“…the evidence is glaring that the US has just moved blatantly to destroy the democratic process in Bolivia, to terrorize a nation and blackmail its president to resign. Yet Western media dutifully turn off that narrative to keep chasing their fantasies about Russia. Another illustration of why corporate Western media are more accurately defined as propaganda channels, not news outlets.”
Only days before Evo Morales stepped down as Bolivia’s president audio tapes were published implicating opposition politicians, the US embassy and American senators in a coup plot.
Among those US senators mentioned in the leaked tapes by the Bolivian politicians seeking Morales’ ouster were Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, according to a report by Telesur.
It is believed that the US embassy in La Paz helped coordinate a deliberate campaign of street violence and media disinformation in order to destabilize the Andean country and force Morales to quit.
The whole scenario fits Washington’s standard-operating procedure for instigating coups or regime change against governments it disapproves of. Bolivia’s socialist president Evo Morales was in Washington’s cross-hairs for toppling.
What has happened in Bolivia is similar to the US-backed violent protests which earlier this year rocked the socialist government of President Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela. Fortunately for Maduro, the Venezuelan military has remained loyal to the constitution and was not turned by Washington’s pressure.
Unfortunately for Morales, however, sufficient pressure was exerted on the Bolivian military and police. When those institutions called for Morales to step down on Sunday, he did so in order to spare his nation from further deadly conflict. “The coup mongers are destroying the rule of law,” said Morales, who was re-elected for a fourth term on October 20.
Several countries have denounced what they see as a coup against the democratically elected leader. Russia, Cuba, Mexico, Venezuela and Argentina have all condemned the subversion of Bolivia’s constitution.
When Morales won the election last month, the Organisation of American States (OAS) alleged “manipulation” of the voting system. Such claims by the OAS were predictable because it has long served as a pro-Washington agency which is vehemently opposed to left-wing governments in Latin America. Critics call it a relic of the Cold War.
The organization has spearheaded international criticism of the Venezuelan government and served to whip up public disturbances earlier this year in that country which challenged the elected president, Nicolas Maduro. The orchestrated coup in Venezuela has since subsided over recent months.
Washington supplies the OAS with 60 per cent of its financial budget. It is, therefore, a tool for promoting US geopolitical interests across Latin America, as amply noted by the Grayzone.
It’s meddling in Bolivia seems to have succeeded, unlike its failed attempts in Venezuela.
The allegations of voting fraud in Bolivia gave immediate fuel for street protests by rightwing groups loyal to opposition politicians. Those opposition factions are linked to the past oligarchic regimes which ran Bolivia before Morales came to power in 2006. Morales was the first indigenous president in a country which has traditionally been dominated by a ruling class associated with Spanish colonialists. His policies gained much international praise for lifting millions of Bolivians out of poverty, especially the indigenous people who had historically been marginalized by the ruling elite.
For the past three weeks, since the election result designated Morales as the clear winner, Bolivia has been convulsed by extreme violence. Protesters attacked members of Morales’ party, burning homes and offices and intimidating journalists from broadcasting the scenes of anarchy on the streets. It is reported that one of Morales’ family relatives was kidnapped at the weekend.
Given the reign of terror threatening to destroy the country, the president was compelled to relinquish power at the weekend.
The implication of US senators colluding with Bolivia’s rightwing opposition to create a climate of hate and fear is straight out of the same playbook for subversion that Washington has used most recently in Venezuela and in dozens of other countries around the world. The coup d’état that occurred in Ukraine in February 2014 leading to a takeover by neo-Nazi parties is just one other example.
The irony is that Washington and its European partners are consumed with accusations made against Russia for allegedly interfering in their political systems. US and European media relentlessly claim with scant evidence that Moscow is running “influence campaigns” to distort elections.
Just this week the New York Times has published yet another report in a recent series of reports alleging that Russia is cranking up interference and meddling in African states.
Meanwhile, the evidence is glaring that the US has just moved blatantly to destroy the democratic process in Bolivia, to terrorize a nation and blackmail its president to resign. Yet Western media dutifully turn off that narrative to keep chasing their fantasies about Russia. Another illustration of why corporate Western media are more accurately defined as propaganda channels, not news outlets.
The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.
For decades many critics of broadcast television labeled it ‘The idiot box’. As Ed Norton said in a Honeymooners episode “Maybe the phrase fits.’” Well, today, perhaps more than ever before, we all must be idiots to continue viewing it.
Let’s first examine the news and news talk shows that seem to almost go 24/7 along with their cousin, the sports and sports talk shows. You stroll down the dial and you get mostly millionaire and wannabe millionaire pundits labeled as journalists, political analysts, Democratic or Republican strategists (how I just love that term), or contributors to their channel of servitude – usually CNN, Fox or MSNBC.
Amazing how every single one of these people gladly and regularly serve the Military Industrial Empire! The only delineating factor is if they are with the Republicans or Democrats… period! What in God’s name could any of these wealthy people understand how we working stiffs, or worse than that, unemployed or homeless Amerikans are going through? Really! They sit there and pontificate on the subject of a Medicare for All ideal, always finding some fault in it, whether they be from either of the two corrupt and hypocritical parties. If anyone reading this is a millionaire, or goodness, a mega millionaire, paying out $ 15- $ 20k a year for what they call a Cadillac Health Plan would be a drop in the bucket (of course we taxpayers subsidize the plan our elected officials get gratis). So, how can they ever comprehend the stress that NOT having such a plan means? Ditto for paying rent to an Absentee Landlord when that figure eats up too large a portion of one’s wages. Need I go down the list of the costs of raising a child or children on the wages most of us have to survive on? The faces we see on that idiot box do not, in most cases, have even a clue!
You turn on the sports talk shows, as I used to do too much of the time, and the dribble that comes out of the mouths of those sports journalistsis overwhelming! This economic system is so skewed that any working stiff should now realize the futility of it all. All of these sports talk shows readily accept the fact that the pro sports like football, basketball and baseball pay these players mega millions of dollars. Imagine the debates that these sports talk shills have on about some above average player demanding a salary of $ 300 million dollars over 10 years. They don’t argue that the whole enchilada is ridiculous, when guys are earning that much to throw or catch a ball or make a basket while we suckers pay through the nose to watch.
No, to these whores of the sports media the more these guys get paid, the more they can get paid as water carriers. Of course, to them and to the players this all is fine and dandy, because the owners of both the teams and the media channels are raking in billions! Going to a game in person, with a couple of kids, will cost, just for middle of the road seats, at least hundreds of dollars! For one game! As a baby boomer, I can recall taking my two sons to a Met game in the 1970s and paying out maybe $ 75 for everything: parking , tickets, food and drinks and programs.
How about the people you vote to represent we working stiffs? This is from the 2018 Roll Call listing:
In 2018, to rank among the top 50 wealthiest members of Congress required a net worth of at least $7.5 million.
Source: Roll Call (2018)
When you tune into that idiot box just remember that you are viewing a club of super rich people. It does not matter if it is news, politics, sports or any type of entertainment… these folks do NOT have a clue as to what you and your family and friends are up against each and every day. They all are NOT representative of anything worth appreciating. So, who are the real idiots here?
Note to readers: please click the share buttons above or below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.
Philip A Farruggio is a contributing editor for The Greanville Post. He is also frequently posted on Global Research, Nation of Change, World News Trust and Off Guardian sites. He is the son and grandson of Brooklyn NYC longshoremen and a graduate of Brooklyn College, class of 1974. Since the 2000 election debacle Philip has written over 300 columns on the Military Industrial Empire and other facets of life in an upside down America. He is also host of the ‘It’s the Empire… Stupid‘ radio show, co produced by Chuck Gregory. Philip can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Featured image is from Newsbud
Assistant Professor of Communications (Social Media) & Magazine, News and Digital Journalism, Syracuse University
Facebook’s News Feed algorithm determines what users see on its platform – from funny memes to comments from friends. The company regularly updates this algorithm, which can dramatically change what information people consume.
As the 2020 election approaches, there is much public concern that what was dubbed “Russian meddling” in the 2016 presidential election could happen again. But what’s not getting enough attention is the role Facebook’s algorithm changes play, intentionally or not, in that kind of meddling.
A key counterpoint to the Russian misinformation campaign was factual journalism from reputable sources – which reached many of their readers on Facebook and other social media platforms. As a social media researcher and educator, I see evidence that changes to Facebook’s News Feed algorithm suppressed users’ access to credible journalism in the run-up to Trump’s election.
Political operatives know Facebook serves as a gatekeeper of the information diets of more than 200 million Americans and 2 billion users worldwide. Actions and abuse by others on the platforms have generated much concern and public discussion, including about how much disinformation and propaganda Americans saw before the election. What has not been talked about enough is the effect that Facebook’s algorithmic shifts have had on access to news and democracy.
In mid-2015, Facebook introduced a major algorithm change that pivoted readers away from journalism and news, to deliver more updates from their friends and family. The change was couched in friendly language suggesting Facebook was trying to make sure users didn’t miss stories from friends. But social media data shows that one effect of the change was to reduce the number of interactions Facebook users had with credible journalism outlets.
A few months before the 2016 election, an even bigger algorithm change toward friends and family posts took a second toll on publisher traffic. A wide range of news publishers found that their content was significantly less visible to Facebook users.
In my research, I looked at Facebook engagement for mainstream news outlets surrounding the 2016 election. My findings support others’ conclusions that Facebook’s algorithm greatly suppressed public engagement with these publishers.
Data from CrowdTangle, a social media monitoring company, shows that Facebook traffic dropped noticeably at CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox News, The New York Times and The Washington Post after the company updated its algorithms to favor friends and family in June 2016.
That proves the algorithm worked the way it was designed to work, but I am concerned that major U.S. publishers were suppressed in this way. Voter interest in the presidential election was higher in 2016 than in the previous two decades, and misinformation was rampant. Facebook’s changes meant that key news organizations across the political spectrum had a harder time getting the word out about credible election news and reporting.
Facebook was aware of concerns about its algorithm even before the election happened. One of Facebook’s own engineers flagged these potential effects of Facebook’s algorithm changes in July 2015. Three months later, Zuckerberg’s mentor, Roger McNamee, also attempted to alert Zuckerberg and Facebook executives that the platform was being used to manipulate information about the election.
Just after the election, reporter Craig Silverman’s research at BuzzFeed showed that fake election news had outperformed “real news.” In late 2018, Facebook’s own company statement revealed issues with how its algorithm rewarded “borderline content” that was sensational and provocative, like much of the hyperpartisan news that trended in advance of the election.
More recent research by Harvard’s Shorenstein Center shows that Facebook traffic continued to decrease significantly for publishers after a further Facebook algorithm change in January 2018.
Prof. Grygiel calls for algorithmic transparency on MSNBC.
To date, research on how Facebook’s algorithm works has been limited by the lack of access to its proprietary inner workings. It’s not enough to investigate the effects of the changes in Facebook’s News Feed. I believe it’s important to understand why they happened, too, and consider Facebook’s business decisions more directly and how they affect democracy.
Recent insight into the company’s internal processes suggest that Facebook is beginning to understand its power. In July 2019, Bloomberg News revealed that the company had deployed software on its own platform to look out for posts that portrayed Facebook itself in potentially misleading ways, reducing their visibility to safeguard the company’s reputation.
Some international legal scholars have begun to call for laws to protect democracies against the possibility that algorithmic manipulation could deliver electoral gain. There’s no proof that Facebook’s changes had political intentions, but it’s not hard to imagine that the company could tweak its algorithms in the future, if it wanted to.
To guard against that potential, new laws could bar changes to the algorithm in the run-up periods before elections. In the financial industry, for instance, “quiet periods” in advance of major corporate announcements seek to prevent marketing and public-relations efforts from artificially influencing stock prices.
Similar protections for algorithms against corporate manipulation could help ensure that politically active, power-seeking Facebook executives – or any other company with significant control over users’ access to information – can’t use their systems to shape public opinion or voting behavior.
When will American politicians ever speak the truth instead of muddling it with their own petty agenda? The reason why many of us go to RT and Sputnik is because they have better journalism. Period. Most American mainstream media is merely a feeble regurgitation of what the White House says. That’s not journalism buddy. And the lies keep on coming.
The CEO of the American agency that governs international broadcasting has made a powerful, if blatantly false, sales pitch for his fight against ‘Russian disinformation’… right after saying “any lie will do” for the Kremlin.
What is happening to Venezuela is a coup d’état and it has nothing to do with democracy, human rights, free and fair elections or international law. The US and Canada represent the antithesis of those values; defying the United Nations Charter and international law by interfering in the internal affairs of Venezuela. Their hands are not clean, and their motives are not pure, because their foreign policy objectives everywhere are to promote the interests of their domestic corporations, oligarchs and war profiteers.
In 2017 the US and Canada formed a posse of vigilantes that they named the Lima Group. The members of the Lima Group are Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, and Saint Lucia. Mexico’s newly elected liberal government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) has withdrawn from the Lima Group, saying that Mexico follows the principles of sovereignty, non-intervention, and self-determination in foreign policy. Viva AMLO! The Lima Group makes a mockery out of the United Nations and international law.
The US, which is the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, handpicked the gang members of the Lima Group. Most are rightwing governments, and politically dominated by business-centric oligarchs, and wealthy families just like those that are trying to take control in Venezuela. Fascism, supported by corporations, elites and imperialists are on the march. There is a new wave of anti-immigrant, xenophobic, evangelical, homophobic, and social conservatives gaining power in Latin America, as elsewhere.
The UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights, Idriss Jazairy specifically condemned the US and Canada for imposing economic sanctions on Venezuela. Jazairy stressed that the economic sanctions are immoral on humanitarian grounds, and they are an illegal attempt to overthrow the internationally recognized sovereign government of Venezuela. On January 31, 2019 the UN released a report that quoted him as saying:
“I am especially concerned to hear reports that these sanctions are aimed at changing the government of Venezuela… Coercion, whether military or economic, must never be used to seek a change in government in a sovereign state. The use of sanctions by outside powers to overthrow an elected government is in violation of all norms of international law…. Economic sanctions are effectively compounding the grave crisis affecting the Venezuelan economy, adding to the damage caused by hyperinflation and the fall in oil prices.”
Former UN Special Rapporteur Alfred de Zayas, who is also an international expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order, said on his website on February 7th the following about the current situation in Venezuela:
“Members of the United Nations are bound by the Charter, articles one and two of which affirm the right of all peoples to determine themselves, the sovereign equality of states, the prohibition of the use of force and of economic or political interference in the internal affairs of sovereign states…… the enormous suffering inflicted on the Venezuelan people by the United States is nothing less than appalling. The economic war against Venezuela, carried out not only by the United States, but also by the Grupo de Lima in clear violation of Chapter 4, Article 19 of the OAS Charter, the financial blockade and the sanctions have demonstrably caused hundreds of deaths directly related to the scarcity of food and medicines resulting from the blockade.”
Zayas also said that what the US, Canada and the mainstream media are doing to Venezuela reminds him of the deliberate disinformation campaign that led to the US, and the “coalitions of the willing” that included Canada anonymously, illegally invading Iraq in 2003, and their destruction of Libya in 2011.
In the case of Libya in 2011, the so-called “no-fly zone” authorized by United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973 was for the intended purpose of bringing about a ceasefire. It specifically forbade any “boots on the ground”, which the US is known to have violated.
The US, Canada and other NATO forces illegally exceeded their UN mandate, and used it as a cover to completely destroy Libya and regime change. It later was learned that the supposed Gaddafi genocide, which the no-fly zone was intended to stop was a hoax. The point is that the US and its junior partners can never be trusted to tell the truth when a lie serves their purposes much better.
Whenever the US and its junior imperial partners resort to pleas of democracy and human rights, an ulterior motive should be assumed. For instance, the little the US and Canada care about democracy, human rights and free elections is shown by their long history of supporting non-democratic governments.
Canada has supported every US regime change project, and the overthrow of democratic governments, which did not conform to their mutual foreign policy objectives. Both countries’ foreign policies prefer corrupt business-centric rightwing repressive governments. Democracy and human rights conflict with the interests and profits of their exploitative and extractive corporations.
Both the US and Canada supported the apartheid government of South Africa right up until the very end; they support the apartheid government of Israel, which is the number one violator of human rights in the world; and they both sell arms and support the most repressive government in the world, Saudi Arabia. Human rights have not been an issue.
The US overthrew the democratically elected Salvador Allende of Chile, with Canada’s support. Both countries supported the junta regime of Augusto Pinochet, whom was later arrested for crimes against humanity. Both the US and Canada supported the illegitimate coup governments of Haiti in 2004, and in Honduras in 2009. By some estimates, the US (and Canada) support 73% of the dictators in the world. Human rights have not been an issue.
The US and Canada have been trying to overthrow the democratically elected reformist government of Venezuela, known as the Bolivarian Revolution, since 1999. Hugo Chavez’s elections were all certified by the Carter Foundation, the OAS and other legitimate observers. Chavez was elected in free, fair and democratic elections, but that did not matter to the US and Canada. They wanted to overthrow him anyway. Human rights were not an issue.
Democracy, human rights, the right-to-protect, humanitarian interventions and all the other righteous soundbites are just talking points for the US and Canada. They are only used against governments that get in their way, and never used against corrupt business-friendly governments, no matter how oppressive. Paul Jay, a Canadian, who is the editor-in-chief of The Real News Network says that he personally became aware in 2005 of Canada’s involvement in the conspiracy of regime change in Venezuela:
The hypocrisy of US concerns over human rights is on full display in a leaked US State Department memo from Brian Hook to then Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. The memo is titled “Balancing Interests and Values”. The memo does not mince words about human rights concerns being only a tactic to use against adversaries:
“America’s allies should be supported rather than badgered…. allies should be treated differently — and better — than adversaries…. We do not look to bolster America’s adversaries overseas; we look to pressure, compete with, and outmaneuver them…. pressing those regimes [adversaries] on human rights is one way to impose costs, apply counter-pressure, and regain the initiative from them strategically.”
Hook continues his memo by giving Tillerson a history lesson on the art of US hypocrisy from 1940 to 2017.
In other words, rightwing dictators, military juntas, ethnic cleansing, fraudulent elections, human rights violations, political prisoners, torture and murder should be treated differently, and better, with compliant allies. Even when adversaries are democratically elected, they should be roasted in order to “extract costs”, according to Hook…. but not because the US cares about people.
There is no serious doubt about the legitimacy of the more than a dozen elections in Venezuela between 1998 to 2013. That did not prevent the US and Canada from “extracting costs”, and trying to overthrow Hugo Chavez anyway. Given the examples of the US and Canada overthrowing the democratically elected governments in Chile, Haiti and Honduras, the objections to Maduro are unbelievable.
In the past few years, there have been a half-dozen certified democratic elections in Venezuela. The real motives for opposing Maduro must be something else. It is obvious what that something else is. The real motives behind the US and Canada are Venezuela’s massive wealth in oil, gas, and other natural resources, such as gold, copper and coltan.
There are also tremendous profits to be had by bringing Venezuela into the Washington Consensus. US and Canadian banks profit from IMF and World Bank loans. The corrupt politicians and oligarchs steal the loans, and then it is the poor that have to repay them, through higher prices for life’s necessities, reduced wages and government-imposed austerity. The privatization of state-owned enterprises at corrupt fire-sale prices enrich oligarchs and corporations tremendously.
The Washington Consensus also forces unequal trade agreements and currency devaluation on poor countries. The resulting lower prices are used to extract natural resources, monocrops and sweatshop produced products for export. Small farmers are driven off the land because they cannot compete with dumped US and Canadian tax-payer highly-subsidized agricultural products, such as corn and wheat. Those that suffer are the local farmers, the poor, landless and indigenous people, who go from subsistence, to poverty, to wage slavery.
The chaotic political situation in Venezuela has been purposely made worse by the US and Canada. Since Venezuela is “cursed” with natural resources, especially oil, its economy has historically gone from boom to bust depending on international oil prices.
It was low oil prices, endemic poverty, gross inequality, and neoliberal economic policies that favored the rich in the 1990’s, which swept Chavez into power in the 1998 election. A majority of the Venezuelan people elected Hugo Chavez and his “Bolivarian Revolution” of rewriting the constitution, increasing participatory democracy, frequent elections, and implementing social programs for the poor. The Carter Center (as well as the OAS) certified the election, and praised Venezuela’s modern voting systems as one of the best in the world:
“Venezuelans voted peacefully, but definitively for change. With more than 96 percent voting for the two candidates who promised to overhaul the system, Venezuelans carried out a peaceful revolution through the ballot box”, said Jimmy Carter’s Foundation upon Chavez’s victory.
The US opposed Chavez regardless of fair and democratic elections. A surprisingly honest 2005 article in the Professional Journal of the US Army explained why the US opposed Chavez and the Bolivarian Revolution for economic and geopolitical reasons:
“Since he was elected president in 1998, Chávez has transformed Venezuelan Government and society in what he has termed a Bolivarian revolution. Based on Chávez’s interpretation of the thinking of Venezuelan founding fathers Simón Bolívar and Simón Rodríguez, this revolution brings together a set of ideas that justifies a populist and sometimes authoritarian approach to government, the integration of the military into domestic politics, and a focus on using the state’s resources to serve the poor—the president’s main constituency.”
“Although the Bolivarian revolution is mostly oriented toward domestic politics, it also has an important foreign policy component. Bolivarian foreign policy seeks to defend the revolution in Venezuela; promote a sovereign, autonomous leadership role for Venezuela in Latin America; oppose globalization and neoliberal economic policies; and work toward the emergence of a multipolar world in which U.S. hegemony is checked. The revolution also opposes the war in Iraq and is skeptical of the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT). The United States has worked fruitfully in the past with Venezuela when the country pursued an independent foreign policy, but the last three policies run directly contrary to U.S. foreign policy preferences and inevitably have generated friction between the two countries.” [Emphasis added.] [See Appendix]
Whether it is Chavez or Maduro, the US, Canada and the oligarchs in Venezuela have been trying to kill the Bolivarian Revolution from when it was an infant in the cradle.
The opposition with the support of imperialists have been trying to get rid of the Bolivarian Revolution with every means imaginable. They have tried a US supported military coup against Hugo Chavez in 2002. It failed. They tried strikes by the management of the Venezuelan oil company, Petróleos de Venezuela. It failed. They tried a recall election in 2004. It failed. Obama tried economic sanctions in 2015. It failed. The US and Canada tried an economic blockade in 2017. It has failed, as of this article. They tried to assassinate Maduro with a drone. It failed.
In 2018 the opposition boycotted the election. Maduro won by a landslide. He had invited the United Nations to be election observers, but the opposition kept the UN away. Other international observers certified the election. Now the opposition complains about the integrity of the election observers. The opposition is making a circus out of elections. The objections by the oligarchs, the US and Canada that the 2018 elections in Venezuela where fraudulent is itself a fraud. Their objectives are to knowingly “extract costs” that Venezuela can ill afford.
The US chose Canada to be the mouthpiece for the Lima Group, but the coup is being directed by imperial powers in Washington. Canadian politeness is not working, and its imperialism is out of the closet where it has been hiding. As Canadian historian Yves Engler puts it, the US carries the big stick in Latin America, and Canada comes along afterwards with the billy club. Engler is referring to Canadian peacekeeping missions, which he exposes as actually policing and counter insurgency missions. Yves Engler has written dozens of books and articles on Canadian imperialism.
Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau may be fooling some of the people, some of the time. But he is now under attack at home for corruption. His accusers say that he has obstructed justice in the world-wide corruption scandal involving the powerful international Canadian conglomerate SNC-Lavalin. SNC-Lavalin is a mining, energy and engineering company that is typical of the corrupt face of Canadian imperialism.
Trudeau’s conspiracy with Trump to overthrow the internationally recognized government of Venezuela has unmasked Canada as a second-rate imperial power. Upon closer look, Canada has been protecting its oil and mining companies that have been raping Latin American countries, destroying their environment and poisoning their people for decades. Canadian imperialism has to obey its “deep state” too, as Canadian journalist Bruce Livesey puts it:
“Those who believe the oil industry has become a deep state point to how the political elites, whether Liberal, Conservative or NDP — from Justin Trudeau to Stephen Harper to Rachel Notley — go to bat for the industry….”.
Mining companies as well as oil and gas are a big part of Canada’s “deep state”. They control approximately 50 to 70% of the mines in Latin America, and they are not held accountable in Canadian courts for their destruction to the environment and harm to human beings in foreign countries. They dispossess the indigenous people and poor of their land. They hire goons to threaten, attack and murder those that try to form labor unions, or demonstrate about land confiscation and human rights abuses. Honduras is just one example of what happens when a democratically elected leader is overthrow by a US and Canadian-backed coup; Canadian mining companies move in. It is all exposed in the book “Ottawa and Empire: Canada and the Military Coup in Honduras”, by Tyler Shipley.
All extractive industries wound the planet. That happens with relatively more impunity abroad, but capitalism inflicts severe harm at home, too. [Canadian Mining Companies in Latin America. Photo Council on Hemispheric Affairs.]
Dispossessing native people of their land and natural resources comes natural to Canada. After all, like the US it was a settler colonial outpost for the British Empire. Both the US and Canada committed genocide and ethnic cleansing of their mutual Indigenous People. They were even allies and coordinated the genocide. According to historian Andrew Graybill:
“….the NorthWest Mounted Police were created and the Texas Rangers renewed and reorganized in the early 1870s specifically to address the pressing ‘native question’ confronting Texas and western Canada, among the few places where bison still roamed after 1870….. both Austin and Ottawa called on their rural police to manage indigenous populations facing societal collapse….by controlling or denying the Natives access to the bison.”
In other words, both the US and Canada collaborated in killing the buffalo to extinction. It was the coup de grâce for the starving “native question”. [This reminds us that the “settler” capitalist states have been morally despicable practically from inception, all propaganda to the contrary.—Ed ]
Mining is one of Canada’s biggest and most powerful and politically influential industries. Canada has approximately 60% of all mining companies in the world. Canadian companies such as Ascendant Copper, Barrick Gold, Kinder Morgan, and TriMetals Mining have operations in Canada, Latin America and elsewhere. They are continuing the ethnic cleansing of the “native question” in Latin America, and at home. (See map and statistics of Canadian Mining in Latin America.)
Canadian mining and natural resource companies are heavy handed when it comes to First Nations at home. TransCanada Corporation recently was in the news because of its pipeline route, which they are trying to put through First Nation’s land in the Wet’suwet’en territory, in northern British Columbia. On a court order, a militarized unit of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police broke up a road blockade, which the tribal leaders had put up to keep the pipeline company out of their nation. The Mounties whom lacked jurisdiction arrested 14 tribal leaders on their sovereign land.
During the reign of the British Empire, Canada helped the British put down slave rebellions in the Caribbean. Canada was involved in the slave trade, and slavery was legal in Canada until 1834. The products of slavery, such as cotton and sugar were used for trade and to industrialize Canada. When the British conquered New France, the 1760 declaration of surrender signed in Montreal specifically said:
“The Negroes and panis [aborigines] of both sexes shall remain, in their quality of slaves, in the possession of the French and Canadians to whom they belong; they shall be at liberty to keep them in their service in the colony, or to sell them; and they may also continue to bring them up in the Roman Religion.”
In the 19th century Canadian banking and insurance companies, along with those of the British, monopolized finance in British controlled parts of Latin America. Canada is still financially powerful in the English-speaking Caribbean. For example, the Bank of Nova Scotia, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, and the Royal Bank of Canada, as well as Sun Life Financial are dominate in the Bahamas, Belize, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Jamaica, Turks and Caicos, and Trinidad. After the decline of the British Empire, Canada assumed its natural role as a second-rate imperial power and junior partner for US imperialism.
In the Lima Group, Canada is the US’s junior partner. The US has the leading role from behind the curtain. To prove it, right on cue at the January 4th meeting of the Lima Group, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pulled the curtain back in a video presentation to the group. Pompeo showed the members who they would have to answer to if they did not vote according to Washington’s wishes. The Lima group obeyed, and voted to politically isolate and economically blockade Venezuela, contrary to international law. Leaving nothing to chance, Pompeo again addressed the group from behind the video curtain at their February 4th meeting in Ottawa.
As Christopher Black wrote in New Eastern Outlook:
“The United States is the principal actor in all this but it has beside it among other flunkey nations, perhaps the worst of them all, Canada, which has been an enthusiastic partner in crime of the United States since the end of the Second World War. We cannot forget its role in the aggression against North Korea, the Soviet Union, China, its secret role in the American aggression against Vietnam, against Iraq, Rwanda, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Syria, Ukraine, Haiti, Iran, and the past several years Venezuela.”
Black left out many other imperial crimes of the partners in Panama, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Somalia, Sudan, the Congo, Palestine, Libya, Yemen, etc. The US and Canada are “always there for each other” and stand “shoulder to shoulder” in war and imperialism, in Justin Trudeau’s own words. Even against Cuba!
The current Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland recently referred to Venezuela as being in “Canada’s backyard”. As the SNC-Lavalin case illustrates, the Canadian “backyard” of imperialism also extends to Africa, Asia, the Middle East and former Soviet Union republics, such as Ukraine.
This is not the 19th century. Central America, South America and the Caribbean Islands are not anybody’s back yard. It is insulting, degrading and shows a colonial mentality for the US and Canada to even think about having a backyard.
Note to readers: please click the share buttons below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.
This article was originally published on The Greanville Post.
David William Pear is a columnist writing on U.S. foreign policy, economic and political issues, human rights and social issues. David is a Senior Contributing Editor of The Greanville Post (TGP) and a prior Senior Editor for OpEdNews (OEN). David has been writing for The Real News Network (TRNN) and other publications for over 10 years. David is a member of Veterans for Peace, Saint Pete (Florida) for Peace, CodePink, and the Palestinian-led non-violent organization International Solidarity Movement.
Featured image: A Hands Off Venezuela protest in London on January 28, 2018. (Socialist Appeal/Flickr).
As we enter 2019, one thing above all others is clear, the mechanisms of human engagement, education, media and information, even what passes for human contact through social media and email, is all subjected to “algorithms,” whatever those are. It was Snowden that brought it to our attention…
As we enter 2019, one thing above all others is clear, the mechanisms of human engagement, education, media and information, even what passes for human contact through social media and email, is all subjected to “algorithms,” whatever those are.
It was Snowden that brought it to our attention, from the Guardian back in 2014:
“Increasingly, we are watched not by people but by algorithms. Amazon and Netflix track the books we buy and the movies we stream, and suggest other books and movies based on our habits. Google and Facebook watch what we do and what we say, and show us advertisements based on our behavior. Google even modifies our web search results based on our previous behavior. Smartphone navigation apps watch us as we drive, and update suggested route information based on traffic congestion. And the National Security Agency, of course, monitors our phone calls, emails and locations, then uses that information to try to identify terrorists.”
Documents provided by Edward Snowden and revealed by the Guardian today show that the UK spy agency GHCQ, with help from the NSA, has been collecting millions of webcam images from innocent Yahoo users. And that speaks to a key distinction in the age of algorithmic surveillance: is it really okay for a computer to monitor you online, and for that data collection and analysis only to count as a potential privacy invasion when a person sees it? I say it’s not, and the latest Snowden leaks only make more clear how important this distinction is.”
When we look back on 2014 from where we are today, Edward Snowden’s warnings of an Orwellian nightmare seem innocent. Maybe it was Donald Trump that opened our eyes, if so, whatever contribution history attributes to him, he might well want to hang his hat on this one.
The fake science of intruding into lives in order to recognize and control “influencers” began in the private sector and was “tuned up” for political races, crime and terrorism prevention and more.
By “more,” we mean “dumbing down” the “masses,” as they are called, presenting reality as a consumer product, custom engineered to be believable, to create drama or fear, to raise concerns of imaginary threats, to distract, and, above all, to control.
Social scientists have postulated that humans can actually be programmed to respond to the most basic stimuli, touch, hearing, taste, based on “fake” information, that the human mind can be fooled into filtering out such basic sensory responses as smell.
The basic synaptic connections that tie sensory input to ideas or concepts, let’s look at one glaring example. Try to say the word “Palestinian” without following it with “terrorist.”
Then again, let’s go back one more step and define the difference between an “armed militant” and a “freedom fighter.” Nothing here is new, the rules were laid out a century ago.
Einstein predicted this in his “Autobiographical notes” on epistemology. It was some 50 years ago when Dr. John Ward of Michigan State University pounded this into my head in his Philosophy of Science lectures. “The relationship between sense experiences and concepts is entirely intuitive as are the relationships between all concepts. You see what you see, not because of what you see but because of what you think.”
It was quite one thing when such pursuits were endeavors of science and philosophy at our great universities, but it became something quite different when Wilson Bryan Key, back in 1973, wrote the seminal work, Subliminal Seduction, demonstrating how altered images could reach into the most basic primitive drives, the “reptile brain,” as it were, driving an unknowing viewer to alter both perceptions and reasoning, even toward lowering human survivability.
Key’s imagery, taken from popular magazines, strange figures of death’s heads or nude women, airbrushed into ice cubes, were an opening salvo. If thanatotic drive could sell liquor or cigarettes, how easy might it be to sell a war?
No more films like Sergeant York or Red Dawn needed, or perhaps only as a “supporting actor,” pounding the nail in just a bit more.
Twenty years prior to the publication of Key’s work, the US government began a project known as MK Ultra. Though it officially ended in 1973 after 20 years of poorly documented “research” into every form of psychological manipulation, in truth, MK Ultra and other programs as well, simply “went dark.”
The reason, of course, we are traveling his historical path today is that those programs, after not 50 but 65 years of still classified efforts, after billions of dollars in black funding, programs with no oversite, programs carried out on unsuspecting citizens, sometimes entire cities, sometimes on unwilling victims in “black sites,” are the precursors to the world of Google and Facebook today.
Looking at 2018, there were some obvious “projects,” the White Helmet staged fake gas attacks for sure. This involved Facebook posts, fake videos, but the key is that they were channeled directly to the President of the United States who had been programmed to ignore credible intelligence sources. Thus, Trump ordered an attack on Syria entirely based on a Facebook post.
But there are millions of Facebook posts every day. Why did he get this one? Who put it in front of him? Is Trump surrounded by handlers, traitors?
You see, it is one thing when something is put on the internet, the equivalent of leaving a post-it note in a public restroom on the “wrong side of town.” It is quite something else when the message, a parentless bastard of disinformation, is given to a man who has, according to sources within the White House, openly advocated use of tactical nuclear weapons against Syrian people in retribution for wildly fabricated accusations.
Consider the implications, even if someone, perhaps General Mattis, had taken the nuclear option off the table. Simply put, it lowers the standards of the United States exercising war powers in attacking a sovereign nation to an anonymous social media post.
Again, we ask, it is one thing posting something malicious and dangerous and quite something else when a national leader with access to nuclear weapons is programmed to seek out and act upon same.
Then again, were any other president to order a missile strike based on, well, based on nothing whatsoever, not even a decent lie, one might expect negative repercussions.
Let’s take a second to juxtapose. If a fake public narrative exists, and it is reasonable to postulate that “the public,” such as it is, is more than aware that a “real world” exists in which what is generally known and accepted as true is, in fact, utterly false.
In fact, some of the most popular television series of the past decades have exposed the flummery of generally accepted history. Shows like The Secret History of World War II and many if not endless others, feed a hungry public a continual diet of debunked reality.
What we are left with is this, an ongoing process, a spiral as it were, around and down, around and down, ever faster, ever more hopeless, intrusion into lives, into thoughts, planted feelings, manipulated responses, altered perceptions, until nothing can be trusted, especially not ourselves.
Gordon Duff is a Marine combat veteran of the Vietnam War that has worked on veterans and POW issues for decades and consulted with governments challenged by security issues. He’s a senior editor and chairman of the board of Veterans Today, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.”
I believe that the older generation the article speaks about knows about fake news, but have decided to use that information as an ideological weapon to propagate their agenda.
“It’s “important to be clear about how rare this behavior is on social platforms,” researchers say.”
Most social media users still know bullshit when they see it, a new study suggests. In a study of social media behavior during the 2016 election, more than 90 percent of their sample “shared no stories from fake news domains,” a trio of researchers reports in Science Advances.
The study has been getting a good deal of media attention, mainly for the parts that confirm people’s biases. “Conservatives were more likely to share articles from fake news domains,” states the study abstract. And “on average, users over 65 shared nearly seven times as many articles from fake news domains as the youngest age group.”
The conservative bit comes with a caveat: In 2016, fake news domains “were largely pro-Trump in orientation.” So it’s not necessarily that conservatives are more susceptible than moderates or liberals to propaganda; it could just be that there was more propaganda aimed at them.
The research team—Andrew Guess of Princeton, Jonathan Nagler of New York University, and Joshua Tucker of New York University—considered the possibility that older people were more likely to be Trump fans. But they found “the age effect remains statistically significant when controlling for ideology and other demographic attributes.” Older liberals shared a lot of fake news too.
A common denominator in many visits to hoax articles was scrolling through Facebook. That network appears “to be much more common than other platforms before visits to fake news articles,” the study found.
Most consumers are unaware off the mainstream media’s dirty little secret. Think tanks are increasingly taking advantage of tight news budgets to influence the press agenda in favour of their sponsors.
Decades ago, these outfits generally operated as policy advisories. Although, some were comfortably enumerated ‘retirement homes’ for distinguished public servants or intellectuals. However, in modern times, they have become indistinguishable from lobbying firms. With the budgets to match.
On the Russia (and broader Eastern European) beat, think tank influence is becoming increasingly dangerous and malign. And it’s leading to a crisis in journalistic standards which nobody wants to acknowledge.
Two cases this week highlight the malaise.
Right now, Hungary and Ukraine are embroiled in a standoff regarding the rights of ethnic Hungarians in the latter country. The disagreement is entirely local, with roots in the 20th century carving-up of Budapest’s territory after it found itself on the losing side in both World Wars. As a result, lands were dispersed into other nations – former Czechoslovakia, Romania, Yugoslavia, and the Soviet Union.
There are tensions, to varying degrees, between Hungary and pretty much all the successor states housing its lost diaspora. Especially since nationalist Viktor Orban started handing out passports to compatriots stranded on foreign soil.
Until recently, most of the focus was on disagreements with Slovakia, but now attention has switched to Ukraine.
Let’s be clear. This is a mess of Kiev’s making. In a bid to appease “patriotic” fundamentalists, it began moves towards restrictive language laws, which has especially alienated the small band of Hungarian speakers on its western frontier.
Predictably, Budapest rushed in to defend its “people,” and now we have a nasty little imbroglio with headbangers on both sides entrenched.
One thing it’s not about is Russia. But Western media, egged on by think tank “experts,” keeps banging this drum. And here is a case in point this week.
The Los Angeles Times sent a correspondent to Uzhgorod, a Ukrainian border city. And rather than merely report from the ground, the writer spends a huge amount of the article referring to Russia and intimating that Orban is operating in lock-step with Moscow. Which is laughable to anybody who understands the Hungarian PM’s political methods. And which reeks of disinformation.
And who is used to “back up” these assertions? Only one Peter Kreko, “director of the Political Capital Institute, a Budapest think tank,” who is concerned Orban’s moves “help Russia hamper Ukraine’s Euro-Atlantic integration.”
Now, isn’t that a weird sort of thing for a Hungarian analyst to be worrying about? Well, it wouldn’t be if the LA Times were transparent and disclosed Kreko’s funding. You see, here’s who bankrolls the “Political Capital Institute, a Budapest think tank.”
And here are some of the “most important international and domestic professional partners” of the Political Capital Institute:
Thus, the agendas at play are pretty clear here. Yet, the LA Times keeps its readers ignorant of Kreko’s paymasters. Which is especially interesting when you see RT, almost always, referred to as “the Kremlin-funded Russia Today,” or some version thereof, when described in Western media. And this is fine, because it’s true, but when the same rules don’t apply across the board, the bias is obvious.
The second case comes courtesy of “the Rupert Murdoch controlled Times of London” (see what I did there?) This week, it alleged around 75,000 Russians in London alone are Kremlin informants. All based on an “investigation” by the Henry Jackson Society (HJS), a neoconservative pressure group which seems to have successfully mounted a reverse takeover of the once venerable paper. With its leader writer, for instance, being a founding signatory of the concern.
Anyway, HJS, apparently based on a mere 16 interviews, with unnamed sources, concluded that “between a quarter and a half of Russian expats were, or have been informants.” And the Times splashed it.
However, it “clarified,” with comment from an anonymous “dissident,” how, in reality, “it was about half.” So, only the 32,500 odd ‘agents’ in London then. Which, if true, would means the walls of the Russian Embassy would have to be made from elastic to house the amount of handlers required to keep tabs on their information sources.
Look, it’s hardly a secret that standards at the Times are low. After all, the main foreign affairs columnist, Edward Lucas, is literally funded by US weapons manufacturers.
No, this is not a joke. Lucas is employed as a lobbyist at CEPA, a Washington and Warsaw-based outfit, which promotes the arms manufacturer’s agenda in Central and Eastern Europe. Namely, the likes of Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, FireEye, and Bell Helicopters.
Of course, The Times doesn’t make this conflict of interests clear to its readers. Another example of how the ‘think tank’ tail is wagging the mainstream media dog these days.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.
(CD Op-ed) — Over 7 months have passed since WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was deprived of his ability to communicate with the outside world in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he was granted asylum with the risk of extradition to the US, relating to his organization’s publications. Recently, after UN Special Rapporteurs for Freedom of Expression and Refugees visited the country, it appeared that Ecuador would finally end this isolation of its refugee and own citizen, which Human Rights Watch general counsel described as being similar to solitary confinement.
Yet, injustice on Assange continues. President Lenin Moreno who was said to partially restore Assange’s communication, now with a special protocol, imposes prison-like surveillance and restriction on his free speech. Under the new rules, Assange is banned from expressing opinions that are considered political or could interfere with Ecuador’s relationship with other nations. Journalists, lawyers and anyone else who seek to visit Assange are required to disclose their private details including email accounts and links to their social media, which then will be shared with UK authorities.
On Monday, a judge in Ecuador ruled against the suit filed by WikiLeaks lawyer, the former Spanish judge Baltasar Garzon who argued that this Ecuadorian government’s inhumane treatment of Assange violates his basic human rights. This came while there is an increasing pressure from the US on Ecuador to evict Assange. Joining the aggression of the Trump administration, members of the US Congress urge the Ecuadorian President to persecute Assange, calling him a ‘dangerous criminal’ and a ‘threat to global security’.
Assange has become a high profile Western dissident. He has been arbitrarily detained for 6 years without charge, deprived of fresh air, sunshine and an access to a proper medical care. What made him be considered dangerous by the most powerful government in the world? WikiLeaks has published material that exposed the crimes and corruptions of governments and institutions. Their disclosure of secret documents challenged those in power. But this is not the only reason that made him become an enemy of the state. He has been silenced and attacked because of a particular voice he carries that is critical for a future of our civilization.
Assange, an Australian born computer programmer and journalist, together with a small group of dedicated people, launched a media outlet that radically altered the face of modern journalism. He is not just an excellent journalist or an editor in chief of a publisher that performs its job better than other media organizations. Over the years, through his work with WikiLeaks, Assange has become a champion of the oppressed, regarded as a hero around the world, especially by those who live under authoritarian and oppressive regimes, where human right abuses are rampant.
At its inception, WikiLeaks was conceived with aspiration of human civilization to better itself, which was manifested in common people’s desire for liberation. In his Oslo speech in 2010, where he spoke in front of an audience who was just about to witness a huge tide shift in the media landscape, Assange articulated the organization’s vision and its goal of achieving justice. He made it clear that the aim of WikiLeaks is to create intellectual records of how civilization actually works in practice, and by using that knowledge to stop abuse before it happens.
As the whistleblowing site has blazed into a mainstream spotlight with a series of sensational publications, Assange never wavered in his commitment to justice and ordinary people’s struggle for freedom. Until before he was cut offline, from a tiny room in the embassy, he spoke in defense of Catalans’ non-violent resistance against Spanish Central government’s abuse of their democratic rights. He called their peaceful self-determination in the face of police brutality “the most disciplined Gandhian project since Gandhi” and said that “its results will spread everywhere.”
In a sense, WikiLeaks has become a modern embodiment of the Gandhian project. Almost a century ago, Mohandas Gandhi, a spiritual and political leader led India’s independence from Britain. For Gandhi’s time, it was the colonial rule of the British Empire that his people fought against. Now, this old empire’s ambition for domination is carried on by American hegemony. It is this unaccounted Western power that WikiLeaks came to confront through a trove of original source documents with a pristine record of accuracy.
So, how does WikiLeaks make itself become a modern day Gandhian project? Gandhi put the principle of non-violence at a center of his efforts. He wanted to end wars and state abuse of power, not by the methods of oppressors, perpetuating further violence, but with different means. For this, he employed a non-violent civil disobedience as a way for people to engage in the peaceful resistance against injustice.
Now, in this digital age, WikiLeaks revived this Gandhian tradition of peaceful resistance online at a global scale. Assange saw potential in cryptography to offer a way for common people to non-violently resist the domination of powerful states. He once articulated the potent revolutionary force inherent in cryptography:
“Cryptography can protect not just the civil liberties and rights of individuals, but the sovereignty and independence of whole countries, solidarity between groups with common cause, and the project of global emancipation. It can be used to fight not just the tyranny of the state over the individual but the tyranny of the empire over smaller states.”
Specifically, with creative application of cryptography, Assange enabled a free speech right in a form that is resilient to government censorship and restriction. In the colonization of the past, the empire’s aggression was naked, where people who were oppressed by colonial masters were able to see their savagery and brutality. Now, the beast inside civilization hides its claws behind a façade of democracy and conspires to bring humanity down in secret.
Permissionless free speech that has been distributed across the Internet offered ordinary people a non-violent democratic weapon to combat against the patronage network that tries to control people through deception and secrecy. An invention of an online anonymous secure drop box made it possible for people anywhere in the world, regardless of their jurisdiction, to expose governments’ wrongdoing and corruption of institutions, without fear of political retaliation. They then could stop violence and mitigate the harm inflicted by those in power.
Gandhi has shown the world the effectiveness of his non-violence in opposing oppression. He characterized the revolutionary force inherent in his peaceful method with the term “satyagraha (from the Sanskrit for ‘truth-force’)” (as cited in Dear, 2002, p. 19). He noted satyagraha means “resisting untruth by truthful means” (p. 22) as well as “‘steadfast, nonviolent direct action for truth’ and ‘nonviolent civil disobedience’” (p. 83).
With the creation of WikiLeaks, Assange made an investigative journalism into a platform for pursuit of truth. He firmly believed that for justice to prevail, people ought to have an accurate knowledge about how the world works. He once noted, “If we are to produce a civilized society, a more just society, it has to be based upon the truth.”
In his engagement of people in this search for truth, Assange recognized how the media has become not a purveyor of truth, but of lies, actively promoting and defending the force that violates and destroys truth. Speaking in defense of the disclosure of classified US military documents on the Iraq War, Assange pointed out how “most wars that are started by democracies involve lying,” and noted how “the start of the Iraq war involved very serious lies that were repeated and amplified by some parts of the press.”
WikiLeaks, with its method of transparency steadily upheld a doctrine of satyagraha. Through scientific journalism, Assange found a way to resist governments’ perversion of truth by truthful means. Full archives of the original source material countered media propaganda that works to distort truth through censorship, omission and manipulation of information.
Gandhi reminded how “realizing Truth ‘means realizing that all human beings are one” (as cited in Dear, 2002, p. 84). For him, justice meant to restore this truth. Calling a person who is dedicated to truth a satyagrahi (p. 89), Gandhi noted how “the sword of the satyagrahi is love and the unshakable firmness that comes from it” (p. 93). For his fight for justice, Gandhi voluntarily submitted himself to suffering, being imprisoned and in the end was assassinated.
This Gandhi’s fierce commitment to truth ignited the minds and hearts of revolutionaries, inspiring movements for civil rights around the world. Political leader Nelson Mandela took up a sword of satyagrahi to bring unity between blacks and whites in South Africa. By uncovering the truth of human rights violations that had occurred during apartheid, he facilitated the country to attain restorative justice. The leader of the civil rights movement, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in his stride toward freedom for African Americans, surrendered himself to the ethics of love to combat racist laws. Just like Gandhi who was willing to suffer for his cause, both out of their own volition chose to engage in speech and an action that would bring consequence. Mandela was being put on a US terrorist watch list and served 27 years in prison. Dr. King was put into jail and shot dead.
Similarly, WikiLeaks derives its courage from ordinary people around the world who are willing to take great risk on behalf of truth. What drives WikiLeaks scientific journalism is inspiration of its sources—their love for humanity, manifested in their concern for their fellow men and women that transcend nationality, color of skin and language. On April 5, 2010, with the publication of the collateral murder video, the sword of satyagrahi once again struck a chord on the Internet. The conscience of whistleblower Chelsea Manning cut through deception, shedding light on human affairs that were kept in the dark.
In uncensored images of modern war that depicted a US Army helicopter gunship killing innocent civilians in New Baghdad, American people were able to see the real face of those who are made into enemies, being kept on the other side of the barrel of the gun held in their name. Manning’s compassionate account of this forbidden landscape, seen from a perspective of not either American or Iraqis, but from a view of humanity opened up a vantage point of equality, where we were able to recognize our shared humanity and truly witness atrocities and violation of human rights committed by the powerful. For this courageous act to restore truth, she was condemned, being tortured and sentenced to 35 years in prison.
With the work of WikiLeaks, Assange took up a Gandhian tradition of peaceful resistance, instigating a worldwide non-violent movement on the Internet. Through publishing full archives, the organization made it possible for ordinary people to directly connect with the source of legitimacy and begin a quest for truth that has so long been obstructed by the media that functions as a gatekeeper of power.
WikiLeaks opened a path of redemption for our civilization. By enabling free speech rights, this Gandhian investigative journalism restored the laws of peace, helping people reconnect with the true impulse behind enlightenment ideas. The idea of free speech brought a departure from the old rule of the jungle and its logic of might and conquest. It made it possible for humanity to learn to solve problems through dialogue and diplomacy rather than violence.
As released documents began illuminating the way of peace, a shadow of a colonial past grows to resist this new light emanating from the conscience of ordinary people. In 2012, a small country of South America showed enormous courage to stand up to protect the journalist who was seeking refuge from Western governments’ persecution. Now, the US with the UK and Spain rekindles old colonialism, bullying this sovereign nation of Ecuador to go outside both international and Ecuador’s own constitutional law to act subservient to its power.
Recently, Ecuador indicated that it would no longer intervene in diplomatic talks with Britain on behalf of Assange. As the former Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa has spoken, there is a grave concern that his successor will hand over Assange to the British authorities. The UK government, by ignoring the UN ruling that indicated Assange’s situation at the embassy as arbitrary detention, refuses to give assurance that they will not extradite him to the US.
Assange is a revolutionary of our times. He sacrificed his liberty in order to give civilization a chance. He now has become a world-renowned political prisoner. Just as his forerunners who fought for emancipation were attacked by the empire states, he has been subjected to a political persecution at a scale that has never been seen before. In a tiny room of an embassy under heightened security, he now quietly suffers in solitude, fighting against character assassination that is now slowly turning into a real murder.
When the justice system is controlled in the hands of oppressors, justice of this founder of the publisher of last resort relies on the court of public opinion. As Julian Assange’s plight for freedom intensifies, we can remain silent, allowing tragedy brought upon all those legendary peacemakers to repeat itself. Or, we can act with moral courage to end oppression and change the course of history. Will humanity find strength to claim its own dignity to open democracy? Or, will crudeness and barbarianism take over, bringing a society into despotism? Future of civilization rests on each individual’s ability to seek in love to unite with those who struggle for the rights of ordinary people. Now it is up to us to carry out this great work of justice and realize the truth of liberty and equality for all people.
With permission from
October 5, 2018
In all the mounting media coverage of problems with the Internet, such as invasion of privacy, vulnerability to hacking, political manipulation, and user addiction, there is one constant: online advertising. Online advertising is the lifeblood of Google, Facebook, and many other Internet enterprises that profit by providing personal data to various vendors. Moreover, the move of tens of billions of dollars from conventional print and broadcast media continues, with devastating impacts, especially on print newspapers and magazines.
But does online advertising work for consumers? The Internet was once considered a less commercial medium. But today consumers are inundated with targeted ads, reviews, comments, friends’ reactions, and other digital data. Unfortunately for advertisers, consumers are not intentionally clicking on online ads in big numbers.
Google’s search ads tackle people when they search for a product or service. A controlled study by eBay research labs in 2014 concluded that Google was greatly exaggerating the effectiveness of such ads—at least those bought by eBay. eBay’s researchers concluded that “More frequent users whose purchasing behavior is not influenced by ads account for most of the advertising expenses, resulting in average returns that are negative.” This is the “I-was-gonna-buy-it-anyway problem,” says an article in the Atlantic.
The Atlantic notes:
“Whether all advertising—online and off—is losing its persuasive punch…Think about how much you can learn about products today before seeing an ad. Comments, user reviews, friends’ opinions, price-comparison tools…they’re much more powerful than advertising because we consider them information rather than marketing. The difference is enormous: We seek information, so we’re more likely to trust it; marketing seeks us, so we’re more likely to distrust it.”
Some companies like Coca-Cola have cooled on using online advertising. But advertising revenues keep growing for Google, Facebook, and the other giants of the Internet. These companies are racing to innovate, connecting ads to more tailored audiences, which tantalize and keeps hope springing eternal for the advertisers. The Internet ad sellers also provide detailed data to advertise themselves to the advertisers staying one step ahead of growing skepticism. This is especially a problem when there is inadequate government regulation of deceptive advertising. It is the Wild West! Online advertising revenues are the Achilles’ heel of these big Internet companies. Any decline will deflate them immensely; more than public and Congressional criticism of their intrusiveness, their massive allowed fakeries, their broken promises to reform, and their openings to unsavory political and commercial users. If they lose advertising revenue, a major revenue bubble will burst and there goes their business model, along with their funding for ventures from video hosting to global mapping.
After reviewing the many major negatives attributed to the Internet, the New York Times’ Farhad Manjoo writes, “So who is the central villain in this story, the driving force behind much of the chaos and disrepute online?… It’s the advertising business, stupid.” He adds, perhaps optimistically, “If you want to fix much of what ails the internet right now, the ad business would be the perfect perp to handcuff and restrain.”
Randall Rothenberg, who heads a trade association of companies in the digital ad business, urges advertisers “to take civic responsibility for our effect on the world.” Then he shows his frustration by saying that, “Technology has largely been outpacing the ability of individual companies to understand what is actually going on.” All of this even before artificial intelligence (AI) takes root. Meanwhile, Facebook, Google, and Twitter keep announcing new tools to make their ads “safe and civil” (Facebook), open and protective of privacy. At the same time matters keep getting worse for consumers. The backers and abusers keep getting more skilled too (see Youtube Kids ).
In a recent report titled “Digital Deceit,” authors Dipayan Ghosh and Ben Scott wrote:
“The Central problem of disinformation corrupting American political culture is not Russian spies or a particular media platform. The central problem is that the entire industry is built to leverage sophisticated technology to aggregate user attention and sell advertising.”
If so, why isn’t more public attention being paid to this root cause? Not by the mass media which is obviously too compromised by the Congress, by academia, or by more of US before “We the People” become the conditioned responders that Ivan Pavlov warned about so many years ago.
Such odious tactics are democracy’s leitmotif globally, as Brexit and Donald Trump’s election demonstrate. In combination, they suggest that democracy is not fit for purpose, especially in developing nations, particularly since there is a clear alternative: China’s political system.
Irredeemably flawed at inception, democracy’s most debilitating characteristic is its reliance on – often illiterate – people to analyse events. This has been proved repeatedly, by electorates worldwide. India’s Narendra Modi stormed to victory in 2014 on the people’s disgust with several scams, but investigations now reveal that there were none! Disinformation continues to be harnessed, with people’s inability to reason through the morass of media reports.
Nearly 90 per cent of India’s population voted the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) into power regionally because they accepted its outlandish claims. Modi, for instance, asserts ancient Indians invented genetic surgery and that climate change is just people feeling colder.
Democracy’s dependence on the democratic principle to animate institutions fatally undermines it because, paradoxically, democracy is eroded by the very politics it countenances. The politicisation of India’s provincial judiciary has now reached the apex court. The Supreme Court is embroiled in an ugly imbroglio to impeach the chief justice. The opposition brought the motion, alleging politically motivated assigning of cases to judges.
Meanwhile, everyone knows justice hinges on wealth and power. Its operation was highlighted, again, by a politician’s son – no less – getting away with murder in February 2006.
Democracy is also unworthy because it is delusive. Claiming to engender equality, democracy actually succeeds by enhancing inequality. Overshadowing highly incendiary rhetoric against minorities is the rise in attacks by the Hindu majority.
Legislative inequality is also distressing. Minorities are disproportionately under-represented in Parliament, by design. In 2014, of the BJP’s 482 candidates, just seven were Muslim. None won. Muslims are roughly 4 per cent of Parliament, but 14 per cent of the population.
The story is replicated in the provincial parliaments. There, as of January, only four of the 1,418 members are Muslim. That the number of minorities exceeded 300 as recently as November 2014 reiterates that the BJP’s democratic success is contingent on eliminating minorities from having any, let alone an equal, political voice.
Ultimately, however, a political system is by definition too grandiose to be judged technically. What matters is its moral accountability, and democracy’s bankruptcy is laid bare when the metric is the only one that matters: delivering freedom.
All Indian parties sing from the same democratic hymn sheet. Yet Indians continue to be subjugated, both absolutely and relative to other developing nations, by poverty. This is often blamed on the handicap of massive colonial exploitation, which developed Europe at India’s expense. But this blame culture divests leaders of any responsibility for having failed to free people, and even permits the erosion of what little freedom they enjoy. What democracy offers then is a powerful elite empowering itself by demonising the enemy without, and by exacerbating inequality within.
Nor are the devastating effects of democracy limited to democratic states, for they wage war. India has been involved in continuous border wars since independence, at a minimum, with Pakistan. Meanwhile, China has fought less in the past 40 years than the UK, France and the US did in one weekend of bombing Syria. The West calls the Tiananmen Square incident a “massacre”, but it is insignificant compared to the deaths meted out by the democratic West’s militaries.
A pacific China is possible because its political system is moral in a manner impossible for democracies. China is moral for delivering freedom, more equitably and efficiently than, at the very least, India. Until the 1950s, India’s gross domestic product per capita was higher than China’s. In 1978, China’s was US$13 more than India’s.
That China’s political system achieved this is all the more remarkable because those decades saw the tumult of the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution, but no economic reform. The superiority of China’s political system is confirmed by the freedoms citizens – and beneficiaries of Chinese investment globally – now enjoy thanks to stupendous growth, distributed equitably, over the past 30 years. As the World Inequality Report notes, Chinese inequality is “moderate” because Beijing invests in everyone but Indian inequality is “extreme” because investments are made by them for themselves.
(Be sure to click on the arrows on the top right of the diagram below to see more panels.]
In short, China’s political system, without deluding its people or resorting to international violence, ensures the elite deliver freedoms to the people in a manner unimaginable in India or other democracies. Representative is the freedom to travel and think. In 2017, just 16,000 Indians, versus 88,000 Chinese, were allowed to study in the UK.
Their predecessors imported democracy to Asia, but it is now time for Indians to reassess their inheritance and for the Chinese to disseminate the truth about democracy vis-à-vis Beijing’s system.
The latter is unlikely because Chinese politics encourages humility. After all, which democrat speaks of building a moderately prosperous society, as Xi Jinping did, and that, too, with his political system’s unparalleled success at bettering not just Chinese citizens, but also, mankind?
This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: Why democracy is no longer fit for purpose in India.
May 9, 2018
We can no longer trust data and conclusions being published as impartial by institutions that were once trustworthy.
When someone says they “know” what’s happening on the ground in Syria, how can we assess the validity of their claim to knowledge, i.e. their claim to “know” “facts” or (gasp) “truth”?
When someone says they “know” the U.S. economy is growing and unemployment is at record lows, what is the basis of their claim to knowledge?
Before you tell me what you “know,” tell me your sources. We all know how this works nowadays: the sources are rigged or gamed to support the pre-selected narrative.
In “fake news,” the sources are designed to appear legitimate via official-sounding institutional titles for the source organizations and human “experts” / researchers, and the data that’s presented to support the “fake news” is also designed to be indistinguishable from legitimate data.
The cursory consumer of such content will be inclined to grant the institution, source and data as equal in legitimacy to other accepted sources. For example, if we read that the United Nations Labor Information Council has collected data showing the U.S. unemployment rate is actually 7.2% rather than the official 3.9%, the invocation of the UN and the precision of the data point suggests a legitimate source and data base.
But it’s “fake news;” there is no United Nations Labor Information Council (at least not to my knowledge).
Official sources have learned that the most effective way to propagate the sanctioned narratives is to rig or game the data and/or its interpretation. Thus the bailouts of the U.S. “too big to fail” financial institutions in 2008-09 were purposefully obscured; it took independent researchers to assemble all the bailout guarantees and publish the staggering total of over $16 trillion.
Official data is massaged to promote the official narrative. This is well-known to anyone who digs into the actual mechanics of the adjustments made to the raw data. For example, to mask real-world inflation, big-ticket expenses such as healthcare are minimized as a percentage of the basket of expenses being measured, and hedonic adjustments reduce the sticker price we actually pay.
The unemployment rate of 3.9% is based on excluding 95 million working-age residents from the labor pool. Many of these people are indeed unavailable for work, but millions have been categorized as “discouraged” and thus are not counted as being in the work force.
In other words, the process of rigging and gaming “facts” to support a pre-determined narrative is identical for both “fake news” and “official news.” When researchers compared electricity consumption in China with the official growth rate, a vast discrepancy appeared: electrical consumption, a reliable indicator of economic activity, lagged the official growth rate.
The official response was to stop reporting electrical consumption data or rig the numbers to match the official narrative.
Now that the loss of trust in official reporting of data is widespread (due to the obviousness of the rigging / gaming / manipulation), the institutions tasked with generating belief in the sanctioned narratives are accusing anyone questioning the officially sanctioned data or narratives of issuing “fake news.”
The irony is thick enough to cut with a knife: as institutions gin up ever more dubious “evidence” that all is well with the status quo, the line between “official news” and “fake news” has effectively dissolved.
We are now being bombarded with engineered data from supposedly legitimate sources that’s explicitly designed to support insider rackets or profiteering cartel. A prime example is medical/pharmaceutical research data, which is increasingly funded by self-serving corporations or institutions with the explicit goal of finding (or rigging) evidence supporting some claim of efficacy that is highly profitable to the owners of the medication/genetic material.
In other words, we can no longer trust data and conclusions being published as impartial by institutions that were once trustworthy as these institutions become politicized or funded by corporations whose sole goal is to maximize profits by any means available.
Much of this legerdemain is statistical and therefore difficult for laypersons to analyze or assess. Despite the educational industry’s focus on STEM skills (science, technology, engineering, math), relatively few citizens seem equipped to read the results of a pharmaceutical Stage III trial (human subject trials for the efficacy and risks of a new medication/treatment) or scientific paper that supports some overarching policy or a “headline number” such as GDP or unemployment.
A skeptical reader naturally looks for weaknesses such as small sample size, wide margins of error, various assumptions made when eliminating data samples, and so on.
The general lack of interest and/or ability to make even a rudimentary critical assessment of the officially sanctioned evidence and narratives plays right into the hands of those engineering the evidence.
But the Internet is messing everything up by providing a universal forum for skeptics to publish critical assessments of officially sanctioned evidence. The spectrum of critics is wide, ranging from those promoting improbable theories backed by little substantiated evidence to those who have conducted rigorous critiques that interested parties can critique.
Such a forum requires a skeptical populace with critical-thinking skills and the willingness to ask cui bono–to whose benefit? As institutions are politicized and dissenters are marginalized and profit-maximizing organizations fund their own self-serving research, it falls to the citizenry to sort the wheat from the politicized. self-serving chaff.
Delivered by The Daily Sheeple
We encourage you to share and republish our reports, analyses, breaking news and videos (Click for details).
Contributed by Charles Hugh Smith of Of Two Minds.
With permission from
April 19, 2018
The term ‘media bias’ does not do justice to the western corporate media’s relationship with Israel and Palestine. The relationship is, indeed, far more profound than mere partiality. It is not ignorance, either. It is a calculated and long-term campaign, aimed at guarding Israel and demonizing Palestinians.
The current disgraceful coverage of Gaza’s popular protests indicates that the media’s position aims at suppressing the truth on Palestine, at any cost and by any means.
Political symbiosis, cultural affinity, Hollywood, the outreaching influence of pro-Israel and Zionist groups within the political and media circles, are some of the explanations many of us have offered as to why Israel is often viewed with sympathetic eyes and Palestinians and Arabs condemned.
But such explanations should hardly suffice. Nowadays, there are numerous media outlets that are trying to offset some of the imbalance, many of them emanating from the Middle East, but also other parts of the world. Palestinian and Arab journalists, intellectuals and cultural representatives are more present on a global stage than ever before and are more than capable of facing off, if not defeating, the pro-Israeli media discourse.
However, they are largely invisible to western media; it is the Israeli spokesperson who continues to occupy the center stage, speaking, shouting, theorizing and demonizing as he pleases.
It is, then, not a matter of media ignorance, but policy.
Even before March 30, when scores of Palestinians in Gaza were killed and thousands wounded, the US and British media, for example, should have, at least, questioned why hundreds of Israeli snipers and army tanks were ordered to deploy at the Gaza border to face-off Palestinian protesters.
Instead, they referred to ‘clashes’ between Gaza youth and the snipers, as if they are equal forces in an equivalent battle.
Western media is not blind. If ordinary people are increasingly able to see the truth regarding the situation in Palestine, experienced western journalists cannot possibly be blind to the truth. They know, but they choose to remain silent.
The maxim that official Israeli propaganda or ‘hasbara’ is too savvy no longer suffices. In fact, it is hardly true.
Where is the ingenuity in the way the Israeli army explained the killing of unarmed Palestinians in Gaza?
“Yesterday we saw 30,000 people,” the Israeli army tweeted on March 31. “We arrived prepared and with precise reinforcements. Nothing was carried out uncontrolled; everything was accurate and measured, and we know where every bullet landed.”
If that is not bad enough, Israel’s ultra-nationalist Minister of Defense, Avigdor Lieberman, followed that self-indictment by declaring there are “no innocent people in Gaza”; thus, legitimizing the targeting of any Gazan within the besieged Strip.
Unfair media coverage is not fueled by the simplistic notion of ‘clever Israel, imprudent Arabs’. Western media is actively involved in shielding Israel and enhancing its diminishing brand, while painstakingly demolishing the image of Israel’s enemies.
Take for example, Israel’s unfounded propaganda that Yasser Murtaja, the Gaza journalist who was killed in cold blood by an Israeli sniper while covering the Great March of Return protests at the Gaza border, was a member of Hamas.
First, ‘unnamed officials’ in Israel claimed that Yasser is ‘a member of the Hamas security apparatus.’ Then, Lieberman offered more (fabricated) details that Yasser was on Hamas’ payroll since 2011 and ‘held a rank similar to a captain.’ Many journalists took these statements and ran with them, constantly associating any news coverage of Yasser’s death with Hamas.
It turned out that, according to the US State Department, Yasser’s start-up media company in Gaza had actually received a small grant from USAID, which subjected Yasser’s company to a rigorous vetting process.
More still, a report by the International Federation of Journalist claimed that Yasser was actually detained and beaten by the Gaza police in 2015, and that Israel’s Defense Minister is engineering a cover-up.
Judging by this, Israel’s media apparatus is as erratic and self-defeating as North Korea; but this is hardly the image conveyed by western media, because it insists on placing Israel on a moral pedestal while misrepresenting Palestinians, regardless of the circumstances.
But there is more to western media’s approach to Palestine and Israel than shielding and elevating Israel, while demonizing Palestinians. Oftentimes, the media works to distract from the issues altogether, as is the case in Britain today, where Israel’s image is rapidly deteriorating.
To disrupt the conversation on Palestine, the Israeli Occupation and the British government’s unconditional support of Israel, British mainstream media has turned the heat on Jeremy Corbyn, the popular leader of the Labor Party.
Accusations of anti-Semitism has dogged the party since Corbyn’s election in 2015. Yet, Corbyn is not racist; on the contrary, he has stood against racism, for the working class and other disadvantaged groups. His strong pro-Palestine stance, in particular, is threatening to compel a paradigm shift on Palestine and Israel within the revived and energized Labor Party.
Sadly, Corbyn’s counter strategy is almost entirely absent. Instead of issuing a statement condemning all forms of racism and moving on to deal with the urgent issues at hand, including that of Palestine, he allows his detractors to determine the nature of the discussion, if not the whole discourse. He is now trapped in a perpetual conversation, while the Labor Party is regularly purging its own members for alleged anti-Semitism.
Considering that Israel and its allies in the media, and elsewhere, conflate between criticism of Israel and its Zionist ideology, on the one hand, and that of Jews and Judaism on the other, Corbyn cannot win this battle.
Nor are Israel’s friends keen on winning, either. They merely want to prolong a futile debate so that British society remains embroiled in distractions and spares Israel any accountability for its action.
If British media was, indeed, keen on calling out racism and isolating racists, why then is there little discussion on Israel’s racist policies targeting Palestinians?
Media spin will continue to provide Israel with the needed margins to carry out its violent policies against the Palestinian people, with no moral accountability. It will remain loyal to Israel, creating a buffer between the truth and its audiences.
It is incumbent on us to expose this sinister relationship and hold mainstream media to account for covering up Israel’s crimes, as well as Israel for committing these crimes in the first place.
With permission from
Political leaders and the mass media deluge the public with a constant stream of frightening incidents caused by the enemy-of-the-week: nerve gas killing dozens of little babies in Syria, Russian-directed poison assassination attempts in England and terror incidents throughout Europe, requiring an increase in domestic police state surveillance and spying. Extensively monitored bank records, intrusive workplace controls, and all personal and, especially, political communications, are in the hands of state security officials or corporate security contractors.
Hundreds of prosecuting attorneys look forward to career-enhancing investigations in perpetuity, tracking the complex networks of extended personal and family links, including long forgotten acquaintances and the contents of casual conversations. Everyone may be subject to interrogations without warrant or explanation. And the ‘media’ cheers on the process.
Political trials and convictions in court and the media are rampant. Social, work-place and academic self censorship and blacklisting of dissident voices have become pervasive and accepted.
Elections and appointments are rigged by corporate and special interests to favor the most bellicose ideologues who manufacture the pretexts for war.
Political intimidation, trade wars and sanctions run amok .
‘Exceptional’ people in authority are defined by their power to bludgeon the majority into passive submission. Corporate mass media propaganda repeats brief and lurid messages calling for the death and destruction of the latest ‘fill-in-the-blank’ enemy.
War fever is everywhere infesting the weak minds of local opinion leaders, who echo the rants and raves of psychotic leaders without pausing to question.
Last week, the Mexican immigrant workers were described as dangerous invaders, drug dealers, rapists and threats to the every day life of ordinary citizens. Walls are being constructed and thousands of National Guard are called to the border to confront the invading agricultural workers and their families.
Before that, Muslims were broadly described as brainwashed terrorists, programmed to plant bombs at their first opportunity anywhere and everywhere – on mass transport, in congested amusement parks, in any public space where the innocent may be harmed. A draconian ban of the entry of Muslims has been instituted – including elderly parents joining their citizen sons or daughters.
After the latest maniac massacre of students, understaffed public schools, (but not private, elite schools), are urged to arm the teachers with baseball bats, rocks and guns. Instead of multiplication drills, terrified teachers hold daily and weekly drills in their over-crowded classrooms – stuffing their pupils into closets and bathrooms. Elementary school lunchtimes have become prison-like exercises in ‘total silence’ drills as if to fool the would-be shooter. Images of little Oliver Twist meekly whispering to an armed guard for a bathroom pass come to mind. Haunting some outraged parents is the fear that a mad intruder might set fire to the school suffocating scores of children locked in closets and bathroom stalls because ‘fire-drills’ have been superseded by ‘shooter-drills’.
Fear stalks the land! Where will it end?
An Empire Built on Fear
Domination is the driving force of US Empire builders. But today’s empire is built on fragile economic foundations. An Empire, which has aimed to dominate the world for the long duration, now stumbles over a series of military defeats abroad and increasingly relies on instilling fear, intimidation and propaganda on its domestic citizenry to regain its dominance.
Inculcating fear, especially at home, is the method of choice.
Since the ruling class of ‘the 1%’ seeks to maintain its world domination, based on increasing exploitation and widening inequalities, voluntary submission of the majority cannot be taken for granted.
The vast majority of citizens no longer trust the ruling elite. The school lessons in democracy and civic responsibility have lost their credibility. How can public school children, who now cower in closets, believe in citizen and constitutional rights?
Unending economic insecurity and the increasingly phony patriotic sideshows are beginning to stir up popular discontent. Large scale, long-term trillion-dollar bank bailouts and exorbitant military budgets are financed by the slash and burn of workers’ wages, job security, public services and the social safety net. Soaring medical costs are the primary cause of personal bankruptcy among the working and lower middle classes. A physician-pharmaceutical industry fueled opioid addiction crisis is narcotizing millions and killing well over one hundred Americans each day. The unemployed are prescribed multiple mood altering drugs to numb their anxieties about the future. Fear, incompetent medical care, self-destruction, despair and pain all lead to premature death causing the life expectancy among workers to drop for the first time in US history.
Professionals and opinion leaders, from teachers and physicians to journalists, have abandoned their ethics and enabled the mass deception and oppression of their students, patients and readers.
An empire, which fails to reward its supporters, like President Trump’s marginalized voters, and repeatedly reneges on its promises, can only rely on fear.
The fear we experience is brought about by the ruling class; repeated and embellished by the mass media; and made legitimate by local opinion leaders through face-to-face daily encounters. Teachers and terrified parents instill this fear into the very young without stopping to analyze the origins and motives behind the fear mongering.
The mass message tells us that we face daily threats from terrorists; that we must increase our vigilance; that we must constantly strengthen police state powers; that we must accept the use of advanced lethal police weaponry on our streets; that we must turn to informing on our neighbors and co-workers as potential terrorists, militants, activists, critics and immigrants embedded in offices, factories, schools, churches and neighborhoods. Meanwhile our oligarch-leaders bless themselves with massive tax-cuts and enjoy the greatest concentration of wealth in history.
Fear diverts attention from the imperial state as it engages in dozens of wars and occupies several hundred overseas military bases. The simplest comment that this has resulted in countless thousands of deaths and countless millions of destroyed lives, not to speak of the countless billions of dollars funneled into the bulging pockets of the ruling class, is censored from all public debate.
Fear permeates society: Communications are bugged and manipulated. People are afraid to discuss, let alone move to solve, their common socio-economic problems for fear of reprisals. The message to the many is ‘keep it to yourself or to your closest kin”.
Fearful people are compelled to publicly demonstrate their loyalty to the State – wear flag-pins and repeat illogical propaganda about the ‘enemy of the week’.
Peaceful objections to worshipping the symbols of the State are demonized and non-conformists, even among talented athletes, are punished by the State and see their careers demolished before the eyes of the entire society – collective punishment for any who resist injustice.
Fear and hopelessness feeds the opioid epidemic –with millions of workers addicted, a direct result of work place injury and job insecurity, as well as of incompetent medical care in the absence of a truly accountable national health care system. Physicians may have been ‘pressured’ to prescribe highly addicting drugs to workers, but they grew rich in the process.
Fear prevents speaking out and collective struggles.
Just turn on the television ‘news’: The demagogues for the ruling class direct the fearful masses to look downward instead of upward, to fear the poor or the immigrant, rather than the banker or the militarists.
Fear is converted to anger directed toward foreigners, Muslims, Afro-Americans, ‘deplorable’ (meaning poor, marginalized, working class) whites, war protestors and strikers.
Islamophobes, Russophobes and Sinophobes monopolize the channels of opinion. Any critic of Israel is fired and permanently blacklisted. Critics identifying the ‘neo-cons’, behind the current march to war, are denounced as crypto-anti-Semitites. The loudest war criminals are re-appointed to the highest political offices – despite their blood drenched past.
Fear and self-loathing go hand in hand to secure submission to the ruling class, which channels self-hatred toward political adversaries, external economic competitors and domestic victims (the poor, the marginalized and unemployed) – who cannot die or be locked up fast enough.
Pervasive fear is constantly invented and re-invented, to keep the populace on edge, unbalanced and in search of seemingly innocuous distractions to reduce anxieties.
Russia is described as an advancing menacing, murderous, blind juggernaut in order to induce popular compliance with unending arms build-ups and to provide cannon fodder for an impending nuclear war.
US organized and funded ‘regime changes’, led by terrorist proxies in the Ukraine, or direct invasion in Iraq, Libya and Syria, and the NATO encirclement of Russian borders and economic sanctions rely on fear mongering. The message is: ‘We must bomb them first or they (Russia, China, Syria, Iran…fill-in-the-blank) will launch a sneak attack on ‘us’.
The repeatedly elected Russian President Putin is demonized as a ‘KGB’ authoritarian who must be confronted by our ‘strong leader’ – the arbitrary, accidental, fearless Twitter-addict, and mad bomber President Donald Trump, aided by the Holy Alliance – Theresa May, Manny Macron, the Crown Prince MBS of Saudi Arabia and Benny Netanyahu. What will history make of a Declaration of War by Twitter! If any historians survive…
Fear is the last desperate weapon for retaining an unchallenged world empire. Fearful adversaries are compelled to negotiate away their defenses and disarm, like Iraq and Libya, and then allow the ‘empire’ to commence slaughter at will. Military threats directed against Iran are naked attempts to force them to dismantle their defensive missiles and cut ties with regional allies. The plan is to disarm and isolate Tehran, in order to launch an attack with impunity and— force 80 million Persians to submit to the combined wills of the US, Israeli and Saudi oligarchs.
China is threatened with trade wars and an air and maritime encirclement by the US military. This aims to strike fear in the Chinese leadership and force them to surrender economic sovereignty, financial markets and industrial competitiveness in order to reverse China’s growth and advances.
Step by step concessions by targeted nations will lead to great takeovers: The ultimate goal, since the time of President Harry Truman, is the re-conquest of the Asian giant, reducing the Chinese to beg with a rusted iron rice bowl.
Russia will be accused of endless poison gas attacks and war crimes everywhere and every week from Ukraine to the quiet lanes of England to the US-Saudi funded war against its ally Syria. These serve as a pretext for greater economic sanctions, cutting all possibility for debate and diplomatic resolution, leading to economic blockades and global war.
The American ruling class’ dream is to rule over a radiated world from the luxury of their billion-dollar bunkers! Even as they strike fear and hysteria in the citizenry, they expose their methods: the only real fear is the power of manufactured fear itself.
The ruling class has planted fear-mongers throughout both political parties. They only seem to compete over which is more successful in sowing confusion and fear among the voters: Millions of immigrants are rounded up from work and home; missile strikes and wars expand onto three continents; media and mass communications are largely controlled by the military industrial corporate complex; secret police investigations are routine; prosecutors seek to investigate even our grandfathers, long cold in their graves.
Fearful Americans are just spectators, ‘quiet Americans’ waiting for the next massacre, the next bomb to fall. They are told to cower in their bedrooms, while their children are shoved into closets. They are now fearful that the Russians (or this week’s ‘fill-in-the-blank’ intruder) will poison our pizza or bomb us to the Stone Age.
Wall Street fears they will lose China, the biggest financial market in the world, as ‘the Donald’s’ trade war turns ‘hot’.
The Pentagon fears that its ships will collide in the Potomac River and some ‘temp’ contractor will push the wrong button.
The Senators fear losing their perks as they drag their young interns into basement bunkers…for their own safety.
The President, his Cabinet, UN representatives and senior advisors are afraid that the population might wake up to find that missiles and nukes can move in both directions.
By the time the masses finally discover that the greatest menace stalking the country is the fear-mongering propaganda: They will have read an epitaph for their untimely nuclear death.
Prof. James Petras is a research associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization.
It will be doing the very thing it has accused the Russian government – without any convincing evidence to date – of doing in an attempt to sway opinions of American citizens most recently in the 2016 US presidential elections.
The allegation has led to US indictments of 13 Russians supposedly for using nothing more than social media without any evidence of tampering with the election process. To launch this offensive disinformation effort, the Defense Department will provide some $40 million to the State Department’s budget for its so-called Global Engagement Center, or GEC.
The GEC originally was created during the Obama administration to counter foreign terrorist and extremist group propaganda. However, the GEC’s mandate has been expanded to counter what the State Department perceives to be calculated disinformation initiatives of foreign state and non-state actors and individuals.
The GEC will award millions of dollars in grants from its Information Access Fund to yet unspecified public and private outlets, which will include “society groups, media content providers, non-governmental organizations, federally-funded research and development centers, private companies and academic institutions,” according to a State Department statement.
The effort will have all the appearances of an aggressive disinformation campaign of its own without public oversight, launched by a myriad of unidentified entities that undoubtedly will be aimed at the internal affairs of other countries.
“The funding is critical to ensuring that we continue to malign influence and disinformation and that we can leverage deeper partnerships with our allies, Silicon Valley and other partners in this fight,”said. Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy Steve Goldstein. “It is not merely a defensive posture that we should take. We also need to be on the offensive.”
The US government will be conducting disinformation warfare, doing what it accuses others of doing, presumably under the auspices of the American intelligence services. In effect, the GEC could become a front for funneling funds to the intelligence community to orchestrate a massive disinformation initiative through private entities without any public oversight.
Such an effort would constitute an aggressive form of not only disinformation but also cyberwarfare that the US accuses others of doing.
Interfering in US elections isn’t the same as the US doing it in other countries, according to Ashton Carter, a former secretary of defense during the Obama administration. Really?
Carter was speaking at the recent World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. He tried to make a far-fetched distinction between the US launching disinformation and cyberattacks on other countries, and others doing it to the US.
“We conduct espionage on the internet,” Carter tried to explain. “And when we’re spied on, I don’t complain. I am unhappy with it because I wish we had not had our secrets stolen. But I put it into a different category. Covert action… is not espionage. It has the effect of harming.”
However, examples of overt and covert US disinformation and cyberattacks on other countries are legion.
The US intervened in the internal affairs of Russia following the collapse of the Soviet Union, during the administration of Bill Clinton.
During the presidency of Boris Yeltsin, the US sent advisers into Russia acting as being “nothing less than missionary – a virtual crusade to transform post-communist Russia into some facsimile of the American democratic and capitalistic system,” according to American scholar Stephen F. Cohen, professor emeritus of Russian studies at Princeton University and New York University.
“Political missionaries and evangelists, usually called ‘advisers,’ spread across Russia in the early 1990s,” Cohen said, adding that it was all funded by the US government.
The effort was a bust, making Yeltsin very unpopular.
This isn’t the only example of US intervention in the internal affairs of another country, even fledgling democracies.
At the hands of the Central Intelligence Agency, the US upset Italian elections, such as the one in 1948.
The CIA also was instrumental in the 1953 coup of Iranian President Mohammad Mosaddeq, “carried out under CIA direction as an act of U.S. foreign policy,” the agency now admits.
Then there is the 1973 overthrow of democratically-elected Chilean President Salvador Allende and establishment of the ruthless dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet.
In 2015, the US initiated the violent overthrow of democratically-elected Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.
The US can’t have it both ways by waging what is a double standard. The increased funding of the GEC with the intelligence services going on a new offensive of disinformation and cyberattacks will only exasperate an already geopolitically tumultuous world.
By F. Michael Maloof, for RT
F. Michael Maloof is a former Pentagon official and security analyst.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.
Is Tom Delonge for real or is he spreading fake disclosure info? I don’t know.
The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) inherited the mantle of covert action operations as a legacy from its OSS predecessor, which had had considerable success in conducting disinformation operations during World War 2. But there was from the start considerable opposition to continuing such programs as they were both expensive and subject to devastating blowback when they were identified and exposed. In Western Europe, powerful domestic communist parties were quick to publicize US intelligence missteps, but nevertheless the ability to manipulate the news and information media to place stories critical of the Soviets and their allies led to major programs that funded magazines and books while also seeking to acquire a cadre of journalists that would produce pieces on demand proved too tempting to ignore.
There has been considerable ex post facto examination of the CIA’s use of covert funding mechanisms including the Congress of Cultural Freedom to fund writers and magazines in Europe, the best known of which were The Paris Review and Encounter out of London. As there was a low intensity war going on against communism, a conflict which many patriotic writers supported, funding magazines and finding contributors to write appropriate material was relatively easy and hardly challenged. Some senior editors knew or strongly suspected where their funding was coming from while some did not, but most didn’t ask any questions because then as now patrons of literary magazines were in short supply. Many of the writers were in the dark about the funding, but wrote what they did because of their own personal political convictions. The CIA, seeking value for money, would urge certain editorial lines but was not always very aggressive in doing so as it sought to allow the process to play out without too much interference.
Opinion magazines were one thing, but penetrating the newspaper world was quite a different story. It was easy to find a low or mid-level journalist and pay him to write certain pieces, but the pathway to actual publication was and is more complicated than that, going as it does through several editorial levels before appearing in print. A recent book cites the belief that CIA had “an agent at a newspaper in every world capital at least since 1977” who could be directed to post or kill stories. While it is true that US Embassies and intelligence services had considerable ability to place stories in capitals in Latin America and parts of Asia, the record in Europe, where I worked, was somewhat mixed. I knew of only one senior editor of a major European newspaper who was considered to be an Agency resource, and even he could not place fake news as he was answerable both to his editorial board and the conglomerate that owned the paper. He also refused to take a salary from CIA, which meant that his cooperation was voluntary and he could not be directed.
CIA did indeed have a considerable number of journalist “assets” in Europe but they were generally stringers or mid-level and had only limited capability to actually shape the news. They frequently wrote for publications that had little or no impact. Indeed, one might reasonably ask whether the support of literary magazines in the fifties and sixties which morphed into more direct operations seeking journalist agents had any significant impact at all in geopolitical terms or on the Cold War itself.
More insidious was so-called Operation Mockingbird, which began in the early 1950s and which more-or-less openly obtained the cooperation of major American publications and news outlets to help fight communist “subversion.” The activity was exposed by Seymour Hersh in 1975 and was further described by the Church Commission in 1976, after which point CIA operations to influence opinion in the United States became illegal and the use of American journalists as agents was also generally prohibited. It was also learned that the Agency had been working outside its founding charter to infiltrate student groups and antiwar organizations under Operation Chaos, run by the CIA’s controversial if not completely crazy counterintelligence Czar James Jesus Angleton. As the wheel of government frequently ends up turning full circle, we appear to be back in the age of disinformation, where the national security agencies of the US government, including CIA, are now suspected of peddling stories that are intended to influence opinion in the United States and produce a political response. The Steele Dossier on Donald Trump is a perfect example, a report that surfaced through a deliberate series of actions by then CIA Director John Brennan, and which was filled with unverifiable innuendo intended to destroy the president-elect’s reputation before he took office. It is undeniably a positive development for all Americans who care about good governance that Congress is now intending to investigate the dossier to determine who ordered it, paid for it, and what it was intended to achieve.
Reprinted with permission from the American Herald Tribune.
“I have harnessed the cosmic rays and caused them to operate a motive device.” Nikola Tesla, Brooklyn Eagle (10 July 1931)
This is a “what if” story. But it’s also based on decades of experience analyzing propaganda and cover stories.
It’s based on the knowledge that military and intelligence operatives are trained to lie, and they like to lie, and they get up in the morning, licking their chops, because they know they’re going to lie during another day in paradise.
Is Tesla and his breakthrough science the hidden element in UFO research? Is he being buried under a welter of cover stories? In any event, cover stories ARE being floated in great numbers.
Nikola Tesla and other outlier scientists were researching anti-gravity in the 20th century. Upon his death, Tesla’s research papers were stolen by the government and never released.
What has the US government been doing at secret research facilities since World War 2— such as the famed Lockheed Skunkworks in Palmdale, California—and whose technology have they been using?
Have they been advancing Tesla’s (and other outlier scientists’) work? They would certainly try.
Would this US research be pointed toward building military craft capable of extraordinary speeds and maneuverability? Certainly.
Could this technology, at the root, have other applications—such as new modes of energy production that would eliminate the need for an oil economy? Possibly.
That would be a key reason for secrecy. Absolute secrecy.
If secrecy was the goal, extensive cover stories would have been developed and pushed—to this day.
And what better way to disseminate those stories than through government insiders, who feed information to UFO spokespeople?
“The UFOs are ET alien.”
I’m not saying this notion must be entirely false—I’m saying it can be USED to bury the root truth.
If secret technological advances—from science and scientists here on Earth—in the areas of energy, transportation, and space travel—would a cause a revolution in society—because a vast abundance of energy would be available for all—how would this fact be managed by oligarchs who rule through scarcity, war, and destruction?
One: float the story that advanced tech comes from ETs.
Two: wrap the ET story up in speculative fairy-tale mythologies, thus creating an occasion for scorn and mockery.
Three: via guilt by association, reject the entire idea that advanced secret technology exists, because it is married to comic book tales of ETs.
Note: the above step-operation works, whether or not ETs exist and have visited Earth.
“For example, a new concept of spacecraft and aerospace flight arises from the possibility of the electromagnetic control of the gravitational mass. The novel spacecraft called Gravitational Spacecraft possibly will change the paradigm of space flight and transportation in general. Here, its operation principles and flight possibilities…will be described. Also it will be shown that other devices based on gravity control, such as the Gravitational Motor and the Quantum Transceivers, can be used in the spacecraft, respectively, for Energy Generation and Telecommunications.” (Fran De Aquino, Maranhao State University, Brazil, December 3, 2013, from the Electric Space Craft Journal 27)
I’m not asserting these statements are true. I’m merely illustrating one of hundreds of articles and papers that have appeared on the subject of advanced technologies outside the realm of conventional science.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, and even earlier, researchers have been studying and writing about such technologies. It would be a mistake to think that military tech centers have blithely ignored this body of literature.
As they deride it, they examine it, and they use what they can.
In secret, because they want to protect what they learn from their military enemies. And also because technology which could crack too many barriers and overturn the control of society must be kept in darkness.
Tesla, 1892: “Throughout space there is energy. Is this energy static or kinetic! If static our hopes are in vain; if kinetic — and this we know it is, for certain — then it is a mere question of time when men will succeed in attaching their machinery to the very wheelwork of nature.”
Suppose there are two entire bodies of scientific research: the one we know about, which is displayed in published studies, media articles, and press releases from governments and corporations; and a second body, which is separate and secret and more advanced, conducted in government and corporate facilities shielded from view. This would create a significant problem. How is the second body protected and denied?
That problem falls into the lap of disinformation specialists. A long-range program must be developed. It must contain many vectors.
Unidentified Flying Objects exist. Whatever their origin(s), they appear in the skies. They execute maneuvers at speeds that are “impossible.” Their actions prove that advanced technology exists.
So, One, the UFOs need to be explained. And Two, they provide an occasion for disinformation.
Who will present that official disinfo? Why, officials, of course.
Where will they come from? The intelligence establishment. The military establishment. Because those departments and people “have been investigating the aerial phenomena.”
Over the years, these high-level officials will, while remaining in the shadows, pass along “secrets” to independent UFO researchers. The names of these military/intelligence officials will occasionally surface. Rumors about them will abound.
Every tidbit they offer to UFO researchers will be accepted and adored like a superior Christmas gift under the tree.
In no case will the leakers say, “We’ve developed astounding technology based on the work of Earth scientists, and we’re keeping this tech secret.”
Of all the leaks, that won’t be one of them.
Instead, the implication will be: we here on Earth couldn’t have developed such engineering capability. Out of the question.
Finally, in 2017, a whole group of elite ex-intelligence and military officials will step forward, together, as a “team” connected to a fledging Academy in the private sector. Its spokesman will be Tom DeLonge, a rock musician.
These ex-officials will confirm that remarkable UFOs exist, and the technology they exhibit surpasses anything known about on Earth.
Again, the engineering “could not have been developed by and from Earth scientists (working in secret).”
What does exist is “a highly exotic program to analyze off-planet UFOs.”
Over time, this latter assertion will be met with scorn. And mainstream journalists will wonder aloud about the Academy, the rock musician, and the bizarre gathering of ex-government officials around the musician.
Mainstream reporters will (as Daniel Liszt, the independent Dark Journalist has already pointed out) realize how strange it is, for example, that “recovered materials from UFOs” are being kept in a Las Vegas warehouse, under the control of billionaire, Robert Bigelow, instead of at the nearby Area 51 labs.
Other anomalies will surface. The whole UFO Disclosure episode will take on a woo-woo quality.
It’s called “blown cover as cover.” You admit secrets, thus appearing to blow your cover, but at the same time you’re hiding the deeper truth.
“Look, boys, we need to explain these UFOs whizzing around. We need to exclude ourselves as the primary secret engineers of these craft. So we paint ourselves as the somewhat befuddled and amazed recipients of technology from ET civilizations. That’s all we are. We’re trying to figure out what we’ve been handed on a silver platter. We don’t know what we’re doing. We’re children playing with adult machines. We’re, in a sense, victims. See? This plays into the whole op about humans as weak, incapable, and certainly unable to achieve genuinely heroic feats. Now, we’re not going to admit to the ET scenario out in the open. No. Officially, we don’t know anything about that. But we are going to give the green light to a few of our own guys to step forward and push the ET story. They’ll do it in a way that avoids any kind of blame directed at them or us. They’ll just throw up their hands and say the technology behind these UFOs is light years beyond anything that exists on Earth. They’ll say the universe is so big there must be other life out there. They’ll leave the rest to the imagination. And then, maybe, just maybe, they’ll say YES, these flying craft ARE ET, as if they can’t hold back the truth any longer, as if they’ve been painted into a corner and have to confess. At that point, the press will go after them. The press will call them fabulists and fakers and wild exaggerators. And once again (we’ve done this before), the house of cards will fall apart. The press and the government and the public will shake their heads and move away from the UFO story and advanced secret technology to other things…”
Consider this recent statement Tom DeLonge made about his new Academy:
“Hello, my name is Tom DeLonge from the Blink-182. I have brought together an elite team from CIA, DOD and the FMR Director of Advanced Programs at Lockheed Martin’s SkunkWorks. We are aiming to build this ElectroMagnetic Vehicle to Travel INSTANTANEOUSLY through Space, Air and Water BY ENGINEERING THE FABRIC OF SPACE-TIME. Our company is called To The Stars… and you can invest in our plan to revolutionize the world with technology that can change life as we know it.” [emphasis is mine]
How likely is it that these “elite team members” have gathered around DeLonge with confidence that he is the right person to disclose the truth about UFOs?
They certainly knew his views before they joined up. Why did they pick him?
What are the “Vegas odds” on this venture succeeding with the press and public?
Isn’t it likely the operation was put together in order to fail?
In order to bring a new level of scorn down on the heads of UFO disclosers in general?
I’ll give you an analogy. Suppose you were an important mainstream vaccine researcher, and after long and hard reflection, you decided you were going to step forward and blow the whistle on the enormous dangers of vaccination. You notice there is a civilian out there who is making quite a stir about the issue. He, too, is against vaccination—BECAUSE, HE SAYS, HUMAN DISEASE IS REALLY BEING CAUSED BY VIRUSES FROM OUTER SPACE, AND NO VACCINES CAN PROTECT THE HUMAN FAMILY AGAINST THAT THREAT.
Would you sign on with him? Would you allow him to front for the vaccine issue and represent you?
On the other hand, if you were that vaccine researcher, and you were SENT out, on purpose, to present anti-vaccine views, with the express purpose of making those views appear ridiculous, and you could eventually walk away and obtain a plum job in the private sector or win a series of grants, and everyone would forget about your brief misadventure in the “anti-vaccine movement,” you would certainly seek out this person who talks endlessly about viruses from outer space, and you would make a temporary deal. You would, for a short time, be “the leaker.” As a working disinformation pro, you would take one for the team. The real team: the medical cartel.
They exhibit very advanced tech.
They’re designed to work.
But the elite propaganda about them is designed to fail.
Image credit: Matthew Ridgeway
The author of three explosive collections, THE MATRIX REVEALED, EXIT FROM THE MATRIX, and POWER OUTSIDE THE MATRIX, Jon was a candidate for a US Congressional seat in the 29th District of California. He maintains a consulting practice for private clients, the purpose of which is the expansion of personal creative power. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, he has worked as an investigative reporter for 30 years, writing articles on politics, medicine, and health for CBS Healthwatch, LA Weekly, Spin Magazine, Stern, and other newspapers and magazines in the US and Europe. Jon has delivered lectures and seminars on global politics, health, logic, and creative power to audiences around the world. You can sign up for his free NoMoreFakeNews emails here or his free OutsideTheRealityMachine emails here.