Monday, January 9, 2017

Mainstream media continues to threaten existence of life on Earth by eagerly selling aggressive and slanderous accusations about Russia on behalf of war-loving US political establishment which exists only via its access to US taxpayer dollars. Russia (not ISIS) is now surrounded with missile batteries, nuclear-armed subs, Aegis missile destroyers, military bases and exercises on a grand scale-Nicolas Davies, Consortium News, 1/9/17

"The term “propaganda,...was defined by Edward Bernays in his classic 1928 book, Propaganda, as involving the use of mass media to plant ideas in the mind of the public on behalf of powerful political and commercial interests."...

1/9/17, "The ‘Post-Truth’ Mainstream Media," Nicolas J S Davies, Consortium News

"Exclusive: U.S. mainstream media sees itself as the definer of what’s true and what’s “propaganda,” but has gotten lost in a fog of self-delusion and is now the principal purveyor of “post-truth” news, writes Nicolas J S Davies....
"Three Minutes to Doomsday 

"The dangers of a “New Cold War” are not distant threats that might materialize at some point in the future. The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, advised by Stephen Hawking, 17 Nobel prizewinners and 20 other eminent scientists and experts, has been warning for two years that we are already as close to Doomsday as at any time in our history except for the period from 1953 to 1960, after the U.S. and the Soviet Union first deployed hydrogen bombs. As the U.S.-Russian confrontation escalated in Ukraine and Syria, the atomic scientists advanced the hands of their “Doomsday Clock” from 5 minutes to midnight to 3 minutes to midnight, with this warning:

The threat is serious, the time short. The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists does not move the hands of the Doomsday Clock for light or transient reasons. The hands of the clock tick now at just 3 minutes to midnight because international leaders are failing to perform their most important duty – ensuring and preserving the health and vitality of human civilization.
And yet, in the midst of these real existential dangers to human society, Orwellian “post-truth” media are leading the public into a kind of dream world in which words like “aggression,” “propaganda,” “terrorism,” “defense,” “security,” “threat” and “violence” are exclusively appropriated as tools in the hands of powerful political interests and deprived of their objective meaning as useful terms for discussing the real dangers we are facing. 

A recent campaign by an anonymous and shadowy Web site — given credibility by the Washington Post – sought to brand and other independent alternative media as “Russian propaganda.” The blacklist of some 200 Web sites was produced by a new group called PropOrNot (which hides the identities of its participants and may be linked to the U.S. Army’s Intelligence and Security Command or Cyber Command at Fort Belvoir in Washington D.C.).

PropOrNot and the Post abused the term “propaganda, which was defined by Edward Bernays in his classic 1928 book, Propaganda, as involving the use of mass media to plant ideas in the mind of the public on behalf of powerful political and commercial interests.
Ironically, this is exactly what the Washington Post and PropOrNot are doing and the exact opposite of what independent alternative media do, so this campaign has given Americans one more reason to trust independent news sites with long records of producing genuine journalism over profit-driven servants of power like the Washington Post.

President Obama has just signed into law a “National Defense” bill that includes $160 million for new U.S. propaganda operations, nominally designed to counter “Russian propaganda.” But the Keystone Cops PropOrNot operation suggests that this escalation of U.S. information warfare will produce more blacklists, trolling, hacking, denial-of-service attacks and demonization of alternative, independent media by U.S. military psy-ops, “intelligence” agencies and P.R. firms, which will be loyally amplified and reinforced by censorship, rote repetition and circular analysis in the echo chamber of the corporate media, including by “social media” corporations like Facebook.

Like many institutions in our society, the U.S. media system has been degraded by the inherent corruption of the neoliberal order that has been consolidating its power over our lives and society for the past generation. Just as commercially driven corporate control has proven to be a destructive model for education, healthcare and other public services that leads only to corruption and declining quality, handing over the responsibility for informing the public about what is happening in the world to increasingly monopolistic for-profit corporations is eroding yet another vital pillar of American life.

Understanding the world we live in is a basic human need, and an informed, educated population is the most basic building block of any form of democratic society. So we desperately need independent media institutions that genuinely and honestly shed light on the world around us, instead of profit-obsessed media corporations cynically exploiting and abusing our concerns for our world and our future as bait for advertising and propaganda....

Imbalanced Accusations

To loosely use the term “aggression” to describe any Russian action that conflicts with U.S. or Western interests is to trivialize what the judges at Nuremberg called the “supreme international crime.” If U.S. officials or commentators were serious about the legitimate enforcement of international laws against aggression, they would first call for the prosecution of Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, and then try to make a reasonable case that President Putin’s actions meet the same standard of criminality....

'Russian Aggression'...

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) convicted the United States of aggression against Nicaragua in 1986, and international lawyers regard the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999, the U.S.-U.K invasion of Iraq and U.S. drone strikes as crimes of aggression under international law. Many believe that the invasion of Afghanistan, the overthrow of the government of Libya, the U.S. role in the Saudi-led war on Yemen and the U.S. bombing of Syria are also crimes of aggression for which the United States and its leaders should be held criminally accountable.

But the U.S. has carved out a regime of impunity for its crimes by withdrawing from the binding jurisdiction of the ICJ after its conviction in U.S. v. Nicaragua, undermining the new International Criminal Court, and using its U.N. Security Council veto twice as often as the other Permanent Members combined since the 1980s. U.S. government lawyers therefore enjoy the privilege, unique in their profession, of issuing legally indefensible but politically creative legal cover for war crimes, secure in the knowledge that they will never have to defend their opinions before impartial courts or the Security Council....

Nobody denies that the U.S. engages in cyber warfare and tries to influence elections in other countries, so the unsubstantiated charges against Russia over the 2016 U.S. election are only that they do the same as we do. In any case, Julian Assange of Wikileaks has explained in interviews that Russia was not the source of the emails he published. Former U.K. Ambassador Craig Murray, who risked and ultimately lost his career for telling the truth about CIA complicity in torture in Uzbekistan, claims that there were two separate sources, both American, and that he met with one of the sources (or a representative) in Washington last September.

Murray’s record of integrity as a whistle-blower and truth-teller makes him a highly credible informant, which may explain why U.S. officials and corporate media have chosen mainly to ignore him instead of trying to impeach his credibility. Assange has also pointed out that nobody has challenged the authenticity of the emails he published, so, if their publication somehow lost the election for Hillary Clinton, it was because voters reacted to what she and her staff wrote in them, not to anything he, the Russians or anybody else said or did.

As for some kind of generalized “aggression” or threat to its neighbors, Russia has not been involved in an attack on another country since the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968. Instead it is the U.S. that has surrounded Russia with missile batteries, nuclear-armed submarines, Aegis missile destroyers, military bases and exercises on a scale that Russian military leaders could only dream of, since their military budget is only one-tenth of ours.

When a truly aggressive military power falsely slanders a rival nuclear-armed power as an aggressor, we should all be afraid, very afraid, not so much of the target of this campaign, but of the proven aggressor that threatens the very existence of human life on Earth by stoking these dangerous rising tensions."... 

"Nicolas J S Davies is the author of Blood On Our Hands: the American Invasion and Destruction of Iraq.  He also wrote the chapters on “Obama at War” in Grading the 44th President: a Report Card on Barack Obama’s First Term as a Progressive Leader." image above via Consortium News


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