The New Propaganda War

Exclusive: Despite Western media dominance, the U.S. government wants to stop the world from hearing the “other side” on foreign disputes by “countering” or discrediting those voices, explains Jonathan Marshall.

By Jonathan Marshall

“[Russia] is conducting an intensive propaganda campaign directed primarily against the US and is employing coordinated psychological, political and economic measures . . . The ultimate object of this campaign is not merely to undermine the prestige of the US and the effectiveness of its national policy but to weaken and divide world opinion to a point where effective opposition to [Russian] designs is no longer attainable by political, economic or military means.”

With that justification, the Truman administration secretly authorized the start of covert operations by the CIA against America’s wartime ally, the USSR, in December 1947. It was one of the seminal decisions that launched the Cold War.

Secretary of State John Kerry denounces Russia's RT network as a "propaganda bullhorn" during remarks on April 24, 2014.

Secretary of State John Kerry denounces Russia’s RT network as a “propaganda bullhorn” during remarks on April 24, 2014.

Fast forward now to March 2016, when the “Countering Information Warfare Act of 2016” was introduced in the U.S. Senate — as if nothing has changed in nearly seven decades.

The bipartisan bill, co-authored by Senators Chris Murphy, D-Connecticut, and Rob Portman, R-Ohio, declares that the Russian government uses “disinformation and other propaganda tools to undermine the national security objectives of the United States and key allies and partners” and achieve “a destabilizing effect on United States allies and interests.”

It further asserts that “the challenge of countering disinformation” requires “a whole-of-government approach leveraging all elements of national power,” coordinated by the Secretary of Defense and Director of National Intelligence.

Last year, in the same spirit, the House Armed Services Committee sought to add $30 million to funding of the U.S. Special Operations Command to combat Russian and Islamist information operations. It accused Russia of challenging “the NATO system” by engaging in “propaganda, diplomatic and economic measures to . . . preserve and extend its perceived sphere of influence” in Ukraine and beyond.

Philip Karber, president of the hawkish Potomac Foundation in Washington, D.C., agreed that Russia’s success in “hybrid warfare,” above all in Ukraine, requires a much bigger response from the American military. “Against the Russian media machine, you cannot just depend on a free press alone to defend against their multi-front ‘Big Lie’ campaign,” he declared.

Karber is one of many neo-Cold Warriors who warn that the United States and its NATO allies are falling behind Russia in the information war. In 2014, NATO’s Supreme Commander, General Philip Breedlove called on the alliance to prepare responses to what he called “the most amazing information warfare blitzkrieg we have ever seen,” related to Russia’s support for separatists in the eastern Ukraine.

Spreading Hysteria

Similar hysteria spilled into the pages of The Atlantic magazine, which complained that Breedlove had actually understated the threat.

“The new Russia doesn’t just deal in the petty disinformation, forgeries, lies, leaks, and cyber-sabotage usually associated with information warfare,” cried author Peter Pomerantsev. “It reinvents reality, creating mass hallucinations that then translate into political action. . . . We’re rendered stunned, spun, and flummoxed by the Kremlin’s weaponization of absurdity and unreality.”

Pomerantsev is affiliated with the Legatum Institute, a London-based think-tank that brought together “senior British and American officials” and “top Germans” with “frontline information-warriors from Ukraine” in 2014 to help expose “Kremlin propagandists.”

Alarmists say Russia’s information war is aimed at persuading gullible Westerners to render their governments “largely passive” in the face of Russia’s hostile actions, for example, in Ukraine. (The claim of passivity may surprise some Russians, who attribute their serious economic recession in part to Western economic sanctions.)

Russia’s deadly weapons in this information war are its TV and web channels, RT (formerly Russia Today) and Sputnik. Edward Lucas, senior vice-president of the U.S.-based Center for European Policy Analysis, calls RT “a fearsome adversary” and “a corrosive, anti-systemic force.” [Also, see Consortiumnews.com’s “Who’s the Propagandist: US or RT?“]

Russia’s dastardly tactic is to allocate “disproportionate coverage to speakers who echo the Kremlin’s preferred narratives” on controversial issues, according to a recent paper for the House of Commons on “Russia’s Information Warfare — Airbrushing Reality,” by former NATO press officer Ben Nimmo and Dr. Jonathan Eyal, international director of the Royal United Services Institute, a defense and security think tank.

Among other things, their paper complains, these media channels air Russia’s claim that NATO violated Western promises by expanding after the breakup of the USSR. Apparently, “many Western academics” have been hoodwinked by this claim. (So, apparently, was Der Spiegel, whose extensive report on the issue cited Secretary of State James Baker’s explicit promise to Mikhail Gorbachev on Feb. 9, 1990, that there would be “no extension of NATO’s jurisdiction for forces of NATO one inch to the east.”)

As a result, the “Airbrushing Reality” paper claims, “Moscow has succeeded in getting across a set of messages which may well hobble European security, and which need to be urgently confronted.”

RT’s Tiny Audience

These alarmists generally offer no statistics to support their warnings about the mass brainwashing of Western viewers. No wonder: RT garnered “less than 0.1 percent of Europe’s television audience.”

It proved only slightly more popular in Great Britain, where it ranked 175th out of 278 channels. The British government nonetheless deemed RT a big enough menace to threaten to revoke the network’s license. Among other sins, it was apparently guilty of airing “anti-Western comments in a late-night discussion on Ukraine.”

Anti-Russian investigative journalists have also gleefully reported that RT is “woefully failing in its mission” and misleading its Kremlin funders by “pretending that it has had a far bigger impact in the Western media sphere than it has, particularly online.” RT’s most popular videos evidently pertain to natural disasters, crime stories and social reporting, rather than politics.

Ironically it took a reporter for the U.S.-government-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty to admit that the propaganda war isn’t entirely one-sided. As Russia “embrac[es] information warfare for the 21st-century media environment,” he wrote, the “Kremlin has taken a page from Washington’s operations manual.”

The reporter added, as if the USSR had never dissolved, “Soviet intelligence services honed the tactical use of information to gain a strategic military advantage, deploying campaigns of deception, misinformation, and propaganda during the Soviet Union’s decades-long standoff with the United States, which itself used the CIA and other intelligence and information agencies to shape public opinion throughout the Cold War.” (emphasis added)

Created at the end of the 1940s as a propaganda arm of the CIA, Radio Free Europe proudly called itself a “political warfare operation engaged in a struggle against Soviet Russian colonialism behind the Iron Curtain.” But it also sought to counter “communist influence [on] this side of the Curtain” — meaning that it aimed its propaganda toward Western Europe and the United States as well.

Today, the CIA’s former international broadcasting operations enjoy lavish overt support from U.S. taxpayers through the federal Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG). For fiscal year 2017, BBG has requested $778 million in funding.

Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland, who pushed for the Ukraine coup and helped pick the post-coup leaders.

Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland, who pushed for the Ukraine coup and helped pick the post-coup leaders.

BBG works closely with the hawkish Victoria Nuland, assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian Affairs, to counter what she calls the “Kremlin’s pervasive propaganda campaign poisoning minds . . . on Russia’s periphery and across Europe.” (Nuland’s husband Robert Kagan is a veteran of Reagan-era “public diplomacy” and “perception management” programs led by a senior CIA covert operations specialist with the National Security Council.)

BBG has increased spending “to engage young audiences who are impacted by Russian . . . disinformation” and “launch digital teams for Central Asia and other areas where Russia supports frozen conflicts.” It created a Russian-language TV program carried by 25 outlets in eight countries along Russia’s periphery, including Ukraine,” to “correct the disinformation that is driving conflict in the region.”

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty also funds an online magazine, The Interpreter, which in the words of one enthusiastic supporter, “relentlessly exposes the liars, scaremongers and cranks who feature on RT’s programmes.”

So all this heated concern among Western politicians, military brass and policy analysts over Russia’s “information warfare” comes despite the tiny market share of Russia-funded media outlets in the West and enormous spending by the U.S. government on its own propaganda.

It also comes despite the almost suffocating homogeneity of major U.S. media and politicians in their condemnation of Russia governance and policies. As the noted Russia scholar Stephen Cohen, professor emeritus at New York University and Princeton University, has rued, virtually no conflict in recent memory has attracted less debate than America’s dangerous revival of the Cold War with the world’s only other nuclear superpower.

Perhaps the “information warfare” alarmists worry that some Russian claims might contain enough truth to sow seeds of doubt in Western minds and spark that long-overdue debate. But spending tens of millions of additional taxpayer dollars to swamp Russia’s voice with our own government’s version of truth is no way to realize the democratic values we profess.

America needs to hear a wider range of opinion — not because Russia deserves particular support, but because wise policy cannot emerge from today’s group think.

Jonathan Marshall is author or co-author of five books on international affairs, including The Lebanese Connection: Corruption, Civil War and the International Drug Traffic (Stanford University Press, 2012). Some of his previous articles for Consortiumnews were “Risky Blowback from Russian Sanctions”; “Neocons Want Regime Change in Iran”; “Saudi Cash Wins France’s Favor”; “The Saudis’ Hurt Feelings”; “Saudi Arabia’s Nuclear Bluster”; “The US Hand in the Syrian Mess”; and Hidden Origins of Syria’s Civil War.” ]

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47 comments for “The New Propaganda War

  1. portia2
    April 16, 2016 at 20:54

    Nobody holds a candle to the US Government in the arena of lies, propaganda, distortion of reality, deceit, socialization, indoctrination, brainwashing, etc. It’s whole system of ezploitation, robbery, oppression, impoverishing, and murdering of everythibg and everybody is predicated on it’s lies. It’s the worst cancerous-disease to ever plague mkind, except mankind himself.

  2. TellTheTruth-2
    April 15, 2016 at 12:10

    As an American, I feel like the VICTIM of a propaganda war against MY mind, heart, and soul. I first became aware of it during the Oklahoma City bombing when “ARAB LOOKING MEN” were blamed immediately after it happened. When Tim McVeigh was “accidentally” caught, convicted, and went to his death refusing any appeals, I realized the “ARAB LOOKING MEN” was part of the equation and if McVeigh had not screwed up and got caught, “ARAB LOOKING MEN” would still be the blame today. Then, on 9-11, as I watched the 2nd plane hit the WTC, my Sixth Sense told me, “Do NOT jump to conclusions, start to study.” The result of my study lead me to believe 9-11 was a FALSE FLAG OPERATION (Israel/USA) designed to make the American people HATE AND FEAR MUSLIMS. Sadly, mission accomplished for the majority of the American people. And, as Netanyahu messed up and said, “This is very good for Israel.” Since then I’ve watched THE GREATER ISRAEL PROJECT send a wave of DEATH AND DESTRUCTION over the Middle East. I’ve watched MASS MIGRATION be used as a WEAPON OF WAR and, I’ve seen a Main Stream Media (Zionist controlled) bamboozle the American people with lies and falsehoods that demand anyone who does not support Israel 100% to be labeled an anti-Semite as the Zionist War Mongers hide behind peace loving Jews who they call Self Hating Jews for not supporting Zionism. Today, when I watch the MSM attack Donald Trump with their STOP TRUMP movement, I become even more AWARE of the POWER AIPAC (the Israel Lobby) has over the US Congress and the American people. Based on that, I AM SO THANKFUL that I can still read opinions from other countries (RT and PressTV and others) to get THE OTHER SIDE OF THE STORY, the story the Zionist Media now wants to stop me from getting. In truth, 1984 transposed 1948, the year Israel became a State, to show us what it would give us. And, I am chagrined to say, their propaganda is so strong the “average” American does NOT have a clue how brainwashed they are by propaganda that far surpasses Goebbels. http://research.calvin.edu/german-propaganda-archive/

  3. Ben Cosin
    April 15, 2016 at 10:29

    I did not see any reference to the scandalous lies told by Radio Free Europe promising ‘Western’ intervention to help the Hungarian rebels of 1956 against Soviet threatened and then actual occupation of Hungary. Imperialist powers stab their puppets in the back (and worse).

  4. Tristan
    April 14, 2016 at 21:11

    Excellent article, but haven’t we always been at war with Eurasia? Doublethink is only one of our weapons against this relentless foe.

  5. historicvs
    April 14, 2016 at 19:11

    This has been going on for quite some time. Let us not forget that it was FDR who laid the foundation for the military-industrial complex that has replaced our republic with an aggressive imperialist regime. He did so by provoking Germany and Japan into needless wars, which the vast majority of the American people opposed. The effort was accompanied by the most sophisticated barrage of propaganda in our history, utterly dwarfing the naïve productions of the Committee on Public Information, which the U.S. government set up to create anti-German feeling in the Great War.

    War is always one of the elite’s most effective tools to suppress dissent, in this case the worldwide class rebellion that resulted from the Great Depression. In the United States, pitched battles were being fought as hungry people organized in unprecedented numbers and simply refused to be obedient any more. New foreign enemies were needed to bring them back under control. Germany and Jaopan, with their aggressive stances against western imperialism, were the natural choices.

    A very interesting perspective on World War II as a global attack on working people may be found in John Spritzler’s book “The People as Enemy, the Leaders’ Hidden Agenda in World War II.”

    Bernays also worked for the American Tobacco Company in the 1930s to promote the use of cigarettes to women. He called them “liberty torches” and said that women would stay nice thin and sexy if they would but reach for a cigarette after a meal instead of a sweet. In so doing he created the body-image cult of thinness that has damaged so many lives. And the tobacco industry already knew at the time that cigarette use greatly increases the risk of heart disease and lung cancer, but that’s another story.

  6. jaycee
    April 14, 2016 at 14:02

    Is there such a thing as “objective reality”, or are we simply swimming in a sea of “perceptions”? The think-tank scholars mentioned in this article appear to assume the latter. Pomerantsev’s Atlantic piece, in particular, articulates what appears to be a Big Lie while arguing that it is the other side which is in fact propagating. That’s getting into Alice In Wonderland through-the-looking-glass territory. Simply flipping through the coverage of Ukraine published in the New York Times in February 2014, as the coup unfolded, provides something of an objective reportorial account which lines up far closer to the alleged Russian “Big Lie” than the perceptions later displayed by the think-tankers. The think-tank scholars are well-paid for their work, and the think-tanks themselves are funded by private interests which have “interests”. That’s an obvious point, but obscured somewhat because “objective reality” is lived side-by-side with a “consensus reality” ruled by ideological truisms. Therefore, unconsciously, many of us start from a position which gives the system the benefit of the doubt – that politicians are public servants, that peace and justice motivates foreign policy, and that scholars are honest and objective and not paid propagandists.

  7. Bill Bodden
    April 14, 2016 at 13:05

    As I. F. “Izzy” Stone said a few decades ago, “All governments lie.” His analysis then was based on the past, and all governments (and their fawning corporate media) have continued to lie ever since.

    • J'hon Doe II
      April 14, 2016 at 20:37

      isn’t it the fawning gov’t (austerity programs) and the dominant corporate media???

  8. Natty Brown
    April 14, 2016 at 00:53

    Ohhh, and this is Hillary Clinton 5 Years ago :
    The U.S. is losing an information war to alternative media outlets, including RT. That’s the message from Hillary Clinton to Congress members, who are questioning the State Department’s US $47 billion budget request for next year. And as RT’s Gayane Chichakyan reports, the U.S. Secretary of State says
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L6sYB5d1Bu4

  9. Natty Brown
    April 14, 2016 at 00:30

    The problem is Capitalism has failed. As Soviet Union dissolved average American’s net work started to decline because of Reagan Policies. Over the years rich became richer and middle class and poor struggled as corporations stashed their billions over seas or simply sat on them. (Billions they made from general public)
    Student loan defaults in all time high because people with diploma cannot find good paying jobs in US. Remember education, health care, housing and basic needs were free in Soviet Union.
    My point is as people start understand what is going on them by following RT, Sputnik and other alternative media like this one they are going realize they got the bad end of the deal.
    This is what Capitalist System is upset about, people are waking up with social media etc.
    We demand as people free education, national health care and jobs. We are not demanding something unreasonable when our jobs are going overseas and our education is based on our tax dollars. Health care and big pharma has to be regulated. Human health cannot be for profit.

  10. Zachary Smith
    April 13, 2016 at 22:45

    Similar hysteria spilled into the pages of The Atlantic magazine, which complained that Breedlove had actually understated the threat.

    I can’t recall exactly what ticked me off, but a few years ago I deleted every identifiable Atlantic article stored on my computer. These days any topic has to especially tempting before I’ll even follow a link to the site.

    Everything I can locate about Breedlove suggests he’s a neocon nut.

    Finally, the RT site has recently published a reply to the claims made about it.

    https://www.rt.com/op-edge/338123-information-war-media-rt-sputnik-uk/

    • bfearn
      April 14, 2016 at 23:22

      I used to read The Atlantic until I ran into an issue with a cover that blared, ‘How We Will Fight China’.

      What is wrong with those guys??

  11. April 13, 2016 at 21:18

    Jonathon,

    Excellent and timely piece. It boggles the mind that the folks peddling this fiction re: the threat of Russian propagandising and whilst doing so keep a straight face, or lie straight in bed at night. In few other areas is it possible to point to the self delusion and out and out lies that prevail within Washinton and other Western capitals (such as here Down Under) about all manner of issues within the geopolitical firmament.

    In this one is reminded of the old joke about governments frowning on people stealing from them because they don’t like the competition. Likewise, Washington does not like Russian propagandising because it also doesn’t like the competition.

    Yet truth be told, when it comes to propagandizing and perception management, the Beltway Bandits — ably supported by their staunch allies within the MSM and in the cloud cuckooland of Thinktank Central — are well ahead of the game.

    So much is this so, that Washington’s incessant whining about Russian propagandizing amounts to little more than fighting fire with more fire, or using projection, false narratives and perception management techniques to counter or discredit the alleged false narratives and perception management techniques of the enemy. An age old ploy to be sure, but compared to Washington, the Kremlin is an also-ran in the propaganda stakes.

    Anyone who thinks otherwise is even more deluded than those groupthinkers promulgating this drivel to begin with.

    • J'hon Doe II
      April 13, 2016 at 22:04

      Anyone who thinks otherwise is even more deluded than those groupthinkers promulgating this drivel to begin with.– Greg Maybury

      Don’t forget the basics of their crude mentality — THEY CREATE REALITY
      ::

      The New Neo-Con Reality

      by PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS
      OCTOBER 28, 2008

      “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality — judiciously, as you will — we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”

      –Bush White House aide explaining the New Reality

      ::
      (see also)
      http://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/libertarianism-dogma-desire-therefore-i-am/

  12. Paul Schofield
    April 13, 2016 at 20:58

    Our world is facing total collapse in all areas. Financially, ecologically, and socially. If the coming financial collapse doesn’t lead to social collapse the coming global warming catastrophe most certainly will. The current migrant ( refugee?) crisis in Europe is nothing compared to the displaced millions of climate refugees just over the horizon. Many top climate scientists are warning of mass extinction of human society within one of two generations if we can’t stop climate change now. (see Arctic Methane Emergency Group, Arctic news, Dr Guy Mcpherson and others). We are already in the 6th great extinction with hundreds of species disappearing each day.
    This is the greatest crime mankind can commit. It is a crime against God, a crime against the universe.
    Our leaders and our corporate media have totally failed us. The waste of our intelligence and treasure on weapons of war and indiscriminate killing with the cowardly support of many our leaders and ordinary people questions our right to exist.
    We are seeing evolution at work before our eyes. Each technological advance needs to be balanced by an equal growth of spiritual responsibility. If we do not take back our Governments and rout out the psychopaths in control, human bones will whiten alongside the bones of dinosaurs, just another failed species.

  13. REDPILLED
    April 13, 2016 at 20:39

    “Wise policy”? When was the last time the U.S. had any wise policy regarding any government daring to go its own way, independent of the global hegemon, the “exceptional” and “indispensable” world policeman?

  14. Realist
    April 13, 2016 at 19:24

    I was surprised to learn that the first quote was attributed to the Truman administration. I was almost certain that it originated from the Obama White House.

    Truth be told, the reporting on the RT site is so sparse, there is no room to pad it with propaganda. Mostly it simply quotes what is being claimed by Western sources, usually to the detriment of Russian interests.

    If you want to read or hear exceptionally creative lies, go to the usual American sources, especially Biden and Breedlove. Watch for lies and animus to really intensify if Clinton and her familiars Nuland and Kagan come to power next year. Not sure the world will survive the next American administration, no matter who calls the tunes. All the leading candidates are dangerous.

  15. Jill
    April 13, 2016 at 18:09

    There is plenty of pro-Russian propaganda and sentiment in the U.S. Am not sure where it all comes from, but perhaps the U.S. government is correct to be concerned. This site, although hardly major media, seems heavily pro-Russian, easily excusing Putin’s invasion of the Ukraine and annexation of Crimea. Of course, the other side in the conflict was threatening ethnic Russians and are not angels either.

    Writers on this site act as if it is just wonderful that Russia has been propping up Assad as he slaughtered large numbers of his people– perhaps without using sarin, ok, but still slaughtering them– and sending 1/5 of the population of Syria fleeing for their lives. Thus Assad, with Putin propping him up, caused the current European refugee crisis. Not a wonderful thing to do at all.

    The “most trusted news source”, according to a recent survey, the Republican establishment propaganda machine Fox News, also loves Putin. Just about everyone at Fox News except for Bill O’Reilly worships Putin.

    O’Reilly Breaks Against Fox News’ Love Affair With Vladimir Putin, Criticizes Trump For Praising Him

    http://mediamatters.org/video/2016/01/06/oreilly-breaks-against-fox-news-love-affair-wit/207815

    • Andrew Nichols
      April 13, 2016 at 18:39

      Just because you dont agree with the message of this site doesnt mean that what is presented is incorrect. You need to do better than that. Just asserting that it’s pro Russian propaganda doesnt make it so.

      • Michael K Rohde
        April 15, 2016 at 20:53

        Bravo Andrew. Sharing information about Russia that does not fit the neo-con story line is not propaganda. It is accurate information related without bias or hidden agendas. Our foreign adventures in the Ukraine are dangerous. What would we say if all of a sudden Russia started stock piling weapons in Baja, California? We’d have another Cuban missile crisis and draw a line in the sand. Again. Russia’s relationship with the Ukraine and Crimea is long standing. It certainly pre-dates 1947 claims to territory in other parts of the world Jill.

    • Joe L.
      April 13, 2016 at 18:40

      Jill… I don’t know where you are from but I am Canadian. I believe that Putin is far from perfect and frankly I think that he is a little too conservative for my liking if I had to live under his government. That being said the constant vitriol toward Putin is ridiculous and is frankly propaganda. Pick a story, Putin puts a blanket on the first lady of China – evil Putin, acquaintances of Putin come up in the Panama Papers (even though largely western names are absent) – evil Putin, MH-17 where the US offered no evidence of who downed it but again – evil Putin, Crimea (61 years ago was Russia) where I do believe Putin annexed it but the people also wanted to leave via Pew Research/Gallup/GFK polls – evil Putin, and as for Ukraine it is hard to tell what exactly is going on because I hear of Russian invasions but nowhere near Kiev and then you have people like Geoffrey Pyatt using photos from Russian Airshows or even from the 2008 Georgia/Russian War to prove of Russia’s involvement in Ukraine. Frankly, as Mr. Parry and many respected journalists have pointed out, there is a long history of US backed coups from Latin America to Africa to the Middle East etc.

      As for Syria and the refugee crisis, you cannot be so deluded not to figure out how 15+ years of dropping bombs in the Middle East has led to this refugee crisis – which are largely Syrians but also Libyans, Afghanis, Iraqis, Pakistanis etc. How did we get to this point?

      1) Did you know that in 1979, six months before the Afghan/Soviet War, that the US invested $500 Million to create the Mujahideen which would become Al Qaeda and the Taliban (with ISIS being an offshoot of Al Qaeda from within Iraq after Hussein was overthrown)?

      2) Did you know that in 2007, US 4-star General Wesley Clark (who was the head of NATO in Europe) spoke to ForaTV about a US plan predating 9/11 to overthrow the governments of 7 countries across the Middle East – Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Iran (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nUCwCgthp_E).

      3) So then, not only did the US (and allies) create the terrorists to begin with then we have VP Joe Biden speaking about our allies in the Middle East – Turkey and Saudi Arabia funding and arming Al Nusra (Al Qaeda) and ISIS because they are so hellbent on getting rid of Assad – which he then apologized for (http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/10/05/vp-biden-apologizes-for-telling-truth-about-turkey-saudi-and-isis.html).

      4) Then let us also not forget the US/Britain/France training and arming supposed “moderate” rebels in Jordan in 2012. Meanwhile just last year in, I believe, summer of 2015 you have US General Austin going before the US Congress and telling them that there were only “4 or 5”, not 4 or 5 hundred, but “4 or 5” moderate rebels left in Syria which means that all of the those “moderates” went to Al Nusra and ISIS (along with the arms and training).

      So I am sorry Jill but not only did the US, and the west, create these terrorists but the removal of Assad along with other Middle Eastern leaders, whom our governments don’t like, have been preordained for removal or what we call “regime change” and you would have to be living under a rock or totally clueless to try to shift the blame for what is happening in the Middle East on any other country other than the US, and its’ allies. This is our mess plain and simple…

      • Michael K Rohde
        April 15, 2016 at 21:22

        I unfortunately must agree with you sir. It pains me that America went from being the world’s victim on 9-11 to the Pariah we are today. This happened as a direct result of Bush II’s Middle East fiasco which AIPAC functioned as the sales manager for in the Senate. Invading Iraq the second time was a brutal and illegal act that seems to benefit only one country and it is not the U.S. We started the mess before the end of WWII and continued interfering with legally elected governments if they did not do the bidding of British Petroleum or Aramco or Exxon. Saudi Arabia finally said enough after Kissingers’ handling of the October War in 1973 and radical politics became part and parcel of the typical response in all political matters in the Middle East. No middle ground exists now which makes it hard to reach an agreement. Again, only one country seems to benefit from this and it is not the country paying the bills, in blood as well as treasure. We have created a horrible mess in the Middle East, millions of refugees with no country to call home and an entire generation of children suffering physically because of our wars and military actions and economic sanctions. If there is such a thing as international Karma, we have a big problem. And I think Hillary just perpetuates it if not making it worse. The Republicans in the White House right now is scary because they just deny reality for their southern voters and their Islamaphobia campaign is very successful in our Southern states. They will support any form of military action including and up to nuclear weapons because of their religious beliefs that the end is near and a nuclear war could be the sign christ is coming back . That is a convergence of faith and weaponry that has a nightmare for the last chapter. Everyone dies in that book. And they think the terrorists are what we need to fear. We need to fear these extremists right here at home and the foreign policy they would force on an unwilling world if they get the White House back. Scary proposition indeed.

    • Joe L.
      April 13, 2016 at 19:09

      Oh and as for Assad slaughtering his people, I would be willing to bet that the majority of people that Assad is killing are largely foreigners who are fighting for ISIS or Al Nusra (Al Qaeda). The problem that I have with blaming Assad for everything is that I heard people like US 4-star General Wesley Clark speak in “2007”, before there was any conflict in Syria, about a US plan to remove Assad along with the US creating these terrorists to begin with and support for these terrorists from our allies in the Middle East, Turkey and Saudi Arabia, that fund and arm them. What do we want here? We already have the examples of Libya and Iraq where the US, and NATO, successfully pulled off regime change and then both countries were infested by Al Qaeda and ISIS – that is the road map that we already have? Do you seriously want that in Syria? Even look back at Libya and you can see stories of how some of the “rebels” that we were supporting for “freedom” and “democracy” turned out to be Al Qaeda – seriously. You want to cry for the people of Syria but how about the people of Iraq where the US murdered 1/2 Million to 1 Million of them which doesn’t include those that will suffer from exposure to depleted uranium (nuclear waste) for decades to come in places like Fallujah! If you want to blame someone then blame the US government to put a stop to this imperialism in the Middle East and the world in general which has destroyed the lives of millions upon millions of people the world over through wars and coups. The Guardian even did a story, just after the coup in Honduras in 2009, which was ironically pulled off by a graduate from the School of the America’s (now WHINSEC) which is located in Fort Benning in Georgia, about how the US has trained 11 Latin American dictators, along with their death squads, who largely replaced “democracies” across the region.

    • Erik
      April 13, 2016 at 19:43

      1. Where is your evidence of a Russian invasion of Ukraine, which you asserted to be distinct from the Crimea issue? No evidence has been found.
      2. On what evidence do you claim that there is much pro-Russian “propaganda” as distinguished from such “sentiment” in the US? What statements do you regard as false and why? Where do you see false statements widely circulated, and why haven’t you supplied any evidence or argument?
      3. On what grounds do you claim that Assad (versus insurgents) caused the Syrian refugee crisis? Regardless of politics everyone knows that the results of war cannot be blamed on one side.

      It appears to me that you know that your statements are false, and in fact propaganda in themselves.

    • Skip Edwards
      April 13, 2016 at 20:56

      You have been to too many tailgate parties. Times have changed and a new Era is upon us. We are now a very finite planet with finite resources and a potentially infinite human population wanting it’s share and competing with all life on Earth equally deserving of life. Gone are the days when a person can take what they want of the forests, minerals, oceans, land just because they can in a winner take all world. Gone are the days of kings, oligarchs and the few who think they can steal from the masses with impunity. More later but for now understand that the days of the industrial revolution are over. There will be a redistribution because the few cannot survive as in the past. A political revolution is coming; there is no stopping it. A few thousand oligarchs and a few thousand more bottom feeding politicians cannot stand up to the billions who are coming for their fair share. The end of one revolution, the beginning of another; light or dark, the revolution is coming. Which will it be?

      • Joe Tedesky
        April 13, 2016 at 23:16

        Skip, you say it so well. Evidence of how these times are a changing, is found by the voters choice of antiestablishment candidates. Trump on the right, Sanders on the left, but both representing antiestablishment views. Then there are politicians like young Tulsi Gabbard. Google the name John Fetterman, and you will discover not only a new kind of looking politician, but also a candidate with a warm sincerity for people unlike any other before him. I am probably to much of a dreamer, but I do hold out hope that my children and grandchildren’s time is due, and that they will be the next greatest generation. Yes, the revolution is nearer than some realize. In fact, as I write this America’s greatest leader may have just been born.

    • Brad Benson
      April 14, 2016 at 08:37

      You sound like someone who gets his news from the NY Times, the WSJ or WAPO. Your understanding of the Ukraine Crisis is really flawed. Perhaps you should watch a little more RT to introduce some truth into your thinking.

    • rosemerry
      April 14, 2016 at 17:20

      What a very strange comment. Have you read any of the other comments? The overwhelming anti-Russian bias of almost every aspect of US media cannot be denied, and the media follow the official line closely. Assad, you may have forgotten, was supported by the USA in the “war on terror” and the sites “supporting Putin” are tiny in number compared with MSM.

    • April 14, 2016 at 19:05

      Gee Jill, where were you educated? Seems to me you need to read more and develop a more inquiring mind. There is nothing but anti-Russia propaganda in this country and many other so-called western nations. I only wish it were true that we were getting some pro-Russia media in the US. I do what some 85 million of us must do…go to RT-America; CC-TV America and I check out the writers of almost all the articles that I read to know their background and see what their political bias could possibly be prior to believing their so-called news. I’m amazed that you are still watching Fox News if you are such an informed citizen. No intelligent person would be watching and wasting time with that “news” outlet. Get real Jill and try to get informed.

  16. Tom Welsh
    April 13, 2016 at 16:26

    Maybe if the Americans remained in their own stolen continent and minded their own business, they wouldn’t need to worry about “frozen conflicts” in such places as Central Asia. Because, let’s face it, Central Asia is none of their business. Nor any other part of Asia; nor Europe; nor Africa; nor South America. And they can givePuerto Rico and the Pacific islands back their freedom any time, too. Not to mention shutting down the thousand or so military and naval bases all around the world, and the dozen or so vast naval carrier task groups. Then perhaps they would have enough money to stop Americans from starving, mend the gaping holes in the US infrastructure, and restore some kind of health and education system.

    But they find it easier and more convenient to try to reduce the rest of the world to chaos and ashes.

    • Joe L.
      April 13, 2016 at 17:37

      Tom Welsh… Agreed. You mentioned the thousand or so military bases and it made me think of the Chagos Islands. In essence the US and Britain stole this group of islands and expelled the inhabitants so that the US could build a base on Diego Garcia – awful story but illustrated by award winning journalist John Pilger in his documentary “Stealing a Nation” – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0zhGvId4fcc.

    • Skip Edwards
      April 13, 2016 at 20:41

      Maybe if the American Government puppets had their strings cut and the string pullers were lined up against the wall…….. Makes me wonder why I am against capital punishment in all cases!

    • william beeby
      April 14, 2016 at 16:55

      Yes you are so right and it is such an obvious thing to do . So , that raises the thorny question of who REALLY runs things behind the facade of democracy and why are ” they ” allowed to get away with it decade upon decade ? It is much smaller than the famous 1% that is for sure but as far as I can see it is a cabal rooted in evil doing in this world.

  17. Tom Welsh
    April 13, 2016 at 16:20

    “Against the truth, you cannot just depend on the Western MSM presstitutes and their multi-front ‘Big Lie’ campaign…”

    FTFH

  18. J'hon Doe II
    April 13, 2016 at 16:09

    The Century of the Self
    Director: Adam Curtis

    Facts for Century of Self: Episode 1
    Synopsis:

    Adam Curtis’ acclaimed series examines the rise of the all-consuming self against the backdrop of the Freud dynasty.

    To many in both politics and business, the triumph of the self is the ultimate expression of democracy, where power has finally moved to the people. Certainly the people may feel they are in charge, but are they really? “Century of the Self” tells the untold and sometimes controversial story of the growth of the mass-consumer society in Britain and the United States. How was the all-consuming self created, by whom, and in whose interests?

    The Freud dynasty is at the heart of this compelling social history. Sigmund Freud, founder of psychoanalysis; Edward Bernays, who invented public relations; Anna Freud, Sigmund’s devoted daughter; and present-day PR guru and Sigmund’s great grandson, Matthew Freud.

    Sigmund Freud’s work into the bubbling and murky world of the subconscious changed the world. By introducing a technique to probe the unconscious mind, Freud provided useful tools for understanding the secret desires of the masses. Unwittingly, his work served as the precursor to a world full of political spin doctors, marketing moguls, and society’s belief that the pursuit of satisfaction and happiness is man’s ultimate goal.

    The story of the relationship between Sigmund Freud and his American nephew, Edward Bernays. Bernays invented the public relations profession in the 1920s and was the first person to take Freud’s ideas to manipulate the masses. He showed American corporations how they could make people want things they didn’t need by systematically linking mass-produced goods to their unconscious desires.

    Bernays was one of the main architects of the modern techniques of mass-consumer persuasion, using every trick in the book, from celebrity endorsement and outrageous PR stunts, to eroticizing the motorcar. His most notorious coup was breaking the taboo on women smoking by persuading them that cigarettes were a symbol of independence and freedom. But Bernays was convinced that this was more than just a way of selling consumer goods. It was a new political idea of how to control the masses. By satisfying the inner irrational desires that his uncle had identified, people could be made happy and thus docile.

    It was the start of the all-consuming self which has come to dominate today’s world.

    (watch film)

    https://freedocumentaries.org/documentary/bbc-the-century-of-the-self-happiness-machines-season-1-episode-1

    • Skip Edwards
      April 13, 2016 at 20:37

      Your comment is a big part of why I read not only the articles, but also the reader comments. Thanks.

    • April 14, 2016 at 02:28

      According to the late writer and psychotherapist Alice Miller, Freud’s theories, particularly his theories of infantile sexuality and the Oedipus complex, were invented by Freud as a way of avoiding the truth of parents being abusive and being to blame for any problems a patient may have. Always protect the parents and blame the child.

      2. Why are therapists so dependent on Freudian theory?

      2. Because this theory helps them to conceal the painful truth. Freud realized and published 1896 that neurosis is the result of child-mistreatment (To him it was above all the sexual abuse). As a result, he was confronted with hatred and rejection of all of his colleagues and could not bear this loneliness. So he invented a theory of the infantile sexuality and the Oedipus complex that protects the parents and blames the child. With this construction he offered his colleagues a lie that was and is still being accepted with much enthusiasm because it helps to protect the parents and to avoid the feared rebellion of the child against them. (In my book “Thou Shalt Not Be Aware” I describe this story extensively). UNFORTUNATELY, IT IS EXACTLY THIS LIE, THE DENIAL OF THE TRUTH THAT MAKES PEOPLE ILL AND DEPRESSIVE. When they dare to admit the truth, namely that they were treated cruelly in their childhood they can heal from their depression, often very quickly. On my mailbox many stories report about this positive outcome.

      http://www.alice-miller.com/en/the-intended-profile/

  19. Joe L.
    April 13, 2016 at 14:13

    Well since the Iraq War and knowing all of the LIES that US media, and US Government, spread to go to war now I look to alternative media to try and get the other side of the story. I do watch RT from time to time but also PressTV from Iran, Telesur from Venezuela, Democracy NOW!, Consortium News, the Nation, sometimes the Intercept, and a whole slew of award winning journalists such as Chris Hedges, John Pilger, Seymour Hersh, Jeremy Scahill, Ben Swann etc. Frankly I don’t believe that the United States can be trusted, especially on foreign issues, when it is ruled by the military industrial complex and that lack of trust also extends to my own government which is Canada of which I see largely as a puppet of the US (along with Britain, Australia etc.).

    • Skip Edwards
      April 13, 2016 at 20:29

      3 books to read: “Dark Money” by Jane Mayer; “The Devil’s Chessboard” by David Talbot; The New Confessions of an Economic Hit Man” by John Perkins. There are many more but these three will begin the process of understanding the corruption which is the government norm of our country. I don’t think the vast majority of us are able to begin to comprehend the immorality of the super rich (people and heads of large, monopolistic corporations) and their lust for power. Nor are we able to fathom how our elected members of gov’t and their staffs are co-opted into being their puppets. Frankly, these people are sick. Millions dead, countries and lives destroyed and an Earth in decline is not a part of their thinking. Hard for us to imagine such thinking but it is happening; it is past time for mutiny.

      • SFOMARCO
        April 13, 2016 at 23:17

        John Perkins came to Kepler’s Books (Menlo Park, Bay Area) recently on his book tour to promote his Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, 2016 version. Perkins go his start in a poor, tiny country ON the equator, Ecuador.

      • Joe L.
        April 14, 2016 at 12:58

        Skip Edwards… actually I have seen a number of interviews with John Perkins on programs such as Democracy NOW! It is sickening what is happening the world and the scary part is that it is nothing new. I think some people are starting to understand how the US government works around the world along with the cooperation of the mainstream media in their aspersions. Scary stuff but we will never be anywhere close to world peace if people like this are allowed to rule. I was trying to think to myself when was the last time, if ever, that we had a “working man’s” leader in the world rather than rich, privileged oligarchs running our countries. If we are the majority, the middle class, then shouldn’t we have middle class leaders that reflect our values and interests?

    • michael lacey
      April 13, 2016 at 21:03

      Yes glad you included that little country south of the equator!

      • Joe L.
        April 14, 2016 at 13:05

        Well I do believe that we should be getting our news from all over the world to get a better perspective of what is happening. Frankly, I want to hear news from our “enemies” (or at least my government would have me believe they are enemies). That is why I am so glad that more and more countries are offering their news in English. After I listen to what RT or PressTV or Telesur say then I look to see what people like Chris Hedges or Robert Parry or Seymour Hersh or Jeremy Scahill or John Pilger etc. have to say and more times than not their stories line up with the aforementioned foreign media sources which really makes me question our mainstream media – Syria and chemical weapons are a great example of this.

    • Roberto
      April 14, 2016 at 06:42

      Think of the money they could have to use for humane or infrastructure or even military improvements, if the Beltway could only have the trust of people. What was it that Donald Trump said, “This election is rigged.”

      But yeah, it’s dangerous. Nobody gets out alive.

      • Joe L.
        April 14, 2016 at 13:44

        Roberto… I always think it is sad that humanity can create some amazing inventions that could help all of mankind but instead more often than not they are used to fuel the military industrial complex. I even look at the US and the insane amount of money that is spent on the military industrial complex and it boggles the mind. If the US even cut half of its’ military budget and invested that money back into the American people, and American infrastructure, then it would create a huge amount of jobs and transform the United States but instead I see places like Detroit or Flint etc. I just don’t understand how the US government can continue to justify spending such insane amounts of US taxpayer money on excursions around the world that don’t benefit the average American.

    • Michael K Rohde
      April 15, 2016 at 20:40

      I think I agree with you Joe as far as the U.S. is concerned. Our broadcast media has been selling the neo-con version of reality since Bush II and that includes the allegedly liberal NYT and Washington Post. The message is a combination Islamaphobia and Russiaphobia. Strange bedfellows, as it were. I did not know that the Canadian press had also been co-opted, I lean on you guys for a dose of sanity. Most of my countrymen deny the fact that the average Canadian is doing better than the average American these days. I attributed that to the fact that you guys are in fact in touch with reality when it comes to running your government. I cannot say the same for your southern neighbor. You are right, the U.S. cannot be trusted in foreign affairs. AIPAC has more to say about our foreign policy than any American I can think of and it is because they have a majority of our Senate in their pockets. It is embarrassing and increasingly dangerous. I believe the next nuclear detonation in anger will be in the Middle East and it won’t be exploded by the ubiquitous terrorists we are hearing about every day. It will be the IDF. What happens after that is anyone’s guess, but you can anticipate a muscular response form Putin et.al. Scary stuff.

      • Joe L.
        April 16, 2016 at 12:23

        Michael K Rohde… Thank you for your comment. As far as the broadcast media selling the “neocon version of reality”, I believe you can go back much further than Iraq. Look back to the New York Times just after the US dropped the bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima and you will see articles which denounce that there was anyone dying from radiation and they went further to say that anything or anyone that said otherwise was spreading “Japanese Propaganda” (at the same time the US government were confiscating film shot in Japanese hospitals for which they classified for 30 years). Then you can work your way forward to the coup in 1953 Iran, where it is even admitted that the US and Britain overthrew the “democratically elected” Mossadegh for oil interests (British Petroleum), and read how the New York Times demonized Mossadegh making him out to be some sort of monster against his own people. On and on and on this goes and I think it is worth examining The New York Times and The Washington Post historically to see what they were reporting around, for instance, the Gulf of Tonkin or at the time of the coup in Guatemala in 1954 or about the Iran Contra Scandal or the people that broke that story or what they had to say about the coup against Hugo Chavez in 2002 etc.

        Now as for our media in Canada, there is a lot less screaming but the message is basically the same as US media where we largely demonize the same leaders and they run stories based off of conjecture against whom we don’t like. One thing that I really don’t like is that much of our foreign reporting will come from US sources instead of them doing it themselves – such as NBC, CBS, CNN etc. Also, with our media I find it is not as much about what they say but really about what they don’t. My point being that Saudi Arabia publicly beheading over 100 people and threatening to crucify a protester should have been front page news if our media was fair. How come I don’t hear about the bombings in Yemen lead by Saudi Arabia? How come my media did not report on the 2 kg of Sarin Gas that Al Nusra was caught with in Turkey when Assad was being accused of being the only one who could of pulled off the chemical weapons attack in Syria? How come my media does not talk about the Azov Batallion or Islamists being used by the Ukrainian Government in Eastern Ukraine? How come we have endless coverage of attacks in Brussells or Paris but next to no coverage of the same thing in Iraq or Pakistan? Also, I would say is how come none of our media is tackling the elephant in the room about who is “really” responsible for the mess in the Middle East, which includes the refugee crisis, which is glaringly the fault of the US and its’ allies – our fault. So I believe that our media is every bit as bad as US media just with less vitriol.

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