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Propaganda Narratives Are Custom-Made For Each Ideological Echo Chamber

Propaganda Narratives Are Custom-Made For Each Ideological Echo Chamber

Yesterday I started a thread on Twitter lamenting the fact that support for WikiLeaks and Julian Assange has been eroded all across the political spectrum since 2016 by the establishment smear campaign.

I started the thread because I’d just been reflecting on how some of the first clumsy articles I ever wrote for this gig were basically just me marvelling at how support for Assange had united Berners, Trumpers, Greens, anarchists, libertarians and hackers against those who sought to silence him. Yet today I routinely see people from those factions smearing him because, at some point between then and now, an establishment propaganda narrative got through to them.

Almost immediately after I made the initial post, commenters started lining up to unintentionally prove me right. A Bernie supporter came in to proclaim that Assange is “a giant piece of shit”, and a liberal claimed Assange was “a de facto member of an election campaign to get a white nationalist elected president of the U.S.”

Multiple Trump supporters came forward arguing in support of their president’s persecution of Assange, arguing that his imprisonment and pending extradition is no big deal, claiming Assange is a CIA asset, saying Assange needs to be punished for publishing US military secrets, arguing that Trump is actually just trying to force Assange to give up his sources for the 2016 publications (as though a president coercing a journalist to give up a source with the threat of life in prison would be perfectly fine and constitutional), and claiming Assange’s persecution is coming exclusively from the UK and not the US (the US extradition request is the only reason for his continued imprisonment and US officials are openly giving instructions to British prosecutors in the courtroom).

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

The Imperial Propaganda Machine: Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix

The Imperial Propaganda Machine: Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix

It’s important to avoid fake news, Russian media or conspiracy theorists. We must only trust those reputable news outlets who tell us that neoliberalism is working fine, that US foreign policy is perfectly sane, and that protests are only happening in Hong Kong and nowhere else.

The difference between state media and western media is that in state media the government controls what information the public is given about what’s going on in the world in order to prevent political dissent, whereas in western media this is instead done by billionaires.

Any attempt to understand the world which fails to take into account the fact that extremely powerful people are pouring massive amounts of money and resources into manipulating your understanding of the world will necessarily result in a distorted worldview.

Whenever news media reports unsubstantiated assertions from anonymous sources in government agencies, just mentally insert “Here is something the government told us to tell you:” into the beginning of the report, because that’s all they’re doing.

Russia and China haven’t become any more of a threat to you than they were three years ago, yet you think about them many times more often than you did back then. That’s propaganda at work, FYI.

All the establishment loyalists you argue with are ever really saying is, “No! The TV would NEVER lie to me!”

Sometimes all I can do is stare in awe at the power and efficiency of the imperial propaganda machine. When I first started this gig in 2016 Assange had way more support, from Berners, Greens, Trumpers, all across the spectrum. Now a large amount of that support has been eroded. For Trumpers Assange is being extradited for his own good to bring down the Deep State.

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

The Incredible Shrinking Overton Window

The Incredible Shrinking Overton Window

“The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum — even encourage the more critical and dissident views. That gives people the sense that there’s free thinking going on, while all the time the presuppositions of the system are being reinforced by the limits put on the range of the debate.”
~ Noam Chomsky

The plutocrat-owned narrative managers of the political/media class work constantly to shrink the Overton window, the spectrum of debate that is considered socially acceptable. They do this by framing more and more debates in terms of how the oligarchic empire should be sustained and supported, steering them away from debates about whether that empire should be permitted to exist at all.

They get people debating whether there should be some moderate changes made or no meaningful changes at all, rather than the massive, sweeping changes we all know need to be made to the entire system.

They get people debating whether they should elect a crook in a red hat or a crook in a blue hat, rather than whether or not they should be forced to elect crooks.

They get people debating violations of government secrecy laws, not whether the government has any business keeping those secrets from its citizenry in the first place.

They get people debating how internet censorship should take place and whom should be censored, rather than whether any internet censorship should occur.

They get people debating how and to what extent government surveillance should occur, not whether the government has any business spying on its citizens.

They get people debating how subservient and compliant someone needs to be in order to not get shot by a police officer, rather than whether a police officer should be shooting people for those reasons at all.

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

Twitter Suspends Accounts For Propaganda, Has Literal Propagandist As High-Level Executive

Twitter Suspends Accounts For Propaganda, Has Literal Propagandist As High-Level Executive

Middle East Eye‘s Ian Cobain has published an exclusive titled “Twitter executive for Middle East is British Army ‘psyops’ soldier”, exposing the fact that Twitter’s senior editorial executive for Europe, the Middle East and Africa also works for an actual, literal propaganda unit in the British military called the 77th Brigade. Which is mighty interesting, considering the fact that Twitter constantly suspends accounts from non-empire-aligned nations based on the allegation that they are engaging in propaganda.

“The senior Twitter executive with editorial responsibility for the Middle East is also a part-time officer in the British Army’s psychological warfare unit,” Cobain writes. “Gordon MacMillan, who joined the social media company’s UK office six years ago, has for several years also served with the 77th Brigade, a unit formed in 2015 in order to develop ‘non-lethal’ ways of waging war. The 77th Brigade uses social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, as well as podcasts, data analysis and audience research to wage what the head of the UK military, General Nick Carter, describes as ‘information warfare’.”


EXCLUSIVE: Twitter executive for Middle East is British Army ‘psyops’ soldier https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/twitter-executive-also-part-time-officer-uk-army-psychological-warfare-unit …

EXCLUSIVE: Twitter executive for Middle East is British Army ‘psyops’ soldier

Head of editorial for MENA is part-time officer in the 77th Brigade, an ‘information warfare’ unit which has worked on ‘behavioural change’ projects in the regionmiddleeasteye.net


MacMillan’s presence in a government psyops unit was not a secret; until Middle East Eye began raising questions on the matter, it was right there on his LinkedIn profile. This is not something that anyone considering him for promotion was likely to have been unaware of. According to his (now-edited) LinkedIn page, MacMillan has been in his current position as Head of Editorial EMEA since July 2016.

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

CIA, Climate And Conspiracy: More Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix

CIA, Climate And Conspiracy: More Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix

Take off the revolutionary’s mask, and it’s the CIA.
Take off the terrorist’s mask, and it’s the CIA.
Take off the news man’s mask, and it’s the CIA.
Take off the filmmaker’s mask, and it’s the CIA.
Take off the professor’s mask, and it’s the CIA.
Take off the billionaire’s mask, and it’s the CIA.
Take off the whistleblower’s mask, and it’s the motherfucking CIA.
These monsters are raping our sensemaking faculties.

Never call anyone from the CIA a “whistleblower” unless they are actually whistleblowing on the CIA, without the CIA’s permission, in a way that inconveniences the CIA.

The deployment of a bomb or missile doesn’t begin when a pilot pushes a button, it begins when propaganda narratives used to promote those operations start circulating in public attention. If you help circulate war propaganda, you’re as complicit as the one who pushes the button.

Many believe that the mass media just tell whole-cloth, outright lies all the time, but that’s not usually how it works. What they do is selectively omit inconvenient facts, disproportionately amplify convenient facts, and uncritically report on dubious government assertions. Basically they only tell the truth when it’s convenient for them, and when it’s inconvenient they are silent. Only telling the truth when it’s convenient for you is effectively the same as lying all the time, only you can get away with it a lot easier.

How to solve the climate crisis:
– End the economic system which requires infinite growth on a finite planet.
– Let people get more relaxed and less busy.
– End corporate influence in politics.
– End militarism.
– End patents.
– Kill the capitalist propaganda engine known as the mainstream media.

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

Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix

Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix

Most human suffering is due to believed mental stories, from the psychological suffering of the individual to the large-scale suffering caused by international power structures who advance violence and oppression via propaganda. We must evolve a new relationship with narrative.

Most people’s lives are dominated by mental story, so whoever can control those stories controls the people. The good news is that all we need to do to reclaim our world from the controllers is to reclaim our stories. The barrier between us and freedom is as thin as a fairy tale.

I talk about fighting establishment narrative control a lot, not because it’s the best way to change things, but because it’s the only way. The public will never, ever use the power of their numbers to change things so long as they’re being successfully propagandized not to.

We are bulldozing a paradise while praying we go to Heaven when we die. We are killing off giant-brained leviathans in our own oceans whose mental lives we know little about while searching the stars for intelligent life. We are burning our home in our search for a sense of home.

The most condescending sound in the known universe is Bill Maher’s voice.

Joe Biden could slip into a coma tomorrow and they’d still wheel him out to the debates with the words “NOT TRUMP” scribbled on his forehead in sharpie. And he’d continue to poll in the mid-to-high twenties.

We are about three years from watching President Biden say he’s working with Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher to win the Cold War, soiling himself at the podium, and then CNN pundits earnestly discussing his similarities and differences to President Obama.

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

How a Small Group of Pro-Israel Activists Blacklisted MintPress on Wikipedia

How a Small Group of Pro-Israel Activists Blacklisted MintPress on Wikipedia

For over ten years, Wikipedia has been a key focus of right-leaning, pro-Israel groups that have effectively weaponized the online encyclopedia as a means of controlling the narrative when it comes to the state of Israel’s more than 50-year-long military occupation of Palestine. 

For over a decade, pro-Israel and ultra-nationalist Israeli settler groups have sought to weaponize the popular online encyclopedia, Wikipedia, through concerted covert editing campaigns, offering Wikipedia editing courses to West Bank settlers and even formal alliancesbetween Israel and Wikipedia to allow Israelis to create and edit content in a variety of languages.

In recent years, this alliance between pro-Israel partisans and Wikipedia has stepped up, largely in response to the growth of the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which seeks to pressure Israel to comply with international law with respect to occupied Palestine and the blockaded Gaza Strip. As a consequence, news outlets that consistently report on the success of BDS, such as MintPress News, have been targeted on Wikipedia by such partisans, who recently succeeded in blacklisting MintPress as a “reliable source” on the online encyclopedia.

In early June, a small number of partisan Wikipedia editors privately voted to blacklist MintPress News from use as a source on the online encyclopedia website at the behest of a Wikipedia editor who took issue with MintPress’ coverage of current events in Venezuela and Syria. At no point was MintPress ever asked to comment or allowed to respond to any of the allegations made and MintPress is unable to appeal the decision.

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

How Media Narratives Became More Important Than Facts

A cameraman in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Oct. 19, 2016. (PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)

A cameraman in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Oct. 19, 2016. (PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)

How Media Narratives Became More Important Than Facts

Commentary

The day that I told CBS News I wished to leave my job as investigative correspondent ahead of my contract, I didn’t give a reason. I didn’t see the point because the problem wasn’t fixable.

Nor was it isolated to CBS News.

My own take is that—as our industry has changed in ways that have become undeniable to most—I was a bit of the canary in the coal mine. By that, I mean I believe I was among the first to really pay attention to the increasingly effective operations to shape and censor news—the movements to establish narratives rather than follow facts—and to see the growing influence of smear operations, political interests, and corporate interests on the news.

It’s not that I’m smarter than my peers, and I’m surely far less smart than many, but my particular brand of off-narrative reporting happened to draw the intense attention of the smear operators and propagandists, so I began to study it.

A case in point: the smear that was promulgated when I left CBS. It was often incorrectly reported that I told CBS management I was quitting due to liberal media bias. That false story turned out to be convenient for both political sides, and largely survives today. It simply wasn’t rooted in fact. And I don’t recall reporters even asking me whether it was true. Once a few articles reported that it was, others simply copied the claim and adopted it as if established fact, eventually without attribution. Now there would be no point in trying to clarify it. After all, Wikipedia says it’s true. No going back from that.

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

Debunking The “Assange Is A Russian Agent” Smears

Debunking The “Assange Is A Russian Agent” Smears

_____________________

Smear 4: “He’s a Russian agent.”

Not even the US government alleges that WikiLeaks knowingly coordinated with the Kremlin in the 2016 publication of Democratic Party emails; the Robert Mueller Special Counsel alleged only that Guccifer 2.0 was the source of those emails and that Guccifer 2.0 was a persona covertly operated by Russian conspirators. The narrative that Assange worked for or knowingly conspired with the Russian government is a hallucination of the demented Russia hysteria which has infected all corners of mainstream political discourse. There is no evidence for it whatsoever, and anyone making this claim should be corrected and dismissed.

But we don’t even need to concede that much. To this day we have been presented with exactly zero hard evidence of the US government’s narrative about Russian hackers, and in a post-Iraq invasion world there’s no good reason to go pretending that we have. We’ve seen assertions from opaque government agencies and their allied firms within the US-centralized power alliance, but assertions are not evidence. We’ve seen indictments from Mueller, but indictments are assertions and assertions are not evidence. This doesn’t mean that Russia would never use hackers to interfere in world political affairs or that Vladimir Putin is some sort of virtuous girl scout, it just means that in a post-Iraq invasion world, only herd-minded human livestock believe the unsubstantiated assertions of opaque and unaccountable government agencies about governments who are oppositional to those same government agencies.

If the public can’t see the evidence, then as far as the public is concerned there is no evidence. Invisible evidence is not evidence, no matter how many government officials assure us it exists.

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

The Legal Narrative Funnel That’s Being Used To Extradite Assange

The Legal Narrative Funnel That’s Being Used To Extradite Assange

Isn’t it interesting how an Ecuadorian “asylum conditions” technicality, a UK bail technicality, and a US whistleblowing technicality all just so happened to converge in a way that just so happens to look exactly the same as imprisoning a journalist for telling the truth?

Following the arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, top UK officials all began simultaneously piping the following exact phrase into public consciousness: “No one is above the law.”

“This goes to show that in the United Kingdom, no one is above the law,” Prime Minister Theresa May told parliament after Assange’s arrest.

“Julian Assange is no hero and no one is above the law,” tweeted Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt. 

“Nearly 7 years after entering the Ecuadorean Embassy, I can confirm Julian Assange is now in police custody and rightly facing justice in the UK. I would like to thank Ecuador for its cooperation and @metpoliceuk for its professionalism. No one is above the law,” tweeted Home Secretary Sajid Javid.

Over and over again that phrase showed up to be unquestioningly re-bleated by the human livestock known as the British press in all their reporting on the Assange case: No one is above the law. No one is above the law. No one is above the law. Something tells me they really want people to know that, with regard to Julian Assange, no one is above the law.

But what is “the law” in this particular case? What they are constantly referring to as “the law” with regard to Assange is in fact nothing more than a combination of ridiculous bureaucratic technicalities which can be (and have been) interpreted very differently, but are now instead being interpreted in a way which just so happens to lead to a truth-telling journalist being locked in a cage, awaiting extradition to the same government which tortured Chelsea Manning.

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

What’s the Difference Between a Low-Carbon and Zero-Carbon Future? Survival

What’s the Difference Between a Low-Carbon and Zero-Carbon Future? Survival

Governments, media and industry use ‘low-carbon economy’ frame to continue business as usual.

TrudeauHorganLNGCanada.jpg
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Premier John Horgan celebrating LNG Canada’s investment decision as an investment in the low-carbon economy. They’re missing a critical point: we need a zero-emissions economy. Photo: BC Government Flickr.

“The finance ministry reckons that even with the estimated $6 billion in relief over 40 years, the province would still reap $22 billion in revenues over the same period. Without the project, returns would, of course, be zero.”

It’s a compelling comparison. With the project we can pay for schools, hospitals and poverty reduction. Without it, we have nothing. 

Yet it is fallacious, a comparison promoted by Big Oil and adopted by most governments. It takes our minds off alternatives. 

The correct comparison is between revenues generated from $40 billion invested in fracking and fossil fuel production versus revenues generated from $40 billion invested in renewable energy, such as solar, wind and thermal.

Two similar-sounding phrases lie at the heart of this issue. One has gained predominance, the other relegated to the margins of climate change discourse. The first is “low-carbon economy,” an economy in which even fracking and liquefied natural gas have a role. The second is “zero-carbon economy,” an economy in which no more greenhouse gases are emitted into the atmosphere. In this second framing, the goal must be an economy fuelled entirely by renewable, non-carbon-emitting sources.

As the Palmer column illustrates, renewable energy has been largely written out of the script in the climate change narrative being constructed in B.C. and across Canada. For one thing, a renewable energy future would likely mean the end of Royal Dutch Shell and the other fossil fuel supermajors.

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

People Will Never, Ever Rebel As Long As They’re Successfully Propagandized

People Will Never, Ever Rebel As Long As They’re Successfully Propagandized

Our predicament is simple to describe.

Since the dawn of civilization, powerful individuals have controlled the stories people tell themselves about who they are, who’s in charge, how a good citizen behaves, what groups should be loved, what groups should be hated, and what’s really going on in the world. When you study what we call history, you’re mostly just reading the ancient proto-propaganda of whatever kingdom happened to win the last war during that period of time. When you study what we call religion, you’re mostly reading stories that were advanced by ancient governments explaining why the people should be meek, forgiving taxpayers instead of rising up and killing their wealthy exploiters.

This continues to this day. We fill our children’s heads with lies about how the world works, how the government works, how the media works, and, on a deeper level, how their own consciousness works, and the entire process is shaped to funnel power toward the people who control our stories. The modern schooling system was largely formed by John D Rockefeller, widely considered the wealthiest person in modern history, in order to create generations of docile gear-turners for the industrial plutocratic machine. Modern schooling is essentially mainstream media in a building; it promotes authorized narratives day in and day out to ensure that children will have a reaction of cognitive dissonance and rejection when confronted with information which contradicts those narratives.

This funnels the populace seamlessly into the narrative control matrix of adulthood, where childhood indoctrination into mainstream narratives lubricates the way for continual programming of credulous minds with mass media propaganda.

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

The Media, Mueller, the Big Con and the Democratization of Narrative

The Media, Mueller, the Big Con and the Democratization of Narrative

Falling for a con is painful. The first reaction is to deny being conned, of course. The second is to blame skeptics for being correct in their skepticism.

Here’s the fundamental “story” of the Mueller Investigation: elites don’t like “the little people” democratizing public narratives. The elites–who reckon theirright to rule is self-evident–want to set the narrative and the context, because that’s the foundation of power: once you get the citizenry to agree on your narrative and context, you secure two valuable things: 1) political legitimacy and 2) their obedience.

Elite anxiety over the “the little people” democratizing narratives is not a new phenomenon. Elites have demanded control of any media outlet that doesn’t parrot their line and have tried to declare skeptical inquiry sedition for generations, stretching back to the founding of the Republic.

The elite interest in controlling the narrative and context long predates the era of “fake news.” Please read this excerpt from the 1991 book The Radicalism of the American Revolution about the democratization of everyday life in post-Revolutionary War America (1790 – 1830):

“The result of all these assaults on elite opinion and celebrations of common ordinary judgment was a dispersion of authority and ultimately a diffusion of truth itself to a degree the world had never seen. With every ordinary person being told his ideas and tastes, on everything from medicine to art to government, were as good as, if not better than, those of “connoisseurs” and “speculative men” who had college degrees, it is not surprising that truth and knowledge became elusive and difficult to pin down.”

This democratization deeply unsettled the elites, who were accustomed to leading by setting the “acceptable” narrative and context. Democracy, they discovered to their chagrin, isn’t a force that one can bottle up and dispense in measured doses around election time; it spreads throughout every sphere of the society.

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

Why All Anti-Interventionists Will Necessarily Be Smeared As Russian Assets

Why All Anti-Interventionists Will Necessarily Be Smeared As Russian Assets

When Hawaii congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard announced her candidacy for the presidency on CNN last month, I had a feeling I’d be writing about her a fair bit. Not because I particularly want her to be president, but because I knew her candidacy would cause the narrative control mechanizations of the political/media class to overextend themselves, leaving them open to attack, exposure, and the weakening of their control of the narrative.

Mere hours before her campaign officially launched, NBC News published an astonishingly blatant smear piece titled “Russia’s propaganda machine discovers 2020 Democratic candidate Tulsi Gabbard,” subtitled “Experts who track websites and social media linked to Russia have seen stirrings of a possible campaign of support for Hawaii Democrat Tulsi Gabbard.” One of the article’s authors shared it on Twitter with the caption, “The Kremlin already has a crush on Tulsi Gabbard.”

The article reported that media outlets tied to the Russian government had been talking a lot about Gabbard’s candidacy, ironically citing as an example an RT article which documented the attempts by the US mainstream media to paint Gabbard as a Kremlin agent. The article’s authors cited the existence of such articles combined with the existence of “chatter” about Gabbard on the anonymous message board 8chan (relevant for God knows what reason) as evidence to substantiate its blaring headline. Even more hilariously, the source for its weird 8chan claim is named as none other than Renee DiResta of the narrative control firm New Knowledge, which was recently embroiled in a scandal for staging a “false flag operation” in an Alabama Senate race which gave one of the candidates the false appearance of being amplified by Russian bots.

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

Antiwar Hero Medea Benjamin Disrupts Venezuela Coup Circle Jerk

Antiwar Hero Medea Benjamin Disrupts Venezuela Coup Circle Jerk

Before they launch missiles, they launch narratives. Before they drop bombs, they drop talking points. Before they implement crushing starvation sanctions, they demonize and condemn. Before they invade, they propagandize. Before the killing starts, manipulation paves the way.

For this reason, the front line of any antiwar movement is a fight against the establishment narratives about disobedient nations that are aggressively promulgated by the political/media class. And right now one of the very most adept Americans at doing that is an activist named Medea Benjamin.

Benjamin once again displayed her knack for getting her message seen in high-profile spaces in a way that grabs attention and punches through cleanly and concisely as she crashed the warmongering bloviations of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at a meeting of the Organization for American States (OAS) in Washington, DC.

Following a speech in which Pompeo regurgitated already established Trump talking points referring to Venezuela’s president Nicolas Maduro as the “former president”, accusing him of being “economically incompetent”, “profoundly corrupt” and “undemocratic to the core,” Benjamin cut off his applause by standing at the end of the council room with a sign reading “OAS: DON’T SUPPORT A COUP IN VENEZUELA” and decrying the Trump administration’s attempts to topple the Venezuelan government.

“Don’t support the coup!” Benjamin shouted. “A coup is not a democratic transition! Do not listen to Secretary Pompeo! Do not support the coup! Do no support the coup in Venezuela!”

“We call on the OAS to support the democratically elected leader and work for a negotiated solution,” Medea continued to yell as security staff cajoled her out of the room. “Coups only bring more violence, war and destruction!”

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

Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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