amberdines," obvious stand-ins for Grenada and the Grenadines, with "Orange" used to represent Cuba.

In those cases, the maneuvers by the powerful U.S. military were clearly intended to intimidate far weaker countries. Yet, the U.S. mainstream media did not treat those war rehearsals for what they were, implicit aggression, but rather mocked protests from the obvious targets as paranoia since we all know the U.S. would never violate international law and invade some weak country -- (As it turned out, Ocean Venture '81 was a dress rehearsal for the actual U.S. invasion of Grenada in 1983.)

Yet, as far as the Times and its many imitators in the major media are concerned, there's one standard for "us" and another for Russia and other countries that "we" don't like.

Yellow Journalism

But the Times' behavior over the past several years suggests something even more sinister than biased reporting. The "newspaper of record" has slid into yellow journalism, the practice of two earlier New York newspapers – William Randolph Hearst's New York Journal and Joseph Pulitzer's New York World – that in the 1890s manipulated facts about the crisis in Cuba to push the United States into war with Spain, a conflict that many historians say marked the beginning of America's global empire.

Except in today's instance, The New York Times is prepping the American people for what could become World War III. The daily message is that you must learn to hate Russia and its President Vladimir Putin so much that, first, you should support vast new spending on America's Military-Industrial Complex and, second, you'll be ginned up for nuclear war if it comes to that.

At this stage, the Times doesn't even try for a cosmetic appearance of objective journalism. Look at how the Times has twisted the history of the Ukraine crisis, treating it simply as a case of "Russian aggression" or a "Russian invasion." The Times routinely ignores what actually happened in Ukraine in late 2013 and early 2014 when the U.S. government aided and abetted a violent coup that overthrew Ukraine's elected President Viktor Yanukovych after he had been demonized in the Western media.

Even as neo-Nazi and ultranationalist protesters hurled Molotov cocktails at police, Yanukovych signaled a willingness to compromise and ordered his police to avoid worsening violence. But compromise wasn't good enough for U.S. neocons – such as Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland; Sen. John McCain; and National Endowment for Democracy President Carl Gershman. They had invested too much in moving Ukraine away from Russia.

Nuland put the U.S. spending at $5 billion and was caught discussing with U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt who should be in the new government and how to "glue" or "midwife this thing"; McCain appeared on stage urging on far-right militants; and Gershman was overseeing scores of NED projects inside Ukraine, which he had deemed the "biggest prize" and an important step in achieving an even bigger regime change in Russia, or as he put it: "Ukraine's choice to join Europe will accelerate the demise of the ideology of Russian imperialism that Putin represents. Putin may find himself on the losing end not just in the near abroad but within Russia itself."

The Putsch

So, on Feb. 20, 2014, instead of seeking peace , a sniper firing from a building controlled by anti-Yanukovych forces killed both police and protesters, touching off a day of carnage. Immediately, the Western media blamed Yanukovych. Sen. John McCain appearing with Ukrainian rightists of the Svoboda party at a pre-coup rally in Kiev.

Shaken by the violence, Yanukovych again tried to pacify matters by reaching a compromise -- guaranteed by France, Germany and Poland -- to relinquish some of his powers and move up an election so he could be voted out of office peacefully. He also pulled back the police.

At that juncture, the neo-Nazis and ultra-nationalists spearheaded a violent putsch on Feb. 22, 2014, forcing Yanukovych and other officials to flee for their lives. Ignoring the agreement guaranteed by the three European nations, Nuland and the U.S. State Department quickly deemed the coup regime "legitimate."

However, ethnic Russians in Crimea and eastern Ukraine, which represented Yanukovych's electoral base, resisted the coup and turned to Russia for protection. Contrary to the Times' narrative, there was no "Russian invasion" of Crimea because Russian troops were already there as part of an agreement for its Sevastopol naval base. That's why you've never seen photos of Russian troops crashing across Ukraine's borders in tanks or splashing ashore in Crimea with an amphibious landing or descending by parachute. They were already inside Crimea.

The Crimean autonomous government also voted to undertake a referendum on whether to leave the failed Ukrainian state and to rejoin Russia, which had governed Crimea since the Eighteenth Century. In that referendum, Crimean citizens voted by some 96 percent to exit Ukraine and seek reunion with Russia, a democratic and voluntary process that the Times always calls "annexation."

The Times and much of the U.S. mainstream media refuses even to acknowledge that there is another side to the Ukraine story. Anyone who mentions this reality is deemed a "Kremlin stooge" in much the same way that people who questioned the mainstream certainty about Iraq's WMD in 2002-03 were called "Saddam apologists."

But what is particularly remarkable about the endless Russia-bashing is that – because it started under President Obama – it sucked in many American liberals and even some progressives. That process grew even worse when the contempt for Russia merged with the Left's revulsion over Donald Trump's election.

Many liberals came to view the dubious claims of Russian "meddling" in the 2016 election as the golden ticket to remove Trump from the White House. So, amid that frenzy, all standards of proof were jettisoned to make Russia-gate the new Watergate.

The Times, The Washington Post and pretty much the entire U.S. news media joined the "resistance" to Trump's presidency and embraced the neocon "regime change" goal for Putin's Russia. Very few people care about the enormous risks that this "strategy" entails.

For one, even if the U.S. government were to succeed in destabilizing nuclear-armed Russia sufficiently to force out President Putin, the neocon dream of another malleable Boris Yeltsin in the Kremlin is far less likely than the emergence of an extreme Russian nationalist who might be ready to push the nuclear button rather than accept further humiliation of Mother Russia.

The truth is that the world has much less to fear from the calculating Vladimir Putin than from the guy who might follow a deposed Vladimir Putin amid economic desperation and political chaos in Russia. But the possibility of nuclear Armageddon doesn't seem to bother the neocon/liberal-interventionist New York Times. Nor apparently does the principle of fair and honest journalism.

The Times and rest of the mainstream media are just having too much fun hating Russia and Putin to worry about the possible extermination of life on planet Earth.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America's Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com ).

jo6pac , September 15, 2017 at 4:51 pm

Amerikas way of bring the big D to your nation. Death

http://www.globalresearch.ca/unknown-snipers-and-western-backed-regime-change/27904

Thanks RP for reading the times so I don't have to not that would.

Common Tater , September 16, 2017 at 2:05 pm

Thanks for the link, I knew about the use of snipers in Venezuela '02, did not realize there were so many more.

BayouCoyote , September 18, 2017 at 11:13 am

Kinda reminds me of what our only "Ally in the ME" did to our Marines in Iraq.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GIiGfUjZnbU

JWalters , September 16, 2017 at 7:29 pm

Bingo -- In a surely related story, the mainstream press is equally relentless in AVOIDING telling Americans the facts about Israel, and especially about its control over the American press.
"Israel lobby is never a story (for media that is in bed with the lobby)"
http://mondoweiss.net/2017/09/israel-lobby-never/

Virtually everything average Americans have been told about Israel has been, amazingly, an absolute lie. Israel was NOT victimized by powerful Arab armies. Israel overpowered and victimized a defenseless, civilian Arab population. Military analysts knew the Arab armies were in poor shape and would be unable to resist the zionist army. Muslim "citizens" of Israel do NOT have all the same rights as Jews. Israelis are NOT under threat from the indigineous Palestinians, but Palestinians are under constant threats of theft and death from the Israelis. Israel does NOT share America's most fundamental values, which rest on the principle of equal human rights for all.

How has this gigantic package of outright lies has been foisted upon the American public for so long? And how long can it continue? It turns out they did not foresee the internet, and the facts are leaking out everywhere. So it appears they're desperately coercing facebook and google to rig their rankings, trying to hide the facts. But one day soon there will be a 'snap' in the collective mind, and everybody will know that everybody knows.

For readers who haven't seen it yet,
"War Profiteers and the Roots of the War on Terror"
http://warprofiteerstory.blogspot.com

Common Tater , September 17, 2017 at 3:48 am

JWalters
I can tell you are angry. I too was angry when I figured it out.
Long before I figured it out, I was a soldier. Our unit was prepared for an exercise and we were all sleeping at the regiment compound, the buses would arrive at zero-dark thirty. I was reading a book about the ME(this was shortly after 9-11). A friend, came up and asked what I was reading. I told him I was reading about the Balfour paper and how that had a significant effect on the ME. He began explaining to me how the zionist movement had used the idea that no one lived on that land, to force the people from that land, out of that land.
I quickly responded that Israel had defended that land against 5 Arab armies and managed to hold on to that land. I informed him he was mistaken.
He agreed to disagree, and walked away.
This happened way back in 2002 if only I could pick his mind now. How did he know about this, way back before the internet was in any shape to wake people up?
There is hope still that guys who are young as i was, will say "Fuck You I defend this line and no further."
Without their compliance, there can be no wars.

Bernard Fisher , September 17, 2017 at 8:57 am

CommonTater your story parallels mine -- I was in the military, went to Vietnam to 'defend our nation against communism', felt horror at the Zionist stories of how Palestinians rocketed them, was told by senior officer about what Zionism is really about and I, like you, disbelieved him. That was in 1974 -- -- Now, with all the troubles in the world I won't read the MSP but look towards the alternative news sources. They make more sense. But as I try to educate others on what I have learned I am as disappointed as my senior officer must have been back them. Articles such as this one reproduced by ICH are gems: I save and print them in a compendium detailing ongoing war crimes.

Common Tater , September 17, 2017 at 2:35 pm

Bernard Fisher
Thanks for your response.
Good Idea to save and print these "gems" on consortiumnews.
Hopefully they wake more Americans.
Cheers

michael fish , September 15, 2017 at 5:44 pm

Thanks Mr. Parry,
You are a voice in the hurricane of hatred and lies propagated by the richest people on the planet.
Eventually some moron who believes this new York Times garbage will actually unleash the bomb and we will all be smoke.
That has always been the result of such successful propaganda. And it is very successful. It has almost occluded any truth for the vast majority of westerners .
Michael Fish

Yomamama , September 16, 2017 at 1:58 am

Agreed. I wish this clear and comprehensive article could be stapled on every American voter's door (wanted to say forehead but violence is bad). Many would toss it in the trash. Many would not agree even with full comprehension because of their own horrid beliefs. But maybe a few would read it and have an epiphany. It's very hard work to find an avenue to change the minds of millions of people who've been inculcated by nationalist propaganda since birth. Since 4 years old seeing the wonderful National Anthem and jets fly over the stadium of their favorite sports team. Since required to recite the Pledge of Allegiance in school.

I refused to stand for or recite the Pledge when I was seven or eight years old. I was sent to detention. My awesome mom though intervened and afterwards I could remain seated while most or all other kids stood up to do the ritual. I refuse to stand up and place hand-on-heart and remove cap during any sporting contests when the Anthem is played. I've been threatened with physical violence by many strangers around me.

https://medium.com/insurge-intelligence/exclusive-documents-expose-direct-us-military-intelligence-influence-on-1-800-movies-and-tv-shows-36433107c307

Thanks Mr. Parry, your voice is appreciated, your articles and logic are top-notch. Very valuable stuff, available for the curious, the skeptical. Well, until Google monopolizes search algorithms and calls this a Russian fake news site, perhaps or Congress the same

Virginia , September 16, 2017 at 1:49 pm

Excellent link, Yomamama.

Common Tater , September 16, 2017 at 2:20 pm

My hat is off to you sir, I have not been to any sporting events since I woke up, but I imagine it would be very difficult to remain seated and hatted during the opening affirmation of nationalism. My waking up coincides with a drastic drop in sports viewing. I used to be an NFL fan, rooted for the Niners (started watching NFL in the late eighties), the last full season I followed was the 2013-14 season.

It was the Ukraine coup that woke me up. It started when watching videos on youtube of guys stomping on riot cops, using a fire hose on them like a reverse water cannon. Then I realized these guys were the peaceful protesters being talked about on t.v. It was like a thread hanging in front of me, I began pulling and pulling until the veil in front of my eyes came apart. It was during this time I discovered consortiumnews.com.

Thomas Dickinson , September 16, 2017 at 3:03 pm

Mr Common Tater–just appreciating reading that someone else "woke up". That is the way it has felt to me. For me it was Oct 2002 and Bush's speech that was clearly heading us to war in Iraq. The "election" (appointment) of Bush in 2000 though was the first alarm clock that I started to hear. Most recent wake up is connected to Mr Parry's relentless (I hope) and necessary debunking of the myth of Russian nastiness and corresponding myth of US rectitude. Been watching The Untold History of the United States and have been dealing with the real bedrock truth that my government invented and invents enemies as a tactic in a game–ie. it's a bunch of boys thinking foreign relationship building is first and foremost a game. It has been hard to wash away all this greasy insidious smut from my life.

Common Tater , September 16, 2017 at 4:28 pm

Thomas Dickinson

It sucks to wake up, in a way. Once one gets past the denial, Tom Clancy novel type movies lose some of it's fun, although still entertaining. One secretly knows the audience in the cinema is just eating it all up and loving it. The American hero yells "yippie kayay mother f -- -r" as he defeats the post-Soviet Russian villain in Russia blowing up buildings, and destroying s–t as he saves the world for democracy. The Russian authorities amount to some guy in Soviet peaked hat, and long coat, begging for a bribe.

Oliver Stone's series is really good, it turns history on his head and shakes all the pennies out his pockets. Another good reporter is John Pilger, he has a long list of docs he has done over several decades.

Cheers

Homer Jay , September 16, 2017 at 5:44 pm

I have been watching that same series, about 3 episodes in. The most mind blowing part to think about is how the establishment consipired to block the nomination of the progressive Henry Wallace as a repeat VP for Roosevelt, leading instead to Harry Truman's nomination as VP, and then you know the rest of the story.

Funny how history repeated itself with the nomination of Clinton instead of Sanders. Btw, after Sanders mistakenly jumped on the Russia bashing bandwagon he was one of the few who voted against the recent sanctions being imposed against Russia, Iran, and North Korea. So yeah, I'd feel alot better with a Sanders president at this point.

Mulga Mumblebrain , September 16, 2017 at 5:21 pm

Apart from the obvious Exceptionalist and Zionazi imperative to destroy Russia and China in order that God's Kingdom of 'Full Spectrum Dominance' be established across His world by his various 'Chosen People', the USA always needs an enemy. Now, more than ever, as the country crumbles into disrepair and unprecedented inequality, poverty and elite arrogance, the proles must be led to blame their plight on some Evil foreign daemon.

Only this time its no Saddam or Gaddaffi or Assad that can be easily bombed back to that Stone Age that all the non-Chosen must inhabit. This time the bullying thugs will get a, thermo-nuclear, bloody nose if they do not back off. Regretably, their egos refuse to withdraw, even in the interest of self-survival.

Paranam Kid , September 16, 2017 at 6:13 am

" It has almost occluded any truth for the vast majority of westerners."

You are so right about that, I notice it every day on other forums on which I discuss current affairs with others: the US views are the accepted ones, and I get a lot of stick for stating different views. It is actually frightening to see how few people can think for themselves.

mike k , September 15, 2017 at 5:47 pm

The American people are being systematically lied to, and they don't have a clue that it is happening. There is no awake and intelligent public to prevent what is unfolding. The worst kind of criminals are in charge of our government, media, and military. The sleeping masses are making their way down the dark mountain to the hellish outcome that awaits them.

"These grand and fatal movements toward death: the grandeur
of the mass
Makes pity a fool, the tearing pity
For the atoms of the mass, the persons, the victims, makes it
seem monstrous
To admire the tragic beauty they build.
It is beautiful as a river flowing or a slowly gathering
Glacier on a high mountain rock-face,
Bound to plow down a forest, or as frost in November,
The gold and flaming death-dance for leaves,
Or a girl in the night of her spent maidenhood, bleeding and
kissing.
I would burn my right hand in a slow fire
To change the future I should do foolishly. The beauty
of modern
Man is not in the persons but in the
Disastrous rhythm, the heavy and mobile masses, the dance of the
Dream-led masses down the dark mountain."

Robinson Jeffers

HopeLB , September 15, 2017 at 10:36 pm

Great, Dark and Accurate poem -- Thank You -- Think I'll send it to Rachel Maddow, Wapo and the NYTimes.Might do them some good. Wouldn't that be lovely.

Patrick Lucius , September 16, 2017 at 12:42 am

Which poem is that? Not Shine, perishing Republic, is it?

Thomas Dickinson , September 16, 2017 at 3:22 pm

Rearmament by Robinson Jeffers. I liked that a lot, too, so looked it up. https://www.poemhunter.com/poem/rearmament/

Jeff Davis , September 18, 2017 at 11:35 am

Fabulous reply. Back atcha:

Dulce et Decorum Est
BY WILFRED OWEN

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs,
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots,
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of gas-shells dropping softly behind.

Gas -- GAS -- Quick, boys -- -- An ecstasy of fumbling
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time,
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime. --
Dim through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

In all my dreams before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams, you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues, --
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.

******************************

And this, from Bob Dylan's "Jokerman" .

Freedom just around the corner for you
But with the truth so far off, what good will it do?

******************************

I love life and am by nature a cockeyed optimist, but I find myself intermittently gloomy, my optimism overwhelmed by cynicism, when I see the abundance of moronic belligerence so passionately snarled out in the comments sections across the internet. Clearly, humans are cursed with an addiction to violence For my part, I am old and will die soon and have no children, plus I live in a quiet backwater far away from the nuclear blast zone. Humanity seems on course for a major "culling". Insane and sad.

Mike Morrison , September 15, 2017 at 5:48 pm

Over three years now the war in Donbass, Ukraine. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4BoKj39HKls

Dr. Ando Arike , September 15, 2017 at 5:49 pm

I'd like to see more investigative reporting on the NYT's and other major media outlets' links to the CIA and other Deep State info-war bureaus. What the Times is doing now is reminiscent of the Michael Gordon-Judith Miller propaganda in the run up to the invasion of Iraq. Operation Mockingbird, uncovered during the mid-70s Church Hearings, is an ongoing effort, it would seem. Revealing hard links to CIA information ops would be a great service to humanity.

SteveK9 , September 15, 2017 at 7:22 pm

After 'Michael Gordon-Judith Miller' I stopped reading the Times.

Beard681 , September 18, 2017 at 11:52 am

I am amazed at how many conspiracy types there are who want to see some sort of oligarch, capitalist, zionist or deep state cabal behind it all. (That is a REALLY optimistic view of the human propensity for violent conflict.) It is just a bunch of corporate shills pushing for war (hopefully cold) because war sells newspapers.

Rich Rubenstein , September 15, 2017 at 5:53 pm

Robert Parry has gotten this exactly right -- I'm a regular NYTimes subscriber /-have been for years -- and I have NEVER read anything about Russia that has not been written by professional Russia-haters like Higgins. Frankly, I don't get it. What accounts for this weird and dangerous bias?

mike k , September 15, 2017 at 6:03 pm

Have you looked into who owns the NYT?

Paranam Kid , September 16, 2017 at 6:32 am

Why do you keep reading the NYT? Not only the Russia stories are heavily biased, but all their stories are. Most op-ed's about Israel/Palestine are written by zealous pro-Israel/pro-Zionists, against very few pro-Palestine people.

Brad Owen , September 16, 2017 at 8:07 am

The Trans-Atlantic Empire of banking cartels rest upon enmity with the only other Great Powers in the World: Russia and China, while keeping USA thoroughly within their orbit, relying on our Great Power as the engine that powers this Western Bankers' Empire (the steering room lies in City-of-London, who has LONG maneuvered, via their Wall Street assets, to bring us into Empire). Should peaceful, cooperative and productive relations break out between USA, Russia, and China, this would undermine everything the Western Empire has worked to build.

THIS is why the phony Russiagate issue is flogged to get rid of Trump (who seeks cooperation with Russia and China), AND keeping Russia as "The Enemy", keeping the MIC, Intel community, various police-state ops, in high demand for "National Security" reasons (also positioned to foil any democratic uprisings, should they see past the progs daily curtain and see their plight).

Brad Owen , September 16, 2017 at 8:08 am

Progs=propaganda stupid iPad.

Mulga Mumblebrain , September 16, 2017 at 5:30 pm

Here in Aust-failure I read the papers for many years until they became TOO repulsive, particularly the Murdoch hate and fear-mongering rags. I also, and still do, masochistically listen to the Government ABC and SBS. In all those years I really cannot recall any articles or programs that reported on Russia or China in a positive manner, save when Yeltsin, a true hero to all our fakestream media, was in charge. That sort of uniformity of opinion, over generations, is almost admirable. And the necessity to ALWAYS follow the Imperial US ('Our great and powerful friend') line leads to some deficiencies in the quality of the personnel employed, as I one again reflected upon the other day when one hackette referred to (The Evil, of course)Kim Jong-un as 'President Un', several times.

Jeff Davis , September 18, 2017 at 12:31 pm

"What accounts for this weird and dangerous bias?"

Several points:

The Russian -- formerly Commie -- -- boogieman is a profit center for the military, their industrial suppliers, and the political class. That's the major factor. But also, the Zionist project requires a bulked up US military "tasked" with "full spectrum" military dominance -- the Wolfowitz Doctrine, the American jackboot on the world's throat forever -- to insure the eternal protection of Israel. Largely unseen in this Israeli/Zionist factor is the thousand-year-old blood feud between the Jews and Russians. They are ancient enemies since the founding of Czarist Russia. No amount of time or modernity can diminish the passion of that animus. (I suspect that the Zionist aim to "destroy" Russia will eventually backfire and lead instead to the destruction of Israel, but really, we shouldn't talk about that.)

mike k , September 15, 2017 at 6:26 pm

The richest man in the world has the controlling interest in the NYT. Draw your own conclusions.

http://freebeacon.com/issues/mexican-billionaire-carlos-slim-becomes-top-owner-of-new-york-times/

Brad Owen , September 16, 2017 at 8:36 am

Mexico, ground zero for the world fascist movement in the 20s and 30s (going by name Synarchy Internationale still does) throuout Ibero-America, centered in PAN. The Spanish-speaking World had to contend with Franco, and Salazar being in power so long in the respective "Mother Countries" of the Iberian Peninsula. This was the main trail for the ratlines to travel.

I saw a dead coyote on the side of the road the other day. I know you know what that means to me, Mike. Omens are a lost art in these modern times, and I have no expertise in these matters, but it struck my attention hard. It was on the right side of the road: trouble for Trump coming from The Right? They are more potent than the ineffective Left, so this might be the way Trump is pulled down.

Sfomarco , September 16, 2017 at 3:37 pm

Carlos Slim (f/k/a Salim)

Mulga Mumblebrain , September 16, 2017 at 5:31 pm

Yes, but who bankrolls Slim?

Stiv , September 15, 2017 at 6:51 pm

I wouldn't even need to read this to know what's going to be said. After the last article from Parry, which was very good and interesting .plowing new ground for him he's back to rehashing the same old shit. Not that it's necessarily wrong, only been said about a hundred times. Yawn

D.H. Fabian , September 16, 2017 at 2:46 am

After months of so many people pointing out how and why the "Russia stole the election" claim is false, it came roaring back (in liberal media) in recent days. It demands a response.

mike k , September 16, 2017 at 7:26 am

No one is required to read anything on CN.

Virginia , September 16, 2017 at 1:58 pm

RP brought lots of new things into play in his article and showed how they mesh together and support one another "against Trump." I almost skipped it because so familiar with the topic, but RP brought new light to the subject, in my humble opinion.

Common Tater , September 16, 2017 at 2:40 pm

I do not need to read or watch established "news" media to know what's going to be said. After the last b.s. story from the usual talking heads which was low brow and insulting to the intelligence of the audience, they are back at it again same ol'shit by the same talking heads. It is most definitely wrong, and it needs to be countered as much as possible not yawning.

Gregory Herr , September 16, 2017 at 8:18 pm

That's what struck me just how absurdly insulting will the Times get?

And I think the point that trying to destabilize the Russian Federation may very well bring about a more militant hardline Russia is important to stress.

anon , September 17, 2017 at 9:02 am

"Stiv" is a troll who makes this junk comment every time. Better to ignore him.

Colin , September 18, 2017 at 11:54 am

Were you planning to contribute anything useful to the discussion?

SteveK9 , September 15, 2017 at 7:19 pm

I always wonder what motivation the accusers believe you have when they call you a 'Putin stooge'. Why would you be one? Are you getting paid? Of course not, so this is just a judgment on your part. They could call you a fool, but accuse you of 'carrying water for the Kremlin' as I heard that execrable creature, Adam Schiff say to Tucker Carlson? That just makes no sense. Of course, none of it is rational.

Mulga Mumblebrain , September 16, 2017 at 5:38 pm

They're insane. A crumbling Empire which was supposed to rule the world forever, 'Under God' through Full Spectrum Dominance, but which, in fact, is disintegrating under its own moral, intellectual and spiritual rottenness, is bound to produce hate-crazed zealots looking for foreign scape-goats. Add the rage of the Clintonbots whose propaganda had told then for months that the She-Devil would crush the carnival-huckster, and her vicious post-defeat campaign to drive for war with Russia (what a truly Evil creature she is)and you get this hysteria. Interestingly, 'hysteria' is the word used to describe Bibi Nutty-yahoo, the USA's de facto 'capo di tutti capi', in Sochi recently when Putin refused to follow orders.

David Grace , September 15, 2017 at 7:30 pm

I have another theory I'd like to get reviewed. These are corporate wars, and not aimed at the stability of nations. It is claimed that in 1991, at the fall of the Soviet Union, the oligarchs were created by the massive purchasing of the assets of the collapsing nation. The CIA was said to have put together a 'bond issue' worth some $480 Billion, and it was used to buy farms, factories, mineral rights and other formerly common holdings of the USSR. This 'bond issue' was never repaid to the US taxpayers, and the deeds are in the hands of various oligarchs. Not all of the oligarchs are tied to the CIA, as there were other wells of purchasers of the country, but the ties to Trump are actually ties to dirty CIA or other organized crime entities.

The NY Times may be trying to capture certain assets for certain clients, and their editorial policy reflects this.

I'd appreciate feedback on this.

Thanks,
David

David Grace , September 15, 2017 at 7:33 pm

There are many on-line videos on this theme. Searching 'Black Eagle Trust' is one form. Here is one link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hhBZJEqoe0A

stephen sivonda , September 15, 2017 at 9:51 pm

David Grace . what have we here, a thinking man? I like your premise, and I haven't even watched the link you supplied. That being said, I'll sign off and investigate that link.

D.H. Fabian , September 16, 2017 at 2:39 am

Conspiracy theories upon conspiracy theories, ensuring that the public will never be able to root out the facts. People still argue about the Kennedy assassination 54 years later.

Mulga Mumblebrain , September 16, 2017 at 5:39 pm

There is no rational 'argument' about what really happened to JFK.

Zhu Bajie , September 17, 2017 at 7:12 pm

Most conspiracy theories are fantasy fiction. If you have real evidence, based on verifiable facts, then it's not a theory any more. But most of the conspiracy theories popular in the USA just serve popular vanity. We never have to accept our mistakes, our crimes against humanity, etc. It's always THEIR fault.

We Americans over all are like small children, always making excuses.

mark , September 16, 2017 at 5:23 pm

Some of the material on the Black Eagle Trust are suspect. It gives figures for stolen Japanese war loot, for example, that are simply ludicrous. Figures of so many thousand tons of gold, for example, when the references should probably be to OUNCES of gold.

RBHoughton , September 15, 2017 at 8:03 pm

One sniper in Ukraine overthrew the democratic government. Previously one sniper in Dallas overthrew another democratic government. Are there any other examples?

Is our infatuation with democracy just a propaganda thing – to fool citizens into supposing they have value beyond their labour?

AshenLight , September 15, 2017 at 10:13 pm

> Is our infatuation with democracy just a propaganda thing – to fool citizens into supposing they have value beyond their labour?

It's about control -- those who know they are slaves will resist and fight, but those who mistakenly believe they are free will not (and if you give them even just a little comfort, they'll tenaciously defend their own enslavement). It turns out this "inverted totalitarianism" thing works a lot better than the old-fashioned kind.

mike k , September 16, 2017 at 7:19 am

Indeed. Gurdjieff told the tale of a farmer whose sheep were always wandering off due to his being unable to afford fences to keep them in. Then he had an idea, and called them all together. He told some of them they were eagles, and others lions etc. They were now so proud of their new identities that it never occurred to them anymore to escape from their master's small domain.

mike k , September 16, 2017 at 7:23 am

MLK is another example, as is Robert Kennedy.

Anna , September 16, 2017 at 12:53 pm

The American patriots are coming out: "CIA Agent Whistleblower Risks All To Expose The Shadow Government" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XHbrOg092G That would be the end of the Lobby, mega oilmen and the FedReserve criminals

mark , September 16, 2017 at 5:30 pm

Yes, snipers on rooftops in Deraa, southern Syria, in 2011. These mysterious figures fired into crowds, deliberately targeting women and young children to inflame the crowd. At the same time the same snipers killed 7 police officers. Unarmed police had been sent in to deal with unrest without bloodshed. These police officers were armed only with batons.

This is a standard page from the CIA playbook. The mysterious snipers in Maidan Square in 2014 are believed to have been Yugoslavian mercenaries hired by the CIA.

Zhu Bajie , September 17, 2017 at 7:14 pm

The US has had oligarchy since 1789.

BobH , September 15, 2017 at 8:06 pm

We all have some kind of a bias but fortunately most of us here know the difference between bias and propaganda. Bias based on facts and our own values is often constructive but the N.Y. Times(like most msm) has descended into disseminating insidious propaganda. Unfortunately the search for truth requires a bit more research and time than most people are willing to invest. Thankfully, Robert Parry continues his quest but the dragons are not easy to slay. My own quest for truth once led to a philosophical essay. The cartoon at the bottom(SH Chambers) sums it up.
https://crivellistreetchronicle.blogspot.com/2016/07/truth-elusive-concept.html

mike k , September 16, 2017 at 7:13 am

I put a comment on your blog.

BobH , September 16, 2017 at 11:15 am

Mike, thanks so much, I'll look forward to reading it(so far, I don't see it Moderation?)

Virginia , September 16, 2017 at 2:20 pm

If we have a bias towards honesty, that helps. It keeps one's mind more open and provides a willingness to entertain various points of view. It's not naivete, however, but thoughtful consideration coupled with awareness and that protects one from being easily manipulated. But then, oppositely, there's a human tendency to want to be popular which inclines one towards groupthink. But why that so entrenches itself, making people impervious to truth, is a conundrum -- Maybe if the "why" can be answered, the "how" will become apparent -- how to reach individuals with the truth as so oft told, though hard on the ears, at CN.

Jacob Leyva , September 15, 2017 at 10:12 pm

So what do you think of the Russia-Facebook dealings? When will we get an article on that?

Fuzzy , September 18, 2017 at 7:19 am

Really? You think this is important?

http://davidswanson.org/warlist/?link_id=3&can_id=ed31bf4cbc8f991980718b21b49ca26d&source=email-how-outlawing-war-changed-the-world-in-1928-2&email_referrer=email_232560&email_subject=how-outlawing-war-changed-the-world-in-1928

John , September 15, 2017 at 10:47 pm

The Russian /Iranian vs the Ashkenazi has been going on for many, many years ..The USA is to a large extent controlled by the Ashkenazi / Zionist agenda which literally owns most of the MSM outlets .Agendas must be announced through propaganda to sway the sleeping public toward conformity .The only baffling question that remains is why do Americans allow Zionist to control such a large part of their great republic ?

Art , September 16, 2017 at 1:43 am

Robert, you come from intelligence. Why don't you look at Russia-gate from all possible angles?
I suggest the following. Putin is an American spy. Russia-gate is created to make him a winner, a hero.
And the specious confrontation is a good cover for Putin.
This is in a nutshell.
I can obviously say mu-uch more.

D.H. Fabian , September 16, 2017 at 2:33 am

Throughout 2017, we've seen a surge of efforts by both parties -- via the media that serve them -- to build support for a final nuclear war. The focus jumps from rattling war sabers at China (via Korea, at the moment) to rattling them at Russia, two nuclear-armed world powers. This has been working to bring Russia and China together, resolving their years of conflict in view of a potential world threat -- the US. Whatever their delusions, and regardless of their ideology, our political leaders are setting the stage for the deaths of millions of us, and the utter destruction of the US.

mike k , September 16, 2017 at 6:59 am

Our political leaders have betrayed us.

Mulga Mumblebrain , September 16, 2017 at 5:42 pm

Thermo-nuclear war would cause human extinction, not just billions of casualties.

Jim Glover , September 16, 2017 at 3:15 am

It is the same now with North Korea and China. So what would happen if those nations were destabilized by Sanctions or worse Russia, China Iran and more would support Kim. How to make peace?

Dennis Rodman has the guts to suggest call and talk with Kim or "Try it you might like it better than total mutual destruction". Think Love and Peace it can't hurt like all the war, hate and fear the media keeps pushing for advertising profits. War and Fear is the biggest racket on the planet. What can I do? Fighting a losing battle but it is fun tryin' to win.

mike k , September 16, 2017 at 6:57 am

We may be losing now, but who knows? It ain't over till it's over. Hang in there.

GMC , September 16, 2017 at 3:20 am

Great article- again . I used to live in the US, I used to live in Alaska, I used to live in Crimea, Ukraine but now I live in Crimea, Russia and Smolensk, Ru. I watched this all go down but it took awhile to see the entire picture. I seldom get any more emails from the states – even my brother doesn't get it. They think I'm now a " commie" , I guess. I see it as the last big gasp of hot, dangerous air from an Empire -- Exposed. Unfortunately, its not over yet and maybe we/you will have more bad times ahead. Crimea this summer is doing well with much work going on – from the badly needed new infrastructure to the new bridge, the people are much better off than in Ukraine. They made the right choice in returning to Mother Russia even though it was a no-brainer for them. The world is lucky to have free writers like, Parry, Roberts, Vltchek, Pepe', the Saker and the intelligent commenters are as important as the writers in spreading the Pravda. Spacibo Mr. Parry

mike k , September 16, 2017 at 6:54 am

Thanks for sharing with us GMC. And good luck to you.

ranney , September 16, 2017 at 4:22 am

YES -- -- -- -- -- Yes to all that you wrote Robert -- Thank you again for writing clearly and saying what obviously needs to be said, but no one else will. We've been down this road before -i.e. the media pulling us into wars of Empire – first the Spanish- American one, then a bunch of others working up to Viet Nam, and then Iraq. Each one gets worse and now we're reaching for a nuclear one. Keep writing; your voice gives some of us hope that just maybe others will join in and stop the media from their constant "messages of hate" and the urging of the public to a suicidal conflagration.

Joe Tedesky , September 16, 2017 at 8:55 am

The funny thing about living through the 'fake news' era, is that now everyone thinks that their news source is the correct news source. Many believe that outside of the individual everyone else reads or listens too 'fake news'. It's like all of a sudden no one has credibility, yet everyone may have it, depending on what news source you subscribe to. I mean there's almost no way of knowing what the truth is, because everyone is claiming that they are getting their news from reputable news outlets, but some or many aren't, and who are the reputable news sources, if you don't mind my asking you this just for the record?

Come to think of it, the 'fake news' theme is brilliant considering that now we have no bench mark for what the truth is, and by not having that bench mark for the truth we all go our separate ways believing what we believe, because certainly my news source is the only truthful one, and your news source is beyond questionable of how the news should be reported.

People read headlines, but hardly do they ever read the article. Many hear news sound bites, but never do they do the research required, in order to verify the stories accuracy. Hear say works even more to rain in the clouds of mass deception. Then there are those who sort of buy whatever it is the established news outlets are selling based on their belief that it doesn't much matter anyway, because 'the establishment' lies to us all the time as a rule, so what's the big deal to keep up on the news, because it's all obviously one big lie isn't it? So not only do we have irresponsible news journalist, we also have a very large number of a monopolized unqualified news gatherers who must accept what the various news agencies report, regardless of what the truth may be. It's better the Establishment keep it this way, because then the Establishment has better control over the 'mob grabbing the pitchforks and sickles' and crying out justice for somebody's head. It's kind of like job security for the Establishment, but in their case it's more like a 'keeping your elitist head' security, if you know what I mean.

To learn how to deal with this 'fake news', I would suggest you start studying the JFK assassination, or any other ill defined tragic event, and then you might learn how to decipher the 'fake news' matrix of confusion to learn what you so desire to learn. I chose this route, because when was the last time the Establishment brokered the truth in regard to a happening such as the JFK assassination? Upon learning of what a few well written books has to say, you will then need to rely on your own brain to at least give you enough satisfaction to allow you to believe that you pretty well got it right, and there go you. In other words, the truth is out there, hiding in plain sight, and if you are persistent enough you just might find it. Good luck.

mike k , September 16, 2017 at 11:29 am

The truth has never been that easy to find Joe. Actually all the beyond obvious propaganda on the MSM might wake some people up to do the searching necessary to get closer to what is really happening in their world. Maybe the liars have finally overplayed their hand? Or are we the people really that dumb? (I am scared to hear the answer to that one -- )

Joe Tedesky , September 16, 2017 at 12:04 pm

I could be a wise guy, and say to you 'or so you say' in reply to your kind comment, but then that would make me a troll.

All I'm saying mike is that in this era of 'fake news' we are all running about on different levels, and never shall the two of us meet. That is unless you and I get our news from the same source, but what are the odds of all of us getting the same news? It's impossible, and I'm not quite that sure that that would be what we want either. Still without an objective, and honest large media to set the correct narrative we end up in this place, where you might find yourself doing a spread sheet study to come to some conclusion of what is true, and what isn't.

Case in point, read about Russia-Gate here on consortiumnews, and then go listen to Rachel Maddow report on the same thing. Two different sets of stories. Just try and reconcile what you read on sites like this one concerning Ukraine, then go watch MSNBC or CNN. Never a match. So you mike read consortiumnews, and your in laws read the NYT and watch CNN, and there you go, a controversy arises between you and the in laws and with that life goes on, but where is the correct news to be found to settle the score?

Once upon a time the established news agencies such as CNN, and the NYT, were the hallmark of the news, and sites such as this one were the ones on the edge, now I'm convinced this conviction has reversed itself.

Thanks mike for the reply. Joe

Joe Tedesky , September 17, 2017 at 9:07 am

Wouldn't it be hilarious mike, if the dumbed down people attacked the Bastille under false pretense? Especially if the lie had been concocted by the blinded by their own hubris sitting powers to be. Talk about poetic justice, and well placed irony. Priceless --

Virginia , September 16, 2017 at 2:38 pm

Joe, Apparently people take the easy way out. And that's just it -- "the way out." Extinction -- Maybe they haven't learned there's something worth learning about and living for. I'm gonna concentrate on that. Open eyes that they might see

Joe Tedesky , September 17, 2017 at 8:08 am

You are right Virginia, it is probably 'a way out', and God bless them for it. My late Mother was like that, but I'll tell you why. When my Mother was growing up in a family of eleven children, her father would rent out their street level basement to the voting polls. A block away my uncle who was quite older than my Mother owned a corner saloon. Now on Election Day my Mother said how the men in suits would pull up in their big expensive cars, and they would descend upon my uncles corner bar. Soon after one by one drunks would come out of the tavern wearing Republican buttons then they would go into grandpap's basement voting booth, and vote. Not long after my Mom said, the same drunks would come pouring out of my uncles tavern and this time they were wearing Democratic buttons, and they would go vote once or as many times as it would take to thank the big guys in the suits for the free drinks. My Mom said this went on all day. She said a lot dead people voted whether they knew it or not, and that's the truth. She would follow up by saying, 'yeah a lot of politicians won on the drunk vote'.

So Virginia some can't take the decept and lying, and with that they give up. I myself don't feel this way, but then there are the times I can't help but think of how my dear sweet Mother probably did have it right for the sake of living your life in the most upright and honest way. Sadly, there is no virtue in politics, or so it seems.

Oh yeah, that uncle who owned the corner saloon, he did go into politics holding nominee appointed positions, until he got wise and got a honest job, as he would jokingly say.

For the record my Mother did vote, but she was the lady standing in line who looked reluctant and pissed off to be there, but never the less my Mum was a voter. Oh, the candidate my Mother loved the most was JFK. John F Kennedy's was the only presidential picture my Mother ever hung in our humble home.

My message here, was only meant to give some cover, and an explanation for those who shy away from politics, and not an excuse to stay uninvolved. For even my non political Mum did at least in the end break down, and do the right thing. We should all at least try, and keep up on the events of our time, and vote with the best intentions we can muster up.

Okay, I'm sorry for the length of my reply, but you are always worth taking time for me to give a reasonable answer to. I also hope I'm entertaining with these stories I seem to tell from time to time. Take care Virginia. Joe

Tannenhouser , September 17, 2017 at 7:28 pm

Humans are approximately 90% water, give or take depending on evaporation (Age). Water always takes the path of least resistance. Oh I wish and hope for the day when most realize they are much more than 'just' water:)

Mulga Mumblebrain , September 16, 2017 at 5:47 pm

The fakestream media lies incessantly, and has for generations. Chomsky and Herman's 'Manufacturing Consent' outlines the propaganda role of the 'mass media', and is twenty-five years old, in which period things have gotten MUCH worse (just look at the fate of the UK 'Guardian' for an example). Yet the fakestream presstitutes STILL have the unmitigated gall to call others 'fake' and demand that we believe their unbelievable narratives. That's real chutzpah.

Joe Tedesky , September 17, 2017 at 8:26 am

You know Mulga you are correct, many generations have listened to many, many, lies upon their way to the voting booths. It goes without saying, how the aristocrats when they find it necessary, as they often do find it necessary, they lie to their flock for a whole host of reasons. Why we could pick anytime in history, and find out where lies have paved the way to a leaders greater conquest, or a leaders said greater conquest if not met with defeat, but never the less the public was used to propel some leaders wishes onward and upward whether for the good or the bad.

But here we are Mulga, you and the rest of us here, straddling on the fence over what might be right to what possibly could be wrong. Without a responsible press you and us Mulga need to learn from each other. Like when comment posters leave links, that's always been something good for me to follow through on.

We live in a unique time, but a time not that unique, as much as it is our time. Our great, great, grandparents were straddling the same fence, and I'm guessing they too relied on each other to navigate there way through the twisting maze of politics, and basically what they all wanted, was a little peace on earth. So Mulga I also guess that you and we the people are just carrying on a tradition that us common folk have been assigned too continue.

Like reading your comments Mulga, good to see you here. Joe

Zhu Bajie , September 17, 2017 at 7:44 pm

Fake news has always been common. Critical thinking has never been popular because Occam's Razor might slice your favorite story to shreds. Personally, I give full credence to few things in life, but suspect many more, to some degree. I trust my own experiences more than what I read in the media and try to reject conventional wisdom as much as possible.

Herman , September 16, 2017 at 9:39 am

Observing Putin's behavior, you have to be impressed with his continue willingness to extend the olive branch and to seek a reasonable settlement of differences. His language always leaves open the possibility of détente with the understanding that Russia is not going to lay down to be run over. On the contrary, the language of Obama and Trump, and their representatives is consistently take it or leave and engaging in school yard insults of Russia, Putin, Lavrov and others. We have consistently played the bully in the school yard encouraging others to join in the bullying. We talk about the corrosive discourse at home, but observe the discourse in foreign affairs. Trump and his associates are guilty, but slick talking Obama and his subordinates was often worse. .As has so often been said, we have only two arrows in our foreign affairs quiver, war and sanctions. We lack the imagination and will to actually engage in civil discussions with those on our enemies' list.

Parry is of course correct in his opinion of the New York Times but it doesn't stop there, only that the New York Times undeservedly is the "newspaper of record." His citing of Orwell is on the mark. Just turn your TV on for the news and see for yourself.

Dave P. , September 16, 2017 at 8:27 pm

Very well said, Herman. Very true.

Patricia Victour , September 16, 2017 at 9:54 am

I don't subscribe to the NYT for this reason, and it is galling to me that our local rag, "The Santa Fe New Mexican," while featuring excellent local coverage for the most part, gets all it's "national" news from the likes of the NYT, WaPo, and AP. These stories, much of it "fake news" in my opinion, are offered as gospel by the "New Mexican", with no journalistic effort to print opposing views. People I know seem so proud of themselves that they subscribe to "The Times," and I don't even dare try to point out to them that they are being duped and propagandized into believing the most outrageous (and dangerous) crap.

To add another dimension, these sources are so jealous of their position as the ultimate word on what Americans are to believe, and also so worried about their waning influence, that now RT and Sputnik, both Russia-sponsored news outlets, may be forced to register as "foreign agents" in the U.S. I am not familiar with Sputnik, but I have been watching RT on TV for several years and find it to be an excellent source of national and foreign news. Stories I see first on RT are usually confirmed soon after by other reliable sources, such as this excellent site – Consortiumnews. At no point did I feel I was being coerced by Russia during the 2016 election – I needed no confirmation that both Trump and Clinton were probably the worst candidates ever to run for President.

Joe Tedesky , September 17, 2017 at 9:31 am

You know what I find interesting is how a reporter such as Robert Parry will pinpoint his details to a critique of say the NYT, but when or if a NYTer is to write a likewise article of the Alternative Internet Press the NYTer will just simply critique their internet rival as a 'conspiracy theorist' or as now as in 2017 they refer to them as 'fake news artist'. I mean no rebuttal back referencing certain details such as what Parry mentioned, but just rhetorical words written over tabloid written headlines finalized under the heading of 'fake news'. This must be being taught in journalism school these days, because it's popular in the MSM.

Just like you have never heard or read from the MSM a detailed answered rebuttal to the pointed questions of say the '911 Truthers' or a 'JFK Assassination Researcher' a valid bona fide answer. No, but you do hear the masters and mistresses of the corporate media world call writers such as Parry, Roberts, and St Clair, 'fake newscasters', 'Putin Puppets', and or a whole host of other nasty names, as they feel fit to write, but never a honest too goodness rebuttal. Then they talk about Trump not sounding or acting presidential hmm the nerve of these wordsmiths.

BTW, I don't care much for Trump, and I even care less for our MSM. Just wanted to get that straight.

Nice comment Patricia. Joe

hatedbyu , September 16, 2017 at 10:57 am

let's not forget about the nytimes grossly negligent reporting on syria and libya. judith miller? russian doping scandal. lying about the holdomor . man i could do this all day ..

Joe Tedesky , September 17, 2017 at 10:12 am

You mean the on air hours of punditry explaining away their professions mistakes, or the honest rebuttal? It's at those particular times and occurrences of ignored self reflection our honorable (not) MSM falls back on Orwell's 1984. Like it never happened. The dog didn't eat no home work, because there never was a dog, nor was there any homework .stupid us. Life goes on uninterrupted and non commercial time can be filled with an update on Bill Cosby's past alleged sexual predator attacks, and this is our professional news casting doing its best to entertain us, not inform us god forbid, but entertain us the ignorant masses of their workless society.

One day hatedbyu the ignorant masses may just show the corporate infotainment duchess and dudes that they 'the people' ain't so ignorant, and things must change. Well at least that's the dream, but it's still a work in progress, and then there's the historical seesaw.

I think it's the power of empire to expand, just like a balloon, until it reaches it's bursting point. But just what that bursting point is, is without a doubt the most disputable of arguments to be made. I am coming to the belief we are, as always, continually getting to that point, and we may of course be very close to igniting that spark in the not so far off future. I would prefer the spark to be completely financial, and dealt with accordingly, but I'm a dreamer purest and a conspiracy theorist, so that means when the crap starts going down, I'll be the old man on the hill lighting up a big fat doobie cue soundtrack 'Fool On the Hill'.

Sorry just had to get carried away, but it's Sunday morning hatedbyu and I'm home alone and nobody's trying to break in .. Good comment hatedbyu. Joe

Stephen J. , September 16, 2017 at 11:27 am

A Compilation Not seen in Corporate Media: See Link Below:
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
US Wars and Hostile Actions: A List
By David Swanson

http://davidswanson.org/warlist/?link_id=3&can_id=ed31bf4cbc8f991980718b21b49ca26d&source=email-how-outlawing-war-changed-the-world-in-1928-2&email_referrer=email_232560&email_subject=how-outlawing-war-changed-the-world-in-1928

Bob Van Noy , September 16, 2017 at 9:42 pm

Stephen J. Thank you for introducing me to David Swanson. Great link.

Joe Tedesky , September 17, 2017 at 11:29 am

Im with you on that Bob, Stephen J providing the Swanson link should be a must read, to keep things fair and balanced. I also do wonder if Swanson's message isn't getting out there, and we all don't already know it? I'm a glass half full kind of guy, but what do we really know about each other, other than what the corporate media instills on us? I wish cable news would air a program made up of Swanson, Pilger, and Parry, for that at least could put some well needed balance finality back, if it ever was there in the first place, back into the public narrative .but there go I.

Good to see you Bob. Joe

Hank , September 16, 2017 at 11:32 am

The deep state sticks with what works: controlling the media keeps the masses ignorant and malleable. "Remember the Maine"
Germans are bayoneting Belgium babies and "remember the Lusitania" , some evidence shows higher ups knew the Japanese fleet was 400 miles from Hawaii, recall "Tonkin Gulf" episode, Iran Contra , invasion of Granada, Panama, and of course 911 and war on terror, patriot act, weapons of mass destruction, and Russia hacking the election. The masses "believe" these to be true and react and respond accordingly.

"
"Naturally the common people don't want war: Neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, IT IS THE LEADERS of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is TELL THEM THEY ARE BEING ATTACKED, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. IT WORKS THE SAME IN ANY COUNTRY."

–Goering at the Nuremberg Trials

mike k , September 16, 2017 at 12:53 pm

Thanks Hank. Same ole same ole, eh? When will we ever learn?

mike k , September 16, 2017 at 11:32 am

"Trump might well go down in history of the President who screwed-up a historical opportunity to really change our entire planet for the better and who, instead, by his abject lack of courage and honor, his total lack of political and diplomatic education and by his groveling subservience to the "swamp" he had promised to drain ended up being as pathetically clueless as Obama was." (The Saker)

My sentiments exactly.

Voytenko , September 16, 2017 at 11:49 am

What a glaring lie this article is, its' author being either "useful idiot" played by Kremlin, or maybe not so much of an idiot. What are you talking about here in comments, those who applaud this article, this bunch of lies? You live in Ukraine, you know anything about that so-called "putch"? How dare you to insult the whole nation – Ukrainian nation? Shame on you, people. You don't know (author of the article including) anything about Russia, Ukraine and that bloody Putin, but you have problems with the US and its' politics. US are your business, Ukraine definitely not. Find some other examples of NYT and USA malfeasance, some you know something about. Stop insulting other nations.

anon , September 17, 2017 at 9:53 am

You are not from Ukraine, and you care not for Ukraine, or you would seek unity not dominance of East over West Ukraine. Tell us about your life in Ukraine, and show us the evidence of "that bloody Putin."

Abe , September 16, 2017 at 1:31 pm

Yellow journalism now employs "open source and social media investigation" scams foisted by Eliot Higgins and the Bellingcat disinformation site.

Bellingcat is allied with the New York Times and the Washington Post, the two principal mainstream media organs for "regime change" propaganda, via the First Draft Coalition "partner network".

In a triumph of Orwellian Newspeak, this Google-sponsored "post-Truth" Propaganda 3.0 coalition declares that member organizations will "work together to tackle common issues, including ways to streamline the verification process".

The New York Times routinely hacks up Bellingcat "reports" and pretends they're "verification"

Malachy Browne, "Senior Story Producer" at the New York Times, cited Bellingcat to embellish the media "story" about the Khan Shaykhun chemical incident in Idlib Syria.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/01/insider/the-times-uses-forensic-mapping-to-verify-a-syrian-chemical-attack.html

Before joining the Times, Browne was an editor at "social news and marketing agency" Storyful and at Reported. ly, the "social reporting" arm of Pierre Omidyar's First Look Media.

Browne generously "supplemented" his "reporting" on the Khan Shaykun incident with "videos gathered by the journalist Eliot Higgins and the social media news agency Storyful".

Browne encouraged Times readers to participate in the Bellingcat-style "verification" charade: "Find a computer, get on Google Earth and match what you see in the video to the streets and buildings"

Browne of Storyful and Higgins of Bellingcat are founding members of the Google-funded "First Draft" coalition.

Browne demonstrates how the NYT and other "First Draft" coalition media outlets use video to "strengthen" their "storytelling".

In 2016, the NYT video department hired Browne and Andrew Glazer. a senior producer on the team that launched VICE News, to help "enhance" the "reporting" at the Times.

Browne represents the Times' effort to package its dubious "reporting" using the Storyful marketing strategy of "building trust, loyalty, and revenue with insight and emotionally driven content" wedded with Bellingcat style "digital forensics" scams.

In other words, we should expect the New York Times, Washington Post, BBC, UK Guardian, and all the other "First Draft" coalition media "partners" to barrage us more Bellingcat / Atlantic Council-style Facebook and YouTube video mashups, crazy fun with Google Earth, and Twitter campaigns.

mike k , September 16, 2017 at 1:47 pm

Thanks Abe. Sounds like these guys all read 1984, and decided it was just the thing for 2017 Amerika.

Abe , September 16, 2017 at 1:49 pm

"Our investigation debunks the claims"

Browne keeps the April 2017 NYT video positioned at the top of his Twitter feed
https://twitter.com/malachybrowne/status/857290743068721152

Obviously Browne is proud of the "investigation" even though merely shared a "story" fed to him by Higgins' Bellingcat and the Atlantic Council .

Abe , September 16, 2017 at 1:58 pm

Higgins and Bellingcat receives direct funding from the Open Society Foundations (OSF) founded by business magnate George Soros, and from Google's Digital News Initiatives (DNI).

Google's 2017 DNI Fund Annual Report describes Higgins as "a world–leading expert in news verification".

Higgins claims the DNI funding "allowed us to push this to the next level".
https://digitalnewsinitiative.com/news/case-study-codifying-social-conflict-data/

In their zeal to propagate the story of Higgins as a courageous former "unemployed man" now busy independently "Codifying social conflict data", Google neglects to mention Higgins' role as a "research fellow" for the NATO-funded Atlantic Council "regime change" think tank.

Despite their claims of "independent journalism", Eliot Higgins and the team of disinformation operatives at Bellingcat depend on the Atlantic Council to promote their "online investigations".

The Atlantic Council donors list includes:

– US government and military entities: US State Department, US Air Force, US Army, US Marines.

– The NATO military alliance

– Large corporations and major military contractors: Chevron, Google, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, BP, ExxonMobil, General Electric, Northrup Grumman, SAIC, ConocoPhillips, and Dow Chemical

– Foreign governments: United Arab Emirates (UAE; which gives the think tank at least $1 million), Kingdom of Bahrain, City of London, Ministry of Defense of Finland, Embassy of Latvia, Estonian Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Defense of Georgia

– Other think tanks and think tankers: Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Nicolas Veron of Bruegel (formerly at PIIE), Anne-Marie Slaughter (head of New America Foundation), Michele Flournoy (head of Center for a New American Security), Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings Institution.

Higgins is a Research Associate of the Department of War Studies at King's College, and was principal co-author of the Atlantic Council "reports" on Ukraine and Syria.

Damon Wilson, Executive Vice President of Programs and Strategy at the Atlantic Council, a co-author with Higgins of the report, effusively praised Higgins' effort to bolster anti-Russian propaganda:

Wilson stated, "We make this case using only open source, all unclassified material. And none of it provided by government sources. And it's thanks to works, the work that's been pioneered by human rights defenders and our partner Eliot Higgins, uh, we've been able to use social media forensics and geolocation to back this up." (see Atlantic Council video presentation minutes 35:10-36:30)

However, the Atlantic Council claim that "none" of Higgins' material was provided by government sources is an obvious lie.

Higgins' primary "pieces of evidence" are a video depicting a Buk missile launcher and a set of geolocation coordinates that were supplied by the SBU (Security Service of Ukraine) and the Ukrainian Ministry of Interior via the Facebook page of senior-level Ukrainian government official Arsen Avakov, the Minister of Internal Affairs.

Higgins and the Atlantic Council are working in support of the Pentagon and Western intelligence's "hybrid war" against Russia.

The laudatory bio of Higgins on the Kings College website specifically acknowledges his service to the Atlantic Council:

"an award winning investigative journalist and publishes the work of an international alliance of fellow investigators using freely available online information. He has helped inaugurate open-source and social media investigations by trawling through vast amounts of data uploaded constantly on to the web and social media sites. His inquiries have revealed extraordinary findings, including linking the Buk used to down flight MH17 to Russia, uncovering details about the August 21st 2013 Sarin attacks in Damascus, and evidencing the involvement of the Russian military in the Ukrainian conflict. Recently he has worked with the Atlantic Council on the report "Hiding in Plain Sight", which used open source information to detail Russia's military involvement in the crisis in Ukraine."

While it honors Higgins' enthusiastic "trawling", King's College curiously neglects to mention that Higgins' "findings" on the Syian sarin attacks were thoroughly debunked.

King's College also curiously neglects to mention the fact that Higgins, now listed as a Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council's "Future Europe Initiative", was principal co-author of the April 2016 Atlantic Council "report" on Syria.

The report's other key author was John E. Herbst, United States Ambassador to Ukraine from September 2003 to May 2006 (the period that became known as the Orange Revolution) and Director of the Atlantic Council's Eurasia Center.

Other report authors include Frederic C. Hof, who served as Special Adviser on Syrian political transition to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2012. Hof was previously the Special Coordinator for Regional Affairs in the US Department of State's Office of the Special Envoy for Middle East Peace, where he advised Special Envoy George Mitchel. Hof had been a Resident Senior Fellow in the Atlantic Council's Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East since November 2012, and assumed the position as Director in May 2016.

There is no daylight between the "online investigations" of Higgins and Bellingcat and the "regime change" efforts of the NATO-backed Atlantic Council.

Thanks to the Atlantic Council, Soros, and Google, it's a pretty well-funded gig for fake "citizen investigative journalist" Higgins.

Dave P. , September 17, 2017 at 12:26 am

Abe – Thanks for all the invaluable information you have been providing.

jaycee , September 16, 2017 at 1:52 pm

The meme of an aggressive assertive Russia, based on what happened in Crimea, is a deliberate lie expressed with the utmost contempt towards principled diplomacy. The average consumer of mainstream news is also being shamelessly and contemptuously manipulated.

First, the people of Crimea did not want to be part of Ukraine after the USSR dissolved, and had previously expressed their opinion through referenda. The events of 2014 were part of an obvious pattern of previously expressed opinion.

Second, around the time of the so-called Orange Revolution, NATO analysts forecast what would probably happen should Ukraine embrace European "security architecture" (i.e. NATO), and concluded that Russia would take steps to protect their naval facilities in Crimea. Yet, in 2014, NATO officials would disingenuously express their utmost shock and surprise at the event.

Third, Viktor Yushchenko, who came to power in Ukraine in 2005 through the NED-financed Orange Revolution, consistently described his intention to join Ukraine with European institutions, including its "security architecture" (NATO), although acknowledging that the Ukrainian citizenry would have to be manipulated into accepting such a controversial and adversarial position. He would downplay presumed Russian reaction to potential removal from Crimea despite the obviousness and predictability of a serious crisis (see Sept 23, 2008 "Conversation with Viktor Yushchenko" Council On Foreign Relations). Yushchenko polled at 5.45% when he lost the Presidency in 2010, running on a platform of European integration.

Fourth, Russian officials at the highest level told their American counterparts in 2009 that any attempt to integrate Ukraine into NATO, and a corresponding threat to the Crimean naval facilities, would result in moves similar to what would later happen in 2014. Yet the United States, after instigating and legitimizing the Ukraine coup, would react to the Crimean referendum as an aggressive act which represented an unexpected security crisis requiring a reluctant but firm response of militarizing the entire region, and portraying the Russian state to the public as a dangerous and aggressive rogue power.

The deliberate omission of relevant contextual background by politicians, military officials, and the mainstream media demonstrates that none of these institutions can be trusted, and it is they who represent the greatest threat to international security. Putin has been relentlessly demonized, but it can be argued that his swift and essentially bloodless moves in Crimea in 2014 avoided what could have been a major international crisis on the level of the Berlin blockade in 1961. It appears, in hindsight, that such a crisis is exactly what the NATO alliance desired all along.

Sam F , September 17, 2017 at 9:58 am

Well said.

Joe Tedesky , September 17, 2017 at 12:02 pm

Nicely put jaycee. What you wrote took me back to a time of some eight months before Maiden Square, when my niece decided to live in Kiev. A bit of a ways away from Pittsburgh, so I started researching Ukraine. I also discovered RT & Moonofalabama, and sites like that.

What you wrote jaycee, in my humble opinion should be said in our MSM news. If for no other reason but to give an alternative fair and balance to say the likes of Rachel Maddow, or Joy Ann Reed. The way the MSM picks and chooses, and skims across important events in Ukraine, like Odessa, are criminal if ever the Press is to be judged for crimes of war. To the crys of a destroyed empire's vanquished population would then your small essay be heard jaycee, and yet that's the world we live in, but at least you said it.

Thanks jaycee (that's the first time I wrote your name and the j didn't go capital what does that mean? Who cares.)
Joe

rosemerry , September 16, 2017 at 2:04 pm

Of course the NYT liars would not bother to watch Oliver Stone's interviews with Pres. Putin, but during them he explained at length about his cooperation during the years after Ukraine elected a pro-Western president, managing to carry out mutual agreements and policies, but after the new pro- Russian president was elected, the USA did not accept him and overthrew him, which preceded the antics of Nuland et al in 2014 and the rest which followed.

MaDarby , September 16, 2017 at 2:05 pm

It appears to me that the elites decided long ago that the best solution to overpopulation is just to let climate change take care of three or four billion people while the Saud family and the Cargill family live on in their sheltered paradises with every convenience AI can provide.

It is clear these mega-rich families DO NOT CARE about society, about mass human extension or even about nature itself. They are the pinnacle of human evolution. Psycho-pathological loss of empathy might have been a bad evolutionary experiment.

This is derangement on a human specie scale, no leader no one in power has been willing to do anything but exploit every opportunity to make money and increase global domination, the great powers knew this day was coming when they made their decisions to hide it 50 years ago. The consequences are acceptable to the decision makers.

A mass extension of organic life is taking place before our eyes, nothing can stop it, THEY DO NOT CARE.

They sure as hell don't care if millions don't believe the Russia crap they just move ahead as the Imperial power, might makes right. In the end it is a religious project, the biblical slaughter of the innocents to appease a vengeful god and rid the world of evil.

Joe Tedesky , September 17, 2017 at 12:19 pm

What you bring up MaDarby takes me towards the direction of wondering what all those other Departments, other than State & Defense, of the Presidential Cabinet are up too? If our news were done and somehow properly organized, in such away as to educate us peons, then whatever the time allowed would be to broadcast and print out what each Federal Agency is up to. Now I know a citizen can seek out this information, but why can't there be a suitable mass media representation to reach us clunkheads like me, not you?

What should be exposed is the corporate ownership of the very agencies that were put in place to protect the 'Commons' has been corrupted to the point of no return. This dilemma will take a huge public referendum short of a mob revolution to change this atmosphere of complacency. The public will get blamed, but the real blame should be put on the massive leadership programs which were bolted down on to their citizens masses knowledge of said events, and there in lies the total crime of deception.

MaDarby your concern for nature is where a smart person should put their number one priority concern, no arguing there, but just a lifting word of approval of how you put it. Joe

Donald Patterson , September 16, 2017 at 2:45 pm

Consortium has been a clear voice on the lunacy of the Russia-Gate scandal. But to paint Yanukovych former President of the Ukraine as an injured party considering his history in government with what appears to be large scale corruption is part of the story as well. A treason trial started in May. More info needed on what looks like a complicated story. This would be a good piece of investigative journalism as well.

mike k , September 16, 2017 at 9:03 pm

Can you imagine what a huge can of worms would be revealed if there was a thorough investigation on every congressperson and public official in Washington DC? It would make Yanukovych look like a saint. And in addition, let's investigate the 10,000 richest people in the US, including all their offshore fortunes gained by illegal means. Wouldn't it make sense to do that? Isn't there enough evidence of probable criminal activity to open these investigations? Where is our ethical sense when it comes to our own dirty laundry? I guess it's easier to speculate about other's crimes than look into our own, eh?

Joe Tedesky , September 17, 2017 at 12:40 pm

The focus I get isn't so much focused on Yanukovych, even Putin wasn't all that crazy about his style of leadership, but my focus on a viable democratically created government doesn't necessarily start with an armed public coup. Yes, leading up to the violence, peaceful protesters took to the streets, but as we both know this is always the case until the baton twirling thugs come to finally ramp up the protest to a marathon of violent clashes and whatever else gets heads busted, until we have a full fledged revolution on our hands pass out the cookies. I mean by by-passing the voting polls, even to somehow ad hoc a temporary government in some manner of government overthrow were done peacefully, well then maybe I could get on board with this new Ukrainian government, but even the NYT finds it impossible to cover up everything.

And what about the people of Donbass? Shouldn't they have a say in this new government realignment? Ukraine has, and has always had a East meets West kind of problem. That area has been ruled over for centuries by each other, and one another, to a point of who's who and what's what is hard to figure out. Donbass, should in my regard be separate from the Now Kiev government. (Be kind with your critique of me for I am just an average American telling you what I see from here)

It's like everything else, where we should let the people of the region sit down with each other and work it out, we instead blame it on Putin, or whoever else Putin appears to be, and there you have it MIC spending up the ying-yang, for the lack of a better portrayal, but still a portrayal of what ills our modern geopolitical society.

mike k , September 16, 2017 at 2:49 pm

"The best thing which could happen to this country and its people would be the collapse of this Empire. The support, even tacit and passive, of this Empire by people like yourself only delays this outcome and allows this abomination to to bring even more misery and pain upon millions of innocent people, including millions of your fellow Americans. This Empire now also threatens my country, Russia, with war and possibly nuclear war and that, in turn, means that this Empire threatens the survival of the human species. Whether the US Empire is the most evil one in history is debatable, but the fact that it is by far the most dangerous one is not. Is that not a good enough reason for you to say "enough is enough"? What would it take for you to switch sides and join the rest of mankind in what is a struggle for the survival of our species? Or will it take a nuclear winter to open your eyes to the true nature of the Empire you apparently are still supporting against all evidence?" (the Saker)

Please go to the entire article on today's Saker Blog.

Voytenko , September 16, 2017 at 3:48 pm

Sick edition consortiumnews, sick readers. Elites, Deep State, Evil Empire USA Dove Putin with olive branch Guys, why don't you watch, say for a week, Russian TV, if you have somebody around who can translate from Russian. If you want to hear real nazi racist alt-whatever crap, Russian TV is the place. But you'll enjoy it, most probably. Thankfully, you guys, are obviously, minority, with all your pseudo intellectual delusions, discussions and ideas. "Useful idiots" – that's what Lenin said about the likes of you.

Abe , September 16, 2017 at 7:00 pm

There is no reason to assume that the trollish rants of "Voytenko" are from some outraged flag-waving "patriot" in Kiev. There are plenty of other "useful idiots" ready, willing and able to make mischief.

For example, about a million Jews emigrated to Israel ("made Aliyah") from the post-Soviet states during the 1990s. Some 266,300 were Ukrainian Jews. A large number of Ukrainian Jews also emigrated to the United States during this period. For example, out of an estimated 400 thousand Russian-speaking Jews in Metro New York, the largest number (thirty-six percent) hail from Ukraine. Needless to say, many among them are not so well disposed toward the nations of Russia or Ukraine, and quite capable of all manner of mischief.

A particularly "useful idiot" making mischief the days is Sergey Brin of Google. Brin's parents were graduates of Moscow State University who emigrated from the Soviet Union in 1979 when their son was five years old.

Google, the company that runs the most visited website in the world, the company that owns YouTube, is very snugly in bed with the US military-industrial-surveillance complex.

In fact, Google was seed funded by the US National Security Agency (NSA) and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The company now enjoys lavish "partnerships" with military contractors like SAIC, Northrop Grumman and Blackbird.

Google's mission statement from the outset was "to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful".

In a 2004 letter prior to their initial public offering, Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin explained their "Don't be evil" culture required objectivity and an absence of bias: "We believe it is important for everyone to have access to the best information and research, not only to the information people pay for you to see."

The corporate giant appears to have replaced the original motto altogether. A carefully reworded version appears in the Google Code of Conduct: "You can make money without doing evil".

This new gospel allows Google and its "partners" to make money promoting propaganda and engaging in surveillance, and somehow manage to not "be evil". That's "post-truth" logic for you.

Google has been enthusiastically promoting Eliot Higgins "arm chair analytics" since 2013
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qbWhcWizSFY

Indeed, a very cozy cross-promotion is happening between Google and Bellingcat.

In November 2014, Google Ideas and Google For Media, partnered the George Soros-funded Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) to host an "Investigathon" in New York City. Google Ideas promoted Higgins' "War and Pieces: Social Media Investigations" song and dance via their YouTube page.

Higgins constantly insists that Bellingcat "findings" are "reaffirmed" by accessing imagery in Google Earth.

Google Earth, originally called EarthViewer 3D, was created by Keyhole, Inc, a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) funded company acquired by Google in 2004. Google Earth uses satellite images provided by the company Digital Globe, a supplier of the US Department of Defense (DoD) with deep connections to both the military and intelligence communities.

The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) is both a combat support agency under the United States Department of Defense, and an intelligence agency of the United States Intelligence Community. Robert T. Cardillo, director of the NGA, lavishly praised Digital Globe as "a true mission partner in every sense of the word". Examination of the Board of Directors of Digital Globe reveals intimate connections to DoD and CIA.

Google has quite the history of malicious behavior. In what became known as the "Wi-Spy" scandal, it was revealed that Google had been collecting hundreds of gigabytes of payload data, including personal and sensitive information. First names, email addresses, physical addresses, and a conversation between two married individuals planning an extra-marital affair were all cited by the FCC. In a 2012 settlement, the Federal Trade Commission announced that Google will pay $22.5 million for overriding privacy settings in Apple's Safari browser. Though it was the largest civil penalty the Federal Trade Commission had ever imposed for violating one of its orders, the penalty as little more than symbolic for a company that had $2.8 billion in earnings the previous quarter.

Google is a joint venture partner with the CIA. In 2009, Google Ventures and In-Q-Tel invested "under $10 million each" into Recorded Future shortly after the company was founded. The company developed technology that strips information from web pages, blogs, and Twitter accounts.

In addition to funding Bellingcat and joint ventures with the CIA, Brin's Google is heavily invested in Crowdstrike, an American cybersecurity technology firm based in Irvine, California.

Crowdstrike is the main "source" of the "Russians hacked the DNC" story.

Dmitri Alperovitch, co-founder and chief technology officer of CrowdStrike, is a Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council "regime change" think tank.

Alperovitz said that Crowdstrike has "high confidence" it was "Russian hackers".

"But we don't have hard evidence," Alperovitch admitted in a June 16, 2016 Washington Post interview.

Allegations of Russian perfidy are routinely issued by private companies with lucrative US Department of Defense (DoD) contracts. The companies claiming to protect the nation against "threats" have the ability to manufacture "threats".

The US and UK possess elite cyber capabilities for both cyberspace espionage and offensive operations.

Both the US National Security Agency (NSA) and the British Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) are intelligence agencies with a long history of supporting military operations. US military cyber operations are the responsibility of US Cyber Command, whose commander is also the head of the NSA.

US offensive cyber operations have emphasized political coercion and opinion shaping, shifting public perception in NATO countries as well as globally in ways favorable to the US, and to create a sense of unease and distrust among perceived adversaries such as Russia and China.

The Snowden revelations made it clear that US offensive cyber capabilities can and have been directed both domestically and internationally. The notion that US and NATO cyber operations are purely defensive is a myth.

Recent US domestic cyber operations have been used for coercive effect, creating uncertainty and concern within the American government and population.

The perception that a foreign attacker may have infiltrated US networks, is monitoring communications, and perhaps considering even more damaging actions, can have a disorienting effect.

In the world of US "hybrid warfare" against Russia, offensive cyber operations work in tandem with NATO propaganda efforts, perhaps best exemplified by the "online investigation" antics of the Atlantic Council's Eliot Higgins and his Bellingcat disinformation site.

mike k , September 16, 2017 at 8:50 pm

Thanks Abe. Your insights are invaluable.

GMC , September 17, 2017 at 4:53 am

I live in Russia and see those shows that you speak of. The Nazi rants are from the Ukraine folks invited on the show – you want to see Ukraine shows like the ones in RU. – well, you won't see any Russians invited to talk -- -- NONE --

Gregory Herr , September 17, 2017 at 10:33 am

Your posts are so blatantly contrived it's almost funny. Do you write for sitcoms as well?

mrtmbrnmn , September 16, 2017 at 4:48 pm

Is this a great country, or wot???

Stupid starts at the very top and there is no bottom to it .

Dominic Pukallus , September 16, 2017 at 10:13 pm

The Washington Post has its own ironically self-describing slogan. Perhaps that of the NYT these days should be, in the same vein, "The Sleep of Reason begets monsters". And who will soon then be able to whistle in the darkness full of these things?

mike k , September 17, 2017 at 8:03 am

When looking for monsters, the WaPo should start by looking at themselves.

Walter DuBlanica , September 17, 2017 at 2:26 pm

The chaos in Ukraine was engineered by Victoria Nuland at Hillary's request. Good that she is not president. The Ukrainians and Russians are one and the same people, same DNA, same religion Orthodoxy., Slavic, languages very close to each other, Cyrillic alphabet and a long common history .

Russian_angel , September 17, 2017 at 9:43 pm

Thank you for the truth about Russia, it hurts the Russians to read about themselves in the American newspapers a lie.

Florin , September 18, 2017 at 2:15 am

Gershman, Nuland, Pyland, Feltman . essentially ths four biggest US (quasi) diplomats, like Volodymyr Groysman, Petro Poroshenko and perhaps 'our guy' Yats – are Jewish.

Add to this the role of Israeli 'ex' military, some hundreds, which means Mossad, and of Jewish oligarchs in Ukraine – and consider that Jews are less than 1% of the population.

The point is if we were free to speak plainly, the Ukraine coup looks to be one in which American and Ukrainian Jews acted in concert to benefit Jewish power. There is more to be said on this, but this glimpse will suffice because, of course, one is not free to speak plainly even where plain speaking is, on the face of it, encouraged.

Jamie , September 18, 2017 at 12:03 pm

Where was fake Antifa when Obama armed Nazi's in the Ukraine?

https://consortiumnews.com/2015/06/12/u-s-house-admits-nazi-role-in-ukraine/

Obama then put Joe Biden's sleazy son, Hunter, on the board of the largest gas company there:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2014/05/14/hunter-bidens-new-job-at-a-ukrainian-gas-company-is-a-problem-for-u-s-soft-power/

By ignoring the fascism of one political party, Antifa is actually pro-fascist. This fits in well with their Hitler-like disdain for freedom of press, speech and assembly. And their absolute love of violence, we also saw in the 1930s among Nazi groups

[Jul 07, 2017] Deep State Begins Anti-Russia Media Blitz Ahead Of Trump-Putin Meeting

Hacking allegations is just a projection... Remember Stixnet and Flame?
Jul 07, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com

And so, three stories (2 anonymously sourced and one with no facts behind it) in The New York Times ( who recently retracted their "17 intelligence agencies" lie ) and CNN ( where do we start with these guys? let's just go with full retraction of an anonymously sourced lie about Scaramucci and Kushner and the Russians ) should stir up enough angst to ensure the meeting is at best awkward and at worst a lose-lose for Trump (at least in the eyes of the media).

First off we have the 'news' that hackers have reportedly been breaking into computer networks of companies operating United States nuclear power stations, energy facilities and manufacturing plants , according to a new report by The New York Times.

The origins of the hackers are not known. But the report indicated that an "advanced persistent threat" actor was responsible, which is the language security specialists often use to describe hackers backed by governments.

The two people familiar with the investigation say that, while it is still in its early stages, the hackers' techniques mimicked those of the organization known to cybersecurity specialists as "Energetic Bear," the Russian hacking group that researchers have tied to attacks on the energy sector since at least 2012.

And Bloomberg piled on...

https://lockerdome.com/lad/9533801169000550?pubid=ld-1806-5338&pubo=http%3A%2F%2Frussia-insider.com&width=686

So that's that 5 people - who know something - suspect it was the Russians that are hacking US nuclear facilities (but there's no proof).

Next we move to CNN who claim a 'current and former U.S. intelligence officials' told them that Russian spies have been stepping up their intelligence gathering efforts in the U.S. since the election, feeling emboldened by the lack of significant U.S. response to Russian election meddling .

"Russians have maintained an aggressive collection posture in the US, and their success in election meddling has not deterred them," said a former senior intelligence official familiar with Trump administration efforts.

"The concerning point with Russia is the volume of people that are coming to the US. They have a lot more intelligence officers in the US" compared to what they have in other countries, one of the former intelligence officials says.

But, according to Steve Hall, retired CIA chief of operations, the Russians could also be seeking more information on Trump's administration, which is new and still unpredictable to Moscow

So that's more anonymous sourcing about Russian spies... doing what they would normally do during a presidential transition.

And so finally, a third story - with CNN trotting out former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, to pin the 'Russians did it' tail on the "this is why we lost the election" donkey...

me title=

Claiming that the Russians alone were responsible for interference ...

"As far as others doing this, well that's new to me," Clapper, who served under former President Barack Obama, said during an interview on CNN's "The Situation Room."

"We saw no evidence whatsoever that [there] was anyone involved in this other than the Russians," he said.

So in summary - 3 stories pinning Russia for shameful acts against 'Murica that just happen to hit hours before Trump shakes hands with Putin... ensuring that unless Trump slams Putin to the ground like a wrestling-CNN-logo, he will be adjudged as being soft... and therefore clearly in cahoots with the Russian leader. Seriously, do the Deep State realy think Americans are that dumb? (rhetorical question)


medium giraffe , Jul 6, 2017 9:49 PM

" Russian hackers are targeting US nuclear facilities"

Reminds me of the claim that British subs can be hacked. What? do you just fucking google for them?

So much bullshit.....

espirit -> medium giraffe , Jul 6, 2017 9:59 PM

Old saying goes: Don't piss in the well you drink out of. Scorched earth here we come.

WordSmith2013 -> espirit , Jul 6, 2017 10:02 PM

The back story to the endless propaganda about Russia is all about the GREAT GAME .

http://stateofthenation2012.com/?p=68902

What's really behind all the fake anti-Russia hysteria?

The "Executive Summary" says it all!

Dukes -> WordSmith2013 , Jul 6, 2017 10:10 PM

Trump and Putin should have a "beer summit". Let the shitty msm have a field day rationalizing how this time it's bad.

J S Bach -> Dukes , Jul 6, 2017 10:54 PM

Sometimes I just want to escape to the woods and never come back. This (((media world of inane contrivance))) literally makes me ill.

luky luke -> J S Bach , Jul 6, 2017 11:56 PM

The TRUTH no media will tell you about the conflict with Russia.

http://biblicisminstitute.wordpress.com/2015/03/17/the-truth-about-the-c...

tip_top -> J S Bach , Jul 7, 2017 12:14 AM

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bamawatson -> tip_top , Jul 7, 2017 1:07 AM

i made $3 a week delivering the local paper every morning in 1961 when i was ten years old. Queer professor named wallace waites would stand in his underwear behind his screen door and beckon me https://vimeo.com/221102826

((another queer professor named cloyd paskins had a heart attack. He did not die. They said he got better after working out with waites))

burtonm.walker -> bamawatson , Jul 7, 2017 3:30 AM

I'm making over $7k a month working part time. I kept hearing other people tell me how much money they can make online so I decided to look into it. Well, it was all true and has totally changed my life. This is what I do... www.jobproplan.com

doctor10 -> J S Bach , Jul 7, 2017 3:34 AM

The MIC must be realizing their line of shit is getting pretty old. Next thing you know, they'll 911 Capitol Hill...

Nexus789 -> Dukes , Jul 7, 2017 5:42 AM

The two should go and get shit faced and solve all the world's problems.

sand_puppy -> WordSmith2013 , Jul 6, 2017 10:47 PM

By "Deep State" and "The Hidden Government" we are referring to the criminal Zionist group, sometimes called just "the neocons" and sometimes the "Khazarian Mafia." (This group does NOT include the majority of American Jews, who tend to be centrist and progressive.) But it does include a smaller subset of the Jewish people. (And a few non-Jewish people like Joe Biden.)

I just came across this interview from the 1970's with H.W. Rosenthal on the Zionist group seeking to rule the world. for me it was very illuminating.

https://nesaraaustralia.wordpress.com/2013/05/09/the-harold-wallace-rose...

meditate_vigorously -> medium giraffe , Jul 7, 2017 12:54 AM

JU's don't care who gets caught in the crossfire of their internecine East/West wars. All of the rest of us are just cattle to the Chosen People.

EmergentMind -> medium giraffe , Jul 7, 2017 1:46 AM

You are "wroking" on it? Tyler, get your editorial skills up to speed, or I forget you as legit.

LetThemEatRand , Jul 6, 2017 9:51 PM

I wish we could all stop paying attention to the "war" between Trump and CNN. It's a distraction from much bigger issues. CNN is not "liberal" media. It is the Deep State, which is not liberal or conservative. And I can't help but conclude that Trump is a knowing part of this circus while he leads us into real war under cover of the media war.

null -> LetThemEatRand , Jul 6, 2017 9:58 PM

Nice try. Really, that was pretty smooth. But gotta call BS on that ... yes, implying insincerity on your part (with all due respect I suppose).

The shallow play-on-words mixing "liberal" as politically defined with "classic liberal" as in philosophy, would not fool an informed person. But again, nice obfuscation.

LetThemEatRand -> null , Jul 6, 2017 10:02 PM

"Trump just became president."

CNN's Zakaria when Trump bombed Syria.

Fake news? Liberal media?

This is all an act. A circus. A big show.

null -> LetThemEatRand , Jul 6, 2017 10:11 PM

Just admit that you are against the stated US policy which, largely because of detractors like yourself, he May Not Change Yet, duh.

No shame in disagreeing with US policy. Do not blame it on POTUS, yet, is that clear? Not yet ...

LetThemEatRand -> null , Jul 6, 2017 10:16 PM

I would say you should be more specific, but I am against almost all stated US foreign policy, so you're probably right. But if you can be more specific I'll tell you specifically if you're right about my position. Which US policy do you think I'm against? I'll give you an honest answer whether I am or not.

null -> LetThemEatRand , Jul 6, 2017 10:27 PM

No, that's totally cool! I am guessing polar-opposite, so why nitpick.

One may have to take "US interest" position because of loyalty and not because the US has necessarily acted to deserve this loyalty. The past few decades have been "rough" to say the least.

Many here totally disagree with you about US foreign policy But Hope that this POTUS can cause the US to act in a way that would Mutigate this disagreement. Some things are off the table, but many are likely On The Table with this POTUS.

meditate_vigorously -> null , Jul 7, 2017 1:00 AM

I do not presume to speak for mister LTER, but I inferred his point was, that the existence of things that are "off the table" is proof that Trump is some faction of Deep State, rather than above board on what he sold those of us who voted for him.

null -> meditate_vigorously , Jul 7, 2017 6:42 AM

So disagreement with you about One (or more) policy equals deep-state membership.

Got it ... you certainly can define it how you want.

espirit -> null , Jul 6, 2017 10:20 PM

I got the lowdown about them Rooskies prowling about the nookier plant.

Some was dressed like EPA and DHS, real lookin' badges and everything - but I could tell they wasn't real.

I'll tell the whole true story for a million dollahs.

null -> espirit , Jul 6, 2017 10:33 PM

That'd be funny if the odds were not that something like that was happening constantly ... I think all the parties have been at this dance for a long time.

August -> espirit , Jul 7, 2017 11:06 AM

Back in the day, Clint Eastwood pulled that sort of stuff off... no problem.

baghead -> LetThemEatRand , Jul 6, 2017 10:53 PM

Trump bombing syria gave the "deep state" a temporary boner,when he didn't followup with troops,they went right back to bashing him.

ISEEIT -> null , Jul 6, 2017 10:38 PM

You don't get it.

"Progressivism" is the deep state.

"Progressivism" is communism.

Nothing 'liberal' about it.

Wanna be a farm animal.....?

Then be "Progressive".

null -> ISEEIT , Jul 6, 2017 10:50 PM

I don't disagree. Yes, anti-liberal in a classical sense.

But you are talking about Statism in general at that point. And one of the Vehicles is progressivism, sure.

And sure, I will admit that some "farming" is arguably necessary for a modern society to function, that makes me a full-on animal? Not fair ...

The Wizard -> null , Jul 6, 2017 11:45 PM

The arguments here are on the definition of labels. Forget the labels it is quite an easy analysis, centralization of authority vs. decentralization of authority. Call it what you wish.

Memedada -> ISEEIT , Jul 7, 2017 8:29 AM

It is you who don't "get it".

You write like you've been conditioned to - you use the words of your masters.

But maybe you're different (I think not): can you define "progressivism" and "communism" ? I'm a supporter of neither, but I know that in order to cure a disease you have to diagnose it correctly (the reason why the disease in power have made you misdiagnose it as "communism").

meditate_vigorously -> null , Jul 7, 2017 12:57 AM

I was about to tell you to take your meds, but since you got a fair number of upvotes, I wonder what I am missing, that you failed to articulate.

null -> meditate_vigorously , Jul 7, 2017 6:09 AM

Just trying to articulate that people be-talking-crap about this POTUS for no actual reason since he has not gotten a chance to govern.

Good point about the meds ... if you just gotta project to motivate yourself to take yours, glad 2 help.

meditate_vigorously -> null , Jul 7, 2017 1:02 AM

Getting people to think of things as systems and management of systems, rather than Hegellian Dialectic (problem/solution), is the hardest part.

The TV PROGRAMMING over the last 70 years has been more than successful.

hoytmonger -> LetThemEatRand , Jul 6, 2017 10:02 PM

Trump does seem to lead the way in terms of distractions.

He's a proven big-government, tax-and-spend progressive from NYC.

He has zero respect for individual liberty or private property rights.

But the mouth breathers eat it up.

Billy the Poet -> hoytmonger , Jul 6, 2017 10:31 PM

You're free to send your global warming contribution to China and make your daughter share a locker room with trannies. No one is stopping you. Release your inner nose breather.

LetThemEatRand -> Billy the Poet , Jul 6, 2017 10:46 PM

Billy, note that the only changes Trump has made so far have been on these issues. Tranny bathrooms. Paris Accord. The exact issues that are designed to divide us. I'll give you that I'd rather have Trump dealing with these issues than Hillary, but have you noticed that the issues that actually matter because they affect us all -- moar war, moar NSA, moar Deep State, bigger military budget, moar prison industrial complex, moar debt -- are the same as they would have been under Hillary?

Billy the Poet -> LetThemEatRand , Jul 6, 2017 11:06 PM

Would the media be fracturing like it is if Hillary had won? Would the average guy have ever discovered this thing called the "deep state" if Hillary had won? Would the Clinton Global Initiative have closed up shop if Hillary had won?

LetThemEatRand -> Billy the Poet , Jul 6, 2017 11:20 PM

All good questions. I don't know, except obviously the Clinton Global Initiative would still be going strong had Hillary won.

What I do know is that we're not making any progress towards more individual freedom or less war, or less control by oligarchs/bankers, which are the issues that matter to me. And I'm still making my Obamacare premium payment every month. And my taxes are the same. And my small business red tape is the same.

As for media fracturing, MSNBC has grown in ratings and is now second only to Fox. So divide and conquer seems to be working even better now. I don't have much a dog in the fight of whether CNN specifically rates well.

Billy the Poet -> LetThemEatRand , Jul 6, 2017 11:27 PM

Top General Says Hillary No Fly Zone Means WAR With Russia

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GzLeRWbVA18

On the other hand:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/us-prepared-to-ho...

The Wizard -> LetThemEatRand , Jul 6, 2017 11:47 PM

One of the experts on the Clinton Foundations Meet Charles Ortel

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=26DYq6JM3ew&feature=youtu.be

meditate_vigorously -> Billy the Poet , Jul 7, 2017 1:04 AM

I am missing where he referenced global warming. Are you a professional shill or a professional idiot?

Billy the Poet -> meditate_vigorously , Jul 7, 2017 1:27 AM

I'm the guy who is amused by your outrage.

hoytmonger -> Billy the Poet , Jul 7, 2017 5:31 AM

And you're free to have your land confiscated through eminent domain and have your grandchildren live in debt to pay for your support of the MIC.

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/265171/donald-trump-and-eminent-do...

Miss Expectations , Jul 6, 2017 9:51 PM

The lies are too damn big.

Dormouse , Jul 6, 2017 9:52 PM

How is it that Clapper isn't behind bars yet?

BlindMonkey -> Dormouse , Jul 6, 2017 9:57 PM

He is in line. The have to prosecute Jon Corzine first......

Hahahaha. I kill me...

MayIMommaDogFac... -> BlindMonkey , Jul 6, 2017 10:58 PM

FREE JON CORZINE

(sorry, can't help myself)

thinkmoretalkless -> Dormouse , Jul 6, 2017 10:30 PM

For the record, he is a verified liar

Miss Expectations , Jul 6, 2017 9:56 PM

Begin GIFing....Putin Judo video

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gfGYThX-sTI

max_leering -> Miss Expectations , Jul 6, 2017 10:30 PM

he'd snap trump like a twig... then fart on him

[Jun 21, 2017] An Assault on Language Extremism by Gregory Barrett

Notable quotes:
"... The wealthy and powerful forces which control both of those influential centers in the formation of public opinion were desperate to regain control of the narrative, which has been slipping away from them at an increasing velocity since the advent of social media, and since the parallel growth of a broad spectrum of information networks with absolutely no interest in currying favor with the mighty, or in defending the status quo. ..."
"... As soon as the term "Fake News" appeared, Barack Obama pounced on it, and in a joint appearance in 2016 with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin, used his worldwide microphone and bully pulpit – if only he had done so occasionally to sound the alarm about the approaching environmental crisis, or to express outrage about racism or police brutality, or to challenge war profiteers! – to announce his deep concern that "Fake News" was making it "difficult to govern" (for more on this and the struggle against corporate/government presstitute propaganda, see my article "Hope Is Our Enemy: Fighting Boiling Frog Syndrome"). ..."
"... This clumsy and panicky maneuver has deservedly met with far less success than Obama's incredibly successful propaganda sally against Russia and Vladimir Putin, which has captivated the paranoid fantasies of many millions of Americans and Europeans who desperately want to believe that NATO countries are virtuous and innocent, and are threatened by ruthless and aggressive foreigners who are responsible for the spreading chaos in the West. ..."
"... As one of his final acts in office, President Chameleon slapped new sanctions on Russia and deported Russian diplomats: after eight years, his transformation from Nobel Laureate and supposed apostle of peace to McCarthyite New Cold Warrior was complete, and vast numbers of angry Hillaroids were quickly on board the Blame Russia Express, full of self-righteous anger and the conviction that someone had stolen the election and that the usual suspects were obviously the guilty party. ..."
"... Things haven't gone so well for the "Fake News" campaign, however. Too many people could and can see disturbing patterns that ring true, if they spend enough time looking at truthful, objective analysis of the world around us, and there is quite a lot of it available via the internet. ..."
"... More people are spending more and more time on the internet and social media, where presstitute media lose the natural advantages they once had in a world dominated by government-regulated, corporate-financed TV, radio, and print news. ..."
"... It turns out that many of the best-informed writers see the world utterly differently than do the corporate and government shills who determine the "news" content in mainstream media. ..."
"... Social Democrats ..."
"... Christian Democrats ..."
"... The US military is by far the greatest polluter on Earth. ..."
"... I consider that an Orwellian assault on language. "Extremism" is what I oppose. Extreme wealth. Extreme greed. Extreme militarism. Extreme suicidal and ecocidal environmental destruction. Extreme governmental authority. Extreme stupidity. ..."
Jun 19, 2017 | www.counterpunch.org

We have had a certain amount of success in exposing the amorphous and mendacious term "Fake News" for what it is: a tool in a major campaign of propaganda against dissenting independent journalism and political writing, a campaign perpetrated by governments and corporate media. The wealthy and powerful forces which control both of those influential centers in the formation of public opinion were desperate to regain control of the narrative, which has been slipping away from them at an increasing velocity since the advent of social media, and since the parallel growth of a broad spectrum of information networks with absolutely no interest in currying favor with the mighty, or in defending the status quo.

As soon as the term "Fake News" appeared, Barack Obama pounced on it, and in a joint appearance in 2016 with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin, used his worldwide microphone and bully pulpit – if only he had done so occasionally to sound the alarm about the approaching environmental crisis, or to express outrage about racism or police brutality, or to challenge war profiteers! – to announce his deep concern that "Fake News" was making it "difficult to govern" (for more on this and the struggle against corporate/government presstitute propaganda, see my article "Hope Is Our Enemy: Fighting Boiling Frog Syndrome").

This clumsy and panicky maneuver has deservedly met with far less success than Obama's incredibly successful propaganda sally against Russia and Vladimir Putin, which has captivated the paranoid fantasies of many millions of Americans and Europeans who desperately want to believe that NATO countries are virtuous and innocent, and are threatened by ruthless and aggressive foreigners who are responsible for the spreading chaos in the West.

As one of his final acts in office, President Chameleon slapped new sanctions on Russia and deported Russian diplomats: after eight years, his transformation from Nobel Laureate and supposed apostle of peace to McCarthyite New Cold Warrior was complete, and vast numbers of angry Hillaroids were quickly on board the Blame Russia Express, full of self-righteous anger and the conviction that someone had stolen the election and that the usual suspects were obviously the guilty party.

Things haven't gone so well for the "Fake News" campaign, however. Too many people could and can see disturbing patterns that ring true, if they spend enough time looking at truthful, objective analysis of the world around us, and there is quite a lot of it available via the internet.

More people are spending more and more time on the internet and social media, where presstitute media lose the natural advantages they once had in a world dominated by government-regulated, corporate-financed TV, radio, and print news.

It turns out that many of the best-informed writers see the world utterly differently than do the corporate and government shills who determine the "news" content in mainstream media.

Which brings us to one of the latest victims in the assault on language by the 1% and their pawns in the presstitute media: the word "extremism".

Here in the European Union where I live, this word is currently heard so often in the traditional media – along with another victimized word being brutalized almost non-stop, "populist" – that even poorly-educated persons who aren't sure exactly what is meant can understand that they must mean something very, very bad.

If any such confused persons should take the time to pay closer attention and attempt to ascertain what it is that makes these "extremists" and "populists" so deplorable and dangerous, they may soon notice that at least one of these words, "extremist", has a pretty nebulous field of application. According to major sources of conventional wisdom in the EU, terrorists are "extremists". But "extremism", more generally, is also applied casually to nearly any political parties and interest groups to the Left and the Right of the large (if shrinking in some countries like France) parties called "people's parties" (Volksparteien) here in Germany: the no-longer-socialist Social Democrats who are allegedly center-left, the pseudo-Christian Christian Democrats who portray themselves as center-right, and even the thoroughly compromised and faded-to-brown Green Party , which has gone to great lengths and engaged in stupendous contortions of deliberate conformism to achieve its modern status as a pillar of the established order, a long journey from its radical roots in the 1980s.

As you may have deduced from my snarky tone, I find myself firmly ensconced among the so-called "extremists" of the Left.

What, one may legitimately ask, are the views which have led to this branding as a dangerous individual? Do I advocate keeping a stock of Molotov Cocktails handy for quick use when the shit starts to fly? I do not.

Okay I guess I'll have to come clean. Here are the radical, dangerous, "extremist" positions I support when I advocate more influence for this political party:

In addition, there is my allegedly "extreme" position on the environment, which is not so much a priority for "Die Linke" but is the most important issue of all for me personally. I am convinced that only a radical transformation of the world economy can save this planet, including most life on Earth. I believe this can only come about through an end to industrial capitalism: a ban on most fossil fuels, an end to the production of most plastics, an end to most beef production and strict organic regulation of all meat production, and worldwide mandatory measures to clean up the poisonous residue of the current system which is killing the planet. This will necessarily involve huge cuts in most military structures and war-making as well. The US military is by far the greatest polluter on Earth.

For these views, and my concomitant rejection of the large political parties in the EU and the USA which have done almost nothing to save the planet that was not outweighed by massive destruction – parties which thus, in the name of "realism", have sold our future to the rich and may have doomed all life on this planet, as scientific opinion is near unanimous that time is short – for these views I am labeled an "extremist".

I consider that an Orwellian assault on language. "Extremism" is what I oppose. Extreme wealth. Extreme greed. Extreme militarism. Extreme suicidal and ecocidal environmental destruction. Extreme governmental authority. Extreme stupidity.

[Jun 17, 2017] Power of alt media made obvious by backfire of corporate medias fake news war

Notable quotes:
"... Waddell and the Atlantic, among others, like the Daily Beast - known mouthpieces for the Democratic establishment scrambling to blame Hillary Clinton's loss on everything but the kitchen sink of a horribly flawed campaign - realize to some degree the threat posed by legitimate criticism of the accepted narrative. ..."
"... Zuckerberg's protestations and resistance to acknowledge 'fake news' as influencing the outcome of the election quickly melted under pressure from the pro-Hillary camp - and evaporated as Clintonites and a smattering of miffed Republicans switched gears and ratcheted up New Red Scare propagandizing. ..."
"... When utterly unfounded, un-researched, and unverified reporting by the Washington Post termed the collective body of independent, right-slanted, or pro-Jill Stein media organizations as either active agents of Russia or the Putin's "useful idiots," those outlets formed an implicit bond for having been scurrilously blacklisted. ..."
"... Once the Post's thinly-veneered paper tiger went down in flames for it being impossible to substantiate, the outlet threw journalistic integrity out the window and proffered another unprovable paragon of irresponsibility: " Secret CIA assessment says Russia was trying to help Trump win White House ." ..."
Dec 17, 2016 | www.sott.net
Power of alt media made obvious by backfire of corporate media's 'fake news' war Claire Bernish

Free Thought Project

As you've likely heard by now, Facebook has taken its war against 'fake news' to a whole other level - employing third party media and fact-checking organizations to judge whether news items are legitimate - to the consternation of countless users who see the platform overstepping red lines.

Servile corporate media immediately parroted the wealth of benefits Facebook's plan will ostensibly provide, from an alert and gateway system forced onto articles deemed "disputed," to the organizations making the 'kiss of death' judgment call: Snopes, FactCheck.org, Politifact, and ABC News.

Anyone with passing knowledge of bias in media is probably spitting out their coffee - all four organizations are notoriously left-leaning and liberal, and the list includes no outlets with any other of myriad ideological tilts.

Indeed, right-leaning outlets from Breitbart to the Drudge Report, as well as the sizable alternative media community - who, collectively, held to higher journalistic standards throughout the election cycle than "old media" titans like the New York Times and Washington Post - quickly condemned the unabashed bias imbued in Facebook's plan.

Mark Zuckerberg, a large consensus concluded, just declared war on dissent - if not information, itself.

But in an article intended to criticize purveyors of 'fake news' and applaud the social media platform's oh-so-noble efforts to strike such outlets from the American interwebs, The Atlantic's Kaveh Waddell posited, " Will Facebook's Fake News Warning Become a Badge of Honor? "

Waddell asks this question, the reader doesn't discover until more than halfway through the article, through a lens of myopic bias - if not outright scorn - against anyone who dare question the motives of Facebook or its choice of fact-checkers.

"There's a danger that people who are disinclined to trust traditional sources of information will treat Facebook's warnings as a badge of honor," Waddell clarifies. "If fact-checking organizations deem a story questionable, they might be more likely to read and share it, rather than less. There's reason to believe this group might think of itself as a counterculture, and take the position that anything that 'the man' rejects must have a grain of subversive truth to it."

For a journalist in a nationally-regarded publication to display such seething condescension toward a category of people perhaps most critical to preventing a narrowing of news media to a single viewpoint is criminally self-interested, indeed - evincing the paranoia among old media to validate its reporting in the wake of horrendous election coverage.

Regardless of his patronizing tone, Waddell's question presents what might be the thinnest silver lining to having a Facebook-approved information gatekeeper - news deemed "disputed" will be viewed by non-establishment thinkers as bearing the Scarlet Letter C - censored for being problematic for the political elite.

In other words, this soft censorship could facilely create a Streisand Effect - whereby efforts to suppress content backfire and instead draw greater attention to something than it ever would have received otherwise.

Waddell and the Atlantic, among others, like the Daily Beast - known mouthpieces for the Democratic establishment scrambling to blame Hillary Clinton's loss on everything but the kitchen sink of a horribly flawed campaign - realize to some degree the threat posed by legitimate criticism of the accepted narrative.

This battle has literally nil to do with fake news - or even Russia - and everything to do with the power of dissent.

Of course, a brazen irony in Facebook's purge of random items is CEO Mark Zuckerberg's comments on the subject prior to mass Democratic and corporate media hysteria over iterations Donald Trump won because Russia:

"Of all the content on Facebook, more than 99 percent of what people see is authentic. Only a very small amount is fake news and hoaxes. The hoaxes that do exist are not limited to one partisan view, or even to politics. Overall, this makes it extremely unlikely hoaxes changed the outcome of this election in one direction or the other."
Zuckerberg's protestations and resistance to acknowledge 'fake news' as influencing the outcome of the election quickly melted under pressure from the pro-Hillary camp - and evaporated as Clintonites and a smattering of miffed Republicans switched gears and ratcheted up New Red Scare propagandizing.

When utterly unfounded, un-researched, and unverified reporting by the Washington Post termed the collective body of independent, right-slanted, or pro-Jill Stein media organizations as either active agents of Russia or the Putin's "useful idiots," those outlets formed an implicit bond for having been scurrilously blacklisted.

Once the Post's thinly-veneered paper tiger went down in flames for it being impossible to substantiate, the outlet threw journalistic integrity out the window and proffered another unprovable paragon of irresponsibility: " Secret CIA assessment says Russia was trying to help Trump win White House ."

This gem swears CIA officials have performed an extensive assessment of the election and can prove individuals with ties to the Russian government as responsible for submitting documents on the Democratic Party to Wikileaks for publication - an allegation Julian Assange emerged from the shadows to dispel in an interview with Sean Hannity on Thursday.

Wikileaks - whose published documents have never been proven inauthentic - found itself on the Post's 'Russian agent blacklist.'

In other words, by relying on user-reporting and biased outlets to flag articles means any "disputed" contents feasibly earned that label on a subjective - not hard and fast - basis.

But should there be any labeling - read: moderate censorship - of articles and items by a social media behemoth who claims impartiality while rubbing elbows with Democratic heavy-hitters. All grumblings on Facebook's status as a public entity aside, when your platform acts as the primary news aggregator for millions, there is a staunch obligation to preserve the rights of everyone to speak their version of truth.

To be honest, that includes outlets spewing horrendously false news items as the real thing.

In this new age of information aptly deemed the post-truth era by the Oxford Dictionaries this year, the onus of consequence for sharing any erroneous or fabricated information falls squarely on the shoulders of the fecklessly lazy who don't bother checking sources and hyperlinks - or, in most cases, read more than the title - before disseminating information online.

Because that basic duty was apparently too much for so many to bear, we're now all faced with the Huxleyan prospect of being spoon fed vanilla government propaganda disguised as news - while legitimate news earns the dystopic "disputed" label.

Maybe, just maybe, Waddell and the others have it all wrong. Maybe the imminent Streisand Effect will thwart Facebook gatekeeping in its tracks. Maybe people have wearied of the perilous penchant for categorization. Maybe this Scarlet Lettering of dissenting viewpoints will disgust the wary and students of history.

Maybe Facebook will see its fast-approaching, inevitable demise and decide the suppression of information does not a profitable business move make - or maybe the "disputed" info plot represents the ultimate poison pill.
Comment: See also:

[Jun 17, 2017] A Clinton Fan Manufactured Fake News That MSNBC Personalities Spread to Discredit WikiLeaks Docs by Glenn Greenwald

Notable quotes:
"... The phrase "Fake News" has exploded in usage since the election, but the term is similar to other malleable political labels such as "terrorism" and "hate speech"; because the phrase lacks any clear definition, it is essentially useless except as an instrument of propaganda and censorship. The most important fact to realize about this new term: Those who most loudly denounce Fake News are typically those most aggressively disseminating it. ..."
"... That did not stop Nance, who with a firm intelligence background should have been able to easily spot the fake with "(chaos)" actually written in the side bar and "((makes air quotes))" written before the "bucket of losers" piece in the completely comical so-called transcript, from referencing the document and saying: "Official Warning: #PodestaEmails are already proving to be riddled with obvious forgeries & #blackpropaganda not even professionally done." ..."
"... Their Fake News tweets - warning people to view the WikiLeaks documents as fake - remain posted, with no subsequent retraction or acknowledgment of the falsehoods that they spread about the WikiLeaks archive. That includes MSNBC segments that spread this accusation. ..."
Dec 11, 2016 | Information Clearing House

The Intercept

The phrase "Fake News" has exploded in usage since the election, but the term is similar to other malleable political labels such as "terrorism" and "hate speech"; because the phrase lacks any clear definition, it is essentially useless except as an instrument of propaganda and censorship. The most important fact to realize about this new term: Those who most loudly denounce Fake News are typically those most aggressively disseminating it.

One of the most egregious examples was the recent Washington Post article hyping a new anonymous group and its disgusting blacklist of supposedly pro-Russia news outlets - a shameful article mindlessly spread by countless journalists who love to decry Fake News, despite the Post article itself being centrally based on Fake News. (The Post this week finally added a lame editor's note acknowledging these critiques; the Post editors absurdly claimed that they did not mean to "vouch for the validity" of the blacklist even though the article's key claims were based on doing exactly that).

Now we have an even more compelling example. Back in October, when WikiLeaks was releasing emails from the John Podesta archive, Clinton campaign officials and their media spokespeople adopted a strategy of outright lying to the public, claiming - with no basis whatsoever - that the emails were doctored or fabricated and thus should be ignored . That lie - and that is what it was: a claim made with knowledge of its falsity or reckless disregard for its truth - was most aggressively amplified by MSNBC personalities such as Joy Ann Reid and Malcolm Nance , The Atlantic's David Frum , and Newsweek's Kurt Eichenwald .

Clinton camp chief strategist @benensonj : "I've seen things" in Wikileaks emails "that aren't authentic" #ThisWeek https://t.co/LPQJBfACqz

- This Week (@ThisWeekABC) October 23, 2016

That the emails in the Wikileaks archive were doctored or faked - and thus should be disregarded - was classic Fake News, spread not by Macedonian teenagers or Kremlin operatives but by established news outlets such as MSNBC, The Atlantic, and Newsweek. And, by design, this Fake News spread like wildfire all over the internet, hungrily clicked and shared by tens of thousands of people eager to believe it was true. As a result of this deliberate disinformation campaign, anyone reporting on the contents of the emails was instantly met with claims that the documents in the archive had been proven fake.

The most damaging such claim came from MSNBC's intelligence analyst Malcolm Nance. As I documented on October 11 , he tweeted what he - for some bizarre reason - labeled an "Official Warning." It decreed: " # PodestaEmails are already proving to be riddled with obvious forgeries & # blackpropaganda not even professionally done." That tweet was re-tweeted by more than 4,000 people. It was vested with added credibility by Clinton-supporting journalists like Reid and Frum ("expert to take seriously").

All of that, in turn, led to an article in something called the "Daily News Bin" with the headline: "MSNBC intelligence expert: WikiLeaks is releasing falsified emails not really from Hillary Clinton." This classic fake news product - citing Nance and Reid among others - was shared more than 40,000 times on Facebook alone.

Official Warning: #PodestaEmails are already proving to be riddled with obvious forgeries & #blackpropaganda not even professionally done. https://t.co/UuJZrurHAA

- Malcolm Nance (@MalcolmNance) October 7, 2016

Joe, Malcolm Nance & other experts have validated these emails have been forged & altered by Russia before passing them off to Wikileaks! https://t.co/gZ7rVQ6JJp

- VLB (@BickiDoodle) October 27, 2016

The media ( @ABC , @CBSNews , @NBCNews and @PBS ) must heed Malcolm Nance: "You should have ZERO CONFIDENCE in the contents" of Wikileaks dumps!

- Thomas Gordon (@EarthOrb) October 23, 2016

Joy now discussing WikiLeaks with security expert Malcolm Nance who says we can have zero confidence in authenticity of documents. #AMJoy

- LaurenBaratzLogsted (@LaurenBaratzL) October 22, 2016

From the start, it was obvious that it was this accusation from Clinton supporters - not the WikiLeaks documents - that was a complete fraud, perpetrated on the public as deliberate disinformation. With regard to the claim about the Podesta emails, now we know exactly who created it in the first instance: a hard-core Clinton fanatic.

When Nance - MSNBC's "intelligence analyst" - issued his "Official Warning," he linked to a tweet that warned: "Please be skeptical of alleged #PodestaEmails . Trumpists are dirtying docs." That tweet, in turn, linked to a tweet from an anonymous account calling itself "The Omnivore," which had posted an obviously fake transcript purporting to be a Hillary Clinton speech to Goldman Sachs. Even though that fake document was never published by WikiLeaks, that was the entire basis for the MSNBC-inspired claim that some of the WikiLeaks documents were doctored.

But the person who created that forged Goldman Sachs transcript was not a "Trumpist" at all; he was a devoted supporter of Hillary Clinton. In the Daily Beast, the person behind the anonymous "The Omnivore" account unmasks himself as "Marco Chacon," a self-professed creator of "viral fake news" whose targets were Sanders and Trump supporters (he specialized in blatantly fake anti-Clinton frauds with the goal of tricking her opponents into citing them, so that they would be discredited). When he wasn't posting fabricated news accounts designed to make Clinton's opponents look bad, his account looked like any other standard pro-Clinton account: numerous negative items about Sanders and then Trump, with links to many Clinton-defending articles.

In his Daily Beast article, published on November 21, Chacon describes how he manufactured the forged Goldman Sachs speech transcript. He says he did it prior to learning that the WikiLeaks releases of Podesta emails contained actual Clinton speech excerpts to Wall Street banks. But once he realized WikiLeaks had published actual Clinton transcripts, Chacon began trying to lure people he disliked - Clinton critics - into believing that his forged speeches were real, so that he could prove they were gullible and dumb.

Sadly for Chacon, however, the people who ended up getting fooled by his Fake News items were the nation's most prominent Clinton supporters, including supposed experts and journalists from MSNBC who used his obvious fakes to try to convince the world that the WikiLeaks archive had been compromised and thus should be ignored. That it was pro-Clinton journalists who spread his Fake News as real now horrifies even Chacon:

The tweet went super-viral. It started an almost trending - but still going today - hashtag #bucketoflosers. A tweet declaring it a bad forgery was picked up by Malcolm Nance, an intelligence analyst for MSNBC among others, who tweeted to be wary of the WikiLeaks release .

That did not stop Nance, who with a firm intelligence background should have been able to easily spot the fake with "(chaos)" actually written in the side bar and "((makes air quotes))" written before the "bucket of losers" piece in the completely comical so-called transcript, from referencing the document and saying: "Official Warning: #PodestaEmails are already proving to be riddled with obvious forgeries & #blackpropaganda not even professionally done."

At the end of the day, did this change anything? I don't know. I think I inadvertently hurt WikiLeaks, which I'm not proud of - but I'm not too sorry about either. I suspect that some people came to realize that they were believing in fake things.

That last sentence - that as a result of his fraud, "some people came to realize that they were believing in fake things" - is false, at least insofar as it applies to people like Eichenwald, Frum, Nance, and Reid. Even though it was clear from the start to any rational and honest person that there was zero evidence that any of the WikiLeaks documents were doctored, and even though (as Chacon himself says) nobody minimally informed (let alone supposed "intelligence experts") should have been fooled by his blatant Fake News, none of the journalists who lied to the public about these WikiLeaks documents have even once acknowledged what they did.

Their Fake News tweets - warning people to view the WikiLeaks documents as fake - remain posted, with no subsequent retraction or acknowledgment of the falsehoods that they spread about the WikiLeaks archive. That includes MSNBC segments that spread this accusation.

Indeed, not only should it have been blatantly obvious that Chacon's anonymously posted document did not impugn the WikiLeaks archive, but also the slightest research would have revealed that the person who manufactured the forgery was a Clinton supporter , not a "Trumpist" or a Kremlin operative. Indeed, one of the Clinton-criticizing journalists who Chacon tried to trick, Michael Tracey, said exactly this at the time . But because his facts contradicted the MSNBC/Newsweek political agenda, they were ignored in favor of the lie that the WikiLeaks archive had been compromised and doctored:

FYI: one of the accounts ( @OmnivoreBlog ) that circulated a fake HRC speech transcript is a pro-Clinton troll spreading disinformation. pic.twitter.com/HZ3UBm9pk8

- Michael Tracey (@mtracey) October 11, 2016

I will be shocked if any of them now acknowledge this even with Chacon's confession. That's because MSNBC has repeatedly proven that it tolerates Fake News and outright lies from its personalities as long as those lies are in service of the right candidate (when Democrats were smearing Jill Stein as a Kremlin stooge , Reid's program aired Nance's lie to MSNBC viewers that Stein had previously hosted her own show on RT: an utter fabrication that MSNBC, to this day, has never corrected or even acknowledged despite multiple requests from FAIR ).

On Reid's show, Malcolm Nance falsely claimed Jill Stein hosted an RT show, & they just refuse to correct/retract it. How is that allowed? https://t.co/FKb5J0HDKF

- Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) October 19, 2016

Every day, literally, you can turn on MSNBC and hear various people so righteously lamenting the spread of "Fake News." Yet MSNBC itself not only spreads Fake News but refuses to correct it when it is exposed. How do they have any credibility to denounce Fake News? They do not.

That journalists and "experts" outright lied to the public this way in order to help their favorite candidate is obviously dangerous. This was most powerfully pointed out - ironically - by Marty Baron, executive editor of the Washington Post, who told the New York Times's Jim Rutenberg : "If you have a society where people can't agree on basic facts, how do you have a functioning democracy?"

Exactly: If you have prominent journalists telling the public to trust an anonymous group with a false McCarthyite blacklist, or telling it to ignore informative documents on the grounds that they are fake when there is zero reason to believe that they are fake, that is a direct threat to democracy. In the case of the Podesta emails, these lies were perpetrated by the very factions that have taken to most loudly victimizing themselves over the spread of Fake News.

But the problem here goes way beyond mere hypocrisy. Complaints about Fake News are typically accompanied by calls for "solutions" that involve censorship and suppression, either by the government or tech giants such as Facebook. But until there is a clear definition of "Fake News," and until it's recognized that Fake News is being aggressively spread by the very people most loudly complaining about it, the dangers posed by these solutions will be at least as great as the problem itself.

Note: The article was lightly edited to reflect the correct date of the Daily Beast article: November 21.

The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Information Clearing House editorial policy.

[Jun 17, 2017] The higher the stakes for the elite, the more you can be certain the mainstream news lie about and reports fake news produced by the goverment fakers

www.moonofalabama.org

According to Fox News and NBC, China flew such bomber on November 25 (Dec 5, 6 reps above), well BEFORE the Trump phone call.

It also flew the bombers AFTER (Dec 9 rep) the Trump's phone call with the Taiwanese government. Indeed it regularly flies these bombers.

The sightseeing flight had thereby nothing at all to do with any Trump call. Correlating the call with those flights is bogus spin.

The headlines above are all nonsense. There is nothing "nuclear" and the flights of outdated bombers have nothing to do with any Trump call to wherever. They are #fakenews just as most of the other news we get is:

News is fake. The higher the stakes for the ruling classes, the more you can be certain the mainstream news about it will be as fake as fuck and conversely, reports deemed fake by those same fakers should be duly considered on their merits.

[Jun 17, 2017] The higher the stakes for the elite, the more you can be certain the mainstream news lie about and conversely, reports deemed fake by those same fakers should be duly considered on their merits.

www.moonofalabama.org

According to Fox News and NBC, China flew such bomber on November 25 (Dec 5, 6 reps above), well BEFORE the Trump phone call. It also flew the bombers AFTER (Dec 9 rep) the Trump's phone call with the Taiwanese government. Indeed it regularly flies these bombers. The sightseeing flight had thereby nothing at all to do with any Trump call. Correlating the call with those flights is bogus spin.

The headlines above are all nonsense. There is nothing "nuclear" and the flights of outdated bombers have nothing to do with any Trump call to wherever. They are #fakenews just as most of the other news we get is:

News is fake. The higher the stakes for the ruling classes, the more you can be certain the mainstream news about it will be as fake as fuck and conversely, reports deemed fake by those same fakers should be duly considered on their merits.

[Jun 17, 2017] Clappers Unhinged Russia-Bashing by David Marks

Notable quotes:
"... That Clapper would offer such a one-sided account of the reasons behind the worsening antagonisms and the emerging arms race – leaving out the fact that the United States, despite its own budgetary and economic problems, spends about ten times more on its military than Russia does – suggests that he is not an objective witness on anything regarding Russia. ..."
"... Clapper's shrill voice confirms his cold-warrior perspective, caught in the past but applying his thinking to the present, still believing that he has a special understanding of America's interests and is protecting them. Clearly, the Russians have been at the center of Clapper's frustrations for many years and Russia-gate just gives him the opportunity to rekindle anti-Moscow hysteria. ..."
"... super-patriot ..."
"... Clapper has since been a star congressional witness pushing Russia-gate and his confidence in Putin's guilt. But Clapper did acknowledge that the Jan. 6 report – besides containing no actual evidence – was prepared by "handpicked" analysts from the CIA, NSA and FBI, not from a consensus of all 17 U.S. intelligence agencies as had been widely reported. ..."
"... So, as we listen to the debate on Russia-gate, Clapper and his fellow national-security-state representatives are revealing not just their political perspectives but deeply disturbed minds. Those who angrily criticize the Russians are completely blind to their own participation in a similar destructive process. They perceive themselves as the cure when they are a primary cause of the illness they denounce. ..."
"... Undiscovered Self ..."
"... then the works of historians should be filed under non-fiction ..."
"... In reaching that harsh judgment, Clapper ignored the U.S. government's own role in the mounting tensions – ..."
"... no way to bold that statement ..."
Jun 15, 2017 | consortiumnews.com
Exclusive: Russia-gate's credibility rests heavily on ex-Director of National Intelligence Clapper who oversaw a "trust us" report, but a recent speech shows Clapper to be unhinged about Russia, as David Marks describes.

Whatever the ultimate truth about the murky Russia-gate affair, it appears that it is Donald Trump's willingness to consider friendship and cooperation with the Russians that is driving this emotional debate.

For some of the older U.S. intelligence and military officers, there appears to be a residual distrust and fear of Moscow, a hangover from the Cold War now transferred, perhaps almost subliminally, into the New Cold War and a sense that Russia is America's eternal enemy.

James Clapper, President Obama's last Director of National Intelligence, is a fascinating example of how this antagonism toward Russia never seems to change, as he revealed in a June 7 speech to the Australian National Press Club.

"The Russians are not our friends; they (Putin specifically), are avowedly opposed to our democracy and values, and see us as the cause of all their frustrations," Clapper declared.

In reaching that harsh judgment, Clapper ignored the U.S. government's own role in the mounting tensions – expanding NATO to Russia's borders, renouncing the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, and locating new missile bases in Eastern Europe. Instead, Clapper blamed the renewed arms race and resulting tensions on the Russians:

"The Russians are embarked on a very aggressive and disturbing program to modernize their strategic forces - notably their submarine and land-based nuclear forces. They have also made big investments in their counter-space capabilities. They do all this - despite their economic challenges - with only one adversary in mind: the United States. And, just for good measure, they are also in active violation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty."

That Clapper would offer such a one-sided account of the reasons behind the worsening antagonisms and the emerging arms race – leaving out the fact that the United States, despite its own budgetary and economic problems, spends about ten times more on its military than Russia does – suggests that he is not an objective witness on anything regarding Russia.

A Shrill Voice

Clapper's shrill voice confirms his cold-warrior perspective, caught in the past but applying his thinking to the present, still believing that he has a special understanding of America's interests and is protecting them. Clearly, the Russians have been at the center of Clapper's frustrations for many years and Russia-gate just gives him the opportunity to rekindle anti-Moscow hysteria.

Clapper is repeating with new gusto what he has sold to recent presidents, Republicans and Democrats, for decades. His entire attack on Trump beats the drum of Russian deviousness. Yet, Clapper ignores the context of the Russians actions.

Time magazine cover recounting how the U.S. enabled Boris Yeltsin's reelection as Russian president in 1996.

Way ahead of the Russians, the U.S. intelligence community mastered computer hacking and mounted the first known software attack on a country's strategic infrastructure by – along with Israel – unleashing the Stuxnet cyber-attack against Iranian centrifuges. U.S. intelligence also has a long record of subverting elections and toppling elected leaders, both before and since the computer age.

But Clapper only sees evil in Russia, even during the 1990s when the U.S. government advisers and American political operatives were propping up President Boris Yeltsin amid the rapacious privatizing of Russia's industries and resources, which made Russian oligarchs and their U.S. advisers very rich.

Clapper said, "Interestingly, every one of the non-acting Prime Ministers of Russia since 1992 has come from one of two domains: the oil and gas sector, or the security services. To put this in perspective, and as I have pointed out to U.S. audiences, suppose the last ten presidents of the U.S. were either CIA officers, or the Chairman of Exxon-Mobil. I think this gives you some insight into the dominant mind-set of the Russian government."

With such remarks, Clapper acts as if he doesn't know much about recent U.S. government staffing, which has been dominated by people with backgrounds in the oil industry, leading Wall Street banks, and the intelligence community. Indeed, the man who brought Clapper from Air Force intelligence into the White House was President George H.W. Bush, former director of the CIA and an oil company executive.

Bush's son, George W., also came from the oil industry, as did his Vice President Dick Cheney. Meanwhile, both Republican and Democratic administrations have filled senior economic policy positions from the ranks of Goldman Sachs and other Wall Street investment banks. And the U.S. intelligence community has wielded broad power over the few recent U.S. presidents, such as Barack Obama, who came into the White House with more limited government and private-sector experience.

Clapper, having been a senior executive for Booz Allen Hamilton, knows full well that giant intelligence contractors have a powerful influence in how they serve U.S. interests with an eye to profiteering from conflict. And along with Clapper, other White House advisers drift between intelligence contractors and government.

It's also true that a U.S. president doesn't need to have previous employment within the oil sector to do its bidding. Considering the influence of the millions spent on campaign donations and lobbying by the industry, the U.S. government is easily wed to oil and gas – as well as to the military and intelligence complex – at least as much as the Russian government. Indeed, the current Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, was the Chairman and CEO of Exxon Mobil.

Classic Projection

Clapper's perception of the Russians as evil for allegedly practicing the same sins as the U.S. government exemplifies classic projection of the highest order.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, following his address to the UN General Assembly on Sept. 28, 2015. (UN Photo)

In case after case, Clapper justifies painting darkness onto the Russians with half the data, while ignoring the information that cancels out his perspective. Perhaps he is representative of many in Washington who have lost their rationality and morality in defense of the greatness of the United States. His ethics become situational.

As Director of National Intelligence, Clapper lied to Congress in 2013 about the National Security Agency's massive gathering of private data from Americans. Clapper's deception gave the final push to Edward Snowden who revealed the truth about NSA surveillance.

Subsequently, Clapper led the charge against Snowden, while excusing his own false congressional testimony by saying, "I responded in what I thought was the most truthful, or least untruthful, manner."

Despite this history, the U.S. mainstream media has treated Clapper as a great truth-teller as he adds ever more fuel to the Russia-gate fires. From his Australian speech, most news outlets highlighted his best news-bite, when he declared: "Watergate pales, really, in my view compared to what we're confronting now."

Like other powerful government officials, Clapper may think it is his duty to a higher cause that allows him to defy the truth and transcend the law, a classic symptom of the super-patriot who thinks he knows best what's good for America, a dangerous creature that the U.S. government seems to produce in quantity.

In that sense, Clapper has played a central role in Russia-gate. He was the official who oversaw the key Jan. 6 report on alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election. After promising much public evidence, he released a report that amounted to "trust us."

Clapper has since been a star congressional witness pushing Russia-gate and his confidence in Putin's guilt. But Clapper did acknowledge that the Jan. 6 report – besides containing no actual evidence – was prepared by "handpicked" analysts from the CIA, NSA and FBI, not from a consensus of all 17 U.S. intelligence agencies as had been widely reported.

So, as we listen to the debate on Russia-gate, Clapper and his fellow national-security-state representatives are revealing not just their political perspectives but deeply disturbed minds. Those who angrily criticize the Russians are completely blind to their own participation in a similar destructive process. They perceive themselves as the cure when they are a primary cause of the illness they denounce.

In 1956, in the Undiscovered Self , the eminent psychiatrist Carl Jung wrote about the state of the human mind and how it affected the political world: "And just as the typical neurotic is unconscious of his shadow side, so the normal individual, like the neurotic, sees his shadow in his neighbor or in the man beyond the great divide. It has even become a political and social duty to apostrophize the capitalism of one and the communism of the other as the very devil, so to fascinate the outward eye and prevent it from looking at the individual life within.

"We are again living in an age filled with apocalyptic images of universal destruction. What is the significance of that split, symbolized by the Iron Curtain, which divides humanity into two halves? What will become of our civilization and man himself, if the hydrogen bombs begin to go off, or if the spiritual and moral darkness of State absolutism should spread?"

Jung's words still ring with foreboding truth.

David Marks is a veteran documentary filmmaker and investigative reporter. His work includes films for the BBC and PBS, including Nazi Gold, on the role of Switzerland in WWII and biographies of Jimi Hendrix and Frank Sinatra.

mike k , June 15, 2017 at 9:38 pm

Once you clear away the cobwebs of cultural conditioning, the truth of many things becomes obvious. One does not need the authority of a Carl Jung or anyone to see what is right in front of your eyes. The amazing thing is that people can be so easily deluded to ignore the reality all around them. One of the purposes of meditation in the spiritual traditions of mankind is to clear a space in one's mind that is fresh and unconditioned. Without this cleansing of the consciousness, only those things one's conditioning permits can be seen.

Sillyme 2.0 , June 16, 2017 at 1:16 am

If ((("TPTB"))), even if they are only very temporary in the scheme of the time of the Universe, come here and read this, they are either too common-cored to understand the truth of it and change for the better or they are still smart enough to understand it and are laughing all the way to the temporary bank.
If you understand reincarnation you understand that your future personalities will be in-line with the immutable Universal laws of Consciousness-Evolution and Cause & Effect and the next one, at the least, won't be so easy and pretty for you, in view of the lesson that one just isn't learning at a normal Universal standard; the laws of the Universe simply don't allow for degradation to continue unabated so that evolution can take place in the allotted time, it will provide the necessary wake-up call in all it's required force.
Even though all of us who have made it here to read the great articles on this website know, deep down inside, that we are all equal in the grand scheme of all good thoughts, feelings and actions, we know that we are just that little bit ahead of the curve and it would behoove us to accept our and their respective positions in the curve and help them out, come what may.
Hoota Thunk I'd see you around these parts. ;->

Realist , June 16, 2017 at 5:38 am

These deviants in "intelligence" should have been brought under control long before they killed Kennedy, but they weren't. They've been allowed to self select themselves, with each generation of sociopaths cultivating an even more deranged next generation. I guess that Hoover had so much dirt on every pol ever elected to high office that few had the guts to challenge these most dangerous menaces to our freedoms and democracy. Even if a courageous president could chop off the "heads" of these traitorous agencies their conditioned subordinates would be hard to root out. You read of rumors, though I've seen no evidence but ambiguous grainy photos, that these maniacs actually practice satanic blood rituals and the like. I prefer not to believe such things, but what kind of perverted thinking motivates the very damaging policies driven by these agencies, which bring us to the brink of nuclear war for no discernible reason. How is it allowed for them to blackmail public figures like MLK, threatening to ruin his marriage and destroy his reputation unless he commits suicide? These are not "good" virtuous men. They are not protecting or upholding "American" values. They are sick control freaks.

Bill Bodden , June 15, 2017 at 9:48 pm

If people like James Clapper and their statements become sources for American history in the early 21st Century, then the works of historians should be filed under non-fiction.

The decadence of Washington is obvious when a senate intelligence (?) committee invites Clapper to give evidence after his blatant lie about torture to a former convocation of the committee. The United States senate is the world's greatest deliberative body? What a crock of shit!! Who was the idiot who gave the first utterance to that meretricious nonsense?

Bill Bodden , June 15, 2017 at 9:50 pm

then the works of historians should be filed under non-fiction

Ooops: That should be "under fiction."

Gregory Herr , June 15, 2017 at 11:13 pm

And only a blatant liar could characterize his lying as speaking in "the most truthful, or least untruthful" manner.

Skip Scott , June 16, 2017 at 9:40 am

I was absolutely amazed when I heard that. What kind of BS does he expect the world to fall for? It really shows his utter arrogance and distain for us "proles". His not being arrested for lying to Congress and the American people shows the ridiculousness of believing there is "equal justice for all" in the USA.

Pete , June 16, 2017 at 6:52 am

Bill, reading your comment, I am reminded of a similar assessment given Washington and it's august Senate by British MP George Galloway, during a Senate sub-committee hearing in May 2005, on his 'alleged' receipt of bribe monies from Iraq's Saddam Hussein. His absolutely devastating verbal attack upon the committee, chaired by Sen. N. Coleman, is a must view for those who haven't seen it online.

Bill Bodden , June 15, 2017 at 10:04 pm

In reaching that harsh judgment, Clapper ignored the U.S. government's own role in the mounting tensions –

Gregory Barrett has an interesting recap of U.S. and Russian histories: "The Russians Didn't Do It" – https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/06/15/the-russians-didnt-do-it/

Helen Marshall , June 17, 2017 at 12:19 pm

When I posted this on Facebook, a "liberal" friend made several angy comments about EVIL Russia and then accused me of being a traitor for "defending a sworn enemy of our country."

In today's climate that kind of charge is not trivial. Watch out when you share it!

Jessica K , June 15, 2017 at 11:02 pm

Great article by Gregory Barrett from Counterpunch, thanks, Bill. Worth sending around. Send a pile of copies to Clapper. That guy is either sick or evil, maybe both. Couldn't he disappear or something? "Clap-on, clap-off, it's the Clapper!" (Preferably "clap-off".) Maybe too much Booz he's been imbibing.

Gary Hare , June 15, 2017 at 11:19 pm

I wouldn't single Clapper out. The entire Washington establishment, and Mainstream Media, appear unhinged, deranged, absolutely stupid. That is unless you consider why they are this way. Are they not promoting the need for more military spending, about the only thing in which the US leads the World these days. Does this not make them feel alpha, tough, patriotic and falsely proud. Classic self-delusion. Or is it cunning propaganda?
What bothers me just as much, is that Clapper's speech was widely reported here in Australia, without a single word of criticism from Australian politicians or the media. However low the US stoops, we seem to get right down there with them.
I watched on YouTube a segment on Colbert interviewing (there must be a better word to describe this fiasco) Oliver Stone. Colbert was infantile. The audience reminiscent of a cheer squad for a college football game. No-one was interested in what Stone had to say. Too few people realise how dangerous this empty-headed jingoism is.

Sillyme 2.0 , June 16, 2017 at 1:45 am

G'Day Gary,
I think it is SBS that is airing The Putin Interviews starting either Sunday or Monday night, depending on your region.
Happy viewing and ammo for counter-attacks on stupidity!
airdates.tv at last resort in the future
Hoota Thunk.

Craig Watson , June 16, 2017 at 7:58 am

All of Stone's Putin interviews were published for everyone to watch on Information Clearinghouse yesterday:

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/47246.htm .

You don't need cable TV to see them now.

Skip Scott , June 16, 2017 at 9:43 am

Wow. Thanks for that. I really need to send ICH some money.

john wilson , June 16, 2017 at 5:13 am

Obviously, Garry, they are not unhinged they are simply looking after their own interests. The removal of Trump is essential to their plans for some kind of fight with Russia, so the rubbish about Russia gate and anything else is of course, pure lies and make believe. They all wanted Hillary who was a proven war monger and who they could manipulate to do their bidding. Had she won there would probably be some kind of open conflict in Syria with the USA, Russia and Iran bu now. War makes money so any one who has the temerity to suggest peace, is a threat and has to be got rid of.

Jessica K , June 15, 2017 at 11:38 pm

Good observations, Gary. Unfortunately, Clapper has played a large role in the development of this Russiagate fiasco, as former head of the CIA and overseeing of the phony documents that allegedly pointed to "Russian hacking" in the election. You are right that the whole bunch of the MIC bureaucrats depend on ginning up for war. And we had a conversation on CN a couple of days ago about Colbert, who is hugely overpaid for being nothing more than snide and smarmy. That's what passes for entertainment nowadays. Google today shows all the vicious and nasty published articles about the Putin interviews, such as the tabloids Daily Mail, Daily Star, also The Guardian, and no doubt there are other polemics. Hard to contemplate that this is the 21st century when human development was supposed to be advancing due to all the amazing technology, when actually it is regressing.

Realist , June 16, 2017 at 5:22 am

Clapper has been one of the guys charged with creating Karl Rove's "new realities." He thinks he's a god.

Skip Scott , June 16, 2017 at 9:45 am

So far he seems to be getting away with it.

Gregory Herr , June 15, 2017 at 11:48 pm

"Thursday's appearance by fired FBI Director James Comey before the Senate Intelligence Committee has raised the anti-Russian hysteria in the US media to a new level. The former head of the US political police denounced supposed Russian interference in the US elections as a dire threat to American democracy. "They're going to come for whatever party they choose to try and work on behalf of," he warned. "And they will be back they are coming for America."
None of the capitalist politicians who questioned him challenged the premise that Russia was the principal enemy of the United States, or that Russian hacking was a significant threat to the US electoral system. None of them suggested that the billions funneled into the US elections by Wall Street interests were a far greater threat to the democratic rights of the American people .

the political issues in the anti-Russian campaign, which represents an effort by the most powerful sections of the military-intelligence apparatus, backed by the Democratic Party and the bulk of the corporate media, to force the Trump White House to adhere to the foreign policy offensive against Moscow embarked on during the second term of the Obama administration, particularly since the 2014 US-backed ultra-right coup in Ukraine.
Those factions of the ruling class and intelligence agencies leading the anti-Russia campaign are particularly incensed that Russian intervention in Syria stymied plans to escalate the proxy civil war in that country into a full-fledged regime-change operation. They want to see Assad in Syria meet the same fate as Gaddafi in Libya and Saddam Hussein in Iraq. Their fanatical hatred of Putin indicates that they have similar ambitions in mind for the Russian president.
The entire framework of the anti-Russian campaign is fraudulent. The military-intelligence agencies, the Democratic Party and the media are following a well-established pattern of manufacturing phony scandals, previously a specialty of the Republican right:

Of what does the "undermining" of US democracy by alleged Russian hacking consist? No vote totals were altered. No ballots were discarded, as in Florida in 2000 when the antidemocratic campaign was spearheaded by the US Supreme Court. Instead, truthful information was supplied anonymously to WikiLeaks, which published the material, showing that the Democratic National Committee had worked to sabotage the campaign of Bernie Sanders, and that Hillary Clinton had cozied up to Wall Street audiences and reassured them that a new Clinton administration would be in the pocket of the big financial interests

Hillary Clinton lost the 2016 election because she ran as the candidate of Wall Street and the military-intelligence apparatus and made no appeal to working-class discontent. This was after eight years during which Obama had intensified the economic stagnation, wage cutting and austerity that had been going on for decades, while overseeing a further growth in social inequality

[The Democrats] have chosen to attack Trump, the most right-wing president in US history, from the right, denouncing him as insufficiently committed to a military confrontation with Russia."

https://counterinformation.wordpress.com/2017/06/13/the-russians-are-coming-the-russians-are-coming/

george Archers , June 17, 2017 at 7:51 am

Excuses. "Hillary Clinton lost the 2016 election because she ran as the candidate of Wall Street and the military-intelligence apparatus and made no appeal to working-class discontent." pure garbage
Listen folks,Both parties take turns every 8 years like clock work–except one term Jimmy Carter who p!ssed off Israel firsters. Hillary was in it for the election donations collected.

, June 15, 2017 at 11:50 pm

Thank you for your thoughtful analysis, speaking truth to power Mr Marks, alarming how democracies are so chaotic?

The deliberations of the Constitutional Convention of 1787 were held in strict secrecy. Consequently, anxious citizens gathered outside Independence Hall when the proceedings ended in order to learn what had been produced behind closed doors. The answer was provided immediately. A Mrs. Powel of Philadelphia asked Benjamin Franklin, "Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?" With no hesitation whatsoever, Franklin responded, "A republic, if you can keep it."

Super patriots defying truth and transcending laws, his ethics becoming situational, which checks and balances are implemented to reign in the retired general?

Cal , June 16, 2017 at 12:41 am

Remember the neos and zios "Project for the New American Century that preceded the Iraq war?

Well Clapper is with the same group-except they have a new name now still lying and lobbying for the US to control the universe

Center for a New American Security

https://www.cnas.org/publications/reports/extending-american-power-strategies-to-expand-u-s-engagement-in-a-competitive-world-order

irina , June 16, 2017 at 12:58 am

Clapper said something so astounding on 'Meet the Press' on May 28th that I found the transcript and printed it out.

In the context of Jared Kushner meeting with Sergei Kislyak, Clapper said "I will tell you that my dashboard warning
light was clearly on and I think that was the case with all of us in the intelligence community, very concerned about
the nature of these approaches to the Russians. If you put that in context with everything else we knew the Russians
were doing to interfere with the election. And just the historical practices of the Russians, who (are) typically, ALMOST
GENETICALLY DRIVEN TO CO-OPT, PENETRATE, GAIN FAVOR, WHATEVER, which is a typical Russian technique.
So we were concerned."

(Apologies for caps, no way to bold that statement and it is an extremely scary and revealing phrase.)

Chuck Todd ignored Clapper's "genetically driven" diatribe and soldiered on, reinforcing 'the Russians did it' meme.

Realist , June 16, 2017 at 10:36 am

That was quite a racist statement, was it not? If he had applied the remarks to any other distinct group of people Chuck Todd would have gone ballistic, playing the race card for all it's worth in the grand American tradition.

Bill Bodden , June 16, 2017 at 11:38 am

no way to bold that statement

There is. At the beginning of the text to be set in bold, type the word "strong" inside . At the end type "/strong" inside but not the quotation marks shown in this example.

Bill Bodden , June 16, 2017 at 11:46 am

Oops: After "inside" above there should have been a less-than sign ""

Joe Tedesky , June 16, 2017 at 12:59 am

The profits of War drive people like Clapper to do some hideous and unquestionable things. The beast they feed is the same beast Rumsfeld gave a speech about on 9/10/01 where he sighted the Pentagon not being able to account for 2.5 trillion dollars. If you recall last summer the DOD year ending June 2016 sighted another missing 6.5 trillion dollars this time tripling the 2001 unaccountability. This is a known unaccountability of 9 trillion dollars by the Defense Department so far this 21st Century that no one is even talking about. When a nation can spill this much coffee and not worry about it, then you know that the people spending this nations well earned capital aren't spending their own money, but they no doubt are profiting from all this saber rattling and war. Imagine the defense budgets with Russia in it's crosshairs.

http://www.dodig.mil/pubs/documents/DODIG-2016-113.pdf

Gregory Herr , June 16, 2017 at 5:36 am

Joe, have you seen this? https://wikispooks.com/wiki/Office_of_Naval_Intelligence

"Also killed in the Pentagon on 9/11 were a large number of budget analysts and accountants who may have been looking into the $2.3 trillion of unaccounted military spending that Donald Rumsfeld announced on Sept 10th, 2001."[

Joe Tedesky , June 16, 2017 at 7:20 am

This is something to new to me, but when it comes to 911 I have seen other similar things like it, like building #7. Nice of you Gregory to share this with me, thanks.

When it comes to 911, there are so many questions that I just wish there were somebody who could answer them. Yet, questioning any of the oddities regarding the 911 Attack will get you a 'tinfoil hat' since this is what we Americans do to each other these days over things such as assassinations or other unexplained tragedies. Like having doubts over Russia-Gate will deem you being a Trump Supporter or Putin Apologize.

Realist , June 16, 2017 at 10:50 am

Since you bring up 9-11 and the inconsistencies in its narrative, I just want to ask the question: Why didn't that high rise tower in London collapse under its own weight like the twin towers in NYC, especially since the fire appeared to be so much more intense? It wasn't just a localised burn, the entire structure was engulfed in flames. And, no, rebar-strengthened concrete is not more resistant than steel girders to damage from high temperatures. Concrete will more likely crack than steel girders will melt in a fire. I look for the structural engineers to chime in on this one.

backwardsevolution , June 16, 2017 at 12:43 pm

My dad always told me: "Never be above the third floor in an apartment building or a hotel. The smoke will get you before the fire does." Good advice. A fire fighter's worst nightmare, a hi-rise fire. As the London fire points out, they can be death traps.

Yeah, buildings don't just fall down. 9/11 was most definitely a controlled demolition, and if a proper investigation were conducted, "controlled demolition" would scream out at everyone with half a brain.

If you haven't seen this half-hour video, give it a watch. It's one of my favorites because the guy is a physicist/mathematician who used to work for N.I.S.T. He had never before questioned the findings, at least until August of 2016 when he started looking at it. He couldn't believe what he found.

Especially watch at 18:03 when he starts talking about the collapse. "Asymmetric damage does not lead to symmetric collapse. It's very difficult to get something to collapse symmetrically because it is the law of physics that things tend towards chaos. Collapsing symmetrically represents order, very strict order. It is not the nature of physics to gravitate towards order for no reason."

And:

"Huge chunks of steel perimeter beams flying hundreds of feet off to the side. Steel does not fly off to the side, hundreds of feet, due to gravity. Gravity works vertically, not laterally. There has to be a FORCE there pushing it to the side, otherwise it would just fall down to the ground. It would be like dropping a ball out of a window. It would just fall straight down."

The video is called "Former NIST Employee Speaks Out On World Trade Centre Towers Collapse Investigation".

backwardsevolution , June 16, 2017 at 12:44 pm

Here's the link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RJ_jQgIEnI8

Gregory Herr , June 16, 2017 at 1:50 pm

Other examples: http://911research.wtc7.net/wtc/analysis/compare/fires.html

Joe Tedesky , June 16, 2017 at 9:50 pm

Honestly Realist I thought the same thing when I saw that high rise ablaze. I even made mention of it to my wife, commenting to how that is the way a high rise burns, not like 911. Now, Realist how many others had the same thought, as you and I.

Realist , June 17, 2017 at 2:27 am

Quite a powerful video by that analyst from Wisconsin, backwardsevolution.
I have read analyses by physicists and engineers of the collapses, mostly through PCR's website, but I had not seen that video with all the slo-mo shots parallel to computer models. Why is that production never shown on American television? Why was NIST so remiss in its analysis, as the narrator points out? Of course, we know the answers to both questions. The truth will never be admitted by any authorities in our life times, or even in our children's life times. Maybe in 50 years when all the blame can be placed on corpses that can't protest it will be. Even that will be done to usher in some new world order as the game never changes.

Sam F , June 17, 2017 at 7:14 am

Not a structural engineer but with knowledge and experience there. I have no prejudice as to motives and means of the WTC collapse. The WTC towers were uniformly supported by steel columns and one floor was subject to broadly distributed intense aviation fuel fire exceeding their melting point, so that floor was uniformly weakened.

Large steel columns are severely weakened by several minutes of intense petroleum fire, as I have observed myself. When a single failure occurs, adjacent components are subjected to the additional loads which is normally within their capacities by design. When those are also much weakened they too will fail, subjecting adjacent components to even greater overloads, etc. This is called "progressive failure." So filling an entire steel-supported floor with burning aircraft fuel would soon cause the entire floor to collapse in a rapid side-to-side progressive failure.

Because the floors are thin flat sections, not tall compared with their width, a quick lateral failure across the whole floor would cause the entire structure above to fall quite vertically until it hit the floor below. This in turn would severely overload all columns below that, causing the entire structure below to collapse. Because the entire support structure was uniform and was uniformly greatly overloaded, a near-vertical collapse is not surprising.

Smaller structures are usually not built that way; they have strong outer walls and a few inner "bearing walls." When part of the structure collapses, often some of the bearing walls collapse but others remain standing, so that forces on the collapsing structure are asymmetrical and it falls partly to the sides.

As to reinforced concrete columns (assuming as you suggest that these were used in the London fire), it is the concrete that provides most of the vertical support, and it does insulate the steel reinforcement rods, which mainly provide tension strength against bending loads (wind and earthquakes). The horizontal bars hold the concrete together against cracking loads during its curing and later, when it often has many small cracks. So it is not surprising that such a structure survives a fire sufficient to burn the combustibles normally inside, without a broad progressive failure.

Also it was probably not subjected to such a large. intense, and broadly-distributed fuel fire.

But of course it was defective in safety systems for a high-rise structure, and this is not permitted in the US or under the International Building Code so far as I know. It should have had smoke detectors, fireproof unit doors and hallways, sprinklers to suppress non-petroleum fires, non-combustible materials on all interior surfaces, and at least two "separate and independent" fireproof exit stairways. Presumably investigation will reveal the deficiencies in its construction, maintenance, and enforcement practices, if not in the building code itself.

Sam F , June 17, 2017 at 7:40 am

It is not necessary to remind me that there are other explanations and perhaps additional causes of the WTC fire, and that Bldg 7 apparently had intelligence offices with provision for a deliberate large fire that occurred while WTC was burning. I do not know what happened there.

I remain skeptical that persons so long and carefully prepared to attack WTC by aircraft would have prepared a distinct method of attack requiring ability to plant explosives, etc. It is not impossible but why do both? They would probably have attacked other structures with the aircraft. Also, if another attack on the same structures was planned, there is no obvious reason to wait until after the aircraft attacks to use the other method. Also, the plane that did not hit any buildings did not correspond to any structure simultaneously destroyed by other means.

So if there was another demolition means used simultaneously, we need evidence of that, and I have seen no convincing photos or reports of explosive residues. I have already looked at videos that do not in fact show this, but merely events not inconsistent with the aircraft-only model.

Sam F , June 17, 2017 at 7:52 am

I accept that there were motives for an attack like 911, and those parties may have been involved in the aircraft attack. But without direct evidence, our efforts are better spent investigating the sources of the aircraft attack.

We know that AlQaeda did the attack, that KSA was fairly directly involved, that AlQaeda was grown by US warmongers attacking the USSR in Afghanistan, and that US interests wanted another Pearl Harbor. That says a lot, and suggests that there is much more to be learned about US/KSA/Israel involvement that we may hope will be exposed.

backwardsevolution , June 17, 2017 at 3:41 pm

Sam F – had Building No. 7 not come down in exactly the same manner as the other two, I might have bought (maybe) what you just said. A really big "maybe". I think the reason the scientists at N.I.S.T. did not extend their models out past the collapse initiation stage is because they KNEW they wouldn't be able to replicate the building coming down in its own footprint. As the fellow in the video said, there would have been chaos and the building would have deviated to one side. No way it would have come straight down.

Could be the reason they hit the buildings with the planes was precisely to provide the excuse of the "jet fuel". "Oh, yes, it was the heat from the jet fuel. Wrap it up, boys, no more questions." I wonder whether that other plane was supposed to have hit Building No. 7, but didn't make it there. "Whoops, how do we explain this? Oh, who cares, just say the fire did it. Who is going to know the difference?"

I'm not buying any of it. Three huge buildings ALL come down on their own footprint? Yeah, right.

Sam F , June 17, 2017 at 4:04 pm

I agree, b-e, the Bldg 7 collapse is very strange and suspect; and I apologize to others for the long posts above, and do not object to anyone else's views on this.

1. The lowest floors of Bldg 7 are not shown in any of the videos, only floors above maybe floor 3 or 6, none of which show any damage at the time that it collapsed. So the damage must have been to lower floors.
2. It also fell quite vertically, which is odd because that implies near-simultaneous damage across an entire floor, while the only causes related to WTC N&S would be asymmetrical debris impacts from their prior collapses.
3. There were reports of a US intelligence agency office there, equipped with devices to burn that structure if security required. I do not know about this.

But I today reviewed many videos of the WTC collapses, and found nothing in the WTC N & S tower collapses that suggests controlled explosions; they appear to have only aircraft damage:

4. Both collapsed first at the lowest level of the burning sections, where the aircraft and fuel hit.
5. The structure above fell almost vertically (up to 20 degree tilt in the first collapse) with chunks and dust thrown outward from the collapsing sections only.
6. No damage is seen to lower sections until the upper structure hits them on the way down. That is conclusive.
7. It would be very difficult to install and detonate explosives progressively just below the falling structure as it comes down just to create that appearance, and would use many times the explosives necessary to do that to a single lower floor.
8. So the only way planted explosives could have been significant would be if the lowest burning floor had collapsed due to explosions instead of weakened columns. But the aircraft impact floor could not have been predicted so as to put explosives there, nor could such a system have been controlled with a high temperature fire burning so long on the same floor.
9. The temperature of a petroleum fire will collapse large steel columns in a few minutes. I saw the results when a fuel truck overturned and burned next to a very tall billboard (maybe ten floors high) supported by large steel columns near MIT in Cambridge in the 1970s (no casualties).
10. The planes probably had at least 10,000 gal of aircraft fuel in them: the wings are mostly fuel tanks; no doubt that has been estimated.
11. While interior materials also burn at temps higher than the melting point of steel, they wouldn't supply heat as fast as an intensive petroleum fire, likely not enough to prevent the rest of the steel cooling the heated portion.

Anyway, backwardsevolution is an interesting tag; I've wondered whether it warns of the peril of the fittest or survival of the least fit, both very apt in our era.

Gregory Herr , June 16, 2017 at 1:45 pm

Obviously a key to grasping 9/11 involves motive. The obvious things like expanding "security" budgets and "justifications" for war are easy. E.P. Heidner's "Collateral Damage" shows how more than two birds were killed with one stone .

backwardsevolution , June 16, 2017 at 2:25 pm

Gregory – yep. So many lies, so many cover-ups. Divided States of Lies would be a better name. Thanks, Gregory.

Joe Tedesky , June 16, 2017 at 9:51 pm

I think we have seen the motive play out over these last 16 years .what do you think Gregory?

Gregory Herr , June 16, 2017 at 10:22 pm

To the hilt, Joe and tragically so for so many.

Gregory Herr , June 17, 2017 at 10:50 am

A good deal of aviation fuel was likely used up in the initial explosion. Once the remaining fuel burned up there would be no source other than office furnishings for fires. There was never any large, intense, or broadly distributed fuel fire associated with the WTC. If any temperature melting points for steel were achieved (dubious), it would have been of very short duration and isolated with respect to the entire structure. My God, even the core columns disappeared .which is certainly not consistent with the already fanciful progressive destruction at rates that suggest no resistance. "Cut" beams (promptly removed and shipped out) and nanothermite residue were in evidence.

Why do both?
The hijacker narrative is part of the setup to assign blame and is also connected to the Pentagon, not just the WTC. The "plane crashes", in and of themselves were not sufficient to bring down the towers. Motives to bring down the towers can be discerned.
The "parties involved", the "sources" of the attacks, certainly constitutes the crux of the matter. Let's not make assumptions about this. Evidence supporting the "official" narrative is thin to contrived to nonexistent.

Unless and until Mr. Parry publishes an article concerned with 9/11, this is my last comment on the subject here. Discussion about 9/11 gets to be endless and prompts all sorts of abuse. I trust the many capable people who read CN can research the matter to their own satisfaction (or dissatisfaction).

george Archers , June 17, 2017 at 7:57 am

Joe–that hush money 2.5 trillion dollars disappeared into Israel. Payment for Sept 11 2001 bombings

UIA , June 16, 2017 at 2:13 am

It might as well be $200 trillion, it's a fiction and a gov fiction at that. People are missing body parts for the big oil adventure in Iraq. All the busted out US towns need new filling stations and used car lots to boom. With bad sandwiches, gas and lottery computers we can have an economy again. Supermarket is a bust. People are dying for nothing who knows where. War on terror and new scams to expand rackets. Smedley Butler called it. System is unhinged. Don't sleep much. You can't afford it.

Make the coins with lead, so we can melt them down and make bullets to kill with to fight over what's left. Nothing is left now. News isn't fake, the money is.

mej , June 16, 2017 at 2:51 am

I think we will hear Clapper say, 10 years after today's kerfuffle is buried by the next scandal, "yes, I lied, but it was for a good reason!"

Reminds me of Pres.Saakashvili after his failed war in 2008 and all the hysterical noise about Russia starting the war in Georgia. That statement helped seal his fate as the soon-to-be ex-president of Georgia.

backwardsevolution , June 16, 2017 at 3:56 am

mej – you're right.

Wendi , June 16, 2017 at 3:20 am

Bring back Iron Curtain discussion. Ultimately, we see it is a Mirror. Whatever dirt we say of Russians shows in fact we're looking at ourselves.

Sillyme 2.0 , June 16, 2017 at 3:42 am

Let me put it another way;

We're not going to return kind for kind,
we're going to let you think about what it means to be a human being
in your own good time on your own good island, with good isolation from us.
Good luck .

Realist , June 16, 2017 at 5:19 am

Clapper is either thoroughly devious, or paranoid. In either case, any sensible president would discharge him from his office immediately.

backwardsevolution , June 16, 2017 at 12:01 pm

Clapper resigned in November of 2016, his resignation took effect in January of 2017. Instead of being thoroughly discredited for lying to Congress, he's instead put on a pedestal and continually brought forward by the media as some sort of wise man.

He sits there, all calm, all knowing, a Wilford Brimley clone, and the public eat his words up. "This man is at the end of his career, so there's no way he would be lying to us." They don't realize grandpa-types can deceive too.

Yeah, I haven't figured him out yet, but I like your choices: either devious or paranoid. It's one or the other. Now he's off to pollute Australia.

"In June 2017 Clapper commenced an initial four-week term at the Australian National University (ANU) National Security College in Canberra that includes public lectures on key global and national security issues. Clapper was also expected to take part in the ANU Crawford Australian Leadership Forum, the nation's pre-eminent dialogue of academics, parliamentarians and business leaders.

In a speech at Australia's National Press Club in June, Clapper accused Trump of 'ignorance or disrespect', called the firing of FBI director James Comey 'inexcusable', and warned of an 'internal assault on our intuitions'."

The asylum has taken over.

mike k , June 16, 2017 at 7:01 am

The secret police always gain a lot of power over time; now they are exercising their power in a big way. These are glory days for the spooks. From their secret lairs they are showing what they can do. Trump challenged them directly, as he did the media, both major political parties, and the MIC. These power centers cannot tolerate this, and are acting decisively to crush Trump. The Donald's electoral supporters are the only friends he has left, and these are a disorganized rabble, no match for the forces arrayed against them.

It looks like Donald's days in the spotlight are turning into a deer in the headlights moment. He just doesn't have the resources to withstand the shit storm he has provoked against his presidency.

Jessica K , June 16, 2017 at 8:16 am

Clapper's evil mendacity being permitted to be aired as fact is testimony to the nearly complete unhingement of a segment of the American population who have no rational understanding of what happened in this election. If the insanity unleashed by the loss of Madame Warmonger Clinton is not stopped, something very evil seems on the horizon. Russia has become the scapegoat for the madness unleashed in the US.

In an article this morning on Zero Hedge by Daniel Henninger titled "Political Disorder Syndrome: Refusal to Reason is the New Normal", the author reports that James Hodgkinson, the shooter of Steve Scalise and four others had tweeted before the incident: "Trump is a traitor. Trump has destroyed our democracy. It's time to destroy Trump." And a production to be staged in Central Park by New York Public Theater is planned for a production of "Julius Caesar" where Caesar is presented looking like Trump and will be pulled down from a podium by men in suits and assassinated by plunging knives.

This is beginning to look like a long, hot summer. The author of the article on Zero Hedge mentions that social media has become a marinade for psychological unhingement of much of the population, leading to "jacked-up emotional intensity". Is it possible this could happen simply because the Democrat presidential candidate lost? Or is there something else driving this insanity behind the scene? I was startled to see the number of vicious published articles about Oliver Stone's interviews with Vladimir Putin. Where's the curiosity, only knee-jerk reaction that Putin is a source of evil? The insanity, the sickness in America is becoming unnerving and I have a strange sense of foreboding.

mike k , June 16, 2017 at 10:11 am

Rationality will be in short supply in the days ahead. To resist being sucked in by the waves of emotional madness will be important.

Pixy , June 16, 2017 at 9:00 am

As a Russian I should say I agree with this Clapper person actually. Consider what he says:

"Russia is America's enemy." – True. Russia has always stood on the way of any nation bent of world domination. Since the USA have embarked on that very mission, Russia IS their enemy.

"The Russians are avowedly opposed to our democracy and values." – Absolutely true! Russia does oppose to what passes for democracy in USA nowadays. And it opposes to your values, but not the officially declared ones, but those that you follow unofficially: blatant racism, dividing the world on übermensch and untermensch and treating nations and countries accordingly, hypocrisy and open lies, when children in Aleppo are very-very important and every tear they cry is the reason for the Hague tribunal, while children in Mosul are apparently non-existent, and no one gives two f..ks about carpet bombings, absence of safety corridors, suffering and deaths of civilians and general state of humanitarian crisis there. This is just one, most recent example.

USA is insulting the intelligence of the people all over the world (and I mean THE WORLD really, all 7 billion people, not just US satellites), if they think anybody but the american Joe buys into their transparent lies and double standards.

For as long as USA will continue on this trek, Russia will oppose you and remain your enemy. And we'll see how it turns out. So far the human history teaches us that every time the übermensch eventually break their necks and diminish.

mike k , June 16, 2017 at 10:06 am

Yes. Good comment.

Linda Wood , June 16, 2017 at 10:12 am

Pixy,
Thank you for saying all of this.

MaDarby , June 16, 2017 at 9:09 am

""The Russians are not our friends; they, (Putin specifically) are avowedly opposed to our democracy and values, and see us as the cause of all their frustrations," Clapper declared."

I have a high regard for this site and this author but I want not so much to disagree with but to deepen the discussion.

Underlying Clapper's views are far far deeper forces than just being "stuck in Cold War mentality." Powerful forces in the US are gripped by extremist Calvinist ideology and have been sense the beginning of the US. These powerful forces supported the Nazi movement against the "godless" Soviet Union (to show just how extreme they are). Their view is that the US (them and their power) is the chosen instrument of god to rid the world of the evil devil (exceptionalism). This means taking over the world and dominating all non-Calvinest countries. It means the justification of the biblical slaughter of the innocents to appease a vengeful god and rid the world of evil. We see the results of this extremist religious ideology in the continuous slaughter the US has perpetrated against the rest of the world sense WWII.

Further, neutrality in the fight against the devil himself is unacceptable as immoral and those countries trying to be neutral are just as evil as the others.

All Clapper is doing is carrying on the fundamental views the US has held of itself as morally superior to the rest of the world the same view Roosevelt and Carter and Kennedy had much less Reagan or Lyndon Johnson.

Nothing will change until the iron grip of extremist Calvinism, which justifies the slaughter of millions, is no longer the fundamental guiding ideology.

You ask the fish abut the water and he responds – What water?

mike k , June 16, 2017 at 10:07 am

Interesting. There is much truth in what you say.

Linda Wood , June 16, 2017 at 10:10 am

You describe the mindset that is used so well. But the military industrialists who use it are doing it for the trillions of dollars in defense spending. People have killed for a lot less. Clapper represents an industry. He uses the mindset you describe to explain to us why we have to accept the pouring of more trillions into the black hole of war.

mike k , June 16, 2017 at 10:17 am

Absolutely true Linda.

hyperbola , June 16, 2017 at 10:27 am

Calvinism is only half the story.

The Revolutionary Jew and His Impact on World History
http://www.culturewars.com/2003/RevolutionaryJew.html

. By 1649, when Charles I went on trial, the tradition of Judaizing which had been extirpated from Spain had struck deep roots in England. The English judaizers were known as Puritans, and Cromwell as their leader was as versed in using Biblical figures as a rationalization for his crimes as he was in using Jewish spies from Spain and Portugal as agents in his ongoing war with the Catholic powers of Europe. The Puritans in England could implement the idea of revolution so readily precisely because they were Judaizers, and that is so because revolution was at its root a Jewish idea. Based on Moses' deliverance of Israel as described in the book of Exodus, the revolutionary saw a small group of chosen "saints" leading a fallen world to liberation from political oppression. Revolution was nothing if not a secularization of ideas taken from the Bible, and as history progressed the secularization of the concept would progress as well. But the total secularization of the idea in the 17th century would have made the idea totally useless to the Puritan revolutionaries. Secularization in the 17th century was synonymous with Judaizing. It meant substituting the Old Testament for the New. The concept of revolution gained legitimacy in the eyes of the Puritans precisely because of its Jewish roots. Graetz sees the attraction which Jewish ideas held for English Puritans quite clearly. The Roundheads were not inspired by the example of the suffering Christ, nor were they inspired by the medieval saints who imitated him. They needed the example of the warriors of Israel to inspire them in their equally bellicose campaigns against the Irish and the Scotch, who became liable to extermination because the Puritans saw them as Canaanites. Similarly, the King, who was an unworthy leader, like Phineas, deserved to die at the hands of the righteous, who now acted without any external authority, but, as the Jews had, on direct orders from God. "The Christian Bible," Graetz tells us,

"with its monkish figures, its exorcists, its praying brethren, and pietistic saints, supplied no models for warriors contending with a faithless king, a false aristocracy and unholy priests. Only the great heroes of the Old Testament, with fear of God in their hearts and the sword in their hands, at once religious and national champions, could serve as models for the Puritans: the Judges, freeing the oppressed people from the yoke of foreign domination; Saul, David, and Joab routing the foes of their country; and Jehu, making an end of an idolatrous and blasphemous house-these were favorite characters with Puritan warriors. In every verse of the books of Joshua, Judges, Samuel and Kings, they saw their own condition reflected; every psalm seemed composed for them, to teach them that, though surrounded on every side by ungodly foes, they need not fear while they trusted in God. Oliver Cromwell compared himself to the judge Gideon, who first obeyed the voice of God hesitatingly, but afterwards courageously scattered the attacking heathens; or to Judas Maccabaeus, who out of a handful of martyrs formed a host of victorious warriors."

Chet Roman , June 16, 2017 at 9:58 am

"Clapper may think it is his duty to a higher cause that allows him to defy the truth and transcend the law"

"Those who angrily criticize the Russians are completely blind to their own participation in a similar destructive process"

Interesting article but the author is giving Clapper and the rest of the "intelligence" community too much credit. There is no "higher cause" and the "Washington consensus" is not blind to their own actions. Clapper and the deep state are well aware of their self serving actions and it is motivated by money and power. What is happening is the deliberate and aggressive promotion of propaganda to the U.S. public by the intelligence agencies, patriotism has nothing to do with it.

mike k , June 16, 2017 at 10:09 am

Yes. The secret police are the slimiest of the slimy. To call them intelligent is absurd.

Gregory Herr , June 16, 2017 at 6:55 pm

I think this is accurate to a great extent. But even "wicked" people who deep down know their own black hearts allow themselves the relief of their rationalizations that is to say that in a psychotic sort of way, they sometimes allow themselves to "believe" their own shit even while knowing it's not true. It's how they are able to function.

Jessica K , June 16, 2017 at 10:12 am

Thank you for your viewpoints from outside the United States, and I hope you know that people who follow and post on CN are opposed to the United States' militarism and destruction in the world, which, as you say, MaDarby, is based upon the arrogance of the US, and you say comes from Calvinism, a belief that success means you are blessed by God. That may have been a starting point when the US was formed, but now there are such forces in power play that it goes farther. We, the dissenters in the US, have a powerful armed structure that makes opposition to it very difficult. And your good points from Russia are written in a clearer way than many Americans could even write, since the educational system has been deliberately controlled to "dumb down" the citizens.

But what to do even when we challenge this militaristic power in control? Our elections as you must know are certainly not fair and democratic. There are weapons now used against protesters so that has become increasingly difficult, as we just saw with the native peoples who opposed the Dakota oil pipeline. It looks as if the problems in the US will come to a head economically because of the enormous debt the US has allowed to get out of control, which may be the only way to stop the failing empire. We have read that Russia has paid off its debt wisely, and that's even after the bankers of the world mainly through the US in the 1990s tried to destroy Russia. But the US just keeps printing fictitious money to pay for its warmongering. And President Putin accurately stated that it is a multipolar world, no longer can one power such as the US call the shots.

I do not think that Russia is an enemy, but that Russia has the intelligence to lead a challenge to the USA, knowing that US cannot continue its behavior. I see it more as a challenge, and in fact, China is important to that challenge. Yes, it is ignorant and arrogant that Americans are not disturbed by the merciless destruction and killing their government has done. Good points you have made, thank you.

mike k , June 16, 2017 at 10:32 am

Anyone who presents the vaguest challenge or limit to US hegemony is seen as an enemy to be dominated or destroyed. Capitalism is the cover for worship of unlimited power. This is the essence of fascism which is simply a religion of power worship. As Thrasymachus said in Plato's Republic, "Justice is the interest of the stronger." Meaning that force trumps all other considerations, and is the ultimate goal and meaning of human life. Human history has been the story of men's struggle to dominate others. The ultimate goal of this sick philosophy is for one man to dominate everyone and everything: the apotheosis of Power! One Man becomes God over everything! When Ayn Rand said that altruism is the enemy of mankind, she was voicing this deranged philosophy.

Realist , June 16, 2017 at 7:01 pm

Yes, there are so many riches on this planet in which all of its creatures were meant (more accurately "required") by nature to share, yet 5 men claim ownership of as much "wealth" (land, resources, means of production, etc) as another 4 billion and they do everything in their power to keep it all for themselves causing untold misery for those billions. They accomplish this by conflating the onerous realities of naked unregulated "capitalism" with the platitudes of "freedom and democracy," evidenced in the "invisible hand" of the free market clearly implied to represent "god's will" in action. So this inequitable status quo is buttressed in conventional wisdom not only by phony altruism but by the power of organised religion.

Really, these self-anointed de-facto gods know they're just hucksters who have hoodwinked the public into subordinating their own interests to tyrants. It is arguably a dysfunctional principle hardwired into the human genome, as strong-man rule traces back to our earliest recorded history. But knowledge is power and recognising this flaw in the system that makes life a misery for so many should give us a reason and the leverage to change things.

Aside from widespread ignorance and fear, what is it that has kept so many down for so long? Ah, yes, the principle of "divide and rule," wherein a deliberate socioeconomic gradient is maintained amongst the 99% to make us compete and fight with one another rather than challenge them. So much easier to hate your neighbor for the little more that he many have, so much more feasible to assault and steal from him than from the lords at the top.

I could go on, but the trolls still wouldn't see it since they are too invested in their delusions and meager rewards. They are sure to have some talking points on why degrading the planet so a few pashas can shit in solid gold commodes is a simply capital idea! And how we are fools for not seeing the obvious nature of things.

Jessica K , June 16, 2017 at 11:04 am

Hyperbola's point about the Old Testament domination of New Testament is interesting, carrying it through history by the Roundheads and Puritans. We certainly see plenty of that vicious Old Testament "YHWH" in the actions of Israel and its armed-to-the-teeth lackey, USA. The OT god is a god of power and hate, and we're seeing plenty of it now. Some of these Bible bangers really do believe in end times.

Abe , June 16, 2017 at 11:41 am

"complex conspiracy theories buttressed by the most tenuous documentation have been spun and promoted in the midst of public hearings, political rearrangements in the White House and other theatrics designed to keep the public engaged and convinced of the notion that Russia's government actually attempted to manipulate the results of America's presidential election.

"However, the entire spectacle and the narrative driving it, is based entirely on the assumption that Russia's government believes the office of US President is of significant importance enough so as to risk meddling in it in the first place. It also means that Russia believed the office of US President was so important to influence, that the substantial political fallout and consequences if caught were worth the risk.

"In reality, as US President Donald Trump has thoroughly demonstrated, the White House holds little to no sway regarding US foreign policy.

"While President Trump promised during his campaign leading up to the 2016 election cooperation with Russia, a withdrawal from undermining and overthrowing the government in Damascus, Syria and a reversal of decades of US support for the government of Saudi Arabia, he now finds himself presiding over an administration continuing to build up military forces on Russia's borders in Eastern Europe, is currently and repeatedly killing Syrian soldiers in Syria and has sealed a record arms deal with Saudi Arabia amounting to over 110 billion US dollars.

"It is clear that the foreign policy executed by US President George Bush, continued by President Barack Obama and set to continue under US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, is instead being faithfully executed by President Trump."

US Election Meddling: Smoke and Mirrors
By Ulson Gunnar
landdestroyer.blogspot.com/2017/06/us-election-meddling-smoke-and-mirrors.html

Jessica K , June 16, 2017 at 12:46 pm

I just listened to YouTube of the phenomenal Russian pianist, Denis Matsuev, playing Rachmaninoff's incredibly difficult Piano Concerto no. 3 with the Moscow Symphony, such talented people in the orchestra. And this mediocre bureaucrat, James Clapper, should call Russia "our enemy". I'll bet he has no appreciation for art. There has got to be a stop to this madness. The pianist was one of many Russian artists who signed a letter in support of President Putin when Crimea returned to Russia. The government of the USA is very, very sick and evil.

backwardsevolution , June 16, 2017 at 2:30 pm

David Marks – just a great article! Very well done. Thank you.

DMarks , June 16, 2017 at 4:20 pm

Thanks, I'm always interested in the comments provoked by my writing. A family member wrote to me: "There's no reason to give the Russian government some kind of trust, Russian policies towards gay people, the oligarchical power structure than ensures only the favored voices are heard, murdered journalists who raise criticisms against Putin, state controlled media, and the fact that Putin has turned himself into his own brand of reality TV star by staging ridiculous feats that are widely publicized in order to give him a superhero reputation these things are not the signs of a misunderstood government." I don't disagree. If I were in Russia, I could/would write an article that mirrors the one I just wrote. That's the central concept. From each side, the other side appears as the aggressors/destroyers.

Among Europeans, there are many who feel the Russian government is at the core of the problem, rather than the people in general. The farther you get from Europe, the easier it is to smear the whole country, along with their "failed" communism. We are the sum of history and it's hard to separate cause and effect of the events that lead us here. If there wasn't the immense fear of communism at the beginning of the 20th century coming from Royals, European industrialists and US oligarchs, we might have seen what the Russian experiment would have yielded. Instead the militarists and profiteers prevailed, with mirror images on both sides from the Stalin era through the Reagan era. No matter how much they were demonized before, the defeated Nazis became partners in fighting back the Soviet world. Just that single fact shows how desperately communism needed to fail in the eyes of the capitalists.

If we could have a re-run of the "cold-war" where no one is allowed to spend money on arms, defense, etc. (and of course no social repression) - purely an economic competition - what would happen? Well that's what the West feared and prevented - and we will never know what the outcome might have been.

My "neurosis" is formed as an American and still I struggle not to take "our" side. To keep some balance, I avoid the pressure to become a "fan" of anyone. Unfortunately, the majority of the general public (from all political persuasions) are pressured to see conflict as a sports event. Those in power support the notion that it's the whole other "team" that is evil and by extension the demonization of their leader is acceptable. The fanatical war mongering oligarchs of both sides bring conflict to a head by lying to us about everything, helping us believe we can win the "super-war" because we are the "good guys." Clapper is simply a great example of these beasts and the extremis we have reached. Unfortunately, there is someone just like him on the other "team."

Sam F , June 17, 2017 at 9:04 am

Indeed the warmongers and oligarchs of the US seek to provoke and grow similar forces in other powers, because they need a foreign monster to pose as protectors and accuse their moral superiors of disloyalty. While such elements can be found in every large group, the US failure to protect democratic institutions from economic concentrations has allowed them to predominate. Russia has a much smaller military, and even China has no modern record of foreign domination, provocation, and scheming.

This makes one consider whether the ideological vetting of the communist parties, which originally selected some rulers of present day Russia, and those of China, served their people better by excluding the worst of the warmongers. If the US cannot find better ways to protect democracy from warmongers, it will be discarded by history as less democratic than communism.

mike k , June 16, 2017 at 5:28 pm

Mr. Marks, I agree with most of what you said in your article, but I must respectfully disagree with what I felt was your leaning over backwards to be "objective" and "even handed." Although it is true that nobody is all good or bad in this world situation, there are sides to be taken, and values to be affirmed. The United States is far and away the major cause of the very serious and potentially life ending problems on this planet at this time. The American Empire is the number one disaster for everyone alive today. I am not even going to try to prove what I have said here. To me it is by this time too obvious to ignore. I am tired of trying to point out the obvious to those who refuse to see what is right in front of them. By the way, I am not including you in that category. You have a good grasp of what is going down, but maybe you are a little too concerned with being "even handed" for my taste.

backwardsevolution , June 16, 2017 at 6:37 pm

David Marks – well, it's just a very fair article. You point out Clapper's projections. I'm always floored when I hear these guys speaking about how aggressive other countries are when, if the truth were told, they're actually the aggressor and the other country is just trying to defend themselves. Yeah, the other country is on their back, being pummeled, and they're the aggressor?

I know there are bad people in Russia too (they're everywhere), and I also know that if the U.S. wasn't the biggest bully on the block, someone else would step in and fill the vacancy. But for right now, in our current situation, the U.S. are acting like warlords, and it's just nice to have someone spell that out, point out the idiocy of people like James Clapper.

Jessica K , June 16, 2017 at 7:56 pm

Mr. Marks, one could say very parallel things about the US government that your family member said about Russia. The US bureaucratic leaders apparently have no desire to get their own house in order but would rather create scapegoats for their mistakes. There's no way to make exact comparisons between cultural values from one country to another, people's origins have similarities but also many differences. The US has no business deciding the gay issue for Russians, and that is especially hypocritical since the US still cannot treat its descendants of slaves equally, throwing a disproportionate number of them in prison after not even giving them opportunities as the whites. The US has a lot of housecleaning to do, but they don't really want to do it, they prefer to attack others and they never stop. And we the people can't get through to them, they don't care what we think.

Linda Wood , June 17, 2017 at 12:42 am

Jessica K, just to support what you are saying about our outrage over Russian backwardness with respect to gay rights, there is a writer at caucus99percent who contributes an essay nearly every day about another murder of a transgender person in the United States.

https://caucus99percent.com/diaries

turk151 , June 16, 2017 at 8:04 pm

Mr. Marks,

I sincerely appreciate the article, but my thoughts upon reading it, is that, while I agree with all of your points about Clapper, he is merely the top bureaucrat, not the agenda setter. As you can see by the comments above, while there is unanimous condemnation of the nefarious covert operations run by our government, there is a broad divergence of who sets that agenda, ranging from satanists, Calvinists, Jews, the MIC or Wall Street . However, in your follow up comment, you address a very under reported issue, which I feel is at the heart of this matter. That this stems from a fear from the Royals, who allied themselves with the Nazis to fight the communists. I believe this is the central story of the past century, yet perhaps it is still a topic that is too sensitive to discuss and does not receive nearly the coverage it deserves. I would love to more of your ideas on this subject.

Linda Wood , June 17, 2017 at 12:55 am

Not just the royal families of Europe, but Standard Oil, Chase Bank, and other U.S. corporations. This is the truth that is, just as you say, too sensitive to discuss, and is as you say so very clearly, the central story of the past century.

Thank you for saying it so well.

Bob , June 16, 2017 at 8:16 pm

Clapper and people like him in those positions are expected to lie when asked such things. Telling the truth might see you ending up like William Colby. Once you take that oath and realize the type of people you are dealing with, lying comes much easier.

Jamie , June 17, 2017 at 12:40 am

"If you look at Facebook, the vast majority of the news items posted were fake. They were connected to, as we now know, the thousand Russian agents."

– Hillary

Andrew Nichols , June 17, 2017 at 3:20 am

"The Russians are not our friends; they, (Putin specifically) are avowedly opposed to our democracy and values, and see us as the cause of all their frustrations," Clapper declared.

And the Aussie pollies and media just lapped up the crap from the Clap and also from Mad Jihadi lover McCain. We in Aus really are pathetic grovellers.

Cal , June 17, 2017 at 6:25 am

This nails the anti Russia movement

Zero Hedge

Why the Elites Hate Russia

1, Russia is an independent country. It's not possible to manipulate Russia via external remote control, like it is most countries. The Elite don't like that! Russia kicked out Soros "Open Society":

Russia has banned a pro-democracy charity founded by hedge fund billionaire George Soros, saying the organization posed a threat to both state security and the Russian constitution. In a statement released Monday morning, Russia's General Prosecutor's Office said two branches of Soros' charity network - the Open Society Foundations (OSF) and the Open Society Institute (OSI) - would be placed on a "stop list" of foreign non-governmental organizations whose activities have been deemed "undesirable" by the Russian state.

2. Russia is not easy to cripple via clandestine means, whether it be CIA, MI6, or outright military conflict. Some other BRICs however, that's not the case. Say what you will about Russia's military – it's on par and in many cases, advanced, compared to the US military. And that's not AN opinion, that's in the opinion of top US military commanders:

3. Russian culture, and language, is too complex for the average "Elite" who pretends to be internationally well versed because they had a few semesters of French.

. Plain and simple, the Elite do not control Russia.

While there are backchannels of Russian oligarchs that work directly with Western Rothschild interests, for example, they simply don't have the same level of control as they do European countries, like Germany for instance.

Jessica K , June 17, 2017 at 7:52 am

Thanks, Linda, for your point about murders of gays and transgenders in the US. This country for all its vaunted proclamations about being so advanced and exceptional, has a huge amount of prejudice and ignorance among the people, who have been kept down economically so many harbor resentments.

Your points about Russia are interesting, Cal, especially about the military. US has exploited its citizens for military service when jobs have been taken away in other fields, so that a huge number of the enlisted are just waiting to get out. I have a friend whose son-in-law has to finish his third or maybe fourth deployment to Afghanistan and he can't wait to get out. And as noted in various posts, sloppy work has been done on military equipment in US, much of which becomes wasted money. I suspect Russians have to pay more attention to the job they do because money can't be thrown around as in US, Russian defense budget is far leaner.

Michael Kenny , June 17, 2017 at 9:37 am

Every time I see an American article about Russiagate, I run a search for the word "Macron". I never get a hit. MacronLeaks proves Russiagate but no American author even mentions it. None even bother to refute the proposition that it does prove Russiagate. The parallels are astonishing: a populist "ranter" (Trump, Le Pen), a moderate candidate who is being discredited (Clinton, Fillon) and a dark horse (Sanders, Macron). The scam was to get Le Pen and Fillon into the second round and then discredit Fillon, in the hope that Macron's "new generation" voters would be so disgusted with the "old style" politician that they would abstain in the second round, thereby allowing Le Pen to win. The scam failed principally because the media blew the lid off the Fillon story before the first round of voting, meaning that Fillon's voters had already been driven into Macron's arms before the vote. In a ham-fisted, last-minute, panic move, the scammers tried to discredit Macron but, in their haste, made lots of mistakes and fell into a trap he had set for them. The matter is now before the French criminal courts, but three names have already become public, one Russian and two figures of the US alt-right, one of whom worked for the Trump campaign. It is therefore established that Russians, whether working for the Russian government, the Russian Mafia or someone else in Russia, and American rightwing extremists sought to rig the French presidential election. The same pattern in the US election, so logically, the same perpetrators. Thus, James Clapper's reasoning is perfectly sustainable and calling him rude names doesn't change that.

Bill , June 17, 2017 at 11:34 am

Is Clapper in a conspiracy with Brennan and Comey? Who else are they working with?

Jessica K , June 17, 2017 at 12:28 pm

Macron leaks were not any more provable than Russiagate, they were allegations. Macron is a Rothschild banker, he appeared as a politician very suddenly and is undoubtedly part of the New World Order plan for the neoliberal free market agenda manipulated by the wealthy. Obama endorsed Macron in the days preceding the French election showing that it is clear that Obama supports the neoliberal agenda of "free market" control which has stripped people of their assets and enriched the wealthy wherever it is employed. Just watch France in the next few years, there will be problems as great or greater than under Hollande. Immigrants will be brought in, hired as wage slaves, the economy will be manipulated by bankers, and the people will pay the price as usual. You are making inferences from hearsay, there is no proof of what you say. James Clapper is known to have lied in the past about domestic surveillance; he has claimed in the Russiagate investigations first one thing, then another: we have no proof but it is possible, later we know they did it (although we have no proof), once even saying that Russians are genetically prone to be dishonest, the most bizarre thing he has said. If you want to defend someone who says things like that, you put yourself in the same category of absurdity.

TellTheTruth-2 , June 17, 2017 at 1:50 pm

Let's face it .. they tried to shift from Russia to the WAR ON TERROR; but, after 15 years with no end in sight the American public got sick and tired of it and now they need to shift back to Russia so they have a bogyman they can use to scare us into supporting more guns. Econ 101 .. Guns or Butter? How about us getting some butter for a change?

J. D. , June 17, 2017 at 3:32 pm

Clapper's rant revealed the actual reason for the coup attempt against President Trump, which he, along with Brennan, Comey, and the Obama Dems have coordinated,. Contrast his lying depiction of Putin to the actual words of Russia's president in his interviews with Megyn Kelley and better yet, with Oliver Stone. Hopefully. Americans will get an actual chance to see and hear President Putin and not the demonized caricature they have been barraged with by the MSM.

[Jun 09, 2017] Fake news became the only type of news people are fed

Notable quotes:
"... Take the terror situation. There is one half-bad (others and "do nothing" approach are worse) solution for it – the so-called "Israelisation" of the UK. No one's gonna implement it. NO. ONE. No one, as well, won't go and bust illegal arms trafficers, suppliers of the IED components, liquidate "no-go" borroughs, and, most of all – go after suppliers of the ideological component for the jihad which assures shit like in attacks in Manchester and London keep happening – and will happen in the future. ..."
"... Probably. But these are not normal times. They are extraordinary times. Yes, the Establishment corrals its wagons in a circle and squeals about Indians on the horizon, but there are fissures all over the place. Whether something will bust or not, I do not know, but what I do know is that some things are beyond control and we are passengers. ..."
"... History is its own master and time and time again when we proclaim that everything is 'OK', the carpet is swept away from under our feet and the serious s/t hits the fan. If that happens, I hope we survive. I've got a cat to feed. ..."
Jun 09, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com
Lyttenburgh , June 7, 2017 at 7:59 am
Et Al, it does not matter because the whole system is rigged. Yes, there are long term concerns which, if not adressed, gonna fuck all right in the arse generations of Britons to come. But they won't be adressed. The system is such that it precludes from that.

Take the terror situation. There is one half-bad (others and "do nothing" approach are worse) solution for it – the so-called "Israelisation" of the UK. No one's gonna implement it. NO. ONE. No one, as well, won't go and bust illegal arms trafficers, suppliers of the IED components, liquidate "no-go" borroughs, and, most of all – go after suppliers of the ideological component for the jihad which assures shit like in attacks in Manchester and London keep happening – and will happen in the future.

No one wants to go and say that the capitalist system adopted by the hopefuls in the past-war era is not sustainable for Europe anymore. There are two possible exits – either its total dismantling, or new war and plunder. But the system itself is beyond redeeming. You can't "reform it from within", because it's designed such way to prevent just such a thing.

et Al , June 7, 2017 at 8:25 am
The King is dead, long live the King?

Probably. But these are not normal times. They are extraordinary times. Yes, the Establishment corrals its wagons in a circle and squeals about Indians on the horizon, but there are fissures all over the place. Whether something will bust or not, I do not know, but what I do know is that some things are beyond control and we are passengers.

History is its own master and time and time again when we proclaim that everything is 'OK', the carpet is swept away from under our feet and the serious s/t hits the fan. If that happens, I hope we survive. I've got a cat to feed.

[Jun 04, 2017] Taken In: Fake News Distracts Us From Fake Election

Notable quotes:
"... Trump's first 100 days has come and gone and he has proven to be every bit the faux populist that Obama was (as I explained in a previous post). In hind-sight we can see how a new faux populist was installed. ..."
"... (she appears to be the picture of health now) ..."
"... (along with Russians!!!!) ..."
"... The 'fake news' frenzy is both a mechanism used to create the appearance of pressure on a faux populist President and a distraction from the the REAL news: the fake election. Seen in this light, 'fake news' was both inevitable and a smart media strategy. ..."
"... The rot runs deep. Citizens must develop a keen understanding of history and be as discerning of their news sources as they are of their food sources. Question everything. The passage of Citizens United that allowed almost unlimited money in politics, makes the election of a 'populist outsider' is nearly impossible. But a faux populist is nearly certain to be elected. ..."
May 31, 2017 | jackrabbit.blog
There are numerous clues that point to the 2016 US Presidential Election as having been a set-up. Few seem willing to take a close look at these facts. But it is necessary for an understanding of the world we live in today.

Trump's first 100 days has come and gone and he has proven to be every bit the faux populist that Obama was (as I explained in a previous post). In hind-sight we can see how a new faux populist was installed.

Evidence

  1. Sanders as sheep-dog Black Agenda Report called Sanders a sheep-dog soon after he entered the race . Sanders made it clear from the start that he ruled out the possibility of running as an independent. That was only the first of many punches that Sanders pulled as he led his 'sheep' into the Democratic fold. Others were:

    >> "Enough with the emails!"

    >> Not pursuing Hillary's 'winning' of 6 coin tosses in Iowa;

    >> Virtually conceding the black and female vote to Hillary;

    >> Not calling Hillary out about her claim to have NEVER sold her vote;

    >> Endorsing Hillary despite learning of Hillary-DNC collusion;

    >> Continuing to help the Democratic Party reach out to Bernie supports even after the election.

    As one keen observer noted: Sanders is a Company Man .

  2. Trump as Clinton protege
    Trump knew the Clinton's for years and was very friendly with them. His daughter Ivanka is close to Chelsea. He supported Hillary's Presidential run in 2008 – even taking up the 'birther' nonsense that she started so as to weaken Obama (just as 'fake news' now weakens Trump).

    Trump has done several things that have played into the hands of his 'fake news' critics, while doing other things that have alienated his base. These "own goals" are hard to explain. Like keeping Comey in his Administration and hinting that he taped conversations with Comey, etc. Trump has effectively turned the Russian witchhunt into an investigation into obstruction of justice.

  3. Hillary – playing along
    Hillary ran a very poor campaign for someone that has been in politics for a lifetime and has the support of the sharpest minds in politics (including her husband). The NY Post deemed it, "The Worst Campaign Ever" .

    Media rumors that Hillary was ill reached a high point when she was lifted into a van on 9-11. The frenzy over Hillary's health came and went in a matter of weeks but these bogus concerns (she appears to be the picture of health now) :

    1) gave Hillary an implied excuse for having run a poor race (along with Russians!!!!) , and

    2) helped to quell partisan outrage when Trump said – within days of winning the election – that he wouldn't prosecute Hillary.

    3) Despite her character flaws, collusion with DNC, and disastrous election showing, Hillary is still on top and aids and associates (like VP Biden) make excuses for her. Why do powerful people tip-toe around the Clintons like that?

How_to_Spot_Fake_News.pdf

Fake News

Why is the irresponsible journalism of 'fake news' so prevalent. Why are journalists, historians, politicians, and pundits so caught up in promoting it? In short, why has our society gone crazy?

The 'fake news' frenzy is both a mechanism used to create the appearance of pressure on a faux populist President and a distraction from the the REAL news: the fake election. Seen in this light, 'fake news' was both inevitable and a smart media strategy.

TRUMP COULD END THE 'FAKE NEWS' ABOUT RUSSIAN ELECTION MEDDLING BY POINTING TO OTHER COUNTRIES WHOSE MEDDLING IS MUCH MORE PERVASIVE, LIKE SAUDI ARABIA AND ISRAEL. But he doesn't.

Implications

The rot runs deep. Citizens must develop a keen understanding of history and be as discerning of their news sources as they are of their food sources. Question everything. The passage of Citizens United that allowed almost unlimited money in politics, makes the election of a 'populist outsider' is nearly impossible. But a faux populist is nearly certain to be elected.

[May 29, 2017] You Are Fake News -- Trump Refuses to Let CNN Reporter Ask Question

Notable quotes:
"... Trump specifically called out BuzzFeed as a "failing pile of garbage" and CNN for building up the story after BuzzFeed first released it. ..."
Jan 11, 2017 | insider.foxnews.com

During his first press conference since the election, Donald Trump got into a back-and-forth exchange with CNN reporter Jim Acosta over the news organization's coverage of the unverified report -- first posted on BuzzFeed -- claiming Trump's deep ties with Russia.

While answering a question relating to his earlier tweet asking "Are we living in Nazi Germany," Trump specifically called out BuzzFeed as a "failing pile of garbage" and CNN for building up the story after BuzzFeed first released it.

When Trump finished his response, Acosta could be overheard trying to ask a question. "Since you're attacking us can you give us a question? Since you are attacking our news organization can you give us a chance?" Acosta said.

"Not you, your organization is terrible," Trump responded, telling Acosta to be quiet. "She's asking a question, don't be rude."

Acosta however kept trying to ask his question, until Trump ended the exchange by declaring CNN to be "fake news." "No, I'm not going to give you a question. You are fake news!" he said. "Mr. President-elect that's not appropriate," Acosta said before allowing the next reporter to ask her question.

Acosta appeared on CNN to discuss the incident.

[Feb 12, 2017] Trump is now assigned to be as designated scapegoat for all blunders of three previous neoliberal administrations by three Deep State wholly-owned subsidiaries: Bloomberg, NYT and Wapo

Notable quotes:
"... Bloomberg, like WaPo and NYT, is "a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Deep State" ..."
"... Thank God they stopped their Putin-did-it nonsense. Now they have found something new along the lines Trump-did-it. Both those attempts to control the narrative are false and dishonest. ..."
"... I understand that Trump is now assigned to be as designated scapegoat for all blunders of three previous neoliberal administrations. ..."
Feb 12, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

im1dc : February 12, 2017 at 07:44 PM

The Tax stuff is maybe, this is happening now

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-02-12/america-s-biggest-creditors-dump-treasuries-in-warning-to-trump

"America's Biggest Creditors Dump Treasuries in Warning to Trump"

by Brian Chappatta...February 12, 2017...5:00 PM EST

> Japanese investors cull U.S. government debt by most since '13

> Currency-hedged returns were worst on record last quarter

"In the age of Trump, America's biggest foreign creditors are suddenly having second thoughts about financing the U.S. government.

In Japan, the largest holder of Treasuries, investors culled their stakes in December by the most in almost four years, the Ministry of Finance's most recent figures show. What's striking is the selling has persisted at a time when going abroad has rarely been so attractive. And it's not just the Japanese. Across the world, foreigners are pulling back from U.S. debt like never before.

From Tokyo to Beijing and London, the consensus is clear: few overseas investors want to step into the $13.9 trillion U.S. Treasury market right now. Whether it's the prospect of bigger deficits and more inflation under President Donald Trump or higher interest rates from the Federal Reserve, the world's safest debt market seems less of a sure thing -- particularly after the upswing in yields since November. And then there is Trump's penchant for saber rattling, which has made staying home that much easier.

"It may be more difficult than usual for Japanese to invest in Treasuries and the dollar this year because of political uncertainty," said Kenta Inoue, chief strategist for overseas bond investments at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities in Tokyo. "Treasury yields may rise rapidly again in the near future, which will continue to discourage them from buying aggressively."

Nobody is saying that foreigners will abandon Treasuries altogether. After all, they still hold $5.94 trillion, or roughly 43 percent of the U.S. government debt market. (Though that's down from 56 percent in 2008.) A significant drawdown can harm major holders like Japan and China as much as it does the U.S.

And, of course, homegrown demand has of late been able to absorb the pickup in overseas selling..."

libezkova -> im1dc...
im1dc,

Here is the link https://www.bloomberg.com/amp/news/articles/2017-02-12/america-s-biggest-creditors-dump-treasuries-in-warning-to-trump )

Bloomberg, like WaPo and NYT, is "a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Deep State"

Thank God they stopped their Putin-did-it nonsense. Now they have found something new along the lines Trump-did-it. Both those attempts to control the narrative are false and dishonest.

I understand that Trump is now assigned to be as designated scapegoat for all blunders of three previous neoliberal administrations.

But can you please ask yourself two very simple questions:

  1. Who and how accumulated that much debt?
  2. Who did run the wars of neoliberal empire expansion to the tune of five trillion dollars?

Was it Trump?

I would greatly appreciated if you can answer them in the reply to this post. Or, even better, make some pause in posting neoliberal propaganda.

[Jan 08, 2017] Once You Can Fake News, Youve Got It Made (A Walk Down Memory Lane)

Notable quotes:
"... By Lambert Strether of Corrente . ..."
Jan 08, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Posted on January 8, 2017 by Lambert Strether By Lambert Strether of Corrente .

"It took me a long time to discover that the key thing in acting is honesty. Once you know how to fake that, you've got it made." –Actor in Peyton Place, 1970

So the news is like sincerity (and honesty) ? Or not? Interestingly, the epigraph comes from the start of the neoliberal dispensation, but let's not go down a rathole of meta. Or rather, let's go down another rathole of meta by quoting defeated Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who seems to have been the (self-infected) Patient Zero for the "fake news" moral panic when she spoke these words ( C-SPAN ) at the unveiling of Harry Reid's portrait, December 8, 2016:

[CLINTON:] Let me just mention briefly one threat in particular that should concern all Americans, Democrats, Republicans and independents alike, especially those who serve in our Congress: the epidemic of malicious fake news and false propaganda that flooded social media over the past year . It's now clear that so-called fake news can have real-world consequences . This isn't about politics or partisanship. Lives are at risk, lives of ordinary people just trying to go about their days, to do their jobs, contribute to their communities.

IIt's a danger that must be addressed and addressed quickly. Bipartisan legislation is making its way through Congress to boost the government's response to foreign propaganda , and Silicon Valley is starting to grapple with the challenge and threat of fake news . It's imperative that leaders in both the private sector and the public sector step up to protect our democracy and innocent lives."

(Presumably that "bipartisan" - dread word - legislation was the "Countering Foreign Propaganda and Disinformation Act," discussed at NC in detail here .) Parsing this verbiage, we find it unusually sloppy and dishonest, even for Clinton. What, for example, is the distinction between "malicious fake news" and "so-called fake news"? Is sincerely meant (not "malicious") and/or genuine (not "so-called") fake news not really fake? And how is it that we start with "false propaganda" and end with "foreign propaganda"? Obviously, whatever "danger" is to be "addressed" can't be from "fake news" as such, since conceptually there's no there there. Democrat establishment lapdog Paul Krugman makes Clinton's agenda more clear:

Still, none of this would work without the complicity of the news media. And I'm not talking about "fake news," as big a problem as that is becoming; I'm talking about respectable, mainstream news coverage.

So, "fake news" just doesn't happen in "respectable, mainstream news" outlets (showing Yves was quite right to cite to independent, alternative media , like Naked Capitalism, as being under the blame cannons). But Krugman's vulgar institutionalism gets us no forrader on "fake news" conceptually, does it? Here's the best taxonomy of "fake news" that I've been able to find. From Matthew E. Kahn's blog, Environmental and Urban Economics, "The Economics of Fake News":

There are four cases to consider.

Case #1: Both the supplier and demander know that the story is false. Think of the National Enquirer stories stating that Elvis is on Mars.

Case #2: The supplier knows the story is false but the demander believes the story is true.

Case #3: The supplier believes the story is true and the demander believes the story is true.

Case #4: The supplier believes the story is true and the demander believes the story is false.

"Fake News" has no social consequences in cases #1 or case #4. Case #3 will feature no strategic element. This is just Tiebout sorting[1] in ideological space.

Tellingly, the articles listed at the Snopes "fake news" tag (e.g., "Did a Man Lock His Daughter in a Cage for Overusing a Snapchat Filter?" [FALSE]) fall primarily into Case #1 (that is, no social consequence, since both supplier and demander know the fake news is fake). And the "malicious" "foreign" WikiLeaks, DCLeaks, and Guccifer Democrat email leaks are Case #3: The supplier believes the story is true, and the demander believes the story is true.[2]. Case #4 (the supplier believes the story is true, and the demander believes the story is false) may end up applying to us all, if current trends continue , but again, let's not go down the rathole.

So the interesting case is Case #2: The supplier knows the story is false but the demander believes the story is true. And the nice thing about Kahn's taxonomy is that it abstracts away from institutions, so we don't have to accept Krugman's silly, and self-serving, notion that "mainstream publications" don't produce "fake news." Here's the definition of "fake" from my Oxford English Dictionary:

fake [adjective & noun(2)] /feɪk/ Orig. slang. l18. [ORIGIN: Rel. to fake verb2.] A. adjective. Spurious, counterfeit, sham. l18. Glasgow Herald Fake whisky..the symptoms following consumption are similar to those of gastric poisoning.

I mean, come on. Nobody ever said that alternative, independent, small distilleries are the only institutions that every produced fake whiskey, right?

Before I dig more deeply into Case #2, I'd like to introduce an additional case:

Case #5: The supplier knows the story is true, but the demander knows nothing about it at all

(This introduces a pleasing element of informational asymmetry into Kahn's model, enabling it to conform more closely to the real world. The example I have in mind comes from Operative K's employer, the New York Times. From FAIR :

By any standard, the New York Times ' story of December 16 was a blockbuster: Reporters James Risen and Eric Lichtblau revealed that following the September 11 attacks, the Bush administration initiated warrantless wiretaps on hundreds of people within the U.S.–including U.S. citizens–even though a federal law, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978, expressly forbids the government from doing so. This program was legal only if one accepts the administration's contention that the executive branch has essentially unlimited powers during "wartime" (even though Congress has not declared war).

The Times story would be an outstanding example of how the First Amendment works to protect liberty–were it not for the ninth paragraph:

The White House asked The New York Times not to publish this article, arguing that it could jeopardize continuing investigations and alert would-be terrorists that they might be under scrutiny. After meeting with senior administration officials to hear their concerns, the newspaper delayed publication for a year to conduct additional reporting. Some information that administration officials argued could be useful to terrorists has been omitted.

The reasoning is absurd on its face. As Times executive editor Bill Keller noted in a statement released on December 16 explaining his decision to publish the story, "The fact that the government eavesdrops on those suspected of terrorist connections is well-known." But this was as obvious a year ago as it is today. As for the government's spying being "jeopardized," placing illegal and unconstitutional programs in jeopardy is the whole point of the First Amendment ( Extra! Update , 12/05 ).

But Keller's statement revealed that the Times does not see itself as competent to watch out for illegal government activity. In explaining the delay, Keller stated that the administration had "assured senior editors of the Times that a variety of legal checks had been imposed that satisfied everyone involved that the program raised no legal questions." Keller went on to say that "it is not our place to pass judgment on the legal or civil liberties questions involved in such a program, but it became clear those questions loomed larger within the government than we had previously understood."

In other words, Keller believes it is the Times ' "place" to accept officials' own evaluation of the legality of their behavior.

What FAIR delicately omits to mention is that the Times had and then spiked the story before election 2004 , and therefore suppressing it until Bush was safely elected might well have affected the (very close) Presidential race, which everybody is so concerned that fake news does, right?

Now, is Case #5 - suppressed news - really news ? I would argue that is it is. The replaced pages in the Great Soviet Encyclopedia were surely part of that Encyclopedia, and in less well-regulated polities than our own, censored news is simply printed as blank columns:

Back to Case #2, which I'd argue should be refined, again through the introduction of information asymmetry. On the supplier side, we need to introduce the possiblity of delusion as opposed to malevolence, and on the demander side, "Cassandras" (a minority) as opposed to believers (the great majority)[3]. The case study I have in mind is Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs) in the case of the Iraq War.

I remember the WMD case of fake news - news that is "spurious, counterfeit, sham" as the OED has it - well, because it happened in my very first year of blogging, in 2003. (Cue the "I'm so old, I remember ______" snowclone jokes.) The justifications for Saddam's WMDs came thick and fast: The aluminum tubes, the white powders, the yellowcake uranium, the mobile biological laboratories, the drones, the atropine, the "we don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud." As soon as one story was debunked - which foul-mouthed bloggers of the left using open sources could do quite easily, within hours - another story would pop up. Only later did we learn that it didn't just feel like playing whack-a-mole; it was playing whack-a-mole; The Bush White House was planting stories in the press (through a process, for those who came in late, very similar to what the Clinton campaign used, as shown in the Wikileaks Podesta email dump).

The long-forgotten Sam Gardiner, Colonel, USAF (Retired)[4], interviewed by Kevin Zeese in Counterpunch , describes the supplier side:

[GARDINER:]As the war unfolded, I became increasingly uneasy about what was being reported out of the White House, Pentagon and Central Command. I was hearing things that just did not make sense with what I knew and what my intuition was telling me. I began tracking some of the stories. It was just a matter of going over what we were told and connecting that with the truth as it emerged later.

There is absolutely no question that the White House and the Pentagon participated in an effort to market the military option. The truth did not make any difference to that campaign. To call it fixing is to miss the more profound point. It was a campaign to influence. It involved creating false stories; it involved exaggerating; it involved manipulating the numbers of stories that were released; it involved a major campaign to attack those who disagreed with the military option. It included all the techniques those who ran the marketing effort had learned in political campaigns.

We [know] the WMD story fairly well. We know the story of the uranium from Niger. We know about the aluminum tubes that were not for uranium enrichment. We know the biological labs Powell showed to the UN did not exist.

[ZEESE:] Is the media being fooled by the Administration or is it complicit in this effort to misinform the public?

[GARDINER:]The media have been fooled. They have been lazy. They have lost sight of the historic calling of journalism. Journalists have been replaced on television by cheerleaders.

[ZEESE:] How much did this campaign of misinformation cost?

[GARDINER:] Tough question, Kevin. I don't think it possible to get a total handle on the effort. I have read one estimate that put the marketing at $200 million. That cost is trivial, however, to the collateral damage that has been done to democracy.

And on the demand side, some may actually have believed their own bullshit. Former White House insider Richard Clarke , interviewed in 2004:

[GUARDIAN]: Do you believe the administration believed the intelligence on Iraqi WMD?

[CLARKE]: We all believed Saddam had WMD.

And Bush Secretary of State Condaleeza Rice in 2007 :

[RICE:] We all believed the intelligence was strong. It wasn't just a problem with intelligence in the United States, it was an intelligence problem worldwide. Services across the world thought that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction."

So, give Rice and Clarke the benefit of the doubt, and put them in the delusional bucket on the supplier side, as opposed to the malevolent bucket. That said, those in the malevolent bucket were the drivers supporting policy, as we knew ( in 2005 ) from The Downing Street Memo. Quoting it :

SECRET AND STRICTLY PERSONAL – UK EYES ONLY

DAVID MANNING

From: Matthew Rycroft

Date: 23 July 2002

S 195 /02

.C reported on his recent talks in Washington. There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy . The NSC had no patience with the UN route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime's record. There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action.

Gardiner's estimate of $200 million would buy rather a lot of "fixed" facts, eh? Even at Beltway rates.

* * *

So that's my walk on memory lane on fake news. The utter effrontery of Clinton, and her lapdog, yammering about fake news from Macedonian teenagers on social media, after fake news from the mainstream press - very much including the Times' own infamous Judy Miller - helped foment the Iraq War just boggles the mind. And all those faraway brown people blown to pink mist make Clinton's "lives are at risk" especially nauseating. I'm gobsmacked by the "fake news" moral panic, hornswoggled, beyond flummoxed. Or I would be, if only Clinton blaming fake news for her loss weren't just another example of Democrats never holding themselves responsible for anything.

Oh, and at some point I should propose some solutions. Obviously, the whole fact-checking paradigm is wrong; I'm so old I remember when we had editors and reporters to do that, so returning to those days would be a start, at least. So, whatever public policy it would take to get more local newspapers going again is something we should think about. We should also think about breaking up ginormous media monopolies; after all, epidemics spread more easily in a monoculture. And then there's Facebook; maybe they shouldn't be in the algorithmic newsfeed business at all; after all, the most reliable parts of a program are the ones that aren't there. And Facebook, too, is an enormous monopoly. Perhaps there should be more power centers in social media, as well. Just some thoughts.[5] Readers?

NOTE

Bud from legal insists that I say this post solely represents the views of "Lambert Strether," and does not represent the views of Naked Capitalism.

NOTES

[1] "Tiebout sorting refers to the sorting of households into neighborhoods and communities according to their willingness and ability to pay for local public goods," via Encyclopedia of Education Economics & Finance . Here is an NBER paper: "Tiebout Sorting and Neighborhood Stratification" (PDF).

[2] The "demanders" in the Clinton campaign would disagree, but the Rice-Davies Rule applies. None of that mail has even debunked, despite false claims by the Clinton campaign . Whether the mail had no strategic consequence, especially at the margin, is another issue entirely.

[3] Leaving aside, again, the dystopia where demanders believe all stories are false.

[4] Gardiner's paper, "Truth from These Podia," suffers from serious link rot. And so we lose our history.

[5] Also, some kind soul should fund deliberative debate in the schools and for adults at the rate of, oh, $10 million a year or so. It would't take much. I guarantee we'd see improvement in discourse in as little as three years, as varsity debaters came up and started to show the critical thinking skills they gained at the podium in public policy discussion. Incidentally, historically black colleges and universities have done very well recently in debate, so do let's make sure all the debate money doesn't go to the already credentialed burbclaves, mkay?

0 0 0 0 0 This entry was posted in Guest Post , Media watch , Politics on January 8, 2017 by Lambert Strether . About Lambert Strether

Lambert Strether has been blogging, managing online communities, and doing system administration 24/7 since 2003, in Drupal and WordPress. Besides political economy and the political scene, he blogs about rhetoric, software engineering, permaculture, history, literature, local politics, international travel, food, and fixing stuff around the house. The nom de plume "Lambert Strether" comes from Henry James's The Ambassadors: "Live all you can. It's a mistake not to." You can follow him on Twitter at @lambertstrether. http://www.correntewire.com

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Subscribe to Post Comments 27 comments Synoia , January 8, 2017 at 1:56 pm

The whole "fake news" narrative is not about "fake news," or propaganda, or agitprop.

It is about taking control away from, and by implication devaluing the analysis, of these who debunk the propaganda, or agitprop from the "legitimate (aka: fake official)" news outlets. Examples of this are Naked Capitalism, Ian Welsh, Marcy Wheeler and Zero Hedge.

It is both a monopolistic action of the "legitimate (aka: fake official)" news outlets, and the powers in Washington, enabling this monopolistic behavior for both parties self interest.

This comment solely represents the views of "ME" and does not represent the views of anyone else. (OK Bud?)

Waldenpond , January 8, 2017 at 2:34 pm

The fake news chant is just an addition to the Russia, Russia, Russia bs. The goal is always delegitimizing any voice other than far right capitalists and war mongers. Media has collapsed/flipped. The media being promoted as legitimate is outright lies and never ending propaganda. They occasionally slip in facts but they are meaningless to the discussion. The alternative sites are the only ones attempting to distribute facts and discuss issues based on facts.

I won't be surprised to see legitimate news sites blocked from accessing ad revenue and payment systems. No ads, no facebook, no twitter, no paypal for those deemed to be disseminating facts.

Webstir , January 8, 2017 at 6:47 pm

A friend of my mine stated the other day, "Don't mistake gaslighting for a genuine concern that you might, in fact, be crazy."

To which I replied:

"The age of modern advertisement (think Mad Men) was kicked off by behavioral psychology professor John B. Watson who is most popularly known for the "Baby Albert" experiments. What is not widely known is that he was kicked out of John Hopkins for having an affair with his research assistant shortly after said experiments. Where did he take his talents? You guessed it: Advertising - where he popularized the notion of selling "sex appeal" rather than a product. In mu opinion, the rest the western world's economic and political history, then, are all "gaslighting" footnotes to the recently discovered ability to psychologically manipulate people to create demand where there was none previously."

My point being, it is worth considering the impact media creating ideological demand where there was none before.

craazyman , January 8, 2017 at 2:38 pm

This problem is so old it's ludicrous. They're talking about it like it was just discovered! LOL.

I think these quotes are true, but I didn't know Thomas Jefferson and I did not carry on a literary correspondence with him. It would have been a pleasure! Despite his flaws. He was a man of his time, but a brilliant one.

Here are some more Thomas Jefferson quotes about newspapers. I think he would have been in the peanut gallery railing at the mainstream media just like the rest of us.

#2 below is my favorite "the violence and malignity of party spirit" Whoa!:

1. "The man who never looks into a newspaper is better informed than he who reads them, inasmuch as he who knows nothing is nearer to truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods and errors. He who reads nothing will still learn the great facts, and the details are all false." ~Thomas Jefferson to John Norvell, 1807. ME 11:225

2. "I deplore the putrid state into which our newspapers have passed and the malignity, the vulgarity, and mendacious spirit of those who write for them These ordure's are rapidly depraving the public taste and lessening its relish for sound food. As vehicles of information and a curb on our functionaries, they have rendered themselves useless by forfeiting all title to belief This has, in a great degree, been produced by the violence and malignity of party spirit." ~Thomas Jefferson to Walter Jones, 1814. ME 14:46

3. "As for what is not true, you will always find abundance in the newspapers." Thomas Jefferson to Barnabas Bidwell, 1806. ME 11:118

4."Advertisements contain the only truths to be relied on in a newspaper." ~Thomas Jefferson to Nathaniel Macon, 1819. ME 15:179

5. "Nothing can now be believed which is seen in a newspaper. Truth itself becomes suspicious by being put into that polluted vehicle."

source: http://www.fourwinds.com (I Googled a string of words about Jefferson and newspapers, since I knew of his opinion there.)

lyle , January 8, 2017 at 5:25 pm

I grew up in Detroit during the Vietnam war. In Detroit you could listen to the news from Canada and hear the elements of Propaganda in the US news (or fake news to use the modern term). It was as if two different wars were happening depending on which side of the river the news was broadcast from. Back then from the US news perspective Pravda was one big sheet of fake news (propaganda) . Back then you could also buy a shortwave radio and listen to the BBC as well as Radio Moscow (which had strong signals in the US).
So back then one had to learn to take all news with a very large grain of salt because the folks putting the news together influenced how news was reported. It is just now that it appears that younger generations have tumbled to the fact that news organizations pursue a point of view and report news skewed to support that point of view.
For another example back then the Socialist workers party had a newspaper that to the US mainstream point of view was propaganda,but from their point of view was the truth.

JF , January 8, 2017 at 5:38 pm

In large part this is also why the Framers put together a United States Republic, "wherein the legislative authority necessarily predominates."

Democracy was too susceptible so reliance was placed on the two-house, separately elected sources, to provide thoughtful discourse via indpendent legislators. Ideally these people were to be thoughtful people who tried.

This too has become a department-of-thought (the others are judicial and executive) that is lacking thought, well at least in one party, the one that also denies scientific fact and believes we can not govern ourselves because we are the problem. But their richtung is clear, no need to think too much about how to vote.

hunkerdown , January 8, 2017 at 7:04 pm

The Framers were the very same class of idle oligarchs that we are attempting to do battle with today. Jeremy Belknap's famous Supplication, that we should submit to the "enlightened" (i.e. freed from having to actually work to the order of others) rule of liberal dispensationalist Rescuers, is a bipartisan stipulation.

Surely you didn't forget Hamilton Electors so quickly? Or Becky Fischer interviewed in Jesus Camp : "excuse me, but we have the truth!" Or which class and which interests are in fact running the press, and at whose interests' expense? People who vend noble lies klike liberalism or Belknap's learned helplessness tend to be discredited rather quickly.

susan the other , January 8, 2017 at 2:40 pm

The disastrous world that Hillary built is coming apart. She said in the 90s that she saw no way to save labor and prevent offshoring and being killed by cheap imports: "There's just no way to stop it." She came from the left and became the biggest free marketeer there ever was. Yet, her behavior has been so pious. She, as much as any tool who ever graced the halls of Washington DC, is to blame for shamelessly securing her own position by destroying the country. While the rest of us were lamenting the disappearance of truth, the neoliberals were attacking that idealism with a term coined by Steve Colbert: "truthiness" and everybody had a good chuckle until the truthiness was on the other foot – now they demand an end to "fake news". What about just tolerating all the "fakiness" And the "newsiness" with a fake smile? C'mon Hill, I know you can do it.

hunkerdown , January 8, 2017 at 7:08 pm

Worse, Obama demanded "truthiness". That's code, to me. There is a malicious design afoot.

BeliTsari , January 8, 2017 at 3:19 pm

As one by one, well known lefty blog aggregators got all 'et up by David Brock's CTR, it was difficult to miss their trolls & sock-puppets were all using Rick Berman's playbook http://www.dailykos.com/story/2016/4/24/1519540/-Paid-Clinton-Troll-Speaks-out-I-was-aghast-at-what-I-saw Dissidents were entitled, gullible. basement-dwelling millennial, or misogynistic, racist agents provocateurs, spreading discordant enemy agitprop. They used Hill + Knowlton Strategies' decades-old buzz-words from tobacco, asbestos, fracking & bio-engineering scams, to discredit anybody questioning Debbie, Robby and John's stomping down loyal, lifelong Keynesian Democrats and handing the presidency to Trump, the states to ALEC and Judiciary, regulatory agencies & Congress to leering, smirking, up-front drooling Fascists. http://www.counterpunch.org/2017/01/06/resistance-2/

BeliTsari , January 8, 2017 at 3:20 pm

Wow people still READ The Guardian? Bloomberg spews the same crap for FREE!

Gaylord , January 8, 2017 at 3:33 pm

Another aspect of this is the obfuscation of true news. An example of this is the news blackout and dismissal of any significance pertaining to the Fukushima nuclear meltdowns, fallout, and continuing emissions of dangerous radioactive isotopes into the environment. This is an institutionalized conspiracy borne of complacency and self interest.

The worst part of this is there are typically no judgments or consequences against the perpetrators of false information that is explicitly used to gain support for and acquiescence to policies that result in criminal actions and grave harm - i.e. war, exploitation & impoverishment, mass displacement, confiscation of resources, deleterious pollution & ecocide, etc. The justice system is as irredeemably corrupt as the rest of the political system.

Paul Tioxon , January 8, 2017 at 3:42 pm

http://www.ucpress.edu/blog/23963/

This lucky coincidence is from the UC Press. They have a blog about different books they put out. And this one's relevant and timely. There is a brief overview of Watergate and The Kennedy/Nixon TV debates of 1960 and the ongoing myths surrounding them.

Debunking Media Myths, Those Prominent Cases of Fake News

by W. Joseph Campbell, author of 'Getting It Wrong: Debunking the Greatest Myths in American Journalism'.

"The mainstream media's recent angst and hand-wringing about a surge of "fake news" has tended to ignore that the media themselves have often been purveyors of bogus tales and dubious interpretations.

"Fake news" has plenty of antecedents in mainstream media - several cases of which are documented in my book, Getting It Wrong, a new, expanded edition of which was published recently.

The book examines and debunks media-driven myths, which are well-known stories about and/or by the news media that are widely believed and often retold but which, under scrutiny, dissolve as false or wildly exaggerated. Think of them as prominent cases of "fake news" that have masqueraded as a fact for years. Decades, even."

oho , January 8, 2017 at 4:14 pm

Don't forget that the entertainment divisions all of MSM's parent companies rely on quid pro quo "fake reviews" to juice positive buzz for movies/TV series.

And often those fake reviews are spun as real news.

Steve H. , January 8, 2017 at 4:19 pm

Just checking, since I took a crack at the Reuters disclaimer, is the Bud from legal thing irony? 'Cause I cain't tell no more.

'Cause if that's the case, that's a Case-1. And that means NC is a purveyor of fake news.

But Wait! Is it weasel-words to say 'does not represent the views of (institution)'? Where is the agency? The DNC has a platform with explicit, well what are they, the DNC says 'political rhetoric' as opposed to actual positions. Wouldn't it be better to say 'the views of the owners of' or 'the editors of'? But are you then saying that Yves does not share this view? Or are you an editor and don't agree with yourself? Well, you get the idea.

Anyway, I'd say let's kill all the lawyers, but let's leave legal Bud alone.

Edward , January 8, 2017 at 4:30 pm

One comment I would make about the WMD reporting was that the international press, including some British papers, were debunking the propaganda. It was as if America and the rest of the world were in separate realities. Many Americans were reading the Guardian to obtain independent news. The WMD claims of the Bush administration were debunked in congressional speeches, but the pro-war lawmakers didn't seem to care.

ambrit , January 8, 2017 at 6:14 pm

That's what's scary now. The pro war legislators don't seem to care now as well. Last time, it was Iraq, no push over, but not "really" dangerous. Now, it's Russia, which is truly dangerous. There's a significant difference between IEDs and ICBMs.

Edward , January 8, 2017 at 6:54 pm

This is why I almost voted for Trump. I ended up voting for Stein, but I dithered for a while.

ambrit , January 8, 2017 at 7:19 pm

I know that dither feeling. Many of us, and I include myself, are going to be very upset when we're dithered.

Bugs Bunny , January 8, 2017 at 4:35 pm

Seems to me that enforcement of existing Anti-trust law would go a long way in remedying the blob opinion that characterizes MSM reporting. I'm no neoliberal but competition law forces competition and from competition comes diversity in media strategy, reporting and publishing.

Sorry I said competition three times. I tend to harp on this subject since I was at the center of some pretty tough Anti-trust fights back in the day when the DOJ did its job.

ekstase , January 8, 2017 at 5:04 pm

Questions I'm asking myself:

" put them in the delusional bucket on the supplier side, as opposed to the malevolent bucket."
1) Could someone, theoretically, be put in both buckets?

2) If Elvis is not on Mars, then where is he?

H. Alexander Ivey , January 8, 2017 at 5:38 pm

He has left the building, that's all I know.

ambrit , January 8, 2017 at 6:18 pm

The answer to question 1) is quantum based. Whichever bucket you look in, there "they" are. I suspect the answer to question 2) is also quantum based. Schrodingers Blue Suede Shoes anyone?

Persona au gratin , January 8, 2017 at 5:04 pm

"News" – aka storytelling/myth making about "real" recent events – has always been "fake" to some degree or another. The question is, to what degree? However, I doubt most of any political stripe would contest the fact that lately it's become simply out of control. Welcome to the "information age!"

NotSoSure , January 8, 2017 at 5:04 pm

Does the following scenario: "The supplier knows the story is true, but the demander wants to believe it's true/false" falls under the scenario of "The supplier knows the story is true, but the demander knows nothing about it at all"

Or how about: "The supplier wants to believe the story is true, and the demander wants to believe it's true"? Sounds a bit like religion (probably not "fake news").

nonsense factory , January 8, 2017 at 5:42 pm

Was the 2013 Syrian gas attack stories blaming the Syrian government fake news?
http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2016-12-06/anti-fraud-experts-launch-news-accuracy-site-find-us-probably-blamed-wrong-side-for-syria-chemical-attack

Very likely so.

But this is right in line with Hillary Clinton's "public vs. private" position claims. It's okay to be dishonest about it because intervening to overthrow Assad is obviously "the greater good" just as overthrowing Gaddafi "we came we saw he died ha ha ha!" was a good idea. Unintended consequences? We'll just cook up some more propaganda to make it look like it's all going well. Image matters, not substance. If we tell everyone we're going to win the election, then we're sure to win the election; we just have to believe, get everyone on message, tell the right story. . .

Reminds me of a William Gibson quote from Neuromancer:
"I mean, these guys are all batshit in here, like they got luminous messages scrawled across the inside of their foreheads or something."

XonX , January 8, 2017 at 6:34 pm

Bud from legal insists that I say this post solely represents the views of "Lambert Strether," and does not represent the views of Naked Capitalism.

OK, but is Bud part of the problem or part of the solution? Does Naked Capitalism have a view? I thought NC was a forum of views, not a person or a corporation-"person" (and so what if it was).

So why does Bud need you to say that? What good or bad thing does this enable or prevent because you have now followed Bud's advice?

Just curious I guess. I took the time to read it, so now I'd like to know why I did.

[Jan 04, 2017] False Prophets and False News - The Unz Review

Jan 04, 2017 | www.unz.com
shutterstock_543410059 Introduction: There are deep flaws in the blogs, media reports, and official statements, which purport to describe world historic events and changes.

These so-called 'up-to-date' reports of major world events undergo repeated revisions in hours, days or weeks as the story is being 'played out'. What might start out as a 'scoop' for the upwardly mobile journalist is transformed into a by-word for a 'critical blogger' rewriting mainstream reports by simply substituting negatives for pluses (or vice versa).

'Immediacy' trumps historical context and structural understanding. Protagonist or antagonists of the moment are demonized , slandered and scandalized, or lauded , praised and iconized.

The practice of deep falsification involves magnifying transient trivia and glossing over world-historic change. The false prophets substitute superficiality for deep understanding.

Soon after proclaiming a 'major systemic transformation', which fail to occur, a series of modifications or reversals take over, and the initial 'great prophesy' is forgotten – as if the readers of news were afflicted with an epidemic of dementia.

Most political parties, left, right and center, have their own unchanging warped world view to frame everyday minutiae.

For example, on the Left, it is the 'imminent collapse of capitalism' or the 'perpetual stagnation of the capitalist state', 'the collapse of democracy' or 'the emergence of fascism'. In the absence of any real empirical or historical findings to support their hypotheses, they add escape clauses about 'tendencies'.

The Center has its own historic narrative, which includes 'threats from the Left and Right', and the 'dangers posed by populists to democratic values'. They cite the overwhelming responsibility to 'defend Western values' everywhere, from threats, past, present and future and especially from independent nations, like Russia, China, Venezuela, Iran and other 'emerging' powers, as a pretext to escalate militarism and to bolster support for vassal states.

The Center repeatedly point to the 'resilience of Western liberal democratic institutions' even as police state edicts are dictated to counter dissenting voices, while false prophets predict that China's robust economy is on the verge of collapse; that democratic Russia is an unstable autocracy; and that the Ukraine is an emerging democracy – while its 'Right Sector' and 'Azov Battalions' runs amok amidst a kleptocratic, neo-fascist regime

The Right frames its world-historic ideology by stressing the need to (1) revive the Cold War to counter the US global decline; (2) confront the world-wide wave of 'populism' threatening 'liberal' democracies; (3) portray Brexit as a sign of the European Union's collapse; (4) equate Trump's victory with the rise of fascism in the US; (5) emphasize the ascent of bigotry, racism and anti-Semitism, based on the result of a single election ; (6) denounce Leftists 'conspiracy' writers who 'falsely' blame rising class inequalities to free-market monopolies; and (7) explain that cuts in social expenditures, tax cuts to big capital, increased work hours and decreased pensions are ultimately rewarding the masses.

These mega- narratives lead 'prophetic academics' to insist on their infallible insight into the future direction of the world economy, global politics and class relations.

False prophets maintain a veneer of authenticity, by presenting the future in unspecified, ambiguous, general and distant terms, to allow for any or all outcomes – like professional fortune tellers.

Academic and media prophets are enveloped in a mystique of expertise, which allows them to rehash yesterday's news as deep strategic insights.

False Prophets: Trump

Contrary to the wailings of the Right, Center and Left, Donald Trump is not a fascist, or a nationalist or a populist. An objective assessment of his most recent policies and cabinet appointments show that he is a free-market politician with a propensity to appoint militarists to security positions.

Trump's populist demagogy most closely resembles President Obama – although the appeal is to a different audience. Trump speaks to impoverished, displaced, skilled workers in the rust belt with campaign promises of a renaissance in manufacturing, upscale suburbanites, and downwardly mobile working women, while appointing billionaire bankers and global business executives to run the economy and set policy. Obama appealed to poor minorities, middle class urbanites and the same business elite.

Like Obama, Trump is an imperialist committed to protecting and projecting US global power. He differs from Obama in emphasis. Obama and his predecessors pursued a primarily military-driven imperialism while Trump will shift the emphasis to economic imperialism.

Trump's 'double discourse', of talking to the masses during the campaign while working for the elite once in office, reflects a long-standing American Presidential tradition.

Editorial writers' descriptions of Donald Trump lack historical and empirical depth.

Powerful systemic constraints define the rate and scope of any long-term, large-scale changes that Trump might propose. Trump can only introduce minor incremental changes in the behavior of the biggest banks and five hundred most powerful global multi-nationals. Trump might re-negotiate around the edges of some bilateral trade agreements, but he cannot convert the US into a closed self-sufficient economy.

Contrary to the 'end of the world' hysteria, promoted by the mass media, Trump has never made any pact with white racists and anti-Semites. There are no major Jewish organizations currently engaged in a struggle against Trump's 'fascist hordes'. The KKK is not preparing to burn Goldman Sachs. Since Trump's election the stock market has jump over a thousand points. Like all of his predecessors from both parties, Trump appointed prominent Jews to key economic and policy positions, including Treasury Secretary. Many editorialists, who rely on selected excerpts of campaign rhetoric and gossip, have presented an unrealistic picture of the trajectory of the US state and economy.

ORDER IT NOW

False Prophets: China

The US prophets and self-described 'experts' describe China in inflated terms of either its impending doom or its relentless drive toward world supremacy. They rely on the minutiae of the moment or distorted extrapolations, uncertainties and contingent systemic changes. Rigorous analytical accounts are in short supply.

China, according to the free-market financial prophets of doom, suffers from a declining growth rate, shrinking work force, massive capital flight, deep-seated corruption and an impending intra-elite war. According to the prophets of doom, this sets the stage for an economic collapse and a military confrontation with the US empire.

Many of these pronouncements are easily dismissed. For the last 30 years, China's economy has exceeded 6% and it is steadily developing its high technological work force and scientific innovations. China's emphasis is on diversifying its production and consumption to domestic and overseas markets. The challenge of its aging work force is met by the increasing development of robotics and computerized productive systems.

China has applied capital controls and limits on capital flight. The national campaign against corruption and real estate speculation in real estate has led to the arrest of over 200,000 officials and executives for fraud, bribery and money laundering via overseas banks.

In other words, the false prophets, parading about as 'China experts', have consistently made nonsensical predictions of doom and collapse. Faced with factual refutations, they merely repeat and recycle their prophecies by projecting longer time frames, up to infinity, for the coming of the inevitable catastrophe.

On the other hand, some progressive writers peddle prophesies of China's endless progress predicting its inevitable emergence as a supreme global power. They convert China's 30-year pattern of economic growth into a formula guaranteeing 'harmonious development', which they claim is based on China's correct handling of emerging challenges and contradictions. Their predictions of stable future growth assume ever-expanding markets while ignoring the threat of military confrontations with rival imperial powers.

China's prophets of global power ignore contingencies: Skilled and innovative workers, who are necessary for economic growth, have their own vision of the social structure in which they play a leading role in advancing society.

While robots can substitute for human labor power, it is worker knowledge and initiative that design, produce and adjust the robotic manufacturing system.

Harmony, free markets and mutually beneficial trade alliances are relations that are always changing; only interests remain constant. As China moves from investing in commodities to manufacturing and technology, customers can turn into competitors.

As China emerges as a global power, the outflow of capital and arms and technology increases, and the risks of global rivalry and domestic instability, challenging the Chinese ruling class likewise increase.

Prophecies or predictions depend on (1) the stability of incremental changes in the structure of power; (2) the uncertainty of elite outcomes in world markets and (3) the volatility of domestic class relations.

False Prophets: Latin America

Latin America is almost universally regarded as unstable – a region, where revolutions and counter-revolutions alternate, and electoral regimes rise and fall among neo-liberal, populist and nationalist leaders.

The long-term reality is actually quite different. Latin America has been one of global capitalism's most stable regions. With few exceptions, property-ownership has remained stable for decades, with entrenched oligarchical elite families enjoying wealth, multiple-luxury properties throughout the world and their own perpetuation.

Electoral regimes may frequently change but the underlying state structures endure for decades. Bureaucratic, military and financial institutions set the margins of change. Neo-liberal, post-neo-liberal and anti-neo-liberal policies come and go, but large-scale mining, export agricultural and banking structures ultimately set the conditions for the growth of economies and demise of governments.

There is a tendency for some academic prophets and writers to use metaphors from astronomy and geology to divide the world. They describe a 'world-system' composed of 'a core, a semi-periphery and a periphery'. Adding and subtracting, multiplying and dividing quantities of productive resources, the false prophets solemnly predict how the entire world system will function 'ad infinitum'.

While data, derived from observations in space, provide scientists with insights into the movements of distant galaxies and the fate of planets, extrapolation to socio-economic and political 'bodies' is risky.

On the real planet Earth, the so-called 'periphery' of the 'world system' subsumes countries, economies, social structures, states and inter-state relations with entirely distinct composition, behavior and histories. Cuba, a 'peripheral state', differs in every respect from Haiti, Guatemala and scores of other likewise categorized nations. And among the 'core' countries, the US invades, occupies and plunders dozens of countries every decade, while China engages in 'trade'. Iran, among the 'semi-peripherals', has not invaded any neighbor for two centuries, while Israel, a fellow 'semi-peripheral', has ravaged a dozen countries in the past 50 years.

ORDER IT NOW

False Prophets: Russia

Western prophets on the right and left predicted that the break-up of the USSR would augur a period of harmony, democracy and widespread prosperity. The true believers claimed 'anything was better than Stalinism' while ignoring the fact that Stalin was dead for a half-century.

Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev oversaw the transformation of the USSR's allied nations into pillaged satellites of the Western imperial powers. He blindly accepted US Presidents Bush and Ronald Reagan's promises that the US would not expand NATO and would not transform the newly emerging post-Soviet nations into military bases. What emerged was a crippled and encircled Russia, which had been converted into a Beggar-State of oligarchs and swindlers who seized over a trillion dollars of public property, wealth, land and resources in less than ten years. Gangsters murdered their way into public office through US-manipulated sham elections, celebrated by the Western press. Living standards for millions of post-Soviet citizens collapsed, resulting in the greatest decline of life expectancy, health, culture, science and education in peacetime history.

Contrary to the predictions of Western prophets Russia rebuilt its state and economy. The new political leadership, headed by Vladimir Putin, replaced the dipsomaniac puppet President and mobsters favored by Washington. Living and health standards have vastly improved; production, agriculture, exports, national security, science and culture have recovered.

The angry false prophets, then promoted a new pseudo-scientific assertion that the re-emergence of the Russian state and its recovering economy led inexorably to autocratic rule by a former KGB official, who violated 'Western values' by . jailing swindler billionaires and self-made oil mobsters and re-appropriating vital national assets.

Western editorialists ceaselessly denounce the popularly elected President Putin for his crime of refuting the bankruptcy of their prophecies.

Despite reams of reports by the 'experts', despite their wide circulation in the mass media and their citations by top Western officials, the Russian state and economy, just like the Chinese, are not on the verge of collapse nor are they declining or facing popular revolts.

False Prophets: The Left

The shallow, self-serving Left prophets of progressive governments in Latin America, as well as admirers of Putin's Russia and Xi Jinping's China, fail to recognize the structural, historical and class constraints that determine and limit policies.

First and foremost, they fail to recognize the socio-economic continuities within these states. In all three regions, elites and oligarchs continue to control the commanding heights of the economies, despite occasional expropriations and sporadic reforms.

Secondly, even the most 'progressive' regimes rely on Western markets and investors limiting their long-term growth.

Thirdly, the long-term dependence on extractive exports, global demand and fragile mono-culture economies weakens the long-term stability of Russia and Latin America.

The absence of a socialist democratic alternative to the brutal capitalist restoration in China undermines the optimistic perspective of progressive prophets.

Conclusion

The debate among experts, regarding the rise or decline of the Imperial West or the progressive forces in China, Russia and Latin America, fails to consider their 'hidden resources and liabilities'. These include the untapped scientific discoveries, the failure to develop alternative resources and innovations, as well as the ongoing repression of skilled workers. The Western prophets underestimate how the reliance on the paper economy has squandered immense social and productive value.

The ongoing cultural deformations, perversions and falsifications of information and analysis at the behest of established power centers, has clouded any real understanding of everyday life and greatly reduced our chances for a future without barbaric wars and social exploitation.

Culture is an everyday phenomenon determining how economies and states, rulers and ruled see the world, exercise power or are forced to submit.

We have witnessed the spread of cultural squalor into language and life, with only an occasional respite, when people overcome their everyday stupor and create a momentary burst of creative political, economic, social and cultural energy, which can lead to transformations.

Humdrum incremental changes, left and right, and the reality of continuities, limit and ultimately reverse social reforms and corrupt language to serve the ruling powers. We must move forward against the flatulence of everyday life by rejecting the false prophets and by writing, speaking and acting against crackpot sages. Our progress toward a new order must be firmly rooted in our everyday struggles writ large.

(Reprinted from The James Petras Website by permission of author or representative)

[Jan 01, 2017] Washington Post Caught Spreading More Fake News About Russian Hackers Zero Hedge

Jan 01, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com
Readers of the Washington Post received some alarming news yesterday when the paper published a story alleging that those pesky "Russian hackers" were up to their no good tricks again and had managed to "penetrate the U.S. electricity grid through a utility in Vermont." The full headline read as follows:

The opening paragraph of WaPo's story directly linked the "hack" of the Vermont utility to the same "Russian hacking operation dubbed Grizzly Steppe" that the Obama administration has blamed for the DNC and John Podesta email hacks . Vermont's Governor, Peter Shumlin, told WaPo that " Americans should be both alarmed and outraged" by these actions perpetrated by " one of the world's leading thugs, Vladimir Putin," before seemingly calling for further retaliatory actions from the Obama administration.

Vermonters and all Americans should be both alarmed and outraged that one of the world's leading thugs, Vladimir Putin, has been attempting to hack our electric grid, which we rely upon to support our quality-of-life, economy, health, and safety. This episode should highlight the urgent need for our federal government to vigorously pursue and put an end to this sort of Russian meddling.

Moreover, Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy took the rhetoric to a whole new level by asserting a diabolical Russian plot to shut down the U.S. electrical grid in the middle of winter ...a move that would most certainly kill off half the state's population in an instant.

Of course, it didn't take long for the New York Times and ABC to latch on to the story since it fits their "2016 election hacking" narrative so perfectly.

Our Russian "friend" Putin attacked the U.S. power grid. https://t.co/iAneRgbuhF

- Brent Staples (@BrentNYT) December 31, 2016

NEW: "One of the world's leading thugs, [Putin] has been attempting to hack our electric grid," says VT Gov. Shumlin https://t.co/YgdtT4JrlX pic.twitter.com/AU0ZQjT3aO

- ABC News (@ABC) December 31, 2016

Alas, there was just one minor problem, namely that the entire article was completely fabricated. Apparently the esteemed "journalists" of the Washington Post didn't even bother to contact the Burlington Electric Department to confirm their bogus story...and why should they...it fit the "Russian hacking" narrative so perfectly therefore it must be true, right?

Well, apparently not. The quick spread of WaPo's "fake news" story forced the Burlington Electric Department to issue a clarifying statement assuring worried residents that, indeed, their electricity grid had not been hacked, but rather a single "laptop not connected" to the grid had been found to have a malware virus.

Which forced the embarrassed Washington Post to quickly tone down their provocative headline...

...and supplement their original article with the following "Editor's Note" admitting the entire premise of their original story was nothing more than "fake news."

Editor's Note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly said that Russian hackers had penetrated the U.S. electric grid. Authorities say there is no indication of that so far. The computer at Burlington Electric that was hacked was not attached to the grid.

Which drew quick reactions from twitter...

1) Not an infiltration of the power grid.
2) "Russian" malware can be purchased online by anyone.
3) See 1 & 2. https://t.co/bVIG8zQBsk

- Dell Cameron (@dellcam) December 31, 2016

Pretty amazing how badly the Post appears to have mangled this one. You didn't call the Vermont utility regulator before publishing?

- Eric Geller (@ericgeller) December 31, 2016

...and Glenn Greenwald of The Intercept , who blasted WaPo for their " irresponsible and sensationalist tabloid behavior."

THIS MATTERS not only because one of the nation's major newspaper once again published a wildly misleading, fear-mongering story about Russia. It matters even more because it reflects the deeply irrational and ever-spiraling fever that is being cultivated in U.S. political discourse and culture about the threat posed by Moscow.

The Post has many excellent reporters and smart editors. They have produced many great stories this year. But this kind of blatantly irresponsible and sensationalist tabloid behavior – which tracks what they did when promoting that grotesque PropOrNot blacklist of U.S. news outlets accused of being Kremlin tools – is a by-product of the Anything Goes mentality that now shapes mainstream discussion of Russia, Putin and the Grave Threat to All Things Decent in America that they pose.

Ironically, a few weeks ago we noted that The Washington Post was all too happy to promote an anonymous website that described Zerohedge as "'dark gray' propaganda, systematically deceiving its civilian audiences for foreign political gain" (see " Washington Post Names Drudge, Zero Hedge, & Ron Paul As Anti-Clinton 'Sophisticated Russian Propaganda Tools' "), all while presenting exactly zero evidence to support their preposterous claim. Perhaps it's time for WaPo to dedicate a bit more of its time to self-reflection.

dlweld , Dec 31, 2016 9:32 PM
If WAPO is a business they're going to be having major problems - the CEO should be on the case.

Reality:

an older, out of date, commercially available virus was discovered on an employee's laptop. A single laptop, not connected to anything. Similar situation to many older computers around the world. A total non-event.

Headline:

Russian Hackers penetrated US electricity grid! Not an iota of reality here, but which then led to folks who still trust the WAPO, to all get in a tizzy and propose that the US blast the evil Russian ogres! What we used to call highly irresponsible reporting.

So it was all a self-generated fantasy - why should we trust the WAPO on anything? If credibility is their capital, they're burning through it at a great rate.

tazs SWRichmond , Dec 31, 2016 11:24 PM
"Russian Hackers" is a more palatable way of saying TRUMP STOLE the election.

https://biblicisminstitute.wordpress.com/views-of-news/#presidenttrump

J S Bach peddling-fiction , Dec 31, 2016 8:35 PM
The Washington Post IS the new National Inquirer. The difference is... the original NI used to have obviously laughable headlines. There is absolutely NOTHING funny about the lies spewed from the WaPo sewer pipe. Their absurd headlines are a brazen attempt to lure the <80 IQ readership into senseless rage over make-believe effronteries of a potential Russian adversary. It is criminal and all of those responsible for the evil propaganda should be tried and executed. Their time is over... no more crying "fire" in our theaters... no more screaming as they stab US in the back. They must be overtly called out without fear of ostracism.
Mr Pink peddling-fiction , Dec 31, 2016 9:11 PM
That cuck Bezos got his orders at the Bilderberg meeting years ago.

Time to put this blimp warehouse, drone army fuckwad out of business

#BOYCOTTAMAZON

css1971 , Dec 31, 2016 8:27 PM
It occurs to me that by creating the "Fake News" meme, they've just given us a stick to beat them with.

Recommend we do exactly that. Hard and repeatedly, to the point that the first thing anyone thinks of when the words Washington Post, and New York Times are mentioned is "Fake News".

nmewn css1971 , Dec 31, 2016 8:31 PM
Repeatedly and with gusto ;-)
auricle nmewn , Dec 31, 2016 8:36 PM
All of this narrative building, when does the false flag hit?
Socratic Dog auricle , Dec 31, 2016 9:16 PM
It just did, in Instanbul. CIA/Mossad has gone to war. Trying to drive wedge beween new Turkey/Russia relationship, new since the <<failed>> CIA/Mossad coup attempt.

Don't think I'll be partying anywhere public tonight. One is way overdue in the US.

I was reading Freddie's link, Dave McGowan's work on the Laurel Canyon music and murder scene, last night. It really got me thinking....has the CIA really been a Mossad operation since the 60's? Who benefitted from the 60's flowerchild bullshit? I'd say, jews. Israel. That shit really took traditional western values off the rails.

Akzed Socratic Dog , Dec 31, 2016 9:31 PM
Dave McGowan (RIP) pretty much nails it in Weird Scenes from the Canyon.
DeadFred auricle , Dec 31, 2016 11:20 PM
I have dibs on the 6th... just because.
grunk nmewn , Dec 31, 2016 8:42 PM
'til they bleed.
Nobodys Home grunk , Dec 31, 2016 9:13 PM
Hard and repeatedly with gusto til they bleed laughing maniacally! MWaHahaHAhahhahhhh!!!!
Akzed nmewn , Dec 31, 2016 9:28 PM
¡Con mucho gusto!
Stu Elsample , Dec 31, 2016 8:26 PM
What difference does it make now?? DNC 'journalism' at its finest...no shame, no sense of guilt.
balz , Dec 31, 2016 8:25 PM
Are people still buying the Washington Post? I mean: why would you pay for an old lying dinosaur?
refill6times balz , Dec 31, 2016 11:15 PM
Regardless of the paper, I remember being a "paperboy" in the early 70's

I delivered the Quincy Patriot Ledger, and proudly. There were many malcontents on my route, but I gave them top service regardless. The paper had to be folded only trice, never quad, and had to be laid with the banner up. Quad folding was easier, and banner up meant placing by hand, I never understand the idea of throwing a newspaper., like, how do get it to show the customer the name/title?

Every customer had a passion, never this, always that, I remembered it all and still do.

The older shut in's wold love to catch me, talk my head off, I swear they doubled my route time, but to this day I recall it and it taught me empathy.

Another year passes, and yes balz, why would anyone pay for an old dino.

nmewn , Dec 31, 2016 8:30 PM
ABC News ? @ABC

NEW: "One of the world's leading thugs, [Putin] has been attempting to hack our electric grid," says VT Gov. Shumlin http:// abcn.ws/2ihEeZu

12:01 AM - 31 Dec 2016

...sooo, ummm...some "official" who finally wished to NOT remain anonymous, managed to throw himself under the bus along with a fake nuuuz organization...lol.

Oh, well done ;-)

Holy hand grena... nmewn , Dec 31, 2016 8:34 PM
Shumlin's father, George J. Shumlin, a third-generation American, was Jewish and descended from Russian immigrants

same shit, different day

Reaper nmewn , Dec 31, 2016 8:53 PM
Schumlin is a lame duck being replaced by a Republican. Calling Putin a thug signals his toughness.
refill6times Reaper , Dec 31, 2016 10:52 PM
It will be a tough job being Gov of that state.

Half the youth are strung out on heroin, as are more than half of the adults, there are no industry but tourisim, and ski resorts, The infrasructure gets destroyed every three years by storms that create what is called "freshetts", little streams that go wild with all the water and wipe out anything in its way. I've seen that up close, no where to hide. when the mountain gives up it's water, watch out.

Its a beutiful place. The west has its skyline far away, you survay it from a distance. Vermont makes you hold it close, you can drive up a canyon with towering trees inches beside you, a cliff wall pouring water just feet from a major roadway, and if you find a vista, it just shows row upon row of more hills.

But what do you do with it?

The new Governor has his work cut out for him.

Bay of Pigs , Dec 31, 2016 8:31 PM
It's hard to believe how bad the WaPo, NYT, CNN, MSNBC, and the BlowHorn [CNBC] have all become. They have all hit new all time lows 2016.
Holy hand grena... , Dec 31, 2016 8:32 PM
Bezos should have just bought the National Enquirer (oh wait, did I get the 2 mixed up)?
Pigeon Holy hand grenade of Antioch , Dec 31, 2016 8:51 PM
The Enquirer is the honest publication. That should help you.
peddling-fiction Pigeon , Dec 31, 2016 9:27 PM
Imagine waking from a 30 year coma and then this crap?
refill6times Holy hand grenade of Antioch , Dec 31, 2016 10:10 PM
Interesting. You know, if the Enquirer could score a few authentic true news storys, I might just be liken to buy a copy, you know, for the articles and such.

But the Rothchild would move in and fix it back for the fake shit. Fuckers.

Cherubim , Dec 31, 2016 8:35 PM
We truly live in an era that we had visited once before. There is a boogeyman Russian spy under every bed. Familiar?

Google "McCarthyism" if you don't know what it means. The Democratic establishment and their media along with a good number of misguided Republicans in Congress are on a witch hunt.

Some day in the future they will look back at this time in history and wonder at the anti-Russian hysteria.

Intelligence_In... Cherubim , Dec 31, 2016 8:40 PM
misguided republicans? Missy Grahm and john mcsame?
Akzed Cherubim , Dec 31, 2016 9:32 PM
Yeah but McCarthy was right.
refill6times Cherubim , Dec 31, 2016 10:00 PM
The hysteria began in Sept 1945.
flaminratzazz , Dec 31, 2016 8:37 PM
now i am wondering.. is this shit going to keep up after Trump is in office, or is he going to tell them to stifle?
refill6times flaminratzazz , Dec 31, 2016 9:57 PM
Great comment.

but is it he, or who?

If it continues, then the NWO is pissed and has lost control.

If it stops, or lessons, then we will know who is in control.

The FED/Rothchilds must end

grunk , Dec 31, 2016 8:37 PM
Somebody was surfing porn on Burlington Electric Department's laptop.
Zarbo , Dec 31, 2016 8:41 PM
I want to know the affiliation of the person owning (using) the utility's laptop. That would be very interesting -- how did that malware get on the laptop with such effective timing?
dogsandhoney2 , Dec 31, 2016 9:05 PM
bezos = bilderberg = western capitalism on the verge of collapse. economists and bankers are not the most creative folks. but they can be vile and abusive.
New_Meat , Dec 31, 2016 10:15 PM
Y'know, Bezos has been taking a (well deserved) beating for the WaPo's positions and "authentic" news, etc. But, puleeze, let us not forget dear old Marty Barron. Last seen driving the Boston Globe on a trajectory that cost the NY Times 95% of their "investment". Marty is the "proximate cause" of this crap and is skating under the radar, cuz Bezos doesn't have a clue as to fucking up the paper that badly. Marty, on the other hand, has experience in spades.

Happy New Year,

- Ned

nevertheless , Dec 31, 2016 11:42 PM
My only point of contention is calling the Washington Post "liberal", since when was pushing for war liberal, or Wall Street. FYI. Clinton and Obama are not and were not liberals, they are globalists, Zionists.

It shocks me at the generalization placed in organisations and individuals who could not be further from the population.

Historically liberals were progressives, but the Zionist media does a little trick: They call people like Obama and Clinton "left or liberal", thus everything they then do is considered liberal or of the left. Like open borders, war on Syria/Libya, Russia, and supporting wall street.

We all need to be smarter than the WaPo, and not put everything into neat little boxes. These are globalists!

Wild E Coyote , Jan 1, 2017 12:24 AM
The MSM continue to this methods of instigating panic, hate, war. Nothing is done to stop them.

Are they completely free to continue their acts of terrorism?

I hope Trump remembers the MSM and do something.

[Dec 07, 2016] The Propaganda About Russian Propaganda

Notable quotes:
"... These criteria, of course, could include not only Russian state-controlled media organizations, such as Russia Today, but nearly every news outlet in the world, including the Post ..."
"... To PropOrNot, simply exhibiting a pattern of beliefs outside the political mainstream is enough to risk being labelled a Russian propagandist. ..."
"... In a scathing takedown on The Intercept , Glenn Greenwald and Ben Norton wrote that PropOrNot "embodies the toxic essence of Joseph McCarthy, but without the courage to attach individual names to the blacklist." ..."
"... Yet, when pressed on the technical patterns that led PropOrNot to label the Drudge Report a Russian propaganda outlet, he could point only to a general perception of bias in its content. "They act as a repeater to a significant extent, in that they refer audiences to sort of Russian stuff," he said. "There's no a-priori reason, stepping back, that a conservative news site would rely on so many Russian news sources. What is up with that?" ..."
"... I asked to see the raw data PropOrNot used to determine that the Drudge Report was a Russian-propaganda outlet. The spokesman said that the group would release it to the public eventually, but could not share it at the moment ..."
"... The Russian journalist Alexey Kovalev, who debunks Kremlin propaganda on his site, Noodleremover, floated the possibility that PropOrNot was Ukrainians waging a disinformation campaign against Russia. ..."
"... The PropOrNot spokesman would speak to me only on the condition of anonymity and revealed only bare biographical details on background. "Are you familiar with the assassination of Jo Cox?" he asked, when I asked why his group remained in the shadows, referring to the British M.P. murdered by a right-wing extremist. "Well, that is a big thing for us. Basically, Russia uses crazy people to kill its enemies." ..."
"... "One thing we're all in agreement about is that Russia should not be able to fuck with the American people. That is not cool." The spokesman said that the group began with fewer than a dozen members, who came together while following Russia's invasion of eastern Ukraine. The crisis was accompanied by a flood of disinformation designed to confuse Ukraine and its allies. "That was a big wake-up call to us. It's like, wait a minute, Russia is creating this very effective fake-news propaganda in conjunction with their military operation on the ground," the spokesman said. "My God, if they can do that there, why can't they do it here?" ..."
"... PropOrNot has said that the group includes Ukrainian-Americans, though the spokesman laughed at the suggestion that they were Ukrainian agents. ..."
"... This week, Wyden and six other senators sent a letter to the White House asking it to declassify information "concerning the Russian Government and the U.S. election." ..."
"... The story of PropOrNot should serve as a cautionary tale to those who fixate on malignant digital influences as a primary explanation for Trump's stunning election. ..."
Dec 01, 2016 | www.newyorker.com

... ... ...

...Last week, the Post published a story based in part on PropOrNot's research. Headlined "Russian Propaganda Effort Helped Spread 'Fake News' During Election, Experts Say," the report claimed that a number of researchers had uncovered a "sophisticated Russian propaganda campaign" that spread fake-news articles across the Internet with the aim of hurting Hillary Clinton and helping Donald Trump. It prominently cited the PropOrNot research. The story topped the Post's most-read list, and was shared widely by prominent journalists and politicians on Twitter. The former White House adviser Dan Pfeiffer tweeted , "Why isn't this the biggest story in the world right now?"

Vladimir Putin and the Russian state's affinity for Trump has been well-reported. During the campaign, countless stories speculated on connections between Trump and Putin and alleged that Russia contributed to Trump's election using propaganda and subterfuge. Clinton made it a major line of attack. But the Post's story had the force of revelation, thanks in large part to the apparent scientific authority of PropOrNot's work: the group released a thirty-two-page report detailing its methodology, and named names with its list of two hundred suspect news outlets. The organization's anonymity, which a spokesperson maintained was due to fear of Russian hackers, added a cybersexy mystique.

... ... ...

The most striking issue is the overly broad criteria used to identify which outlets spread propaganda. According to PropOrNot's recounting of its methodology, the third step it uses is to check if a site has a history of "generally echoing the Russian propaganda 'line'," which includes praise for Putin, Trump, Bashar al-Assad, Syria, Iran, China, and "radical political parties in the US and Europe." When not praising, Russian propaganda includes criticism of the United States, Barack Obama, Clinton, the European Union, Angela Merkel, NATO , Ukraine, "Jewish people," U.S. allies, the mainstream media, Democrats, and "the center-right or center-left, and moderates of all stripes."

These criteria, of course, could include not only Russian state-controlled media organizations, such as Russia Today, but nearly every news outlet in the world, including the Post itself. Yet PropOrNot claims to be uninterested in differentiating between organizations that are explicit tools of the Russian state and so-called "useful idiots," which echo Russian propaganda out of sincerely held beliefs. "We focus on behavior, not motivation," they write.

To PropOrNot, simply exhibiting a pattern of beliefs outside the political mainstream is enough to risk being labelled a Russian propagandist. Indeed, the list of "propaganda outlets" has included respected left-leaning publications like CounterPunch and Truthdig, as well as the right-wing behemoth Drudge Report. The list is so broad that it can reveal absolutely nothing about the structure or pervasiveness of Russian propaganda. "It's so incredibly scattershot," Higgins told me. "If you've ever posted a pro-Russian post on your site, ever, you're Russian propaganda." In a scathing takedown on The Intercept , Glenn Greenwald and Ben Norton wrote that PropOrNot "embodies the toxic essence of Joseph McCarthy, but without the courage to attach individual names to the blacklist."

... ... ...

In a phone interview, a spokesman for PropOrNot brushed off the criticism. "If there's a pattern of activity over time, especially combined with underlying technical tells, then, yeah, we're going to highlight it," he said. He argued that Russian disinformation is an enormous problem that requires direct confrontation. "It's been clear for a while that Russia is a little braver, more aggressive, more willing to push the boundaries of what was previously acceptable." He said that, to avoid painting outlets with too broad a brush, the group employs a sophisticated analysis that relies on no single criterion in isolation.

Yet, when pressed on the technical patterns that led PropOrNot to label the Drudge Report a Russian propaganda outlet, he could point only to a general perception of bias in its content. "They act as a repeater to a significant extent, in that they refer audiences to sort of Russian stuff," he said. "There's no a-priori reason, stepping back, that a conservative news site would rely on so many Russian news sources. What is up with that?"

I asked to see the raw data PropOrNot used to determine that the Drudge Report was a Russian-propaganda outlet. The spokesman said that the group would release it to the public eventually, but could not share it at the moment: "That takes a lot of work, and we're an all-volunteer crew." Instead, he urged me to read the Drudge Report myself, suggesting that its nature would be apparent.

... ... ...

Another major issue with PropOrNot is that its members insist on anonymity. If one aims to cut through a disinformation campaign, transparency is paramount. Otherwise you just stoke further paranoia. The Russian journalist Alexey Kovalev, who debunks Kremlin propaganda on his site, Noodleremover, floated the possibility that PropOrNot was Ukrainians waging a disinformation campaign against Russia.

The PropOrNot spokesman would speak to me only on the condition of anonymity and revealed only bare biographical details on background. "Are you familiar with the assassination of Jo Cox?" he asked, when I asked why his group remained in the shadows, referring to the British M.P. murdered by a right-wing extremist. "Well, that is a big thing for us. Basically, Russia uses crazy people to kill its enemies."

I can report that the spokesman was an American man, probably in his thirties or forties, who was well versed in Internet culture and swore enthusiastically. He said that the group numbered about forty people. "I can say we have people who work for major tech companies and people who have worked for the government in different regards, but we're all acting in a private capacity," he said. "One thing we're all in agreement about is that Russia should not be able to fuck with the American people. That is not cool." The spokesman said that the group began with fewer than a dozen members, who came together while following Russia's invasion of eastern Ukraine. The crisis was accompanied by a flood of disinformation designed to confuse Ukraine and its allies. "That was a big wake-up call to us. It's like, wait a minute, Russia is creating this very effective fake-news propaganda in conjunction with their military operation on the ground," the spokesman said. "My God, if they can do that there, why can't they do it here?"

PropOrNot has said that the group includes Ukrainian-Americans, though the spokesman laughed at the suggestion that they were Ukrainian agents. PropOrNot has claimed total financial and editorial independence.

Given PropOrNot's shadowy nature and the shoddiness of its work, I was puzzled by the group's claim to have worked with Senator Ron Wyden's office. In an e-mail, Keith Chu, a spokesman for Wyden, told me that the PropOrNot team reached out to the office in late October. Two of the group's members, an ex-State Department employee and an I.T. researcher, described their research. "It sounded interesting, and tracked with reporting on Russian propaganda efforts," Chu wrote. After a few phone calls with the members, it became clear that Wyden's office could not validate the group's findings. Chu advised the group on press strategy and suggested some reporters that it might reach out to. "I told them that if they had findings, some kind of document that they could share with reporters, that would be helpful," he told me. Chu said that Wyden's office played no role in creating the report and didn't endorse the findings. Nonetheless, he added, "There has been bipartisan interest in these kind of Russian efforts, including interference in elections, for some time now, including from Senator Wyden." This week, Wyden and six other senators sent a letter to the White House asking it to declassify information "concerning the Russian Government and the U.S. election."

The story of PropOrNot should serve as a cautionary tale to those who fixate on malignant digital influences as a primary explanation for Trump's stunning election.

... ... ...

[Dec 06, 2016] Clinton: we are engaged in an information war .

Notable quotes:
"... Walter [Issacson] is working hard with his Board to try to transform the broadcasting efforts. Because most people still get their news from TV and radio. So even though we're pushing online, we can't forget TV and radio. And so I look - I would look very much towards your cooperation, to try to figure out how we get back in the game on this. Because I hate ceding what we are most expert in to anybody else . ..."
"... The BBG was formed in 1999 and runs on a $721 million annual budget. It reports directly to Secretary of State John Kerry and operates like a holding company for a host of Cold War-era CIA spinoffs and old school "psychological warfare" projects: Radio Free Europe, Radio Free Asia, Radio Martí, Voice of America, Radio Liberation from Bolshevism (since renamed "Radio Liberty") and a dozen other government-funded radio stations and media outlets pumping out pro-American propaganda across the globe. ..."
Dec 06, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
knowbuddhau December 5, 2016 at 7:37 am

Skip Intro gets it. "Young techno-experts" FTW!

CLINTON: Well, [Senator Lugar], I want to thank you for the report that you did on the [B]roadcasting [B]oard of [G]overnors and all of the problems that it has experienced. I agree with you. Walter Isaacson is an excellent choice. The board is a very invigorated group of Republicans and Democrats. They understand. We are engaged in an information war . During the Cold War, we did a great job in getting America's message out. After the Berlin Wall fell we said, okay, fine, enough of that. We've done it. We're done. And unfortunately, we are paying a big price for it.

And our private media cannot fill that gap. In fact, our private media, particularly cultural programming, often works at counterpurposes to what we truly are as Americans and what our values are. [Cue "Collateral Murder"?]

I remember having an Afghan general tell me that the only thing he thought about Americans is that all the men wrestled and the women walked around in bikinis. Because the only TV he ever saw was Baywatch and World Wide Wrestling. So we are in an information war. And we are losing that war. I'll be very blunt in my assessment. Al-Jazeera is winning.

The Chinese have opened up a global English-language and multi-language television network. The Russians have opened up an English-language network. I've seen it in a few countries, and it's quite instructive. We are cutting back. The BBC is cutting back.

So here's what we are trying to do. In the State Department, we have pushed very hard on new media. So we have an Arabic Twitter feed. We have a Farsi Twitter feed. I have this group of young techno-experts who are out there engaging on websites and we're putting all of our young Arabic-speaking diplomats out, so that they are talking about our values.

Walter [Issacson] is working hard with his Board to try to transform the broadcasting efforts. Because most people still get their news from TV and radio. So even though we're pushing online, we can't forget TV and radio. And so I look - I would look very much towards your cooperation, to try to figure out how we get back in the game on this. Because I hate ceding what we are most expert in to anybody else . http://freemediaonline.org/freemediaonlineblog/2011/05/04/secretary-clinton-u-s-is-losing-the-information-war/

In case some aren't familiar with the BBG:

The BBG was formed in 1999 and runs on a $721 million annual budget. It reports directly to Secretary of State John Kerry and operates like a holding company for a host of Cold War-era CIA spinoffs and old school "psychological warfare" projects: Radio Free Europe, Radio Free Asia, Radio Martí, Voice of America, Radio Liberation from Bolshevism (since renamed "Radio Liberty") and a dozen other government-funded radio stations and media outlets pumping out pro-American propaganda across the globe. https://pando.com/2015/03/01/internet-privacy-funded-by-spooks-a-brief-history-of-the-bbg/

[Feb 13, 2016] US intelligence chief: we might use the internet of things to spy on you

Notable quotes:
"... The American public has been living under collective Stockholm syndrome. The have secretly been deceived and betrayed while our freedoms, rights and national security has been compromised. The surveillance state was never for our protection. ..."
"... Various rogue agencies have intentionally and illegally subverted our constitution, rights and freedoms while secretly targeting Americans committing various crimes, including murder. ..."
"... When Clapper says they might then they are already doing so. ..."
"... Tea party never was. It always was promoted by the media and big business. Financed by the same. Look at the coverage: Occupy was ridiculed by big Media into no existence. Not the same at all. ..."
"... USSR has won! Now we treat our people the same way they did. Soon we can blackmail everyone into compliance. And we can easily plant evidence should we not find any - if theyre in they can do anything they want. ..."
"... She is an opportunist, not a feminist. ..."
"... Ban Ki Moon and the Pope saying capitalism is destroying the life AND economy of the entire fricken globe, may be an opportunity for a popular movement, and this Bernie thing has the potential to be part of a wake up moment. ..."
"... I said I wouldnt ever do that again after Obummer, but as Woodie Guthrie said, Hope is what makes us human and is the driver of evolution. Or something like that. ..."
"... You lost me on equality is women having all the same opportunities as men . Actually many of us want entirely different opportunities and these women who play the patriarch, like Thatcher and Rice, and Shillary, do not represent the diverse and rich culture of feminism that is enmeshed in peoples real lives. ..."
"... Im an aussie and I can tell you America Bernie Sanders is what you need to keep you guys from becoming a laughing stock. Hillary, trump is on the same brush as the elitist of your country. Bernie may or not be able to do what he wants to as he will get stonewalled but if everyone is united and keeps fighting with him they will have no choice to implement some of them. ..."
www.theguardian.com
Fgt 4URIGHTS, 2016-02-09 22:59:16
The American public has been living under collective Stockholm syndrome. The have secretly been deceived and betrayed while our freedoms, rights and national security has been compromised. The surveillance state was never for our protection.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kg1-vao5Ta8

Various rogue agencies have intentionally and illegally subverted our constitution, rights and freedoms while secretly targeting Americans committing various crimes, including murder.

YeeofLittleFaith -> Individualist , 2016-02-09 22:37:44
I'll say this, if this inevitable surveillance can prevent actual criminals from committing actual crimes, it might be useful.

And I'll say this: if that is the intention of these devices - and if your bog-standard criminal is ever caught using them - I'll eat your smart fridge.

neiman1 -> JinTexas , 2016-02-09 22:29:54
When Clapper says "they might" then they are already doing so.
Hillary Assad , 2016-02-09 22:26:15
Surveillance video of San Bernardino released on 01/05/16 Enjoy!!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tHH7gvHXLzQ
mirandawest -> Dan B , 2016-02-09 22:20:40
Tea party never was. It always was promoted by the media and big business. Financed by the same. Look at the coverage: Occupy was ridiculed by big Media into no existence. Not the same at all.
mirandawest -> John Leehane , 2016-02-09 22:15:38
USSR has won! Now we treat our people the same way they did. Soon we can blackmail everyone into compliance. And we can easily plant evidence should we not find any - if they're in they can do anything they want.
bcarey -> harrywarren , 2016-02-09 20:53:30

She is an opportunist, not a feminist.

Absolutely correct.
(And a panderer.)

Lisa Wood -> kirili, 2016-02-10 07:17:32
Hear ya, I plan to hold him to the fire. I'm a realist, and married to an uber realist, so not gonna argue with ya here, but, as this article actually says really well, is that the holistic embrace of all inequity opens the landscape to the big conversations we do Need to have right now.

I know i know, the UN is at one hand a weak tool and on the other a NWO franchise, but Ban Ki Moon and the Pope saying capitalism is destroying the life AND economy of the entire fricken globe, may be an opportunity for a popular movement, and this Bernie thing has the potential to be part of a wake up moment.

I have let my Hope thing vibrate a bit, and I said I wouldn't ever do that again after O'bummer, but as Woodie Guthrie said, Hope is what makes us human and is the driver of evolution. Or something like that.

Lisa Wood -> MajorMalaise , 2016-02-10 07:08:42
You lost me on "equality is women having all the same opportunities as men". Actually many of us want entirely different "opportunities" and these women who play the patriarch, like Thatcher and Rice, and Shillary, do not represent the diverse and rich culture of "feminism" that is enmeshed in people's real lives.
keepinitreal2000, 2016-02-10 06:12:18
I'm an aussie and I can tell you America Bernie Sanders is what you need to keep you guys from becoming a laughing stock. Hillary, trump is on the same brush as the elitist of your country. Bernie may or not be able to do what he wants to as he will get stonewalled but if everyone is united and keeps fighting with him they will have no choice to implement some of them.

As an Aussie it is important that his message is heard and implemented as America can then show the world there is good in the world and that we all can live in a fair, just and equal world. Something America has stopped showing for a very longtime. This hopefully will filter down to other countries as America rightly or wrongly leads the world and many countries do follow suit.

[Dec 21, 2015] Journalists are really mouthpieces for political factions within their own government power structure but the best journalists choose faction that actually embraces reality

"... Regarding Patrick Lang, I noticed that he posted a quite vehement attack against conspiracy theorists postings on his blog who were – if I recall correctly – claiming that the military were involved in the subterfuge to arm extremists in Syria. (Probably cocked up the details but too tired to check.) It struck me as noteworthy as it suggested an internecine intra-Washington struggle between Military / CIA who was going to "own" the debacle in Syria at the very least. It is utterly reminiscent of the struggle between Dulles / CIA power structure (think: institutional group think) and the incoming JFK administration / New Frontiersman during and after the Cuban Missile Crisis. ..."
"... Of course it's worth noting that Hersh had to revert to publishing this "intimate" conversation between American power structures in a foreign publication. What does that tell you about the "freedom index"? Samizdat here we come! ..."
marknesop.wordpress.com

Tim Owen, December 20, 2015 at 1:53 pm

Sy Hersh's latest via M of A:

http://www.lrb.co.uk/v38/n01/seymour-m-hersh/military-to-military

marknesop, December 20, 2015 at 7:58 pm
Washington does not care who assumes power in Syria – whether it be feuding warlords or an Islamic mullah or Assad's cat. Washington knows that Islamic State needs money to survive and keep power, as does any individual or group who will rule, and that to remain in power, it will sell oil. Good enough, as far as Washington is concerned. If the place remains a seething cauldron of destabilizing hatreds, so much the better.
Tim Owen, December 20, 2015 at 8:50 pm
I read this carefully earlier today and wish I had made some notes.

It's an interesting article just in what it says about the politics of American journalism at this point in time almost regardless of the subject matter in a kind of Kremlinology vein. It almost reads like a ransom note. My impression is that Hersh is pulling punches at some key points in order not to overplay his hand.

My suggestion: don't get bogged down in the details. From my recollection of the piece from earlier today Hersh is basically championing a few figures and – most importantly – their perspectives here:

It's worth remembering that Hersh's articles on the Ghoutta attack immediately predated the great stand-down by Obama from all out air-war to destroy Syria.

Given that it's axiomatic that journalists are really mouthpieces for political factions within their own government power structure and that the BEST journalists – like Hersh – actually embrace this reality, what does the appearance of this article augur?

I especially like the sign off:

"The Joint Chiefs and the DIA were constantly telling Washington's leadership of the jihadist threat in Syria, and of Turkey's support for it. The message was never listened to. Why not?"

That sounds kind of threatening. In a good way.

* Regarding Patrick Lang, I noticed that he posted a quite vehement attack against conspiracy theorists postings on his blog who were – if I recall correctly – claiming that the military were involved in the subterfuge to arm extremists in Syria. (Probably cocked up the details but too tired to check.) It struck me as noteworthy as it suggested an internecine intra-Washington struggle between Military / CIA who was going to "own" the debacle in Syria at the very least. It is utterly reminiscent of the struggle between Dulles / CIA power structure (think: institutional group think) and the incoming JFK administration / New Frontiersman during and after the Cuban Missile Crisis.

In other words: we, the west, have basically made no progress fighting for reform of our leadership and political structures. Meanwhile the Russians seem to have gone "right round the horn" – as the dinosaur in Toy Story might put it.

Tim Owen, December 20, 2015 at 9:08 pm
Of course it's worth noting that Hersh had to revert to publishing this "intimate" conversation between American power structures in a foreign publication. What does that tell you about the "freedom index"? Samizdat here we come!

[Jun 09, 2015] The Attack on Truth By Lee McIntyre

Jun 09, 2015 | The Chronicle of Higher Education

To see how we treat the concept of truth these days, one might think we just don't care anymore. Politicians pronounce that global warming is a hoax. An alarming number of middle-class parents have stopped giving their children routine vaccinations, on the basis of discredited research. Meanwhile many commentators in the media - and even some in our universities - have all but abandoned their responsibility to set the record straight. (It doesn't help when scientists occasionally have to retract their own work.)

You Have Your History, I Have Mine
Good riddance to a scripted past populated by heroic stick figures in iffy moralistic parables. But is there nothing we can agree on?


Humans have always held some wrongheaded beliefs that were later subject to correction by reason and evidence. But we have reached a watershed moment, when the enterprise of basing our beliefs on fact rather than intuition is truly in peril.

It's not just garden-variety ignorance that periodically appears in public-opinion polls that makes us cringe or laugh. A 2009 survey by the California Academy of Sciences found that only 53 percent of American adults knew how long it takes for Earth to revolve around the sun. Only 59 percent knew that the earliest humans did not live at the same time as the dinosaurs.

As egregious as that sort of thing is, it is not the kind of ignorance that should most concern us. There is simple ignorance and there is willful ignorance, which is simple ignorance coupled with the decision to remain ignorant. Normally that occurs when someone has a firm commitment to an ideology that proclaims it has all the answers - even if it counters empirical matters that have been well covered by scientific investigation. More than mere scientific illiteracy, this sort of obstinacy reflects a dangerous contempt for the methods that customarily lead to recognition of the truth. And once we are on that road, it is a short hop to disrespecting truth.

It is sad that the modern attack on truth started in the academy - in the humanities, where the stakes may have initially seemed low in holding that there are multiple ways to read a text or that one cannot understand a book without taking account of the political beliefs of its author.

That disrespect, however, has metastasized into outrageous claims about the natural sciences.

The strategy is to say, "I refuse to believe this," and then filibuster in the court of public opinion.

Anyone who has been paying attention to the fault lines of academic debate for the past 20 years already knows that the "science wars" were fought by natural scientists (and their defenders in the philosophy of science) on the one side and literary critics and cultural-studies folks on the other. The latter argued that even in the natural realm, truth is relative, and there is no such thing as objectivity. The skirmishes blew up in the well-known "Sokal affair" in 1996, in which a prominent physicist created a scientifically absurd postmodernist paper and was able to get it published in a leading cultural-studies journal. The ridicule that followed may have seemed to settle the matter once and for all.

But then a funny thing happened: While many natural scientists declared the battle won and headed back to their labs, some left-wing postmodernist criticisms of truth began to be picked up by right-wing ideologues who were looking for respectable cover for their denial of climate change, evolution, and other scientifically accepted conclusions. Alan Sokal said he had hoped to shake up academic progressives, but suddenly one found hard-right conservatives sounding like Continental intellectuals. And that caused discombobulation on the left.

"Was I wrong to participate in the invention of this field known as science studies?," Bruno Latour, one of the founders of the field that contextualizes science, famously asked. "Is it enough to say that we did not really mean what we said? Why does it burn my tongue to say that global warming is a fact whether you like it or not? Why can't I simply say that the argument is closed for good?"

"But now the climate-change deniers and the young-Earth creationists are coming after the natural scientists," the literary critic Michael Bérubé noted, "… and they're using some of the very arguments developed by an academic left that thought it was speaking only to people of like mind."

That is the price one pays for playing with ideas as if doing so has no consequences, imagining that they will be used only for the political purposes one intended. Instead, the entire edifice of science is now under attack. And it's the poor and disenfranchised, to whom the left pays homage, who will probably bear the brunt of disbelief in climate change.

Of course, some folks were hard at work trying to dispute inconvenient scientific facts long before conservatives began to borrow postmodernist rhetoric. In Merchants of Doubt (Bloomsbury Press, 2010), two historians, Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway, have shown how the strategy of denying climate change and evolution can be traced all the way back to big tobacco companies, who recognized early on that even the most well-documented scientific claims (for instance, that smoking causes cancer) could be eroded by skillful government lobbying, bullying the news media, and pursuing a public-relations campaign. Sadly, that strategy has largely worked, and we today find it employed by the Discovery Institute, the Seattle organization advocating that "intelligent-design theory" be taught in the public schools as balance for the "holes" in evolutionary theory, and the Heartland Institute, which bills itself as "the world's most prominent think tank promoting skepticism about man-made climate change."

What do such academically suspect centers have to offer by way of peer-reviewed, scientifically reputable evidence? Almost nothing. But that is not the point. The strategy of willful ignorance is not to fight theory with theory and statistic with statistic. It is instead to say, "I refuse to believe this," and then filibuster in the court of public opinion. It is not crackpot theories that are doing us in. It is the spread of the tactics of those who disrespect truth.


Remember the great dialogue Euthyphro, in which Socrates, soon facing trial for impiety and corrupting youth, admonishes a callow young fellow for professing to know what "righteousness" is? Socrates demonstrates again and again that Euthyphro has no idea what he is talking about when he argues that it would be righteous for him to prosecute his own father for murder on the basis of some pretty shoddy evidence - and shows that Euthyphro cannot even define the meaning of the word. Socrates is adept at questioning and at verbal humiliation - his standard method throughout the dialogues - but not because he knows the answers. When challenged, Socrates always demurs. He has no wisdom, he says, but is only a kind of "midwife" who can help others to seek it. Even though the goal of philosophy is to find the truth, Socrates customarily professes ignorance.

Plato here teaches a central lesson about the philosopher's search for knowledge, which has ramifications for any quest for true belief. The real enemy is not ignorance, doubt, or even disbelief. It is false knowledge. When we profess to know something even in the face of absent or contradicting evidence, that is when we stop looking for the truth. If we are ignorant, perhaps we will be motivated to learn. If we are skeptical, we can continue to search for answers. If we disbelieve, maybe others can convince us. And perhaps even if we are honestly wrong, and put forward a proposition that is open to refutation, we may learn something when our earlier belief is overthrown.

But when we choose to insulate ourselves from new ideas or evidence because we think that we already know what is true, that is when we are most likely to believe a falsehood. It is not mere disbelief that explains why truth is so often disrespected. It is one's attitude.

In a recent paper, "Why Do Humans Reason?," Hugo Mercier and Dan Sperber, both of them philosophers and cognitive scientists, argue that the point of human reason is not and never has been to lead to truth, but is rather to win arguments. If that is correct, the discovery of truth is only a byproduct.

The fact that humans do reason poorly is beyond dispute. The psychological literature is replete with examples of mistakes like "confirmation bias" (seeking out only information that confirms our preconceptions) and "hindsight bias" (relying on current knowledge to assume that something was predictable all along). The work goes back to the 1970s and '80s, with Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky's groundbreaking research on irrationality in how people weigh risks and losses, which helped establish the field of behavioral economics and undermine the reigning idea in economics of rational choice. Kahneman, a psychologist who won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science, updated his work in Thinking, Fast and Slow (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2011).

The fundamental question that motivates Mercier and Sperber's analysis is this: Why would being a persuasive speaker be valuable to humans as they evolved? Here the authors tell a story about the importance of argumentation to the evolution of communication. In a group setting, where people were not already inclined to trust one another, they would need some way of evaluating claims. That's where arguments come in. Just to make an assertion does not rise to the level of overcoming what Mercier and Sperber and colleagues have called the "epistemic vigilance" against being deceived or manipulated. If you present other people with the reasons for your belief, however, you have now given them the means to evaluate the truth of your claim and also, if you are right, presumably extend more trust to you in the future. Thus, according to Mercier and Sperber, providing arguments for our beliefs improves the quality and reliability of information that is shared in human communication.

The philosopher Andy Norman and others have criticized this theory by pointing out that it relies far too heavily on the idea that rhetorical skills are valuable within an evolutionary context, irrespective of the truth of the beliefs being advocated. What if the reasons for your beliefs are not true? In a response to Mercier and Sperber, the psychologist Robert J. Sternberg pointed out that while reason and argument are closely related, "persuasive reasoning that is not veridical can be fatal to the individual and to the propagation of his or her genes, as well as to the human species as a whole."


W
e are faced with the prospect of a significant change in the temperature of our planet if we continue to harvest and use all of the fossil fuels at our disposal. Suddenly the stakes for a longtime problem of human irrationality seem enormous. But if the seeds of disrespecting truth were planted so long ago, why are they now growing with such force?

One likely candidate is the Internet. It facilitates not only the spread of truth but also the proliferation of crackpots, ideologues, and those with an ax to grind. With the removal of editorial gatekeepers who can vet information, outright lies can survive on the Internet. Worse, those who embrace willful ignorance are now much more likely to find an electronic home where their marginal views are embraced.

An obvious solution might be to turn to journalists, who are supposed to embrace a standard of objectivity and source-checking that would be more likely to support true beliefs. Yet, at least in part as a result of the competition that has been enabled by the Internet, we now find that even some mainstream journalists and news media are dangerously complicit in the follies of those who seek to disrespect truth. There have always been accusations of bias in the media, but today we have Fox News on the right and MSNBC on the left (along with a smattering of partisan radio talk-show hosts like Rush Limbaugh), who engage in overt advocacy for their ideological views.

Yet those are not the kinds of journalists we should be so worried about, for they are known to be biased. Another tendency is perhaps even more damaging to the idea that journalism is meant to safeguard truth. Call it "objectivity bias." Sensitive to criticism that they, too, are partisan, many news sites try to demonstrate that they are fair and balanced by presenting "both" sides of any issue deemed "controversial" - even when there really aren't two credible sides. That isn't objectivity. And the consequence is public confusion over whether an issue - in the case of climate change or childhood vaccination, a scientific issue - has actually been settled.

To fight back, we should remember the basic principles of evidence-based belief and true skepticism that got us out of the Dark Ages. Although behavioral economists, among other scholars, have amply shown that human reason is not perfect, that is no excuse for lazy thinking. Even if our brains are not wired to search for truth, we can still pursue a path that might lead to better answers than those supplied by Kahneman's "fast" part of our brain. Truth may not be automatic, but it is still an option. Socrates taught us as much long before we knew anything about cognitive science: Good reasoning is a skill that can be learned.

We are no more a slave to nature in reasoning than we are in morality. Few people would argue that we are genetically programmed to be moral. We may be hard-wired to do things that increase the survival value of our genes, like killing our rivals when no one is looking, but we do not do them, because they are unethical. If we can make such a choice in morals, why not also with reason?

The choosing is what makes us human. It's not our imperfect brains, but the power to decide for ourselves how we will live our lives, that should give us hope. Respecting truth is a choice.

Lee McIntyre is a research fellow at the Center for Philosophy and History of Science at Boston University. His book Respecting Truth: Willful Ignorance in the Internet Age will be published this month by Routledge.

[May 17, 2015] Andre Vltchek How to Fight Western Propaganda Information Clearing House - ICH By Andre Vltchek

May 15, 2015 "Information Clearing House"

- First they manufacture monstrous lies, and then they tell us that we should be objective!

Is love objective; is it passion? Are dreams defendable, logically and philosophically?

When a house is attacked by brigands, when a village is overran by gangsters, when smoke, fire and cries for help are coming from every corner, should we award ourselves with the luxury of time to calculate, analyze and aim at complete logical, ethical, holistic and objective solutions?

I strongly believe no! We are obliged to fight those who are burning our dwellings, to hit with full force those who are attempting to rape our women, and to confront fire with fire when innocent beings are slaughtered.

When the most powerful and the most destructive force on earth employs all its persuasive might, utilizing everything from the mainstream media to educational facilities, in order to justify its crimes, when it spreads its poisonous propaganda and lies in order to oppress the world and suppress hope, do we step back and begin endless and detailed work on precise and objective narratives? Or do we confront lies and propaganda with our own narrative, supported by our intuition, passion and dreams for a better world?

***

The Empire lies continuously. It lies in the morning, during the day, in the evening, even at night, when most of the people are sound asleep. It has been doing it for decades and centuries. For grand deceits it relies on countless numbers of propagandists who pose as academics, teaches, journalists and "public intellectuals". Perfection in the art of disinformation has been reached. Western advertising (so much admired and used by the German Nazis) has some common roots with propaganda, although propaganda is much older and "complete".

It appears that even some leaders of the Empire now believe in most of their fabrications, and most of the citizens certainly do. Otherwise, how could they sleep at night?

The western propaganda apparatus is enormously efficient and effective. It is also brilliant in how it ensures that its inventions get channeled, distributed, and accepted in all corners of the world. The system through which disinformation spreads, is incredibly complex. Servile local media and academia on all continents work hard to guarantee that only one narrative is allowed to penetrate the brains of billions.

The results are: intellectual cowardice and ignorance, all over the world, but especially in the West and in its client states.

***

What are we, who oppose the regime, supposed to do?

First of all, things are not as hopeless as they used to be.

This is not the morbid unipolar world that we experienced in the early 90's. Now Venezuela, Russia, China, and Iran support large media outlets that are opposed to the Empire. Powerful television stations emerged: RT, Press TV, TeleSUR and CCTV. Huge English language Internet-based magazines and sites in the United States, Canada and Russia are also exposing the lies of the official Western propagandists: Counterpunch, Information Clearing House, Global Research, Veterans News, Strategic Culture, New Eastern Outlook quickly come to mind. And there are hundreds of important sites doing the same in Spanish, Chinese, Russian, Portuguese and French languages.

The fight is on: the fight for an intellectually multi-polar world. It is a tough, mortal fight! It is a crucial battle, simply because the metastases of the Western propaganda cancer have spread everywhere, contaminated all continents, and even some of the most courageous countries and brains that are earnestly fighting against the Western imperialism and fascism! No one is immune. To be frank, all of us are contaminated.

Unless we win this battle, by first clearly identifying and proving "their narrative" as fraudulent, and later by offering humanist and compassionate perceptions, we cannot even dream about the revolution, or about any significant changes in arrangement of the world.

***

How do we achieve victory? How do we convince the masses, those billions of people? How do we open their eyes and make them see that the Western regime is dishonest, toxic, poisonous and destructive? Most of humanity is hooked on the Empire's propaganda; that propaganda which is not only spread by mainstream media outlets, but also by pop music, soap operas, social media, advertisement, consumerism, 'fashion trends' and by many other covert means; cultural, religious and media junk that leads to total emotional and intellectual stupor and is administered like some highly addictive narcotic, regularly and persistently.

Do we counter the tactics and strategy of the destructive and ruthless Empire with our honesty, with research, with telling and writing meticulously investigated facts?

The Empire perverts facts. It repeats lies through its loudspeakers and tubes. It shouts them thousands and thousands of times, until they sink into the sub conscious of people, penetrate the skin, spread all through their brains.

Good will, naive honesty, "speaking truth to power", could this change the world and the power itself? I highly doubt it.

The Empire and its power are illegitimate, and they are criminal. Is there any point of speaking truth to a gangster? Hardly! Truth should be spoken to people, to masses, not to those who are terrorizing the world.

By talking to villains, by begging them to stop torturing others, we are legitimizing their crimes, and we are acknowledging their power. By trying to appease gangsters, people are putting themselves at their mercy.

I absolutely refuse to be in such position!

***

To win over billions of people, we have to inspire them, to fire them up. We have to outrage them, embrace them, shame them, make them laugh and make them cry. We have to make sure that they get goose bumps when they see our films, read our books and essays, listen to our speeches.

We have to detox them, make them feel again, wake up natural instincts in them.

Simple truth as a detox agent will not work. The poison of our adversaries has sunk too deeply. Most of the people are too lethargic and too immune to simple, quietly stated truths!

We have tried, and others have tried as well. My acquaintance (but definitely not my comrade) John Perkins, former US apparatchik educated by the State Department, wrote a detailed account of his horrid deeds in Ecuador, Indonesia and elsewhere – "Confession of An Economic Hitman". It is a meticulous, detailed account of how the West destabilizes poor countries, using corruption, money, alcohol, and sex. The book sold millions of copies, worldwide. And yet, nothing changed! It did not trigger a popular revolution in the United States. There were no protests, no demands for regime change in Washington.

In the recent past, I wrote and published two academic, or at least semi-academic books, packed with great details, quotes and tons of footnotes: one on Indonesia, a country used by the West as a model horror scenario for the rest of the world, after the 1965-US-sponsored military coup. The coup killed 2-3 million people, murdered all intellectualism, and lobotomized the 4th most populous country on earth. The book is called "Indonesia – Archipelago of Fear". The second book, unique because it covers an enormous part of the world – Polynesia, Melanesia and Micronesia ("Oceania – Neocolonialism, Nukes and Bones"), showed how the US, UK, Australia, New Zealand and France, literally divided and destroyed the great South Pacific island cultures and the people. Now classes are being taught using my books, but only a very limited number of people are influenced by the facts exposed in them. The elites in both Indonesia and Oceania made sure that the books are not widely read by the people.

I have spent years and years compiling facts, researching, investigating. The revolutionary effectiveness of my academic work is – I have to admit – nearly zero.

It is easy to see the contrast: when I write an essay, a powerfully crafted, emotional essay, demanding justice, accusing the Empire of murder and theft, I get millions of readers on all continents, as well as translations to dozens of languages!

Why do I write this; why do I share this with my readers? Because we should all be realistic. We have to see, to understand, what people want – what they demand. The people are unhappy and scared. Most of them don't know why. They hate the system, they are lonely, frustrated, they know that they are lied to and exploited. But they cannot define those lies. And academic books, exposing the lies are too complex for them to read since the masses have no time to read thousands of indigestible pages or the necessary education to allow them to understand what they are reading.

It is our duty to address those people, the majority, otherwise what kind of revolutionaries are we? After all, we are supposed to create for our brothers and sisters, not for a few researchers at the universities, especially when we realize that most of the universities are serving the Empire by regurgitating official nomenclature and supporting demagogues.

***

The Empire speaks, writes and then repeats some outrageous lies, about its benevolence, and exceptionality of its rule, or about the "evils" of the Soviet Union, China, Iran, Venezuela, North Korea or Cuba. This is done daily. In fact it is designed so that almost every human being gets his or her dose of the toxin at least several times a day.

We feel we have to react – we begin spending years of our lives, meticulously proving, step by step, that the Empire's propaganda is either one big fat lie, or exaggeration, or both. After we compile our arguments, we publish the results in some small publishing house, most likely in the form of a slender book, but almost nobody reads it because of its tiny circulation, and because the findings are usually too complex, too hard to digest, and simply because the facts do not shock anybody, anymore. One million more innocent people were murdered somewhere in Africa, in the Middle East, in Asia; what else is new?

Researching and trying to tell the truth, fully and honestly, we feel that we are doing great, professional, scientific work. All the while the propagandists of the Empire are dying of laughter watching us! We are representing little danger to them. They are winning effortlessly!

Why is that? Doesn't the detailed truth matter?

It does – from the point of higher principles it matters. Ethically it matters. Morally it matters. Philosophically it matters.

But strategically, when one is engaged in an ideological war, it does not matter that much! The truth yes, always; the truth matters! But simplified, digestible truth, presented powerfully and emotionally!

When immorality is ravishing the world, when it is charging mercilessly, when innocent millions are dying, what matters is to stop the slaughter, first by identifying the murderous force, then by containing it.

Language has to be strong, emotions raw.

When facing murderous hordes, poetry, emotionally charged songs, and patriotic odes have always been more effective than deep academic studies. And so were political novels and films, passionate documentaries, even explicit cartoons and posters.

Some would ask: "Just because they are lying, should we lie as well?" No! We should try to be as truthful as we can. But our message should be often "abridged", so the billions, not just those selected few, could understand it.

It does not mean that the quality of our work should suffer. Simplicity is often more difficult to achieve than encyclopedic works with thousands of footnotes.

Sun Tzu's "Art of War" is short, just a pamphlet, straight to the point. And so is the "Communist Manifesto", and 'J'accuse!"

Our revolutionary work does not have to be necessarily brief, but it has to be presented in a way that could be understood by many. I am constantly experimenting with the form, while never compromising on substance. My recent book, "Exposing Lies of the Empire" has more than 800 pages, but I made sure that it is packed with fascinating stories, with testimonies of people from all corners of the globe, with colorful description of both victims and tyrants. I don't want my books to collect dust in university libraries. I want them to mobilize people.

***

I truly believe that there is not much time for "objectivity" in any battle, including those ideological ones, especially when these are battles for the survival of humanity!

The lies of the enemy have to be confronted. They are toxic, monstrous lies!

Once the destruction stops, millions of innocent men, women and children will cease being sacrificed, and we can return to our complex philosophical concepts, to details and to nuances.

But before we win our final battles against imperialism, nihilism, fascism, exceptionalism, selfishness and greed, we have to fully and effectively utilize our most powerful weapons: our visions of a better world, our love for humanity, our passion for justice. Our determination and our beliefs have to be presented in a loud, potent, even "dogmatic" manner, our voice should be creative, artistic, powerful!

The house is on fire, comrades! The entire town is turning to ashes. The entire planet is plundered, devastated, lobotomized.

We cannot confront bigots with nukes and battleships. But our talents, our muses, and our hearts are here, with us, ready to join the battle.

Let us outsmart our enemies; let us make sure that the world begins laughing at them! Have you seen them, those pathetic losers, the buffoons – the CEO's? Have you listened to those Prime Ministers and Presidents, those servants of the "market"? Let us convince the masses that their tyrants –the imperialists, the neo-colonialists and all their dogmatic preachers – are nothing more than pitiful, greedy, poisonous fools! Let us discredit them! Let us ridicule them.

They are robbing and murdering millions. Let us begin by at least pissing on them!

Let us fight Western propaganda by first exposing those who are really behind it. Let's get personal.

Let's turn this revolution into something creative, hilarious, truly fun!

Andre Vltchek is a philosopher, novelist, filmmaker and investigative journalist. He covered wars and conflicts in dozens of countries. His latest books are: "Exposing Lies Of The Empire" and "Fighting Against Western Imperialism".Discussion with Noam Chomsky: On Western Terrorism. Point of No Return is his critically acclaimed political novel. Oceania – a book on Western imperialism in the South Pacific. His provocative book about Indonesia: "Indonesia – The Archipelago of Fear". Andre is making films for teleSUR and Press TV. After living for many years in Latin America and Oceania, Vltchek presently resides and works in East Asia and the Middle East. He can be reached through his website or his Twitter.

Par K · 1 day ago

I have been reading Andre Vltchek's essays and commentaries for a longtime. His honesty,integrity, depth of thought, and articulation id beyond any doubt. Courageous and bold writing like this one need to reach as many people as possible - more exposure - that is what is needed:

- A compiler of 'Independent News and Editorials:
The News Scouter: http://newsscouter.com/

What we need is to bring awareness to masses. We need to promote the truth - the knowledge - let the Information reach the maximum number of people. It is all about knowing the facts.

The key to bringing in the change - the real change, is to remain informed - well informed. To make the right decision we need all the relevant information, news, and analysis. Be it the economy & finance, politics, or wars, information is the key. But, as we all know, searching out for the needed information is a time consuming task.

Now, more than ever, in this fast changing world, we need "information" - Fast & Quick - at a single point.

Here is a source that we have stumbled upon - A new comer that is already gaining momentum and recognition among both the readers and writers alike at a lightening speed:
The News Scouter.

"All the 'Must-Read' News Stories, Information and Editorials from around the world - Everything from Global Affairs & Finance to Science & Technology - Updated Regularly - Sorted and Categorized - All in one place."

Here is the Link to The News Scouter: http://newsscouter.com/


maninhavana · 1 day ago

The only decent journalists working in the media today are working for Telesur, RT and those mentioned in the article or as independents who get carried by this indispensible website ICH. The rest are just presstitutes .

Sarah Rainsford of the BBC is a supreme example and John Simpson one time head of the BBC world service admits to admiring John Pilger and Martha Gelhorn who would most likely despise his lickspittle sellout journalistic efforts. If you read this article and havent sent a donation to ICH what are you thinking?


Andy Perry · 1 day ago

If Vltchek wants to build an oppositioin to the self-styled 'West' he should avoid making major concessions to his opponent right from the start.

What is the term 'West' supposed to mean?
It is relative, abstract and meaningless and it is intended to be so.

The 'West' is a BRAND NAME. Its purpose is to control the way you perceive the BRAND.
If you strip the packaging and the marketing away, the 'West' is the Anglo Saxon Axis- a collection of Germanic countries (under NATO) led by Anglo Saxon America.

You should consider the fact that Vltchek hasn't been smart enough to figure this simple truth out before you listen to anything further he has to say on the matter...

Cultural Constituencies: The Anglo Saxon Maidan. https://unitedstatesofeverywhere.wordpress.com/


RubyRenae · 19 hours ago

What is this author Vltchek trying to do? Mobilize the people of the Police States of AmeriKKKa? To...overthrow the regime? How, when the populace is acculturated with God, Guns, and Grocery Stores with fully-stocked shelves? Those facts will beat any kind of moral suasion in this wretched nation. The Police State propagandists themselves present the answer: the AmeriKKKans must be defeated in a war to bring peace to the world. AmeriKKKa must be forced into recognition that the Police States has lost legitimacy by a more powerful state (or states). This is all that can be done, if you read their literature on the British Empire.


Dick · 10 hours ago

The seven Principles of Propaganda P{art 1 as follows:

Avoid abstract ideas - appeal to the emotions.

When we think emotionally, we are more prone to be irrational and less critical in our thinking. I can remember several instances where this has been employed by the US to prepare the public with a justification of their actions. Here are three examples:

The Invasion of Grenada during the Reagan administration was said to be necessary to rescue American students being held hostage by Grenadian authorities after a coup that overthrew the government and return the previous government. I had a friend in the 82nd airborne division that participated in the rescue. He told me the students said they were hiding in the school to avoid the fighting by the US military, and had never been threatened by any Grenadian authority. Film of the actual rescue broadcast on the mainstream media was faked; the students were never in danger.

The invasion of Panama in the late 80's was supposedly to capture the dictator Manual Noriega for international crimes related to drugs and weapons. I remember a headline covered by all the media where a Navy lieutenant and his wife were detained by the police. His wife was sexually assaulted while in custody, according to the story. Unfortunately, it never happened. It was intended to get the public emotionally involved to support the action.

The invasion of Iraq in the early 90's was preceded by a speech in congress by a girl describing the Iraqi army throwing babies out of incubators so the equipment could be transferred to Iraq. It turns out the girl was the daughter of one of the Kuwait's ruling sheiks and the event never occurred. However, it served its purpose by getting the American public involved emotionally supporting the war. It is the most blatant use of propaganda, since it used the US congress to present the story as true. Whom do we trust?

The greatest emotion in us is fear and fear is used extensively to make us think irrationally. I remember growing up during the cold war having the fear of nuclear war or 'The Russians are coming!' After the cold war without an obvious enemy, it was Al Qaeda even before 911, so we had 'Al Qaeda is coming!' Now we have 'ISIS is coming!' with media blasting us with terrorist fears. Whenever I hear a government promoting an emotional issue or fear mongering, I ignore them knowing there is a hidden Truth behind the issue.

Constantly repeat just a few ideas. Use stereotyped phrases.

This could be stated more plainly as 'Keep it simple, stupid!' The most notorious use of this technique recently was the Bush administration. Everyone can remember 'We must fight them over there rather than over here' or my favourite 'They hate us for our freedoms'. Neither of these phrases made any rational sense despite 911. The last thing Muslims in the Middle East care about is American's freedoms, maybe it was all the bombs the US was dropping on them.

Give only one side of the argument and obscure history.

Watching mainstream media in the US, you can see all the news is biased to the American view as an example. This is prevalent within Australian commercial media and newspapers giving only a western view, but fortunately, we have the SBS and the ABC that are very good, certainly not perfect, at providing both sides of a story. In addition, any historical perspective is ignored keeping the citizenry focused on the here and now. Can any of you remember any news organisation giving an in depth history of Ukraine or Palestine? I cannot.

Demonize the enemy or pick out one special "enemy" for special vilification.

This is obvious in politics where politicians continuously criticise their opponents. Of course, demonization is more productively applied to international figures or nations such as Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden, Gaddafi in Libya, Assad in Syria, the Taliban and just recently Vladimir Putin over the Ukraine and Crimea. It establishes a negative emotional view of either a nation (i.e. Iran) or a known figure making us again think emotionally, thus irrationally. Certainly some of these groups or individuals were less than benign, but not necessarily demons as depicted in the west.

Appear humanitarian in work and motivations.

The US has used this technique often to validate foreign interventions or ongoing conflicts where the term 'Right to Protect' is used for justification. Everyone should remember the many stories about the abuse of women in Afghanistan or Saddam Hussein's supposed brutality to his people. One thing that always amazes me is when the US sends humanitarian aid to a country it is accompanied by the US military. In Haiti some years back the US sent troops with no other country doing so. The recent Ebola outbreak in Africa saw US troops sent to the area. How are troops going to fight a medical outbreak? No doubt, they are there for other reasons.

Obscure one's economic interests.

Who among you believes the invasion of Iraq was for weapons of mass destruction? Or the constant threats against Iran are for their nuclear program? Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction and no one has presented firm evidence Iran intends to produce nuclear weapons. The West has been interfering in the Middle East since the British in the late 19th century. It is all about oil and the control over the resources. In fact, if one researches the cause of wars over the last hundred years, you will always find economics was a major component driving the rush to war for most of them.

Monopolize the flow of information.

This mainly entails setting the narrative by which all subsequent events can be based upon or interpreted in such a way as to reinforce the narrative. The narrative does not need to be true; in fact, it can be anything that suits the monopoliser as long as it is based loosely on some event. It is critical to have at least majority control of media and the ability to control the message so the flow of information is consistent with the narrative. In the last few months, I have seen this played out on mainstream media concerning the Ukrainian conflict. One of the most interesting examples of this principle was in the lead up to the Iraqi war in 2003. John Howard, Prime Minister at the time, gave a speech in the Australian parliament justifying the intervention in Iraq on March 18, 2003. Two days later on March 20 Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada, gave the same speech word for word to the Canadian parliament. Either Harper is lazy or there was an attempt to control the message in countries supporting the war. What I would like to know is who wrote the speech in the first place. I cannot see two Prime Ministers giving an identical speech to their respective parliaments as a coincidence.

Jim

Who have ever been in a war don't wish to go back to such. US media always shows the bombing in the distance. If the American people could see up close the carnage, they would kill every congressman who have voted for any war.

Again that is the reason to have massive poverty so the poor provide the soldiers with a promise of a free college education as long as you are able to go to school in the evening after duty, but if you are at a relentless illegal war forget about your free education.

[May 14, 2015] War-Crazed Western Propaganda Machine Rages at Its Growing Insignificance

Atlantic Alliance media apparatus lashing out like a dying demon at the reality of being successfully confronted by the truth

This article originally appeared at CounterPunch

In mid-April, hundreds of U.S. paratroopers from the 173rd Airborne Brigade arrived in western Ukraine to provide training for government troops. The UK had already started its troop-training mission there, sending 75 troops to Kiev in March. [1] On April 14, the Canadian government announced that Canada will send 200 soldiers to Kiev, contributing to a military build-up on Russia's doorstep while a fragile truce is in place in eastern Ukraine.

The Russian Embassy in Ottawa called the decision "counterproductive and deplorable," stating that the foreign ministers of France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine have "called for enhanced intra-Ukrainian political dialogue," as agreed upon in the Minsk-2 accords in February, and that it would be "much more reasonable to concentrate on diplomacy…" [2]

That viewpoint is shared by many, especially in Europe where few are eager for a "hot" war in the region. Nor are most people enamoured of the fact that more billions are being spent on a new arms-race, while "austerity" is preached by the 1 Per Cent.

But in the Anglo-American corridors of power (also called the Atlantic Alliance), such views are seen to be the result of diabolical propaganda spread through the Internet by Russia's "secret army." On April 15, the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee, chaired by Ed Royce (R-Calif.), held a hearing entitled "Confronting Russia's Weaponization of Information," with Royce claiming that Russian propaganda threatens "to destabilize NATO members, impacting our security commitments." [3]

The Committee heard from three witnesses: Elizabeth Wahl, former anchor for the news agency Russia Today (RT) who gained her moment of fame by resigning on camera in March 2014; Peter Pomerantsev, Senior Fellow at the Legatum Institute (a right-wing UK think-tank); and Helle C. Dale, Senior Fellow for Public Diplomacy at The Heritage Foundation, a right-wing U.S. think-tank. [4] The Foreign Affairs Committee website contains video clips of the first two witnesses – well worth watching if you enjoy Orwellian rhetoric passionately delivered.

The day before the hearing, in an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal, Royce wrote, "Vladimir Putin has a secret army. It's an army of thousands of 'trolls,' TV anchors and others who work day and night spreading anti-American propaganda on the Internet, airwaves and newspapers throughout Russia and the world. Mr. Putin uses these misinformation warriors to destabilize his neighbors and control parts of Ukraine. This force may be more dangerous than any military, because no artillery can stop their lies from spreading and undermining U.S. security interests in Europe." [5]

In her formal (printed) submission, Ms. Wahl referred to the Internet's "population of paranoid skeptics" and wrote: "The paranoia extends to believing that Western media is not only complicit, but instrumental in ensuring Western dominance."

Helle C. Dale warned of "a new kind of propaganda, aimed at sowing doubt about anything having to do with the U.S. and the West, and in a number of countries, unsophisticated audiences are eating it up."

Peter Pomerantsev claimed that Russia's goal is "to trash the information space with so much disinformation so that a conversation based on actual facts would become impossible." He added, "Throughout Europe conspiracy theories are on the rise and in the US trust in the media has declined. The Kremlin may not always have initiated these phenomena, but it is fanning them…Democracies are singularly ill equipped to deal with this type of warfare. For all of its military might, NATO cannot fight an information war. The openness of democracies, the very quality that is meant to make them more competitive than authoritarian models, becomes a vulnerability."

Chairman Royce called for "clarifying" the mission of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), the U.S. federal agency whose networks include Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, the Middle East Broadcasting Networks (Alhurra TV and Radio Sawa), Radio Free Asia, and the Office of Cuba Broadcasting (Radio and TV Marti). [6]

The BBG is apparently in disarray. According to Helle Dale's submission, on March 4, 2015, Andrew Lack, the newly hired CEO of BBG's International Broadcasting, left the position after only six weeks on the job. On April 7, the Director of Voice of America, David Ensor, announced that he was leaving.

Andrew Lack was formerly the president of NBC News. As Paul Craig Roberts has recently noted, Lack's first official statement as CEO of the BBG "compared RT, Russia Today, the Russian-based news agency, with the Islamic State and Boko Haram. In other words, Mr. Lack brands RT as a terrorist organization. The purpose of Andrew Lack's absurd comparison is to strike fear at RT that the news organization will be expelled from US media markets. Andrew Lack's message to RT is: 'lie for us or we are going to expel you from our air waves.' The British already did this to Iran's Press TV. In the United States the attack on Internet independent media is proceeding on several fronts." [7]

Ironically, however, it's likely that one of the biggest threats (especially in Europe) to Anglo-American media credibility about Ukraine and other issues is coming from a very old-fashioned medium – a book.
Udo Ulfkotte's bestseller Bought Journalists has been a sensation in Germany since its publication last autumn. The journalist and former editor of one of Germany's largest newspapers, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, revealed that he was for years secretly on the payroll of the CIA and was spinning the news to favour U.S. interests. Moreover he alleges that some major media are nothing more than propaganda outlets for international think-tanks, intelligence agencies, and corporate high-finance. "We're talking about puppets on a string," he says, "journalists who write or say whatever their masters tell them to say or write. If you see how the mainstream media is reporting about the Ukraine conflict and if you know what's really going on, you get the picture. The masters in the background are pushing for war with Russia and western journalists are putting on their helmets." [8]

In another interview, Ulfkotte said: "The German and American media tries to bring war to the people in Europe, to bring war to Russia. This is a point of no return, and I am going to stand up and say…it is not right what I have done in the past, to manipulate people, to make propaganda against Russia, and it is not right what my colleagues do, and have done in the past, because they are bribed to betray the people not only in Germany, all over Europe." [9]

With the credibility of the corporate media tanking, Eric Zuesse recently wrote, "Since Germany is central to the Western Alliance – and especially to the American aristocracy's control over the European Union, over the IMF, over the World Bank, and over NATO – such a turn away from the American Government [narrative] threatens the dominance of America's aristocrats (who control our Government). A breakup of America's [Atlantic] 'Alliance' might be in the offing, if Germans continue to turn away from being just America's richest 'banana republic'." [10]

No wonder the House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on April 15 had such urgent rhetoric, especially from Peter Pomerantsev, Senior Fellow at the Legatum Institute – a London-based international think-tank whose motto is "Prosperity Through Revitalizing Capitalism and Democracy" and whose stated mission is "promoting prosperity through individual liberty, free enterprise and entrepreneurship, character and values."

At the end of March, Conservative London mayor Boris Johnson (named as a potential successor to David Cameron) helped launch the Legatum Institute's "Vision of Capitalism" speakers' series, whose rallying cry is "It's time for friends of capitalism to fight back." [11] The sponsor of the event was the British Private Equity & Venture Capital Association (BVCA), whose membership comprises "more than 500 influential firms, including over 230 private equity and venture capital houses, as well as institutional investors, professional advisers, service providers and international associations." It is not clear whether the BVCA is also sponsoring the Legatum Institute's "Vision of Capitalism" series.

The Legatum Institute was founded by billionaire Christopher Chandler's Legatum Ltd. – a private investment firm headquartered in Dubai. According to The Legatum Institute's website, its executives and fellows write for an impressive number of major media outlets, including the Washington Post, Slate, the New York Review of Books, Foreign Policy, New Republic, the Daily Telegraph, The Times, the London Review of Books, the Atlantic, and the Financial Times.

Nonetheless, the Legatum Institute's Peter Pomeranzev told the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs that "Russia has launched an information war against the West – and we are losing."
Chairperson Ed Royce noted during the hearing that if certain things are repeated over and over, a "conspiracy theory" takes on momentum and a life of its own.

Pomeranzev said the Kremlin is "pushing out more conspiracy" and he explained, "What is conspiracy – sort of a linguistic sabotage on the infrastructure of reason. I mean you can't have a reality-based discussion when everything becomes conspiracy. In Russia, the whole discourse is conspiracy. Everything is conspiracy." He added, "Our global order is based on reality-based politics. If that reality base is destroyed, then you can't have international institutions, international dialogue." Lying, he said, "makes a reality-based politics impossible" and he called it "a very insidious trend."

Apparently, Pomeranzev has forgotten that important October 2004 article by Ron Suskind published in the New York Times Magazine during the second war in Iraq (which, like the first, was based on a widely disseminated lie). Suskind quoted one of George W. Bush's aides (probably Karl Rove): "The aide said that guys like me [journalists, writers, historians] were 'in what we call the reality-based community,' which he defined as people who 'believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality…That's not the way the world really works anymore,' he continued. 'We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality – judiciously, as you will – we'll act again, creating other new realities which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do'." [12]

It's a rather succinct description of Orwellian spin and secrecy in a media-saturated Empire, where discerning the truth becomes ever more difficult.

That is why people believe someone like Udo Ulfkotte, who is physically ill, says he has only a few years left to live, and told an interviewer, "I am very fearful of a new war in Europe, and I don't like to have this situation again, because war is never coming from itself, there is always people who push for war, and this is not only politicians, it is journalists too…We have betrayed our readers, just to push for war…I don't want this anymore, I'm fed up with this propaganda. We live in a banana republic and not in a democratic country where we have press freedom…" [13]

Recently, as Mike Whitney has pointed out in CounterPunch (March 10), Germany's newsmagazine Der Spiegel dared to challenge the fabrications of NATO's top commander in Europe, General Philip Breedlove, for spreading "dangerous propaganda" that is misleading the public about Russian "troop advances" and making "flat-out inaccurate statements" about Russian aggression.

Whitney asks, "Why this sudden willingness to share the truth? It's because they no longer support Washington's policy, that's why. No one in Europe wants the US to arm and train the Ukrainian army. No wants them to deploy 600 paratroopers to Kiev and increase U.S. logistical support. No one wants further escalation, because no wants a war with Russia. It's that simple." [14] Whitney argued that "the real purpose of the Spiegel piece is to warn Washington that EU leaders will not support a policy of military confrontation with Moscow."

So now we know the reason for the timing of the April 15 U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing, "Confronting Russia's Weaponization of Information." Literally while U.S. paratroopers were en route to Kiev, the hawks in Washington (and London) knew it was time to crank up the rhetoric. The three witnesses were most eager to oblige.

[May 01, 2015] Anatol Lieven reviews 'The New American Militarism' by Andrew Bacevich

Amazingly insightful review !!!
LRB 20 October 2005

The New American Militarism: How Americans Are Seduced by War by Andrew Bacevich
Oxford, 270 pp, £16.99, August 2005, ISBN 0 19 517338 4

A key justification of the Bush administration's purported strategy of 'democratising' the Middle East is the argument that democracies are pacific, and that Muslim democracies will therefore eventually settle down peacefully under the benign hegemony of the US. Yet, as Andrew Bacevich points out in one of the most acute analyses of America to have appeared in recent years, the United States itself is in many ways a militaristic country, and becoming more so:

at the end of the Cold War, Americans said yes to military power. The scepticism about arms and armies that informed the original Wilsonian vision, indeed, that pervaded the American experiment from its founding, vanished. Political leaders, liberals and conservatives alike, became enamoured with military might.

The ensuing affair had, and continues to have, a heedless, Gatsby-like aspect, a passion pursued in utter disregard of any consequences that might ensue.

The president's title of 'commander-in-chief' is used by administration propagandists to suggest, in a way reminiscent of German militarists before 1914 attempting to defend their half-witted kaiser, that any criticism of his record in external affairs comes close to a betrayal of the military and the country. Compared to German and other past militarisms, however, the contemporary American variant is extremely complex, and the forces that have generated it have very diverse origins and widely differing motives:

The new American militarism is the handiwork of several disparate groups that shared little in common apart from being intent on undoing the purportedly nefarious effects of the 1960s. Military officers intent on rehabilitating their profession; intellectuals fearing that the loss of confidence at home was paving the way for the triumph of totalitarianism abroad; religious leaders dismayed by the collapse of traditional moral standards; strategists wrestling with the implications of a humiliating defeat that had undermined their credibility; politicians on the make; purveyors of pop culture looking to make a buck: as early as 1980, each saw military power as the apparent answer to any number of problems.

Two other factors have also been critical: the dependence on imported oil is seen as requiring American hegemony over the Middle East; and the Israel lobby has worked assiduously and with extraordinary success to make sure that Israel's enemies are seen by Americans as also being those of the US. And let's not forget the role played by the entrenched interests of the military itself and what Dwight Eisenhower once denounced as the 'military-industrial-academic complex'.

The security elites are obviously interested in the maintenance and expansion of US global military power, if only because their own jobs and profits depend on it. Jobs and patronage also ensure the support of much of the Congress, which often authorises defence spending on weapons systems the Pentagon doesn't want and hasn't asked for, in order to help some group of senators and congressmen in whose home states these systems are manufactured. To achieve wider support in the media and among the public, it is also necessary to keep up the illusion that certain foreign nations constitute a threat to the US, and to maintain a permanent level of international tension.

That's not the same, however, as having an actual desire for war, least of all for a major conflict which might ruin the international economy. US ground forces have bitter memories of Vietnam, and no wish to wage an aggressive war: Rumsfeld and his political appointees had to override the objections of the senior generals, in particular those of the army chief of staff, General Eric Shinseki, before the attack on Iraq. The navy and air force do not have to fight insurgents in hell-holes like Fallujah, and so naturally have a more relaxed attitude.

To understand how the Bush administration was able to manipulate the public into supporting the Iraq war one has to look for deeper explanations. They would include the element of messianism embodied in American civic nationalism, with its quasi-religious belief in the universal and timeless validity of its own democratic system, and in its right and duty to spread that system to the rest of the world. This leads to a genuine belief that American soldiers can do no real wrong because they are spreading 'freedom'. Also of great importance – at least until the Iraqi insurgency rubbed American noses in the horrors of war – has been the development of an aesthetic that sees war as waged by the US as technological, clean and antiseptic; and thanks to its supremacy in weaponry, painlessly victorious. Victory over the Iraqi army in 2003 led to a new flowering of megalomania in militarist quarters. The amazing Max Boot of the Wall Street Journal – an armchair commentator, not a frontline journalist – declared that the US victory had made 'fabled generals such as Erwin Rommel and Heinz Guderian seem positively incompetent by comparison'. Nor was this kind of talk restricted to Republicans. More than two years into the Iraq quagmire, strategic thinkers from the Democratic establishment were still declaring that 'American military power in today's world is practically unlimited.'

Important sections of contemporary US popular culture are suffused with the language of militarism. Take Bacevich on the popular novelist Tom Clancy:

In any Clancy novel, the international order is a dangerous and threatening place, awash with heavily armed and implacably determined enemies who threaten the United States. That Americans have managed to avoid Armageddon is attributable to a single fact: the men and women of America's uniformed military and its intelligence services have thus far managed to avert those threats. The typical Clancy novel is an unabashed tribute to the skill, honour, extraordinary technological aptitude and sheer decency of the nation's defenders. To read Red Storm Rising is to enter a world of 'virtuous men and perfect weapons', as one reviewer noted. 'All the Americans are paragons of courage, endurance and devotion to service and country. Their officers are uniformly competent and occasionally inspired. Men of all ranks are faithful husbands and devoted fathers.' Indeed, in the contract that he signed for the filming of Red October, Clancy stipulated that nothing in the film show the navy in a bad light.

Such attitudes go beyond simply glorying in violence, military might and technological prowess. They reflect a belief – genuine or assumed – in what the Germans used to call Soldatentum: the pre-eminent value of the military virtues of courage, discipline and sacrifice, and explicitly or implicitly the superiority of these virtues to those of a hedonistic, contemptible and untrustworthy civilian society and political class. In the words of Thomas Friedman, the ostensibly liberal foreign affairs commentator of the ostensibly liberal New York Times, 'we do not deserve these people. They are so much better than the country … they are fighting for.' Such sentiments have a sinister pedigree in modern history.

In the run-up to the last election, even a general as undistinguished as Wesley Clark could see his past generalship alone as qualifying him for the presidency – and gain the support of leading liberal intellectuals. Not that this was new: the first president was a general and throughout the 19th and 20th centuries both generals and more junior officers ran for the presidency on the strength of their military records. And yet, as Bacevich points out, this does not mean that the uniformed military have real power over policy-making, even in matters of war. General Tommy Franks may have regarded Douglas Feith, the undersecretary of defense, as 'the stupidest fucking guy on the planet', but he took Feith's orders, and those of the civilians standing behind him: Wolfowitz, Cheney, Rumsfeld and the president himself. Their combination of militarism and contempt for military advice recalls Clemenceau and Churchill – or Hitler and Stalin.

Indeed, a portrait of US militarism today could be built around a set of such apparently glaring contradictions: the contradiction, for example, between the military coercion of other nations and the belief in the spreading of 'freedom' and 'democracy'. Among most non-Americans, and among many American realists and progressives, the collocation seems inherently ludicrous. But, as Bacevich brings out, it has deep roots in American history. Indeed, the combination is historically coterminous with Western imperialism. Historians of the future will perhaps see preaching 'freedom' at the point of an American rifle as no less morally and intellectually absurd than 'voluntary' conversion to Christianity at the point of a Spanish arquebus.

Its symbols may be often childish and its methods brutish, but American belief in 'freedom' is a real and living force. This cuts two ways. On the one hand, the adherence of many leading intellectuals in the Democratic Party to a belief in muscular democratisation has had a disastrous effect on the party's ability to put up a strong resistance to the policies of the administration. Bush's messianic language of 'freedom' – supported by the specifically Israeli agenda of Natan Sharansky and his allies in the US – has been all too successful in winning over much of the opposition. On the other hand, the fact that a belief in freedom and democracy lies at the heart of civic nationalism places certain limits on American imperialism – weak no doubt, but nonetheless real. It is not possible for the US, unlike previous empires, to pursue a strategy of absolutely unconstrained Machtpolitik. This has been demonstrated recently in the breach between the Bush administration and the Karimov tyranny in Uzbekistan.

The most important contradiction, however, is between the near worship of the military in much of American culture and the equally widespread unwillingness of most Americans – elites and masses alike – to serve in the armed forces. If people like Friedman accompanied their stated admiration for the military with a real desire to abandon their contemptible civilian lives and join the armed services, then American power in the world really might be practically unlimited. But as Bacevich notes,

having thus made plain his personal disdain for crass vulgarity and support for moral rectitude, Friedman in the course of a single paragraph drops the military and moves on to other pursuits. His many readers, meanwhile, having availed themselves of the opportunity to indulge, ever so briefly, in self-loathing, put down their newspapers and themselves move on to other things. Nothing has changed, but columnist and readers alike feel better for the cathartic effect of this oblique, reassuring encounter with an alien world.

Today, having dissolved any connection between claims to citizenship and obligation to serve, Americans entrust their security to a class of military professionals who see themselves in many respects as culturally and politically set apart from the rest of society.

This combination of a theoretical adulation with a profound desire not to serve is not of course new. It characterised most of British society in the 19th century, when, just as with the US today, the overwhelming rejection of conscription – until 1916 – meant that, appearances to the contrary, British power was far from unlimited. The British Empire could use its technological superiority, small numbers of professional troops and local auxiliaries to conquer backward and impoverished countries in Asia and Africa, but it would not have dreamed of intervening unilaterally in Europe or North America.

Despite spending more on the military than the rest of the world combined, and despite enjoying overwhelming technological superiority, American military power is actually quite limited. As Iraq – and to a lesser extent Afghanistan – has demonstrated, the US can knock over states, but it cannot suppress the resulting insurgencies, even one based in such a comparatively small population as the Sunni Arabs of Iraq. As for invading and occupying a country the size of Iran, this is coming to seem as unlikely as an invasion of mainland China.

In other words, when it comes to actually applying military power the US is pretty much where it has been for several decades. Another war of occupation like Iraq would necessitate the restoration of conscription: an idea which, with Vietnam in mind, the military detests, and which politicians are well aware would probably make them unelectable. It is just possible that another terrorist attack on the scale of 9/11 might lead to a new draft, but that would bring the end of the US military empire several steps closer. Recognising this, the army is beginning to imitate ancient Rome in offering citizenship to foreign mercenaries in return for military service – something that the amazing Boot approves, on the grounds that while it helped destroy the Roman Empire, it took four hundred years to do so.

Facing these dangers squarely, Bacevich proposes refocusing American strategy away from empire and towards genuine national security. It is a measure of the degree to which imperial thinking now dominates US politics that these moderate and commonsensical proposals would seem nothing short of revolutionary to the average member of the Washington establishment.

They include a renunciation of messianic dreams of improving the world through military force, except where a solid international consensus exists in support of US action; a recovery by Congress of its power over peace and war, as laid down in the constitution but shamefully surrendered in recent years; the adoption of a strategic doctrine explicitly making war a matter of last resort; and a decision that the military should focus on the defence of the nation, not the projection of US power. As a means of keeping military expenditure in some relationship to actual needs, Bacevich suggests pegging it to the combined annual expenditure of the next ten countries, just as in the 19th century the size of the British navy was pegged to that of the next two largest fleets – it is an index of the budgetary elephantiasis of recent years that this would lead to very considerable spending reductions.

This book is important not only for the acuteness of its perceptions, but also for the identity of its author. Colonel Bacevich's views on the military, on US strategy and on world affairs were profoundly shaped by his service in Vietnam. His year there 'fell in the conflict's bleak latter stages … long after an odour of failure had begun to envelop the entire enterprise'. The book is dedicated to his brother-in-law, 'a casualty of a misbegotten war'.

Just as Vietnam shaped his view of how the US and the US military should not intervene in the outside world, so the Cold War in Europe helped define his beliefs about the proper role of the military. For Bacevich and his fellow officers in Europe in the 1970s and 1980s, defending the West from possible Soviet aggression, 'not conquest, regime change, preventive war or imperial policing', was 'the American soldier's true and honourable calling'.

In terms of cultural and political background, this former soldier remains a self-described Catholic conservative, and intensely patriotic. During the 1990s Bacevich wrote for right-wing journals, and still situates himself culturally on the right:

As long as we shared in the common cause of denouncing the foolishness and hypocrisies of the Clinton years, my relationship with modern American conservatism remained a mutually agreeable one … But my disenchantment with what passes for mainstream conservatism, embodied in the Bush administration and its groupies, is just about absolute. Fiscal irresponsibility, a buccaneering foreign policy, a disregard for the constitution, the barest lip service as a response to profound moral controversies: these do not qualify as authentically conservative values.

On this score my views have come to coincide with the critique long offered by the radical left: it is the mainstream itself, the professional liberals as well as the professional conservatives, who define the problem … The Republican and Democratic Parties may not be identical, but they produce nearly identical results.

Bacevich, in other words, is sceptical of the naive belief that replacing the present administration with a Democrat one would lead to serious changes in the US approach to the world. Formal party allegiances are becoming increasingly irrelevant as far as thinking about foreign and security policy is concerned.

Bacevich also makes plain the private anger of much of the US uniformed military at the way in which it has been sacrificed, and its institutions damaged, by chickenhawk civilian chauvinists who have taken good care never to see action themselves; and the deep private concern of senior officers that they might be ordered into further wars that would wreck the army altogether. Now, as never before, American progressives have the chance to overcome the knee-jerk hostility to the uniformed military that has characterised the left since Vietnam, and to reach out not only to the soldiers in uniform but also to the social, cultural and regional worlds from which they are drawn. For if the American left is once again to become an effective political force, it must return to some of its own military traditions, founded on the distinguished service of men like George McGovern, on the old idea of the citizen soldier, and on a real identification with that soldier's interests and values. With this in mind, Bacevich calls for moves to bind the military more closely into American society, including compulsory education for all officers at a civilian university, not only at the start of their careers but at intervals throughout them.

Or to put it another way, the left must fight imperialism in the name of patriotism. Barring a revolutionary and highly unlikely transformation of American mass culture, any political party that wishes to win majority support will have to demonstrate its commitment to the defence of the country. The Bush administration has used the accusation of weakness in security policy to undermine its opponents, and then used this advantage to pursue reckless strategies that have themselves drastically weakened the US. The left needs to heed Bacevich and draw up a tough, realistic and convincing alternative. It will also have to demonstrate its identification with the respectable aspects of military culture. The Bush administration and the US establishment in general may have grossly mismanaged the threats facing us, but the threats are real, and some at least may well need at some stage to be addressed by military force. And any effective military force also requires the backing of a distinctive military ethic embracing loyalty, discipline and a capacity for both sacrifice and ruthlessness.

In the terrible story of the Bush administration and the Iraq war, one of the most morally disgusting moments took place at a Senate Committee hearing on 29 April 2004, when Paul Wolfowitz – another warmonger who has never served himself – mistook, by a margin of hundreds, how many US soldiers had died in a war for which he was largely responsible. If an official in a Democratic administration had made a public mistake like that, the Republican opposition would have exploited it ruthlessly, unceasingly, to win the next election. The fact that the Democrats completely failed to do this says a great deal about their lack of political will, leadership and capacity to employ a focused strategy.

Because they are the ones who pay the price for reckless warmongering and geopolitical megalomania, soldiers and veterans of the army and marine corps could become valuable allies in the struggle to curb American imperialism, and return America's relationship with its military to the old limited, rational form. For this to happen, however, the soldiers have to believe that campaigns against the Iraq war, and against current US strategy, are anti-militarist, but not anti-military. We have needed the military desperately on occasions in the past; we will definitely need them again.


Vol. 27 No. 20 · 20 October 2005 " Anatol Lieven " We do not deserve these people
pages 11-12 | 3337 words

[Apr 14, 2015] Freedom of speech as three card monte

Freedom of speech is the political right to communicate one's opinions and ideas. Governments restrict speech with varying limitations, the most important of which is the real freedom of speech belongs only to owners of the press. Common limitations on speech are related to activities of three-letter agencies (buying journalists), libel, slander, obscenity, pornography, sedition, hate speech, incitement, fighting words, classified information, copyright violation, trade secrets, non-disclosure agreements, right to privacy, right to be forgotten, public security, public order, public nuisance, campaign finance reform and oppression. The term freedom of expression is sometimes used synonymously, but includes any act of seeking, receiving and imparting information or ideas, regardless of the medium used.
But in reality interpretation of freedom of speech interpretation is very country dependent. For example definitions of what libel constitute are different between the USA and GB. And in the USA, the relevant case law is a pretty complex with many exceptions for those who have money.
There are also common sense restrictions on freedom of speech (To incite actions that would harm others -- like crying fire in overcrowded theater), some are not.
But again the key issue is that the freedom of speech like freedom of press is mostly limited to those who own the press. That means that freedom of speech is also never awarded to skeptics or outright opponents of the existing regime. They need to fight for it.

What Does Free Speech Mean

Among other cherished values, the First Amendment protects freedom of speech. The U.S. Supreme Court often has struggled to determine what exactly constitutes protected speech. The following are examples of speech, both direct (words) and symbolic (actions), that the Court has decided are either entitled to First Amendment protections, or not.

The First Amendment states, in relevant part, that:

"Congress shall make no law...abridging freedom of speech."

Quiz: Test your First Amendment knowledge (usatoday.com)


Freedom of speech includes the right:

Freedom of speech does not include the right:

[Mar 15, 2015] Empire of Illusion The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle by Chris Hedges

Amazon.com Books
William Timothy Lukeman VINE VOICE on July 16, 2009

An anguished, angry cry of outraged reason

Chris Hedges' newest book may be a screed, but it's an uncomfortably accurate one, delving into the addictive, corrupting hold of comforting & distracting illusion over too many Americans. From the even vaster wasteland of TV, brought to us by endless channels, to the drug of sensation at its lowest common denominator from the porn industry, to the "think happy thoughts" snake oil of both New Age & fundamentalist belief systems --

But you have to stop & catch your breath, or else be swept away by the torrent of mediocrity & cheerfully willful ignorance that passes for contemporary culture & thought. Once you're aware of how thoroughly blanderized & infantilized our culture has become, it's all too easy to succumb to despair or cynicism. And with good cause!

Hedges wisely selects just a few specific examples as indicators of something far more pervasive & widespread. Particularly disturbing is the chapter on the so-called "adult" entertainment industry, which is anything but adult. The graphic description of the ways in which women are used & discarded as commodities is sickening, yet we're clearly just getting the tip of a very slimy iceberg.

And Hedges connects this aspect of dehumanization to the horrors of Abu Ghraib, showing how sexuality & torture intertwine. Most disturbing of all is how accepted & mainstream this sort of "entertainment" has become -- we're not talking about erotica or old-fashioned porn, which at least portrayed sex as mutually enjoyable for men & women; what we see now is humiliation, suffering, pain, almost all of it inflicted on women for the pleasure of emotionally stunted men.

More than that, though, Hedges explores the ways in which reason & literacy -- the humanities -- are shunted to the margins in favor of a utilitarian mindset, one that boils down to, "What's in it for me, right now, and how can I get the most of it as quickly as possible?" And that "most" is wealth, status, power, and the illusion of importance -- a humanity measured in things, rather than in being.

From that point, we're shown how these personal illusions contribute to & help sustain a national, even global, illusion of power, self-righteousness, corruption & control. It's bread & circuses for the masses, with digital soma mainlined at every waking moment. Meanwhile, the real elites, the corporate masters of our world, do whatever their insatiable appetites demand. This invariably requires bloodshed & suffering inflicted upon those least able to resist it. .

Is Hedges overwrought? Is he exaggerating the crisis at hand? If so, it's not by very much. As a war correspondent of some 20 years, he's seen the brutal results of illusionary thinking first-hand. This book is born of bitter experience, as Hedges bears witness to the ongoing destruction of the human soul, which is lost in a world of glittering superficiality which can't conceal its innate cruelty, ugliness & emptiness.

Not a reassuring book by any means, but certainly an eye-opening one -- most highly recommended!

Chris on July 20, 2009

Interesting if gloomy reflections by a former New York Times reporter

Hedges describes how corporate entertainment encourages people to desire to be rich and famous, devote themselves to material things, reckless self-gratification and reckless consumer spending. It encourages people to care much more about news relating to celebrities than genuinely important news. Hedges analyzes episodes of WWE wrestling, Survivor, The Swan and Jerry Springer to back up his arguments about pop culture.

Chapter 2 is about porn. Porn actresses are portrayed by porn mediums as nothing more than wild beasts whose only desire is to satisfy the sadistic fantasies of men. Most porn actresses are heavy drinkers and drug addicts as a result of the mental pain and serious physical damage to their private areas, front and back, caused by their line of work. Most of them appear to work in escort services on the side. Hedges give an account of one porn movie featuring an actress who engages in the very unhealthy activity of engaging in sex acts with 65 different men over the six hour shoot of the film. Porn is one of the biggest industries in this nation; a great many of our male citizens appear to take pleasure in the degrading and brutal version of sex found in modern porn.

The last chapter is a sort of general overview of the dismal state of this country. Hedges writes that our financial crisis is rooted in the destruction of American manufacturing since the 1970's. An example of the decline of American manufacturing ability, he observes, occurred when the city of New York in 2003 offered a several billion dollar contract for a company to build subway cars. No American company took the offer, which was eventually given to Canadian and Japanese companies. Since the 1970's our economy has rested on the accumulation of un-unsustainable amounts of corporate and house-hold debt, used to a large extent not for productive investment but for participation in speculative bubbles and consumption to support luxurious living. Our economy is kept afloat by the willingness of foreigners to buy up this debt. As government social services are continuously slashed, the bailouts of 2008/2009 have only strengthened the stranglehold of corporate America on our economy and government resources.

While the annual compensation packages of CEOs soar well into the tens of millions of dollars, the median American family income has declined in inflation adjusted terms since the early 70's. We call ourselves a free market economy but a leading pillar of our economy is the taxpayer funded military-industrial complex, powering companies like Lockheed Martin. Hedges notes the example of the US government's annual provision of 3 billion dollars of taxpayer funds to the dictatorship in Egypt, 1.3 billion dollars of which (taxpayer dollars) is required to be used for purchasing weapons from private American defense companies. The US uses half of its annual discretionary spending on the military and spends more on its military than all the other countries in the world combined.

While trillions of dollars are spent on weapons and foreign occupations, our health care costs spiral out of control. Hedges writes that our private health care system is nearly twice as expensive as the national health services "in countries like Switzerland."Hedges notes how the percentage of budget devoted to overhead and administrative costs in our for profit health system is so vastly greater than the same costs in traditional government run Medicare. According to the Institute of Medicine, 18,000 people die every year because they can't afford health care. 46 million Americans have no health insurance and 25 million more are under-insured. Half of all bankruptcies in the US are due to health care costs overwhelming family budgets. Americans pay 40 percent more than Canadians for prescription drugs. Our politicians, Obama included, do everything they can to accommodate the for profit health care companies. In his overview of health care problems, I wish Hedges would have included some comparisons of a few health indicators between the US and some of the countries that have the most efficient socialized medicine systems.

Meanwhile, our politicians have covered up our unraveling. According to Hedges, the Consumer Price Index is constructed to under-estimate the real rate of inflation. Ronald Reagan lowered his unemployment rate by including members of the military in the employment count. Bill Clinton lowered the official unemployment rate of his reign by excluding from the employment count people who had stopped looking for work and also by counting low wage under-employed workers as employed. American jobs have gone to the low wage third world. Hedges notes that, contrary to Clinton's prediction in 1993, NAFTA has thrown 2 million Mexican farmers off the land and many of them have ended up in the US. Even more illegal immigrants have come from Mexico as northern Mexican factories have closed down and relocated to the even lower wage and even lesser regulated paradise of China.

Hedges gives a great deal of space to quoting various scholars and philosophers in order to back up his sociological observations. Other topics he discusses include positive psychology, the destruction of higher education and the willingness of corporate media hacks to take at face value the words of the powerful.

Hedges suggests possible future scenarios where most Americans are virtual corporate slaves, controlled and monitored by the ever expanding power of law enforcement. He fears that the biggest contrast in this country will be between a marginalized literate minority on the one hand and on the other a barely functionally literate or functionally illiterate majority enchanted by corporate entertainment and the vacuous PR spectacles and slogans of politicians. He fears that as social conditions worsen, right wing demagogues will make great headway. He is very worried about future environmental catastrophes. However he ends his book with the hope that decent human values can be utilized to confront our growing corporate tyranny.

Anastasia Beaverhausen VINE VOICE on July 3, 2009

Entertainment is a Force That Gives Us Meaning

Chris Hedges, the Pulitzer-Prize winning author of "War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning" and "I Don't Believe in Atheists", is back with another diatribe about our morally-bankrupt society. Whether you agree with all of his assertions or not, "Empire of Illusion" is a necessary, thought-provoking work on the role of entertainment in American culture.

Particularly fascinating is Hedges's take on professional wrestling. Whenever an academic brings up wrestling, it is usually as an example of low-brow culture. Hedges doesn't snub his nose, however: He merely observes and reports.

His thesis that wrestling storylines have "evolved to fit the new era...by focusing on the family dysfunction that comes with social breakdown" is on the money: Gone are the simple bouts of good vs. evil. "Morality is irrelevant," he writes. "Wrestlers can be good one week and evil the next. All that matters is their own advancement." The "illusion" here isn't that wrestling is fake. The "illusion" is that the wrestlers are idealized versions of what we want to become. He asserts that this mirrors a fundamental change in society.

Hedges traces this change through other American institutions (reality television, celebrity culture, the adult industry, universities, psychologists), arguing that we are "unable to distinguish between illusion and reality". We forgo morals for an elusive and unattainable happiness. He states that we "will either wake from our state of induced childishness...or continue our headlong retreat into fantasy".

The subtitle--"The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle"--is somewhat of a misnomer. Even with the alarming illiteracy rate in this country, it's a stretch to say that literacy has literally come to an end. "The Triumph of Spectacle" is a more accurate description of the book's contents.

"Empire of Illusion" is a snapshot of America, circa 2009 AD. Some of the precepts that it touches on--such as universities churning out morally-dubious graduates--are already coming under populist fire due to the banking crisis. WWE, wrestling's most popular promotion, has toned down the sex and violence in recent years. The once-popular Jerry Springer Show limps along on basic cable, its cultural relevancy having long since expired.

Hedges believes that the financial crisis "will lead to a period of profound political turmoil and change." In a recent Truthdig article, he wrote that "Those who care about the plight of the working class and the poor must begin to mobilize quickly or we will lose our last opportunity to save our embattled democracy." "Empire of Illusion" makes a strong case to be the much-needed cry for arms.

Amazon Customer (Edwardsville, IL) - See all my reviews

A Stunning Piece of Journalism, June 5, 2010

This review is from: Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle (Hardcover)

This is a stunning piece of journalism at its very best and a book that any responsible citizen has to read. I absolutely loved this book (except Chapter 2, which seemed like it was taken from a completely different book and can be resumed as "Pornography bad, Dworkin good, sex scary, intimacy comforting.") I suggest that this chapter be skipped altogether in favor of the brilliant political analysis of the rest of the book.

Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle is an angry book. Hedges, one of the very few remaining journalists in the US who do actual journalism instead of regurgitating washed out mantras handed to them by their keepers, is not afraid of hurting the public's tender sensibilities by the truth. He realizes the gravity of our current situation and is unafraid of telling the readers that our economic and political future looks bleak. The way our government tries to address the collapse of the economy, which it coyly terms "a recession", by throwing taxpayers' money at the problem is wrong and self-destructive.

None of these so-called measures are working. Endless bailouts and stimulus packages that have indebted us in an unheard of way have failed to jumpstart the economy and move the country out of this crisis. Still, nobody is proposing any alternatives to this failed system. The economy of the US operates in exactly the same manner as the unsustainable Soviet economy. Nobody, however, is willing to recognize it. People believe that if you call this perversion "capitalism" and "free market economy" often enough, it will actually turn into capitalism and free market economy. Reality has been substituted by illusion in so many areas of life, Hedges observes, that people often refuse to see and identify what is right in front of their faces. This rejection of reality in favor of illusion haunts all spheres of our lives.

The reason for this resistance to acknowledging the reality that lies right in front of us is that the very few of us possess the intellectual, psycholigical, emotional, and linguistic tools needed to perform this task. Rather than decipher the incomprehensible, confusing, and often painful reality around them, people prefer to escape into the world of cliches and make-belief. Who wants to dedicate their lives to addressing complex, important issues, if you can happily escape into the world of triviality?

One would expect, of course, our system of higher education to help students acquire the intellectual and linguistic tools needed to analyze the failings of our poitical and economic systems. This, however, does not happen. As anybody working in the higher education system knows all too well, our universities have been undergoing the process of transforming themselves into robot-churning factories. Hedges's understanding of the way the higer education system has been appropriated by the military-industrial complex is profound.

Our universities have become nothing but "high-priced occupational training centers." Graduates are incapable of approaching their reality in a critical way. All they are trained to do is to service the system as efficiently as possible. Now that the system itself is in dire need of a rehaul, there are very few people around who would be at least capable of recognizing this fact, let alone do something about it.

J. Grattan (Lawrenceville, GA USA) -

The domination of pseudo-reality (3.5*s), February 17, 2010

Despite this book being disjointed, uneven, repetitious, and perhaps overstated in places, it is hard to disagree with its main sentiment that American society is living a lie; fantasy, illusion, and escapism infuse our society, economy, and political system with severe consequences. The most pernicious illusion is that corporate capitalism, including the shift to a dominating financial sector, if left unregulated and allowed to expand at will across the globe, will produce undreamed of benefits for all. For the last one hundred and fifty years, the massive, periodic meltdowns of the economy, including the recent financial crisis triggered by the irresponsibility of Wall St. executives, have not impacted this fiction. In spite of that willful obliviousness, the social costs to tens of millions of people, due to the machinations of corporations solely concerned with profits, buttressed by government enablers, have become so significant that the author is alarmed that not only is our society dying a slow death, but along the way is likely to descend into fascism or totalitarianism.

How can the United States have gotten to this deleterious situation with an open, democratic society and political system? A democracy requires knowledgeable citizens and hopefully altruistic elites. Sadly, huge portions of our society are in thrall or susceptible to mind-controlling diversions and propaganda that effectively conceal the true nature of our society and economy. The author notes the inordinate hours devoted to corporate-produced entertainment, spectacles, pseudo-events, and non-stop images, many of them inviting celebrity worship, but none remotely concerned with reality. Ironically, some of those distractions, such as rancorous wrestling shows or xxx-rated images, provide an inconsequential outlet for frustrations without confronting the real source of hardships. And then there is the pseudo-academic community that promotes the power of positive thinking, as though one can simply will away, or even reverse, the devastation of being unemployed with no health insurance. Supposedly bastions of reason and free thought, universities have become corporate research arms and training grounds for future corporate employees who have no interest in upsetting that order. Both students and professors interested in social inquiry are marginalized. Journalists and elected representatives, who in theory dig beneath the superficial and do what is best for the citizenry, have become mere "courtiers" for the power elite. The author is adamant that democracy and corporate capitalism cannot co-exist - powerful elites will always overwhelm the less powerful, directly or indirectly.

In addressing the potential for individuals looking at structural reality in any realistic sense, he alludes to those in Plato's cave allegory who are content with shadows on the wall. Removal from the cave is viewed as highly stressful: sunlight, that is, reality, is too much to take. Likewise in the US, illiteracy dooms tens of millions to visuals of pseudo-reality. The author suggests that perhaps a majority of Americans, though not illiterate, would not have the language skills to follow the exchanges of the Lincoln-Douglas debates. In the face of this living in the shadows of reality, perhaps even preferring to, where is the hope for American society turning around the corporate agenda? Some place their hopes in the Obama administration. However, virtually all of his high-level appointees are former members of the very corporations that have caused so much destruction. There is no possibility of them advocating needed structural changes. Obama undoubtedly has as much ability as any president in history, yet his elitist ties, both educational and professional, preclude his attempting to take on the monumental project of revamping the economy.

The author brings to bear relevant insights from any number of individuals: C. Wright Mills, Sheldon Wolin, Ralph Nader, Karl Polanyi, Jared Diamond, and the like. In an interesting exchange, the author replicates an interview conducted by Bill Moyers of Tim Russert, the moderator of Meet the Press, in his interview of Dick Cheney concerning the justification for going to war with Iraq. Russert, in complete abdication of journalistic credibility, allows Cheney to refer to a story that he planted in the NY Times as evidence that Hussein was engaged in pursuing nuclear material - a perfect example of the sycophancy of those entrusted to keep the public informed.

The author notes that Jared Diamond, in his book "Collapse," claims that the collapse of civilizations invariably comes down to elites who fiercely hold onto the status quo if there is any chance that their status could be undermined by tackling a crisis at hand, even one with catastrophic implications. In addition, the author speaks to the kind of reactions that could be spawned if personal and economic despair do not abate. He suggests that corporate elites will "seek to make alliance with the radical Christian Right and other extremists, will use fear, chaos, the hatred for ruling elites, and the specter of left-wing dissent and terrorism to impose draconian controls to extinguish our democracy. And while they do it, they will be waving the American flag, chanting patriotic slogans, promising law and order, and clutching the Christian cross." (189) Given trends over the last thirty years, that scenario is not as far-fetched as may seem at first glance.

As stated, the book has some unevenness. For one, the author wants to believe that America once had some sort of golden era, referring to the calm, prosperous 1950s. He should know that era was an anomaly in our history. He had it right when he notes the incompatibility of democracy and capitalism. Furthermore, in the end, he clings to a belief that love will prevail, even if "darkness has swallowed us all." And that is comforting? Basically the book is entirely pessimistic; spectacle has triumphed. The author presents some interesting bits. There is always a new outrage.

But it would seem that he is preaching to the choir. Those who would appreciate this book don't need convincing. Others are likely to see the book as little more than a tirade against the deserving.

Loyd E. Eskildson "Pragmatist" (Phoenix, AZ.)

Outstanding Insights, and Timely Too!, October 10, 2009

This review is from: Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle (Hardcover)

Chris Hedges is a senior fellow at The Nation Institute, spent fifteen years at the New York Times, has been awarded a Pulitzer prize, and has written several prior books. His newest, "Empire of Illusion," tells us that America is engulfed in illusion and fantasy, and if we don't change we'll inevitably turn to demagogues (eg. religious Right) to entertain and reassure us as we're led towards despotism. Embracing illusion has brought us a free market system taken hostage by corporations en route to casino capitalism, exploding debts, the dismantling of our manufacturing base and working class, and the decay of our infrastructure.

Hedges begins building his case while describing scenes at World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) where spectators happily pay to suspend reality watching 'momentous' staged battle scripts between fierce opponents, with divas added to fuel sexual fantasies. Similarly, Hedges sees celebrity worship arising from our dreams of likewise succeeding; then there's 'America's Next Top Model,' Survivor,' 'American Idol' and other respites from reality (eg. cosmetic surgery). We're also transfixed by its inverse - humiliation and debasement such as featured on 'The Jerry Springer' and 'Howard Stern' shows.

Momentarily diverging, Hedges tells us that functional illiteracy is epidemic in America - seven million total illiterates, another 27 million unable to read well enough to complete a job application, and still another 50 million who read at a 4th-5th-grade level. In total, nearly one-third of us are illiterate or barely literate. Further, a third of high-school graduates never read another book for the rest of their lives, and neither do 42% of college graduates. In 2007, 80% of U.S. families did not buy or read a single book. Instead, the average American watches 4+ hours/day of TV, live WWE or other sports, movies, and porn films.

There are some 13,000 porn films made every year. Hedges sees this industry as supplying the illusion of love. Worldwide revenues top $100 billion. A large proportion of female stars ($1,000/movie) are said to work as prostitutes making as much as $2,000/hour ($30,000/week). Males receive about one-third the income of females, and often require drug injections to perform. All performers are tested for STDs once/month (whether they need it or not). There are an estimated 4.2 million porn web sites, about 12% of the total; these sites are the target of about one-quarter of all search engine requests.

Hedges believes that the most essential 'skill' for political leaders in this age of illusion is a personal narrative with emotional appeal. Hopefully that leader also comforts us with inspirational (illusional) messages that tell us we can be whoever we seek to be, that we live in the greatest country on earth, that we are endowed with superior moral and spiritual qualities, and that we are blessed by God. Reality is boring.

If the preceding doesn't provide enough solace, personal consumption offers another outlet - anyone can buy his or her way into fantasy, and emancipation from responsibility.

Unfortunately, we're paying a heavy price for living in a fantasy-land. Hedges tells us that when opinions cannot readily be distinguished from facts (eg. in today's world of biased 'think tanks,' government repression of science, the religious right promulgating 'creationism') there's no way to determine truth in law, science, or reporting, and the world becomes a place where lies become truth. It's also led to the physical degradation of the planet, the cruelty of global capitalism (eg. extreme inequality of wealth), the looming oil crisis, the collapse of our financial markets, and these important issues rarely poking through our bubble-world of illusions.

Who's responsible for this state of affairs? Hedges lays responsibility for the multiple failures that beset our nation at the door of institutions that produce our educated elite - Harvard, Yale, Stanford, etc. He says they do only a mediocre job teaching students to question and think. Instead, they dice disciplines, faculty, students, and experts into tiny, specialized fragmented areas, neglecting the most pressing and important overall political, and economic questions. These educated experts cannot fix our economic system, only patch and repair it for more of the same - it's all they know. (We should fire our economists and hire China's.)

We have been steadily impoverished by our power elites - legally, economically, and politically. Our health care system, if unchanged, is expected to consume one-fifth our GNP by 2017 (despite a Harvard Medical School study estimating a single-payer system would save $350 billion/year), rampant militarism (761 military bases around the globe; spending 10X that of #2, China), and an education system costing 2X that of other developed nations are draining our lifeblood. We are headed for a long period of social and political instability.

When did this decline begin? Hedges believes our decline began when we shifted from production to consumption during the Vietnam War. Making capital by producing became outdated - money could now be made out of money. Result - of 100 products offered in the 2003 L.L. Bean catalog, 92 were imported; when New York City asked for bids on new subway cars in 2003 no U.S. companies responded. ($3-4 billion contract, 32,000 jobs.) NAFTA was supposed to help both the U.S. and Mexico. Hedges contends it has helped neither - at least 2 million Mexican farmers have been driven out of business by subsidized U.S. farming corporations, and the Mexican border-factories are closing down as production has shifted to China.

Lenin said that the best way to destroy the capitalist system was to debauch its currency. When money becomes worthless, so does government. Remember pre-WWII Germany? America's rapidly rising debts may take us there too.

Bottom-Line: Hedges' "Empire of Illusion" takes a dark view of the future, is sometimes hard to follow, sometimes a bit exaggerated, and often a bit incomplete. Regardless, it merits careful, objective consideration by Americans.

[Mar 15, 2015] CHRIS HEDGES Empire of Illusion The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle

CHRIS HEDGES Empire of Illusion The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle.mp4

Published on Mar 19, 2012

Chris Hedges delivers one of the best book lectures ever on his book 'Empire of Illusion'. Simply one of the best lectures I've ever seen. If you're not familiar with Hedges work you need to get up to speed fast. Whether you're right or left you'll identify with some of Hedges observations. A remarkable person with the sort of insight that our present situation needs to examine and put into practice.

Peter S. López via Google+

1 year ago

CHRIS HEDGES Empire of Illusion The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle: http://youtu.be/Yma13PXjGUY ~Published Mar 19, 2012

LetterToVoltaire2 years ago

@theoriginalprisonerX Thank you so much, I think Mr. Hedges is one of the most well versed and brilliant speakers of this decade, his ability to address the imperial nature of the 21st Century American Empire is priceless in that it defines clearly the context in which a humanist can no longer support a corrupt political process. I find his analysis on our culture to be spot on, sobering and humbling as every sentence is read. Thanks again, long live humanist principles.

[Jan 30, 2015] There Is No Reality Anymore...

01/29/2015 | Zero Hedge

Submitted by Thad Beversdorf via First Rebuttal blog,

"I'd Like to Change the World, but I Don't Know How So I'll Leave it Up to You"

What a great lyric that is from the late 60′s, early 70′s English band '10 Years After'. I believe this describes that uneasy feeling of discontent that sits deep in the stomach, beneath the day to day exteriors, of so many people today. The world is like a black hole in that it seems to be getting smaller and smaller as the years go by but also heavier and heavier with each passing day.

When I was a teenager and my friends and I were taking reality obscuring substances, one of my buddies (this means you Nichol) would stop us at certain points throughout the night for a reality check. This was just a few moments where we'd all gather our senses to make sure the world was still right and then we'd venture back into obscurity. I feel that reality is an old world term. There is no reality anymore. With advances in technology came unending possibilities of if you can dream it 'they' can make it so. The ubiquitous flow of information ensures that the truth is always available but never known with certainty. It means there is no such thing as a reality check. It's like that dream inside a dream inside a dream. Which reality is real anymore? How deep does the rabbit hole go?

We are raised with pretty standard ideals of what the world is meant to be but these ideals seem to take place only in the movies. It must be incredibly difficult for our young people to reconcile the two worlds, I know it is for me. That which they learn as a child and that which they find has replaced it as a young adult. Our 'leaders' our despicable arrogant and egotistical fools who pretend we elect them because we don't see them for what they are. But we elect them because we feel we have no choice. We know what we want the world to be. We know what it should look and feel like. And we know it is not the world in which we live today. "I know I'd like to change the world but I don't know how and so I'll leave it up to you". And so we continue to move forward down this path each step uneasy as though something ungood is lurking just around the next corner.

We are able to put that feeling out of our minds for the most part but our subconscious is always aware that things are off. We have all kinds of self help books and new – new age theories that attempt to make sense of it all and explain why we just aren't happy the way we envision happy should be. Perhaps the only reality is the reality that the world isn't what we had hoped it would be and we don't know how to make that right. I'd love to say that if we just stand up and do the right thing, act from our hearts and have good intentions that it could change the world. But quite honestly there are ill-ententioned people that are constructing this new world in which we sub-exist. It is 'them' and us but they'd never say it that way. Certainly though their intention is not for us to co-exist along side them.

But so we carry on and we, move forward, to the best of our abilities. We accept the good with the bad and acknowledge that everything is a trade off. We believe that if we go to college we stand a better chance in life and so we borrow our first 10 years of post college wages to get an edge over the next guy who is doing the same. When we get out of school we know that it is time to buckle down and get serious. We put our 'lives' on hold in order to focus on the future with the idea that one day we will be sitting on the porch with the person we love, the one we put on hold for all those years and we will then enjoy our life's work then.

But then we get further in debt because we need a sleeker car and we need a bigger house but it's ok because we can just work a little more. And then the kids come and as far as we got to know them they are great, I think. But it's ok because they just finished college and now they've moved back in as the job market is tough out there and so we're paying off their student loans. Eventually they get away and begin their life's journey and they take their debt with them. And then we realize, god I'm almost 60. But it feels great because that means soon I'll be there on the porch getting to know the one I love again and life will be grand at that point.

But then we turn 65 and we realize all those policies that were implemented by all those 'well-intentioned' decisions makers have actually left us with very little. And we say it's ok because we'd be bored anyway just sitting on the porch. And so we take a job waving at people in Walmart but feel like OMG how did I get here. But the shift ends and we go home anxious to spend time with the one we love because although it's a terrible thought we are aware we're both getting long in the tooth. And so we arrive home only to realize the one we love is now sick and that it's too late for our days sitting on the porch getting to know each other again. We do everything we can but we cannot afford to help that person who stood quietly behind us all those years as healthcare costs are unrealistically out of touch with 'reality'. And then it hits us that despite taking all the 'right' steps to ensure we have a great life we failed to ever really be happy, to really love and to really accept love. And then it really hits us, this world provides but one shot.

Well then that feeling of uneasy discontent that shadowed us when we were young is now an intense pain in our heart. And we look out at the world and we ask ourselves how could this have happened? I did everything 'they' told me I was supposed to do, I did everything 'right'! And it becomes clear that life was a chance to change the world, but we didn't know how and so we left it up to….

[Jan 30, 2015] Ukraine Through the Fog of the Presstitutes by PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS

March 06, 2014 | CounterPunch

Gerald Celente calls the Western media "presstitutes," an ingenuous term that I often use. Presstitutes sell themselves to Washington for access and government sources and to keep their jobs. Ever since the corrupt Clinton regime permitted the concentration of the US media, there has been no journalistic independence in the United States except for some Internet sites.

Glenn Greenwald points out the independence that RT, a Russian media organization, permits Abby Martin who denounced Russia's alleged invasion of Ukraine, compared to the fates of Phil Donahue (MSNBC) and Peter Arnett (NBC), both of whom were fired for expressing opposition to the Bush regime's illegal attack on Iraq. The fact that Donahue had NBC's highest rated program did not give him journalistic independence. Anyone who speaks the truth in the American print or TV media or on NPR is immediately fired.

Russia's RT seems actually to believe and observe the values that Americans profess but do not honor.

I agree with Greenwald. You can read his article here. Greenwald is entirely admirable. He has intelligence, integrity, and courage. He is one of the brave to whom my just published book, How America Was Lost, is dedicated. As for RT's Abby Martin, I admire her and have been a guest on her program a number of times.

My criticism of Greenwald and Martin has nothing to do with their integrity or their character. I doubt the claims that Abby Martin grandstanded on "Russia's invasion of Ukraine" in order to boost her chances of moving into the more lucrative "mainstream media." My point is quite different. Even Abby Martin and Greenwald, both of whom bring us much light, cannot fully escape Western propaganda.

For example, Martin's denunciation of Russia for "invading" Ukraine is based on Western propaganda that Russia sent 16,000 troops to occupy Crimea. The fact of the matter is that those 16,000 Russian troops have been in Crimea since the 1990s. Under the Russian-Ukrainian agreement, Russia has the right to base 25,000 troops in Crimea.

Apparently, neither Abby Martin nor Glenn Greenwald, two intelligent and aware people, knew this fact. Washington's propaganda is so pervasive that two of our best reporters were victimized by it.

As I have written several times in my columns, Washington organized the coup in Ukraine in order to promote its world hegemony by capturing Ukraine for NATO and putting US missile bases on Russia's border in order to degrade Russia's nuclear deterrent and force Russia to accept Washington's hegemony.

Russia has done nothing but respond in a very low-key way to a major strategic threat orchestrated by Washington.

It is not only Martin and Greenwald who have fallen under Washington's propaganda.

They are joined by Patrick J. Buchanan. Pat's column calling on readers to "resist the war party on Crimea" opens with Washington's propagandistic claim: "With Vladimir Putin's dispatch of Russian Troops into Crimea."

No such dispatch has occurred. Putin has been granted authority by the Russian Duma to send troops to Ukraine, but Putin has stated publicly that sending troops would be a last resort to protect Crimean Russians from invasions by the ultra-nationalist neo-nazis who stole Washington's coup and established themselves as the power in Kiev and western Ukraine.

So, here we have three of the smartest and most independent journalists of our time, and all three are under the impression created by Western propaganda that Russia has invaded Ukraine.

It appears that the power of Washington's propaganda is so great that not even the best and most independent journalists can escape its influence.

What chance does truth have when Abby Martin gets kudos from Glenn Greenwald for denouncing Russia for an alleged "invasion" that has not taken place, and when independent Pat Buchanan opens his column dissenting from the blame-Russia-crowd by accepting that an invasion has taken place?

The entire story that the presstitutes have told about the Ukraine is a propaganda production. The presstitutes told us that the deposed president, Viktor Yanukovych, ordered snipers to shoot protesters. On the basis of these false reports, Washington's stooges, who comprise the existing non-government in Kiev, have issued arrest orders for Yanukovych and intend for him to be tried in an international court. In an intercepted telephone call between EU foreign affairs minister Catherine Ashton and Etonian foreign affairs minister Urmas Paet who had just returned from Kiev, Paet reports: "There is now stronger and stronger understanding that behind the snipers, it was not Yanukovych, but it was somebody from the new coalition." Paet goes on to report that "all the evidence shows that the people who were killed by snipers from both sides, among policemen and then people from the streets, that they were the same snipers killing people from both sides . . . and it's really disturbing that now the new coalition, that they don't want to investigate what exactly happened." Ashton, absorbed with EU plans to guide reforms in Ukraine and to prepare the way for the IMF to gain control over economic policy, was not particularly pleased to hear Paet's report that the killings were an orchestrated provocation. You can listen to the conversation between Paet and Ashton here: http://rt.com/news/ashton-maidan-snipers-estonia-946/

What has happened in Ukraine is that Washington plotted against and overthrew an elected legitimate government and then lost control to neo-nazis who are threatening the large Russian population in southern and eastern Ukraine, provinces that formerly were part of Russia. These threatened Russians have appealed for Russia's help, and just like the Russians in South Ossetia, they will receive Russia's help.

The Obama regime and its presstitutes will continue to lie about everything.

Paul Craig Roberts is a former Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury and Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal. His latest book The Failure of Laissez-Faire Capitalism. Roberts' How the Economy Was Lost is now available from CounterPunch in electronic format.

[Jan 29, 2015] America's Greatest Affliction The Presstitute Media

June 2, 2013 | PaulCraigRoberts.org

When Gerald Celente branded the American media "presstitutes," he got it right. The US print and TV media (and NPR) whore for Washington and the corporations. Reporting the real news is their last concern. The presstitutes are a Ministry of Propaganda and Coverup. This is true of the entire Western media, a collection of bought-and-paid-for whores.

It seems that every day I witness a dozen or more examples. Take May 31 for example.
The presstitutes report that US Secretary of State John Kerry and his German counterpart are working on Russia to convince that country to be a "party to peace" in Syria by not supplying the Syrian government, whose country has been invaded, with arms. Kerry and the Israelis especially do not want Russia to deliver the S-300 anti-aircraft missile system to Syria.

This was the extent of the presstitutes' report. The presstitutes made no mention of the fact that the invasion of Syria by al-Qaeda affiliated radical Muslims was organized and equipped by Washington via its proxies in the region, such as Saudia Arabia and the oil emirates. Americans sufficiently stupid to rely on the presstitute media do not know that it is not Syrians who want to overthrow their government, but Washington, Israel, and radical Islamists who object to Syria's secular non-confrontational government.

One might think that the US media would wonder why Washington prefers to have al-Qaeda governing Syria than a non-confrontational secular government. But such a question is off-limits for the US media.

Israel, unlike Washington which so far hides behind proxies, has actually openly committed war crimes as defined by the Nuremberg trials of Nazis by initiating unprovoked aggression against Syria by militarily attacking the country.

In reporting Kerry's pressure on Putin, presstitutes made no mention that the Washington-backed attempted overthrow of the Syrian government has run into difficulty, causing president obama to ask the Pentagon to come up with a no-fly plan, which means according to the Libya precedent NATO or US air attacks on Syrian government forces. As the S-300 missiles are a defensive weapon, obama's plan to send in Western or Israeli air forces to attack the Syrian army is why Kerry is pressuring Russia not to honor its contract to deliver to Syria the S-300 missiles, which can knock US, NATO, and Israeli aircraft out of the sky.

Those who believed that Kerry could have made a difference as president must be disillusioned to see what a warmongering whore he is. In america marketing is everything; truth is nothing.

The real news story is that Washington is trying to convince Putin to acquiesce to
Washington's overthrow of the Syrian government so that Russia can be evicted from its only naval base in the Mediterranean Sea, thus making it Washington's sea, Washington's Mare Nostrum. The american pressitutes put all the onus on the Russian government for not helping Washington to overthrow the Syrian government in order that Washington has another victory over Russia and can start next on Iran.

William Hague, who serves, with Washington's approval, as British foreign secretary to the shame of a once proud nation, made this clear when he declared: "We want a solution without Assad. We do not accept the stay of Assad." This is amazing hypocrisy, because the Syrian government is more respectful of human rights than Washington and London.

While Kerry was trying to con Putin, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said that the obama administration's immediate priority was removing Assad from power.

http://thehill.com/blogs/global-affairs/middle-east-north-africa/302773-white-house-no-role-for-assad-in-transitional-government

So for the US and UK, "peace" means the overthrow of the Syrian government by force.

Why isn't the United Nations protesting? The answer is that the countries and their UN representatives have been purchased by Washington. Money talks. Integrity and justice don't. Integrity and justice are poverty-inflicted. The UN belongs to the evil empire. Washington owns it. The american Empire has the money. It pays for the headlines and for the budget that lets the UN delegates enjoy New York City,

In the world today, integrity is worthless, but money is valuable, and Washington has the money because, as the dollar is the world reserve currency, it can be printed in sufficient quantities to purchase every country's government, including our own. One year out of office and Tony Blair was worth $35 million. Look at the amazing Clinton riches. According to news report, $3.2 million was spent on Chelsea's wedding. http://www.goingwedding.com/news_detail.asp?newsid=67

Hague said that the UK and France "seek to end the ban on arming Syrian rebels." Hague did not explain how the invasion force was armed if there is a ban against arming it. But Hague did tell us who the invading force is: "the Syrian National Coalition," which consists of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Egypt (still the American puppet), the United States, Britain, France, Turkey, Germany and Italy. Obviously, the talk about a "Syrian rebellion" is pure BS. Syria is confronted with an attempted overthrow of its government by the US and its puppet states. Kerry is trying to convince Putin to let Washington overthrow Syria.

As if this wasn't enough, also on May 31, I listened to e.j. dionne and david brooks on National Public Radio discuss the state of the obama presidency. Both were protective of "our president." Neither would dare say: "the military-security complex's president," "Wall Street's president," "the Israel Lobby's president," "Monsanto's president," "the mining and fracking president." obama is "our president."

Both brooks and dionne agreed that the media had got rid of the Benghazi issue and that the IRS persecution of Tea Party members was under the media's control and was not a threat to obama. david brooks did acknowledge that there were economic problems ignored and no new ideas. However, the blatant fact that under obama the US is in a constitutional crisis, well described by Dr. Francis Boyle, professor of international law at the University of Illinois, http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article35134.htm was not mentioned by NPR's pundits, who define correct thoughts for the NPR audience, people too busy to pay attention.

In america today, the executive branch in explicit violation of the US Constitution detains indefinitely or murders any US citizen alleged without proof by an unaccountable member of the executive branch to be in any way associated with the broad but undefined term, "terrorism," even innocently as a donor to hungry or ill Palestinian children. The executive branch clearly violates the US Constitution and US statutory laws against torture and spying on citizens without warrants. Congress does not impeach the president for his obvious crimes, and the Federal Judiciary enables them.

President Nixon was driven from office because he lied about when he learned of a burglary for which he was not responsible. President Clinton was impeached by the House of Representatives for lying about a sexual affair with a White House intern, Monica Lewinsky.

President george w. bush took america to wars based on obvious lies, and so did president obama. Both administrations are guilty of war crimes and almost every possible infraction of constitutional and international law. Yet, no presstitute member of the media would dare mention impeachment, and the House would never bring the charge.

There is no doubt whatsoever that in the 21st century presidents, their lawyers, Justice (sic) Department officials, and CIA and black-op operatives have broken law after law, and there is no accountability. For the presstitutes, this is a non-issue. "Rule of law, Constitution? We don't need no stinking rule of law or Constitution."

For the presstitutes, the bought-and-paid for-whores for evil, the issues are obama's stable poll numbers; teenage girls arrested for fighting at a kindergarten graduation ceremony; "Microsoft's Bill Gates extended his lead over Mexico's Carlos Slim as the world's richest person," "the $14 million-dollar girl: Beyonce rakes it in."

Constitutional crisis? What is that? I mean, really, look at Beyonce's legs. Didn't you hear, the dollar rose today?

The presstitutes have not investigated any important issue. Not 9/11. Not the accumulation of unaccountable power in the executive branch. Not the demise of the Bill of Rights. Not the Boston Marathon bombing. Not the endless and unexplained wars against Muslims who have not attacked the US.

The Boston Marathon saga reached new levels of absurdity with the FBI's murder of Ibragim Todashev, who was being pressured to admit to various associated crimes. The presstitutes first reported that Todashev was armed. It was a gun, then a knife, then after the presstitutes duly reported the false information planted on them, which for the insouciance american public was sufficient to explain Toashev's murder, the FBI admitted that the victim was unarmed.

Nevertheless, he was shot seven times, one to the back of the head. His father wants to know why the FBI assassinated his son, but the presstitutes could not care less. Don't expect any answer from the american press and TV media or from NPR, an organization that pretends to be a "listener station" but is financed by corporate contributions.

How's Todashev's murder for Gestapo justice? Where is the difference? A bullet in the back of the head. And america is the shining light on the hill, the font of freedom and democracy brought to the world courtesy of the military/security complex out of the barrel of guns and hellfire missiles from drones. And relentless propaganda in the schools, universities, and media.

Washington certainly learned from Mao and Pol Pot. You kill them into submission.

But you will never hear about it from the presstitutes.

[Jan 26, 2015] Syriza Wins and the NYT and WSJ Coverage Competes for Mendacity By William K. Black

Previously you can expect MSM to provide some basic facts about foreign events correctly. Now everything is distorted, facts. opinions, places and events... It's like a world in some computer game that has only superficial connection to reality.
January 25, 2015 | neweconomicperspectives.org

The Wall Street Journal and the New York Time's eurozone reporters, who share the same unshakable devotion to TINA and austerity as the Murdochized WSJ news staff have been thrown into a panic by Syriza's electoral successes in Greece.

Both papers are freaked out, as are the Germans, about the potential for Greece to spark a wave of rejections of the troika's infliction of austerity in a manner similar to how the infliction of self-destructive austerity programs pursuant to the Washington Consensus' demands led to the "lost decade" and the democratic election of what is now over a dozen Latin American candidates running on anti-austerity platforms. The Washington Consensus was drafted and named by an economist at Pete Peterson's International Institute. Peterson is a Wall Street billionaire whose mission is causing debt and deficit hysteria and plugging the joys of austerity and unraveling the safety nets. His greatest goal is privatizing Social Security – producing hundreds of billions in additional fees for Wall Street.

The NYT predicted that:

"A Syriza victory would lift the hopes of euroskeptic parties elsewhere in Europe, especially in Spain, where the left-leaning, anti-austerity Podemos party, not yet a year old, is already drawing 20 percent support in national opinion polls. The leader of Podemos, Pablo Iglesias, joined Mr. Tsipras this week during Syriza's final campaign rally."

The WSJ makes a similar point to explain the significance of Syriza's electoral success.

"A Syriza victory would also be closely watched by other antiausterity parties in Europe-on the left and the right-that have been gaining ground in the past year. In Europe-wide parliamentary elections last spring, voters fed up with years of cutbacks, rising unemployment and a shrinking social state, strongly backed new and fringe antiestablishment parties such as France's National Front and Spain's newly created Podemos party in a reaction to Europe's old guard."

Pete Peterson Brings Latin America's Lost Decade to Europe

The NYT responded by citing quoting as its one non-partisan economic commentator on Syriza's win – a Peterson institute economist! Yes, the people that crafted the Washington Consensus and claimed U.S. fiscal stimulus would produce hyper-inflation and who praised Germany's austerity policies were presented by the NYT as the impartial experts on austerity – with no explanation of any of this history.

"'[Alexis Tsipras, Syriza's leader] is campaigning on change and the end of austerity,' said Jacob Funk Kirkegaard, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington, who argues that Mr. Tsipras must move toward a more centrist stance if he hopes to revive the economy and keep Greece solvent.

'If he can pull that off, that will be the best possible outcome for Greece and for Europe, because it would show that these protest movements ultimately recognize reality, which is that they are in the euro, and they have to play by the rules,' he added."

The NYT did not bother to explain what the Peterson economist meant by the phrase "they have to play by the rules." He means that Greece must continue to follow draconian austerity under the eurozone's oxymoronic "Stability and Growth Pact" that has caused massive instability and crippled growth because it requires the economic malpractice of responding to a Great Recession by forcing Greece, Spain, and Italy into Great Depressions. As I have explained many times, Greece's current Great Depression is more severe and long-lasting than its Great Depression 80 years ago. Under the plan the troika successfully extorted prior Greek leaders to adopt he will be forced to further tighten the austerity screws for at least another five years. When the Peterson economist says that he hopes Tsipras "move[s] toward a more centrist stance" he means he hopes Tsirpras betrays all of his campaign promises and adopts austerity.

The NYT Thinks its Redemptive for Poor Greeks to Suffer

But it gets better, for Peterson's economist says that if Syriza betrays the promises it made to the people of Greece and instead embraces austerity it will "revive the economy and keep Greece solvent." Austerity has forced Greece into a Great Depression – the opposite of "reviv[ing] the economy." A sovereign government is not a corporation and doesn't (and can't) use GAAP accounting. It is not "insolvent" because it has debts. It that is the definition, then austerity has not and will not make Greece "solvent."

The Peterson economist then ends on an even worse note. He implicitly defines "reality" as requiring brutal austerity. He excludes fiscal stimulus, even though – as Paul Krugman (and many folks like us have tried to explain for many years – the great majority of economists think responding to a Great Recession with austerity constitutes economic malpractice.

The NYT also throws in its near constant meme that the Greeks aren't mature and ready to "sacrifice" enough to get better. They still believe in the medical myth that you need to bleed a patient to help him recover. Embracing austerity constitutes pointless masochism that delays rather than speeds recovery from a Great Recession – suffering inflicted primarily on the poor and the sick, but the NYT loves to blame poor Greeks.

"Continuing economic weakness has stirred a populist backlash as more voters grow fed up with policies that demand sacrifice."

Opposing austerity is not immoral, weak, or "populist." It is good economics and humane – a win-win.

The WSJ Claims Austerity Helped the Greeks Economy (by ignoring the Great Depression)

The WSJ doesn't need one of Peterson's economists to match the NYT's mendacity. In the midst of a purported news story (not an opinion piece) the WSJ states the following as if it were undisputed fact.

Since first seeking a bailout in 2010, Greece has undertaken a broad sweep of economic overhauls and cutbacks that have helped mend its public finances and nudged the economy back to growth following six years of deep recession. Those cutbacks have come at a cost: Some 25% of Greeks remain jobless, while a quarter of households live close to the poverty line.

It is a clumsy attempt at mendacity given that the facts in the second sentence render risible the fiction foisted in the first sentence. Austerity has not "nudged the economy back to growth following six years of deep recession." Austerity threw an economy in a deep recession into a gratuitous Great Depression. But for austerity, Greece could have begun a robust recovery four years ago.

There are at the time I write this two WSJ articles about the Greek election and the second one also has a clunker that is unintentionally hilarious.

And if Syriza refuses to meet those terms: Will Merkel blink?

No. German leaders fear that funding a Greece that refuses to reform would be the death knell of the eurozone. Other debtor countries could conclude that they could blackmail Berlin, refuse to cut their deficits or overhaul their economies, and still get German taxpayers' money.

Where to start?

[Jan 20, 2015] Charlie Hebdo and Fredou Who's awake, who's still in bed

So much so interesting. Almost as interesting is the lack of interest in the Western media at this added tragedy in the Charlie Hebdo "affair", a lack of interest one reporter summed up as a "mainstream news blackout" - and so the ready focus of another conspiracy theory.
Asia Times

On Thursday, January 8, France 3, the second-largest French public TV channel, reported the death that morning of a police commissioner who had been investigating the January 7 attack on the French weekly satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

The commissioner, Helric Fredou, 45, was found dead in his office in Limoges, the administrative capital of the Limousin region in west-central France, at about 1 a.m., having apparently taken his own life with his service gun. He reportedly met earlier with the family of a victim of the Charlie Hebdo attack and died before completing a report that he had been compiling.

So much so interesting. Almost as interesting is the lack of interest in the Western media at this added tragedy in the Charlie Hebdo "affair", a lack of interest one reporter summed up as a "mainstream news blackout" - and so the ready focus of another conspiracy theory.

The counterpoint in those early reports that did surface was that he had suffered from depression and experienced burn-out. His death so soon after taking on a role in investigating the French equivalent of "9/11" was, apparently just coincidence, or the consequence of an added heavy burden that was just too much to take. Even so, the delay in, or near absence of, English-language media coverage is curious at best.

So a news blackout? Or just lazy journalism? And where best, then, to get breaking news - the West's leading news outlets (CNN, Fox, New York Times, the Guardian etc etc etc), or obscure outlets elsewhere that at least are awake, and not still in bed -- literally or metaphorically? Here's a timeline to help you decide.

By then, questions were being asked about this absence of big-media reporting on what might be an important story of great public interest - or might not be, but with next-to-no mainstream reporting, who could tell? Global Research was asking on January 11.

If some people want to argue that these are small sites given to sometimes questionable stories, in this case there was little reason to question their source - France 3 - or the key facts.

Yet it was not until January 12, that the British press started to wake up, the Mirror reporting just after midday, followed 3 hours later by the Daily Mail.

Dragging its feet, also on Monday (7:37 p.m.), the UK's Daily Telegraph gave its account of an event now more than 4 days old that took place only a few hours train ride away from the Telegraph's London office, and considerably less than that from the newspaper's Paris office.

(Journalists will love the ambiguous urgency in the Telegraph's opening use of "it has emerged" - "A high-ranking judicial police chief in Limoges committed suicide last Wednesday hours after being asked to file a report on the Charlie Hebdo killings, it has emerged." In other words, we were asleep (or worse) - but hey, we're getting there.)

It was not until Tuesday, January 13, that the US press woke up, in the shape of the Washington Times - and by now it had absolutely no doubt about what line to take in its headline - "Helric Fredou, French police chief, kills himself amid pressure of Paris terror".

Writing this on January 15, there are now numerous stories in the non-English language press, but search on Google and it appears there is absolutely no coverage of this, if not strange then certainly worth a second look, death: not on CNN, not on the New York Times, not in the Washington Post, not in the Guardian, etc etc etc. (An article published by the Ron Paul Institute on January 14 that includes a reference to the police commissioner's death has attracted some criticism for raising similar and more wide-reaching questions.)

We do not need a conspiracy theory (a confirmed autopsy report would be a start though). But we could do with some reporting. After all, a large part of the reaction to the Charlie Hebdo massacre concerned press freedom - and press freedom requires reporting in the first place.

The absence of reporting on the death of a senior police officer, Helric Fredou, involved in some way in the investigation of the Charlie Hebdo massacre that took place barely 24 hours earlier, can too easily mean the absence of freedom - or in this case, raise the question of who is awake to important events, and who is in bed, and if in bed, then with whom.

(Copyright 2015 Asia Times Online (Holdings) Ltd. All rights reserved. Please contact us about sales, syndication and republishing.)

[Jan 07, 2015] 4 in 10 Americans erroneously believe US found active WMDs in Iraq – survey

Looks like pretty toxic mixture of propaganda conformism and groupthink exists in the USA...
Jan 07, 2015 | RT USA

A new survey has found that 42 percent of respondents believe that US forces found active weapons of mass destruction in Iraq after the 2003 invasion, when, in fact, no such WMDs – the major rationale in the push for war – were recovered.

The national survey, conducted by Fairleigh Dickinson University's PublicMind, indicated that Republicans were far more likely to believe WMDs were found following the American invasion of Iraq in 2003, justification for which was fostered by claims made by the George W. Bush administration that Saddam Hussein posed an imminent nuclear threat.

Fifty-one percent of Republicans said it was "probably" or "definitely" true that an active WMD program was revealed following the US invasion, while 32 percent of surveyed Democrats said the same.

PublicMind noted that the discovery of degraded chemical weapons in Iraq – likely leftover materials from a program that ended in the early 1990s – might explain some confusion. The presence of these weapons was first reported in October 2014.

"People who think we did the right thing in invading Iraq seem to be revising their memories to retroactively justify the invasion," said Dan Cassino, director of experimental research for the poll. "This sort of motivated reasoning is pretty common: when people want to believe something, they'll twist the facts to fit it."

The respondents' chosen news sources also seemed to indicate whether they believed WMDs were found.

Fifty-two percent of individuals who said they get their news from Fox said the discovery of WMDs in Iraq was "probably" or "definitely" true. MSNBC watchers were least likely to believe this, with 14 percent agreeing.

The survey also probed respondents' belief in President Barack Obama's US citizenship. Nineteen percent of respondents said it is "definitely" or "probably" true that Obama is not a legal citizen of the US, while 34 percent of Republicans and 30 percent of Fox News adherents believed the same.

The survey found that higher levels of political knowledge translated to a less likelihood that respondents would hold false beliefs about WMDs or Obama's citizenship.

Respondents were asked three questions to determine this knowledge: Which party currently controls the House of Representatives? What are the three branches of government? Name the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

PubicMind reported that one-third of respondents answered none of the questions correctly, while 26 percent got one right, 27 percent got two right, and 13 percent got all three right.

Higher levels of political knowledge, based on the answers to those questions, corresponded with lower levels of belief in WMDs in Iraq or Obama's non-citizenship.

Twenty-one percent of those who got none of the three questions correct believed Obama is "definitely" or "probably" not a US citizen, and 46 percent of them said that active WMDs were found in Iraq. Among those who got all three questions correct, the percentages were 13 and 20 percent, respectively.

"It's tempting to believe that people have these beliefs because they just don't know better," said Cassino. "But statements like these are about what people want to believe, and no amount of education is going to trump that."

The poll included 964 respondents contacted by both landline telephones and cell phones from December 8 through December 15, 2014. The survey has a margin of error of +/- three percentage points.

[Dec 30, 2014] The Victory of 'Perception Management' by Robert Parry

Dec 30, 2014 | ronpaulinstitute.org

To understand how the American people find themselves trapped in today's Orwellian dystopia of endless warfare against an ever-shifting collection of "evil" enemies, you have to think back to the Vietnam War and the shock to the ruling elite caused by an unprecedented popular uprising against that war.

While on the surface Official Washington pretended that the mass protests didn't change policy, a panicky reality existed behind the scenes, a recognition that a major investment in domestic propaganda would be needed to ensure that future imperial adventures would have the public's eager support or at least its confused acquiescence.

This commitment to what the insiders called "perception management" began in earnest with the Reagan administration in the 1980s but it would come to be the accepted practice of all subsequent administrations, including the present one of President Barack Obama.

In that sense, propaganda in pursuit of foreign policy goals would trump the democratic ideal of an informed electorate. The point would be not to honestly inform the American people about events around the world but to manage their perceptions by ramping up fear in some cases and defusing outrage in others – depending on the US government's needs.

Thus, you have the current hysteria over Russia's supposed "aggression" in Ukraine when the crisis was actually provoked by the West, including by US neocons who helped create today's humanitarian crisis in eastern Ukraine that they now cynically blame on Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Yet, many of these same US foreign policy operatives – outraged over Russia's limited intervention to protect ethic Russians in eastern Ukraine – are demanding that President Obama launch an air war against the Syrian military as a "humanitarian" intervention there.

In other words, if the Russians act to shield ethnic Russians on their border who are being bombarded by a coup regime in Kiev that was installed with US support, the Russians are the villains blamed for the thousands of civilian deaths, even though the vast majority of the casualties have been inflicted by the Kiev regime from indiscriminate bombing and from dispatching neo-Nazi militias to do the street fighting.

In Ukraine, the exigent circumstances don't matter, including the violent overthrow of the constitutionally elected president last February. It's all about white hats for the current Kiev regime and black hats for the ethnic Russians and especially for Putin.

But an entirely different set of standards has applied to Syria where a US-backed rebellion, which included violent Sunni jihadists from the start, wore the white hats and the relatively secular Syrian government, which has responded with excessive violence of its own, wears the black hats. But a problem to that neat dichotomy arose when one of the major Sunni rebel forces, the Islamic State, started seizing Iraqi territory and beheading Westerners.

Faced with those grisly scenes, President Obama authorized bombing the Islamic State forces in both Iraq and Syria, but neocons and other US hardliners have been hectoring Obama to go after their preferred target, Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, despite the risk that destroying the Syrian military could open the gates of Damascus to the Islamic State or al-Qaeda's Nusra Front.

Lost on the Dark Side

You might think that the American public would begin to rebel against these messy entangling alliances with the 1984-like demonizing of one new "enemy" after another. Not only have these endless wars drained trillions of dollars from the US taxpayers, they have led to the deaths of thousands of US troops and to the tarnishing of America's image from the attendant evils of war, including a lengthy detour into the "dark side" of torture, assassinations and "collateral" killings of children and other innocents.

But that is where the history of "perception management" comes in, the need to keep the American people compliant and confused. In the 1980s, the Reagan administration was determined to "kick the Vietnam Syndrome," the revulsion that many Americans felt for warfare after all those years in the blood-soaked jungles of Vietnam and all the lies that clumsily justified the war.

So, the challenge for the US government became: how to present the actions of "enemies" always in the darkest light while bathing the behavior of the US "side" in a rosy glow. You also had to stage this propaganda theater in an ostensibly "free country" with a supposedly "independent press."

From documents declassified or leaked over the past several decades, including an unpublished draft chapter of the congressional Iran-Contra investigation, we now know a great deal about how this remarkable project was undertaken and who the key players were.

Perhaps not surprisingly much of the initiative came from the Central Intelligence Agency, which housed the expertise for manipulating target populations through propaganda and disinformation. The only difference this time would be that the American people would be the target population.

For this project, Ronald Reagan's CIA Director William J. Casey sent his top propaganda specialist Walter Raymond Jr. to the National Security Council staff to manage the inter-agency task forces that would brainstorm and coordinate this "public diplomacy" strategy.

Many of the old intelligence operatives, including Casey and Raymond, are now dead, but other influential Washington figures who were deeply involved by these strategies remain, such as neocon stalwart Robert Kagan, whose first major job in Washington was as chief of Reagan's State Department Office of Public Diplomacy for Latin America.

Now a fellow at the Brookings Institution and a columnist at the Washington Post, Kagan remains an expert in presenting foreign policy initiatives within the "good guy/bad guy" frames that he learned in the 1980s. He is also the husband of Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland, who oversaw the overthrow of Ukraine's elected President Viktor Yanukovych last February amid a very effective US propaganda strategy.

During the Reagan years, Kagan worked closely on propaganda schemes with Elliott Abrams, then the Assistant Secretary of State for Latin America. After getting convicted and then pardoned in the Iran-Contra scandal, Abrams reemerged on President George W. Bush's National Security Council handling Middle East issues, including the Iraq War, and later "global democracy strategy." Abrams is now a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.

These and other neocons were among the most diligent students learning the art of "perception management" from the likes of Raymond and Casey, but those propaganda skills have spread much more widely as "public diplomacy" and "information warfare" have now become an integral part of every US foreign policy initiative.

A Propaganda Bureaucracy

Declassified documents now reveal how extensive Reagan's propaganda project became with inter-agency task forces assigned to develop "themes" that would push American "hot buttons." Scores of documents came out during the Iran-Contra scandal in 1987 and hundreds more are now available at the Reagan presidential library in Simi Valley, California.

What the documents reveal is that at the start of the Reagan administration, CIA Director Casey faced a daunting challenge in trying to rally public opinion behind aggressive US interventions, especially in Central America. Bitter memories of the Vietnam War were still fresh and many Americans were horrified at the brutality of right-wing regimes in Guatemala and El Salvador, where Salvadoran soldiers raped and murdered four American churchwomen in December 1980.

The new leftist Sandinista government in Nicaragua also was not viewed with much alarm. After all, Nicaragua was an impoverished country of only about three million people who had just cast off the brutal dictatorship of Anastasio Somoza.

So, Reagan's initial strategy of bolstering the Salvadoran and Guatemalan armies required defusing the negative publicity about them and somehow rallying the American people into supporting a covert CIA intervention inside Nicaragua via a counterrevolutionary force known as the Contras led by Somoza's ex-National Guard officers.

Reagan's task was made tougher by the fact that the Cold War's anti-communist arguments had so recently been discredited in Vietnam. As deputy assistant secretary to the Air Force, J. Michael Kelly, put it, "the most critical special operations mission we have … is to persuade the American people that the communists are out to get us."

At the same time, the White House worked to weed out American reporters who uncovered facts that undercut the desired public images. As part of that effort, the administration attacked New York Times correspondent Raymond Bonner for disclosing the Salvadoran regime's massacre of about 800 men, women and children in the village of El Mozote in northeast El Salvador in December 1981. Accuracy in Media and conservative news organizations, such as The Wall Street Journal's editorial page, joined in pummeling Bonner, who was soon ousted from his job.

But these were largely ad hoc efforts. A more comprehensive "public diplomacy" operation took shape beginning in 1982 when Raymond, a 30-year veteran of CIA clandestine services, was transferred to the NSC.

A slight, soft-spoken New Yorker who reminded some of a character from a John le Carré spy novel, Raymond was an intelligence officer who "easily fades into the woodwork," according to one acquaintance. But Raymond would become the sparkplug for this high-powered propaganda network, according to a draft chapter of the Iran-Contra report.

Though the draft chapter didn't use Raymond's name in its opening pages, apparently because some of the information came from classified depositions, Raymond's name was used later in the chapter and the earlier citations matched Raymond's known role. According to the draft report, the CIA officer who was recruited for the NSC job had served as Director of the Covert Action Staff at the CIA from 1978 to 1982 and was a "specialist in propaganda and disinformation."

"The CIA official [Raymond] discussed the transfer with [CIA Director] Casey and NSC Advisor William Clark that he be assigned to the NSC as [Donald] Gregg's successor [as coordinator of intelligence operations in June 1982] and received approval for his involvement in setting up the public diplomacy program along with his intelligence responsibilities," the chapter said.

"In the early part of 1983, documents obtained by the Select [Iran-Contra] Committees indicate that the Director of the Intelligence Staff of the NSC [Raymond] successfully recommended the establishment of an inter-governmental network to promote and manage a public diplomacy plan designed to create support for Reagan Administration policies at home and abroad."

During his Iran-Contra deposition, Raymond explained the need for this propaganda structure, saying: "We were not configured effectively to deal with the war of ideas."

One reason for this shortcoming was that federal law forbade taxpayers' money from being spent on domestic propaganda or grassroots lobbying to pressure congressional representatives. Of course, every president and his team had vast resources to make their case in public, but by tradition and law, they were restricted to speeches, testimony and one-on-one persuasion of lawmakers.

But things were about to change. In a Jan. 13, 1983, memo, NSC Advisor Clark foresaw the need for non-governmental money to advance this cause. "We will develop a scenario for obtaining private funding," Clark wrote. (Just five days later, President Reagan personally welcomed media magnate Rupert Murdoch into the Oval Office for a private meeting, according to records on file at the Reagan library.)

As administration officials reached out to wealthy supporters, lines against domestic propaganda soon were crossed as the operation took aim not only at foreign audiences but at US public opinion, the press and congressional Democrats who opposed funding the Nicaraguan Contras.

At the time, the Contras were earning a gruesome reputation as human rights violators and terrorists. To change this negative perception of the Contras as well as of the US-backed regimes in El Salvador and Guatemala, the Reagan administration created a full-blown, clandestine propaganda network.

In January 1983, President Reagan took the first formal step to create this unprecedented peacetime propaganda bureaucracy by signing National Security Decision Directive 77, entitled "Management of Public Diplomacy Relative to National Security." Reagan deemed it "necessary to strengthen the organization, planning and coordination of the various aspects of public diplomacy of the United States Government."

Reagan ordered the creation of a special planning group within the National Security Council to direct these "public diplomacy" campaigns. The planning group would be headed by the CIA's Walter Raymond Jr. and one of its principal arms would be a new Office of Public Diplomacy for Latin America, housed at the State Department but under the control of the NSC.

CIA Taint

Worried about the legal prohibition barring the CIA from engaging in domestic propaganda, Raymond formally resigned from the CIA in April 1983, so, he said, "there would be no question whatsoever of any contamination of this." But Raymond continued to act toward the US public much like a CIA officer would in directing a propaganda operation in a hostile foreign country.

Raymond fretted, too, about the legality of Casey's ongoing involvement. Raymond confided in one memo that it was important "to get [Casey] out of the loop," but Casey never backed off and Raymond continued to send progress reports to his old boss well into 1986. It was "the kind of thing which [Casey] had a broad catholic interest in," Raymond shrugged during his Iran-Contra deposition. He then offered the excuse that Casey undertook this apparently illegal interference in domestic politics "not so much in his CIA hat, but in his adviser to the president hat."

As a result of Reagan's decision directive, "an elaborate system of inter-agency committees was eventually formed and charged with the task of working closely with private groups and individuals involved in fundraising, lobbying campaigns and propagandistic activities aimed at influencing public opinion and governmental action," the draft Iran-Contra chapter said. "This effort resulted in the creation of the Office of Public Diplomacy for Latin America and the Caribbean in the Department of State (S/LPD), headed by Otto Reich," a right-wing Cuban exile from Miami.

Though Secretary of State George Shultz wanted the office under his control, President Reagan insisted that Reich "report directly to the NSC," where Raymond oversaw the operations as a special assistant to the President and the NSC's director of international communications, the chapter said.

"Reich relied heavily on Raymond to secure personnel transfers from other government agencies to beef up the limited resources made available to S/LPD by the Department of State," the chapter said. "Personnel made available to the new office included intelligence specialists from the US Air Force and the US Army. On one occasion, five intelligence experts from the Army's 4th Psychological Operations Group at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, were assigned to work with Reich's fast-growing operation."

A "public diplomacy strategy paper," dated May 5, 1983, summed up the administration's problem. "As far as our Central American policy is concerned, the press perceives that: the USG [US government] is placing too much emphasis on a military solution, as well as being allied with inept, right-wing governments and groups. …The focus on Nicaragua [is] on the alleged US-backed 'covert' war against the Sandinistas. Moreover, the opposition … is widely perceived as being led by former Somozistas."

The administration's difficulty with most of these press perceptions was that they were correct. But the strategy paper recommended ways to influence various groups of Americans to "correct" the impressions anyway, removing what another planning document called "perceptional obstacles."

"Themes will obviously have to be tailored to the target audience," the strategy paper said.

Casey's Hand

As the Reagan administration struggled to manage public perceptions, CIA Director Casey kept his personal hand in the effort. On one muggy day in August 1983, Casey convened a meeting of Reagan administration officials and five leading ad executives at the Old Executive Office Building next to the White House to come up with ideas for selling Reagan's Central American policies to the American people.

Earlier that day, a national security aide had warmed the P.R. men to their task with dire predictions that leftist governments would send waves of refugees into the United States and cynically flood America with drugs. The P.R. executives jotted down some thoughts over lunch and then pitched their ideas to the CIA director in the afternoon as he sat hunched behind a desk taking notes.

"Casey was kind of spearheading a recommendation" for better public relations for Reagan's Central America policies, recalled William I. Greener Jr., one of the ad men. Two top proposals arising from the meeting were for a high-powered communications operation inside the White House and private money for an outreach program to build support for US intervention.

The results from the discussions were summed up in an Aug. 9, 1983, memo written by Raymond who described Casey's participation in the meeting to brainstorm how "to sell a 'new product' – Central America – by generating interest across-the-spectrum."

In the memo to then-US Information Agency director Charles Wick, Raymond also noted that "via Murdock [sic] may be able to draw down added funds" to support pro-Reagan initiatives. Raymond's reference to Rupert Murdoch possibly drawing down "added funds" suggests that the right-wing media mogul had been recruited to be part of the covert propaganda operation. During this period, Wick arranged at least two face-to-face meetings between Murdoch and Reagan.

In line with the clandestine nature of the operation, Raymond also suggested routing the "funding via Freedom House or some other structure that has credibility in the political center." (Freedom House would later emerge as a principal beneficiary of funding from the National Endowment for Democracy, which was also created under the umbrella of Raymond's operation.)

As the Reagan administration pushed the envelope on domestic propaganda, Raymond continued to worry about Casey's involvement. In an Aug. 29, 1983, memo, Raymond recounted a call from Casey pushing his P.R. ideas. Alarmed at a CIA director participating so brazenly in domestic propaganda, Raymond wrote that "I philosophized a bit with Bill Casey (in an effort to get him out of the loop)" but with little success.

Meanwhile, Reich's Office of Public Diplomacy for Latin America (S/LPD) proved extremely effective in selecting "hot buttons" that would anger Americans about the Sandinistas. He also browbeat news correspondents who produced stories that conflicted with the administration's "themes." Reich's basic M.O. was to dispatch his propaganda teams to lobby news executives to remove or punish out-of-step reporters – with a disturbing degree of success. Reich once bragged that his office "did not give the critics of the policy any quarter in the debate."

Another part of the office's job was to plant "white propaganda" in the news media through op-eds secretly financed by the government. In one memo, Jonathan Miller, a senior public diplomacy official, informed White House aide Patrick Buchanan about success placing an anti-Sandinista piece in The Wall Street Journal's friendly pages. "Officially, this office had no role in its preparation," Miller wrote.

Other times, the administration put out "black propaganda," outright falsehoods. In 1983, one such theme was designed to anger American Jews by portraying the Sandinistas as anti-Semitic because much of Nicaragua's small Jewish community fled after the revolution in 1979.

However, the US embassy in Managua investigated the charges and "found no verifiable ground on which to accuse the GRN [the Sandinista government] of anti-Semitism," according to a July 28, 1983, cable. But the administration kept the cable secret and pushed the "hot button" anyway.

Black Hats/White Hats

Repeatedly, Raymond lectured his subordinates on the chief goal of the operation: "in the specific case of Nica[ragua], concentrate on gluing black hats on the Sandinistas and white hats on UNO [the Contras' United Nicaraguan Opposition]." So Reagan's speechwriters dutifully penned descriptions of Sandinista-ruled Nicaragua as a "totalitarian dungeon" and the Contras as the "moral equivalent of the Founding Fathers."

As one NSC official told me, the campaign was modeled after CIA covert operations abroad where a political goal is more important than the truth. "They were trying to manipulate [US] public opinion … using the tools of Walt Raymond's trade craft which he learned from his career in the CIA covert operation shop," the official admitted.

Another administration official gave a similar description to The Miami Herald's Alfonso Chardy. "If you look at it as a whole, the Office of Public Diplomacy was carrying out a huge psychological operation, the kind the military conduct to influence the population in denied or enemy territory," that official explained. [For more details, see Parry's Lost History.]

Another important figure in the pro-Contra propaganda was NSC staffer Oliver North, who spent a great deal of his time on the Nicaraguan public diplomacy operation even though he is better known for arranging secret arms shipments to the Contras and to Iran's radical Islamic government, leading to the Iran-Contra scandal.

The draft Iran-Contra chapter depicted a Byzantine network of contract and private operatives who handled details of the domestic propaganda while concealing the hand of the White House and the CIA. "Richard R. Miller, former head of public affairs at AID, and Francis D. Gomez, former public affairs specialist at the State Department and USIA, were hired by S/LPD through sole-source, no-bid contracts to carry out a variety of activities on behalf of the Reagan administration policies in Central America," the chapter said.

"Supported by the State Department and White House, Miller and Gomez became the outside managers of [North operative] Spitz Channel's fundraising and lobbying activities. They also served as the managers of Central American political figures, defectors, Nicaraguan opposition leaders and Sandinista atrocity victims who were made available to the press, the Congress and private groups, to tell the story of the Contra cause."

Miller and Gomez facilitated transfers of money to Swiss and offshore banks at North's direction, as they "became the key link between the State Department and the Reagan White House with the private groups and individuals engaged in a myriad of endeavors aimed at influencing the Congress, the media and public opinion," the chapter said.

The Iran-Contra draft chapter also cited a March 10, 1985, memo from North describing his assistance to CIA Director Casey in timing disclosures of pro-Contra news "aimed at securing Congressional approval for renewed support to the Nicaraguan Resistance Forces."

The chapter added: "Casey's involvement in the public diplomacy effort apparently continued throughout the period under investigation by the Committees," including a 1985 role in pressuring Congress to renew Contra aid and a 1986 hand in further shielding the Office of Public Diplomacy for Latin America from the oversight of Secretary Shultz.

A Raymond-authored memo to Casey in August 1986 described the shift of the S/LPD office – where Robert Kagan had replaced Reich – to the control of the Bureau of Inter-American Affairs, which was headed by Assistant Secretary of State Elliott Abrams, who had tapped Kagan for the public diplomacy job.

Even after the Iran-Contra scandal unraveled in 1986-87 and Casey died of brain cancer on May 6, 1987, the Republicans fought to keep secret the remarkable story of the public diplomacy apparatus. As part of a deal to get three moderate Republican senators to join Democrats in signing the Iran-Contra majority report, Democratic leaders agreed to drop the draft chapter detailing the CIA's domestic propaganda role (although a few references were included in the executive summary). But other Republicans, including Rep. Dick Cheney, still issued a minority report defending broad presidential powers in foreign affairs.

Thus, the American people were spared the chapter's troubling conclusion: that a secret propaganda apparatus had existed, run by "one of the CIA's most senior specialists, sent to the NSC by Bill Casey, to create and coordinate an inter-agency public-diplomacy mechanism [which] did what a covert CIA operation in a foreign country might do. [It] attempted to manipulate the media, the Congress and public opinion to support the Reagan administration's policies."

Kicking the Vietnam Syndrome

The ultimate success of Reagan's propaganda strategy was affirmed during the tenure of his successor, George H.W. Bush, when Bush ordered a 100-hour ground war on Feb. 23, 1991, to oust Iraqi troops from Kuwait, which had been invaded the previous August.

Though Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein had long been signaling a readiness to withdraw – and Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev had negotiated a withdrawal arrangement that even had the blessings of top US commanders in the field – President Bush insisted on pressing ahead with the ground attack.

Bush's chief reason was that he – and his Defense Secretary Dick Cheney – saw the assault against Iraq's already decimated forces as an easy victory, one that would demonstrate America's new military capacity for high-tech warfare and would cap the process begun a decade earlier to erase the Vietnam Syndrome from the minds of average Americans.

Those strategic aspects of Bush's grand plan for a "new world order" began to emerge after the US-led coalition started pummeling Iraq with air strikes in mid-January 1991. The bombings inflicted severe damage on Iraq's military and civilian infrastructure and slaughtered a large number of non-combatants, including the incineration of some 400 women and children in a Baghdad bomb shelter on Feb. 13. [For details, see Consortiumnews.com's "Recalling the Slaughter of Innocents."]

The air war's damage was so severe that some world leaders looked for a way to end the carnage and arrange Iraq's departure from Kuwait. Even senior US military field commanders, such as Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf, looked favorably on proposals for sparing lives.

But Bush was fixated on a ground war. Though secret from the American people at that time, Bush had long determined that a peaceful Iraqi withdrawal from Kuwait would not be allowed. Indeed, Bush was privately fearful that the Iraqis might capitulate before the United States could attack.

At the time, conservative columnists Rowland Evans and Robert Novak were among the few outsiders who described Bush's obsession with exorcising the Vietnam Syndrome. On Feb. 25, 1991, they wrote that the Gorbachev initiative brokering Iraq's surrender of Kuwait "stirred fears" among Bush's advisers that the Vietnam Syndrome might survive the Gulf War.

"There was considerable relief, therefore, when the President … made clear he was having nothing to do with the deal that would enable Saddam Hussein to bring his troops out of Kuwait with flags flying," Evans and Novak wrote. "Fear of a peace deal at the Bush White House had less to do with oil, Israel or Iraqi expansionism than with the bitter legacy of a lost war. 'This is the chance to get rid of the Vietnam Syndrome,' one senior aide told us."

In the 1999 book, Shadow, author Bob Woodward confirmed that Bush was adamant about fighting a war, even as the White House pretended it would be satisfied with an unconditional Iraqi withdrawal. "We have to have a war," Bush told his inner circle of Secretary of State James Baker, national security adviser Brent Scowcroft and Gen. Colin Powell, according to Woodward.

"Scowcroft was aware that this understanding could never be stated publicly or be permitted to leak out. An American president who declared the necessity of war would probably be thrown out of office. Americans were peacemakers, not warmongers," Woodward wrote.

The Ground War

However, the "fear of a peace deal" resurfaced in the wake of the US-led bombing campaign. Soviet diplomats met with Iraqi leaders who let it be known that they were prepared to withdraw their troops from Kuwait unconditionally.

Learning of Gorbachev's proposed settlement, Schwarzkopf also saw little reason for US soldiers to die if the Iraqis were prepared to withdraw and leave their heavy weapons behind. There was also the prospect of chemical warfare that the Iraqis might use against advancing American troops. Schwarzkopf saw the possibility of heavy US casualties.

But Gorbachev's plan was running into trouble with President Bush and his political subordinates who wanted a ground war to crown the US victory. Schwarzkopf reached out to Gen. Powell, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to make the case for peace with the President.

On Feb. 21, 1991, the two generals hammered out a cease-fire proposal for presentation to the NSC. The peace deal would give Iraqi forces one week to march out of Kuwait while leaving their armor and heavy equipment behind. Schwarzkopf thought he had Powell's commitment to pitch the plan at the White House.

But Powell found himself caught in the middle. He wanted to please Bush while still representing the concerns of the field commanders. When Powell arrived at the White House late on the evening of Feb. 21, he found Bush angry about the Soviet peace initiative. Still, according to Woodward's Shadow, Powell reiterated that he and Schwarzkopf "would rather see the Iraqis walk out than be driven out."

In My American Journey, Powell expressed sympathy for Bush's predicament. "The President's problem was how to say no to Gorbachev without appearing to throw away a chance for peace," Powell wrote. "I could hear the President's growing distress in his voice. 'I don't want to take this deal,' he said. 'But I don't want to stiff Gorbachev, not after he's come this far with us. We've got to find a way out'."

Powell sought Bush's attention. "I raised a finger," Powell wrote. "The President turned to me. 'Got something, Colin?'," Bush asked. But Powell did not outline Schwarzkopf's one-week cease-fire plan. Instead, Powell offered a different idea intended to make the ground offensive inevitable.

"We don't stiff Gorbachev," Powell explained. "Let's put a deadline on Gorby's proposal. We say, great idea, as long as they're completely on their way out by, say, noon Saturday," Feb. 23, less than two days away.

Powell understood that the two-day deadline would not give the Iraqis enough time to act, especially with their command-and-control systems severely damaged by the air war. The plan was a public-relations strategy to guarantee that the White House got its ground war. "If, as I suspect, they don't move, then the flogging begins," Powell told a gratified president.

The next day, at 10:30 a.m., a Friday, Bush announced his ultimatum. There would be a Saturday noon deadline for the Iraqi withdrawal, as Powell had recommended. Schwarzkopf and his field commanders in Saudi Arabia watched Bush on television and immediately grasped its meaning.

"We all knew by then which it would be," Schwarzkopf wrote. "We were marching toward a Sunday morning attack."

When the Iraqis predictably missed the deadline, American and allied forces launched the ground offensive at 0400 on Feb. 24, Persian Gulf time.

Though Iraqi forces were soon in full retreat, the allies pursued and slaughtered tens of thousands of Iraqi soldiers in the 100-hour war. US casualties were light, 147 killed in combat and another 236 killed in accidents or from other causes. "Small losses as military statistics go," wrote Powell, "but a tragedy for each family."

On Feb. 28, the day the war ended, Bush celebrated the victory. "By God, we've kicked the Vietnam Syndrome once and for all," the President exulted, speaking to a group at the White House. [For more details, see Robert Parry's Secrecy & Privilege.]

So as not to put a damper on the post-war happy feelings, the US news media decided not to show many of the grisliest photos, such as charred Iraqi soldiers ghoulishly still seated in their burned-out trucks where they had been incinerated while trying to flee. By that point, US journalists knew it wasn't smart for their careers to present a reality that didn't make the war look good.

Enduring Legacy

Though Reagan's creation of a domestic propaganda bureaucracy began more than three decades ago – and Bush's vanquishing of the Vietnam Syndrome was more than two decades ago – the legacy of those actions continue to reverberate today in how the perceptions of the American people are now routinely managed. That was true during last decade's Iraq War and this decade's conflicts in Libya, Syria and Ukraine as well as the economic sanctions against Iran and Russia.

Indeed, while the older generation that pioneered these domestic propaganda techniques has passed from the scene, many of their protégés are still around along with some of the same organizations. The National Endowment for Democracy, which was formed in 1983 at the urgingof CIA Director Casey and under the supervision of Walter Raymond's NSC operation, is still run by the same neocon, Carl Gershman, and has an even bigger budget, now exceeding $100 million a year.

Gershman and his NED played important behind-the-scenes roles in instigating the Ukraine crisis by financing activists, journalists and other operatives who supported the coup against elected President Yanukovych. The NED-backed Freedom House also beat the propaganda drums. [See Consortiumnews.com's "A Shadow Foreign Policy."]

Two other Reagan-era veterans, Elliott Abrams and Robert Kagan, have both provided important intellectual support for continuing US interventionism around the world. Earlier this year, Kagan's article for The New Republic, entitled "Superpowers Don't Get to Retire," touched such a raw nerve with President Obama that he hosted Kagan at a White House lunch and crafted the presidential commencement speech at West Point to deflect some of Kagan's criticism of Obama's hesitancy to use military force.

A New York Times article about Kagan's influence over Obama reported that Kagan's wife, Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, apparently had a hand in crafting the attack on her ostensible boss, President Obama.

According to the Times article, the husband-and-wife team share both a common world view and professional ambitions, Nuland editing Kagan's articles and Kagan "not permitted to use any official information he overhears or picks up around the house" – a suggestion that Kagan's thinking at least may be informed by foreign policy secrets passed on by his wife.

Though Nuland wouldn't comment specifically on Kagan's attack on President Obama, she indicated that she holds similar views. "But suffice to say," Nuland said, "that nothing goes out of the house that I don't think is worthy of his talents. Let's put it that way."

Misguided Media

In the three decades since Reagan's propaganda machine was launched, the American press corps also has fallen more and more into line with an aggressive US government's foreign policy strategies. Those of us in the mainstream media who resisted the propaganda pressures mostly saw our careers suffer while those who played along moved steadily up the ranks into positions of more money and more status.

Even after the Iraq War debacle when nearly the entire mainstream media went with the pro-invasion flow, there was almost no accountability for that historic journalistic failure. Indeed, the neocon influence at major newspapers, such as the Washington Post and the New York Times, only has solidified since.

Today's coverage of the Syrian civil war or the Ukraine crisis is so firmly in line with the State Department's propaganda "themes" that it would put smiles on the faces of William Casey and Walter Raymond if they were around today to see how seamlessly the "perception management" now works. There's no need any more to send out "public diplomacy" teams to bully editors and news executives. Everyone is already onboard.

Rupert Murdoch's media empire is bigger than ever, but his neocon messaging barely stands out as distinctive, given how the neocons also have gained control of the editorial and foreign-reporting sections of the Washington Post, the New York Times and virtually every other major news outlet. For instance, the demonizing of Russian President Putin is now so total that no honest person could look at those articles and see anything approaching objective or evenhanded journalism. Yet, no one loses a job over this lack of professionalism.

The Reagan administration's dreams of harnessing private foundations and non-governmental organizations have also come true. The Orwellian circle has been completed with many American "anti-war" groups advocating for "humanitarian" wars in Syria and other countries targeted by US propaganda. [See Consortiumnews.com's "Selling 'Peace Groups' on US-Led Wars."]

Much as Reagan's "public diplomacy" apparatus once sent around "defectors" to lambaste Nicaragua's Sandinistas by citing hyped-up human rights violations now the work is done by NGOs with barely perceptible threads back to the US government. Just as Freedom House had "credibility" in the 1980s because of its earlier reputation as a human rights group, now other groups carrying the "human rights" tag, such as Human Rights Watch, are in the forefront of urging US military interventions based on murky or propagandistic claims. [See Consortiumnews.com's "The Collapsing Syria-Sarin Case."]

At this advanced stage of America's quiet surrender to "perception management," it is even hard to envision how one could retrace the many steps that would lead back to the concept of a democratic Republic based on an informed electorate. Many on the American Right remain entranced by the old propaganda theme about the "liberal media" and still embrace Reagan as their beloved icon. Meanwhile, many liberals can't break away from their own wistful trust in the New York Times and their empty hope that the media really is "liberal."

To confront the hard truth is not easy. Indeed, in this case, it can cause despair because there are so few voices to trust and they are easily drowned out by floods of disinformation that can come from any angle – right, left or center. Yet, for the American democratic Republic to reset its goal toward an informed electorate, there is no option other than to build institutions that are determinedly committed to the truth.

Reprinted with permission from ConsortiumNews.com.

Related

[Aug 21, 2014] THE POWER OF WORDS CONTROLLING THE NARRATIVE by Dana Casey.

Conservative Teachers of America

This is a guest post by Dana Casey.

George Orwell warns against the use of unclear language in his essay Politics and the English Language and in his powerful novel 1984, where the manipulation of language to control thought, known as newspeak, is an important weapon in the Party's arsenal attacking free thought.

Political correctness is an overt example that has fully infiltrated society already controlling language and thought. It started with the Civil Rights movement when Negro became colored and colored became black and black became Afro-American, then African-American. Lord help you if you use the wrong epithet.

It continued with the feminist movement. No longer can you say "chairman" or "chairwoman", you must say "chairperson". A mailman becomes a mail carrier. The use of "his" as the dominant neutral pronoun is no longer allowed; therefore, the awkward "his/hers" is now demanded, though who knows how that will change with the new gender-fluid trends being pushed even at an elementary school level.

Thought affects language and language affects thought. Orwell understood this and so do those who are trying to control the thinking of Americans today. Although such manipulation of language and thought is pervasive, it is not always obvious. Sometimes it is so simple that its impact will be completely ignored or dismissed.

One ubiquitous example of this manipulation is the use of phrases such as paying it back. I have heard this phrase being used more and more lately and it is generally being used incorrectly. Often it is used when what is meant is charity or gift giving. The difference between paying it back and charity is extremely important.

Paying it back has specific and misused meaning. This is revealed in a story making national news recently about the man behind the Hidden Cash phenomenon, Jason Buzi, a real estate investor who made millions from flipping houses. Buzi who came from a middle-class background used his entrepreneurial skills to make himself a wealthy man starting with buying cookies for $1 and selling them for$3 and ending with a $500,000 return on a house flipping investment. Buzi started hiding money in envelopes containing $25 to $200 leaving Twitter clues as to their location.

Though he kept his identity hidden for a period of time, once he was identified, he provided interviews to news networks. When he was asked in one interview why he chose to give away thousands, he said that he had been fortunate and he wanted to pay it back. Implicit in the use of pay is that one service or thing is being paid for, an equal exchange taking place. I give you a sandwich; you pay me $5. Buzi did not exchange one thing for another.

The other key word is back as in "to give or do (something equivalent) in return for a favor, insult, loan, etc." Implicit in the use of back is something being returned, but Buzi did not take something that needed to be returned. He did not borrow money from the people to whom he was giving money. He did not use the people to whom he is giving money to create his wealth; therefore, he owed nothing back.

He did something different than paying it back, something that is far more important; he was charitable, but charity has become a dirty word. Underlying the differences between paying it back and being charitable as they are used today is the difference between feeling guilty and being generous. It is also the difference between being completely equal to everyone else or being above or below someone, which cannot be allowed in today's PC world.

Guilt is a politically correct attitude that is currently widely encouraged. If you are wealthy, you are guilty. It does not matter if you earned that wealth through honest and good measure. If you are intelligent, you are guilty. How dare you make someone feel less intelligent by your existence. If you are white, you are guilty. It does not matter that being white is a chance of birth just as is being black or Hispanic, short or tall, or any other physical trait over which no one has control. If you are male, you are guilty. Well, just because you are male, especially if you are a white male, unless you are gay, than you have no guilt.

If you must pay it back than you must owe something, you are guilty of a debt. This guilt pulls down those who have accomplished something to below the level of everyone else who doesn't owe anything and therefore has no guilt. If you are guilty then repayment should be compulsory, because you owe it. You must pay it back like any other debt. This guilt must be encouraged so that no one ever feels superior or inferior to anyone else no matter what they may or may not have accomplished. "Harrison Bergeron", a satirical and dystopian science-fiction short story written by Kurt Vonnegut, warns of just such a leveling of people in a society. The only way to accomplish such a thing is to drag everyone down to the bottom level. It is not a world that America should choose.

If you are charitable, an attitude of being above another in some way is implied and there can be no superiority allowed. Your superiority may only be that you have made more money because you worked really hard, but that is not considered. Charity is not encouraged because charity is voluntary and cannot be made compulsory; however, the trend in this country is the compulsory taking from one and giving to another. Within that framework, paying it back works and being charitable does not. Those being given these gifts are, by implication, being given what is somehow owed them. They are only taking what is rightfully theirs as is shown in the following Maya Angelou poem:

Momma Welfare Roll

Her arms semaphore fat triangles,
Pudgy hands bunched on layered hips
Where bones idle under years of fatback
And lima beans.
Her jowls shiver in accusation
Of crimes clichéd by
Repetition. Her children, strangers
To childhood's toys, play
Best the games of darkened doorways,
Rooftop tag, and know the slick feel of
Other people's property.

Too fat to whore,
Too mad to work,
Searches her dreams for the
Lucky sign and walks bare-handed
Into a den of bureaucrats for
Her portion.
'They don't give me welfare.
I take it.'
[emphasis mine]

"Her portion" and "I take it" implies that welfare is a thing this mother has a right to. She is owed welfare; therefore, it is not charity, but her due. If it were charity, she might have to be humble, she might feel the sting of humility and maybe even a little gratitude to a society, whose citizens' pay keeps her children from starving, but then she would no longer be equal to those from whom she receives. Instead, she takes it making her almost superior to those from whom she takes.

The whole concept of social injustice works on this premise and it is a zero-sum-gain premise. If I have money and you don't, then I somehow got it from you unjustly and therefore owe you. Even the Catholic Church preaches social justice rather than charity these days, which is why my husband and I no longer tithe to the church but give to charitable organizations that we voluntarily choose. Demanding that social justice become compulsory through taxation is not what Jesus taught. Jesus said to give your money to the poor. He never said reach into your neighbor's pocket and give his (/her) money to the poor, nor did he say you have a right to your neighbor's pocket if his pocket has more in it than yours.

The money Jason Buzi gave is an undeserved, unearned charitable gift. He paid back no one. He earned his money honestly. He owes no one. Buzi was a smarter businessman than others, he worked harder, he strategized better, and if he wants to be charitable with that money, that is his business, not his debt.

These shifts in language are subtle and take place over such a long period of time that they are unnoticed, but they lead to a change in our perceptions and our thinking so that what was once a very good thing, like charity, becomes an evil thing, like undeserved, unearned superiority. Orwell predicted this when in his novel 1984 The Ministry of War becomes The Ministry of Peace and The Ministry of Love is a place of horrific torture. Words matter-IMMENSLY. The stories we tell, the phrases we choose, shape our understanding of ourselves and of the world. Instead of paying back we need to pay attention.

Dana R. Casey is a veteran high school English teacher of more than two decades in an East-coast urban system. She is a life-long student of theology, philosophy, and politics, dedicated to the true Liberalism of the Enlightenment, as defined by our Founders and enshrined in our Declaration of Independence, Constitution and Bill of Rights.

The importance of 'controlling the narrative' by Michael Wolff

December 29, 2013 | usatoday.com

In rolling out the story of his daughter's drug problems, the forces of New York's mayor-elect underscore how message control is changing in the video age.

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In rolling out the story of his daughter's drug problems, the forces of New York's mayor-elect underscore how message control is changing in the video age.

Among the most prevalent and up-to-date phrases in business, politics and savvy American life is "controlling the narrative."

That is, telling it your way, before someone else gets to tell it - and possibly tell it better - their way. And getting the public to relate to you on a more intimate level: In a social-media world, being impersonal is being out of it.

A good part of the White House budget and resources is spent on controlling the narrative - arguably, to poor effect. The problem with the Affordable Care Act, many Democrats feel, is not its procedures but the White House's failure to tell a positive and compelling story about it. (Even the website breakdown might have been an opportunity, properly handled, to connect with many technophobic Americans.)

In every significant corporation in the nation, controlling the narrative has become one of those feely-feely things that unemotive CEOs and CFOs, with a growing amount of anxiety, understand they really don't comprehend and about which they need outside consultants to hold their hands.

Last week, in a breakthrough example of this new communications form, Bill de Blasio, New York's mayor-elect, released a video of his daughter explaining how and why she became a drug addict, and how sorry she was about it. This was an example of "getting out ahead of the story" (another term in the art of modern communication), as well as controlling it. The de Blasio camp both owned up to this potentially negative revelation and, with their video treatment, owned it.

This was also, if you read between the lines, a cover-up. The de Blasio camp obviously felt this was a newsworthy situation. Yet, it waited until the moment when the disclosure could have the least effect - after the campaign was finished and on Christmas Eve, to boot - to release it. On the other hand, looking into the face of a 19-year-old girl achingly explaining her private adolescent pain, it would take the coldest cynic to be anything but generous, especially at Christmas. "Her Brave Face," was the day-after front page headline in the New York Daily News.

So, a big win for controlling the narrative.

Controlling the narrative is, of course, a basic public relations skill. But the de Blasio video highlights both new levels of artistry in the form, and how much the narrative has become technologically driven.

In the past, this kind of difficult news would have been released by a press spokesperson. In this instance, it was from the protagonist herself.

Chiara de Blasio didn't read a statement. She spoke, as though spontaneously, without a script, in natural teenage language. This is an adaptation of the techniques of reality television. (The de Blasio campaign, with its emphasis on individual family characters, has had no small amount of "unscripted television" inspiration.)

The Chiara de Blasio video was created, it appears, by having someone question and coach her in a way that would have slowly elicited the story, indeed, several versions of the story - with her looking dead on into the camera as she gave her answers. Then, using simple editing software, versions of her answers would have been assembled for maximum-impact story telling. This produces a strangely intimate and personal communication of the kind that makes the most successful YouTube presentation. It's not meant for a wide television audience, but as a one-to-one communication with someone looking deeply into a computer screen as the person on camera looks back at them. You can hardly get more confessional and theatrical.

This advance in controlling the narrative takes advantage of not just new video techniques and economics, but of the new distribution framework. Where before, wide video access had many barriers and middlemen, now, it has none. Everyone can speak directly to everyone else.

The Chiara de Blasio video is a succinct demonstration of all that's changing in the world of marketing, advertising and media - that complex of industries that once had formal control of the narrative.

Because right now, while the highest imperative is to control the narrative, it's quite unclear who actually has control, or who knows how to control it best.

It's become accepted corporate wisdom that traditional advertising and marketing are no longer adequately doing this job, that this requires some new geniuses. This is partly a social-media effect. "Get someone young" is something you hear with regard to recruiting narrative advisers. People who are experts in selfies and Instagram are, in other words, the better prepared narrative experts today.

The up-to-date marketing view is that brands must become publishers, or storytellers, themselves - the most important thing they're selling is, in fact, narrative. It's another step on a road that we've been on for a long time. Functionality, actual products and division of labor give way to a much more disembodied sense of reality, wherein we create and sell an effective fiction. Storytelling is now the highest form of commerce.

This process, occurring at the intersection of technology, pop culture and millennial behavior, is ever more complicated and fast-changing, and consumes more and more time and resources, involving a wide-ranging search for talent. It's a new business without a precise name yet.

Many people who are now Chiara de Blasio's age will surely find their futures in it.

Fred Johnson

This is correct. Politics is all about sound bites and controlling what the issues discussed are. Nothing to do with substance.

Jeff Swystun · President/CMO at Swystun Communications

My comments are divorced from the specific political example and focus more on the notion of narrative marketing. People buy stories not products or services as consumers enjoy inserting themselves into the narrative.

For years, companies have drafted "Brand Stories" to help stand out. It is a tale they can control. The new thinking says the "Brand Narrative" is what people take away from the story and this is where companies have little control. The fact is, a brand is no longer what we tell the consumer it is - it is what the consumers tell each other it is.

Marketing has always been about storytelling. Today, brand stories must communicate mutual benefit with consumers. The best portray a connection of values, excite with possibility, and reinforce a brand or company's authentic identity and character. It is not about hype or manipulation, it is about solving a problem in an entertaining and relevant way.

The goal of business is to create a customer so the purpose of marketing is to get customers to know, like and trust you. Stories make this happen and great stories can create true advantage, as writer John Cheever said, "A page of good prose remains invincible."

What Orwell Didn't Know Propaganda and the New Face of American Politics

Andras Szanto, Orville Schell 9781586485603 Amazon

Dennis Littrell HALL OF FAME TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE™ VOICE

A profound look at political propaganda and manipulation November 2, 2007

This book is published to coincide with a one-day conference on "Orwell and the American society" to be held at the New York Public Library November 7, 2007 sponsored by the Open Society Institute and the graduate schools of journalism at UC Berkeley, Columbia, and the Annenberg School at USC. This year is chosen because it is near the 60th anniversary of the publication of George Orwell's famous essay, "Politics and the English Language" (1946).

But what this book is really about is the perversion of truth by the Bush administration and the concomitant failure of the American mass media to do anything about it or to even comprehend what is going on. Editor Andras Szanto writes in his "Editor's Note," "the deans of five prominent journalism schools...were worried about what was happening to political language, which seemed to be divorcing itself from reality at an alarming rate." (p. ix) This book with essays by 18 heavyweight political thinkers, cognitive scientists, psychologists, journalists and others is an attempt to address that worry.

Aside from the many Ministry of Truth sort of lies cynically concocted by the Bush administration, there is the striking and very scary fact that Bush is acting out the Orwellian nightmare in that he has put the United States on what appears to be a permanent "war" footing just as was the case with Oceania in Orwell's novel, 1984, and for pretty much the same reasons. As several of the contributors have noted, George W. Bush has invented an endless and fraudulent "war on terror" as a means to keep the populace in fear and to control both the Congress and the media in order to enhance his own power as chief executive.

But there is much more. As Drew Westen notes in his essay, "The New Frontier: The Instruments of Emotion," there is the example of "Polluters" drafting "a bill which became law," which was "named, as if in cynical tribute to Orwell, the 'Clear Skies Initiative.'" (pp. 75-76) Of course it was, and is, anything but. Westen goes on to make the salient point that "What Orwell could not have foretold is...Orwellian language can be as effective in a democracy as in a dictatorship." (p. 79) These are points that George Soros also makes in his essay, "What I Didn't Know: Open Society Reconsidered."

What strikes me is how corporate control of the media in all its aspects, including especially advertising and news reporting, can insure that only politicians sympathetic to corporate interests can possibly be elected, and once elected can work with their corporate sponsors to bring about something close to dictatorial control. Congresspersons and reporters in fear of losing their seats or their jobs are as easily controlled as citizens terrified of secret police and brown shirts. What Bush, Cheney, Karl Rove and the minions working for them have done--and this is the thrust of the book--is beyond what Orwell could possibly have foreseen. As George Lakoff explains in his essay, "What Orwell Didn't Know About the Brain, the Mind, and Language," we think metaphorically, and the many metaphors of life are charged with emotions that can be activated by certain political words or phrases, "War on Terror, tax relief, illegal immigration...abortion on demand...cut and run, flip-flop...," etc. These words "can activate large portions of the brain." (p. 70) He further notes, "every time such words and phrases are repeated, all the frames and metaphors and worldview structures are activated again and strengthened--because recurring activation strengthens neural connections." (p. 71)

Lakoff recalls how the word "liberal" was destroyed by conservatives through incessant repetition of such phrases as "tax and spend liberal, liberal elite, liberal media, limousine liberal," and so on. This is brainwashing postmodern style. Orville Schell in his introductory essay sees this sort of thing as "penetrating 'the inner heart' of individuals." (p. xx)

Nicholas Lemann in his essay "The Limits of Language" makes the point that the corruption of language, which is what Orwell was writing about in "Politics and the English Language," is one thing, but "an even more frightening political prospect" is "the corruption of information." (p. 15) Bush invaded Iraq under the auspices, as it were, of such a corruption of information. Lemann laments that "there often is no corrective mechanism at hand" when "the facts of a situation have been intentionally corrupted by people in power." (p. 15) Personally I am concerned about the truth hiding in plain sight, in news stories, in articles, in books, on the Internet, while remaining largely unrecognized and unappreciated amidst the massive information and misinformation overload that is burying all of us.

Mark Danner takes this quote from Orwell as the wellspring for his essay, "Words in a Time of War: On Rhetoric, Truth, and Power": "From the totalitarian point of view history is something to be created rather than learned." He goes on to show how this perfectly fits the mentality of Karl Rove, AKA "Bush's Brain." Quoting Ron Suskind, he reveals that Rove disdains what he calls "the reality-based community," opining that "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality...we'll act again, creating other new realities...." (p. 23)

I wish I had the space to say something about the other excellent essays in this collection, but I am up against Amazon's 1,000-word limit, so just let me say this is an outstanding book, wonderfully conceived, eminently topical and profound. I suspect it is going to appear on college reading lists all over America in the next few years, and hopefully it will help a new generation of Americans resist the kind of political propaganda and fact manipulation ubiquitous in recent years.

By the way, Orwell's famous essay appears as an appendix.

Kathryn A Hickman

Riveting Must Read for all - especially now January 8, 2008

A book of galvanic essays written by noted journalists, authors, reporters, professors, and psychologists - What Orwell Didn't Know is truly a "must read" - especially before voting in the 2008 election. Prompted by the dismal state of "political discourse," today, five revered schools of journalism joined forces to create this anthology. Its 20 essays provide a vital resource to help readers and reporters alike to "disenthrall public debate from bias, hyperbole, bombast and lies."

Along the way, it enlightens readers about everything from brain research and the psychology of emotion to the devastating impact of the "Orwellian" Postal Reogranization Act of 1970 on small, independent opinion journals and magazines; the tragic and ironic consequences of the administration's "subservience of truth to power" in Iraq and in the US; the "carnivalesque media economy," the threat of corporate power, and our own willingness to look the other way when the Emporer has no clothes.

While I found a few of the 20 essays in the book somewhat less engaging, most were powerful, alarming, challenging and enlightening. And though Americans are more savvy today about the ways in which language can be manipulated and distorted for political ends, we can still be taken in....and we do ourselves, and our democaracy, a dangerous disservice if we do not question rigorously the medium, the message, the messenger the motives behind all we hear and read. "What Orwell Didn't Know" offers chilling evidence of our need for vigilance and action...I can't recommend it highly enough.

Malvin VINE™ VOICE

Against the corporate control of public consciousness February 19, 2008

"What Orwell Didn't Know" is an eye-opening compendium of pieces about the insidious use of propaganda in our time. Editor Andras Szanto presents outstanding works by eighteen intellectuals who compare Orwell's classic 1946 paper on propaganda, 'Politics and the English Language' (reprinted in its entirety) with the propaganda industry of today. Convincingly demonstrating how the science of propaganda has in fact metastisized into a very real threat to the Enlightenment ideal of progress, the authors implore us to sharpen our critical thinking skills as we seek to immunize ourselves to manipulation and struggle to keep our democracy alive.

Part One: Language and Politics includes six essays about how deceptive language serves political ends. Orwell believed that clarity in writing was essential to reasoned discourse and understood that fear is the gateway to despotism. The authors connect these concepts to the Bush administration's well-documented misrepresentations that have led the U.S. into its perpetual war on terror. Among many insights, we learn how the deceptive use of language has allowed the corporate-controlled state to deepen its control over the public consciousness and impose a far right-wing political agenda.

Part Two: Symbols and Battlegrounds contains six articles that explore how culturally-charged symbols are routinely exploited for political advantage. The authors discuss how post-Orwellian discoveries in cognitive sciences have demonstrated that reason is not just rational but emotional, complicating the task of disputation against the skilled propagandist. For example, the authors cite President Reagan's Star Wars proposal as an emotionally-appealing but unattainable solution to the overblown Communist menace that has distracted us from the real problem of nuclear proliferation. Similarly, the authors discuss how liberal causes such as women's rights and the environment have been revoiced in born-again Christian terms to the detriment of human progress and nature. Fortunately, the authors detect a growing challenge to the Christian Right by socially-conscious religious organizations and individuals such as Al Gore, whose cinematic jeremiad 'An Incovenient Truth' has succeeded in bringing attention to global warming by reframing the problem as a moral issue.

Part Three: Media and Message consists of five compositions on the dangers of concentrated media ownership plus an Epilogue by George Soros. Writing before television came into maturity, Orwell's concerns about the printed word seems almost quaint when compared with the ubiquitously persuasive powers of television on the public mind. The authors are appalled with the rise of the postmodern infotainment industry and the media's stakeholder role in promoting the spectacle of disaster; others voice their concerns about the lack of diverse perspectives and self-censorship practices which makes it more and more difficult to reach broad consensus on critical issues. And in an astute closing chapter, Mr. Soros concludes that the role of the media watchdog is more important than ever if we hope to curb dishonest reporting and reconnect the masses with reality.

I highly recommend this timely, thought-provoking and important book to everyone.

Marty Kaplan on the Weapons of Mass Distraction

July 12, 2013 | BillMoyers.com

Across the world - Greece, Spain, Brazil, Egypt - citizens are turning angrily to their governments to demand economic fair play and equality. But here in America, with few exceptions, the streets and airwaves remain relatively silent. In a country as rich and powerful as America, why is there so little outcry about the ever-increasing, deliberate divide between the very wealthy and everyone else?

Media scholar Marty Kaplan points to a number of forces keeping these issues and affected citizens in the dark - especially our well-fed appetite for media distraction.

"We have unemployment and hunger and crumbling infrastructure and a tax system out of whack and a corrupt political system - why are we not taking to the streets?" Kaplan asks Bill. "I suspect among your viewers, there are people who are outraged and want to be at the barricades. The problem is that we have been taught to be helpless and jaded rather than to feel that we are empowered and can make a difference."

An award-winning columnist and head of the Norman Lear Center at the University of Southern California, Kaplan also talks about the appropriate role of journalists as advocates for truth.

Interview Producer: Gina Kim. Editor: Rob Kuhns.
Intro Producer: Robert Booth. Intro Editor: Paul Henry Desjarlais.

BILL MOYERS: Welcome. Time again to talk with MARTY KAPLAN. Loyal members of Moyers and Company know him as one of the keenest and most sensible observers of politics, the press, and culture. He runs the Norman Lear Center at the University of Southern California, an independent promontory from which he lets his mind range wherever his insatiable curiosity takes him. Most recently, Brazil.

For several weeks, the largest country in Latin America has been shaken by a massive citizen uprising protesting political corruption, economic injustice, poor health care, inadequate schools, lousy mass transit, a crumbling infrastructure, and, get this, billions blown on sports. That's right, vast numbers of citizens in this soccer crazy nation are outraged that their government is spending billions of dollars to host the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics. This, in the land of Pelé.

They're even up in arms over the $74 million deal signed by the young soccer star Neymar da Silva. Crowds have been shouting, "Brazil, wake up. A teacher is worth more than Neymar!" Being no one's fool, Neymar has sided with the protesters and written on Facebook that their mobilization inspires him on the playing field.

Surveying this tumult, MARTY KAPLAN recently expressed wonder at this people's uprising and challenged us, his fellow Americans, "Let's Be Brazil." That's when I called and ask him to join me on the show. By the way, his work has just won two awards from the Los Angeles Press Club, including best columnist.

MARTY KAPLAN, welcome.

MARTY KAPLAN: Thanks very much.

BILL MOYERS: And congratulations on those awards.

MARTY KAPLAN: Thank you.

BILL MOYERS: You recently confessed to "outrage envy." What's that about?

MARTY KAPLAN: It's my feeling that what happened in Brazil, which is so encouraging about citizens taking their destiny in their own hands, is not happening here. We have unemployment and hunger and crumbling infrastructure and a tax system out of whack and a corrupt political system. Why are we not also taking to the streets is the question. And I want us to.

BILL MOYERS: You wrote "If you're not outraged…you're not paying attention." So are we not paying attention?

MARTY KAPLAN: We are paying attention to the wrong things. We are paying attention to infotainment, which is being spoon-fed to us and sadly, frankly, we are enabling because we love the stuff.

BILL MOYERS: "The infotainment narrative of life in America," you call.

MARTY KAPLAN: Yes. The tragedy of journalism now is that it is demand driven. And when you ask people what they want, we're like one of those rats that have a lever to push and cocaine comes out. And once that happens one time, they'll stay there till they die, until more of the drug appears. We can't help loving lurid stories and suspense and the kind of sex and violence which the news is now made up of.

BILL MOYERS: But you go on beyond the infotainment story. You say, "Our spirits have been sickened by the toxins baked into our political system." Powerful sentence. "Our spirits have been sickened by the toxins baked into our political system."

MARTY KAPLAN: The control of our democracy by money is shocking and deserves the same kind of response to corruption that it got in Brazil. And instead, we have become used to it. We don't see a way around it. There are voices, there are people like Larry Lessig that are trying to change the campaign finance system, the way media plays into that. But they are voices in the wilderness.

And we, the public, have wised up and decided either not to pay attention at all, or the media have decided not to force us to pay attention. And if we do pay attention, you can't live with the knowledge that our democracy is now so corrupt that it is unchangeable.

BILL MOYERS: So, if it is true as you say, that, "Our tax code is the least progressive in the industrial world," that we've witnessed "The most massive transfer of wealth in history," which is "Destroying our middle class," that "Tuition is increasingly unaffordable, and retirement increasingly unavailable," that "The banks that sold trillions of dollars of Americans' worth have not only gone unpunished; they're still at it," why are we not at the barricades?

MARTY KAPLAN: I suspect among your viewers, there were people who are outraged and want to be at the barricades. The problem is that we have been taught to be helpless and jaded rather than to feel that we are empowered and can make a difference--

BILL MOYERS: Taught by whom? By those of us who report the news of bad things happening?

MARTY KAPLAN: Well, the stuff that is being reported on the news tends not to be the kind of stuff that we need to know about in order to be outraged. Climate change is one of the great tests of journalism.

There was "The New York Times" headline about the first time that carbon dioxide in the atmosphere reached 400 parts per million. Which "The Times" said that carbon dioxide had reached a level not seen in "millions of years."

BILL MOYERS: Yeah.

MARTY KAPLAN: My jaw fell. You would think that that would cause a worldwide stir. And instead, it was a one-day story, onto the next thing.

BILL MOYERS: As you know, President Obama recently made a major speech in which he announced a new plan to tackle climate change. All three cable networks turned to the president's speech, but then they cut away from it well before it was intended to end. Fox News cut away saying the remarks could be streamed online, and then they turned to a guest critical of the president.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: The planet is warming, and human activity is contributing to it.

MEGYN KELLY on Fox News: But that is not the full story. We're going to stream the remainder of the President's remarks live on foxnews.com and in the meantime we'll be, we're joined now with some reaction. Chris Horner is the senior fellow and the Center for Energy and Environment at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and the author of the book, "Red Hot Lies."

BILL MOYERS: Fox's host, Megyn Kelly wondered aloud about whether the country even needed to tackle the problem. And CNN's Wolf Blitzer cut in soon after--

WOLF BLITZER on CNN Newsroom: Alright, so the president making a major, major address on climate change. I want to bring in Jim Acosta, and the president has got some important news he's about to release--

BILL MOYERS: --and then Wolf continued to talk over the president's remarks. What do you make of that?

MARTY KAPLAN: The meta message is more interesting to journalism than the message itself. People--

BILL MOYERS: Meta message?

MARTY KAPLAN: The meta message is, here's grist for combat between different factions. How is it going to play out? Rather than the message, which is, here's what's happening to our climate, here's what we have to do to prevent it. That stuff risks being boring. But combat is never boring. What they don't know how to do is to talk about, well, what are our options here, America? How do we mitigate the effects of climate change?

Instead, they're refighting all these old battles. And that kind of combat is what they can do. The Sunday talk shows did something else, which is to completely ignore it. I mean, they probably had John McCain and Lindsey Graham on for the 27th time each, instead of dealing with what was the most important speech about climate change ever given by a sitting president.

BILL MOYERS: And ThinkProgress, the progressive website published an info-graphic, which pointed out that, as you say, Sunday's news shows ignored Obama's climate plan, late-night comedy shows picked up the slack. "The Daily Show" gave three minutes and 29 seconds to the president, "The Late Show" gave one minute, 33 seconds, "The Tonight Show" gave one minute and two seconds. "Meet the Press?" Zero seconds. Fox News? Zero seconds. ABC "This Week"? Zero seconds. "Face the Nation?" Zero seconds. "State of the Union" on CNN, zero seconds.

MARTY KAPLAN: Yeah, but I bet they kept us informed about the phony IRS scandal. They have stuff which they think pushes the buttons that makes people emotional and angry. And they just find climate change as snooze. They find guns a snooze. Look at what happened with Sandy Hook. Look at what happened with Hurricane Sandy and climate change. We are capable of turning away because we get bored with one thing and need the next.

BILL MOYERS: At the time of the Sandy Hook shootings, you wrote about the learned helplessness that seemed to permeate that situation. Talk about that a moment.

MARTY KAPLAN: We have had the unfortunate experience of being outraged, being Brazilians, trying to get something done, and watching as the dysfunctional system that we are forced to live under destroys momentum and creates stasis, or adds power to the already powerful, rather than enabling reform. We have, for example, on Capitol Hill, a system which is built on the need to create ads, narratives, phony reality about members who are running for office.

And they need to finance that because our television stations make a killing on that. Especially in the swing states. And so the only way they can finance it is by doing quid pro quo deals with special interests. So when the Newtown tragedy happened, my instinct was, yes, I know Obama's going to make a great speech and the polls are going to be 99 percent, but it's going to be business as usual. Our hearts will be broken, because the system is simply unresponsive and incapable of reform.

You watch that happen enough times, and you decide, why bother? You have to be someone who just fell off the turnip truck to think that popular outrage can make a difference. The truth is that we can make a difference. We can change the way campaigns are financed. We can change the electoral college. You name it, we can do things. But because we have been taught that we will be ineffective and fail, it seems like the gesture of a rube to be hopeful.

BILL MOYERS: But this takes us back to the Brazilians. Because as you know, the Brazilians were protesting, millions of them were protesting against the $31, $33 billion they're going be spending on the World Cup and the Summer Olympics. They were carrying signs about that 21-year-old soccer star who's just signed a deal for $74 million. And they were saying, a good teacher is worth more than this soccer star. Now somehow, their learned helplessness was overwhelmed, or overcome, or penetrated by some other consciousness.

MARTY KAPLAN: Well, but I think the key difference is that their democracy is new. They still believe in holding it accountable. They want to have a system that works. And as long as their promise is out there of making a difference, they want to hold the politicians' feet to the fire. In our case, we have an old democracy, which has ossified.

The narrative should be, the system is broken, let's fix it. The founders were not Moses or God and what they put in the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, was not written in stone. It is meant to deal with things they could never imagine.

They could not imagine swing states and the amount of money you have to spend and what you have to do with special interests in order to get elected. There is a pathology in our system that we, as a country, refuse to acknowledge because it's a way of saying that we're not heaven's blessed child. We are humans.

BILL MOYERS: What intrigued me was that the Brazilians first sparked over an increase in the bus fare in São Paulo, and then it just spread. The bus fare. Yet when recently the Metropolitan Transit Authority here in New York raised the transit fare, it just, that wasn't even a ripple on the surface.

MARTY KAPLAN: Because the class that produces news has the kind of incomes that can absorb those kinds of changes. The news industry is now part of the privileged elite. They are not the scrappy adversaries that one would hope they would be fighting for the little guy. They are the man. And if public transportation costs a little more, the studio's going to send a car for them anyway. The problem is that corporate self-interest plays itself out in the content of news.

BILL MOYERS: As you know, there's a debate going on over journalism in America. The Pew Research Center recently wrote bleakly about the future of journalism.

The other side of it, Marty, is that some people are saying these are the "glory days" of journalism, because there's so much information out there online, if you have access. And you yourself recently wrote, and I'm quoting, "the best journalism in the world, from plenty of sources, is available online, often for no cents a day, and we can access it in video and audio as well, and from anywhere at any time." So where do you come down?

MARTY KAPLAN: And as long as you are a critical thinker. As long as you could sort the stuff that's reliable from the crud. As long as you understand that people who propagate information have interests. And so you could understand that, you know, this incredibly popular website is also the mouthpiece for this party. To be able to do that requires exposure to enough quality journalism so that you learn to tell the difference between the stuff that's being hawked in the bazaar that is intriguing and probably only partly accurate, between that and stuff which, where the facts are verified. We have had instance after instance in the last several months of stories in which it's the pressure to be first, to say something before anyone else has completely overridden the pressure to check is it accurate and valid.

And this is happening to the prestige outlets. They are not taking the time, because they have this bizarre notion that being first in the world of journalism, when microseconds count, it's like being a micro trader on Wall Street, that you're going to make or lose zillions by having those bragging rights. And in fact, the next day, they buy full-page ads in "The New York Times" saying, we were first to get this. They don't buy an ad when they say, we were first and wrong.

BILL MOYERS: Come back to cable for a moment. Because as you know, the three major cable outlets, MSNBC, Fox News, and CNN have been giving a lot of attention to the Trayvon Martin story--

NEWS ANCHOR #1: Yesterday, huge day in the George Zimmerman trial--

NEWS ANCHOR #2: Coming up, a crucial day in the George Zimmerman trial--

NEWS ANCHOR #3: George Zimmerman trial is eating up a lot of time on cable television--

NEWS ANCHOR #4: The trial that has got America entranced--

NEWS ANCHOR #5: We are watching with great interest--

NEWS ANCHOR #6: The jury is not yet seated. As soon as this trial begins in earnest we will take you there--

BILL MOYERS: It's a good story, by the way. Would they be doing this if people weren't watching?

MARTY KAPLAN: No. They are both creating and responding to demand. But what they're not doing is exercising journalism. What they're doing is they're part of the entertainment industry. They're providing content. Journalism, in principle, is set apart because it has a notion of what's important, not just interesting. And in a dream world, journalists would make important stuff interesting. That they would use the same kind of techniques they use in covering the Trayvon Martin case to make stuff like climate change just as compelling.

BILL MOYERS: You've been following the debate between Glenn Greenwald who broke the Edward Snowden story and NBC's David Gregory, who asked, well, let's listen to what David Gregory asked Glenn Greenwald on "Meet the Press."

DAVID GREGORY on Meet the Press: To the extent that you have aided and abetted Snowden, even in his current movements, why shouldn't you, Mr. Greenwald, be charged with a crime?

GLENN GREENWALD on Meet the Press: I think it's pretty extraordinary that anybody who would call themself a journalist would publicly muse about whether or not other journalists should be charged with felonies. The assumption in your question, David, is completely without evidence, the idea I've aided and abetted him in any way.

The scandal that arose in Washington before our stories began was about the fact that the Obama administration is trying to criminalize investigative journalism by going through the emails and phone records of AP reporters, accusing a Fox News journalist of the theory you just embraced, being a co-conspirator with felonies, in felonies for working with sources.

If you want to embrace that theory, it means every investigative journalist in the United States who works with their sources, who receives classified information is a criminal. And it's precisely those theories and precisely that climate that has become so menacing in the United States. It's why "The New Yorker's" Jane Mayer said investigative reporting has come to a "standstill," her word, as a result of the theories that you just referenced.

DAVID GREGORY on Meet the Press: Well, the question of who's a journalist may be up to a debate with regard to what you're doing. And of course anybody who's watching this understands I was asking a question, that question has been raised by lawmakers as well. I'm not embracing anything. But, obviously I take your point.

MARTY KAPLAN: The assumption of the question is that there is some dictionary somewhere that says what journalism is. The truth is that journalism, like a number of other things, is socially constructed. We enter into a contract through history and based on class and evidence of what journalism is or is not. Things get ruled in or ruled out all the time.

And the reasons they're ruled in or out is not because some school of journalism, some professor, says, well, here's the yardstick and it is or it isn't. The way in which things get ruled in or not is practice. What actually happens? So if David Gregory can ask a question and justify it by say, some in Congress are asking that question, that rules out nothing.

Some in Congress are morons. And those people will say anything. And as long as you can have the ability to do the "some say" game and call yourself a journalist and be in a mainstream marquee platform, then you are tugging at what the definition of journalism is. And I think it's entirely appropriate for Glenn Greenwald or anyone else to tug right back and say, no. What you have done changes the terms of the debate. Here's where I stand. And let's fight it out. Let's not let the imprimatur of some corporate trademark say that this defines what journalism is.

BILL MOYERS: So when Glenn Greenwald says, "Top officials are lying to our faces about government spying," is that journalism or is it prosecution? Is he a journalist or is he an activist?

MARTY KAPLAN: I think there is a credible case that journalism is activism. That if you, as a journalist covered climate change by saying, well, some say this and some say that, you're not being a journalist. You're being a tool of the people who want to intimidate journalism from covering evidence and the truth. So when Glenn Greenwald says that lying is going on, I don't think you can rule that out because of the activist nature of journalism. It either is true or not true. Let's settle it on those merits, not on the question of, does he have the credential to be able to do that?

BILL MOYERS: It does seem to me that the First Amendment guarantees us the right to draw a conclusion on the evidence, from the evidence that we have gathered.

MARTY KAPLAN: Yeah, and unfortunately, the, especially the right has learned to game the system and to say, no, no, journalism is not that. Journalism is, "We report, you decide." The phony slogan of Fox News. So giving people alleged evidence and letting them draw alleged conclusions is in the interest of people who want to throw sand in your face and work the ref so that they are softened up and afraid to say, here is the conclusion.

BILL MOYERS: So your point about the Trayvon Martin trial, about Paula Deen, whom we haven't even discussed about what you call the race, crime, and porn axis in tabloid news, cable news, your point is that it distracts us from and drives out attention to the problems that will take us down if we don't tackle them?

MARTY KAPLAN: Watch the birdie over here, not the corruption over there. That's what circuses are about, is to distract us and make us happy while we're being distracted. The challenge is not only to give us the information that we should be paying attention to and to do it in a way which keeps our attention, the challenge is also what do we as citizens do with that. And I think there is an aspect of journalism which is afraid of taking that extra step and empowering citizens or covering the citizens who have empowered themselves to try to make a difference.

BILL MOYERS: So when we do that, Marty, we run into what you wrote about recently, "Informed Citizen Disorder," ICD. Now for the benefit of my viewers who haven't read this, tell me what you mean by "Informed Citizen Disorder."

MARTY KAPLAN: Ever since I was in junior high school, I was taught that to be a good citizen meant you needed to know what was going on in your country and in your world. You should read the paper, you should pay attention to the news, that's part of your responsibility of being an American.

And the problem, especially in recent years, is the more informed I am, the more despondent I am, because day after day, there is news which drives me crazy and I want to see the public rise up in outrage and say, no, you can't do that, banks. You can't do that, corporations. You can't do that polluters, you have to stop and pay attention to the laws, or we're going to change the laws.

That every time that doesn't happen, and I keep learning each day the same thing, something bad happened and nothing was done about it, that's the news. The more that that's the case, the sadder one is when you consume all that news. So it, the, all the incentives are perverse. The way to be happy, to avoid this despondency is to be oblivious to it all, to live in Aldous Huxley's "Brave New World."

BILL MOYERS: So, given all that we've talked about and all you're writing about, where do you come out? Are you an optimist or a pessimist about what's happening to us?

MARTY KAPLAN: I have children. I have to be an optimist. The globe has children. We have to be optimists. There is no choice. What is the alternative? If you are a pessimist, well, the most you can do, I suppose, is medicate yourself with the latest blockbuster and some sugar, salt, and fat that's being marketed to you. The only responsible thing that you can do is say that individuals can make a difference and I will try, we will try, to make that.

BILL MOYERS: Don't they have to do it collectively. I mean, right now in North Carolina, there's a growing demonstration against the coup by the right wing that's been taken. But don't we have to do that collectively as they did in Brazil?

MARTY KAPLAN: Well, yes, we do. But moral Monday's in North Carolina is a great example. What happened in Wisconsin was a great example. When people see one another, they join one another. If the TV is covering these demonstrations, it draws other people into it. The internet has been, in principle, a way in which people can gauge the growth of a community of discontent.

It is not as important so far as actually physically getting off your duff and going into the street. And I'm under no illusion that I can ignite some national wave of protest. But as more and more cities become more and more unhappy with what their corrupt government is doing, maybe a critical mass builds.

BILL MOYERS: MARTY KAPLAN, thank you again for joining me.

MARTY KAPLAN: Thank you.

Bill

Bill and Marty. I completely agree with everything you both are saying. I want to voice my disagreement. As near as I can tell, the only "place" I can go is the internet and join like-minded people in our "collective disorder." But, where on the internet do I go? When you say: "go out on the street," what street? Mine? 5th avenue? I have called and emailed my Congressional representatives, but, as far as I can tell, it all ends up in a black hole. We need someone or some powerful entity to lead the charge. And, the only vehicle for getting our collective message across is the internet.

Robert McGovern

Marty is more like a lost and found department. If you realize that you've lost something,then go see Marty. If we can face up to the fact that we consume to satisfy our addictions, then help is on the way.

There is still time to turn off addictive media and turn on to nourishing media. After all, ratings and the ability to generate ad revenue respond quickly to lack of interest. If we commit to looking at real problems and real solutions, then the phony news will suffer. If we find places that help us to improve the quality of our life, then the interests that oppose it will falter.

At the moment, I'm most influenced by Marty's journalistic advice, which I translate as "Say what you mean" and "Tell it straight". I'm already doing less of "people say" or "you might think", etc. There are limits to how well I can pass on the wisdom of others. I'm looking for fewer limits on the expression of my own.

I'm committing to think first and click maybe, based on whether or not I want to improve the rating for wherever that click will take me. Ditto for cable and books. I'll make some exceptions. I accept the idea that people see reality the same way as their media inputs present it. If a lot of people are getting their input from a particular source, then that source is subject to inspection.

anonymous

Answer this fundamental question:

Why do Americans allow their election system to controlled by money with the result being corruption by special interests?

This is corporate America's and the Federal Reserves biggest trick.

I just don't get it.

Avatar

Kaplan was too kind because the news manipulation is sinister to say the least. We have corporate America controlling what we see and hear from its media and it is very effective in controlling the masses. The Zimmerman trial to other misdirected media spot lights is what we get to hear.

Even PBS is controlled by right winged corporate media now.

When everyone is starving for lack of a job from bogus 'free trade agreements', to lost retirement funds from fraudulent Wall Street practices, to Federal Reserve misleading the public, to politically slanted Supreme Court decisions, and to Global Climate change, JUST maybe people will then take to the streets.

God help us all.

Avatar

One of the distractions according to Mr Kaplan is .. his words: "the phony IRS scandal". Rather the the adjective phony I would use "Corrupt" The list of things that frustrate us are" banks; corporations and/or polluters.".No the greatest frustration comes from government & all is agencies; lying & corrupt politicians. Govt takes our earned income & taxes the heck out it & then spends it wastefully to buy votes. Congress has an approval of under 10% I believe & Obama's is around 42%. If Kaplan has any suggestions how govt could improve & win the hearts & minds of the folks it would be helpful..His views on capitalism was voiced on previous interviews which follows why he lists corporations & banks as big frustrations to him. If govt provides proper oversight over them his frustrations could be elleviated.but politicians accept graftor they extort money so.. there in lies the problem

Avatar

It would help if people would have an ecclesiatical epiphany, "All is vanity".

GZM

We had a chance with the "Occupy" movement, but it was essentially leaderless and has fallen off the radar. If we had a leader with the charisma, intelligence, public speaking power and total dedication of a Martin Luther King, we could pack the central districts of all of our major cities with enough outraged citizens to put fear and disbelief of the greedy, supercilious, puppets that supposedly lead our failing democracy.

ShouGuo

These are some encouraging words from Dr. Ben Carson: (p. 38, America the Beautiful)

As long as we have a courageous populace, and a courageous and unbiased media, we are likely to be able to correct significant societal problems as they arise, which is a part of the greatness of America. Unfortunately, political correctness threatens the integrity of the media, and we must all be vigilant in our attempt to continue the great experiment that is America.

Spiritgirl

So what are We supposed to do when not enough citizens are informed of the issues, the politicians have sold US out and the Oligarchy is plundering our treasury?!? Intrinsically I do think people know deep down that our system is broken, but there is also a division over FAUX distrctive non-sense to distract from the real issues! how do we get the truth to the low information people so that they understand what's really going on?

Freespeaking

We need a middle class TV station that does not represent the right or the left, but the normal every-day person working two jobs, feeding their kids and living from pay-check to pay-check. This station would cover simply issues that economically effect the middle class, not stories that right or left use to emotionally sway our views.

JW

This is amazingly relevant. As a 35 year old I suffer from this affliction. I am angry, informed, and have let apathy sink in. It is often looked down upon to be negative about the state of affairs in this country, and is seen as uncool. Though it must be granted that we, and myself, since coming out of college have been subject to a tech bubble bursting, the 9/11 downturn, and the continuing great recession. With this pressure more young people are forced to keep their mouths closed to protect their reputations and jobs. We are outnumbered by Boomers with great power and influence. What REAL steps are we to take to be active citizens while not being arrested, "ruining" our reputations, or losing our jobs?

cuyahogacat

it's not the Boomers, it's the corporate 1%. Most Boomers are behind the same eight- ball that is aimed toward the younger generation.

Nothing will happen until the majority of the people are backed into a corner with no other way out. Then like the animals we really are we will finally fight.

maku520

I haven't been able to watch the video yet, but wanted to say that I think a big part of why Americans are un-efficacious is because we lack a leadership that inspires us, a political program that stands for democracy and peace, and doesn't sugar coat the difficulty of the struggle we have before us. We need to build that leadership in the various movements for social and economic justice and be able to connect them all to challenge the institutions we oppose.

Ms_Phillips

12 comments? Are there only a dozen people out there making an attempt to be informed? Jeez.

Mike Davis

Brilliant and dead-on view of our perverse media system. While I'm no activist, Kaplan helps me understand the challenges in becoming one in America. Great piece!

zaltor

Thank you Bill Moyers and Co for your tireless pursuit and reporting of the truth.

leopardkitty8

The powers that be, i.e. wealthy heads of large corporations, find a way to keep America's citizens ignorant and entertained. That sums up what happens to the majority. The rest of us are just trying to skate by and stay afloat.

Ms_Phillips > leopardkitty8

Major factor: attack on FREE, public education that began w Reagan & the Republican push to spend tax-payer money on vouchers.

robort1138

Here's what's up in the new U.S.A... WE DON'T CARE. Some of us do, but take a closer look... we're diverse to a fault. Most people I know don't watch world news and have no interest in politics (beyond understanding we have no political representation anyway). Others that care are further fragmented into groups of their own deep special interests that concern them but not you. Here's a short list: Conservatives; Liberals; Upper Class Wage Earners; Lower Class Wage Earners; Pro Union; Anti Union; Black Power; White Power; Latino Power; Gay Rights; Yes On No; No On Yes; religions that tell you who to like, where to go; what to do and when to do it. We face more divisions than you can shake a stick at, especially here in the United States. This is the perfect climate for Corporatists and Politicians to take the money and run. Our form of government doesn't seem to work anymore, although it apparently works ok for them because, after all, they've spent years now grooming it to what it has become (it's no accident).

We've all heard that the larger corporations - and those at the top - are pulling down record profits these days, and that most politicians are retiring as millionaires. Politicians complain too much of their time is required chasing campaign funds, yet no crusaders emerge to instigate reform. They say they don't have time to actually read most of these bills they vote for or against. Their lobbyists keep them informed as to what needs to be done, the dollar amount their vote is worth and who's signing their check for it. We're too divided. You've heard "united we stand (remember WWII) and divided we fall.

Well guess what: WE DON'T CARE.

Those born here used to care, but faces have changed and now we don't. Government keeps just enough of us comfortable such that they know we aren't willing to take it to the streets, wind up in jail, when we could be at home drinking beer, watching baseball players that spit in a manly way (America's favorite pastime). I have a large flat screen Color TV, a cell phone and temperature controlled leather seats. WHY SHOULD I CARE WHAT TOMORROW BRINGS? I already know a bit of Russian, could learn Chinese, or what ever it takes.

marvin steiner > robort1138

We have a lot of information, some knowledge, but very little understanding.

SK

I'd like to see BM ask Kaplan if he has joined any activist protests...or if he's another white collar type journo who just reports on the news, but doesn't do any "carnal" activism

prettymeadow

In part, I suspect it is because peaceful protests have become an arresting offence even though our constitution guarantees peaceful assembly. This was started under GW Bush when protesters would be held in pens away from the president when they would wear a t-shirt or hold a sign that was against him. The Occupy movement has experienced the same brutality by officers who were sworn to uphold the constitution and laws of this country. We have become a lawless nation at the highest levels of government, so why are we surprised when no one wants to be arrested as it will also hurt possible job prospects in the future.

marvin steiner > prettymeadow

Police clearing and arresting protesters at the recent session of the Texas legislature.

Daniel Brenek > prettymeadow

Yes, there is a right to LAWFULLY assemble. That doesn't mean occupy private property for days, weeks or months.

kitstealey

The architects of this great divide, beginning with Reagan and his cronies in 1981, have done a masterful job at setting us against one another in a desperate fight for the few crumbs they were willing to throw us.

They've convinced us that the "other" is to blame - generally those directly below us on the ladder. As years have gone on, and we've witnessed our opportunities diminish and our resources vanish, in our panic we've allowed ourselves to be turned against one another. It's diabolically clever - we never think to look up, where all the wealth has gone, and where it will stay.

Those hardy souls among us who have tried to direct our attention to the systematic plundering of our Nation have been savaged, not only by the mainstream media, but by their fellow citizens. Those daring to question the concentration of the Nation's wealth in the hands of one percent of its population are called socialists, lazy moochers, losers, and worse. We've bought into this myth that if we aren't making it, we are lazy or stupid or somehow un-American, when the simple fact is: the fix is in.

I don't believe all of us are jaded or feel helpless. I believe many of us have been bullied into silence and obeisance by this fear (especially since 9/11) of being branded as traitors if we speak out against the powerful few. I believe many feel that speaking out, or joining together in protest, will result in retribution. Evidence of this is the way unions have been under attack since 1981. Where I live, "union" is synonomous with "commie." Even as it becomes increasingly clear that unless we stand as one against this tyranny of wealth, we will never again prosper.

susanpub

The more informed I am, the more despondent I am, Marty Kaplan says. No kidding.

Tom Welsh

Wonderful segment....

HOWEVER!

I am stunned that no mention, much less analysis, was made of the Occupy movement...how could this be?

spw > Tom Welsh

I found this very puzzling as well. I kept waiting to hear more about both Occupy and the apparently very different attitude to media in Brazil, but both were lacking.

marvin steiner > spw

The constraints of time. choice of content, and context. If that segment had not been so well managed it could have become a lecture.

cgmcle

Bill Moyers: "So, if it is true as you say, that, 'Our tax code is the least progressive in the industrial world,' that we've witnessed 'The most massive transfer of wealth in history,' which is 'Destroying our middle class,' ... why are we not at the barricades?"

Many Americans were at the barricades two years ago protesting the vast economic injustices that have become rigidly institutionalized in the U.S. What was most notable about their efforts was the way the majority of americans reacted, belittling them, insulting them, calling them unpatriotic, and defending the small minority in this country who neither need nor deserve to be defended. (Indeed, many should be prosecuted.)

The blind patriotism in the U.S. will either decline or continue to aid, abet, and accelerate the nation's decline. The unfettered faith that "We're no 1!" not only betrays ignorance but leads the ignorant to believe that we've scaled the summit, that we've achieved the ultimate in our quest to "form a more perfect union."

The plutocrats of this country have been effectively bribing politicians for decades. Fortunately for the plutocrats, a majority of the citizens come much cheaper, deceived by the simple misdirection tricks of a malevolent magician.

Ms_Phillips > cgmcle

I don't think the majority of Americans reacted as reported to the Occupy Movement. The "reporting" was bogus.

Joyce Berger

"Weapons of Mass Distraction" was disturbing if for no other reason than the personal frustration of being unable to do anything about the massive problems. Seems to me that popular mobilization will only come in the wake of a catastrophic event such as the civil rights turmoil of the 60's when most of the U.S. began to internalize the magnitude of the injustice against a significant part of our population. I don't know another person who identifies that our national problems are part of the power structure. The people I know aren't persuaded that the U.S. economic situation is anything other than a personal failing (never mind that it afflicts millions). I've come to believe voting is not the solution nor are any of the other time-honored tactics such as futile attempts to communicate with state and national legislators. Only mass action will begin a solution and I don't see that on the immediate horizon.

Check out freebarrettbrown dot org for more information

[Jun 15, 2013] The Real War on Reality

A great article that has made effective use of history ("what has happened") to guide policy ("what should happen")
June 15, 2013 | NYTimes.com

If there is one thing we can take away from the news of recent weeks it is this: the modern American surveillance state is not really the stuff of paranoid fantasies; it has arrived.

The revelations about the National Security Agency's PRISM data collection program have raised awareness - and understandably, concern and fears - among American and those abroad, about the reach and power of secret intelligence gatherers operating behind the facades of government and business.

Surveillance and deception are not just fodder for the next "Matrix" movie, but a real sort of epistemic warfare.

But those revelations, captivating as they are, have been partial -they primarily focus on one government agency and on the surveillance end of intelligence work, purportedly done in the interest of national security. What has received less attention is the fact that most intelligence work today is not carried out by government agencies but by private intelligence firms and that much of that work involves another common aspect of intelligence work: deception. That is, it is involved not just with the concealment of reality, but with the manufacture of it.

The realm of secrecy and deception among shadowy yet powerful forces may sound like the province of investigative reporters, thriller novelists and Hollywood moviemakers - and it is - but it is also a matter for philosophers. More accurately, understanding deception and and how it can be exposed has been a principle project of philosophy for the last 2500 years. And it is a place where the work of journalists, philosophers and other truth-seekers can meet.

In one of the most referenced allegories in the Western intellectual tradition, Plato describes a group of individuals shackled inside a cave with a fire behind them. They are able to see only shadows cast upon a wall by the people walking behind them. They mistake shadows for reality. To see things as they truly are, they need to be unshackled and make their way outside the cave. Reporting on the world as it truly is outside the cave is one of the foundational duties of philosophers.

In a more contemporary sense, we should also think of the efforts to operate in total secrecy and engage in the creation of false impressions and realities as a problem area in epistemology - the branch of philosophy concerned with the nature of knowledge. And philosophers interested in optimizing our knowledge should consider such surveillance and deception not just fodder for the next "Matrix" movie, but as real sort of epistemic warfare.

To get some perspective on the manipulative role that private intelligence agencies play in our society, it is worth examining information that has been revealed by some significant hacks in the past few years of previously secret data.

Important insight into the world these companies came from a 2010 hack by a group best known as LulzSec (at the time the group was called Internet Feds), which targeted the private intelligence firm HBGary Federal. That hack yielded 75,000 e-mails. It revealed, for example, that Bank of America approached the Department of Justice over concerns about information that WikiLeaks had about it. The Department of Justice in turn referred Bank of America to the lobbying firm Hunton and Willliams, which in turn connected the bank with a group of information security firms collectively known as Team Themis.

Team Themis (a group that included HBGary and the private intelligence and security firms Palantir Technologies, Berico Technologies and Endgame Systems) was effectively brought in to find a way to undermine the credibility of WikiLeaks and the journalist Glenn Greenwald (who recently broke the story of Edward Snowden's leak of the N.S.A.'s Prism program), because of Greenwald's support for WikiLeaks. Specifically, the plan called for actions to "sabotage or discredit the opposing organization" including a plan to submit fake documents and then call out the error. As for Greenwald, it was argued that he would cave "if pushed" because he would "choose professional preservation over cause." That evidently wasn't the case.

Team Themis also developed a proposal for the Chamber of Commerce to undermine the credibility of one of its critics, a group called Chamber Watch. The proposal called for first creating a "false document, perhaps highlighting periodical financial information," giving it to a progressive group opposing the Chamber, and then subsequently exposing the document as a fake to "prove that U.S. Chamber Watch cannot be trusted with information and/or tell the truth."

(A photocopy of the proposal can be found here.)

In addition, the group proposed creating a "fake insider persona" to infiltrate Chamber Watch. They would "create two fake insider personas, using one as leverage to discredit the other while confirming the legitimacy of the second."

Psyops need not be conducted by nation states; they can be undertaken by anyone with the capabilities and the incentive to conduct them.

The hack also revealed evidence that Team Themis was developing a "persona management" system - a program, developed at the specific request of the United States Air Force, that allowed one user to control multiple online identities ("sock puppets") for commenting in social media spaces, thus giving the appearance of grass roots support. The contract was eventually awarded to another private intelligence firm.

This may sound like nothing so much as a "Matrix"-like fantasy, but it is distinctly real, and resembles in some ways the employment of "Psyops" (psychological operations), which as most students of recent American history know, have been part of the nation's military strategy for decades. The military's "Unconventional Warfare Training Manual" defines Psyops as

"planned operations to convey selected information and indicators to foreign audiences to influence their emotions, motives, objective reasoning, and ultimately the behavior of foreign governments, organizations, groups, and individuals."

In other words, it is sometimes more effective to deceive a population into a false reality than it is to impose its will with force or conventional weapons. Of course this could also apply to one's own population if you chose to view it as an "enemy" whose "motives, reasoning, and behavior" needed to be controlled.

Psyops need not be conducted by nation states; they can be undertaken by anyone with the capabilities and the incentive to conduct them, and in the case of private intelligence contractors, there are both incentives (billions of dollars in contracts) and capabilities.

Several months after the hack of HBGary, a Chicago area activist and hacker named Jeremy Hammond successfully hacked into another private intelligence firm - Strategic Forcasting Inc., or Stratfor), and released approximately five million e-mails. This hack provided a remarkable insight into how the private security and intelligence companies view themselves vis a vis government security agencies like the C.I.A. In a 2004 e-mail to Stratfor employees, the firm's founder and chairman George Friedman was downright dismissive of the C.I.A.'s capabilities relative to their own: "Everyone in Langley [the C.I.A.] knows that we do things they have never been able to do with a small fraction of their resources. They have always asked how we did it. We can now show them and maybe they can learn."

The Stratfor e-mails provided us just one more narrow glimpse into the world of the private security firms, but the view was frightening. The leaked e-mails revealed surveillance activities to monitor protestors in Occupy Austin as well as Occupy's relation to the environmental group Deep Green Resistance. Staffers discussed how one of their own men went undercover ("U/C") and inquired about an Occupy Austin General Assembly meeting to gain insight into how the group operates.

Stratfor was also involved in monitoring activists who were seeking reparations for victims of a chemical plant disaster in Bhopal, India, including a group called Bophal Medical Appeal. But the targets also included The Yes Men, a satirical group that had humiliated Dow Chemical with a fake news conference announcing reparations for the victims. Stratfor regularly copied several Dow officers on the minutia of activities by the two members of the Yes Men.

One intriguing e-mail revealed that the Coca-Cola company was asking Stratfor for intelligence on PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) with Stratfor vice president for Intelligence claiming that "The F.B.I. has a classified investigation on PETA operatives. I'll see what I can uncover." From this one could get the impression that the F.B.I. was in effect working as a private detective Stratfor and its corporate clients.

Stratfor also had a broad-ranging public relations campaign. The e-mails revealed numerous media companies on its payroll. While one motivation for the partnerships was presumably to have sources of intelligence, Stratfor worked hard to have soap boxes from which to project its interests. In one 2007 e-mail, it seemed that Stratfor was close to securing a regular show on NPR: "[the producer] agreed that she wants to not just get George or Stratfor on one time on NPR but help us figure the right way to have a relationship between 'Morning Edition' and Stratfor."

On May 28 Jeremy Hammond pled guilty to the Stratfor hack, noting that even if he could successfully defend himself against the charges he was facing, the Department of Justice promised him that he would face the same charges in eight different districts and he would be shipped to all of them in turn. He would become a defendant for life. He had no choice but to plea to a deal in which he may be sentenced to 10 years in prison. But even as he made the plea he issued a statement, saying "I did this because I believe people have a right to know what governments and corporations are doing behind closed doors. I did what I believe is right." (In a video interview conducted by Glenn Greenwald with Edward Snowden in Hong Kong this week, Snowden expressed a similar ethical stance regarding his actions.)

Given the scope and content of what Hammond's hacks exposed, his supporters agree that what he did was right. In their view, the private intelligence industry is effectively engaged in Psyops against American public., engaging in "planned operations to convey selected information to [us] to influence [our] emotions, motives, objective reasoning and, ultimately, [our] behavior"? Or as the philosopher might put it, they are engaged in epistemic warfare.

The Greek word deployed by Plato in "The Cave" - aletheia - is typically translated as truth, but is more aptly translated as "disclosure" or "uncovering" - literally, "the state of not being hidden." Martin Heidegger, in an essay on the allegory of the cave, suggested that the process of uncovering was actually a precondition for having truth. It would then follow that the goal of the truth-seeker is to help people in this disclosure - it is to defeat the illusory representations that prevent us from seeing the world the way it is. There is no propositional truth to be had until this first task is complete.

This is the key to understanding why hackers like Jeremy Hammond are held in such high regard by their supporters. They aren't just fellow activists or fellow hackers - they are defending us from epistemic attack. Their actions help lift the hood that is periodically pulled over our eyes to blind us from the truth.

Peter Ludlow is a professor of philosophy at Northwestern University and is currently co-producing (with Vivien Weisman) a documentary on Hacktivist actions against private intelligence firms and the surveillance state.

Edward Butterworth Victoria BC

I totally agree but you do not go half far enough. It is philosophy's job to reveal the truth but also, in my opinion, to speculate how we might resolve problems that are revealed rather than be resigned to endless decline. The future is the realm of possibilities which can be a creative, evolutionary response to an unprecedented crisis (climate change). In my view it will take nothing less than a paradigm shift, the breaking of the hegemony of the US elite and their clones around the world. Recent leaks are undermining the credibility of the established order which is the basis of their power. If Bradley Manning is jailed for years will he be forgotten or will he be a martyr for a growing movement who see him as a prisoner of conscience, joined by Hammond, Snowden and maybe Assange? Each one of them undermines the vitality of the planet-destroying system which we have made and now need to unmake

theduke California

Mr. Butterworth: And after you break "the hegemony of the US elite and their clones around the world," just who do you suppose will fill that vacuum? Hint: it could very well be something that is incalculably worse for the planet, its people and Western democratic, humanitarian values

There is no "planet-destroying system." There are only large players who are occasionally discovered to be doing things, often unintentionally, that are not environmentally or socially sound. There are smaller players guilty of the same thing. The idea that there is some over-arching conspiracy to destroy the planet is ludicrous, as is the idea that the system as designed is leading us to Doomsday. It is in no one's interest for that to happen. If the players in the world- national-, or local economies are actually doing harm, they need to be regulated by government. Government is arguably doing its job in that regard, although I could easily argue it's overdoing it and violating the rights of people under our Constitution and others around the world

Who is regulating government? If the AP, Fox News, IRS and now the Prism and other surveillance scandals are any indication, the answer is, "No One."

Mark Vermont

Great article. The dark arts and dirty tricks of shaping public opinion and influencing media is not new, but it's refreshing to see reporting on specific incidents to educate people on the degree to which the effort is made and the shape and style in which these tasks are performed. Goebbels is rightfully vilified in history, but US lobbying and p.r. groups seem to be able to freely plagiarize his playbook with impunity. Great to see a national press organization shine the light on it. If only that light could shine a bit brighter while it's happening instead of after the fact. As for Morning Edition...it's been whoring as an echo chamber for these types for years

EDJ Canaan, NY

Americans are being reduced to low information serfs in a neo-feudal society. Ruled by a plutocratic elite who own not only most of our country's wealth, but who are able through their lobbyists to control the actions of all three branches of government, and in concert with international businesses, propagandistic think takes, ownership of news media, and significant control of corporate academe, these new Lords can now reconstitute realty to serve whatever interests suit their pleasure

In a word, Americans have lost sovereignty over our rights as citizens, our claims to an equitable share of America's wealth, and now are losing control over access to fundamental knowledge about what constitutes social realty. Friendly fascism not only allows for a material monopoly over property, jobs, laws, civil rights, and all the other various constructs that make possible the integrity of our human selves, but through mass technology and the corporate intelligence industry that manipulates our consumption of knowledge, we are at risk of losing the ability to understand what is being done to us and who is doing it

a2 annarbor

Re Danny P

We had the War, and the draft, and Nixon, all real and defined clearly on TV every day

The power of our government, the press and the Chamber of Commerce ended Occupy. A2

omega shetland islands

They didn't end Occupy. The Chamber of Commerce, much like a virus, tried to attack the integrity and health of Occupy, but only succeeded in helping to distribute the idea on an exponentially more widespread basis

Grand Pianos in every park in America. Expect us

Roger Michigan

Whatever the arguments about the legality of the actions under Prism, it is not sufficient for justice to be done; it must be seen to be done. Much of the furor over the issue is that not only are the details kept secret, so is the process itself (or at least it was until Mr Snowden went public)

Diana Moses Arlington, MA

There seems to me to be a big strand in all this of people doing whatever so long as they can get away with it, an absence of the ability to police the self in the presence of a temptation. Maybe we need to bring back the honor code in all kinds on contexts, including in education, and train people how to use it so they get in the habit. As it is, I think a lot of these people in public life behave as if they need supervision, someone to say to them, "What were you thinking? No, that's not okay; it may be clever and you may have a spiffy rationale for it, but no, it's not okay." I would sum up the issue as "poor judgment." How do we form an apparatus to make wise judgments? Not through STEM education, I would argue. One of the tried and true methods is to teach a person skills and then put them in such a difficult situation that they are forced to see the world differently from the way they did before. Think of rites of passage or The Fall. That gives the participant a basis for humility, for a recognition of a need for pluralism, and for compassion for others, I think

Danny P Warrensburg

I've always found recognition of a need for pluralism to be the opposite of an honor-code-personal-responsibility-wise-choices ethic. Seeking out broad agreement or many different viewpoints inevitably moves one away from the top-shelf mentalities and towards a lowest common denominator style of thinking. Pluralism, to me at least, is middling more than anything else. Entitlement or false belief in superiority may lead one well down a wrong path much farther, to a place far below average, but I'd prefer people gamble on being above average than settling for just average. I think there's a reason why the word "peerless" was once considered a compliment but has fallen out of usage these days

Diana Moses Arlington, MA

Danny P,

I think the source for so much guidance is being able to walk a mile in others' moccasins -- that kind of pluralism I don't think is at odds with behaving in a way that serves regardless of who is watching, I think the two go hand in hand. Maybe I shouldn't have used the word "pluralism"?

Chris Minneapolis

Surprising that Mr. Ludlow makes no mention of so-called Think Tank industry, particularly the hundreds that have sprung on the right over the past years. Most are little more than propaganda mills subsidized by wealthy private and corporate interests and whose activity encompasses both public and private issues - provided a line can actually be drawn between these spheres any longer. In fact, think tanks seem to be in the business of confusing just such matters given the often parade themselves as serving the public interest while in truth operating with a private agenda, But sowing confusion and working to dis-inform the electorate are par for the course with outfits like these. So one has to wonder how the private psyops firms Mr. Ludlow details really differ from think tanks industry on fundamental strategy. Is it scope of the issues? The scale of the operation? How they are funded? What's the real difference, if any?

Bill Gilwood San Dimas, CA

While we're at it, which of the big stories and social movements during my lifetime (mid 50's onward) were influenced by psyops and how and by who?

C Wolfe Bloomington, IN

I'm shocked by the high percentage of Americans who are untroubled by surveillance issues-mainly, it seems, because they are confident they're doing nothing wrong. But that depends on who's defining "wrong"

When the POTUS comes to town, it's become conventional to set aside so-called "free speech" zones, and only there are you allowed to display protest placards. I can't believe people have acquiesced to this severe violation of their right to free assembly and speech. If you demonstrate outside this zone, that would give cause to treat you as a criminal, and all the data collected on you could be arranged to show who-knows-what. You could have the wrong associates and get branded a potential terrorist: maybe you have a friend in PETA or go out for a drink with somebody you work with who (perhaps unbeknownst to you) belongs to an organization that engages in direct-action anit-abortion or environmentalist protests, or sends money to a Palestinian aid group. These days, that's enough to arrest a citizen-and if enough mistaken inferences are drawn, to "disappear" you without access to an attorney, or make you the target of a drone

So while I have nothing to hide, how do I know some critical mass of associations I'm not even aware of won't trigger an alert? I'm four times more like to be struck by lightning than to be the victim of a terrorist attack. The odds of some private-contractor bozo making an error and trampling on my rights seems much higher, and increasing

Bill Gilwood San Dimas, CA

Psyops is used in our elections

CS MN

What role does technological change play in this? I am of two (or maybe more) minds on this

First, maybe things aren't really worse than they used to be. Maybe this type of thing has been going on for a long time. Or perhaps, it has increased but primarily due to changes in the culture that are not related to technology

But maybe technology really does play an important role here. Are we discovering technologically-enabled changes in the ease of disseminating falsehoods as a large-scale and well-organized enterprise?

On the other hand, 50 years ago, without an insider turning informant, the only way such activities would come to light would have been through a physical (as opposed to a virtual) break-in, which seems close to impossible to pull off

Is there actually more disinformation because of technology, or are we just hearing about it more because more of it coming to light due to technology?

Sal Anthony Queens, NY

In keeping with your perspective, if we juxtapose the increasing sphere of freedom and human action, I'd wager that disinformation and deception are not keeping pace. That is, consider how circumscribed in every possible way the lives of our predecessors were compared to ours. From that point of view, all these "assaults on our reality" are piddling compared with how varied and rich that reality now is

Using a concrete example, think about how many physical places and websites you've visited and how many calls and emails and texts and twitters you've made and how many electronic devices and video games and books you've used, just, say, in the past month. All of your transactions and travels and online connections, all of the arduous labor you're not engaging in because of automobiles and washing machines and airplanes and smart phones, and so on

Simply put, deception is what put Socrates to death, and it has been pulling the wool over the eyes of humanity since time began. However, with eyes that now see deep into the quantum realm and far to the outer galaxies, it will take more wool than all the sheep in England for the deceivers to do the kind of deceiving they've been doing since Eve made Adam eat the apple

Optimistically, S.A. Traina

June 15, 2013 at 4:39 p.m. Recommended2

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theduke California

The professor seems to believe that the groups that are hacking and are being monitored by private intelligence companies are themselves conveying a certain indisputable truth, presumably because they are well-intentioned. That is, philosophically, an unsupportable position. Does everyone believe that PETA is truthful in all their communications. Or Occupy Austin? Has it not occurred to the professor that this really is not about epistemology, but about trying to combat what those companies who hire private intelligence contractors believe to be misinformation? That they are combating propaganda meant to damage them and their ability to conduct business because of the inherent biases of those who espouse a radical left-wing agenda?

The actions of hackers do not necessarily "lift the hood that is periodically pulled over our eyes to blind us from the truth." They occasionally tell us something we may not know, but I think most hackers are self-promoting, narcissistic individuals who ignore how important corporations are to comfort and well-being of all people who use their products and services. The anti-corporate mentality that assumes that all corporations are bad and are working to the detriment of society is a mark of immature thinking. The grandiosity of the people (usually young and cynical) who hack and think they are saving society is evident every time they attempt to justify their illegal actions. They should not be celebrated by philosophy or society

elementaryschoolvolunteer, Bradenton, FL

Organize Flash Mob boycotts on-line: People agree to boycott a corporation for a week or a month. If enough people join in that sales significantly decrease for that period, consumers/citizens might gain some control over corporations. Those behind advertising and political spin might have to rethink how they try to control us

June 15, 2013 at 3:43 p.m. Recommended9

Beluga Barb Seattle, WA

It's terrifying but true: law enforcement just like anyone else is going to fry the fish it can most easily. So the already impotent citizen gets the shaft, while major corporations and bed boys of the security-technology complex operate a high tech, powerful, criminal gang

This article is highly disturbing

It's a favorite of law enforcement everywhere to incarcerate and otherwise attack citizens with marginal, vague charges like harassment and disorderly conduct. And yet here we have large scale, malicious, defamatory activities specifically designed not to just harass but effectively destroy citizen causes. Even if the FBI is not serving as the personal investigator for these companies, this type of behavior from these corporations - de facto domestic "non-violent" terrorists - needs to be criminally prosecuted.

June 15, 2013 at 3:25 p.m. Recommended14

michael birmingham, alabama

In a society that has raised millions of people who are walled-off from the real world and plugged into "virtual reality," e-friends, and video simulations, and a strong sense of entitlement, I can only think that this problem will get much, much worse--if only because governmental and private intel agencies will have their pick of employees among an increasing pool of moral relativists and social misfits

Scorpio69er Hawaii

Thousands of technology, finance and manufacturing companies are working closely with U.S. national security agencies, providing sensitive information and in return receiving benefits that include access to classified intelligence, four people familiar with the process said

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-06-14/u-s-agencies-said-to-swap-data-..

June 15, 2013 at 2:56 p.m. Recommended4

Daniel12 Wash. D.C

If American society--and the people of the world as well--are really serious about creating a humanity which is "not taken in by deceptive practices"--and by "really serious" I mean with no playing of political games of either left or right and foisting paranoid views on society--what we need is a total psychological project by the whole of society to determine characteristics of people "who are taken in easily, fooled easily in life" as well as determine those "who are not taken in easily in life".--And perhaps genetically create "non-fools in life"

The fact is it seems the norm that people are "easily taken in, fooled in life". We do not need to make great efforts to deceive people. This proposition can be easily tested on oneself by observing how easily one sinks into the enjoyment of a film or how easily one is taken in by a piece of sleight of hand in a game of cards. Most of us humans seem quite biologically formed for being deceived in life. To speak in "Matrix terms", if we quite easily lose ourselves while watching a film, enter the "reality of the film"--a two hour event--imagine the effect on a person of being born into "a deceptive event" which persists over a lifetime, such as fascist or communist or religious propaganda. In fact all of reality could be a deception

But we might get best results for our species by trusting the views of those people who have demonstrated greatest natural ability not to be fooled, not be taken in by ANY event in life..

June 15, 2013 at 2:37 p.m. Recommended3

Hypatia Santa Monica CA

It's even worse than I thought. Thank you, Peter Ludlow (I guess)for chilling my blood with these detailed revelations

As a college student decades ago, I couldn't sleep for a week after reading "1984". Not surprising that after revelations of government wrong-doing, the book is flying off the shelves, as a new generations discovers how our democracy is being systematically undermined via the unholy alliiance between government and private , for-profit "Big Brothers"

John T NY

"When this was exposed during the Iran-Contra hearings, one top administration official described the activities of the Office of Public Diplomacy as one of their really great achievements. It was, he said, a spectacular success. He described it as the kind of operation that you carry out in enemy territory. And that's quite an appropriate phrase. I think the phrase expresses exactly the way in which the public is viewed by people with power: it's an enemy, it's a domestic enemy." - Noam Chomsky

I have found this quote of Chomsky increasingly relevant these days

As Chomsky points out, the only thing the power elite in this country are really afraid of is the American domestic population. That is because the domestic population is the only threat to their power. For the power elite, the domestic population is and always has been the primary enemy and the primary thing which must be controlled

sdavidc9 Cornwall Bridge, Connecticut

The easiest way to stand up to psychops from the enemy is to inhabit a bubble and ignore anything that tries to puncture or discredit the bubble, by seeing it as a psychop of the enemy. And anything within one's own bubble is either not a psychop because your side does not do such things or a clever Machiavellian move against the enemy, allowed and encouraged because the enemy is out to get you

Communists and Fascists battled in the streets of Germany, France, and Italy before World War II, and in Russia until the Communists won. This was a battle between two bubbles. But the most dangerous threat to these bubbles, as always, was the existence of people and groups who wished to avoid and escape from rather than live in bubbles. Communists and Fascists often joined in destroying these groups, which had to be done to make way for their final battle

In the former Yugoslavia the greatest threat to Serbs and Croatians was not each other but rather those, known as cosmopolitans, who intermarried and fraternized with the enemy and did not get their primary identity from their ethnicity and religion. Similarly, in Iraq and Syria the mixed neighborhoods had to be destroyed

Many of us are dubious about the institutions that defend and protect our interests. Keeping these doubts to ourselves builds our particular bubble

boson777 palo alto CA

With Snowden's report, cameras on every corner, and a host of other Orwellian realities emerging, articles like this of mister Ludlow naturally follow. But when, we should ask our selves, exactly was the golden dawn when disinformation wasn't so prevalent? I grew up in the 1950s, when happiness was defined by washing machines, vacuums, TV, amphetamines, and lynchings of people with different skin tones. The father of marketing in the US, and now the globe, was Sigmund Freud's nephew Edward Bernays. The father of advertising was behaviorist J. B. Watson. Before internet computing we had J. Edgar Hoover and the tape recording machine. Really, was there ever a time Business didn't lie to the public to get at their money, or that government didn't sneak around and kill their enemies in dark corners? I think the difference between then and now is that now such activity gets leaked more often, whereas our predecessors simply lived in the fantasy world created for them by the oligarchy and their henchmen, the government

June 15, 2013 at 12:07 p.m. Recommended28

Josh Hill New London

Don't you think, though, that the balance of power has shifted? Those forces were always present and powerful, to be sure, but we had a powerful reform movement in the United States -- TR, Wilson, FDR, Truman, JFK, Johnson. And during that golden period, there was a justified sense that the people were making progress, that government, despite abuses like those that occurred during the McCarthy era, was basically on the public's side

Now, the best we can hope for is a centrist Democrat like Clinton or Obama who is able to prevent the radical right from imposing complete insanity, but not stem the erosion of our civil liberties, our democratic institutions, and the American Dream

James Mathieu Jackson, Wyoming

The allegory of Plato's cave endures and is certainly apt in this overview of public/private espionage/hacking/hacktivism. There is a critical difference though ..

Plato contended that those who seek and then discover the source of the light would return to the cave and become "philosopher/kings". These "Philosopher Kings" were better qualified to rule than the politicians (who also happened to cause Athens to fall to Sparta). Jeremy Hammond and Edward Snowdon would be Plato's candidates to return to the cave and to dispell the shaodws on the wall

George Friedman would be the historical equivalent of an Athenian politician who is, therefore, untrustworthy and manipulative. I agree with the writer from Utah, Mr. Mabbutt, because Goldman Sachs and Monsanto would have created the cave in the first place, but they would forever deny there was a different source of light. Of course the Philosopher Kings would disagree, but their brave proof would not allign with the "national interest"

Robert Naperville, IL

The effort to manipulate others by conveying to them selected information is known also as campaigning and advertising. The private security agencies described are operating like marketing companies or churches, doing what they can to promote a product even if that involves trashing the product's competitors. "Epistemic attack" is a typical human behavior. I agree with your conclusion: we tend to admire individuals like Hammond and Snowden unless they are revealing deceptions that tend to support our interests. Then, of course, they're traitors or criminals

Uziel Nogueira Florianopolis - SC - Brasil

The use of deception and surveillance by private companies in the cyberspace is not the problem. Wall Street has been doing that for decades. The only difference is the new medium (cyberspace) in which deception takes place

The problem is state cyber espionage aimed at population control and power. I am not afraid of travel companies sending sales people to harass me at home

However, I'm very much afraid of having the man in black coming to my house, detaining and interrogating me and my family because an exchange of emails I had with someone considered a terrorist by the Brazilian state

June 15, 2013 at 11:27 a.m. Recommended17

Dan Mabbutt Utah

A great article that has made effective use of history ("what has happened") to guide policy ("what should happen")

One of my favorites is the life of George Orwell (pen name of Eric Arthur Blair) who spent the years of WWII as a propagandist and then wrote "Animal Farm" and "1984" about the inevitable result of propaganda and social control

As we contemplate this war for mind share, we should not forget the real wars that often accompany them. The demonstrated willingness of Assad and his followers to destroy all of Syria -- and indeed, all of the Middle East or even the world -- to preserve their own power should make us appreciate the difficulty of dislodging, for example, Goldman Sachs or Monsanto from their positions of power and privilege

June 15, 2013 at 10:20 a.m. Recommended38

Ethan New York, NY

The parallel of physical, ground wars to the ones in cyberspace, and the methods of deception they both share is indeed an excellent point. One should also remember that the government employs contractors on the ground same as they do in cyberspace, as described in this article. Blackwater, anyone? http://bit.ly/a41K8J

June 15, 2013 at 1:04 p.m. Recommended5

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Alex p It

Good examples, though out of momentum. In fact, then internet surveillance is focused on tangling "different" metadata to figure out a comprehensive profile of a person. Your suggestion, otherwise, involves a man(organization)- in- a- box. Out of that he(it) simply doesn't exist.

Following the Plato's cave mith, when people in finally destroy their chains and get out o the cave, they see a big tall wall with idols upon it. Then they simply substitute the shadows they sought, with the newly images imposed at superior heights.

So, substituting self-made images with self-evident ones isn't helpful, in-a-box, or out-of-a-box, until elaboration don't get started, we actually say thinking about truth. By the way, in Plato the search of truth pushed some people to jump over the wall. But this is another story, i suppose

A Reader Ohio

Thanks for these interesting glimpses of "epistemic warfare."

I would like to see more philosophical discussion of the epistemological and ethical dimensions of these facts. This particular essay has little philosophy in it.

For instance, the Heideggerian point about "uncovering" could be developed in a couple of directions. Heidegger would point out that

  1. (1) even the most outrageous delusions already involve some type of uncovering -- but the phenomena have been misinterpreted, and
  2. (2) no unconcealment is total, and we never simply see "the world the way it is" -- aletheia is necessarily accompanied by lethe.

Apart from Heidegger, one could debate whether maximum disclosure is good, or under which circumstances.

I am a bit disappointed in the Times' proofreading: "a principle project" should be "a principal project."

June 15, 2013 at 9:28 a.m. Recommended2

Steve Bolger New York City

I suppose philosophy is another pursuit that attracts people who like to argue endlessly over what smarter dead people were really thinking when they had some insight that can only be recaptured today by necromancy

Sal Anthony Queens, NY

For Steve,

Wonderful wordplay. And yet, it is indeed the grandest and the most practical of all pursuits, seeking to distill the eternal from the lesser disciplines of art and science, seeking to inform aspiring artists, scientists and struggling thinkers, and forming the metaphysical sphere within which consciousness itself operates.

As for the dead being smarter and wiser than their successors, yes and no - talent and tenacity in studying those who came before lead many a great thinker to leapfrog his predecessors, just as torpitude and incapacity lead a great many more to fall short

Regards

Marilyn Delson Troy, NY

One of the most thoughtful, intriguing, and frightening excerpts I've read in a long time. The evaporation of the Occupy Movement was such a disappointment for progressives.

I'm sure there's a blockbuster story behind its demise for an enterprising investigative journalist, assuming they still exist anywhere

mancuroc Rochester, NY

There's no mystery about why the Occupy movement evaporated

First, the media fell over themselves to give it the minimum and least favorable coverage

Second, but more important - and I write as one in total sympathy with Occupy's cause - it contributed to its own demise by not adopting even a rudimentary leadership. and by refusing to get involved in electoral politics. If you want to get anywhere when the dice are already loaded against you, you need one or two people out front as spokespersons. Occupy turned its back on any idea of working even with sympathetic individual Democratic politicians. Granted, the Tea Party was a well-backed and not entirely grass-roots affair, but look at the hold it has over the GOP

It's painful to say so, but there's no blockbuster investigation needed. Occupy blew its chance, big time

That said, I don't doubt that if Occupy had chosen more bite to go along with its bark, the establishment would have aimed all its overt and covert weapons against it

Phillip Wynn Cincinnati

Sorry, mancuroc, but there's already evidence easily available that DHS & prob. other federal agencies coordinated a suppression response to Occupy with big city mayors across the country. More than one journalist has long since pointed out that the Occupy movement didn't fade out: it was deliberately squashed, accompanied by much illegality and police violence

What we need to know is the extent to which info derived from gvt surveillance was directly employed or shared with other entities re the Occupy movement, and while we're at it the Tea Party, and any other individuals or groups which are regarded as dissenters. Based on human nature as revealed by even recent history, we can all be confident that such abuse of power has occurred. We just don't know the extent of it

mancuroc Rochester, NY

@Phillip Wynn - you seem better informed than I am on the response to the Occupy movement so I'll concede there is something to it. However, I stand by my contention that the movement contributed to its own demise through sheer incompetence

Democratic leaders have bought into much of the pro-corporate conservative dogma, but there are plenty of grass roots Dems, including the progressive caucus in Congress, that haven't. Occupy collectively felt itself too superior to descend to party politics, so it surrendered leverage and drove away sympathetic Democrats. Bad move

Dean Charles Marshall California

Here's what I find most troubling, embedded amongst us are fellow Americans, like the folks at Stratfor and their ilk, displaying a rather deceitful and perverse take on "truth, justice and the American way" and seemingly getting well paid to do it. Not only is this incredibly scandalous, but treasonous as well. More proof that our democracy has been hijacked by a cabal of "racketeering" special interests willing to use any and all means of subterfuge and psyops to circumvent our Constitution in the name of inverted totalitarianism. Sure begs the question, was the USA Patriots Act really about catching foreign terrorists or was it the precursor for enslaving American citizens?

Lenny Pittsfield, MA

The way I see it, we all are strongly drawn to be in the cave and to stay in the cave facing the wall of illusions. And, when we we make our own attempts to draw us out of the cave into the actual world, or when others make efforts to bring us outside, we resist. I am very much concerned about this latest age of communication we are in; concerned because the evidence from outside of the cave is that so many of us are on our computers, are using our hand held devices, are on our cell phones in and out of our cars, have ear buds in our ears, are immersed in computer games, prefer video reporting to written articles, mistakenly value on-line pseudo encyclopedias as reliable scholarly sources, and take college courses on line rather than in classrooms with actual fellow students and actual live-in-the-present teachers. While we are this way, and if we continue to be this way, we do not and we will not actually know what is happening to ourselves and to others

June 15, 2013 at 8:50 a.m. Recommended12

Hans Nepomuk in Los Angeles, Ca Los Angeles, CA

This all sounds like children's games played by adults, for fun and profit. This sounds like "The rime of the Ancient Mariner" prosified. I think good philosophy must have more on its mind

Steve Bolger New York City

That is exactly what it is. We pay tax, the government pays an entity of the Bush family empire call Booz Allen Hamilton to do the work, Carlyle Group owns that, and the Bush family and Carlyle have a mutually beneficial arrangement that gives Carlyle top level access to everything the snoop empire dreams of for further contracts to supply it

June 15, 2013 at 10:45 a.m. Recommended9

zb bc

You really don't have to look this far for deception. Its called Capitalism. Not only are American Businesses manipulating our minds to get us to buy their junk most of which is poison either to our self or our environment, but they use addictive additives to make the manipulation all the more powerful

ann san pedro, ca

The naivete of people who think this just popped up from nowhere is astounding.

Since the invention of an almost unaccountable secret government over 60 years ago we have lived in a surveillance state.

Many have taken it too far. Hoover used it for personal power. Nixon used it for personal power. It has been part of our government for a long time and is part of our national infrastructure. It didn't start with the Patriot Act. It just got bigger

Laird Wilcox Kansas

Many of these firms are doing much, much more than gathering intelligence for government agencies, they are feeding them the information they want them to have and some of them are freely sharing information with Israeli intelligence. They are not disinterested parties or neutral professionals going about their tasks with no dog in the fight. They are part of a large covert apparatus.

For one thing, they have to gin up enough of a threat for us to obsess about to keep themselves employed. What they would like least of all is for a situation to develop where they are no longer viewed as necessary. They have every interest in keeping conflict going and in exaggerating the threat of domestic terrorism. Like any other business, unless they can create a demand for their product they are soon out of existence

For another, many of them have obvious political interests in the direction our country takes on various issues, particularly as they relate to Israel and the Middle East. What is needed is a detailed investigation into the nature, composition and activities of these firms. Penetrating the security curtain surrounding them would be a difficult task, however. They have created a structure and a climate that allows them to act with almost no oversight

It's a particularly dangerous thing for our country when our security and intelligence apparatus is not in direct control of the American people and works to pursue private interests. This is not a small matter

Architect, NL

Useful article. Thanks

That people only present information that is welcome to them (Chris, NYC) because they "know" their cause to be just, well we knew that. In a way you are an example of that yourself, because you leave out the possibility that Stratfor might also manipulate foes of the American people (to which you probably would not object because these foes are holding false opinions to start with, right?)

That people actually make up information to support their "just" cause, because the ends justify the means (most religions do this), well we knew that too

That people make up FALSE information, attribute it to somebody else and subsequently "uncover" the falsehood, was a complication I was not consciously aware of

The only advice I can give if this happens to you: admit the falsehood right away. Both parties mentioned above are easily recognizable because they will start defending the falsehood

C. Whiting Madison, WI

This is one of the most intriguing and concerning articles I have read in a major newspaper. I actually find it astonishing that it sits here next to pieces by David Brooks et. al. Nicely reported, Mr. Ludlow

June 15, 2013 at 7:47 a.m. Recommended52

Luce Indonesia

What I don't like about all the Wiki-type exposers is that they only want to expose the US. Is this because Daniel Ellsburg already proved to the world that the US government can not and will not kill you for exposing its doings? (If you are on their payroll they can imprison you.) Meanwhile all the governments that do kill people for that and for much less can continue to do it, and can keep improving their game with the info released by the hackers premature releases of information, which often seem to be done at least partly out of the desire for publicity, which, again, can easiest be found in the US

June 15, 2013 at 7:47 a.m. Recommended3

Matthew Cross Detroit

These are U.S. citizens blowing the whistle on what the U.S. government is doing. That is their first responsibility as citizens, to their own nation. I can talk all day about all the horrible things Russia or Colombia are doing, but since I'm not from those countries, it carries little weight. Our attention should be on where I live, since I can have a much greater impact, and it's my county. Besides, you must concede that the U.S. is the greatest world power in history. Our influence around the globe, militarily and commercially (those usually work hand in hand), is beyond anything that any previous country/empire/imperial power has enjoyed. That certainly adds to our responsibility as citizens to hold our own government accountable, since what happens here often has a much greater impact on the rest of the world

June 15, 2013 at 9:21 a.m. Recommended16

Mike Hihn Boise, ID

Edward Snowden has more details on our surveillance than the intelligence oversight subcommittee -- per an interview with the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Oversight Committee, now on the NPR website. To be fair, she does not make that conclusion in the interview, but see how little even she is allowed to know

How can Congress possibly meet its Constitutional check and balance over the Executive?

NPR link: http://tinyurl.com/k9taeew

John Northern California

I love the way the NYTimes is consistently about ten to fifteen years behind smart people. Next you'll realize Obama's Nobel "Peace" Prize was entirely a PC effort, too

Bill Benton San Francisco

Excellent piece. Thanks, Peter Ludlow and NY Times

Also thanks, Wikileaks, Jeremy Hammond, and all the other hackers who have brought to light things that the forces of evil want to keep hidden.

Sunlight is the best disinfectant -- leaking should not be a crime. But covering up government theft and malfeasance and incompetence should be

www.youtube.com/tra1776 www.billbenton.webs.com

Doug France

I wonder why Great Britain has stepped in the Snowden affair? It is disappointing to see that the lapdog policies of GB haven't changed since Tony Blair led his nation into the Iraq disaster

rturkington Virginia

Excellent writing and research. I only wish there was 1000 more just like you, as intent on sharing what is really going on behind the scenes, as there are those who do their best to deceive. Please keep on doing what far too few do these days-tell the American people the truth

SpecialAgent, A New York City

This is probably the most important and provocative essay on contemporary philosophy ever written in America. And it has 39 comments? Share widely, defend reality and consciousness. Defend freedom of mind

Philip Thrift, Addison, Texas

Ironically, it is only the federal government through laws that can protect individual persons (that's us) from corporations' use of our data. An example is the health care law, which would prevent the private insurance industry from using individuals' data to deny or strip them of coverage. In the Tea-Party/Republican nirvana of a limited federal government, the strongest corporations would be the masters of our data and the controllers of our lives

June 15, 2013 at 7:21 a.m. Recommended23

pieceofcake, konstanz germany

In case you have missed it - the American surveillance state had arrived - ever since I booked something on the Internet and suddenly all these travel-ads appeared

So please - as a wiser man suggested: The internet is "the Surveillance State" - and much better in "surveillance" than the American government ever could be

The American government is just like us - we have to go begging to google or facebook that they hand over some of the data they have on us - while American cooperations get it for free!

And I tell you that's the real scandal!

edbrooklyn, Brooklyn

This piece should be read in the context of the recent announcement by the Pentagon that it declares the current war zone or battlefield to be the entire earth, which means they include the United States as well. (I do recognize that part of Ludlow's wider point is that, the problem is not just the Pentagon or NSA, it's numerous private companies that are the militant forces here). Truly strange that many people say we should "just trust" these agencies and private companies, even though not only did Director of National Intelligence James Clapper just lie to Congress this year about spying on US citizens, but also --- as Ludlow points out --- these entities have as their express goal carrying out PsyOps (falsehood, lies, propaganda, mind games) on the American people and the press. NPR just reported on plans by these agencies and companies to plant fake "honeypot" documents for concerned citizens to find --- so as to trap them. (NPR neglected to mention the discredit-the-messenger part that Ludlow focuses on here.) "Defense Department Trying To Plug Leaks Before They Happen" NPR June 14, 2013 at 3pm. Numerous people have already been or are currently being threatened with undeserved prison sentences for trying to get the truth out to the public: Thomas Drake, Barrett Brown ( freebarrettbrown dot org ), Jeremy Hammond ( freejeremy dot net ), and Bradley Manning ( bradleymanning dot org )

sdavidc9, Cornwall Bridge, Connecticut

Agent provocateurs are as old as political forces who believe that the ends justify the means. Hacking is only a way of catching them. Propaganda and Big Lies predate computers, as did the East German Stasi. Computers and the Internet make this sort of thing cheaper while also increasing exponentially the amount of communication that must be monitored

Plato had something much more pervasive and fundamental in mind. The lowest level of the cave was the province of advertising and salesmanship in general, and the sort of negative campaigns and character assassination disclosed by the noble hackers is just one type of this unreality, and by far not the most pervasive or even the most dangerous. The alternate univese of Fox is not maintained by these sorts of secret manipulations of public opinion, and is philosophically both more interesting and more important

June 15, 2013 at 2:01 a.m. Recommended4

Kevin M. Gallagher, Amherst, MA

It's important to note that much of what we know about Team Themis, and in turn the shady corners of the the private intelligence contracting industry, is owed to the investigative journalist Barrett Brown and his crowd-sourced wiki Project PM. He was a pioneer as far as researching stories found in the leaked e-mails from HBGary and Stratfor. Now he's been indicted three times, and sits in a Texas prison awaiting trial, looking at up to 105 years maximum

I definitely think the heavy-handed treatment and excessive prosecution in his case is a retaliatory punishment for his journalism digging into these firms that are involved in surveillance. The government is going after him the same way they do with any whistleblower or hacktivist that they don't like or agree with. It's crazy

Worst of all, one of the charges he's facing a LOT of time for equates to sharing a link (to Stratfor data). Which of you feels it's reasonable to charge someone w/ identity theft and fraud for pasting a hyperlink? It's absurd, as if they expect us to check every link that the content doesn't contain anything illegal and then hold us responsible for whatever the receiver does with it.

Know what else, BB was looking into Booz Allen Hamilton, the employer of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, before he got arrested. He recorded a phone call w/ their Vice President in which he lied about their involvement w/ HBGary in the Team Themis affair.