There’s a lot of historical revisionism going on with regard to US torture policy. Some go so far as to say we’ve only tortured a handful of people… Let’s get it right… So, I dug up an oldie but goodie…
From the Jakeneck Archives in 2005:
Of course the US tortures people
Admitting that fact is another issue entirely. The Bush Administration condones torture and practices it, which promotes a general atmosphere of oppression that turns against American citizens. Not to mention the fact that US companies profit from torture as well.Read More
The New York Times has come out with a really good article with supporting video that looks at how the Pentagon manipulates news and information to their advantage, and did so during the revolt of several generals. This is a continuation of a a pretty important issue that I’ve written about in the past:
“The BBC has a report on the “Information Operations Roadmap” which…
…calls for a far-reaching overhaul of the military’s ability to conduct information operations and electronic warfare. And, in some detail, it makes recommendations for how the US armed forces should think about this new, virtual warfare.
The concept of ‘information dominance’ is the key to understanding US and UK propaganda strategy and a central component of the US aim of ‘total spectrum dominance’. It redefines our notions of spin and propaganda and the role of the media in capitalist society. To say that it is about total propaganda control is to force the English language into contortions that the term propaganda simply cannot handle. Information dominance is not about the success of propaganda in the conventional sense with which we are all familiar. It is not about all those phrases ‘winning hearts and minds’, about truth being ‘the first casualty’ about ‘media manipulation’ about ‘opinion control’ or about ‘information war’. Or, to be more exact – it is about these things but none of them can quite stretch to accommodate the integrated conception of media and communication encapsulated in the phrase information dominance. [...]
Traditional conceptions of propaganda involve crafting the message and distributing it via government media or independent news media. Current conceptions of information war go much further and incorporate the gathering, processing and deployment of information including via computers, intelligence and military information (command and control) systems. The key preoccupation for the military is ‘interoperability’ where information systems talk to and work with each other. Interoperability is a result of the computer revolution which has led to the ‘Revolution in Military Affairs’. Now propaganda and psychological operations are simply part of a larger information armoury.
Such is the state of affairs in a country run by the war business. Truth is the first casualty.Read More
There is obviously something to this… Not like it’s a state secret that the US needs and wants Iraqi oil. It really says a great deal about conservatives and others who have never really been able to readily admit that the entire reason the US is even involved in the Middle East or Iraq or Afghanistan is oil.
Personally, I’d have a lot more respect for all the keyboard commando’s and the chicken hawks if they simply admitted this fact outright. But, they do not, as if doing so will cross some line in the sand where only real and evil fascists go, a line they’ve already crossed anyway.
This is why they spend so much time trying to convince the world that it’s the other side that are the fascists. Sad.
And, lest we forget, Cheney’s planning to invade Iraq prior to 9/11 is one of the numerous points listed in Bruce Fein’s well thought out article on impeachment of the Administration for violations on a number of levels.Read More
Privacy International conducted a survey of the top surveillance societies in the EU and the World, and guess who ranked at the top as “endemic”?
Russia, China and the United States.
Woohoo! At least we’re good at something.Read More
There was a time when we could do anything. Walking on the moon wasn’t a fantasy, it was a reality. Alas, the past seven years we’ve seen the bar lowered by a two term Bush White House compliant to politics and arrogance rather than the difficult choices and compromises that foster real solutions. The result has been the acquiescence of a stronger, more confident American policy and popular consensus of the role of America, both here and abroad. This malaise in leadership nurtures a perception amongst the domestic and global populace that expects nothing more than the usual level of brilliant incompetence. “Our leadership is incapable of anything more” is the general common belief, our leaders aim to please.
Expectations are so low that when an inferior candidate for placement as the top cop in the land is presented, the general response from our leaders is “we can’t expect to do any better, so this will have to do.” Logic has been turned on it’s head. We settle for less, because shooting for better isn’t a an option any more. Better is the new bad. Up is down, down is up. Torture isn’t torture (because they say so and it’s something they truly believe in) when to any sane person, waterboarding is clearly torture.
In the real world, whilst American’s argue about whether the so-called surge in Iraq is working or not working, those human beings whose lives are hanging by a thread because of the war in Iraq and the destabilization of the entire Middle East are experiencing a reality that has nothing to do with the politics of how the US military campaign is perceived or even whether the surge is a success or a failure and everything to do with staying alive. The contrast is striking, and embarrassing.
And, it is costing us dearly. Not to mention the higher cost on the ground in Iraq. Which is the reality check.Read More
Watch the video, my comments are below. (hat tip: bizbuzz)
Been reading about the North American Union for awhile, and the new currency the “Amero”, it’s been on television, on Lou Dobbs and elsewhere. And, as the dollar slides into oblivion, it seems more and more plausible, and the appearance of a dastardly plan seems more and more obvious at first glance. But, there are other things to consider. If it uses fear to motivate, then beware.
First of all, I have strong opinions on unified conspiracy theories, which the video proffers. It assumes that there is a group of rich people sitting in a room, who are connected in some way, who share holiday meals together or go to the same church or to the same club, who are all colluding towards a “one world government” and doing all these things behind the scenes to end our lives of liberty, control us all and keep us happy with reruns of American Idol and truck loads of Twinkies. And, it doesn’t work like that. It’s more about social movements and media than about conspiring in groups.
Endeavors such as the NAU function like a movement, a mob of like minded people who are working towards common goals, in this case the creation of a unified finacial system. (Whether you agree with the concept of a unified world financial system or not is up for debate.) It works more like how people decide all at once to start using the internet, or go to YouTube. One person to one person and on and on. Like a mob. That’s how the one world government thing is working. Like a focused flash mob. Because that is how media and the transference of ideas works, and the NAU is an idea, while it isn’t being promoted via the mass media, is still a form of media, an idea, that is conveyed from person to person, and has a genesis that goes back to World War 1. It is primarily a financial movement, not a political one. The two are intertwined by their incestuous relationship, there is no doubt. Which is a very important distinction.
The banking movement has always been more of a mob than a group of white guys sitting in a room smoking Cubans and having sex with underage homeless teens while carving up the roles of the workers and deciding how to spend the workers pensions.
Look at how the EU went down over the course of three decades. It was a movement, but it was primarily financial. It was all about establishing the Euro in member countries.. And, where was all the totalitarianism that the unified conspiracy theorists predicted would occur when the EU was instituted? Where is it? Did the constitutions of nations fall because of it? Did the people of Europe lose their liberties because of the establishment of the EU? No. They didn’t.
The NAU, like the EU, is essentially solidifying financial arrangements that already exist anyway. It’s making them official and sanctioned by a government, in this case one it creates itself, which gives it the ability to establish legal sovereignty and thus protection under certain international laws.
But, the ratification of new constitutions which would override established constitutions and thereby scuttle the rights of the people is not something easily done. Look at what happened with the attempted ratification of the EU constitution. It failed because so many nations felt it infringed (either too liberal or too conservatively) upon their national sovereignty and constitutional independence and the rights of the people. Another mob arose to confront the first mob. And, they did battle. It’s a form of democracy, open source, and sometimes unruly.
The video above dives into the paranoid fantasy that there is a group of privileged people in a dark smoky room that has decided to scuttle the US constitution and bill of rights (which is being hammered at by the Bush Administration anyway) and it’s a done deal. And, the reality is: like what occurred in the EU, the scuttling of the US Constitution is an event that would require more than the establishment of the NAU and a new currency. It’s tacit fear mongering in the video. It’s propaganda meant to use fear as it’s primary tool of conversion of thought. It’s a media virus meant to scare.
Fear is a powerful force used to propel emotional reactions in favor of intellectual ideas. Fear alters the media landscape in ways that aren’t apparent to those who watch media without
a critical eye. Fear fosters an emotional response first and foremost and that means that any real consideration of the issues involved – from the presentation of the propaganda (what’s it’s primary motivation? are the facts correct? is it presented in a logical manner or a fallacious manner?) to the discussion and debate of the ideas within- is left forgotten in the dust of the initial emotional reaction.
That’s the primary function of propaganda. To disrupt the thoughtful consideration and discussion of ideas and media and replace it with an emotional response that squelches discussion and consideration.
From this view point, the primary movement that is afoot in the world today is a corporate financed right wing Christian based extremist movement that wants to establish an American Empire.
The primary mistake in the video that I see is that it attempts to connect this movement to the One World Government one, as if they are one and the same, and that is incorrect. They are two movements that are vehemently opposed to each other on a number of fronts but work together out of necessity.
The video assumes that when David Rockefeller (who is a member of the banking establishment) tells Aaron Russo about an “event” that will occur (9/11) that Rockefeller knew this because of his involvement in the banking “one world government” movement. And, that assumption is erroneous. It’s incorrect. Like many people, Rockefeller was aware of the extremist movement that had been ballooning under the surface – of right wing corporate based pro-war, pro-American Empire movement. Hardcore extremist believers in the privatization of the military forces of the USA and it’s allies, who wished to solidify their power and economic reach by the creation of a situation that is irreversible, one that creates the inevitable need for the US and it’s corporate military personal to be in the Middle East for the foreseeable future. A permanent private corporate military presence in the Middle East to replace the lost US military bases which were abandoned in Saudi Arabia due to internal pressures within that totalitarian regime. (Not to mention the fact that the Saudi Arabian oil reserves are nearing the end of their long term usefulness.)
Does the banking and one world government stand to gain from the establishment of a permanent US presence in the Middle East? Of course. Money creates strange bedfellows to be sure.
Think for a moment what type of reaction would occur in the USA – on the left and the right – if the NAU were established and it was even perceived – whether it was true or not- that the establishment of the NAU would scuttle and US Constitution and Bill of Rights. Can you imagine the popular uproar?
The assumption that this information is being kept under raps in order to foment a totalitarian regime is a bit over the top. Like most things of this nature, the press is asked to not react and not assist information until it is more documented and understood. The same thing was done in the establishment of the EU.
Informed citizens around the world understood in the early 80′s that the EU was going to be established. It wasn’t an issue that was widely understood or seen in the media worldwide until the early 90′s. Was there a conspiracy there to take away the rights of Europeans and control their lives? Doesn’t appear to be does it?
It’s easy to see conspiracy in emotional contexts based in fear. What we don’t know can hurt us. At least in our minds.
The real issue here is how much control do we want banks to have in our world? Is the creation of economic unions in our best interests?
And, as far as liberties are concerned: As long as we remain vigilant and fight for what we believe in, and stay informed and aware, our rights should remain secure.
Any and all affronts to our rights will be met and challenged. That much is clear.Read More
And, no one seemed to notice that acclaimed Iraqi blogger Riverbend of Baghdad Burning announced that she and her family were leaving Iraq for reasons she is best suited to explain.
After all that has gone down stateside in the past month – the surge is working, the surge isn’t working – the reality of what is going on “over there” says it all.
And, does anyone remember Afghanistan? It’s up against the wall..
Yet, there are those who want the US to attack Iran. (Well, what it comes down to is they are not going to be the ones in danger now are they? No. They. Are. Not.)Read More
The plan is deceptively simple: Hide the unpopular Bush behind the military uniform. What’s old is new again.
It’s always been a brilliant move, and this time it’s likely Karl Rove’s parting gift to the faltering Bush Administration. For weeks we patiently waited for General David Petraeus’ testimony before Congress as to whether the surge in Iraq was a success or a failure. It mattered not that it was already a forgone conclusion that the General was to state that the surge was indeed a success, even if there was information that said it was mixed at best, major programs need to be scrapped entirely, or worse, and the war proper was an ongoing financial disaster.
But, truth be told, that’s not where the real action was for the public relations obsessed Bush White House and the noise machine. For, it was also a forgone conclusion that many on the left would react against the surge being proclaimed a success. They would do this vocally and in public and were deeply preparing to do so, as John Edwards did when buying ads to counter Bush’s speech, and as Move On did with it’s “betray us” ad in the New York Times.
Since the very first days in office the public relations m.o. for the Bush White House has always been to wrap Dubya in the military uniform, and to surround him with members of the military whenever possible. But, never have they used a member of the military in uniform to take their political hits and then used that uniform to deflect those hits by saying: “You’re attacking a man in uniform! How unpatriotic!”
It’s important at this moment to remember that it was the Bush White House that placed General David Petraeus into the political waters in the first place and then had the unmitigated gall to yell “shark!” and point fingers. Of course, the plan was always to meld Petraeus into Bush. As Mark Silva put it:
Tonight, the Petraeus plan becomes the Bush plan.
Alas, the Bush speech was met with mostly disdain for its lack of stating anything new, its predictability and its total obviousness in the face of expectation. Everyone knew exactly what Bush was going to say, and he said it. Disappointing to say the least. Why? Because it was all a ruse. The hopes of the White House marketing mavens were dashed upon the rocks, their expectations of the public rallying around the man in uniform and transferring that warm and fuzzy moment onto the president lost in the smoke of the all too political atmosphere that permeated the situation once the conservative noise machine got wind of the Move On ad.
It took the White House a week to actually respond to it themselves, their minions doing such a good job of diversion, disinformation and distortion. But, in the end, when the president did speak upon it, lowering himself to do so, the true nature of it all became clear. And, as all fascists do, they pushed the fear button, and the cowards stood up to be counted, fearful of criticizing the man in uniform who is speaking for the president.
It was brilliant in that regard. A beautiful ruse. Because in the end, we’re not talking about how the Republicans in the US Congress blocked legislation that would give overworked and outstretched US soldiers a bit more leave, or how democratically elected Parliament of Iraq has asked the US to set a timetable to leave Iraq, to not occupy Iraq indefinitely, but the US has refused, or how the Prime Minister of Iraq has asked the US to remove Blackwater operatives from his country, the White House plays deaf and dumb, because the law doesn’t apply to everyone and the dispute rages on and on. We’re not talking about those issues are we?
Democracy struggles at home and abroad because democracy is not the plan. It’s a ruse.
Keith Obermann has the last word on this.Read More
… because it serves their political hate agenda. The goods:
America’s Public Enemy #1, the Al Qaeda terrorist leader Osama Bin Laden, released a propaganda tape today which put forth a number of points, all obviously meant to push one agenda or another, much of it also obviously specifically created to divide the American people. It’s not a new trick to be sure. Nor is it new that the right wing extremists fall for it. lock stock and barrel yet again!
Odd, wouldn’t you say, that the right wing finds it perfectly acceptable to use the propaganda of America’s Number One Enemy to further their own domestic political propaganda?
Permanent propaganda victim Gateway Pundit sums up the wingnut love for Osama bin Laden best:
US Is Holding Copy of Bin Laden Tape— HE SLAMS DEMS!!
You can just taste the glee. I’d say that the G Pundit owes Bin Laden a box of chocolates this holiday.
To my mind, it’s not surprising in the least. The extreme right is a hornet’s next of traitors and arrogant mental pre-pubescents who led the vocal charge for this war (and Bin Laden’s head on a plate) in the process blindly supporting an ill advised and ill planned policy and war plans that many of us understood from the beginning were badly conceived. The results are plain as day for all to see.
Saying so as we did at the time resulted in being called unAmerican traitors by right extremists, yet now, they actually help to propel Bin Laden’s propaganda message of hate, to assist its purpose to divide the American people. They are aiding Bin Laden’s message and his fight to divide America.
If that isn’t treason, then what is?Read More
A few weeks ago, the right wing world was hyperventilating over the arrest of two middle eastern college students in North Carolina. Apparently the men had “pipe bombs” or “fireworks” or “explosives” (depending upon who was telling the story) in the trunk of the car they were driving near a US naval base. Open and shut case in the eyes of most of the freedom loving right wing, right? Middle Eastern men, explosives, car, Naval Base. Lock ‘em up. Throw away the key. Well, a funny thing happened on the way to Gitmo.
The last bits of information to see daylight in regard to this event are rather telling. The first was that tests were to be conducted on the remains of the “explosives” (they were detonated in a controlled manner) to determine what type of device it was. What were the results of this test? No word as of yet. Nothing. This is more than likely related to the second bit of information. Apparently, the FBI isn’t convinced:
For days after the arrest of two University of South Florida students accused of having pipe bombs, the FBI remained silent.
On Wednesday, the agency released a statement telling the public it’s possible there’s no merit to the accusations against Youssef Megahed, 21, and Ahmed A. Mohamed, 26. Both were arrested Aug. 4 inGoose Creek, S.C., on charges of possession of explosives.
“The FBI would like to remind everyone that this is an ongoing investigation and there is the possibility that the publicly reported allegations involving the students may be proven to be false,” it read.
An FBI spokesman said the agency is still investigating, that it released the statement only because there’s so much interest in the case, and it wants to be fair.
“We’re just making a request for everybody to be very objective at this time, very neutral,” said Special Agent Dave Couvertier.
But local legal experts say there’s likely more to it.
“That is a highly unusual statement from the FBI,” said Tampa lawyer John Fitzgibbons, a former federal prosecutor.
Other legal experts agreed, but no one knew what to make of it.
“Well, who knows what that means?” said Ed Page, a lawyer who has experience in Tampa and Washington, D.C. “Perhaps the initial assessment that the trunk contained pipe bombs was inaccurate. That’s a weird statement, I’ve got to tell you, to be coming out of the FBI.”
Fitzgibbons saw two scenarios. First, the FBI may not have a strong case against the students. Second, the Department of Justice may require a statement of that sort in its communication with the media.
Page agreed, adding that he’d never seen such a statement from the FBI. Neither had lawyer Stephen Crawford.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen an FBI statement that reminds us of our civil liberties,” Crawford said. “I think it shows that it’s probably going to turn out that the chemicals in those kids’ trunks were more fireworks than it was bomb.”
Bob Ulmer, a former FBI agent in Tampa, agreed the statement was unusual, but he said it sounded more like a policy decision or a deliberate attempt to be objective than the end of an investigation.
“I would say they’re just being cautious,” Ulmer said. “I’ve never heard it worded quite that way.”
The FBI declined to elaborate, saying only that the investigation continues.
Given the historical lack of such a statement, and the general attitude of the current administration, it looks to be pretty obvious to this observer that the test results likely showed that the “explosives” were fireworks, or homemade rockets, or something of that nature. PVC pipe is often used in “potato guns” and rockets. As are certain types of incendiary substances such as gunpowder. My guess is that the two men will be released, with time served. Much lesser charge.
The right wing will erupt of course. Having already tried and convicted.Read More
The great legacy of the Bush presidency will be how they fought so hard for a war and then had no clue how to fight the war. New from the past few days…
Don’t forget to Sign the Open Letter and Tell the networks not to follow FOX down the road to war.Read More
Barack Obama gave a speech in which he said the following:
Above all, I will send a clear message: we will not repeat the mistake of the past, when we turned our back on Afghanistan following Soviet withdrawal. As 9/11 showed us, the security of Afghanistan and America is shared. And today, that security is most threatened by the al Qaeda and Taliban sanctuary in the tribal regions of northwest Pakistan.
Al Qaeda terrorists train, travel, and maintain global communications in this safe-haven. The Taliban pursues a hit and run strategy, striking in Afghanistan, then skulking across the border to safety.
This is the wild frontier of our globalized world. There are wind-swept deserts and cave-dotted mountains. There are tribes that see borders as nothing more than lines on a map, and governments as forces that come and go. There are blood ties deeper than alliances of convenience, and pockets of extremism that follow religion to violence. It’s a tough place.
But that is no excuse. There must be no safe-haven for terrorists who threaten America. We cannot fail to act because action is hard.
As President, I would make the hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. military aid to Pakistan conditional, and I would make our conditions clear: Pakistan must make substantial progress in closing down the training camps, evicting foreign fighters, and preventing the Taliban from using Pakistan as a staging area for attacks in Afghanistan.
I understand that President Musharraf has his own challenges. But let me make this clear. There are terrorists holed up in those mountains who murdered 3,000 Americans. They are plotting to strike again. It was a terrible mistake to fail to act when we had a chance to take out an al Qaeda leadership meeting in 2005. If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won’t act, we will.
There is actually nothing in those words that have not been said or intimated prior: Bush would send troops inside Pakistan to catch bin Laden
The Voice of America put Obama’s speech in the proper context: US Democratic Presidential Hopeful Obama Vows to Pursue Terrorists in Pakistan. Again, nothing that the Bush Administration hasn’t said: Bush: al Qaeda Haven in Pakistan ‘Troubling’.
It’s a complicated situation to be sure. The US finds itself dealing with and giving lots of money to a country ruled by a military dictator who is facing a vocal and ever increasingly viable democratic movement at home. It’s touchy business dealing with a dictator who is threatened with a democratic uprising. He’s a busy man.
Reported last week in regard to striking at terrorist “safe havens” in Pakistan:
White House adviser Frances Townsend was asked Sunday on Fox News why the U.S. isn’t sending in special operations forces, pilotless drones and “everything we can to take out al-Qaida’s safe haven.”
“Well, just because we don’t speak about things publicly doesn’t mean we’re not doing many of the things you’re talking about,” Townsend said.
She wouldn’t go into details, but both U.S. and Pakistani officials confirm privately that U.S. intelligence teams are operating inside Pakistan — as are unmanned Predator planes. As to whether the U.S. might contemplate military force, Townsend delivered the administration’s new message:
“The president’s been clear: Job No. 1 is to protect the American people, and there are no options that are off the table,” she said.
So, how does the ever predictable and never right wing bozosphere react to Obama’s speech? With lies and nonsense. A sampling:
(“It must be true, I read it at Connecticut Yankee.”)
Stellar fabrications fit only for the truly misbegotten of soul and lovers of lies.
One of the great problem we as a society face is our inability to be honest with not only ourselves, but each other. Dishonesty permeates our political and social lives. It infects the information we hear and view every day and how it is transmitted. It reaches such heights that it becomes mythical fact. Dishonesty is the engine of spin. Bad news and facts are dismissed in favor of lies and obfuscation. Better to be a false winner than a true loser. All in an effort to promote one-sided ideologically driven perspectives. We lie to prove that we are right, that our beliefs are right. We equate our self image with our ideology. Well, some of us do, it is clear. What else can explain the sheer level of complete lack of honesty and embracing of lies? Stupidity? Perhaps. But, it goes deeper.
At the heart of it is an emotional adherence to our ideological identity and our inability to see beyond it. We need to believe in something, identify with it, and consider it to be infallible. It gives us a false sense of power and conviction. It gives us hope, even when it’s misguided, because we look around and there are so many others who think the same way, they can’t all be wrong, can they?
Well, yes. They can.
It’s become so prevailant and accepted that one can literally go to two dozen different right wing blogs and anticipate, based on an understanding of those bloggers attitudes and favorite angles of spin, pretty much that they will provide disinformation of a given type on any given issue. They are as predictable as the sunrinse and sunset. Today’s spin on Barack Obama’s speech are an example of this backwards thinking and just how low it can delve into the depths of dishonestly and complete foolishness.
It’s utterly and patently pathetic. What else can you say? (Well, you could say they are vapid, ignorant douchebag lying sacks of shit, but that would be pretty obvious. Dogpile on the rabbit.)
Do I expect the right wing clown posse to fess up and admit their error of ways and stop the bullshit? No. Of course not. It would be like teaching a pig to sing. It’s funny at first but then it’s just plain annoying.Read More