10/28/16, "Selling ‘Regime Change’ Wars to the Masses," Consortium News, John Pilger
"Propaganda is now such a pervasive part of Western governance that
any foreign leader who resists the prevailing power structure can be
turned into a demon and made a target of a “regime change” war.
American journalist Edward Bernays is often described as the man who
invented modern propaganda. The nephew of Sigmund Freud, the pioneer of
psychoanalysis, it was Bernays who coined the term “public relations” as
a euphemism for spin and its deceptions.
In 1929, as a publicist for the cigarette industry, Bernays persuaded
feminists to promote cigarettes for women by smoking in the New York
Easter Parade – behavior then considered outlandish. One feminist, Ruth
Booth, declared, “Women! Light another torch of freedom! Fight another
Bernays’s influence extended far beyond advertising. His greatest
success was his role in convincing the American public to join the
slaughter of the First World War. The secret, he said, was “engineering
the consent” of people in order to “control and regiment [them]
according to our will without their knowing about it.”"...
[Ed. note: World War I era song, "Over there," ostensibly patriotic, told Americans that they were special, because they'd happily be sent all over the world to fight and die in foreign wars, that people should "beware Over There...Cause the Yanks are coming, the Yanks are coming."]
(continuing): "He described this as “the true ruling power in our society” and called it an “invisible government.”
Today, the invisible government has never been more powerful and less
understood. In my career as a journalist and filmmaker, I have never
known propaganda to insinuate our lives and as it does now and to go
Tale of Two Cities
Imagine two cities. Both are under siege by the forces of the
government of that country. Both cities are occupied by fanatics, who
commit terrible atrocities, such as beheading people. But there is a
vital difference. In one siege, the government soldiers are described as
liberators by Western reporters embedded with them, who
enthusiastically report their battles and air strikes. There are
front-page pictures of these heroic soldiers giving a V-sign for
victory. There is scant mention of civilian casualties.
In the second city – in another country nearby – almost exactly the
same is happening. Government forces are laying siege to a city
controlled by the same breed of fanatics.
The difference is that these fanatics are supported, supplied and
armed by “us” – by the United States and Britain. They even have a media
center that is funded by Britain and America.
Another difference is that the government soldiers laying siege to
this city are the “bad guys,” condemned for assaulting and bombing the
city – which is exactly what the good soldiers do in the first city.
Confusing? Not really. Such is the basic double standard that is the
essence of propaganda. I am referring, of course, to the current siege
of the city of Mosul by the government forces of Iraq, who are backed by
the United States and Britain, and to the siege of Aleppo by the
government forces of Syria, backed by Russia.
One is good; the other is
Behind the Fanatics
What is seldom reported is that both cities would not be occupied by
fanatics and ravaged by war if Britain and the United States had not
invaded Iraq in 2003. That criminal enterprise was launched on lies
strikingly similar to the propaganda that now distorts our understanding
of the civil war in Syria.
Without this drumbeat of propaganda dressed up as news, the monstrous
ISIS and Al Qaeda and the Nusra Front and the rest of the jihadist gang
might not exist, and the people of Syria might not be fighting for their
Some may remember in 2003 a succession of BBC reporters turning to
the camera and telling us that British Prime Minister Tony Blair was
“vindicated” for what turned out to be the crime of the century, the
invasion of Iraq. The U.S. television networks produced the same
validation for George W. Bush. Fox News brought on former Secretary of
State Henry Kissinger to effuse over then-Secretary of State Colin
The same year, soon after the invasion, I filmed an interview in
Washington with Charles Lewis, the renowned American investigative
journalist. I asked him, “What would have happened if the freest media
in the world had seriously challenged what turned out to be crude
He replied that if journalists had done their job, “there is a very, very good chance we would not have gone to war in Iraq.”
It was a shocking statement, and one supported by other famous
journalists to whom I put the same question — Dan Rather of CBS, David
Rose of the Observer, and journalists and producers in the BBC, who wished to remain anonymous.
In other words, had journalists done their job, had they challenged
and investigated the propaganda instead of amplifying it, hundreds of
thousands of men, women and children would be alive today, and there
would be no ISIS and no siege of Aleppo or Mosul.
There would have been no atrocity on the London Underground on July
7, 2005. There would have been no flight of millions of refugees; there
would be no miserable camps.
When the terrorist atrocity happened in Paris last November,
President Francoise Hollande immediately sent planes to bomb Syria – and
more terrorism followed, predictably, the product of Hollande’s bombast
about France being “at war” and “showing no mercy.” That state violence
and jihadist violence feed off each other is the truth that no national
leader has the courage to speak.
“When the truth is replaced by silence,” said the Soviet dissident Yevtushenko, “the silence is a lie.”
The attack on Iraq, the attack on Libya, the attack on Syria happened
because the leader in each of these countries was not a puppet of the
West. The human rights record of a Saddam or a Gaddafi was irrelevant.
They did not obey orders and surrender control of their country.
The same fate awaited Slobodan Milosevic once he had refused to sign
an “agreement” that demanded the occupation of Serbia and its conversion
to a market economy. His people were bombed, and he was prosecuted in
The Hague. Independence of this kind is intolerable.
As WikLeaks has revealed, it was only when the Syrian leader Bashar
al-Assad in 2009 rejected an oil pipeline, running through his country
from Qatar to Europe, that he was attacked. From that moment, the CIA
planned to destroy the government of Syria with jihadist fanatics – the
same fanatics currently holding the people of Mosul and eastern Aleppo
Why is this not news? The former British Foreign Office official
Carne Ross, who was responsible for operating sanctions against Iraq,
told me: “We would feed journalists factoids of sanitized intelligence,
or we would freeze them out. That is how it worked.”
The West’s medieval client, Saudi Arabia – to which the U.S. and
Britain sell billions of dollars’ worth of arms – is at present
destroying Yemen, a country so poor that in the best of times, half the
children are malnourished.
Look on YouTube and you will see the kind of massive bombs – “our”
bombs – that the Saudis use against dirt-poor villages, and against
weddings, and funerals. The explosions look like small atomic bombs. The
bomb aimers in Saudi Arabia work side-by-side with British officers.
This fact is not on the evening news.
Propaganda is most effective when our consent is engineered by those
with a fine education – Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, Columbia – and with
careers on the BBC, the Guardian, the New York Times, the Washington Post.
These organizations are known as the “liberal media.” They present
themselves as enlightened, progressive tribunes of the moral zeitgeist.
They are anti-racist, pro-feminist and pro-LGBT.
And they love war.
While they speak up for feminism, they support rapacious wars that deny
the rights of countless women, including the right to life.
In 2011, Libya, then a modern state, was destroyed on the pretext
that Muammar Gaddafi was about to commit genocide on his own people.
That was the incessant news; and there was no evidence. It was a lie.
In fact, Britain, Europe and the United States wanted what they like
to call “regime change” in Libya, the biggest oil producer in Africa.
Gaddafi’s influence in the continent and, above all, his independence
So Gaddafi was murdered with a knife in his rear by fanatics, backed
by America, Britain and France. Hillary Clinton cheered his gruesome
death for the camera, declaring, “We came, we saw, he died!”
The destruction of Libya was a media triumph. As the war drums were beaten, Jonathan Freedland wrote in the Guardian: “Though the risks are very real, the case for intervention remains strong.”
Intervention – what a polite, benign, Guardian word, whose real meaning, for Libya, was death and destruction.
According to its own records, NATO launched 9,700 “strike sorties”
against Libya, of which more than a third were aimed at civilian
targets. They included missiles with uranium warheads. Look at the
photographs of the rubble of Misurata and Sirte, and the mass graves
identified by the Red Cross.
The Unicef report on the children killed
says, “most [of them] under the age of ten.”
As a direct consequence, Sirte became a capital of ISIS.
Ukraine is another media triumph. Respectable liberal newspapers such as the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Guardian,
and mainstream broadcasters such as the BBC, NBC, CBS, CNN have played a
critical role in conditioning their viewers to accept a new and dangerous Cold War. All have misrepresented events in Ukraine as a
malign act by Russia when, in fact, the coup in Ukraine in 2014 was the
work of the United States, aided by Germany and NATO.
Inversion of Reality
This inversion of reality is so pervasive that Washington’s military
intimidation of Russia is not news; it is suppressed behind a
smear-and-scare campaign of the kind I grew up with during the first
Cold War. Once again, the Russkies are coming to get us, led by another
Stalin, whom The Economist depicts as the devil....
The drum-beaters of the Washington Post inciting war with Russia are the very same editorial writers who published the lie that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.
A Freak Show
To most of us, the American presidential campaign is a media freak
show, in which Donald Trump is the arch villain. But Trump is loathed by
those with power in the United States for reasons that have little to
do with his obnoxious behavior and opinions.
To the invisible government in Washington, the unpredictable Trump is
an obstacle to America’s design for the Twenty-first Century. This is
to maintain the dominance of the United States and to subjugate Russia,
and, if possible, China.
To the militarists in Washington, the real problem with Trump is
that, in his lucid moments, he seems not to want a war with Russia; he
wants to talk with the Russian president, not fight him; he says he
wants to talk with the president of China.
In the first debate with Hillary Clinton, Trump promised not to be
the first to introduce nuclear weapons into a conflict. He said, “I
would certainly not do first strike. Once the nuclear alternative
happens, it’s over.” That was not news.
Did he really mean it? Who knows? He often contradicts himself. But
what is clear is that Trump is considered a serious threat to the status
quo maintained by the vast national security machine that runs the
United States, regardless of who is in the White House.
The CIA wants him beaten. The Pentagon wants him beaten. The media
wants him beaten. Even his own party wants him beaten. He is a threat to
the rulers of the world – unlike Hillary Clinton who has left no doubt
she is prepared to go to war with nuclear-armed Russia and China....
Without a shred of public evidence, Clinton has accused Russia of
supporting Trump and hacking her emails. Released by WikiLeaks, these
emails tell us that what Clinton says in private, in speeches to the
rich and powerful, is the opposite of what she says in public.
That is why silencing and threatening Julian Assange is so important.
As the editor of WikiLeaks, Assange knows the truth. And let me assure
those who are concerned, he is well, and WikiLeaks is operating on all
Today, the greatest build-up of American-led forces since World War
Two is under way – in the Caucasus and Eastern Europe, on the border
with Russia, and in Asia and the Pacific, where China is the target.
Keep that in mind when the presidential election circus reaches its
finale on Nov. 8. If the winner is Clinton, a Greek chorus of witless
commentators will celebrate her coronation as a great step forward for
women. None will mention Clinton’s victims: the women of Syria, the
women of Iraq, the women of Libya. None will mention the civil defense
drills being conducted in Russia. None will recall Edward Bernays’s
“torches of freedom.”...
In 1946, the Nuremberg Tribunal prosecutor said of the German media:
“Before every major aggression, they initiated a press campaign
calculated to weaken their victims and to prepare the German people
psychologically for the attack. In the propaganda system,
it was the
daily press and the radio that were the most important weapons.”"
Wednesday, November 2, 2016
Propaganda, the invisible government, has never been more powerful or as unchallenged as it is today. The allegedly refined liberal media actually love war, are directly responsible for creating millions of refugees, and are now preparing Americans for the greatest military buildup since WWII-Pilger, Consortium News
Posted by susan at 9:27 AM