Saturday, May 13, 2017

Media on Trial: Contextual Notes

Probably every conflict is fought on at least two grounds—the battlefield and the minds of the people, via propaganda. Propaganda is to rally people behind a cause, often a miliary or political one, by publicising it, but also by exaggerating, misrepresenting, and lying about it. Some of the tactics used in propaganda include:

• selective stories
• partial facts and background
• exaggerating threats to people’s security and reinforcing reasons and motivations for them to respond to them
• offering only a narrow range of insights into the situation, vouchsafed as undeniable (rather than one viewpoint among others that are not considered) and needing to be confirmed—viz, only official government sources or retired military personnel for conflicts
• denigrating as “bad guys” and name-calling the opponent or the enemy for supposed dastardly acts
• jumping to judgement based on inadequate information and before adequate or often any valid discussion, especially of the facts and the options available, has been considered.

These ploys are constantly used by our media to “persuade” people to the stance preferred by the group controlling the sources of propaganda—usually the vested interests of big businesses or the party of the ruling clique, and internationally, the USA, NATO and the West generally. All of these approaches have been used in the latest interventions by the West in Syria, Ukraine, Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan, but extend back over much of recent history through a multiplicity of US interventions since WWII including Chile, Vietnam, Korea, the Cold War against the USSR and China, and continue still against Venezuela, Brazil and other South American states. Since the end of WWII, the United States has:

• attempted to overthrow more than 50 foreign governments, most of which were democratically-elected
• dropped bombs on the people of more than 30 countries
• attempted to assassinate more than 50 foreign leaders
• attempted to suppress a populist or nationalist movement in 20 countries
• grossly interfered in democratic elections in at least 30 countries
• been more involved in the practice of torture than any other country in the world for over a century (although not easily quantified), not just performing the actual torture, but teaching it, providing the manuals, and furnishing the equipment.

These are facts not loony “alternative facts” or “fake news” and can be found in the Western liberal media (WLM), but are not constantly plugged as the propaganda points are, so are quickly forgotten even if they were originally noticed at all by the typical receiver of the media’s news. The WLM pretends to have a “watchdog” role, an independent voice that somehow assists social accountability. Yet it has really been the source of propaganda and public enthusiasm for wars like those on Iraq, Libya and Syria. By describing bloody and vicious interventions as being “humanitarian”, journalists deliberately switched off their critical faculties and thereby switched off ours! Thus they hid a murderous spree of US/NATO “regime change” across the region.

For the US and the UK criminal enterprise against Syria, the challenge was as ever selling it to their electorates—public relations! Justifying the dirty war called on mass disinformation. Seeking “regime change” the US and its NATO allies hid behind proxy armies of “Islamists” accusing the Syrian Government of atrocities, and so a narrative had to be built and promoted. It required a relentless propaganda campaign demonizing the Syrian government and everything it did. So, the mild-mannered optometrist, Syrian President, Bashar al Assad, was described as worse than Hitler. They did this by constant reliance on partisan sources, such as the UK-based Rami Abdul Rahman (SOHR, the self-styled Syrian Observatory on Human Rights), the US-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Amnesty International (AI), the latter two firmly embedded in a “revolving door” relationship with the US State Department, at least under Democrat administrations.

As western peoples we have been particularly deceived by this dirty war, reverting to our worst traditions of intervention, racial prejudice and poor reflection on our own histories. The popular myths (manufactured lies) of the dirty war are that…

• It is a “civil war”—a “popular revolt” in 2011 was violently quashed by Assad.
• Assad is a brutal dictator who enjoys killing “his own people”.
• The opposition are actually Syrian rebels who want rid of their hated leader.
• The US/NATO/Saudi Arabia/Qatar are justified in backing the rebels.
• So “terrorists” in Syria are really just dissident Syrians fighting for their freedom.
• The Syrian forces backed by their ally Russia’s airforce are deliberately killing Syrian people not terrorists.
• The Syrian people will welcome regime change and the replacement of Assad with a US/Nato approved government.

Each and every one of these assertions can be shown to be lies from the Western press itself, though finding the rebuttals is not easy amid the mass of propaganda. It is easier to find the detailed rebuttals from the alternative media as represented by some of the speakers here (and listed below), and sometimes from honest academics, also represented in tonight’s addresses. Their articles will often cite the confirmatory references in the main stream media.
Some reliable authorities worth looking up online and reading…

Prof Tim Anderson
Chris Hedges
Craig Murray
Finian Cunningham
Glen Greenwald
Jon Pilger
Jonathan Cook
Pepe Escobar
Thierry Meysanne
William Blum
Robert Parry
Neil Clark
Michel Chossudovsky
Piers Robinson

And some of the websites and political online magazines where counter propagandist material can be found…

Global Research
Dissident Voice
21st Century Wire
BS News
Consortium News
Naked Capitalism
Zero Hedge
Morning Star

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