Censorship, fake news, perception management

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Re: Censorship, fake news, perception management

Post by blindpig » Wed May 03, 2023 2:31 pm

‘This Media Is Meant to Change People, and It Does’
CounterSpin interview with Jen Senko on hate talk
JANINE JACKSON

Janine Jackson: The Brainwashing of My Dad, the 2015 film and the 2021 book based on it, are part family memoir, part historical excavation of the rise of right-wing media in the US, and part resource on ways we can resist its influence. Filmmaker, activist and author Jen Senko joins us now by phone from New Jersey. Welcome to CounterSpin, Jen Senko.

Jen Senko: Thanks for welcoming, Janine. It’s great to be with you.
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Kansas City Star (4/20/23)
JJ: I know that reactionary and hate-fueling media have been with us for a while, but reading the statements from the grandson of Andrew Lester, the 84-year-old white man who shot Black 16-year-old Ralph Yarl when the teenager simply rang his doorbell, the statements from the grandson that he and his grandfather used to be close, but that that unraveled as Lester, he said, “fell down the right-wing rabbit hole” and began watching “Fox News all day, every day, blaring in his living room.”

Those statements really kind of squeezed my heart, because they took me back to when FAIR was doing work around Rush Limbaugh, and we would get these really plaintive phone calls from people, saying, I remember one, “My husband used to be so kind, and so openhearted, but then he started going out to the barn with his brother and listening to Rush Limbaugh.”

So besides memoir and historical analysis and ideas for fighting back, the film and the book are also a kind of communal release, a sharing of what had been a private lament of a lot of family of folks who had been lost to this sinkhole. For me, it gets a lot of power from that, I think.


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Jen Senko: “Many people…think that this media just attracts those who already have these beliefs, have these prejudices, have this hatred, have this racism. But I know for a fact that’s not necessarily true.”
JS: Reading about that really affected me. It also rang bells, of course, because back in the ’90s, I was watching my father sink down the rabbit hole. And what many people have a problem with is, they think that this media just attracts those who already have these beliefs, have these prejudices, have this hatred, have this racism. But I know for a fact that’s not necessarily true.

I was growing up in the ’60s, and I remember at the time, everybody was super aware that, hey, we’re no longer racist. We’re open-minded. And then there was the hippies, and then everything was on the table, and it was pretty much everybody adopted that—I don’t want to call it an ideology, but the idea of openness and loving other people, no matter what they were or who they love.

And then, to experience my father’s personality change was just frightening. It was like watching The Invasion of the Body Snatchers. And then around the same time he was changing, he would say these things, and I would have friends come out and say the same exact thing around the same time.

I’ll give you an example. One time I was visiting, and he said, “By the way, Jen, there’s no such thing as organic.” And I’m like, hmm, OK, where did that come from? And then a girlfriend of mine came up from Texas and we had lunch, and she said to me, “By the way, Jen, there’s no such thing as organic.” And I’m like, wait a minute….

So, yeah, that story about his grandfather, Andrew, who shot Yarl, was particularly upsetting. And I just think so many people are being, especially these older people, the last few years of their lives are being ruined. They’re miserable. They hate, they’re paranoid, they’re obsessed. They’re not enjoying themselves.

The grandson said the grandfather sat in his chair all day and just watched, I think it was mostly Fox, but the rabbit hole is the rabbit hole, no matter what entrance you take.

If I had any message for anybody, it would be that this media is potent, it’s powerful. It’s meant to change people, and it does change people.
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The Brainwashing of My Dad (2016)
JJ: And the film is of course about your dad, about Frank Senko, and listeners should know that story has a happy ending. But while it is your story, I’m just underscoring that I feel that you made it because you understood that it was not only your story. And at one point you say in the film, “I finally decided to make a film to figure it out,” which I think a lot of creative people will relate to. Let me make something about this so that I can kind of lay it out there and think about it, right?

JS: Right. And in the process of making the film, I called it at that time a phenomenon, now I call it an epidemic, like I said in the film. Once I posted it on Kickstarter that I was doing this movie, I didn’t know where all these people came from or how they heard about it, but they contacted me.

And just over the years since the film, actually, the film was released in 2016, IMDB got it wrong.

JJ: Sorry about that.

JS: That’s okay. We were at Traverse City in 2015, and that’s how the date got in there. We did a work in progress; we showed that.

But yeah, so I’ve heard from thousands of people over the years about how their loved one, whoever it was, actually changed. And regarding my dad’s change back, I think that’s a really, really important note, that when I used to do interviews, I would leave it off, because I thought, well, I don’t want to spoil the movie for anybody. But there’s going to be people that are listening that aren’t going to see the movie.

The important thing to know is that my dad changed back to himself, and it was through removal of that media. Do you want me to….

JJ: Absolutely, absolutely. I think it’s a remarkable story, in a way.

JS: It is. And I laughed just because it makes me happy.
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Rush Limbaugh (cc photo: Nicolas Shayko/Wikimedia)
So my parents, in 2010, they moved to a senior community, and somewhere in the move, my dad’s radio broke, and he put it in the garage and it just sat there, and he didn’t fix it. So immediately he was sans his three-hour lunches with Rush Limbaugh.

So he actually mellowed a little bit right away, and we didn’t want to remind him, you know, you got to fix your radio or whatever. So that was a really, really, really big, big thing. Probably, I’d say, maybe the first biggest thing.

Then the second thing that happened is, I guess it was a few months later, the TV in the kitchen that they watched during lunch was very old, and my mom got a new one, and she programmed the remotes, and they had stickies all over them, do this, do that, do this.

So my dad didn’t bother. He just left on what she had on, and I think she watched MSNBC or just different, various news shows. They always watched the news.

And then, might have been a year later, I’m not sure, sometime later, my dad went into the hospital for a kidney stone, and he was there for a week. And they had these really old computers, and my mom was afraid that the computers were getting clogged up, and she asked me to delete some of his email, but I said, look, they just keep coming. You have to unsubscribe them, and I don’t have time to do that.

So she did it, but she added something. She not only unsubscribed him from all this vile email from, I mean, dozens of hard-right Republican organizations. She subscribed him to what she was reading, independent, more progressive media emails like AlterNet, Reader Supported News, Truthout, that kind of thing.

And when he got back from the hospital, I don’t think he noticed. They were just political emails, and he was reading them. He had a little bit of both, whatever.

And then one day, it was after lunch, I think he had been watching Obama on the news. He said to my mom, “I like that guy. He’s pretty good.” And lo and behold, he ended up voting for him.

But OK, so the point isn’t that his politics became aligned with ours. The point was that my dad was free and happy and singing, and not angry and not hateful. And it was the last few years of his life, and we became really close, where it had really kind of damaged us and damaged relationships before. This media is so potent, as it’s meant to be.
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Steve Rendall
JJ: Absolutely. Yeah. Well, longtime FAIR analyst Steve Rendall, along with FAIR founder Jeff Cohen, appears in this work. Steve is an expert in talk radio, and he would often describe its power as having to do with the way it was consumed, which I think your experience just underscores.

In the case of your father, he started listening on a long solo commute to work. For other folks, it’s going out to the barn with their brother. But it has to do with the way certain kinds of media, not just the way they talk to you, but the way they talk to you in a sort of isolated format.

And, yeah, this is where I think the book helps people see that this isn’t accidental, that the messages that were coming through, it wasn’t just your father, there was a game plan. It wasn’t an unintended effect. The effect that it had on your father, making him angry, making him hateful, and making him particularly hateful towards particular groups—all of that was intentional.

JS: Absolutely. Absolutely. Yeah. Fan or not, Hillary Clinton, she was spot on in 1998 when she said there was a vast right-wing conspiracy. But the conspiracy wasn’t just against her husband. Basically, far-right libertarian Republicans, starting back in the ’50s, actually, after Brown v. Board of Education, figured out that in order to effect the change they wanted, which was basically one-party rule by billionaire white men, they would have to create distrust in mainstream media.

And one major way to do that was, they had to label it as “liberal.” And that changed a lot of things right there. It was a very successful campaign. Mainstream or corporate media fell right into the trap. They folded, they leaned right, they bent over backwards to not be labeled “liberal media.” And it’s stuck today. And it’s like they were abused spouses. “Sorry, what did we do wrong?” But they didn’t know that or understand that there was this plan.

So control over the media was an easy-peasy way to get ordinary citizens into voting against their own interests, and in line with billionaires. But eventually, of course, it metastasized to what it is today, like a weed that took over the whole garden.

But the plan, if you want me to go into some detail and mention some of the points….

JJ: Pick some highlights there. The book does go through a number of landmarks in the creation of this right-wing media machine. We’re talking about history here, and not guesses about things; these are things that are documented. But there are a few things that stand out as important in moving us toward the situation we have now.

JS: Right. So in 1969, after Goldwater lost to Johnson, Reed Irvine started AIM, Accuracy In Media, supposed media watchdog group. It was really more of a media attack dog group. They still exist today. But they were the ones that first took on this goal to discredit the media as liberal.
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Reed Irvine
Interestingly enough, that same year, Roger Ailes, the creator of Fox, he was working with Nixon to improve his television image. And the following year, he submitted a memo to the White House which had a scheme to create a news show that would put the GOP in a good light. Later on, then, that came in handy when Rupert Murdoch hired him to create Fox.

But then the next year was the Lewis Powell memo. This was monumental, and it was secret at first, until a journalist discovered it, but nobody paid attention to it, because it was like Goebbels said about the big lie. You can’t believe that people would actually do this. But it basically outlined steps to take for the vast right-wing conspiracy.

It was designed as an anti–New Deal blueprint, to undo the New Deal and squelch all the social changes that were going on at the time. They were going to influence college campuses, the pulpits, the media, corporate influence over scientists, and to create and fund think tanks, basically, to push the free-market philosophy.

And then there was, in the ’80s, the creation of the CTN, which was Christian-based, and thus the marriage with Evangelicals happened. So the group got bigger.

Then Reagan made Rupert Murdoch a citizen, and he killed the Fairness Doctrine. And then the next year, after the Fairness Doctrine was killed, we had Rush Limbaugh go national, and he reigned for decades, poisoning the minds of, I think his total was like 20 million people, not to speak of they got him in the military, so poisoning their minds, too.

But then the final big blow came with Clinton and Gingrich and their Telecommunications Reform Act of 1996, which opened up media ownership and cross ownership. So all the big media companies got even bigger and squeezed out any independent ownership. And then after that, just eight months later, Fox News was hatched.

That’s it in a nutshell. I do go into a lot more detail in the book.

JJ: The book covers a lot of this history, and I just want to underscore: The book and the film are not negative. They’re colorful and engaging, and they’re forward-looking, which I think is maybe the most important thing.

And so maybe to bring us up now, I know a lot of listeners will be listening and thinking, oh, Fox fired Tucker Carlson, and so maybe that means things are going in a good direction. But you and I know that whatever Carlson was fired for, it wasn’t for years of sowing hatred against Black and brown people, it wasn’t years of punching down, because that has been his stock in trade for years.

So you also, and not alone, suggest that what we are learning around Fox‘s admissions, which are still coming out around the lawsuit, around Dominion and the voting machines, that ought to remind us that Fox is not caring about its own viewers, in the same way that it didn’t care about your dad, and that it doesn’t care about lots of other folks.

And I just want to say, a lot of folks are going to take that and say, well, I’ve done what I can do about Fox, because I don’t watch it, and that’s really all I can do. So what more can people do, besides being angry, besides being sad and bewildered by all of the things that this book and this movie talk about, what are some things that you think people could do?
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Rupert Murdoch (cc photo: World Economic Forum)
JS: Well, first is to be aware of Rupert Murdoch, because before Tucker Carlson, there was Glenn Beck, then there was Bill O’Reilly and then there was Roger Ailes. OK, so he’s just going to hire somebody else that’s going to push forward his libertarian, “let’s turn people into Republicans so we can get tax cuts and deregulation for billionaires.” So Rupert Murdoch, mention him as often as you can, let people be aware.

So as far as Fox is concerned, I mean, there’s so much right-wing media. Fox is the tip of the iceberg, but it’s still a tip. It’s almost like if we can cut off its head, the head of the monster, that would be good.

But one thing that we must do, we all must do, we must work to get Fox off of military bases. I mean, come on. They say they want to get deradicalized, the military; they can’t be serious unless they get Fox off of the military. Every day, they’re radicalizing our men and women. I mean, January 6, a large percentage of those that were arrested January 6 were military or ex-military.

And one other thing about Fox: Do you know that you pay about $2 a month in your cable fee for Fox, whether you watch it or not?

JJ: That bundling packaging, where you’re paying for stuff that you don’t even watch, and that includes subsidizing Fox.

JS: And that’s how they make their money. Not so much ads, but you can petition your cable company to not pay Fox‘s cable fee. And right now they’re negotiating with cable companies for a higher fee, probably in order to compensate for the $787 million suit by Dominion they have to pay for—which, by the way, they can deduct part of that from their taxes as a cost of doing business.

But anyway, Media Matters has an easy NoFoxFee.com webpage. You can just click on one of their buttons. If you have Spectrum, or whatever you have, you can just click on a button and then send them a message, or they have the phone number there and you can call them. That should be easy enough to do, would take about five minutes, and it’ll make you feel really good if you do that.

And then support local journalism, and independent media like FAIR.

JJ: So there are resources, also, in the book for actions that folks can take, because it’s not a dispiriting book. It’s about things that we can do to resist what we acknowledge is a corrosive influence on our conversation, and on, as this story tells, our families and our relationships.

JS: I’ve done three documentaries, and I’ve watched hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of documentaries, and I was always pissed off when they would present all this negative stuff, and then just leave you with that. Like, don’t do that. Tell me what I can do. Or tell me what other people are doing, at least, so we don’t feel hopeless. That doesn’t motivate people.

JJ: We’ve been speaking with filmmaker, activist and author Jen Senko. You can learn more about the film and the book, out now from Sourcebooks, at TheBrainwashingOfMyDad.com. There’s lots of resources there, in terms of taking this conversation forward. Thank you so much, Jen Senko, for joining us this week on CounterSpin.

JS: Thanks so much for having me on, Janine. This was great.

https://fair.org/home/this-media-is-mea ... d-it-does/

This piece is hopelessly biased towards the liberals: only diff between the end games of Conservatives and liberals is that the liberals envision a ruling class salted with some non-white, non-male faces(the better to support the facade of 'equality'. Conservatives could give a shit and point to Calvin). The propaganda onslaught we are experiencing from the Ukraine war says it all. While the specifics mentioned concerning the rise of right wing media are true the lack of 'balance' in these accusations reveals the partisan intent of this piece and Ms Senko in particular. The main contention, that media is meant to change your opinion, is absolutely true, but by not extending her analysis to the MSM she reveals her true intent.
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Re: Censorship, fake news, perception management

Post by blindpig » Tue May 09, 2023 1:54 pm

New Report Unveils How CIA Schemes Color Revolutions Around the World
MAY 8, 2023

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Cyber Attack Photo: VCG.

By Yuan Hong – May 4, 2023

For a long time, the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) plotted “peaceful evolution” and “color revolutions” as well as spying activities around the world. Although details about these operations have always been murky, a new report released by China’s National Computer Virus Emergency Response Center and Chinese cybersecurity company 360 on Thursday unveiled the main technical means the CIA has used to scheme and promote unrest around the world.

According to the report, since the beginning of the 21st century, the rapid development of the internet offered a “new opportunity” for CIA’s infiltration activities in other countries and regions. Any institutions or individuals from anywhere in the world that use US digital equipment or software could be turned into the CIA’s “puppet agent.”

For decades, the CIA has overthrown or attempted to overthrow at least 50 legitimate governments abroad (the CIA has only admitted to seven of these instances), causing turmoil in related countries. Whether it is the “color revolution” in Ukraine in 2014, the “sunflower revolution” in Taiwan island, China, or the “saffron revolution” in Myanmar in 2007, the “green revolution” in Iran in 2009, and other attempted “color revolutions” — the US intelligence agencies are behind them all, according to the report.

The US’ leading position in technologies of telecommunication and on-site command has provided unprecedented possibilities for the US intelligence community to launch “color revolutions” abroad. The report released by the National Computer Virus Emergency Response Center and 360 disclosed five methods commonly used by the CIA.

The first is to provide encrypted network communication services. In order to help protesters in some countries in the Middle East keep in touch and avoid being tracked and arrested, an American company, which, reportedly, has a US military background, developed TOR technology that can stealthily access the internet — the Onion Router technology.

The servers encrypt all information that flows through them to help certain users to surf the web anonymously. After the project was launched by American companies, it was immediately provided free of charge to anti-government elements in Iran, Tunisia, Egypt and other countries and regions to ensure that those “young dissidents who want to shake their own government’s rule” can avoid the scrutiny of the government, according to the report.

The second method is to provide offline communication services. For example, in order to ensure that anti-government personnel in Tunisia, Egypt and other countries can still keep in touch with the outside world when the internet is disconnected, Google and Twitter quickly launched a special service called “Speak2Tweet,” which allows users to dial and upload voice notes for free.

These messages are automatically converted into tweets and then uploaded to the internet, and publicly released through Twitter and other platforms to complete the “real-time reporting” of the event on site, said the report.

The third method is to provide on-site command tools for rallies and parades based on the internet and wireless communications. The report noted that the US RAND Corporation has spent several years developing a non-traditional regime change technology called “swarming.” The tool is used to help a large number of young people connected through the internet to join the “one shot for another place” mobile protest movement, greatly improving the efficiency of on-site command of the event.

The fourth is American developed software called “Riot.” The software supports 100 percent independent broadband network, provides variable WiFi networks, does not rely on any traditional physical access method, does not need telephone, cable or satellite connection, and can easily escape any form of government monitoring.

The last one is the “anti-censorship” information system. The US State Department regards the research and development of the system as an important task and has injected more than $30 million into the project.

High vigilance needed
Moreover, the National Computer Virus Emergency Response Center and 360 company have spotted Trojan horse programs or plug-ins related to the CIA in recent cyberattacks targeting China. The public security authorities have investigated these cases, the Global Times has learned.

Aside from the five methods the CIA has used to incite unrest globally, through further technical analysis, the report also identified another nine methods used by the CIA as “weapons” for cyberattacks, including attack module delivery, remote control, information collection and stealing, and third-party open-source tools.

The Response Center and 360 also spotted an information-stealing tool used by the CIA, which is one of the 48 advanced cyber weapons exposed in the confidential document of the US National Security Agency.

The discovery of these information-stealing tools shows that the CIA and the US National Security Agency will jointly attack the same victim, share cyberattack weapons with each other, or provide relevant technical or human support.

These new findings also offer important new evidence in tracing the identity of the APT-C-39 attackers. In 2020, 360 independently discovered an APT organization that had never been exposed to the outside world, and named it APT-C-39. The organization specifically targets China and its friendly countries to carry out cyberattack and stealing activities, and its victims are spread all over the world.

The report also noted that the danger of CIA attack weapons can be glimpsed from third-party open-source tools as it often uses these tools to carry out cyberattacks.

The initial attack of the CIA cyberattack operation will generally be carried out against the victim’s network equipment or server. After obtaining the target purview, it will further explore the network topology of the target organization and move to other networked devices in the internal network to steal more sensitive information and data.

The controlled target computer is monitored in real time for 24 hours, and all information will be recorded. Once a USB device is connected, the private files in the target’s USB device will be monitored and automatically stolen. When conditions permit, the camera, microphone and GPS positioning device on the user terminal will be remotely controlled and accessed, according to the report.

These CIA cyber weapons use standardized espionage technical specifications. Various attack methods echo and interlock. They now cover almost all internet and IoT assets worldwide, and can control other countries’ networks anytime, anywhere to steal important and sensitive data from other countries.

The American-style cyber hegemony is evident, the report notes.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said on Thursday that US intelligence and espionage activities and cyberattacks on other countries deserve high vigilance from the international community.

The US must take seriously and respond to the concerns from the international community, and stop using cyber weapons to carry out espionage and cyberattacks around the world, Mao said.

In response to the highly systematic, intelligent, and concealed cyberattacks launched by the CIA against China, it is important for domestic government agencies, scientific research institutions, industrial enterprises, and commercial organizations to quickly find out and deal with them immediately upon discovery, the report says.

The report suggests that in order to effectively deal with imminent network and real-world threats, while adopting self-controllable localized equipment, China should organize self-inspection against APT attacks as soon as possible, and gradually establish a long-term defense system to achieve comprehensive systematic prevention and control against advanced attacks.

(Global Times)

https://orinocotribune.com/new-report-u ... the-world/
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Re: Censorship, fake news, perception management

Post by blindpig » Fri May 12, 2023 2:09 pm

The Warmongering U.S. Empire is Crashing, the Lying Western Media’s Days are Numbered
Posted by INTERNATIONALIST 360° on MAY 9, 2023
Finian Cunningham, Bruce Gagnon and Daniel Lazarre



The Western mainstream media have never been so blatant in their propaganda for the U.S. empire.

The pretensions are threadbare. As the warmongering U.S. government/regime and its Western/NATO imperialist lackeys are becoming more exposed and desperate to maintain credibility, so too are their media tools. The likes of the New York Times, BBC, CNN – and many more – are a contemptible joke on the public. They are an insult to common intelligence.

Fake news has been around for centuries, but it’s now becoming glaringly obvious and self-destructive. In the same way that the U.S. warmongering empire is becoming glaringly obvious and self-destructive.

The disconnect with reality and degradation of supposed independent journalism is reflected in record levels of distrust among the Western public toward the mainstream, corporate-controlled news media.

In this interview, U.S.-based writers Bruce Gagnon and Daniel Lazare demolish the pretensions of Western media.

The systematic cover-up of the Nord Stream sabotage by the United States and its NATO allies – an act of war and state terrorism – demonstrates the servile function of Western media outlets that claim to be pillars of independent news and freedom of information.

Media outlets like the New York Times, Washington Post, and the British state-owned BBC, among many others, have been exposed as pathetic propaganda tools for the United States and other NATO imperialist regimes.

All Western media outlets have ignored credible investigative reporting by Seymour Hersh (and others) who have very plausibly implicated the sabotage of Nord Stream by the U.S., carried out under the instructions of American President Joe Biden.

Another touchstone subject is the vile persecution of Julian Assange. Western media have again covered up what are a shocking violation of Assange’s rights and principled publishing through the whistleblower organization Wikileaks. Julian Assange’s only “crime” is that he revealed the war crimes committed by the U.S. and its imperialist lackeys.

Assange’s appalling mistreatment, indeed torture – four years in British solitary confinement awaiting extradition to the U.S. over spurious “spying charges” – is a vicious attack on journalism and the public’s right to know. Yet supposed self-declared Western media defenders of “truth” and “fact-based” objective information – have conspired to be silent and permit Assange’s persecution. Western media are shown to be complicit in destroying the very principles of journalism that they claim to uphold.

As Bruce Gagnon and Daniel Lazare point out, it is a crime to tell the truth and Western media stand exposed in their odious dereliction of duty to report independently. They are seen more than ever as out-and-out tools of empire.

A proper understanding of the Nord Stream sabotage and the case of Julian Assange would give the Western public a critical insight into the imperialist nature of their governments – regimes that serve warmongering capitalist interests. Critical mass must be thwarted at all costs by the Empire’s media foot-servants.

From the point of view of U.S.-led Western imperialist power, it is imperative and absolutely vital to cover up the scandals of the Nord Stream attack and Julian Assange, among others. If the public were to become more widely cognizant then the whole edifice of Western governments implodes. This is why the Western media are more blatant than ever to cover up. But the truth will win out.

The war in Ukraine is becoming more evident as a war-racket and imperialist proxy war against Russia. That war is in desperate danger of spiraling into an all-out world war that could unleash a nuclear catastrophe.

The same Western media cover-up is at work with regard to the U.S.-led NATO aggression toward China. Again, the Western media are spinning imperialist propaganda of alleged Chinese menace in order to justify what is an insane warmongering agenda to confront China and prop up American hegemonic ambitions.

A tantalizing positive prospect is that critical, independent media are gradually and relentlessly breaking the monopoly of Western propaganda media. The internet and global communications are seeing to that – albeit against sinister censorship by Western regimes.

Nevertheless, the establishment Western media are increasingly held in distrust and contempt by the Western public and globally.

We are living in an exemplary time of the fabled Emperor With No Clothes. The false image of dominant Western regimes and their lying corporate media has never been so degraded but also never so fragile. The Western lie machine’s days are numbered. It only has itself to blame because of its abject disservice to the public interest.

Western state-complicit media claim to be “free”. Laughably, they are “free” to be slaves of lies and propaganda.

A crash is long overdue.

https://libya360.wordpress.com/2023/05/ ... -numbered/
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Re: Censorship, fake news, perception management

Post by blindpig » Tue May 16, 2023 2:16 pm

Understanding The Highly Complex World Of Western China Analysis

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Former Pentagon official Elbridge Colby was interviewed on The National Review’s Charles CW Cooke Podcast, where he provided some very high-level analysis on the tensions around China, Taiwan, and the United States.

I will here attempt to explain some of Colby’s comments for the benefit of the average reader, because Colby has been studying these things for many years and his commentary can be a bit advanced and esoteric for the casual punditry consumer.

“The analogy I use is… Taiwan is like a man with a cut in the ocean, and China is like a great white shark, and America is like a man in a boat,” Colby said in the interview.

“The problem is once that great white shark starts moving, you got no time,” added Colby. “You’re done. You know, if you’re not already by the side of the boat, right? Because it’s a great white shark.”


Now bear with me if Colby’s incisive observations went a bit over your head here, but if we break it down I’m confident that we can all catch up to this man’s towering intellect enough to catch a glimpse of his understanding on the matter.

What Colby appears to be saying — and please correct me of you think I’m reading this wrong — is that China is like a Great White Shark, which as we all know is an extremely dangerous aquatic predator with a voracious appetite, capable of gulping down a human being in a few swift bites.

Now, try to imagine being in a situation where you’re out there in the ocean, and there’s a Great White Shark right there with you in the water. And to make matters worse, you’re bleeding — a problem not only due to the wound from whence the blood is emanating, but also because sharks can smell blood in the water! That would be pretty bad, right?

Okay, so are you with me so far? Remember, this is very advanced stuff, so feel free to read back and review as much as you need.

Now, imagine you’re in that situation with the cut and the shark, and there’s a boat that you can go to to get away from the shark. You’d want to hop aboard that vessel as swiftly as possible, don’t you think? I know I would!

So to put it all together, what the esteemed Elbridge Colby is telling us is that China is analogous to the Great White Shark which is eyeing the bleeding man in the water, and the man can be compared to Taiwan, and the United States of America is comparable to the boat that is coming to the rescue of the man.

Make sense? If you’re still struggling to comprehend Colby’s scalpel-like geopolitical analysis, don’t worry, because I’ve obtained this helpful infographic to further illuminate your understanding:

child's drawing of a shark and a boat and a person in the water

Interestingly enough, this is not the first time China has been compared to a Great White Shark in recent western punditry. The Hoover Institution’s Matt Pottinger, a former advisor to President Donald Trump, made a similar comparison in an interview with Nikkei Asia earlier this month:

“We saw a baby shark and thought that we could transform it into a dolphin over time, to become a friendly sort of system,” Pottinger said. “Instead, what we did was we kept feeding the shark and the shark got bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger. And now we’re dealing with a formidable, great white.”

“With a shark you put up a shark cage,” added Pottinger. “The shark doesn’t take it personally. It bumps into the cage. It respects those barriers.”

Again, this is very complicated for the uninitiated layperson, but what Pottinger appears to be saying is that China is not at all comparable to a dolphin, which is an oceanic mammal known to be friendly toward people and easily trained to do tricks in aquatic theme parks. Rather, in Pottinger’s understanding, China is more comparable to a Great White Shark, which as you’ll recall from our discussion earlier in this essay is actually known to be rather dangerous.

If you’re still struggling to make sense of Pottinger’s luminous understanding, here’s another illustration to help make things a bit clearer:

Child's crayon drawing of a shark captioned CHINA IS A SHARK, SHARKS ARE BAD

Image

If you need it simplified even further, another way to put it might be, CHINA BAD. SHARK BAD. CHINA LIKE SHARK. CHINA VERY, VERY BAD. BAD CHINA. BAD.

Again, don’t be hard on yourself if you can’t quite wrap your head around the high-level analysis of intellectual giants like Matt Pottinger and Elbridge Colby. If we could understand these things as well as they do, we’d be the ones earning big bucks from Washington think tanks, not them!

Well I think that’s enough work for your gray matter today. Have a rest and a nice sleep and come back fresh tomorrow, where we’ll be discussing some mind-blowing comparisons western analysts have been drawing between Vladimir Putin and Adolf Hitler.

https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2023/05/15 ... -analysis/

Ideological Echo Chambers Are Making Us All Stupid: Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix

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American liberals just spent days raging at CNN for hosting a town hall with Donald Trump like it’s the worst thing CNN has ever done. CNN isn’t horrible because it “platformed” Trump, CNN is horrible because it’s an imperialist propaganda firm whose whole job is to deceive people into supporting the most depraved agendas of the world’s most powerful people. Hosting that town hall was one of the least evil things CNN has done.

Liberals shouldn’t be upset at CNN for betraying their trust by platforming Trump, they should be upset with themselves for trusting CNN. It’s so, so much worse than they’re giving it credit for.



If you find Elon Musk’s hiring of a new Twitter CEO with a background in mainstream media and the World Economic Forum shocking and contradictory, it’s probably an indication that your worldview isn’t informed by an accurate perception of what’s really happening. You probably haven’t been thinking accurate thoughts about Musk, and you probably haven’t been thinking accurate thoughts about the WEF. Nothing about this stands out as surprising for those who see both as figures of status quo global capitalism.

In many right wing circles Musk’s beneficence has been massively overstated and the WEF’s nature has been wildly distorted. Really they’re both just garden variety manifestations of the mundane capitalist dystopia we live in, and are deeply invested in maintaining this dystopia.

Lately the WEF has served as an ideological scapegoat for rightists who are critical of the establishment but are ideologically unable to see capitalism’s role in this mess. They paint the WEF as some freakish aberration rather than the true face of the capitalism they support. In such circles the WEF has taken on a narrative role as a villainous antagonist that capitalism supporters can point to and say “Look at those freaks, they’re ruining the capitalism!” When in fact the WEF is just the face of what capitalism looks like when it gets to this stage.

Musk’s new hire isn’t an indication that anything has changed or that anything new is happening. Whatever happens with Twitter from here on out was the trajectory Twitter was on from the moment Musk bought it.



The Biden administration eliminating think tank funding transparency requirements set by the Trump administration is one of the most Biden administration things that has ever happened.



Having an ideologically diverse audience has really opened me up to how politically cloistered everyone’s used to being these days. People are always expressing surprise at the fact that they agree with me on some things yet disagree with me on others, either positively like “Wow we’re not on the same page economically but I love a lot of what you say”, or negatively like “OMG how can someone be so right about war and authoritarianism but SO WRONG about capitalism??”

This wouldn’t stand out to them as something surprising or unusual unless it was something they don’t normally experience in life. Which is a sign that something is off, because agreeing with people sometimes and disagreeing with them other times is the normal state of human interaction. That’s what you experience constantly in life if your interactions are allowed to move naturally.

That just shows how successful the powerful have been in herding the populace into ideological echo chambers where propaganda that’s custom-made for their ideological preferences can be administered to them:

*We need to fight Russia because Putin’s a homophobic Hitler.
*We need to fight China because the Asian commies are coming for us.
*We need internet censorship to fight right wing extremism.
*We need more militarized police to fight thugs.
Etc

Empire propaganda is tailored for each ideological echo chamber so that it slides in with as little resistance as possible.

That’s why I consider it a win whenever I can get healthy ideas and information over the echo chamber walls. When I’ve got a bunch of shitlibs or rightists in my notifications responding to something I’ve put out there, that means I’ve been successful in punching holes in the matrix.

We’re not supposed to agree with every political opinion we’re seeing. It isn’t natural to agree with any person or political faction all the time. If you find yourself agreeing with your preferred slice of the political spectrum all the time on every issue, that means you’ve stopped thinking for yourself and are just letting yourself be pulled along by the herd. Disagreement is normal. Universal agreement is a symptom of a debilitating disease.

I’ve never encountered anyone with whom I agree all the time, and it would be silly for me to expect to. I agree and disagree on various subjects with the communists I follow, and the libertarians, and everyone else. I’ve agreed and disagreed with things I’ve heard from Noam Chomsky, Glenn Greenwald, Alex Jones, Donald Trump, Joe Biden and Xi Jinping. And you should too. That’s normal.

https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2023/05/14 ... ve-matrix/

You may say, "I'm not affected by that stuff." I have. But that's not the point: they cannot and do not need to convince every last person, and probably not even a simple majority. A plurality is enough to paralyze opposition to ruling class schemes, what with a whole lot of folks not paying attention at all because they don't believe that they have a dog in the fight.
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Re: Censorship, fake news, perception management

Post by blindpig » Thu May 18, 2023 2:31 pm

Can the Global South Build a New World Information and Communication Order?: The Twentieth Newsletter (2023)

MAY 18, 2023

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Meas Sokhorn (Cambodia), Inverted Sewer, 2014.


Dear friends,

Greetings from the desk of Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research.

It is remarkable how the media in a select few countries is able to set the record on matters around the world. The European and North American countries enjoy a near-global monopoly over information, their media houses vested with a credibility and authority inherited from their status during colonial times (BBC, for instance) as well as their command of the neocolonial structure of our times (CNN, for instance). In the 1950s, the post-colonial nations identified the West’s monopoly over media and information and sought to ‘promote the free flow of ideas by word and by image’, as the 1945 Constitution of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) put it.

As part of the Non-Aligned Movement, the countries and regions of Africa, Asia, and Latin America developed their own national and regional news institutions: in 1958, a UNESCO seminar held in Quito (Ecuador) led to the establishment of a regional school to train journalists and communications professionals in 1960 known as the International Centre of Advanced Communication Studies for Latin America (CIESPAL); in 1961, a meeting held in Bangkok created the Organisation of Asia-Pacific News Agencies (OANA); and in 1963, a conference held in Tunis created the Union of African News Agencies (UANA). These agencies tried to amplify the voices of the Third World through their own media, but also – unsuccessfully – within the media houses of the West. Alongside these efforts, at the UNESCO General Conference of 1972, Soviet Union and UNESCO experts from more than a dozen countries put forward a resolution entitled the ‘Declaration of Guiding Principles for the Use of Satellite Broadcasting for the Free Flow of Information, the Spread of Education, and Greater Cultural Exchange’, which called for nations and peoples to have the right to determine what information is broadcasted in their countries. Like other such efforts, it was opposed by Western states, with the United States at its helm. Although conference after conference, from Bangkok to Santiago, took the issue of the democratisation of the press seriously, this opposition meant that little advancement was possible.

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Dominique Bwalya Mwando (Democratic Republic of the Congo), Lumumba’s Speech, 2005.


In the 1970s and 1980s, these efforts came together in the movement to build the New World Information and Communication Order to address the global imbalances in this sphere between developed and developing countries. This idea was influential on UNESCO’s International Commission for the Study of Communication Problems, or MacBride Commission, established in 1977 and chaired by the Irish politician and Nobel laureate Seán MacBride, which produced an important, but little-read, report on the topic (Many Voices, One World, 1980). In 1984, the United States withdrew from UNESCO in response to these initiatives. The privatisation of the media in the 1980s ultimately killed off any attempt by the Third World to create sovereign media networks – even where these networks were anti-communist (as with the Asia-Pacific News Network, established in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 1981).

However, in recent years, this dream of the free flow of information has been revived by movements of the Global South, which have been frustrated by the near-total absence of their views in international debates and by the imposition of a narrow, foreign worldview on their countries about the dilemmas that they face (war and hunger, for instance). As part of this revival, hundreds of editors and journalists from the Global South gathered in Shanghai (China) in early May for the Global South International Communication Forum. At the close of two days of intense debate, the participants drafted and voted on a Shanghai Consensus, which can be read in full below.

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Opening cultural performance of the Global South International Communication Forum, 4 May 2023. Credit: International Communication Research Institute of East China Normal University


Promoting the Construction of a Twenty-First-Century New World Information and Communication Order
In the 1970s, as part of the process by the Non-Aligned Movement to establish the New International Economic Order, the states of the Global South along with UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) attempted to establish the New World Information and Communication Order. This attempt was destroyed by the rise of neoliberal hegemony during the 1980s. The wave of neoliberal globalisation accelerated due to the Third World debt crisis and the demise of the Soviet Union. The West established a ‘rules-based international order’ to mask its neocolonial structures and imperialist actions. Samir Amin argued that the neocolonial structure is built on ‘five controls’: over finance, natural resources, science and technology, weapons of mass destruction, and information.

Today, although some of these monopolies have loosened, the unequal structure of information and communication has not only remained unchanged but has also become more severe. The dominant theoretical paradigm on information production and communication worldwide remains Western-centric, and the Global South’s academia and media lack mechanisms to generate ideas and a framework that goes beyond the Western-centric perspective.

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Vijay Prashad, director of Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research, gives the keynote address, entitled ‘History Has Not Ended: The Three Battles of Our Time’, 4 May 2023. Credit: International Communication Research Institute of East China Normal University


We note the prevalence of neocolonial structures, in particular in the media, which are controlled by the West. This media is unable to articulate the challenges faced by the world’s people or effectively communicate and discuss feasible development strategies, in particular for the Global South.

US imperialists and their allies weaponise the media, launching information wars against countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. If the Global South tries to put peace and development on the agenda, the West answers with war and debt. In the hands of Western media monopolies, the communications order is not used to promote world peace, but to exacerbate human division and the risk of war.

US imperialists and their allies use media hegemony to distort the beautiful concepts of democracy, freedom, and human rights. They attack other countries under the pretext of democracy, freedom, and human rights while remaining silent about their own trampling of democracy, deprivation of freedom, and human rights.

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Professor Lyu Xingyu, dean of the International Communication Research Institute of East China Normal University, gives the closing remarks of the Global South International Communication Forum, 5 May 2023. Credit: International Communication Research Institute of East China Normal University


Digital technologies such as the internet, big data, and artificial intelligence, which should serve human welfare, are used by a few Western media giants and monopoly platforms to dominate the production and dissemination of information and to block voices that differ from their claims. Given these circumstances, we believe that it is essential for intellectuals and communications professionals from and sympathetic to the Global South to revive the spirit of the 1955 Bandung Conference and the Non-Aligned Movement (established in 1961), respond to the Global Civilisation Initiative (2023), and establish international solidarity through communications theory and practice.

We believe that it is essential for intellectuals from and sympathetic to the Global South to promote the theoretical syntheses and academic production of the Global South (especially in the arenas of history and development), actively engage in academic exchanges and collaboration, and form a communications theory from the perspective of the Global South.

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Tings Chak, Dongsheng co-founder and director of art at Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research, delivers a speech entitled ‘Third World Culture, Communication, and Solidarity’, 4 May 2023.


We believe that it is essential for progressive media from and sympathetic to the Global South to form a distributed and diversified content production and dissemination network, share content and media experiences, and establish a united international communications front against imperialism and neocolonialism to advocate for peace and development.

We believe that it is essential for the Global South International Communication Forum to be held annually in order to build a diverse and multilateral network and platform for dialogue and exchange among intellectuals and communications professionals. This network and platform will serve as a basis for various forms of collaboration with governments, universities, think tanks, media, and other institutions.

The historical mission of the New World Information and Communication Order has not been fulfilled, nor has the spirit behind it been eradicated. Anti-imperialism and anti-colonialism are still the consensus of the new Non-Aligned Movement. Let us work together, based on this foundation, to promote the construction of a twenty-first-century New World Information and Communication Order to benefit humanity.


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Nor Tijan Firdaus (Malaysia), Just Scan It (2021).


We, at Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research, are in broad agreement with the need to further the New World Information and Communication Order and revive the dream of the free flow of ideas. This endeavour is built upon efforts of the past, such as the Non-Aligned News Agencies Pool, formed by the Yugoslav news agency Tanjug on 20 January 1975, which brought together eleven news agencies. In its first year of operation, the agencies shared 3,500 stories; a decade later, there were sixty-eight news agencies in the network. Though the Non-Aligned News Agencies Pool is now extinct, the idea behind it remains vital. The recent conference in Shanghai is part of the new conversation to build new pools, new networks, and new media, anchored organisations such as Peoples Dispatch and like-minded media projects.

Warmly,

Vijay

https://thetricontinental.org/newslette ... ion-order/
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Re: Censorship, fake news, perception management

Post by blindpig » Sat May 20, 2023 2:10 pm

Cognitive Warfare: Hate and Fear in the Electoral Communication Menu
Posted by INTERNATIONALIST 360° on MAY 19, 2023
Fernando Buen Abad Domínguez

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Since the ruling class wants the “new” war scenarios to be the brains directed by NATO they also want the “new generation” ideological communicational armaments to be installed there, for hybrid and unrestricted demoralizing conflicts; they also want us to be fond of them, to accept that they have always been right in treating us the way they treat us; that we live sincerely grateful because they manage our natural resources and pauperize our labor force with their “labor reforms”; that they invent gods, religions and individualistic, fetishistic and escapist miracles under our noses; to the point that we are eaten away by fear, hate, desperation and impotence; that we feel all this as our greatest historical treasure and that we take care of it as the best inheritance for our “progeny”…. and all that is underway so that, self-disorganization is our class pride and we express it as enamored defenders of bourgeois democracy. It is the cultural and media Monroe Doctrine.

Is this a reloaded conspiratorial delusion? Imperial declarations abound, loaded with usurious greed, in pursuit of water, gas, oil, gold, silver, lithium… of the seas, rivers and lakes; of the fields, mountains and skies. Plans abound to “modernize” the labor force by making it cheaper in the extreme for greater comfort in the bourgeois structure of “costs”. Churches are multiplying. And, the “media” sources, loaded with mass anesthetics, multiply in abundance, to procure conglomerates each day more disorganized and each day more intoxicated with suspicion, skepticism and contempt for themselves and for any type of collective action with rebellious initiatives. Slavery of consciences is becoming more profitable every day. There is palpable and deductible evidence, objective and subjective, qualitative and quantitative.

And it is not that capitalism shows itself monstrous only because it is a kind of a extraterrestrial “evil” that comes to satiate its untamed perversions, like a Greek God, against the planet earth and all its inhabitants. It is that capitalism sniffs out the multiplication of the weariness and rebelliousness that the human species treasures, cultivates and flourishes, generation after generation, to shake off once and for all, the oppressive modes, means and relations of production proper to the dictatorship of Capital. That is why Cognitive Warfare grows and diversifies, exponentially, and they call it “Artificial Intelligence” or “Good Capitalism”. They usurp the semantics of equality, freedom and fraternity, but for their equality, the freedom of their businesses and the fraternity of their mafias. They clamor for equality of opportunity and we fight for equality of conditions. It is not the same thing. That is the dispute for meaning.

To defend themselves, they are preparing timed media onslaughts. They did not like the progressive turns in Latin America and are now deploying models of economic-political and ideological occupation based on histrionics of hatred and “libertarian” verbiage. They publicize the idea that they are growing thanks to the “malaise” and disillusionment of the peoples, in the face of the failure of progressivism, and propagate their shoddy media offensives as new theologies or ontologies of nothingness so that the masses surrender without thinking much.

At some time in history, many stood in perplexity and amazement before the macabre histrionics of Nazi-fascism. Let us not repeat that mistake. Let us politicize the threat of the Nazi-fascist offshoots huddled in NATO’s Cognitive Warfare and exhibit the macabre package of their market “libertarianism”. There dwells the most pernicious business of war. Let us not lose sight of the danger. The entire right wing is regrouping, they will draw strength from their weaknesses to attack us with more financial, military and ideological fury. And they will pass them on “TV”. May our most honest debates not weaken or fracture us. They want us divided and disorganized.

We need a crucial front in the Semiotic Revolution against the Ideology of the Ruling Class, as an unmitigated struggle against all fanaticism. Whatever it is disguised as, whatever it is disguised as, whether it is created “progre” or distills holy water. Fanatics and dogmatists are soldiers of stupidity. The fanatics of the ultra-right, offshoots of Nazi-fascism, say that they love Freedom. But not human Freedom, political Freedom or juridical Freedom… they love market Freedom and very particularly the Freedom to plunder natural resources and humiliated labor. The far-reaching plan of the right wing consists of perfecting the plunder of natural wealth, of cheap labor and the subordination of the conscience of the peoples. And on top of that we live in gratitude for it.

They hijack the “mass media” to enslave collective freedoms. They understand democracy as an individualistic pachanga only for the Market Dictatorship. They want the communication -impudent and unpunished- for their bourgeois shenanigans and bureaucratic bungling. And they want us enslaved, happy and applauding that they steal from us. Freely anesthetized. Let us not participate in the oppressive bourgeois circus. They seek to destroy, with votes, the State… not to enrich it. If the puppets of the hegemonic media were as free as they say they are, they would not be slaves of the bourgeois mentality that finances “fake news” and much less would they coerce the people with propaganda blackmails so that they vote for the executioners. This media war, fabricated for the conjuncture, is a dangerous fallacy. It is sown in the brains.

Translation by Resumen Latinoamericano – English

https://libya360.wordpress.com/2023/05/ ... tion-menu/

*************

Western News Media Exist To Administer Propaganda

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The single most overlooked and under-appreciated aspect of our society is the way domestic propaganda is used to shape the way mainstream westerners perceive and think about their world.

Typically the only time you’ll ever hear the word “propaganda” mentioned in mainstream discourse is in reference to things other countries do to their own citizenry or as part of foreign influence operations, despite the fact that the overwhelming majority of the times we’ve encountered propaganda in our day to day lives, the call was coming from inside the house.

The western media have been exposing their role as propagandists for the US-centralized empire a bit more than usual lately. Here are a few recent examples.

Mass media aggressively defend imperial propaganda firm Bellingcat.

Western media have been falling all over themselves to condemn repeated comments from Elon Musk accusing the empire-funded spin machine Bellingcat of conducting psyops — an accusation which, as Aaron Maté explains for The Grayzone, is completely fair and accurate. Bellingcat is paid by western governments to manipulate the information ecosystem in ways that serve the interests of the western empire, which is precisely the thing that psychological warfare is. “Psyops” is short for psychological operations, the component actions in psychological warfare, which becomes more important in cold war conflicts between nuclear powers who can’t confront each other directly.

This obvious fact hasn’t deterred the mass media outlets who cite Bellingcat copiously in their reporting from rushing to the institution’s defense. Bellingcat’s Aric Toler was brought on MSNBC’s “All In with Chris Hayes” to defend the outlet without being challenged in the slightest, and mainstream pundits like CNN’s Jake Tapper took to Twitter to proclaim the propaganda outlet a beacon of journalistic integrity.

“Bellingcat is a great journalistic organization,” Tapper tweeted. “Conversely, Musk once linked to a deranged article about Paul Pelosi in the Santa Monica Observer, a nutjob website that claimed in 2016 that Hillary Clinton had died and had been replaced by a body double.”

Conversely, Tapper once tweeted that anyone who’s interested in the war in Syria should follow Bana Alabed, a seven year-old girl who was herself used in a blatant imperial psyop, and who has been amplified and supported by both Bellingcat and CNN.



As Alan MacLeod documented for Mintpress News a couple of years ago, Bellingcat is not only funded by western government sources like the CIA front National Endowment for Democracy, but is also staffed by numerous western military and intelligence “veterans”. The way the mass media continually praise and defend this plainly corrupt institution while also routinely citing its work is a kind of information laundering, because they are telling their massive audiences that this government propaganda outlet is a trustworthy source of information and then citing that information in their reporting on the enemies of those same governments.

Bellingcat in and of itself wouldn’t be destructive and toxic; what makes it destructive and toxic is the way western media continually amplify and validate it while publishing its claims under the guise of news stories, without ever disclosing the outlet’s massive conflicts of interest to their audiences. It’s a self-validating circle jerk of war propaganda.

CNN reporter says they “wouldn’t be allowed to report” if Russia struck a Ukrainian arms depot.



Following claims by the Ukrainian government that it shot down 29 out of 30 missiles launched by Russia on Thursday, CNN News Central host Brianna Keilar asked foreign correspondent Sam Kiley whether there was any truth to Russia’s claims that one of its missiles had struck a Ukrainian arms depot.

“Sam, Russia has claimed that it struck a Ukrainian arms depot, is there any truth to that?” asked Keilar.

“There may be; we wouldn’t be allowed to report it if it was,” Kiley answered. He added, “we simply don’t know,” and acknowledged that “there is one missile unaccounted for and we don’t know where it went.”

In explanation for CNN’s opacity on the matter, Kiley said that “this is part of the Ukrainians’ effort to try to make sure that the Russians don’t manage to adjust their fire and targeting based on the information that they may get from us.”

This would be a normal comment to expect from the Ukrainian government or Ukrainian state media, but CNN’s reporters openly saying that the network is protecting the information interests of the Ukrainian military instead of reporting objective facts on the ground is an acknowledgement that CNN is operating as a war propaganda network for a foreign government. This is not impartial reporting; this is an American news outlet reporting on a foreign country, acting as a direct participant in that country’s war as though it is on a war footing against Russia.

And this is of course just an open acknowledgement of what has long been obvious since well before this war even started: that western media believe it is their job to advance the interests of the US-centralized empire and undermine the interests of Russia. Which is to say, they are propagandists.

Lockheed Martin CEO up for CFR board membership.

Responsible Statecraft’s Eli Clifton reports that a slate of ten candidates for board membership in the immensely influential think tank Council on Foreign Relations includes James Taiclet, the chairman and CEO of “what is arguably the world’s largest arms dealer,” Lockheed Martin. CFR members have to vote for or against the entire slate, and cannot vote for or against specific nominees.

Clifton notes that CFR already currently has multiple executives from the military-industrial complex on its board of directors:

“The board of directors of CFR, a New York-based think tank that focuses on U.S. foreign policy and international relations, isn’t a stranger to embracing the weapons industry. CFR’s chairman is David Rubenstein, a co-founder and co-chairman of the private equity firm and defense-industry-focused Carlyle Group, and the board currently includes Raytheon board member Meghan L. O’Sullivan, and Frances Townsend, a director at Leonardo Systems, a Virginia based weapons systems company. (CFR’s biography of Townsend omits any mention of her role at the weapons firm but Leonardo Systems lists her CFR board membership in her biography on their website.)”

To be clear, when I say CFR is immensely influential, I mean it is immensely influential. Its membership spans throughout the major media institutions of the western world, and it once hosted a panel where a former State Department official who was also an editor of Time Magazine openly endorsed the practice of using propaganda on Americans to influence how they think.


Foreign policy “think tanks” are frequently nothing other than influence operations for the military-industrial complex, and the information environment of the global north would be greatly improved if more people were aware of this. So it’s refreshingly honest to see these institutions moving from merely being funded by the war industry to being run by the war industry directly.

A bit more from Clifton:

Last year, Responsible Statecraft asked Taiclet whether receiving $75 billion in Pentagon contracts in fiscal year 2020, one and a half times the State Department and Agency for International Development budgets, was a reasonable balance of expenditure and if it was reflective of U.S. national priorities. Taiclet defended the budget allocation that benefited the company he leads, responding that it was “up to the U.S. government” and claimed “it’s only up to us to step to what we’ve been asked to do and we’re just trying to do that in a more effective way, and that’s our role.”

His claim doesn’t explain why Lockheed spent over $13 million lobbying the federal government last year and focused their lobbying power on the defense budget, according to OpenSecrets.


One day we will look back in horror at the fact that war profiteers not only existed, but were legally allowed to lobby the government to increase its warmongering and use think tanks to help manufacture public consent for war.

Wired gushes about Pete Buttigeig with jaw-dropping effusiveness.

This one’s more light-hearted and less consequential than the other examples, but it’s just as illustrative of the kind of people who work for western news media.

In an article titled “Pete Buttigieg Loves God, Beer, and His Electric Mustang” and subtitled “Sure, the US secretary of transportation has thoughts on building bridges. But infrastructure occupies just a sliver of his voluminous mind,” Wired’s Virginia Heffernan writes the following paragraph:

As Secretary Buttigieg and I talked in his underfurnished corner office one afternoon in early spring, I slowly became aware that his cabinet job requires only a modest portion of his cognitive powers. Other mental facilities, no kidding, are apportioned to the Iliad, Puritan historiography, and Knausgaard’s Spring—though not in the original Norwegian (slacker). Fortunately, he was willing to devote yet another apse in his cathedral mind to making his ideas about three mighty themes—neoliberalism, masculinity, and Christianity—intelligible to me.

My God, it’s a masterpiece. Arguably superior to Heffernan’s 2016 puff piece on Hillary Clinton saying, “Maybe she is more than a president. Maybe she is an idea, a world-historical heroine, light itself. The presidency is too small for her.” Superior even to Heffernan’s description of professional lunatic Louise Mensch as “the Sy Hersh of our time.”

Western journalism, ladies and gents.

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Re: Censorship, fake news, perception management

Post by blindpig » Wed May 24, 2023 2:58 pm

Escaping The Prison Of Mainstream Culture: Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix

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Many people turn to conservatism and religion because they perceive — correctly — that mainstream culture is a fraudulent sham bereft of meaning and authentic values. Their solutions are misguided, but their reasons arise from a perception of a very real problem.

It isn’t actually necessary to turn to religion or conservatism to find depth, meaning and groundedness; depth, meaning and groundedness are always abundantly accessible. But nothing about western culture makes this obvious, especially in the mainstream.

Turning to religion and conservatism as a solution to the degradation of mainstream culture is just replacing the modern systems of mass-scale thought control with the old ones. It’s a completely maladaptive solution to the problem, but you can’t ask people to just keep participating in a worldview that feels like it’s sucking your soul out of your body 24/7. You need to offer them something nourishing and authentic. Nothing in mainstream liberal culture offers this; it’s self-evidently phony, soulless and vapid.

This isn’t something the left can just dismiss. There needs to be something on offer which meets these needs better than both mainstream culture and the regressive belief systems which caused so much suffering in the past.

It’s incredible how much money the Americans can afford to blow just on exploding stuff overseas. Their healthcare system and infrastructure must be phenomenal.

Communism is such a non-thing in the west that western rightists have to make up imaginary communist threats to be afraid of, pretending devoutly anti-communist institutions like the Democratic Party and the World Economic Forum are communist, or that “woke” stuff is communism.

If you have to make up imaginary communist threats to give your ideology meaning and purpose, you have a dumb ideology. Making an identity out of being anti-communist in the west is like making an identity out of being anti-dinosaur. Stop being ridiculous and do something real.

No normal person is asking for digital IDs or central bank digital currencies. They’re being supplied without any demand, for the benefit of the power structures supplying them.

If a western-backed Ukrainian offensive on Crimea leads to a series of escalations culminating in nuclear armageddon, only about 200 people in the entire world would think it was worth it, and none of them live in Crimea.

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So much is lost due to the fact that modern science and academia don’t research western domestic propaganda and its effects, because they don’t acknowledge the existence of western domestic propaganda. As a result, there are no studies or data anywhere on the most sophisticated and widespread psychological operation of all time. And this is of course because our academic fields are captured by the same influence interests as our media and tech and every other means of controlling the information westerners ingest.

This leaves us unable to scientifically study how we’re being programmed at mass scale. Because there’s not research and data, we can’t even talk to most people about the most significant thing that’s happening in our society. Unless you’ve spent countless hours researching the many systems of imperial information manipulation, it’s hard to believe it’s even happening.

This is the only reason those who talk about western propaganda and Silicon Valley information manipulation get branded conspiracy theorists. It’s not because the evidence for our position on those issues isn’t abundant, it’s because it’s not officially acknowledged and studied.

Domestic propaganda is the most overlooked and underappreciated aspect of our civilization, because it causes people to think, speak, work, shop and vote in ways that perpetuate the status quo. You should be able to get a PhD in its study, but you can’t even write a thesis on it.

The most important thing you need to know about our society is that all our means of understanding our world are being aggressively and continuously interfered with by powerful people who benefit from the status quo. They’re actively meddling in our perception of reality.

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Re: Censorship, fake news, perception management

Post by blindpig » Tue May 30, 2023 2:12 pm

Most Propaganda Looks Nothing Like This

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When most people in the English-speaking world hear the word “propaganda”, they tend to think of something that’s done by foreign nations who have governments that are so totalitarian they won’t even let people know what’s true or think for themselves.

Others understand that propaganda is something that happens in their own nation, but think it only happens to other people in other political parties. If they think of themselves as left-leaning they see those to their right as propagandized by right wing media, and if they think of themselves as right-leaning they see those to their left as propagandized by left wing media.

A few understand that propaganda is administered in their own nation by their own media, and understand that it’s administered across partisan lines, but they think of it in terms of really egregious lies like weapons of mass destruction in Iraq or babies being taken from incubators in Kuwait.

In reality, all are inaccurate understandings of what propaganda is and how it works in western society. Propaganda is administered in western nations, by western nations, across the political spectrum — and the really blatant and well-known examples of its existence make up only a small sliver of the propaganda that our civilization is continuously marinating in.

The most common articles of propaganda — and by far the most consequential — are not the glaring, memorable instances that live in infamy among the critically minded. They’re the mundane messages, distortions and lies-by-omission that people are fed day in and day out to normalize the status quo and lay the foundation for more propaganda to be administered in the future.



One of the forms this takes is the way the western political/media class manipulates the Overton window of acceptable political opinion.

Have you ever noticed how when you look at any mainstream newspaper, broadcast or news website, you never see views from those who oppose the existence of the US-centralized empire? Or those who want to close all foreign US military bases? Or those who want to dismantle capitalism? Or those who want a thorough rollback of the creeping authoritarianism our civilization is being subjected to? You might see some quibbling about different aspects of the empire, some debate over whether we should de-escalate against Russia so we can better escalate against China, but you won’t ever see anyone calling for the complete end of the empire and its abuses altogether.

That’s propaganda. It’s propaganda in multiple ways: it excludes voices that are critical of the established status quo from being heard and influencing people, it amplifies voices (many of whom have packing foam for brains) which support the status quo, and, most importantly, it creates the illusion that the range of political opinions presented are the only reasonable political opinions to have.

The creation of that illusion is propaganda. It’s not something solid that you can point to easily because it’s comprised of an omission of something rather than a concrete thing, but it warps people’s perspectives in ways that have immensely far-reaching consequences. It’s something that doesn’t stand out too sharply against the background, but because people are exposed to it continuously day in and day out, it plays a huge role in shaping their worldview.

Another related method of manipulation is agenda-setting — the way the press shapes public thinking by emphasising some subjects and not others. In placing importance on some matters over others simply by giving disproportionate coverage to them, the mass media (who are propagandists first and news reporters second) give the false impression that those topics are more important and the de-emphasised subjects are less so. As political scientist Bernard Cohen famously observed way back in 1963, the press “may not be successful much of the time in telling people what to think, but it is stunningly successful in telling its readers what to think about. The world will look different to different people depending on the map that is drawn for them by writers, editors, and publishers of the paper they read.”

Ever noticed how the fact that our governments are increasingly tempting nuclear war seems like it ought to be a front-page story pretty much every day of the week, but instead the news is full of stuff like the US presidential race and people arguing over what products Target should sell during Pride Month? That’s agenda-setting.

The press could easily have spent the entire Trump administration screaming about the dangerous aggressions Trump was advancing against Russia instead of calling him a Putin puppet, and mainstream liberals would have fixated on Trump’s warmongering insanity instead of calling him Putin’s cock holster. But that wouldn’t have served the interests of the empire, which had been planning to ramp up aggressions against Russia for years. They set the agenda, and the public fell in line.



Another of the mundane, almost-invisible ways the public is propagandized from day to day is described in a recent video by Second Thought titled “You’re Not Immune To Propaganda“. We’re continually fed messages by the capitalist machine that we must work hard for employers and accept whatever standards and compensation they see fit to offer, and if we have difficulty thriving in this unjust system the fault lies with us and not with the system. Poor? That’s your fault. Miserable? Your fault. Unemployed? Your fault. Overworked? Your fault.

The continual message we’re fed every day is that there’s nothing to rebel against and nothing to oppose, because any problems we’re perceiving are our own fault and not the fault of an abusive, exploitative system which is built to extract profit from the working class and the ecosystem at the expense of both. The system cannot be a failure, it can only be failed.

Then there’s the ideological herding funnel we discussed recently, which herds the population into two mainstream factions of equal size which both prevent all meaningful change and serve the interests of the powerful. Anyone who can’t be herded into either of these mainstream factions is instead herded into fake “populist” factions, which eventually corral them back into the mainstream factions. Those few politically engaged people who can’t be herded toward any of these groups are so small in number that they can simply be marginalized and denied any sizeable platform from which to spread their ideas, and “democracy” does the rest because the majority are supporting the status quo.

Maybe the most consequential of all the mundane, routine ways we’re propagandized is the way the mass media manufacture the illusion of normality in a dystopia so disturbing that we would all scream our lungs out if we could see it with fresh eyes. The way pundits, politicians and reporters will talk about the Biden administration surrounding China with war machinery without also talking about how freakish and horrifying it is that we’re looking at rapidly escalating brinkmanship between nuclear-armed countries. The way American cities are full of homeless people and it’s just treated as a normal and acceptable thing to simply let them stay homeless and push them out of wherever they try to be. The way nothing ever changes no matter who we vote for but we’re still herded into the voting booths and told to vote better.

As a character in the movie Waking Life puts it, “We all know the function of the media has never been to eliminate the evils of the world, no! Their job is to persuade us to accept those evils and get used to living with them. The powers that be want us to be passive observers. And they haven’t given us any other options outside the occasional purely symbolic act of voting — do you want the puppet on the right or the puppet on the left?”



They don’t just tell us what to believe about the world, they tell us what to believe about ourselves. They give us the frameworks upon which we cast our ambitions and evaluate our success, and we build psychological identities out of those constructs. I am a businessman. I am unemployed. My life is about making money. My life is about disappointing people. I am a success. I am a failure. They invent the test of our adequacy, and they invent the system by which we are graded on that test.

Over and over and over again, day after day, we are fed seemingly small messages which add up over time. Messages like,

The world works more or less the way we were taught in school.
The media have some problems but basically tell the truth.
The status quo is working basically fine.
Democracy is real and voting is effective.
This is the only way things can be.
Our government might have its problems, but it’s basically good.
You can earn your way into happiness by working harder.
You can consume your way into happiness with more spending.
If you think the system is dysfunctional, you’re the dysfunctional one.
Those who oppose the status quo are weird and untrustworthy.
Things might get better after the next election cycle.
Any attempt to change things is a silly waste of time.

By feeding us all these simple, foundational lies day after day, year after year from the time we are very young, they lay the groundwork for the more complex, specific lies we’ll be told later on. Lies like “Russia/China/Iran/etc is a real problem and its government needs to be stopped,” or “People are struggling financially right now, but it’s just because times are hard and it can’t be helped.”

All the mundane lies serve as a primer for the lies we’ll be told later, because once our worldview has been shaped by them, our basic human cognitive biases and predisposition to reject information which conflicts with our worldview will ensure that we’ll take on board the information which confirms our biases and reject any evidence against it. They construct our worldviews for us, then let our normal cognitive defense systems protect it.

Their messages don’t even need to be well-evidenced or well-argued, they only need to be repeated frequently due to a glitch in human cognition known as the illusory truth effect which causes us to mistake the feeling of having heard something before with the feeling of something being true.



Add to all this the recent development of things like Silicon Valley algorithm manipulation and the deck becomes stacked against truth even further, because someone’s odds of stumbling across information which conflicts with the propaganda they’ve been fed goes dramatically down. Even if they’re actively searching for information which conflicts the mainstream worldview, algorithms by Google and Google-owned YouTube often make it almost impossible to find.

So that’s what we’re up against. There’s a failure to appreciate just how pervasive and powerful the empire’s propaganda machine is, even among those who are very critical of empire, because propaganda in our society is like water for fish — we’re swimming in it constantly, so we don’t see it. You have to step way, way back and begin examining our situation from its most basic foundations to get any perspective on how all-encompassing it really is.

Finding your way out of the propaganda matrix takes a lot of diligent work, tons of curiosity, the humility to admit you’ve been completely wrong about everything, and more than a little plain dumb luck. But if you keep hacking away at it eventually you get there, and then you can help others get there too. It’s a hard slog, but if our chains are psychological that means they’re ultimately only made of dream stuff. All that needs to happen is for enough of us to wake up.

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Re: Censorship, fake news, perception management

Post by blindpig » Wed May 31, 2023 2:27 pm

Propaganda Restricts Speech More Than Censorship Does: Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix

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The biggest impediment to free speech is people’s belief that they have it. Not censorship. Not refusal to platform critical voices. Not the war on journalism. It’s the fact that most people are propagandized into saying what the powerful want them to say, and don’t know it.

What makes our dilemma so historically unique is that we live under an empire which makes extensive use of the post-Bernays science of mass-scale psychological manipulation to trick its subjects into believing that they are thinking, speaking, and gathering information freely. In this way our rulers suppress any revolution long before it starts, not by making people’s lives better, nor by violent repression, but by manipulating people into thinking there’s nothing to revolt against, because they have no rulers and they are already free.

In our civilization most people are thinking, speaking, gathering information, working, shopping, moving and voting exactly as our rulers want them to, because these mass-scale psychological conditioning systems have been imposed to keep human behavior aligned with the empire. We are trained to believe we are free while behaving exactly how our rulers want us to behave, and to look down on other nations and shake our heads at how unfree their people are.

What the average mainstream partisan really means when they say they want “free speech” is they want to be able to regurgitate the power-serving narratives that were put in their mind by the powerful. That’s not free speech, it’s deeply enslaved speech. But they can’t see it. By design.

This problem can be addressed simply by bringing awareness to it in every way we can. Manipulation only works if you don’t know it’s happening, so drawing attention to it and describing how it happens in as many ways as possible helps people start seeing through it.



If the culture war looks like a psyop to you, it’s because it is. I’ve seen some people calling it a “distraction” — and to be sure it serves the powerful to keep everyone arguing about subjects that threaten the powerful in no way — but it actually goes a lot further than that. The imperial propaganda machine uses culture war wedge issues to herd us into mainstream political factions like a shepherd uses sheepdogs, always keeping us too evenly divided to accomplish anything and reinforcing echo chambers to aid in propaganda.


Culture war wedging is a big part of the way they herd people into the ideological funneling system I’ve been talking about lately, which keeps the overwhelming majority of politically engaged people thinking, speaking and voting in alignment with the empire. As many people as possible are herded into two mainstream factions of equal size which both prevent all meaningful change and serve the interests of the powerful. Anyone who can’t be herded into either of these mainstream factions is instead herded into fake “populist” factions, which eventually corral them back into the mainstream factions. Those few politically engaged people who can’t be herded toward any of these groups are so small in number that they can simply be marginalized and denied any sizeable platform from which to spread their ideas, and “democracy” does the rest, because the majority are supporting the status quo.

Care about protecting trans rights? You get herded into this mainstream faction over here. Trans people freak you out a bit? You get herded into that mainstream faction over there. In this way people are corralled into political parties that are designed to serve the empire.

If you can suck someone who’s critical of militarism and empire into the culture war, suddenly they start believing absurd things like that opposing “the woke agenda” is as important as opposing war, or that electing Ron DeSantis would be a devastating blow to the Deep State. Now instead of focusing on the US empire’s nefarious behaviors and critically viewing all mainstream politics, that person is focused on Dylan Mulvaney and will throw their support behind any mainstream politician who says Target needs to stop selling rainbow shoelaces during Pride Month.

You see people herded into both mainstream political factions over and over again with this stuff they keep hammering day after day after day, thereby bolstering the power structure the parties which represent those factions are designed to support. They do it because it works.

None of this means the issues raised by the culture war psyop are unimportant, it just means it’s a psyop. It’s something the powerful leverage to their advantage, and it’s important for us to be acutely aware of that and direct our political energy and attention accordingly.



The fact that US presidents are always murderous monsters regardless of party or platform becomes less strange and mysterious when you stop thinking of the United States as a good or neutral player on the world stage and recognize it as the hub of an empire fueled by human blood.

That’s why I just ignore US presidential elections these days except to point out what a sham they are. A lot of well-intentioned people still hold out hope that the US can be made healthy by the right president, but anyone who would do so will never get near the presidency.

The operation of a globe-spanning empire is too important to be left in the hands of voters. Nothing will ever be permitted to happen that could impede the operation of the empire as long as those who benefit from that empire are able to prevent it from happening. There’s just too much power riding on it.



It’s so destructive and degrading how the products of mainstream culture (movies, shows, music etc) are produced not based on how edifying, transformative and adventurous they can be, but on how much money they can make. The arts which get the most traction in our society wind up being not those which call us into the higher aspects of our being and encourage us to explore the bounds of human experience and potential, but those which deliver a quick ego hit and pump the brain full of fast reward neurochemicals.

It’s been this way for generations, and it’s all people know. That everything is confined in this way starves the populace of all nourishment of mind and heart, and it narrows the scope among artists on their ideas of what is possible and what’s worthwhile. It has shrunk the confines of what artists have been willing to explore by orders of magnitude, and it’s resulted in a mainstream culture that is shallow, power-serving and uninspired from top to bottom.

Humanity would look much different and the world would be a much better place if this hadn’t been happening all these years. Capitalist culture is brain poison.



Someday the leaders of ecocidal corporations will be put on trial for their crimes against our planet, and their defense that they did it to generate profits for their shareholders will be treated the same as war criminals saying they were just following orders.

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Re: Censorship, fake news, perception management

Post by blindpig » Sat Jun 03, 2023 2:26 pm

No country in history has ever possessed such a sophisticated propaganda apparatus as the United States: a system that not only indoctrinates its own citizens, but much of the world. Those within the propaganda bubble live in the eternal present with no history, no understanding, jumping from one distraction to the next. They are eternal children and the perfect consumers. They believe in the benevolence of the American Empire and have already forgotten that country after country has been destroyed in the name of freedom and democracy.
https://libya360.wordpress.com/2023/06/ ... of-empire/

Welcome to my world.

This is a quote from a review of the book 'Under The Pisces Moon', by Douglas Valentine. Dunno about the rest of the book but that really nailed it. Which is not to say that we should throw up our hands in despair, that's never an option. It does mean we're in for a tough slog, but what defines us humans but our work? And so, work, work, work. And while working always know that while decades can pass when nothing happens that decades of progress can be achieved in weeks. To quote a fictional aristocrat, "Fortune passes everywhere." I think Lenin knew that.

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The US Censors Dissenting Voices: On the Attacks Against the Midwestern Marx Institute
JUNE 2, 2023

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By Edward Liger Smith, Carlos L. Garrido, and Noah Khrachvik​ – May 31, 2023

The First Amendment of the United States Constitution says that “Congress shall make no law… Abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” Yet in 2023 the United States is attempting to extradite Julian Assange because he published proof of U.S. civilian executions in Iraq, systematic torture at Guantanamo Bay, and the DNC rigging of the 2016 primary election against Democratic Socialist candidate Bernie Sanders, which is itself a violation of the Democratic rights enshrined in the American Constitution. The U.S., with its supposed constitutional guarantee of free speech and media, has indicted four leaders from the African People’s Socialist Party (APSP) and Uhuru Movement on flimsy claims of “advancing Russian propaganda,” simply because they challenge the narrative of the imperialist financial cartels and war mongers. Even if we look only at these examples, how can we say there is freedom of speech or press in our modern age of neoliberal capitalist-imperialism? The Political establishment has shown that it will crack down on anyone who shares information that is damaging to its foreign policy interests, and most social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter, owned by wealthy shareholders like Mark Zuckerberg and others, have proven not only to be impressionable to the influence of US intelligence agencies like the FBI and other institutions of the ruling class, but (after the release of the Twitter files) directly steered by them at times.

​No social media platform is more tightly linked to the intelligence community, NATO, or US State Department than the incredibly popular Tik Tok app. In 2020 the Midwestern Marx Institute for Marxist Theory and Political Analysis, within a few months of work, amassed 375,000 Tik Tok followers when the app was still owned and operated by the Beijing, China based company Bytedance, a testament to the people-oriented algorithms of Bytedance that allow any content that is genuinely popular to go “viral”, and a stark contrast to the money-centered way our Western software works. Unfortunately, that year the Biden administration would force ByteDance to hand over management of their U.S. servers to the Texas-based company ORACLE, a company with intimate ties to the CIA. No sooner had news of this forced change of control happened would the Institute have its account, which received millions of views on many videos containing factual information that challenged the narratives of the US war machine, banned from the platform. A second account that we started when the first one was wiped quickly accumulated 200,000 followers, and right when a growth parallel to the previous account was evident, the second account would also be banned. This blatant censorship would continue without explanation as the Institute had five more accounts banned by Tik Tok after they started to quickly gain popularity. It was later revealed that Oracle had hired a litany of former US State Department and Intelligence Operatives to manage the content for Tik Tok, as well as a few NATO executives for good measure. Tik Tok said that they deleted 320,000 “Russian accounts” which included many American socialist organizers who have never been associated with Russia in any way, such as an account ran by an organization of socialist organizers called “The Vanguard” that had over 100,000 followers when it was deleted.

Countless hours of our work that helped inform millions of people were stripped from the internet with little to no explanation, while truly hateful and incendiary accounts were allowed to remain up. Our institute’s co-founder and editor, Eddie Liger Smith, was doxxed twice during this period, having his phone number, job, private social media profiles, and location shared by two creators working in tandem to attack Midwestern Marx. Both responsible accounts, Cbass429 and ThatDaneshGuy, were allowed to remain up until recently, when Cbass429 was finally banned for a completely unrelated incident. However, ThatDaneshGuy still has 1.6 million followers on Tik Tok, where he consistently calls for his political opposition to be fired from their jobs. ThatDaneshGuy called for his followers to contact Eddie’s place of employment and ask for his firing, claiming that it was deserved because of Eddie’s stance against US backed regime change efforts in Iran, which Danesh conflated with support for the Iranian Government executing people. Similar campaigns to these have been waged against other Institute co-founder Carlos Garrido and Institute contributor Kayla Popuchet, the latter who, like Eddie Smith, was fired from their place of employment because of the work they do for the Institute. On Tik Tok, the voices which speak the truth and champion peace are quickly banned, while those who harass and deceive people with imperialist lies are upheld by the algorithms.

Since the transfer of power to US entities, Tik Tok users have been fed a steady diet of neoliberal and imperialist propaganda, while critical voices are systematically being censored by the app’s content moderation staff. Neoliberal commentators like Philip Defranco are never made to retract errors, such as when Phil claimed that Russia blew up the Nord Stream Pipeline, despite all the evidence at the time pointing towards a Biden Administration sabotage. Award-winning investigative journalist Seymour Hersh later proved this to be the case in his detailed report on the incident. Despite all this, Defranco never had his account suspended or removed for posting this misinformation, and his video remains on the platform to this day, as do his comments accusing anyone who suggested the US might have sabotaged the pipeline of believing “Putin propaganda.” The Midwestern Marx Institute had predicted that Biden sabotaged the pipeline before it was revealed in detail and was unsurprisingly attacked and reported for doing so.

Censorship, clearly, does not emerge out of a void. And so, we must ask the question: what are the social conditions which make censorship necessary? Who does the censored speech threaten? Who does it uplift? In whose interests is censorship carried out? On whose side is truth – a category our moribund imperialist era, dominated by postmodern philosophical irrationalism, scoffs at? The liberal ideal of freedom of press can never be actualized so long as the press is owned by a small ruling class, by corporations and shareholders who profit from war and the exploitation of the mass of people. They will always censor dissent and push coverage that suits their foreign and domestic interests. This has been the case throughout history, and the modern Western ruling class is, in this regard, no different from any other. It lies, it manipulates, it misinforms to the best of its ability. It needs a population that can view its actions as ethical and just, and so it must spend countless hours and dollars papering over every crack that appears in the facade its media apparatus has built around the minds of the people.

A revolving door between the media, intelligence agencies, NATO, and the U.S. State Department is only the logical result of a society based on capitalist relations of production, where capitalists not only control the production of material goods, but the production of information as well. The ruling class sees the media, including social media, as a vital part of the societal superstructure that is needed to maintain and reproduce the relations of production at the core of society. In other words, they see it as an important tool to convince you that capitalism and U.S. Imperialism are good and eternal. Under these social relations, the constitutional right to free speech and media have always been exclusive – it excludes all speech and media which substantially challenges the dominant forms of societal intercourse. The freedom of speech and media is, therefore, actually the freedom of pro-capitalist speech and media. V. I. Lenin’s description of the media in capitalist society rings truer than ever in the 2020s, it is dominated by an “atmosphere of lies and deception in the name of the ‘freedom and equality’ of capital, equality of the starved and the overfed.” Any absolute statements about the freedom of the press must be followed by the Leninist question: “freedom of the press… for which class?” The capitalist media’s freedom to deceive the masses in their defense of the existing order is in contradiction to the masses’ interests in searching for and publicizing the truth.

Those who keep our people misinformed and ignorant, who have made their life’s purpose to attack truth-tellers, do so under the insidiously categorized guise of ‘combating misinformation.’ In their topsy-turvy invented reality, as Michael Parenti called it, they posit themselves as the champions of truth and free speech – a paradox as laughable as a vegan butcher. Anyone with the courage to fight for the freedom to speak truth to power should unite in fighting this blatant attack on our constitutional rights. We must stand against this censorship from our ruling class, those who are the worst purveyors of misinformation imaginable, and who now, in the backwards-world name of ‘fighting misinformation,’ censor the truth.

There is ‘fighting misinformation,’ and there is fighting misinformation. The divide of class interests between the ruling class of the West, and the good, honest, hard-working people who live under their regime could not be clearer. One side finds it necessary to invent a reality, under the guise of fighting the ‘mis-informers,’ that paints the world in a disfigured backwardness, the other side, on the contrary, is sick to death of being lied to by the media machine, and their screams of “fake news” grow more and more common every day. The American people not only deserve the truth, but absolutely need its existence to find commonality in the world, stability, and the ability to pursue lives of meaning and dignity. They are tired of the private monopolization of media that has erased the ability for regular working people to speak on an equal playing field; they feel their voices drowned in a sea of well-funded lies by MSNBC, Fox News, and the rest of them. This struggle has crystallized into a fight over The Truth itself.

And so, if fighting misinformation is to be done, we must begin by asking: Where was the crackdown on the media outlets who got 4.5 million people killed by claiming that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction? Where are the crackdowns on those who are lying us into a third World War with nuclear-armed powers? Where are the crackdowns against those who play the drums for those marching humanity towards nuclear Armageddon? Why is it only the outlets calling for peace that are dubbed “Putin propagandists” and wiped from the internet? Where are the crackdowns on the blood-thirsty warmongers? The answer is: they are nowhere, and they will continue to be nowhere while giant corporate financial interests control the lives and realities of regular Americans. Truth is censored and lies are proliferated because it serves the interests of the ruling capitalist class, and only through the overthrow of this class can a real freedom of thought, not an abstract empty freedom to deceive the people, be achieved. Until then, all we can have – it seems – is a media and culture that elevates the most odious imperialist voices while suppressing those who seek truth and peace. Nonetheless, the fight must continue, and with the dignity that comes from the incessant speaking of truth to power, the enemies of humanity will fall.

Let us remember the words of Julian Assange, whom the imperialists have rotting in a prison because of his sterling bravery… because he is a true journalist and not a lapdog of the powerful: “if wars can be started by lies, peace can be started by TRUTH.”

https://orinocotribune.com/the-us-censo ... institute/

******

Authoritarianism Keeps Surging In Western “Free Democracies”

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Today in tyranny we’ve got three stories on the rapidly increasing authoritarian abuses in western “free democracies”.

Let’s dig in.

1. Grayzone reporter detained by British counter-terrorism police for doing journalism.
The Grayzone’s Kit Klarenberg was detained by “six anonymous plainclothes counter-terror officers” who “grilled him for over five hours about his reporting” upon returning to Britain on the 17th of May, according to a new report by Grayzone editor Max Blumenthal.

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Blumenthal reports that Klarenberg was asked many questions about The Grayzone and his work with the independent outlet, saying police “seized the journalist’s electronic devices and SD cards, fingerprinted him, took DNA swabs, and photographed him intensively,” threatening him with arrest if he didn’t comply.

Blumenthal writes that the police action was likely a retaliation for Klarenberg’s reporting for the outlet, which has angered British officials and establishment media figures with the inconvenient information it has reported about their behavior:

Klarenberg’s interrogation appears to be London’s way of retaliating for the journalist’s blockbuster reports exposing major British and US intelligence intrigues. In the past year alone, Klarenberg revealed how a cabal of Tory national security hardliners violated the Official Secrets Act to exploit Brexit and install Boris Johnson as prime minister. In October 2022, he earned international headlines with his exposé of British plans to bomb the Kerch Bridge connecting Crimea to the Russian Federation. Then came his report on the CIA’s recruitment of two 9/11 hijackers this April, a viral sensation that generated massive social media attention.

Among Klarenberg’s most consequential exposés was his June 2022 report unmasking British journalist Paul Mason as a UK security state collaborator hellbent on destroying The Grayzone and other media outlets, academics, and activists critical of NATO’s role in Ukraine.


Asserting that Klarenberg did nothing more nefarious than engaging in “the same journalistic practice that the West’s most prominent legacy newspapers, from The New York Times to The Washington Post, depend on to break news themselves,” Blumenthal says it appears that “British authorities did not detain Klarenberg for any legal breaches, but because he reported factual stories that exposed the national security state’s own violations of both domestic and international law, as well as the malign plots of its media lackeys.”

Blumenthal himself was subjected to legal harassment and intimidation in the United States a few years back, arrested and charged with having committed “assault” while reporting on imperial efforts to drive the Venezuelan government out of its embassy in Washington DC. The charges were later dropped.

The Grayzone has been doing some of the best independent reporting in alternative media over the last few years, and should wear its now-evident status as a thorn in the empire’s side with pride.

2. South Australia passes draconian anti-protest law.



Reacting to recent inconvenient demonstrations by environmental activists, the state of South Australia has just rapidly shoved through legislation — without consulting the public — to exponentially increase the penalties for unauthorized protesting. Demonstrators will now face up to three months in jail and fines of $50,000 if they are deemed guilty of the extremely vague offense of “obstructing a public place” with their protesting.

The Human Rights Law Center expresses the following:

South Australia is the latest jurisdiction to impose severe penalties on people for engaging in peaceful protest, joining New South Wales, Tasmania, Victoria and Queensland who have passed anti-protest laws in the last five years. South Australia’s anti-protest laws carry the harshest financial penalties in Australia.

The Bill is excessive and will have a chilling effect on the right to protest in South Australia. The Bill is also potentially unconstitutional and in clear breach of well-established principles of international human rights law.


South Australian Premier Peter Malinauskas acted shocked and offended that anyone could possibly think life-altering penalties for vaguely-defined protest activities might have some effect on protest activities, saying, “One of the things that I have found rather disconcerting around some of the commentary on this piece of legislation is that somehow, it curtails or diminishes people’s right to protest, which is simply not true.”

Hilarious.

Now would probably be a good time to repeat my periodic reminder that Australia is the only so-called democracy in the world which has no national charter or bill of rights of any kind. A lot of attention went into the Australian government’s authoritarianism when its strict Covid measures were in place, but the fact of the matter is that this country has been diving headlong into tyranny since long before Covid, and continues to do so now that the lockdowns are long over. There simply aren’t enough checks and balances in place to prevent this from happening, and not enough will from the public to fight for them while fighting is still possible.

3. State Department dismisses questions about Ukrainian imprisonment of US citizen for speech crimes.

At a press conference last week the State Department’s new spokesman Matthew Miller flatly brushed off questions about whether the US government was doing anything about the fact that commentator Gonzalo Lira has been arrested and charged with what amount to speech crimes by the Ukrainian government.

Here’s the State Department’s transcript of the exchange:

QUESTION: Thanks. Liam Cosgrove with Epoch Times. So this was a couple weeks ago, but I haven’t seen an official statement on it. A U.S. citizen who is residing in Ukraine has been arrested and that he was a California-born man; he was in the past like a Business Insider contributor, and he had a YouTube channel. He was an outspoken critic of Zelenskyy’s regime. The Ukrainian SBU released a press release saying he was arrested for justifying Putin’s invasion. So ultimately, it added up to speech. And I spoke with Congressman Ted Lieu, a Democrat, and he said he urges the State Department to engage its authorities to work out some sort of negotiation to get him released. So are you guys aware of this? How do we feel about our allies detaining U.S. citizens for speech abroad?


MR MILLER: So I will say in general that we’re aware of the report. We obviously support the exercise of freedom of speech anywhere in the world, and I’ll leave it at that.


QUESTION: So you guys aren’t working to get him released?


MR MILLER: I’m going to leave my comments where I just left them.


It’s not every day a US spokesperson gets asked a question that’s so inconvenient that they just overtly refuse to answer it without even pretending to provide an explanation for doing so.

Lira, a US citizen, is reportedly facing five to eight years in prison for having “publicly justified the armed aggression of the Russian Federation” and “publicly justified the armed aggression of the Russian Federation,” per the SBU.

Are Americans okay with their government risking a very fast, very radioactive third world war to defend the freedom and democracy of a nation that imprisons US citizens for speech crimes? I guess we’ll never know, because nobody’s asking them.

If western governments need to keep ramping up censorship, propaganda and the persecution of journalists in order to defend western freedom and democracy, is it really freedom and democracy? And, is it worth defending?

https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2023/05/31 ... mocracies/
"There is great chaos under heaven; the situation is excellent."

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