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A review of the despicable use of propaganda to manipulate the gullible masses and enrich the few by war

18/05/2014

If a person gave your body to any stranger he met on his way, you would be angry.
Why then do you feel no shame in handing over your mind to be confused and mystified by anyone who tries to persuade you for his own advantage? — A.C. Grayling (2011) The good book: a humanist bible (p.23)

“No matter how big the lie; repeat it often enough and the masses will regard it as truth. [Undated 1948 “Democratic Party” speech]” ― John F. Kennedy

“The term propaganda rings melodramatic and exaggerated, but a press that—whether from fear, careerism, or conviction—uncritically recites false government claims and reports them as fact, or treats elected officials with a reverence reserved for royalty, cannot be accurately described as engaged in any other function.” ― Glenn Greenwald, A Tragic Legacy: How a Good vs. Evil Mentality Destroyed the Bush Presidency

“I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.” ― Albert Einstein

“Listen up – there’s no war that will end all wars.” ― Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore

I begin this essay with Leo Tolstoy’s prescient insights into government, war and the despicable use of propaganda to manipulate the masses.[6] In 1900, he wrote,

The ruling classes have in their hands the army, money, the schools, the churches, and the press. In the schools, they kindle patriotism in the children by means of histories describing their own people as the best of all peoples and always in the right. Among adults they kindle it by spectacles, jubilees, monuments, and by a lying patriotic press. Above all, they inflame patriotism in this way: perpetrating every kind of harshness and injustice against other nations, they provoke in them enmity towards their own people, and then in turn exploit that enmity to embitter their people against the foreigner.

A Government, therefore, and especially a Government entrusted with military power, is the most dangerous organization possible.

The Government, in the widest sense, including capitalists and the Press, is nothing else than an organization which places the greater part of the people in the power of a smaller part, who dominate them; that smaller part is subject to a yet smaller part I and that again to a yet smaller, and so oil, reaching at last a few people, or one single man, who by means of military force has power over all the rest. So that all this organization resembles a cone, of which all the parts are completely in the power of those people, or of that one person, who happen to be at the apex.

And, today, as in the period of Tolstoy’s life, the creation of enemies is relentless, with wars on many fronts, and ever expanding security and surveillance measures that are largely unquestioned and accepted as necessary by an alarmed public to protect them from foreign evildoers. Keep them scared. Make people think the world could explode under them at any moment is a great way to control the masses. If you offer someone your wing, they will feel safe, making a manipulator’s ideas seem like the correct ones. Of course, today’s manipulation methods are even more sophisticated and powerful than in 1900.

H.L. Mencken[11] nailed it when he wrote:

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

What is striking is how easy it is to sway opinions by the skilful use of propaganda. As Edward Bernays used to say, there is nothing that propaganda cannot accomplish, and war is certainly one event that is dependent on media propaganda and the compliance of a gullible audience. Mainstream media consistently distributes disinformation to push the war agendas of the very institutions of power that keep them on the air.

Our leaders made a discovery of the sort that changes the destiny of nations – that they can successfully lie to us. Big lies! They lie to us constantly – because lies work as well or even better than facts do. Repeating lies works.

Propaganda is the main pillar of war. From fabricating the truth to imposing made to doctrines to feeding disinformation, propaganda is king. Waged from the Pentagon, the State Department and the CIA, a fear and disinformation campaign is in progress. The blatant distortion of the truth and the systematic manipulation of all sources of information is an integral part of war planning.[2] People young and old) are systematically poisoned by their lies.

It is clear that the masses are subjected to incessant and systematic campaigns of indoctrination and disinformation, the more so if it is to wage war. People depend on the mainstream narrative, statistics, spin, illusions and omissions like it’s their life. Yet everything they hear, see or read is written by professional liars, and it’s all an elaborate hoax.[3]

Examples of the Big Lies[9] and Atrocity Propaganda[8]

World War I[12] Report of the Committee on Alleged German Outrages” published on 12 May 1915. The report is seen as a major propaganda form that Britain used in order to educate the world on the behaviour of Germany who had invaded Belgium the year before: executions, murders, and violations, including rape and the slaughtering of children, of Belgians by German soldiers during the Rape of Belgium.

Mockingbird[4] In 1951, Mockingbird’s first and principle assignment was to influence national media toward the hatred and fear of Soviet Communism. The CIA bribed journalists and newspaper editors and influenced international media and politics. It was due in part to Mockingbird that Guatemala staged a coup d’état against Colonel Jacobo Guzman, whom the CIA deemed a communist. Mockingbird incited the 1953 Iranian coup d’état and Bay of Pigs Invasion. Mockingbird was responsible for over 50 per cent international politics over the last half of the 20th Century.

Vietnam War[4] The Gulf of Tonkin incident involved the attack on the USS Maddox by Vietnamese torpedo boats on 2 August 1964, and  the alleged attack, 2 days later, on the USS Turner Joy, in the waters between Vietnam and Hainan, China. In fact, the incident on 4 August never occurred. Yet, President Lyndon Johnson told the US public that the USS Maddox and the USS Turner Joy were attacked in separate battles.

The US Congress resolved that President Johnson could defend any Southeast Asian nation from Communism. The war was on. Senators and congressmen called for land invasions of North Vietnam, to be followed by China, and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) if they dared retaliate, nuclear weapons be damned.

Gulf War I[4] Nayirah al-Sabah was a young Kuwaiti women who, in 1990, testified on the floor of the House of Representatives that she had witnessed Iraqi soldiers invade Kuwaiti hospitals and take new-born infants out of their incubators and throw them onto the cold floor to freeze to death. The CIA enlisted the help of Hill & Knowlton, a public relations corporation to reach the masses. Nayirah was the daughter of the Kuwaiti Ambassador to the US, and her story had been fabricated.

Gulf War II[13] US President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair accused Iraq’s President Saddam Hussein Abd al-Majid al-Tikriti of possessing weapons of mass destruction that could be unleashed within 45 minutes and having ties to al-Qaeda.

The political elite decided to change the world by using their spin machine to create visions of mushroom clouds over cities in the minds of a gullible public to craft a believable storyline for the invasion of Iraq. A willingly pliant press spread the misinformation about weapons of mass destruction and Al Qaeda connections to fashion a convincing plot for pre-emptive war on a sovereign state.[20]

The results of the US government-inspired disinformation is all there to be seen:

  1. Three years after this was officially disproved, half of Americans still believe Iraq had weapons of mass destruction (WMD) before Bush II decided on his own to launch his war of aggression;
  2. Close to one-quarter of Americans still cling to the idea that the government of Iraq was behind the attacks of 9/11. Since no such misinformation exists in other countries, this could only mean that public government officials, assisted by the neocon media and government propagandists, have consciously spread and perpetuated the disinformation and are, therefore, mainly responsible for the abysmal and dangerous ignorance found in a large and probably decisive segment of the American electorate.[19]

Syrian Civil War[14] President Nicolas Sarkozy, the French head of state, accused Syria’s President Bashar Hafez al-Assad of committing “massacres” in Syria. His criticism was echoed by French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe.

Global surveillance[15] Edward Joseph Snowden’s leaked documents that uncovered the existence of numerous global surveillance programs, many of them run by the NSA and the Five Eyes with the cooperation of telecommunication companies and European governments.

Time and again, we have seen how deceptive reports have sent the West headlong into yet another conflict: e.g., Vietnam, Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria… the list is long and growing.

Armageddon[1][16][17][18] The lies, propaganda and rank hypocrisy emanating from Washington and other capitals, and echoed by corporate media regarding events in Ukraine appear to be aimed at conditioning the public for increasing confrontation with Russia – confrontation which could easily tip over the edge into direct military conflict, with consequences that are too dreadful to contemplate.

Around the globe an ominous build-up of military might is taking place, and it is doing so almost entirely beneath the radar of public attention.

Since 2005 a large scale stockpiling and deployment of advanced weapons systems has been effected throughout the territories and seas surrounding Russia, China, and Iran. These include, as a bare outline: major US weapons transfers to Israel, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States and India; US Patriot missiles in Poland; an early missile warning system in the Czech Republic; new US military bases and troop placements in Georgia, the Balkans, Eastern Europe and Central Asia; US naval deployments in the Black Sea; new US and NATO weapons systems situated in Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, and Australia; a formidable new naval armada, including nuclear-weapons-bearing Israeli submarines, in the Persian Gulf; and, finally, a host of new US air and ship-based anti-ballistic missile systems located on US fleets throughout the Mediterranean, the Sea of Japan, the Taiwan St. and the South China Sea.

In addition to these ordnance deployments, the United States and NATO have not only struck countless bilateral and multilateral military deals and alliances around the globe, but have, over the past two years, dramatically stepped up their war games and drills in the Far East.

Just as significant as these material and strategic manoeuvres, however, are the, now, completely integrated and ‘interoperable’ command structures and weapons systems of the 28 NATO nations and their 47 NATO ‘partners’. This, then, is the largest, the most sophisticated, the best organized war-machine the world has ever seen. And, of course, it is all for your benefit. It is all about global security. You can sleep sounder tonight. The world is now a safer place.[1]

War has always been a profitable business.

The America of wealth and privilege is hooked on belligerent wars, without regular and ever-stronger doses of war it can no longer function properly, that is, yield the desired profits. Right now, this addiction, this craving is being satisfied by means of a conflict against Iraq, which also happens to be dear to the hearts of the oil barons. However, does anybody believe that the warmongering will stop once Saddam’ scalp will join the Taliban turbans in the trophy display case of George W. Bush? The President has already pointed his finger at those whose turn will soon come, namely, the “axis of evil” countries: Iran, Syria, Libya, Somalia, North Korea, and of course that old thorn in the side of America, Cuba. Welcome to the 21st century, welcome to George W. Bush’s brave new era of permanent war![5][7]

Power has the capacity to bring out the worst in a person. It has never been known in the whole of history that power has brought out the best in anyone. Once a politician is in power, he becomes a totalitarian, he becomes dictatorial. He talks about democracy, but behind the democracy is dictatorship. It is always so. When the politician is not in power he is democratic; when he is in power all democracy disappears out the window. It remains a mask, and all kinds of ugly desires start coming to the surface.

Convictions invoking universal jurisdiction by the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission[10]

In November 2011 the tribunal purportedly exercised universal jurisdiction to try in absentia former US President George W. Bush and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, convicting both for crimes against peace because of what the tribunal concluded was the unlawful invasion of Iraq.

In May 2012 after hearing testimony for a week from victims of torture at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo, the tribunal unanimously convicted in absentia former President Bush, former Vice President Dick Cheney, former Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, former Deputy Assistant Attorneys General John Yoo and Jay Bybee, former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, and former counsellors David Addington and William Haynes II of conspiracy to commit war crimes, specifically torture. The tribunal referred their findings to the chief prosecutor at the International Court of Justice in the Hague.

In November 2013, the tribunal convicted State of Israel guilty of genocide of the Palestinian people and convicted former Israeli general Amos Yaron for crimes against humanity and genocide for his involvement in the Sabra and Shatila massacre.

These men’s character, all convicted by the tribunal, are described by H.L. Mencken[11] as,

… intrinsically, the most devious and mediocre—the man who can most easily adeptly disperse the notion that his mind is a virtual vacuum.

And by Tolstoy[6] as,

The apex of the cone is seized by those who are more cunning, audacious, and unscrupulous than the rest, or by someone who happens to be the heir of those who were audacious and unscrupulous.

The State is immoral if not totally corrupt and intolerable, and if we are serious to save the world from these mad-men than it’s time to order a society without a publicly enforced government based on the model of a non-hierarchical organization. Some would argue, however, the likelihood is equivalent to a snowball’s chance in hell.

There was a popular bumper sticker in the 60s that read: If voting changed anything, they’d make it illegal. They didn’t have to as voting is pointless— it doesn’t change anything. Voting gives the public the illusion of a participatory democracy. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The order of the day is interminable incremental change that offers the pretence of change but maintains the status quo, and ultimately has no affect what so ever on the rulers and their henchmen.

Many people would like to experiment with different ways of living, but are forbidden to do so. No one is permitted to leave the game. If you try, large armed men will assault you and lock you in a cage, or perhaps they will merely steal your money from the bank you entrusted it to. But in either case, government sycophants will solemnly inform the world that you are an evil-doer. No exit is permitted and all escape attempts are met with violence. The vast machinery of the State is used to crush any movement that questions the authority of those who own economic power. Coercion is the sine qua non of politics; the thing, without which, politics would not be politics.

The Australian government recently announced the purchase of another 58 F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft by 2023 at a cost in excess of AU$12.4 billion; bringing the fleet to 72, with an option to purchase another 28 in the next few years—this, at a time of a projected budget deficit of AU$47 billion. At the same time, the treasurer announced a review of the Australian retirement pension: retirement age, eligibility, welfare benefits. And, barely a whimper was heard.

In the area of foreign policy, most Australians seem to neither know nor care. They believe that the government knows and cares for them.

You might trust anything else before submitting to authority. Why? Because authority never gives a damn about you, for one thing, and, for another, because trusting authority is contagious. You’ll soon be trusting everything you see, read, and hear peddled by the propagandists. You might ask how much you trust: your government?; the narrative peddled by the establishment?; that the powers that be have your best interests at heart?

In the light of your answers, you may be persuaded to turn of your TV or better still, get rid of it all together. If that’s too extreme for you then avoid all mainstream news broadcasts and commentators. No matter who or what they may be: politics, sport, news, whatever and whomever. Avoid them all. Turn a deaf ear! Do not trust the mainstream. Trust no one from the mainstream. They are not worthy of your attention as authority will never give a damn about you.

Be aware. Be awake. Be conscious of the matrix and its agenda. Stop being distracted by the mainstream media, and learn how to counter propaganda techniques. Don’t ask me what I am going to do. It is time for those of you who are awake to decide what you are going to do!

References
[
1] Antony C. Black (2010) Shades of Dr. Strangelove: How NATO’s ever expanding Reach Threatens Global Security

[2] Michel Chossudovsky (2014) This is how War Propaganda Works

[3] Andy Dilks (2014) Deathbed Visions, DMT & Consciousness – Reflections on Life and the Beyond

[4] FlameHorse (2013) 10 Nefarious Conspiracies Proven True

[5] Jacques Pauwels (2003) Why America Needs War

[6] Leo Tolstoy (1900) Patriotism and Government

[7] Washington’s Blog (2014) War Creates Massive Debt and Makes the Banks Rich

[8] Wikipedia, Atrocity propaganda

[9] Wikipedia, Big Lie

[10] Wikipedia, Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission

[11] Wikipedia, H.L. Mencken

[12] Wikipedia, Committee on Alleged German Outrages

[13] Wikipedia, Gulf War II

[14] Wikipedia, Syrian Civil War

[15] Wikipedia, Global surveillance

[16] Dave Lindorff (2014) Washington and the Corporate Media are in Full Propaganda Mode on Ukraine

[17] John Pilger (2014) The Strangelove effect – or how we are hoodwinked into accepting a new world war

[18] Robert Parry (2014) Why Neocons Seek to Destabilize Russia

[19] Rodrigue Tremblay (2006) Wars and propaganda machines

[20] Alfred L.C. van Amelsvoort (2011) Propaganda techniques and how to counter them

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