Friday, October 28, 2016

Oct. 28: Propaganda as news.

There are only two items worth reading in today's irving press. One is Alec Bruce's dissection of the new, Conservative leader, Blaine Higgs. It's quite a contrast to Norbert Cunningham's adolescent drooling, just yesterday, over the same man.

The other item is a big story that the U.N. will investigate Russia and Syria for a war crime in bombing a school in Syria. What's interesting is not the story, itself. But just think. When have you seen the UN speak of investigating the U.S. for war crimes in bombing and starving, Iraq, Yemen, Syria? In North Korea, the U.S. bombed just about every building in the whole country. It carpet bombed cities in Laos, Cambodia, North Vietnam with some of the heaviest bombing in history. It illegally used napalm, agent orange, and depleted uranium. It cooperated in the assassination of the elected president of South Vietnam. The wars, themselves, in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen have been illegal under international law. As well, investigations on our side have concluded that the U.S. lied about its reasons for most of those wars. Then there are the war crimes called drone bombing in many countries - not to mention mass killings in South America and Congo.

Those are all war crimes. Have  you ever read a story about the UN investigating them?  About suggesting there might be anything criminal about them? Have you ever seen a story about one of these issues at all in the irving press?

No, of course not. The UN which was founded to prevent war has become a propaganda agency to defend war. We've fallen a long way since 1945.
Welcome to the Christian west.
The most terrible failure for the U.S. has been the Afghanistan war. In fifteen years, the U.S. has not been able to defeat the Taliban. The mightiest and most expensive military force has not been able to defeat a small and backward country that is even divided against itself. Just as the war against Iraq plunged the U.S. into a pit that keeps growing, the U.S. is actually losing ground in Afghanistan.

The reason given to invade Afghanistan was always a fraud. It was not 9/11. The invasion of AFghanistan had been planned before 9/11. Nor is there any evidence that the Afghanistan government had anything to do with 9/11, So far, all the evidence on that points to the good ol' boys in Saudi Arabia.

The most alarming part is that the U.S. military has not been impressive, even against small and poor countries, for decades. For all its size and power, it seems unable to win a conventional war. And that means a strong temptation to go nuclear.
Meanwhile, in the U.S. native peoples are bearing the brunt of the fight against oil pipelines. Watch for this in Canada - and soon. And guess whose side the Canadian police will be on.
This story is not all that important. But it's a good illustration of what Hillary Clinton is all about.
Somehow,  poverty-stricken Yemen is holding out against Saudi Arabia, Britain and the U.S. Another example of the limits of military power.
And this next one, with thanks to a reader,  deals with the obvious approach of World War Three.
Here's something we have to learn. International trade deals have not and do not make us rich. In fact, studies show quite the opposite. They're good for big business. But they have not been good for the rest of us. And there are a couple of real stinkers going through as I write this.
And here's a story about a Canadian corporation and how it has hidden over two billion dollars in a tax haven. Gee. I wonder if anyone in New Brunswick would do something like that. If there is, the Chamber of Commerce would probably give that person an honorary dinner.
It seems only yesterday that Canadians were vowing to make amends for our treatment of indigenous peoples. Alas! Today we're breaking all those promises.
This story wasn't important enough for the irving press.
According to Russia Today, Amnesty International says the U.S. may be guilty of the deliberate killing of civilians. But I''m  sure the U.S. government would never allow that.
And here's an intemperate  column (but not an entirely unreasonable one) from Paul Craig Roberts.
Here's a damning look at our free press.
And this is the most chillling one.
Gee. This looks very similar to the Russia Today report on what Amnesty  international said about U.S. attacks. So how come it didn't appear in our newspapers?
Another UN problem. In this case, it takes quick action on poor countries for issues of human rights, but complete ignores the abuses of rich and powerful countries.
There is nothing unusual about a rigged election in the U.S. In fact, it  has pretty much become a routine practice. I don't know enough about the Canadian situation to say much about it. However, I can vividly remember going through two, wildly rigged separation votes in Quebec, both of them rigged by the separatist government. And, when I was in my teens and twenties in Montreal, i knew people who were hired to wreck election stations, and destroy the votes at selected sites.
Saudi Arabia has been elected to the UN Human Rights Council, despite having one of the worst human rights records in the world.
CBC has the story that Canada has and Belgium have now agreed on the Canada-Europe Trade Deal. It also says a bit about the terms. But the Canadian people have not yet been given much information at this deal. Worse, we've had no assessment of the  potential impact of it.But we're going to get it, anyway.
When did the popular news media become corrupt dispensers of propaganda? From their start in the late nineteeth century. Two motives drove them. One was the need to create sensation, even where there was none, because sensation would sell papers. The other was that ownership required wealth - and the wealthy owners of newspapers had more in common with other wealthy people than they did with common people.

In the late 1890s, Britain invaded South Africa. (It had already been invaded and settled by Dutch farmers who then defended it against the British. Both the British and the Dutch treated the native peoples as sub-human.
The British invasion was for the purpose of looting the region's gold-fields for the enriching of those British who were already wealthy. That worthy ambition immediately put the British news media on the side of war.

But, oh, the war went slowly. The news media desperately needed a British hero. And they found one in an officer who, with his regiment, was defending the town of Mafeking against the Dutch (Boer) army.

For months, the British press made him a hero for his valiant and courageous defence, his calm, his setting a tone with smiling and whistling at all times.
When the British army at last relieved Mafeking, it wanted to court martial the hero. He wasn't supposed to be defending Mafeking in the first place. There was no point in defending it, and it had taken a tremendous effort by the army to relieve him. As well, he could have led his troops out at almost any time. He chose to remain under siege. The army wanted him stripped of his rank - at least.
But the news of the relief of Mafeking to a British public which had spent months fascinated by this model of British courage and determination creat celebrations so wild that to this day wild celebration in Britain is sometimes called 'mafeking'.

The army had to promote him to general. But it  had no intention of giving him a command again. So it was that Baden-Powell turned to Britain to work with young boys. In 1914, he offered his services to the king. But the king declined with thanks, saying his work with the Boy Scouts was too important.
The popular news media, from the beginning, were propaganda agencies. And they've become very, very skilful at it. Read the irving press. From its origins, the role of the paper has been to keep New Brunswickers in ignorance of even their own province, to praise  (and on some issues to hide) the wealthy. Some of its commentaries are written by staff who don't even pretend to comment on anything. They just tell pointless stories.  Some, like those of the Fraser Institute, are the the direct propaganda of the wealthy.

And that has happened to almost all of the private news media around the world. They have effectively put most of the western world out of touch with any reality.


  1. "We've fallen a long way since 1945" Since August 1945 : Hiroshima and Nagasaki ? Since bombing Dresden with incendiaries to create a firestorm that rivaled atomics for damage ? Since sanctions against Japan and Germany involving oil that provided impetus for pushback to start WW 2?
    Or even the assessments against Germany that caused such suffering as to necessitate radical change. Or for the Bush/Harriman compact to insert a war hero in place - and for churchill to rebuff his efforts at peacemaking.
    I grew up playing Duck and Cover in classrooms for air defence drills against atomic attack and knew people who built fallout shelters.
    Father had words for my generation who he thought of as whiners.
    "We went to war and died. What makes you think you have it tough ? "
    The media then openly censored stories about atomic power - even about nuclear reactors. We later learned wartime photos of Halifax were retouched to hide radar masts. Canadians rebelled against Bomarc missiles being deployed in Goose Bay after US servicemen blew the whistle. They were immediately removed....oh wait...that was 1973, not 1958.
    I'm sure you remember 'Dr. Strangelove : or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb." After SAC killed 28% of North Koreans in their bombing campaign. I don't have much room to be nostalgic about 'The Good Old Days' that were not. Else Aldous Huxley would not have written "Brave New World" nor George Orwell his "1984"
    These are dated but perhaps still will be good for context.

  2. I believe it was prime minister Diefenbaker who built a fallout shelter for himself and his circle. It was popularly known as the 'Diefenbunker".