Archive for April, 2018

No News

Friday, April 27th, 2018

If there was ever any doubt that our news is censored, it is dispelled today with the universal suppression of an important event that took place yesterday at the Hague, in the Netherlands, on the premises of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. Fifteen eyewitnesses to the events of April 7 in the emergency department of the hospital in Douma, Syria, were consistent in their testimony that the incident described in Western news media as a chemical weapons attack was a crudely orchestrated panic scene staged for video cameras to provoke an armed attack on Syria. In fact, as you may remember–though little has been said about it since–the air forces of France, the USA, and England dropped bombs on Syria a few days later.

Doctors, nurses, and patients were in agreement that no trace of chemical weapons was detected on any patient, and none suffered any symptoms of chemical exposure. You can search US media high and low for an account of these witnesses’ narratives, and you will find nothing, The Washington Post, in an abbreviated squib, refers to the participants as “alleged witnesses” and makes no reference whatsoever to the substance of their testimony, which was compelling and aired at length by news sources outside the USA.  Common Dreams, Democracy Now, The Real News make no mention today of the testimony, even though it indicates clearly that the attack on Syria was based on a transparent pretext.

On its face, the video is a fraud. It shows “rescue workers” dousing children with cold water from hoses in the emergency room. There are no chemical weapons that can be washed away with water. In fact, there are no non-lethal chemical weapons of any kind. By definition, chemical weapons kill efficiently and indiscriminately. Among people exposed, there are no survivors. Hosing people down is not a treatment for exposure to chemical weapons.

Several of the witnesses told us that the children in the video were snatched from the hands of their parents to be doused. One of them, an eleven-year-old boy, was among those giving testimony, and he is shown in the video being manhandled by “rescuers.” Western news-mongers signal tacit approval of this tactic in their refusal to view the video critically.

We can only guess how a censorship project of this magnitude is managed. We can surmise that news outlets are threatened in some way, but it’s not possible to say how this is accomplished or what the threats might consist of. We know from coverage of the events of September 11, 2001, that the threats are effective. Despite ample evidence of US government complicity in that episode of mass murder, no question is ever raised in the mass media about the government’s account. As a result, many people still accept that three New York skyscrapers collapsed because two were struck by airplanes. We can guess that–in the absence of critical comment–the latest bombing of Syria will enjoy similar public support.

Irenaphobia

Wednesday, April 25th, 2018

There’s no such word as irenaphobia, and this should not surprise us. When the pschoanalysts were inventing Greek monikers to describe various forms of neurotic dread, an irrational fear of peace wasn’t something they were encountering in their psychiatric practices. That’s probably because a morbid fear of peace is not irrational. 

Who could possibly fear peace? Certainly, high-ranking military officers could have a perfectly reasonable fear of peace. If the US Army ever becomes unnecessary for the security of Germany, for example, or Turkey, where tens of thousands of US soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen populate dozens of outposts, fewer general officers will be needed, and the progress of advancement for lesser officers will be impeded. It may be that the widespread endorsement of Russia as a mortal enemy of the USA is meant principally to protect the general staff in Europe from redundancy.

Weapons dealers have to fear peace. Next to banking, no other industry offers such abundant opportunities for the enrichment of rich people. A nation at war or under the threat of war will pay any price for arms and ammunition. The ordnance is promptly exploded when received, creating a need for more ammo and, in due course, replacement of the weapons. As an extra bonus, privileged “contractors” get to “rebuild” what the weapons destroy, always at inflated prices and always with ample tribute to the political operators who hire them.

Republicans fear peace. Their voters–gun-toting, bible-thumping, chick-groping, beer-drinking sports fans–crave a certain amount of vicarious violence to hold their interest while rich people quietly relieve them of their labor and their cash. It’s much easier for rich people to manipulate and deceive the rest of us if they can convince us we face a common threat.

Democrats fear peace. The terms of peace always require compromise, and compromise always requires the better armed party to give something up, and Democrats fear they they’ll be blamed for every concession the peace-makers allow. Also, Democrats, like Republicans, are funded by rich people, and rich people like to invest where the returns are generous, such as in weapons-mongering and war-zone contracting. Democrats hold office at the pleasure of these folks.

Newsmen fear peace. War guarantees them a stream of “news,” in the form of press releases and strategic leaks and rumors, without requiring them to do any work. Often enough, there’s blood and violence to feature, and there’s always space for flag-waving, drum-beating, parades, flyovers, and tearful family reunions with returning warriors, decked out, as they always are, in camouflage fatigues. And, when it comes to war-reporting, news-mongers don’t have to worry about accuracy, ever. Mistakes are inevitable amidst the fog of war, as reporters like to remind us. Newsmen fear peace as they fear boring their audience. They know they can attract a crowd with bloodshed and wanton destruction, and that’s what news is for. Then you can sell that crowd the food, drugs and cosmetics your sponsors are peddling.

Political leaders fear peace. War allows them to bask in the delusion that men and women are willing to die for them. In fact, when lives are lost, the survivors quickly learn that dying (or killing, for that matter) for the glorification of your civilian commanders is not a worthwhile enterprise. And our leaders are, overwhelmingly, lifelong civilians. Their “public service” almost always boils down to self-service. They manipulate soldiers and sailors and their gear just as children play with toys, even as the makers of military gear shower them with material and political support. There’s not much our leaders wouldn’t do to preserve the atmosphere of potential lethal conflict that we breathe today.

Ordinary people don’t fear peace but crave it. Deprived as they are of reliable information about their condition, they end up conceding that peace, like justice, is something that must always remain out of reach. And we’ll be right about that for as long as we allow the irenaphobes to control our lives.

Due Diligence

Saturday, April 14th, 2018

Exceedingly rare are news media estimates acknowledging the presence of 800,000 demonstrators on the streets of the nation’s capital. In a protest that took place just a few weeks ago and has been utterly forgotten since, at least a million schoolkids walked out on a schoolday and assembled peacefully in Washington and other cities to demand safety and security from armed raiders. The participants may not know this, but it’s a pretty modest demand from a movement that can turn out this number of young, fit, conscientious citizens for an airing of grievances. 

If you visit the website of March for Our Lives, you find a fund-raising page and a petition you can sign demanding strict regulation of certain kinds of firearms. I’d like to see this assembly of schoolkids broaden their demands, and maybe create a social institution to see that they’re met. Enough of them have gathered at one time to qualify them as representatives of a generation, and not just any generation. Rather, they are the generation that will inherit responsibility for the corrupt shred of a republic that we still call the United States of America.

If they were a group of investors–as they are–they would demand an accounting before accepting liability. What would an accounting conducted with “due diligence” disclose about the assets and  liabililties of the USA? Answers to this question should be the demand of America’s youth, and all its efforts should be directed to elucidating and classifying the elements of a “due diligence” accounting.

Those who hit voting age this year might like to know what sort of damage has been sustained by the national economy, what prospects are for a few decades of clean air and water, whether spending more than the rest of the world combined  on arms and ammo might be excessive, how much is owed in the way of war debt, whether their news sources are corrupted by commercial forces, whether race discrimination has tainted the nation’s moral  sense, to what extent rich people are looting public property, etc. Even the younger kids might demand an accounting from their parents, an accounting that includes the parent’s political involvement, this year, to ensure that the demands of young people are met.

You may have spent a couple of hours listening to some of the oratory delivered in Washington and elsewhere. Maybe you saw an interview with one of Dr. King’s grandkids. You would have had trouble finding extended coverage. Youtube gives you one interruption after another.  But the quality of critical thinking and the rhetorical command of the speakers, even ten- and eleven-year-olds, came through intact.

Whether this is to be a movement or a fund-raising tactic will be up to the participants.  They must know that they are in line to inherit badly damaged goods. Many of us elders ask whether we have equipped them to handle the life-or-death problems we created for them. They can’t be unaware of the possibility that they or their children could be the last generation, even though the topic’s not discussed openly. Maybe it ought to be. What if an accounting made with due diligence were to reveal a mortal danger to their survival? Are they not entitled to know? Is their present value now to be discounted for miseries and privations we are bequeathing them?

They should demand an accounting. They should increase pressure with every passing week. They should see themselves as soldiers. They have already shown that they are far braver than their parents, who allowed their nation to descend so deeply into the filth of war and oppression. They have an opportunity to unite, in huge numbers, behind reason and values. If you know one of these kids, say something.