Category Archives: Disinformation

“The Savage Punishment Of Gaza”: Israel’s Latest Assault On Palestine’s Open Prison

Recent media coverage of Israel and Palestine, not least by BBC News, has been full of the usual deceptive propaganda tropes: Israel is ‘responding’ or ‘reacting’ to Palestinian ‘provocation’ and ‘escalation’; Palestinian rockets ‘killed’ Israelis, but Palestinians ‘have died’ from unnamed causes; Israel has ‘armed forces’ and ‘security forces’, but Hamas has ‘militants’. And, as ever, Palestinians were killed in far greater numbers than Israelis. At least 248 Palestinians were killed by Israeli bombardment in Gaza, including 66 children. Palestinian rocket fire killed 12 in Israel, including one child.

Imagine if the BBC reported:

Palestinian security forces responded after Israeli militants enforcing the apartheid occupation attacked and injured Palestinian worshippers.

BBC Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen referred night after night on BBC News at Ten to ‘a war between Israel and Hamas’, a version of events pushed hard by Israel. As John Pilger said in a recent interview, ‘Bowen knows that’s wrong’. This is no war. In fact, the world has witnessed a massive attack by one of the world’s most powerful, lethal militaries, armed and supported to the hilt by the US (which sends $3.8 billion in military aid to Israel each year) and western allies, imposing a brutal occupation and deliberately subjecting the Palestinian civilian population to death, violence, terror and appalling hardship.

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) warned early on that heavy Israeli bombing was pushing Gaza to the edge of catastrophe:

‘The Israeli bombing is incredibly heavy and stronger than previous bombing campaigns. Relentless bombing has destroyed many homes and buildings all around us. It’s not safe to go outside, and no one is safe inside, people are trapped. Emergency health workers are taking incredible but necessary risks to move around.’

On 19 May, the 10th day of intense Israeli bombardment of Gaza, the BBC News website carried headlines:

‘Israel targets Hamas chiefs’

And:

‘Israel targets Gaza militants’

So, why was Israel killing so many noncombatants, including children? Why were residences being flattened? The United Nations estimated that Israel had demolished 94 buildings in Gaza, comprising 461 housing and commercial units. Why were hospitals and clinics suffering so much damage? And buildings where media organisations were based?

Why were there Israeli airstrikes in the area of the MSF clinic in Gaza City, killing at least 42 people including 10 children? An orphanage was also destroyed.

The massacre was ‘one of the most horrific crimes’ Israel has committed during its ongoing war against the people of Gaza, according to Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor who added that:

‘the attack was not an isolated incident, but another example of Israel’s systematic policy that we have witnessed over the past six days.’

As Tamara Nasser observed in a piece on the Electronic Intifada website, Israel was unable to substantiate its claim that ‘Hamas military intelligence were using the building’ when pressed to do so by US public radio network NPR.

Nasser added:

‘Even if that Israeli claim were true, under the laws of war, Israel’s destruction of entire buildings would be wholly disproportionate.

‘Rather, Israel’s mass destruction of buildings and infrastructure appears to fit the pattern of the Dahiya Doctrine – named after its 2006 destruction of the southern suburb of Beirut.

‘The goal is to deliberately inflict such pain and suffering on the civilian population and society at large as to deter anyone from resisting against Israel’s occupation. This can be prosecuted as a war crime.’

It also serves as a useful definition of terrorism.

Christophe Deloire, Secretary General of Reporters Without Borders (RSF), said via Twitter:

‘What the Israeli army asserts, namely that the alleged presence of Hamas in the buildings would make them legitimate military objectives is absolutely false from a legal point of view, since they also house civilians, such as the media.’

He added:

‘Even assuming that the Israeli fire was necessary (which is absolutely not proven), the total destruction of the buildings demonstrates that the principles of distinction and proportionality have been flagrantly violated.’

Indeed, RSF sent a letter to Fatou Bensouda, chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, urging an investigation of Israel’s targeting of the offices of 23 media organizations in Gaza during Israel’s bombardment.

‘False Equivalence Between Occupier And Occupied’

Gregory Shupak wrote in a piece for Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting, the US-based media watchdog, that corporate media coverage presented a ‘false equivalence between occupier and occupied’. He continued:

‘The fatal flaw in the “both sides” narrative is that only the Israeli side has ethnically cleansed and turned millions on the Palestinians’ side into refugees by preventing them from exercising their right to return to their homes. Israel is the only side subjecting anyone to apartheid and military occupation. It is only the Palestinian side—including those living inside of what is presently called Israel—that has been made to live as second-class citizens in their own land. That’s to say nothing of the lopsided scale of the death, injury and damage to infrastructure that Palestinians have experienced as compared to Israelis, both during the present offensive and in the longer term.’

When last week’s truce ‘between Israel and Hamas’ was imminent, Jeremy Bowen told BBC viewers:

‘Now, the essentials of that conflict are not going to change. Until they do, there will be more trouble in the future.’

But Israeli settler-colonialism, ethnic cleansing, lethal sanctions maintained by a brutal military occupation, apartheid, the killing and imprisonment of Palestinian children, Israel’s constant trampling of international law, and the daily humiliation of Palestinians constitute ‘trouble’ right now regardless of what happens ‘in the future’. These essential truths are regularly unmentioned or glossed over by Bowen, the BBC and the rest of a ‘mainstream’ media trying to ‘normalise the unthinkable’, by presenting violent occupation as a ‘clash’ between two sides competing for legitimacy.

As Abby Martin noted in a video powerfully rebutting the Israeli claim that Hamas uses ‘human shields’ in Gaza:

‘Israel has intentionally made Gaza unliveable. The only way Gaza is able to exert pressure on Israel is by firing rockets. If they peacefully protest their conditions, they’re massacred just the same. If they do nothing, Israel continues to blockade them, erode their living conditions while ethnically cleansing the rest of their land.’

This perspective – the Palestinian perspective – is almost entirely absent from news coverage. Moreover, WikiLeaks has revealed that when Israel’s forces invaded Gaza in 2009’s ‘Operation Cast Lead’, they  – Israel – did actually use Gazans as human shields. A classified US cable reported that Israeli soldiers:

‘testified to instances where Gazans were used as human shields, incendiary phosphorous shells were fired over civilian population areas, and other examples of excessive firepower that caused unnecessary fatalities and destruction of property.’

During the latest phase of Israeli aggression, Israel’s Minister of Defence Benny Gantz warned:

‘No person, neighbourhood or area in Gaza is immune [from airstrikes]’

This is a grotesque justification for war crimes. Where was the headlined outrage in response from ‘mainstream’ media that regularly cite defence of human rights as justification for war on countries like Iraq, Syria and Libya?

Hamas: A ‘Convenient Monster’

Hamas is regularly presented by corporate media as some kind of monster, a terrorist organisation with a declared intention of destroying Israel. This is a ‘convenient’ misrepresentation, as explained cogently in a recent interview with Frank Barat by Imad Alsoos, a research fellow at the Max Planck Institute, who is an expert on Hamas.

Likewise, in an interview with Afshin Rattansi on RT’s ‘Going Underground’, John Pilger commented:

‘There’s been a whole attempt to make Hamas the centre of the reporting. And that’s nonsense. As if Hamas is a peculiar demon. In fact, Hamas and its military wing are part of a resistance; a resistance that was provoked by the Israelis. The real demon in this is Israel. But it’s not simply Israel. I mean, this is as much a British and American war against Palestine, as it is an Israeli one.’

Pilger added that this is a war:

‘against the people of Palestine who are doing one thing – and that is exercising their moral and legal right to resist a brutal occupation.’

It is rarely mentioned in the ‘mainstream’ media that Hamas is, as Pilger pointed out, the legitimately elected government of Gaza. Moreover, Hamas has repeatedly declared its readiness to negotiate a long-term ceasefire with the Jewish state within its pre-1967 borders. But Israel has always rejected the offer, just as it rejected the Arab League peace plan of 2002; and just as it has always rejected the international consensus for a peaceful solution in the Middle East. Why? Because the threat of such ‘peace offensives’ would involve unacceptable concessions and compromises. Israeli writer Amos Elon has written of the ‘panic and unease among our political leadership’ caused by Arab peace proposals.1

The Palestinians are seen as an obstacle by Israel’s leaders; an irritant to be subjugated. Noam Chomsky commented:

‘Traditionally over the years, Israel has sought to crush any resistance to its programs of takeover of the parts of Palestine it regards as valuable, while eliminating any hope for the indigenous population to have a decent existence enjoying national rights.’

And, as Chomsky noted:

‘The key feature of the occupation has always been humiliation: they [the Palestinians] must not be allowed to raise their heads. The basic principle, often openly expressed, is that the “Araboushim” – a term that belongs with “nigger” or “kike” – must understand who rules this land and who walks in it with head lowered and eyes averted.”2

In 2018, when Palestinians were being shot dead by Israeli soldiers in peaceful weekly ‘Great March of Return’ protests near Gaza’s border, Israeli journalist Gideon Levy observed that:

‘the killing of Palestinians is accepted in Israel more lightly than the killing of mosquitoes’.

Given all of the above context, it is criminal that, day after day, BBC News presented a false balance between a powerful Israeli state-occupier and a brutalised, ethnically cleansed, apartheid-suffering Palestinian people. This systematic misrepresentation of reality amounts to complicity in Israel’s vast PR campaign to ‘justify’ its war crimes, brutality and repression of Palestinian people.

As well as Bowen’s wilfully distorted reporting for BBC News, and the biased coverage by corporate media generally, Pilger pointed to the lack of dissent in the UK Parliament in the face of atrocities being committed once again by Israel. He focused particular attention on:

‘Starmer’s Labour party which allowed pro-Israel groups to direct the policies of the Labour party, that, in effect, support this attack. When you have the Shadow Foreign Secretary saying that to criticise Israeli atrocities is antisemitic, then we’re in Lewis Carroll world, really.’

Concluding Remarks

Chomsky once wrote of an elderly Palestinian man demonstrating in Gaza with a placard that read:

‘You take my water, burn my olive trees, destroy my house, take my job, steal my land, imprison my father, kill my mother, bombard my country, starve us all, humiliate us all but I am to blame: I shot a rocket back.’

This simple but devastating message, said Chomsky, is ‘the proper context’ for ‘the savage punishment of Gaza.’

It is a context that is almost entirely missing from corporate media coverage of Israel and Palestine, not least by BBC News.

  1. Noam Chomsky, Fateful Triangle, Pluto Press, London, 1999, p. 75.
  2. Chomsky, op. cit., p. 489.
The post “The Savage Punishment Of Gaza”: Israel’s Latest Assault On Palestine’s Open Prison first appeared on Dissident Voice.

How Billionaire Foundations Fund NGOs to Advance US Foreign Policy Goals

US foreign policy is increasingly promoted by billionaire funded foundations.  The neoliberal era has created individuals with incredible wealth and through “philanthropy”, they flex their influence and feel good at the same time. While these philanthropists can be liberal on some issues, they universally support U.S. foreign policy and the “free market”.  Because many of these super-rich individuals made their wealth through investments and speculation, most do not like a planned economy, socialized services beyond the private sector or greater government control.

These mega wealthy individuals, and the people who run their foundations, are often intricately connected to the U.S. foreign policy establishment. Grants are given to projects, campaigns and organizations which align with their long-term goals.  In this direct way, supposedly independent ThinkTanks and NGOs are influenced if not controlled.  There is much truth in the old saying, “He who pays the piper, calls the tune.”

Independent Nicaragua

Nicaragua is a good example.  For historical and contemporary reasons, Washington is hostile to the Nicaraguan government.  The Sandinista Front ousted the US supported dictator in 1979 and governed until 1990. Then, following a decade of US sponsored “Contra” war and economic sanctions, the Sandinistas were voted out of office. Next, after 16 years of neoliberal governments, the Nicaraguan people voted to return the Sandinistas to power in 2006. Since then, the Sandinista Front (FSLN) won the election with more support in 2011 and more again, 73%, in 2016.

Nicaragua has a capitalist economy, but the government provides many social services, including health care and education, along with community-based policing and an impressive 90% food self-sufficiency. Nicaragua maintains an independent foreign policy which sometimes aligns with Cuba, Venezuela and other independent movements in Latin America.

Nicaragua has made plans for a trans-oceanic canal.  Because this would compete with the Panama Canal and be independent of heavy U.S. influence, the United States does not approve. With the financial collapse of the canal’s Chinese investor, the plans have been suspended if not cancelled.  Regardless of whether the plan is implemented, the US foreign policy establishment and associated media is hostile to the Nicaraguan government for daring to plan this project.

US Targets Nicaragua

US meddling in Nicaragua is thinly veiled behind the US funded “civil society”, a “new generation of democratic leaders” and an “ecosystem of independent media”.  In September 2016, a high USAID official told the House Foreign Affairs Committee that 2,200 youth had received leadership training.

U.S. governmental hypocrisy is quite astounding.  Imagine if Nicaragua (or Russia or any other country) trained thousands of US activists to “promote democracy” in the USA.

In December 2018, the US ratified the “Nicaragua Human Rights and Anticorruption Act” which imposes sanctions and commits the US to preventing Nicaragua receiving a loan, financial or technical assistance from US dominated financial institutions.

In August 2020, journalist Ben Norton at the Grayzone reported details of a new US AID “task order” called Responsive Assistance in Nicaragua (RAIN). The document “outlines plans for a US regime-change scheme against Nicaragua’s elected leftist government”.  In short, Washington is not just hostile but actively trying to undermine, destabilize and replace the Sandinista administration.

The Foreign Policy Establishment, Nicaragua and Elliott Abrams

A key institution of the foreign policy establishment is the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR).  Its role and importance are analyzed in the book Wall Street’s Thinktank. CFR events and publications, including “Foreign Affairs” magazine, give a good picture of key foreign policy priorities and debates.

Hostility to the Nicaragua government is reflected in CFR reports and publications.

One important example is an article by Elliott Abrams. Abrams has been a major foreign policy official for forty years.  He was convicted of lying to Congress yet he is a Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR).  In September 2015 he wrote an article published at CFR titled “The Sandinistas Attack the Miskito Indians – Again“.  He ends the article with an appeal to environmental or human rights groups:

“The open question is whether anyone – groups defending the environment, or defending Indian rights or human rights more generally, or fighting against Sandinista repression – will help them.”

Seemingly in response to Elliott Abrams’ suggestion, several major foundations have financed reporting on Nicaragua emphasizing conflict and tensions in the indigenous Miskitu zone.

In March 2017 a Guardian article funded by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation described “Lush Heartlands of Nicaragua’s Miskito people spark deadly land disputes.

In the fall of 2018, the Oakland Institute received a grant of $237,294 for “Land Dispute Project – Nicaragua” from the Howard G Buffet Foundation.  This year Oakland Institute published “Nicaragua’s Failed Revolution“. The subtitle of the report is “The Indigenous Struggle for Saneamiento”, with “saneamiento” being the final step of the process toward regaining indigenous rights.

The funding for these reports came from foundations where the key players are interconnected with the foreign policy establishment. For example, Howard W. Buffet,  the former Executive Director at the Howard G Buffet Foundation, is a member of CFR.  Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), is a writer for CFR publications and speaker at CFR events.

We do not know if they were influenced by Elliott Abrams’ appeal, but the anti-Sandinista message was likely heard one way or another.  Land disputes involving indigenous groups are widespread in the Americas, including North America.  Research and reports could be done regarding almost every country. But instead of researching and reporting on indigenous land conflict in Colombia or Honduras or British Columbia, the billionaire foundations funded reports on Nicaragua.

The Miskitu indigenous in Nicaragua are not new to conflict. During the 1980’s the CIA manipulated them to advance their proxy Contra army.  Many Nicaraguans died as a result.  Now, 35 years later, people such as Elliott Abrams are trying to use the Miskitu all over again. The Miskitu may have valid issues and complaints. But are the advocates seeking a solution or are they seeking to exacerbate the conflict? There is a big difference.

Economic warfare and “Conflict Beef” 

The United States is increasingly using sanctions and economic warfare to hurt those governments deemed to be “adversaries”.  Some right wing foreign policy advisors would like to amplify the economic damage to Nicaragua. Some would like to prevent the US from importing beef from Nicaragua.

Cattle ranching is a major part of the economy in Nicaragua. Previously Nicaragua exported lots of beef to Venezuela. But with the extreme economic hardships, exports have declined.  Nicaragua has helped fill the gap by exporting larger quantities of high-quality beef to the USA.

On 21 October PBS Newshour showed a 9 minute video about “Conflict Beef”. The documentary said the increase in Nicaraguan exports is “coming at a high cost for indigenous communities that are being run off their land to make way for cattle ranches”. This accusation, and the suggestion that perhaps Nicaraguan beef should not be imported,  was a core message of the video which merged journalism with activism.

Subsequent research including interviews with indigenous leaders from the area reveal that the PBS Newshour  report is fundamentally inaccurate.  Journalist John Perry, based in Nicaragua, gives details in the article “Progressive Media Promoted a False Story of Conflict Beef from Nicaragua” published by Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting. Some of the reported violence was made up; some was exaggerated. The claims of “genocide” are not credible.

The exaggerated and untrue accusations in the PBS report are based on four sources. Lottie Cunningham is an indigenous attorney who heads up the Center for Justice and Human Rights on the Atlantic Coast of Nicaragua (CEJUDHCAN).

Her organization is a US AID recipient and she is close to the US Ambassador to Nicaragua. The United Nations Human Rights Commission has issued press releases based soley on her accusations. Judging by this “Conflict Beef” report, her accusations are sometimes exaggerated and sometimes untrue.

Another source for this report is Anuradha Mittal of the Oakland Institute. The Institute received a grant of nearly one quarter million dollars for their research on Nicaraguan “land conflict”.

Much of their information came from the Oakland Institute report and the claims of Lottie Cunningham, a USAID grant recipient and recipient of the Lush Spring Prize sponsored by Lush Cosmetics. Recently published interviews with numerous elected indigenous leaders from Nicaragua’s autonomous zones indicate that Lottie Cunningham is viewed with skepticism if not hostility.  The leaders believe that her organization, Center for Justice and Human Rights in the Atlantic District of Nicaragua (CEJUDHCAN), does not represent the interests of indigenous communities and is actually promoting violence and publicity for personal gain.

The lead journalist was Nate Halverson for REVEAL at the Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR). CIR is well funded, with a budget around $10M, and large grants from dozens of individual foundations:  Hearst ($625K), Soros ($325K), Gates ($247k), Ford ($250K), Pierre Omidyar ($900K), etc.

Another journalist, Camilo de Castro Belli, appeared in the video.  He is the son of author and Sandinista critic Giacondo Belli and a “Central America Fellow” at the neoliberal Aspen Institute.  The Aspen Institute is funded by grants from the Rockefeller, Ford, Gates and other US philanthropy foundations.

Key allegations in the “Conflict Beef” story are untrue.  The beef for export comes from cattle that are NOT from the indigenous zones.  The cattle are individually tagged and regulated by the national IPSA (Institute for Agricultural Protection and Health) which is in turn audited by the US Dept of Agriculture. Nicaraguans are currently in discussion with European regulators in preparation for export there. This video, from one of the Nicaraguan beef producers,  gives a sense of the professionalism.

Even the introduction of the PBS video is untrue. They sensationally claim that a young Miskitu girl was shot in the face by someone “sending a message” to the community.  The girl was accidentally shot while playing with another youth who had his father’s gun.  This version is confirmed by the president of the local indigenous community who knows the family of the girl victim. The girl survived the incident, and the family accepted a bribe to fabricate the false story.

Another claim that “dozens of armed men attacked another Indigenous village in northeast Nicaragua, killing four people in the Mayangna community” is false.  A version of this same story was repeated twice in the Oakland Institute report and sent by Lottie Cunningham (CEJUDHCAN) to the United Nations Human Rights Council who dutifully issued a press release. This despite the fact the claims had been quickly exposed as false be the president of the Mayangna indigenous community.  But media quickly jumped on the story, reportedly after two phone calls from people and no verification.

When a government is targeted by Washington, as the Sandinista government clearly is, the media attitude seems to be “guilty until proven innocent”.

This story about “conflict beef” reveals how big foundations influence reports which promote the US foreign policy goals on Nicaragua:  to defame and economically punish those who are too independent.

The post How Billionaire Foundations Fund NGOs to Advance US Foreign Policy Goals first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Charter School Promoters’ War on Consciousness

Charter school promoters have always relied on disinformation and irrationalism to justify the existence of charter schools, but in recent weeks and months it appears that a new, more pernicious, form of self-serving disinformation and irrationalism has reared its head.

This new disinformation and irrationalism seeks to further debase social consciousness and takes the form of casually and repeatedly declaring the exact and complete opposite of what research and experience confirm. The hope is that just by asserting and declaring something repeatedly, people will spontaneously believe it and abandon any conscious act of investigation.

Charter school promoters are increasingly desperate to make their pay-the-rich schemes look and sound like they are harmless and exist for the good of humanity. They have to do this because consciousness of the retrogressive character of privately-operated charter schools keeps steadily growing.

Several forms of this newly concerted strategy of disinformation and irrationalism have emerged.

The main one, however, has to do with school funding. Common sense, experience, and years of systematic research have shown that non-profit and for-profit charter schools have many deleterious effects on public school finances. When a student leaves a public school and enrolls in a segregated charter school, the public school loses money and often has to cut valuable programs and services. And this usually takes place without a commensurate cut in other expenses due to economies of scale issues. Charter school promoters are now publicly and fraudulently claiming that charter schools actually improve the finances of public schools and that public schools are financially better off when charter schools pop up in their neighborhood.1

Such twisted logic serves to divert attention away from the obvious fact that public schools always lose money when privately-operated charter schools pop up in their neighborhood. It also conceals the fact that charter schools actually receive billions of public dollars from all levels of government, as well as large donations from private sources, including venture philanthropists. In addition, it obscures the fact that non-profit and for-profit charter schools engage in endless forms of unethical and illegal profiteering while lowering the overall level of education in society. Embezzlement, racketeering, and arrests are commonplace in the crisis-prone charter school sector. Charter school promoters have continually innovated ways to engage in more parasitic private expropriation of social wealth while distorting consciousness about their self-serving actions.

It is not possible for two education “systems” to compete for the same students and same public funds without winners and losers. This is not a win-win game. There is no non-adversarial scenario here. Competition makes everyone a loser and blocks consciousness of the fact that many programs and needs are basic social responsibilities and human rights that can’t be reduced to an outdated survival-of-the-fittest outlook.

The “free market” ideology espoused by charter school promoters values individualism, consumerism, and competition, not human rights, stability, and security. Charter school promoters do not believe that public money belongs to the public. Through legislation, they have restructured parts of the state to ensure that public wealth produced by workers leaves public schools and accumulates rapidly in the hands of narrow private interests that run deregulated charter schools that close regularly. The widespread poor academic and financial track record of charter schools, especially virtual charter schools, seems to be an afterthought in this antisocial setup.

The aim of saying something is the opposite of something is to assault cognition, consciousness, and dignity and, in doing so, undermine opposition to school privatization. Such desperate irrationalism and disinformation seeks to sabotage the social consciousness that is emerging about privately-operated charter schools in particular and the harms of privatization in general.

Criticism of charter schools is now out in the open and mainstream. People are less fearful about speaking out against charter schools.

A precious new consciousness is emerging to combat the anticonsciousness promoted by charter school advocates. And in the current context there is reason to believe that this valuable social consciousness will keep growing. The immediate need is to stop charter school expansion and the flow of public funds and resources to privately-operated charter schools.

  1. A quick GoogleNews search produces several recent articles on this theme.
The post Charter School Promoters’ War on Consciousness first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Second Stage Terror Wars

We’ll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false.

– William Casey, CIA Director, February. 1981

It is well known that the endless U.S. war on terror was overtly launched following the mass murders of September 11, 2001 and the linked anthrax attacks.   The invasion of Afghanistan and the Patriot Act were immediately justified by those insider murders, and subsequently the wars against Iraq, Libya, Syria, etc.  So too the terrorizing of the American people with constant fear-mongering about imminent Islamic terrorist attacks from abroad that never came.

It is less well known that the executive director of the U.S. cover story – the fictional 9/11 Commission Report – was Philip Zelikow, who controlled and shaped the report from start to finish.

It is even less well known that Zelikow, a professor at the University of Virginia, was closely associated with Condoleezza Rice, George W. Bush, Dickey Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, Brent Scowcroft, et al. and had served in various key intelligence positions in both the George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush administrations. In 2011 President Obama named him to his President’s Intelligence Advisory Board as befits bi-partisan elite rule and coverup compensation across political parties.

Perhaps it’s unknown or just forgotten that The Family Steering Committee for the 9/11 Commission repeatedly called for Zelikow’s removal, claiming that his appointment made a farce of the claim that the Commission was independent.

Zelikow said that for the Commission to consider alternative theories to the government’s claims about Osama bin Laden was akin to whacking moles.  This is the man, who at the request of his colleague Condoleezza Rice, became the primary author of (NSS 2002) The National Security Strategy of the United States of America, that declared that the U.S. would no longer abide by international law but was adopting a policy of preemptive war, as declared by George W. Bush at West Point in June 2002.  This was used as justification for the attack on Iraq in 2003 and was a rejection of the charter of the United Nations.

So, based on Zelikow’s work creating a magic mountain of deception while disregarding so-called molehills, we have had twenty years of American terror wars around the world in which U.S. forces have murdered millions of innocent people.  Wars that will be continuing for years to come despite rhetoric to the contrary.  The rhetoric is simply propaganda to cover up the increasingly technological and space-based nature of these wars and the use of mercenaries and special forces.

Simultaneously, in a quasi-volte-face, the Biden administration has directed its resources inward toward domestic “terrorists”: that is, anyone who disagrees with its policies.  This is especially aimed at those who question the COVID-19 story.

Now Zelikow has been named to head a COVID Commission Planning Group based at the University of Virginia that is said to prepare the way for a National COVID Commission.  The group is funded by the Schmidt Futures, the Skoll Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation and Stand Together, with more expected to join in.  Zelikow, a member of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Global Development Program Advisory Panel, will lead the group that will work in conjunction with the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security at the Bloomberg School of Public Health.  Stand together indeed: Charles Koch, Bill Gates, Eric Schmidt, the Rockefellers, et al. funders of disinterested truth.

So once again the fox is in the hen house.

If you wistfully think the corona crisis will soon come to an end, I suggest you alter your perspective.  Zelikow’s involvement, among other things, suggests we are in the second phase of a long war of terror waged with two weapons – military and medical – whose propaganda messaging is carried out by the corporate mainstream media in the pursuit of the World Economic Forum’s Great Reset. Part one has so far lasted twenty years; part two may last longer. You can be certain it won’t end soon and that the new terrorists are domestic dissidents.

Did anyone think the freedoms lost with The Patriot Act were coming back some day?  Does anyone think the freedoms lost with the corona virus propaganda are coming back?  Many people probably have no idea what freedoms they lost with the Patriot Act, and many don’t even care.

And today?  Lockdowns, mandatory mask wearing, travel restrictions, requirements to be guinea pigs for vaccines that are not vaccines, etc.?

Who remembers the Nuremberg Codes?

And they thought they were free, as Milton Mayer wrote about the Germans under Hitler.  Like frogs in a pot of cold water, we need to feel the temperature rising before it’s too late.  The dial is turned to high heat now.

But that was so long ago and far away, right?  Don’t exaggerate, you say.  Hitler and all that crap.

Are you thankful now that government spokespeople are blatantly saying that they will so kindly give us back some freedoms if we only do what they’re told and get “vaccinated” with an experimental biological agent, wear our masks, etc.? Hoi polloi are supposed to be grateful to their masters, who will grant some summer fun until they slam the door shut again.

Pfizer raked in $3.5 billion from vaccine sales in the first quarter of 2021, the first three months of the vaccine rollouts, and the company projects $26 billion for the year.  That’s one vaccine manufacturer.  Chump change?  Only a chump would not realize that Pfizer is the company that paid $2.3 billion in Federal criminal fines in 2009 – the largest ever paid by a drug company – for being a repeat offender in the marketing of 13 different drugs.

Meanwhile, the commission justifying the government’s claims about COVID-19 and injections (aka “vaccines”) will be hard at work writing their fictive report that will justify ex post facto the terrible damage that has occurred and that will continue to occur for many years.  Censorship and threats against dissidents will increase.  The disinformation that dominates the corporate mainstream media will of course continue, but this will be supplemented by alternative media that are already buckling under the pressure to conform.

The fact that there has been massive censorship of dissenting voices by Google/ YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Wikipedia, etc., and equally massive disinformation by commission and omission across media platforms, should make everyone ask why.  Why repress dissent?  The answer should be obvious but is not.

The fact that so many refuse to see the significance of this censorship clearly shows the hypnotic effects of a massive mind control operation.

Name calling and censorship are sufficient.  Perfectly healthy people have now become a danger to others.  So mask up, get your experimental shot, and shut up!

Your body is no longer inviolable.  You must submit to medical procedures on your body whether you want them or not.  Do not object or question. If you do, you will be punished and will become a pariah.  The authorities will call you crazy, deviant, selfish. They will take away your rights to travel and engage in normal activities, such as attend college, etc.

Please do not recall The Nuremberg Code.  Especially number 7: “Proper preparations should be made and adequate facilities provided to protect the experimental subject against even remote possibilities of injury, disability or death.” (my emphasis)

“Now is the time to just do what you are told,” as Anthony Fauci so benevolently declared.

I am not making a prediction.  The authorities have told us what’s coming. Pay attention.  Don’t be fooled.  It’s a game they have devised.  Keep people guessing.  On edge.  Relieved.  Tense.  Relaxed.  Shocked.  Confused.  That’s the game.  One day this, the next that.  You’re on, you’re off.  You’re in, you’re out.  We are allowing you this freedom, but be good children or we will have to retract it.  If you misbehave, you will get a time out.  Time to contemplate your sins.

If you once thought that COVID-19 would be a thing of the past by now, or ever, think again.  On May 3, 2021 The New York Times reported that the virus is here to stay.  This was again reported on May 10.  Hopes Fade for Global Herd Immunity.  You may recall that we were told such immunity would be achieved once enough people got the “vaccine” or enough people contracted the virus and developed antibodies.

On May 9, on ABC News, Dr. Fauci, when asked about indoor mask requirements being relaxed, said, “I think so, and I think you’re going to probably be seeing that as we go along, and as more people get vaccinated.”  Then he added: “We do need to start being more liberal, as we get more people vaccinated.”

But then, in what CNN reported as a Mother’s Day prediction, he pushed the date for “normality” out another year, saying, “I hope that [by] next Mother’s Day, we’re going to see a dramatic difference than what we’re seeing right now. I believe that we will be about as close to back to normal as we can.  We’ve got to make sure that we get the overwhelming proportion of the population vaccinated. When that happens, the virus doesn’t really have any place to go. You’re not going to see a surge. You’re not going to see the kinds of numbers we see now.”

He said this with a straight face even though the experimental “vaccines,” by their makers own admissions, do not prevent the vaccinated from getting the virus or passing it on.  They allege it only mitigates the severity of the virus if you contract it.

Notice the language and the vaccination meme repeated three times: “We get more people vaccinated.” (my emphasis) Not that more people choose to get vaccinated, but “we get” them vaccinated.  Thank you, Big Daddy. And now we have another year to go until “we will be about as close to back to normal as we can.”  Interesting phrase: as we can.  It other words: we will never return to normality but will have to settle for the new normal that will involve fewer freedoms.  Life will be reset, a great reset.  Great for the few and terrible for the many.

Once two vaccines were enough; then, no, maybe one is sufficient; no, you will need annual or semi-annual booster shots to counteract the new strains that they say are coming.  It’s a never-ending story with never-ending new strains in a massive never-ending medical experiment.  The virus is changing so quickly and herd immunity is now a mystical idea, we are told, that it will never be achieved.  We will have to be eternally vigilant.

But wait.  Don’t despair.  It looks like restrictions are easing up for the coming summer in the northern hemisphere. Lockdowns will be loosened.  If you felt like a prisoner for the past year plus, now you will be paroled for a while. But don’t dispose of those masks just yet.  Fauci says that wearing masks could become seasonal following the pandemic because people have become accustomed to wearing them and that’s why the flu has disappeared. The masks didn’t prevent COVID-19 but eliminated the flu.  Are you laughing yet?

Censorship and lockdowns and masks and mandatory injections are like padded cells in a madhouse and hospital world where free-association doesn’t lead to repressed truths because free association isn’t allowed, neither in word nor deed.  Speaking freely and associating with others are too democratic. Yes, we thought we were free.  False consciousness is pandemic.  Exploitation is seen as benevolence. Silence reigns.  And the veiled glances signify the ongoing terror that has spread like a virus.

We are now in a long war with two faces.  As with the one justified by the mass murders of September 11, 2001, this viral one isn’t going away.

The question is: Do we have to wait twenty years to grasp the obvious and fight for our freedoms?

We can be assured that Zelikow and his many associates at Covid Collaborative, including General Stanley McChrystal, Robert Gates, Arnie Duncan, Deval Patrick, Tom Ridge, et al. – a whole host of Republicans and Democrats backed by great wealth and institutional support, will not be “whacking moles” in their search for truth.  Their agenda is quite different.

But then again, you may recall where they stood on the mass murders of September 11, 2001 and the endless wars that have followed.

The post Second Stage Terror Wars first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Socialist Rhetorical and Dialectical Communication: Overcoming Brainwashing, Propaganda, Entertainment

Orientation

How effective is the socialist left at winning over people in public meetings who are not already socialists? I would think that being socialists would make the people practicing socialism very good at being social. How true is this? There are two purposes in this article. One is to identify the similarities and differences between six forms of information control. The second part is to assess how good leftists are in using the two forms of control called “rhetoric” and “dialectic” at making their points. My claim is that the socialist left knows or cares little for these argumentation forms. This is one of many reasons why it is difficult to persuade or convince the public to become socialists or support socialist programs. These attempts could be in public gatherings such as rallies, city council meetings or in the workplace.

Six forms of information control

In my last article, I contrasted seven theories of propaganda, highlighting the work of sociologist Jacques Ellul. But as it turns out, propaganda is one of six forms of information control. Moving from right to left, from most to the least authoritarian we have:

  • Brainwashing
  • Propaganda
  • Mass entertainment
  • Public entertainment
  • Rhetoric
  • Dialectic

Brainwashing is the most conservative form of information control because it uses force to change minds. Propaganda, as we have seen in my last article, can be used by both conservatives and liberals. Both forms of entertainment are really politically apathetic, as they try to distract and provide escape from political and economic realities. Rhetoric is the essence of liberal viewpoints dating all the way back to debate among the classical Greeks. Dialectic was also used among the Greeks. It was used for conservative purposes by Plato and later by Hegel while Marx used dialectic to understand capitalism along with human history.

As in my article on propaganda, this article will cover information control that existed before the world-wide web and the rest of interactive media was created. Interactive media introduces a whole new level of interaction, which I am not experienced to comment on.

Origins of the terms

Of all the forms of information control, “brainwashing” is the most recent on the scene. It was coined by a CIA agent, William Hunter, in the early 1950s to describe the interrogation methods of Chinese Communists on American soldiers during the Korean War. The first use of the term “propaganda” was in early modern Europe by the Catholic Church to characterize the Protestant methods of conversion through print media.  The term “entertainment” was first used in the 17th century to describe activities in Europe that were considered to be amusement. Both rhetoric and dialectic have their beginnings in ancient Greece in the context of either developing an argument through one-on-one exchange (dialectic) or in persuading a public audience (rhetoric). Rhetoric settings were law courts. Aristotle and the Sophists were early theoreticians. Dialectic was originally associated with the dialogues connected to Plato and Socrates.

Overcoming bad reputations

Interestingly enough, all forms of information control except entertainment have bad reputations and are mostly used for political purposes by the Yankee state. For example, the word “brainwashing” was imagined as a product of seedy conspiracies of communist governments and practiced on dissidents. The movie The Manchurian Candidate most obviously depicts the fantasies of what the US state imagined the communists were doing. As can be seen by Robert J. Lifton’s book Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism, this had little resemblance to what the Chinese were really up to. As I said in my article on propaganda, the stereotype of propaganda, at least in Yankeedom, is the picture painted of it by reactionary conservatives. They say propaganda is solely political and it is engaged in by foreign, usually “authoritarian” governments. This stereotype also implies that there is no propaganda engaged in by the Yankee state. Of course, there are six other schools of propaganda, but the stereotype that is most powerful is the reactionary conservative one.

The last form of information control used by Yankeedom for political purposes is the stereotype of “dialectic”. Here, dialectic is associated with Hegel’s concept of the state being rational and self-justifying. Reactionary ideologists imagine that Hegel was anticipating the authoritarian states of Russia, China or Cuba. In history, the dialectical process was imagined by them to be a rigid description of a spiral of stages of human society being driven by conflict and taking the same of thesis-antithesis and synthesis. There was no room for individual freedom.

The stereotype of the term “rhetoric” usually means “empty words”, which usually are contrasted with taking action. Rhetoric is also contrasted with content, being form with no content, being superficial, or shallow. Rhetoric is usually associated with deception, exaggeration or the use of emotions, prejudices or sex. Plato has had a heavy hand in giving rhetoric a bad name.

Entertainment is the only form of information control that does not have a bad reputation to overcome. Its definition is to hold attention and divert it to something that is pleasing. It could be at a public event such as puppet shows, musical concerts, sporting events, theme parks, amusement parks, casinos, or circuses. In the case of mass media, there is amusement through movies, radio or television. Public and mass entertainment are created for the purpose of making money through delivering an experience or selling a product or a service.

Defining Brainwashing Propaganda, Rhetoric and Dialectical 

Paraphrasing Kathleen Taylor’s book Brainwashing: The Science of Thought Control, brainwashing is a physiological attempt to do three things:

  • Erase existing thoughts, memories and cognitive content
  • Replant in the brain new content
  • Control the person’s actions remotely so they will obey without the presence of the persecutor

In a case of the pot calling the kettle black, some of the most extensive attempts at actually brainwashing people did not come from communist countries. It came from a Canadian psychiatrist Ewen Cameron in the 1950’s (see Adam Curtis’ Documentary, Century of Self II) who was eventually on the CIA payroll. The tale of Cameron is also documented in the book Brainwash by Dominic Streatfeild and in Journey into Madness: the True Story of CIA Mind Control and Medical Abuse, by Gordon Thomas. The CIA conduced its own experiments in Brainwashing as did the British physiologist, William Sargant in his book Battle for the Mind. Typically, brainwashing in its most severe forms takes place in hospitals, prisons, and the military in the form of torture. It also occurred at the hands of Catholic or Protestant religious institutions in early modern Europe. Its victims were heretics or witches.

The bad news for these terrorist spy organizations and the psychiatrists who worked with them is that they have been unsuccessful. The techniques of brainwashing described in the books have been successful in turning people into vegetables, making them dysfunctional. But they haven’t been successful in erasing, replanting and controlling people remotely.

Paraphrasing the Jowett and O’Donnell book Propaganda and Persuasion, propaganda is the deliberate, systematic and often covert attempt by institutional elites to control:

  • Perceptions
  • Cognitions
  • Emotions
  • Behavior

Who are they controlling?  Masses of people through mass media, while censoring, hiding, restricting, distorting or exaggerating the claims and evidence of their opposition. Propaganda can be white, gray, or black. (See Jowett and O’Donnell’s book for more information, along with my previous article). Propaganda can be easily found during political election campaigns, inaugural speeches, religious recruiting, news reporting, film and, some say, sports.

Rhetoric is the systematic and overt study by an individual speaker of the strategies and techniques for how to convince (change the mind) or persuade (take action) a public audience on a controversial issue.  This is done through the use of Aristotle’s “rhetorical triangle” of argument which consists of logos (the evidence, facts) ethos (having credible sources) and pathos (the appeal to emotions and imagination). It is practiced in courts of law, political debates, scientific conferences and at public community meetings such as city councils.

Dialectic is most clearly present in educational institutions while at their best between teachers and students. Dialectic is the co-creative process by which educators and sometimes debaters:

  • Encourage and bring out the experiences of individual students for public discussion
  • Encourage students’ self-reflection on the relationship between cultural information and their personal experience
  • Face honestly the contradictions which may arise between their personal experience and cultural institutions
  • Feed-forward (plan) and integrate the work experience school has trained them to do into the cultural pool of knowledge and expertise for the next generation

The heart of an active dialectic process is that through constructive creative conflict between teacher, student, a cultural body of knowledge and work experience, a synthetic body of knowledge arises with is more than either educators (as the transmitters of cultural information), students or a public audience had when they first started.

Setting, Intention of the Influencer and Dynamics of Information Flow 

Settings

It is important to understand who is interacting with who; i.e., whether the sender and receiver of information are elites, individuals, the public or a mass. In the case of brainwashing, it is an elite interrogator interacting with an isolated individual. In the case of propaganda and entertainment elites attempt to influence either masses of people or publics. In the case of both rhetoric or dialectic a single speaker appeals to the public or another individual.

Intentions of the Influencer

In brainwashing, the purpose of the psychiatrist or interrogator is to change people by force in the hopes of changing their mind and their actions. In the case of propaganda, the propagandist wants to narrow the focus of the mind or their actions so there are only two choices. Propagandists want to control people by setting up parameters, not to force them to do one thing. The creators of both mass and public entertainment are not interested in changing minds, but they are interested in persuading people to act. In the case of mass entertainment, they hope that the associations between the celebrity and the product they are trying to sell will stick in the minds of the audience. In public entertainment, the hope is to have the audience swept away either by a very competitive ball game or the daring-do of a circus performer. Rhetoric’s emphasis is to open minds and change behavior. Dialectic more than any other source of information control wants to open minds as a way of life.

Dynamics of information flow

In terms of the dynamics of the information flow, the most asymmetrical exchange is in brainwashing where elites have all the power, and the victim is in some kind of forced restraint. In the case of both propaganda and mass entertainment, the relationship between elites and masses is asymmetric but the masses do give some feedback in terms of statistics such as votes received, tickets sold, or products bought. Public entertainment and rhetoric are still asymmetrical but less so because both the performer (music) or public speaker (rhetoric) does receive feedback in terms of audience responses, whether booing, silence, cheering and in the body language of the audience. When teachers are committed to having participatory classroom, dialectic is the least asymmetrical because part of education is to bring out the past experience and current work history of the individual into the public discussion.

Mediums

In terms of mediums used, brainwashing and public entertainment have a lot in common. They both hope to disorient the public. In casinos, clocks are removed, exits are difficult to find, loud music blares, free drinks are offered by sexually provocative wait staff, extra oxygen is pumped into the building to cause lightheadedness, and there are faked sounds of customers winning filling the air.

In brainwashing spatial and temporal disorganization are key. Both propaganda and mass entertainment use movies, radio, television and billboards. Public propaganda is more likely to use billboards. Public entertainment is more likely to use images and various theatrical tricks such as lighting, stage sets in addition to electronic billboards. Both rhetoric and dialectic are critical of the use of mass media because it tends to draw attention away from the relationship between speaker and public and the individual. The medium for rhetoric is the words of a speaker with no more technology used than a microphone. Dialectic uses writing exercises, small group work along with debates.

Quality, timing of Evidence, Alternative Views

Brainwashing is the least likely to provide real evidence. Because of the compromising position they have their victim in, they can engage in character assassination, manufacturing false evidence, distorting or omitting evidence. There is literally no opportunity for the victim to weigh or integrate the information. The torturer is likely to withhold information or time the deliverance of information in a predetermined way. In brainwashing, there is no alternative source of information provided. What alternatives are available are in the memory of the victim before they were captured.

As I discussed in my previous article on propaganda, propaganda can be based on facts or lies (black propaganda). It too can also distort or omit evidence. Like brainwashing, in propaganda evidence does not flow in a spontaneous manner. Information is withheld or released at the most opportune time. For example, declarations of war are rarely timed just before an election. Because propagandists cannot completely control their masses, alternative sources of information are available, but the propagandists will do everything they can to censor, minimize, exaggerate, distort or vilify their opposition. Capitalism’s treatment of socialism and communism are some of the clearest examples.

With mass entertainment, the only evidence presented is what fits with the stereotypes people have of how celebrities are supposed to act. So, in the 3rd Hunger Games episode, Katniss has to have a baby because the producers of the movie have no confidence that the audience can tolerate a female heroine without children. All mass entertainment has to be sensitive to current fads and fashions, in the case of movies, or the existing consumer patterns in the advertisements that are linked to the radio or television programs. Unlike either brainwashing or propaganda, mass entertainment has to compete with other forms of mass entertainment so they cannot transmit a single message to their audience. Public entertainment also must conform to stereotypes of the audience as well, but there is more room for unconventionality because public entertainment is not quite as heavily scripted. In addition, public entertainment has to be more sensitive of the collective emotions of the audience that go with the seasons and the holidays. In public entertainment the information flow to the public is more focused since at a musical concert or a circus, you cannot change the channel.

Both rhetoric and dialectic are far more rigorous in their expectations about evidence. In good rhetoric, it is expected that the evidence follows Aristotle’s rhetorical triangle, and that the presentation of the evidence considers the time, place and circumstance. The idea is to maximize the chances of being convincing and persuasive. Rhetoric at its best will not rest itself on representing one other viewpoint.  It may include other viewpoints before attempting to refute them. Lastly, dialectic will most actively cultivate many viewpoints. For example, in the fields of sociology, psychology and philosophy there are generally 4-6 schools within a field. In an educational setting, the teacher should be able to present all the schools and compare them to each other. The quality of the research in dialectic educational setting should come out of the research in textbooks which are cross-culturally and historically sensitive. Dialectic is less sensitive than rhetoric in consideration of time, place and circumstance because the goal is to change minds, not behaviors, so it wants to cultivate self-reflection, rather than getting the audience to do something.

Appeal to Audience, How the Audience is Treated, Outcome Expected

Psychological hopes for the audience

What does the controller of information hope to do to their audience psychologically? In brainwashing the purpose is to create fear, desperation and ultimately dependency, as in the Stockholm syndrome. The victim has no privacy. The propagandist appeals to the lowest common denominator in people, demagoguery related to racism, nationalism and religious fanaticism. People have some privacy and they have some power to distance if they need to. But usually not for long. If the political propagandist wants to get people to feel a narrow range of emotions deeply, both mass and public entertainment appeals to the surface of emotions: what is insipid, petty, and needy. They both pander to unrealistic desires and vicarious living in the audience, all grounded in immediate gratification. In both mass and public entertainment, the audience can gain privacy by either turning off the radio or TV or to leave the entertainment site. Both rhetoric and dialectic at their best appeal to what is good for people in the long-run and each respects the privacy of the audience’s thoughts.

How is the audience characterized?

In brainwashing, the victim is treated as a pawn in a much larger game. They are demonized and treated as less than human. In propaganda, the audience is treated as a target, as a means to a larger end. In mass and public entertainment, the audience is considered passive, naive, gullible, stupid (Bernays) and lacking in long-term judgement. In rhetoric, the public audience is treated respectfully and capable of participating in decision-making. In dialectics, the audience is treated the best, as ends in themselves.

What is the audience expected to do?

The hopes of CIA brainwashing attempts were to find a drug that could erase the memories of the retired spies to reduce the chances of then turning against their masters and spilling the beans. Generally, the ultimate hope of religious brainwashers is to get the heretic to give up previous beliefs and be converted to new beliefs. Once that happens, they want the converted to stay passive and frightened so they can be controlled, even when there are no authorities around. In political propaganda the expectation is either to vote a certain way, go to war or to support the overthrow of another state. For mass entertainment, if the program is ongoing, the intention is to leave the audience partly satisfied but still wanting more. In the case of public entertainment, the entertainers want the audience to be fully satisfied, and hopefully talk to others about the event in the hopes of expanding the audience for the next public event. In the case of rhetoric at its best, the speaker hopes the audience will seriously consider mentally what was expected and then act accordingly. Lastly, in the case of dialectic, the hope of the teacher is that the student will become more curious, wonderous, critical and creative in their outlook towards the world and themselves.

Brain Routes, Minds and Impact on Thinking

In cognitive psychology there are two brain routes. The central brain route and the peripheral brain route. When people receive new information, they have to decide how seriously to take it. When people are experienced in a subject, they have a great stake in the outcome. They have some training in the subject and the problem may be complex but comprehensible. They are likely to use their full deliberation and critical thinking processes (central brain route). However, when people don’t have experience or training in a subject, they have little personal stake in the outcome and the problem seems convoluted. They are then likely to use what is called the peripheral brain route. This is also called using mental shortcuts.

Suppose I take my friend’s car to a mechanic. The engine light is on and I ask the mechanic to take a look at it. I know next to nothing about cars and neither does my friend. Two hours later the mechanic calls me back with a very technical description of what is wrong, along with the cost of fixing the problem. The problem seems convoluted to me and I don’t have a much of a personal stake in it. What I will likely do is use the peripheral brain route. What this means is I will move from using my own mind, to go to another source. I will contact other car mechanics, get a second opinion and find out what they would charge to fix it. There is nothing wrong with using the peripheral brain route under these conditions.However, there are five other conditions under which people will use the peripheral brain-route that are counterproductive, and these conditions are what propagandists and entertainers will promote to get people to by-pass the central brain route. They are:

  • If there is time pressure (in sales, “time is running out”)
  • Volume scarcity (in sales, “get the commodity now, while they last”)
  • Sensory overload (as described in my casino example earlier)
  • Emotional appeal is superficial (titillation, sentimentality, infantile fantasies)
  • If the person is fatigued

The job of the propagandist and the entertainer is to create the five conditions above that will increase the chances of using the peripheral brain route rather than the central brain route where critical thinking takes place. The ultimate hope of the brainwasher is to restructure the brain itself by using drugs and sleep deprivation. If they cannot do that, they will also hope to keep the victim using the peripheral brain route constantly. Rhetoric at its best, as well as dialectic, will strive to build the self-confidence of the audience or the student so that they always use the central brain route as much as possible.

Ideology, Mythology

All forms of information control are either directly or indirectly connected to liberal conservative, socialist or fascist ideology and some of them also contain mythology. If we look at the practice of ideology, political attempts to brainwash are mostly related to fighting communism. Brainwashing experiments in prison, including experiments with LSD, were connected to the conservative belief that blacks were inferior so using them as guinea pigs was acceptable. Political propaganda is used by all four political tendencies to start and sustain wars, to influence voting or overthrow regimes.

Neither mass nor public entertainment have a political ideology to support them, but both forms of entertainment have mythologies designed to sweep people away. For example, the Lord of the Rings stories and characters, Harry Potter and Star Wars not only sweeps people away during the movie, but they set up future episodes with suspenseful endings. In public entertainment we have sports teams with stirring stories played out in pennant races stretching the drama out over seven months. Sports figures of the past and present are treated as modern day gods and goddesses by their fans.

Rhetoric is clearly identified with the liberal ideology of truth being found from debating different points of view, where controversies are the norm, and no single authority has all the answers. Rhetoric is a monologue where the speaker, at least initially, argues two or three points of view before determining their effect on the audience. The Sophists and Aristotle represented this rhetorical tradition while Plato stood for the conservative authority who does have all the answers.

Dialectic begins conservatively where learning the truth is not the result of the interacting of viewpoints, but as already contained in the authority of Socrates. The heart of dialectic is dialogue back and forth between two people. Later in history, dialectic becomes more liberal with the back-and forth no longer necessarily involving one authority figure. In the hands of pragmatic dialecticians, dialectic is not only connected to content but to process. Dialectic involves rules of conversation. Whereas in rhetoric, logical fallacies are more connected with the qualities of reasoning or tricks played on an audience, in dialectic fallacies are detected in the violations of the rules of dialogue. More on this later.

Symbiotic and Sensual Orchestration

Sensual orchestration

Sensory orchestration is the manner in which the senses are controlled to create altered states of consciousness. The two extremes are sensory deprivation with all the senses but one turned off, or sensory saturation where all the senses are used and they are intensified. Brainwashing involves sensory deprivation with gagging, being blindfolded, and living in solitary confinement. Religious propaganda can be used to saturate the senses. Examples of this are the Catholic Church with its stained-glass windows, incense, church music, holy communion, rich wood and fabrics all being part of the atmosphere of the Mass.

Mass entertainment is often designed to create sensory overload with special effects and multiple sounds coming at the audience in a disorganized way to create astonishment and a diffused attention-span. This encourages using the peripheral brain route when being sold commodities during the show. Public entertainment is more guided, at least in terms of musical concerts and sporting events with the hope of providing vicarious satisfaction, inspiration or awe. Both rhetoric and dialectic look down upon the manipulation of the senses as taking the audience away from using their reasoning processes. They are content with the moderate use of the five senses to experience the world as it really is rather than through what they consider to be “smoke and mirrors”.

Symbolic orchestration

Religious and political symbols are very powerful in motivating people to fight and die for their political beliefs or religion. The crucifix, the American flag, the bible or the Quran exert a great hold over the emotions of an audience, a target or a victim. That’s why in brainwashing torture situations, the victim’s religious books will be torn or flushed down the toilet and their flags will be burned, defecated upon or used as rags. In propaganda, these same flags and books will be used to mobilize people to action.

Mass entertainment will include corporate logos which are stolen from political and religious symbols which have already built up a collective association in people’s minds. For example, look at the colors of the Bank of America or a Chevron credit card. In public entertainment, sports contain the heaviest dose of symbolic orchestration. Think of the baseball caps and jerseys the players wear as part of every major league team. This is part of the major league pantheon that fans participate in when they go to sporting goods stores and buy these hats and jackets, put bumper stickers on their cars and live and die with every win and loss if their team is lucky enough to compete for the pennant. Both rhetoric and dialectic steer clear of all symbols because they appeal to unreasonable elements that will distract from critical reasoning.

Use of Space, Architecture, Monuments

With the exception of mass entertainment, forms of information control are rooted in space and architecture and these containers can accentuate or dampen the form of information control. For brainwashing, the most effective spatial arrangement is solitary confinement before interrogation begins. Rooms have no windows and are poorly ventilated. A space that has windows reminds the victim there is life beyond the prison or hospital. Religious propaganda is most successful in cathedrals which overwhelm the devotees with their scale and high ceilings. Religious propaganda in cozy churches with modest decoration are likely to be less successful. Political propaganda is most effective near patriotic scenes—Bunker Hill, Lincoln Memorial or Mount Rushmore. In addition, Ellul’s sociological propaganda is at work when streets are named after presidents and monuments are made of them.

Public entertainment is made more powerful when held in stadiums which can accommodate thousands. Much of public entertainment is not just this particular concert or this particular ballgame. Rather it is a reflection of the history of the field. This includes the Cooperstown Baseball Hall of Fame, The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, or the Country Music Hall of Fame. In movies, the reflective day of reckoning is at the Academy Awards.

Rhetoric outdoors is a special challenge because there are not the indoor spatial acoustics to contain the voice even with a microphone or a loudspeaker. Since the heart of dialectic is small groups or one-on-one and held indoors, in educational settings the spatial concerns should be a quiet room with a horseshoe-shaped seating.  This allows for dialectical crosstalk between members, rather than only a one-to-one relationship between the student and the educator.  

Theoreticians 

There are many theorists for all six forms of information control. I will limit myself to the most famous and theorists and practitioners of late 19th and 20th century. For brainwashing, the Canadian psychiatrist Ewen Cameron and the British psychiatrist William Sargant are probably the best representatives. For propaganda, there are Edward Bernays, Herbert Lasswell and Jacques Ellul. For mass entertainment, there are Ivy Lee, Ernest Dichter, Bernays along with by Paul Lazarsfeld. Two of the masters of public entertainment were P.T. Barnum and Walt Disney. Rhetoric has a long and interesting history of theories, but the most famous theorists in the 20th century would be Kenneth Burke, Chaim Perelman and Stephen Toulmin. The realm of dialectic has been recently given a shot in the arm by two prolific schools. One comes out of Amsterdam and headed by Frans van Eemeren and Rob Grootendorst. The other school in Canada was founded by Douglas Walton.

How Good are Socialists at Convincing and persuading the Public at Rallies, City Council Meetings and Workplaces?

In everything that follows I will be speaking only from my personal experience watching and participating in rallies, organizing meetings, city council meetings and workplaces on and off for fifty years in the United States. 

Rhetoric for Radicals

Starting on time and welcoming

As I said earlier, rhetoric comes out of a liberal tradition and there is a great deal of research about how to convince and persuade an audience (Billig, Arguing and Thinking, Mccroskey Introduction to Rhetorical Communication). Do socialist organizers know about this research or pay any attention to it? Unfortunately, the answer is “no”. In political organizing meetings run by radicals, they ignore the protocols of good speech-making. One is starting on time. The anarchists especially make it a badge of honor and a sign they are not “uptight” or “hierarchical” by not starting the meeting on time. Secondly there is little or no welcoming of strangers. Religious organizations such as the Unitarians, know better. There are greeters who welcome people as they come in, help them find seating and ask them if they had been there before. What do these socialists who claim to be social do? There is usually no greeter. Newcomers have to find their own way. Socialists already there talk to each other and ignore new people. This is true of anarchists and all the various kinds of Leninists groups I have experienced. I have to say that the Social Democrats are better about these formalities and generally have better social graces.

Five canons of rhetoric

Now let us look at the structure of the speaker’s talk. In addition to a political meeting run by radicals, let us add imagining the socialist speaker is addressing a city council meeting. In rhetoric there are five canons of classical rhetoric:

  • Invention (deciding on a claim and marshalling evidence)
  • Arrangement (deciding the order of placement of the evidence based on the audience)
  • Style (choice of language and expressive devices)
  • Delivery (the speaker’s clothing, use of voice and body movement on the stage)
  • Memory (the use of mimetic devices to help the person remember their speech so they don’t have to read it)

How do socialists do with these canons? Not very well, I’m afraid. While the intention is usually good, socialists usually have no knowledge of the research on the primacy effect or the recent effect in deciding where to place their pieces of evidence. They usually have no justification for the sequencing of their evidence in particular places. The style of socialists is usually insensitive to the choice of words. The language remains pretty much the same regardless of the audience and socialists very often know nothing about expressive devices. Most socialists have bad delivery styles. They don’t dress for the occasion, imaging that such preoccupations are “bourgeois”. They mostly don’t have command of the stage and their movements are awkward. Most socialists I have watched do not commit their speech to memory and simply read it off a paper, breaking consistent eye contact with their audience.

Setting the right atmosphere

Radicals inadvertently carry over Plato’s hostility to rhetoric. Plato saw Truth as independent of time, place and circumstance. Like Plato, too many socialists are convinced they have the truth and do not want to waste time spoon-feeding it to people or finding out what the masses think. Good form, stage presence, flowers, inspiring decorations are seen as superficial and not to be taken seriously. So, it is no problem that chairs are broken-down or uncomfortable, podiums are made out of plywood, there is bad lighting and acoustics. These things are not seen as having any relevance to the content of the message.  The talks are often not well-organized and go on too long. Breaks are not built into the meetings.

Importance of charisma

Most socialists do not understand that there is a rational basis for charisma. Charisma is not just linked to spiritual possession, speaking in tongues and inviting people to fall apart. As I remember it, something like 90% of the presidents who won elections were the taller of the candidates. Why is this? Because there is unconscious evolutionary psychology at work. People judge taller people as having better genes. The same is true with body shape – wide shoulders, narrow waist for men and large breasts and wide hips for women. Facial symmetry, hair sheen are all factors that make someone politically appealing as a speaker. Any leftist political candidates who ignore physical appearances may congratulate themselves in being politically correct, but they are working against the unconscious preferences of the overwhelming majority of humanity. Whatever we think of Obama politically, he had charisma and all the trappings of a good rhetoricians. How many socialists can match this? Richard Wolff, Cornell West – not many more.

Sympathetic, neutral and hostile audiences

Rhetoric theorists divide audiences into sympathetic, neutral and hostile. At rallies I’ve seen socialist speakers give the same speech assuming the audience is sympathetic and make no effort to reach liberals in the crowd who are neutral. City council meetings are the most demanding for a socialist speaker because both the public audience, as well as the city council members, are not socialists, and some will be conservative. Will the socialist have something to offer a conservative, hostile audience? The answer, I think, is they will have nothing.

Grabbing and holding attention

In rhetoric it is normal to expect that when people first come into the room, their attention is elsewhere, and the speaker has to earn the attention of the audience. About the worst offender of this is Noam Chomsky, who regardless of time, place and circumstance starts droning on as if the audience was already captured. Only a tenured academic with a captive audience of students could get away with this anti-rhetoric. In a large group of people, especially strangers, some kind of icebreaker, joke, or inspirational quote needs to be given to get the audience warmed up and focused.

Defining key terms

One of the major steps in making an argument is to define key terms. In argumentation theory, a person’s claim usually has a word or two that needs definition because the word has many meanings and can easily be misunderstood. So, in any presentation about, say, pornography, the word must be carefully defined before an argument proceeds. Most of the time socialists do not do this. They just assume words like “imperialism”, “neoliberal” and “working class” are self-evident.

The rhetorical triangle

In terms of the rhetorical triangle we discussed earlier, socialists are not well-rounded in covering all three parts. Often the pathos part of the argument – the appeal to emotions and imagination – are ignored, as mass psychologist Wilhelm Reich pointed out in the 1930s. The Nazis were far smarter than the socialists in understanding that audiences can be moved by the worst kind of emotions – racism, blind loyalty to the state and infantile wishes of superiority. All the facts and the right sources are not enough.

Appealing to the short-term self-interest in the audience

Those on the left mostly do not appeal to the short-term self-interest of the audience because they think that would be selfish.  Everyone is assumed to be an altruist. There is an absence of understanding that the audience attended to get something tangible from the meeting before leaving. The appeal is often to far-away places and middle or long-term time frames. This leaves most audiences cold and unlikely to return.

Making predictions

Leftists do not attempt to treat the argument they are making as subject to any expectations approaching the scientific method. For example, there is no promised follow- up to see whether what one is proposing was successful or not. Just like bourgeois politicians, there is little attempt to put parameters around the claim, like the exceptional circumstances in the present that might come up that would make the speaker withdraw the claim. There is little quality control in leftist arguments, at least the public ones.  Neither does the leftist make a prediction of falsifiability. Falsifiability means, if the claim was put into practice what are the conditions under which you can be proven wrong?

Having transition plans

The final part of a good rhetorical argument is to have a plan: a step-by-step procedure for how to get from where we are now to where we want to be. This includes a three to five step process for putting the claim into practice, including a timeline. The plan would need to include the costs of all the steps, a feasibility analysis and the benefits to the audience. All this is essential strategy if leftists want to appeal to anyone who is not already convinced. Leftists are very weak in presenting the methods of how to realize the goal with given a set of procedures. The Trotskyists’ call for a transition program is one step in this direction but it lacks the concreteness of my description. The weaknesses of radicals in relation to rhetoric has come to the attention of Jason Delgado, who has written a book about it, Rhetoric for Radicals.

Dialectical Dialogue for Radicals

Marxists claim the word dialectic as their own and imagine that if they have read Hegel and Marx, they know everything there is to know. Typically, dialectics refer to a way of thinking about how capitalism works, or it refers to a stage theory of history. But what the overwhelming number of Marxists don’t know is there is a history of dialectics that has an entire field of speech communication. That means how people talk to each other interpersonally.

Presenting the maximum number of viewpoints

As mentioned earlier, in educational settings dialectics will present between 4-6 points of view because in many human sciences from psychology to sociology to economics to politics, there are usually 4-6 theoretical schools. Do socialists in any setting present four to six schools in addition to their own? No, they don’t. They merely present a capitalist opposition, and then present their own theory. Leftists cannot even bring themselves to treat fairly the positions of contending socialists, let alone liberals and conservatives.

Supporting individual self-development

Referring back to our definition of dialectics earlier, do socialists attempt to bring out the experiences of individuals in public in order to give them an opportunity to self-reflect on their own life? No, they don’t. They may use the life of a single individual preselected in the audience to make a point. Everyone else remains passive. Rarely are individuals invited into the sweep of history. They may refer to history, but the present audience is rarely invited in.

Questions from the audience and cooperative argumentation

The heart of dialectics is question, answer, deeper questions, deeper answers and so on. Most radicals do not invite questions from the audience, in some cases because they think they already have the answers (many Leninists) or because they are afraid of losing control of the audience. In some sense, this is understandable because at city council meetings or at rallies the audience does not know how to ask open-ended questions. They want to make speeches themselves. But in what is called “cooperative argumentation” by argumentation theorists, the conflict between speaker and audience leads to synthetic knowledge which is new and more than what either the speaker or the audience possessed before the discussion began.

Types of dialogue

In his book The New Dialectic, Douglas Walton identifies seven types of dialogue: pedagogical (teaching), deliberative (politics), debate (law), inquiry (science), information seeking (interview or advice), negotiation (business transactions like making deals) and persuasive dialogue (advertising). All these types of dialogue have their own set of rules, customs and violations. Do socialist organizers know about the seven types of dialogue? They may know something about dialectical deliberation, but I would be very surprised if they knew about any of the others, let alone knowing how using the other types selectively may improve their own deliberative dialogue.

Understanding fallacies as mistakes in the process of conversations

Most socialist organizers have probably taken a class in college in critical thinking and/ or public speaking and have learned the various kinds of thinking fallacies. Others have gone on to be lawyers and have training in debate. But virtually no one has learned that the fallacies can be organized according to violations in conversation rules. In their book Argumentation, Communication and Fallacies Frans van Eemeren and Rob Grootendorst identified ten rules for critical discussion. Instead of thinking of fallacies as intrapersonal thinking mistakes, the founders of the pragma-dialectical perspective organize all the fallacies as violations of the ten rules of critical discussion. These fallacies are linked to include unauthorized changes in the situation and roles; changes in topics; changes in the physical setting; changes in goals; changes in methods; and changes in rules.

Do socialist organizers know anything about either of the two dialectical schools of speech communication, their principles and methods? I have never met or seen a socialist organizer who knew about this.

Conclusion

In the first two thirds of this article, I compared the similarities and differences of six schools of information control. In the last third of my article, I examined how knowledgeable socialists are about the two forms of information control which are the most anti-authoritarian: rhetoric and dialectic. Sadly, what I’ve found is that most socialists, even socialist organizers, have not systematically used nor continue to use research on rhetoric and dialectic in their work, whether it be rallies, city council meetings or community or labor organizing. I find this very sad and ridiculous considering that socialist claim to be social while ignoring knowing little about research in two of the most prominent fields in speech communication, rhetoric and dialectic. 

• First published in Socialist Planning Beyond Capitalism

The post Socialist Rhetorical and Dialectical Communication: Overcoming Brainwashing, Propaganda, Entertainment first appeared on Dissident Voice.

NATO Raises Military Tensions against Russia over False Accusations of Russian Threats against Ukraine

A new round of disinformation and threats against Russia is being staged by the NATO military powers and their state and corporate media outlets.

The backdrop is the continued military occupation and aggression by Ukraine in sections of the Donbas region in the east of the country, combined with the Ukrainian government’s ongoing refusal to implement the ceasefire and peace measures of the 2015 ‘Minsk 2’ agreement, Minsk 2 was signed by Ukraine and the pro-autonomy forces of Donbas, with the governments of Russia, France and Germany agreeing to act as guarantors. It was ratified unanimously by no less than the UN Security Council, on February 17, 2014. But this proved of little value in bringing peace because for NATO and its propaganda services, nothing less than heightened military tensions would do. Instead, the world gets a new round of stories of imminent ‘Russian aggression’ or ‘Russian invasion’ against Ukraine.

NATO head Jens Stoltenberg wrote on Twitter on April 6, “I called President @ZelenskyyUa to express serious concern about Russia’s military activities in and around Ukraine & ongoing ceasefire violations.”

White House press secretary Jen Psaki chimed in on April 8 (CNBC) with: “The United States is increasingly concerned by recent escalating Russian aggression in eastern Ukraine, including Russian troop movements on Ukraine’s border.”

The same CNBC report offered in its own words: “In recent weeks, Russia has increased its military presence along the Ukrainian border, sparking concerns in the West of a budding military conflict between the two neighboring countries.”

The seasoned, anti-Russia Globe and Mail daily in Canada baldly asserted on April 10 that there are “too many parallels with 2014”. That’s when, according to the newspaper’s crack anti-Russia writer, “a Russian invasion” of Ukraine saw an “annexation’ of Crimea” and the rise of a “Kremlin fueled conflict” in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine [the former Ukrainian oblasts of Donetsk and Lugansk].

Another tack in the Western media and government propaganda drive is to express bewilderment at why Russia would choose to supposedly act aggressively in recent weeks. “It’s not completely clear what the Russians are doing there, we’d like to understand that more, and that uncertainty is obviously not contributing to a more stable, more secure situation,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told reporters on April 7.

The Washington Post printed a front page story on April 9 saying, “Russia’s motivations for the buildup are still unclear and do not necessarily signal a looming offensive, Ukrainian and Western officials said.”

The New York Times‘ key anti-Russia reporter, Andrew Kramer, keyed in, also on April 9, with, “Videos of military movements have flooded Russian social media for the past month, shared by users and documented by researchers. Western governments are trying to find out why…”

No peace in Ukraine because Kyiv and NATO reject Minsk 2 agreement

Western media carefully avoids reporting the background to the tensions it is stoking, namely that the Minsk 2 ceasefire and agreement remains stalled and unimplemented due to Ukrainian government intransigence, with the blessing of NATO.

As the anti-Russia Politico.eu reported in October 2020, “The Minsk II peace agreement, brokered and guaranteed by France and Germany, has barely inched forward since Zelenskiy and Putin met in December in Paris [2019] with French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel — largely because of the standoff over holding local elections and changes to the Ukrainian constitution that would grant ‘special status’ to the embattled regions of Donetsk and Luhansk.” The text of the Minsk 2 agreement (as distinct from the ‘Minsk Protocol’ of September 2014) is here.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova laid out the situation in her weekly media briefing on April 9. She blamed “Kyiv’s belligerent attitude” for the rise in tensions, saying this is “still based on the illusion that there can be a military solution to the conflict in [Ukraine’s] southeast. Troops and military equipment are being deployed there. Reservist mobilisation plans are being updated. Ukrainian media are fanning hysteria about a mythical Russian threat and Moscow’s plans to attack Ukraine very soon. All this is happening at the prompting of Kyiv’s Western sponsors, with overt public support… We are calling on the Kyiv authorities yet again to act responsibly and start implementing their obligations under the Minsk Package of Measures.”

She explained further, “I would like to remind you that throughout this year alone, NATO is planning seven military exercises in Ukraine. The active phase of the Defender Europe 2021 exercise, the most extensive exercise for many years, is to commence near Ukraine soon. This event is to involve 25 states. NATO warships are entering the Black Sea ever more frequently; the number of such visits increased by one-third last year. U.S., British, Canadian and Lithuanian training missions are deployed in the country. It should be noted that Ukrainian service personnel that have been trained by NATO instructors are often sent to the zone of the so-called ‘anti-terrorist operation’ directed against certain districts of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions.”

In her briefing of April 16, Zakharova reported: “According to the latest report by the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM), the number of ceasefire violations [in Donbas] in the previous two weeks has doubled compared to two weeks earlier, reaching 4,300. The shelling of towns in the Lugansk and Donetsk regions by the Ukrainian armed forces has become heavier. Casualties among civilians in Donetsk and Lugansk are growing. Kyiv continues to deploy more military vehicles and troops in the region. According to SMM reports, Grad multiple rocket launchers, the use of which is banned under the Minsk agreements, have been seen in the settlement of Druzhkovka to the north of Donetsk.”

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in an interview with Argumenty i Fakty newspaper published on April 8 and reported by TASS, “Things are bad regarding the Normandy format [meetings of the governments of Ukraine, Russia, Germany and France]. We can say that under President Zelensky, things haven’t budged either in fulfilling the Minsk Package of Measures or in further agreements achieved in Paris,” he said.

TASS continued, “Peskov also noted that tensions have been mounting on the contact line. ‘Over the past six months we have heard many times that Kyiv considered the Minsk agreements as dead, that this deal cannot be fulfilled and new documents were needed and so on. This is probably the most dangerous thing,’ Peskov stressed, noting that apart from the Minsk agreements there was no other basis for building international efforts for settlement in Donbas.”

On April 9, Zakharova also blamed Ukraine’s volatile quest to join the NATO military alliance. “We have taken note of a statement by Ukrainian President Zelensky, who visited Donbas yesterday [April 8] and said that the country’s accession to NATO would supposedly help end the conflict in the region. However, contrary to Kyiv’s expectations, potential NATO accession will not only fail to bring peace to Ukraine but will, by contrast, lead to a large-scale rise in tensions in the southeast, possibly causing irreversible consequences for Ukraine’s statehood.”

The unresolved conflicts arising from the 2014 coup in Ukraine

Western media and governments are having a relatively easy time with bamboozling their consumers and subjects, respectively, over events in Ukraine because of widespread ignorance of the recent history of the country.

In February 2014, a violent coup d’etat against the elected president and legislature of Ukraine was staged by extreme-right political parties and their associated paramilitary legions. The coupmakers successively manipulated prevailing social and economic dissatisfaction among many Ukrainians that had them longing for new economic ties to Europe, particularly if these would expand their right to emigrate and work there. For several years, Yanukovych had considered embarking on a path of greater trade and investment ties with Europe, but in late 2013 he changed course after the Russian government offered substantial expansion of investment and trade ties between the two countries. Several months of violent protests, centered in Maidan Square in central Kyiv, followed.

Millions of Ukrainians live and work in Poland and other countries in Europe, and millions more aspire to do the same.

Yanukovych sought refuge in Russia following the coup. An election was staged three months later to replace him and the members of the legislature. In addition to an economic ‘turn to Europe’, such as it has been, the new, right-wing government in Kyiv embarked on an ideological drive to break up the country’s multi-national character and renounce its history as a component of the Soviet Union. An ultra-nationalist ideology with roots in the World War Two collaboration by Ukrainian nationalists with Nazi Germany has become predominant. Widespread measures have been enacted to downgrade if not suppress the status of the Russian language and culture and the shared history of Russia and Ukraine as components of the Soviet Union.

The coup and its aftermath did not go over well, to say the least, with the large sections of the population that reject the ideology of right-wing nationalism if not neo-Nazism. Opposition to the coup was quick to organize, above all in Crimea but also in the eastern (Donbas) and southern (Odessa) regions of the country and in the center of the country where Kyiv is situated. But this opposition was met with extreme violence.

Crimea

Crimea was uniquely placed to resist the coup. Its population is multinational, with approximately 65 per cent of Russian ethnicity and the remainder divided between Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar ethnicities. It was the only region of Ukraine with an autonomous governing authority, the ‘Autonomous Republic of Crimea’ (Wikipedia). Its origins go way back to the self-determination policies of the Russian Revolution which became codified in the constitution of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (founded in 1922). The elected government of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea’ held powers roughly equivalent to U.S. states and Canadian provinces.

Crimeans voted by more than 70 per cent in favour of Yanukovych during the presidential election of 2010 (the vote result for Yanukovych in Donbas was even higher). Using their autonomous institutions that were preserved through the riotous years following the collapse of the Soviet Union (albeit falling short of the outright independence from Ukraine that so many sought), the Crimean people turned to their autonomous government for protection in 2014 from the coup violence that threatened to engulf their republic at the hands of the ultra-nationalist paramilitaries. The government appealed to the Russian military to help preserve social peace, and it organized a referendum vote on March 16, 2014 to secede from the new, right-wing Ukraine and join (many Crimeans would say ‘rejoin’,) the Russian Federation.

The vote passed overwhelmingly, and polls during the years that followed showed strong satisfaction with the result, including among the minority Ukrainians and Tatars. An op-ed by three Western researchers published in the Washington Post on March 18, 2020 reported: “Here’s what we found: Support for joining Russia remains very high (86 per cent in 2014 and 82 per cent in 2019) — and is especially high among ethnic Russians and Ukrainians. A key change since 2014 has been a significant increase in support by Tatars, a Turkic Muslim population that makes up about 12 per cent of the Crimean population. In 2014, only 39 per cent of this group viewed joining Russia as a positive move, but this figure rose to 58 per cent in 2019.”

There was no ‘Russian invasion’ of Crimea in 2014 because thousands of Russian troops were already there by virtue of the military treaty signed by Russia and Ukraine in 1997 (Wikipedia). It guaranteed Russia’s continued military presence in Crimea.

As to the role of Russian troops in preserving social peace, the evidence for that is overwhelming and positive, as polling has consistently reported. There has been precious little social violence in Crimea in the years following the referendum vote, certainly in comparison to the bloodletting that beset Ukraine during and following the coup. Economically, Crimea has become one of the fastest growing regions in Russia, helped along by the construction of the first, lasting road and rail link between Crimea and the Russian mainland.

The Kerch Strait Bridge (formally named the Crimean Bridge) fully opened in 2020. It became a vital project for the Crimean peninsula immediately after the referendum vote in 2014 because in response to the vote, Ukraine severed all road, rail and aircraft ties to Crimea. It even severed the pipeline carrying Crimea’s largest supply of fresh water, though the Western ‘human rights’ brigades did not issue a peep of protest and concern.

Donbas region

Tragically, Odessa and Donbas regions as well as other regions in central and southern Ukraine were quickly engulfed by violence following the coup. Odessa and Donbas had little, meaningful local governing authority to which to turn to protest the coup and they had little recent history of autonomous political organizing within Ukraine’s highly centralized governing structures. On May 2 in the city of Odessa, right-wing paramilitaries attacked a large protest calling for political autonomy for Odessa and other regions alienated from the central government in Kyiv. The rightists burned down the Trade Union House in the city where protesters had taken refuge, killing dozens and wounding hundreds. The Odessa Massacre passed unnoticed in Western media, or it was presented as a confusing ‘clash’ with no one and everyone to blame.

In Donbas, right-wing paramilitaries invaded the region beginning in May 2014. But the proximity to the Russian border, long distances from the parts of Ukraine where the paramilitaries had their social base, and the valiant, early actions of small numbers of pro-autonomy military forces bought enough time, over months, for the population to organize armed self-defense and new organs of autonomous political rule. Today, Donbas consists of two ‘people’s republics’ with elected governments—the former Ukrainian oblasts of Donetsk (population app. 2.3 million, similar to Crimea) and Lugansk (app. 1.5 million). Travel to Russia and the right to work there and acquire citizenship are freely available.

The above presents a starkly different picture than the comical presentation in Western media which posits a frightening Russia looming over Ukraine, just waiting for the opportunity to once again ‘invade’ or otherwise ‘threaten’ its poorer and less well armed Slavic cousin.

Even informative and well-intentioned writers can trip up on the history. For example, in an article published on April 6, writer Vijay Prashad wrote, “In March 2014, after Russian troops entered Crimea, the population voted to join Russia…”

Another informed writer, Oliver Boyd-Barrett at Bowling Green State University, wrote on April 14 of the “separatist republics” of Donetsk and Lugansk. The term ‘seperatist’ is a perjorative one universally employed by Western media. It ignores the fact that the initial struggle in Donbas was a struggle for autonomy and only turned, over time, against continued association with Ukraine when the latter invaded the region and let fly its artillery and snipers in the heavily urbanized region. To this day, the bombs and shells are still falling, egged on if not guided by NATO’s military trainers in Ukraine.

Altogether, the referendum vote in Crimea and the formation of the people’s republics of Donetsk and Lugansk were acts of political self-determination par excellence. Yet liberal opinion in the West and much of left-wing opinion, too, refuse to recognize this fact.

The terms of the Minsk 2 agreement are crystal clear—they envision autonomy, not independence or affiliation to the Russian Federation, for Donetsk and Lugansk. (Of course, after years of being under direct military attack by Ukraine, it is not at all clear that the populations of Donetsk and Lugansk would accept rejoining the violent, right-wing state of Ukraine, even with an autonomy status.) Until social and political protests in Ukraine proper can loosen the stranglehold of extreme-right ultra-nationalists and NATO military advisors over the country, prospects for peace in Donbas are, tragically, remote.

The hold of right-wing Ukrainian nationalism in the West

Liberals and soft-left social-democrats in the West are near-to universal in their acceptance of the received, ‘official’ history of Ukraine and its relations within the Soviet Union, then with Russia. According to this history, Ukraine has been universally oppressed and exploited by the Soviet Union then Russian Federation since its emergence as a modern country following World War One.

Nazism is whitewashed in this scenario because little attention is paid by its ideologues to the calamitous German invasion and occupation of Ukrainian and other Soviet territory during World War Two. Worse, an ‘equivalency’ school of history has arisen in the West during the past decade or so, according to which the crimes of Nazism are said to be equivalent to those during the same years in the Soviet Union, under Stalin. Celebrated author Timothy Snyder tells this version of history in his bestselling 2010 book Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin. A lengthy essay and review sharply criticizing that book by writer Daniel Lazare was published in Jacobin in 2014 and remains essential reading for understanding this history.

Added to this are the years of the Cold War against Russia following WW2, when an unrelentingly negative image of the Soviet Union was burned deeply into the consciousness of people in the West.

Many self-proclaimed Marxists in the West, particularly those of Trotskyist origin, share the ‘official’ view of an unrelenting oppression in Ukraine. A key piece of this view is the false claim that the government in the Soviet Union under the leadership of Joseph Stalin perpetrated a ‘genocide’ against the peasants of Ukraine in 1932-33 in the form of a deliberate famine. The Holodomor, as it is known in Ukrainian terminology, is officially recognized by many Western governments. Schools and other public institutions in Canada and the U.S. recognize the fourth Saturday of November as ‘Holodomor Memorial Day’ and statues and memorials have been erected in both countries.

But Holodomor is a myth. There was a ghastly famine in Ukraine in 1932 and 1933. Tens of thousands died. But there were famines simultaneously in other parts of the Soviet Union as well during those terrible two years. Soviet government policy of the day contributed to famine conditions because of the chaotic conditions which the rushed policy of collectivization of agriculture, begun in 1928, created. But the larger responsibility for the Soviet famines (plural) of the day were multifold:

  • The backward conditions of agriculture inherited by the Soviet Union from the empire of the Tsarist monarchy overthrown by the Russian Revolution in 1917.
  • The destruction caused by the Western invading armies following 1917, seeking to overthrow the Revolution.
  • The harsh economic embargoes by these same Western powers following the defeats of their military interventions of 1918-1921.
  • And harsh climactic conditions which beset the Soviet Union in 1932-33.

For all the chaos that collectivization of agriculture sowed, the early 1930s were the last years of famine in the Soviet Union (the war years under Nazi occupation excepted).

Historian Mark Tauger at West Virginia University is a leading scholar on the Soviet famines of those years. His writings and research and those of other writers can be found here.

The widespread acceptance of Holodomor theory across the political spectrum in the West was an early sign of the political degeneration that came to hobble so many liberals and leftists in Western countries during the latter half of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st century. Attention and research to the evolving Soviet Union fell away. Inattention deepened following the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s. Racist stereotypes against the people of China and Russia that are rooted in the years of the Cold War remained strong in popular consciousness.

In the case of the Trotskyist doctrine, its was deeply scarred by a founding ultraleftism, notably in its dismissal of the significance of the mixed-economy, New Economic Policy which guided the early Soviet Union from 1921 to 1928, and its formal revival in 1929 of the theory of permanent revolution. The latter displaced the theory and strategy of Vladimir Lenin, proven correct in 1917 and countless times since, of the central importance of an alliance of the working class and peasantry for any successful revolutionary transformation.

Today’s global political situation is historically unprecedented. Two, large non-imperialist countries—Russia and China—are resisting imperialist diktats and striving for a multipolar world. This creates countless openings for countries such as Cuba, Venezuela and North Korea to break from the imperialist strangleholds that marked the latter decades of the 20th century and forge alternative economic and political ties that strengthen national sovereignty.

The imperialist countries have been waging military threats and economic embargoes against the peoples of Russia, Crimea and Ukraine for nearly ten years now. It is long past due for the progressive people of the world to condemn these policies and campaign to end them.

This is doubly the case now that China has come squarely into the West’s gunsights. Here, too, the political left in the West needs to rise to the defense of the people and government of China against military threats and economic embargoes.

Rising imperialist war and militarism, the collapse of social policy as evidenced by the coronavirus pandemic, and global warming cry out for building broad-based social and political movements that unite the oppressed peoples of the world in a fight for a world of social justice. Broad-based anti-imperialist unity should be the strategic path for all those concerned about the fate of the planet.

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New Green Deal + Old War Deal = Same Rotten Deal

While a new American administration presides over what many believe is a return to normal after the more openly blatant worship of wealth and Israel of the Trump regime, what’s missed is that what passes for normal is what needs radical change. As long as market normalcy in the USA means hundreds of thousands of people are homeless, millions more live in poverty and millions more than that are so much deeper in personal debt than ever before in our history that the World Bank warns of the possibility of social collapse, what passes for normal is not just highly judgmental but criminally immoral. Especially when a mincing step forward domestically is accompanied by a crippled giant stride backward in foreign policy.

This while more than half a million Americans have died in a pandemic that has already wreaked economic havoc among almost all the general population while some millionaires have become multi millionaires, some multi millionaires have become billionaires and some billionaires approach becoming trillionaires. As this market “normality “awaits the hopeful arrival of a Green New Deal, named after the world war two version which created a middle class by spending billions of public dollars to aid survival of the richest while allowing enough of their money to trickle down to pass for a welfare state form of capitalism, it now actually threatens to bring on even more dreadfulness to an even greater population.

A couple of trillion in government spending is proposed now when tens of trillions are needed but will never be found under the market forces of private profit normalcy. The goal must be a radical restructuring of the political economic value system that treats earth, air, water and human beings as commodities to be bought, sold and rented in pursuit of enormous private profit for an ever shrinking number as hundreds of millions diversely sink lower in class status under the burden of bearing the staggering public loss of dollars, humanity and nature itself.

While this seemingly hopeful program of another new deal for domestic progress is proposed in order to save capitalism once again by muffling if not smothering calls for more radical change, the old deal of the murderous warfare state is even more dangerous than ever, with the amateurs of the Trump regime replaced by more experienced creators of policies of mass murder to preserve the alleged chosen people status of American capital and its servant class of more diverse than ever professionals who arrange minority rule and convince people it‘s democracy.

The old cold war against communism and socialism in Russia and China is more fervently being waged against those now capitalist nations offering a greater menace to what is called “western civilization”. This is defined as peace, democracy and humanism to disguise its base on colonialism, slavery and the mass murders of world wars one, two and the great slaughters that followed in Asia and the rest of the world not worthy enough to be rated as civilization by creatures who would make savage predatory beasts seem humanitarians, poets and lovers by comparison.

Naturally, this new Chinese and Russian capitalism is treated as massive terror and desperately in need of trillions spent on the military, which adequately protects the American troops ringing the Russian border and American ships sailing the South China Sea but is helpless to protect Americans being murdered in America by neighbors, workmates, the police and other patriots.  Nor are they/we protected by having tens of thousands of military personnel at hundreds of military bases thousands of miles from America’s shores. This is sold to a mentally imprisoned population as a defense of America and rationalized by a brilliant leadership that might have trouble understanding that it should put its socks on before not after its shoes while spending trillions on warfare and offering no help at all to tens of millions of Americans without health care or shelter.

Despite the unrelenting intellectual and moral sewage being forced into the mental diet of innocent participants in what is called our sacred democracy, newer generations contain more critical numbers than ever speaking out, organizing and showing signs of no more tolerance for this weaponized mass murdering drivel. Even while under assault reducing the common needs of all to alleged minorities by our ruler imposed doctrines of identity to reduce a majority to squabbling over which group has suffered more with least suffering getting the most, far more are resisting that divide and conquer program to save the system by divisive race, ethnic and sexual bigotry.

Current mind mashing daily bulletins about Putin’s being a murderer and Chinese preforming genocide on Islamic people are part of  the daily diet of intellectual sewage that passes for reporting in the news marketplace, more minds are being destroyed while more wealth is created by the media servants of capital. Daily bulletins inform (?) us that China is brutalizing Islamic Chinese and committing “genocide”, the popular term to use when anybody dies anywhere but where the term and the idea were born, while we lecture them on how to destroy the Islamic world for Israel and capital, commit mass murder and slaughter tens of thousands, destroy nations and reduce millions to poverty. If there were a judgmental, righteous and vindictive deity such as the one created by the more sadistic episodes of Old Testament mythology that had one destroy the planet because of false worship or a bad migraine, there might be a cataclysmic explosion, earthquake, holocaust and plague every fifteen minutes until our nation was obliterated. Luckily, we only have to deal with the largest population of earth dwellers growing fed up with a material reality forced on them by allegedly higher forms of humans practicing a form of political economics that might create a Department of Rape and call it a Ministry of Love

Rather than having to deal with a strengthened coalition of nuclear armed nations sick and tired of suffering abuse from an international bully and able to respond to any attack with their own powers of mass murder, we can only hope that Eastern Capitalist media may soon retaliate by offering lessons in humanity to the western civilization (?) by describing how it is possible to end poverty by investing in people rather than murdering them.

In China, a nation of nearly one and a half billion people, nearly 90% of them own their own homes. In Russia, another brutal capitalist horde assaulting our mythological democracy, which has never elected a president by majority of the electorate, 80% of the people own their homes. Worst of all, the savage state of communist Cuba has 90% of its people in homes they own, and this accomplished under years of brutal economic assault by an alleged  “great power” 90 miles away. Isn’t that terrifying?

A part of Islamic teaching claims there is no god but god, which is a belief system that can work for good or bad because it’s a faith-based belief. Material reality says that there is no race but human and that is a material fact, a scientific reality and not simply a belief. The sooner we rise above good or evil teachings about cultural truths  (?) and face material reality which is just that, we who identify as human beings can create democracy, the best deal for humanity.

In the words of an anonymous Vegas dealer, we don’t need a new deal: we need an entirely new deck. To bring that about, the people will have to take ownership of not just the gambling casino but every aspect of material reality that affects the public good. That sounds strange because it represents democracy, a deal we’ve never had as a people but only a charade of our rulers and their professional – and more “diverse” than ever – servant class. We need to give meaning to the word, and very soon, which means we need a political party that represents the public good, and an economy that does the same. Give that whatever label makes you feel best, but do it soon or we might not have much of a later.

The post New Green Deal + Old War Deal = Same Rotten Deal first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Denying the Demonic

In March of last year as the coronavirus panic was starting, I wrote a somewhat flippant article saying that the obsession with buying and hoarding toilet paper was the people’s vaccine.  My point was simple: excrement and death have long been associated in cultural history and in the Western imagination with the evil devil, Satan, the Lord of the underworld, the Trickster, the Grand Master who rules the pit of smelly death, the place below where bodies go.

The psychoanalytic literature is full of examples of death anxiety revealed in anal dreams of shit-filled overflowing toilets and people pissing in their pants.  Ernest Becker put it simply in The Denial of Death:

No mistake – the turd is mankind’s real threat because it reminds people of death.

The theological literature is also full of warnings about the devil’s wiles.  So too the Western classics from Aeschylus to Melville. The demonic has an ancient pedigree and has various names. Rational people tend to dismiss all this as superstitious nonsense.  This is hubris.  The Furies always exact their revenge when their existence is denied.  For they are part of ourselves, not alien beings, as the tragedy of human history has shown us time and again.

Since excremental visions and the fear of death haunt humans – the skull at the banquet as William James put it – the perfect symbol of protection is toilet paper that will keep you safe and clean and free of any reminder of the fear of death running through a panicked world.  It’s a magic trick, of course, an unconscious way of thinking you are protecting yourself; a form of self-hypnosis.

One year later, magical thinking has taken a different form and my earlier flippancy has turned darker. You can’t hoard today’s toilet paper but you can get them: RNA inoculations, misnamed vaccines. People are lined up for them now as they are being told incessantly to “get your shot.”  They are worse than toilet paper. At least toilet paper serves a practical function.  Real vaccines, as the word’s etymology – Latin, vaccinus, from cows, the cowpox virus vaccine first used by British physician Edward Jenner in 1800 to prevent smallpox – involve the use of a small amount of a virus.  The RNA inoculations are not vaccines.  To say they are is bullshit and has nothing to do with cows. To call them vaccines is linguistic mind control.

These experimental inoculations do not prevent the vaccinated from getting infected with the “virus” nor do they prevent transmission of the alleged virus. When they were approved recently by the FDA that was made clear.  The FDA issued Emergency Use Authorizations (EUAs) for these inoculations only under the proviso that they may make an infection less severe.  Yet millions have obediently taken a shot that doesn’t do what they think it does.  What does that tell us?

Hundreds of millions of people have taken an injection that allows a bio-reactive “gene-therapy” molecule to be injected into their bodies because of fear, ignorance, and a refusal to consider that the people who are promoting this are evil and have ulterior motives.  Not that they mean well, but that they are evil and have evil intentions.  Does this sound too extreme?  Radically evil?  Come on!

So what drives the refusal to consider that demonic forces are at work with the corona crisis?

Why do the same people who get vaccinated believe that a PCR test that can’t, according to its inventor Kary Mullis, test for this so-called virus, believe in the fake numbers of positive “cases”?  Do these people even know if the virus has ever been isolated?

Such credulity is an act of faith, not science or confirmed fact.

Is it just the fear of death that drives such thinking?

Or is it something deeper than ignorance and propaganda that drives this incredulous belief?

If you want facts, I will not provide them here. Despite the good intentions of people who still think facts matter, I don’t think most people are persuaded by facts anymore. But such facts are readily available from excellent alternative media publications.  Global Research’s Michel Chossudovsky has released, free of charge, his comprehensive E-Book: The 2020-21 Worldwide Corona Crisis: Destroying Civil Society, Engineered Economic Depression, Global Coup D’Etat, and the “Great Reset.”  It’s a good place to start if facts and analysis are what you are after.  Or go to Robert Kennedy, Jr.’s Childrens Health Defense, Off-Guardian, Dissident Voice, Global Research, among numerous others.

Perhaps you think these sites are right-wing propaganda because many articles they publish can also be read or heard at some conservative media. If so, you need to start thinking rather than reacting. The entire mainstream political/media spectrum is right-wing, if you wish to use useless terms such as Left/Right.  I have spent my entire life being accused of being a left-wing nut, but now I am being told I am a right-wing nut even though my writing appears in many leftist publications. Perhaps my accusers don’t know which way the screw turns or the nut loosens.  Being uptight and frightened doesn’t help.

I am interested in asking why so many people can’t accept that radical evil is real.  Is that a right-wing question?  Of course not.  It’s a human question that has been asked down through the ages.

I do think we are today in the grip of radical evil, demonic forces. The refusal to see and accept this is not new.  As the eminent theologian, David Ray Griffin, has argued, the American Empire, with its quest for world domination and its long and ongoing slaughters at home and abroad, is clearly demonic; it is driven by the forces of death symbolized by Satan.

I have spent many years trying to understand why so many good people have refused to see and accept this and have needed to ply a middle course over many decades. The safe path. Believing in the benevolence of their rulers.  When I say radical evil, I mean it in the deepest spiritual sense.  A religious sense, if you prefer.  But by religious I don’t mean institutional religions since so many of the institutional religions are complicit in the evil.

It has long been easy for Americans to accept the demonic nature of foreign leaders such as Hitler, Stalin, or Mao.  Easy, also, to accept the government’s attribution of such names as the “new Hitler” to any foreign leader it wishes to kill and overthrow.  But to consider their own political leaders as demonic is near impossible.

So let me begin with a few reminders.

The U.S. destruction of Iraq and the mass killings of Iraqis under George W. Bush beginning in 2003.  Many will say it was illegal, unjust, carried out under false pretenses, etc.  But who will say it was pure evil?

Who will say that Barack Obama’s annihilation of Libya was radical evil?

Who will say the atomic destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the firebombing of Tokyo and so many Japanese cities that killed hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians was radical evil?

Who will say the U.S. war against Syria is demonic evil?

Who will say the killing of millions of Vietnamese was radical evil?

Who will say the insider attacks of September 11, 2001 were demonic evil?

Who will say slavery, the genocide of native people, the secret medical experiments on the vulnerable, the CIA mind control experiments, the coups engineered throughout the world resulting in the mass murder of millions – who will say these are evil in the deepest sense?

Who will say the U.S. security state’s assassinations of JFK, Malcolm X, MLK, Jr., Robert Kennedy, Fred Hampton, et al. were radical evil?

Who will say the trillions spent on nuclear weapons and the willingness to use them to annihilate the human race is not the ultimate in radical evil?

This list could extend down the page endlessly.  Only someone devoid of all historical sense could conclude that the U.S. has not been in the grip of demonic forces for a long time.

If you can do addition, you will find the totals staggering.  They are overwhelming in their implications.

But to accept this history as radically evil in intent and not just in its consequences are two different things.  I think so many find it so hard to admit that their leaders have intentionally done and do demonic deeds for two reasons.  First, to do so implicates those who have supported these people or have not opposed them. It means they have accepted such radical evil and bear responsibility.  It elicits feelings of guilt. Secondly, to believe that one’s own leaders are evil is next to impossible for many to accept because it suggests that the rational façade of society is a cover for sinister forces and that they live in a society of lies so vast the best option is to make believe it just isn’t so.  Even when one can accept that evil deeds were committed in the past, even some perhaps intentionally, the tendency is to say “that was then, but things are different now.” Grasping the present when you are in it is not only difficult but often disturbing for it involves us.

So if I am correct and most Americans cannot accept that their leaders have intentionally done radically evil things, then it follows that to even consider questioning the intentions of the authorities regarding the current corona crisis needs to be self-censored.  Additionally, as we all know, the authorities have undertaken a vast censorship operation so people cannot hear dissenting voices of those who have now been officially branded as domestic terrorists. The self-censorship and the official work in tandem.

There is so much information available that shows that the authorities at the World Health Organization, the CDC, The World Economic Forum, Big Pharma, governments throughout the world, etc. have gamed this crisis beforehand, have manipulated the numbers, lied, have conducted a massive fear propaganda campaign via their media mouthpieces, have imposed cruel lockdowns that have further enriched the wealthiest and economically and psychologically devastated vast numbers, etc.  Little research is needed to see this, to understand that Big Pharma is, as Dr. Peter Gøtzsche documented eight years ago in Deadly Medicines and Organized Crime: How Big Pharma Has Corrupted Healthcare, a world-wide criminal enterprise.  It takes but a few minutes to see that the pharmaceutical companies who have been given emergency authorization for these untested experimental non-vaccine “vaccines” have paid out billions of dollars to settle criminal and civil allegations.

It is an open secret that the WHO, the Gates Foundation, the WEF led by Klaus Schwab, and an interlocking international group of conspirators have plans for what they call The Great Reset, a strategy to use  the COVID-19 crisis to push their agenda to create a world of cyborgs living in cyberspace where artificial intelligence replaces people and human biology is wedded to technology under the control of the elites.  They have made it very clear that there are too many people on this planet and billions must die.  Details are readily available of this open conspiracy to create a transhuman world.

Is this not radical evil?  Demonic?

Let me end with an analogy.  There is another organized crime outfit that can only be called demonic – The Central Intelligence Agency.  One of its legendary officers was James Jesus Angleton, chief of Counterintelligence from 1954 until 1975.  He was a close associate of Allen Dulles, the longest serving director of the CIA.  Both men were deeply involved in many evil deeds, including bringing Nazi doctors and scientists into the U.S. to do the CIA’s dirty work, including mind control, bioweapons research, etc.  The stuff they did for Hitler.  As reported by David Talbot in The Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America’s Secret Government, when the staunch Catholic Angleton was on his deathbed, he gave an interviews to visiting journalists, including Joseph Trento.  He confessed:

He had not been serving God, after all, when he followed Allen Dulles.  He had been on a satanic quest….’Fundamentally, the founding fathers of U.S. intelligence were liars,’ he told Trento in an emotionless voice.  ‘The better you lied and the more you betrayed, the more likely you would be promoted…. Outside this duplicity, the only thing they had in common was a desire for absolute power.  I did things that, looking back on my life, I regret.  But I was part of it and loved being in it.’  He invoked the names of the high eminences who had run the CIA in his day – Dulles, Helms, Wisner.  These men were ‘the grand masters,’ he said.  ‘If you were in a room with them, you were in a room full of people that you had to believe would deservedly end up in hell.’  Angleton took another slow sip from his steaming cup.  ‘I guess I will see them there soon.’

Until we recognize the demonic nature of the hell we are now in, we too will be lost.  We are fighting for our lives and the spiritual salvation of the world.  Do not succumb to the siren songs of these fathers of lies.

Resist.

The post Denying the Demonic first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Caught in a Propaganda Mad House

The fully developed bureaucratic apparatus compares with other organizations exactly as does the machine with the non-mechanical modes of production.

The organization of offices follows the principle of hierarchy … each lower office is under the control and supervision of a higher one.

— Max Weber, Economy and Society, 1922

This doesn’t infer private companies, organizations, trade groups, corporations, lobbies are any better than the bureaucracies of government. In fact, the bureaucratic hell we all have been put through — those of us who do not go quietly into the night or roll over to show some yellow belly — consumes millions of lifetime lives, working us over through a very disgusting labyrinth of penury, penalties, prosecutions, persecutions and penal phalanx designed to wear down the innocent.

If you do not have a stable of lawyers (imagine: $2000 an hour; imagine, at least 33.33 percent plus expenses for supposed civil cases of a class action variety), or a stable of lobbyists (imagine: entire companies set up to lie, steal, block, and hide for the rich, the corporations), or a brothel of politicians (imagine: how much does it cost to run for a Senate seat) — here, October 2020:

The North Carolina Senate race is already the most expensive congressional race of all time, with $265 million spent between candidates and outside groups. The Iowa Senate race has already claimed the No. 2 spot with $218 million.  — Open Secrets

Those small potatoes people like you and I, those underclass, those lower classes, those less than medium wage/middle class, and all those developing world classes, and all those displaced classes, and all the farmer and laborer classes, we are set up for failure, and when we do fight, we have to empty the savings accounts just to get to the courthouse.

I won’t go into deep-deep detail, but my own family has a recent living example of this fleecing, here in good old Oregon. That person set up an LLC — limited liability corporation — when he got a job with a hospitality staffing agency back east. This agency is run by a multimillionaire, who Zooms his gig workers (all workers  have to pay the money in respective states for setting up LLC’s) from his 5,000 square foot “dream home” in Vermont, the second or third one in his portfolio. Imagine, a schmuck like me assisting my family member in Oregon to set up his LLC. It cost him $100. Some of my family member’s teammates ended up getting lawyers and CPA’s to help at a tune of not less than $450.

The entire gig and DIY and precarious and atomized world of work, including recruiting and staffing, is full of money at the top, and worker bees at the bottom. These worker bees are usually women. Covid-19 stupidity hit, and, well, the hospitality and restaurant business caved.  This company then went after the N95 mask makers, and other industries still operating during the planned-economic-demic.

So, you have I Can’t Breathe George Floyd unfolding, yet this multimillionaire white man did not talk about the national movement to stop the police murders of black people (Duh, restaurant workers are BIPOC). Nothing even on his company’s web site decrying pig-cop violence against blacks.

This commission-based job went south for my family member. Fast. He did not make money, and got one commission check, $3,000 for hundreds of hours of work. Do the math. Think of the money lost, time lost, percentage of the soul eaten out.

Now, he looked for work, paid work, and landed a job. The problem is the Oregon Department of Revenue sent a mountain-high set of letters, warnings, bills, and then penalties. You know, some people have to try and make a living. This family member also had in his past bad nightmares from the IRS coming to his family home and taking the house over, kicking the family into the streets. He was an 11-year-old. Try another incident with a repo of a car, and other such IRS crap, and this family member just could not handle all the chaos of the bureaucracies of hate, failure to file, not knowing the codes inside and out. He expected it all to be washed out at the end of the year when he filed his taxes.

Wrong, sucker.

I helped him out, sending in thoughtful and rhetorically-magnificent letters to stop this idiocy. No go. Still, more and more late penalties.

I went to the Tax Court (logged on), and the only way to get a hearing in Oregon is to pay the charged (but incorrect) taxes and the added-on penalties. At more than $10,000 to pay the government, my family member had to dump two IRA Roth’s. So much for the savings.

Now, just to get an administrative judge to hear this, another $280 check had to be written to the state of Oregon. Think of all the work we had to do to try and figure out what the hell was going on. Over $10,000 shelled out, and here it is, waiting for forms to be filled out.

Then, on top of this, ending the LLC cost my family member, $110. That’s $100 to create a sole proprietor LLC, and another $110 to dissolve it.

My family member did not have the bandwidth to handle this. Of course, over the years the toll of medical bills, mortgage company thieves, PayDay loan thugs, school loan sharks, real estate appraisers, auto creeps, and on and on, I have had to come to the assistance of many many people. In reality, this capitalist society — call it parasitic, diseased, disruptive, poisonous — is a wasteland of fraud, scams, and downright theft. In a real society, there would be navigators for people of all ages and ilk — free legal advice, free clinics, free social workers and services workers helping cut through the avalanche of red-tape and bureaucrats who should be — along with at least the first million lawyers on earth, and first 10 million lords of war, and the first 100 million financial real estate insurance scammers —  at the bottom of the sea.

This is it for a broken society. Broken big time. And how do all those notices and penalty scare letters and authentication letters from courts and the revenue service and unemployment service and department of labor come to us in a small rural town?

Yep, through the post office … the dying USPS. That that bumbling mean as a white old man Biden can hardly muster a trickle of phlegm in his words. No groundswell of legislators (sic) and policy makers (sic) and law makers (sic) putting a stop to this evisceration after evisceration.

My family member gets the hearing, appointing me as a secondary or primary family member allowed to present “evidence.” In the first three minutes of my family member presenting evidence, it is clear the Revenue guy is a buttoned down bureaucrat on Prozac. We are talking legalese, and mentioning form x and form y to be filed, with Zeros in all the boxes, to trigger the next step of a refund for the taxes my family member didn’t owe, and then, with the waiving of penalties. My family member literally left, vomiting, and yelling.

Did the judge hear this? Yep. Did the Revenuer hear it? Yep. This wasn’t a Zoom Doom call, but I could hear some dry voices, and then, I took over and navigated the Revenuer’s promise to the judge that all fines and penalties and interests and the initial taxes would be refunded.

Luckily, the Revenuer had some humanity, and emailed me immediately, and we talked, too, on his personal phone, and he attempted to navigate me on some forms, sent them to me, and, alas, the forms did not work. He saw that, and he tried to get some workarounds, and this is where we are at:

Trauma. PTSD. Past bad-bad interaction with IRS, state code men, tax folk, cops, pigs, the entire buffet of bumbling and overpaid and inhumane people. Think of the ticket guy on the street, and the pig-cop. Try and have conversations with these “public” officials about how they live with themselves. I have, in bars. They will throw down, pull a gun, call more pigs-cops. I’ve had many a yelling match. This is the cancel culture.

Courts, Cops, DA’s, HR, Customer Service, Code Enforcers, Penalty Purveyors.

We await the refund checks, and I will have to let the court know it was resolved once a check comes in, but not without more headaches after the administrative hearing. I will petition the court to charge back the $281 court fee to the state of Oregon, demanding a refund.

More letters.

And that’s where we are at — letters encoded in Digital Blockchains, on those electronic strips on the DMV license, passport, medical card, on the license plate. And that leads us to the vaccination passport, and soon, the vaccination electronic tattoo.

All app driven, all approved by the Google-Palantir-Facebook-AI masters of the universe. With those sleazy millionaire governors and sleazier senators and congressmen.

Those of us knew this was beyond 1984 and a Brave New World and Minority Report and The Jungle, more than a modern Grapes of Wrath, we knew all of this three decades ago, way before Plans for the Pandemic, shortened to Plan-demic.

The horror is looking at Klaus Schwab, Bill Gates, Zuckerberg, Thiel, Musk, Fauci, and a million other toadies and Eichmann’s in their lizard eyes. The Agenda 2030 and Great Reset proverbial bulldozer of humanity? Already in second gear!

Here we are, now Rutgers, looking for every person on campus to have been hit with the drug-thing in the hypodermic. Prove your worth, prove your jab (s). And anyone really looking at this bio-nano technology knows that the mRNA poison, and the entire suite of bad-bad brews, well, we can expect constant jabs.

Rutgers Campus about to go 100 percent forced vaccinations!

a group of people walking down the street

The federal government’s assurance of vaccine supply for all Americans prompted Rutgers to make the decision, the university said in a statement.

Brian Strom, chancellor of Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences and executive vice president for health affairs, said the vaccine is the key “to the return of campus instruction and activities closer to what we were accustomed to before the pandemic.”

“The COVID-19 vaccines have proven to be safe and effective in preventing serious illness, hospitalization and death,” Storm said in the statement.

— Source:  Market Watch

“The Vaccine Passport Propaganda Template” by Adam Dick

And my shitty job with shitty pay and shitty respect, oh, the managers I work with are actually breaking confidentiality rules by announcing which people have gotten the jab vis-à-vis the nonprofit, and those (me) who have not. Can you believe that shit? I have to tell them if, or if not, where and how and which one?

Asking same said boss what the hell is his BMI? How’s that red face blood pressure going? What the hell is going on with the heavy asthmatic breathing? Those fat-laden lunches? You sure about those? Imagine, a world where they ask, or demand, or press — “You’ve gotten the vaccine, right?”

Sure, this is the new normal, and it is their immoral code, their anti-ethics, their Scarlet Alphabet — A through Z, and many symbols stitched into the digital passport signifying the Wrong Kind of American.

My friend does recruiting for California businesses, and that fine fucked up state is requiring vaccine passports, to get to and from work. Pigs-Cops tackling you and folding you into a squad car. That’s step one. Many more steps here to this Plan-Demic takeover.

And this physics and chemistry high school teacher is so right, so vulnerable in this shit show called United Snakes of America:

Today, I would describe myself as a Marxist who thinks the Russian Revolution of 1917 was the most recent example of a working class revolution but would describe its counter-revolutionary collapse as ending in state-run capitalism. I still believe the experience of the Bolshevik party in Russia is vital to look at as an example of what needs to be built today, and there are writings of Lenin and Luxemburg that I use as a political touchstone today. However, I no longer adhere to the idea that “socialism in one country” came only with Stalin, but that you can see its beginnings under Lenin in the policies of the NEP and other changes in policies of the Soviet state under Lenin. The revolution’s fate was sealed when it did not spread to Germany shortly after the socialist revolution in Russia.

Still, I believe the only way out of the mess we are in today is another working class revolution for the establishment of socialism. But that will not take place through the ballot box. It will require mass strikes and an armed insurrection to establish it. Also, it cannot be called socialism unless working class democracy is at its center and is preserved and expanded through the course of the revolution and beyond. Overall, while I firmly believe capitalism must be dismantled, I have more questions than answers about the state of our political tradition and the process by which this mass socialist uprising will take place. Part of the reason I started “What’s Left?”, a podcast/channel I host with two friends, was to give myself an open space to investigate political questions that I am still working through.

The last year has made the prospects for revolutionary change (which were exceedingly dim before the mania around COVID started) seem even more unlikely. I have witnessed the revolutionary Left collapse behind the capitalist state and institutions through the course of the pandemic. I am exceedingly grateful for the existence of Left Lockdown Sceptics and their attempt to fashion a Left response and oppositions to the authoritarian maneuvers of the capitalist classes across the globe. This blog has been a glimmer of hope for me in what has felt like an ocean of despair.

—  Andy Libson

Just how long does Andy have left in the rotting K12 school system? DV readers know the real way to beating down the masters, and beating back their toadies and Eichmann’s. You’ve read my stuff until you’ve hacked up the offal of capitalism and the rotting meat percolating from the core systems of oppression and subjugation. You know my stance on K12 and higher education.

Solutions to homelessness, obesity, paranoia, fear, sickness, illiteracy, poverty, hunger? Shit, the entire community-based land-formed people-centered, ecosystem-dominating holism and complete person, from cradle to cradle. Every system checked against a true precautionary principle. Every move for 10 generations out. Every decision made for the good of the community.

Art over science. Environment over economics. Ecology over commerce. All tied into a localized economy, regionalized planning, fair use, retrenchment, and ending capitalism, here, there, everywhere.

Naïve? Shit thinking? Is believing in this warring, poisoning, thieving and murdering system of money and top owning the world better? Is that where we are — giving Musk the green light to dump satellites and space junk into orbit after orbit? Who has the right to the Moon and Mars? Just what price is that sickness, that megalomania?

Embarrassing — sick:

See the source image

Read Andy’s piece. Follow his links to Alison McDowell and Cory Morningstar and  Jake Klyceck!

That is the horror story after horror story —  Daily, more and more sad sack humans are opting for Zoom Teaching-Medicine-Social Work-Counseling-Engagement with the lighting on the best side of the face, while every Tom, Dick, Harriet and Jane are Zooming in their Underpants.

Andy, again:

I think we need to get back to our source of power – our workplace and centers where we congregate to do work – immediately and begin figuring out how we can stop what is coming. The remote learning experience we are going through right now is not a momentary mirage of a world trying to escape COVID. What we are witnessing and participating in (as either educator or student) is the future of education that is preparing future workers for what work will be like in the coming years: remote, on a screen, mediated through data flow and transmission, overseen, monitored and directed by AI. Students are experiencing education (separated, individualized, isolated, controlled and obscure) as they will experience their future work.

Participating in remote learning today isn’t ‘safer’, it’s actually far more dangerous to all our futures. It means our lives will be more separated, more surveilled, more scrutinized and more controlled than ever before. Physical schools will be replaced with laptops and drop-in centers. Teachers will be replaced with screens and AI. Education itself will be a lifelong chase, not of learning, but of job skills so each worker can compete in a global labor market where ever-centralized capitalist centers get their pick of the litter to screen for and exploit workers not as a class but as an isolated worker connected via a screen.

 

And it seems apropos to end with John Steppling, now in Norway, and an intellect on the wane, as is anyone who looks critically at the demise, whether it is art or culture.

There is a deep anti-human agenda in Capitalism. There always has been, but today, as capitalism reaches its most dire crises (one expected, perhaps even planned) the class struggle has taken on its most profound form. And fear is the currency in play. And the most coercive aspect of this struggle is the war on children. And it is found in many forms- from the known and ignored toxicity of plastics and the poisoning of the earth and oceans, to the revanchist sex negativity of social distancing and masks, and to the addictions of screens. And the habituation to screens is, of course, also intentional.

He cites much of Robert Bly’s work and his thinking around fantasy, art, the poet’s duty:

As I mentioned, Bly is in his 90s now. I met him once. And he was like a shining light in the room. My old mentor Terry Ork knew him well. I learned more from Bly than probably anyone. So I feel I want to return to him a bit more right now. I found his opening remarks at the 1968 National Book Awards Ceremony…

“I know I am speaking for many, many American poets when I ask this question: since we are murdering a culture in Vietnam at least as fine as our own, have we the right to congratulate ourselves on our cultural magnificence ? Isn’t that out of place ?

I met Bly a couple of times, drank with him a few times — Spokane, El Paso and Tucson.

Here, a short piece on him coming to Spokane, oh, 14 years ago. I’ve written and published a few essays on my remembrances of him, my work as a journeyman with him, and with others like William Stafford.

Enwrapped in solitude, Bly spins ruminations shaped by other cultures, other poets — as in “Meeting the Man Who Warns Me”:

I dream that I cannot see half of my life. “I look back, it is like the blind spot in a car.

So much just beyond the reach of our eyes, what tramples the grasses while the horses are asleep, the hoof marks all around the cave mouth…

what slips in under the door at night, and lies exhausted on the floor in the morning.   

— from Haeder’s article, “Bly’s Call to Duty

There is that, really, seeing less than that life, blind spots, this teetering age of digital fascism, and worse. That light, barely there, now.

The post Caught in a Propaganda Mad House first appeared on Dissident Voice.

The Dirty Campaign Underlying Ecuador’s “Free and Fair” Election

A spoiled ballot in Ecuador’s elections. Photo by @AlinaDuarte

Ecuador’s April 11 election that led to a 5-point victory by conservative banker Guillermo Lasso over progressive candidate Andrés Arauz was not what it appeared to be.  On the surface, it was a surprisingly clean and professional election, as our CODEPINK official observer delegation witnessed. But a fraud-free process for casting and counting ballots does not mean that the election was free and fair. Behind the scenes was a monumentally unequal playing field and dirty campaign designed to quash an Arauz win.

For starters, Arauz—a 36-year-old follower of the political leanings of former president Rafael Correa and his Citizens Revolution—barely even got on the ballot. The political party he tried to run under was banned by the National Electoral Council (CNE). He and his supporters formed a new political party and that, too, was banned. Eventually they found a small party that let them borrow their slot, but by then it was late December and the first round of elections was on February 7. The other campaigns had a four or five month head start.

Arauz, who was virtually unknown, wanted to have Rafael Correa as his vice president, but the CNE banned Correa from being on the ticket. Even more astounding, the electoral authorities actually prohibited the Arauz campaign from even using Correa’s voice or image. But in a show of blatant bias, they didn’t banish Correa’s image from being used in a negative way by his opponents.

Another intense obstacle was the role of the media. The corporate media dominate all the airwaves in Ecuador, and they were clearly in the Lasso camp. The media led a dirty campaign spreading fake news about Arauz, Correa and their supporters. They scared people by claiming that Arauz was going to de-dollarize the economy. Ecuador has been using the dollar as its currency since 2000, after a financial crisis saw the collapse of its former currency, the sucre. An economist, Arauz was well aware that dollarization had stabilized Ecuador’s economy and he never even suggested going back to the sucre.

A particularly absurd accusation came from Colombia, where the country’s right-wing attorney general claimed that the National Liberation Army, an armed insurgent group that has been operating in Colombia for decades, made an $80,000 loan to Arauz’s campaign based on a doctored video that was proven to be false. . This accusation nevertheless continued to circulate throughout the press to sully Arauz’s character.

A concerted smear campaign also attacked the legacy of Rafael Correa to scare people away from voting for Arauz. During his time in power from 2007 to 2017, Correa brought economic and political stability to a country that had had seven presidents in ten years. Correa, who has a Ph.D. in economics, completely transformed Ecuador into a modern democracy with a vibrant middle class. He also brought tremendous gains to the poor, reducing poverty from 37 percent to 22 percent, and built critical infrastructure, including highways, hospitals and schools. But the portrayal in the media made Correa out to be a corrupt authoritarian who was a threat to democracy, creating a dilemma for the Arauz campaign about how much to align itself with Correa’s legacy.

The media smear campaign went hand-in-hand with attacks on the left that had been going on for the past four years under the presidency of Lenin Moreno. Ironically, Moreno had been Rafael Correa’s vice president and ran on the ticket of Correa’s Citizens Revolution. But once in power, he orchestrated a kind of “silent coup,” betraying Correa, the Citizens Revolution and the progressive policies they stood for. Making common cause with the elites, including Guillermo Lasso, he imposed austerity policies and signed a terrible deal with the IMF that focused on budget cuts, deregulation and reducing workers’ rights. In October 2019, there was an uprising against the elimination of a fuel subsidy that would have raised prices on everything from transportation to food. It was put down violently by Moreno’s government and many of the protest leaders remain in prison today.

Lasso supported Moreno’s austerity measures, the deal with the IMF and the violent crackdown on protesters, yet his campaign successfully managed to create distance between him and Moreno. The narrative spun in the media was that Arauz would continue in the footsteps of Moreno and Correa, as if Moreno had not betrayed the movement.

Moreno viciously lashed out at the left through the misuse of the legal system for political purposes, a tactic known as lawfare. Jorge Glas, Moreno’s vice president, who spoke out against his betrayal of the Citizens Movement, was accused of corruption, convicted and put in jail, where he remains under dire conditions. Moreno’s government attacked Correa himself, who went into exile in Belgium to avoid being thrown into prison. There are about 30 charges pending against Correa, including a farcical accusation that he had psychic influence over people that led them to become corrupt.

Other top party leaders were hounded and are now either jailed, under house arrest, or forced into exile. The decapitation of the Citizens Revolution meant that Arauz’s campaign was significantly weaker than it would have been with their help.

Given all the strikes against Arauz, it is remarkable he did so well. Had it not been for lawfare, a biased CNE and a dirty campaign, he would have won. However, another major factor was the rift between the Citizens Revolution and the indigenous movement that happened under Correa’s tenure, which led to calls for a “null vote.”

The post The Dirty Campaign Underlying Ecuador’s “Free and Fair” Election first appeared on Dissident Voice.