How Establishment Propaganda Gaslights Us Into Submission

“Gaslighting” can be an effective tactic to instill confusion and anxiety in people, causing them to doubt their own logical abilities, but it can be countered by remaining confident in our judgments, argues Caitlin Johnstone.

By Caitlin Johnstone

Poster for the 1944 movie Gaslight. (Wikimedia, Public domain)

The dynamics of the establishment Syria narrative are hilarious if you take a step back and think about them. I mean, the Western empire is now openly admitting to having funded actual, literal terrorist groups in that country, and yet they’re still cranking out propaganda pieces about what is happening there and sincerely expecting us to believe them. It’s adorable, really; like a little kid covered in chocolate telling his mom he doesn’t know what happened to all the cake frosting.

Or at least it would be adorable if it weren’t directly facilitating the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of people.

I recently had a pleasant and professional exchange with the Atlantic Council’s neoconservative propagandist Eliot Higgins, in which he referred to independent investigative journalist Vanessa Beeley as “bonkers” and myself as “crazy,” and I called him a despicable bloodsucking ghoul. I am not especially fond of Mr. Higgins.

You see this theme repeated again and again and again in Higgins’ work; the U.S.-centralized power establishment which facilitated terrorist factions in Syria is the infallible heroic Good Guy on the scene, and anyone who doesn’t agree is a mentally deranged lunatic.

This is also the model for the greater imperialist propaganda construct, not just with regard to Syria but with Russia, North Korea, Iran, and any other insolent government which refuses to bow to American supremacist agendas.

It works like this: first, the oligarch-owned establishment media, which itself is chock full of Council on Foreign Relations members, uses other warmongering think tanks and its own massive funding to force deep state psy-ops like Russiagate and Iraqi WMDs into becoming the mainstream narrative. Second, they use the mainstream, widely accepted status of this manufactured narrative to paint anyone who questions it as a mentally defective tinfoil hat-wearing conspiracy theorist.

It’s a perfect scheme. The mass media has given a few elites the ability to effectively turn a false story that they themselves invented into an established fact so broadly accepted that anyone who doubts it can be painted in the exact same light as someone who doubts the roundness of the Earth. The illusion of unanimous agreement is so complete that blatant establishment psy-ops are placed on the same level as settled scientific fact, even though it’s made of little else but highly paid pundits making authoritative assertions in confident tones of voice day after day.

Yes, it is a perfect scheme. But there also happens to be a name for it.

In a lucid essay titled “Gaslighting: State Mind Control and Abusive Narcissism,” Vanessa Beeley writes the following:

“The psychological term ‘Gaslighting’ comes from a 1944 Hollywood classic movie called ‘Gaslight.’ Gaslighting describes the abuse employed by a narcissist to instill in their victim’s mind, an extreme anxiety and confusion to the extent where they no longer have faith in their own powers of logic, reason and judgement. These gaslighting techniques were adopted by central intelligence agencies in the U.S. and Europe as part of their psychological warfare methods, used primarily during torture or interrogation.”

Anyone who has been in an abusive relationship is likely to be familiar with this textbook abuse tactic to some extent, because it is such a useful tool for crippling the better judgment and alarm bells we all have which are meant to help us avoid situations that are harmful to us.

If someone with confidence in their own clear judgment feels certain that their significant other is cheating, for example, there is likely to be a confrontation and some clothes out on the front lawn. If your significant other can convince you that you are paranoid or crazy, however, you will doubt what you are seeing and accept the stories you’re being told by someone who appears to be a lot more grounded in reality than you are.

Any degree of abuse can be justified in this way. The documentary “What Happened, Miss Simone?” tells an anecdote of jazz legend Nina Simone once having been tied up, raped, beaten and held at gunpoint by her husband, who left and then returned telling her she’d imagined the entire thing. And it worked.

We see the same thing today with the establishment Syria narrative and the Russiagate psy-op, which are both riddled with plot holes and depend on the irrational position that the same establishment which manufactured support for the Iraq invasion using lies is now beneficent and trustworthy. But if you point out the many reasons to be skeptical of these narratives, you belong in the crazy box.

The good news is that there is an easy remedy for this tactic. We need only to be thoroughly confident in our own judgment.

History has testified unequivocally that extreme skepticism is the only rational response to have toward establishment narratives, especially when those narratives are beating the drums of war. The U.S. war machine has an extensive history of using lies, false flags and propaganda to manufacture support for its bloodthirsty agendas, and the adage that truth is the first casualty of war holds up flawlessly in cases of both hot war and cold war. It is simply self-evident that there is no good reason to take these people at their word, and every reason not to.

Your own educated best guess about what is going on in the world is infinitely superior to placing unquestioning faith in an establishment which has a vested interest in lying to you and a demonstrable history of doing so. Trust yourself and have full confidence that your conclusions, however imperfect, are always superior to those of known liars and manipulators.

Never, ever let anyone bully and cajole you for being skeptical of mainstream narratives instead of believing the say-so of malignant deceivers. Trust yourself. You are not being crazy, you are behaving logically. Don’t let them gaslight you.

Caitlin Johnstone is a rogue journalist, poet, and utopia prepper who publishes regularly at Medium. Follow her work on FacebookTwitter, or her website. She has a podcast and a new book Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers. This article was re-published with permission.

225 comments for “How Establishment Propaganda Gaslights Us Into Submission

  1. WG
    February 19, 2018 at 13:07

    One of the references that Caitlin Johnstone uses in her article, which I felt was a pretty good article, references a website of questional newsworth and facts. A further exploration of the issue brought this up. And although The Guardian is a hard core Lefty website filled with extreme bias this was pretty good and unfortunately the reality of on-line “news”.

  2. Charles Peterson
    February 16, 2018 at 02:28

    Love the article and am very glad CN took Caitlin on board. She’s the best around now. (Robert Parry was #1.)

    In the very last paragraph, it says one own’s educated best guess is more reliable than the establishment war chorus, that’s certainly true. They’re selling a tough agenda, so they pull out all the tricks.

    However, we should do more than just take our own best guesses. We should read CN, and Caitlin, of course!

  3. political economist
    February 15, 2018 at 18:07

    Of course, the national media reflects the interests of the rulers. Why would the US be different from any other country? Because we are the exceptional country? Do you suppose the British people or the French or the Russians aren’t told the same?
    When we are young and naive or simply still naive when no longer young, the barrage of the propaganda leads us to believe the national myths but hopefully we learn before we get too far along in life the obvious truths and come to act in a way that is moral and anti-nationalist. That is what Jesus did.

  4. February 14, 2018 at 14:34

    what ever anyone thinks about Caitlin’s writing, it has certainly increased the quality and quantity of comments here…

    good to see this site thriving….



  5. Patricia Victour
    February 14, 2018 at 10:42

    I can testify to the effectiveness of this technique. My mother was a master at it. Very damaging to be told you don’t know what you know.

  6. February 14, 2018 at 09:14

    Great to see Caitlin Johnstone on Consortiumnews! Specially after learning from the NY Times this morning that, as they had it on the front page, “Russia Already Plotting to Sway 2018 Elections, Spy Chiefs Say”….. Talk about gaslighting!

    Already, before the elections even happen, we’re supposed to start wondering how, when, why the Russians are manipulating us! Are critics of the corporate Democrats secret Commies? If you question the CIA or FBI are you a “useful idiot” for the Russkies? Are Bernie Sanders’ supporters Putin-Bots?

    Watch what you think or say!

  7. February 13, 2018 at 22:32

    You’ve nailed it, Caitlyn!!!! We can trust our guts because there are millions of neurons in them that function just like the neurons in our brain!

  8. Blackcatprowl
    February 13, 2018 at 19:47

    Yes, the Kurds wanting their own nation~ though, not really, but that is another story~ after years of fake boundaries drawn up. You are, generally, right on deep state media business corruption & collusion. Just picking one of two left-libertarian ‘governments’ to make the point is like The South picking slavery as the expression of their freedom.

  9. rosemerry
    February 13, 2018 at 15:22

    The trouble is that most people think they are right. If you insist on evidence, this should enhance the likelihood of your lying opposition backing down, but that certainly has not happened in the recent “fake news”, “Russiagate”, “angelic FBI, CIA, NSA” stories we are forced to contend with. Evidence-free statements and insistence are the order of the day.

    • Interlocutor
      February 13, 2018 at 20:12

      I agree and see this trend even on the left and in anti-establishment circles. The truth is a lot of the time we just don’t know what the truth actually is. We can can carefully and critically evaluate the available evidence and draw conclusions based on that, but oftentimes it does not reveal a definitive truth that is beyond all doubt.

      Many people desperately want to avoid ambiguity and uncertainty and will cling to a chosen narrative come hell or high water like it is a life preserver. Conspiracies and false flag operations are a reality but that does not mean every major event is concocted by intelligence agencies or that grand conspiracies are the main force driving geopolitical reality.

      Yet that is what many people believe. And anyone who questions the accuracy of their beliefs or simply has an opinion that differs from their own is pounced on and accused of being a CIA agent or a troll. Pointing out that no world leader is perfect and that humanity won’t be saved by a few noble “supermen” is often enough to bring on the torches and pitchforks.

      I see a lot of people who unfortunately are not very good at thinking critically. They don’t take cognitive biases into consideration and are quick to accept as truth evidence that supports their beliefs even if it is only superficially convincing and doesn’t hold up under scrutiny.

      A thought experiment I find useful when testing my own assumptions is pretending that there exists an infallible truth detecting device that will kill or injure me if it finds a belief I hold that is not true. If you knew that you would face serious harm or death if this device disproves any of your beliefs, how many would you be willing to put to the test?

      A person with a realistic sense of self will quickly realize that even when there is good evidence available, very rarely does it reveal a rock solid truth that can stand up to any and all challenges.

      Simply having confidence that everything you believe is absolutely true is bound to lead to self-delusion. All the people who uncritically accept the MSM’s narrative as definitive truth are very confident that they have it figured out. Do we really want to emulate that?

      It is worth keeping in mind that the scientific method seeks truth by attempting to _disprove_ a hypothesis. If it can’t be disproven, it is accepted. If one is really interested in truth we must put our own views to the test and accept that maybe we don’t know as much as we like to think we do because the world is not easily divided into good or evil, black or white, absolutely right or absolutely wrong. Accepting ambiguity and being open to updating beliefs in light of new evidence or facts is imperative if self-delusion is to be avoided.

      • Bob Van Noy
        February 14, 2018 at 11:58

        Really well said, Interlocutor. Many Thanks.

  10. Indrid Cold
    February 13, 2018 at 13:33

    Some dingdong on Medium saying you belong “in the crazy box” for questioning the ‘general line’ (as the Stalin governmen called ‘the narrative’) tried to suggest there are no elements in the US elite who want war with Russia. If he sudied the mehodology of the Anglo-American elite since Reagan, it would be obvious that the end goal is, as their Palain Brzezinski recommended-in print-, to break the RUssian Federation up into patchwork of fueding microstates that would be open to US/UK capital penetration an unable to challenge American initiatives any more than Mexico or The Congo can. They will try to avoid outright war by employing constant pressure in every arena.
    Politicl subversion, economic pressures (sanctions)and bribery, blackmail and murder. SO no, they don’t want a stand up fight, since they know war is uncertain and Russia is not without means to inflict mortal wounds.

  11. CitizenOne
    February 12, 2018 at 22:33

    This entry needs some clarification. Caitlin Johnstone has hit a nerve with many of the posters here which question her credibility. So lets get into gaslighting. Gaslighting is the ability of a superior intellect to concoct false narratives which confuse a victim of a crime that they are delusional. The goal is to create so much confusion in the mind of the victim that they are completely confused about the true nature of the crime and often blame themselves for it. This is exactly the tactics our current main stream media use to control us. We are all aligned and support the horrible outcomes of unjust wars. We feel we are being patriotic and serving our nation with the flag waving when we give up our children to the God of Moloch and cast them into the flames.

    It seems to be counter to parenting and protection of our children that we send them off to war but that is what the current group think says we must do to preserve our global interests. We have to fight to win. We have to enlist our children to win. We worship the call to war and gladly sacrifice those who sign up to serve the ancient god of war and cannibalism and infanticide. Death is the ultimate sacrifice as we throw our youngsters into Moloch’s waiting hands.

    Such was the vision of Metropolis a movie by Fritz Lang. In the movie In the futuristic year of 2026, in the city of Metropolis, wealthy industrialists reign from high-rise towers, while underground-dwelling workers toil to operate the underground machines that power the city. Joh Fredersen is the city’s master. His son Freder idles away his time in a pleasure garden, but is interrupted by the arrival of a young woman named Maria, who has brought a group of workers’ children to witness the lifestyle of the rich. Maria and the children are ushered away, but Freder, fascinated, goes to the machine rooms to find her. Witnessing the explosion of a huge machine that kills and injures several workers, he also has a hallucination. The machine is Moloch and the workers are being fed, some naked, into the flames within Moloch.

    This is what we have today. Some workers (military personnel) are being fed naked into Moloch’s waiting hands as sacrifices necessary to preserve the wealthy life styles of the ultra rich. Dick Cheney and others spent their entire careers figuring out how to create wars to justify military spending culminating in the grandest lie of all that Iraq was responsible for 9/11. Rupert Moloch or Rupert Murdoch ran his media empire with lies and many gaslighting schemes to promote the war stating that war with Iraq would be better than any tax break since gas prices would fall once America had control of the oil fields.

    There is no better example of gaslighting than the fake reasons Bush and Cheney used to convince Americans that war with Iraq was justified. Fox News and the Murdoch (Moloch) empire conspired to make that war happen as well as other bastions of “The News” like the NY Times Judith Miller who regurgitated all of the lies of Chalabi which were published as fact by the NY Times.

    Gaslighting is indeed alive and well in our national disinformation campaign which sees the right to make wars and throw people into the fire as our national interest.

    We are like the ancient people duped by our leaders to throw our children into Moloch’s fire to preserve peace.

    From Wikipedia: but with full knowledge and understanding they themselves offered up their own children, and those who had no children would buy little ones from poor people and cut their throats as if they were so many lambs or young birds; meanwhile the mother stood by without a tear or moan; but should she utter a single moan or let fall a single tear, she had to forfeit the money, and her child was sacrificed nevertheless; and the whole area before the statue was filled with a loud noise of flutes and drums that the cries of wailing should not reach the ears of the people Plutarch wrote in De Superstitione 171

    In Bertrand Russell’s A Free Man’s Worship (1903), Moloch is used to describe a particularly savage brand of religion:

    The savage, like ourselves, feels the oppression of his impotence before the powers of Nature; but having in himself nothing that he respects more than Power, he is willing to prostrate himself before his gods, without inquiring whether they are worthy of his worship. Pathetic and very terrible is the long history of cruelty and torture, of degradation and human sacrifice, endured in the hope of placating the jealous gods: surely, the trembling believer thinks, when what is most precious has been freely given, their lust for blood must be appeased, and more will not be required. The religion of Moloch — as such creeds may be generically called — is in essence the cringing submission of the slave, who dare not, even in his heart, allow the thought that his master deserves no adulation. Since the independence of ideals is not yet acknowledged, Power may be freely worshipped, and receive an unlimited respect, despite its wanton infliction of pain

    Well folks, I think we have arrived in Hell.

    In John Milton’s Paradise Lost (1667), Moloch is one of the greatest warriors of the fallen angels,

    “First MOLOCH, horrid King besmear’d with blood
    Of human sacrifice, and parents tears,
    Though, for the noyse of Drums and Timbrels loud,
    Their children’s cries unheard that passed through fire
    To his grim Idol. Him the AMMONITE
    Worshipt in RABBA and her watry Plain,
    In ARGOB and in BASAN, to the stream
    Of utmost ARNON. Nor content with such
    Audacious neighbourhood, the wisest heart
    Of SOLOMON he led by fraud to build
    His Temple right against the Temple of God
    On that opprobrious Hill, and made his Grove
    The pleasant Vally of HINNOM, TOPHET thence
    And black GEHENNA call’d, the Type of Hell.”

    Those who say that Caitlin Johnstone is wrong by stating how our government gaslights us ignores history.

    • February 13, 2018 at 10:03

      With all of the accolades for Bertrand Russell, I thought I’d give him a read. I saw his book about God in a second hand bookstore. I have no problem with other people not believing in God, but I actually found Russell’s writing to be awful. I tossed the book, which I had not read much of. I didn’t want to waste my time. I will read books whose authors don’t sway me. I read many. I recently read Walter Lippmann’s “Public Opinion” precisely because he was the bad guy in Chomsky’s writings and I was curious. I sometimes don’t know that I have a book that I will hate, but, unless I think it’s going to be a waste of time, I’ll finish reading it once I start it. I read Luke Harding and David Leigh’s smear job of Julian Assange, “Wikileaks,” and did not enjoy it one bit. I could toss that, but I’ll keep it. I use my books to blog and there’s some material there that demonstrates perfidy (not by Julian).

  12. Lois Gagnon
    February 12, 2018 at 22:31

    I think this article on gaslighting is very important. I know I have felt marginalized by family, friends and associates for not conforming to the Russia-gate nonsense and refusing to vote for Hillary. I voted for Stein for the second time. I would feel very isolated if not for being able to commiserate with like minded people on sites like this.

    Even with the internet to keep us connected to an online support system, it would be easy to give in to the pressure to conform out of fear of feeling isolated. Some people can’t resist the need for that social acceptance.

    The powers that be understand all too well how to manipulate people’s need for social acceptance and exploit it to their advantage. How else to explain so many falling for the same old pretext for war over and over despite knowing they’ve been lied to in the past.

    For what it’s worth, Roger Waters told his audience at a concert in Australia to read Caitlin Johnstone.

    • February 13, 2018 at 22:37

      Yes, Lois, the social isolation is real if we do not submit to corporate news propaganda. I’m losing lots of former friends who all think they could never be brainwashed. I find it chilling to watch good-hearted highly educated people falling for Russiagate, etc.

  13. mike k
    February 12, 2018 at 19:33

    The complexity of the modern world is ideal for those seeking to snow us, and make us feel inadequate to sort things out. Their solution: don’t even try to figure all this out, leave it to experts, such as me. To the general public, having been sold short by an education that did not include how to think critically, this “solution” seems like a no brainer. Why not just turn the heavy thinking over to someone else, who is an “authority?”

  14. February 12, 2018 at 19:03

    Regarding the “Russia Gate” nonsense, the second someone explains to me how they can still be this huge threat on their budget, I’ll be all ears. The U.S. outspends Russia like 10 to 1 regarding every facet of warfare. If they’re that much of a threat, let’s find out how… start saving some money.

  15. backwardsevolution
    February 12, 2018 at 18:07

    Nina Simone speaks the truth in this song: “I Put a Spell on You”. A good deal of the population is under a spell and they don’t even know it.

  16. Deniz
    February 12, 2018 at 18:06

    I feel like the author is making an analogy to a sexual abuse victim, who certainly needs all the confidence they can muster. Thankfully we are not yet at the point in which the stormtroopers are beating down our door.

    I believe that people who are thoroughly confident in their own judgment are precisely the problem. The only way to pull people out of the demagoguery/cult is to sew a little doubt into their vision. Aren’t the faithful followers, of Bush, Clinton, Obama and Trump, etc., precisely the problem? Those with their doubt intact have at least a chance to make it out of the fog. It is no coincidence that Carter, the waffler, is the only President in modern times, who does not deserve a trip to the Hague.

    Three cheers for the vacillators.

    • Martin - Swedish citizen
      February 15, 2018 at 17:38

      Crucial point.

  17. Guest
    February 12, 2018 at 15:24

    When the University of East Anglia climate researchers talk about “hiding the decline” from the Medieval Warm Period and official investigations say nothing to see here, move along conspiracy theorists, is this an example of “Gaslighting”?

  18. Virginia
    February 12, 2018 at 15:06

    I’m sorry to be the one to say this, but Caitlin’s articles could use a more careful review before going to print.

    • February 12, 2018 at 15:20

      Like so many of the comments here?

      • geeyp
        February 13, 2018 at 03:48

        “Like so many of the comments here?” If the shoe fits……………..

      • February 13, 2018 at 09:25


  19. Ol' Hippy
    February 12, 2018 at 14:55

    Postmodernism is getting oh so ugly as the narratives keep getting lost in the stories they try to weave. Which ‘fake news’ is really fake? Do the propagandists start believing their own BS? Caitlin is a breath of fresh journalism as more and more one can get lost among the fake narratives. I do miss Robert and his courageous determinism to get to the truth. I like her stories, I like the independent crowd sourced left leaning websites and will continue to support them as long as I can. Too bad more Americans can’t be led to the truth which will never be on TV or most print mediums.

    • February 12, 2018 at 15:20

      Support them but be critical.

      • orwell
        February 12, 2018 at 19:28

        Arby, you can’t be critical of Chomsky, can you?!?

        • February 13, 2018 at 09:51

          You’ve made your poor point repeatedly. I did answer you above. I’ll be ignoring you from here on.

    • Joe Tedesky
      February 13, 2018 at 10:55

      Hey Ol’ Hippy it has been said that in our modern day world, and with the media creating fake and probably I guess you could say nonfake news, that we are all in someway living inside of our own individual bubbles. If that is so, I will prefer to live in this one which brings me to often too agree with you Ol’ Hippy and others much like youself. If I am to but once have traveled through this earth, then let me have advocated for peace, and individual freedoms, and not to enforce freedom at the end of a shotgun barrel either.

      The crooks, and cheaters, will always be with us. What we citizens need to do, is to cut their ranks down to dirt, and leverage our power over these no goodsky’s if that’s even possible. Although advocating for peace should never stop even if the nogoodsky’s stay in power by their majority numbers, and pollute our systems of government, we need to stay on top of their asses, or peace will never exist, ever. Joe

  20. Peter in New Amazonia
    February 12, 2018 at 14:54

    Much of the background of whatever she’s writing about is correct — Western attack on Syria … [b]ut … [i]n the case of Syria, five years of siege warfare, mass torture, bombing of civilians, never seem to have happened.

    Which is it, Matt? Did Syria defend itself against an insurgency that was either instigated or hijacked by the West and then funded, armed, and directed by the West, or did Assad just lay siege, torture, and bomb sua sponte? It seems you’re doing some gaslighting of your own.

    • Skip Scott
      February 12, 2018 at 15:55

      Exactly Peter!

  21. February 12, 2018 at 14:23

    More on the “The Establishment” at link below.
    “Are The Corporate Media Propaganda Pushers For The War Criminals?”

    There is overwhelming evidence that there are war criminals that plotted and planned a number of wars in various countries. [1] Yet, you won’t hear or see most of the corporate controlled media exposing the criminality of the powerful war perverts in our midst, or the victims of the war criminals and their war business. [2] Syria is just one of example of many countries, where the media are protecting the criminal actions of governments and their treacherous “allies” that are consorting with terrorists….
    [read more at link below]

    • mike k
      February 12, 2018 at 14:51

      The truth is that the corporate media and the talking heads that spout their lies, are war criminals. They are essential parts of the war making machinery. The Nuremberg war trials recognized propagandist’s criminal complicity in the deaths of millions. Axis Sally and Tokyo Rose were seen as the murderers they were. Wolf Blitzer and Rachel Maddow are no less guilty today. The whole corrupt media, their owners and mouthpieces should be in prison.

      • February 12, 2018 at 15:08

        The media are absolutely war criminals! I’m barreling through the second volume in the Political Economy Of Human Rights by Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman right now and they document the utter complicity of the major media in all of the terrible atrocities, including East Timor and Vietnam. But they look at all the subfascist states birthed and coddled by the US, at the behest of its business community, and in every single instance major media assisted in the ruination.

        • February 12, 2018 at 15:18

          The title of one section of “The Washington Connection And Third World Fascism” gives you an idea of what the authors (Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman) think of the major media in their home country: “How the Media Cope with Client Fascist Terror (l): Suppression Plus an Emphasis on the Positive”

          This two-volume work is so timely. It was published in 1979 and South America was absolutely hell, thanks to uncle Sam. Years later Chomsky was often heard talking about South America has recovered to a great extent, with leaders resisting the Washington Consensus (one one, as Chomsky would put it) and not a single Latin American country joining in the US’s rendition program. Sadly, That’s being reversed big time, making The Political Economy Of Human Rights timely. Except for details here and there, the books could have been written yesterday.

          • orwell
            February 12, 2018 at 19:26

            Hey Arby, are you Chomsky’s press agent?
            Or his stenographer ????
            A guy who says about Kennedy’s assassination,
            ” So what? People get killed every day.” !!??
            A guy who couldn’t care less about the 9/11
            investigation???? A guy who urged people
            to vote for War Criminal Hillary Clinton?!?!?

  22. cmp
    February 12, 2018 at 14:10

    In Syria, certain interests created the White Helmets. ..white..

    And, as far as I know, the riddle, “What is black and white, and read all over”, this riddle was first coined in 1917, during ww-1.

    We all know very well, how Ed Murrow’s career ended.

    But, let’s remember the man. This was a part of his summary (..healing..) at the end of ww-2:
    “I pray you to believe what I have said about Buchenwald. I have reported what I saw and heard, but only part of it. For most of it I have no words…. If I’ve offended you by this rather mild account of Buchenwald, I’m not in the least sorry.”
    ~ Extract from Murrow’s Buchenwald report; April 15, 1945

  23. Glenn D.
    February 12, 2018 at 14:01

    There is a place for the Robert Parry style of truth-telling, but there is also a place for the Caitlyn Johnstone style. It’s the difference between journalism and commentary. CJ takes the facts and boils them down to their spiritual essence. What do you call the current [dis]order imposed by the imperial West, if not evil? I appreciate the need for sober fact-telling, but I also appreciate the need to allow for real human emotion when commenting on disturbing facts.

    • February 12, 2018 at 18:01

      I agree…Caitlin paints with a broader brush than many other writers…more of a synopsis style…but i think that all of us here know that the majority of folks in this US of A are in need of a synopsis to even have a chance to investigate beyond their over-worked, infinitly distracted, or eternally entertained lives…

      She also has an emotional style employed in her works,.. and emotions of any sort really irk a common group of people, to the point of their being blinded by their “rational” outlook.



    • Dave P.
      February 12, 2018 at 23:41

      Very good post Glenn D. I completely agree.

    • backwardsevolution
      February 13, 2018 at 07:15

      Glenn D. – yes, you can have all the facts in the world, but if those facts don’t stir your emotions, you have nothing, just some bare facts. Emotions are absolutely necessary. They are what is desperately lacking in our current politically-correct/group think climate. Everybody is walking around with tape over their mouths.

  24. February 12, 2018 at 13:22

    I believe we need a parade for “The Establishment.”

    February 9, 2018
    The Parade We Really Need

    The parade we really need should have past and present world “leaders”
    They should be dressed in orange prison issue jumpsuits because war criminal trials are needed
    They should be shackled hands and feet, no more expensive dresses or suits for them
    I am sure all of their victims still alive, would say to that: “Amen”

    The parade should also include the bloody profiteers of death and destruction
    The bankers, financiers, the corporate cannibals too, that profit from all the hellish productions
    The drone operators should also be included they have killed children as well
    These nine to five armchair operators that obey their satanic orders from hell

    The torturers and spy chiefs should also have their “pride of place”
    They are willing participants on what happens to the human race
    There also must be a place for all the “honourable” politicians
    Then as they walk the line, the watchers can shout their derision

    There should be giant screens showing all the refugee camps
    The “work” of the parade participants now in metal clamps
    The victims still alive of all the illegal wars, hopefully should get some satisfaction
    As they see the marching villains, ridiculed and heckled for all their diabolical actions

    The brainwashed that carry out orders, should be ordered to take part
    Without them obeying their instructions, many wars would not start
    Countries would still be whole, and not reduced to smoking rubble
    If only the willing participants had refused to create all this hellish trouble

    If I have failed to mention, some that should be there
    Hopefully they will be rounded up to show that we all “care”
    This parade should be one of remembrance for all of those that died and bleed
    So in my opinion here and now this is a parade we really need…

    [more info at link below]

  25. February 12, 2018 at 13:15

    Still more info on ‘The Establishment” at link below.

  26. Drew Hunkins
    February 12, 2018 at 13:13

    Ms. Johnstone is tremendous.

    As most CN enthusiasts are aware, gaslighting is primarily carried out by our Western mass media.

    The following are some classic books that take a critical look at big media:

    ‘Inventing Reality’ by Michael Parenti
    ‘Manufacturing Consent’ by Ed Herman & Chomsky
    ‘Media Monopoly’ by Ben Bagdikian
    ‘Necessary Illusions’ by Chomsky
    ‘Rich Media Poor Democracy’ by McChesney

    • glitch
      February 12, 2018 at 18:04

      All Parenti’s books are must read!

  27. February 12, 2018 at 13:11

    “The Establishment” control the system, and the political puppets are its servants. See link below.
    “The Open Criminality of the Establishment and its Political Puppets”

    • Bob Van Noy
      February 12, 2018 at 15:53

      Wonderful Stephen J. as always.

  28. Unfettered Fire
    February 12, 2018 at 12:04

    This is what modern day fascism looks like. It’s not so much military warfare against the world as it is economic warfare. Change this brutal, irrational neoliberal economic policy and all of society’s ills will dissolve. An ideology of deceit and corruption requires an all-encompassing facade until it no longer works… like today. How can it work in the Information Age we’re living in?

    Anyone who is the least bit curious can find out that The IMF and World Bank work in tandem with the neocons in the Pentagon, using cookie-cutter strategy to force nations to their knees, having to sell off national assets and resources to try to get out from under endless debt:

    “… reduce public spending, slash social programs, eliminate energy subsidies, devalue the currency, raise taxes, impose triggers for more austerity if inflation rises, etc.” ~ Robert Parry

    Russia and China, with the creation of AIIB and BRICS, are offering an alternative to needless US austerity tactics. An ever-increasing list of nations are avoiding the neocon-run IMF and World Bank like the plague.

    So there’s at least one probable LEGITIMATE reason for all the Russiaphobia.

    The bottom line is this. Capitalism without socialism leads to fascism. When you have deregulated capitalism, (like today’s 40 years of neoliberalism), and you starve the public sector of funding (no socialism), this is what you get:

    I long ago formed a view of capitalism that regards it as similar to fire. It is a powerful force which can warm our home and cook our food. In short, it can be very useful, maybe even essential, but ONLY if it is kept tightly controlled. Fire has no conscience, it only wants to be fed, and it always demands more. Before one brings fire into their home, one builds a fire-proof containment vessel. When designing this fire-box we do not let ‘fire’ decide how thick to build the steel walls or how tightly the gaskets fit. ‘Fire’ does not even get a vote.

    We have given in to the demands of ‘fire’. We have sacrificed all the furniture. We have allowed fire to escape the box and become the master. The house is burning down, the roof is gone, the walls are burnt almost to the substructure, and our very foundation is at risk. Viewed in this manner, everyone, whether or not they are totally anti-‘fire’, can understand the urgency of getting the damn thing back in the box. ~ Anonymous

    • Bob Van Noy
      February 12, 2018 at 15:50

      Unfettered Fire, nicely done, I think you’re exactly right and I ‘m beginning to realize that a younger generation of Economists get all of that. John Kenneth Galbraith, had it right from the beginning and if one had been able to experience his debates with Milton Friedman one could have seen that. In my opinion it was Harvard University’s choice to follow the neoliberal’s that is the central point in our current financial problems…

    • Daniel
      February 13, 2018 at 00:42

      Unfettered, I would SO MUC like to believe BRICS was genuine opposition to the one world financial system, but are they?

      “For the first time the four emerging market economies Brazil, Russia, India and China have entered the International Monetary Fund’s top 10 biggest members.”

      For a brilliant take on our modern day fascism, I highly recommend “Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism” by Sheldon S. Wolin.

      I have it in PDF, and have seen it online for free.

    • backwardsevolution
      February 13, 2018 at 07:07

      Unfettered Fire – I don’t think we have anything resembling capitalism, haven’t for a long time. Had we had capitalism in 2008, the banks would have gone under. They would have been slapped down so hard that it would have taken years to get back up, if ever. Instead of letting capitalism work, we bailed them out and added more fuel to the fire.

      What we have is “crony capitalism”. There is no “market”; there is the Federal Reserve. They, along with all of the other central banks, have been pulling the strings. Their job is to support the elite.

      But I agree with you that we need rules, a “container”. Unfortunately, when the jobs were shipped overseas, all that was left was financialization and service jobs. The place has been burnt down to the ground.

  29. Jon Dhoe
    February 12, 2018 at 11:50

    Very interesting.

    This came out recently, complementing this article. “Gaslighting” is built into the ruling class system. It is one of its main priorities. It is fundamental to divide and conquer.

  30. February 12, 2018 at 11:19

    I have liked and learned from many of the things that Caitlin Johnstone has written and this is a very valuable article, especially in making us more aware of how organized and planned are the efforts of our establishment to get us to agree to things we would never normally agree to if we were better informed and not swamped by mainstream media propaganda.

    I would like to add two things I have been very fortunate to have learned from some very wise men and women is that a) we would be less vulnerable to gaslighting if we were more critical of our own desire to too readily see the world as just an impossible hostile mess that we should look away from and let others do our thinking for us, and b) being thoroughly confident of our own judgment is not the whole answer. As we fully consciously and FIRMLY cherish what truths we have already learned and the careful judgments we have come to, we should also always be FLEXIBLY willing to look at any new evidence from reliable sources that challenge our judgments. Only an open AND critical mind can make for the confidence we need. There is a good kind of skepticism that says I do not agree with you, but I will look further, in the meantime, I have no reason yet to seriously doubt what I have already carefully learned. Even as we know that the mainstream media usually very purposefully parrots the latest establishment narrative, we can still ask is there anything true about what they have to say. I think this way half-truths will not undermine us as we accept whatever is true, while rejecting the whole as a lie. Unless there is verifiable evidence from known reliable sources we have no cause to be unsure of our judgments. Who is more persuasive as a spokesman for the truth, someone who says I see this is true, but I am willing to look further, or someone who is sure they are right and no further inquiry is ever necessary?

    Right now I am hearing that Bernie Sanders took money from execrable sources. And while I am very suspicious of this “information,” strictly, because no one is perfect, I feel it may be true, but I will not lessen my firm and grateful conclusion that this man has been in many ways a great contributor to truthful dialogue and can be so in the future. I also should be interested in the particulars before coming to any new conclusions whatsoever, especially because it seems so out of character for a man who has been true to his principles for so long. Smearing Sanders is also a prime project for the 1% and their parrots. In the meantime, no matter what, I will always cherish Sanders for everything he has said that gave such honest clarity to some of the most important issues of our day, and will look forward to hearing more from him.

    • Nancy
      February 12, 2018 at 11:46

      Your advice is good–always be open to information that might be contrary to what you believe. That said, I would suggest that you look very carefully at Bernie’s voting record on military spending. Yes, he voted against the Iraq invasion but in favor of funding it ever since.
      He is not the cuddly peacenik he tries to portray himself as.

    • Skip Scott
      February 12, 2018 at 11:54

      I was a Sanders supporter until he caved to the Clinton machine, and then I went for Jill. His domestic agenda is spot-on, but his foreign policy positions have always been questionable at best. Now that he is fully onboard with RussiaGate, I’m done with Bernie. I’m hopeful that someone can take up his mantle at the Green Party, get over the 15% threshold for the TV debates, and blow up the corporate controlled two party system in 2020.

    • February 12, 2018 at 12:41

      I would add that people need to read. They don’t read enough. I see the odd reference to a book read or an article read, here, and I guess that that tracks. Those of us who are visiting CN are more than likely going to be readers. But I just think it needs emphasizing.

      • Antonia
        February 12, 2018 at 14:34

        It is not only reading is analysing what you read and you will be surprised how many times the MSM reveals the truth.
        Also you need a good memory because they also seem to contradict themselves. But most people cannot add the dots and are like sponges.
        The trouble is the MSM produces a great deal of emotion and not facts!

        • February 12, 2018 at 15:00

          Chomsky sometimes talks about the assiduous reader who, despite having no resources, can sometimes tease out the facts from mountains of corporate owned media offerings. I’ve always considered myself an assiduous reader. Now, before I do anything else, I must check the dictionary to see what ‘assiduous’ means – exactly. ;-)

          • orwell
            February 12, 2018 at 19:17

            Arby, enough of your blind admiration for
            CH, Ch, Ch, Chomsky!!!!!
            As Dylan sang: DON’T FOLLOW LEADERS,
            WATCH THE PARKING METERS!!!!!!!
            Chomsky’s the kind of “Leader” Bobby was singin’ about !!!

          • February 13, 2018 at 09:47

            Since I see no ‘reply’ button for Orwell, I’ll reply to his slag here. I don’t possess ‘blind’ admiration for Chomsky. What I have stated here, through my various posts, is evidence of that. Try responding to the content I present. Or items I toss out that don’t involve Chomsky. Can you manage that? Just try being polite. A slag like yours tells me that you’re not for real. If you are, then What the heck?! Are you just looking for the odd man out who you can target to gain support from the rest here? That’s sad.

        • michael
          February 12, 2018 at 16:06

          I kind of gave up on the MSM after the “independently verified” Michael J. Erickson story.

    • February 12, 2018 at 13:30

      Sanders most assuredly refused to even acknowledge Stein’s offer of the president slot on the Green ticket.

      His primary allegiance is to the system not radical change.

      Sanders may very well have been elected if he had been bold enough to go Green.

      • irina
        February 12, 2018 at 14:56

        Bernie repeatedly stated that he would support whoever became the Democratic nominee.
        I have to honor him for being true to his word in that regard. But I will no longer support
        Bernie because of his obtuseness about RussiaGate.

        • irina
          February 12, 2018 at 15:04

          And no, If Bernie had ‘been bold enough to go Green’, he would not have been elected.
          He would, however, have been widely reviled for ‘splitting the vote’ and directly causing
          Hillary’s defeat to The Donald. (Instead of just being reviled for running a decent primary
          campaign on a crowdfunding budget). If Hillary had done the honorable thing (like that
          was going to happen !) and allowed a transparent primary process, I do think Bernie
          would have won both the primary and the Presidency.

          • Joe Tedesky
            February 12, 2018 at 21:47

            Fantastic observation irina on your part. Good going. Joe

          • Skip Scott
            February 13, 2018 at 11:18

            I don’t agree irina. I think Bernie could have made a great speech at the convention, saying that wikileaks proved the DNC rigged the game, and stated that he either gets the Democratic nod, or he goes Green with Jill Stein. With 40% of the voters a no-show because the candidates were so lousy, I think Bernie could have blown up the corrupt 2 party system and been President today.

        • Daniel
          February 13, 2018 at 00:26

          irina, had Bernie kept his promise to we supporters to hold a “contested convention,” then I’d agree that he could be excused for endorsing the most disliked and overtly dangerous candidate in Democratic Party history.

          If he had insisted that Nina Turner be allowed to introduce him to the convention, and then stood before those delegates and made the case for why they should vote for him to beat Trump, as he had promised us even just days before the convention, I could still find reasons to excuse his refusal to admit to the blatant election rigging of the Democratic Primary.

          But when he broke his promise to his supporters, and did so so late that many of his delegates at the Convention didn’t even know he’d done so until after he spoke, I literally wept.

          And since the convention, he’s been fully onboard the dangerous RUSSIA!!! hysteria and has swept aside any hope that he may have resisted the Empire’s war-making.

      • February 12, 2018 at 15:03

        Sanders is a great faker. Progressives should know that. He could never have paid for his social programs, for one thing, with his slavish devotion to the black hole of the military industrial complex which sucks so much money out of the the American treasury.

        • michael
          February 12, 2018 at 16:10

          Americans keep saying we cannot afford, for example, universal health care. In our for profit Health Care system, we already spend twice the per capita amount that the EU countries pay (some like Germany with much older citizens). They have better outcomes. We just need to shift the money away from insurance companies and to Medicare. It’s perverse to be making money off the diseased and sick anyway.

          • Joe Tedesky
            February 12, 2018 at 22:00

            Great subject michael, healthcare.

            Healthcare in America has been gaslighted to death. Great example, is for our punditry class to always point to Canada’s long waiting list for specialist appointments, but never a mention of how Americans wait as long, or in many cases even longer to see Canada’s counterpart in America. The Establishment class never forgets to remind us of how we Americans have the best healthcare in the world, but never do they point to the unaffordable premiums people struggle to pay or they simply go without any healthcare coverage at all, as this great system of ours quality care statistics go down, and steadily down with each pasting day.

            Yeah, Caitlin Johnstone turned our heads in the right direction, as for us to start learning, and protecting ourselves from the ‘gaslighting’ methods which have controlled us for so long. Joe

          • Gregory Herr
            February 13, 2018 at 19:46

            Exactly. And the “how you gonna pay for it argument” flies in the face of the fact that we perennially do not “pay” for a large slice of the “budget”. Next time the Pentagon and DHS ask for a trillion I want somebody somewhere to holler “how ya gonna pay for it?!”.

          • Joe Tedesky
            February 13, 2018 at 23:50

            Gregory I do to, but I think that yelling ‘who’s going to pay for it’ will get you to meet the Capital Police instead. On another note, if we all become broke and homeless, well then on a cold and chilly day a jail cell may just be the ticket to a warm and welcoming comfortable place to be in. If this isn’t describing a negative into a positive, then I don’t know what will. Joe

          • Gregory Herr
            February 14, 2018 at 20:09

            LOL on the Capital Police

            And hey, the way things are going I just might have to chance that silver lining one day!

    • Daniel
      February 13, 2018 at 00:15

      Sanders had to be crushed for his accurate description of US domestic policies and realistic solutions to many of those disastrous neoliberal polices.

      But he remained a reliable servant to the AZ Empire. Even as his campaign was getting traction, and we who supported him – but oppose Empire and its wars – seemed to be softening some of his rhetoric (especially as regards Palestine/Israel), he continued to promise to continue the Global War OF Terror, called President Chavez a “dead dictator” and President Assad “the world’s worst dictator” who must be removed.

      One good vote on one war is about the best one can find in his Congressional record on Empire.

  31. mike k
    February 12, 2018 at 11:12

    To be banished from the tribe is one of the deepest human fears. To be able to stand alone requires great courage. To do so requires deep belief in truths that transcend the shallow thinking of the tribe.

    • February 12, 2018 at 14:57

      To stand alone against a crowd who you believe is wrong takes principles, even more so than courage.

    • zendeviant
      February 13, 2018 at 06:05

      “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.”

      I love all you dissenters and skeptics, you rousers of rabble and independent thinkers. Reading the Consortium News comments gives me the tiniest bit of strength to resist the tsunami of lies.

      Still, being a dissenter is tantamount to being outside the walls but still focused on what is inside the walls. We have made our escape, why bother monitoring the prison, after the fact? (Answer: to free our brothers and sisters still within.) But I digress…

      I spent the early eighties reading Solzhenitsyn while on board an nuclear attack submarine. The paradoxes and ironies are too thick to navigate these days. This “fluff piece” really made me smile–as did the commentary.

      Working on invisibility…

  32. mike k
    February 12, 2018 at 11:09

    The authoritarian abuser seeks to make his victim feel incapable of finding truth for him/her self. On this basis the victim will surrender to whatever ideas the Authority suggests. Erich Fromm’s book Escape From Freedom is an explanation for why a large number of German’s turned their power of choice and decision over to Adolf Hitler. Father knows best is a mainstay of patriarchy. We are mere children, but the great Leader Father Figure will take care of us through his greater wisdom and power. We have only to obey, and all will be well………

  33. Bob Van Noy
    February 12, 2018 at 10:00

    Really excellent again Caitlin Johnstone, many thanks. Yours is the best explanation of “Gaslighting” that I’ve ever read so thanks for that.

    If one wants to oppose TPTB, it’s essential to clearly understand the tactics they use and you’ve given us a great example of a key tool used against our Society as a real part of the Mind Control used daily in American Media against the population. Fortunately, you have also included the most effective tool to use against Propaganda (Mind Control) in your statement,
    “The good news is that there is an easy remedy for this tactic. We need only to be thoroughly confident in our own judgment.”
    That is the concept that I had to learn over time, by reading great and often heroic authors like Robert Parry who against all odds work at documenting the absurdity presented against the American Public by the extensive, coordinated Media. It takes aggressive Skepticism to counter it, but once applied, one can rather easily make sense of the obfuscation.

    Let me offer another example of how propaganda works by directing readers to a recent article by Edward Curtin at Off Guardian about the triple assassinations of the Sixties…

    • February 12, 2018 at 12:37

      Ah yes, Edward Curtin, the Camelot propagandist. I commented on his website that he fails as a public intellectual when he pushes Camelot propaganda and ignores history. He just deleted my comment. There was no sign that I was there.

      • Bob Van Noy
        February 12, 2018 at 13:41

        Arby, I was impressed by my linked article. Did you read it?

        • February 12, 2018 at 14:55

          I saw that. I visit Off Guardian from time to time and the one thing that they do that infuriates me is push Camelot propaganda. Elsewhere here I mentioned Edward Curtain. He’s a faker in my view. He had another Camelot piece on OG, which I read, and I went to his website and found it and commented. He disappeared the comment. I just have no interest, really, in anything that faker has to say about JFK. There’s much about JFK I have yet to learn. I recently received in the mail two books that Paul Street, a rare lefty who isn’t bamboozled by Camelot propaganda, recommends, namely 1. “Cold War And Counterrevolution” by Richard J. Walton and 2. “Pragmatic Illusions” by Bruce Miroff. I’ve read quite a bit about JFK, much of which I forget because I read some of those books when I was young and unable to process the information. 99% of the many, many books flying around out there are establishment pro Camelot propaganda treatments. The task of sifting them to find the books that might give me information, despite the error, will be great. That’s why I am always on the watch for recommendations by those lefties who haven’t been sold on the enduring ad for the American Empire that is the Kennedys.

          Have you read Seymour Hersh’s “The Dark Side Of Camelot” or Noam Chomsky’s “Rethinking Camelot”? Those books are in the 1% of books on JFK that do not idolize the rotten Kennedys. If you haven’t read them, I’m guessing that you’ve never been exposed to anything but a pro Camelot view.

          • Bob Van Noy
            February 12, 2018 at 15:36

            Arby, I’ve read just about everything written about President Kennedy’s Assassination including the books you’ve mentioned I may have the most extensive JFK personal library in the country, I’ve even willed it to the special collections library at my college. I will grant you that there is indeed a dark side of Camelot and that it is accurately portrayed in Hursh’s book. The concise and true Kennedy Famlily history is yet to be written. It will be, in time, and it will shock some but it did not warrant the Assassination Of a President. About Chomsky, I must admit he eludes me. I began much of my research with him as well, and he is a excellent “Deep State” spokesman. However, for what ever reason he seems tone death about the Assassination. In that regard, I question his writing.

            Back to the linked article. It in no way glorify’s The Kennedy’s or talks about Camelot. It attempts to link the deaths of MLK, JFK, and Bobby Kennedy which I think is very important and according to much of my research accurate. Once those links are established, and they will be; we will know much more about our current condition.

          • February 12, 2018 at 16:54

            Arby/Bob V…I read the Curtin linked article and thought it was good but understand Arby’s point, especially if Curtin erased his comment on his website(sometimes inflated egos deny the opportunity to debate). Nevertheless, some people evolve emotionally and intellectually and, hopefully, that is Curtin’s case( I like to think I have). As far as the Kennedys go, although I thought JFK and Teddy had potential(to do good) despite their many faults, I never much liked Bobby. His McCarthyite tactics were troubling and when he gave a speech at my college it was full of platitudes. The Camelot myth aside, however, and considering what we got since, the Kennedys look a lot better in the rear view mirror.

          • February 13, 2018 at 04:10

            “JFK and the Unspeakable” by Douglas, does a rather good job of clarifying who and why JFK was killed. One need not idolize JFK to realize a deep state coup occurred in 1963 and that anything resembling democracy died that day. In spite of massive evidence to the contrary Chomsky continues his defense of the Warren Commission to this day yet you can recommend Chomsky as a source on the JFK assassination? When otherwise rational people can convince themselves that the laws of physics can be temporarily suspended in order to believe the “official story” as in the case of the Warren Commission and 9/11 Commission, one must marvel at such abilities in self-deception.

          • Gregory Herr
            February 13, 2018 at 19:38

            Chomsky’s “tone deafness” about the assassination is paralleled by something which to my mind is more striking. He is absolutely adamant about Johnson’s Vietnam policy not being a departure from what Kennedy had in mind.

          • Bob Van Noy
            February 13, 2018 at 23:44

            I didn’t realize that Gregory Herr, thank you. It’s the heart of that deception that marks the Deep State involvement in President Kennedy’s Assassination. The Military was hell bent on going to War. Nothing has changed. The problem is, no one cleared it with the American People, the troops heart was never in that battle, it was not Our War.

    • glitch
      February 12, 2018 at 17:56

      I like Edward Curtain’s writing very much, thanks for the link.

      • Bob Van Noy
        February 12, 2018 at 18:10

        Thanks glitch go to his web site and I think you’ll find a bright, artistic and involved man. I see nothing to dislike…

        • Daniel
          February 13, 2018 at 00:06

          “Conservatives” and warmongers have hated the Kennedy’s since my earliest memories in the 1950s. I don’t buy into that whole “Camelot” fairy tale either, but I am swayed by the excellent book, “JFK And The Unspeakable” which describes quite clearly how the brothers evolved once faced with the power and choice of nuclear annihilation, becoming “traitors” in the eyes of the fascists of the Deep State.

          • February 14, 2018 at 11:23

            It just isn’t history. Sorry. But I see that I’m in the midst of a crowd that worships the Kennedys, who were terrorists, and that’s that.

            “John Kennedy And Robert Kennedy Were Terrorists””

            So is Hillary. So is Obama, who Seymour Hersh voted for twice!

          • Bob Van Noy
            February 14, 2018 at 17:18

            Thank you Arby for the document. I have never seen anything like it. I will be studying it and we can discuss it further possibly on another JFK stream. Terrorists?

    • Martin - Swedish citizen
      February 12, 2018 at 18:08

      On this point, I think Johnstone oversimplifies. She is right that we must trust our own judgement. On the other hand, we must also know when not to trust it, when we must look further and deeper to find out, which sources to trust. This too is good judgement, of course, but the skepticism so rightly praised must be applied also to our selves.

      • Bob Van Noy
        February 12, 2018 at 18:16

        Good point Martin – Swedish citizen. And, I can get in a plug for Joe Tedesky on this site. He always listens, he engages, and he will accept Change to a good arguement.

    • Joe Tedesky
      February 12, 2018 at 21:33

      Bob great comment, and a equally great linked article. I recommend everyone on this comment board read your linked article, because it sheds light on the omissions of truth telling that our MSM is committed too.

      I love this sentence of yours….

      “We need only to be thoroughly confident in our own judgment.”

      Great advice, and advice worth taking to heart. I might add that the other way to avoid getting ‘gaslighted’ is to continue digging into the news, and never buy into any one source of the news as the supreme source for that news story. Disappointingly most people don’t, or won’t, find the time to do this, but for the rest of us news junkies keeping up on the news is a daily function, in as much as it is for a person to avoid burning down their warmly secure house.

      Always good Bob. Joe

      • Bob Van Noy
        February 13, 2018 at 00:48

        Many thanks Joe!

  34. mike k
    February 12, 2018 at 09:39

    One of Lao Tzu’s verses speaks of one who questions his own sanity, when his perceptions are so out of tune with the societal groupthink. Those who abused me when I was young did their best to make me believe I was crazy. They succeeded for a time, until I found a wise mentor who helped me see my own truth, and stand up for it against all comers……………..

    • February 12, 2018 at 12:35

      Elliot Aronson (“The Social Animal”) explains social reality. It’s a thing. The idea is that if you are surrounded by people who say that the sky is plaid, all the time, on and on, then eventually you will cave and repeat “The sky is plaid.”

  35. Vision
    February 12, 2018 at 09:39

    “Gaslighting describes the abuse employed by a narcissist to instill in their victim’s mind, an extreme anxiety and confusion to the extent where they no longer have faith in their own powers of logic, reason and judgement. These gaslighting techniques were adopted by central intelligence agencies in the U.S. and Europe”

    These techniques have been widely used by government spooks (and government gangstalkers) on certain ethnic groups in Western countries as part of the war on terror.

    And this indicates that 9/11 was a false flag operation where we can see clearly that humiliating entire communities became a standard practice in many Western countries.

    • Nancy
      February 12, 2018 at 11:52

      True. 9-11 succeeded in knocking the sense out of many otherwise intelligent people and convincing them that the government can do no wrong when it comes to “protecting” its citizens.
      Horrifying, but it seems to have worked.

      • Banger
        February 12, 2018 at 12:54

        This sort of thing always works–the more audacious the claim the easier it is to pull off. The American intellectual class is utterly degraded–there is almost no one willing to face the facts of today’s world that is prominent even people like Chomsky. If you accept that 9/11 was some kind of gov’t operation or even rogue gov’t operation then your whole view of the world is shattered–there are few people who have the balls to risk shattering their world-views no matter how obvious the evidence. I’ve seen it in big and little things among all levels of education and intelligence. People simply cannot believe things that lie outside their mythological framework and tribal affiliations. If I say what I know to be a fact and prove it without any possibility of denial I will meet with silence or a rapid change of subject. Now if a very high-status individual were to say something out of the mainstream Narrative then they will be vigoroulsy attacked en masse by the media as Oliver Stone was attacked when he brought out *JFK* and Gary Webb found out when he started running atories about the CIA-crack-cocaine epidemic.

        Without a full-picture of deep-politics the left is doomed to absurdity and ultimate death which I think we’ve basically seen. If you don’t face up to the fact that there was a coup d’etat in the USA in 1963 you cannot possibly understand how the power-structure works and the evidence for that coup is as obvious as the sun rising in the morning.

        • Glenn D.
          February 12, 2018 at 13:54

          Bravo! Could not have said it better.

        • Skip Scott
          February 12, 2018 at 14:11

          Great comment!

        • February 12, 2018 at 14:45

          Oliver Stone’s JFK was good entertainment, but not good history, in my view. I agree with Chomsky here. Have you read “Rethinking Camelot”? It’s online for free.

          • Bob Van Noy
            February 12, 2018 at 17:31

            Sorry, but again Arby you’re wrong about JFK the movie. In fact it’s remarkably accurate. Turns out that Jim Garrison was on to the truth from the beginning and if the government hadn’t thwarted his investigation, he’d have delivered a guilty verdict and “The House of Cards” would have fallen…

          • Daniel
            February 12, 2018 at 23:55

            Arby, I have, and I recommend you read James Douglass’s “JFK And The Unspeakable” to get a sense of how the deeply flawed, cold warrior Kennedy Brothers evolved once in the White House.

          • geeyp
            February 13, 2018 at 03:32

            The movie “JFK” was historically accurate; as a good drama it delivered. What else can you ask for?

        • February 13, 2018 at 03:59

          Banger – right on the money. Hell I was only 13 years old when the Warren Commission came out, but even I knew enough not to believe in a “magic bullet” or to think that a small time mafia thug shot Oswald on live TV for any but the most obvious reason of silencing him. That the majority of the populace has to believe the laws of physics were temporarily suspended to make the Warren Commission and 9/11 report plausible speaks volumes about the power of collective mind manipulation and of the power of collective denial. The “Republicans versus Democrats” nonsense is all theatre of the absurd – like professional wrestling – full of sound and fury and signifying nothing.

  36. February 12, 2018 at 09:38

    Higgins is a soulless ghoul who lies with practical impunity. If the degenerates who lied us into invading Iraq had been prosecuted for war crimes, convicted, and sent to prison to do hard labor for the rest of their utterly worthless existences, we would not now be in the situation we’re in. Blame Obama for not only being a coward in that regard, but a willing accomplice after the fact.

    • Zim
      February 12, 2018 at 12:08

      Spot on! And if he had perp walked a few bankers, maybe the economy wouldn’t be about to crash again.

      • Realist
        February 12, 2018 at 15:47

        Obomber was just secretly a tool of Wall Street like Slick Willy before him. As one of our regular contributors here likes to remind us, these gentlemen were auditioned for the job back when they were being educated in the Ivies. Suddenly, at a young age, both these fellows develop a magic touch for raising boatloads of cash for their campaigns when they get into national politics? Some powerful entities behind the scenes cultivated their sudden rise to power. Dubya was just the idiot son of one of the establishment’s oldest patriarchs, Bushdaddy, so he basically inherited the presidency on legacy. Quid pro quo was expected, so Cheney was made the operations manager in the White House. Trump is the only real outsider any of us will ever see in our lifetimes living in that White House, till they extricate him one way or another–unless he has finally made allies with real inside power by doing their bidding.

        • Sam F
          February 12, 2018 at 22:39

          Trump has been an anomaly and paradox, although far from the anomaly we need to restore democracy. The instability of alignments in the Mideast and central Asia, coupled with Trump’s bombasts, suggests that there will be many reversals, adjustments, and revelations before 2021.

        • Daniel
          February 12, 2018 at 23:49

          “Trump is an outsider,” just like he and the MSM have been telling us for yearst!?!

          It still amazes me that people who KNOW the MSM lies to us about everything still totally believe the entire MSM psyop about Trump and his “war” with the MSM. The MSM which spent 40+ years promoting his brand nationally and then gave his campaign $5 billion in free advertising while broadcasting live his empty podium while Sanders gave his victory speech after sweeping a Super Tuesday Primary round. (Not that I think Sanders was an “outsider” either, but he was talking about the real domestic issues and providing realistic solutions).

          The Trump Administration is full of Wall Street and Military/Industrial insiders, and has been carrying out the NeoCon wars and neoliberal economic policies at escalated rates.

  37. Realist
    February 12, 2018 at 09:02

    It becomes especially easy to manipulate a society with fear when the population is already keyed up over the results of several decades of unabating job loss, economic decline, eroding infrastructure, unaffordable health care, deterioration of public education from top to bottom and being told that the greatest country in the world simply can’t afford social safety nets because the taxes are too damn high. It’s also expedient if there are scapegoats, distinct from the majority, to blame for the predicament and attending malaise, so the people in charge don’t have to accept any responsibility.

    Hey, that combination platter worked for der Fuerher, why not today, especially since the totally co-opted media has so many more modalities in which to dispense the “received truth” than just the family Crosley up on the mantlepiece and the morning edition of the Daily Bugle. If you take them seriously, all those preposterous twitters will peck you brain to pieces, eliminating any facility you might have had to rationally assess the torrent of You Tube “channels” assaulting your visual cortex with what is by and large a completely fabricated matrix. Not the real world whatsoever.

    They don’t need no steenkin’ chemtrails to control your brain function when they’ve got many an “app” to tweak all those hormones circulating in your bloodstream with just the right jolt of fear in proper doses. Shoot, even your dog probably has nightmares of Vladimir Putin’s evil intentions. Personally, I’ll stay calm and thereby discern their Jedi mind tricks, Ms. Johnstone, but I am not threatened one way or another in my daily existence like most Americans are. Probably neither are most of my co-readers of this blog, which may be why we resist the mass hypnosis we see all around us.

  38. Brad Owen
    February 12, 2018 at 08:25

    Excellent advice which I have followed for many years. I’ve reached conclusions about what’s REALLY going on, and tried to give voice to those conclusions on this site. They just get whisked away to the moderator’s “cornfield”. I don’t bother much with this site anymore, for that reason. The Truth is stranger than fiction, and I’m also not interested in a “controlled opposition” website with “approved”, “rational”, yet ineffective (which is probably why its existence is tolerated), opposition to the Establishment’s lying Narrative.

  39. Tom Welsh
    February 12, 2018 at 07:57

    A few of us have the good (or bad) luck to born sceptics. We are “the awkward squad”, the ones with an inbred “bad attitude”. We have actually internalized Claud Cockburn’s cynical warning, “Never believe anything until it’s been officially denied”, so that it just looks like plain common sense to us.

    So we have it relatively easy. For the rest of humanity, who are a lot more socially-oriented and likely to go along with the crowd, it’s a lot harder to trust your own judgment when everyone else seems to be trying to shout you down.

    It may be helpful to read and think about the Asch conformity experiments, which showed conclusively that many people find themselves irresistibly swayed by the expressed opinion of the majority. Frankly, it’s a good thing that some people react that way, because we do need to take into account the ideas and opinions of others.

    • February 12, 2018 at 14:42

      When I went to see Chomsky speak at Massey Hall here in Toronto long ago, he startled his audience by beginning his talk with something like ‘Don’t believe what I tell you’. he went on to explain that people need to be skeptical, to question authority, whichever authority that is. Elsewhere he makes the point that when authority can’t justify it’s actions, it needs to be opposed. I have never found anything about that to disagree with. I’m not a worshipper of Chomsky nor am I a Chomsky smearer. I disagree with him on some things (Syria, God) and most else I agree with him on, until I have some reason not to. (I also think he should cut those who research 9/11 and JFK’s assassination some slack. I get his position. He wants to avoid rabbit holes. But that’s not the issue. Those were big events and no one should be told to not look at them.) He was my first real exposure to politics, so I only knew what he was teaching me.

      • orwell
        February 12, 2018 at 18:57

        Hey Arby, That’s wild that Chomsky actually said you should not believe him! He was right!!! Don’t believe anything he says anymore. The man has lost his ethics, his morals,
        and maybe his brain !!! First, his “Lesser Evil” Manifesto,
        where he actually urged voters to vote for Hillary Clinton
        as a “Lesser Evil” ! Can you imagine, a self-declared
        Anarchist telling people to vote for a War Criminal like
        Hillary?!? And he refused to take any comments about it on his website!!!! How’s that for cowardice?!?
        And his comments on the JFK assassination are disgusting.
        “So what?”, he says “People get killed every day.”!
        And on 9/11, he’s totally uninterested in the truth.
        “Oh, something about termite, whatever that is”, he says.
        I don’t believe it’s senility. I believe that many of us
        overestimated him. Yes, over the years he pointed out
        some important things about Imperialist Crimes, but
        I believe that Edward Herman probably wrote most of “Manufacturing Consent”, and, as someone else has pointed out, he has worked for many many years as a professor
        at MIT, yes MIT, with its important ties to the Military-Industrial
        Complex. And rather than being merely tolerated there,
        he’s a “Distinguished Professor of Linguistics”! with
        “Honors” Up the Kazoo!!! And now, I’ve heard,
        he has a petition exhorting the US to do some more
        “humanitarian” bombing in Syria!!! As if they haven’t done
        enough massacre and carnage in that country!!!
        I can not look at Chomsky’s face or listen to his whispery
        voice anymore. Good riddance to him !!!!!!

        • Daniel
          February 12, 2018 at 23:35

          Stalin said the best way to control the opposition is to BE the opposition. Chomsky could well be “controlled opposition,” providing what CIA termed “limited hangouts” that lead his followers to a certain level of understanding, but result in dead ends.

          It could well be that the only dissenters we get to hear and read – outside of the most “underground” locations – are controlled to some extent (even if that control is entirely self-censorship learned through years of having certain topics denied publication, speaking engagements or media invitations).

          But, controlled opposition only works after the source has earned trust. And earning trust requires providing some valid and important information that we don’t get in MSM sources. So, I recommend reading multiple sources, but trusting NONE of them.

          Psychologists have known for over a century that we are all more likely to be fooled by sources we trust. We are automatically skeptical of sources we mistrust, but let our guard down with trusted sources.

          So, what Chomsky says here is truly one of the most important pieces of advice we should all heed. Just as one only needs to defend free speech when it is unpopular speech, critical thinking is most important when applied to sources we trust.

          • Daniel
            February 12, 2018 at 23:38

            ps. And those trusted sources need not be intentionally fooling us. They may be misinformed themselves. I don’t mean to cast shade on well-intentioned but ill-informed individuals. Not too much shade, anyway. ;-)

        • February 13, 2018 at 03:51

          Orwell – unfortunately your comments on Chomsky are absolutely on the money. I’ve watched video where he morphs instantly into a very good Glen Beck impersonation when asked about 9/11 – a totally evidence free rant from someone who has spent a career citing “evidence.” Fascinating.

          The last election cycle outed even more of “progressive media” for what they actually are, tools of empire. I can’t think about watching DN anymore without gagging after all the war propaganda they have shamelessly repeated on Libya and Syria. Counterpunch (where nary a word of “conspiracy theory” can be uttered – per their editors) becomes more pathetic and milk toast by the week. What can be said of “progressives” or “progressive sites” where defense of the Warren Commission and 9/11 report trump respect for the laws of physics and common sense? Not much I’m afraid, except “why bother with them?”

          • February 13, 2018 at 09:33

            There was a CounterPunch article lambasting Caitlin Johnstone. See:

            The old Chomsky is vastly superior to the new (old) Chomsky, although it is almost certain that the new and old Chomsky are really one and the same. Chomsky urging folks to vote for Hillary Clinton is scary. It’s bad enough the company he keeps. I rarely visit ZNet because of all the fakers there. And I understand that it’s hard to ditch long time friends, so his hanging on to class traitor Amy Goodman is somewhat forgiveable, as long as he points out her deviance, which I doubt that he has done. I hope that his unreasonableness about JFK and 9/11 have to do with senility or just general decline, because I don’t think he’s done himself or the progressive cause any favors by discouraging others from examining those issues, whatever his views on them. (I am pretty certain he just doesn’t see value in our jumping into and getting lost in rabbit holes when there’s so much that’s known and immediate and in need of our attention, in which case that’s what he should clearly state, while also commending others, some whom (like Ted Postol) have specialist knowledge, for their interest and efforts to dig into those subjects.

            Before people get completely down on Chomsky about Hillary, that pragmatic, rather than principled, approach to elections is where people without faith end up. They put themselves into an impossible position. (Although, I still find it hard to understand how Chomsky could recommend voting for Hillary the war criminal.) If you have only bad choices during elections – and I hope that we here all understand that that’s the case and that it’s by design – and you don’t believe in a higher power who, at the end of the day, will deal with problems that we can’t, then we will be forced to ‘believe’ in a very imperfect, possibly criminal, savior.

            Jill Stein? I don’t believe in her. She seemed to be maneuvering to rescue Hillary Clinton’s campaign as I recall, joining in the ‘Russia did it’ crap:

            And I don’t believe in her Party. Here in North America, none of the major Parties are people’s Parties.

            I’ve read so many of Chomsky’s books and have more to read. I’m not happy with the new Chomsky either, but I’m kind of stuck with him. I also had Amy Goodman’s book on my shelf waiting to be read but finally couldn’t bring myself to do so. It’s probably okay, but I am so put off by her betrayal that I really don’t care what she wrote. I even have a collection of George Orwell books that I haven’t yet read and I’m wondering now whether I want to (after learning about ‘the list’):

            This is difficult. But I ‘can’ live without traitors, unlike the faithless Chomsky. Imperfect humankind will not be imperfect humankind’s savior.

          • orwell
            February 13, 2018 at 14:49

            Gary, thanks for your comments on Chomsky.
            And I feel the same about Democracy Now & Amy Goodman. I also agree to a certain extent about counterpunch, though they still publish
            a few good people. Many of them, though, seem to be run-of-the-mill Liberals or so-called “progressives” who don’t add anything
            substantial to the conversation.
            And St, Clair says he doesn’t believe in
            “conspiracy theories”.
            I’d like to send him this quote from the great
            Gore Vidal: “I’m not a conspiracy theorist,
            I’m a Conspiracy Analyst.”

        • backwardsevolution
          February 13, 2018 at 06:46

          Orwell and Gary – I’m with you. I can’t even look at that Chomsky. When I see his lips moving, I go elsewhere.

          • backwardsevolution
            February 13, 2018 at 07:18

            And Counterpunch? What happened to the “punch”? Garbage. I don’t even go there any more.

        • February 14, 2018 at 15:19

          Especially when Trump was by far the lesser evil……

      • geeyp
        February 13, 2018 at 03:21

        I would question any authority figure on the 911 Commission or the Warren Commission who did not provide any evidence for the crimes.

    • Martin - Swedish citizen
      February 12, 2018 at 17:52

      Sam F and Tom Welsh,

      Thanks! Excellent points.
      Isn’t the nature of Ms Johnstone ‘s main message about the psychology of the propaganda? Since the coup in Kiev this is what confuses most: how is the propaganda distributed without opposition and why do most, in my experience, buy it, however illogical? Why do people seem to believe in the propaganda about Syria when they know the lies in the parallel Iraqi case?
      It is fundamental to the situation – without these psychological mechanisms, the problem would not exist.

      Some things could perhaps be more exact. I am not convinced the mechanisms really start at the big media. A more detailed analysis would be useful as an explanation and to counter this evil.

      • Sam F
        February 12, 2018 at 22:07

        I have more confidence in theories of mass media propaganda by oligarchy, than of personality theory.

        Most people simply “go along with the crowd” as Tom notes, for the reasons noted by H L Mencken “The average man avoids truth as he avoids arson, regicide, and piracy on the high seas, and for the same reasons: it is dangerous, no good can come of it, and it doesn’t pay.” Oligarchy can rely upon a combination of fearmongering and mass media repetition of nonsense and exclusion of criticism. They also rely upon suppression of dialogue in the primary workplace venues of discourse, and threats to employment security. And of course oligarchy has the rewards that support the duopoly racketeers and their supporters. Most know that the path to wealth and power is adoption of the very rationales that enslave them. Their social contract does not extend to taking unusual risks for others.

        In our modern witch hunts we all know that there are no witches – these McCarthy/Vietnam/Iraq/RussiaGate performances are declarations of tyranny over public information, statements to the common man that he must follow his master the mass media, he must avow that he is the slave of the rich, and pretend that the declared enemy is his own, or he is in peril. He must praise the flag betrayed by his masters the oligarchy.

        • Martin - Swedish citizen
          February 13, 2018 at 06:53

          Thanks, Sam F, for this illuminating perspective.

          The different perspectives shed light on the interplay of msm with the citizen, and msm employees, it remains, I think, less clear how the propaganda is worked out (after all, isn’t it quite coherent) and disseminated.

          • Bob Van Noy
            February 14, 2018 at 09:53

            Martin – Swedish citizen, I completely agree with your praise of Sam F’s comment, he is an invaluable resource here with respect to his broad knowledge and clarity. On your statement about propaganda; it certainly is a mystery as to how it is “worked out”. Therein lies the necessity of whistle blowers and the Press in our contemporary bureaucracy.

            I look forward with some excitement to the future great literature that will finally and accurately describe Our Times…

  40. Sam F
    February 12, 2018 at 07:45

    Encouraging confidence is primarily helpful to the highly moral and rational few who may at times be faint-hearted, because their alternative is strictly rational. It may be especially helpful to those wavering in their ability to reject a mass media narrative despite social pressure, especially those who experience organized bullying coupled with the psycho-denunciation described. At some point they must simply decide to be silent at work, evaluate people for rationality and good intentions before choosing friends, turn off the mass media, and rely upon alternative news and analysis on internet.

    Our present national problem of duopoly mass propaganda leaves those bullied by the Reps or Dems with little alternative but the psy-ops of the other party. Even more than confidence, they need the journalism, evidence, and encouragement of good thinkers.

    We have also the problem that US foreign policy, political party maneuvers and funding, and domestic agency operations are determined and conducted largely in secret. With this degradation of democracy into oligarchy, even the interpretation of major events of modern history is clouded with theories that may never be verified in sufficient detail. Over-confidence in a viewpoint can lead to dissension among those of the best intentions, especially where some have learned more in a specific area. The supply of articles based upon careful investigation by outstanding journalists, the encouragement of balance, analysis, and cautious expression of our own views, and moderation in debate, are the primary bridges from oligarchy propaganda to the realities of our unfortunate era.

    • Bob Van Noy
      February 12, 2018 at 10:12

      “Even more than confidence, they need the journalism, evidence, and encouragement of good thinkers.”

      Many thanks Sam F. Great statement!

      • JWalters
        February 12, 2018 at 23:23

        I completely agree. And therein lies a problem with this article.

        The vast public that is taken in by the lies of the oligarchy media have not lost “faith in their own powers of logic, reason and judgement.” They are confidently applying their powers of logic, reason and judgement to the information they are given.

        And the minority that has accumulated enough facts to see through the oligarchy media lies are also confidently applying their powers of logic, reason and judgement to the additional information they have acquired. I know of no cases where people who have learned the truth have actually been made to feel crazy, for the simple reason that they clearly see they are the more informed, and the problem lies with the uninformed.

        The problem is that the misinformed majority is told that the informed minority is crazy. This is not “gaslighting”.

        So how can the informed minority break through to the uninformed majority? Since that majority are confidently applying their powers of logic, reason and judgement to the information they have, it follows that they must be acquire additional information, the same information that awakened the informed minority.

        How can the informed get this information through to the uninformed? I submit it will be through using a format that appeals to their logic and reason. It will not be through emotional, fact-lite diatribes, regardless of links.

        If I may adopt Catlin’s style here for a moment, Caitlin appears to be a self-indulgent, arrogant, sloppy thinking, lazy writer who doesn’t even bother to include the most central facts to her case in her articles, instead requiring readers to surf the web to determine if her case has even the slightest merit, which lets her just whip her articles out of her butt.

        For the Caitlin fans, how did you react on reading that last paragraph? I’m guessing you were repulsed. And my concern is that is exactly how new, reasonable readers will react to her articles here, and by association, to Consortium News.

        For a more objective version of this analysis, see my second comment at “A Note to Our Readers”, Feb 10.

        • firstpersoninfinite
          February 14, 2018 at 01:46

          “The vast public that is taken in by the lies of the oligarchy media have not lost “faith in their own powers of logic, reason and judgement.” They are confidently applying their powers of logic, reason and judgement to the information they are given.”

          Well, that’s literally the stupidest thing I’ve read all day. Also, thanks for giving an example of gaslighting and then calling it “not gaslighting.” That’s stupendously clever. The rest of your comment is just drivel. And not very good drivel, at that.

        • Bob Van Noy
          February 14, 2018 at 09:23

          Thank you JWalters and firstpersonfinite. there is a depth to your thinking JWalters that makes some sense but firstpersonfinite, I think has also identified some issues.
          I was asking myself as I read your commentary J Walters what appealed to me in Caitlin Johnstone‘s writing and It dawned on me that it Was her aggressiveness, Plus her logic.

          I’ve been asked by caring people who seem indifferent to my concerns about getting the JFK Assassination, Vietnam and Iraq right, and I reply, “Because I’m Pissed”. Caitlin Johnstone seems to be Pissed, plus she’s a literate spokesperson, a real advantage it seems to me when addressing a purposely distracted audience. There is another benefit she brings to this space, and that is her sincere high regard for Robert Parry which makes her downright precious.

          • Skip Scott
            February 14, 2018 at 12:30


            I am also pissed about JFK, and just finished reading Douglass’ book a couple weeks ago. But it’s more than that. It has made me realize that for my entire life since I was seven years old our government has been run by the Deep State. There is no hope in our efforts to stop the forever war until these intelligence agencies and the rest of the MIC are brought to heel. People need to prosecuted and sent to jail.

          • February 14, 2018 at 14:23

            I am pissed about 9/11 …that is a high treason against the US of A…and current enough where some heads could still roll…even one of their own generals couldnt buy the official story…



          • JWalters
            February 15, 2018 at 00:32

            Bob Van Noy, Skip Scott, derek,

            Thank you for your thoughtful comments. I too am angry about the JKF assassination and 9/11. It is obvious to any reasonable person who becomes familiar with the evidence that these were both inside jobs. It is also obvious to any reasonable person who monitors the mainstream media that these two glaring mountains of evidence have been intentionally spiked in the newsrooms. (I agree the Douglass book is excellent – up to date, thoroughly researched and clearly presented.)

            Some people will object that a conspiracy that large could not be kept hidden. They simply have not looked into the evidence. Financial control threatens many in politics and the press with severe economic loss, and affords fat bribes to the purely unscrupulous. And for those who would ignore those threats there are threats of pain and death to beloved family members. The MS-13 gang is known to use such threats for control, and some “governments” also have throughout history.

            But people are not going to be convinced of such a fantastic sounding picture by angry diatribes. Those will discredit themselves immediately. People will think, “This angry person spewing these outlandish claims is nuts.” Only clear, indisputable evidence will get through to them. Even though I was highly suspicious about the JFK assassination, the first time somebody said to me, “the world is run by criminals”, I thought “that’s too extreme a theory”. It was accumulating clear evidence that brought me to that realization. Calling people “fucking idiots”, frothing at the mouth and stamping our feet will not do it. Those behaviors discredit our case to those we need to convince. But those who already agree will often overlook them because they agree, and will also feel, “Yeah, slug ’em again!”.

            I’m fine with Caitlin having a website specializing in angry thrashing of the oligarchy. But we also need a website that specializes in a purely rational presentation of the evidence. And I would gladly have Caitlin contribute that type of article to Consortium News.

    • February 14, 2018 at 15:19

      Ironically Trump is the only one who can take these criminal “intelligence” agencies on…..and is still fighting the Neo-cons who want WW3 with Russia…..

  41. Matt Rubenstein
    February 12, 2018 at 07:42

    This is absolutely typical Johnstone. Facts? Who needs them, when you can use hyperlinks? Just pop-psychological fluff (“gaslighting”, Nina Simone etc. etc.) to pound out a rote “anti-imperialist” mantra. Caitlin Johnstone is the Oprah Winfrey or Giraldo Rivera of far-left journalism. Much of the background of whatever she’s writing about is correct–Western attack on Syria, Eliot Higgins’ pro-imperial position, etc. But her position is a cartoon version of a serious critique. In the case of Syria, five years of siege warfare, mass torture, bombing of civilians, never seem to have happened. It’s only and forever the empire and its valiant opponents–and anybody who opposes Western imperialism is by definition a hero. A truly sad development for this web site to have taken her on board.

    • Joe Tedesky
      February 12, 2018 at 09:30

      Yeah Matt you make a good point, but for stupid asses like me Caitlin gets her message through. I guess it’s different strokes for different folks, but Matt read Caitlin’s article again and you will see this is a warning she’s writing about that could prove well placed for those who take Ms Johnstone’s great advice. Take care Matt. Joe

      • Annie
        February 12, 2018 at 10:29

        Joe, you are the gentleman. I’m willing to bet you didn’t grow up in Brooklyn.

        • orwell
          February 12, 2018 at 18:08

          Annie, what the hell are you talking about?
          What does being a “gentleman” have to do with
          “not growing up in Brooklyn????
          Some of the best people on the planet grew up in Brooklyn!!!!!!

          • Annie
            February 12, 2018 at 20:52

            Oh, Orwell, I grew up in Brooklyn, and loved it. Just kidding.

          • geeyp
            February 13, 2018 at 02:39

            And current day products and food!

          • Seth Kaplan
            February 13, 2018 at 11:37

            True that!

        • Joe Tedesky
          February 12, 2018 at 19:39

          Actually Annie I’m from Pittsburgh, and I shouldn’t be too hard on Matt, since I do believe that everyone is entitled to their own opinion.

          When I first read Matt’s comment I was kind of caught off guard with his critique due to the fact that I was still processing what Ms Johnstone had to say in her article, so I went on the offense against Matt’s comment mainly to point out that we should learn something from Caitlin’s article on ‘gaslighting’. I didn’t feel her style of writing was the most important subject for us to comment on.

          Matt should be respected for his opinion, but in this day and age of ‘fake news’ coupled into a MSM who is certainly a part of the National Security State, we starved for the truth readers should not shoot the honest messenger.

          Annie I also wouldn’t buy into the idea that Pittsburgh has any more ‘gentlemen’ inside of it’s city limits moreso than in Brooklyn, but thanks anyways for the kind compliment, and good luck with the male Brooklynites…if that’s the right name to call these fine New Yorkers. Joe

          • Annie
            February 12, 2018 at 23:53

            As for Brooklyn, it does have some very tough neighborhoods and you can’t be too much of a wuss. However there are quite exclusive areas like Brooklyn Heights. Culturally it’s more developed then Queens, but Queens has also been making progress in that regard.

            I know that everyone is certainly entitled to their opinion, but I thought Matt was very harsh in his criticism, as was Heidi. So Ms Johnson’s style is different, so what. I particularly identified with what she had to say since I had another political encounter on Facebook. Not easy to stand up to a bunch of Republicans, you thought were Democrats because they hated Trump. I always wondered why this 4th cousin attacked Trump and endlessly brought up Russia-gate and never addressed his policies, well now I know. She backs his policies, but he doesn’t put a civil face on her beloved party. She spoke of how glad she was that North and South Korea are coming together and I said too bad Pence didn’t act in a more cordial manner conveying America’s desire to quell tensions. It seemed to bring everyone out of the woodwork and I was the only one holding an opposing point of view, and to be honest, even though I stood my ground, it was an isolating experience, and I thought never again. As I mentioned before I lost a cousin and a life-long “friend” because of my political views, and my cousin told me I was un-american, and suggested I was somewhat emotionally unstable, his exact words, because I didn’t fear Russia, and her illegal annexation of Crimea, and her meddling in our elections. I have never seen such raw emotion, or craziness on display, not even during the Bush years where I was very active in the anti-war movement. I think the psychological elements she addressed was right on target.

          • Joe Tedesky
            February 13, 2018 at 02:15

            Annie it’s not un-American to be disgusted at the lack of polite protocol of any elected U.S. Official and to and including appointed secretaries, as was the case with our VP. Pence’s ignorant display towards everybody the least of what he could have done out of respect for his ally and newly elected President Moon Jae, as they are in S Korea and is being broadcasted by NBC as an event.. well let’s just put it this way, it wouldn’t have gone well in my old neck of the woods.Picture it’s like an old fashioned Italian diner, and you do a lot of things to only honor your host….okay I won’t go on but you get the idea Pence insulted Moon Jae in.

            But no wait a minute why can’t we American citizens not complain??? And what was that Ben Franklin said, about ‘just try to keep it’ and wasn’t that all about keeping both eyes on this damn democracy the Founders gave us. What if Franklins context was not ‘advice’ but a ‘threat’ or even a ‘warning’…who cares, the point is to stay awake, and no you don’t need to go along with everything, infact you state your true convictions for whatever reason or motive,,and in America like everywhere else it’s financial but you you do it the best you can and then move on.

            Annie don’t lose a relative over this American nightmare we keep waking up in, because a lot of it is about perception and our taking on a philosophy or something in order to deal with all this noise, but I should talk, but if I get on to my stories about my relatives I’d have you applauding me while at the same time you would be throwing daggers at me, but whatever Annie just kind a stay in there,

            The ‘gaslighting’ methods being used today whether knowingly , or (cough) unknowingly, Annie, are helping to increase our whole populations conscious levels to all of these bombastic goings on, and quite simply it’s dividing us, bubble mentalities are going through a segregation of sorts, as the results are we are fighting each other even moreso down to our individual selfs and then we’re stuck in America LaLa Land Reality TV (I took Trump out of the star billing because he’s not the only one worth watching, and to be blunt we citizens are now all certifiable) Joe

      • February 12, 2018 at 11:42

        Vampires rail against the light of day, Joe.

        • February 14, 2018 at 15:22

          Have you noticed what Trump is doing to the deep state?

          Lots of light!!

      • Marcus
        February 12, 2018 at 11:43

        Tend to agree. In fact I have been wondering why her stuff is suddenly everywhere. Being recommended on Medium (even though I’m not following her), retweeted hundreds of times on Twitter (her tweets get more retweets than RT!). Now here. It’s not like she is saying anything new or profound. Others said it first and better. Maybe I am just being grumpy and overly suspicious. But it’s overly pat. Overly simplified. Almost as generic as the stuff she is opposing. Though, of course, she is broadly correct I don’t want this to become the new norm. The best alt media has always had high standards of originality and expression.

        • Annie
          February 12, 2018 at 12:21

          No it’s not Marcus, and not this article, and I could really relate to it. If you simply go on progressive websites, like Consortium News where people reaffirm your view of things it’s easy, but when you stand up for your position elsewhere things can get nasty, and make you feel isolated. They try to make you feel you’re either ignorant, or out of touch with reality, when it’s really the other way round. I think her comparison with the movie Gaslight was right on. I enjoyed this, because so many articles written often cover the same ground, and after a while you want something different. I don’t always need a Joe Friday, and it’s just the facts Mam.

          • February 12, 2018 at 17:28

            I get it now…if Caitlin had direct “words” with Lord Bellingcat, himself, that would explain the higher levels of lil haters that have shown up recently…and not just the lil packs of cowards throwing insults because Robert is gone…

            thicken up your skin Caitlin …and have at them again



        • Heidi
          February 12, 2018 at 15:35

          Thank you Marcus! Her simplistic nature and lack of real investigation contributes to the dumbing down of USians. Also she is not far left she is a pop movement opportunist.

          • orwell
            February 12, 2018 at 18:14

            Heidi, get off your high horse.
            This is simply an article which tells the truth about
            fake propaganda which leads to and supports imperialist wars. What’s wrong with that, or are you an apologist for Imperialist Wars??????

          • Annie
            February 12, 2018 at 18:43

            Your attack was quite succinct, a lot of insults but no substantiating evidence. Where’s the facts Heidi?

        • ranney
          February 12, 2018 at 17:36

          Marcus, I think Caitlin, along with her relatively lighthearted breeziness, is well informed – so far I have been impressed with her links which are dead on in illustrating her points. She has shown me a new way of finding information, and I appreciate it.
          I think she has been honest and direct. A good example of that is her link to Vanessa Beesley’s article on Gaslighting which gives a lot more information than Caitlin’s article. Also the link to the Wikileaks claim about linkage of media and foreign policy groups was stunning. Both of these opened doors in my mind.
          So thank you Caitlin for your breezy, freewheeling way of pointing out new avenues of thought and research. I look forward to more.

          • February 12, 2018 at 18:28

            I second that!

        • orwell
          February 12, 2018 at 18:09

          Marcus, you’re being grumpy and overly suspicious.

        • Skeptigal
          February 12, 2018 at 23:57

          I think we need journalists with different writing styles. While her style may not be substantial enough for more well informed readers, her humorous layman’s approach may be perfect for some readers, who may also be enticed to check out the accompanying links. Isn’t that the goal, to enlighten the populace one reader at a time? Journalists like those found on this site, have the challenging task of weaning people off of the unhealthy diet of regurgitated phoney baloney that the MSM spoon feeds them.

          • Nancy
            February 13, 2018 at 11:35

            Very good observations!

      • Dave P.
        February 12, 2018 at 23:32

        Joe, the purpose of the Matt R’s comments above you responded to is to create confusion. This is precisely what this excellent article by Catlain Johnstone talks about. And these comments of Matt R. are put right at the top to create confusion, misgivings in the minds of the commentators and others.

        And the excellent article “Gaslighting: State Mind Control and Abusive Narcissism” by Vanessa Beeley which is referred to in this article goes in much more detail about this topic.

        I applaud CN for putting this much needed article of Caitlain on their website.

        • Joe Tedesky
          February 13, 2018 at 03:03

          Dave it caught me off guard, because coming off reading Ms Johnstone’s article I was thinking more into the message of ‘gaslighting’ and not at all at any style or hyperbolic trendy’s thing. If Ms Johnstone is young well maybe she should take Matt’s comment more seriously than mine, because my being an old and looking for the truth kind a person I am, and my learning something from this young artist reporter Caitlin Johnstone… well my comments will only spoil her.

          Dave how’s the Rob Porter name doing around the house these days? No, don’t answer that, but I want to bring the ‘I Hate Howard Cosell sponge brick’ back, and get all capitalistic revamping the brick to ‘I Hate Trump’ or ‘I Hate Chuck & Nancy’ bricks you can throw at the tv and not break the screen, it’s so light and safe you can also throw the hate you brick at your friends, your dog, why hell you can throw the I Hate (you insert your hate name here) brick at anything or anybody, and if that wasn’t enough, I’m out of here.

          On and forget the brick idea in this day and age we would need to write a disclaimer, and I’m not good with that. Joe

    • mike k
      February 12, 2018 at 09:33

      Like many gaslighters, you have ended up inhaling and believing in your own BS. Caitlin’s little piece stuck in your craw like an unchewable chunk of kryptonite.

    • Joe
      February 12, 2018 at 10:46

      As more and more of israel’s and America’s crimes and malfeasance gets exposed, the hasbara trolls will be regrouping and mobilising en masse. If nothing else, they provide (although dated and tired) some degree of entertainment.

    • Annie
      February 12, 2018 at 11:00

      What she is offering is emotional support to many here and elsewhere who have faced criticism, or have been verbally abused, yes abused, because they don’t buy into the mainstream political narrative that almost all have. She gives recognition to the fact that it’s not easy on an emotional level to be different, and it takes courage to stand your ground in the face of all that criticism. Mr. Rubenstein it also takes courage to get out of your head, and into your heart.

    • Skip Scott
      February 12, 2018 at 11:42

      “In the case of Syria, five years of siege warfare, mass torture, bombing of civilians, never seem to have happened.”

      This is typical MSM BS. Who was responsible for 5 years of siege warfare? The answer is the Yinon plan in action. If Assad was responsible for the claims you make, why did he enjoy over 80% support with over 70% of the Syrian population voting in the 2014 election, including citizens voting from abroad. As for the hyperlinks, if you take the time to read them, you’ll see they support her position.

      If you can take the time, check out this interview with Eva Bartlett. She is one of the few reporters on Syria telling the truth.

      • glitch
        February 12, 2018 at 17:51

        Excellent link, thank you. Eva Bartlett, Vanessa Beeley and Patrick Henningsen are all true investigative journalists.

      • jeff montanye
        February 12, 2018 at 20:21

        of course you are right skip. the neocons had it their own way for so long what with the wall street journal, the new york times and the washington post, etc. plus abc, cbs, nbc and pbs all singing from the same hymnal in support of whichever party’s preacher currently occupied the pulpit.

        the internet reminds me of the colonies’ committees of correspondence.

      • Gregory Herr
        February 12, 2018 at 21:22

        A terrific reference Skip. Eva recently convened in Ireland with other writers and activists and her discussion is posted on down the page after others who spoke there. She is commendable as always and I very much enjoyed John Wight, but have as yet to get to the others.

      • geeyp
        February 13, 2018 at 03:02

        I have said it and said it. Vanessa and Eva are outstanding individuals and it is wonderful that they are mentioned here. If there is ever a chance for their articles getting printed here, I say go for it. They have more guts than most people. Steady handed, steady headed, just the straight dope; speaking of what they have witnessed with their own eyes.

      • Steve
        February 13, 2018 at 10:44

        Thanks for bringing up Eva Bartlett, Vanessa Beeley, and Patrick Hensington, Skip. I’ve been friends with them on Facebook for some time now. And I credit my following them for the fact that I have a much better/more accurate/truthful idea of what is actually happening in Syria than I otherwise would have if I had to rely on the MSM. (in other words, they helped save me from being gaslighted on this issue. There are others, RP and CN, of course, and a few others, but these three have been on the scene.) All three show a lot of courage and integrity, for putting themselves in harm’s way, risking their lives even, in order to get the story out, and for taking heat for speaking out against the dominant narrative. In that regard, you could say they’re in the mold of the late-great Robert Parry. I was particularly touched by his son Nat Parry’s tribute, particularly the part where he described the emotional farewell he and his family experienced upon his father’s departure to Central America knowing full-well he may never come back, and all done out of his father’s concern for humanity and commitment to truth telling/getting the story out, come what may. To me, people like this are like some kind of secular saint. They’re not motivated out of money, personal gain, personal pleasure, aggrandizement — none of that — just a desire to be a witness to the world for the voiceless victims of arrogant power. And this is number one reason you know you can trust them as a source of information. They tend not to be corrupt, or corruptible. Their vision is pure. So, I’m glad you brought them up, Skp. People like this are invariably marginalized by the powerful… and the public needs to be made more aware of them and their work. And I would say probably most all of the contributors to CN, even if they may not be on the “front lines”, so to speak, share in common similar traits, similar commitment, integrity, and courage to speak truth to power. Which brings me to Caitlyn Johnstone. I’ve followed her for some time now. I first encountered her on Facebook… and have posted quite a few of her articles to my page. And I have to say from my experience she’s an excellent fit for, and welcome addition to, this site. And I wonder if this guy Matt realizes the irony that his comment seemed to serve as an illustration/ case-in-point of exactly what Caitlyn was trying to point out in this article? I even momentarily contemplated the possibility that his comment was actually satirical — the intention of which was to do exactly that — provide a prime example to serve as reinforcement for what was stated in the article. And I wonder if he realizes how he contradicted himself? He acknowledged — “Much of the background of whatever she’s writing about is correct–Western attack on Syria, Eliot Higgins’ pro-imperial position, etc.”, probably to lure the reader into a false sense that he’s actually being reasonable and balanced in his criticism, then he immediately falls back on the mainstream narrative that it’s all Assad’s fault. If it’s a Western attack on Syria, then how can you blame Syria for what has happened? His statement isn’t even coherent. That’s why my preliminary verdict is that he’s probably a troll — and not even a very good one, at that. Quite possibly in the employ of the Koch bros. or some such similar group. (If that turned out to be the case, they should ask for their money back with this guy. lol) Because you know this goes on, and we already know they have ConsortiumNews in their crosshairs.

      • rosemerry
        February 13, 2018 at 15:24

        Eva has long been excellent on South America, and not long ago had a detailed video report on her visit to North Korea. Sorry unsure of link, but easy to find.

    • February 12, 2018 at 12:26

      I’m pleasantly surprised, to say the least, to find more authentic ‘independent’ voices being picked up by any alt media sites. I couldn’t be happier about it. I’d be delighted to see more of Caitlin, Beeley, Eva Bartlett, Sarah Abed, Mark Taliano, Matt Agorist and others wherever I go online. I have always felt that some of the stalwarts, good but, could use more authentic independent voices and fewer deep state connected opinions. (I don’t miss Graham Fuller here and I won’t ask where he went.)

      As for gaslighting: No kidding! I’ve been following Caitlin, in between following dozens of other sources, for some time now. I also found her interview with a politician (head of The Internet Party in New Zealand may be her position, forget her name) in which the woman confided to Caitlin the dirty tricks that NZ’s secret scumbag police were playing on her to make she was losing her mind. Leaving screws on her desk was one thing they did. Cutting up her panties in her drawers was another. I found a tiny black computer screw on my desk one day. I hadn’t been working on my computer (a laptop) or anything and it was so totally out of place. And now, as I pointed out to Paul Harris (Axis Of Logic) that I’m wondering whether I’m not being followed or something, online. Sites where I often post comments are disappearing my comments. Disqus just shows me that they were flagged as spam. Those are sites where I can find authors whose politics I share. It’s like calling up a friend to say “Hey. How are you?” and having him slam the phone down on you. (most recently: Canadian WSWS, Dimension magazine, 21st Century Wire, Axis Of Logic)

      There are related issues here. I don’t believe that there is the solidarity on the Left that lefties say there is. You can’t cut out lefties who you dislike, disappear them to such an extent that they are invisible to you and those who you talk to, then point at the Left that remains and proclaim “Solidarity!”

      “Google’s Algorithms Versus Our Algorithms”

      • February 12, 2018 at 12:31

        That should have been Canadian Dimension magazine, WSWS etc..

      • February 12, 2018 at 13:36

        Congratulations, Arby, when THEY try to harm you it means THEY fear you.

        Good Work!

        • February 12, 2018 at 14:33


      • Ol' Hippy
        February 12, 2018 at 14:43

        Off topic for the prescient piece but I’ve been steered away from Johnstone by other sources claiming, exactly like she states, that she’s a bot or crazy. I’ve learned my lesson and follow her on Medium. I also write there also. For someone that lives in Australia she knows well the American “way” of things.

        • February 12, 2018 at 23:43

          I just followed you on Medium. I post there under my blogging name of LibWingofLibWing.

      • jeff montanye
        February 12, 2018 at 20:29

        same thing happened to me. got kicked off daily kos in a few hours, zerohedge after years. gateway pundit shadow censors me (shows comments posting but not if i go to another site then check back).

        just got to keep it up. the reader interest in comments should keep venues flourishing. let’s hope.

    • Banger
      February 12, 2018 at 12:43

      I think your critique may be partly correct in that Johnstone and other critiques of the Empire often forget that there is another side and that non-Western regimes use the more obvious forms of brutality to keep order because they have not developed the finer techniques of mind-control present in the West that keeps populations quiet, particularly in the USA. But surely you understand that we are talking geopolitics here when we talk of Syria. Syria, by all accounts before the war was a peaceful and prosperous country despite the fact it was housing many refugees. The New Yorker, now turned into a mouthpiece of neoliberal/neoconservative cant who will not allow people like Sy Hersh to publish any article unless it meets the demands of the mainstream Narrative published an excellent long, thoughtful travel article just before the classic CIA operation repeaded many dozens of times since 1947 to overthrow the Syrian government. Let’s be clear here, the Assad family has been brutal when their power was threatened but it was also a secular government that managed to keep the peace and a relatively convivial society despite deep religious and ethnic differences within the government that official U.S. policy since the 50s has tried to leverage in order to weaken those regimes throughout the region to make it easier to control. To compare Syrian actions to the ridiculously brutal Imperial Regime in Washington is to insult anyone’s intelligence. How many millions have the U.S., military and covert ops people destroyed either through the brutal slaughter carried out in Vietnam and Iraq (violating the Geneva Conventions on War six ways from Sunday). Comparing Assad to the U.S. is jejeune at best the balance is so off as to reach a strong level of absurdity. Like cops who insist that my face assaulted their fists.

      • Adrian E.
        February 12, 2018 at 14:57

        “because they have not developed the finer techniques of mind-control present in the West that keeps populations quiet”

        Generally, I agree, but I think that is a bit unfair towards countries like Libya and Syria that have been invaded by militias of armed Jihadist extremist financed by Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Quatar, Kuwait and NATO countries. There is little indication that these extremists had broad popular support in these countries.

        If a European country or the US was invaded by such Jihadist militias, it would hardly use “finer techniques of mind-control” to fight them, but would also fight them militarily. Syria certainly cannot be blamed for not letting Al Qaeda and Daesh concquer the country and kill large parts of its population (religious minorities would hardly have a chance of survival if Al Qaeda and Daesh were victorious).

    • February 12, 2018 at 13:17

      Imperialism by definition should always be opposed.

      Simple is often the most effective message.

      Caitlin is not incorrect about anything.

      Generally speaking USA and it’s allies are creating and arming terrorists in Syria.

      Assad has never done anything worse than many USA allies or the USA have.

      Assad has never slaughtered hundreds of peaceful demonstrators on a city square as have, recently, USA ally Egypt and in the past has Mexico.

      • February 12, 2018 at 17:36

        keep an eye on the Philipines as well…the US is trying to paint him as a kook murderer,,,because he doesnt want the US to absolutely exploit his country any longer.. and he would like to do economic business with anyone else but the US…same game they played on khadaffi…playing now in the phililpines..



        • rosemerry
          February 13, 2018 at 15:27

          Considering how the USA has treated the Philippines, it is hardly reasonable to criticize Duterte for human rights violations or drug policies.

    • February 12, 2018 at 13:53

      So Caitlin didn’t regurgitate the Western MSM position (which has never seen a need to produce actual “evidence”) that Assad conveniently morphed into some sort of mad sadist mindlessly attacking his own people “just when” Western powers decided the time was ripe to destroy him (like Gaddafi before him) with our merry band of jihadi head chopper terrorists – (moderate terrorist in MSM parlance quoting government sources)? Wow, what is Ms. Johnstone thinking by refusing to peddle the usual CIA & State Dept propaganda like the rest of MSM?

      I find Caitlin a great addition to the site and your critique full of sound and fury but signifying nothing. You throw phrases about like – “pop-psychological” and “cartoon version” without any substantiation, and then complain about a lack of “facts” because you might have to click a “hyperlink” to see the source?? This is your idea of a rational argument? Really?

    • JanJ
      February 12, 2018 at 14:13

      Matt, I see Johnstone’s article as urging people to look at facts that can be verified, as opposed to mass media claims that often have no verifiable facts behind them. Dismissing this as “fluff” appears to be disingenuous; I hope that is not true in your case. Your mention of Syria is a good case in point. Much of the mainstream story, about “good” rebels (which are known to include Al Qaida and ISIS factions) and about Assad “gassing his own people” excludes evidence to the contrary. I don’t see anything in Johnstone’s article that suggests that every force against Western imperialism is automatically good in every deed. (Hmm, how often does the mainstream media admit the flaws in forces that support Western imperialism?) If you follow Johnstone’s hyperlinks you will see more detail and additional hyperlinks to yet more details that support her points. Instead of a blanket dismissal of her concerns, why don’t you present or reference the verifiable evidence that you think she is missing?

    • robjira
      February 12, 2018 at 15:50

      Thanks for providing such a paradigm example of gaslighting; good job ^_^

      • backwardsevolution
        February 12, 2018 at 16:28

        robjira – exactly! Precisely how gaslighters operate.

    • February 12, 2018 at 17:48

      So basically you dont like the fact that caitlin paints with a broader brush than you prefer? and you came here to complain about it? fine…that is your personal opinion…

      Lets start here Matt…

      lets hear your position on Assad and his government…remember, we like facts, documents and real links to back up your position…

      cant wait to hear from you



    • Hopeless
      February 12, 2018 at 18:33

      “A truly sad development for this web site to have taken her on board.” Yes.

    • Anna
      February 12, 2018 at 23:00

      Do you still believe that Iraq had WMD? — still following the propaganda? Here is fact about Syria that most likely is intolerable for you because this fact has anti-Israel bias: “MATTIS ADMITS THERE WAS NO EVIDENCE ASSAD USED POISON GAS ON HIS PEOPLE”
      It was not Assad who was killing Syrians and destroying Syrian cities — the slaughter and destruction have been accomplished by the US-supported “moderate” terrorists (see also Nuland’s collaboration with Ukrainian neo-Nazi). What you wrote about Assad is a banal slander that has been permeating the controlled MSM in the US and EU. The NATO and US have no right to be in Syria; taking side in a civil war is against international law.
      As for the Atlantic Council, it is infested with ignoramuses and opportunists like despicable ignoramus Higgins (a former seller of ladies underwear), traitorous Alperovitch (a Russophobe and liar famous for his “expert” conclusions re the DNC emails that were blocked from the FBI eyes), Michael Weiss (another morally and intellectually challenged Russophobe) and such.
      Vanessa Beeley is a great human beingl she is a courageous and principled journalist standing against a humongous apparatus of propaganda and disinformation spread by the “interested sides” — such as MIC, Intel (which has become a for-profit organization), and super-wealthy Israel-firsters. Her words have been confirmed as truthful again and again. As for Higgins, Judy Miller, Alperovitch, Weiss and likes – they are just career-minded opportunists and profiteers.

    • nonsense factory
      February 13, 2018 at 00:20

      It is pretty clear that this article is written as an opinion piece; you just do not like the opinion being expressed because it it in conflict with your own preferred view of the Syrian conflict. What the author, Johnson, is really saying is that if you sit down with the papers of record, the NYTimes and WaPo, and listen to NPR on the radio, and watch news about Syria on CNN and FOX and MSNBC, you will not be well informed, you will have been propagandized.

      Just to review, propaganda (in the professional, military doctrine) is generally classified into one of three types. Class A (white) is true information distributed by a recognized source. However, it leaves out some critical aspect of the story; for example, only discussing Assad’s violent crackdown on rebel groups while not discussing the fact that those rebel groups were Al Qaeda and ISIS jihadists who were being supplied with heavy weapons by the CIA.
      Class B (grey) is information distributed clandestinely through ‘third parties’ to hide its origin and the motive of the propagandist. For example, using an ‘independent organization’ to distribute talking points cooked up by the State Department, that would be grey propaganda. Much of the White Helmets video of the results of airstrikes falls into this category.
      Class C (black) is false information, invented falsehoods. Such as using bogus defectors to peddle lies about Iraqi WMD programs that did not in fact exist; such as bogus claims about the Syrian government launching sarin nerve gas attacks in 2013.

      All these classes of propaganda have been widely distributed in the American corporate media system without any investigation by the media outlets noted above. They use all three tactics to spread a dishonest narrative about Syria.

      Now, if you go outside these sources – read the Wikileaks cables leaked by Chelsea Manning, look to truly independent reporters on the scence, dig into what kind of media narratives were used before the Syrian regime change game was launched, the story changes radically.

      If you go back to 2008-2009, you can find an entirely different media narrative – there’s Sarkozy making good friends with Assad, there are PBS Frontline specials about Assad the modernizing reformist pro-democracy guy, it’s all very strange. So what was going on? The US-Saudi-Israeli axis was offering Assad a carrot, but he turned it down.

      If you look up the Chelsea Manning Wikileaks cables, you find all these references in 2008-2010 on Syria – efforts to ‘wean Syria away from Iran’, concern about Iran-Syria economic deals on electricity (Deir Ezzor), gas pipelines (Aleppo, Turkey, Iran), ports, railroads, etc. The fact is, Iran was offering Syria very good economic deals that were better than anything the US-Saudi-Israeli axis was offering. That’s why Assad turned down the US offer.

      Assad merely took the economic deals with Iran that were better for the Syrian people, and as a result, the U.S. and Saudi Arabia and Israel and the CIA and Jordan and Turkey launched a regime change operation in 2011, that persisted for the next four years or so, that killed over 450,000 Syrian citizens, helped aid the rise of ISIS and Al Qaeda, caused a flood of millions of refugees into Lebanon and Turkey and, along with the Libya debacle, into Europe, destabilizing much of Europe and greatly aiding the rise of far-right governments in central and eastern Europe – and probably helping to pass Brexit as well (whose merits can be debated at length, but not now).

      So, the US and Britain and France have nobody to blame but themselves for the disastrous consequences of the Syrian regime change game. And if you want to claim this was about ‘humanitarian’ issues, well, why didn’t the US and Britain intervene in Bahrain when the Saudi tanks rolled in to crush the pro-democracy protests, or raise UN concerns when the Bahraini dictatorship (oh, sorry, ‘monarchy’) was rounding up and torturing Bahraini dissidents?

      I think there are a great many people who no longer buy the corporate media propaganda narrative about Syria, too.

      • Joe Tedesky
        February 13, 2018 at 03:20

        You rolling through the history of the time of around ‘the Arab Spring’ and mentioning Sarkosy is a great rundown of what happened back then. The ‘ratline’ in Benghazi was busting at the seams and I believe it was Erdogan who started replacing good Libyan weapons being funneled into the NW of Syria through Turkey, and the Turkish Leader mixed in old Turkish Army weapons, and the SHTF. You may know better to if I have this right.

        But bringing up Sarkozy is important, and correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t he kind of the nucleus on this part of the Yinon Plan, and nonsense factory do you recall the name of the French Plan for this phase of this evil and chaotic operation? …I forget, and I’m too tired to look it up. Your comment here is a good brief run through of that history and it’s sequential time. Joe

        • Bob Van Noy
          February 13, 2018 at 09:36

          Excellent opportunity here Joe to show some Nicolas Sarkozy information from Thierry Meyssan who I will link. Then later from Nicholas Sarkozy‘s brother who was/is an investment banker with the Carlyle Group. It’s a small world after all.

          • Bob Van Noy
            February 13, 2018 at 09:38

            Olivier Sarkozy is Nicholas Sarkozy’s half brother who is co-head and managing director of Carlyle Group’s global financial services division.


          • Bob Van Noy
            February 13, 2018 at 10:07

            “Wisner was told to create an organization that concentrated on “propaganda, economic warfare; preventive direct action, including sabotage, anti-sabotage, demolition and evacuation measures; subversion against hostile states, including assistance to underground resistance groups, and support of indigenous anti-Communist elements in threatened countries of the free world”. Thomas Braden later recalled: “Wisner brought in a whole load of fascists after the war, some really nasty people. He could do that, because he was powerful. Harrison E. Salisbury commented: “He (Wisner) was the key to a great many things, a brilliant, compulsive man, of enormous charm, imagination, and conviction that anything, anything could be achieved and that he could achieve it.”
            Later that year Wisner established Operation Mockingbird, a program to influence the American media. Wisner recruited Philip Graham (Washington Post) to run the project within the industry. Graham himself recruited others who had worked for military intelligence during the war. This included James Truitt, Russell Wiggins, Phil Geyelin, John Hayes and Alan Barth. Others like Stewart Alsop, Joseph Alsop and James Reston, were recruited from within the Georgetown Set. According to Deborah Davis (Katharine the Great): “By the early 1950s, Wisner ‘owned’ respected members of the New York Times, Newsweek, CBS and other communications vehicles.”

            From Frank Wisner Page at :

          • nonsense factory
            February 13, 2018 at 14:16

            Great book on the Carlyle Group from Dan Briody:

            “ . . .Carlyle had been doing business with dozens of families and businesses throughout the Middle East since the early 1990s. And they had been extremely successful in the region. So successful that they had garnered a reputation for having a tremendous amount of influence over the deal flow in the area. After all, the company had been running the Saudi Economic Offset Program for years, a government funded program designed to encourage foreign investment into Saudi Arabia, under the condition that a portion of the profits be reinvested in Saudi Arabia. In a sense, Carlyle had become the gatekeeper to foreign investing in Saudi Arabia.“

            So that’s the threat that an economic alignment between Iran, Syria, Lebanon, etc. poses – all those economic cash flows to Carlyle and its partners (now with different names, I believe, thanks to bad PR) could be disrupted. Imagine if the House of Saud falls? End times for them. That’s really what this is all about, I believe. Historically, it’s remarkably similar to the story of Krupp Armaments, IG Farben chemical/fuel cartel, Standard Oil, etc. in Nazi Germany.

        • Joe Tedesky
          February 13, 2018 at 10:41

          Thanks Bob. Although nothing in this life by now should shock me, I still find the biographies of some of these world leaders to be horrendous in their family tree with their rise to power. In fact, if the MSM wasn’t so owned, and empowered by the hidden hand of power, well then maybe we duped citizens could read for ourselves all about the corrupted souls who run this world of ours, but our MSM wouldn’t dare.

          We citizens would be all that more hard pressed if we were to be able to rid our governments of this kind of sludge, but with what tools we have to work with Bob, the best we lied to citizens can hope for is to at least get these crooks to throw us some crumbs on a bad day. Which brings me to that very well remembered French saying, ‘let them eat cake’. Wow, if any of our great great great grand parents were to come back into this world why they would be convinced to say, ‘that nothing has changed’.

          Good of you to share these links Bob, thank you again. Joe

          • Bob Van Noy
            February 13, 2018 at 10:53

            You’re Welcome…

          • geeyp
            February 13, 2018 at 12:07

            Mr. Van Noy: Harrison S. also exposed Charles Willough_y as a co-conspirator in the Kennedy assassination.

          • Bob Van Noy
            February 13, 2018 at 13:06

            Thanks geeyp, yes! a major reporter, like our own Robert Parry…


        • nonsense factory
          February 13, 2018 at 13:53

          Yes, it was very much an American-British-French project to bring Libya and Syria into the neoliberal axis, but in a subservient position. You can see Blair and Sarkozy meeting with Gaddafi and Assad around 2009, it was a full-on love-fest celebrated by the corporate propaganda system.

          So what happened? As far as I can tell, Gaddafi and Assad simply were not subservient enough. Gaddafi had some kind of pan-African unity plan in operation, generally reaching out to Russia and China as economic partners, instead of solely going with Wall Street; Assad turned down a GCC-sponsored pipeline deal in favor of close economic ties with Iran, and it all rolled on from there.

          It really is weird, that’s all I can say. Hillary Clinton, David Cameron, France’s Hollande all seem to have decided that they could do a quick easy regime change in Libya and Syria, put their people in as reliable puppets of the Saudi stripe – basically PNAC, neocon thinking.

          It’s really too bad that Chelsea Manning cables only go up to Feb 2010, I think if we had State Department communications for the next two years it would spell out their agenda in detail. Let alone if some of the CIA people running the arms ratline to Syria were to go public, that would be something. Hence the massive Obama crackdown on whistleblowers, Espionage Act prosecutions – they’ve got a huge pile of dirty laundry to hide, similar in scale to that of GW Bush in Iraq and Afghanistan, from a decade earlier.

        • nonsense factory
          February 13, 2018 at 14:00

          Yinon Plan – just a reimaging of the most ancient colonial strategy of all, aka divide and conquer. Used by the British extensively in India to drive wedges between anti-British Hindu and anti-British Muslim groups, used by the US military and CIA in Iraq to drive wedges between anti-occupation Sunni and Shia groups (I believe some of the first major attacks on Shia shrines c. 2004 were done by US forces as false flag attacks attributed to Sunnis).

          The funny thing about these people, the neocon-Israeli-neoliberal clan in the United States, is that they now claim Russia is using this strategy in the United States; I personally see no evidence of this, it’s just the kind of manic paranoid thinking these clowns are so liable to adopt. Bats in the belfry, luminous messages scrawled on the inside of their foreheads, kind of thing.

          • Gregory Herr
            February 13, 2018 at 18:58

            You’ve done some impressive “homework”. Excellent commentary.

    • Broompilot
      February 13, 2018 at 04:08

      and Iraq had WMDs, Gadaffi was about to slaughter his own people, and Iran is the biggest sponsor of terrorism. Yeah, sure. I would say you’d have to be a complete fool to not be skeptical of your narrative.

      • February 13, 2018 at 05:29

        Broompilot – other examples that come to mind include the non-existent – “incubator babies” and the equally non-existent – “Gaddafi’s viagra fueled rape camps” as additions to your list. Quite amazing that the U.S. demanded sanctions resulted in the quite expected deaths of a half-million Iraqi children and yet most Americans didn’t miss a wink of sleep over this fact, even after the deaths of these children was defended by Madeline Albright on live TV as “worth it.” Astounding actually! Yet non-existent babies, in a non-existent Iraqi hospital, are killed by non-existent soldiers, as reported to the U.S. Congress by a non-existent eye-witness, and the American people are instantly primed and ready for invasion! Why? “Because we must save the Iraqi children of course!!!” You truly can’t make this stuff up. Remarkable what can be accomplished when the capitalist state simply “is” the media and can therefore disseminate limitless disinformation and blatant lies in unison day after day, month after month and year after year, leading to the current brain-rot we call “normality” in the West.

        • February 14, 2018 at 14:19

          they are running the same op against DuTerte in the Philipines now…

    • Dr. Ip
      February 13, 2018 at 05:52

      You sound like a “True Believer” who cannot step back and see that it is not one side that is right or one side that is wrong. It is a power game between rivals being played out on the world stage. Allow your cynicism to rise and you will understand that both players (or all three if you include China) are not innocent or right or wrong. They are acting according to the rules of the power game. So? So change the game. Eliminate the power game and transform it into the cooperation game. Maybe that way us helots will get some relief from slavery.

    • firstpersoninfinite
      February 14, 2018 at 01:42

      Yes,Matt, of course in a “serious critique,” US foreign policy would never be slighted by reason or logical argument. When I hear someone mentioning “pop-psychological fluff” then mention Oprah Winfrey and Giraldo Rivera, I know they are lying by default. Having years previously announced our intentions for “regime change” in Syria, you don’t get to suddenly propose that it’s too complicated to look at the facts of the matter without a preconceived respect for the original decision. Try at least to be logical.

    • February 14, 2018 at 15:16

      Im sorry but did you miss the US lying the world into IRAQ?

      and mass Torture?

      And illegal unconstitutional spying on US citizens?

      And worse?

      So when did you start to care about bombing of innocent civilians?

  42. Theo
    February 12, 2018 at 07:09

    Thanks for the article and above all for explaining”gaslighting”.I couldn’t find it in any of my dictionaries.By the way I have seen the film.

    • Avril
      February 12, 2018 at 23:06

      There’s loads of info about it on utube videos on Narcissism.

      • Babyl-on
        February 13, 2018 at 06:59

        The question becomes, why does Western culture and society reward and reward handsomely psyco/socio pathological behavior? Narcissists and those willing to engage in pathological mass slaughter are the oligarchs and rulers, the most lauded and honored among us. Look, for example, at Kissinger or W. Bush or Obama – how after they have given the orders and slaughtered by the millions are held in special esteem after their crimes, a culture in awe of their unbounded cruelty.

    • Daniel
      February 12, 2018 at 23:17

      Yes, Theo, CN has once again published a fine opinion piece by Ms. Johnstone. But the reason I’m replying here is to point out that a “Matt Rubenstein” posted the second comment, entirely devoted to denigrating Ms. Johnstone, and at this writing, resulted in the next 40 comments being responses to Mr. Rubenstein.

      That is hijacking a comment section, which is actually specifically recommended in the “Hasbara Handbook” published to train amateurs in the principles of effective propaganda. Whether intentional or not, the effect is the same.

      Instead of discussing the ubiquitous use of CIA “conspiracy theory” gaslighting, people are distracted as effectively as if The Donald had posted a newer and even more outrageous Tweet (which are themselves diversions from the horrendous acts of this Administration and the Democratic Party which “colluded” to install him in the Presidency).

Comments are closed.