Tag Archives: Propaganda

Conversation: Freedom in the Empire, a brilliant discussion with Eric Draitser, Don Debar & Laura Carlsen

After reading Pepe Escobar’s previous piece on the Chinese vision for the world, contrast that with this excellent look into the inner workings of Empire by Eric Draitser and Don DeBar.

Brilliant stuff. Your dose of reality.

Augmented Ether
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Source: counterpunch

Click the picture below to go to counterpunch and play the audio!

Capture

This week, Eric welcomes two brilliant guests to the show. First, Eric speaks with Don DeBar, independent broadcaster and Senior Producer at Community Public Radio (CPRmetro.org). Eric and Don discuss the state of the independent media, and how it has been rapidly transformed in recent years. Don presents an inside account of the corporate takeover and purge of Pacifica Radio and its NYC flagship station WBAI, pulling back the curtain on how Pacifica operates, and why some of its good work has come to be overshadowed by the bad, especially when it comes to issues of war and peace. Eric and Don also touch on the war in Libya and how that exposed much of the media for being aligned with the US-NATO war agenda.

In the second half of the show, Eric welcomes Laura Carlsen, Director of the Americas Program at the Center for International Policy to the program. Eric and Laura discuss the 2014 Ayotzinapa massacre of student teachers in Mexico, and the obvious government cover-up of the incident. Laura explains what happened in late September 2014, what the circumstances were leading up to the massacre, and the inconsistencies in the initial government investigation. Eric and Laura also discuss neoliberalism and privatization, and how this massacre should be understood as part of a broader political process ongoing in Mexico with direct US involvement.

Musical interlude from Boukman Eksperyans – “Jou Nou Revolte”
Intro & Outtro from David Vest

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Oceania Saker.

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The Fog of Intelligence Or How to Be Eternally “Caught Off Guard” in the Greater Middle East, by Tom Engelhardt

This piece by Tom Engelhardt is a must read for anyone who follows the follies of Empire in their quest to subdue the planet. As much as money and technology has been used to extend the Empire’s reach and control of the world, it is not a substitute to the salient fact that the world is fundamentally uncontrollable.

Tune into TomDispatch to read more about the world we live in.

Augmented Ether

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Source: TomDispatch

1,500.

That figure stunned me. I found it in the 12th paragraph of a front-page New York Timesstory about “senior commanders” at U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) playing fast and loose with intelligence reports to give their air war against ISIS an unjustified sheen of success: “CENTCOM’s mammoth intelligence operation, with some 1,500 civilian, military, and contract analysts, is housed at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, in a bay front building that has the look of a sterile government facility posing as a Spanish hacienda.”

Think about that.  CENTCOM, one of six U.S. military commands that divide the planet up like a pie, has at least 1,500 intelligence analysts (military, civilian, and private contractors) all to itself.  Let me repeat that: 1,500 of them.  CENTCOM is essentially the country’s war command, responsible for most of the Greater Middle East, that expanse of now-chaotic territory filled with strife-torn and failing states that runs from Pakistan’s border to Egypt.  That’s no small task and about it there is much to be known.  Still, that figure should act like a flash of lightning, illuminating for a second an otherwise dark and stormy landscape.

And mind you, that’s just the analysts, not the full CENTCOM intelligence roster for which we have no figure at all.  In other words, even if that 1,500 represents a full count of the command’s intelligence analysts, not just the ones at its Tampa headquarters but in the field at places like its enormous operation at al-Udeid Air Base in Qatar, CENTCOM still has almost half as many of them as military personnel on the ground in Iraq (3,500 at latest count).  Now, try to imagine what those 1,500 analysts are doing, even for a command deep in a “quagmire” in Syria and Iraq, as President Obama recently dubbed it (though he was admittedly speaking about the Russians), as well as what looks like a failing war, 14 years later, in Afghanistan, and another in Yemen led by the Saudis but backed by Washington.  Even given all of that, what in the world could they possibly be “analyzing”?  Who at CENTCOM, in the Defense Intelligence Agency, or elsewhere has the time to attend to the reports and data flows that must be generated by 1,500 analysts?

Continue reading The Fog of Intelligence Or How to Be Eternally “Caught Off Guard” in the Greater Middle East, by Tom Engelhardt

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The Established Order Will Be Challenged, by Raymond Matison

Source: Zerohedge

Submitted by Raymond Matison via The Market Oracle,

With its recent miniscule 2% devaluation of the Yuan, media pundits noted that China had now also entered into the global currency war.  What this comment implies is that other countries with the ability to issue or print their own currency, including the U.S., have been participating in a currency war by devaluing their own currency as a hoped for means to increase their country exports and thereby stimulate their economies.  As China’s currency has been pegged to the USD, it had recently grown stronger as a byproduct of dollar’s recent dramatic strength.  Accordingly, the peg that China used to tie-in to the dollar’s value had increased the Chinese yuan to a level that was hurting their exports.  The resulting devaluation was China’s attempt to correct partially this unwelcome currency appreciation.

With FED’s past QE series of money printing, we have been at the forefront attempting to devalue our own currency as a means to improve our exports, reach the FED’s stated goal of increasing inflation which would produce higher GDP figures, allowing government officials to claim that economic growth or recovery is resuming.  Not to be outdone, the European Central Bank has been purchasing weak credits from their banks, in order to make member bank financial solidity ratios appear stronger – which also requires substantially increasing its money supply.  The largest and most outrageous example of intentional destruction in the value of its currency is Japan, which for nearly two decades has been on a mission to devalue its currency in order to stimulate inflation.

Currency expansion may seem like an ideal, benign solution to a country trying to stimulate its exports, but it does create a financial assault or loss to their trading partners.  For example, China’s recent holding in excess of $1.3 trillion assets (until some recent sales of under $200 billion) from accumulated annual trade surpluses, would lose great value in its assets by the amount of such U.S. devaluation.  If the U.S. were to expand its currency by 10%, China’s Treasury holdings could be reduced by $100 billion – not an insignificant amount.  That is of course why the well known phrase “race to the bottom” stipulates that once one country starts to print currency, other countries, in order to protect themselves against the action of the initiator, have to follow and also devalue their own currency.  We are currently witnesses to a race to the bottom in a continuing global currency war.

Definition of Currency War.

Wikipedia defines a currency war as “competitive devaluation where countries compete against each other to achieve a relatively low exchange rate for their own currency. As the price to buy a country’s currency falls so too does the price of exports. Imports to the country become more expensive. So domestic industry, and thus employment, receives a boost in demand from both domestic and foreign markets. The policy can also trigger retaliatory action by other countries which in turn can lead to a general decline in international trade, harming all countries.”

It is arguable that currency wars are not only fairly current affairs, but that they last for relatively brief periods of time not extending beyond a few short years – as highlighted by our FED’s recent QE series.  How might our understanding of currency war change if we were to expand slightly the definition of currency war, and by also taking a far longer view – that of going back to the founding of the FED?  How would we appraise the big picture of government and FED policy over the years, and its now fully observable results on the populace?

Continue reading The Established Order Will Be Challenged, by Raymond Matison

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Iran is Standing, by Andre Vltchek

Source: Counterpunch

Photo-Andre-and-President-Iran-Hassan-Rouhani-510x258
Iranian President Hasan Rouhani (left) and Andre Vltchek (right) speak at the 2nd International Congress on 17.000 Iranian Martyrs in Tehran, Iran.

Why should I care whether Iran has nukes? It most likely doesn’t, but even if it does… it never attacked anyone, never overthrew any government, and never performed experiments on human beings. It had not committed a single genocide, and never dreamed about conquering the world.

So why should I even bother to think much about Iran’s nuclear program, big or small, “peaceful” or defensive?

If Iran is capable of defending itself – then excellent; I am only happy! At least it will not be wiped out from the face of the Earth, as happened to its unfortunate neighbors Iraq and Afghanistan or to a bit more distant but not more fortunate countries like Libya.

Do I want this great, ancient Iranian culture to become defenseless and to eventually disappear, to be destroyed, or to get replaced by aggressive Western consumerism, arrogance and pathological lack of compassion? Or more concretely: Do I want Iran to turn into yet another Western colony? I don’t! I want it to survive and to thrive. As I want great Chinese and great Arab cultures to survive and flourish. As I want all cultures on Earth to survive and flourish.

But it seems that, as the Empire is on its final bellicose and ideological crusade, unless a truly independent nation begins to roar, unless it shows both its teeth and its missiles, it has almost no chance to survive.

Iran is roaring and it is also logically explaining where it stands. It has both guts and big heart.

Continue reading Iran is Standing, by Andre Vltchek

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The phony “Refugee Crisis”, by Thierry Meyssan

Source: Voltaire Network

While the European media arouse emotion by showing photographs of a drowned child and reports of crowds of refugees crossing the Balkans on foot, Thierry Meyssan demonstrates that these images have been fabricated. It’s certain that they serve the purposes of the head of the Federation of German Industries, Ulrich Grillo, and also NATO. But they do not show the phenomenon in its totality, which leads the Europeans to offer inadapted responses.

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The left-hand part of this photo has been widely published by the Atlantist Press. The victim, a Syrian Kurd child, Aylan Kurdi, is supposed to have been washed up by the sea. However, his corpse is perpendicular to the waves instead of being parallel. On the right-hand part, the presence of an official Turkish photographer reinforces the suggestion of a staged event. In the background we can see people bathing.
The left-hand part of this photo has been widely published by the Atlantist Press. The victim, a Syrian Kurd child, Aylan Kurdi, is supposed to have been washed up by the sea. However, his corpse is perpendicular to the waves instead of being parallel. On the right-hand part, the presence of an official Turkish photographer reinforces the suggestion of a staged event. In the background we can see people bathing.

A wave of brutal emotion suddenly submerged the populations of the NATO countries. People suddenly realised the drama of the refugees in the Mediterranean – a tragedy that has been going on for years to their complete indifference.

This change of attitude is due to the publication of a photograph showing a drowned child washed up on a Turkish beach. It doesn’t matter that this photo is staged – the sea washes up bodies parallel to the waves, never perpendicular. It doesn’t matter that in less than two days, it was instantly reproduced on the front pages of almost all the newspapers in the NATO zone You have already been advised that the Western Press is free and pluralist.

Continuing in the same vein, television channels multiplied reports on the exodus of thousands of Syrians who were crossing the Balkans on foot. Particular attention was given to the crossing of Hungary, which first of all built a completely pointless barbed-wire fence, then made a number of contradictory decisions which allowed the filming of crowds walking along the railway lines and mobbing their way onto trains.

« Reacting » to the emotion that they had provoked in their citizens, the « surprised and upset » European leaders struggled to find a way to bring help to these refugees. Antonio Guterres, ex-President of the Socialist International, and present UN High Commissioner for Refugees, invited himself to the debate, advocating « the obligatory participation of all the member states of the European Union. According to preliminary estimations, European countries will probably have to expand their relocation opportunities to 200,000 places », he declared.

What is the real problem, who is managing it, and what is their goal ?

Continue reading The phony “Refugee Crisis”, by Thierry Meyssan

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Bertrand Russell on Education and the Social Order

“Children are instinctively hostile to anything ‘odd’ in other children, especially in the ages from ten to fifteen. If the authorities realize that this conventionality is undesirable, they can guard against it in various ways, and they can place the cleverer children in separate schools. The intolerance of eccentricity that I am speaking of is strongest in the stupidest children, who tend to regard the peculiar tastes of clever children as affording just grounds for persecution. When the authorities also are stupid (which may occur), they will tend to side with the stupid children, and acquiesce, at least tacitly, in rough treatment for those who show intelligence. In that case, a society will be produced in which all the important positions will be won by those whose stupidity enables them to please the herd.

Such a society will have corrupt politicians, ignorant schoolmasters, policemen who cannot catch criminals, and judges who condemn innocent men. Such a society, even if it inhabits a country full of natural wealth, will in the end grow poor from inhability to choose able men for important posts. Such a society, though it may prate of Liberty and even erect statues in her honour, will be a persecuting society, which will punish the very men whose ideas might save it from disaster.

All this will spring from the too intense pressure of the herd, first at school and then in the world at large. Where such excessive pressure exists, those who direct education are not, as a rule, aware that it is an evil; indeed, they are quite apt to welcome it as a force making for good behaviour.”

Bertrand Russell, Education and the Social Order (1932)

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Image: Members of the DJ Fähnlein Hitler Youth (German: Hitlerjugend often abbreviated as HJ in German) a so-called elite branch youth organization of the Nazi Party in Germany and to a lesser extent in Austria. The members of the Hitler Youth were viewed as future “Aryan supermen” and were indoctrinated to believe racism and especially antisemitism by their schoolmasters. The primary aim was to instill the “proper motivation” that would enable its members to become soldiers, to fight faithfully for Adolph Hitler and his Third Reich. Needless to say, there was more emphasis on physical and military training than on academic and intellectual study.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Oceania Saker.

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The myth of a Russian “Threat”, by Pepe Escobar

Source: Sputnik News

Not a week goes by without the Pentagon carping about an ominous Russian “threat”.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey entered certified Donald “known unknown” Rumsfeld territory when he recently tried to conceptualize the “threat”; “Threats are the combination, or the aggregate, of capabilities and intentions. Let me set aside for the moment, intentions, because I don’t know what Russia intends.”

So Dempsey admits he does not know what he’s talking about. What he seems to know is that Russia is a “threat” anyway — in space, cyber space, ground-based cruise missiles, submarines.

And most of all, a threat to NATO; “One of the things that Russia does seem to do is either discredit, or even more ominously, create the conditions for the failure of NATO.”

So Russia “does seem” to discredit an already self-discredited NATO. That’s not much of a “threat”.

All these rhetorical games take place while NATO “does seem” to get ready for a direct confrontation with Russia. And make no mistake; Moscow does view NATO’s belligerence as a real threat.

[Please click below to continue reading]
Continue reading The myth of a Russian “Threat”, by Pepe Escobar

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The Douma Market Attack: a Fabricated Pretext for Intervention?, by Eric Draitser

Source: Counterpunch

The August 16, 2015 attack on a market in the Syrian town of Douma, just outside the capital Damascus, has caused international outrage. Condemnations of the Syrian government have poured in from seemingly all corners of the globe as President Assad and the Syrian military have been declared responsible for the attack, convicted in the court of media opinion. Interestingly, such declarations have come well before any investigation has been conducted, and without any tangible evidence other than the assertions of the rebel spokespersons and anti-government sources. Indeed, there has been an embarrassing dearth of investigative questions asked as corporate media, who have been far from objective these last four and half years, have rushed to fit the facts to their long-standing narrative of “Assad the Butcher.”

This author fully understands that, in asking difficult questions, he will be called an “apologist,” an “Assad propagandist,” or some other such nonsense. Frankly, such name-calling means very little when compared to the suffering of Syrian people, and the untold brutality that will be visited upon them if the western corporate media and warmongers get their way and yet another imperialist so-called intervention is carried out in the name of “humanitarianism.” The goal is to ask the right questions, to cast doubt on the already solidifying propaganda narrative that will undoubtedly be used to justify still more war.

Those who work for peace must be prepared to interrogate the received truths of the media machine, to confront head on that which is uncomfortable, and to do so knowing that their motives are just. The victims of this war, both past and future, deserve nothing less.

Questioning the Douma Narrative

When carefully scrutinizing the documentary evidence of the attack, and comparing that to the claims made throughout western media, some troubling irregularities emerge. Not only do the claims seem to be exaggerated, but when placed within the historical context of this war, they seem to fit into a clear pattern of distortion and misinformation disseminated for political purposes, rather than objective reportage. Indeed, the raw footage taken on the scene goes a long way to contradicting some of the claims made by witnesses and “activists” (an interesting term in itself) often quoted in the media.

[Please click below to continue reading] Continue reading The Douma Market Attack: a Fabricated Pretext for Intervention?, by Eric Draitser

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