1. If you read Argentina: The Country That Monsanto Poisoned, you're going to have a hard time dispelling the sneaking suspicion that Monsanto may very well be the most evil corporation on Earth, like all your "hippie" friends have been saying all along. It begins:
American biotechnology has turned Argentina into the world’s third-largest soybean producer, but the chemicals powering the boom aren’t confined to soy and cotton and corn fields. They routinely contaminate homes and classrooms and drinking water. A growing chorus of doctors and scientists is warning that their uncontrolled use could be responsible for the increasing number of health problems turning up in hospitals across the South American nation. In the heart of Argentina’s soybean business, house-to-house surveys of 65,000 people in farming communities found cancer rates two to four times higher than the national average, as well as higher rates of hypothyroidism and chronic respiratory illnesses. Associated Press photographer Natacha Pisarenko spent months documenting the issue in farming communities across Argentina.
Trust me, it doesn't get any better from that point on. Of course, there is a parapolitical take on this story and this company that makes excellent grist for the conspiracy theorists' mill, and we'll be coming back to this story both here and on the Useless Eater Blog in the coming months. So make this either the last thing you read in 2014, or the first thing you read in 2015, and then start thinking about how you and I can make a difference on this issue. Our collective future may depend upon it.
2. For those of you who've already followed your friends' advice and watched Charlie Brooker's epochal anthology series for Channel 4, Black Mirror, this New Yorker appreciation piece on the series will be completely superfluous. For those of you who continue to resist this program's stygian charms, however, it might just be the kick in the ass required for you to get off your duffs, find the damn thing, and finally get down to the dirty business of watching the best TV show produced on planet Earth in years.
3. And finally for today, here's a link to an extensive overview of books and articles relating to the failed attempt to tame Afghanistan, written by James Meek from a British point of view, as published in a recent edition of the London Review of Books. It's a massive, magisterial piece of writing (or, if you prefer, you can listen to the first bit as an audio podcast at the link), that begins:
In the morning, I left the village where I’d spent the night, the village where, in the ninth century, a famous king had beaten the army of a northern warlord. I climbed a steep path to a high plateau and walked along dusty tracks. There was gunfire in the distance. In the early afternoon I rested on a hilltop, on the ramparts of ancient fortifications whose shape was outlined in soft bulges and shadings on the slopes. Down in the fertile flatlands, I could see rows of the armoured behemoths Britain bought to protect its troops in Afghanistan from roadside bombs, painted the colour of desert sand and crowded around the maintenance sheds of a military base. There was a roar from the road below and the squeak of tank tracks. A column of Warriors clanked up the hill. The Warrior is a strong fighting vehicle. It can protect a team of soldiers as it carries them into battle. Bullets bounce off it. A single inch-thick shell from its cannon can do terrible damage to anything unarmoured it hits. But these Warriors looked tired. They came into service in the late 1980s, just as the Cold War they’d been designed for was ending, and Afghanistan has a way of diminishing and humbling military technology.
Anybody wishing to understand the depth of the failure in Afghanistan needs to become familiar with the information contained in this awesome, clear-headed, near-book-sized summation. "Worse than a defeat", indeed.
1. You know how, in the strange online world of "conspiracy theory" research, individuals who fall out of favor with any particular message board's groupthink - and stick to their guns about it - will invariably be called out as "disinfo" agents? It's a serious accusation, to declare someone a paid provocateur with a mandate to infiltrate an online group full of legitimate, unbiased truth-seekers and pervert their ability to properly assess the goings-on by mixing a little bit of truth with a whole lot of fabrication, thus rendering everything and anything that group comes to take as an assumed truth more easy to "debunk" at some future point in time. Well, after reading this article from the Leopold Report - an article that paints in intricate, detailed little brushstrokes just exactly how damaging to the concepts of truth and justice and history a real disinformation agent can truly be - you'll never again call someone who is merely wrong-headed or dogmatic a disinfo agent.
This Oswald LeWinter fellow (1931-2013) described at the link is a criminal of the highest order, and you'll be shocked to discover how one CIA-connected literature prof's twisted lie/truth combos have hindered and poisoned investigations into everything from the murder of Olaf Palme to the October Surprise. Everyone from InterPol to Pentagon whistleblower Barbara Honegger got caught up in his web of bullshit.
A key bit:
[Journalist Robert] Parry asked LeWinter why he had contacted journalists to - as he claimed - expose October Surprise, when he had submitted so much obviously false information. One of these was that he claimed that one of Reagan's advisers had been in Paris and negotiated with the Iranian leadership, when it was easy to prove that the same person at that time was in the US - as a participant in a live television program (Parry 1993:67ff).
"I was asked by some people to mount a disinformation campaign". [..] "Barbara Honegger [..] had started enough interest in the newspaper community and the media to throw a negative light on George Bush's candidacy, potentially a negative light. The people who asked me to intervene felt that the country could not stand another Watergate, another major political scandal and upheaval, and also worried that the Democratic party's candidate might have hurt the intelligence community, which was just in the process of recovering from the damage that had been done to it during the Carter administration."
His next statement is important:
"I contacted Barbara Honegger through another person. [..] I managed to pass on some information to her which had factual elements in it, but also elements that with a little bit of digging could be discovered to be questionable. The story would lead some investigators to spend time and effort running into blind alleys, with the result that eventually the whole story would be discredited."
LeWinter also admitted to having received USD 100,000 in payment for his disinformation campaign.
Ultimately, it took a man like investigative journalist Robert Parry (a personal favorite of mine) to suss out just a bit of the truth about LeWinter's true character. This is truly terrifying stuff, and one of the reasons why perjury is considered such a serious goddamn crime.
2. Even though I can't help but harbor suspicions that Western accounts of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin's criminal depravity have been exaggerated for a century's worth of propaganda purposes, this American Scholar article about Stalin's unlikely rise to power is still very much worth your time.
Except for Mao, and perhaps Genghis Khan, Joseph Stalin stands as the greatest mass murderer in history. His war on the peasantry killed perhaps 14 million people, half of whom were deliberately starved to death. This project of “dekulakization” and “collectivization” overshadows even the Great Purge of 1936–38, which claimed some four million lives. Several small ethnic minorities suspected of disloyalty lost half their population, and tens of millions were swallowed into the massive system of forced labor camps known as the Gulag Archipelago. ...
How was all this carnage possible? How did a revolution made in the name of social justice, and supported by so many progressive spirits around the world, lead to such monstrous results? What made Stalin capable of such cruelty, and how did he manage to accumulate the power to practice it?
Keep reading to find out more!
3. One of the most intriguing if little known episodes of the Cold War Collapse era involved Frank Zappa's brief tenure as "special ambassador to the West on trade, culture and tourism" for the newly-liberated nation of Czechoslovakia. See, it turns out Vaclav Havel - dissident author and leading figure in the "Velvet Revolution" - was a really big fan of Zappa's band, The Mothers. As journalist Jack Anderson explained it in his oddly apologetic account of the events:
Havel, a playwright known for absurd satire, met Zappa in Prague in January 1990, and the two men hit it off immediately. Havel had long been a fan of Zappa's music genius and even credited his music as part of the inspiration for the anti-communist revolution. A Czech group, The Plastic People of the Universe, named after one of Zappa's songs, copied his style and became an underground sensation in Czechoslovakia. Their revolutionary lyrics so irritated the communist government that the group was thrown behind bars for disturbing the peace. That mobilized Havel and other artists to form a dissident group that led the opposition and, after communism was toppled, formed the nucleus of the current Czech government. So Havel had plenty to thank Zappa for. He was so grateful, in fact, that he impetuously created the special ambassadorship for Zappa. The musician left town with Havel's praise in his ears and the adulation of hundreds of fans who treated him as a Czech national hero.
Unfortunately for Frank, the Bush Crime Family didn't much care for the cut of his jib. They dispatched their most trusted consigliere, unindicted co-conspirator James Baker III, to threaten Havel thusly:
"You can do business with the United States or you can do business with Frank Zappa."
Frank Zappa happens to be my very favorite musician, as well as a personal hero and an ongoing inspiration for more reasons than I could possibly list in this space. So you'll forgive me for being suspicious about the fact that this rather formidable individual would be dead and buried a mere three years after his brush with Pure Evil, chronicled above.
One of the goals I have for Useless Eater Blog is that it serve as something like an ongoing undergraduate-level course in parapolitical science. Obviously, not every post or article is going to be in keeping with this lofty ambition - I'm only human after all, and am not above using my tiny platform to launch the occasional editorial cheap-shot, or pick on the odd easy target for a laugh - but my resolution for the New Year is to make sure the substance/bullshit ratio becomes a little less embarrassing to me.
In order to separate the wheat from the chaff, I will be creating a new Useless Eater Blog sub-section called ParaPolitical Science 101. In this section, I will be warehousing those posts and articles that I feel meet a certain standard and serve to increase my regular readers' knowledge and awareness about everything from forgotten chapters in ancient history, to in depth analysis of contemporary "conspiracy culture" developments... for better or worse.
Having said that, my study guides, or "concordances", for Scott Noble's excellent documentary series The Power Principle represent exactly the kind of work that I'm going to be doing more of in the coming years. In these three articles, I attempt to summarize - and, in certain respects, expand upon - the information presented in these insightful, thought-provoking documentary films, which Information Clearing House called "probably the best documentary ever made about American foreign policy."
I'll be using Metanoia Films' own summaries to describe the contents of each film in the series.
An Introduction to the Empire; Iran – Oil and Geopolitics; Guatemala – the “merger of state and corporate power”; The Congo – Neocolonialism; Grenada – “The Mafia Doctrine”; Chile – “libertarianism with a small l"; Globalization: Consequences. 1945: Grand Area Strategy; Fascism: a “rational system of the plutocracy”; Case Studies: the Greek Communists; The Italian Communists; the Spanish Anarchists; Fascism’s Western backers; Trading with the Enemy; Fascism as “preservation of civilization”; the Cold War and “A Century of Fear”.
The Soviet Menace?; Case Studies: El Salvador, Nicaragua; Propaganda: Self-Deception and blowback; The “International Communist Conspiracy”; Declassified Documents; NSC 68; The Pentagon as Keynsian Mechanism; The Military Industrial Complex; The War against the Third World; Shifting rationales; What is imperialism?; Case Study: Haiti; “War is a racket”. Fear-based conditioning - The War of the Worlds, The Triumph of the Will; World view Warfare; The Russians are coming; Television: The “perfect propaganda medium”; Soviet vs. American propaganda; Hollywood and the Pentagon; Psywarriors and the media; Operation Mockingbird; The Pentagon Pundits; Project Revere; The Bomber Gap; “scare the hell out of them”.
Mutually Assured Destruction; MAD men - Curtis Lemay and the super hawks; MAD men - Hermann Kahn and the Rand Corporation; Over flights as provocation; Cuba: the “danger of a good example”; terrorism against Cuba; “Unconventional warfare”; the Cuban Missile Crisis and the “man who saved the world”. Why did the Soviet Union collapse?; Gorbachev: a “more violent, less stable world”; the Pentagon’s New Map; Did Ronald Reagan end the Cold War?; The Brink of Apocalypse: Able Archer; The betrayal of Russia; The expansion of NATO; Yugoslavia and Libya; the Yeltsin coup; Living standards in the former Soviet Union; A third way?
Ideally, I would urge you to watch each of these three films from beginning to end, in the proper order, with my study guides open in another browser should you require clarification or more information about all the various historical events, individuals, or contributors therein. However, for the parapolitical seeker who is short on time, my concordances can also serve as a handy summary of these three feature-length films, in a format that shouldn't take you much more than twenty minutes to read, total. Hence my suggestion that you "clip and save" them somewhere for future reference.
If you enjoyed my concordances for The Power Principle series, then you might also enjoy a similar piece I wrote a couple years ago for Lutz Dammbeck's 2003 documentary The Net: The Unabomber, LSD and the Internet. As with the above films, I guarantee that you will encounter a bunch of new, mind-blowing information that you've never come across before... all of it impeccably sourced and researched.
The following notes were taken by myself during viewings of the film. The text presented includes some direct references to statements made on camera (indicated by quotation marks), as well as a number of observations, side references and potential avenues for further inquiry that came to mind as I watched. I do this because I believe this film to be an important document in the field of parapolitics, and anything I can do to help get it seen by more people - and, in particular, the RIGHT people - I see as worth doing. Secondly, I wanted to create an easy-to-use text and image based "study guide" that both documents and compliments the information presented in the film. As always, I leave it for you readers to decide whether or not I have succeeded on that count. - YOPJ 15/22/2014
“This film contains controversial subject matter. Interview subjects and creators of some source material may not agree with certain views presented. The Power Principle is a non-profit documentary and has been released online for free.”
"It is essential to release humanity from the false fixations of yesterday, which seem now to bind it to a rationale of action leading only to extinction."
- R. Buckminster Fuller
PART ONE - THE GREAT GOD "M.A.D." (00:00)
- We begin with historic speeches by Winston Churchill and John F. Kennedy.
- Churchill, speaking to America's Congress: "The sooner strong enough forces can be assembled in Europe under united command, the more effective will be the deterrence against a third World War. If I may say this, members of the Congress, be careful, above all things, therefore, not to let go of the atomic weapon until you are sure - and more than sure - that other means of preserving peace are in your hands."
- JFK (June 10, 1963): "It is an ironic but accurate fact that the two strongest powers are the two in the most danger of devastation. All we have built, all we have worked for, would be destroyed in the first 24 hours. And even in the Cold War, which brings burdens and dangers to so many countries, including this nation's closest allies, our two countries bear the heaviest burdens. So we are both devoting massive sums of money to weapons that could be better devoted to combat ignorance, poverty and disease."
- M.A.D. stands for Mutually Assured Destruction, and it was the only thing - according to Cold War strategists and think tank intellectuals - keeping the USSR from destroying the USA with its atomic weapons, and vice-versa. "If one of the superpowers attacked, their own nation would be annihilated in turn." It was kind of an anti-strategy, a perpetual state of stalemate that only ever evolved behind a never-crossed battle-line.
- At the time of the 13-day-long incident known as the Cuban Missile Crisis, which took place in October of 1962, the situation was far from a level playing field. "American missiles in Turkey were already pointed straight at the heart of Moscow" giving them an obvious "first strike" capability.
- An examination of the rhetoric and - more importantly - the actions of the American military leadership at the time, the Soviet fear of Americans launching a first strike against them was no mere by-product of a paranoid imagination.
- Shortly after the culmination of World War II, LeMay drew up plans for a single, massive, first-strike attack on the Soviet Union. It would have entailed dropping 133 atomic bombs - America's entire stockpile at the time - on 70 target cities, over a time-span of 30 days. At the time, he was quoted by The Washington Post as stating: "Every major American city - Washington, New York, Philadelphia, Detroit, Chicago, Los Angeles - will be reduced to rubble. Similarly principle cities of the Soviet Union would be destroyed."
"LeMay was absolutely certain that the United States was going to have to fight a nuclear war with the Soviet Union, and that we should fight it sooner rather than later."
Robert MacNamara, US
- Former CIA officer Robert Steele lays it out bluntly: "It was the United States that provoked the Soviet Union. The Strategic Air Command was flying strategic bombers over the north pole deep into the Soviet Union when they had no defenses, just to see how far they could get. This is why the Soviets built up missile defenses and so forth. They didn't have the money for this, but we pushed them into an arms race. And that was our mistake, and the public was completely ignorant of the fact that the United States of America was pushing the Soviet Union into defending themselves."
- This is not to imply that the Soviets didn't engage in some bad behavior of their own. Once the arms race got underway, the rhetoric and provocations flew hot and thick both ways in the most high-stakes game of international ping-pong in history.
- On October 30, 1961, the Soviets broke a voluntary moratorium on live nuclear weapons tests and detonated a device that has subsequently been called "Russian Monster Bomb", "Mother of All Bombs", "Father of All Bombs" and - perhaps most infamously - "Tsar Bomba", or "Emperor Bomb". Detonating with the force of 50 MILLION TONS of TNT, it remains, to this day, the most powerful man-made explosion ever produced.
- The parallels between Stanley Kubrick's Cold War satire Dr. Strangelove or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb and what was going on behind the scenes at the Pentagon and in various think tanks, such as the Rand Corporation, are many and disturbing.
A TANGENT RE: STRANGELOVE AND THE DEEP STATE
- Over at VISUPblog, a writer going by the name of Recluse has produced an absolutely fascinating series of profound, densely-packed articles - titled Dr Strangelove: A Strange and Terrible Glimpse Into the Deep State - that tie together everything from Carroll Quigley's theories about the Anglo-American Establishment, the "Four Establishment Model of Western Politics", Cold War near-misses culled from the deep biographies of Robert MacNamara, McGeorge Bundy, Curtis LeMay and other such super-powered, death-loving lunatics of the Military Industrial Intelligence Complex...
- ...and that's just in Part ONE! Believe it or not, Part TWO goes even deeper into multiple para-political domains, touching on everything from the JFK assassination and Operation Northwoods to those supreme technocratic elites Edward Teller and Herman Kahn. As you might have guessed, Part Three and Part Four and Part Five are equally impressive and encyclopaedic. I really can't recommend this series strongly enough. Any fan of The Power Principle documentary series will find much there to appreciate.
- Rand was a think-tank that, at the time, was largely devoted to conducting intellectual war games in preparation for an eventual - many thought inevitable - nuclear war with the USSR. One of Rand's leading technocrats was the aforementioned Herman Kahn. Kahn believed that America's nuclear arsenal was "a wasting resource"... "a precious commodity" in danger of "depreciation" on the global marketplace. He didn't advocate for a first strike, but he believed nuclear war was "winnable" and thought the US should at least plan for it. The Rockefeller Foundation liked the proverbial cut of Kahn's intellectual jib so much that they gave him a million dollar grant to continue pursuing his ideas.
WE NOW TURN TO CUBA ITSELF (08:30)
- Historically, Cuba has always been a political thorn in America's big toe. The idea of the island remaining independent has been "anathema to all American policy-makers since Thomas Jefferson."
- In a letter to James Madison, Jefferson remarked that Spain could continue to rule the island "until our people are sufficiently advanced to take those territories from the Spanish, bit by bit."
- In 1878, Secretary of State James Blaine remarked: "There are only three places that are of value enough to be taken. One is Hawaii. The others are Cuba and Puerto Rico." The Americans successfully took all three, but one had a successful revolution.
- Prior to the revolution, the majority of Cuba's arable land was owned by foreign individuals and corporations (mostly American), a situation that was just fine with the crooked regime of President Fulgencio Batista.
- During the Cuban RevolutionFidel Castro's "26th of July Movement" forces killed 500 people, either in combat or via execution. It is without a doubt, however, that Castro and his forces had the support of the vast majority of the Cuban people behind them.
- After becoming President, JFK enlisted his friend, noted historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr. to head up a "Latin American Study Group". The report conducted by this group concluded that the most pressing concern was "the Castro idea of taking matters into your own hands."
- Since the overthrow of the Batista regime, Cuba has been subjected to literally hundreds of terrorist attacks - everything from the bombing of hotels and industrial operations to the poisoning of crops and the sinking of fishing boats - by the United States government. Once again, we see attempts to crush "the danger of a good example", by any means necessary, regardless of how many innocent lives are destroyed in the process.
- Incidentally, if you don't know about Operation Northwoods by now, it's well past time you educated yourself on this topic, as it is one of the most illuminating incidents in regards to the lengths to which The Powers That Be are willing to go, just to get their way and punish their ideological "enemies".
- But for all its horror, at least Operation Northwoods was never carried out. The same cannot be said of Operation Mongoose. In the war against Cuba's good example, no tactic was ruled inadmissible; no holds were barred. They submitted Cuba to a perverse parody of the biblical plagues of Exodus - unleashing crop-devouring, disease-ridden insects on Cuban farmlands, giving vials of African Swine Virus to anti-Castro guerilla groups... Officially, 634 plots to murder Fidel Castro were concocted by the CIA, the Pentagon, and other American establishment organizations.
- In the paragraph above, I say that Northwoods was never carried out. Celebrated conspiracy scholar John Judge believed that they actually did go ahead with Nortwhwoods, in the form of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. See this excerpt from TPPIII director Scott Noble's interview with Judge, below, for his thinking on this topic.
- It was only after years of severe provocation that Castro began to consider allowing the USSR to construct a missile base there. Prior to that, he had gone through all the official channels in an effort to get help. In July 1960 he provided the United NationsSecurity Council with incontrovertible evidence of more than 20 illegal American air bombings in Cuba, but the UN turned a blind eye.
Click to Enlarge
BAY OF PIGS (16:40)
- The disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion "laid the groundwork for one of the most dangerous moments in history." Here, we come face to face with one of the most important parapolitical events of all time. Its echo can be heard in everything from the assassination of President John F. Kennedy to the War in Vietnam to Watergate, to the blatant Bush Crime Familytheft of elections in 2000, 2002 and 2004, to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, etc. The connections are myriad and multifold, much too much so to be accurately summarized here. I say this to you here and now so that when you come to these realizations on your own, you'll realize that you are not alone, and that you're probably correct.
"I thought, if we expected the Soviets to fight on our behalf, to run risks for us, and even involve themselves in war for our sake, it would be immoral and cowardly on our part to refuse the acceptance of those missiles here."
- Fidel Castro
- October 27, 1962 would eventually earn the name "Black Saturday" at the Kennedy White House. That's because even though it was the last day of the crisis, it was also on this day that - among other terrifying incidents - American Navy ships dropped practice depth charges on a Soviet submarine that was holding steady at the blockade line... a Soviet submarine armed with a nuclear-tipped torpedo and orders to launch if their hull was breached. As the explosions grew closer, the three Soviet officers on board began debating whether to launch. The decision would have to be unanimous. One of the three refused to consent. His name was Vasili Arkhipov, and many Cold War scholars believe he single-handedly averted World War III.
- As mentioned above, a lot more happened on that day. For instance, an American U-2 spy plane made an "accidental" 90-minute overflight of Soviet airspace on the USSR's far eastern coast, causing the Soviets to scramble MiGs, and the US, in turn, to scramble nuclear-capable fighter jets over the Bering Sea. It was also the day that Soviet Premiere Nikita Khrushchev received the so-called "Armageddon Letter" from Fidel Castro, urging the Soviets to launch a nuclear strike if the US tried to invade Cuba again.
- It was only through a series of Top Secret communications between Kennedy and Khrushchev - kept secret from the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who were itching for a nuclear conflagration - that all out nuclear war was averted. In fact, the October 28 agreement that brought hostilities to an end was hammered out the night before in a secret meeting between Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy and Soviet Ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin. While the Soviets agreed to pull their missile base out of Cuba, the US agreed to dismantle its missile batteries in Turkey and Italy. The Joint Chiefs would never have agreed to such bartering... so it's a damn good thing they were left out of the decision making process. The Kennedys, of course, would eventually pay dearly for this brief, shining moment of basic human sanity.
THE FALL OF THE SOVIET UNION (21:30)
"For much of the 20th century, the philosophy of Communism served as a justification for the Imperial ambitions of the West, and yet the fall of the Soviet Union was not even predicted by the CIA itself. The collapse was caused by numerous factors. In the West, analysts often point to a corrupt bureaucracy, the desire for more consumer goods, lack of civil liberties, and the weakening of the Old Guard. Perhaps the greatest factor was the Soviet Union's own internal contradictions."
- What role did President Ronald Reagan, his "Evil Empire" rhetoric, and his policies play in the Soviet collapse? But was Reagan's increase in military spending really such an important factor? It has been argued that, with the successful invasion of Grenada (the most one-sided fight in military history), Reagan single-handedly overcame the Vietnam Syndrome and gave birth to a new, simplistic American "militarism".
"The general effect of Cold War extremism was to delay rather than hasten the great change that overtook the Soviet Union."
- One of the most harrowing and disturbing documentary explorations of the effects that nuclear weapons have on human being is 1980's Nuclear War: Guide to Armageddon. and you may watch it in its entirety below. If you've ever wondered what flying glass can do to a pumpkin, or what hunks of meat look like when blasted with a flamethrower, then this is the movie for you!
- Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative, nick-named Star Wars by the press, was only one facet of his military build-up. The most dangerous venture was his proposal for the stationing of new, medium-range missiles throughout Europe in November of 1983.
"To ignore the facts of history and the aggressive impulses of an Evil Empire, to simply call the arms race a giant misunderstanding, and thereby remove yourself from the struggle between right and wrong, between good and evil."
- Ronald Reagan
- Launching a nuclear attack from Europe would allow the USA to deliver a first-strike that gave the USSR only six minutes to respond... a virtual impossibility. When considered in conjunction with Reagan's increasingly bellicose rhetoric, it's easy to see why the Soviets were deeply concerned. His tactics fueled the paranoia of the hardliners in the USSR's leadership.
- September 29, 1983. A computer malfunction at a nuclear warning facility near Moscow falsely indicates an American nuclear attack on multiple Russian targets. The probability indicator was at LEVEL ONE... the highest possible rating. So what prevented the Soviets from launching a retaliatory strike? Only one thing... one man. His name was Stanislav Petrov. He didn't have the ability to launch a retaliation, but it was his responsibility to inform his superiors, who could have done so. Indeed, subsequent research has found that, if Petrov had passed along the message, Soviet authorities very likely would have launched a retaliatory strike. So one man's "hunch" that something wasn't right very likely prevented World War III.
- Also in 1983, The Pentagon and NATO engaged in a massive operation war-gaming an all-out nuclear first-strike attack on the USSR, code-named "Able Archer". Because the Nazi invasion of Russia had also begun under cover of war-game preparations, the Soviets worried that history was about to repeat itself. Thus, they secretly mobilized their entire military in preparation. "One mistake by either side, and a holocaust would have resulted."
- Ronald Reagan is given credit for "ending" the Cold War. When the rest of his body finally followed his brain into the grave, the USA was caught up in the kind of bizarre paroxysms of cultish grief not seen since the days of the early Egyptian Pharaonic Dynasties. The truth is, he very nearly succeeded in causing Armageddon.
PERESTROIKA AND GLASNOST (36:30)
In the late 1980's Mikhail Gorbachev began his policies of Perestroika and Glasnost. Gorbachev proposed cutting offensive strategic arms in half, jointly safe-guarding the environment, banning weapons in outer space, ending exploitation of the Third World, and cancelling Third World debt payments. Elites in the United States had something different in mind.
- "Gorbachev had envisioned for post-Soviet Russia a social democracy similar to the Scandinavian nations. Instead, the West insisted on savage "free market" reforms that amounted to a mass-pillaging of Russian resources, with some industries being sold for as little as 2 percent of their actual value. The Russian parliament disapproved of the measures by a rate of 10 to 1. After a coup and counter-coup, Boris Yeltsin bombed his own parliament."
- By the end of the "transition" to "free markets" in Russia, a full 40 percent of that nation's economy was run by underworld, or criminal, organizations.
"We feel that Boris Yeltsin is the best hope for democracy in Russia."
- Vice-President Al Gore
- Why wasn't NATO disbanded after the USSR fell apart?
- Noam Chomsky: "In 1989, the Berlin Wall fell, the Soviet Union collapsed. I mean, anybody who believed the propaganda of the last fifty years would say, okay, NATO will be disbanded. In fact, there was a promise to Gorbachev - George Bush Number One, who was President at the time, made sure that the promise was never in writing; it was a verbal agreement - this has been well studied - it was a verbal agreement which Gorbachev naively took seriously, not realizing who he was dealing with. It was a verbal agreement that if Gorbachev permitted Germany to be reunified and incorporated within NATO - which was quite a concession - then NATO would guarantee that they wouldn't extend one inch to the east... But Bush was careful enough not to put it in writing, so that promise went out the window very quickly."
- So why wasn't NATO disbanded? According to Chomsky, it was because the US had to "make sure Europe doesn't go off on an independent course. And NATO prevents that, keeps Europe under US command.
- Today, NATO has become "a US-run global intervention force." The current NATO mission is "to protect oil resources, energy resources, pipelines and sea lanes."
YUGOSLAVIA AND LIBYA (39:00)
"You do not come to the rescue of civilians with bombs and missiles. Bombs and missiles are part of a killing machine, and they inevitably will kill civilians."
- March 2011, US and allied forces attack Libya. This time, the attack was sanctioned by the United Nations Security Council.
- In both attacks, the official reason for American involvement? "Humanitarian intervention." In both attacks, the US sided with some very unsavory allies, indeed. In both attacks, thousands of innocent people were slaughtered. In both attacks, leaders who had once been American allies (however tenuous), but who had fallen out of favor, were "taken out" with extreme prejudice.
- Sara Flounders: "After the war, when they did the count, they found that US NATO bombs had destroyed 14 tanks in Serbia. 14 tanks! But they had also bombed 437 schools."
THE PENTAGON'S NEW MAP (43:00)
- American military geostrategist Thomas Barnett has laid the whole thing out for us in a nice, neat, tight little package called "the Pentagon's New Map". It relates to the graphic directly above in a number of ways that become no less spooky or "new world order-ish" once you understand the full context.
"A premium on forward deterrence and strikes! We've got to stay out there! We've got to avoid what we've been doing for the last 15 years, which is sucking the troops back home. So, are the boys coming home? No! They're NEVER coming home!"
COLD WAR CONCLUSIONS (52:30)
"In 2009, 20 years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the PEW Charitable Trust conducted a poll of Eastern Europeans. It revealed a deep ambivalence about the transition from Communism to free market capitalism. The poll notes that, in many nations, majorities or pluralities say that most people were actually better off under Communism. The figure is lowest in East Germany and highest in Hungary, where fully 72% of the population prefer the Communist model. In Eastern Europe as a whole, only 1/3 believes their country is run for the benefit of all people, only 1/4 believes that most elected officials care what ordinary people think, and only 1 in 3 is satisfied with capitalist democracy. The poll gave participants two options: Soviet style communism or free market capitalism. A third choice was not offered."
- Michael Albert describes a pretty rosy potential future world, as well as a slew of great reasons why currently entrenched elites will never in a million years allow that rosy potential future world to happen. Not on their watch, it won't.
- In his essay Slaying Goliath - Give David a Stone, Bo Filter says: "The report US MILITARY SPENDING FISCAL YEARS 1945-2008 by the Center for Defense Information calculates that the US has spent $21 trillion on 'defense' since WWII. The Campaign Against Arms Trade estimates that it would cost $17 billion per year to provide adequate food, water, education, health and housing to everyone in the world. According to these figures, war is 20.5 times more expensive than lifting the entire world out of poverty, based on US spending alone."
*** **** ***
A report by the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation lists over 20 "close calls" involving a potential nuclear exchange during the Cold War. In 1998, a report published in the New England Journal of Medicine suggested that the risk of accidental nuclear war had increased since the fall of the Soviet Union.
Globally, there are now over 23,000 nuclear warheads. The United States and Russian possess the vast majority of the total. China, Israel, France and the UK also possess huge arsenals.
In 1963, the U.S. began testing the "Neutron Bomb:. The weapon was explicitly designed to kill humans with radiation while preserving property.
In January 2001, a congressionally mandated space commission headed by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld recommended the US government "vigorously pursue" weapons in outer space.
In response to the US push to weaponize space, Chinese ambassador Sha Zukang stated in 2005 that "China... may be forced to review the arms control and nonproliferation policies it has adopted since the end of the Cold War."
On September 17, 2002, the US released its new National Security Strategy. It announced that the United States would "make no distinction between terrorists and the nations that harbor them", and that American forces would preventively attack other nations "before threats materialize."
In 2002, the United States unilaterally withdrew from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in order to pursue space weaponization and a "missile defense shield: in Europe.
The "missile defense shield", which the Obama administration continues to support, would "neutralize Russia's deterrence potential", according to a top-level Russian diplomat quoted in Der Spiegel.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedv warned in 2011 that Russia will deploy missiles against the "shield" and may opt out of the New START nuclear reductions agreement.
Under the Obama administration, drone attacks against Pakistan and other nations have increased dramatically, killing thousands of people.
Let's polish things off with a massive dose of major league bullshit by American military "geostrategist" Thomas P.M. Barnett (discussed above) via his infamous 2002 "New Map Brief", which he delivered to dozens upon dozens of military audiences in the scrambled wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, when there was a collective thrashing about as the elites searched for some kind of direction in the chaos. See if you can count all the ways in which Barnett has since been proven WRONG. It's a fun drinking game, if nothing else!
1. The Scientology Christmas Catalog is equal parts mind-bendingly insane and embarrassingly pathetic... just the way you probably would have imagined it would be. The link provided actually doesn't take you to the catalog itself, but rather to a Deadspin rundown of some of the more ridiculous items that can be purchased therein. Here's an example:
Copy: "The Student Hat Dictionary contains every technical term, every slang word and phrase, every historical reference, defined exactly in the context Ron used them. This is a dictionary Scientologists have long dreamed of. With over 4,500 definitions …."
Drew says: Yes, 4,500 definitions! All of them wrong! Imagine paying $75 for your child to unlearn the language of English. Ah, but this dictionary of gobbledygook (sample entries: "all but," "all-out," "all the way through") is a bargain compared to the rest of the literature on hand in this catalog. In fact, if you want to talk like a weird old dead guy who once thought aliens were buried in volcanoes, this is pretty much your cheapest option. As you will see …
Between 1974 and 1979, residents of a small Manitoba city were selected to be subjects in a project that ensured basic annual incomes for everyone. For five years, monthly cheques were delivered to the poorest residents of Dauphin, Man. – no strings attached.
And for five years, poverty was completely eliminated.
The program was dubbed “Mincome” – a neologism of “minimum income” – and it was the first of its kind in North America. It stood out from similar American projects at the time because it didn’t shut out seniors and the disabled from qualification.
The project’s original intent was to evaluate if giving cheques to the working poor, enough to top-up their incomes to a living wage, would kill people’s motivation to work. It didn’t.
But the Conservative government that took power provincially in 1977 – and federally in 1979 – had no interest in implementing the project more widely. Researchers were told to pack up the project’s records into 1,800 boxes and place them in storage.
1. If you're one of the many people who feel as though you should be really excited by the new film Inherent Vice, but are confused as to why, this Rolling Stone Magazineprimer on the many worlds of Thomas Pynchonshould help to hip you to one of the most worthwhile cults of the literary postwar era. Titled "Pynchon for Beginners", it starts:
Welcome to the club. This is precisely the mood that the 77-year-old writer has labored to create over eight revered novels and novellas since the mid-Sixties, pushing his adventurous readers off their pedestals of narrative security and trust in government. "He's fucking with you all the time," Anderson recently said of the “anonymous” novelist — the last publicly circulated picture of the author dates back to 1955 — and he means this as a compliment. At a slender 370 pages, Inherent Vice is the quickest way into Pynchon's oeuvre, itself the wildest adventure in postmodern letters. (The collected hardcover editions of his books weigh as much as an unruly eight-year-old in need of a nap.) So maybe it’s time to try him out. The good news: You're already halfway there if you live for rock & roll, enjoy a good conspiracy story and can go with the voluminous flow.
2. Thanks to my friend, Aussie author Christian Read, for pointing me towards this excellent essay about Carl Jung and the resurgence of Wotan Consciousness in the mid-century, featured on the excellent Madness and Civilization blog. Among the many intriguing thoughts found within:
When we look back to the time before 1914, we find ourselves living in a world of events which would have been inconceivable before the war. We were even beginning to regard war between civilized nations as a fable, thinking that such an absurdity would become less and less possible in our rational, internationally organized world. And what came after the war was a veritable witches’ Sabbath.
...we shall have to wait some time before anyone is able to assess the kind of age that we are living in.
...what is more than curious – indeed, piquant to a degree – is that an ancient God of storm and frenzy, the long quiescent Wotan, should awake, like an extinct volcano, to new activity, in a civilized country that had long been supposed to have outgrown the Middle Ages.
In fact, the above essay makes an excellent companion piece to the primer on Pynchon's fiction. What a coincidence!
3. For my friends on the Left, there has been scant good news over the last few decades to gladden their hearts. In a world where a relatively conservative politician like Barrack Obama is routinely derided as a Marxist revolutionary by the ignoramuses of the mainstream media, the idea of genuinely progressive socialist reform seems like an impossible dream. That's why recent political news out of Spain should give us all a little hope. In this wonderful essay, taken from one of his recent speeches, Podemos party leader Pablo Iglesias explains how the Left around the world can make similar gains.
The enemy wants nothing more than to laugh at you. You can wear a t-shirt with the hammer and sickle. You can even carry a huge flag, and then go back home with your flag, all while the enemy laughs at you. Because the people, the workers, they prefer the enemy to you. They believe him. They understand him when he speaks. They don’t understand you. And maybe you are right! Maybe you can ask your children to write that on your tombstone: “He was always right — but no one ever knew.”
When you study successful transformational movements, you see that the key to success is to establish a certain identity between your analysis and what the majority feels. And that is very hard. It implies riding out contradictions.
Do you think I have any ideological problem with a forty-eight hour or a seventy-two-hour wildcat strike? Not in the least! The problem is that organizing a strike has nothing to do with how badly you or I want to do it. It has to do with union strength, and both you and I are insignificant there...
I’ve manned the picket lines in front of the bus depots in Madrid. The people there, at dawn, you know where they had to go? To work. They were no scabs. But they would be fired from their jobs, because at their jobs there were no unions to defend them. Because the workers who can defend themselves, like those in the shipyards, in the mines, they have strong unions. But the kids that work as telemarketers, or at pizza joints, or the girls working in retail, they cannot defend themselves.
Keep reading. There is a great message spelled out here.
1. Not so much suggested reading as suggested looking in this case, I urge you to check out this io9 story about artist Yong Ho Ji, who takes old, worn out vehicular tires, tears them to shreds, and then turns them into ridiculously beautiful things. Along with an extensive gallery of some of Yong's most beautiful artworks, there is also a short documentary about the artist and his work. Here is that film:
2. Speaking of ornate and beautiful objects, this incredibly detailed, exquisitely machined, combination desk and cabinet, hand-crafted for King Frederick William II by the celebrated Roentgen Brothers may just make you re-think your too-cool-for-school attitude towards the value and appeal of antique furniture!
One of the finest achievements of European furniture making, this cabinet is the most important product from Abraham and David Roentgen's workshop. A writing cabinet crowned with a chiming clock, it features finely designed marquetry panels and elaborate mechanisms that allow for doors and drawers to be opened automatically at the touch of a button. The Berlin cabinet is uniquely remarkable for its ornate decoration, mechanical complexity, and sheer size. This cabinet is from Kunstgewerbemuseum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, and is on view at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in the exhibition Extravagant Inventions: The Princely Furniture of the Roentgens.
Take a gander for yourself!
3. All you slightly older cinema fans out there should read this wonderful remembrance of Alfred Hitchcock by his friend and fellow filmmaker David Freeman. Although occasionally agonizing to read, it's also quite wonderful in places. For instance, try not to be drawn in by this introduction:
He was a bit like the Eiffel Tower. You hear about it all your life, and when you finally see the damn thing, it looks so much like the postcards, it's difficult to see it fresh. Hitchcock's public self was so distinct that it was often impossible to know if I was dealing with the corporeal man or the invented persona. I think he sometimes got it confused, particularly in his storytelling. He was a well-known raconteur, and some of his stories were widely known and repeated - often by him. There were times when he seemed to feel obliged to tell Alfred Hitchcock stories. Sometimes he was at the top of his form and told them well; other times less so. I was aware of this and, as I came to see, so was he. With his high-waisted black suits--with trousers that rested above his enormous belly, leaving just a few inches of white shirt exposed and with a black tie tucked into his pants--he looked positively fictional, out of Dickens, perhaps, or a banker by Evelyn Waugh.
The following notes were taken by myself during viewings of the film. The text presented includes some direct references to statements made on camera (indicated by quotation marks), as well as a number of observations, side references and potential avenues for further inquiry that came to mind as I watched. I do this because I believe this film to be an important document in the field of parapolitics, and anything I can do to help get it seen by more people - and, in particular, the RIGHT people - I see as worth doing. Secondly, I wanted to create an easy-to-use text and image based "study guide" that both documents and compliments the information presented in the film. As always, I leave it for you readers to decide whether or not I have succeeded on that count. - YOPJ 15/16/2014
“This film contains controversial subject matter. Interview subjects and creators of some source material may not agree with certain views presented. The Power Principle is a non-profit documentary and has been released online for free.”
"The 20th century has been characterized by three developments of great political importance: The growth of democracy, the growth of corporate power, and the growth of corporate propaganda as a means of protecting corporate power against democracy."
- Alex Carey
PART ONE - SETTING THE STAGE (00:00)
- We kick things off with a typically ham-fisted clip from an anti-Communist "educational" film from the 1950's. Literally thousands of these short industrial movies were created during the Cold War, the vast majority of them shot by private industrial film producers, like Coronet, under the guidance of the Defense Department, and paid for by the American taxpayer.
- Here, for your delectation and amusement, is the full version of the short film COMMUNISM, by the aforementioned Coronet, which is excerpted at the onset of The Power Principle II - Propaganda (TPPII-P):
- The dominant narrative of the Cold War was always simple: "The Soviet Union is engaged in a massive conspiracy, run out of the Kremlin. The goal? World domination! In light of this threat, the USA has no choice but to counter the Soviet menace with massive military spending and constant interventions in the internal politics of sovereign states around the world."
- A brief recap of the first chapter of this documentary series ensues: The illegal, CIA-planned, petro-biz-funded overthrow of the democratically elected Mohammed Mossadegh in Iran, in 1953. The Bernays-concocted media-blitz that led to the ouster of Guatemala's Arbenz one year later. The CIA's cold-blooded murder plot against the Congo's first democratically elected leader, Patrice Lumumba, in 1961. The interventions in Grenada and Chile are also recapped. Check out my concordance for the previous episode to learn more about these issues.
- Just in case anyone was laboring under the sad misapprehension that the above "extra-legal interventions" were the only ones laying heavy on America's collective conscience, TPPII-P lists more, even bloodier actions. There was the (very likely) American-sponsored1961 assassination of Trujillo in the Dominican Republic, followed by the 1963 coup that ousted Juan Bosch, that country's democratically-elected President, followed by the 1965 coup that kinda put him back in charge! Another CIA-backed coup, this time in Brazil in 1964, saw the ouster of (you guessed it) democratically-elected leader Joao Goulart. And then there was the 1971coup against Juan Jose "J.J." Torres in Bolivia. The CIA had him replaced with a torture-loving freak named Hugo Banzer who banned all political parties! And let's not forget the US-backed "Dirty War" (and subsequent 1976 coup) in Argentina, deposing the Peron regime in favor of a brutal military junta! Those cats were a special kind of crazy, "disappearing" over 30,000 civilians.
- Had enough? Too bad, because all that stuff above was just for starters. Now we're getting to the 80's and some truly evil shit is about to go down.
- For instance, how about American meddling in the never-ending atrocity exhibition that was the Salvadoran Civil War in El Salvador? That's where the US-backed junta killed untold tens of thousands of civilians and indigenous people... oh, and they also raped, tortured and murdered a bunch of priests and nuns, too. But you probably shouldn't feel too bad about that. See, those particular clerics? They actually cared about poor people (Yuck!). So that means they were probably secret atheists, or even Communists or something.
- Which brings us to Nicaragua, where some of the Reagan/Bush administration's most notorious crimes were committed. This is where America waged a massive, semi-covert war against the widely-beloved, social-democratic Sandinista National Liberation Front in favor of a regime that liked to dispose of its victims by tossing them into an active volcano, just because they thought that was "fuckin' bad-ass", or something.
- Considering the forces arrayed against them, the levels of success enjoyed by the Sandinistas were nothing short of astonishing. In fact, I urge you to watch this John Pilger documentary, Nicaragua - A Nation's Right to Survive. - which is partially excerpted in TPPII-P - before continuing, and I'll explain why in a moment.
- Okay, now that you've seen what the Sandanistas were all about, you'll be able to better understand why Reagan/Bush Treasury Secretary George Schulz called them, quote: "a cancer, right here on our land mass."
- The information contained in the above film also goes a long way towards explaining why the US decided to arm, train, and otherwise support the "counter-revolutionary" CONTRAS, whose tactics included blowing up oil pipelines, illegally mining Nicaragua's harbors and ports, bombing farms and greenhouses, not to mention the wanton rape, murder and torture of thousands of men, women and children whose only crime was wanting to be a part of something positive for once in their miserable lives.
- The above kind of makes the video clip of Reagan praising the Contras to high heaven seem all the more vile.
- This section ends with a clip from the above Nicaragua doc in which Washington (successfully) distracts world media from Nicaragua's 1984 elections by claiming that Soviet MiG fighter jets had just been delivered to the port city of Corinto. It would be funny if it weren't so disgusting. Also, Ted Koppel has never looked more like Howdy Doody than he does in that clip.
30 years later, Charles Rocket is found dead in a Rhode Island park.
PART ONE - PROPAGANDA (12:00)
Following World War II, American policy planners were faced with a choice: to embrace democracy in all its forms, or suppress huge populations around the globe, through violence. The first major test came from Greece. Rejecting the participatory government created by the anti-Nazi resistance during the war, both the British and Americans chose to support Fascist elements that the resistance had been fighting only months before. The resulting civil war caused over one hundred thousand deaths. Though seldom acknowledged in official histories, Western elites had long supported Fascism in Europe as a means of counteracting the Left.
- In his 1975 exposé Inside the Company, former CIA case officer Philip Agee revealed that agency training about Communism consisted exclusively of the kind of non-academic, anti-Communist "pop propaganda" titles that you could find advertized in the pages of vomitous neo-fascist William F. Buckley's wretched National Review magazine. Needless to say, you wouldn't find any Karl Marx on the CIA's "Required Reading List". I guess Sun Tzu's Art of War wasn't on there, either. Otherwise, they might have remembered the old strategist's dictum to "know your enemy."
- Christopher Simpson, author of the essential Project Paperclip exposé Blowback, discusses "a system of propaganda in which the propagandists believe what they say... and what happens in that kind of circumstance is a phenomenon that some people call blowback. In other words, you come up with messages that are aimed at ideologies or worldviews, and you put them out. And then the messages come back to you as if they were truthful... It's a cycle of self-deception."
No Russian military attack is threatened in Western Europe... I certainly do not pretend to understand the Russian mind, but for four years they have shown no intention of making a military advance beyond the zones of influence in Central Europe allotted to them at Yalta.
- Senator Robert Taft (R)
- Historian William Blum (his website) explains Joseph Stalin's essential conservatism and lack of revolutionary zeal. Trotsky was Russia's internationalist revolutionary, and he lost the internal battle with Stalin (swiftly followed by his life).
- The mainstream view (the one we're taught) is that the Cold War was an ideological battle between the Soviet Union and the United States. In reality - and quite obviously in practice - the Cold War was a a series of small, hot wars between the United States and numerous, unconnected Third World revolutionary and/or liberation movements around the globe. This is a paradigm that becomes all to clear and sharply defined when one studies history with even a modest degree of rigor. A number of examples are listed above.
- Author/historian Howard Zinn points out that the USSR was never really in a position to pull off a world-wide Communist conspiracy: "The Soviet Union didn't start the revolution in Cuba... Vietnam... China... Those revolutionary movements came out of the needs of the people in those countries." But it was all blamed on the USSR, because they were a convenient Boogey Man, and because Americans may have balked. Slaughtering poor people just because they want a better life for themselves isn't exactly pride-inducing. Attacking a faceless, sinister Evil Empire on the other hand... that's actually kind of cool.
Numerous internal documents from the State Department, the Defense Department, the CIA, and other Western intelligence services reveal that many top policy planners were well aware that the International Communist Conspiracy was a myth. [A Department of Defense internal memo dated 1957], speaking of American designs against Syria, notes that "the USSR has shown no intention of direct intervention in any of the previous mid-Eastern crises, and we believe it is unlikely that they would intervene." Another document [from the UK Foreign Office Joint Intelligence committee, 1968] states that "the Soviet Union will not deliberately start general war or even limited war in Europe", and that "Soviet foreign policy has been generally cautious and realistic."
- Charles E. Wilson, President of General Electric Co. and great friend to President Truman, suggested the implementation of what he termed a "general war economy". Many in the corporate media agreed, taking to the media to declare how important "defense spending" was to the American economy. Why this sudden chorus of elite corporate voices speaking in unison?
- Turns out, it all had something to do with a 58 page "Top Secret" National Security document drafted in 1950 called NSC-68, in which (among other things) chair Paul Nitze warns that "the US and other free nations will, within a period of a few years at most, experience a decline in economic activity of serious proportions without government intervention."
- Never fear, however! Nitze found a solution to the nation's multiplying woes! He writes: "I recommend a substantial increase in military expenditures, a substantial increase in military assistance programs and some increase in economic aid to our allies in the anti-Soviet crusade, that we have a mass propaganda campaign to build and maintain confidence on our side, and sow mass defections on theirs, that we have covert economic, political and domestic psychological warfare, tighter internal security and expanded intelligence."
- Sound familiar? It should! NSC-68 was basically the Table of Contents for the final half of the so-called American Century. Chapter One? The Korean Conflict, which didn't just kick off the Permanent War Economy, but also resulted in the deaths of 38,000 Americans and a couple million Asian people. Here's a nice hot mug of historical context with which to wash this harsh truth down.
THE THIRD WORLD WAR (35:45)
- And so it went (and goes). Instead of developing social programs or devoting its resources to bringing about the science-fiction future promised us in such shows and films as Star Trek and 2001: A Space Odyssey, the rest of the American Century would be all about setting up a planet-straddling, military based, covert system of empire-by-any-other-name. Tax dollars would go towards enriching the already rich.
- CIA whistleblower John Stockwell defines the typical Cold War enemy: "Far more Catholics than Communists. Far more Buddhists than Communists. Most of them couldn't give you an intelligent definition of Communism or of capitalism." Thus he coined the phrase "Third World War."
- In the above video, Stockwell explains how, in terms of loss of human life, the Third World War was (at the time) the 3rd bloodiest war in human history -" bloody and gory beyond comprehension" - and it was conducted completely above or beyond the grasp of the law. Considering what's gone on around the world since the above video was shot, I wouldn't be surprised if the Third World War has since risen to second, if not first, place.
- The USA has specialized in cheap-shots, according to Stockwell, attacking only those who could not defend themselves. One need only look to the example of Iraq in 2003 - which the US made sure was pretty much completely disarmed and defenseless before daring to invade - to see that nothing has changed.
- Here's The Nation on why we desperately need a new Church Committee as soon as freaking possible, even if the probability of putting together such a bi-partisan committee again seems particularly slight in these days of neo-conservative fundamentalist extremism and "Tea Party" style rule-by-obstruction.
ECONOMIC IDEOLOGICAL IMPERIALISM (41:00)
- Historian Michael Parenti (his website) explains: "Imperialism is the process of Empire. ... Imperialism is when the dominant interest of the Empire country go out and they expropriate the land, natural resources, labor and markets of another country for the benefit of the rich of the imperial country, and sometimes for the benefit of a collaborating, controlling class in the colonized country. It no longer means direct colonization. You have what is called neo-imperialism which involves not taking over the country and planting your flag and conquering it. It involves simply moving in and dominating its economic and political life."
- Professor William I. Robinson (his website) explains how the antagonism against the poor and powerless of the world that seems to have been one of the defining hallmarks of the Cold War - and thus excused as a by-product of anti-Communist zeal - has, in actuality, always existed. It existed before Karl Marx had even come up with the idea of Communism, much less the Russian revolution.
- And so, in the last few centuries, the contradiction between the Haves and the Have Nots has variously been ideologically framed as "Manifest Destiny", or the "Fight against Anarchists. Then the Cold War happened, and it was framed as "Struggle Against Communism". Then the Cold War ended, and it was framed as the "Struggle Against the Drug Trade". Then the terrorist attacks of September 11 happened, and we have the "Struggle Against Terror". Always somehow involving the wanton slaughter of thousands upon thousands of poor people, indigenous people, or non-White people.
- Journalist Russ Baker (his website) discusses American Imperialism in the broader historical context, going as far back as the Monroe Doctrine of 1923.
THE HEARTBREAK OF HAITI (45:30)
"The history of Haiti is the history of the world capital system. If you study what's happened in Haiti, the stuggle of the Haitian people, you study the history of humanity for the last 500 years.
- William I. Robinson
- Haiti was the first place Christopher Columbus landed when he crossed the "ocean blue". Upon landing there, he immediately enslaved that portion of the native population there that had survived the arrival of European smallpox and worked them literally into extinction. With all the native slaves dead, Haiti's rulers had to start importing African slaves. Thus was begun the "peculiar institution" of Africans-only, race-based slavery.
- As Spanish domination of the area waned, the French were able to wrest away control of Haiti, which quickly became the highly profitable "gem" of that nation's colonial holdings, with profits generated by 400,000 slaves accounting for a large portion of France's total wealth.
- In 1793, the Haitian slaves revolt in what would go on to become, in 1802, the first successful Spartacist rebellion ever on the planet. They set up the first independent and free republic in the Americas. The United States, of course, a republic half-composed of slave-holding states, could not rightly be called "free".
- Obviously, since wresting control away from the "Haves", Haiti's history has been the farthest thing possible from an easy one, with repercussions of the First World's animosity towards this would-be upstart slave state reaching well into the 21st century.
THE "HUMANITARIAN INTERVENTION" EXCUSE (53:00)
As with Serbia and, more recently, Libya, events in Haiti were sold to the public as 'humanitarian intervention'. This technique has long been used as a justification for imperialism. Originally, the idea was to civilize the savages. Then, to promote democracy.
BRINGING RELIGION TO THE SAVAGES
BRINGING PROGRESS TO THE BARBARIANS
BRINGING DEMOCRACY TO THE MIDDLE EAST
"War is a racket."
- Gen. Smedley Darlington Butler
- That's not all General Smedley Darlington Butler said. He described his military career thusly: "I helped make Mexico, especially Tampico, safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Cuba a safe place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909 to 1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. In China, I helped to see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested."
- You can read the entirety of Gen. Butler's short but revealing book, War is a Racket, online at the link provided.
- Oh, and Butler also "snitched" on the cabal of fascist bankers and industrialists who, impressed by his successes overseas, tried to lure him into their plot to overthrow by force the Presidency of "that man", President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Quite frankly, the fact that heads didn't roll down a blood-slicked Pennsylvania avenue over this conspiracy speaks volumes about FDR's essential (if relative) kindliness and tolerance. Oh, and guess which prominent American political dynastic patriarch was balls-deep in this imbroglio? I'll give you a hint: it wasn't Joseph Kennedy.
TARGET: YOU (55:00)
- Although President Eisenhower thought the idea of an international Communist conspiracy was "the product of a paranoid imagination." Unfortunately, a paranoid imagination was exactly what The Powers That Be needed to inspire in the American public, if their plan to lock American economic growth permanently with military expansionism (see above) was ever going to fly.
- John Foster Dulles proclaimed: "In order to make the country bare the burden, we have to create an emotional atmosphere akin to wartime psychology. We must create the idea of a threat from without."
- In 1947, Senator Arthur Vandenberg told President Truman: "Scare the Hell out of the American people."
- But how could this be done? On October 30, 1938, the single most famous radio broadcast in history - Orson Welles' Mercury Theatre version of H.G Wells' classic science-fiction novel The War of the Worlds, presented in the form of late-breaking news bulletins cutting into a regularly scheduled music program - provided would-be psychological warriors with a treasure trove of priceless research data, not to mention a slew of hyper-effective propaganda techniques.
- Hadley Cantril's 1940 study is a case in point. This former college roommate of Nelson Rockefeller - who went on to have his work funded by the Rockefellers' network of "philanthropic" foundations - took apart this "Great Martian Event" to better understand the anatomy of public panic. But it wasn't in order to prevent future cases. Rather, he (and his backers) wanted to weaponize panic itself.
- And who would be the targets of these attacks? As professor James F. Tracy, author of the just-linked article, points out: "the elite class to which the Rockefeller family belongs has traditionally failed to distinguish between domestic or foreign subjects as targets for propaganda and behavioral modification."
WELTAUNSHAUNSKREIG ~ NEXT LEVEL PROPAGANDA (1:02:45)
"Weltaunshaunskrieg is German, and it means world-view warfare. The activists who were most committed to Nazi principles would confront other parts of the society and say 'you have the wrong world-view'. So this world-view warfare was a way in which they went about consolidating their hold on German society, in Nazifying universities, in Nazifying companies, or cultural institutions, or churches. You can call it propaganda, but it wasn't propaganda in the narrow sense of the term, like radio broadcasts or something like that. This was not just publicity. This was not just persuasion. This was a whole range of techniques... exploiting the psychology of fear, exploiting tensions between races... use of terror, use of violence... it was a whole range of applied manipulation of people.
- Christopher Simpson
- Simpson goes on to explain how Office of Strategic Services head and father of American intelligence Wild Bill Donovan - although an ardent anti-Fascist and anti-Nazi - looked to the example of Nazi propaganda minister JosephGoebbels with some degree of envy. He dreamed of creating an "Americanized" version of the Nazi propaganda mill, replacing, for instance the Nazi desire for a "strong leader" with the American desire for a "legitimate leader".
- And then came TV.
- Center for Media and DemocracyfounderJohn Stauber: "Television is the perfect propaganda medium because it appeals to emotion. ... People see something on television and they immediately internalize it."
- Which should mean that people who get their news from TV, what with all that "internalized information" banging around in their skulls, should be damn well informed about current events... right?
- Stauber: "There's very little actual information actually imparted in TV news. It's not a long script. After the first Gulf War, the University of Massachusetts Amherst did a study about the war, and what they found was that people who watched the most coverage of the first Gulf War were convinced that they knew the most about the war, were the most likely to support the US war to drive Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait. But in actual tests, when asked to give factual responses to questions about the war, they actually tended to know the least and get the information wrong.
- In fact, one recent study conducted at New Jersey's Fairley Dickenson University found that people who got their information from FOX News knew less about current events than people who didn't watch any news at all.
THE RUSSIANS ARE COMING (1:09:45)
- Cold War propaganda was schizophrenic in the extreme. On the one hand, it sought to terrify Americans with the idea that the Soviets were constantly on the verge of unleashing nuclear Armageddon upon us. But they couldn't scare Americans to the point where they began insisting on a sane, rational approach to America's dealings with the USSR. Rapprochement or de-escalation would only hinder the military spending on which American prosperity precariously hinged. So The Powers That Be simultaneously mollified their subjects with light-hearted "we can do it" propaganda like the classic Duck and Cover, which implied that you could survive an ICBM strike by quite literally hiding your head beneath your comfy, cozy duvet (see below).
- Propaganda doesn't begin and end with the news. There is also the issue of the CIA and the Pentagon's long history of covert involvement inHollywood.
- Movies were a big part of the propaganda machines during both the Great World and World War II. In 1956, the Joint Chiefs of Staff met with John Ford, John Wayne and Merian Cooper to discuss how to help foster "militant liberty" in America. By the time Top Gun was released in 1986, the Navy had recruitment booths set up at some theaters.
- Other movies that benefited from the Pentagon loaning out personnel and hardware include Armageddon, Air Force One, and Iron Man.
"Sir Ridley Scott's Black Hawk Down was given similar support. This might help to explain why the character of John Grimes is not shown raping a 12-year-old Somali girl as he did during the mission portrayed in the film."
- As a particularly rabid fanatic for the films of Stanley Kubrick - I actually have an entire blog devoted exclusively to them - I was pleased (more like moved) to see that both Full Metal Jacket and Dr. Strangelove, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb were among the films to which the Pentagon had explicitly denied any funding or assistance. Other "losers" include Apocalypse Now, Platoon, and The Thin Red Line.
- Although it's not covered in TPPII-P, recent revelations about the American intelligence community's covert "weaponization" of Abstract Expressionism have rocked the art world. As meticulously detailed in Frances Stonor Saunders' essential The Cultural Cold War (1999), this was a vast conspiracy, a complicated enterprise that remained pretty much completely uncovered for decades.
UNIFORM IN PRINCIPLE, POLYFORM IN NUANCES (1:14:15)
"A good government can no more exist without propaganda than good propaganda without a good government."
- Joseph Goebbels
- Goebbels had a theory that media should be "uniform in principle" but "polyform in nuances". By this, he meant that the same message should be broadcast from all frequencies, while maintaining the illusion of multiplicity of voices and opinions.
- The mainstream media in America achieves essentially the same thing by marginalizing dissident voices even as they pat themselves on the back for giving them any airtime whatsoever.
- Yes, I know it's almost three hours long. And yes, I know that Noam Chomsky can come across as a holier-than-thou, supercilious douche. And yes, I know he's taken Pentagon blood money for his linguistics research, and I know his take on the JFK assassination and the parapolitics of 9/11 are downright toxic. But he's also very smart, and very ballsy, and you really do need to watch Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media (1992). It's an essential "text" for all students of the parapolitical to deal with at some point. Here it is:
- Morris Berman (his website) describes how a delegation of Soviet officials visiting America were stunned by the uniformity of opinions they found there, much to their hosts' chagrin.
Corporate media today is very similar in terms of presenting stories that support the government like Pravda was to the Soviet Union. The difference is that the people in Russia knew that Pravda was an organ of the state. In the United States, we still believe it's a free press.
- Peter Phillips of Project Censored
FULL CIRCLE (1:18:00)
- Author Nancy Snow (her website) explains how the realpolitik milieu of the late Cold War period seems like a realization and extension of the systems set up by the founders of the science of propaganda, being the aforementioned Edward Bernays and Walter Lippmann who, despite his relatively low profile, was one of the most important public intellectuals of the 20th century. I guess when you coin a phrase like "the Bewildered Herd" to describe your fellow citizens, keeping a low profile is de rigeur.
- So we have to ask ourselves, what was the Cold War all about, really? Was it truly about reigning in Soviet influence around the globe? Or was it about controlling "the bewildered herd" in the Homeland for the benefit of a tiny, entrenched and connected class of elites?
- To understand why the message was so uniform, we must understand who the messengers really were.
- After the end of World War II, former OSS men like William Paley (psychological warfare expert) became head of CBS, and continued to work with the CIA on propaganda operations like Radio Free Europe. Edward Barrett, one time chief of psy-war, eventually became Dean of the Columbia School of Journalism. These were not isolated examples.
- The aforementioned Church Committee hearings into CIA and FBI abuses uncovered numerous examples of intelligence agencies covertly putting writers at national TV stations and newswire agencies on the payroll. It made for riveting viewing, even though the most damning revelations would come in executive session, away from the prying cameras of the public hearings.
- Another way we've come full circle. Back in the 1950's, Time Magazine founder Henry Luce - an early supporter of Fascism and a Skull and Bones man - wrote a document called The American Century. It called on America to "exert upon the world the full impact of our influence, for such purposes as we see fit and by such means as we see fit." Luce's conduit to the CIA was C.D. Jackson, a man who ran psychological warfare office in Europe during and for a period following World War II.
- The whole thing is shockingly well explained and laid out in the 1946 pro-union documentary Deadline for Action, embedded below, in two parts.
- After the end of the Cold War, we got The Project for the New American Century with such august signitors as Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Richard Perle, about which I'm sure you've all heard lots, but if not, here's a rundown.
- The aforementioned C.D. Jackson was instrumental in establishing the infamous Project Mockingbird, the CIA's highly illegal covert infiltration and subversion of the American media, not to mention its recruiting of media personnel for covert intelligence duties overseas and at home.
- Journalists Russ Baker and Christopher Simpson do a great job of describing the porous nature of the theoretical membrane separating American media from the American intelligence community. Early on, social pressures, cooperation and (to be honest) a shared belief system led to a high degree of cooperation.
- Wow. I'd never even heard of the domestic propaganda psy-op/study known as Project Revere. TPPII-P offers an excellent overview by seemingly inexhaustible Christopher Simpson.
- William Blum discusses the "gap" cycle. In short over, during the Cold War, The Powers That Be proclaimed a "Bomber Gap", a "Laser Gap", a "Missile Gap", and a "Mine-Shaft Gap". (Sorry... couldn't help myself!)
THE POST-POSTWAR WORLD (1:30:00)
"Donald Rumsfeld and Terry Clarke - the head of public relations for the Pentagon - designed a program to recruit 75 former military officers - most of them now lobbyists or consultants to military contractors - and insert them, beginning in 2002 before the attack on Iraq was even launched, into the major networks, to manage the messages, to be surrogates. And that's the words that are actually used. Message multipliers for the Secretary of Defense, and for the Pentagon. The program continues up until now. ... What they did was illegal."
- John Stauber, PBS NewsHour, April 24, 2008
- And that was just a tiny smidgen of the shenanigans that went on in just this tiny sliver of America's sad history ofdis-and-misinformation. Remember the ridiculous "neocons only" intelligence stove-piping operation, the Office of Special Plans? What a fucking disaster.
- One area in which US elites' fear of the USSR was as sincere and heartfelt as can be is, of course, in regards to the issue of nuclear weapons. But that is a very heavy subject for a very heavy next chapter.
- Choosing to end this chapter with Pete Seegar's haunting rendition of Jose Marti's beautiful song Guantanamera - just like the blazing finale of the apocalyptic Canadian film Last Night - is a documentarian's master stroke. It is an unsettlingly beautiful and almost impossibly appropriate choice.
A MESSAGE TO THE THOUGHTFUL CONSERVATIVE
I believe that there is a valuable if chilling lesson for American conservatives in these documentaries for which I am currently creating these concordances/appendices.
In the 1970's and 80's, what did the peoples of Central and South America want? They wanted to have a greater say in the politics that shaped their nations and impacted on their day-to-day lives. They wanted to kick out the entrenched, crooked elites who were bleeding them dry and who were completely unresponsive to the will and desires of those whom they were exploiting without pause or mercy.
Basically... they wanted what YOU want, now, my conservative friend. And there's a great lesson for you in the way that the American Establishment treated those people, back then. Because that's exactly how they're going to treat YOU, if and when you should ever decide to try - and I mean, really dig in and TRY - to make a difference in your nation, in your lives, and in your futures. They will crush you without pause or mercy.