If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be…The People cannot be safe without information. When the press is free, and every man is able to read, all is safe. Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government. Whenever things get so far wrong as to attract their notice, they may be relied on to set them to rights. Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost. The liberty of speaking and writing guards our other liberties. Dissent is the highest form of patriotism.
— Thomas Jefferson, author of the declaration of Indepedence, US President 1801–1809
Fast forward 175 years:
The CIA owns everyone of any significance in the major media. We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false.
– William Casey, Director CIA (Quote from internal staff meeting notes in 1981)
In 1948 the CIA created Operation Mockingbird, the purpose of which was to, as Mr. Casey pointed out, spread disinformation in the media.
In 1977, Rolling Stone alleged that one of the most important journalists under the control of Operation Mockingbird was Joseph Alsop, whose articles appeared in over 300 different newspapers. Other journalists alleged by Rolling Stone Magazine to have been willing to promote the views of the CIA included Stewart Alsop (New York Herald Tribune), Ben Bradlee (Newsweek), James Reston (New York Times), Charles Douglas Jackson (Time Magazine), Walter Pincus (Washington Post), William C. Baggs (Miami News), Herb Gold (Miami News) and Charles Bartlett (Chattanooga Times).  According to Nina Burleigh (A Very Private Woman) these journalists sometimes wrote articles that were commissioned by Frank Wisner. The CIA also provided them with classified information to help them with their work. 
The Rolling Stone article mentioned was written by Carl Bernstein of "Woodward and Bernstein" fame. He claimed that "over a twenty-five year period over 400 American journalists secretly carried out assignments for the CIA":
"Some of the journalists were Pulitzer Prize winners, distinguished reporters who considered themselves ambassadors-without-portfolio for their country. Most were less exalted: foreign correspondents who found that their association with the Agency helped their work; stringers and freelancers who were as interested it the derring-do of the spy business as in filing articles, and, the smallest category, full-time CIA employees masquerading as journalists abroad."
In 1983 there were 50 different media companies who owned about 90% of the mass media.
Now think about the fact that the government was successful with 50 companies in control, imagine today how easy it must be for the CIA to have "assets" at the executive level of all 6 companies:
In 1983, 50 corporations controlled the vast majority of all news media in the U.S. At the time, Ben Bagdikian was called "alarmist" for pointing this out in his book, The Media Monopoly. In his 4th edition, published in 1992, he wrote "in the U.S., fewer than two dozen of these extraordinary creatures own and operate 90% of the mass media" -- controlling almost all of America's newspapers, magazines, TV and radio stations, books, records, movies, videos, wire services and photo agencies. He predicted then that eventually this number would fall to about half a dozen companies. This was greeted with skepticism at the time. When the 6th edition of The Media Monopoly was published in 2000, the number had fallen to six. Since then, there have been more mergers and the scope has expanded to include new media like the Internet market. More than 1 in 4 Internet users in the U.S. now log in with AOL Time-Warner, the world's largest media corporation. In 2004, Bagdikian's revised and expanded book, The New Media Monopoly, shows that only 5 huge corporations -- Time Warner, Disney, Murdoch's News Corporation, Bertelsmann of Germany, and Viacom (formerly CBS) -- now control most of the media industry in the U.S. General Electric's NBC is a close sixth.
So it is well established that the wealth of information, and diversity of opinion available (at least in the U.S.) is decreasing rapidly as it approaches absolute zero. Some examples:
"Full-time CIA employees masquerading as journalists abroad". This is important because it is commonly used by the US government to portray its enemies as not having "freedom of speech", as is the case in Venezuela today. Chavez has most likely jailed journalists whom he claims work for the CIA, and of course, he is almost certainly correct. There has been a massive CIA destabilization effort going on in Venezuela, and they almost succeeded in 2002, when Chavez was ousted for about 24 hours. The reason for using "Operation Mockingbird" type programs in Venezuela, is because Chavez's government nationalized their oil supply, and drastically reduced the major oil companies share in profits. Recently, an article in USA Today discussed the current profits of oil producing nations:
Of course, not every dollar spent at the pump props up a desert autocrat or funds global terror. Norway, a major producer of North Sea crude, uses its oil export earnings to fund its citizens' retirement program. The Persian Gulf oil states are investing about half of their increased oil revenue in the region, spurring luxury hotel construction in places such as Dubai and sending shares on the Saudis' Tadawul All-Shares index up 79.7% this year...
They do however, at the bottom of the article mention:
...At home, Chavez has lavished oil money on his constituents in Venezuela's poorest neighborhoods. Through "Mission Mercal," a network of government-run groceries, Chavez provides half-priced food to more than 10 million people. The social largesse cements the president's political standing. But economists such as Claudio Loser, former head of the IMF's Western Hemisphere department, say such spending can't continue indefinitely. Already, inflation is galloping at 18% annually and is expected to hit 25% next year.
The message is clear, if you are Norway, a noble way of spending oil money is to invest in government employee pensions, but if you are Venezuela, spending your nations wealth on its people is "social largesse". Of course this only partially reveals the truth. Tariq Ali of the independent "Counterpunch" wrote "Why he Crushed the Oligarchs", where he explains what is actually happening in Venezuela:
Just under a million children from the shanty-towns and the poorest villages now obtain a free education; 1.2 million illiterate adults have been taught to read and write; secondary education has been made available to 250,000 children whose social status excluded them from this privilege during the ancien regime; three new university campuses were functioning by 2003 and six more are due to be completed by 2006. As far as healthcare is concerned, the 10,000 Cuban doctors, who were sent to help the country, have transformed the situation in the poor districts, where 11,000 neighbourhood clinics have been established and the health budget has tripled. Add to this the financial support provided to small businesses, the new homes being built for the poor, an Agrarian Reform Law that was enacted and pushed through despite the resistance, legal and violent, by the landlords. By the end of last year 2,262,467 hectares has been distributed to 116,899 families. The reasons for Chavez' popularity become obvious. No previous regime had even noticed the plight of the poor. And one can't help but notice that it is not simply a division between the wealthy and the poor, but also one of skin-colour. The Chavistas tend to be dark-skinned, reflecting their slave and native ancestry. The opposition is light-skinned and some of its more disgusting supporters denounce Chavez as a black monkey. A puppet show to this effect with a monkey playing Chavez was even organised at the US Embassy in Caracas. But Colin Powell was not amused and the Ambassador was compelled to issue an apology. The bizarre argument advanced in a hostile editorial in The Economist this week that all this was done to win votes is extraordinary. The opposite is the case. The coverage of Venezuela in The Economist and Financial Times has consisted of pro-oligarchy apologetics. Rarely have reporters in the field responded so uncritically to the needs of their proprietors.
The enormous success of disinformation campaigns is glaringly obvious when you hear things like "That crazy son of a bitch (Chavez) doesn't give a shit about his people" spoken so eloquently by a right wing nut coworker of mine. Currently there is an email going around which declares:
Venezuela Dictator Hugo Chavez has vowed to bring down the U.S. government. Chavez, president ! of Venezuela, told a TV audience: "Enough of imperialist aggression; we must tell the world: down with the U.S. empire. We have to bury imperialism this century." Regardless of your feelings! about the war in Iraq, the issue here is that we have a socialist dictator vowing to bring down the government of the U.S. And he is using our money to achieve his goal! The Venezuela government, run by dictator Chavez, sole owner of Citgo gas co. Sales of products at Citgo stations send money back to Chavez to help him in his vow to bring down our government.Very interesting, apparantly ending imperialism is a bad thing, or at least the CIA would like you to not know the difference between ending imperialism, and bringing down the US. Of course this sort of nonsense never explains that the CIA has been trying to overthrow Chavez for 4 years, nor does it explain that Chavez has only threatened to "bring down the U.S. empire" if we invade his country. The most enraging part of this is the fact that Chavez has also been making deals with U.S. congressmen to sell free and discounted oil to poor Americans, who otherwise would not be able to heat their homes:
The sale of heavily discounted heating oil by the Venezuelan government to poor citizens inside the US continues to spread despite opposition from the US government. Venezuela uses Citgo, the refining and distribution subsidiary of its state-owned oil company based in the US, to establish the means, with the aid of supportive politicians or community organisations, to distribute the heating oil. According to Citgo’s website (), 27.7 billion gallons of heating oil at prices discounted up to 40%, and 258,000 gallons of free heating oil, are being distributed as part of the program in New York, Maine, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Vermont...
Chavez insisted that Citgo’s program would continue, claiming that formerly “Citgo and the Venezuelan money was aimed at presidential election campaigns and US congressmen — now it is aimed at aiding and supporting poor people”, according to a March 5 statement issued by Venezuela’s ministry of communication and information. Despite the hostility, the program is expanding. According to Gonzalez, the program is soon to be extended to upper Manhattan, while Reuters reported on February 27 that the program had expanded into Connecticut.
And of course, there is nothing that Texas oil men hate more than using oil money to help poor people, so enter corporate lackey for the oil industry, Joe Barton, close alliy to the Bush Administration:
In response, the US Congress has launched what was described in an opinion piece by Juan Gonzalez in the February 24 New York Daily News as a “bizarre investigation” into Citgo over alleged anti-trust violations. The investigation was launched by “powerful Texan Republican” Joe Barton, the head of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Barton, one of the highest recipients in Congress of campaign donations from the energy industry, sent a letter to Citgo on February 15 giving it 10 days to produce all records, minutes, logs, emails “and even desk calendars” relating to the program. While the deputy staff director for the energy and commerce committee, Larry Neal, claimed the cheap heating oil program was an attempt by the “bellicose” Chavez to “meddle in American energy policy”, Gonzalez claims the real reason for the opposition is that the program “has created a huge public embarrassment for Barton’s friends in the major oil companies, all of which recently announced record-shattering profits for 2005”. These profits are the result of the record prices and alleged price gouging, which have hit poor people dependent on heating oil during winter especially hard.
Certainly in terms of South American issues, everything the American public knows is false. Has anyone seen anything about this issue in the American press?
The real success of these sort of misinformation campaigns was before the invasion of Iraq, both the US and British media (this sort of thing is not limited to the US empire) created a rich tapestry of lies. George Monbiot reports:
All journalists make mistakes .… But the falsehoods reproduced by the media before the invasion of Iraq were massive and consequential: it is hard to see how Britain could have gone to war if the press had done its job. — George Monbiot, Guardian (UK), July 20, 2004
For example, a Harris Poll from February 2005 states:
On other issues concerning Iraq, the attitudes of large majorities of the public have not changed significantly in the past few months.
- 88 percent of U.S. adults believe that Saddam Hussein would have made weapons of mass destruction if he could have (down slightly from 90% in November).
- 76 percent believe that the Iraqis are better off now than they were under Saddam Hussein (same as November).
- 64 percent believe that history will give the U.S. credit for bringing freedom and democracy to Iraq (up slightly from 63% in November).
- 64 percent believe that Saddam Hussein had strong links to Al Qaeda (up slightly from 62% in November).
- 61 percent believe that Iraq, under Saddam Hussein, was a serious threat to U.S. security (down slightly from 63% in November).
More surprising perhaps are the large numbers (albeit not majorities) who believe the following claims not made by the president and which virtually no experts believe to be true:
- 47 percent believe that Saddam Hussein helped plan and support the hijackers who attacked the U.S. on September 11, 2001 (up six percentage points from November).
- 44 percent actually believe that several of the hijackers who attacked the U.S. on September 11 were Iraqis (up significantly from 37% in November).
- 36 percent believe that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction when the U.S. invaded (down slightly from 38% in November).
These are absolutely staggering falsehoods. But the true monstrous nature is apparent when Americans simply turn on the television. The popular TV show "24" is about a "counter-terrorism" agent played by Keifer Sutherland, who routinely tortures subjects in order to "prevent" terrorist attacks. This is such egregious propaganda, it is sickening. A good friend of mine recently repeated this line of nonsense with something like "We need to torture to get information".
Brig. Gen. David R. Irvine wrote in November of 2005:
There are really only three issues in this debate, and the Journal carefully turned a blind eye to all three: (1) is torture reliable, (2) is it consistent with America's values and Constitution, and (3) does it best serve our national interests? No one has yet offered any validated evidence that torture produces reliable intelligence. While torture apologists frequently make the claim that torture saves lives, that assertion is directly contradicted by many Army, FBI, and CIA professionals who have actually interrogated al Qaeda captives. Exhibit A is the torture-extracted confession of Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, an al Qaeda captive who told the CIA in 2001, having been "rendered" to the tender mercies of Egypt, that Saddam Hussein had trained al Qaeda to use WMD. It appears that this confession was the only information upon which, in late 2002, the president, the vice president, and the secretary of state repeatedly claimed that "credible evidence" supported that claim, even though a now-declassified Defense Intelligence Agency report from February 2002 questioned the reliability of the confession because it was likely obtained under torture. In January 2004, al-Libi recanted his "confession," and a month later, the CIA recalled all intelligence reports based on his statements. Exhibit B is the case of Manadel al-Jamadi, an Iraqi deemed a "high-value" target by the CIA. After being beaten to an extent that he had several broken ribs, he was subjected to a form of crucifixion known as "Palestinian hanging." Forty-five minutes later, he was dead, never having revealed whatever vital, ticking-bomb information his American interrogator was seeking.
Much like what happened during the Spanish Inquisition, you can get people to say anything once they have been tortured enough, which is why the concept almost always provides bad information. And this is only the tip of the iceberg, some of the reports coming out of Iraq are simply too much to comprehend. The next picture is an artists rendition of one of the unreleased photos from Abu Ghraib prison. It depicts US soldiers beating an 8 year old girl. This of course is done in front of the parents, in order to get them to talk. Of course, the parents of the girl must be guilty of something, yes?
According to the International Red Cross, close to 90% of the people being held are not guilty of the allegations and many were picked-up almost at random by US patrols on sweeps.
A very interesting technique, sweep innocent people off the street, throw them in prison, and beat and rape their children in front of them, in order to get them to "talk". Jack Bauer of "24" does this each week, and ALWAYS saves the day. According to Hollywood, we are ALWAYS on the brink of annihilation, and some brave patriot, whether a cop, or a "counter-terrorism" agent, (usually played by Tom Cruise) is able to stop the "terrorist" in the nick of time, only because of the necessary use of torture, to get the information needed to thwart the attack. Think about it, you know that is what we are conditioned to believe. Joe Bageant recently wrote:
As my late friend Timothy Leary put it, "An enormous industry, similar to the national projects of pyramid-building in Egypt, cathedral-building in medieval Europe, and prison-camp building in Stalinist Russia has emerged in America -- the production of political martyrs, fallen heroes and concept outlaws. ... The essence of 'news' is, of course, the modern version of Roman coliseum shows and gladiator combats." And like clockwork, there is the nightly ritual bloodletting through televised wars and domestic murders, with detective Lenny Briscoe finding the corpses at seven, eight and eleven PM weekdays.
I know what you are saying, what about the terrorists, how will we stop them. What terrorists? Since the Department of State started keeping records, around 500-600 people every YEAR are killed in terrorist attacks. That average includes the 9/11 attacks, it would be much lower otherwise. Here is the DOS's numbers:
Interesting, Terrorism didn't really exist until around 1970, coincidentally the same year oil peaked in America. Also coincidentally, we got a spike around the time of world-wide oil supplies started peaking, or getting close. Personally, I don't believe in coincidence. How can it be that every country the U.S. decides needs to be brought "democracy", also has resources coveted by the U.S. Recently, Jeff Wells of Rigorous Institution, wrote:
And I'm reminded again of former German Cabinet Minister Andreas von Bulow's advice: "When in doubt, it is always worthwhile to take a look at a map: where are raw materials resources, and the routes to them? Then lay a map of civil wars and conflicts on top of that - they coincide. The same is the case with the third map: nodal points of the drug trade. Where this all comes together, the American intelligence services are not far away."
The "Cocaine Import Agency" otherwise known as the CIA, is another story altogether, so I digress.
As we can obviously see, the average fatalities since 1968 are around 500-600 per year. The total since 1968 is 17,166. We almost definitely killed more innocent Iraqi's in the first few DAYS following the 2003 Invasion. In October of 2004, the Lancet journal released a report:
Making conservative assumptions, we think that about 100,000 excess deaths or more have happened since the 2003 invasion of Iraq," researchers from Johns Hopkins' Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland, said in a report published online by The Lancet medical journal on Thursday. "Violence accounted for most of the excess death and air strikes from coalition forces accounted for the most violent deaths," the report added.
In the first Gulf war, the U.S. bombing Campaign killed about 150,000 in the first 40 days, with the cruise missile equivalent of 7 Hiroshima bombs. We leveled the entire country, set up conditions that would cost the lives of aroung 1.5 million innocent civilians, mostly women and children, and left the dictator in power, actually rewarding him. As Noam Chomsky points out, this is like capturing a criminal who hijacked a schoolbus full of children, rescuing him, setting him free, and than burning the schoolbus with the children inside, in order to punish the hijacker. The absurdity speaks for itself. And regarding the economic sanctions, under the terrorist Clinton regime, Madeline Albright has publicly announced that the blockade was "worth it".
So how do we measure a threat, worthy enough of dropping bombs on tens of thousands of women and children? Here are some more fatality statistics:
- Tobacco 435,000
- Poor Diet and Physical Inactivity 365,000
- Alcohol 85,000
- Microbial Agents 75,000
- Toxic Agents 55,000
- Motor Vehicle Crashes 26,347
- Adverse Reactions to Prescription Drugs 32,000
- Suicide 30,622
- Incidents Involving Firearms 29,000
- Homicide 20,308
- Sexual Behaviors 20,000
- All Illicit Drug Use, Direct and Indirect 17,000
- Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs Such As Aspirin 7,600
- Marijuana 0
As you can see, "Sexual Behaviors" alone (whatever that is) kills more people every year, than the cumulative total of international terrorism has, since they started keeping track 40 years ago. Furthermore, Lightning is responsible for about 60% more deaths each year than terrorism is.
Getting back to the Abu Ghraib picture above, this is not simply the work of some German's imagination, this really is going on. Wayne Madsen has reported on the abuse, and the true origins of it as well. Doesn't it strike you that it is always some low ranking officers, or "bad apples" that are punished for these crimes? Of course this is what we must believe because this way, the perpetrators of the crime have been caught, tried and convicted, the system works, this won't happen again, trust us, we are the government. This flys in the face of reality, because NOTHING in the military happens that way. All orders come from the top, soldiers don't think or plan, they obey. They are trained to take orders, and those orders come from the very top when it comes to things like trashing the Geneva conventions. From Wayne Madsen:
From WMR, Nov. 18, 2005: There is good reason for the embarrassment of the Pentagon in the affair. The orders to take the sexually-oriented photos and videos, some of which involve teenage Iraqi boys and girls and sodomization by their guards, came directly from a pedophile and closeted male homosexual ring operating in the White House, according to the intelligence sources. Copies of the tapes and photos were sent directly to the White House for the entertainment of senior members of the Bush White House, including officials in the Vice President's office and the Executive Office of the President. When the photos at Abu Ghraib became public, the senior military command structure in Iraq "went nuts," according to an individual who witnessed the cover-up of the affair. "They ordered an immediate policy of denial about details of the prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib," said the source. The source added that senior officers were disgusted that lower ranking guards were prosecuted and jailed when the order for the mistreatment came directly from the White House.
I think we have now established that, at least in terms of geopolitics, mostly everything the American public knows is demonstrably false. So how did it get this way, who is to blame? The origins of the deceit go way back, Americans believed these same absurdities 100 years ago, when Emma Goldman wrote:
We Americans claim to be a peace-loving people. We hate bloodshed; we are opposed to violence. Yet we go into spasms of joy over the possibility of projecting dynamite bombs from flying machines upon helpless citizens. We are ready to hang, electrocute, or lynch anyone, who, from economic necessity, will risk his own life in the attempt upon that of some industrial magnate. Yet our hearts swell with pride at the thought that America is becoming the most powerful nation on earth, and that she will eventually plant her iron foot on the necks of all other nations.
She said this in 1908, so we now see how long this has been happening. The consensus among Democrats is that this is a Bush administration tactic, and all we need to do is elect someone else, and everything will be swell. The fact is, this has been done for 100 years, and the hard core mind-washing didn't even begin until 1917 with the beginning of the Public Relations industry, and the "Creel Commission", which I will discuss next.