Information Battle Space

There has been an obsessive focus on disinformation and “fake news” since Trump’s surprise election in 2016 as our feral elite seem determined to blame unofficial narratives rather than their disastrous mismanagement of the American empire.

Increasingly, it does not truly matter what the “facts” are, but the question of who do these “facts” serve and reward? For instance, lying is not a liability for a thriving career in corporate journalism but rather a vital asset — provided that the lies are in service of ruling class policies and the US empire.

Paraphrasing George Orwell–some lies are more equal than others.

The US/NATO proxy war against Russia in Ukraine has only made this dynamic more pronounced. Indeed, they’re not worried about the spread of disinformation, they’re worried about the spread of information that challenges the official narrative. 

What’s crazy is that the US political/media class constantly rends its garments over “disinformation” about the Ukraine war even as US officials openly admit they’ve been using the media to circulate disinformation about that same war while the Biden administration imprisons and persecutes a journalist for exposing US war crimes.

Then we get the surreal spectacle of a former president accidentally blurting out that that the US is no better than Russia and that the only thing obscuring this is the fact that we are all swimming in a sea of disinformation and propaganda provided by that same political/media class. Because, “aw shucks gee willikers”, the US would never do anything like “launch a wholly unjustified and brutal invasion of Iraq. I mean, of Ukraine.” George W. Bush’s Freudian confession illuminated all that spin and narrative management they’ve been pouring into the US proxy war in Ukraine, and then undoes it all with the Bush-ism to end all Bush-isms.

Of course, one expects the corporate media to follow the script and blame the evil Russians for the conflict in Ukraine but even anti-propaganda guru’s like Noam Chomsky have been chiming in. “I don’t think there are ‘significant lies’ in war reporting. The U.S. media are generally doing a highly creditable job in reporting Russian crimes in Ukraine. That’s valuable, just as it’s valuable that international investigations are underway in preparation for possible war crimes trials.”

Instead, I’ve come to believe that it’s all projection. While the US and western propaganda has consistently blamed Russia for massive war-crimes in Ukraine and depicting them as brutal villains there’s much evidence coming out of Ukraine that all is not what it seems.

For instance, there’s that whole bio-weapons thingy that got flushed down the memory-hole.

The provisional results of evidence being collected about the work of U.S. bioweapons in Ukraine are simply astonishing. These are the main takeaways.

1. U.S. bioweapon ideologues comprise the leadership of the Democratic Party. By linking with non-governmental biotechnology organizations, using the investment funds of the Clintons, Rockefellers, Soros and Biden, they profited from additional campaign financing – all duly concealed. In parallel, they assembled the legislative basis for financing the bioweapons program directly from the federal budget.
2. COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers Pfizer and Moderna, as well as Merck and Gilead – of Donald “known unknowns” fame, and affiliated with the Pentagon – were directly involved.
3. U.S. specialists tested new drugs in the Ukraine biolabs in circumvention of international safety standards. According to Kirillov, acting this way “Western companies seriously reduce the costs of research programs and gain significant competitive advantages.”
4. According to Kirillov, “along with U.S. pharmaceutical companies and Pentagon contractors, Ukrainian government agencies are involved in military biotechnology activities, whose main tasks are to conceal illegal activities, conduct field and clinical trials and provide the necessary biomaterial.”
5. The Pentagon, Kirillov pointed out, expanded its research potential not only in terms of producing biological weapons, but also gathering information on antibiotic resistance and the presence of antibodies to certain diseases among the population in specific regions. The testing ground in Ukraine was practically outside the control of the so-called “international community”.

Then there’s the prisoner torture that our erstwhile allies have been engaged in. Remember–stand with Ukraine? Le Monde has verified and published a video that shows a Ukrainian ‘volunteer battalion’, led by a known criminal, torturing Russian prisoners of war. The upshot is that the US has introduced into Ukraine, the spores of a particularly virulent variant of European fascism that “combine all the features” of Nazism (such as antisemitism, extreme nationalism, violence, etc.) in order to attack Russia.

I know. Color me surprised that the US would employ Nazi’s as proxies after essentially doing the same thing with al-Qaeda in Syria. Ditto on the bio-weapon labs. This is what the US empire does in a normal working day to maintain control over a contentious world and for you to make sense of all the propaganda it’s important to recognize that the US is a failing empire and our elites want constant war because they see no other way to preserve the American-centric world order. 

Presently, they are laying the propaganda so thick and I’m hardly being hyperbolic calling it an information battle space.

Update: In a surprising bit of good news it seems as if the ministry of truth has bitten the dust–“Biden puts disinfo ‘Mary Poppins’ on ice, scraps Orwellian DHS board”.

Of course, it was all blamed on people harshing-on poor Ms Jankowicz and saying mean things about the Homeland Security Administration.

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Wither the Left

There isn’t an anti-imperialist left anymore.

The conflict in Ukraine has, among many other things, highlighted a consequential, indeed historic, shift taking place in American politics with regard to foreign policy. The center of gravity of the anti-war movement is shifting away from its traditional home on the progressive left. 

Indeed, leftist commentators can barely conceal their enthusiasm for American involvement in the Ukraine war. Here’s the founding editor of the progressive magazine American Prospect, Robert Kuttner: “It is appalling that the West keeps lionizing Zelensky, giving him standing ovations after he addresses national parliaments, but denying him what he needs to save his country. “What does he need? He needs warplanes. “Sooner or later, NATO will have to give Ukraine planes powerful enough to annihilate Russia’s invading armies. It might as well be sooner.”

What we’re seeing is that the calls for more and more weapons by leading progressives shows they have abandoned their traditional and long-held opposition to American wars of choice. Instead, the only place where dissent is heard over the Biden administration’s war policy is on Fox News, hosted, respectively, by Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham, who routinely demand to know how ordinary Americans are benefiting from this increasing U.S. involvement.

In Washington, instead of the “Squad” demanding how congress can authorize $40 billion for Ukraine while “American mother’s can’t buy baby formula,” it’s Marjorie Taylor Greene. As far as the Democratic Party, they became empire supporters a long time ago and use bait-and-switch to lull their supporters. Meanwhile, the Democratic Party’s hypocrisy and duplicity is rocket-fuel for Christian fascism. Its exclusive focus on the culture wars and identity politics at the expense of economic, political, and social justice fueled a right-wing backlash and stoked the bigotry, racism, and sexism it sought to curtail. Democrats have failed to address the structural injustices that turned America into an oligarchic state while wailing about how the mean Republicans plan to end abortion. At this point it’s safe to assume that the Democratic Party is a faux opposition party. It’s like the “unplugged remote control you gave your kid brother so he’d stop nagging to play video games with you.”

One would usually expect the American left, or whatever passes it for these days, to be indignant about the expenditure of tens of billions of dollars for weapons while ordinary Americans suffer. But the American left, such that it exists, is barely visible when it comes to debates over the war in Ukraine, while American liberals stand in virtual unity with the establishment wing of the Republican Party behind the Biden administration in support for the escalating U.S. role in the war in Ukraine. That has left the traditionally left-wing argument about war opposition to the populist right.

I want to know what happened to the Left in America, you know, the New Dealers and 60’s radicals who used to view power with suspicion? Maybe I’m nostalgic for a largely forgotten milieu–the New Deal years where leftists fought against Franco in the Lincoln Brigade, and battled the anti–Communist paranoia of the postwar decades. What about the antiwar movement of the 1960s and early 1970s? The people animating these movements had memories and experience. They remembered what American society could be in its potential because they had lived for and acted on that potential. They knew another kind of America was possible. All of that is gone now.

Maybe that’s why liberals hate Trump in that he made more obvious their duplicity, hypocrisy and historical incoherence? Super shout-out to the propaganda and censorship system in this country where 4 years of Russia-gate, where the hatred of Trump morphed into hatred of Russia and Putin specifically, could turn liberals into raging war-hawks ready for Armageddon. The deep state claimed that Trump was a Russian asset and the election was stolen from Hillary due to Russian hacking and influence operations. The information/disinformation environment has only gotten worse where the corporate media have completely abandoned even an attempt at objective reporting and turned, simply put, into propaganda mouthpieces without any credibility.

Then, there’s that whole ministry of truth thing.

Update: “Tens of billions, soon to be much more, are flying out of U.S. coffers to Ukraine as Americans suffer, showing who runs the U.S. Government, and for whose benefit. But as gargantuan as Biden’s already-spent and newly requested sums are — for a ten-week war in which the U.S. claims not to be a belligerent — it was apparently woefully inadequate in the eyes of the bipartisan establishment in Congress, who is ostensibly elected to serve the needs and interests of American citizens, not Ukrainians. Leaders of both parties instantly decreed that Biden’s $33 billion request was not enough. They thus raised it to $40 billion — a more than 20% increase over the White House’s request — and are now working together to create an accelerated procedure to ensure immediate passage and disbursement of these weapons and funds to the war zone in Ukraine. “Time is of the essence – and we cannot afford to wait,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a letter to House members.”

Update II: The $40 billion package for the war in Ukraine passed in the House of Representatives by a vote of 368-57. According to CNN: “All 57 votes in opposition were from Republicans.”

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Ministry of Truth

The conflict with Russia in Ukraine has exposed the increasingly desperate behavior of the US empire, where it’s rapidly restructuring the systems people look to for information about the world in order to ensure control over our dominant narratives while it works relentlessly to subvert Russia, China and Iran and secure unipolar planetary hegemony. Since we can’t have the average Americans seeing and discussing this phenomenon the Biden Administration has created a “Ministry of Truth”.

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.

To add to the dark comedy we have the Disinformation Governance Board to be run by a TikTok musical comedy star, Nina Jankowicz, an instant what-the-fuck! moment, since retailing disinformation has been her main occupation in the short time she’s been a Deep State minion. Ms. Jankowicz is a notorious Russia-gate hoaxer and propagandists in the October 2020 emergence of Hunter Biden’s laptop. She has zero credibility as anything but a professional liar.

And, of course, the Biden Administration is telling Americans it’s for their own good. Even though our country is spiraling into divisiveness, poverty and hopelessness, they are hell bent on a proxy war using CIA-trained neo-Nazi’s to bleed Russia and ultimately overthrow Vladimir Putin. Of course they blame the divisiveness on disinformation such as persuading us that we have Trump-voting “deplorables” because of social media “fake news” rather than growing disenchantment with liberal political systems. The masters of war require an enemy. When an enemy cannot be found, as George Orwell understood in 1984, an enemy is manufactured, or in America–sold.

This is not as hard as it may seem as many Americans are fine with being propagandized since they have a deep psychological need for the anti-imperialist critics to be wrong because it’s more comfortable than considering the possibility that everything you’ve been taught about the world is a lie. And it’s not just foreign policy and war, there’s also all of the horrible things neoliberalism has wrought over the last 40 odd years, all made possible by a relentless campaign of advertising, PR and propaganda. The same machinery has been used to reinforce the narratives about the necessity of the rich having all of the money just like it’s been used to reinforce the narrative that Russia and other empire enemies should be destroyed.

Heterodox economist Michael Hudson makes the connection. “So, what are countries going to do when they can’t afford to pay the higher prices for energy?  Well, Janet Yellen, who was the Federal Reserve head and [now] the Secretary of the Treasury says, ‘Well, what we’re going to do is use the International Monetary Fund to preserve America’s unipolar hegemony.’  I think she used almost those words.  We have to keep American control of the world and we’re going to do it through the IMF.  And that means in practice using the IMF to create special drawing rights, which will be sort of like free money, the bulk of which will go to the United States to support its military spending abroad for all of this huge military escalation. And it will enable the IMF to go to countries and say, ‘We will help you pay your debts and not be foreclosed on and get energy, but it’s conditional.’  On usual conditions:  you have to lower your wages; you have to pass anti-labor legislation; you have to agree to begin selling off your public domain and privatize.

So, what we’re seeing, really, isn’t a war between NATO and Russia.  It’s a class war of the neoliberals against labor across the world to establish the power of finance over labor.

The energy and food crisis caused by the NATO war against Russia is going to be used as a lever not only to push privatization, largely under control of US investors and banks and financiers, but it’s also going to lock countries into the US orbit all the more, both the Global South and especially Europe. So, those are the economic effects of the war.  And in the newspaper, you think the war is all about Ukrainians and NATO fighting Russians, and it’s really a war by the United States to use the NATO-Russia conflict as a means of locking in control over its allies and the whole Western world, and in Janet Yellen’s words, re-establishing American unipolar power.”

We’ll see how it goes. I’m not sanguine that the US will be able to win the global hybrid war it has unleashed to maintain its global hegemony despite the massive propaganda blitz and satirical Disinformation Governance Board. They are irrevocably losing it to China, which is rapidly strengthening as a result of anti-Russian sanctions.

As far as the whole ministry of truth thing, it may surprise you, but truth and reality are joined at the hip, no matter how hard the powers that be try to pretend otherwise.

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Neoliberalism Revealed

I’ll be mountain biking in Gooseberry this weekend so I’m going to leave you with this deconstruction of neoliberalism by Ian Welsh as your reading assignment.

What Economics Gets Wrong (Almost Everything)

“Economics as a discipline is nearly worthless. What it teaches mostly isn’t true.

  • Decreasing price does not always increase demand and increasing price sometimes increases demand (aka. the law of supply and demand isn’t a law.)
  • People do not optimize utility (by any definition that is not circular).
  • People are not rational.
  • The market is not rational.
  • The market does not discount the future well at all.
  • Competitive markets are created by government, and destroyed by private actors.
  • Markets do not and never have properly priced externalities and never will do so while humans remain human. The only way to price externalities properly is thru government or custom (government in drag.)
  • Profit or loss in any enterprise in a modern economy is a social choice, entirely based on government and social decisions and mostly unrelated to fundamentals like energy in and energy out.
  • Railroads are far more efficient, energy wise than roads, but govt. subsidizes roads.
  • The vast majority of profit is based on market position and sustained profit is almost always based on having an unfair advantage that makes the market less competitive and therefore not have the virtues of competitive markets.
  • Genuine competitive markets don’t exist, and no businessman wants them to because they drive profits to almost zero. 
  • The best economies the world ever saw went out of their way to keep wages and prices high, not to reduce them.
  • Any concentration of market power that is not regulated or broken up will engage in practices intended to buy/undermine government and destroy wages. 
  • Higher CEO pay is correlated with lower company performance.
  • You cannot have a good economy for long without keeping the rich poor, weak and under your thumb. It is impossible.
  • Monetary efficiency between countries is bad. It should be hard to move large amounts money in and out of another currency or country. 
  • Financial market efficiency is generally bad, and effectiveness and shock pads should be optimized for rather than financial efficiency.
  • Countries should, if it is possible, make or grow everything important inside their own borders and not trade for it.
  • People perform better when happy, healthy and at least moderately autonomous. The literature on this is so abundant it is silly. Bosses are authoritarian assholes because they like being authoritarian assholes who micro-manage employees. It’s what Bezos gets out of being Bezos.
  • Private money creation concentrated in a few hands is destructive to the economy, democracy and freedom (authority: Thomas Jefferson). It is also anti-competitive market, since you can’t compete with people who create money out of thin air.
  • Moderate levels of inflation are good, not bad, if they include assets, because they take away the control of people who won the past so they don’t control the present and the future. 
  • Taxes should be low on ordinary people and high on anyone rich, including wealth and estate taxes. No one should be rich because their parents were.
  • People who lend money should lose that money if the person who they loaned it to can’t afford to repay it. The function of lending is “I know how to pick people who will use the money well.” If you can’t do that you deserve to lose the money, and govt shouldn’t collect it for you
  • bankruptcy should be easy, fast and leave people whole. Economically crippled people are not in the interest of society as a whole. 
  • A UBI’s main function is allowing people to do what they want to do, and forcing bosses to make jobs good, not shitty.
  • Pensions should simply be handled by government or a general UBI.
  • Comparative advantage is a terrible strategy for improving your economy.
  • Free trade is garbage for most countries.
  • Raising the minimum wage is not correlated with increased unemployment
  • The unemployment rate measures supply driven wage push inflation pressure, not how many peole can’t get a job.
  • Initial capital for capitalism was primarily acquired by theft, first of European commons, then of non-European land, people and resources.

Essentially everything Economics teaches is wrong. If and when their prescriptions for action are followed, disaster ensues. With almost no exceptions every country which ever developed did so by not doing what economists say to do.

Economics also has a morally corrosive affect on those who study it.  People mostly don’t free ride or otherwise act according to the maxims of economics: but people who have studied economics do.

Because economics is wrong and harmful about almost everything, and because economists do not say “please don’t follow our advice”, Economics should probably be banned and all Economics faculties shut down.”

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Cost Plus

Though it probably won’t, the conflict in Ukraine and the demonstration of Russian advanced weaponry should raise serious question about US weapons procurement.

The hasty, indecent withdrawal of the United States from Afghanistan last August capped a series of disastrous military adventures by the US in Iraq, Syria and Libya over the course of the past two decades that left millions of civilians dead and these given unfortunate countries in ruins economically and politically.

However, during all of these conflicts the Pentagon, by targeting Third World countries with sub-par militaries, was able to depict US weapons systems as high-tech wonders of lethality and sophistication. If it helps, “Shock and Awe” represented a sales pitch by Raytheon and Lockheed Martin to foreign militaries, demonstrating their wares.

Russia’s special military campaign in Ukraine has seriously fucked-up the military-industrial complex’s marketing campaign. It’s no wonder they’re so pissed.

Despite spending orders of magnitude less on their weapons systems, Russian ones work while the US’s have proven to be expensive junk. The US, and by extension, NATO simply has nothing to defend against previous generation of Russia’s stand off weapons, especially of such variety as Iskander of P-800 capable to strike to operational depth (500-700 kilometers) and it will not have anything for many years to deal with hyper-sonic weapons like the 2000-kilometer range Kinzal. For instance, a Russian MiG–31K, flying over the Black Sea, can launch a Kinzal that can target London in minutes.

A little different than establishing a no-fly zone over Libya, just saying.

The F-35 is the poster-child for our dysfunctional military procurement. The MIC, uses programs like the F-35 as opportunities for price gouging and extra profits. By choosing the most complex, and expensive weapons systems, instead of simple, rugged, inexpensive ones, the MIC ensures that they will make exorbitant amounts of money far into the future. If they have to fix a bunch of problems on these expensive weapons systems, oh well. It’s cost plus, after all, so they get paid for that work too.

Pretty sweet, huh?

The Russians, unlike their American counterparts, have to focus on real defense rather than immense profits from a “cost plus”arrangement. Here’s Vice-Premier Yuri Borisov explaining Russian military procurement. “From as early as 2011, all our defense procurement programs have focused on the production and deployment of high-precision weapons. All this time, we have also been building up our manufacturing capacities. As a result, today, we can fully meet the demand of Russia’s armed forces for precision weapons.

Ukraine provided the first impressions of the performance of Russia’s air defense and stand-off weaponry and I’ll bet money that it produced shock and awe among western military experts. Suddenly bunkers in London, Brussels or D.C. do not feel so safe. It is really an old truism, when your sparring partners are 7-year old kids from the sand-box you are bound to lose qualifications and skills

Despite these setbacks, the US weapons industry is already salivating, and for good reason. Last Wednesday the Pentagon brought together representatives of America’s top eight weapons manufacturers to plan massive increases in US military spending—and in military-industrial complex profits—in the likely case that the US-provoked Ukraine war goes on for years. As Reuters reported: “The Pentagon’s office of Acquisition and Sustainment, the weapons buyer for the U.S. Department of Defense, will host the 90 minute meeting and Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks was expected to attend, one of the people said.”

Even before hostilities broke out, the CEOs of major weapons firms were talking about how tensions in Europe could pad their profits. In a January 2022 call with his company’s investors, Raytheon Technologies CEO Greg Hayes typically bragged that the prospect of conflict in Eastern Europe and other global hot spots would be good for business, adding that “we are seeing, I would say, opportunities for international sales… [T]he tensions in Eastern Europe, the tensions in the South China Sea, all of those things are putting pressure on some of the defense spending over there. So I fully expect we’re going to see some benefit from it.”

As the kids say: Ka-ching!

In late March, in an interview with the Harvard Business Review after the war in Ukraine had begun, Hayes defended the way his company would profit from that conflict: “So I make no apology for that. I think again recognizing we are there to defend democracy and the fact is eventually we will see some benefit in the business over time. Everything that’s being shipped into Ukraine today, of course, is coming out of stockpiles, either at DoD [the Department of Defense] or from our NATO allies, and that’s all great news. Eventually we’ll have to replenish it and we will see a benefit to the business over the next coming years.”

Maybe that’s the point of all of this.

In fact, the gusher of cash helps explain why the neocons, no matter how disastrous their schemes turn out be, keep landing on their feet as they migrate from the Democrats to the Republicans back to the Democrats, remorselessly piloting the US empire’s foreign policies. War is the health of the state, after all, and helps explain why after the first Cold War ended there was no “peace dividend”.

We should be outraged at the fact that we just let billionaire corporations not only profit from war but actively lobby for more war via think tanks, campaign funding and other influence ops. What’s more outrageous is that we, as a society, have chosen to expend trillions on war and weapons rather than Medicare for All or a Green New Deal or myriad other programs that are desperately required as we face an uncertain future.

Of course, none of these changes can occur without challenging the power and influence of the military-industrial-congressional complex, a task as urgent as it is difficult in this moment of carnage in Europe. One thing is guaranteed: a new gold rush of “defense” spending is a disaster in the making for all of us not in that complex.

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Unreality

Back in the quaint old days of the George W. Bush administration, White House political advisor Karl Rove famously said, “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality — judiciously, as you will — we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out.”

Didn’t that set the tone for the years that have followed? Following Rove’s lead, our elite have been very busy creating their own special reality. I mean look at where we are now with the propaganda barrage over the conflict in Ukraine.

If you have this feeing that there’s been a concerted effort from the most powerful government and media institutions to manipulate your understanding of what’s going on with this war, it’s because that’s exactly what has been happening.

If you just can’t recall ever seeing such intense mass media spin about a war before, it’s because you haven’t.

If you get the distinct impression that this may be the most aggressively perception-managed war in human history, it’s because it is.

The part that even the Machiavellian Mr. Rove missed, though, is that the MBA managers of empire are perhaps even more apt to create their own unreality, which explains a lot about the surreal spectacle of American collapse. The sheer hubris and incompetence is staggering. It’s like the entire American order has become completely disconnected from reality. Is there anything the government tells you now that is not some sort of fabrication? Of course, there’s also this reality that’s beginning to make itself apparent. Official institutions and media outlets are deliberately spreading lies and in the process poisoning and destroying their credibility.

Last week an extraordinary article appeared in, of all places, NBC News, reporting that the US intelligence community is knowingly feeding information it does not believe accurate to the US mainstream media for the American audience to consume.

In other words, the article reports that the US deep state admits to being actively engaged in lying to the American people in the hopes that it can manipulate public opinion

According to the NBC News article, “multiple US officials acknowledged that the US has used information as a weapon even when confidence in the accuracy of the information wasn’t high. Sometimes it has used low-confidence intelligence for deterrent effect…”

The reason our feral elite and their corporate media fan-boys are humping unreality is because that’s all they have got. The Biden Administration came into office promising to be the new FDR but that was always a bad joke. Their record of actual accomplishment is awful thin, hence the unreality of the noble US standing up to the tyrannical Russia.

Democrats firmly control the Department of State and the CIA (which are almost the same thing these days), and use these government organs to project their ideological crusade. And presently it appears that these “liberal” Democrats cannot be reasoned with. They irrationally fear and hate Russia on a primal, ideological level. I mean, Russia-gate was basically a psych-war operation. A very successful one.

A lot of people think it’s weird that American liberals have fallen in love with Ukrainian nazis, but I disagree. Nazism and American liberalism have grown so ideologically similar that it’s hard to dismiss as coincidence. Why does liberal Critical Race Theory so closely resemble Nazi race theory?

And this is where liberal Democrats are at–any remaining vestige of an anti-war liberal/left in the US degraded itself almost to the point of non-existence from 2016-2020, as it aligned with security state actors and neocons against Trump. Since the Ukraine war, this process of transformation is now truly complete.

You can’t get a single Dem official or left/liberal media figure of any prominence to even acknowledge that “the US should wage indefinite proxy warfare in hopes of engineering regime change” is a debatable proposition. US intervention is now a sacrosanct “liberal” principle.

It all goes back to imperial unreality–where the US empire truly has the right to rule the world and that no country has the right to refuse it.

Meanwhile, the re-emergence of a truly multipolar world is crashing headlong into an imperial doctrine that demands securing unipolar domination at all cost, and it’s getting very ugly very fast.

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White Helmets

I learned a lot about US and UK propaganda from the Syrian civil war, where western narrative managers advocated for military intervention and regime-change.

And now we’re seeing the same kinds of media deceptions and full-throated propaganda in Ukraine. With the so-called “Bucha massacre” we’re in the midst of another false-flag incident, which many have predicted. All of the usual suspects from the deep state and corporate media are working overtime to project the new narrative in order to predictably call for large-scale escalation.

Unsurprisingly, within minutes of the “breaking news”, western leaders–heads of state, foreign ministers, former politicians–popped up with statements duly kept ready and only based on the videos and photos ready to pour accusations. Meanwhile, in a stunning bit of projection, both the New York Times and Washington Post, the house organs for the national security set, refer to past Russian dismissals of alleged chemical weapons attacks in Syria as false flags used to frame Damascus, while of course making no mention of the mountains of evidence that this has indeed occurred.

Anyone paying-attention will not miss the striking similarity between these incidents and the numerous put-up jobs that featured in Washington’s covert operation in Syria and the campaign of those famous “moderate rebels” and their accomplices, the White Helmets, who just happened to be at the perfect place to capture evidence of Syrian or Russian perfidy while rescuing cute babies and who desperately, desperately wanted to draw the U.S. into the conflict. 

Just like in Syria, where the White Helmets were created by an ex-British intelligence officer, there are unconfirmed reports that Britain’s MI6 concocted this macabre theater with the Ukrainian service.

If you will recall from the way-back machine, President Donald Trump bombed Syria with cruise missiles in the wake of a fabricated report that Bashar al-Assad had used such weapons in an attack on Khan Shaykhun in 2017. It turned out that the anti-regime terrorists (read al Qaeda) who were occupying the city at the time had themselves staged the attack and deliberately blamed it on the Syrian government to produce an expected US response.

The Russian “intervention” in the Syrian civil war and “intervention” in Ukraine can be thought of as a Russian counter-offensive against the US empire and it’s NATO allies in response to the ongoing attempt to regime-change the Putin administration as well as their unceasing hostility. What I find particularly fascinating is that in both cases the US utilized proxies as their shock-troops. In Syria the US was employing al Nusra, the Syrian al Qaeda franchise, while in the Ukraine it’s the Neo-Nazi Azov Regiment. Also, it seems that whenever US proxies are in peril there’s a strong possibility of a false-flag event used to galvanize US public support for American intervention. You know–a no-fly zone.

It’s almost surreal the way in which the media manipulation template for Syria has morphed into the portrayal of Russian actions in Ukraine. The Mariupol maternity hospital “bombing” was a staged media operation closely resembling the White Helmets in Syria, as were claims of Russian airstrikes on the theater in the same city which was proclaimed to have been holding thousands of civilians at the time. The western headlines ran with accusations of Russians slaughtering civilians from the sky.

However, when the government and corporate media are trying to get us on board with some agenda, we should always ask–qui bono–who benefits? Funny how all of the recent “so-called” false-flag events all seem to point in one direction–towards official enemies, like Russia, China, Iran, etc.

The propaganda war is not the war, but the propaganda war is useful in shaping US security elite behavior and responses while rallying the hysterical masses who will believe any media headlines they see. This sophisticated operation has produced a steady stream of sophisticated propaganda aimed at stirring up public and official support. I sometimes think there just has to be a Ministry of Truth somewhere deep in the bowels of the State Department. You know– “War is Peace,” “Freedom is Slavery,” and “Ignorance is Strength.”

It’s been obvious for a long time that the US empire has been working overtime to shore up narrative control to strengthen its hegemony via internet censorshippropaganda, tech algorithm manipulation, and the normalization of the persecution of journalists like Julian Assange. We may now simply be at the stage of narrative control where they can begin openly condition the public to be lied to for their own good.

Indeed, the claim that “The Bucha Massacre” is a Russian war crime is so patently false that a rational observer can only be left astounded by the combination of bare-faced nerve and slapdash incompetence displayed by the media outlets and politicians pushing this disgusting smear.

Unfortunately all too many Americans are ready to be lied to.

Update: “One of the advantages of having power – especially when it is power over narratives – is that the perception of any real-world event can be shaped in ways that serve the interests of power.”

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Russia-gate revisited

The Russian invasion of Ukraine puts Russia-gate into a whole new light and strongly suggests that the proxy-war conflict in Ukraine between Russia and the US/NATO is the culmination.

In all the outrage over Ukraine we’ve been experiencing lately, it’s easy to forget how the narrative that the Kremlin had infiltrated the highest levels of the US government dominated news coverage and political discourse for years on end. But in light of the fact that today’s major headlines now revolve around that exact same foreign government, this fact is probably worth revisiting.

The Russia-gate story fits neatly into a geopolitical strategy that long predates the 2016 election. Since Wall Street and the U.S. government lost the dominant position in Russia that existed under the pliable President Boris Yeltsin, the strategy has been to put pressure on getting rid of Vladimir Putin to restore a U.S. friendly comprador in Moscow. Russia is correct to be extremely worried about American designs for Putin now that loose-lips Biden put an exclamation point on it. “For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power.”

Indeed, it’s fair to state that while Putin is responsible for choosing to launch an invasion of Ukraine, the US empire is responsible for deliberately provoking that invasion with the express goal of removing Putin.

It’s hard to believe that Donald Trump spent four years pouring weapons into Ukraine, shredding treaties with Russia and ramping up cold war escalations against Moscow which helped lead us directly to the extraordinarily dangerous situation we now find ourselves in, and yet mainstream liberals spent his entire administration screaming that he was a Kremlin puppet. Meanwhile, Russia-gate turbo-charged the neocons and their six-year project of ingratiating themselves back into American liberalism with their performative anti-Trump agitprop and deep state machinations.

The most important thing to understand about the Trump-Russia collusion narrative is that it began with western intelligence agencies (read US and UK), was sustained by western intelligence agencies, and in the end resulted in belligerent cold war escalations against a government long targeted by western intelligence agencies. It was the US intelligence cartel who initiated the still completely unproven and severely plot hole-riddled claim that Russia interfered in the 2016 election to benefit Trump. It was a “former” MI6 operative who produced the notorious and completely discredited Steele Dossier which birthed the narrative that Trump colluded with the Kremlin to steal the 2016 election. It was the FBI who spied on the Trump campaign claiming it was investigating possible ties to Russia. It was the US intelligence cartel which produced, and then later walked back, the narrative that Russia was paying Taliban-linked fighters to kill allied occupiers in Afghanistan which was leveraged by Democrats to demand Trump escalate further against Putin. It was even a CIA officer who just so happened to be in the right place at the right time that kicked off the flimsy impeachment narrative that Trump had suspended arms deliveries to Ukraine.

Do you detect a pattern here?

Russia-gate led directly to this point where the US is ready to risk nuclear conflagration with Russia. In sum, the Biden administration is doing exactly that which former President Obama warned in 2016 should never be done: risking war between the world’s two largest nuclear powers over Ukraine. Yet if any dominant narrative defines the last five years of U.S. mainstream discourse, it is that any claim that undercuts the interests of U.S. liberal elites–no matter how true–is dismissed as “Russian disinformation.”

Guilty as charged.

The grave dangers of the world’s two largest nuclear-armed powers facing off over Ukraine extend far beyond any intention by the U.S. to deliberately engage Russia directly. Such a war, even with the U.S. waging it “only” through its proxies, severely escalates tensions, distrust, hostilities, and a climate of paranoia. That is particularly true given that ever since Democrats decided to blame Putin for Hillary’s 2016 loss at least half of Americans have been feeding on a non-stop, toxic diet of anti-Russian hatred under the guise of “Russia-gate.” As recently as 2018, almost 70 percent of Democrats believed that Russia hacked into voting machines and altered the 2016 vote count to help Trump win. This cultivation of extreme anti-Russian animus in Washington has been made even more dangerous by the virtual prohibition on dialogue with Russian officials, which during Russia-gate was deemed inherently suspect if not criminal.

I wrote about this endlessly and it’s infuriating to watch how liberals have been transformed into little Nazi-loving, cold-warriors due to their intense hatred of Donald Trump. The joke was and is on them. It’s clear that Russia-gate was never about removing Trump, it was about making sure Trump played along with neocon regime change plans for Moscow and manufacturing mainstream consent for the escalations we’re seeing today.

During the early stages of Russia-gate I joked that if Hitler were somehow reanimated and denounced Trump he would have been rehabilitated into the liberal fold like so many of the loathsome neocons have been.

Now that liberals have rehabilitated real Ukrainian Nazi’s in their sacred proxy-war against Putin and Russia it’s not that funny.

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Weapons of Financial Destruction

The US is waging a new kind of Cold War against Russia where the weapons are financial instead of kinetic. The corporate media won’t tell you this but the US and all its imperial member states are attempting to strangle Russia’s economy in response to a war they provoked because Putin threatens US unipolar planetary domination and the supremacy of American global capitalism.

These financial weapons exist in tandem with the US empire’s other tools. Narrative management constructs like Silicon Valley, Hollywood and the oligarchic corporate media play an even greater role in upholding the US-centralized empire than the US military.

The basic neocon plan was to sanction and seize the assets of the Russian oligarchs so that they would rise up and overthrow Putin and replace him with a more compliant comprador along the lines of a Navalny-like puppet. The US also froze $300 billion in Russian central bank assets and seized an undetermined amount of gold that the Russian had stored in western banks.

However, it’s become clear that our foreign policy and economic elite have made a serious miscalculation in thinking economic sanctions on Russia would bring them to their knees. The opposite is true. Russia is largely self-sufficient and is not dependent on imports. Meanwhile, its exports are critical to the economic well-being of the West. If they withhold wheat, potash, gas, oil, palladium, finished nickel and other key minerals from the West, the European and U.S. economies will be savaged.

The unprecedented sanctions against Russia have pushed energy costs higher in Europe and the US, driving record inflation and making it ever more expensive for farmers and truckers to fuel their machinery, afford fertilizer or keep up with other costs. In Europe, which is dependent on Russian energy and minerals, the sanctions have worsened an energy supply crunch that has driven up costs for households and businesses. And now Russia launched what amounts to a counter-sanction by mandating that all payments for Russian gas from “unfriendly countries” be made in rubles. 

All of this has officials in western countries worried. “Global economies will be rethinking how safe it is to rely on the US dollar in their foreign currency holdings”, the deputy head of the International Monetary Fund, Gita Gopinath, said on Tuesday. The statement comes after half of Russia’s forex holdings were effectively confiscated by international financial institutions amid sanctions placed on Moscow following the launch of its military operation in Ukraine. The IMF isn’t the only institution to highlight this trend. Just the other day, Goldman Sachs released a note warning that “the twilight of the US dollar’s global hegemony could be at hand”, citing the possibility of Saudi Arabia accepting yuan for oil instead of dollars–“leading to deep fissures in the edifice of the petrodollar”– as evidence.

Warning such as these are hardly unprecedented. For more than a generation the most prominent U.S. diplomats have warned about what they thought would represent the ultimate external threat: an alliance of Russia and China dominating Eurasia.

Watching all of this unfold one senses an air of desperation in Washington. There is fear that the U.S. “financial leadership” is under threat–fears that have been magnified by the way US and EU sanctions against Russia, particularly the confiscation of a large chunk of Russia’s foreign currency reserves have backfired, encouraging not just Russia but countries like China to seek out an alternative to the US dollar as the world reserve currency. Perversely, America’s economic sanctions and military confrontation have driven these two countries together, and are driving other countries into their emerging Eurasian orbit.

A little history is probably in order. The United States maintained the dollar as the worlds reserve currency after WWII by being the largest holder of gold and the key creditor. When the US went off the gold standard in 1971 due to the balance of payments deficits, thanks to Vietnam war spending, the new US Treasury bill standard freed the economy from having to do what other debtor countries must do when they run payment deficits–raise their interest rates and impose austerity to balance their international payments.

Heterodox-economist Michael Hudson’s Super Imperialism, published in 1973, described how this came about. “Foreign central banks no longer are able to hold America to account by cashing in their surplus dollars for gold or for appropriation of US assets. As America’s balance-of-paymets deficit widens, foreign central banks simply add the surplus dollars to their reserves, mainly in the form of US Treasury IOUs. Other countries monetary assets are thus America’s monetary debt. Instead of undercutting America’s economic power, the US deficit has siphoned off other countries surpluses, exploiting them financially–as a debtor, not as a creditor as in times past. This unique American strategy is still not widely understood, mainly because it seems to at odds with most peoples ideas of what is fair and equitable. And, of course, it’s not in American interests for it to be widely understood.”

The key to this financial control is the petrodollar that came into existence in 1973 in the wake of the collapse of the international gold standard which was created in the aftermath of WWII under the Britton Woods agreements. These agreements also established the US dollar as the reserve currency of the world. The Nixon Administration thought that the collapse of the gold standard system would cause a decline in the global demand for the US dollar. So, the United States under Nixon struck a deal in 1973 with Saudi Arabia, essentially substituting oil for gold to help maintain demand for the dollar, because other countries who wanted to purchase oil had to purchase dollars first.

Under the terms of the deal, the Saudis would agree to price all of their oil exports in US dollars exclusively and be open to invest their surplus oil proceeds in US debt securities. In return, the United States offered weapons and protection of Saudi oil fields from neighboring countries including Israel. For the Americans, the petrodollar increases demand for the US dollar and also for US debt securities and allows the US to buy oil with a currency it can print at will. In 1975, all of the OPEC nations agreed to follow suit.

Maintaining the petrodollar, as Saddam Hussain and Mu’ammar Al-Qadhdhāfī could attest, is one of the absolutely crucial pillars of US foreign policy.

But now, thanks to the sanctions crazy foreign policy elite, all that is turning to dust.

No wonder US officials are freaking out.

Hudson lays out the future: “To escape from an intrusive world financial order based on the current US free lunch, China, Russia and other countries are moving to create alternative regional currency blocs so as to de-dollarize their trade and payments. America’s response has been to impose punitive sanctions to deter such moves. This has brought about precisely what its diplomats most feared. For instance, threats to starve Russians by blocking food exports to them, and to cut them off from the SWIFT bank-clearing system, have obliged them to become self-sufficient in these areas. Avoidance of reliance on imports from the US and its allies is now an irreversible trend.”

Can you say–cutting off your nose to spite your face?

I have stated this before but it’s more evidence that we have a decadent and decaying feral-elite feebly attempting to manage complex systems they don’t understand.

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Real Men go to Tehran

What small subset of the US national security state has been responsible for the series of stunning foreign policy catastrophes over the last 20 years?

Give yourself a cookie if you answered the neoconservatives.

As former investigative journalist par-excellence, Robert Parry, puts it: “There is a “little-old-lady-who-swallowed-the-fly’ quality to neocon thinking. When one of their schemes goes bad, they simply move to a bigger, more dangerous scheme.

If the Palestinians and Lebanon’s Hezbollah persist in annoying you and troubling Israel, you target their sponsors with “regime change” in Iraq, Syria and Iran. If your “regime change” in Iraq goes badly, you escalate the subversion of Syria and the bankrupting of Iran.

Just when you think you’ve cornered President Barack Obama into a massive bombing campaign against Syria with a possible follow-on war against Iran Putin steps in to give Obama a peaceful path out, getting Syria to surrender its chemical weapons and Iran to agree to constraints on its nuclear program.

So, this Obama-Putin collaboration has become your new threat. That means you take aim at Ukraine, knowing its sensitivity to Russia. You support an uprising against elected President Viktor Yanukovych, even though neo-Nazi militias are needed to accomplish the actual coup. You get the U.S. State Department to immediately recognize the coup regime although it disenfranchises many people of eastern and southern Ukraine, where Yanukovych had his political base.

When Putin steps in to protect the interests of those ethnic Russian populations and supports the secession of Crimea (endorsed by 96 percent of voters in a hastily called referendum), your target shifts again. Though you’ve succeeded in your plan to drive a wedge between Obama and Putin, Putin’s resistance to your Ukraine plans makes him the next focus of regime change.”

Being such a small cohort, the neocons, in concert with the corporate media, have become adapt at pushing the noble lie. Indeed, in this milieu, where a sizable segment of Americans have been abandoned, a noble lie can be used to give a rules-based order a last gasp. Its inherent power can be harnessed to whip Americans into a war fever. After all, what better unifying force than the grand American project of war to energize one’s desire for a reappropriated national significance.

The noble lie is designed to obfuscate any notion of an American empire, the neocon plan to control the Eurasian landmass, the way in which Ukraine is the key to such control, the eastward expansion of NATO, how the US has trained and armed Ukrainian Neo-Nazi para-militaries to such ends, etc. Instead it’s simply the diabolical Putin and aggressor Russia attacking innocent, defenseless Ukraine, placing the liberal, international order in grave peril.

Even with 9/11 I have never seen the U.S. media so united in pressing a case–in this instance persuading the people that the expansion of NATO is not an aggressive thing, but that Russia is the aggressor.

During the Cold War the neocons demonized labor, independent media, human rights organizations, and those who opposed the permanent war economy and the militarization of American society as soft on communism. That is why they have resurrected the new, and improved Cold War against Russia. In our brain-addled, propagandized milieu, it’s child’s play

Understanding this dynamic helps explain the neocons antipathy towards Trump, who articulated an old-fashioned America-first semi-isolationism that was highly cautious of foreign adventurism. Although it’s hard to tell if he was serious, Trump campaigned on the idea of returning the USA to an “American first” outlook by cleaning up its own internal messes, extracting CIA operations from the military, cutting the USA out of the Big Pharma-led World Health Organization, defunded regime change organizations like NED abroad and returning to a traditionally American policy of protective tariffs were all extremely important initiatives that Trump put into motion, and set a precedent which must be capitalized upon by nationalist forces from all parties wishing to save their republic from an oncoming calamity. To the neocons, who at heart are very much interventionists and empire builders, these were fighting words.

Hence the attacks on him as a Russian puppet.

Indeed, I’ve come to believe that the events of the last few weeks are the culmination of Russia-gate, where the neocons destroyed not only Trump, but any of the semi-isolationist sentiments any of the MAGA supporters might still harbor. The neocons’ propensity to hurl treason accusations at anyone opposing their wars is part of what made them so despised before they were re-branded as liberal heroes of the #Resistance after Trump’s election.

The point here is not just what happens when these realities inherent in the neocons noble lie collide, but what happens when this hyper emotional, moralizing narrative is forced into full consciousness as having been wrong? To wit, while the US and NATO are winning the propaganda war, Russia is succeeding in its kinetic war. This is the break in the matrix problem brought about by taking the hyper-moralizing information dominance up to 11.

It poses a question. In what way will American public opinion turn if all the hype falls flat, and the “bad guys” win the game, especially as gas goes to $7 a gallon? Presently our neocon influenced politicians and corporate media have whipped the public into such a Russia-hating frenzy that I don’t see a way back. Will people turn against their present leaderships, or opt to double-down, demanding more “war” as instincts rebel against any the realization of failure inflicted upon settled quasi-religious convictions? The outcome to this psychic dilemma may determine whether we are heading to escalation and extended war, or not.

All of these machinations run the risk of nuclear conflagration, but the neocons and the always-war corporate media apparently think the risks are well worth it.

But we might remember what happened to the little old lady in the ditty, when she swallowed the horse.

She was dead, of course.

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