Tag Archives: Propaganda

The “Deep State” Then and Now, by Edward Curtin

Many of the histories written of the CIA and other intelligence agencies implicitly assume that the they are not still doing the dark deeds the history chronicle. In most instances that’s a faulty assumption. From Edward Curtin at lewrockwell.com:

“…since grasping the present from within is the most problematic task the mind can face.”

Frederic Jameson

Have you ever seen a photograph of yourself from the past and laughed or grimaced at the way you were dressed or your hair style? It’s a common experience.  But few people draw the obvious conclusion about the present: that our present appearance might be equally laughable.  The personal past seems to be “over there,” an object to be understood and dissected for its meaning, while the present seems opaque and shape-shifting – or just taken-for-granted okay.  “That was then,” says the internal voice, “but I am wiser now.”  Historical perspective, even about something as superficial as appearance, rarely illuminates the present, perhaps because it makes us feel ignorant and unfree.

This is even truer with political and social history.

In recent years there has been a spate of books and articles detailing the CIA’s past Cold War cultural and political propaganda efforts, from the creation of the Congress for Cultural Freedom (CCF) with its string of magazines, to its collaboration with many famous writers and intellectuals, including Peter Matthiessen, George Plimpton, Richard Wright, Irving Kristol, et al., and its penetration and working relationships with so many publications and media outlets, including The New York Times, the Paris Review, Encounter, etc. These exposés show how vast was the CIA’s propaganda network throughout the media and the world, and how many people participated in the dirty work.

Joel Whitney, in his recently published book, Finks: How the CIA Tricked the World’s Best Writers (the word “tricked” ignores the eager accomplices), tells this scandalous story in illuminating detail.  His account informs and nauseates simultaneously, as one learns how the CIA penetrated NGOs, television, universities, magazines, newspapers, book publishing, etc., finding willing collaborationists everywhere – scoundrels eager to spy on and betray even their friends as they deceived the public worldwide; how well-meaning leftist writers such as Ernest Hemingway and Garcia Marquez were tricked into lending their names and work to propaganda publications; how leftists were set against leftists in an elaborate effort to sow paranoia and confusion that could be used to put the Soviet Union in the worst possible light; and how many front organizations were created to secretly funnel money to support these endeavors and make and break careers.  The story makes your skin crawl.

To continue reading: The “Deep State” Then and Now

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Why 2017 Is Like 1969, by Charles Hugh Smith

Charles Hugh Smith considers the similarity between 2017 and 1969, and between Donald Trump and Richard Nixon. From Smith at oftwominds.com:

1969-2017: and here we are again, in so many ways.

A deeply polarizing new president, a disastrously misguided official narrative that the political Establishment doggedly supports despite a damning lack of evidence, and an economy teetering on the edge of recession–and worse.
Sound familiar? Welcome to 1969 redux. The similarities between the crises unfolding in 1969 and the present-day crises are not just skin-deep–they’re systemic.
Consider the basic parallels.
1. Nixon was if anything more polarizing than Trump. If there was any politician Democrats loved to hate, it was Nixon. Yet Nixon won a close race against an Establishment Democrat, at least partly because he ran as a “peace candidate” and because he spoke to the Silent Majority who disagreed with the nation’s direction. The Silent Majority was mocked and ridiculed by the mainstream media as racist, close-minded deplorables.
2. The Democratic Party had become the Establishment bastion of war-mongering. The Democratic White House had been obscuring its devastating strategic and tactical miscalculations behind a slick PR campaign and a pervasive and often illegal program of suppressing dissenters and whistleblowers.
3. At the behest of the Establishment, an immense propaganda machinery had been running full-tilt to paper over foreign-policy failures and tragedies (including but not limited to the Vietnam War). In 2017, this immense propaganda machine is focused on discrediting the Trump presidency by unearthing or fabricating evidence of collusion with our default Bad Guy, Russia.
4. The political Establishment had decided to tamp down discontent with the Vietnam War by borrowing vast sums to pay for both “guns” (the war) and “butter” (the Great Society social welfare programs). Paying for the war and a military capable of fighting one-and-a-half other wars (at that time, the Pentagon was geared to fight 2.5 wars) would have required some sacrifice in domestic spending, and that would have further inflamed popular resistance to the Vietnam War. The expedient (and predictably disastrous) choice was to ramp up deficit spending so no domestic sacrifice was needed to pay the crushingly high costs of the Vietnam conflict. In 2017, U.S. public debt basically doubled during the Obama/congressional guns and butter borrowing spree from $10 trillion to $20 trillion.
To continue reading: Why 2017 Is Like 1969

How Many Russians Do You Hate? by Robert Gore

“I ain’t got no quarrel with them Viet Cong.”  Muhammad Ali

How many Russians do you hate? Chinese? North Koreans? Iranians? Syrians? Yemenis? If, aggregated, your answer was zero, your answer is typical.

Perhaps you were rejected once by someone you loved, whom you wanted to love you. It’s surprising how quickly love can become hate. You hated, bitterly, for a long time. Then you realized your hate wasn’t just ineffectual—the hated one had moved on, oblivious to your antipathy—it was warping you, closing you off to the good that life offers. You were only hurting yourself, so you let it go, reopening the door to positive possibilities and opportunities.

If you couldn’t continue hating someone who hurt you, why would you hate any one of billions of people you’ll never know? It’s foolish, a waste of time and energy. Most people pursue their own opportunities, living and letting live…especially people they don’t know. It’s an important element of a well-adjusted personality. Wars and conflict get all the press, but the unrecognized history of the world is actually a more salutary chronicle. Through the generations, people in large measure have lived peaceably together, even people of different races, nationalities, and creeds. Peace, cooperation, and mutually beneficial exchange, not war and conflict, account for humanity’s journey from cave to skyscraper.

Who peddles, promotes, and profits from war and conflict? The people of Germany didn’t spontaneously make war against the people of Poland in 1939, nor the people of the United States against the people of Iraq in 2003. Germans and Americans may have supported those wars, but they were instigated by those in power. Almost all wars are, but are fought by people who have no use for them, who will bear most of the costs, and derive few if any of the purported benefits.

Hate is stoked to overcome the natural desires for peace and prosperity and aversion to war. As a leader, you don’t sit the citizens down one-by-one and calmly explain to them why they should hate whomever you’ve chosen to fight. Rather, you make a frenzied appeal to a crowd, and let crowd psychology work its woeful wonders, with ostracism and worse for the few rejecting the appeal.

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Hate is the very foundation of war. Isn’t it also the very foundation of power? Certainly those in power would reject that formulation, but let’s come at the question from the other direction. If you hate someone, you wish the worse for them. You wish you could determine their fate, which left to you would be awful. Isn’t power the ability of one person to determine the fate of another? Has power generally been exercised to the benefit or detriment of those subjected to it?

Keep in mind that the exercise of power forcibly preempts the subjected’s own judgments about what’s best for themselves. You’d like to keep what you’ve earned; the state takes it. You’d like to live your life in the way you see fit; the state has its myriad regulations and punishments. You and another party would like to conduct a mutually beneficial exchange; the state bans, regulates, or dictates its terms. You want to live in peace: the state pursues war.

Now the state may claim that all it does is for your benefit, but aren’t you the best judge of what’s beneficial to you? Doesn’t this presumption that they know better than you do what’s good for you reek of insufferable arrogance? Think about your own experiences. Has anyone who obviously thought he or she was superior to you ever had your best interests at heart?

“I love mankind…it’s people I can’t stand.”
Linus Van Pelt, from the Peanuts comic strip by Charles M. Schulz

The last one hundred years has seen a parade of leaders and their henchmen demonstrating their professed love of humanity with guns, concentration camps, torture, gas chambers, forced famines, genocide, and other evils. In the twentieth century, humanity-loving governments have killed between 100-200 million of the people they couldn’t stand, and that’s not counting the wars. How high does the body count have to go before the conclusion generally takes hold that it’s the power and the killing and the death they love, not the people they subjugate? Or is that insight only reached when the person next to you—like you kneeling, his hands bound—takes a bullet in the back of his head?

Power, a mass murderer once noted, “grows out of the barrel of gun.” You shall know him, and everyone else with a gun trained at your head, by their fruits. Their harvest is always death, fed by the poison of their murderous hate.

A bumper crop looms. The world is perfectly configured for an orgy of hate. Developed nations’ governments have debt and other promises that cannot be kept, and their creditors and populations expect to be paid. Their economies are faltering under the load of existing debt service. The optimistic wave of social mood and central bank machinations propelling US and European equity and bond markets to new highs—and keeping their economies treading water—are long in the tooth. When markets and economies crash, scapegoats will be found, blamed, perhaps afforded something resembling judicial process, and imprisoned or worse.

China and Russia are leading a consortium of nations that recognize US unipolar world dominance is a thing of the past and are challenging what remains of it. The US public sustains itself on a delusional mix of something for nothing, red versus blue, transparently fraudulent propaganda, jingoism, and state-sponsored veneration of the state and its functionaries. And they hate, against those the government and its media instruct them to hate.

Let the hate flow through you!
Emperor Palpatine to Luke Skywalker,
Star Wars: Episode VI-Return of the Jedi

Reality will wipe out the delusions, but leave vast reservoirs of hate. The Palpatines who think they can use hate for their own ends will find that it cannot be so precisely channeled. All of its irrationally random consequences cannot be predicted, but hate will surely boomerang against its promoters.

Those of us who hope to pick up the pieces and build something better cannot afford the foolish and counterproductive indulgence of hate, during the cataclysm or its aftermath. You may be disgusted by a cockroach infestation, but hating them does nothing to eliminate them. Eradicating our cockroaches—those who claim superiority and their right to rule us—will require all the tightly focused concentration, resourcefulness, cooperation, and rationality we can summon. Justice will not be denied—but bloodthirsty vengeance and mindless violence must be. Criminality has to be called to account and suitable punishment administered. Unfortunately, revolutions often replace bad with worse. Give in to hate, and we become that which we seek to eradicate. The Dark Side destroys all who embrace it.

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MISOC: The U.S. Military’s Secret Brand of Fake News, by Aaron Nelson

The military has its own brand of propaganda, and its own way of spreading it. From Aaron Nelson at theantimedia.org:

PSYOP/MISOC targets foreign governments, groups, and individuals. The government program is similar to journalism, a mode of communication that spreads information, but often spins the narrative, according to Colonel Curtis D. Boyd, Chief of Staff of the JFK Special Warfare Center and School at Fort Bragg, who gave a lecture on “The MISTRY* of PSYOP: Putting MISO in Perspective” in 2011.

The mission of the Military Information Support Operations Command (MISOC) is to influence enemy, neutral, and friendly nations and forces into holding favorable opinions and/or taking complementary actions regarding ongoing operations by the United States and its allies.

Senior ranking U.S. military leaders have so distorted the truth when communicating with the U.S. Congress and American people in regards to conditions on the ground in Afghanistan that the truth has become unrecognizable, ” Lt. Col. Daniel Davis told Democracy Now! in 2012.

Before his death, Michael Hastings was one of the first to obtain Lt. Col. Davis’s 84-page report and published it in Rolling Stone magazine.

In February 2012, Hastings was quoted in regard to the report:

I think it’s one of the most significant documents that we’ve seen from an active-duty Army officer in terms of how they view the war in Afghanistan, even the war in Iraq. You can look at this as a significant document about the last 10 years of conflict in America. And it’s not so much as what Colonel Davis is saying, though that’s very important, too. It’s the fact that you have a 17-year Army veteran, who’s done four tours—two in Afghanistan and two in Iraq—who has decided to risk his entire career—because he has two-and-a-half more years left before he gets a pension—because he feels that he has a moral obligation to do so.”

To continue reading: MISOC: The U.S. Military’s Secret Brand of Fake News

Ukraine, Korea, Syria, Iran… Falsifying History is Uncle Sam’s Way to War, by Finian Cunningham

Fake history can be even more dangerous than fake news. From Finian Cunningham at strategic-culture.org:

Russian President Vladimir Putin addressed the International Arctic Forum this week on the real and present dangers from falsifying history. He said such deliberate distortion of history erodes international law and order, creating chaos and leading to further conflict.

The Russian leader deplored the use of history as an «ideological weapon» to demonize others, and he said that without proper understanding of history we are bound to repeat mistakes of the past.

That also reminds one of the maxim Karl Marx once wrote: «History repeats itself first as tragedy, then as farce».

As if on cue, while Putin was enumerating the dangers of false history, Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko was being hosted in London by British premier Theresa May during a two-day visit.

The Kiev-based regime that Poroshenko leads came to power through an illegal, violent coup against an elected government in February 2014, with clandestine support from Washington and the European Union. The Ukrainian state military ever since have been waging a war on the eastern region of the country, resulting in a death toll of over 10,000 and up to a million displaced. All because the ethnic Russian population of the eastern Donbas region refuses to recognize the Kiev regime’s legitimacy owing to its illegal power grab three years ago.

However, the way Poroshenko and the Kiev regime tells it, Ukraine is fighting off an invasion by Russia. The Ukrainian president’s falsification of history was dignified by his British host who dutifully nodded along as Poroshenko claimed that his country was a bulwark of Europe’s defense against Russian invasion.

«This is not Ukraine’s struggle, it is Europe’s struggle. Sanctions and the resistance of the Ukrainian army are the only reason why Russian tanks are not much further in Europe», said Poroshenko whose asinine version of history received tacit British approval.

To continue reading: Ukraine, Korea, Syria, Iran… Falsifying History is Uncle Sam’s Way to War

 

“The End Of Truth” – Hayek Saw It All Coming Over 70 Years Ago, by Tyler Burden

On The Road to Serfdom, there’s an unmarked exit to the truth. Stay on the road and you’ll never reach it; in fact, it goes the other direction. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:  

The Road To Serfdom (authored by F.A. Hayek, first published in 1944)

Excerpts from Chapter 11 – The End of Truth

Annotated via Crossroad.to/heaven,

“The most effective way of making everybody serve the single system of ends toward which the social plan is directed is to make everybody believe in those ends. To make a totalitarian system function efficiently, it is not enough that everybody should be forced to work for the same ends. It is essential that the people should come to regard them as their own ends.”[p.171]

Berit’s comment: Ponder that statement. It helps explain the significance of universal service-learning. Like socialist youth in Nazi (National Socialism) and Communist countries, all must embrace the new ideology. Those who don’t — the intolerable dissenters — must be silenced.

The next section elaborates:

“Although the beliefs must be chosen for the people and imposed upon them, they must become their beliefs, a generally accepted creed which makes the individuals as far as possible act spontaneously in the way the planner wants. If the feeling of oppression in totalitarian countries is in general much less acute than most people in liberal countries imagine, this is because the totalitarian governments succeed to a high degree in making people think as they want them to.”[p.171]

The strategies that accomplish this mental change include numerous subtle and obvious forms of propaganda. Schools, the media, children- and youth-service teams, corporations, etc…. every source of propaganda must share the same vision. Though totalitarian, it will be designed to sound noble, compassionate and fair to all. Yet the result with be the exact opposite.

To continue reading: “The End Of Truth” – Hayek Saw It All Coming Over 70 Years Ago

Mainstream Media: The Buggy Whip of the 21st Century, by Hardscrabble Farmer

A scathing indictment and  well-written obituary for the mainstream media, by Hardscrabble Farmer at theburningplatform.com:

Well, you have certainly had one heck of year, haven’t you? I can’t imagine how it must feel to be you right now. This time last year you were yucking it up with your buddies in the White House about how Obama was going to ram through as many executive actions as he could to push the immigration debate into the ‘win’ category. How’d that work out for you? From there you went right into a National Lampoon-style daily snark against the guy you said didn’t stand a chance of winning and that went even better, right up until November 8th.

The looks on your faces that night were almost worth the past fifty years of your constant obfuscation and perfidy. It was a real-time version of the folks riding First Class on the Titanic realizing that their tuxedoes weren’t buying them a whole lot of sympathy down at the lifeboat boarding station. Stricken is the word that comes to mind. To call what the public delivered to you an ass-whooping would be an understatement. You guys looked like a collectivist version of Ronda Rousey after Holly Holm got done with her. Beaten, down for the count and weepy in the morning.

So why bother trying to keep up with the pretenses? In the grocery business, they’d say you were past your sell by date. There was a time when you had not only a purpose, but a mandate and those must have been heady days indeed, the gravitas and respect measured out in equal parts from every quarter of America. I remember well the way my own Grandparents would hang on every word uttered by the distinguished clergy of the time; Huntley, Brinkley and Cronkite.

To continue reading: Mainstream Media: The Buggy Whip of the 21st Century