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Pro-War Media Deserve Slamming, Not Sainthood

Pro-War Media Deserve Slamming, Not Sainthood

Still from “The Post.”

The media nowadays are busy congratulating themselves for their vigorous criticism of Donald Trump. To exploit that surge of sanctimony, Hollywood producer Steven Spielberg rushed out The Post, a movie depicting an epic press battle with the Nixon administration. Critics raved over the film, which the New York Post enthusiastically labeled “journalism porn of the highest order.” Boston Public Radio station WBUR called it the “most fun you’ll ever have at a civics lesson.”

Spielberg, touting his movie, claimed that “the free press is a crusader for truth,” But the media hoopla around The Post is akin to geezers boasting of having shown moments of courage when they were almost 50 years younger.

The Post is built around the Pentagon Papers, a secret study begun in 1967 analyzing where the Vietnam War had gone awry. The 7000-page tome showed that presidents and military leaders had been profoundly deceiving the American people ever since the Truman administration and that the same mistakes were being endlessly repeated. Like many policy autopsies, the report was classified as secret and completely ignored by the White House and federal agencies, which most needed to heed its lessons. New York Times editor Tom Wicker commented in 1971 that “the people who read these documents in the Times were the first to study them.”

Daniel Ellsberg, a former Pentagon official, heroically risked life in prison to smuggle the report to the media after members of Congress were too cowardly to touch it. The New York Times shattered the political sound barrier when it began courageously publishing the report despite a profusion of threats from the Nixon administration Justice Department. After a federal court slapped the Times with an injunction, the Washington Post and other newspapers published additional classified excerpts from the report.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

It’s Time To Start Getting Enraged At What Western Imperialists Have Done To Syria

It’s Time To Start Getting Enraged At What Western Imperialists Have Done To Syria

Rumors are again swirling of an impending false flag chemical weapons attack in Syria, just as they did shortly before the highly suspicious Douma case in April. Warnings from Syrian and Russian intelligence, as well as US war ship movements and an uptick in US funding for the Al Qaeda propaganda firm known as the White Helmets, give these warnings a fair bit of weight. Since the US war machine has both a known regime change agenda in Syria and an extensive history of using liespropaganda and false flags to justify military interventionism, there’s no legitimate reason to give it the benefit of the doubt on this one. These warnings are worth taking seriously.

So some people are understandably nervous. The way things are set up now, it is technically possible for the jihadist factions inside Syria and their allied imperialist intelligence and defense agencies to keep targeting civilians with chemical weapons and blaming the Assad government for them until they pull one off that is so outrageous that it enables the mass media to manufacture public support for a full-scale assault on Damascus. This would benefit both the US-centralized empire which has been plotting regime change in Syria for decades and the violent Islamist extremists who seek control of the region. It also creates the very real probability of a direct military confrontation with Syria’s allies, including Russia.

But the appropriate response to the threat of a world war erupting in Syria is not really fear, if you think about it. The most appropriate response to this would be unmitigated, howling rage at the western sociopaths who created this situation in the first place.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Western Media Whitewash Yemen Genocide

Western Media Whitewash Yemen Genocide

Western Media Whitewash Yemen Genocide

With the United Nations warning that millions of civilians could die from violence or starvation from the ongoing military siege of the Yemeni port city of Hodeida, there is no other way to describe what is happening except as “genocide”.

The more than three-year war on Yemen waged by a Western-backed Saudi coalition has been arguably genocidal from the outset, with up to eight million people facing imminent starvation due to the years-long blockade on the Arabian country, as well as from indiscriminate air strikes.

But the latest offensive on the Red Sea city of Hodeida threatens to turn the world’s already worst humanitarian disaster into a mass extermination.

Hodeida is the entry point for 90 per cent of all food and medical aid into Yemen. If the city’s port stops functioning from the military offensive – as UN aid agencies are warning – then an entire country population of more than 20 million will, as a result, be on the brink of death.

The Saudi coalition which includes Emirati forces and foreign mercenaries as well as remnants from the previous regime (which the Western media mendaciously refer to as “government forces”) is fully backed by the US, Britain and France. This coalition says that by taking Hodeida it will hasten the defeat of Houthi rebels. But to use the cutting off of food and other vital aid to civilian populations as a weapon is a blatant war crime. It is absolutely inexcusable.

This past week an emergency session at the UN Security Council made the lily-livered call for the port city to remain open. But it stopped short of demanding an end to the offensive being led by Saudi and Emirati forces against Hodeida, which is the second biggest stronghold for Houthi rebels after the capital Sanaa. The port city’s population of 600,000 is at risk from the heavy fighting underway, including air strikes and naval bombardment, even before food, water and medicines supply is halted.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

How the Corporate Media Enslave Us to a World of Illusions

How the Corporate Media Enslave Us to a World of Illusions

Photo by Mohamed Nanabhay | CC BY 2.0

Nazareth.

For several years now, I have been writing regular posts on my blog with one end in mind: to help open a door for readers and encourage them to step through. I select issues, usually those that dominate western media coverage and represent a consensus that we might term the Great Western Narrative, and try to show how this narrative has been constructed not to inform and enlighten but to conceal and deceive.

It is not that I and the many other bloggers doing this are cleverer than everyone else. We have simply had a chance – an earlier one – to step through that door ourselves, because of a jarring life experience that the Great Western Narrative could not explain, or because someone held the door open for us, or more usually because of a combination of the two.

My personal awakening

It is easy for me to identify my own process of awakening. It began with the dislocation of moving to Nazareth and being immersed in someone else’s narrative – that of the Palestinians. Then, I faced for the first time in my career as a journalist an impenetrable wall of opposition, even from my own former newspaper, the Guardian, as I tried to explain that counter-narrative. In fact, I found that the Palestinian narrative was invariably misrepresented as anti-semitism. These were dark years of disillusionment and the loss of a professional and ideological compass.

It is in such a moment of bereavement – deprived of the consolation of the Great Western Narrative – that one searches for a door to enlightenment. It can be a long journey to find it. My door appeared while reading about the Propaganda Model of Ed Herman and Noam Chomsky in their book Manufacturing Consent, as well as stumbling across a website called Media Lens

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Twelve Tips For Making Sense Of The World

Twelve Tips For Making Sense Of The World

In an environment that is saturated with mass media propaganda, it can be hard to figure out which way’s up, let alone get an accurate read on what’s going on in the world. Here are a few tips I’ve learned which have given me a lot of clarity in seeing through the haze of spin and confusion. Taken separately they don’t tell you a lot, but taken together they paint a very useful picture of the world and why it is the way it is.

1. It’s always ultimately about acquiring power.

In the quest to understand why governments move in such irrational ways, why expensive, senseless wars are fought while homeless people die of exposure on the streets, why millionaires and billionaires get richer and richer while everyone else struggles to pay rent, why we destroy the ecosystem we depend on for our survival, why one elected official tends to advance more or less the same harmful policies and agendas as his or her predecessor, people often come up with explanations which don’t really hold water.

The most common of these is probably the notion that all of these problems are due to the malignant influence of one of two mainstream political parties, and if the other party could just get in control of the situation all the problems would go away. Other explanations include the belief that humans are just intrinsically awful, blaming minorities like Jews or immigrants, blaming racism and white supremacy, or going all the way down wild and twisted rabbit holes into theories about reptilian secret societies and baby-eating pedophile cabals. But really all of mankind’s irrational behavior can be explained by the basic human impulse to amass power and influence over one’s fellow humans, combined with the fact that sociopaths tend to rise to positions of power.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

In The Western World Truth Is An Endangered Species: Come To Its Support

In The Western World Truth Is An Endangered Species: Come To Its Support

Nowhere in the Western world is truth respected. Even universities are imposing censorship and speech control. Governments are shutting down, and will eventually criminalize, all explanations that differ from official ones. The Western world no longer has a print and TV media. In its place there is a propaganda ministry for the ruling elite.

Whistleblowers are prosecuted and imprisoned despite their protection by federal statue. The US Department of Justice is a Department of Injustice. It has been a long time since any justice flowed from the DOJ.

The total corruption of the print and TV media led to the rise of Internet media such as Wikileaks, led by Julian Assange, a prisoner since 2012.
Assange is an Australian and Ecuadorian citizen. He is not an American citizen. Yet US politicians and media claim that he is guilty of treason because he published official documents leaked to Wikileaks that prove the duplicity and criminality of the US government.

It is strictly impossible for a non-citizen to be guilty of treason. It is strictly impossible under the US Constitution for the reporting of facts to be spying. The function of the media is to expose and to hold accountable the government. This function is no longer performed by the Western print and TV media.

Washington wants revenge and is determined to get it. If Assange were as corrupt at the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, National Public Radio, MSNBC, etc., he would have reported the leaker to Washington, not published the information, and retired as a multi-millionaire with Washington’s thanks. However, unfortunately for Assange, he had integrity.

Integrity today in the Western world has no value. You cannot find integrity in the government, in the global corporations, in the universities and schools, and most certainly not in the media.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

How Humanity Could Become Impossible To Propagandize

How Humanity Could Become Impossible To Propagandize

I’ve been writing a lot about how the ability to control public narratives is the only real power in this world, and how the need of the ruling elites to wield that power explains everything from the feigned panic about “Russian propaganda” to Wikipedia’s bizarre editing policies to why Joy Reid still has a job. In my opinion it is impossible to overemphasize the impact that narrative and the myriad agendas to control it has on human life. Indeed, if a critical mass of individuals experienced a deep enough insight into the nature of mental narrative, all of our challenges as a species could be resolved very easily.

A search for the word “narrative” on the WikiLeaks website turns up tens of thousands of results. This is because the manipulators who work for the institutions that tend to have documents leaked to that outlet are well aware that the actual raw information about a government, a political campaign, event, etc. have far less impact on the way the public thinks about them than the sparkly, simplified, tweet-sized stories (narratives) that get circulated about those things on a large scale.

For example, if you ask an American political pundit about the president’s dealings with North Korea, you will likely be told that Trump is either a brilliant strategist who is almost single-handedly bringing peace to the Korean Peninsula or an incompetent imbecile who is getting “played” by Pyongyang, depending on which side of the partisan divide that pundit is loyal to. Both sides have access to the same information, but they are advancing wildly different narratives about it, because each side has an agenda that they know will be advanced if their narrative becomes dominant. In reality, neither narrative has much to do with what has actually been going on in the Korean negotiations, but that’s another story.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Turning Trees Into Enemies. The New War on Forests

Turning Trees Into Enemies. The New War on Forests

The San Marco Square in Florence in 2017. You can see the ancient trees of the square being cut as part of a plan that involved the removal of several hundred trees in the whole city. The action was accompanied by a propaganda campaign against trees that looked curiously similar to that used to justify the invasion of Iraq, in 2003. “Trees are a threat to citizens,”, “There is no alternative,” “Killer Trees,” and the like.

The war on trees seems to be starting. I don’t know about what’s happening where you live, but here, in Italy, we see it clearly, accompanied by all the propaganda tricks normally used to start wars. So, we have seen a string of accusations in the media against “killer trees,” supposed to be a danger for the citizens because they can fall on them or on their beloved shiny cars. The image on the right, here shows the first page of an Italian newspaper in 2014 informing us there are “50,000 killer trees” in Rome. Truly an invading army to be fought with the appropriate weaponry in the form of chainsaws.

One century ago, city administrations were proud of planting trees, today they are proud of cutting them. What happened that changed their attitude so much is hard to say. Maybe it is the general degradation of the ecosystem that has turned trees into monsters, but that doesn’t explain how administrations are starting also a war on forests – surely not threatening citizens or their cars. In a previous post, I commented on a recent piece of legislation in Italy that forces land owners to cut their woods even if they don’t want to. From the comments I received to that post and from what I can read on the Web, I think I can say that the war on trees is not just an Italian phenomenon, it is worldwide.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

How the people who control America manufacture our consent to their rule

How the people who control America manufacture our consent to their rule

Modern dictatorship, as Walter Lippmann pointed out in 1921 about “the manufacture of consent,” is the “creation of consent” and “is not a new art. It is a very old one which was supposed to have died out with the appearance of democracy. But it has not died out. It has, in fact, improved enormously in technic,” so that we now have artificial ‘democracy’, which George Orwell prophetically allegorized in his 1949 novel 1984. But here is the real version of it, today:

On May 26th, a youtube was posted titled “TIME Editor Literally Admits He’s For Gov. Propaganda!” It’s about, and discusses this: Richard Stengel, who was a former Managing Editor of TIME magazine (2006-2013), and then the U.S. Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy (2014-2016), had hosted, on April 20th, at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), a Workshop for College and University Educators — in other words, for professors — and this workshop was titled “Political Disruptions: Combating Disinformation and Fake News”. Stengel and his panel of ‘experts’ were teaching these professors how to recognize ‘Fake News’, and Stengel made clear there that it’s whatever violates America’s “master narrative.” (Truth-falsity has nothing to do with it, he and they were teaching.)

After a lot of unquestioning questions from his academic audience, and only near the very end of the entire workshop, an unidentified attendee asked a questioning question:

Q: I’m going to kind of go against the grain here and challenge us to … think about the media cartels, which control and dominate the way that the discourse is shaped. Is that not fake news in certain ways? … So for example, I’ll talk about the events in Gaza three weeks ago. Every American — every mainstream American and world outlet wrote a title that said, “Palestinians killed” or “die in clashes with Israel.” 

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The American Empire and its Media

The American Empire and its Media

Largely unbeknownst to the general public, executives and top journalists of almost all major US news outlets have long been members of the influential Council on Foreign Relations (CFR).

Established in 1921 as a private, bipartisan organization to “awaken America to its worldwide responsibilities”, the CFR and its close to 5000 elite members have for decades shaped U.S. foreign policy and public discourse about it. As a well-known Council member once explained, the goal has indeed been to establish a global Empire, albeit a “benevolent” one.

Based on official membership rosters, the following illustration for the first time depicts the extensive media network of the CFR and its two main international affiliate organizations: the Bilderberg Group(covering mainly the U.S. and Europe) and the Trilateral Commission (covering North America, Europe and East Asia), both established by Council leaders to foster elite cooperation at the international level.

CFR Media NetworkClick to enlarge 🔎

In a column entitled “Ruling Class Journalists”, former Washington Post senior editor and ombudsman Richard Harwood once described the Council and its members approvingly as “the nearest thing we have to a ruling establishment in the United States”.

Harwood continued: “The membership of these journalists in the Council, however they may think of themselves, is an acknowledgment of their active and important role in public affairs and of their ascension into the American ruling class. They do not merely analyze and interpret foreign policy for the United States; they help make it. () They are part of that establishment whether they like it or not, sharing most of its values and world views.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

From Bernays to Trump, Hooked on Misery

From Bernays to Trump, Hooked on Misery

The father of modern public relations and spin, Edward Bernays was a cold, cynical manipulator of mass perception. He knew that by shaping people’s desires in a certain way, governments and corporations could sell just about any notion to the masses and manipulate them at will. Whether it was whipping up fear about the bogeyman of communism or selling the ‘American Dream’ of happiness through consuming goods, Bernays and the public relations/advertising industry, which took its cue from him, did exactly that.

Bernays was an expert in stage managing events to capture the popular imagination. Among his various accomplishments was to get women hooked on cigarettes by associating feminism and fashion with smoking. Calling cigarettes ‘torches of freedom’, he was instrumental in convincing women that cigarettes were trendy and that smoking symbolised emancipation. From getting people to change their diets to putting fluoride in drinking water, corporations knew who to turn to when they wanted to sell their dubious products.

Thanks in large part to Bernays, politicians, the corporate media and the system’s opinion leaders learned to appeal to primitive impulses, such as fear, sex and narcissism, that have little bearing on issues beyond the narrow self-interests of a consumer society. The whole point of such a society is to distract people from the reality of the wider world and train them to desire and want new things that they don’t really need – or for that matter even want – while stripping them of their ability to be self-reliant and independent.

The US government quickly learned that angels and demons could be manufactured from thin air and, from Guatemala and Congo to Vietnam, that wars and destabilisations could be built on packs of lies – lies about evil-doers about to kick down the door, lies about the impending misery they would inflict and lies about the government delivering the world from impending doom.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

May You Live in Stupid, Corrupt and yet Fascinating Times

May You Live in Stupid, Corrupt and yet Fascinating Times

In the old days, America’s top spies would complete their tenures at the CIA or one of the other Washington puzzle palaces and segue to more ordinary pursuits. Some wrote their memoirs. One ran for president. Another died a few months after surrendering his post. But today’s national-security establishment retiree has a different game plan. After so many years of brawling in the shadows, he yearns for a second, lucrative career in the public eye. He takes a crash course in speaking in soundbites, refreshes his wardrobe and signs a TV news contract. Then, several times a week, waits for a network limousine to shuttle him to the broadcast news studios where, after a light dusting of foundation and a spritz of hairspray, he takes a supporting role in the anchors’ nighttime shows.

PoliticoThe Spies Who Came in to the TV Studio

May you live in stupid, corrupt and yet fascinating times.

– Me, paraphrasing a Chinese curse

I’ve been away the past couple of weeks taking a break with my family. I paid attention to the news, but from a distance. As usual, there’s plenty to talk about.

In the last 24 hours alone, we’ve seen political chaos erupt in Italy and hordes of pundits simultaneously lose their minds over the murder of a prominent Russian journalist that never happened. Such is the world we live in. Stupid, corrupt, yet fascinating.

Of all the things I could’ve written about, you may be surprised by today’s selection. It’s a clip many of you probably saw where Richard Stengel (who was Time Magazine’s managing editor from 2006-2013) admits he approves of government propagandizing its own citizens during a Council on Foreign Relations forum. Here’s the clip.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

TIME Editor Literally Admits He’s For Gov. Propaganda!

TIME Editor Literally Admits He’s For Gov. Propaganda!

Propaganda, Human Consciousness, And The Future Of Civilization

Propaganda, Human Consciousness, And The Future Of Civilization

A duck floats past two fish, looks down and says “Morning boys! How’s the water?” The fish swim on for a bit, then one of them turns to the other and says, “What the fuck is water?”

Corporatist propaganda is to western civilization what water is to fish. Our culture is saturated in it; it informs so many levels of our worldview and most of us never even examine any of them. It informs all aspects of culture, from our beliefs about what’s going on in the world to our understanding of history to what issues we think we’re supposed to care about on a given day to what opinions we think we’re allowed to choose from. People think they know what’s going on in their society, why their country fought this or that war, how their nation’s government and economy operate, when really they don’t know any of those things. All their most basic assumptions about their world, their culture, and even who they are as individuals is fully pervaded by mass media propaganda narratives.

In early tribal cultures, humans depended on campfire stories passed on from one generation to the next to tell them what the world is and how to interpret their experiences in it. Now that role has fallen exclusively to a few highly consolidated corporate media conglomerates whose billionaire owners have a vested interest in maintaining the warmongering plutocratic power establishment that is loosely centralized in the United States, because in that power establishment they get to live as kings.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Wikipedia Is An Establishment Psyop

Wikipedia Is An Establishment Psyop

If you haven’t been living in a hole in a cave with both fingers plugged into your ears, you may have noticed that an awful lot of fuss gets made about Russian propaganda and disinformation these days. Mainstream media outlets are now speaking openly about the need for governments to fight an “information war” against Russia, with headlines containing that peculiar phrase now turning up on an almost daily basis.

Here’s one published today titled “Border guards detain Russian over ‘information war’ on Poland“, about a woman who is to be expelled from that country on the grounds that she “worked to consolidate pro-Russian groups in Poland in order to challenge Polish government policy on historical issues and replace it with a Russian narrative” in order to “destabilize Polish society and politics.”

Here’s one published yesterday titled “Marines get new information warfare leader“, about a US Major General’s appointment to a new leadership position created “to better compete in a 21st century world.”

Here’s one from the day before titled “Here’s how Sweden is preparing for an information war ahead of its general election“, about how the Swedish Security Service and Civil Contingencies Agency are “gearing up their efforts to prevent disinformation during the election campaigns.”

This notion that the US and its allies are fighting against Russian “hybrid warfare” (by which they typically mean hackers and disinformation campaigns) has taken such deep root among think tanks, DC elites and intelligence/defense circles that it often gets unquestioningly passed on as fact by mass media establishment stenographers who are immersed in and chummy with those groups. The notion that these things present a real threat to the public is taken for granted to such an extent that they seldom bother to even attempt to explain to their audiences why we’re meant to be so worried about this new threat and what makes it a threat in the first place.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai II: Exodus
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Olduvai
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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Olduvai III: Cataclysm
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