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NEWS: Anti-America News

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posted on Feb, 11 2005 @ 09:51 PM
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US censorship example??


The problem is not propaganda but the relentless control of the kind of things we think about

Brian Eno
Sunday August 17, 2003
The Observer

When I first visited Russia, in 1986, I made friends with a musician whose father had been Brezhnev's personal doctor. One day we were talking about life during 'the period of stagnation' - the Brezhnev era. 'It must have been strange being so completely immersed in propaganda,' I said.

'Ah, but there is the difference. We knew it was propaganda,' replied Sacha.

That is the difference. Russian propaganda was so obvious that most Russians were able to ignore it. They took it for granted that the government operated in its own interests and any message coming from it was probably slanted - and they discounted it.

In the West the calculated manipulation of public opinion to serve political and ideological interests is much more covert and therefore much more effective. Its greatest triumph is that we generally don't notice it - or laugh at the notion it even exists. We watch the democratic process taking place - heated debates in which we feel we could have a voice - and think that, because we have 'free' media, it would be hard for the Government to get away with anything very devious without someone calling them on it.

It takes something as dramatic as the invasion of Iraq to make us look a bit more closely and ask: 'How did we get here?' How exactly did it come about that, in a world of Aids, global warming, 30-plus active wars, several famines, cloning, genetic engineering, and two billion people in poverty, practically the only thing we all talked about for a year was Iraq and Saddam Hussein? Was it really that big a problem? Or were we somehow manipulated into believing the Iraq issue was important and had to be fixed right now - even though a few months before few had mentioned it, and nothing had changed in the interim.


In the wake of the events of 11 September 2001, it now seems clear that the shock of the attacks was exploited in America. According to Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber in their new book Weapons of Mass Deception , it was used to engineer a state of emergency that would justify an invasion of Iraq. Rampton and Stauber expose how news was fabricated and made to seem real. But they also demonstrate how a coalition of the willing - far-Right officials, neo-con think-tanks, insanely pugilistic media commentators and of course well-paid PR companies - worked together to pull off a sensational piece of intellectual dishonesty. Theirs is a study of modern propaganda.

What occurs to me in reading their book is that the new American approach to social control is so much more sophisticated and pervasive that it really deserves a new name. It isn't just propaganda any more, it's 'prop-agenda '. It's not so much the control of what we think, but the control of what we think about. When our governments want to sell us a course of action, they do it by making sure it's the only thing on the agenda, the only thing everyone's talking about. And they pre-load the ensuing discussion with highly selected images, devious and prejudicial language, dubious linkages, weak or false 'intelligence' and selected 'leaks'. (What else can the spat between the BBC and Alastair Campbell be but a prime example of this?)

With the ground thus prepared, governments are happy if you then 'use the democratic process' to agree or disagree - for, after all, their intention is to mobilise enough headlines and conversation to make the whole thing seem real and urgent. The more emotional the debate, the better. Emotion creates reality, reality demands action.

An example of this process is one highlighted by Rampton and Stauber which, more than any other, consolidated public and congressional approval for the 1991 Gulf war. We recall the horrifying stories, incessantly repeated, of babies in Kuwaiti hospitals ripped out of their incubators and left to die while the Iraqis shipped the incubators back to Baghdad - 312 babies, we were told.

The story was brought to public attention by Nayirah, a 15-year-old 'nurse' who, it turned out later, was the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador to the US and a member of the Kuwaiti royal family. Nayirah had been tutored and rehearsed by the Hill & Knowlton PR agency (which in turn received $14 million from the American government for their work in promoting the war). Her story was entirely discredited within weeks but by then its purpose had been served: it had created an outraged and emotional mindset within America which overwhelmed rational discussion.

As we are seeing now, the most recent Gulf war entailed many similar deceits: false linkages made between Saddam, al-Qaeda and 9/11, stories of ready-to-launch weapons that didn't exist, of nuclear programmes never embarked upon. As Rampton and Stauber show, many of these allegations were discredited as they were being made, not least by this newspaper, but nevertheless were retold.

Throughout all this, the hired-gun PR companies were busy, preconditioning the emotional landscape. Their marketing talents were particularly useful in the large-scale manipulation of language that the campaign entailed. The Bu#es realised, as all ideologues do, that words create realities, and that the right words can over whelm any chance of balanced discussion. Guided by the overtly imperial vision of the Project for a New American Century (whose members now form the core of the American administration), the PR companies helped finesse the language to create an atmosphere of simmering panic where American imperialism would come to seem not only acceptable but right, obvious, inevitable and even somehow kind.

Aside from the incessant 'weapons of mass destruction', there were 'regime change' (military invasion), 'pre-emptive defence' (attacking a country that is not attacking you), 'critical regions' (countries we want to control), the 'axis of evil' (countries we want to attack), 'shock and awe' (massive obliteration) and 'the war on terror' (a hold-all excuse for projecting American military force anywhere).

Meanwhile, US federal employees and military personnel were told to refer to the invasion as 'a war of liberation' and to the Iraqi paramilitaries as 'death squads', while the reliably sycophantic American TV networks spoke of 'Operation Iraqi Freedom' - just as the Pentagon asked them to - thus consolidating the supposition that Iraqi freedom was the point of the war. Anybody questioning the invasion was 'soft on terror' (liberal) or, in the case of the UN, 'in danger of losing its relevance'.

When I was young, an eccentric uncle decided to teach me how to lie. Not, he explained, because he wanted me to lie, but because he thought I should know how it's done so I would recognise when I was being lied to. I hope writers such as Rampton and Stauber and others may have the same effect and help to emasculate the culture of spin and dissembling that is overtaking our political establishments.

· © Brian Eno 2003
A longer version of this article will appear in the new literary magazine, Zembla. Weapons of Mass Deception by Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber is published by Robinson at £6.99




posted on Feb, 11 2005 @ 10:00 PM
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The higher "over-hyped" and inflated Euro, which stills goes unrecognized and unmentioned, is part of the European problem


That may be true but if countries like China and Russia begin to switch reserves to Euros does it really matter? In which case it would be the US's problem.



a strictly speaking switch to the Euro would be quite devastating and foolish for the both


Agreed, but I could see a gradual switch begin to take place.

-raven

[edit on 11-2-2005 by raven2012]



posted on Feb, 11 2005 @ 10:01 PM
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Hmmm. Maybe you could do a bit of research and let us know what you find? ...Of course if it's censored, you could have a few problems finding anything...


One example I know about is the Associated Press story on the new torture allegations - I found one article from Edmonton Canada, one in Australia - and that was it, on the Internet. Nothing in the mainstream press.


The Associated Press is American based, isn't it? I personally don't go to CNN or Fox, so I wouldn't know what they covered. I go to the BBC. There weren't any new allegations reported there.

After looking at the topic you made on the subject, I didn't see anything new at all. Everything in that article has been reported by the American media at some point. It was just a different rights group whining this time.

If you can't give me specifics of whats censored, then what makes you think its being censored? It's easy to go around making allegations, but something completely different to give proof.



posted on Feb, 11 2005 @ 11:19 PM
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Originally posted by Disturbed Deliverer

If you can't give me specifics of whats censored, then what makes you think its being censored? It's easy to go around making allegations, but something completely different to give proof.



Stockbender's post above helps explain the problem very well.


Also note: You are the one who introduced the term "censored" - but what's happening is more insidious - and what I wrote was, "There are numerous news stories on the Internet that never make mainstream American news, and sites that have been black-listed by many US servers."

Besides the new US torture allegations, "Mad Cow" is another example - all over off-shore news, but not covered in North America.
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[edit on 11-2-2005 by soficrow]



posted on Feb, 12 2005 @ 12:26 AM
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Besides the new US torture allegations, "Mad Cow" is another example - all over off-shore news, but not covered in North America


It's covered here when a case is found, too. Besides you, no one is worried about Mad Cow right now.


Also note: You are the one who introduced the term "censored" - but what's happening is more insidious - and what I wrote was, "There are numerous news stories on the Internet that never make mainstream American news, and sites that have been black-listed by many US servers."


What you said was the definition of censor.


The problem is not propaganda but the relentless control of the kind of things we think about


This was a dumb statement followed by a dumber article from a paper that's barely better than a tabloid.

The media has ALWAYS been sensationalized garbage that focuses on thigns too much. That's not new. It's not sinister, either. The news groups know what people want to hear about, and they focus on that.

Many media outlets had anti-war agendas, as well as many papers. The Washington Post and New York Times both printed stories just before we invaded stating there really weren't WMD's. There were always skeptics. Both sides were presented.



posted on Feb, 12 2005 @ 12:35 AM
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Originally posted by Disturbed Deliverer



The problem is not propaganda but the relentless control of the kind of things we think about


This was a dumb statement followed by a dumber article from a paper that's barely better than a tabloid.




Ahem. That was a brilliantly written article by an extremely well-educated person.


....Tabloid? Puh-leeze.



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posted on Feb, 12 2005 @ 12:42 AM
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You didn't actually address any of my reasoning.



posted on Feb, 12 2005 @ 12:53 AM
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Originally posted by Disturbed Deliverer
You didn't actually address any of my reasoning.



That would be because none was apparent.

...This is a thread about how people outside the US mainstream perceive what's happening in America.

It's NOT about whether or not they are right, or you or I am - it's about how different people see the same things. ...In this case specifically, a black Muslim American who gets his news from non-American Internet sources.

If you want to argue about the truth of what he wrote - you need to argue with him.

As I wrote in my article:


" Most Americans feel deeply about their country. They express it in different ways and claim different priorities, but at heart, they all want to protect the same beautiful nation.

In "The Global Descent of America," Aljaz Ahmad tells of an America few of us know. But it is the same country all Americans love. Ahmad loves it too. "



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posted on Feb, 12 2005 @ 12:55 AM
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I am so glad you posted this soficrow, this is a favourite topic of mine


I live on the border and receive US and Canadian broadcasting. The difference in the news programming is absolutely incredible. There is hardly any international coverage at all. There are lots of human-interest stories, and local things, but political reporting and international news coverage, no. You do have lots of political analysis shows where people yell at each other and make extreme statements to get ratings, but very little in the way of factual reporting.

There are tons of stories that never make the news in the US. Many of the stories I do see reported in US media seem to be delayed by a day or so. Not all mind you, but a fair portion. In the last few months here on ATS I have come to realize that I am hearing about these things a day or two before the people in the US. I quite often see things posted as news here that I was previously aware of.

I had never considered the fact that US servers might be restricting access. To me, that is just so against everything I ever thought the US stood for, no matter my opinion on policy. I knew you had screwed up news, I have even referred to it as propaganda once or twice, but it never occurred to me that the news would be unavailable to you. I just thought no one cared.

And I wanted to throw this article up as another example of international dialogue not reported on, written by Samuel Huntington, a Harvard University Political Scientist.



With the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, the power of the United States has declined momentously. Now, people say, "Well, you're the only superpower, and therefore you can do anything you want." But that's simply not the case, because you can only exercise authority and influence over other countries if you can get them to go along; if they need you in one way or another. Countries all over the world now no longer need the United States to provide their security as they did during the Cold War. The idea that the European Union would have evolved in the way in which it has during the past decade or so would have been unthinkable during the Cold War, when the United States was crucial to providing the security for Germany and France. They don't need us now -- and control over them, as well as over many other countries, clearly has gone down dramatically.

MacLeans


And before you ask, yes this is an extremely reputable magazine.



posted on Feb, 12 2005 @ 08:31 AM
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I scan alternate news sites because they offer viewpoints different from the mainstream. Here's another interesting article on this topic:


An Interview with Investigative Journalist Greg Palast, from San Diego City Beat

SOMETHING IS WRONG IN AMERICA


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