Explaining Myself

Exclusive: U.S. government propagandists know that the best way to get Americans to support a war is to get them despising and laughing at some “designated villain,” though the technique applies to more mundane cases, too. That’s when journalists should step in but often they just pile on, says Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry

In my four decades in national journalism I started at the Associated Press in 1974 I have grown increasingly concerned about how Americans respond to information, or put differently, how propagandists package their messaging to elicit the desired response. In an age of cynicism, the trick is to get the “big ha-ha!” convincing you to laugh at the target whether deserved or not.

The way the process works is to first generate hatred or contempt toward a person or group and then produce “themes” that make the target a subject of ridicule and derision, demonized to such an extent that pretty much anything goes. Some of this behavior might seem relatively harmless but it can lead to serious unfairness, injustice, even war.

Journalist Robert Parry

Journalist Robert Parry

In 2000, I took heat from some colleagues for objecting to the “big ha-ha!” being directed at Vice President Al Gore. It had reached the point where the mainstream media even made up fictional quotes to put in Gore’s mouth like “I invented the Internet” so he could be mocked in favor of the much cooler George W. Bush, who rewarded favored journalists with pet nicknames.

This media hazing of wonky Al Gore carried over to the election in which Gore not only won the national popular vote but if all legal ballots in Florida had been counted, he would have carried that swing state and thus won the White House. But the mainstream U.S. media acted as if the idea of counting the votes and thus denying Bush the presidency was somehow dirty pool.

Very quickly, the conventional wisdom solidified behind the idea that Gore was a “sore loser” who should just get out of the way. That prevailing attitude created political space for five Republican justices on the U.S. Supreme Court to halt the counting of votes in Florida, giving the state and the White House to George W. Bush. The conventional wisdom quickly morphed into the conviction that the media had to protect Bush’s “legitimacy.”

The consequences of that shoddy and biased journalism are hard to quantify. History might have gone off in a much less bloody direction if the U.S. media big shots had stuck up for the basic idea that the American voters should decide who becomes president. But it was so much easier for everyone to go with the flow. Al Gore was such a stiff. Ha-ha! [For details, see Neck Deep.]

Reagan’s World

By 2000, I had already seen this pattern take shape and take control of American journalism. President Ronald Reagan and his skilled team of propagandists were masters at shaping the narrative and, via the media, convincing Americans that impoverished peasants in Central America were a grave threat to the United States and thus needed to be repressed.

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega became “the dictator in designer glasses” and Sandinista-ruled Nicaragua was “a totalitarian dungeon.” Conversely, U.S. allies no matter how corrupt and cruel were placed on a pedestal. The cocaine-tainted Nicaraguan Contras were the “moral equal of the Founding Fathers.” The blood-soaked dictator of Guatemala Efrain Rios Montt was a good Christian getting “a bum rap.” [See Consortiumnews.com’s “The Victory of Perception Management.”]

As the years went by, each international crisis became a replay. Iraq’s dictator Saddam Hussein was “worse than Hitler.” His troops pulled new-born infants out of incubators and smashed them to the floor. Today, it’s Russian President Vladimir Putin riding shirtless. What a macho jerk! Ha-ha!

So, when “white papers” or other government reports detail the offenses of these reviled leaders, who inside the mainstream U.S. media would risk his or her career by checking out the facts and challenging the accusations?

Indeed, you could build your career by going along, maybe becoming the “star reporter” who gets the latest approved “leak” from the U.S. intelligence community “confirming” how terrible the designated villain is. Or you could portray yourself as a “citizen journalist” and use Internet research to vindicate exactly what the U.S. government was claiming. Maybe a mainstream job or a U.S. AID grant awaits.

But I opted out of that game. For many years, I battled inside mainstream news organizations the AP, Newsweek and PBS Frontline trying to get reluctant, hostile or frightened editors to challenge the U.S. government’s propaganda as well as the media’s conventional wisdom. Eventually, I turned to the Internet and founded a Web site, which became Consortiumnews.com.

My job as I saw it was to do what I thought journalism was always supposed to do, i.e., look skeptically at whatever any government or powerful institution claimed to be true. I felt this was particularly important during international crises that carried the potential of war or in the current case of Ukraine the possibility of exterminating all life on the planet.

That doesn’t mean that governments and powerful institutions always lie. But it should mean that journalists demand hard facts and evidence before accepting what they’re told. Sadly, that attitude has become rare as the years have gone by.

It’s now almost expected that the New York Times and Washington Post will march in lockstep with the U.S. government on foreign policy, except perhaps when they bait a leader who shows some geopolitical restraint and doesn’t swagger aggressively into an international conflict. It also goes without saying that mainstream journalists are virtually immune from accountability if they run with the pack and later turn out to be wrong even if a catastrophic war is the result.

Yet, despite the depths that journalism has reached in the United States and across the Western world, I still believe in its principles. Indeed, the only ism that I do believe in is journalism, which you might define as the assembling of facts within a framework of common sense and presented in a way that the average person can understand.

But I especially don’t like the piling-on “ha-ha” tendencies of today’s media. Whenever someone gets demonized and that demonization influences how information is handled, that’s where the worst violations of journalistic principles usually occur.

Recently, I’ve applied that skepticism in evaluating claims about Russian guilt in the 2014 shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 from British blogger Eliot Higgins and Australia’s “60 Minutes” or in assessing the extravagant accusations about the Ukraine crisis from U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power.

But the same journalistic principles apply in more mundane matters like the NFL’s harsh punishment of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady in the overblown “Deflategate” case. Many Americans hate Brady and the Patriots, creating an atmosphere in which accusations are readily accepted even if the evidence is weak or manipulated.

While I would argue that my journalism is consistent in this way, I know it tends to offend people who have reached contrary conclusions and don’t want to rethink them or others who have a stake in the conventional wisdom. Then, I usually get accused of being someone’s apologist a “Sandinista apologist”; an “Al Gore apologist”; a “Saddam apologist”; a “Putin apologist”; or a “Brady apologist.”

But it’s really that I just don’t like the “big ha-ha!”

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com). You also can order Robert Parry’s trilogy on the Bush Family and its connections to various right-wing operatives for only $34. The trilogy includes America’s Stolen Narrative. For details on this offer, click here.

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41 comments for “Explaining Myself

  1. boggled
    June 29, 2015 at 11:10 pm

    Your statement and not mine Robert –

    The way the process (Propaganda) works is to first generate hatred or contempt toward a person or group and then produce “themes” that make the target a subject of ridicule and derision, demonized to such an extent that pretty much anything goes.

    Now, anyone who can read ANY five headlines of your articles can see your attention and enemy is DC and the USA Government and Western allies.

    And this is exactly what you do to get your shock value or an article read – your big HA- ha!

    Mr. Parry, have your apologized for one of your slanderous articles that bore out false?
    Have you apologized to your readers for being wrong in your articles?
    Having skepticism is one thing, having a appearance of hatred and continual promotion of conspiracy theories and making baseless accusations are a whole other item.

    You are not doing any investigative journalism, your just throwing out tons of theories on two halfpenny facts.
    YOU ARE WRITING ONLY ANTI DC PROPAGANDA PROPAGANDA.

    You have no articles about the rest of the world and slamming any of the dictators out there.
    In this article it seems like your almost defending some of the worst.

    It would be fine if 80 percent of your analysis was actually truth, but it is not.
    And you have not retracted or apologized for ONE thing you have said.

    As far as a Putin apologist, I do not think your that, I think your ignore the facts of his criminal empire and activities.
    You simply do not report them, because it is one of your cash cows.
    They like you slamming DC.
    You simply do not talk about them, you refuse to criticize them.
    I do not see you being an apologist, just a person who refuses to print the relevant facts that might hurt your website.
    Your whole purpose and meme is anti DC and its allies.

    So I have yet to see you apologize for your slander, I have yet to see you admit your wrong, even though you know you are 90 percent of the time.
    Your are like a fledgling reporter and think were there smoke there is fire, and if there is no fire when you get there, well you will create one so you can have your story.
    Your fire is lies and half truths and political spin and telling the people in your world that 2 plus 7 equals 3 with your convoluted analysis.

    So why is your demon DC?
    Is it because of something they did to you?
    OR is it your paid by various antiDC groups and lobbyists to write this tabloid slander of throw as much as you can against the wall and see if you can get one piece of slime to stick?

    Don’t get me wrong, I see skepticism of DC as a healthy thing, except I do not see what you are doing as being that.
    I see what your doing as antiDC hatred and spreading of propaganda myths for your sponsors.

    18 more days until it is one year after Russian soldiers or Russian Terrorists shot down MH17 and MURDERED 300 innocent lives.
    Are you willing to continue ignoring the facts until the courts tell you?
    Are you going to claim the courts are lying and covering up in some secret Zionist plot?
    IF there is a tape collected by the NSA of Uncle Vova himself undeniably giving the order to launch a BUK missile, would that be enough for you or not?

    You are very easily led to believe thousands of half baked truths of DC on the drop of a dime and print them, but when it comes to overwhelming evidence against the Kremlin and its Dictator in Chief, you defend him?
    Seriously?

    I will repeat your statement in this article, and I want you to read it and read any of your five headlines and see if you think you fit the bill of you are claiming others are doing to you.

    ‘The way the process works is to first generate hatred or contempt toward a person or group and then produce “themes” that make the target a subject of ridicule and derision, demonized to such an extent that pretty much anything goes.’ – Robert Parry June 29, 2015

  2. georgyorwell
    June 26, 2015 at 11:57 pm

    So, when “white papers” or other government reports detail the ……… who inside the mainstream U.S. media would risk his or her career by checking out the facts and challenging ……..
    ——–
    Robert does that include the 9/11 Commission report and the NIST reports on the “collapse” of the three WWT towers and Building ?? I used to have the utmost respect for you before your shallow attacks on the 9/11 Truth Movement.

  3. GrandmaR
    June 19, 2015 at 6:40 pm

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zdMbmdFOvTs

    President John F. Kennedy, on balancing freedom of the press with responsibility of the press. NO U.S. politicians have the ability to talk in any terms not covered by their pre-determined “talking points” anymore. Worth the listen, just for the retrospect.

    Thank you, Robert

  4. a.z
    June 18, 2015 at 6:50 pm

    if anyone wants to have a basic idea about what is going on around the world alongside analysis that tries to look at the big picture while refuting the sophisticated propaganda peddled by the american msm then one should come here at least once a month to scroll through the main page and read articles (at least one) for each of the hotspots. of all the alternate news sites i have visited covering global events this site offers the best analysis.

  5. jimbobla
    June 18, 2015 at 4:48 am

    In the medical community a fact has a half life of 40 years. Half of what was believed to be true 40 years ago is now believed not to be true. I heard a definition of what a fact is that I use. “A fact is a bit of information that is subject to change.” Whenever someone trots out their facts I remember that. Any journalist taking a first swipe at history decides which facts are central, which are marginal, and which are negligible. Their world view helps them decide which are which. Who writes the story is almost as important as the story itself.

  6. Gordon Pratt
    June 18, 2015 at 12:14 am

    If you control the agenda i.e. what is reported or discussed, and the nomenclature i.e. the language in which the debate is couched, you pretty well control the conclusions people come to.

    This is why sites that mostly react to mainline media reports and do so while hewing to politically correct language, support the Establishment no matter how ‘progressive’ contributors to the site regard their ideas.

    I never allow my opponents to establish the language of the debate.

  7. June 17, 2015 at 8:03 pm

    Interesting article. I’ll add that the technique of demonizing opponents has arguably been most immorally used against the very few analysts who have affirmed 9/11’s essence as an evident and poorly covered false flag. A quick web search for comments over the 2,000+ architects and engineers who have had the nerve to request the U.S. congress to initiate a thorough technical investigation into the self-destructions of the Twin Towers and Building 7 returns much ridicule and demonization, although even people with an average intelligence can teach the analytical demonstration of the triple World Trade Center controlled demolition.

    This is another indication of the high collective hysteria that has been engineered in the USA and other western countries. To the article’s point, it directly supports gratuitous wars. But it also, much more frighteningly, encourages professional con artists to join the upper crust of opinion-makers, in politics, in the media, and even in the institutions and organizations that ostensibly denounce breaches of morality but keep censoring 9/11.

    Conversely, if a large number of mentally healthy people understand this state of affairs before too many essential psychopaths do, they may initiate some mistrust of hysterical opinion-makers and possibly propel humanity out of this silly war system. But this is another story.

    Love,

  8. Abe
    June 17, 2015 at 3:10 pm

    PROPAGANDA BY ANY OTHER NAME

    “The best propaganda is that which, as it were, works invisibly, penetrates the whole of life without the public having any knowledge of the propagandistic initiative.” — Joseph Goebbels, Reich Minister of Propaganda in Nazi Germany

    Governments routinely engage in propaganda. However, official ministries with the word “propaganda” in their name have become progressively more rare since the end of World War II, as a result of which the term took on its present negative connotation.

    Instead of using the word “propaganda”, governments today often use the terms “public relations”, “psychological operations”, “education”, “advertising”, or simply “information”.

    The United States CIA “information activities” and DoD “deception operations” make use of mainstream media, fake “citizen journalists,” and “open source” information propagated via the Internet.

    DECEPTION OPERATIONS

    The Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms sets forth standard US military terminology to encompass the joint activity of the Armed Forces of the United States in both US joint and allied joint operations.

    Approved DoD terminology includes the following:

    “conduits” — Within military deception, conduits are information or intelligence gateways to the deception target. Examples of conduits include: foreign intelligence and security services, intelligence collection platforms, open-source intelligence, news media—foreign and domestic.

    “deception action” — A collection of related deception events that form a major component of a deception operation.

    “deception event” — A deception means executed at a specific time and location in support of a deception operation.

    “deception means” — Methods, resources, and techniques that can be used to convey information to the deception target. There are three categories of deception means: a. physical means. Activities and resources used to convey or deny selected information to a foreign power. b. technical means. Military material resources and their associated operating techniques used to convey or deny selected information to a foreign power. c. administrative means. Resources, methods, and techniques to convey or deny oral, pictorial, documentary, or other physical evidence to a foreign power.

    “deception objective” — The desired result of a deception operation expressed in terms of what the adversary is to do or not to do at the critical time and/or location.

    “deception story” — A scenario that outlines the friendly actions that will be portrayed to cause the deception target to adopt the desired perception.

    “deception target” — The adversary decision maker with the authority to make the decision that will achieve the deception objective.

    PROPAGANDA 3.0

    US “deception actions” employ mainstream media like the New York Times and Washington Post, as well as “citizen journalists” like Eliot Higgins and Bellingcat, as “conduits” for propaganda.

    Using an “open source” deception strategy, Western intelligence agencies now disseminate disinformation by making it “publicly available” via large numbers of relatively small agents (“users”) and weapons (“shares”) in synchronized actions.

    This new Propaganda 3.0 strategy applies the military tactic of “swarming” to overwhelm the “deception target” — people seeking information on the Internet.

    The four key themes of Propaganda 3.0 are:

    1) “Users” Share What Really Happened — Government Officials Lie

    2) More “User Contributions” Equals Greater Weight of Evidence

    3) “Citizen Journalists” Investigate, Assess, And Organize For You

    4) “Social Media Forensics” And “Geolocation” Are Verification

    5) “You Can See For Yourself”

    Twisting the whole concept of “open source” information, Propaganda 3.0 deception operatives permit Western intelligence agencies to “hide in plain sight.”

    US/NATO HYBRID WAR IN UKRAINE

    In 2014, after the Washington-instigated coup d’etat in Ukraine, a compliant regime in Kyiv initiated its brutal Anti-Terror Operation against the people of the Donbas region.

    To support Kyiv’s offensive military operations, the Pentagon and Western intelligence have used MSM and social media to advance numerous claims:

    1) Allegations that Russian troops movements along the Ukrainian border are preparation for a Russian invasion of Ukraine.

    2) Allegations that Russian training camps along the Ukrainian border served as the staging ground for Russian military equipment transported into Ukraine, soon to join the separatist arsenal, and for Russian soldiers mobilized across Russia to cross into Ukraine.

    3) Allegations that Russian soldiers concealed the identifying features of military vehicles, removed insignia from uniforms, and traveled across the border to join separatist forces in eastern Ukraine.

    4) Allegations that Russian manufactured arms and munitions not used by the Ukrainian military appeared in the hands of separatists, including shoulder launched surface-to-air missiles (MANPADS), various types of rocket launchers, anti-tank guided missiles, tanks, and mobile surface-to-air missile launchers.

    5) Allegations that during key counter-offensives by the Donbas People’s Militia and the Luhansk People’s Militia, covert Russian forces in Ukraine have received cover from Russian territory; and that many attacks originated in Russia, not in the separatist controlled areas of Ukraine.

    Every one of these Western intelligence agency allegations has been evaluated and repeatedly shown to be false by professional journalists, independent researchers, and defense analysts.

    Unable to succeed in their efforts to demonize Russia, frustrated by international recognition of the legitimate concerns of the people of eastern Ukraine, and discredited by the exposure of neo-Nazi forces in the Ukrainian government and military, the Pentagon and western intelligence sought to achieve a breakthrough.

    A well-prepared Propaganda 3.0 social media disinformation campaign launched into high gear with the July 17, 2014 destruction of Malaysia Airlines MH-17.

    The deception operation started with information released by Arsen Avakov, the notorious right-wing Ukrainian Minister of Interior via his Facebook page.

    The Pentagon and Western intelligence have intensified their deception activities in 2015.
    Using a Propaganda 3.0 swarming strategy, disseminating the very same fabrications via an online army of Internet “users” who “share content” that is “fact checked” and “verified” by fake “citizen journalist” deception operatives like Higgins.

    CHALLENGING THE DECEPTION STORY

    Robert Parry, in a series of articles on the Australian “60 Minutes” television broadcast, “MH-17: Special Investigation”, has shown that the Australians did NO investigation, but merely performed a “stand-upper” to merely present the claims of Eliot Higgins.

    The Australian “60 Minutes” broadcast began with Michael Usher’s unequivocal announcement, “I’ve just traveled deep into Russian-controlled eastern Ukraine to conduct our own investigation. We’ve painstakingly piecing together the proof that leads to the very spot from where the missile was fired, and tonight we can tell you who shot down MH-17.”

    Robert Parry accurately assessed that the program was a “willful fraud”.

    On May 29, 2015, Eliot Higgins published “On Who’s Lying? An In-depth Analysis of the Luhansk Buk Video” on the Bellingcat site.
    https://www.bellingcat.com/news/uk-and-europe/2015/05/29/whos-lying-an-in-depth-analysis-of-the-luhansk-buk-video/

    Higgins claimed that “it is clear thorough analysis the “60 Minutes” Australia visited the correct location, and that Robert Parry is wrong in his assessment.”

    However, whether or not the “60 Minutes” Australia visited the location specified by was not the object of Parry’s assessment.

    Parry correctly assessed that the Australian “60 Minutes” crew conducted no investigation of their own, but merely presented Higgins’ unsubstantiated claims as “evidence”.

  9. KarlVonMox
    June 17, 2015 at 3:07 pm

    Thank you so much for your amazing work – this is one of my favorite media outlets since it is so far above and beyond the trash that passes for “news” in most places these days.

  10. Dan Blick
    June 17, 2015 at 2:27 pm

    Thank you, Robert, for being journalism’s “MythBuster.”

    When I hear the MSM saying “We all know that…”, I look to ConsortiumNews to find the truth, and expose the agenda of the myth-tellers.

    Congratulations on a truly great body of work.

  11. June 17, 2015 at 1:27 pm

    “The consequences of that shoddy and biased journalism are hard to quantify. History might have gone off in a much less bloody direction if the U.S. media big shots had stuck up for the basic idea that the American voters should decide who becomes president.”

    The comic book history ( is a little embarrassing https://youtu.be/aVDig3Fu8WU ) would have gone off in just as bloody direction, and the story would be the same, because the story tellers would be the same : http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/media-con2.JPG

    History might have gone off in a much less bloody direction if 911 did not happen and Iraq was not invaded. Are you assuming things would have gone differently with President Al Gore?

  12. June 17, 2015 at 11:36 am

    “I battled inside mainstream news organizations – the AP, Newsweek and PBS Frontline”

    Fifteen years after the fact, PBS Frontline finally take a close look at Putin(in The Many Faces of Vladimir Putin/ Putin’s Way http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/foreign-affairs-defense/putins-way/the-many-faces-of-vladimir-putin/) and discover the Moscow apartment bombings.

    Frontline is go down hill fast. How fast? Frontline has never given a second look at the WTC fires: https://youtu.be/ww8hBFNY8jk?t=59

    A Case Study in Distortion and Bias on Syria by Frontline looks at a Frontline special titled Obama at War: http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/06/05/a-case-study-in-distortion-and-bias-on-syria-by-pbs/

    “Recently, I’ve applied skepticism in evaluatingRussian guilt in the shoot-down of MH17”

    USAF General Ben Partin knows a few things about SAM warheads. Partin Speaks About OKC and TWA800: https://youtu.be/mOT_wOm3xys

    “trying to get reluctant, hostile or frightened editors to challenge the U.S. government’s propaganda as well as the media’s conventional wisdom. ”

    Frightened editors? See Carl Bernstein’s CIA and the Media.

  13. t.osman
    June 17, 2015 at 9:04 am

    It’s a we bit sinister – read Cass Sustien’s brain fart or- Carl Bernstein spent six months looking at the relationship of the CIA and the Media.His 25,000-word cover story, published in Rolling Stone a few years ago: http://www.carlbernstein.com/magazine_cia_and_media.php

    “Today, it’s Russian President Vladimir Putin riding shirtless. What a macho jerk! Ha-ha!”

    Jon” Stewart has been one of the most effective (Ha-ha) government propagandists – but claims he is not a journalist. He is often promoted the Neocons( Sustien , Kagans, Rumsfeld, Miller , Powers , ) that lead to much death and destruction.

    Glenn Greewald has been doing a good job – Greewald never got on the Daily Show – In the early 1970s, Nixon officials such as John Ehrlichman and Henry Kissinger planted accusations in the U.S. media that Daniel Ellsberg had secretly given the Pentagon Papers and other key documents to the USSR. American journalists repeated it constantly, helping to smear Ellsberg:
    https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2015/06/14/sunday-times-report-snowden-files-journalism-worst-also-filled-falsehoods/

  14. Robert Taylor
    June 17, 2015 at 4:41 am

    Hi Robert,

    Thanks very much for your continued efforts, i live in hope that the counter-narratives i read on here will one day be common knowledge. I have donated a couple times to your worthy organisation and will do so again.

    Keep up the good work!

    Robert

  15. torben
    June 17, 2015 at 4:35 am

    Robert, you are a lighthouse in a dark dark world

  16. Daniel Guyot
    June 17, 2015 at 3:55 am

    Robert,
    When I was younger, my dream was to become a journalist, but I became a lawyer, and later a judge. I am living in France, but I have close ties with Russia, where my wife, born in Moscow, has relatives. I admire Russian civilization.
    All your articles are really remarkable.
    For a very long time I was disgusted by American policy, and I considered myself as anti-American. But after reading Consortium News, I am feeling sort of reconciled with Americans, at least with Americans like you and your readers, because I can see through your articles, that you and your colleagues are really seeking the truth, which is so necessary nowadays. In other words your work and your sincerity give me some hope, and I would like to thank you for that.

    I still remain very afraid by the situati

  17. Mark
    June 17, 2015 at 3:46 am

    What the piling on, ha ha! really amounts to is the exact same type of bullying you find in groups of adolescent youths — the older and more experienced they get, the more sophisticated it can become.

    With various governments, industries, media groups all perceiving gains through “business” in general — as usual — while in the case of Israel and her supporters illegal atrocities brought gains through religious fulfillment just as their chain of PM’s have “professed” to believe it.

    Though it is very unlikely each and every Israeli PM believed that God literally meant that Jews should terrorize, massacre and expel the indigenous Muslims and Christians to brutally take the land over a period of extended decades. And when considering the Zionists goals, any leader that would have strayed would have been considered a traitor — as with the Oslo peace accords and Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination.

    Though the US is certainly tied at the hip with Israel and maybe at one elbow and a knee as well, we are focusing on how the US arrives at policy decisions — including aiding and abetting Israel’s illegalities.

    With the US this is not the lone bully syndrome — but is a concerted group effort on some level. That is not to say the head of the current snake is not just one individual or one small group within the composite — which likely has a successor (or several) waiting for the opportunity to take the reigns.

    My question regarding the US is: Who or what group specifically is behind the scenes setting the agenda? It is the agenda juxtaposed against certain personalities and their knowledge or position and involvement which, after all, determines who is going to be bullied. If the agenda was all legal to begin with, there would be no reason to bully anyone — like a beaten wife it’s always the victims fault ha ha!

    Even if there is one ultimate decider (and it certainly was not George bush) that person would take into considerations the rewards to be realized by various members of the composite group in which they all share a symbiotic and interdependent relationship — at times the decisions could be unanimously acceptable with all the various interests benefitting, or perceiving to benefit, from the same action(s) intended to deliver the favorable end result(s).

    Any initial action(s) will elicit a response usually predictable to some degree, and baring a misstep during execution, the ensuing response(s) are always where the unknown or unexpected would first show up — things are fluid as humankind cannot determine absolute destiny for all concerned — though an individual or group does have the ability to take their own life, they cannot be sure that everyone or everything would die if they pushed all the buttons they control.

    Though it is possible one could cause the doom of all — what that really proves is that each human is not in control of their individual destiny — contrary to what the “educated” are taught to believe. So shall we play God?

    • Mark
      June 17, 2015 at 4:00 am

      The Yinon Plan, Wolfowitz Doctrine, PNAC “new strategy for securing the realm”, The New Pentagon Papers, Wall Street, IMF, MIC, elected and appointed government officials, the media — the media is failing us along with all those complicit enablers enabling each other as described above — the enemies of equality towards manifest freedom and democracy!

      They conspire to make you believe they are innocent and working on your behalf — wanting you to believe the truth is a conspiracy against them — comrades in deceit and propaganda one and all…

      Thanks for helping us all see Mr. Parry, may the truth find us all, if not before the end, in the end.

  18. June 17, 2015 at 12:48 am

    Call ’em like you see ’em, Bob, without fear or favor. That’s all that anyone can ask of a journalist.

    • Mel
      June 17, 2015 at 9:13 am

      The Japan Times has, as its slogan, “Without Fear or Favor”. Last week, on the front page, it stated that the crisis in Ukraine started with the Russian invasion of Crimea. Oaths aren’t what they used to be, you know, like swearing to protect and uphold the constitution or to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Watch the State briefings to see how far that last one has been abandoned.

  19. Rogert
    June 17, 2015 at 12:17 am

    Please forgive this diversion from the subject but I am very surprised at the lack of reaction to Ban Ki Moon’s omission of Israel’s appalling record in slaughtering children, destroying schools and hospitals and deliberate attacking of UN safe havens. The report commissioned by the UN placed Israel as third in the World for the murder of children and first for the destruction of schools, yet the man removed all reference to the Zionazis’ atrocities. He has always seemed a weak character but this gross omission reveals a total lack of integrity making him unfit for the job. Why has no one demanded his resignation?

    • dahoit
      June 17, 2015 at 12:00 pm

      Another corrupt brainwashed South Korean,Mr.moon,sad to see,but consistent with his silence about all our and Israels depredations.The UN relies on Western dough and is thus compromised.

      • dahoit
        June 17, 2015 at 12:02 pm

        Dough and approval by the MSM,witness its marginalization since the War of Terror began.Kofi Annan had some integrity,I see none today from Moon.

  20. Abe
    June 17, 2015 at 12:10 am

    As noted by Robert Parry:

    — you could portray yourself as a “citizen journalist” and use Internet research to vindicate exactly what the U.S. government was claiming —

    That’s precisely what’s been happening with regard to the MH-17 air crash incident.

    On May 18, Parry’s article “Fake Evidence Blaming Russia for MH-17?” challenged the Australian “60 Minutes” broadcast on MH-17 that was “based on information from blogger Eliot Higgins”. Noting that the Australian broadcast’s images did not match the alleged missile “getaway” Buk video, Parry observed that there appeared to have been “some fakery involved”.

    On May 19, Higgins wrote on his Bellingcat blog, “Robert Parry Falsely Accuses 60 Minutes Australia of Using Fake MH17 Evidence”. Citing “information gathered by Bellingcat to follow the route of the Buk through separatist held territory”, Higgins asserted that “Parry apparently has very poor skills in examining and investigating these kinds of images he’s falsely accused 60 Minutes Australia of faking their report, extremely serious allegations for a veteran reporter like Parry to make against another news organisation”.

    In other words, the Australian non-investigation is real because it agrees with the Higgins non-investigation.

    The Higgins-Bellingcat imbroglio illustrates the circularity of propaganda.

    Parry correctly identifying the Australian “60 Minutes” broadcast as a “stand-upper.”

    Higgins’ Bellingcat “investigation” reports are also “stand uppers” for US and NATO anti-Russia propaganda.

    The Atlantic Council, a regime change think tank, has released a report co-authored by faux “citizen journalist” Higgins and his crew of faux “independent investigators” at Bellingcat.

    The Atlantic Council is managed by Western “policy makers”, military leaders, and senior intelligence officials, including four heads of the Central Intelligence Agency.

    The Atlantic Council uses video of Higgins and Michael Usher from the Australian “60 Minutes” program “MH-17: An Investigation”(see video minutes 36:00-36:55) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eU0kuHI6lNg to promote the report.

    It praises Higgins and Bellingcat for providing “undeniable proof” in support of US and EU governments accusations against Russia.

    Damon Wilson, Executive Vice President of Programs and Strategy at the Atlantic Council, is a co-author with Higgins of the Atlantic Council report, “Hiding in Plain Sight: Putin’s War in Ukraine”

    Wilson highlights Higgins’ effort to bolster Western accusations against Russia:

    “We make this case using only open source, all unclassified material. And none of it provided by government sources.

    “And it’s thanks to works, the work that’s been pioneered by human rights defenders and our partner Eliot Higgins, uh, we’ve been able to use social media forensics and geolocation to back this up.” (see video minutes 35:10-36:30)

    However, the Atlantic Council claim that “none” of Higgins’ material was provided by government sources is an obvious lie.

    Higgins’ primary “pieces of evidence” — a video depicting a Buk missile launcher and a set of geolocation coordinates — were supplied by the SBU (Security Service of Ukraine) and the Ukrainian Ministry of Interior via the Facebook page of senior-level Ukrainian government official Arsen Avakov, the Minister of Internal Affairs.

    Higgins and the Atlantic Council are working in support of the Pentagon and Western intelligence’s “hybrid war” against Russia.

  21. Joe
    June 16, 2015 at 11:35 pm

    Robert, you are one of the few examples of what I believe a journalist to be. As far as being skeptical of the “conventional wisdom ” our so-called journalists of today are woefully inadequate. Thank you for at least presenting an opposing point of view.

  22. Thomas Minnehan
    June 16, 2015 at 10:41 pm

    Robert, I respect your integrity and your sense of ethics. Your professional approach to your craft stands out far above the drivel in the NYT and WaPo. For that, I appreciate your work.

  23. David William Pear
    June 16, 2015 at 10:00 pm

    Robert, Fortunate for us that there are still reporters who care about the truth. Speaking the truth is still a “privilege” we have left in the USA.

    So here is a truth as I see it. The Guardian has become a full fledged member of the “ha ha” club. I used to enjoy reading them daily, but 2 years ago a great change came over the newspaper. They are no better now than the NYT or WP—two other papers that in past years have joined the crowd of government spokes-papers. Especially when it comes to “ha ha” and putting out propaganda that is anti-Russian, anti-Putin and leading the world into a war that could go nuclear.

    Propaganda as you know is the first phase of war. It is highly irresponsible and can lead to millions of deaths. Once the propaganda bell is “rung” it cannot be un-rung. Propaganda takes on a force of its own, once the public has been indoctrinated. We are now at that stage with the public anti-Russian, anti-Putin hysteria. It can easily get out of control and a war can happen whether really wanted or not.

    It is curious that the change at the Guardian came after they announced a new “partnership” to cover East Europe and Russia. They call it the “New East Network”: (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jun/09/post-soviet-states-new-east-network-guardian-welcome). There partners include NGO’s operating in Russia, Ukraine and East Europe.

    One in particular caught my eye: Eurasia Net. Here is the “Who’s Who” of Eurasia Net: (http://www.eurasianet.org/node/63615). Interestingly, in an unpleasant way, the Managing Editor, Justin Burke has an email address linked to Open Society Foundation. That is George Soros outfit.

    So what is the link between George Soros and the Guardian. It is clear that Soros has a vested interest of Billion$ in Ukraine and regime change in Russia.

    A paper that has a reputation and holds itself out as a news organization is pretty suspect when they have a “partner” that clearly has an ax to grind.

    Point is, this is a lead that cries out for a follow up. I hope you will. It may be that my suspicions are completely unfounded and that the Soros-Guardian link is just an innocent association. My gut from reading the Guardian for the past two years says otherwise.

    If however there is more than meets the eye between the Soros-Guardian connection, then somebody needs to speak out in truth-telling. It could prevent an insane war.

  24. June 16, 2015 at 9:47 pm

    Kierkegaard once wrote that if he had a daughter who turned to prostitution he would not despair, but if he had a son who became a journalist and remained one for two years he would give up all hope. That was in the context of the Corsair satirical magazine that exercised great power through ridiculing people, Kierkegaard included. Another of his remarks is that when a truth is established only by the support of ten thousand yelling men, the manner in which is comes to be accepted testifies to a greater untruth than the truth itself. The crowd has always been a source of untruth, and today’s professional manipulators serve power and money to incite irresponsible masses with the help of stenographic “journalism.” The fault is not just with the journalists, but with the masses themselves who prefer infotainment and truthiness to sustained reasoning and respect for factual evidence.

    Kierkegaard’s remarks would not apply to honest journalism, Robert, such as you are practicing. It’s a great and important calling, and you deserve every bit of encouragement you can get.

  25. toby
    June 16, 2015 at 9:43 pm

    Being banned from commenting on your website has given me the feeling that you are not as genuinely interested in free speech and what a reasonable person thinks but instead like to applying the HA HA anti-semite label to me, rather than hear what I have said.

    You have a clear bias and your censoring me is proof that you do not have the open mind that you claim. Do as I say and not as I do attitude. I respect your journalism but not you personally.

    And it’s funny, because I believe you are generally truthful…but can’t stand up to opposition when you can simply eliminate it from YOUR website.

  26. Angelo Damone
    June 16, 2015 at 9:08 pm

    Robert,

    This is the place I turn to for news. Your website is above and beyond the best journalism. There is no equal.

    The rest of the so called media is not journalism, they basically are agents of infotainment.
    That is what the media has boiled down to,entertainment, scandal, race problems, and one way politics. Its a shame we lost the media in our country.

    I cant wait until the Republican candidates for President hits the 15 mark,who will the Koch brothers and Sheldon Adelson turn to then.

    The media has become a side show, and the circus is always in town.

    Keep up the great work.

  27. June 16, 2015 at 8:37 pm

    I hate the HA HA & piling on because I hate stupid bullies and all bullying.
    It shd never be tolerated by decent people and in fact there is NOTHING on this Earth that is more fun than standing up to a Big Bully …..or to brazen snots.

    2LT Dennis Morrisseau USArmy [armor – Vietnam era] retired. POB 177 W Pawlet, VT 05775
    802 645 9727 dmorso1@netzero.net

  28. June 16, 2015 at 8:29 pm

    Robert, please know that your continued integrity is very much appreciated by those of us who wish to be informed. I have found your reporting on the Syria and Ukraine crises, in particular, to be invaluable in my own research and writing.

    Thank you.

    Natylie Baldwin

  29. Eduardo Cohen
    June 16, 2015 at 8:28 pm

    The crimes of the press in the “disputed” role of Florida in the election of Bush the 2nd is much worse than you explained. There was a HUGE conflict of interest that not one reporter asked George W Bush or Jeb Bush about: Allowing the co-chair of George W. Bush’s presidential campaign in Florida continue in her role as chief elections officer in the State of Florida. Jeb Bush SHOULD have asked Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris to give up her position in the Bush campaign OR RESIGN her responsibilities as supervisor of Florida’s electoral machine. She should NEVER have been allowed to do both.

    The press shamelessly failed to asked Governor Bush why he wasn’t asking for her resignation. That was his responsibility as Governor.

    The even bigger failure was, in spite of all the campaign interview opportunities, failing to ask George W Bush why he, as the chief “decider” of his own election campaign, didn’t insist that she resign one of the two positions or ask for her resignation as co-chair of his Florida campaign. That was HIS responsibility. The failure of reporters to ask such important and relevant questions made them accomplices in a gross sabotage of the American democratic process. It was one of the greatest journalistic failures in recent electoral history. If she had been removed from the voting process, the recount might not have been necessary.

    I don’t agree that having a Democrat in the White House (Gore) would have guaranteed a less warlike policies. History doesn’t support that assumption.

    • dahoit
      June 17, 2015 at 11:39 am

      Yeah,agreed,Gore is just as neolibcon as any of these miseducated yuppie poison ivy league creeps,and yeah,why did the MSM let the shrub steal the election?

  30. Madhu
    June 16, 2015 at 8:20 pm

    I look forward to reading through all your books. For some reason, I am mixing in your book with a biography of Francois Mitterand. There is a funny review of one of his biographies that I found which talks about how Mitterand asked George H. W. Bush what NATO was for post Soviet Union. “We don’t know who our enemies are,” or something like that was the response. And this from the first Bush who navigated things much better than some might have. Certainly, the Clintons became completely caught up in NATO expansion and its perks in terms of stateside vote getting, etc.

  31. Madhu
    June 16, 2015 at 8:13 pm

    I’ve been reading America’s Stolen Narrative. I’m fascinated with the section on American intelligence in relation to British colonials and British colonial structures.

    What also is interesting to me is how many people I know don’t really buy the propaganda but sort of don’t really do anything about. Its dangers must not feel terribly acute to the average person. I guess propagandists have perfected a way of boiling the frog slowly….

  32. June 16, 2015 at 8:06 pm

    @ “My job as I saw it was to do what I thought journalism was always supposed to do, i.e., look skeptically at whatever any government or powerful institution claimed to be true. I felt this was particularly important during international crises that carried the potential of war or – in the current case of Ukraine – the possibility of exterminating all life on the planet.”

    “Only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government. And paramount among the responsibilities of a free press is the duty to prevent any part of the government from deceiving the people and sending them off to distant lands to die of foreign fevers and foreign shot and shell.”

    New York Times Co. v. United States, 403 U.S. 713 (1971) (Black, J. and Douglas, J., concurring).

    “The historian EP Thompson said that really [a particular journalist] was: ‘A kind of official urinal in which ministers and intelligence and defence chiefs could stand patiently leaking.'”

    Adam Curtis, BUGGER: Maybe the Real State Secret Is That Spies Aren’t Very Good at Their Jobs and Don’t Know Very Much about the World, BBC Blog (8 August 2013)

  33. Antiwar7
    June 16, 2015 at 7:52 pm

    Very perceptive article, Robert.

    Saddam Hussein’s moustache looks funny! Let’s sentence a million people to agonizing deaths and create hell on earth for the survivors, or whatever!

  34. June 16, 2015 at 7:52 pm

    Robert your speaking the truth to power and your spot on. Thank you for being a real journalist with integrity and honesty. Unfortunately in this day and age honesty and integrity are considered character flaws and a weakness as opposed to being a virtue

    • Anonymous
      June 17, 2015 at 9:45 pm

      Amen! Keep at it, Robert.

  35. Drew Hunkins
    June 16, 2015 at 6:02 pm

    “Propagandists package their messaging to elicit the desired response. In an age of cynicism, the trick is to get the “big ha-ha!” – convincing you to laugh at the target whether deserved or not.”

    Stupendous point. Spot-on.

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