Government & media lies & conspiracy theorizing

People who want to understand what’s going on in the world have a hell of a problem because our governments are lying to us & media draws on government press releases & officials rather than investigative work for news analyses. The stories don’t add up & San Bernardino is a classic case in point.

The confusions lend themselves to conspiracy theorizing so that nothing is believable & everything becomes political theater directed by the CIA or Mossad. The Arab uprisings involving millions of people to the school shootings at Sandy Hook now become dismissed as frauds.

Of course governments conspire against us but conspiracy theorizing is a political method based on paranoia, speculations, imagination, suspicions, & fears. Quite frankly, it’s a poisonous method that’s taking over too much political discourse. It’s one thing to say the story doesn’t add up; it’s quite another to say it never happened or that it was a special ops drama.

Some things are verifiable; others never will be unless we get governments to open the books on their operations & surveillance. Chasing the conspiracies of the Kennedy assassination, 9/11, or labeling everything a false flag operation does not serve the movements for social change. Until we change the world, we have to live with the deceptions & uncertainties. But there’s plenty of evidence for what did happen, enough for us to chart a political course.

We don’t have to know if there were three shooters at San Bernardino or two to know that Muslims are being targeted for violence & persecution or that social hatred for them serves war-mongering. That’s where we focus our energy–on rebuilding antiwar opposition, Palestinian solidarity & BDS, & support for immigration & refugee rights. Because that is what we can control based on what we know for sure.

Media news blackout on all U.S. wars

Kabul, Afghanistan ( Rahmat Gul:AP) Dec 8 2015

Last week, media showed a photo of an Afghan man making tea. Today, they show a woman visiting a graveyard in Kabul. The US war & bombing have been going on there over 14 years. What happened to war journalism? It’s even worse when it comes to Iraq & as bad as the coverage of Kashmir.

After the Vietnam War, media attributed antiwar sentiment to its war coverage–neglecting to attribute the intransigence of the Vietnamese or the massive power of the international antiwar movement. The war coverage was puny, like has always been true of war, but it was broader & more extensive than coverage of previous wars. There was coverage of war-weary & injured soldiers in the field & even photographic documentation of war crimes like napalm victims & summary executions of Vietnamese–unlike WWII coverage which was primarily “heroic” moments for propaganda purpose–like the posed shot of raising the US flag at Iwo Jima or US marines landing at Normandy. Is there any coverage at all of the Korean War?

The US Pentagon was concerned by the antiwar effects of Vietnam War photography & during the 1991 Gulf War it banned most media coverage. In response to media protests of exclusion, the Pentagon began “embedding” journalists during the second Gulf War in 2003.

Embedded journalists travel with military units. They actually sign contracts with the Pentagon about what they are allowed to report. So what they see & report is controlled by the Pentagon. As one US Marine official said, “Frankly, our job is to win the war. Part of that is information warfare. So we are going to attempt to dominate the information environment.”

Some have justified embedding by pointing out that journalists are targeted in modern war, held hostage, even murdered. And that’s true. Journalism is one of the most dangerous occupations in the world, even in countries not at war but under occupation, like Mexico, or under dictatorships, like Egypt & Saudi Arabia. It’s a lot safer to ride in a tank or a Humvee than it is to travel by car through territory being bombed indiscriminately by the US.

But how does that explain why embedding journalists means there is no war reporting at all? That there is what amounts to a news blackout on US wars? Charming to see a man making morning tea & a woman visiting her relatives in the cemetery but it’s not war reporting. And war reporting matters when the US is bombing hospitals & the Green Beret are committing war crimes.

We cannot force media, the handmaiden of the Pentagon, to report on US wars. But we also cannot allow news blackouts to govern the level of our antiwar activities.

US out of Afghanistan! US out of Iraq! US out of Syria!

(Photo by Rahmat Gul/AP)

US news on an amphetamine blast in place of news reporting

All the news networks are inflammatory about San Bernardino but ABC takes the cake. David Muir, the parvenu being groomed as anchor, reads the news like he’s on amphetamines–which is perfectly suited for the modern Grimm fairy tales they’re passing off as news. Muslim boogeymen & women everywhere.

Yesterday Muir reported, in than panicked style of his, that every day YouTube, FB, & Twitter receive 90,000 messages from ISIS. Their algorithms must be working full tilt. Or does some schnook have to go in there & delete all 90,000 by hand? And how do they know the messages are from ISIS & not some teenage pranksters?

Of course, the marvel is that ISIS can do all that military damage, holding off 44 armies with bombers, & still have such an active social media life. Before they’re taken out, they could do the world some good by explaining their secret for multitasking.

McCarthy witch-hunt is the model for the emerging Muslim witch-hunt

One could call the McCarthy witch-hunt the propaganda apparatus of the US Cold War with the USSR which began after WWII. The fear & war-mongering, the promotion of surveillance & curtailment of civil liberties were unbridled–& quite frankly unhinged. For children, it was a real-life version of Grimm fairy tales, filled with violence & dangers for children.

The McCarthy era developed as I came of age & because my mother was political & right-wing, we grew up schooled in every accusation against “commies” & “pinkos.” Every liberal was suspect, including the TV weatherman & Minnesota’s Democratic Party senators.

That did not break until the 1960s & the emergence of the US civil rights & anti-Vietnam War movements–although in many ways, it still hasn’t broken because socialists are still considered by many as duplicitous & malignant instead of people with a political critique of inequality. Many leftists have crazy-assed ideas but most of them are not dangerous. Especially to the US government.

The Fifties were a relatively quiescent era politically because dissidents were harshly punished by being fired from jobs, socially ostracized, & blacklisted. At a plant where I worked, liberal & socialist workers were met in the parking lot by armed guards & told they didn’t work there anymore. My own family ostracized me when in the 1960s I became a socialist & got involved in antiwar work. My parents were horrified & stormed heaven for my soul; some family members would not allow their children to spend time with me lest I indoctrinate them (as I had been indoctrinated).

That is exactly the kind of dynamic being promoted now by every equivocating statement by Obama about Muslims & immigrants; by figures like Trump, Carson, & the rest of the creeps running for president, offering fascist ideas about Muslims; by the FBI for a slipshod investigation of San Bernardino & a politically motivated rush to judgement that it was related to Muslims; by media which still can’t provide a coherent account of San Bernardino & relies on photo comparisons of the shooters to show their decline into “radicalism.” (The woman, it was claimed, wore lipstick & makeup before she became an ISIS supporter but then went bare-faced as she grew radical. You can’t make this crap up.)

Quiescence is exactly the opposite of what is required to push back the political forces of racism, xenophobia, nationalism coming at us. Rebuilding the international antiwar movement, building Palestinian solidarity & BDS, demanding immigration & refugee rights are central to that campaign. This is when you understand that international solidarity is not a matter of noblesse oblige but a matter of political freedom everywhere &, in fact, a matter of survival.

Common Dreams & Human Rights Watch apologetics for Obama regime titled “Without Prosecution of Bush Officials, Obama Legacy ‘Forever Poisoned'”

Obama with the big toothy grin

Common Dreams, the progressive news website, has just published the most remarkable article entitled “Without Prosecution of Bush Officials, Obama Legacy ‘Forever Poisoned’.” The article is a monument to either a bad case of cognitive dissonance, historical ignorance, or despicable apologetics for the Obama regime. Because the site was initiated by Democratic Party operatives, the latter is more likely.

Drawing on a campaign by Human Rights Watch (HRW), a conservative establishment human rights group (which cannot bring itself to condemn US wars), Common Dreams editors call for a full criminal investigation of former President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, & all U.S. officials behind the CIA torture program. HRW is going after Obama & his administration for refusing to pursue criminal investigations into CIA torture by claiming there is insufficient evidence for prosecution.

The HRW brief against the Bush regime focuses on officials “who created, authorized, & implemented” the CIA torture program.” Bush was in office from 2001 to 2009–& there’s no question they were a despicable, criminal lot. But the CIA torture program goes back at least five decades more & continues through the Obama era. Is it conceivable HRW is ignorant of that history so well documented by scholars like Alfred W. McCoy, detailing not just CIA torture but involvement in international drug trafficking?

It was naive, but for years after Obama was elected, people blamed his continuance of Bush policies on the difficulties of dismantling the wars, along with the torture programs & violations of civil liberties. Only the most uncritical & credulous can continue to give Obama impunity & excuses. He not only sanctions CIA torture but has initiated several more US wars & made major inroads against the Bill of Rights. Clearly, these policies are bigger than any single presidential regime but are the policy of US neoliberal capitalism.

When Obama admitted in August 2014 that “We tortured some folks,” he made it sound so banal, even folksy. We’re talking waterboarding, anal rape with objects, sensory & sleep deprivation, threats against prisoner’s families, mock executions, broken bones. Those are practices the CIA continues under his regime & for which he is criminally responsible.

Enough with the alibis for the guy with the big toothy grin! HRW, if it was worth its salt, would be demanding the end of all US wars–whoever launched them–& the dismantling of the CIA, along with its torture programs & drug peddling operations. That’s the imperative of human rights.

(Photo of Obama from Wikipedia)

Sean Penn meets Shimon Peres: a tale of Penn’s association with terrorists & tyrants

Sean Penn meets Shimon Peres

It seems to be a de rigueur moment in Israeli propaganda that dignitaries & celebrities visiting Israel meet with Shimon Peres for a photo op. Media reports of Sean Penn’s recent meet & greet with Peres all say it was an awkward encounter between the boor & the terrorist. Why it would be uncomfortable for either one is unexplained.

Penn was in Tel Aviv to give the keynote address at a conference on Israeli aid to Haiti sponsored by IsraAID. No one could doubt the spirit of largesse exists among Israelis but it might be curious that it doesn’t extend to Palestinians except that IsraAID’s money comes primarily from the biggest Zionist organizations in the world. That doesn’t make the organization so much tainted as tendentious–& quite frankly calls into question its actual role in Haiti.

Some will be disappointed in Penn for hobnobbing with Israeli apartheid & with Peres, one of its chief architects. But for those who follow his pernicious role in Haiti, this is par for the course. Penn is a longtime, close collaborator with Haitian president Michel Martelly, a committed Duvalierist & admitted former terrorist member of the Tonton Macoutes. The Macoutes were Haitian paramilitary death squads created by dictator François “Papa Doc” Duvalier which continued to operate under the regime of his son dictator Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier.

Both Duvaliers used the Macoutes against political opponents in a reign of terror where hundreds of thousands of people were disappeared, tortured, murdered, stoned, burned alive, their corpses put on display & often hung in trees. Family members who tried to remove the bodies for burial were themselves disappeared. Shades of the Naqba carried out by Zionist paramilitary death squads against Palestinians.

In 2011, when the US brought their ally Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier back from the exile he had been driven into by popular revolt in 1986, Penn socialized & collaborated openly with him. None are too contemptible or monstrous in criminality for Penn to associate with.

Martelly & Penn collaborated with Hillary Clinton (as US Secretary of State) & Bill Clinton (orchestrating activities for the US government in Haiti while enriching his personal fortunes) in turning post-hurricane Haiti into a sweatshop economy. Using coercion & ignoring the needs & demands of the Haitian people, they prioritized & fast-tracked infrastructure projects like industrial parks with sweatshops, highways, telecom, building the tourist industry, & privatizing public services–all of which suit the needs of international capital & exploitation. They refused to build homes, health centers, & schools–which suit the needs of the Haitian people, many of whom still live in squalid camps after the 2010 hurricane. Penn was/is with the Clintons & Martelly every step of the way, trying to provide a babyfaced, “good-guy” humanitarian image to ruthless plunder.

If there was any discomfort on Penn’s part in shaking hands with Peres, it wouldn’t be due to the latter’s role as architect of Israeli apartheid & ethnic cleansing but that Penn’s role in Haiti is now open to question. At least now the truth is out about the contemptible fraud called the humanitarianism of Sean Penn.

(Photo of Penn & Peres from still shot of video)

The British moochocracy & Israel: a history of mutual colonialism & plunder

Charles (CC BY-SA, Dan Marsh, Flickr)

Those lauding or chastising Charlie Windsor’s decline of Netanyahu’s invitation to visit Israel are missing out on the last nearly 68 years of history & the political relationship between Israel & the UK. The two colonial powers remain on the best of terms & cooperation since Britain handed over Palestine to Zionist paramilitary forces for colonization.

The British moochocracy doesn’t refuse to go to Israel to show solidarity or express concern for Palestinian self-determination or take a stand against Israeli apartheid but only to avoid any unseemly uproars that would muss Betty or Charlie’s coifs & bring down criticism on them. They leave their dirty work to minions like Cameron & war criminal Tony Blair.

In 2008, Betty honorarily appointed Shimon Peres to the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael & Saint George, a British order of chivalry awarded to those “who hold high office or who render extraordinary or important non-military service in a foreign country.” Peres, who is a former Israeli president & prime minister is also a former paramilitary terrorist who later served as minister of defense & helped form the ruthless Israeli military.

Israeli officials reportedly bristle at the UK’s refusal to let Betty or other moochocrats visit but this should be taken no more seriously than Netanyahu’s snitty tensions with Obama. There’s no new strategic relationship here. Not as long as billions of dollars in aid & armaments keep flowing. And not as long as Israel, as a military fortress more than a nation, is pivotal to US-European hegemony in the Middle East.

Cut the crap & build BDS.

(Photo of Charlie Windsor by CC BY-SA, Dan Marsh, Flickr)

Zwarte Piet (Black Pete): Dutch rendition of minstrel is colonial propaganda, not folklore

‘Zwarte Piet’ (Black Pete)  (Remko de Waal:EPA) Dec 6 2015

One of the cagiest forms of socializing & acculturating to racism & misogyny in a society is through humor. That’s Charlie Hebdo’s schtick. But satire truly is the genre of the oppressed, a way to change power relationships through ridicule. It’s a very democratic form of protest because in tyrannical societies it can get you beheaded or exiled. When satire & ridicule are used against the oppressed by the power elite, it becomes something quite different with a contemptible dynamic of teaching inferiority & social hatred.

That’s what minstrel shows were all about in the 19th century US, even after the Civil War. White people in blackface lampooned Black people as lazy, clownish, stupid, & superstitious. The laughter was all at the expense of Blacks, promoting violence against them, & most of all teaching whites & Blacks a sense of Black social inferiority & white supremacy.

In the Netherlands, at the same time period, the blackface character of Zwarte Piet (Black Pete), who looks like a lawn jockey, was introduced as a buffoonish, slavish companion to Saint Nicholas when he delivered sweets to children. Those who defend this repugnant practice claim it’s a longstanding tradition from folklore. In fact it originated around the time of the “scramble for Africa”–the invasion, occupation, colonization, & annexation of African territories by European countries. It’s propaganda for colonialism, not folklore.

Dressing up as the oppressed has a long inglorious tradition in the US–not just the blackface crap but ‘playing Indian’ which prevails in US culture till today. Turning racism into a joke is part of promoting the ideology of social inferiority & should have no part in children’s games–unless you’re trying to teach kids social hatred.

There has been growing opposition by anti-racist activists in the Netherlands to end this practice & drop Zwarte Piet (Black Pete) from the Saint Nicholas festivities. Even a UN agency chimed in demanding it end as a racist practice. But it’s role as socializer to racism is seen by the power elite as invaluable because without it they would have to express the full brunt of social malignancy & that would show their hand.

Photo is of people dressing as ‘Zwarte Piet’ (Black Pete) to celebrate the feast of Saint Nicholas. There are knuckleheads everywhere willing to play a role for social inequality–not realizing that in a strategy of divide & conquer, the last laugh will be on them.

(Photo by Remko de Waal/EPA)

Muslim hatred after San Bernardino goes beyond redneck to fascist furor

Redneck is an epithet in US culture for a white working class reactionary. Some consider it derogatory of working people. Since I have relatives who fit the bill, I’m not that sensitive. It aptly describes a type.

The eruption of violent rhetoric directed at Muslims since San Bernardino is way beyond redneck stuff but draws on the cesspools of fascism & includes the highest levels of power in this country. Even Islamophobia is too weak a word.

We had comments by Trump about special databases & id cards for Muslims & from Ben Carson that a Muslim could only be US president if he or she “renounced the tenets of Islam.” It took the FBI one day to conclude on the basis of a shred of evidence that the shootings were Muslim-related. Jerry Falwell, Jr., the president of a right-wing religious college said “if more good people had concealed-carry permits, then we could end those Muslims before they walked in.” Presidential candidate & former NY governor George Pataki tweeted “We must declare war on radical Islam. @Loretta Lynch I’m not edging toward violent speech, I’m declaring we kill them. Go ahead, arrest me.” FB is filled with memes declaring we kill Muslims before they kill us.

Spreading fear of Muslims & making ignorant, asinine assertions about Islam as a hateful, “jihadist” religion is a very dangerous strategy unfortunately protected by freedom of speech. But openly promoting gun violence against them is a criminal act akin to shouting “fire” in a crowded theater.

These are dangerous times. But cowering is not an effective political response. The most effective response is to rebuild the international antiwar movement opposing all wars, including those promoted under the banner of fighting “jihad.”

Post on xenophobia & criminality of Jeanine Pirro hits a sore spot with right-wingers. Tough noogies.

On a post I did about the xenophobia & criminality of Judge Jeanine Pirro, I got hit with an avalanche of right-wingers. Usually I have no problems with a public wall but anti-Muslim sentiment is riding high right now & loudmouths & the deranged apparently identify with it. They seem to communicate only in CAPS & memes.

Why they’re incensed enough to evangelize on my wall beats me. I come from a family of right-wingers & I’ve never understood the psychology. Or is it a pathology? I’ll likely hit the grave before I’ve grasped its inner essence. At least I hope so.

Anyway, I’ve blocked & deleted most of the comments but left a few so we get a look at what we’re up against politically. Muslims in the US don’t stand alone. There are millions of civil libertarians & people of good will who stand with them.

We need always keep in mind that the force which drives social hatred back under its rock is political power which we much mobilize against war, for immigrant & refugee rights, & in defense of the Bill of Rights for all.

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