Censorship, fake news, perception management

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Re: Censorship, fake news, perception management

Post by blindpig » Sun Nov 21, 2021 6:52 pm

I had posted this piece from Granma Eng. in the Cuba thread the other day but it bears repeating, applying to us all.
The art of media warfare

We must ensure that any coup attempt, destabilizing, demoralizing or manipulative action - economic, military or financial - financed by the CIA or its planetary network of accomplices, is immediately reversed and returns to them like a boomerang that explodes in their faces

Author: Fernando Buen Abad Domínguez* | internet@granma.cu

november 18, 2021 11:11:55

Photo: Ventura de Jesús García

Let us put the dispute for meaning on the agenda of all our struggles. We must go deeper in the grassroots debate about its means and ways, the agenda of the communicational war (monopolistic and global) but we must develop methods of deepening and argumentation far removed from the hegemonic logic and pedagogy infiltrated in what we understand by communication and by war. It is neither about communication in its generic bourgeois use (almost platonic), nor is it about conventional war. This is where the challenge begins.

In more than one sense, the first skirmishes of a semiotic guerrilla war must take place in our own heads. It is necessary to extract the bourgeois ideological devices that force us to think about communication as it suits the enemy. We must rid ourselves of the ideological subtleties of foolish skepticism - and Superman individualism - from which no one is safe (with due exceptions), given that the vast majority of us have lived exposed, 24 hours a day and for decades, to radiation from the bourgeois ideological Chernobyl in the mass media.

We must get out of our heads any petulance that leads us to believe that we know it all, and that we are common sense experts in media management. This has produced an untold amount of confusion, chaos and wasted time, as a result of the assumption that there are geniuses who are naturals in manipulating the masses. Betting on the charisma formula in addressing the multitudes. A messianic ideology.

Neither its logic, or its aesthetics, can be imitated. It cannot be assumed that by copying their artifices, we will achieve the successes they have. The key lies not in copying them but in fighting them, defeating them from the very heart of their semantic, syntactic and pragmatic contradictions, with our feet planted firmly in the soul of the class struggle and concrete battles, where these are manifested most sharply. They attack us with seductions of all kinds; they attack us with argumentative missiles disguised as slogans; they attack us with enormous repertoires of temptations and luxuries under the cloak of an ideologized aesthetic around commodities and the accumulation of wealth at any cost. Their technological and ideological arsenal has created the semantic spheres of consumption, and moreover, as they attack us by seducing us, they strengthen their arsenals and their fields of meaning, which are nothing more than concentration camps full of kidnapped consciences.

Our social bases need a methodology for self-criticism. There is an urgent need for a deep, decisive assessment of the consequences of the media violence suffered by our peoples. We need a map, or an x-ray of the disaster, reproduced with all subjectivities. We urgently need a thorough effort to evaluate and systematize the keys to our great semiotic victories, from the October Revolution to the present day. This should be a new Universal Charter for the media and cultural emancipation of our peoples, but we need resolute organization and coordination to close the path to the imperial arsenal which is systematically updated to attack more ubiquitously and rapidly. We need tactics and strategies to respond, in real time, to the offensives, but with our own theoretical-practical tools for revolutionary symbolic planning.

If we only produce lamentations (however scientifically based), we are only producing reports on our casualties, losses and setbacks, which the class enemy values highly. We do the work for them of explaining how they harm us. We urgently need a "What is to be done?" in terms of concrete answers for the short, medium and long term. We need the inter, multi- and trans-disciplinary participation of all experts committed to emancipation and ending capitalism. Talented specialists in the struggle against symbolic manipulation and creative forces in the sciences and the arts.

We must ensure that every coup attempt, destabilizing, demoralizing or manipulative action (economic, military or financial) financed by the CIA or its planetary network of accomplices, is immediately reversed and returns to them like a boomerang that explodes in their faces. We need vaccines against bourgeois ideological viruses, and we need a method of symbolic production that advances in the territory of critical, emancipatory, anti-imperialist and anti-capitalist thought. "Fighting Capital", as the Peronist hymn advocates, for example, and as the entire history of the Greater Homeland demands. There is no time to lose. The art of media warfare must be re-conceptualized, rewritten and consolidated as a new and central instrument for the democratization of information and communication. Or we will continue facing the dangers and paying a very high price in the form of absolutely unjust consequences.

https://en.granma.cu/cuba/2021-11-18/th ... ia-warfare
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Re: Censorship, fake news, perception management

Post by blindpig » Tue Nov 30, 2021 3:42 pm

How NGOs And Newspapers In Germany Propagandize Chinese 'Querdenker' Zhang Zhan

Today a number of U.S. aligned non government organizations launched an anti-China campaign in Germany.

Reporters Without Boarders (RSF) led the campaign together with PEN, Amnesty International and a Germany journalist union. They called for an hour long tweet storm to demand of that German politicians should act to get the Chinese 'journalist' Zhang Zhan released from prison in China.


The campaign was somewhat successful. A search for the #ZhangZhan hashtag used show that a lot of ill informed people, including many journalists, tweeted or retweeted the issue.


The misinformation spread by Robin Alexander in the above tweet is pretty heavy but not unusual.

Zhang Zhan is not a journalist. She was not one of the first to post video from Wuhan. She did not report on the COVID-19 but protested against the successful lockdown. She is not in jail for that reason.

The German news sites Süddeutsche Zeitung and Spiegel report about the RSF campaign. Those news reports are even worse than the re-tweets. The Spiegel, for example, claims that Zhang Zhan was 'tortured and imprisoned for her reporting of the Chinese government's bad handling of the plague.'

Germany has exceeded 100,000 deaths from Covid and is currently in a record breaking 4th wave. China has had less than 5,000 death and is free of Covid. Given that it seems pretty lunatic to me to accuse China of a 'bad handling of the plague'. Also - to my knowledge no 'torture' has ever been alleged to have happened in the Zhang Zhan case. The Spiegel made that up.

We looked at the Zhang Zhan case in December 2020 when the 'mighty Wurlitzer' played her song simultaneously in many major media including the BBC, New York Times, Washington Post, Reuters, CBSnews and Sky.

The 'Mighty Wurlitzer' - How U.S. Financed 'Human Rights' Organizations Create Anti-Chinese Headlines

The Trump loving anti-China Epoch Times subtitled the video Zhang Zhan had made when she, in early February of 2020, went from Shanghai to Wuhun which was under strict but successful lockdown. It also described and translated it:

Location: Wuhan City, Hubei Province
Zhang Zhan, a female dissident living in Shanghai, put herself in harm’s way to go to Wuhan after the city was locked down. Her plan was to investigate and broadcast the local situation as a citizen journalist. She is outraged that the Chinese government casually deprives the basic rights and freedom of Wuhan residents in the name of epidemic control.

Woman: Let me ask you,
Do you think the government can treat citizens like animals?
Lock them when the regime is willing to,
Send them out to work when they need these people to work.
Aren’t you treating them like you treat cattle and horses?
When animals need to graze you let them out
And take them back when they are done eating.
Is that for real?
And if they do not obey, whip them.
Is that how it should be?
Is it justified to treat civilians like this?

Man: What are you doing?

Woman: I want to express my protest against the government, persistent protest.

Immediately before the man asked 'what are you doing' Zhang Zhan is seen in the video intentionally knocking over a traffic barrier at a health checkpoint.

Zhang Zhan was not 'reporting'. She was, in her own words, expressing persistent protest against the government. She did so while filming that protest to then upload it on Youtube and Twitter (both of which are blocked in China).

Zhang Zhan was not arrested at that time though she probably should have been. In a different piece the Epoch Times explains:

On May 13, Zhang posted a YouTube video in which she spoke in front of the Hankou Railway Station in Wuhan. In the video, she criticized the local government’s plan to roll out virus testing at $180 yuan (about $25) per person as too high a price, noting that locals had been under lockdown for months.
She added that while human rights have been trampled during the outbreak, people would likely be willing to foot the bill in hopes of proving they were virus free. In order to pass security checkpoints in many cities, citizens must present a mobile-app-generated code that proves they are virus-free.

She also called out intimidation tactics adopted by Wuhan authorities to try to control the spread of the virus, saying they were a “sorrow of the country.”

A day later, she went missing.

All testing in China during the various outbreaks has been free of charge. In mid May there was a small new outbreak in Wuhan with a total of six cases of Covid-19 identified. Zhang Zhan was quoted at that time on the CIA's Radio Free Asia website with the false claim that 'There are signs of a resurgence of the epidemic in Wuhan.'

Zhang Zhan was arrested in May 2020 for spreading fake news about a government test-for-money plan that did not exist and other false Covid claims she had made. It was not the first time that Zhang Zhan had got herself into trouble. She had a short stint in prison in late 2019 also under the charge of 'picking quarrels and provoking trouble', a law that covers spreading fakenews on the Internet.

The South China Morning Post reported that, while in jail, Zhang Zhan went on 'intermitted hunger strike' (whatever that may mean). In December 2020 she was sentenced to four years in prison:

The sentence was in response to reports that she live-streamed from Wuhan on social media platforms, including Twitter and YouTube, which are both blocked in China.

She also wrote an article critical of the official response to the outbreak, accusing authorities of infringing people’s rights and covering up the severity of the epidemic.

Her coverage was deemed “maliciously fabricated content and false information” and she became the first so-called citizen journalist tried by a Chinese court for reporting on the coronavirus outbreaks in the city.

The World Health Organization has warned of the danger of false information during a pandemic:

An infodemic can have direct negative impacts on the health of populations and the public health response by undermining the trust in science and interventions. We are also seeing that infodemics hinder the cohesiveness of societies by increasing existing social inequities, stigma, gender disparity and generational rift.

The WHO called on governments to take 'measures to counter misinformation and disinformation'.

China did that when it finally arrested Zhang Zhan and put the repeating offender into prison.

Zhang Zhan is a 'dissident' who has protested against the sensible epidemic measures the Chinese government took to defeat the pandemic within its country. The 'former Christian lawyer' Zhang Zha has similar radical libertarian opinions about pandemic measures as the 'Querdenker' (lit. 'lateral thinkers') in Germany who protest against wearing masks and lockdowns and the various Covid deniers and radical anti-vaxers elsewhere.

RSF has just awarded Zhang Zha, among others, its Press Freedom Award 2021.

That RSF, Amnesty, Pen and the DJU support her cause says a lot about those organizations' lack of integrity.

Posted by b on November 29, 2021 at 18:59 UTC | Permalink

https://www.moonofalabama.org/2021/11/g ... .html#more
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Re: Censorship, fake news, perception management

Post by blindpig » Sun Dec 05, 2021 2:26 pm

Ted snider

Dec 4 , 2021 , 2:49 pm .

The involvement of the Pentagon and the CIA in Hollywood has a long history (Photo: MRonline)

I haven't seen the Top Gun movie , and I won't bother to see the long-awaited sequel, Top Gun: Maverick . Why should I do it? If I wanted to see a movie produced by the Pentagon or the CIA, I would just watch Farm Rebellion .

Seriously. At the most ironic moment in the history of literature, the CIA made an animated film version of Rebellion on the Farm . Of course, they rewrote Orwell's ending to suit the message. CIA agent Howard Hunt, famous for Watergate, would recall in his memoirs that "it was tweaked to enhance the anti-communist message and distributed throughout the world in the hope that it would be seen by both parents and children."

Other key contributors to the film were Hollywood agent and producer Carleton Alsop and screenwriter Finis Farr, who actually worked for the CIA. The CIA continued this project by acquiring the 1984 rights . You have already understood: Big Brother is the owner of Big Brother.

Through information acquired through a Freedom of Information Act request to the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Joseph Trevithick, he has reported that the Department of Defense was "closely involved" in the production of Top Gun: Maverick . The Department of Defense provided means, equipment and locations to the producers. They had a constant presence on set whenever the US military was depicted in the film. The Department of Defense approved portions of the script and reserved the right to approve any changes.

While this Pentagon involvement in Top Gun: Maverick is significant and concerning, it is not as intrusive as the Pentagon, the State Department, and the CIA have been in previous Hollywood collaborations.

In modern times, the State Department acted as editor of The Interview , with an artistic eye for fostering thoughts of regime change in North Korea. The leaked emails reveal that at least two officials of the US government projected a draft of The Interviewand gave their approval to the film. The emails reveal that the State Department was involved in Sony's decision to keep Kim Jong-Un's death scene in the final cut of the film. Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton admits they "spoke to someone at a very high level in the state." The leaked emails also reveal that the United States' special envoy for human rights issues in North Korea, Robert King, was also a consultant at The Interview .

The CIA would use the film Zero Dark Thirty as a vehicle to sell its justification for torture. According to screenwriter Mark Boal, the CIA gave him access to first-hand accounts. And Obama administration officials admit that Boal had access to officials from the CIA, the Pentagon and the White House. Gareth Porter says that "those meetings ensured that Zero Dark Thirty would tell a story that was in the best interests of those seeking to protect the reputation of the CIA."

But the history of CIA involvement in Hollywood is an old one. In Finks: How the CIA Tricked the World's Best Writers , Joel Whitney says that America developed the idea of ​​"militant freedom" for the perfect Hollywood movie: "The goal was to 'insert the right ideas into your scripts and action with adequate subtlety '"to project" American-style democratic values ​​"into the propaganda battle of the Cold War.

Whitney says that in 1955, the Chiefs of Staff planned how to insert militant freedom into Hollywood movies. In fact, they had a meeting with leading Hollywood figures in director John Ford's MGM studio office. Apparently the meeting got John Wayne so excited that he became one of the first members of the project. Ford was also on board. He was committed to the project and, according to Whitney, "he even asked an adviser to the General Staff to help him insert the concept [of militant freedom] in his film The Wings of the Eagles ...".

The CIA had agents infiltrated the Hollywood studios. Paramount Studios even had an executive and censor who was a CIA agent who made sure that Paramount films removed any anti-American content or criticism of US foreign policy.

In 1953, the CIA launched a campaign to ensure that Gary Cooper's High Noon film did not win an Academy Award. In 2013, Whitney says, they tried to get two CIA movies, Zero Dark Thirty and Argo , to do it: Argo won.

The Pentagon's involvement in the production of Top Gun: Maverick is just the latest scene in a long history of the use of Hollywood movies by the US military and intelligence services to shape popular culture in ways that fit the world. the American narrative of the world.

Ted Snider has a BA in philosophy and writes on pattern analysis in foreign policy and American history.

This article was originally published in Antiwar on November 29, 2021 , the translation for Misión Verdad was done by José Miguel Aponte.

https://misionverdad.com/traducciones/u ... -pentagono

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Re: Censorship, fake news, perception management

Post by blindpig » Fri Dec 10, 2021 2:50 pm

ACTION ALERT: CNN Asks Sinema No Questions About Conflicts
Kyrsten Sinema interviewed on CNN
CNN: 'I'm very direct': Sinema responds to criticism she's an enigma
CNN‘s exclusive interview (12/2/21) with Sen. Kyrsten Sinema asked her no questions about her conflicts of interest.
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D.–Arizona) is notorious for being inaccessible to the press—and to constituents—while threatening to tank the Democratic Party’s key social spending bill. As Mother Jones (10/7/21) reported, Sinema has not held a single town hall since her election, doesn’t hold press conferences, and refuses to speak to reporters and constituents alike when approached. So when CNN‘s Lauren Fox (12/2/21) landed a sit-down interview with Sinema, it presented a rare opportunity to do what journalists are supposed to do: hold power to account.

Instead, Fox’s questions primarily ranged from the inane (“Is it hard for you to tell the president, no, I can’t do that?”) to the flattering, casting Sinema as a straight-shooter stuck with bad party leaders:

One of the ways that you negotiate in talking with your colleagues is that you’re pretty forthcoming about where you stand on something. We talked about the corporate tax rate. Why do you think it is that your leadership sometimes overpromises? Do you think that’s a problem for voters and for the Democratic Party?

You wouldn’t understand from Fox’s question that Sinema’s refusal to support the tax increases on corporations (and the rich) that would help fund the Biden-backed budget bill known as Build Back Better—a notable reversal from her opposition to the Trump tax cuts as a House rep in 2017—is strikingly unpopular, in both Arizona and the country as a whole. A better question would be whether Sinema’s position is a problem for voters.

‘Taking your comment seriously’
CNN‘s Lauren Fox (12/2/21) to Kyrsten Sinema: “You’re pretty forthcoming about where you stand on something.”
The only other question Fox asked that related to Sinema’s position on taxes—one of the biggest sticking points for the bill—likewise gave Sinema a total pass:

I know one of the things that you made clear very early in the negotiation with the president and your majority leader was that you were not going to support raising the corporate tax rate a single point. Did you feel like at any point they weren’t taking your comment seriously, given the fact that they were promising for a long time that this was going to be part of the bill?

Fox did ask two more substantive questions about Build Back Better; first whether Sinema would vote yes when it comes to the Senate floor, and then, after an evasive non-answer, what changes Sinema would make to the bill. When Sinema directly rebuffed her (“I don’t negotiate in the press”), Fox simply let it drop.

Likewise, when Fox asked, “Would you be willing to vote with Democrats to hold up the president’s mandates?” Sinema responded, “I’m not going to tell you those things.” Fox asked no follow-up, at least in the portions of the interview that CNN ran.

Fox was tougher on Sinema’s outraged constituents than she was on Sinema herself. Two months ago, immigrant youth activists from Arizona who had been stonewalled for months by Sinema followed her into a bathroom on their campus after she refused to engage them in the hallway, to express their concerns about her position on Build Back Better. Whatever you think about the protesters’ tactics, the incident highlights how inaccessible Sinema is to those she represents, when her frequent exclusive big-money events with corporate lobbyists and wealthy PAC donors have been raising eyebrows in the press.

Instead of making an effort to hold Sinema’s feet to the fire over this bigger-picture issue of whose interests the elected official represents, Fox only highlighted the behavior of the protesters: “I’m really curious what you think that means about the state of US politics right now, given the fact that they crossed a boundary by following you into the restroom?”

Questions unasked
The words “donors” or “contributions” never come up in CNN‘s interview with Sinema, despite the flood of money coming to her from lobbies that benefit from her obstructionist stance (Mother Jones, 10/16/21).
In fact, Fox asked zero questions about Sinema’s motives and conflicts, for which other journalists had provided plenty of fodder. No questions, for instance, about the fundraisers she held with opponents of Build Back Better during crucial moments of negotiation on the bill (New York Times, 9/27/21).

Or about how shockingly little of her third-quarter fundraising haul came from her constituents. While pharma and finance bigwigs and PACs lined up to write big checks, only 10% of her individual contributions came from Arizona (Politico, 10/15/21).

Or about reports in Mother Jones (10/16/21) and the New York Times (11/21/21) that Sinema’s opposition to Build Back Better has made her (and fellow bill blocker Joe Manchin) particularly popular among Republican megadonors, who are maxing out their individual contributions to her.

Or about how Sinema and Manchin have received more lobbyist contributions this year than any other senator in their cohort—the group that’s not up for re-election until 2024—and both are taking in three times the lobbying money of the average senator (Data for Progress, 10/27/21).

No doubt such questions would have irked Sinema, and perhaps even threatened CNN‘s access to her in the future. But if access is only used to polish the image of the powerful, that’s propaganda, not journalism.

ACTION ALERT: Please urge CNN to ask tough questions even—or especially—of officials who don’t grant many interviews.

CONTACT: Messages to CNN can be sent here (or via Twitter @CNN).

https://fair.org/home/action-alert-cnn- ... conflicts/

The problem here is that Sinema and CNN have the same mission: preservation of the status quo, particularly in keeping taxes low for the masters who feed them both. Obscuring the class war is Job One.
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Re: Censorship, fake news, perception management

Post by blindpig » Sat Dec 11, 2021 3:01 pm

10 Dec 2021 , 12:47 pm .

In a report dated May 25, 1961 and classified as "top secret", Boas informed London about the "satisfactory" evolution of the operation against the Caracas newspaper (Photo: BBC Mundo)

The Venezuelan newspaper El Nacional is one of the anti-Chavez media that has assumed itself as a bastion of the opposition since the media corporations, imperialism and major economic powers decided to take a hard line against the Bolivarian Revolution.

However, he did not always have this right wing vision and narrative. In fact, since its foundation in 1943, it became one of the benchmarks of journalism and the fight for democracy, even managing to be a beacon for the left-wing movements that first fought against authoritarianism and, later, against the governments of the Punto Fijo Pact that betrayed the great conglomerate of parties and movements that united against the last military dictatorship in the country, that of Marcos Pérez Jiménez.

And it was also a cultural reference in that El Nacional converged characters from the artistic life that contributed to delineate the cultural endeavor in Venezuela. It is worth noting that prominent writers such as Arturo Uslar Pietri, Oscar Guaramatos, Miguel Otero Silva, among others, passed through that newspaper, the latter being one of its most prominent directors and founders due to his weight in the narrative world of the country.


Of all the processes that this Venezuelan newspaper has undergone, one of the most notorious was the radical change in its narrative and directive more than 60 years ago. What elements intervened to make this paradigm shift happen at a time when political processes were being defined at the local, regional and global levels?

Recently, the BBC published a note revealing, so many years later, " the British secret operation behind the boycott of Venezuela's main newspaper in the midst of the Cold War ."

"Declassified documents between 2019 and 2020 obtained by BBC Mundo reveal that this operation was created and orchestrated by the British intelligence services, which sought to weaken the newspaper, which they pointed out to have sympathies with communism," says the media.

The radical change occurred in 1963 when El Nacional, the main newspaper at that time, informed the country that , after a change among its shareholders, they now had a new president, a new board of directors, a new director, and new editorial statutes. How did you make this change happen?

What is remarkable about this historical fact for Venezuelan journalism and for culture in general was not the event itself, but the surgical operation that was behind it, the motivations, the external factors that intervened, the context and what it represented for the future of society, as well as what defined that newspaper until then.

British intelligence "top secret" report on the newspaper "El Nacional" (Photo: BBC Mundo)


The change in the narrative and directive of El Nacional was the closure of a process that began a few years before, and in which diplomatic agents, politicians, economic powers and the British intelligence service participated (and the report infers that the American also) , which is perhaps one of the elements that most surprises, because it was not a natural space in which it developed, but it was possible as long as the context of the Cold War allowed it.

To understand the maneuver a bit, one must place oneself in the context of the bipolar world of the twentieth century, in which each terrain, both physical, intellectual and cultural, was a territory in dispute by the two great axes of power that exerted the greatest influence on the world. by then.

In addition to the global context, in Venezuela other processes converged that made the panorama even more complex.

In the first place, social discontent, among others, led to the emergence of guerrillas during the Fourth Republic and a period of violence that penetrated all sectors of society. Second, this violence also reached the cultural spheres, which were naturally and historically dominated by the left.

Obviously, any element that served as a speaker for those revolutionary ideas or that did not have consonance with the governments subservient to the United States were going to constitute a stumbling block, both for local and foreign interests. This is how El Nacional constituted a dangerous vehicle of ideas for the ruling power.

In reality, the campaign was oriented against Fidel Castro and the Cuban Revolution, the only revolutionary beacon in the region for a long time, until other progressive processes were added.


The British government set out to suffocate the newspaper through the strategy of cutting off the flow of resources and sources of funding, which were naturally advertisements for which it received a large part of the money.

"Last year, by twisted means, this office persuaded the main economic organizations here to stop running ads in 'El Nacional.' This forced the newspaper - Venezuela's largest with communist owners and staff - to abandon its campaign. in favor of the expropriation of foreign companies and communist agitation, "says the BBC about a secret report by Leslie Boas, who at that time was first secretary of the United Kingdom Embassy in Caracas.

According to the BBC, Boas was in charge of the Information Investigation Department (IRD) in Caracas, dedicated to propaganda and influence tasks in the 1960s, but also compiled information on groups and personalities pro-communists.

What methods did they apply to let companies stop paying for advertising? Well, the usual imperial strategy: extortion, a maneuver that began in 1961.

"By telephone, in anonymous letters, with threats and slander as weapons, they try to pressure commercial companies to remove their advertisements from the pages of our newspaper," the newspaper published at that time.

In addition to the fact that the American companies withdrew the advertising of the newspaper, which constituted a large inflow of money, the Creole bourgeoisie, the large Venezuelan companies and the local economic power, as well as other media that acted as competition, joined the boycott against El Nacional , until they managed to twist the editorial line.

"Along with North American companies such as Sears, General Electric, Pan American, Standard Oil (Creole), which withdrew the newspaper's advertisements, the most important Venezuelan capital companies such as Grupo Mendoza, Electricidad de Caracas, the Vollmer, banks, etc., determined to make him change his news line, "wrote Boas.


According to the statements of Rory Cormac, professor of International Relations at the University of Nottingham, in the United Kingdom, to the BBC , although apparently there was no direct reason for the British government to attack a Venezuelan medium of circulation, the English They were looking for a way to support the United States in the face of the danger of what the consolidation of a left government with the potential of Venezuela for the region meant. The initiative was a servile act to the imperial interests of the West in the context of the bipolar world.

On June 8, 1961, "El Nacional" decided to alert his readers for the first time about the campaign unleashed against him (Photo: File)

For the professor there was also another motivation and "it had to do with the business opportunities that were emerging in the region."

Ending communism represented an open door for business and investment in countries like Brazil and Venezuela, which were "developing" during that time.

What surprises at this point, even to the student of British covert operations carried out since the end of World War II, is that they have used the English spy service, M16, for operations on this continent, since it was generally the CIA who he took care of the region.

What came next is history. The lack of input of resources for advertising became a slow death of the newspaper until there was the total renewal of its board of directors and editorial. It is estimated that El Nacional lost about 3 million dollars, which was obviously due to the decrease in print runs and the reduction in the number of pages.

"(...) the provocations had a devastating effect in the first moments and that a considerable number of commercial houses withdrew their advertisements from this newspaper intimidated by the verbal terrorism of the blackmailers", the BBC reports on a publication of the newspaper from the beginning of the 60s.

The change in the narrative finally occurred with the departure of Miguel Otero Silva from El Nacional , a writer linked to leftist publications such as the humorous weekly El morrocoy azul , among others, remembered for his acid criticism of the governments of the time. And the change was to be expected as the new director, Raúl Valera, was a partner in a law firm that represented the interests of the American magnate Nelson Rockefeller in Venezuela.

Paradoxically, with all the damage they did to El Nacional, said media continues to be aligned with the imperial interests that block Venezuela. While it was not the CIA or the US State Department, it was the same extortion mechanism applied by British intelligence.

These mechanisms of intervention on the part of the United Kingdom and the West currently have their counterpart, but through different mechanisms. The British continue to try to twist the narrative through the injection of resources.

This year, Declassified UK published an investigation revealing funding for journalism sectors to "influence local and national media agendas" in Venezuela.

"The project to influence the media agenda in Venezuela is being promoted through the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund (CSSF). In its statute, the British government describes the Fund as an instrument that supports projects in set up to tackle conflict and instability that threaten UK interests, "says an investigation from this rostrum.

As can be seen, the imperial mechanisms for imposing the narrative and changing governments that are not complacent are the same, under different circumstances. The role of Western intelligence agencies often involves these types of stories that can distort the contemporary history of an organization or even a country.

https://misionverdad.com/venezuela/la-h ... derechista

Google Translator

Ah, the Brits again. They have assumed the role of #2, and indeed, they do try harder. As previously noted- https://orinocotribune.com/the-notoriou ... urnalists/ their presence in media is no accident. Here in the US many, especially of the liberal stripe, consider BBC to be the 'gold standard' of accurate information. But it seems that few take notice of the breathless and reflexively reactionary style of 'reporting' this seemingly endless stream of men & women with British accents affect when addressing the chosen enemies of the USA. For reasons I find unfathomable Americans imbue auto-trust in these 'classy' sounding folks. And maybe that's it, in plain sight, 'class'. Got them old ruling ideas blues again.
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Re: Censorship, fake news, perception management

Post by blindpig » Sun Dec 12, 2021 3:19 pm

Edward Bernays: Propaganda and the U.S.-Backed 1954 Guatemalan Coup
Posted by INTERNATIONALIST 360° on DECEMBER 10, 2021
Robert Skvarla

Edward Bernays: The father of public relations, the father of lies.

Edward Bernays may be known as the Father of Public Relations, but you would not be mistaken if you thought of him as the Father of Lies. He was a bullshit artist par excellence who pioneered countless methods of deceiving the public.

For Bernays—author of mind-control manuals like Propaganda and The Engineering of Consent—there was no truth, no concept of an objective right or wrong. There were only wants, needs and desires. From advertising cigarettes to overthrowing governments—anything was possible. In his autobiography, Biography of an Idea: Memoirs of a Public Relations Counsel, Bernays borrowed a quote from a friend to describe this post-truth reality:

“The cure for propaganda is more propaganda.” [1]

Big Tobacco

Bernays understood the truth is malleable based on an individual’s needs. People are not purely rational actors. They make choices contrary to their self-interest, ignore facts they find inconvenient, and avoid information that may damage their ego. The nephew of famed psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, Bernays drew on Freud’s work into the unconscious mind to construct elaborate public relations campaigns that preyed on these tendencies. His preferred tactic? The astroturf campaign—which gave off the illusion of having grass-roots support.

Today, Bernays is best remembered for a series of ads and media events dubbed “Torches of Freedom,” an early venture into social marketing that turned smoking into a form of gendered rebellion, but his first position in Big Tobacco was far more prescient of a future spent manipulating the public.

Working for Liggett & Myers, Bernays established a fake pressure group called the Tobacco Society for Voice Culture and blitzed letters to the editor to influential newspapers under an assumed identity. [2] The letters attacked claims made in ads for cigarette brand Lucky Strike that stated the cigarette helped singers overcome, as Lucky owners American Tobacco put it, “voice irritation.” Bernays’s campaign resonated to such a degree that The New Yorker ran a profile in which it interviewed the group’s “sole member” Henry Bern, a Bern-ays patsy. [3]

Bernays sought to exploit the gap between what the media report and what the public hears and, though his ideas were not always immediately successful, they would blossom strange fruit for decades to come.

In one of his more ambitious proposals, he called for American Tobacco (now his employers thanks to the success of the Liggett & Myers campaign) to create a front group that could anonymously promote its interests. This fake news group, the Tobacco Information Service Bureau (TISB), would send made-up press releases and articles to newspapers and magazines to create the illusion of a legitimate news bureau. [4]

One of the examples of an intended Bernays pitch highlights the absurdity of the TISB: “DOCTORS SAY CIGARETTES REDUCE NUMBER OF MOUTH BACTERIA.” [5] Although American Tobacco never implemented the suggestion, this would not be the end of Bernays’s infatuation with fake news.

The United Fruit Company

By 1950, the United Fruit Company had a problem. Guatemala, the source of its largest cash crop, was in the midst of a protracted revolution.

For most of the 20th century Guatemalans had lived under the authoritarian rule of American agribusiness. The United States government propped up successive Guatemalan dictators in exchange for the right of American companies to establish plantations in the country. Working conditions on these plantations were harsh—but worse still was the Guatemalan government’s clear favoritism toward American business owners.

In 1936, for example, then-President Jorge Ubico negotiated a deal with United Fruit exempting it from most export taxes. Resentment built among Guatemalans until 1944, when student protests at the Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala spiraled into a general strike.

It was clear to United Fruit’s leadership, in particular company president Sam Zemurray, that the country was moving left. Guatemalan military leaders confirmed these fears in October 1944 when they overthrew the Ubico government, in what came to be known as the October Revolution. In the aftermath, Guatemala elected “spiritual socialist” Juan José Arévalo as its new leader. United Fruit needed something—or someone—to save its business.

It should come as no surprise that Sam Zemurray sought out the services of Edward Bernays. In the wake of Arévalo’s ascendance, Guatemala continued to experience political turmoil.

Between 1945 and 1951, there were anywhere from 25 to 30 coup attempts against the Arévalo government. [6]

Bernays was not troubled by this violence. In fact, he found a use for it. His strategy in Guatemala would be simple: He would encourage further unrest. His goal, as described in Biography of an Idea, was to help the public “learn more about the countries in which [United Fruit] functioned and what social, economic, or other purposes it fulfilled.” [7]

But this would be no innocent public relations campaign. Bernays, the Father of Lies, went back to his time in the tobacco industry to pull from his bag of tricks.

The Middle American Information Bureau

Established in 1943, the Middle America Information Bureau (MAIB) served, by Bernays’s estimate, 25,000 Americans working in the media. [8] The organization spun events in Central America through the filter of United Fruit’s economic and political goals, providing American journalists and opinion leaders with United Fruit-approved context.

In the run-up to the 1945 Guatemalan revolution, for example, the MAIB published a pamphlet titled “Every American has a personal stake in our relations with Middle America.” It collated pull quotes from military leaders, business executives, and government officials explaining the “interdependence of Middle America and the United States.” [9]

The MAIB was part of a much larger infrastructure Bernays and Zemurray had set up to dupe the public. The phrase “Middle America,” an attempt by the two at rebranding Central America, came from the Middle American Research Institute (MARI), a Zemurray-funded research group at Tulane University. [10]

Zemurray had established MARI with the intention of focusing on the cultural history of Mexico but, over time, its focus shifted to include countries colonized by United Fruit. Bernays found this of particular importance in his goal of deposing the Guatemalan government.

He could use the patina of respectability provided by MARI to lend his new front an air of legitimacy. “Within a year authoritative atlases used the name Middle America to describe the territory in which the company was active,” he wrote in Biography of an Idea. “We were succeeding in equating the company with the area in which it functioned.” [11]

This infrastructure would expand over the course of the 1940s and 1950s. What was once a simple front operating as a news bureau grew into a propaganda machine that oversaw company newsletters in multiple Central American countries. [12]

At least one of the United Fruit-affiliated newsletters, Latin American Report, was later found to have CIA connections through its editor William Gaudet, whom the agency supported by paying for more than 20 subscriptions a year. [13]

It is unclear what Bernays’s level of knowledge was regarding Gaudet and his association with the CIA. An FBI memorandum dated June 28, 1968, noted that United Fruit officials viewed Gaudet as suspect due to various threats he had leveled at the company in the past. [14]

By that point, however, Gaudet and United Fruit had a collaborative relationship dating back more than a decade, based on articles and advertisements found in Latin American Report. [15] Does this mean the CIA was backing Bernays and his plan to topple the Guatemalan government?

Bernays Tricks a Nation

Bernays was an innovator in that he did not need to rely on others. By the time he felt he had exhausted all possibilities at diplomacy with the Guatemalan government, in 1950, he already knew how he intended to agitate his coup.

Arévalo’s successor, Jacobo Árbenz, was promising agrarian reforms that would return land from American businesses to the Guatemalan people.

Bernays surmised he could use this land-back promise to convince Americans that Árbenz was a threat not only to United Fruit but to the United States as well.

If Bernays could brand Árbenz a communist, he could inflate the threat posed in Guatemala. This would not be difficult, as he already believed Árbenz sympathetic to the communist cause. Writing in Biography of an Idea, he argued the Guatemalan leader “considered the anti-Communist movement subversive and openly accepted the Reds as allies.” [16]

A coup, however, required the full support of both the government and United Fruit, and United Fruit’s problem was that, to Bernays’s mind, its campaign against Guatemala was not aggressive enough. Sam Zemurray, United Fruit’s president, was well aware of the company’s image among American liberals as an aggressor in Central America and he had gone to great pains to rehab it.

An open coup could hurt business. So, in January 1950, when liberal magazine The Nation published “Democracy in Latin America: Chaos on Our Doorstep” attacking United Fruit’s exploitation of countries like Guatemala, it came as a shock to Zemurray. Zemurray was an avid reader of the magazine and took its positions as a bellwether on public opinion. The article threatened the reformed image that Zemurray had spent years cultivating. He endeavored to pen a response. Bernays, ever the opportunist, jumped into action.

Bernays knew that for a coup to take place he would have to appeal not only to United Fruit but also its well-intentioned liberal critics. Thus, on March 18th, a week before Zemurray’s letter was set to appear in The Nation, the magazine published “Communism in the Caribbean?” an article by a pseudonymous American writer identified as Ellis Ogle. The article was an about-face and made the case for a military intervention from a liberal perspective, with Ogle attacking Guatemala’s “free election” and lamenting that “foreigners have no votes in Guatemala.” [17]

Bernays could not have been happier. “I proposed sending the Nation article to 100,000 liberals,” he wrote in Biography of an Idea. “I believed the Caribbean ferment was bound to become increasingly important. Liberals must play a decisive role. Zemurray agreed.” [18]

What role did Bernays play in the writing of The Nation article? He had, in the past, written letters to publications using pseudonyms, as in the case of the Tobacco Society for Voice Culture. On the other hand, someone identifying as either a real or pseudonymous Ellis Ogle had appeared once before in the pages of The Nation—but that Ellis Ogle was no journalist and certainly not one stationed in Central America.

That Ellis Ogle appeared in a 1920 letter-to-the-editor chastising the Boston Evening Transcript for its labor coverage. [19]

One final wrinkle: The CIA first authorized William Gaudet to begin receiving payments for “special reports” in 1950. [20] The same FBI case file that contained the earlier 1968 United Fruit memorandum also observed that he “may do some free-lance writing under a pen name.” [21]

Regardless of who wrote the article, it achieved its intended effect. Zemurray appeared happy with its influence and started providing direct financial support to The Nation the following year. [22]

Bernays, having removed his final obstacle to a coup, began organizing trips to Guatemala for reporters. Beginning with New York Times writers Will Lissner and Crede Calhoun, Bernays instigated a press panic with carefully curated tours highlighting the dangers of the Árbenz government. [23]

These Bernays-sponsored trips coincided with violent protests, helping to shape perception of Árbenz as a power-hungry dictator. Ludwell Denny, foreign editor for Scripps Howard Newspapers, summed up this sentiment best in a February 1952 syndicated story comparing an alleged alliance between “Guatemalan National Socialists” and Moscow to the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. [24]

Once again, as with his prior stunts, Bernays’s media blitz worked. The incoming Eisenhower administration—which included Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, a partner at the law firm which had helped United Fruit negotiate the 1936 tax-dodging contract with Jorge Ubico—was open to the idea of a coup. [25]

Thus, in August 1953, President Eisenhower authorized the Central Intelligence Agency to undertake a covert operation to topple Árbenz.

Operation PBSuccess

Code-named Operation PBSuccess, the CIA operation lasted almost a year and consisted of psychological warfare designed to break the will of the Guatemalan people. Although Bernays was not directly involved, the CIA took a cue from the PR guru and flooded Guatemalans with propaganda to counter the Árbenz government’s own messages, the most notorious example being a fake radio station named the Voice of Liberation.

The station, directed by agent and ex-actor David Atlee Philllips, broadcast messages ranging from fake bulletins on troop movements to disinformation intended to stir hysteria and sow confusion among Guatemala’s citizens. One such broadcast: “It is not true that the waters of Lake Atitlan have been poisoned.” [26]

If Bernays could not take part in the coup in person, he was there in spirit because, on June 27, 1954, he achieved what no PR professional had before him. In the late hours of the evening a pre-recorded broadcast went out to the Guatemalan people. “Workers, peasants, patriots,” intoned the voice of Jacobo Árbenz. “Guatemala is going through a hard trial. A cruel war against Guatemala has been unleashed. The United Fruit Company and U.S. monopolies, together with U.S. ruling circles, are responsible for…” [27]

Jacobo Árbenz had resigned as president. Árbenz ended the broadcast by declaring, “Long live Guatemala!” but this sentiment would be short lived. After a series of political maneuvers, exiled military leader Carlos Castillo Armas returned to Guatemala and took power with the full support of the United States government. Guatemala backslid into authoritarian rule and the Castillo Armas government established concentration camps for political prisoners, where they executed suspected communists. [28]

Bernays, for his part, was ambivalent about his involvement in the coup. In his war on the truth, he had somehow lost sight of his role in fomenting unrest and convinced himself that he was the real victim. “I, too, became a casualty of this revolution,” he wrote, reflecting on his time lobbying against Guatemala. “[United Fruit’s public relations director] sent me a note telling me I was so well off economically that I didn’t need the United Fruit Company as a client.” [29]

The Father of Lies

Whether selling cigarettes or deposing world leaders, Edward Bernays molded reality like clay. In his hands, words spun like so many hollow jars. However, the one constant, the one truth among his many distortions, is that Bernays had no use for the truth.

In this sense, Bernays is responsible for our current information crisis. His public relations campaigns formed the foundation of modern disinformation and influence operations. You are not really lying if the lies you tell are to counter other lies. The cure for propaganda is more propaganda.

We can see the influence of Bernays today all around us, in politics and beyond. Dark money networks birthing artificial advocacy organizations, shadowy donors funding fake pressure groups. Bernays’s specter illuminates the television, where think tanks assemble pundits on the factory line. But most of all, we see him on social media platforms, spaces reliant on a kind of emotional manipulation Bernays perfected a century before Facebook and Cambridge Analytica existed.

Astroturfing is now the primary tool of political deception online. Militaries and police departments operate under fake identities; politicians maintain burner accounts; and government agencies direct troll armies.

If the 20th century was the century of the self, then the 21st is the century of the second self—of the third, the fourth, and the fifth. We are no longer bound by the constraints of the truth; as with Bernays, we are free to create and assume identities as we desire. Will we use this freedom to topple governments? Who has already?

Edward Bernays: The father of public relations, the father of lies.


[1] Edward Bernays, Biography of an Idea: Memoirs of a Public Relations Counsel (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1965), 384.

[2] Larry Tye, The Father of Spin: Edward L. Bernays & the Birth of Public Relations (New York: Crown Publishers, 1998), 35-36.

[3] Josef Israels and James Thurber, “The Talk of the Town”, The New Yorker, December 23, 1927, https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/1927 ... -an-oliver.

[4] Allan M. Brandt, The Cigarette Century (New York: Basic Books, 2007), 81-82.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Richard H. Immerman, The CIA in Guatemala: The Foreign Policy of Intervention (Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 1982), 57; Jim Handy, “The Guatemalan Revolution and Civil Rights: Presidential Elections and the Judicial Process under Juan José Arévalo and Jacobo Arbenz Guzmán,” Canadian Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Studies, 10, no. 19 (1985): 7.

[7] Edward Bernays, Biography of an Idea, 749.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Middle America Information Bureau, Every American has a personal stake in our relations with Middle America (New York: Middle America Information Bureau, 1945), 4, https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id= ... &skin=2021.

[10] Edward Bernays, Biography of an Idea, 749.

[11] Ibid., 749-750.

[12] Stephen Schlesinger and Stephen Kinzer, Bitter Fruit: The Untold Story of the American Coup in Guatemala (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1982), 82.

[13] Ibid. See also U.S. Congress, House Select Committee on Assassinations, 1975, “Memo of Conversation Between George Gaudet and Bernard Festerwald,” Unclassified Memorandum, Washington, D.C.: United States House of Representatives, https://www.archives.gov/files/research ... -10390.pdf.

[14] SAC New Orleans, “Reurlet of 6/14/68” (Federal Bureau of Investigation, New Oleans, LA: June 28, 1968), 2, https://www.archives.gov/files/research ... 298962.pdf.

[15] William George Gaudet, “The Bounding Main…”, Latin American Report, 1, no. 8 (1956): 3; United Fruit Company, “Seven to One,” Latin American Report, 3, no. 4 (1959): 1; United Fruit Company, “United Fruit Is Growing With Jamaica and Helping Jamaica to Grow,” Latin American Report, 5, vol. 3 (1963): 8.

[16] Edward Bernays, Biography of an Idea, 762.

[17] Ellis Ogle, “Communism in the Caribbean?” The Nation, March 18, 1950, 246-247.

[18] Edward Bernays, Biography of an Idea, 759.

[19] Ellis Ogle, letter to the editor, The Nation, July 10, 1920, 44.

[20] Raymond Reardon, “Subject: William George Gaudet” (Security Analysis Group, Washington, DC: January 16, 1976), https://documents.theblackvault.com/doc ... -10236.pdf. [NOTE: Shouldn’t it state that it is a “CIA Routing and Record Sheet” somewhere?]

[21] SAC New Orleans, “Reurlet of 6/14/68,” 3.

[22] Dan Koeppel, Banana: The Fate of the Fruit That Changed The World (New York: Hudson Street Press, 2008), 119.

[23] Will Lissner, “Soviet Agents Plotting to Ruin Unity, Defenses of Americas,” The New York Times, June 22, 1950, https://timesmachine.nytimes.com/timesm ... =true&ip=0; C.H. Calhoun, “Guatemalan Reds Trade on Old Ills”, The New York Times, June 5, 1951, https://timesmachine.nytimes.com/timesm ... =true&ip=0.

[24] Ludwell Denny, “Enemy Below the Border,” Knoxville News-Sentinel (Knoxville, TN), February 11, 1952, https://www.newspapers.com/image/595431436/.

[25] Richard Immerman, The CIA in Guatemala, 71.

[26] Evan Thomas, “You Can Own the World,” The Washington Post, October 22, 1995, https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/ ... 1d63a539d/.

[27] Jacobo Árbenz, “Arbenz Speech Delivered at 0310-0320” (speech, Guatemala, June 27, 1954), CIA Historical Review Program, https://www.cia.gov/readingroom/docs/DOC_0000920952.pdf.

[28] Richard Immerman, The CIA in Guatemala, 198-199.

[29] Edward Bernays, Biography of an Idea, 775.

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Re: Censorship, fake news, perception management

Post by blindpig » Mon Jan 03, 2022 3:32 pm

Beijing’s Movie War Propaganda—and Washington’s

NYT: For China's Holidays, a Big-Budget Blockbuster Relives an American Defeat
New York Times (10/8/21): “The Battle at Lake Changjin was made with government support and guidance, underscoring the lengths the authorities will go to shape popular culture.”
To coincide with the 100th anniversary of the founding of the ruling Communist Party, the powerful Chinese Central Propaganda Department commissioned a blockbuster film that depicts a US defeat in the Korean War.

Under fire from US bombs, the heroic People’s Army fights a brutal ground battle and emerges victorious. Brave Chinese soldiers are caught in a hellish landscape as air attacks riddle the earth all around them. A villainous US Gen. Douglas MacArthur, shot Nazi-style from a low camera, shakes his fist and shouts into a microphone, “I believe we will succeed!” Spoiler: He doesn’t.

This Chinese war entertainment opened the 11th Beijing International Film Festival and made audiences cheer as they flocked to theaters in China. The Battle at Lake Changjin has grossed more than $900 million to date at the box office, making it the second-highest-grossing film in the world in 2021 (beaten only by Spider-Man: No Way Home), and the highest-grossing non-English-language film of all time.

The New York Times (10/8/21) didn’t think much of the movie. It called it “aggrieved, defiant and jingoistic,” and pointed out that depictions of the Korean War have long been a staple of Communist Party propaganda. Despite its big budget—the film came with a $200 million price tag, the most ever spent on a film in China—the film got “mixed reviews,” though the Times acknowledged it was at least better than the “usual agitprop.”

The paper did worry that it was supported by the government, which helped with “script development, production and publicity,” and used “serving soldiers among the movie’s 70,000 extras.” Communist Party support for The Battle at Lake Changjin underscored “the lengths the authorities will go to shape popular culture.”

Chinese authorities, that is.

Them, not us

Each aspect of Chinese propaganda the Times complains about is routinely employed by US media, and they have been for years. But such facts are not mentioned.

There is no doubt that the film is propaganda. A piece pulled from CNN’s international wire (10/4/21) explained that for the 100th anniversary, Beijing ordered filmmakers to to “spread propaganda celebrating the anniversary of the Communist Party.” Movies would have to focus on themes of “loving the Party, the country and socialism,” and “singing the praises of the Chinese Communist Party, the motherland, the people and its heroes.”

But in the post-9/11 era, in which US popular culture has been dominated by the military, the main difference between China’s film industry and Hollywood’s is that the China Film Administration openly explains its propaganda goals. In the United States, filmmaking has been subsidized and guided by the Pentagon for years, but that influence is rarely identified as propaganda.

Twenty years ago this month, on November 11, 2001, Bush Administration communications strategist Karl Rove called a conclave in Beverly Hills, and four dozen members of the media industry elite showed up. Rove asked these “dream makers” to help the White House promote the “war on terror.” The industry complied.

Though military influence on film studios dates back to World War I (MRonline, 7/3/21), the military entertainment complex took off in the 21st century, and the long-time head of the Pentagon’s Film Liaison Office, Phillip Strub, became the most powerful man in Hollywood (SpyCulture, 12/11/18).

The Pentagon’s Hollywood power

Coming in 2022 from the Media Education Foundation.

Roger Stahl’s latest film, Theaters of War: How the Pentagon and CIA Took Hollywood, an educational documentary to be released in 2022 by the Media Education Foundation, examines this media/military merger, and looks at Strub’s influence on hundreds of films. On-camera interviews with journalists, scholars, writers (of which I am one), and even filmmaker Oliver Stone, detail the rules and their consequences.

Professor Trisha Jenkins explains: “The Pentagon is powerful in the film and TV industry because they have expensive toys. They have submarines, they have aircraft carriers,” not to mention helicopters, pilots and extras. Another UK scholar, Matthew Alford, follows with “that is going to give them rights, usually contracted in, to change the script.” Oliver Stone is featured saying, “You can call it censorship, you can call it propaganda—it’s all of these things.” But ultimately, as Canadian professor Tanner Mirrlees argues, “This is more insidious than actually state-controlled and state-produced propaganda, because it passes off as just entertainment.”

Blockbuster films like Iron Man (2008), Captain Marvel (2019) and even Superman (1978) are loaded with military hardware and influence. Indeed, the Air Force was very pleased that its personnel “came off looking like rock stars” in Transformers (2007) (American Forces Press Service, 6/21/07), and director Michael Bay “loves working with veterans” on other movies in the franchise (Military.com, 9/12/21).

Media scholars have long understood that stealth tactics of persuasion, able to deliver propaganda messages under the cover of entertainment, enhance those messages’ effectiveness. Not only did active duty Navy Seals star in Act of Valor, but the film grew out of a recruitment advertisement for the military. The previously super-secret SEALs are endowed with almost superhuman prowess; one is said to be “made of granite.” Though dramatically outnumbered, they vanquish every terrorist plot and never seem to miss a shot. And Marvel Comics’ superhero franchises have shilled for the Pentagon for years, creating the illusion of US militarism as a benevolent force.

All the equipment, tanks and army vehicles, crews and pilots so often featured in blockbuster films have earned enormous profits for studios. Meanwhile, many films not aligned with a positive military ethos, or that declined to present the military in a singularly positive light, have been turned down and never made. Previously, scholars estimated about 200-300 films had been made with Pentagon direction. “Then in 2018, we were able to account for about 900 films,” Roger Stahl told FAIR. But recently, with the help of journalist Tom Secker, he uncovered a blizzard of recently released documents that together show about 3,000 films shaped by Pentagon censors. Over the years, militainment has, in the words of Henry Giroux, created “a constant military presence in American life” and forged a civil society “more aggressive in its war-like enthusiasms.”

But the power of the Pentagon’s Film Liaison office and the influence it’s had on Hollywood is rarely discussed in corporate media. US media easily recognizes Chinese propaganda, but the “lengths the authorities will go to shape popular culture” in the US is not on their agendas.

Some papers are more adept at identifying the often-heavy-handed propaganda produced by Hollywood. The British Independent (10/24/21) asked, “If this mega Chinese blockbuster is propaganda, what are Bond and Captain Marvel?” Louis Chilton observed that when “transparent indoctrination is getting called out,” it’s a good thing; “if only we were so ready to spot propaganda when it’s a little closer to home.” He tags Captain Marvel (2019) as a “bare-faced piece of propaganda,” at times mimicking an “unusually elaborate advertisement for Air Force recruitment.”

Captain Marvel as recruitment tool

Captain Marvel features a fictional superhero who works for a very real air force.

The review of The Battle of Lake Changjin includes a photo of a little boy saluting for the camera in front of the film’s huge poster, no doubt to illustrate the film’s indoctrination of China’s young people. But consider Captain Marvel. Carol Danvers, Marvel Comics’ superhero, the strong, determined, female warrior empowered by absorbing a super-cosmic light force, was harnessed, pigeonholed and appropriated into a promotional product for the Air Force.

Partnering in the production of the film, the Air Force used Captain Marvel as an elaborate recruitment tool. It began with a photo of the star, Brie Larson, with Brig. Gen. Jeannie M. Leavitt, the first female fighter pilot, atop an F-15 at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada. Larson joined simulated dogfights at Nellis, and explained, while promoting the film, that at “the core of [Carol Danvers] is the Air Force.”

The Air Force, together with the Navy and Marine Corps, are all short 25% of their pilot billets. The Air Force is on the hunt for the next generation of pilots, having been doling out cash incentives to prevent pilots from defecting to the private sector with little success. A glamorous superhero would be much more persuasive.

The weekend Captain Marvel was released, thousands of screenings included US Air Force ads highlighting female pilots like Carol Danvers: “Every superhero has an origin story. For us, it was the US Air Force.” Air Force personnel were featured at the film’s red-carpet premiere, and the Nellis-based Thunderbirds performed a thrilling flyover at the base.

Bathing in the reflected glow of a superhero, few will pause to consider the harsh realities of what it’s like for women in the Air Force. Just before the movie came out, a Smithsonian Magazine survey (1/19) found that two-thirds of women polled said they experienced gender discrimination while serving, and the same proportion reported being sexually harassed or assaulted. In 2019, the Department of Defense reported the number of sexual assaults at service academies rose from 507 in 2016 to 747 in 2018, a 47% spike. In 2018, at the Air Force Academy, 15% of women reported incidents of sexual assault.

The Pentagon has long claimed that a pillar of script selection is the accurate portrayal of the armed forces, something they can do better than fictional film directors. As one Air Force spokesperson explained, we partner with “any number of entertainment projects to ensure that the depiction of Airmen and the Air Force mission is accurate and authentic.” Touting the film as authentic hides the realities of sexual assault and the fact that women pilots in the Air Force amount to only 6.5 % “and fewer than 3% fly fighters.” In terms of accuracy, Carol Danvers is a fictional superhero, a comic book character with supernatural powers who flies unassisted through space and destroys alien spaceships!

China battles the US
WaPo: Americans Vanquished, China Triumphant: 2021's Hit War Epic Doesn't Fit Hollywood Script
Washington Post (10/14/21): “Studios often work closely with the government and army to ensure that their films fit with the official narrative of events.”
Though US media reviews consistently condemned The Battle at Lake Changjin as Chinese propaganda, they eschewed discussion of the Korean War itself. A few headlines seem to imply that the Chinese and US versions of the war were different in the film, but none articulated how.

A Washington Post review (10/14/21), headlined “Americans Vanquished, China Triumphant: 2021’s Hit War Epic Doesn’t Fit Hollywood Script,” opens with food: US troops eat “roast chicken” and the People’s Army “gnaw on frozen potatoes.” The second paragraph includes Chinese soldiers charging through snow into battle, shouting, “Resist American aggression and aid Korea,” compared to—nothing.

The actual conflict presented seems to be between China’s new commercial film success, which can now challenge Hollywood’s global dominance, “despite a debate over the movie’s historical accuracy,” though no inaccuracies are offered. Other examples make it hard to see how “macho action films” popular in China since 2017 present a different script from US films. No difference is offered between US films and those produced in China, where studios “work closely with the government and army to ensure that their films fit with the official narrative of events.” It’s simply implied that this doesn’t happen here.

In like manner, Chinese soldiers that died in battle in Lake Changjin are “valorized,” or turned into “martyrs,” as if US war films refrain from such blatant genre stereotypes. Even though the Post admits the Lake Changjin battle was a “successful campaign to hold off US troops during the Korean War,” it’s still referred to as a “foundational myth.”

The Hollywood Reporter (6/23/21) does the same. After describing the narrative as a Chinese victory—“the historic battle saw the PLA overcome long odds” to push “US military forces into retreat”—it went on to say, “It glorifies Chinese sacrifices and heroism.” Aren’t glory and heroism the main points of war blockbusters?

Ultimately for the Post, the conflict of this “politically charged debate” is about global film profits, which “underscores the uneasy relationship between Hollywood and China.” A decade ago, US blockbusters dominated the top 10 lists for Chinese ticket sales, but now those spots are often taken by Chinese produced movies. Forbes (10/2/21) and CNN (10/4/21) also picked up the battle of the box office theme, a topic far more suited to corporate film journalism than unpacking film content.

The real Korean War
Military.com: "Frozen Chosin" Korean War Movie Set to Be Biggest Box-Office Hit of 2021
Military.com (10/11/21) complains that Lake Changjin “ignores any facts that might detract from the heroic story it is trying to tell.”
The Battle at Lake Changjin depicts a Chinese victory over US troops at a place known to the US military as Chosin Reservoir. It was a turning point of the Korean War—or, as the war is known in China, the “War to Resist US Aggression and Aid Korea.”

Most corporate media reports on the film repeated these facts. A few outlets interjected that the film failed to mention that North Korea had invaded the South first, a statement that stands as the central justification for the US intervention.

The war in Korea has long been referred to as the “forgotten war.” Big journalism, now as in the past, has failed to pen a coherent narrative of the war, but it was a defining moment for US militarism. The first major combat of the Cold War, the sheer brutality of the US offensive left North Korea in shambles and killed 3 million people on both sides.

The US entered the war in July 1950 and began a relentless bombing campaign. By September 1950, official press communiqués from Gen. Douglas MacArthur announced a “paucity” of targets, as everything had already been bombed. One lamented, “It’s hard to find good targets, for we have burned out almost everything.”

After devastating the country, US forces pushed north toward the Chinese border, where they expected to confront about 30,000 Chinese soldiers. But “faulty intelligence” from the CIA vastly underestimated Chinese resistance, and UN and US forces confronted, instead, a Chinese army over 120,000 strong. The 17-day battle started on November 26 and lasted until December 13, 1950, and turned the war from a US-led rout of North Korean forces to a stalemate that still exists on the Korean peninsula.

When Military.com (10/11/21) reviewed the film, it gave an official US version of the battle: “Chinese forces surprised United Nations troops, and a force of 30,000 was confronted by 120,000 Red Army soldiers.” Nicknamed the “Frozen Chosin,” it’s “a heroic tale of survival against incredibly long odds as US-led forces successfully retreat to the port of Hungnam.” This tale of heroism that presents US forces as victims is made possible by the certainty that it will not be challenged.

‘Moral imbecility’

US Air Force planes bombing Korea.

Historian Bruce Cumings, a recognized authority on the war, speaking on a BBC documentary titled Korea: The Unknown War (1988), describes the genocidal bombing that killed perhaps 2 million civilians—one quarter of the peninsula’s population. American pilots “dropped oceans of napalm, left barely a modern building standing, opened large dams to flood nearby rice valleys and killed thousands of peasants by denying them food. It was “a conscious program of using Air Power to destroy a society.” Cummings expresses indignation that “this well-documented episode merits not the slightest attention or moral qualms in the United States.”

These sentiments are mirrored in I.F. Stone’s Hidden History of the Korean War. The investigative journalist slogged through MacArthur’s communiqués, characterizing them as “literally horrifying.” Stone noted the complete indifference to noncombatants displayed by the tactic of saturating villages with napalm to dislodge a few soldiers.

Another communiqué from a captain gloated, “You can kiss that group of villages goodbye.” These documents “reflected not the pity which human feeling called for, but a kind of gay moral imbecility utterly devoid of imagination—as if the flyers were playing in a bowling alley, with villages for pins.”

MacArthur wanted to continue to push north and bomb China, but President Harry Truman found the nerve, with some help from Congress, to fire the four-star general who had heckled him in public and challenged his policy. The fighting ended with an armistice on July 27, 1953. It was not won, it was negotiated. In the words of Cumings, “An American army victorious on a world scale five years earlier was fought to a standstill by rough peasant armies.”

‘Upsurge in seeking the truth’
Independent: If this mega Chinese blockbuster is propaganda, what are Bond and Captain Marvel?
Louis Chilton (Independent, 10/23/21): “Perhaps the issue with The Battle at Lake Changjin is not that it indoctrinates its audience, but that it fails to clothe its insidious political message in the requisite amount of subtlety.”
Cai Xia, a domestic critic of the Chinese government and former scholar at the Central Party School, wrote that Lake Changjin’s efforts to incite enmity for the United States had “unexpectedly triggered an upsurge in seeking the truth about the Korean War.” It would be surprising if US reviews of the film had inspired such knowledge-seeking in this country.

As Louis Chilton observed in the Independent (10/23/21), propaganda can look like The Battle at Lake Changjin, but it can also look like Brie Larson strapping herself into a fighter jet in Captain Marvel, or “Bradley Cooper squinting through the sight of a rifle in American Sniper.” Picking and choosing which to recognize “can only end badly.”

A precursor to previous US calls to war, laying the groundwork for full-on demonization of an enemy, has been the charge that the targeted country and its leaders are propagandists. As FAIR (10/6/21) observed, US corporate media have been making that charge with gusto recently, which should be a cause for concern to all of us.

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Re: Censorship, fake news, perception management

Post by blindpig » Wed Jan 12, 2022 3:02 pm


Meta Censors Anti-Imperialist Speech in Obedience to the US Government
January 11, 2022
By Caitlin Johnstone – Jan 5, 2022

Anti-imperialist commentator Richard Medhurst reports that Instagram has deleted some 20 images from his account and given him a warning that he could face a permanent ban if he continues making similar posts. The posts in question are screenshots from a Twitter thread Medhurst made to commemorate the two-year anniversary of the Trump administration’s assassination of renowned Iranian military leader Qasem Soleimani.

Go ahead and read the thread; here’s the hyperlink again. There’s nothing in there that comes anywhere remotely close to violating Instagram’s terms of service as they are written; Medhurst condemns the assassination and the bogus justifications provided for it, and discusses Soleimani’s crucial role in the fight against ISIS and Al Qaeda. The reason for Instagram’s censorship of Medhurst’s political speech is that Instagram’s parent company Meta (then called Facebook) determined after Soleimani’s assassination that anything which seems supportive of him constitutes a violation of US sanctions and must therefore be removed.

In 2019 the Trump administration designated Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a Foreign Terrorist Organization, which was as hypocritical and arbitrary as any other government designating any other branch of another government’s military a terrorist organization. Despite this completely baseless designation, both the Meta-owned social media platforms Facebook and Instagram have been actively censoring political speech about Soleimani, who was the commander of the IRGC’s Quds force when he was assassinated. Medhurst reports that he has been censored on Instagram under the same justification for posting about Hamas as well.

We don’t talk enough about how completely insane it is that a social media company with billions of users is censoring worldwide political speech about a major historical figure in alignment with US government decrees. Even if you were to accept the ridiculous justifications for designating a branch of the Iranian military a terrorist organization, and even if you were to accept it as perfectly sane and normal for a communications company of unprecedented influence to take its marching orders on censorship from US government dictates, Soleimani is dead. He’s a dead man, he could not possibly pose any threat to anybody, and yet they’re censoring people from voicing opinions about his assassination.

I think I’ve been failing to appreciate the madness of this situation over the last two years because it’s simply too crazy to take in all at once. You have to really sit with it a minute and let it absorb. This is a person who shaped the world, whose impact on human civilization will be studied for generations. And the largest social media company on earth is actively censoring discussion about him because the US government said it’s not allowed.

Whenever I talk about the dangers of online censorship I always get a bunch of propagandized automatons bleating “It’s not censorship! Censorship is when the government restricts freedom of speech; this is just a private company enforcing its terms of service!”

This line of argumentation is plainly born of sloppy analysis. All the largest online platforms have been working in conjunction with the US government to censor speech, and doing so with greater and greater degrees of intimacy. A monopolistic Silicon Valley megacorporation censoring political speech about an important historical figure because the US government says he was a terrorist is about as brazen an act of government censorship as you could possibly come up with. The fact that that censorship is outsourced to a putatively private company is irrelevant.

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Re: Censorship, fake news, perception management

Post by blindpig » Thu Jan 13, 2022 2:53 pm

Twitter Bans African Anti-Imperialists
Ann Garrison, BAR Contributing Editor 12 Jan 2022

Twitter Bans African Anti-Imperialists

Many liberals and even some leftists welcomed the removal of Twitter accounts for Alex Jones, Milo Yiannopoulos, Richard Spencer, Donald Trump, and other right-wing ideologues, but it was clear at the time that the left would be next, especially anyone particularly vocal in opposition to U.S. foreign policy.

Since November 3 and 4, when the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) started the ongoing civil war in Ethiopia by attacking a federal army base, Western policymakers and their stenographic press, especially in the U.S., have defended the TPLF, their former puppet, and maligned the Ethiopian government and its prime minister, Abiy Ahmed Ali. In December, Twitter began banning Ethiopian, Eritrean, and Somali activists who had created and built a Pan-African #NoMore movement. I spoke to Nebiyu Asfaw, founder of the Ethiopian American Development Council, who had his account permanently banned.

Ann Garrison: Nebiyu Asfaw, tell us when you were suspended from Twitter.

Nebiyu Asfaw: I was suspended on December 23, two days before Christmas, on the same day the #NoMoreHub account was suspended.

AG: And tell us what hashtag #NoMore is.

NA: Hashtag #NoMore is a movement, a social justice movement that started in November and has been trending globally since then. It's a Pan-African movement, pro-peace, anti-war movement. Its main theme is saying #NoMore to Western dominance and intervention in Africa.

That's probably enough to get you thrown off Twitter.

AG: What other accounts associated with you and #NoMore were suspended? I know you're only one of a number.

NA: Yeah, there have been several influential grassroots accounts, all of them related or promoting the #NoMore movement. The @HornOfAfricaHub , the New Africa Institute, and individuals like Dr. Simon Tesfamariam, Dr. Ir. Middle Lander, and others. The list goes on, and we were banned for no apparent reason.

The biggest ones taken down were the @HornOfAfricaHub , where the #NoMore movement was launched. And then the @NoMoreHub account. Those were the central places where the movement was being organized.

AG: Have you made any attempt to appeal this to Twitter?

NA: Many of the account holders or managers have submitted appeals disputing it. I didn’t do that, because I didn't think there was any point to it. From what I've heard, all of the appeals that have been submitted have been either ignored or denied by Twitter. I see this as an intentional silencing of African voices, an intentional silencing of pro-peace, anti-war, anti-intervention voices.

There have been a few accounts, maybe one or two Somali accounts and one Ethiopian account, that were restored, but a lot of influential accounts have not been. In fact, many of the people who have appealed are being told that they and/or accounts they manage are banned for life.

AG: I’ve seen that some have lost both personal accounts and movement accounts they managed. I believe Dr. Simon Tesfamariam lost four accounts, because he was managing two movement accounts, his personal account,, and one that he used for issues related to his profession as a medical doctor.

NA: Yeah, I believe that’s right. But Twitter doesn't have any rules against people having or managing multiple accounts, professional, personal, and organizational. People often use shared accounts, personal accounts, professional accounts, you know.

It’s disturbing that no accounts associated with the TPLF, the Tigrayan People's Liberation Front have been banned, even though the TPLF started the civil war in Ethiopia by attacking a federal army base on November 3 and 4, 2020. The TPLF is a proxy for the Western nations, particularly the United States, and there are hundreds of pro-TPLF accounts that regularly incite violence against the democratically elected government of Ethiopia. These accounts have not been banned or suspended and some of them have even been getting verified by Twitter and getting those blue check marks. They include the rebel leader Getach e w Reda , who was literally tweeting from the war zone in northern Ethiopia, talking about how they were about to shell a town—not an army detail, a town full of civilians. I don't know how much more violent than that you can get.

AG: Maybe if you drop cruise missiles on civilians or a nuclear bomb on the whole world.

NA: That might be worse, but this TPLF violence is way up on the scale that Twitter and Facebook keep saying they’re trying to protect with their community codes of conduct. And their accounts are getting verified, not disconnected.

AG: I saw a tweet from Getachew Reda some months back in which he talked about cleansing the bloodline, by which I assume he meant Tigrayan.

NA: Exactly. And that should tell you something.

It’s just really unfortunate, you know. I'm not saying the entire Twitter corporation is behind it. But there are certainly people within the company who are regulating these discussions related to the Horn of Africa. They appear to have taken a side and that side they've taken is for the insurgents, the armed insurgents that are backed by the Western nations.

And they're going against people like Dr. Tesfamariam and me and movement organizations that are advocating for peace. Anyone who goes through the archives of our tweets can see that we use robust language sometimes against the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front, but there's no violence. It's pro-peace. It's about unity. It's about Pan-Africanism. You know, it's about respecting the sovereignty of African nations. It’s the voice of the marginalized people.

Western media, CNN especially, but the rest of the mainstream media, has completely shut our voices out, silenced our voices. They’re just telling one side of the story, the pro-war story justifying intervention, using a humanitarian cause as a pretext for foreign intervention.

And when we speak up about our truth, they're silent. So, you know, we're trying to tell our own story. We're trying to create awareness within the good American people.

I think the American people are good people, but are misled by the mainstream media. And we're using social media to make our voice heard. Because when the American people know the truth, they always stand with us. And this has been apparent in the dozens of protests we've had throughout the country, where Americans are coming out and standing with us for peace.

We've seen this movie before. We've seen it in Libya. We've seen it in Syria. We've seen it in Iraq, where they told us there were weapons of mass destruction. We've seen it in Libya, where they told us that Gaddafi’s soldiers were using Viagra to mass rape people, or that he was committing genocide. It all turned out to be false. In Syria they've been telling us that Assad is using chemical weapons. And now they're doing the same thing in Ethiopia because they want to intervene.

In Ethiopia, we actually have a government that is liked by the people, that was elected by the people. We have a Pan-Africanist leader who is trying to bring people together. But he and the Ethiopian government have refused to play proxy for the U.S., have refused to be a puppet regime like the TPLF. And that is really the only crime—what the U.S. considers a crime—that this government has committed. They have asserted their sovereignty and said that we will not be a proxy for anyone. We're going to stand for the benefit of the Ethiopian people. They're standing for African people. That’s the cause for the U.S. aggression, that Ethiopian people are trying to determine their own destiny.

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Re: Censorship, fake news, perception management

Post by blindpig » Mon Jan 17, 2022 3:22 pm


Don’t underestimate how badly the powerful need control of online speech
Posted Jan 17, 2022 by Caitlin A. Johnstone

Originally published: Caitlin A Johnstone Blog (January 15, 2022 ) |

Seems like almost every day now the mass media are blaring about the need for speech on the internet to be controlled or restricted in some way. Today they’re running stories about Joe Rogan and Covid misinformation; tomorrow it will be something else.

The reasons for the need to control online speech change from day to day, but the demand for that control remains a constant. Some days it’s a need to protect the citizenry from online disinformation campaigns by foreign governments. Sometimes it’s the need to guarantee election security. Sometimes it’s the need to eliminate domestic extremism and conspiracy theories. Sometimes it’s Covid misinformation. The problems change, but the solution is always the same: increased regulation of speech by monopolistic online platforms in steadily increasing coordination with the U.S. government.

It’s actually pretty comical at this point, once you notice it. It’s like if you had an expensive Prada bag that your friend really coveted and she was always making up excuses to try and take it home with her. “Gosh I’m carrying all these small objects and I have nothing to carry them in!” “You’re going on vacation? I’ll look after your Prada bag for you!” “Oh no you slipped and now you’re clinging to a cliff’s edge! Quick! Throw me your Prada bag!” Once you know what they’re actually after, their attempts to obtain it look clownish and silly.

Whenever I talk about how the immense power structure which the mass media serves and protects has a desperate need to control online speech, I’ll always get a few people objecting that the powerful don’t care about what ideas and information the ordinary riff raff share with each other on internet forums. They just do what they want regardless of public opinion, like Greek gods on Mount Olympus.

And really nothing could be further from the truth. Controlling the thoughts we think about our nation and our world are of paramount importance to our rulers, because it’s only by controlling what we think that they can control how we vote, how we act, and whether or not we get fed up with being exploited and oppressed by a loose alliance of unelected plutocrats and government operatives. There is nothing, literally nothing, that these people would not do to maintain this control. Their very survival depends on it.

Michael Parenti summed this up perfectly in his 2015 book “Profit Pathology and Other Indecencies” with this passage that was recently shared by Louis Allday:

“But they don’t care about what we think. They turn a deaf ear to us,” some people complain. That is not true. They care very much about what you think. In fact, that is the only thing about you that holds their attention and concern. They don’t care if you go hungry, unemployed, sick, or homeless. But they do care when you are beginning to entertain resistant democratic thoughts. They get nervous when you discard your liberal complaints and adopt a radical analysis. They do care that you are catching on as to what the motives and functions of the national security state and the US global empire are all about at home and in so many corners of the world. They get furiously concerned when you and millions like you are rejecting the pap that is served up by corporate media and establishment leaders.

By controlling our perceptions, they control our society; they control public opinion and public discourse. And they limit the range and impact of our political consciousness. The plutocrats know that their power comes from their ability to control our empowering responses. They know they can live at the apex of the social pyramid only as long as they can keep us in line at the pyramid’s base. Who pays for all their wars? We do. Who fights these wars? We do or our low-income loved ones do. If we refuse to be led around on a super-patriotic, fear-ridden leash and if we come to our own decisions and act upon them more and more as our ranks grow, then the ruling profiteers’ power shrinks and can even unwind and crash—as has happened with dynasties and monarchies of previous epochs.

We need to strive in every way possible for the revolutionary unraveling, a revolution of organized consciousness striking at the empire’s heart with full force when democracy is in the streets and mobilized for the kind of irresistible upsurge that seems to come from nowhere yet is sometimes able to carry everything before it.

There is nothing sacred about the existing system. All economic and political institutions are contrivances that should serve the interests of the people. When they fail to do so, they should be replaced by something more responsive, more just, and more democratic.

Preventing their replacement with a system that is more responsive, just and democratic is precisely why our rulers are so keen on controlling the way we think, act and vote. They exert this control with their total domination of the mass media and mainstream education systems, with Silicon Valley algorithm manipulation, and with the rapidly increasing normalization of internet censorship.

The dawn of the internet sparked great hope for those who knew that the ruling power structures of our day retain supremacy by controlling and manipulating people’s access to and understanding of information; the possibility of billions of human minds freely spreading awareness of what’s going on in our world and sharing revolutionary ideas to address our problems spelled beautiful things for our future to anyone with a lucid understanding of the obstacles we face.

Unfortunately, our rulers understood the significance of that moment too. They’ve been working tirelessly to ensure that the internet serves as a net positive for themselves and a net negative for the rest of us, manipulating the large-scale movements of information so that dissident voices are increasingly marginalized and inconsequential while giving themselves the ability to funnel propaganda into public minds far more rapidly and efficiently than ever before. If they succeed in their objectives, ordinary people will wind up no better at sharing unauthorized ideas and information than they were before the internet, while our rulers will be far more effective in controlling the way we think at mass scale.

That they will succeed is by no means guaranteed. We are living in an entirely unprecedented moment in human history with many large-scale systems on the precipice of failure while technological advancement creates many other unpredictable factors; gaps could open up at any time to let light shine through in the massive movements that humanity is poised for. There is no way to accurately predict the future in a situation the likes of which we’ve never seen before, where patterns are crumbling and narrative is hitting white noise saturation point.

Anything can happen. Win or lose, this is a hell of a time to be alive.

https://mronline.org/2022/01/17/dont-un ... ne-speech/

It is impossible to estimate how much money and effort the ruling class has expended to misinform and misdirect the working class over the last 100 years. They do it because it works and insures their dominance of our society. The effectiveness of Cold Was rhetoric 30 years after the demise of the USSR should give an idea of the value of their investment to the status quo.
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