Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Warped "News" And Legalized Propaganda For U.S. In 2015

Source: "The CIA Must Tell The Truth About My Rendition At 12 Years Old" by Khadija al-Saadi
When I blogged yesterday about how and why people in the U.S. seem to approve of the torture done in their name and with their tax support, I can't believe I forgot to include a link to this great piece by Glenn Greenwald: "U.S. TV Provides Ample Platform For American Torturers, But None For Their Victims" [emphasis mine].

Greenwald explains the information management that leads U.S. consumers into fear and ignorance and keeps them there. The non-white Other who is deemed deserving of torture is almost never heard from in corporate media. Only those who ordered or defend the torture are given a voice.
Gul Rahman froze to death in a CIA prison. Photograph: AP
Source: The Guardia
n "Rectal rehydration and waterboarding: the CIA torture report's grisliest findings"
There is a danger to the manufactured consent for torture in hearing from victims. A victim might reveal, like Maher Arar, that he was found innocent after all those months of torture. Or that she might reveal, like Khadija al-Saadi, that she was rendered by the CIA as a child and used, along with her younger siblings, to pressure her dissident father as he was tortured in Libya. 

I started my day with this bracing overview of the ways in which the U.S. public has been misled about another international crisis, the one in Ukraine -- where we are backing neo-Nazi militias in a power struggle on Russia's border. Patrick Smith writing in Slate focuses on the New York Times disinformation campaign which has falsely portrayed Russia's Putin as the aggressor. The NYT has now done an about face and admits that NATO was the aggressor all along. Acting as so-called "media clerks" to the U.S. State Department, those parrots for the Pentagon, apparently does not result in accurate news reporting. Big surprise!

There's a lengthy delay in most truth leaking out to the public, and that delay is undoubtedly deliberate. By the time some real facts emerge the news cycle has exhausted that topic and is on to the next. That the U.S. tortures people to death is a documented fact! Yawn, says the U.S. public.

The only current "news" that interests most is who won the game last night, and which celebrity is in the hall of shame.

I am extremely thankful to still have the Internet and a robust network of information streaming my way via activist friends who spend a lot more time reading than I can. Of course my news is filtered like anyone else's, and there is a Twilight Zone effect created by the gap of months or even years between what I learn from my news providers and when this information finally emerges in corporate media.

In my idealistic youth I wanted to be a journalist. This feeling stirs again sometimes when I see real journalists at work, as in the film citizenfour which depicts in real time the struggle for Edward Snowden to bring his truth to light with the help of journalists.

He actually respects the journalists' craft, and does not mistake his own expertise in accessing and evaluating the significance of information with effectively disseminating it to the public. (It's good that Snowden recognized his own strengths and weaknesses. Cloak and dagger spying is not a strong suit; it would be hard to find a more feeble attempt at disguise, for example, as he prepares to exit the hotel in Hong Kong where he has been hiding.)

Another nugget of information that slipped the news cycle: an amendment in the NDAA bill for FY13 that nullified the Smith-Mundt Act of 1948 and the Foreign Relations Act of  1987. This effectively legalized propaganda for consumption by the U.S. public. (In addition to the $2 billion spent annually to convince youngsters that the military is a good career choice, that is.) Taxpayer supported, of course. 

Are U.S. consumers really willing to pay their own government to lie to them? Probably not, but only if they know about it.

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