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If You Believed Something Else, You Wouldn’t Be Sitting Here: Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix

If You Believed Something Else, You Wouldn’t Be Sitting Here: Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix

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It sure is interesting how stuff keeps happening that makes free speech on the internet something dangerous which must be curtailed. Covid, the Capitol riot, Russian propaganda, all of which just happen to require tightening restrictions on our single best tool against the powerful.

Had online platforms not agreed to curtail speech in alignment with the US empire, they would with 100 percent certainty have been broken up by antitrust cases and been replaced by other monopolistic companies that would censor in alignment with imperial interests.

You’re not permitted to ascend to power within the system unless you cooperate with existing power structures. If you don’t, you’ll be stopped in your tracks and replaced with someone who will.

A rookie journalist who doesn’t advance narratives favorable to US imperialism will keep getting called to the editor’s desk until they get the message. When rookie social media sites first showed up it was the same thing, except instead of the editor’s desk, it was US congressional hearings.

Western journalists learn very quickly that they can only get published by mainstream outlets by promoting narratives that are favorable to US imperialism. Example:

 

This is how propaganda occurs in the west. It’s not that Jeff Bezos emails Washington Post reporters saying “Promote US wars!”, it’s that only reporters who support imperialism see their articles published and their careers rise. As Noam Chomsky famously said in an interview with Andrew Marr, “If you believed something different, you wouldn’t be sitting where you’re sitting.”

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Meditations On US Forces Firing A Howitzer Into The Empty Desert “Just To Say We’re Here”

Meditations On US Forces Firing A Howitzer Into The Empty Desert “Just To Say We’re Here”

I saw a line in a recent New Yorker article about America’s endless wars, and it’s been been rattling around in my head ever since:

“In Syria, McKenzie visited the Green Village, a community of decrepit apartment blocks near a bombed-out oil facility that served as the operational headquarters for the final push to erase the caliphate, in 2019. These days, the only military action there is from U.S. forces firing a 155-millimetre howitzer twice a week into the surrounding desert, at no specific target, ‘just to say we’re here,’ one officer told me.”

U.S. forces firing a 155-millimetre howitzer twice a week into the surrounding desert, at no specific target, “just to say we’re here.”

Tell me that’s not the sexiest line you have ever read in your entire life. The poetical beauty! The ennui! The oh-so-relatable existential ache! Oh God, I need a cigarette.

I mean it just hits on so many different levels. Could you ask for a better snapshot of life within the soulless US war machine than a small cast of Beckettian soldiers, waiting around near a bombed-out oil facility for a Godot who never arrives, firing heavy artillery rounds into the desert twice a week for no reason whatsoever? You just want to hang it in an ornate wooden frame with the caption “YOUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK, LADIES AND GENTS” and then shove it so far up Tom Cotton’s personal anatomy that it takes an entire emergency room team to extract it.

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

They Don’t Work To Kill All Dissent, They Just Keep It From Going Mainstream

They Don’t Work To Kill All Dissent, They Just Keep It From Going Mainstream

One of the most consequential collective delusions circulating in our society is the belief that our society is free. Our society is exactly free enough to create the illusion that we have freedom; from that line onwards it’s just totalitarianism veiled in propaganda.

I get comments from people every day wagging their fingers at my criticisms of western imperialist agendas against nations like China or Iran saying “If you lived over there you wouldn’t be allowed to criticize the government the way you criticize western governments!”

It is true that dissidents are permitted to criticize the government systems of the US-centralized empire to an extent, but only to an extent. Yes, as long as my criticisms of capitalism, oligarchy and imperialism remain relegated to the fringes of influence I am indeed permitted to express my views unmolested. If however I somehow ascended to a position of significant mainstream influence I would be targeted and smeared until my reputation was ruined or I had a psychological breakdown and went away. You may be certain of this.

The managers of empire do not work to crush and silence all dissent like a conventional totalitarian regime would do. They are much more clever than that.

In a society that maintains the illusion of freedom in order to prevent outrage and revolution, it does not serve rulers to stifle all dissent. Just the opposite in fact: their interests are served by having a small number of dissidents hanging around the fringes of society creating the illusion of freedom. If Johnny Hempshirt over there is allowed to stand on a soapbox and criticize the US war machine, then the US must be a free country.

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

 

Biden Continues Trump’s War On The Press

Biden Continues Trump’s War On The Press

Just one day after a coalition of prominent civil rights groups made headlines with a letter urging the Biden administration to drop efforts to extradite WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to the United States on espionage charges, the Biden administration has announced its intention to continue those efforts.

“Justice Department spokesman Marc Raimondi on Tuesday said the U.S. government will continue to challenge a British judge’s ruling last month that Assange should not be extradited to the United States because of the risk he would commit suicide,” Reuters reports.

“We continue to seek his extradition,” Raimondi said.

Assange’s arrest and subsequent charges under the Espionage Act in 2019 for what amount to standard journalistic practices which exposed US war crimes marked both a dramatic escalation in the US empire’s war on critical national security journalism and a sharp divergence from the Obama administration’s decision not to pursue such charges in this case. Biden is not just upholding Trump’s assault on press freedoms (far and away the single most egregious attack on journalism in the 45th president’s entire four years in office), he is rejecting the Obama administration’s decision not to charge Assange due to concerns that it would erode the First Amendment.

As The Washington Post reported during Barack Obama’s second term in 2013:

“The Justice Department has all but concluded it will not bring charges against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for publishing classified documents because government lawyers said they could not do so without also prosecuting U.S. news organizations and journalists, according to U.S. officials.”

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

You Counter Trumpism By Ending The Conditions Which Created It, Not With Authoritarian Policies

You Counter Trumpism By Ending The Conditions Which Created It, Not With Authoritarian Policies

The US political/media class have been pushing hard for more authoritarian policies to stave off the threat of “domestic terrorism” in the wake of the Capitol riot. President Biden, who was already working on rolling out new domestic terror policies well before January sixth, confirmed after the riot that he is making these new measures a priority. Political internet censorship is becoming increasingly normalized, anti-protest bills are being passed, and now we’re seeing liberals encouraged to form “digital armies” to spy on Trump supporters to report them to the authorities.

And an amazingly large percentage of the US population seems to have no problem with any of this, even in sectors of the political spectrum that should really know better by now.

“What else can we do?” they reason. “What other solution could there possibly be to the threat of dangerous fascists and conspiracy theorists continuing to gain power and influence?”

Well there’s a whole lot that can be done, and none of it includes consenting to sweeping new Patriot Act-like authoritarian measures or encouraging monopolistic Silicon Valley plutocrats to censor worldwide political speech. There’s just a whole lot of mass-scale narrative manipulation going on to keep it from being obvious to everyone.

The way to stem the tide of Trumpism (or fascism, or white supremacism, or Trump cultism, or whatever term you use for what you’re worried about here) is to eliminate the conditions which created it.

Trump was only able to launch his successful faux-populist campaign in the first place by exploiting the widespread pre-existing opinion that there was a swamp that needed draining, a corrupt political system whose leadership does not promote the interests of the people.

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

The Two Faces Of The US Empire

The Two Faces Of The US Empire

The Biden/Harris inauguration event is going to be a star-studded celebration spanning an unprecedented five days, a giddy orgy of excitement at a murderous oligarchic empire having a new face behind the front desk after promising wealthy donors that nothing will fundamentally change.

This comes at a time when Americans are now reporting that they trust corporations more than they trust their own government or media, when pundits are gleefully proclaiming in The New York Times that “CEOs have become the fourth branch of government” as they pressure the entire political system to smoothly install Biden, when the leading contender for the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division is an Obama holdover who went from the administration to working for both Amazon and Google, and when Americans are being paced into accepting an increasing amount of authoritarian changes for their own good.

And this manic celebration and increasing brazenness of corporate power are of course overlaid atop an unceasing river of human blood as the globe-spanning empire continues to smash any nation which disobeys it into compliance so as to ensure lasting uncontested planetary hegemony.

But hey, at least they voted out fascism.

The US empire is ugly and creepy. The more you look at it, the uglier and creepier it gets. That’s why so much effort goes into keeping the public from looking at it directly.

The US empire has two faces, one rooted in the west coast and the other in the east. The first face, which sprouts up from Hollywood, presents a grinning plastic smile to the world depicting how fun and wonderful and righteous America is and how all its systems are working completely fine. The second face, which sprouts up from DC, Arlington and Langley, is wild-eyed and covered in blood.

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

 

The Deification of Emperor Trump: Following Caligula’s Path

The Deification of Emperor Trump: Following Caligula’s Path

Jake Angeli, high priest of the growing cult of Emperor Donald Trump, dressed as the horned God Cernunnos. The deification of Emperor Trump in Washington, yesterday, didn’t go so well, but we are moving along a path that the Romans already followed during the decline of their empire, including the deification of emperors, starting with Caligula. So, comparing Roman history to our current conditions may tell us something about the future.

I already speculated on what kind of Roman Emperor Donald Trump could have been and I concluded that he might have been the equivalent of Hadrian. The comparison turned out to be not very appropriate. Clearly, Trump was no Hadrian (a successful emperor, by all means). But, after four years, and after the recent events in Washington, I think Trump may be seen as a reasonably good equivalent of Caligula, or Gaius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, who also reigned for 4 years, from 37 to 41 AD.

Caligula was the prototypical mad emperor — you probably heard that he nominated his horse consul. And he was not just mad, he was said to be a cruel, homicidal psychopath, and a sexual pervert to boot. In addition, he tried to present himself as a living god and pretended to be worshipped. He even claimed to have waged a war against the Sea God Poseidon, and having won it!

But, really, we know little about Caligula’s reign, and most of it from people who had plenty of reasons to slander his memory, including our old friend Lucius Annaeus Seneca (he of the “Seneca Effect“) who was a contemporary of Caligula and who seriously risked being killed by him. The Romans knew and practiced the same rules of propaganda we use today. And one typical way to slander an emperor was to accuse him to be a sexual pervert.

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

 

Assange Wins. The Cost: Press Freedom Is Crushed & Dissent Labelled Mental Illness

Assange Wins. The Cost: Press Freedom Is Crushed & Dissent Labelled Mental Illness

We must not downplay the price being demanded of us for this victory, writes Jonathan Cook.

The unexpected decision by Judge Vanessa Baraitser to deny a U.S. demand to extradite Julian Assange, foiling efforts to send him to a U.S. super-max jail for the rest of his life, is a welcome legal victory, but one swamped by larger lessons that should disturb us deeply.

Those who campaigned so vigorously to keep Assange’s case in the spotlight, even as the U.S. and U.K. corporate media worked so strenuously to keep it in darkness, are the heroes of the day. They made the price too steep for Baraitser or the British establishment to agree to lock Assange away indefinitely in the U.S. for exposing its war crimes and its crimes against humanity in Iraq and Afghanistan.

But we must not downplay the price being demanded of us for this victory.

Moment of Celebration

We have contributed collectively in our various small ways to win back for Assange some degree of freedom, and hopefully a reprieve from what could be a death sentence as his health continues to deteriorate in an overcrowded Belmarsh high-security prison in London that has become a breeding ground for Covid-19.

For this we should allow ourselves a moment of celebration. But Assange is not out of the woods yet. The U.S. has said it will appeal the decision. And it is not yet clear whether Assange will remain jailed in the U.K. – possibly in Belmarsh – while many months of further legal argument about his future take place.

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

 

Americans Only Care About America. Their Rulers Only Care About World Domination.

Americans Only Care About America. Their Rulers Only Care About World Domination.

Ever since November third the American political/media class have been keeping Democrats fixated on Trump’s post-election shenanigans with garment-rending urgency, now going so far as to call for yet another oxygen-sucking impeachment as he’s on his way out the door while millions of Americans are struggling just to meet their basic needs.

You wouldn’t know it from the dominant chatter, but Trump’s impotent attempts to reverse the election results don’t rank anywhere remotely near the top ten worst things this president has done while in office, which include vetoing attempts to end the world’s worst mass atrocity in Yemen, escalating world-threatening cold wars with both Russia and China, murdering untold tens of thousands of Venezuelans with starvation sanctions, pushing Iran to the brink of war by assassinating its top military commander, expanding the “war on terror” and rolling back airstrike regulations designed to protect civilians.

US political discourse hasn’t reflected the fact that Trump’s foreign policy has been far more atrocious than anything he’s done domestically–and certainly anything he’s done since November–because news media coverage does not reflect this fact. News media coverage does not reflect this fact because western news media regard imperialism and mass military slaughter as normal US presidential stuff, and do not regard brown-skinned foreigners as human.

I point this out because it’s good to note, as Trump leaves office, that he spent his entire administration advancing murderous imperialist agendas which spilled very real blood from very real human beings while mainstream America barely even noticed. Their attention was drawn instead to endless narrative theater which had no impact whatsoever on the concrete actions taken by the US government’s executive branch. Their gaze was kept fixated on meaningless political drama while the war machine marched on unseen.

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

 

Chris Hedges: The Empire is Not Done with Julian Assange

Chris Hedges: The Empire is Not Done with Julian Assange

As is clear from the memoir of one of his attorneys, Michael Ratner, the ends have always justified the means for those demanding the WikiLeaks‘ publisher’s global persecution.

(Original illustration for ScheerPost by Mr. Fish)

Shortly after WikiLeaks released the “Iraq War Logs” in October 2010, which documented numerous U.S.  war crimes — including video images of the gunning down of two Reuters journalists and 10 other unarmed civilians in the “Collateral Murder” video, the routine torture of Iraqi prisoners, the covering up of thousands of civilian deaths and the killing of nearly 700 civilians who had approached too closely to U.S. checkpoints — the towering civil rights attorneys Michael Ratner and Len Weinglass, who had defended Daniel Ellsberg in the Pentagon Papers case, met Julian Assange in a studio apartment in Central London, according to Ratner’s newly released memoir Moving the Bar.

Assange had just returned to London from Sweden where he had attempted to create the legal framework to protect WikiLeaks’ servers in Sweden.  Shortly after his arrival in Stockholm, his personal bank cards were blocked.  He had no access to funds and was dependent on supporters.  Two of these supporters were women with whom he had consensual sex.  As he was preparing to leave, the Swedish media announced that he was wanted for questioning about allegations of rape.

The women, who never accused Assange of rape, wanted him to take an STD test.  They had approached the police about compelling him to comply. “I did not want to put any charges on Julian Assange,” texted one of them on Aug. 20 while she was still at the police station, but “the police were keen on getting their hands on him.” She said she felt “railroaded by the police.”

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

The Assange Extradition Ruling Is A Relief, But It Isn’t Justice

The Assange Extradition Ruling Is A Relief, But It Isn’t Justice

British Judge Vanessa Baraitser has ruled against US extradition for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, but not for the reasons she should have.

Baraitser’s frightening ruling supported virtually every US prosecutorial argument that was made during the extradition trial, no matter how absurd and Orwellian. This includes quoting from a long-discredited CNN report alleging without evidence that Assange made the embassy a “command post” for election interference, saying the right to free speech does not give anyone “unfettered discretion” to disclose any document they wish, dismissing arguments from the defense that UK law prohibits extradition for political offenses, parroting the false claim that Assange’s attempt to help protect his source Chelsea Manning while she was exfiltrating documents she already had access to was not normal journalistic behavior, saying US intelligence might have had legitimate reasons to spy on Assange in the Ecuadorian embassy, and claiming Assange’s rights would be protected by the US legal system if he were extradited.

“Judge is just repeating the US case, including its most dubious claims, in Assange case,” tweeted activist John Rees during the proceedings.

In the end, though, Baraitser ruled against extradition. Not because the US government has no business extraditing an Australian journalist from the UK for exposing its war crimes. Not because allowing the extradition and prosecution of journalists under the Espionage Act poses a direct threat to press freedoms worldwide. Not to prevent a global chilling effect on natsec investigative journalism into the behaviors of the largest power structures on our planet. No, Baraitser ultimately ruled against extradition because Assange would be too high a suicide risk in America’s draconian prison system.

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

Never Forget How The MSM Smeared Assange: Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix

Never Forget How The MSM Smeared Assange: Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix

The frenetic mass media propaganda campaign against Julian Assange was easily the creepiest and most Orwellian thing I’ve ever witnessed. And now it is silent. It did its job and then disappeared, before the public could really notice what was happening. It’s absolutely stunning.

You wouldn’t know it now, but between late 2016 and Assange’s arrest social media was full of blue-checkmarked narrative managers falling all over each other to be the first to come up with the day’s hottest smear painting a heroic journalist as a villain. Day after day after day. Smearing Assange was one of the easiest ways for an aspiring journalist to show current and prospective employers that you’re on the side of the empire. He was a soft target you could kick to signal that you’ll say whatever the Pentagon wants so you can climb the media ladder.

The smear campaign pervaded every political faction in every part of the US-centralized power alliance. Where they couldn’t get away with openly smearing him they circulated rightist psyops about Trump and Assange secretly working together and the extradition actually helping Assange, which was effectively the same as smearing him. The overwhelming majority of mainstream opinions about Assange are the result not of his work or the life he’s lived, but of a concerted propaganda campaign the majority of which took place between late 2016 and Assange’s arrest in April 2019. People just aren’t aware they’ve been propagandized.

The smear campaign went silent so quickly because it is now impossible to paint yourself as a brave up-punching journalist while smearing someone who is being openly prosecuted for journalism. So they’ve slinked off into the shadows, hoping we’ll forget what they did. Let’s not.

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

The Kafkaesque Imprisonment of Julian Assange Exposes U.S. Myths About Freedom and Tyranny

The Kafkaesque Imprisonment of Julian Assange Exposes U.S. Myths About Freedom and Tyranny

The real measure of how free is a society is not how its mainstream, well-behaved ruling class servants are treated, but the fate of its actual dissidents.

A billboard van calling for an end to extradition proceedings against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange waits at traffic lights in Parliament Square in London, England, on September 14, 2020. (Photo by David Cliff/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Persecution is not typically doled out to those who recite mainstream pieties, or refrain from posing meaningful threats to those who wield institutional power, or obediently stay within the lines of permissible speech and activism imposed by the ruling class.

Those who render themselves acquiescent and harmless that way will — in every society, including the most repressive — usually be free of reprisals. They will not be censored or jailed. They will be permitted to live their lives largely unmolested by authorities, while many will be well-rewarded for this servitude. Such individuals will see themselves as free because, in a sense, they are: they are free to submit, conform and acquiesce. And if they do so, they will not even realize, or at least not care, and may even regard as justifiable, that those who refuse this Orwellian bargain they have embraced (“freedom” in exchange for submission) are crushed with unlimited force.

Those who do not seek to meaningfully dissent or subvert power will usually deny — because they do not perceive — that such dissent and subversion are, in fact, rigorously prohibited. They will continue to believe blissfully that the society in which they live guarantees core civic freedoms — of speech, of press, of assembly, of due process — because they have rendered their own speech and activism, if it exists at all, so innocuous that nobody with the capacity to do so would bother to try to curtail it…

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

PATRICK LAWRENCE: Empire with a Human Face

PATRICK LAWRENCE: Empire with a Human Face

The Biden people are unlikely to speak of a new cold war with China, but they appear likely to wage one all dressed up as a sophisticated trans–Pacific strategy.

A portion of China’s Great Wall at dawn. (Hao Wei, Flickr, CC BY 2.0)

Those boneheaded Trump people explained their hostile, xenophobic, fated-to-fail policy toward China by telling  the rest of Asia that America stood for “a free and open Indo–Pacific.”

No, no and no, say the big shots President-elect Joe Biden has named to shape and execute his foreign policy. Instead, they mean to tell Asians to line up behind their hostile, xenophobic, fated-to-fail policy toward China in the name of “a secure and prosperous Indo–Pacific.”

Way different.

It is simply remarkable to watch as the party that howled in response to everything the Trump regime attempted on the foreign-policy side adopts one Trump-era strategy after another more or less intact but for the cosmetics.

The sin of those egregious hawks who commandeered the outgoing regime was to conduct the business of empire imperially. This new crew offers what we had better recognize now as nothing more than empire with a human face.

Of all the Biden regime’s failures in the making one can already see in prospect that none will be greater than its insistence that the U.S. must continue to treat China as a predatory competitor and strategic adversary.

As Mike Pompeo failed to enlist Asians in his crusade against the mainland — and our baboon secretary of state has flopped spectacularly, if you have not noticed — so will Antony Blinken, his successor at State, and Jake Sullivan, Biden’s nominee for national security adviser.

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

You Have No Obligation To Conform To A Wildly Sick Society

You Have No Obligation To Conform To A Wildly Sick Society

You have no obligation to conform to a society which brands you a Russian propagandist for criticizing the most powerful and destructive institutions on earth.

You have no obligation to conform to a society which brands you a Chinese propagandist for advocating peace and detente instead of loyalty to the continual unipolar domination of a sociopathic global empire at all cost.

You have no obligation to conform to a society which brands you a dictator apologist any time you oppose murderous interventionism and the lies which are universally used to manufacture support for it.

You have no obligation to conform to a society which brands you a crazy conspiracy theorist for believing the plutocratic media distorts the truth to protect the interests of the plutocratic class.

You have no obligation to conform to a society which brands you a deranged extremist for saying the system which has marched our species to the brink of extinction is not working.

You have no obligation to conform to a society which brands you a freak and an outcast for saying everyone should be given what they need in a world of plenty instead of letting people die while elite predators hoard far more than they need.

You have no obligation to conform to a society where you are branded a dangerous radical for saying that Black and Indigenous lives matter and that police funding should be re-routed to programs which actually work.

You have no obligation to conform to a society where you are branded a misandrist bitch for saying rape culture is a problem and more consciousness needs to be brought to the power dynamics of gender.

…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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