Propaganda

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They’re Worried About The Spread Of Information, Not Disinformation

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 24/05/2022 - 1:03am in

Listen to a reading of this article:

https://medium.com/media/3b88b04988492da0a094c1ebad13c503/href

We’re in the final countdown to British Home Secretary Priti Patel’s decision on the fate of Julian Assange, with the WikiLeaks founder’s extradition to the United States due to be approved or rejected by the end of the month. Joe Lauria has a new article out with Consortium News on the various pressures that Patel is being faced with from both sides of this history-making issue at this crucial time.

And I can’t stop thinking, as this situation comes to a boil, about how absurd it is that the US empire is working to set a precedent which essentially outlaws information-sharing that the US doesn’t like at the same time western news media are full of hand-wringing headlines about the dangerous threat of “disinformation”.

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Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR) has an article out titled “‘Disinformation’ Label Serves to Marginalize Crucial Ukraine Facts” about the way the mass media have been spinning that label to mean not merely the knowing distribution of false information but also of information that is true but inconvenient to imperial narrative-weaving.

“In defense of the US narrative, corporate media have increasingly taken to branding realities inconvenient to US information goals as ‘disinformation’ spread by Russia or its proxies,” writes FAIR’s Luca Goldmansour.

Online platforms have been ramping up their censorship protocols under the banner of fighting disinformation and misinformation, and those escalations always align with narrative control agendas of the US-centralized empire. Just the other day we learned that Twitter has a new policy which expands its censorship practices to fight “misinformation” about wars and other crises, and the Ukraine war (surprise surprise) will be the first such situation about which it will be enforcing these new censorship policies.

Then there’s the recent controversy over the Department of Homeland Security’s “Disinformation Governance Board,” a mysterious institution ostensibly designed to protect the American people from wrongthink coming from Russia and elsewhere. The board’s operations (whatever they were) have been “paused” pending a review which will be led by Michael Chertoff, a virulent swamp monster and torture advocate. Its operations will likely be resumed in one form or another, probably under the leadership of someone with a low profile who doesn’t sing show tunes about disinformation.

And this all comes out after US officials straight up told the press that the Biden administration has been deliberately sowing disinformation to the public using the mainstream press in order to win an infowar against the Kremlin. They’ve literally just been circulating completely baseless stories about Russia and Ukraine, but nobody seems to be calling for the social media accounts of Biden administration officials to be banned.

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You see so many discrepancies between what the oligarchic empire says and what it actually does regarding the issue of disinformation because the empire has no problem with disinformation. The empire that is built on propaganda and lies has no problem with propaganda and lies. It has a problem with the truth.

They’re not worried about disinformation, they’re worried about information. They’re worried about journalists using the unprecedented information-sharing power of the internet to reveal inconvenient facts about the largest and most murderous power structure on earth. They’re worried about people finding out that they’ve been lied to their entire lives about their world, their nation and their government. They’re worried about people using their newly connected minds to decide together that they don’t much like the status quo as it’s been laid out for them, and deciding to build a new one.

All the safeguards they’re setting up now to manipulate the flow of information online are not there to eliminate lies, they’re there to eliminate truth. These people have a vested interest in keeping things dark and confused, and we the ordinary people of the world have a vested interest in shining a big inconvenient spotlight on everything. The elite agenda to keep things endarkened is at direct odds with the people’s agenda to get things enlightened.

We are not being protected by a compassionate alliance of corporations and governments who only want us to know the truth, we are being manipulated and oppressed by an oligarchic empire that wants us to believe lies. That’s why they’re locking up Assange, that’s why they’re censoring the internet, that’s why they’re filling our minds with propaganda, and that’s why we can’t let them win.

______________________

My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, following me on Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud or YouTube, or throwing some money into my tip jar on Ko-fi, Patreon or Paypal. If you want to read more you can buy my books. The best way to make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for at my website or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish, use or translate any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here. All works co-authored with my American husband Tim Foley.

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Image via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Western Media Run Blatant Atrocity Propaganda For The Ukrainian Government

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 21/05/2022 - 11:05pm in

(This article contains reports about child rape which might be intense for some people.)

Listen to a reading of this article:

https://medium.com/media/ea061254bab5b72ba17cc1cc8c79700c/href

The Ukrainian government is quickly learning that it can say anything, literally anything at all, about what’s happening on the ground there and get it uncritically reported as an actual news story by the mainstream western press.

The latest story making the rounds is a completely unevidenced claim made by a Ukrainian government official that Russians are going around raping Ukrainian babies to death. Business Insider, The Daily Beast, The Daily Mail and Yahoo News have all run this story despite no actual evidence existing for it beyond the empty assertions of a government who would have every incentive to lie.

“A one-year-old boy died after being raped by two Russian soldiers, the Ukrainian Parliament’s Commissioner for Human Rights said on Thursday,” reads a report by Business Insider which was subsequently picked up by Yahoo News. “The accusation is one of the most horrific from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but is not unique.”

At the end of the fourth paragraph we get to the disclaimer that every critical thinker should look for when reading such stories in the mainstream press:

“Insider could find no independent evidence for the claim.”

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In its trademark style, The Daily Beast ran the same story in a much more flamboyant and click-friendly fashion.

“The dead boy is among dozens of alleged child rape victims which include two 10-year-old boys, triplets aged 9, a 2-year-old girl raped by two Russian soldiers, and a 9-month-old baby who was penetrated with a candlestick in front of its mother, according to Ukraine’s Commissioner for Human Rights,” The Daily Beast writes.

The one and only source for this latest spate of “the Russians are raping babies to death” stories is a statement on a Ukrainian government website by Ukraine’s Human Rights Commissioner Lyudmyla Denisova. The brief statement contains no evidence of any kind, and its English translation concludes as follows:

I appeal to the UN Commission for Investigation Human Rights Violations during the Russian military invasion of Ukraine to take into account these facts of genocide of the Ukrainian people.

I call on our partners around the world to increase sanctions pressure on russia, to provide Ukraine with offensive weapons, to join the investigation of rashist crimes in our country!

The enemy must be stopped and all those involved in the atrocities in Ukraine must be brought to justice!

This is what passes for journalism in the western world today. Reporting completely unfounded allegations against US enemies based solely on assertions by a government official demanding more weapons and sanctions against those enemies and making claims that sound like they came from an It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia bit.

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We cannot say definitively that these rapes never happened. We also cannot say definitively that the Australian government isn’t warehousing extraterrestrial aircraft in an underground bunker in Canberra, but we don’t treat that like it’s an established fact and publish mainstream news reports about it just because we can’t prove it’s false. That’s not how the burden of proof works.

Obviously the rape of children is a very real and very serious matter, and obviously rape is one of the many horrors which can be inflicted upon people in the lawless environment of war. But to turn strategically convenient government assertions about such matters into a news story based on no evidence whatsoever is not just journalistic malpractice but actual atrocity propaganda.

As we discussed previously, the US and its proxies have an established history of using atrocity propaganda, as in the infamous “taking babies from incubators” narrative that was circulated in the infamous 1990 Nayirah testimony which helped manufacture consent for the Gulf War.

Atrocity propaganda has been in use for a very long time due to how effective it can be at getting populations mobilized against targeted enemies, from the Middle Ages when Jews were accused of kidnapping Christian children to kill them and drink their blood, to 17th century claims that the Irish were killing English children and throwing them into the sea, to World War I claims that Germans were mutilating and eating Belgian babies.

Atrocity propaganda frequently involves children, because children cannot be construed as combatants or non-innocents, and generally involves the most horrific allegations the propagandists can possibly get away with at that point in history. It creates a useful appeal to emotion which bypasses people’s logical faculties and gets them accepting the propaganda based not on facts and evidence but on how it makes them feel.

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And the atrocity propaganda is functioning exactly as it’s meant to. Do a search on social media for this bogus story that’s been forcibly injected into public discourse and you’ll find countless individuals expressing their outrage at the evil baby-raping Russians. Democratic Party operative Andrea Chalupa, known for her controversial collusion with the Ukrainian government to undermine the 2016 Trump campaign, can be seen citing the aforementioned Daily Beast article on Twitter to angrily admonish the New York Times editorial board for expressing a rare word of caution about US involvement in the war.

“Before writing this, the members of the New York Times Editorial Board should have asked themselves who among them wanted to have their children, including babies and infants, raped by Russian soldiers, because that is what’s happening in Ukraine,” Chalupa tweeted.

See that? How a completely unevidenced government assertion was turned into an official-looking news story, and how that official-looking news story was then cited as though it’s an objective fact that Russian soldiers are running around raping babies to death in Ukraine? And how it’s done to help manufacture consent for a geostrategically crucial proxy war, and to bludgeon those who express any amount of caution about these world-threatening escalations?

That’s atrocity propaganda doing exactly what it is meant to do.

Now on top of all the other reasons we’re being given why the US and its allies need to send Ukraine more and more war machinery of higher and higher destructive capability, they also need to do so because the Russians are just raping babies to death willy nilly over there. Which just so happens to work out nicely for the US-centralized empire’s goals of unipolar domination, for the Ukrainian regime, and for the military-industrial complex.

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And that wasn’t even the extent of obscene mass media atrocity propaganda conducted on behalf of Ukrainian officials for the day. Newsweek has a new article out titled “Russians Targeting Kids’ Beds, Rooms With Explosives: Ukrainian Bomb Team,” which informs us that “The leader of a Ukrainian bomb squad has said that Russian forces are targeting children by placing explosive devices inside their rooms and under their beds.”

Then at the end of the second paragraph we again find that magical phrase:

“Newsweek has not independently verified the claim.”

The Newsweek report is based on part of an embarrassing ABC News Australia puff piece about a Ukrainian team which is allegedly responsible for removing landmines in areas that were previously occupied by Russian forces. The puff piece refers to the team as a “unit of brave de-miners” while calling Russian forces “barbaric”.

ABC uncritically reports all the nefarious ways the evil Russians have been planting explosives with the goal of killing Ukrainian civilians, including setting mines in children’s beds and teddy bears and placing them under fallen Ukrainian soldiers. Way down toward the bottom of the article we see the magical phrase again:

“The ABC has not been able to independently verify these reports, but they back up allegations made by Ukraine’s President.”

Ahh, so what you’re being told by Ukrainian forces “backs up” what you’ve been told by the president of Ukraine. Doesn’t get any more rock solid than that, does it? Great journalism there, fellas.

The Ukrainian government stands everything to gain and nothing to lose by just saying whatever it needs to say in order to obtain more weapons, more funding and increasingly direct assistance from western powers, so if it knows the western media will uncritically report every claim it makes, why not lie? Why not tell whatever lie you need to tell in order to advance your own interests and agendas? It would be pretty silly of them not to take advantage of the opening they’re being given.

This is something the western press know is happening. They know full well that Ukraine is waging a very sophisticated propaganda campaign against Russia and seeding disinformation to facilitate that infowar. It’s not a secret. They are participating in that campaign knowingly.

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The mass media have been cranking out atrocity propaganda about what’s happening in Ukraine since before the invasion even started, like when they reported in February that Russia has a list of dissidents, journalists and “vulnerable populations such as religious and ethnic minorities and LGBTQI+ persons” who it plans on rounding up and torturing when it invades. Funny how we just completely stopped hearing about that one.

And this is all happening at the same time the western political/media class continues to shriek about the dangers of “disinformation” and the urgent need to strictly regulate its circulation on the internet, even after US officials came right out and admitted that they’ve been circulating disinformation about Russia and Ukraine. I guarantee you none of these completely evidence-free claims will be subject to censorship by the “fact checkers” of social media platforms.

The fact that both Silicon Valley and the mainstream news media have accepted it as a given that it is their job to manipulate public thought about this war tells you everything you need to know about how free and truth-based the so-called liberal democracies of the western world really are. We are being deceived and confused into consenting to agendas that could very easily lead to nuclear armageddon, and if we ever raise our voices in objection to this we are branded Putin propagandists and disinformation agents.

It’s getting very, very bad. Turn around, people. Wrong way.

______________

My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, following me on Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud or YouTube, or throwing some money into my tip jar on Ko-fi, Patreon or Paypal. If you want to read more you can buy my books. The best way to make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for at my website or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish, use or translate any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here. All works co-authored with my American husband Tim Foley.

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From UK Troll Farms to Covert Psyops: The Troubling Past of Nina Jankowicz

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 21/05/2022 - 5:44am in

Tags 

Propaganda

WASHINGTON – The Washington Post revealed Wednesday that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s highly controversial “Disinformation Governance Board,” launched with much fanfare just three weeks earlier, was to close, and that its director, Nina Jankowicz — former fellow at the quasi-state Wilson Center think tank, and Ukrainian foreign ministry communications adviser – had resigned.

The exclusive report, authored by Taylor Lorenz, went to enormous efforts to frame the Board’s dissolution as resulting from egregious sabotage by right-wing activists, who engaged in “coordinated online attacks” on its “well-known,” “well-regarded” chief, subjecting her to an “unrelenting barrage of harassment,” which served to “derail” the Biden administration’s benevolent efforts to tackle the “urgent and important issue” of disinformation.

In reality, public backlash against the Board, which erupted immediately following its official launch on April 27, was wide-ranging, and anything but partisan or personal. Prominent rights groups and lawmakers expressed grave concerns about its constitutionality and the obvious risk of its serving as a state censorship mechanism, with many comparisons drawn to the infamous Ministry of Truth conjured by George Orwell in “1984.”

Many legitimate, vital criticisms of Jankowicz were also raised, including her history of slandering independent news outlets, such as The Grayzone, as “Russian disinformation”; frenzied attacks on WikiLeaks and its imprisoned founder, Julian Assange; and enthusiastic advocacy on behalf of former MI6 spy Christopher Steele, author of the utterly discredited “Trump-Russia” dossier that produced countless wholly fictitious stories in the mainstream media, many of which have since been significantly rowed back or retracted outright.

While in Kiev, Jankowicz hosted the YouTube channel of U.K. and U.S. government-funded “fact checker” StopFake, which has endlessly whitewashed the issue of widespread fascism in Ukraine. Jankowicz herself is directly implicated in this shameful, misleading output. In January 2017, she presented an on-camera report extolling the virtues of four national paramilitary units, including the openly neo-Nazi Azov Battalion, linked to serious human rights abuses and brutal war crimes.

Lorenz’s friendship with Jankowicz notwithstanding, it’s rather extraordinary that one of America’s leading newspapers – which in 2017 adopted the slogan “democracy dies in darkness,” inspired by famous quotes in defense of the First Amendment, and condemning official secrecy – is lamenting the demise of a shadowy government unit concerned with determining what constitutes “fake news,” let alone was so enthusiastically supportive of such an entity’s existence in the first place.

 

“Intentionally false and defamatory”

Despite Jankowicz’s professional activities and public statements providing such ample fodder to critics, even her most vocal detractors overlooked her résumé’s most troubling aspect – namely, that she serves on the advisory board of Open Information Partnership (OIP), a British Foreign Office psychological warfare operation.

Details on when this role began, what it entails, and the remuneration she receives, if any, aren’t clear. It’s also a position that has been barely promoted, the only public reference to it online today being contained in Jankowicz’s Pulitzer Center biography. Then again, rather ironically given the organization’s name, OIP is itself markedly opaque.

Nina Jankowicz bio

Jankowicz’s Pulitzer Center biography touts her myriad posts pushing government propaganda

OIP’s spartan official website sparingly styles the endeavor as a “diverse network” of “investigative journalists, charities, think tanks, academics, NGOs, activists, and fact checkers, active in over 20 countries,” which since February 2019 has “been standing firm against the rising tide of disinformation – in the news, on social media and across our public discourse – which we believe to be an existential threat to democracy.”

Little further elucidation of OIP’s activities and objectives is offered, but its founding “Partners” provide cause for concern. They include NATO propaganda offshoot The Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab; and Zinc Network, a British communications agency managing covert psyops campaigns – many explicitly targeting Muslims – the world over for a variety of clients, including the U.K. Home Office, U.S. intelligence cutout USAID, and the Pentagon.

Controversial U.S. and U.K. government-funded investigative website Bellingcat – a prominent disseminator, amplifier and validator of Western national security propaganda, which counts numerous individuals with military and intelligence backgrounds among its contributors – was also one of OIP’s founders, training journalists overseas under its auspices for two years from launch.

OIP British FO

OIP’s own website touts its connections to the British Foreign Office

If those names aren’t sufficient to raise significant suspicions about OIP, the effort’s sinister true nature is amply underlined by a trove of leaked Foreign Office documents reviewed by MintPress News.

These incriminating papers reveal that OIP is the “flagship” component of a wider cloak-and-dagger effort to “weaken the Russian state’s influence” in Moscow’s “near abroad” — the constellation of countries comprising the former Soviet Union, Warsaw Pact, and Yugoslavia – bankrolled to the tune of over $100 million by London from 2017 onwards.

OIP alone received a tenth of that total in its first two years of operation to “use audience-centric communications to undermine the credibility of disinformation sources for specific target audiences” in the region and construct the “diverse network” referred to on the organization’s website.

Nina Jankowicz British Foreing Office

Excerpts from leaked British Foreign Office files related to OIP

Members of this nexus are provided training in “best practice in exposing and countering disinformation” across a range of disciplines, from “open source research through to viral video production and digital targeting as well as cyber security, libel and data compliance.” Participating entities then increase the “pace, scale and quality” of their output and more optimally target audiences “vulnerable” to Russian propaganda in tandem via “campaign co-creation…[linking] the organisations across borders.”

Which would be all well and good, except the leaked files make abundantly clear that OIP isn’t actually concerned with countering “fake news” at all but is, in reality, energized by a desire to conceal facts and bothersome perspectives the British state doesn’t want in the public domain, via manipulation, distortion, and lies.

Take, for instance, the following passage in one document, which laments without irony that one of the key barriers to combating Russian “disinformation” is that “certain Kremlin-backed narratives are factually true [emphasis added].”

“Responding to inconvenient truths, as opposed to pure propaganda, is naturally more problematic,” the file explained.

Consider too the footsoldiers deployed by OIP to “respond” to such “inconvenient truths.” One leaked file offers appraisals of 56 organizations identified by the Foreign Office as potential network members, including OIP founder Bellingcat. Eliot Higgins’ much-venerated crack squad of laptop jockeys was judged to be “somewhat discredited, both by spreading disinformation and by being willing to produce reports for anyone willing to pay.”

Even harsher words were reserved for Tallinn-based fact-checker Propastop, which was found to have “ties to both the Estonian government and neo-fascist groups.”

“Propastop has been involved in inciting violence against Estonia’s Russian minority,” the appraisal damningly ruled. “Its reporting is widely considered to lack credibility and they have published a number of intentionally false and defamatory articles about Russian media outlets.”

Meanwhile, prospective network member International Centre for Defence and Security was found to be “funded by and politically linked to the Estonian state, specifically the Ministry of Defence, giving the appearance of independence without being so.”

“It is more respectable than Propastop, and is not linked to the far right, though it reflects the hawkish nationalism of the Estonian government,” its appraisal concluded.

Despite these condemnations, both organizations – among many other mooted members about which significant reservations were privately raised — became part of OIP’s network, granting them Foreign Office financing, support and promotion and ostensibly placing their output and operations under the guidance of Jankowicz.

 

“Russian interference”

Given this composition, it was perhaps unsurprisingly well-understood internally that OIP “[being] interpreted as a UK-sponsored disinformation or ‘troll factory’” was a significant risk.

To mitigate this hazard, Zinc Network pledged to “position the project externally as being within the established and accepted sector of media development and pluralism and fact checking” [emphasis added]. Which no doubt accounts for all the lofty references to defending democracy on OIP’s website today.


A screengrab of a leaked file from from the British Foreign Office

The leaked documents contain numerous troubling examples of OIP at work.

For example, in Ukraine, it trained 12 online influencers “to counter Kremlin-backed messaging through innovative editorial strategies, audience segmentation, and production models,” helping their “compelling content” reach “millions of people.” In Russia and Central Asia, a network of YouTubers was secretly paid to create videos promoting “democratic values”; “project communications” were carefully concealed to ensure the network’s existence, and London’s role in managing it was kept “confidential.”

Meanwhile, in the Baltic states, online personalities received unadvertised “personal brand strategy informed by individual target audience analysis, growth strategies for their chosen social media platform, and digital marketing and campaign training.”

Quite clearly, far from fostering independent citizen journalism, these initiatives were pure astroturfing, the creation of a hand-picked clandestine nexus of effective British agents helped by OIP to generate slick propaganda – reading scripts effectively prepared by the Foreign Office – which was then amplified globally by the organization’s network members. There are obvious echoes in this of the U.S. National Security Council giving direct briefings to Tik Tok stars on Washington’s “strategic goals” in the Ukraine conflict.

Underlining this interpretation further, Zinc Network boasts of maintaining its influencer networks “over extended periods of time, enabling us to deliver both long-term strategic messaging to audiences, but also to conduct multi-layered ‘rapid response’ communications following key events.”

One such “key” event cited was an April 2018 protest in Moscow against restrictions on the use of messaging app Telegram. Zinc was “able to activate a range of content within 12 hours” of the demonstration beginning. It’s almost inconceivable that at least some of this output didn’t worm its way into the Western media, which gave the upheaval almost blanket coverage. If so, domestic audiences would have been totally unaware that it was in fact funded and co-produced by London.

Still, that’s an open question — as is the extent to which OIP has influenced the outcome of elections “taking place in countries of particular interest” [emphasis added] to the Foreign Office, one of the organization’s key objectives. Network members are trained in “identifying key trends and flashpoints in activity or narratives” during campaigns and to “intensify” their propaganda output as polling day nears.

In May 2019, North Macedonia convened a presidential vote, in which pro-NATO candidate Stevo Pendarovski was elected. Subsequently, OIP “deployed a team” to offer two weeks of intensive training to a local media outlet in the country, which the Foreign Office identified as a “priority” target in the early stages of OIP’s life. Bellingcat provided an instructive session to the outlet via webinar in June 2020, in order to “respond” to the election result at London’s express request.

In a perverse irony, the next month Bellingcat published a report on alleged “Russian interference” in North Macedonia ahead of the country’s parliamentary election.

OIP elections Macedonia

OIP partners were actively involved in attempting to influence the outcome of elections in Macedonia

In November of that year, Moldova had a presidential vote of its own, which saw similar candidates square off – the pro-Russian incumbent Igor Dodon and pro-Western upstart Maia Sandu. The latter prevailed, an upset that the mainstream media acknowledged came as a surprise.

OIP member MEMO 98, a Slovakia-based election monitor, released an in-depth study of the election thereafter, attributing Sandu’s shock win to her social media skills. OIP ranks Moldova as inhabiting “the most vital space” in its network, owing to the region being purportedly “subsumed almost entirely within Russia’s sphere of influence.”

Accordingly, two Chisinau-based organizations, the Association of Independent Press and Newsmaker, are OIP members. MEMO 98 could have been instrumental in “identifying key trends and flashpoints in activity or narratives” over the election campaign, its findings informing “compelling content” to be broadcast via the pair and a more comprehensive OIP network locally and internationally, in support of Sandu’s candidacy.

 

To be continued?

Keeping the internal workings of OIP as closely guarded from the outside world as possible was of paramount importance to the Foreign Office.

A section on “risk management” strategies for the project in one document deemed it “vital” that OIP’s head office have a dedicated security team, “resourced with qualified personnel,” including “former military and security services” operatives. All employees and network members are “subject to national security vetting,” with the operation based “in a nondescript building that avoids attention,” precise coordinates unknown.

The location of its headquarters is not advertised or known; all windows are “tinted from external view”; strict “access controls” – including “reinforced airlocked doors,” CCTV, and a “segregated meeting room” for “sensitive briefings” – are also in place. A similarly intense veil of secrecy shrouded the DHS Disinformation Governance Board.

Having launched the DGB without any clarity whatsoever regarding its functions, responsibilities, and how and whether it would be regulated or subject to democratic oversight, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas responded to the initial wave of censure by offering reassurances that the unit would have no operational capabilities, and absolutely would not monitor or police U.S. citizens’ statements on- or off-line, instead simply accumulating “best practices” for counter-disinformation.

Such promises inevitably did little to inspire confidence — there quite obviously seems little purpose or sense in creating a new division of a federal executive department that has no operational powers, or at least won’t at a later date. And indeed the CIA and NSA are similarly prohibited by law from domestic activities – yet both routinely flout this crucial restriction without compunction or consequence.

Subsequently, the DHS issued a factsheet promising that the Board would merely keep track of black propaganda spread by “foreign states such as Russia, China, and Iran,” adding that the Department was “deeply committed to doing all of its work in a way that protects Americans’ freedom of speech, civil rights, civil liberties, and privacy.”

Of course, numerous other Western state and quasi-state anti-disinformation efforts – which serve as establishment censorship mechanisms, validating establishment news organizations while blacklisting and maligning alternative U.S.-based media, including MintPress – claim to be similarly committed to those principles. Such as Open Information Partnership, for example, a particularly blatant example of the emergent, aggressive trend toward direct state diktat over what’s true and false, and what citizens are allowed to know.

As such, it’s incumbent to ask whether the organization represented a blueprint for the Disinformation Governance Board; whether Jankowicz’s role in it was a factor in her recruitment by the DHS; and whether apologetic obituaries published by The Washington Post and The New York Times – which falsely claimed the Board’s cessation was influenced by “disinformation” – are a reflection of how both outlets stood to materially benefit from its operation.

The body’s rapid, unceremonious termination represents a not insignificant victory for people power: concerned citizens, independent journalists and researchers led the charge in sounding the alarm. However, there is little reason to believe the threat has been permanently vanquished. In fact, that the public was able to successfully challenge the warm welcome extended to Jankowicz by the majority of mainstream pundits and pressure officials to scuttle the venture has no doubt reinforced the necessity of the Board’s mission.

Editor’s note | A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Bellingcat was recruited by OIP to provide training in Macedonia ahead of the country’s elections. Bellingcat actually provided an instructive session via webinar in June 2020, two weeks after the elections, in order to “respond” to election results at the express request of the British Foreign Office.

Feature photo | MintPress News

Kit Klarenberg is an investigative journalist and MintPresss News contributor exploring the role of intelligence services in shaping politics and perceptions. His work has previously appeared in The Cradle, Declassified UK, and Grayzone. Follow him on Twitter @KitKlarenberg.

The post From UK Troll Farms to Covert Psyops: The Troubling Past of Nina Jankowicz appeared first on MintPress News.

The TV Man Is Not Your Friend: Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 19/05/2022 - 11:04am in

Listen to a reading of this article:

https://medium.com/media/6fef5ea6cb6420a2792df897da18aaba/href

It’s very cute how empire apologists talk about driving Putin from Ukraine so there can be peace, like that’s a real thing. Like if it happened the war would just stop, and the US alliance wouldn’t with absolute certainty continue the attack and work to topple Moscow by any means necessary.

There’s zero reason to take on faith the MSM narrative that Ukraine is kicking Putin’s ass and victory is imminent, but even if that did happen there’d be less than zero reason to believe the fighting would stop there. If anything it would get much more dangerous from that point.

This doesn’t end with Russia leaving Ukraine, it ends with Putin being replaced with a Yeltsin-like US vassal and the eventual balkanization of the Russian Federation. Really it doesn’t end until Beijing has been subverted and the US empire secures total global hegemony. Or when the empire collapses. Or when we all get nuked and die.

Empire apologists don’t even really deny this:

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Marjorie Taylor Greene being better than progressive Democrats on Ukraine is noteworthy not because it makes Greene look good but because it makes those progressive Democrats look really, really, really bad.

People who think Tucker Carlson is fighting the establishment are exactly the same as people who think “the Squad” is fighting the establishment. Exactly the same. Same people, slightly different bumper stickers.

It’s obvious that every member of the “populist right” who’s now getting praise for being correct about Ukraine will function as virulent empire propagandists once the imperial crosshairs inevitably move from Moscow to Beijing. We know this because of their rhetoric about China today.

Do you know what happens to mainstream media figures who provide real resistance to empire agendas? They get fired or pushed out. Ask Phil Donahue or Chris Hedges. The fact that Tucker Carlson is a top pundit on imperial media (Murdoch media no less) means he’s an agent of the empire.

This belief that there are factions of the mainstream media working against the empire is as naive as the belief that there are factions of mainstream US politicians working against the empire. The empire doesn’t platform people who pose a threat to it. This isn’t complicated. The TV man is not your friend.

I run into far too many people who oppose war and can’t understand why I’m saying things about issues like China which disagree with what they’re being told by their “populist antiwar” heroes on the right. The propaganda campaign against China isn’t going to get better; it’s going to get much, much worse, and it’s important to start fighting it early. Because it’s going to be bad.

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They’re not worried about the spread of disinformation, they’re worried about the spread of information. Your rulers are not concerned that you’ll start learning wrong things about Covid or Ukraine, they are worried you’ll start learning true things about your rulers.

The imperial power structure which runs Silicon Valley, and which is imprisoning Julian Assange, and which literally just admitted it’s circulating disinformation about Russia, is not worried about disinformation. And it’s hilarious that anyone is pretending otherwise.

“No no you don’t understand, if the US and its allies didn’t give weapons to Al Qaeda and Nazi militias, the bad guys might win.”

The one single time the US had a monopoly on nuclear weapons at the same time it was at war, it used them. Not because it needed to, but as a show of force. That was the dawn of the modern US empire. That’s how it was born. And it never got any saner from there.

There is a kind of poetic beauty, I guess, in the way the US empire was birthed onto the world stage by a nuclear blast and will probably die in the same way.

Psychological abuse is still abuse. Psychological tyranny is still tyranny. The fact that a large amount of the tyranny in so-called free democracies expresses as mass-scale psychological manipulation does not make it less tyrannical, it just makes it more photogenic.

All of religion and almost all spirituality is glorified escapism at best and tyrannical psychological domination at worst, and humanity would be better off without it. But what remains just might save the world.

____________________

My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, following me on Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud or YouTube, or throwing some money into my tip jar on Ko-fi, Patreon or Paypal. If you want to read more you can buy my books. The best way to make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for at my website or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish, use or translate any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here. All works co-authored with my American husband Tim Foley.

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Pentagon-Funded Think Tank Simulates War With China On NBC

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 16/05/2022 - 11:26am in

Tags 

News, China, Propaganda, War

Listen to a reading of this article:

https://medium.com/media/b257787c5aa5964acfb1309f9bcbd11c/href

NBC’s Meet the Press just aired an absolutely freakish segment in which the influential narrative management firm Center for a New American Security (CNAS) ran war games simulating a direct US hot war with China.

CNAS is funded by the Pentagon and by military-industrial complex corporations Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, and Lockheed Martin, as well as the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office, which as Antiwar’s Dave DeCamp notes is the de facto Taiwanese embassy in the US.

The war game simulates a conflict over Taiwan which we are informed is set in the year 2027, in which China launches strikes on the US military in order to open the way to an invasion of the island. We are not told why there needs to be a specific year inserted into mainstream American consciousness about when we can expect such a conflict, but then we are also not told why NBC is platforming a war machine think tank’s simulation of a military conflict with China at all.

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It happens that the Center for a New American Security was the home of the man assigned by the Biden administration to lead the Pentagon task force responsible for re-evaluating the administration’s posture toward China. That man, Ely Ratner, is on record saying that the Trump administration was insufficiently hawkish toward China. Ratner is now the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Indo-Pacific Security Affairs in the Biden administration.

It also happens that the Center for a New American Security has openly boasted about the great many of its other “experts and alumni” who have assumed senior leadership positions within the Biden administration.

It also happens that CNAS co-founder Michele Flournoy, who appeared in the Meet the Press war games segment and was at one time a heavy favorite to become Biden’s Pentagon chief, wrote a Foreign Affairs op-ed in 2020 arguing that the US needed to develop “the capability to credibly threaten to sink all of China’s military vessels, submarines, and merchant ships in the South China Sea within 72 hours.”

It also happens that CNAS CEO Richard Fontaine has been featured all over the mass media pushing empire narratives about Russia and China, telling Bloomberg just the other day that the war in Ukraine could serve the empire’s long-term interests against China.

“The war in Ukraine could end up being bad for the pivot in the short-term, but good in the long-term,” Fontaine said. “If Russia emerges from this conflict as a weakened version of itself and Germany makes good on its defense spending pledges, both trends could allow the US to focus more on the Indo-Pacific in the long run.”

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It also happens that CNAS is routinely cited by the mass media as an authoritative source on all things China and Russia, with no mention ever made of the conflict of interest arising from their war machine funding. Just in the last few days here’s a recent NPR interview about NATO expansion with CNAS senior fellow Andrea Kendall-Taylor, a Washington Post quote from CNAS fellow Jacob Stokes about the Chinese threat to Taiwan, a Financial Times quote from CNAS “Indo-Pacific expert” Lisa Curtis (who I’ve previously noted was cited by the mass media for her “expert” opposition to the US Afghanistan withdrawal), and a Foreign Policy citation of the aforementioned Richard Fontaine saying “The aim of U.S. policy toward China should be to ensure that Beijing is either unwilling or unable to overturn the regional and global order.”

As we’ve discussed previously, citing war machine-funded think tanks as expert analysis without even disclosing their financial conflict of interest is plainly journalistic malpractice. But it happens all the time in the mass media anyway, because the mass media exist to circulate propaganda, not journalism.

This is getting so, so crazy. That the mass media are now openly teaming up with war machine think tanks to begin seeding the normalization of a hot war with China into the minds of the public indicates that the propaganda campaign to manufacture consent for the US-centralized empire’s final Hail Mary grab at unipolar domination is escalating even further. The mass-scale psychological manipulation is getting more and more overt and more and more shameless.

This is headed somewhere very, very bad. Hopefully humanity wakes up in time to stop these lunatics from driving us off a precipice from which there is no return.

_________________

My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, following me on Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud or YouTube, or throwing some money into my tip jar on Ko-fi, Patreon or Paypal. If you want to read more you can buy my books. The best way to make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for at my website or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish, use or translate any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here. All works co-authored with my American husband Tim Foley.

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Western Civilization Is Being Organized Around Winning US Infowars

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 02/05/2022 - 11:03am in

Listen to a reading of this article:

https://medium.com/media/25d8099df1dd7b33cd6394086432b2f2/href

The US-centralized empire’s use of propaganda, censorship and Silicon Valley algorithm manipulation is the single most urgent issue of our time, because it’s what prevents attention from being drawn to all other issues. And all signs indicate it’s set to get much, much worse.

I feel the need to reiterate once again that the censorship we’re seeing about Ukraine is of a whole new kind than anything we’ve seen before. There’s no pretense that it’s done to save lives or protect democracy this time around, it’s just “We need to control the thoughts that people think about this war.”

Once it was accepted that disinformation and misinformation must be curtailed from above, government and tech institutions took that as license to decide what’s true and false on our behalf. We know this because now they’re just openly propagandizing and censoring us about a war.

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You didn’t know that you were granting government and tech institutions authority to decide what’s true and false on your behalf when you agreed that it’s fine for them to work together to censor and sanctify Official Narratives about Covid, but it turns out that’s what was happening.

It looks pretty obvious in retrospect now though, doesn’t it? You can’t regulate “disinformation” and “misinformation” without first determining what it is, and you can’t determine what it is without assigning someone the authority to make those distinctions. There are no benefecent, impartial and omniscient entities who can be trusted to become objective arbiters of absolute reality on our behalf. There are only flawed human beings who act in their own interest, which is why we’re now being censored and propagandized about a war.

In literally the very next instant after being given the authority to decide what’s true and false on our behalf regarding Covid, those same government, media and tech institutions launched into World War II levels of propaganda and censorship over a war we’re not even officially in. It was like they all said “Oh good, we get to do that now, finally.” The consensus that it was fine to launch into a shocking information lockdown about Ukraine was already formed and prepped for roll-out the day Russia invaded. It was taken as a given that they had that authority.

Over the last two years you’d get called an “anti-vaxxer” and worse if you said you didn’t think government-tied monopolistic megacorporations should be restricting speech about Covid measures that affect everyone, but it turns out those who issued these warnings were 100 percent correct.

It is clear now, as we see what we are becoming, that granting these powerful institutions authority to sort out fact from fiction on our behalf is far more dangerous than misinformation about a virus ever was. Now here we are, with the empire setting up “disinformation” boards while it escalates aggressions with Russia by the day and prepares to do the same with China in the not-too distant future. Our whole civilization is being organized around winning US propaganda wars.

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Censorship is bad because free speech is how society orients itself toward truth, course-corrects when it’s going astray, and holds power to account. This is true whether censorship is by the government or by tech oligarchs. Only morons act like this is some weird right wing thing.

People say, “Freedom of speech doesn’t mean freedom of reach!”

And the answer to this is always, yes it does you idiot. If people who support status quo power have access to all the largest voice amplification platforms while critics of status quo power don’t, this kills the very purpose of free speech protections. Free speech protections are enshrined exactly because unrestricted speech puts a check on power. If critics of status quo power structures are being banned from the platforms where people get their voices heard, this function has been nullified.

You can’t say your society has free speech if critics of status quo orthodoxies aren’t free to speak where they will be heard, for exactly the same reason you can’t say people have free speech in Saudi Arabia as long as nobody hears their criticisms of the government.

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Because free speech is designed to put a check on status quo power, it is exactly the voices who criticize the status quo that must be protected. Some of these voices will be unpalatable, but the alternative is permitting a Ministry of Truth to decide what dissent is permissible, an authority that’s certain to be abused.

Speech isn’t free if it isn’t free in all the areas where people congregate to speak. If only mainstream supporters of the status quo have free access to all platforms, then free speech isn’t happening, and power has a lot more ability to do what it likes unchecked by the public. Saying it’s fine because people are still free to go to Gab or Truth Social to voice their criticisms of establishment Ukraine narratives or whatever is the same as saying it’s fine because people can still speak their criticisms of the government into a hole in the ground. Free speech is not happening.

Consent for this was given when we allowed these powers to assume complete narrative authority over what constitutes “misinformation”. It’s never too late to revoke consent, though. It just means the fight to pry our voices out of the hands of our rulers is going to be a tough slog.

___________________

My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, following me on Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud or YouTube, or throwing some money into my tip jar on Ko-fi, Patreon or Paypal. If you want to read more you can buy my books. The best way to make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for at my website or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish, use or translate any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here. All works co-authored with my American husband Tim Foley.

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Oh God It’s Going To Get SO Much Worse

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 30/04/2022 - 11:26pm in

Listen to a reading of this article:

https://medium.com/media/8b2bdfe0f05ad73a9801d53fe75b61da/href

Rightists have spent the last couple of days freaking out and invoking Orwell’s 1984 in response to something their political enemies are doing in America, and for once it’s for a pretty good reason. The Department of Homeland Security has secretly set up a “Disinformation Governance Board”, only informing the public about its plans for the institution after it had already been established.

The disinformation board, which critics have understandably been calling a “Ministry of Truth”, purportedly exists to fight disinformation coming out of Russia as well as misleading messages about the US-Mexico border. We may be certain that the emphasis in the board’s establishment has been on the Russia angle, however.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, in her patented “You’re such a crazy idiot for questioning me about the White House” manner, dismissed alarmed questions about what specific functions this strange new DHS entity was going to be performing and what its authority will look like.

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“It sounds like the objective of the board is to prevent disinformation and misinformation from traveling around the country in a range of communities,” Psaki said. “I’m not sure who opposes that effort.”

The answer to the question of “who opposes that effort” is of course “anyone with functioning gray matter between their ears.” No government entity has any business appointing itself the authority to sort information from disinformation on behalf of the public, because government entities are not impartial and omniscient deities who can be entrusted to serve the public as objective arbiters of absolute reality. They would with absolute certainty wind up drawing distinctions between information, misinformation and disinformation in whatever way serves their interests, regardless of what’s true, exactly as any authoritarian regime would do.

I mean, is anyone honestly more afraid of Russian disinformation than they are of their own government appointing itself the authority to decide what counts as disinformation?

This important point has gotten a bit lost in the shuffle due to the utterly hypnotic ridiculousness of the person who has been appointed to run the Disinformation Governance Board. Nina Jankowicz, a carefully groomed swamp creature who has worked in Kyiv as a communications advisor to the Ukrainian government as part of a Fulbright fellowship, is being widely criticized by pundits and social media users for her virulent Russiagating and whatever the hell this is:

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Because of this person’s embarrassing cartoonishness, a lot more commentary lately has been going into discussing the fact that the Department of Homeland Security’s Ministry of Truth is run by a kooky liberal than the fact that the Department of Homeland Security has a fucking Ministry of Truth.

Which is really to miss the forest for the trees, in my opinion. Would it really be any better if the “Disinformation Governance Board” was run by a chill dude you wouldn’t mind having a beer with? Especially when we know the ideological leanings of this department are going to bounce back and forth between elections and will always act in service of US empire narrative control regardless of who is in office? I don’t think so.

The real issue at hand is the fact that this new institution will almost certainly play a role in bridging the ever-narrowing gap between government censorship and Silicon Valley censorship. The creation of the DHS disinformation board is a far more shocking and frightening development than last year’s scandalous revelation that the White House was advising social media platforms about accounts it determined were circulating censorship-worthy Covid misinformation, which was itself a drastic leap in the direction toward direct government censorship from what had previously been considered normal.

We should probably talk more about how as soon as people accepted that it was fine for government, media and Silicon Valley institutions to work together to censor misinformation and rally public support around an Official Narrative about a virus, the ruling power establishment immediately took that as license to do that with a war and a foreign government as well.

Like, immediately immediately. We went from a massive narrative control campaign about a virus, which people accepted because they wanted to contain a deadly pandemic, straight into a massive narrative control campaign about Russia and Ukraine. Without skipping a beat. Like openly manipulating everyone’s understanding of world events is just what we do now. Now we’re seeing increasingly brazen censorship of political dissent about a fucking war that could easily end up getting us all killed in a nuclear holocaust, and a portion of the Biden administration’s whopping $33 billion Ukraine package is going toward funding “independent media” (read: war propaganda).

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We should probably talk more about this. We should probably talk more about how insane it is that all mainstream western institutions immediately accepted it as a given that World War II levels of censorship and propaganda must be implemented over a faraway war that our governments are not even officially a part of.

It started as soon as Russia invaded Ukraine, without any public discussion whatsoever. Like the groundwork had already been laid and everyone had already agreed that that’s what would happen. The public had no say in whether we want to be propagandized and censored to help the US win some kind of weird infowar to ensure its continued unipolar domination of the planet. It just happened.

No reason was given to the public as to why this must occur, and there was no public debate as to whether it should. This was by design, because propaganda only works when you don’t know it’s happening to you.

The choice was made for us that information is too important to be left in the hands of the people. It became set in stone that we are to be a propaganda-based society rather than a truth-based society. No discussion was offered, and no debate was allowed.

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And as bad as it is, it’s on track to get much, much worse. They’re already setting up “disinformation” regulation in the government which presides over Silicon Valley, the proxy war between the US and Ukraine is escalating by the day, and aggressions are ramping up against China over both the Solomon Islands and Taiwan. If you think imperial narrative management is intense now, wait until the US empire’s struggle to secure global hegemony really gets going.

Do you consent to this? Do you? It’s something you kind of have to take a position on, because its implications have a direct effect on our lives as individuals and on our trajectory as a society. How much are we willing to sacrifice to help the US win an infowar against Russia?

The question of whether we should abandon all hope of ever becoming a truth-based society and committing instead to winning propaganda wars for a globe-spanning empire is perhaps the most consequential decision we’ve ever had to make as a species. Which is why we weren’t given a choice. It’s just been foisted upon us.

Whoever controls the narrative controls the world. By taking our control of information out of our hands without asking our permission and determining for us that we are to be a propaganda-based civilization for the foreseeable future, they have stolen something sacred from us. Something they had no right to take.

Nothing about the state of the world tells us that the people who run things are doing a good job. Nothing about our current situation suggests they should be given more control, rather than having control taken away from them and given to the people. We are going in exactly the wrong direction.

____________________

My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, following me on Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud or YouTube, or throwing some money into my tip jar on Ko-fi, Patreon or Paypal. If you want to read more you can buy my books. The best way to make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for at my website or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish, use or translate any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here. All works co-authored with my American husband Tim Foley.

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Siding With The US Empire Is Always Wrong: Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 28/04/2022 - 10:31am in

Listen to a reading of this article:

https://medium.com/media/46d5ea83f3586da368c442c5e8861dc1/href

If you get the feeling that all this Ukraine flag-waving is one more vapid mainstream propaganda initiative used to manufacture consent for an agenda that has nothing to do with what you’re being told, it’s because that’s exactly what is happening.

In this war Russia has killed many Ukrainians and Ukraine has killed many Russians and the US empire has killed many Ukrainians and Russians.

It’s nuts that there are still grown adults who think Putin invaded Ukraine for no other reason than because he is evil and hates freedom.

Focus less on the Azov Battalion and more on the fact that the US deliberately provoked this war with the goal of toppling Moscow and is threatening all our lives with increasingly reckless brinkmanship against a nuclear superpower.

People who promote a US/NATO war with Russia are more dangerous and depraved than racists, homophobes, transphobes and antisemites, and they should be treated accordingly. They are the most dangerous extremists on earth. This should be completely uncontroversial and obvious to literally everyone.

More Americans know Marge Simpson’s sisters’ favorite TV show than know their government is waging a deliberately provoked and profoundly dangerous proxy war against a nuclear superpower. This is because mainstream western media — all of it — is propaganda.

Everyone should be able to say whatever the fuck they want about a proxy war instigated by the world’s most powerful government that could very easily end up sparking a nuclear war.

If you’re on the side of the US empire on any issue you are on the wrong side. This doesn’t mean the other side is always necessarily in the right, it just means a globe-spanning empire that’s held together by lies, murder and tyranny will always be in the wrong. Yes, it is that simple.

It must be the most soul-destroying thing in the world to go to journalism school, study hard, graduate in front of your whole family, work your ass off building up a resume, get a steady job, and then find yourself writing hit pieces about disobedient Youtubers for The Daily Beast.

Twitter is nature’s way of dispelling the common misconception that liberals are smart.

If I was the world’s biggest narcissist, I’d probably try to become the richest person on earth, and do everything I can to make sure everyone’s always talking about me, and convince everyone that I’m going to save the world with my technology so I get a weird cult to worship me.

Twitter being biased in favor of one nation’s government is vastly more consequential than Twitter being biased in favor of one US political party. So far we’re only seeing emphasis on the latter, indicating that Twitter will continue functioning as a US propaganda/censorship apparatus. It should probably get more attention that it’s effectively impossible to have any kind of major media company in the US and not have it be absorbed into the US propaganda machine.

The Assange case is very simple: the most powerful government in the world is trying to criminalize journalism about its nefarious behavior anywhere in the world. You can sum it up in a breath. It’s only narrative spin and smears that make it seem like some big complicated thing.

Empires haven’t disappeared as the world grows more conscious of the evils of empire, they’ve just gotten sneakier and bitchier. They used to nail you to a piece of wood in public if you defied them, now they’ve got to go through this whole deceitful lawfare process just to kill one journalist.

Empires used to just openly conquer foreign territories because they want to own them. Then it became about “civilizing” them. Now they pretend it’s about “freedom and democracy”, and they don’t even make you change your flag to theirs.

Empires used to exterminate entire towns who dared to disobey them, now they have to launch these giant bitchy propaganda operations to psychologically manipulate populations into hating their enemies.

Empires are just really sneaky, bitchy, gossippy, backstabby versions of what they’ve always been. They’re just as oppressive and violent, but the fact that there are more eyes on their behavior means they have to be so much more manipulative and covert about what they do.

The more visible things become, the more hard work and cleverness is required to run an empire. That’s why they’re working so hard to make things less visible via censorship, propaganda, Silicon Valley algorithm manipulation, and the criminalization of journalism.

The biggest mistake you can make is to trust that your leaders’ actions would seem more sensible and appropriate if you knew what they know and understood what they understand. The wars really are as horrific and as pointless as they appear. The escalations in tyranny really are as bad as they seem. It’s not that you don’t understand what you’re looking at, it’s that you’re not a sociopath.

Your thoughts and opinions matter. Know how you can tell? Because every single day the world’s most powerful people pour an immense amount of wealth and energy into trying to manipulate them.

When a loved one is very self-destructive you can’t control their fate; at some point you’ve just got to let them make their mistakes and hope something in them wakes up before they wind up dead. That’s pretty much how you’ve got to be with the entire human species at this point.

_________________

My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, following me on Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud or YouTube, or throwing some money into my tip jar on Ko-fi, Patreon or Paypal. If you want to read more you can buy my books. The best way to make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for at my website or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish, use or translate any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here. All works co-authored with my American husband Tim Foley.

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Everyone’s Anti-War Until The War Propaganda Starts

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 27/04/2022 - 11:11am in

Listen to a reading of this article:

https://medium.com/media/7176a90dc066a6ebe1916158d8816925/href

Everyone’s anti-war until the war propaganda starts. Nobody thinks of themselves as a warmonger, but then the spin machine gets going and before you know it they’re spouting the slogans they’ve been programmed to spout and waving the flags the flags they’ve been programmed to wave and consenting to whatever the imperial war machine wants in that moment.

Virtually everyone will tell you they love peace and hate war when asked; war is the very worst thing in the world, and no healthy person relishes the thought of it. But when the rubber meets the road and it’s time to oppose war and push for peace, those who’d previously proclaimed themselves “anti-war” are on the other side screaming for more weapons to be poured into a proxy war that their government deliberately provoked.

This is because the theory of being anti-war is very different from the practice. In theory people are just opposed to the idea of exploding other people for no good reason. In practice they’re always hit with a very intense barrage of media messaging giving them what look like very good reasons why those people need exploding.

Being truly anti-war isn’t easy. It doesn’t look like people picture in their imaginations. It looks like getting smashed with a deluge of information designed to manipulate and confuse and working through it while getting screamed at by those who’ve fallen for the brainwashing. It’s not cute. It’s not fun. It’s not the feel-good flower power time that people intuit it is when they look at the part of themselves that seeks peace. It’s standing up against the most sophisticated propaganda machine that has ever existed while being offered every reason not to.

When people think of themselves as “anti-war”, they’re usually imagining themselves as anti- another Iraq war, or anti- some theoretical Hitler-like president starting a war because he likes killing people. They’re not picturing the reality of what being anti-war actually is in practice.

Because selling the war to the public is a built-in component of all war strategy, the war will always look necessary from the mainstream perspective, and it won’t look like those other wars which we now know in retrospect were mistakes. It’s always designed to look appealing. There’s never not going to be atrocity propaganda. There’s never not going to be reasons fed to you selling this military intervention as special and completely necessary. That will be the case every single time, because that’s how modern wars are packaged and presented.

This is why you’ll always see a number of self-described leftists and anti-imperialists cheering for the latest US war project. They are ideologically opposed to the idea of war in theory, but the way it actually shows up in practice is always different from what they pictured.

Our entire civilization is shaped by domestic propaganda, but the only time you ever hear that word in mainstream discourse is when it’s used to discuss the comparatively almost nonexistent influence of Russian propaganda on our society. All the mainstream alarm ringing about Russian propaganda gives the impression that it comprises close to 100 percent of the total propaganda that westerners consume, when in reality it’s a tiny fraction of one percent of the total propaganda that westerners consume. Almost all of it comes from western sources.

Propaganda is the single most overlooked and underappreciated aspect of our society. It has far more influence over how the public thinks, acts and votes than any of our official mechanisms for doing so, yet it’s barely discussed, it isn’t taught in schools, and even the best political ideologies barely touch on it relative to their other areas of focus.

All the fretting about Russian propaganda from establishment narrative managers comes so close to giving away their secret: that they know it’s possible to manipulate the way the public thinks, acts and votes using media. They just don’t admit that they’re the ones who are doing this.

It’s actually the weirdest thing in the world that there’s something that has been directly affecting our minds our entire lives, and which directly affects the way our entire society is organized, but we don’t talk about it constantly. It should be at the front and center of our attention.

But of course that’s the whole idea. Propaganda only works on those who don’t know they’re being propagandized. The US-centralized empire’s ability to hide its propaganda machine is a foundational element of its brilliance.

Being truly anti-war is necessarily a commitment to finding out not just what’s true about all the war narratives currently promulgated by the imperial war machine, but all the narratives you’ve been fed about the world since you were young. It’s a commitment to truth that takes on an almost spiritual quality in the way it informs every aspect of your life when truly espoused.

It’s important to research and learn new things about the world, but what’s equally important and which doesn’t get emphasized nearly enough is the practice of examining the beliefs you already hold about your society, your government, your nation and your world. Inquiring as to whether they’re really true, and who might benefit from your believing them.

Don’t make the error of assuming you’ll be aware and informed enough to spot all the lies right away. You’re dealing with the single most advanced and powerful propaganda machine that has ever existed, and you’ve been marinating in its effects your entire life. It takes some time. Even the most aware among us were indoctrinated into the mainstream worldview to some extent earlier in their lives, and to this day most of the information they get about the world has some of its roots and branches in parts of the propaganda matrix.

It takes work to see things clearly enough to form a really truth-based worldview. But unless you do this it’s impossible to be truly anti-war, because you can’t skillfully oppose something you don’t understand. To fight the imperial war machine is to fight the imperial propaganda machine.

______________________

My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, following me on Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud or YouTube, or throwing some money into my tip jar on Ko-fi, Patreon or Paypal. If you want to read more you can buy my books. The best way to make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for at my website or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish, use or translate any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here. All works co-authored with my American husband Tim Foley.

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Feature image via Vladimir Yaitskiy (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic), altered for size.

This War Is A Propaganda Campaign Wrapped In A Psyop: Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 18/04/2022 - 9:06am in

Tags 

Propaganda, News

Listen to a reading of this article:

https://medium.com/media/8f5fe0e6b28462b8a4fe462e6106517a/href

The country with the worst elections in the western world, whose government intervenes in foreign elections more than any other government on earth, is waging a dangerous proxy war to save democracy in Ukraine, a nation which is not a democracy by any reasonable definition.

Anyone who trusts any government is a fool. Anyone who trusts the world’s most powerful government is a damn fool. Anyone who trusts the world’s most powerful government while it runs massive propaganda ops for a dangerous proxy war should be forbidden to use the grown-up scissors.

It’s impossible to overstate how completely blanketed by propaganda distortion the Ukraine war is. US spooks saying they’re leaking disinfo to the press, Ukrainian war propaganda, the blackout on Ukrainian losses, the uncritical media acceptance of allegations against Russia, etc. This war is a propaganda campaign wrapped in a psyop.

There are only two possibilities: you either (A) accept the fact that the information ecosystem around this war is too polluted to know very much of anything for certain and adjust your perceptions accordingly, or (B) you believe false things about this war. That’s it.

Propaganda only works on people who don’t know they’re being propagandized. If you’re acutely aware that a historically unprecedented effort is going into manipulating your understanding of what’s happening in a strategically crucial war in the digital age, you’re more grounded.

And of course the propaganda cuts both ways. Obviously it does. Uncritically believing Russia-aligned sources about this war is just as sure to give you an inaccurate picture of events as uncritically believing US/NATO/Ukraine-aligned sources (i.e. all mass media). It’s psyops all the way down.

One thing that helps is rather than forming hard beliefs about what’s going on in this war, assign probabilities instead. Label different narratives zero, low, moderate, high or very high confidence like a spook analyzing intelligence. Might as well, because spooks are distorting it all anyway.

This is one of those situations where your own best guess about what’s happening is infinitely superior to what you’re told by the news media, because at least you know your own best guess is assembled in good faith while you know news media narratives are rife with propaganda distortion. If you’re genuinely interested in understanding what’s going on with this war, get as much information from as diverse an array of sources as possible, preferencing those who don’t appear aligned with any power structure and aren’t egoically or financially invested in any side.

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Zelensky, man. The last time a powerful empire poured this much PR and perception management into the image of a foreign Jewish leader it involved stained glass and crucifixes.

It was clear we’d reached a whole new level of Orwellian doublethink when it turned out liberals will call literally anyone in the world a Nazi except actual, literal Nazis.

You know capitalism is totally working when there are people getting paid millions to help start wars by people who make billions from wars while Silicon Valley megacorporations are censoring those who try to end wars and everyone’s praying the world’s richest man will stop this.

There are no “private” companies worth billions of dollars. In a corporatist system it is impossible to grow that big without becoming intertwined with ruling power structures. This is especially true for corporations of immense political consequence, like social media platforms.

We are surrounded by propaganda at all times. Our entire civilization is saturated with it. When you say you support internet censorship to stop “Russian propaganda”, what you are really saying is that you only want your own rulers propagandizing you.

The notion that some opinions are Russian is one of the most mind-destroying beliefs ever circulated in a secular society.

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All the shitlibs yelling “Don’t listen to Chomsky!” for his comments about Ukraine will soon be yelling “Listen to Chomsky!” when it’s time to wheel him out again to tell everyone they need to vote Democrat.

The weirdest thing about interacting with Ukraine flag accounts online is how seriously they expect to be taken while saying ridiculous bullshit. No I’m not an evil demonic monster for opposing nuclear brinkmanship and online censorship and saying the US lies about wars. Shut up, idiot.

If you look at their responses to criticisms of the establishment line on Ukraine it’s always like ten percent MSM propaganda and ninety percent empty outraged sputtering. Just vapid emoting. And they sincerely seem to expect you to take that seriously and treat them like adults.

A mainstream news reporter is someone who uncritically publishes information provided by government agencies like it’s news and does investigative pieces on Twitch streamers who say wrong things about Ukraine and then wins three Pulitzers for their fearless hard-nosed journalism.

Watching Hollywood movies is weird when you’re acutely aware that everyone on the screen loves Biden and supports internet censorship and wants a no-fly zone over Ukraine.

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