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Thread: The thread of Caitlin Johnstone's words

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    United States Avalon Member Dennis Leahy's Avatar
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    Default Re: The thread of Caitlin Johnstone's words

    Sadly, support for Bernie Sanders is (as I see it) Caitlin Johnstone's Achilles's Heel. I despise Bernie because he has been so effective at portraying himself as anti-Empire, but his actions in office acquiescing to the MIC (and lifelong, until recently, when it became a PR nightmare for him, support of the Israeli genocide of Palestine and Palestinians), shows that he is just another opportunistic, lying, scumbag, career politician. I don't care if he is "less evil" than other opportunistic, lying, scumbag, career politicians.

    I fully agree with her expose of the DNC inner corruption made so obvious with Sanders 2016 run for the US presidency, and Caitlin exposing the complicit mass media, but not to parlay that into any form of support for yet another clever puppet of the oligarchs.


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    Default Re: The thread of Caitlin Johnstone's words

    Of all the possible candidates, I would find it less sickening to have to see Sanders' face on a regular basis for 4 years than any of the other candidates, but that's not saying much.
    I would have voted for almost anyone rather than have to see Dubya's face anymore than necessary.
    Reelecting any POTUS for a second term seems like a bad idea given that in their first term they are more likely to at least make an attempt to live up to a few of their campaign promises, but in the second term the restraints are greatly reduced.
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    United States Avalon Member Dennis Leahy's Avatar
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    Default Re: The thread of Caitlin Johnstone's words

    Quote Posted by onawah (here)
    Of all the possible candidates, I would find it less sickening to have to see Sanders' face on a regular basis for 4 years than any of the other candidates, but that's not saying much.
    I would have voted for almost anyone rather than have to see Dubya's face anymore than necessary.
    Reelecting any POTUS for a second term seems like a bad idea given that in their first term they are more likely to at least make an attempt to live up to a few of their campaign promises, but in the second term the restraints are greatly reduced.

    Examine that phrase, "of all the possible candidates", noting that every single one is fully connected to the Global Corporate Network (the visible, corporate oligarchy), and you'll see why - unless and until US citizens take over the entire election process - I am done with the oligarchic, corporate, pseudo-binary choice circus that is misnamed "elections." Likely, I will never vote again.

    Imagine having elections for major offices, and all of the candidates were unknowns, with no political party (gang) support, and no ties to the Global Corporate Network - candidates that we citizens would examine and scrutinize via a list of major citizen-authored topics and the candidates responses in writing. Candidates for high office would be plumbers, school teachers, carpenters, poets, small farmers, etc., rather than the existing oligarchic, sociopathic, ruling class clowns that are currently the only options on our ballots.

    99% of the citizens in the US are not rich, so why would we want the rich in positions of power as our representatives? Probably 90% of US citizens are not tied to the Global Corporate Network, so why would we want those that are to be in positions of power?

    Bernie also showed great cowardice in the face of killary and her handlers - why would you think he would grow testicles and actually stand up to the oligarchs if elected to the presidency?

    (I don't want to dilute this thread more than I have here, so if this is a discussion point, maybe we could do it in another thread.)
    Last edited by Dennis Leahy; 12th February 2020 at 02:08. Reason: geez, I kan't spel verry wel


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    Default Re: The thread of Caitlin Johnstone's words

    No argument from me at all, Dennis.
    I don't know that I will vote either--it seems pretty pointless at this juncture if it all just boils down to which face I find to be somewhat less obnoxious, and nothing more.
    But I will invite you, if you care to, to check out the discussion where I've posted this: "It's interesting to me that I believe nowhere in this discussion has anyone mentioned that currently according to C. A. Fitts and others, there are approximately 35 trillion dollars "missing" from the US economy...a good example of the point I was making here: http://projectavalon.net/forum4/show...=1#post1334927 "
    Quote Posted by Dennis Leahy (here)
    Quote Posted by onawah (here)
    Of all the possible candidates, I would find it less sickening to have to see Sanders' face on a regular basis for 4 years than any of the other candidates, but that's not saying much.
    I would have voted for almost anyone rather than have to see Dubya's face anymore than necessary.
    Reelecting any POTUS for a second term seems like a bad idea given that in their first term they are more likely to at least make an attempt to live up to a few of their campaign promises, but in the second term the restraints are greatly reduced.

    Examine that phrase, "of all the possible candidates", noting that every single one is fully connected to the Global Corporate Network (the visible, corporate oligarchy), and you'll see why - unless and until US citizens take over the entire election process - I am done with the oligarchic, corporate, pseudo-binary choice circus that is misnamed "elections." Likely, I will never vote again.

    Imagine having elections for major offices, and all of the candidates were unknowns, with no political party (gang) support, and no ties to the Global Corporate Network - candidates that we citizens would examine and scrutinize via a list of major citizen-authored topics and the candidates responses in writing. Candidates for high office would be plumbers, school teachers, carpenters, poets, small farmers, etc., rather than the existing oligarchic, sociopathic, ruling class clowns that are currently the only options on our ballets?

    99% of the citizens in the US are not rich, so why would we want the rich in positions of power as our representatives? Probably 90% of US citizens are not tied to the Global Corporate Network, so why would we want those that are to be in positions of power?

    Bernie also showed great cowardice in the face of killary and her handlers - why would you think he would grow testicles and actually stand up to the oligarchs if elected to the presidency?

    (I don't want to dilute this thread more than I have here, so if this is a discussion point, maybe we could do it in another thread.)
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    Default Re: The thread of Caitlin Johnstone's words

    Puppet Pete Says Revolution And The Status Quo Aren’t Mutually Exclusive
    FEBRUARY 10, 2020
    CAITLIN JOHNSTONE
    https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2020/02...lly-exclusive/



    "The world’s first laboratory-grown presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg met with boos and chants of “Wall Street Pete” at a recent Democratic Party event in New Hampshire for taking a dig at the revolution-minded rhetoric favored by Bernie Sanders and his supporters.

    “We cannot risk dividing Americans’ future further, saying that you must either be for a revolution or you must be for the status quo,” Buttigieg said. “Let’s make room for everybody in this movement.”

    This is a talking point that the tightly scripted and focus group-tested Buttigieg has been repeatedly regurgitating all month, so it’s worth taking a look at.

    Claiming that it isn’t necessary to choose between revolution and the status quo is claiming that you can change the status quo without any kind of revolution. You are saying that the establishment which has created and reinforced the status quo can now suddenly, for some strange and mysterious reason, be counted upon to change it. That the status quo will change the status quo.

    Anyone who has paid attention to US politics for more than a few years already knows that this is objectively false. From administration to administration, regardless of who sits in the Oval Office or who controls the House or the Senate, the status quo has been adamantly enforced along a rigid trajectory toward ever-increasing military expansionism, exploitative neoliberal economic policies, income and wealth inequality, police militarization, mass-scale imprisonment, Orwellian surveillance programs and increasing restrictions on journalism and free speech.

    Change is not going to come from those institutions, it’s going to come from the people using the power of their numbers to force important changes that those institutions do not want to make. And Pete Buttigieg knows this. And so do the spooks and oligarchs who are backing him.

    It is very appropriate that a military intelligence officer with ties to the CIA, who is beloved by intelligence/defense agency insiders and who appears to have been groomed by national security mandarins from the very beginning of his career, should be actively working to kill a revolutionary zeitgeist. After all, backing counter-revolutionaries is a favorite CIA activity.

    Progressives already got suckered into forfeiting their revolutionary spirit in exchange for flowery prose and empty rhetoric the last time they elected Pete Buttigieg for president, back when Pete Buttigieg was named Barack Obama. It was literally the exact same script they’re trying to recycle with Puppet Pete: a plucky young underdog with a knack for sparkly verbiage overcomes the frontrunner in Iowa in a stunning upset, then rides the momentum from that initial victory on to the Democratic nomination.

    And now we’re seeing the Democratic Party officially award Buttigieg the largest delegate count in Iowa, after a massive scandal and despite countless unresolved discrepancies in the numbers, and establishment narrative managers are now preparing their heartwarming David-and-Goliath stories about the small town mayor knocking out the big bad socialist frontrunner for a second consecutive time in New Hampshire in defiance of the odds and polling expectations. If that falls through they’ve got Nevada, where **** really started to get crazy in 2016, and where they’re preparing to implement a brand new caucus app which they keep trying to say is not an app but a “tool” made for iPads (which is the thing that an app is).

    All this to install a man who has managed to pack an astonishing amount of corruption and scandal into a relatively brief, small-scale political career.

    That’s what not choosing between revolution and the status quo looks like. It looks like continuing the status quo.

    Which is why it’s so dumb when Buttigieg says “Let’s make room for everybody in this movement.” Movement? What movement? You don’t get to call it a “movement” when its entire agenda is to prevent any movement. Use a different word. “Let’s make room for everybody in this inertia,” or “Let’s make room for everybody in this stasis” or something.

    As I’ve said many times before, I’m interested in this presidential election not because I am under the delusion that presidential elections tend to change things, but because the attempts to manipulate it, and the public’s response to those manipulations, could shake something loose that actually might. If enough people in the world’s most powerful nation wake up to the fact that they don’t have the kind of political system they were taught about in school, if they realize that everything they’ve been told about how their government operates is a lie, if they realize their lives have been made so unnecessarily difficult by a ruling oligarchic class with a vested interest in keeping them impoverished and distracted, well, then we’re looking at an actual transformative force.

    Then we’re looking at the possibility of a real revolution. Not a violent revolution; those always result in a continuation of the same ills under a different system, and there’s nothing revolutionary about that.

    I’m talking about a real revolution. One where people begin to open their eyes to the reality that their entire understanding of what’s going on in the world has been the result of mass psychological manipulation throughout their entire lives at the hands of the school system, the billionaire-controlled news media, and the political establishment. One where people open their eyes so wide to the power of narrative control that they become impossible to propagandize. One where people begin weaving their own narratives. Their own understandings of the world. Built not for the benefit of the powerful, but for the benefit of the people.

    We’re seeing a lot of movement already in 2020, and it’s just getting started. I see the potential for a lot of light to reach a lot of new areas between the cracks which open up in that movement. And I see the guardians of the status quo having a harder and harder time maintaining the state of stasis. Their increasingly ham-fisted manipulations, such as installing a jarringly phony puppet like Pete Buttigieg, say a lot about their desperation.

    Find ways of forcing them to overextend themselves and overplay their hand. Let’s show everyone what they’re hiding behind the puppet theater."
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    Default Re: The thread of Caitlin Johnstone's words

    I will add though, that Sanders' choice to refrain from going up against HRC may have been more to do with literal self-preservation rather than cowardice.
    Just look at the latest tally in the Clinton Body Count.
    I don't put much past them at this point.
    Quote Posted by onawah (here)
    Of all the possible candidates, I would find it less sickening to have to see Sanders' face on a regular basis for 4 years than any of the other candidates, but that's not saying much.
    I would have voted for almost anyone rather than have to see Dubya's face anymore than necessary.
    Reelecting any POTUS for a second term seems like a bad idea given that in their first term they are more likely to at least make an attempt to live up to a few of their campaign promises, but in the second term the restraints are greatly reduced.
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    Default Re: The thread of Caitlin Johnstone's words

    Quote Posted by onawah (here)
    Quote Puppet Pete Says Revolution And The Status Quo Aren’t Mutually Exclusive
    FEBRUARY 10, 2020
    CAITLIN JOHNSTONE
    https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2020/02...lly-exclusive/


    Quote Posted by onawah (here)
    Quote The world’s first laboratory-grown presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg met with boos and chants of “Wall Street Pete” at a recent Democratic Party event in New Hampshire
    I'm not one to jump on meme nicknames for leading political figures, always found it a bit distasteful in lieu of the actual underlying facts on the ground but, this guy imo is such a glaring example of an establishment planted golden boy these shoes just plain old fit.

    I heard another one recently, and it's my favorite thus far:

    "Pete Guaido".

    Name:  Pete Guaido.png
Views: 250
Size:  112.5 KB
    Last edited by Gracy May; 11th February 2020 at 04:17.

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    Default Re: The thread of Caitlin Johnstone's words

    A very interesting analysis of the caucus events in Iowa and what it portends from Dark Journalist in the first hour of Episode 81 in the X Series.
    See: http://projectavalon.net/forum4/show...=1#post1335479
    Last edited by onawah; 11th February 2020 at 21:51.
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    Default Re: The thread of Caitlin Johnstone's words

    The Belief That Everything Will Be Fine Once Trump’s Gone Is More Dangerous Than Trump
    FEBRUARY 13, 2020
    by CAITLIN JOHNSTONE
    https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2020/02...us-than-trump/



    "The New Hampshire primary election, much like the Iowa caucuses, saw Bernie Sanders doing worse than polls anticipated and establishment favorite Pete Buttigieg doing much better than polls anticipated.

    Buttigieg closed at a tight second place behind Sanders and both were awarded the same number of delegates, which with the bizarre Iowa shenanigans means the former South Bend mayor is now leading the pack in total delegates despite receiving fewer votes than Sanders in both states.

    So of course “Buttigieg leads” is the information that the mainstream media is placing special emphasis on today.



    It is entirely possible that we’ll continue seeing strange electoral results combined with mass media manipulation result in Buttigieg riding a contested convention into a superdelegate-boosted nomination, even if Sanders has more votes overall. We have at this point in time seen no reason to believe that Sanders will be able to secure the number of delegates needed to prevent such an occurrence.

    Then you’ve got racist Republican oligarch Mike Bloomberg jumping on the ballot come Super Tuesday, with his $300 million+ ad campaign throwing more chaos into the mix. Billionaire Bloomberg’s unprecedented campaign spending power has enabled him to push up just shy of second place in a recent Quinnipiac national poll despite having no redeeming characteristics and no real goal agenda apart from stopping Sanders, which is as clear an illustration as you’ll ever see of the power of money in US politics.

    Whether it winds up being Buttigieg, Bloomberg, or one of their ideological alt-centrist clones like Amy Klobuchar or the floundering Joe Biden, the mainstream narrative will soon converge around one candidate in a very positive way, with the only important qualification being that they aren’t Bernie Sanders. Many powerful people will do everything they can to prevent a Sanders nomination, whose presidency they oppose more than Trump’s. As journalist Matt Taibbi recently pointed out, the Democratic establishment has “every incentive to play every conceivable card. Trillions at stake.”

    The primary argument used will be that defeating Trump is all that matters, even if it’s with another racist Republican plutocrat. If they succeed in sabotaging Sanders’ candidacy, he will help advance the same argument, as will a majority of his supporters. This argument will click perfectly in to a foundational assumption that establishment narrative managers have spent the last three plus years reinforcing, namely that once Trump is out of office, everything will be okay.

    Quote Rob
    @philosophrob
    ·
    12h
    Final polling average (RCP):
    28.7% - Sanders
    21.3% - Buttigieg
    11.7% - Klobuchar
    11.0% - Warren
    11.0% - Biden

    Primary results:
    25.9% - Sanders (-2.8%)
    24.4% - Buttigieg (+3.1%)
    19.8% - Klobuchar (+8.1%)
    9.3% - Warren (-1.7%)
    8.4% - Biden (-2.6%)
    The premise that everything will be fine once Trump is gone isn’t one people generally say out loud. They don’t even usually think it. But the fact that so many Democrats who were fine with the way their nation was being run on January 19 2017 suddenly became furiously critical of it on January 20th tells you that this assumption is at play. And the relentlessly Trump-centric liberal news media has only reinforced this unexamined assumption.

    Things are not going to be okay once Trump is out of office. Do you know how I know this? Because things weren’t okay before Trump got into office. America was a murderous imperialist force whose citizenry were suffering under crushing austerity and steadily mounting authoritarianism on January 19 2017, and it remains so today. Certainly the current administration has added its own levels of nefariousness to this dynamic, but the same is true of its predecessors.

    By this stage in his administration Bush had launched two full-scale ground invasions and implemented unprecedented levels of global militarism and Orwellian surveillance, while at the same stage Obama had already overtly destroyed Libya and was working on covertly doing the same to Syria. Trump has continued and expanded all of the most evil agendas of those two administrations and added immensely depraved warmongering elements of his own, but you can’t even rightly argue that he’s done anything quite so evil as what Bush did to Iraq or what Obama did to Libya and Syria. Trump is not the unprecedented presidential horror that the Democratic Party-aligned media spin him as.

    Imperialist elites dislike Trump not because he’s a uniquely dangerous president, but because he puts an ugly face on the things they were already doing before he took office and plan to continue doing once he leaves. The reason many rank-and-file Democrats dislike him is similar: he forces them to think about the evil things their nation does.

    They don’t actually want to fix any of these problems, they just want to stop thinking about them. They’re not interested in waking up, they just want to get an uncomfortable wrinkle out of their bedsheets so that they can go back to sleep.



    John Mulaney does an under-appreciated bit at the end of his famous “There’s a horse in the hospital” routine comparing Trump to a horse running rampant in a medical facility, where he admits he just wasn’t paying attention to what was going on during the previous administration:
    Quote Or sometimes they go, “If you’re so mad at the horse, how come you weren’t mad when the last guy did this three and a half years ago? You’re beating up on the horse when the last guy essentially did the same thing five years ago.” First off, get out of here with your facts. You’re like the kid at the sleepover who, after midnight, is like, “It’s tomorrow now!” Get the **** out of here with your technicalities. Just ’cause you’re accurate does not mean you’re interesting…



    But when people say, “How come you were never mad at the last guy?” I say, “Because I wasn’t paying attention.” I used to pay less attention before it was a horse. Also, I thought the last guy was pretty smart, and he seemed good at his job, and I’m lazy by nature. I’m lazy by nature too. So I don’t check up on people when they seem okay at their job. You may think that’s an ignorant answer but it’s not, it’s a great answer. If you left your baby with your mother tonight, you’re not going to race home and check the nanny cam. But if you leave your baby with Gary Busey…
    I think this is how most mainstream liberals feel, if they’re honest with themselves. They felt like they didn’t have to pay attention to the things Obama was doing, and they want to go back to that. Even though the distance between a truly healthy society and what America was like under Obama is many orders of magnitude greater than the distance between what America was like under Obama and what America is like under Trump.

    Wanting things to go back to how they were before Trump is wanting things to go back to the conditions which gave rise to Trump. The belief that everything will be peachy keen once Trump is out of office is therefore more dangerous than Trump himself, because it guarantees more Trumps, and it guarantees that the underlying disease of which Trump is a symptom will remain uncured.

    Treating a symptom doesn’t cure the disease. Believing that getting rid of Trump will fix America’s problems is like believing cough syrup cures tuberculosis.

    The disease is the oligarchic imperialist dystopia which is tormenting millions and controlling billions all around the world. A movement toward health doesn’t look like not having to pay attention anymore, it looks like the exact opposite: becoming fully conscious of all the ugliest and most unpleasant to look at aspects of the thing that America has become. It looks like turning and facing all the bloodshed, genocide, white supremacy, oppression, exploitation, corruption and degradation which form the fibers from which that nation has been woven, deeply ingesting and grokking into their reality, and then healing them completely.

    Quote Caitlin Johnstone ⏳
    @caitoz
    The belief that everything will be fine once the Democrats get rid of Trump is more dangerous than Trump himself.

    1,059
    11:53 AM - Feb 12, 2020
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    If the narrative managers succeed in installing Pete Buttigieg or one of his ideological clones, the temptation for millions of Americans will be to go back to sleep. But America won’t be any healthier. The coughing will have stopped, but the tuberculosis will remain. The sociopathic imperialist oligarchy will continue along the exact same trajectory, but the symptom of an oafish, incompetent and ham-fisted president will have been eliminated.

    And that’s all any narrative manager ever wants. Their job is to normalize the empire’s depravity and keep its highly profitable murder and exploitation from awakening the masses. That’s why propaganda is so toxic.

    I’m not interested in telling Americans whether they should have Trump or some centrist Democrat in office; the odds of four more years of Trump being more disastrous than under President Pete are a toss-up as far as I can tell. But I do wish the malignant belief that eliminating Trump will solve America’s main problems could be expunged from human consciousness forever."
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    Default Re: The thread of Caitlin Johnstone's words

    Propagandists Cry About Bernie’s Online Base Because It’s Effective, Not Because It’s Mean
    FEBRUARY 14, 2020
    by CAITLIN JOHNSTONE
    https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2020/02...ause-its-mean/



    "Sometimes it feels like the only news stories over the last five years have been about mean tweets. Trump’s mean tweets, Sanders supporters’ mean tweets; some days it’s all the headlines ever want to talk about. You’d hardly know humanity is on the precipice of extinction on multiple fronts.

    If you are the sort of person who believed that the “Bernie Bro” talking point would vanish after statistics showed the narrative of Sanders’ base consisting mostly of entitled white men to be completely false, then you are probably the sort of person who is often wrong about things. Whether the headlines are about an MSNBC host comparing Berners on Twitter to literal Nazi brown shirts, Meghan McCain bashing Sanders and then calling his supporters “nasty and cruel” for responding, or a Nevada culinary union dishonestly smearing Sanders on healthcare and then shrieking about being “viciously attacked” by online criticism, this garment rending over angry Bernie Bros remains more popular than ever.

    Which, as we’ve discussed previously, is ridiculous. Acting like a few angry social media comments are in any way an inappropriate response to a millionaire narrative manager passive-aggressively sabotaging people’s attempts to fight crushing domestic austerity and create a working healthcare system for themselves is cartoonish drama queenery, and anyone who does this should be mocked by the entire world.

    The Elizabeth Warren-supporting writer Sam Adler-Bell–a much less powerful player than the wealthy corporate media pundits who are seen on TV by millions every day–shared his experience with incurring the wrath of Sanders supporters on Twitter.

    “Thanks to my squishy ‘be nice to Warren’ takes, I’ve experienced a lot of the storied online Bernie Bro attacks,” Adler-Bell tweeted. “And you know what? Not that bad. Pretty normal stuff. Small faction. I mute and move on. Maybe not a national headline that should last 4+ years.”

    The popular explanation for these absurd establishment conniptions over the insolent common folk daring to talk back to their masters is that it’s being used to smear Sanders, and of course that’s true; Sanders is consistently attacked for having rude supporters. A more detailed understanding is that it’s also due to a media class whose ivory towers previously insulated them from the reactions of the riff raff being unable to handle a new paradigm where op-eds receive digital comments from an energized populist political faction, and that’s obviously true as well.

    But the primary reason the establishment narrative managers are becoming increasingly shrill about the online behavior of Sanders supporters runs much deeper: they’re afraid of it because it’s effective.



    I’ve been writing for a long time about the possibility of a grassroots information rebellion in which ordinary people use new media in sufficient numbers to actually seize control of important dominant narratives, and, at least within the limited scope of Sanders’ presidential campaign, we’re seeing an actual model for what such an insurgency might look like. In their endless freeform improvisation on social media, Berners have demonstrated the ability to collectively send hashtags to the top of Twitter’s trending list like #ILikeBernie, #BloombergIsRacist and #WarrenIsASnake, and to meme top presidential campaigns like that of Kamala Harris completely out of existence.

    Centrist elitists are fond of saying “Twitter isn’t real life”, meaning the dominant views you’ll see on social media aren’t necessarily reflective of the broader public, and of course that’s true. But clearly Twitter, like any other large and influential media platform, is able to help shape narratives which affect real life. The difference is that unlike other forms of billionaire-owned media, Twitter allows for the possibility of a grassroots campaign by the people to influence those narratives.

    Even if you’re not a Sanders supporter I highly recommend keeping tabs on his online base, because it’s a force that is truly something to behold. And also because it sets an example of something that could change the world, if people could just figure out a way to expand their grassroots information rebellion beyond the scope of a single candidate’s presidential campaign.

    And that’s the real reason the imperial narrative managers are so freaked out about it. Not because anyone is being “viciously attacked”, but because they understand that narrative control is power. The people collectively seizing control of the dominant narratives within the empire is the stuff of oligarchic nightmares, because whoever controls the narrative controls the world.

    Power is the ability to control what happens. Absolute power is controlling what people think about what happens.Humans are story-oriented creatures, so if you can control the stories that the humans are telling about what’s going on, you can control those humans. Any adept manipulator understands this. So they understand that the people taking control of dominant narratives is a direct threat to their rule.



    The oligarchs who control the US-centralized empire would literally kill for such a large and highly energized collective advancing pro-establishment narratives of their own free will, but they know they can’t get one because the status quo offers ordinary people nothing to get excited about. They can only obtain narrative control by purchasing it, whether it’s by advertising, buying up media outlets, funding think tanks, or paying online influencers like Mike Bloomberg.

    You can’t buy grassroots energy. Oligarchs find this endlessly frustrating, like an insecure Wall Street executive who can buy anything in the world besides a large penis. They’ve tried to emulate it, as with the so-called “Resistance” astroturf campaign designed to harness the energy of the 2016 Sanders run and corrall it into support for the Democratic establishment against Trump, but it falls flat without any shiny, attractive thing to positively push toward. So since they can’t replicate grassroots energy they do the next best thing: they attack it.

    That’s all you’re ever seeing when imperial narrative managers try to disparage and discredit Berners online. They’re doing the exact same thing they’ve been doing with alternative media and RT: attacking a source of unauthorized narratives because they are unable to control it.

    As I said from the very beginning, Sanders’ 2020 campaign is much more interesting as a movement than as a presidential candidacy. If Sanders manages to get in he’ll push for a few changes which will be ferociously opposed every step of the way by existing power structures, and some mild reforms will end up taking place. If the people figure out how to use the power they tapped into during his campaign to take control of dominant narratives, they can actually transform the world.

    So let the narrative managers educate you with their fake tears. They are informing you of your power. Use it to wisely. Use it to birth a healthy world into existence."
    Each breath a gift...
    _____________

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    Default Re: The thread of Caitlin Johnstone's words

    Trump Supporters Are George W Bush Supporters LARPing As Ron Paul Supporters

    by Caitlin Johnstone

    The Trump administration has released its official statement to Congress justifying its drone assassination of Iran's top military official Qassem Soleimani last month. Surprising exactly zero people, the formal notification makes no mention whatsoever of any imminent threat posed by Soleimani, a direct contradiction of this administration's previous claims defending the assassination.

    "The Trump administration has been accused of lying after the publication of a new report that undermined its reasoning for assassinating Iranian General Qassem Soleimani last month," reports Middle East Eye. "The chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs said in a statement on Friday that President Donald Trump's official notification to Congress defending the 3 January strike failed to specify an 'imminent threat' posed by Soleimani."

    "This official report directly contradicts the president's false assertion that he attacked Iran to prevent an imminent attack against United States personnel and embassies," Democratic Representative Eliot Engel of New York said.

    "President Trump and top officials lied about the existence of an imminent threat to excuse his having engaged in an act of war without congressional approval," tweeted independent Michigan Representative Justin Amash. "For Americans’ safety, the Constitution forbids unauthorized offensive actions regardless of the president’s justification."
    Pres. Trump and top officials lied about the existence of an imminent threat to excuse his having engaged in an act of war without congressional approval. For Americans’ safety, the Constitution forbids unauthorized offensive actions regardless of the president’s justification. https://t.co/EQLT1T63iY
    — Justin Amash (@justinamash) February 14, 2020
    It has been obvious to many analysts for quite some time that the world was lied to about yet another act of war against yet another Middle Eastern nation by yet another US president; the Trump administration's tacit admission just confirms it. Add this confirmation to the lies we were told about no US soldiers being injured by Iran's missile retaliation against US military bases, as well as the revelation that the initial rocket strike which sparked the exchanges of violence in Iraq likely came from ISIS and not Iran-backed militias as claimed by the US.

    What this means legally is that Soleimani's assassination was a war crime. On a practical level, since the US is never prosecuted for war crimes it commits, what it means is that we now know we were lied to about an assassination which by Trump's own admission brought us "closer than you thought" to a disastrous full-scale war.

    What I personally find interesting about the destruction of the "imminent threat" narrative is that none of the many Trump supporters I spent time arguing with last month about Soleimani's assassination ever attempted to claim that he posed an imminent threat to Americans. They'd argue that Soleimani was a bad man who deserved to die, they'd attempt to spin unfounded claims that he was directly behind the embassy attack or the aforementioned rocket strike, they'd accuse me of being a terrorist-supporting terrorist lover, but I never once encountered anyone who tried to argue that there was an imminent threat to American lives.

    They made no attempt to make this argument because they knew it wasn't a good one. They knew the Trump administration was making bogus claims that they couldn't defend. They knew this. They just didn't care.
    This is very telling. I have read every single reply. Not one produced even the slightest shred of indication that he posed an imminent threat to the US.
    Seriously, Stalin himself would've been proud of such a display of blind, unflinching acceptance of the deep state narrative. https://t.co/GrzzkKBy63
    — Dan Maul (@DanVMaul) January 5, 2020
    They didn't care because they weren't approaching the situation from any interest in truth or facts. Their sole interest was, and is always, in defending their president and promoting narratives which help ensure his re-election in November. It's a game to them. A game of imagination which consists entirely of narratives that have little to no relationship with objective reality. They are LARPing.

    Well, not all of them to be fair. There are two kinds of Trump supporters: there's the straight-ticket Republicans who'd support an animatronic Chuck E Cheese robot as long as it had an (R) next to its name, and then there's the so-called "populists" who say everything Trump does is secretly a brilliant strategic maneuver against the Deep State.

    There's some overlap between these two categories (neocon swamp monster Sean Hannity now posing as a swamp-fighting enemy of the Deep State is the most hilarious example), but there's a distinction that's worth noting. After the Soleimani assassination the straight-ticket Republicans were online acting like the Bush voters they are yelling "Yeeehaw, we kill whoever we want!", whereas the "populists" were claiming that this was yet another strategic 4-D chess maneuver against the enemies of peace. I had one former reader sincerely attempt to argue with me that Soleimani was actually working for the Deep State, and had been protected by Obama and Hillary Clinton.

    This latter category of Trump supporter is the type I generally encounter in doing what I do. Openly partisan Republicans who are honest about their partisanship tend to take little interest in writers like myself, whereas Trump supporters who see themselves as anti-establishment, anti-war and anti-propaganda often make their way into my orbit. These are also the type that my readers will generally run into for the same reason, so they're the category of Trump supporter I'm writing about here.
    First there were no injuries. Then there were a dozen. Then more. Then they were called ‘headaches’ by Donald Trump. Now, this. What is clear is that the initial reports were very, very wrong, but sold to Americans as truth. https://t.co/PyMh3kzsM5
    — VoteVets (@votevets) February 10, 2020
    When the news first broke of Soleimani's assassination I wrote the following:
    "A proportionate retaliatory strike would necessarily entail an attack on US military targets, or the military targets of US allies. If that happens, either the empire stands down or we’re looking at an all-out war of a size that is potentially almost limitless."

    And indeed that is exactly what happened. Iran did retaliate, against US military targets, injured more than 100 US soldiers, and then the US empire stood down. Trump's reckless act of brinkmanship resulted in a dead Iranian general, a badly damaged airbase, scores of injured soldiers, a tail-between-the-legs retreat, and brought the US and Iran "closer than you thought" to war, for no real strategic benefit. Yet for days after the military exchange I was getting Trump supporters in my social media mentions telling me I'd been crazy and hysterical for warning of the risk of war.

    These bizarre mental gymnastics are possible because these Trump supporters aren't interfacing with reality in any way. They're engaged in a weird Live Action Role-Playing (LARP) game where they pretend to be knowledgeable patriots cheering for a Ron Paul-like champion of peace and anti-authoritarianism, while in real life they're acting exactly like garden variety Republicans cheering for a standard Republican president who's been advancing longstanding agendas of neoconservatives and the CIA.

    In real life Trump has imprisoned Julian Assange, has re-started the Cold War, has killed tens of thousands of Venezuelans with starvation sanctions, has vetoed attempts to save Yemen from US-backed genocide, is working to foment civil war in Iran using starvation sanctions and CIA ops with the stated goal of effecting regime change, has occupied Syrian oil fields with the goal of preventing Syria's reconstruction, has greatly increased the number of troops in the Middle East and elsewhere, has greatly increased the number of bombs dropped per day from the previous administration, killing record numbers of civilians, and reduced military accountability for those airstrikes.

    Every single one of these longstanding deep state agendas that Trump has advanced have been defended by Trump supporters in my social media mentions as brilliant strategic maneuvers against the deep state. Literally every single one of them, without a single, solitary exception. Every time Trump advances an evil establishment agenda and I speak out about it, I am guaranteed to receive comments explaining why the thing I'm speaking out against is actually an ingenious move by Trump against the establishment. Trump arresting Assange is actually Trump helping Assange. Trump helping the neocons is actually Trump hurting the neocons. Those sure are some elegant invisible clothes the emperor is wearing today.

    Trump's words say one thing, and his actions say something very different. He gives lip service to anti-interventionism and opposition to the swamp, and his supporters play along with the narratives he's spoon feeding them. He's another George W Bush, concealed by a thin overlay of narrative and imagination. But in the LARP he's Ron Paul.

    I started this job a few months before Trump took office, and ever since January 2017 I've been pointing out evil things this president has been doing and having Trump supporters tell me "Wait and see."

    "Calm down," they tell me (they always want me to calm down). "Trump is doing something big here. You'll see."

    They've been saying "you'll see" for years now. Trump's term is almost over. It's time to admit you were wrong, guys.

    You’ve been had. You were duped by narrative and empty words into supporting a garden variety Republican president who's been advancing garden variety Republican agendas. Your anti-establishment sentiments were successfully corralled by propaganda into a standard GOP ideology with some populist-looking window dressing. You've been sitting very pretty lately while the Democrats make complete asses of themselves with ill-advised impeachment agendas and a scandalous primary race, but in reality you're just as blinkered and duped as they are.

    Believing that a US president is going to save you is just as dumb as believing the FBI and CIA are going to save you. Republicans have been doing the former while Democrats have been doing the latter. Both have been duped by custom-made establishment propaganda into cheering for different aspects of the establishment, and the only one who wins is that very same establishment.

    Stop getting duped into believing in America's two-handed sock puppet show. It's always fake, and it always ends the same: all your money goes to the performers, and you get screwed. Start seeing through the illusion.
    _______________________


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    Default Re: The thread of Caitlin Johnstone's words

    Op-Ed: Dems Should Do The Sensible Thing And Nominate A Moderate Rapacious Psychopath
    FEBRUARY 17, 2020
    by CAITLIN JOHNSTONE

    https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2020/02...us-psychopath/



    "Editor’s note: In order to circumvent internet censorship, today’s Caitlin Johnstone essay has been replaced with an op-ed by Snooty McCentrist of the National News Conglomerate. NNC: Obey.

    After Bernie Sanders failed to impress in his underwhelming consecutive victories in Iowa and New Hampshire, it’s time for his far-far-left extremist base to grow up and face reality: there’s no way he can beat Trump. Especially with people like me churning out all these op-eds every day to make sure that he can’t.

    Face it, Democrats: Sanders is no frontrunner. As the always rational adult in the room Chris Matthews recently pointed out, if you compare his New Hampshire votes to the combined vote total of moderate candidates Pete Buttigieg, Joe Biden and Amy Klobuchar, he’s actually trailing far behind. Sanders clocked in at a paltry 26 percent of total votes, while the triune electoral threegernaut Klobdenbutt amassed a whopping 53 percent. Now, you don’t have to be Andrew Yang to figure out that 53 is more than 26.

    That’s not my opinion. That’s math.

    If you can’t take it from me, take it from the cold, hard numbers: if Democrats want to beat Trump, they need to nominate a centrist. Someone who rejects the extremes of Bernie’s far left and Trump’s far right and instead espouses sensible, middle-of-the-road values like endless war and military expansionism, rapacious ecocide, corrupt plutocracy, crushing domestic austerity measures, new cold war nuclear escalations, continued deregulation of sociopathic financial and commercial institutions, police militarization, unprecedented levels of imprisonment, Orwellian surveillance programs, internet censorship, and ever-mounting authoritarianism.

    You know, the moderate position.

    Because think about it, Bernie Bros: if you resist the DNC’s attempt to elevate a sensible candidate like Mike Bloomberg to your party’s nomination just because you don’t want a racist Republican billionaire oligarch authoritarian with dozens of allegations of sexual misconduct against women to be your president, then you’re stuck with Donald Trump.

    Chew on that prospect for a minute.

    You need to be more realistic, Bernie bros. How can Bernie possibly win when we’re doing everything we can to prevent him from winning? We’re telling you he’s not electable, and no one would know better than us: we’re the ones making sure he stays that way.

    Seriously, stop being such insolent little ****s. I’m here presenting very forceful arguments using a confident and assertive tone in a high-profile news outlet, and you’re meant to obey. This is an op-ed. I have a professional headshot photo next to my name. That means you think what I tell you to think.

    What exactly do you unwashed riff raff think democracy even is, anyway? Some kind of ponies-and-unicorns fantasy land where people get to just have the candidate they want to have, just because that’s what most of them want? That kind of pie-in-the-sky dreaming is for people who don’t have the entire billionaire media engine pointed at sabotaging them at every turn.

    But if you give us a Mike Bloomberg, for example, we’ll just let him sail right on through. Hell, if we can get two right-wing billionaires staging a made-for-TV kayfabe spat over the presidency from July to November we’ll never stop amping that ****. Holy God, imagine the ratings!


    Stop living in a childish fantasy world where the environment is real and war is something you need to think about and people shouldn’t die if they don’t have the correct imaginary numbers in their bank account. Let the realists whose entire worldview is built around made-up narratives and a make-believe economy tell you what to do.

    Do as we say. Just do it. Just bend over and let us install a nice moderate psychopath, and this will be over before you know it. Relax, take a deep breath, and think nice, pleasant thoughts until November. Dream one of those wacky dreams you airy fairy hippies are always having, like having a real healthcare system or something.

    Anyway, I’m going to send this off to my editor. The next fifty op-eds I write will be garment-rending outrage over the comments this one receives on Twitter."
    Each breath a gift...
    _____________

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    Default Re: The thread of Caitlin Johnstone's words

    Scandal-Ridden OPCW Now Using Twitter’s “Hide Replies” Function

    by Caitlin Johnstone

    When Twitter first implemented its "hide replies" function last year I published an article warning that it could be used by establishment narrative managers to marginalize dissident voices and diminish the relatively egalitarian nature of the platform. When I wrote it I was imagining the function being used by overt manipulators like cable TV pundits and Washington Post columnists, and think tank operatives like Neera Tanden who vocally supported the implementation of the function.

    What I absolutely was not expecting, as paranoid and conspiracy-minded as I am, was a highly regarded UN-associated international chemical watchdog group using the function for that purpose.
    As of this writing, if you go to the Twitter account for the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), you'll see this tweet at the second from the top:
    #OPCW Joins @IUPAC Global Women’s Breakfast #GWB2020 #WomenInScience #GenderChampionshttps://t.co/jlxqR74eVa pic.twitter.com/cWUiurphTZ
    — OPCW (@OPCW) February 12, 2020
    If you log on to Twitter and go to that tweet and click this little button, it will take you to a section of "hidden replies" which aren't visible on the main tweet.

    You will not be surprised to learn that the tweet which the OPCW's Twitter account has chosen to hide is critical of the organization:

    That "#wikileaksdoumareport" hashtag in the hidden tweet refers to the leaks which have been pouring out from the OPCW adding to the mountain of evidence that the US, UK and France bombed the Syrian government in 2018 as a retaliation for a chemical weapons attack in the town Douma which did not occur. Whoever is in charge of the OPCW's Twitter account does not like the lowly commoners talking about this on their page.
    Here's an OPCW tweet from a week ago which has the same issue:
    Today, #OPCW women build chemical bonds to symbolise the diverse and inclusive workforce needed to achieve #ChemistryForPeace at the @IUPAC Global Women's Breakfast. #GWB2020 #WomenInScience #GenderChampions pic.twitter.com/RIcQHFhXTm
    — OPCW (@OPCW) February 12, 2020
    Click the same little button to view hidden replies and you'll see three of them on this one, again all discussing the scandal-ridden Douma investigation:

    It doesn't seem to happen if you're not logged on to your account, and seems to express differently on different browsers, but if you log in and scroll through the OPCW Twitter page you'll find many tweets with hidden replies, almost all of which directly pertain to the Douma scandal.
    The OPCW tweet which appears to have the largest number of replies is the smear job they released earlier this month attacking the whistleblowers whose leaks poked giant holes in the official Douma narrative. This smear job has been ripped to shreds in an article by Grayzone's Aaron Maté, who in his trademark style systematically debunks the organisation's attempts to spin the whistleblowers as incompetent outsiders who tried to manipulate the Douma investigation for no clear reason.
    OPCW: Independent Investigation into Possible Breaches of Confidentiality Report Released https://t.co/kaX2LJ71ej
    — OPCW (@OPCW) February 6, 2020
    If you go to that OPCW tweet and scroll down you'll see dozens of spaces where replies ought to be, with the message "This reply was hidden by the original Tweet author," meaning hidden by the author of the initial top tweet by the OPCW. I've archived screenshots of the entire thread here as it looks from my account as of this writing, but here's a small sample of what the top of the replies section looks like on that tweet:


    I myself posted the reply that got the most likes and retweets back when the OPCW first shared its smear job, but in a strange twist on Twitter's "hide replies" function it doesn't show up in the main thread or in its "hidden replies" section. Other users also say they can't see it in either section. So as things are right now it looks like some posts in threads with a large number of hidden replies are just disappeared entirely, which is all the more incentive for narrative managers to use it.
    There are already many users in the comments objecting to the OPCW yet again making use of opacity to silence dissident voices, and understandably so. Ever since the first Douma leak in May 2018 this organisation has been stonewalling journalists, refusing to answer crucial questions, smearing its own investigators and denying them a platform to speak, all after hiding from the public the fact that there had been large amounts of internal dissent regarding its Douma investigation. This dissent included unanimous agreement between four toxicologists that no chlorine attack occurred in Douma, and reports that some 20 OPCW inspectors had voiced objections to the way the Douma investigation was taking place.
    The OPCW had no business hiding all this information from the public about an event which led to an act of war against a sovereign nation, and it has no business hiding the public's attempts to demand more information be brought into the light.
    These deliberate acts of obfuscation make no sense if you look at the OPCW as an independent international investigative body whose sole interest is truth and the elimination of chemical weapons, but they make perfect sense if you see it as a narrative management apparatus of the US-centralized empire. The US government already has an established history of manipulating the OPCW into facilitating the advancement of pre-existing regime change agendas in the Middle East, and not one but two whistleblowers have separately attested that US government officials were brought in by OPCW leadership (in violation of the organisation's supposed independence) to persuade them that the Syrian government had committed a chemical weapons attack.
    The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons is acting like a narrative management operation because that is what it has become: a tool to help the US-centralized empire spin narratives favorable to pre-existing regime change agendas like the one it has long had for the Syrian government. That's how it behaves, so we should ignore all narrative spin and assume that that's what it is until its behavior changes. As long as it continues walking like a duck and quacking like a duck, we should continue to assume that it's a duck.
    The OPCW has been hiding replies, yes. But at least it has stopped hiding what it is.


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    Default Re: The thread of Caitlin Johnstone's words

    Bloomberg’s Poll Numbers Show The Power Of Billionaire Narrative Control
    by Caitlin Johnstone
    2/18/20
    https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2020/02...ative-control/

    (Many hyperlinks in the article)


    "Back in November Mike Bloomberg was polling at four percent nationally and had the highest disapproval rating of any potential Democratic presidential candidate, and understandably so; the man has a uniquely horrible record and no redeeming traits to speak of.

    Now, after spending $400 million in broadcast, radio and cable ads, $42 million on Facebook ads, $36 million on Google ads, and an unknown fortune on other shady manipulations, a national Quinnipiac poll released last week put him at 15 percent nationally in the Democratic primary. This week national polls released by NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist and Zogby put him at 19 and 20 percent, respectively.

    You can argue against the validity of polls all you like, and surely none of them are pristine representations of public opinion. But there's no denying that these numbers have gone way up, and there's no denying that now, approvingly or not, everyone's talking about Michael Bloomberg.

    Late night talk show hosts are doing bits about the prevalence of Bloomberg ads. People are making satirical videos spoofing them. I've seen parents complaining that their kids recite lines from his ads at the dinner table. It's a story in itself. It's saturating social consciousness. It's very much a thing.

    🤑 MICHAEL BLOOMBERG BUYS ADS INSIDE HIS OWN ADS 🤑
    (from[/B] @TheUNDERCULTURE) pic.twitter.com/H1dy5KxNz0

    — James Adomian (@JAdomian) February 17, 2020

    "Nothing remotely like what Mike Bloomberg is doing has ever been seen in US politics - nothing in the same universe," journalist Glenn Greenwald recently tweeted. "And the threat and danger it (and he) poses to US democracy is equally without comparison."

    Greenwald is of course correct. But while Bloomberg is doing something that is without precedent, his campaign is also highlighting problems with the system which have existed for ages. And in my opinion it would be an unfortunate waste if his campaign came and went without these problems getting more attention than they currently are.

    Mike Bloomberg is not the first plutocrat to use his wealth to manipulate a US election, and he is not the first plutocrat to use his wealth to manipulate public perception. He's just the first to do it so brazenly and ham-fistedly. The fact that it is both possible and easy for a billionaire to throw a vast fortune at an electoral race and drastically influence its direction tells us everything we need to know about the illusory nature of US democracy. And now it's right out in the open.

    As long as a small elite group are able to manipulate the way people think and vote, then you don't have democracy, you have oligarchy. If that small elite group happens to be much wealthier than everyone else, then it's a specific kind of oligarchy known as plutocracy. You can watch this video and this video for some general information on the ways US plutocrats exert control over the political system, and you can read this fascinating thread here for more specific information on how Bloomberg has been stifling opposition and manipulating endorsements out of political figures using his unparallelled spending power.

    The degree to which Michael Bloomberg is using his fortune to fundamentally alter & manipulate U.S. politics to his personal advantage extends way beyond ads. I've worked against him, covered him as a journalist & worked with his top aides. Here’s their playbook: (1/17)

    — Blake Zeff (@blakezeff) February 13, 2020

    This has been happening all the time, for generations, and not just with US elections but with Americans' perception of what's going on in their world as well. Whether it's running ads, buying up media outlets, funding think tanks or incentivizing politicians to regurgitate the desired lines, billionaires are constantly using their wealth to shore up narrative control, because they understand that whoever controls the narrative controls the world.

    Bloomberg built a media empire. Jeff Bezos bought The Washington Post. Most of America's news media are owned or controlled by billionaires. Even that so-called "philanthropy" which mass media pundits keep crowing about in the same breath as Bloomberg's name is actually just another billionaire narrative control apparatus, allowing them to donate a tiny tax-deductible portion of their income in exchange for political influence, and buying them the ability to wear the fancy label of "philanthropist" instead of "sociopathic parasite".

    Billionaires pour vast fortunes into think tanks, which are generally institutions where academics are paid to come up with the most intelligent-sounding arguments possible explaining why it would be good and smart to do something evil and stupid, whether that be the destruction of the ecosystem, regime change in Iran, or further corporate/financial deregulation. They then circulate those arguments at key points of influence.

    For a Bloomberg-specific example of think tank narrative control, take the time his donations to the Center for American Progress (CAP) leveraged that think tank into removing a chapter from a 2015 report detailing his Orwellian surveillance program targeting Muslims back when he was the mayor of New York City. Back in 2013 The Nation's Ken Silverstein reported that CAP staffers "were very clearly instructed to check with the think tank’s development team before writing anything that might upset contributors." Sure enough, a former CAP staffer named Yasmine Taeb recently detailed for Democracy Now how "the chapter was flagged by a member of the executive committee who actually previously had worked for Mayor Bloomberg" and "said that there would be a strong reaction by Bloomberg World if this report was released as it was." At that point Bloomberg had given CAP nearly $1.5 million.



    The billionaire class has to buy up narrative control because there is nothing about plutocracy that is sane or healthy; people would never knowingly consent to it unless they were manipulated into doing so. Because power is relative, and because money is power in a plutocracy, plutocrats are naturally incentivized to maintain a system where everyone else is kept as poor as possible so that they can have as much relative power as possible. A glance at what the Sanders campaign has been able to accomplish just with small-dollar donations and grassroots support gives you some insight into why these plutocrats want people working long, exhausting hours with as little spare income as possible.

    Nobody would ever knowingly consent to being kept poor and busy just so some billionaires can live as modern-day kings, so they need to be propagandized into it via narrative manipulation. If you've ever wondered why it seems like the news man is always lying to you, that's why.

    Whenever I write about the power of plutocratic propaganda, I always get people saying I'm just a conspiracy theorist (and that I have an awful addiction to alliteration). They argue that sure, it's possible to influence public opinion a bit, but people are free agents and they make up their own minds based on any number of potential factors, so it's silly to focus on media manipulation as the underlying cause of all the world's ills.

    Oh yeah? If people can't be manipulated by the wealthy into supporting agendas which don't benefit them, how come a billionaire presidential candidate was able to quadruple or quintuple his polling numbers in three months just by throwing money at them?

    And that's just one agenda of just one billionaire. There are 607 billionaires in the United States. And none of them are interested in giving up their plutocratic throne.

    "They had to send me a couple pieces of evidence and to ask me, almost to beg me, to look at it and when I did
    I started to see that really the public narrative that we know about Assange has been fabricated. It's not true. The evidence is contradictory" @NilsMelzer#FreeAssange pic.twitter.com/ic2Kqte41p

    — Assange Edits 🎬 (@AssangeEdits) February 10, 2020

    The unpleasant fact of the matter is that the human mind is far more hackable than people like to believe it is. Just listen to UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer describe how he'd been completely taken in by the horrible mass media smear campaign against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange prior to taking his case. This is an educated, intelligent and highly compassionate man who, simply because he'd relied on the plutocratic media to help him figure out what's going on in the world, had an understanding that Assange was a wicked man who was guilty of wicked deeds. It wasn't until he took the case and began personally investigating the actual facts of the matter without the filter of the plutocratic media spinmeisters that he was able penetrate beneath the layers of narrative distortion to get at the reality of the situation.

    Some clever people figured out a long time ago that humans live in two worlds: the real world and the narrative world. The narrative world consists of the mental chatter which occupies the majority of most people's moment-to-moment interest and attention. The real world is everything else: life as it is, without the stories about what life is.

    The clever people figured out that you can get folks to give you real things in the real world, just by giving them narratives in the narrative world. Use your control over your society's dominant narratives and you can get people to hand you real wealth and power in exchange for a bunch of made-up stories of fear and inadequacy and factionalism and otherness. Manipulative men can get real-life sexual favors in exchange for narratives about love and romance. Manipulative priests can get your real-life tithes in exchange for narratives about imaginary deities. Manipulative politicians can get your real-life votes in exchange for narratives about imaginary terrorists. Manipulative billionaires can use the rewards of your real-life labor in exchange for units of an imaginary financial system which exists solely as a narrative construct. They figured out a way to get everything for nothing.

    Nothing remotely like what Mike Bloomberg is doing has ever been seen in US politics - nothing in the same universe. And the threat and danger it (and he) poses to US democracy is equally without comparison.

    It’s a menace beyond what words can describe: https://t.co/tmFzlpBKzr

    — Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) February 18, 2020

    Humans are not difficult to manipulate. I am not difficult to manipulate. You are not difficult to manipulate. If you don't appreciate this fact, you make yourself even easier to manipulate. It's not difficult to mock the people who've been manipulated into supporting Bloomberg. What is difficult is coming to terms with the fact that you yourself, and indeed your entire species, have many glitches in your cognitive processes which can be, have been, and will continue to be exploited by adept manipulators.

    All we can do is make this conscious. Like everything else in this struggle, the solution to the mind's intrinsic hackability is bringing the light of consciousness to it. Manipulators cannot operate in an environment with too much awareness of their tricks.

    Mike Bloomberg is a terrible human being. But at the very least he may operate as a catalyst for this consciousness."
    Each breath a gift...
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    Default Re: The thread of Caitlin Johnstone's words

    Assange’s Persecution Has Exposed Media Depravity The World Over
    CAITLIN JOHNSTONE
    FEBRUARY 22, 2020
    https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2020/02...he-world-over/


    "This is the speech I gave at a demonstration last night in Melbourne for Julian Assange, whose extradition trial begins February 24th.

    Julian Assange started a leak outlet on the premise that corrupt and unaccountable power is a problem in our world, and that problem can be fought with the light of truth. Corrupt and unaccountable power responded by detaining, silencing and smearing him. His persecution has proved his own thesis about the world absolutely correct.

    Power is the ability to control what happens. Absolute power is controlling what people think about what happens. Humans are story-oriented creatures, so if you can control the stories that the humans are telling each other about what’s going on, you can control those humans.

    This is the power of narrative management. This is why governments and billionaires use propaganda, advertising, buy up media conglomerates and fund think tanks, employ public relations and spin doctors, buy up troll armies and bot farms: because they know that those who control the narrative, control the world.

    You can do whatever you like, as long as you can control what people think about what you’re doing.

    No one understands this better than Julian Assange. He famously said that if wars are started by lies, then they can be stopped by truth. That’s the basis of WikiLeaks. Bringing truth to the public in the most pristine and revolutionary way possible. They made it so people could leak documents to them safely, and then they released them with minimal redactions and editorial. Like many online innovations it cut out the middle man, and the middle man, in this case, are the media spinmeisters who normally present information with an overlay of establishment-friendly narrative.

    You know the ones. The ones that are like, “Here’s what I found out, but more importantly, this is what you should think about what I found out”.

    It had immediate effects. Global reach, exposing the most corrupt roots of the most powerful people in an environment where the growing alarm at the GFC, climate change and endless war meant that people were hungry for the truth about why these things are still happening despite their unpopularity and despite our every effort to stop them.

    The spotlight Assange’s persecution has thrown on the institution of journalism is one of the untold stories, mainly because the villains are the journalists–the people we usually rely on to tell us all the stories. This corruption was unearthed not so much through leaked documents, but through what we have been witnessing as the media-driven public mobbing of Julian Assange the person.

    The mainstream media, to this day, lies constantly about Assange. If you pick up any recent story about Assange it will be littered with smears and lies. They’ll say offhand how he colluded with the Russians like that’s true, or that he was ”charged” with rape, or they’ll have a throwaway line about how he smeared poo on the walls of the embassy, or they will say the reason he was granted asylum by Ecuador was to flee rape charges (like that’s a thing).

    There are dozens and dozens of lies, and they get repeated as truth throughout any reporting on Assange even after months or years of being debunked. There is a story on The Guardian website right now from November of 2018 that claims that Assange met with Paul Manafort, Trump’s campaign chair. Can not have happened. Did not happen. The Ecuadorian embassy was the most surveilled building on planet earth at the time. Every single person who went in or out of there had to jump through many bureaucratic hoops.

    No video evidence or any evidence at all was ever found for this claim, and there were plenty of people who wanted to find it. It didn’t happen.

    And yet, that story is still on The Guardian website today over a year after it was first published. It still comes up as the number one result on Google when you search assange and manafort. There’ve been no retractions. No apologies.

    The Guardian. Not New Idea. Not Hello!. Not News of the World. The Guardian. The bastion of all things worthy and noble.

    It has been very revealing.

    Assange has only ever been persecuted because he exposed US war crimes. No one has ever gone to jail for those war crimes, but instead of concentrating on that, the press decided to go after Assange.

    Let’s be clear: when journalists use their power and privilege to cover up and divert attention from war crimes, they become war criminals themselves.

    Journalists today are finally waking up to the fact that the legal precedent the Trump administration is setting by reaching out across the Atlantic, taking an Australian journalist, from an Ecuadorian embassy, in the middle of London, is devastating to journalism all over the world. Not just in the US, not just in the UK, but all over the world. No journalist is safe. Because if they can do that to him, they can do it to anyone.

    We also learned that the United States do not consider foreign nationals to have a First Amendment protection, so the US is effectively saying that the long arm of US law can extend to get you anywhere, but they also don’t have to extend its protections.

    And journalists are finally realizing that, but still silence is pretty deafening. Australian journalists should be writing furious op-eds vigorously defending Assange and demanding that our politicians act immediately, but at best we are getting tepid, smear-laden, mealy-mouthed wet squibs of copy that try to maintain that they were, of course, correct in the past, but also hit the alarm button.

    And it just doesn’t work.

    Until journalists admit they were wrong and Assange was right, and the US really did want him in jail for publishing like he said back in 2010, back when they were calling him paranoid, their readers aren’t going to notice that its time to change course. They aren’t going to know to act.

    There is a lot of confusion about what to do. Radio host Alan Jones had a very popular Facebook poll going this morning asking whether the Australian government should intervene and bring Assange home. I saw it a few hours ago and it was at 75 percent for “Yes” with thousands of responses already, six days to go, and gathering hundreds of pro-Assange comments. He deleted it. Obviously that was not the response he was planning on.

    So there is confusion, and there is silence. But silence is space. A space has opened up before us. In Australia right now, there are two kinds of people: those who think that Assange should be brought home, and those who don’t want to think about it at all. They’ve gone quiet. And we’re so used to being on the defense, we’ve gone quiet too.

    A space has opened up.

    The narrative is there for the taking.

    All we have to do is to stand up as one and take control of this story.

    Let our voices ring out.

    This man is innocent.

    We must bring him home.

    Publishing is not a crime!

    Viva Assange! "
    Each breath a gift...
    _____________

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    Default Re: The thread of Caitlin Johnstone's words

    Intelligence Sources: All Candidates Are Russian Agents But Pete Buttigieg
    by CAITLIN JOHNSTONE
    FEBRUARY 23, 2020
    https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2020/02...ete-buttigieg/



    "Today’s Caitlin Johnstone essay has been replaced by this breaking report by the National News Conglomerate. NNC: Obey.

    Following shocking reports from The New York Times and The Washington Post that Moscow is simultaneously working to both re-elect Donald Trump and ensure the nomination of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders in the Democratic presidential primary race, NNC has obtained further information confirming that nearly all candidates currently running for president are in fact covert agents of the Russian government.

    According to sources familiar with the matter, the lone candidate not literally conducting espionage on behalf of the Russian government is Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana.

    “Intelligence has revealed that Mr. Buttigieg is at this time the only candidate who we can count on not to place our nation’s interests square in the hands of Vladimir Putin,” an anonymous source in the Central Intelligence Agency told NNC on Saturday.

    “In fact Mr. Buttigieg is the only candidate running with the skill, the experience and the multilingual relatability needed to bridge our nation’s deep divisions and bring Americans together in this time of uncontrolled hostility,” the CIA source continued.

    “Because in truth, the unity of our togetherness is in the freedom of our democracy,” added the source. “The long and winding road to the American flag was built upon the steps of our founding fathers. You don’t have to be a big shot Washington insider to see that the problems our nation faces are tearing us apart at our own peril with radical divisive rhetoric saying you need to burn down the establishment and voice a concrete foreign policy position. And that’s why I for one believe we don’t have to choose between revolution and the status quo: we can come together and find solutions that help the working class and billionaires.”

    Experts say these new revelations on Russian election interference should consume one hundred percent of all news coverage for the entirety of 2020, and that Democrats should definitely spend all their time from now until November focusing solely on President Trump’s suspicious ties to the Russian government.

    “I can’t think of a single thing that could possibly go wrong if Democrats focused exclusively on the possibility that the president conspired with Vladimir Putin in the lead-up to the election in November,” said Les Overton of the influential think tank Americans for an American America. “If Democrats want to prevent another four years of Trump they should hit him where they know it hurts: nonstop 24/7 Russia conspiracy theories. That’s what Americans really care about.”

    Asked if it’s possible that undue emphasis on Russian collusion could prove a fruitless endeavor given Trump’s soaring approval rating after impeachment resulted in his acquittal and the Mueller report failed to indict a single American for conspiring with the Russian government, Overton disagreed and said this time will be “like, totally different.”

    “Democrats should definitely invest all of their mental and emotional energy in this Trump-Russia scandal, because this time it’s a sure thing,” Overton said. “Put all your eggs in this basket and get your hopes up very, very high. The big BOOM is coming any minute now, I promise.”

    Overton then departed with an envelope full of cash which he said was his life savings, reportedly to invest in lottery tickets."
    Each breath a gift...
    _____________

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    Default Re: The thread of Caitlin Johnstone's words

    We’re Asking One Question In Assange’s Case: Should Journalists Be Punished For Exposing War Crimes?
    FEBRUARY 23, 2020
    by CAITLIN JOHNSTONE
    https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2020/02...ng-war-crimes/



    "This is a speech I gave yesterday at a demonstration for Assange with the Socialist Equality Party Australia.

    Tomorrow in the UK a judge will start the process of answering a very important question. It’s a question that many of us knew was the heart of this debate back in 2010, ten years ago, when this all started. It’s a question that they have been obfuscating, bloviating, huffily denying, smearing, gaslighting, and distracting from–basically doing anything they can to hide it from view.

    It’s a question that they don’t want the public to know that we are answering. A question that goes to the heart of democracy, and to the heart of the role of the fourth estate, journalism. And that question is this:

    Should journalists and publishers be punished for exposing US war crimes?

    And, ancillary to that question: should we allow them to be punished by the very people who committed those war crimes?

    Is that something that we want for our world, ongoing? Because our answer to this question is going to shape our society, our civilization, for generations to come.

    There is no coming back from this for a very long time should the answer be, “Yes! Yes, it’s fine, war criminals should go ahead and punish journalists for publishing true facts about their war crimes.”

    If we allow the answer to be yes, then the endless stupid wars that everyone wants done with, from Melbourne to Kabul, from Sydney to Syria, right across the world people are done with these stupid wars for profit.

    Even the people like us who are very insulated from the effects of war want them over with, let alone the children of Pakistan who fear a sunny day because drones only fly in a blue sky, or the children of Syria whose country is being terrorized by “moderate rebels” armed and funded by the US war machine, or the starving children of Yemen who are being bombed constantly by munitions made in the good ol’ U S of A.

    No one wants war except those who make big bucks from it. It’s the most evil thing that humans are capable of. It is murder. It is theft. It is rape. It targets and traumatizes and displaces our planet’s most vulnerable populations. It destroys the environment. It leaves behind cancer-causing waste.

    It’s like as if the worst serial killer is going on the worst killing spree while dumping planet-killing chemicals behind him, but instead of running from the cops, he’s been given a trillion-dollar budget and immunity from prosecution.

    This is already happening. This is the world we have currently. The question that is being posed in Assange’s case is, should we be allowed to question this? Should we be allowed to expose it? Should we be allowed to stop it?

    Julian Assange’s case is a nexus point of where to next.

    I was thinking on the way over here what I would most like to say to Julian if I had the chance. If I could tell him anything right now it would be, “Rest now, mate. You’ve done all you can. We’ve got you. Let us take it from here.” Assange acted as a kind of lightning rod for all this bull**** for all those years, and through what they did to him, we saw their true face. We saw their true evil. We know what they are now, and we know how they do it, we’ve seen enough to know how they operate. And in the end it’s never about one man, it’s always about the movement. It’s our job now to stand up now and say as one “We do not consent”, and carry him out of there ourselves if we have to.

    This is where we’re at. We need to decide, do we evolve, or devolve? Do we pivot towards utopia, or dystopia?

    The persecution of Assange is so blatantly, obviously wrong that the only thing stopping people from seeing it is empire propaganda. You don’t have to be well-read. You don’t even have to be smart. You just have to have to have eyes that are unfiltered by narrative manipulation.

    Anyone with common sense and a beating heart in their chest can see this is wrong. Should journalists be tortured and imprisoned for life when they expose war crimes? The answer is not complicated. It’s obvious to anyone who hasn’t been propagandized out of their own clarity.

    Assange’s plight only looks complicated when you add on layers of narrative and verbiage. “Ah but Sweden stinky, stink man, hacker not a journalist! Mueller sexist Trump poop on the walls, Nazi Putin!”

    Without all the spin it’s very obvious he’s being torturously, unjustly persecuted. It really is an “emperor has no clothes” thing. The court propagandists fill our ears with fancy words about what a bad man Assange is, and why he must be dealt with, they’re trying to tell you that the emperor’s clothes are invisible to those aren’t educated.

    But the unpropagandized just yell “Hey! Why is the emperor ass-dick naked? Dude, I can see him! I can see his willy! ”

    This is why there are no counter protests here today. There are no regular, every day citizens taking to the streets with signs saying “Jail all the journalists! Endless war for all!” Some people still have strong feelings about Assange, but they’re just feelings, and you’ll find that it’s usually about only one or two of the smears, and if they turn and try to find evidence for the particular smears that have snagged them, they find nothing.

    That’s why Nils Melzer, the UN’s Special Rapporteur on torture, is such a courageous figure to me. When people first approached him to look in to Assange’s case, he was reluctant because he too had been affected by the smears. When he turned to the evidence though, he found no substance there.

    Because of his honorability, though, he felt through the embarrassment of being duped, and being wrong, he swallowed his pride and he changed course. And he very quickly became one of our most powerful allies in the fight to expose war crimes, expose propaganda, expose the modern-day mobbing and torture tactics used against Assange, and expose the precedent that Assange’s prosecution will set for journalists and publishers world wide.

    And you know what? I think the power behind his testimony comes from the fact that he realized that he had been duped, and if he, a very intelligent, well read, worldly, informed and educated person could be duped, then anyone can be.

    No one is immune. Human minds are hackable. We’re all very busy with our lives. We’re all kept busy by capitalism, and very few of us have the time to do what he did and sit down and take a look at the facts and assess them. And even if they did that, even fewer of them have had the courage of their convictions to put up with the social consequences of changing course.

    Being manipulated isn’t immoral, being a manipulator is. People feel ashamed when they’ve been conned, but it’s not their fault; it’s always the fault of the con man. That’s why fraud is the crime, and being defrauded is being a victim of that crime.

    In order for people to see this question that we’re asking ourselves–the question of whether journalists should be punished for exposing war crimes–clearly they have to admit that they have been victims of propaganda. It’s not their fault, but they will be embarrassed to admit it. This shame underpins a lot of reluctance to join us here today, so I think it’s important to outline.

    So when you’re talking to your friends and family, keep in mind that they’re hurting. They’re afraid of feeling the shame of having been duped, because in our crazy, ass-backwards culture, being duped is considered shameful while duping people just makes you a productive member of society.

    Be gentle with them. Reassure them that it’s not going to be the end of the world if they change their mind. In fact, it may be the end of the world if they don’t.

    That’s why I find Nils Melzer’s testimony to be so powerful: because it exposes the abusive nature of propaganda, and he modeled how to act when we find ourselves on the wrong side of the debate. His very existence gives me hope because it means that there are others like him waking up all over the world.

    Actually, I’ve seen it already myself. There’s a huge movement in Germany gaining traction supporting Assange. It was the prisoners of Belmarsh who organized three separate petitions and got Julian out of solitary (how’s that for grassroots activism?). Just on Friday Alan Jones posted a poll on Facebook that posed the question “should the Australian government do more to help Julian Assange and bring him home?”. Thousands of people answered and there was a 75 percent “Yes! Yes we should bring him home.” Underneath the poll there were hundreds of comments in support of Assange.

    So the tide is changing. Is it enough? I reckon it might be. But we have to keep pushing on it like our lives depend on it, because they do.

    Viva Assange!

    Thank you."
    Each breath a gift...
    _____________

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    Default Re: The thread of Caitlin Johnstone's words

    Debunking The Smear That Assange Recklessly Published Unredacted Documents

    by Caitlin Johnstone

    This is a new section for my ongoing mega-article Debunking All The Assange Smears, a resource for debating 30 of the most common smears against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Use it, share it, and let me know if there's anything you think should be changed or added.

    The prosecution in the Assange extradition trial has falsely alleged that WikiLeaks recklessly published unredacted files in 2011 which endangered people's lives. In reality the Pentagon admitted that no one was harmed as a result of the leaks during the Manning trial, and the unredacted files were actually published elsewhere as the result of a Guardian journalist recklessly included a real password in a book about WikiLeaks.

    A key government witness during the Chelsea Manning trial, Brig. Gen. Robert Carr, testified under oath that no one was hurt by them. Additionally, the Defense Secretary at the time, Robert M Gates, said that the leaks were "awkward" and "embarrassing" but the consequences for US foreign policy were "fairly modest". It was also leaked at the time that insiders were saying the damage was limited and "containable", and they were exaggerating the damage in an attempt to get Manning punished more severely.

    As Assange's defense highlighted during the trial, the unredacted publications were the result of a password being published in a book by Guardian reporters Luke Harding and David Leigh, the latter of whom worked with Assange in the initial publications of the Manning leaks. WikiLeaks reported that it didn't speak publicly about Leigh's password publication for several months to avoid drawing attention to it, but broke its silence when they learned a German weekly called Freitag was preparing a story about it. There's footage of Assange calling the US State Department trying to warn of an imminent security breach at the time, but they refused to escalate the call.

    It wasn't long after that that the full unredacted archive was published on a website called Cryptome, where it still exists in its unredacted form today, completely free from prosecution. It wasn't until the leaks were forced into the public, at the initiation of Leigh's password shenanigans, that WikiLeaks published them in their unredacted form.

    Assange’s US criminal defense lawyer Barry Pollack said in a press conference after the second day of the extradition trial being held at Belmarsh Prison: “What was laid out in great detail in court today was that the United States government making this extradition request claimed that Julian Assange intentionally published names of sources without redaction. We learned today that the United States government knew all along that that wasn’t true. That when others were about to publish those names without redaction, Julian Assange called the State Department to warn the State Department that others were about to publish, and pleaded with the State Department to take whatever action was necessary to protect those sources. The idea that the United States government is seeking extradition of Julian Assange when it, the United States government, failed to take any action is really unfathomable. I think we will learn more as this trial goes on that the United States government simply has not disclosed, in the extradition request, the underlying facts.”

    The US government doesn't care about unredacted publications, or it would have gone after Cryptome. The US government doesn't care about people being harmed by the Manning leaks; it knows that didn't happen. The US government cares about punishing a journalist for exposing its war crimes, plain and simple.

    The attempts to smear Assange as reckless, cold and cavalier with the Manning leaks have been forcefully disputed by an Australian journalist named Mark Davis, who was following Assange closely at the time filming footage which would become the documentary Inside WikiLeaks. You can listen to Davis' account of what transpired here, or you can read about it in this WSWS article.

    Davis details how The Guardian, the New York Times, and Der Spiegel journalists were putting Assange under extreme pressure to go to press before Assange had finished redacting names from the documents. None of the outlets offered any resources or support to help redact them, and Assange had to pull an all-nighter himself and personally cleanse the logs of over 10,000 names before going live.

    Davis says that it was Guardian journalists such as Leigh and Nick Davies, the two most vocal critics of Assange, who were displaying the cavalier attitude toward redaction back then.

    "Of course, it was apparent that they would be risking, if not the safety, certainly exposing the identity of many people - there's tens of thousands of documents there,” said Davis. "I never witnessed a conversation where anyone took that seriously. Not one."

    Davis says the only conversation that he witnessed on the topic of redaction was between Davies and Leigh, and Assange wasn't present.

    "It occurred to Nick Davies as they pulled up an article they were going to put in the newspaper - he said 'Well, we can't name this guy,'" recalls Davis. "And then someone said 'Well he's going to be named on the website.' Davies said something to the effect of 'We'll really cop it then, if and when we are blamed for putting that name up.' And the words I remember very precisely - from David Leigh was he gazed across the room at Davies and said: 'But we're not publishing it.'"

    Indeed, the only ones who seem to concur with this "cavalier" characterization of Assange are those who've had a lot invested in making sure they weren’t blamed for the leaks.
    I worked closely with Assange when editor of Bureau of Investigative Journalism on the Iraq War Logs. This claim absolutely false when it applies to that. We went to great lengths to redact names, protect identities. This is an assault on whistleblowing.https://t.co/pZjquH8oAA
    — Iain Overton (@iainoverton) February 24, 2020
    Journalist Iain Overton observed on Twitter recently that his experience working on the Iraq war logs with Assange was very different to the gossip about him.

    "I worked closely with Assange when editor of Bureau of Investigative Journalism on the Iraq War Logs," Overton said. "This claim absolutely false when it applies to that. We went to great lengths to redact names, protect identities. This is an assault on whistleblowing."

    Finally there is a quote attributed to Assange by Leigh, "They're informants, they deserve to die," with regard to the sources in the logs that he painstakingly redacted all their names from. It was supposedly said at a dinner that was attended by John Goetz from Der Spiegel, who provided a testimony saying that he heard no such thing from Julian.

    In a classic case of projection, it appears that Assange's enemies are charging him with the very sins they were committing.


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    Default Re: The thread of Caitlin Johnstone's words

    This Assange “Trial” Is A Self-Contradictory Kafkaesque Nightmare

    by Caitlin Johnstone
    The first segment of the Julian Assange extradition trial has concluded, to be resumed on May 18th. If you haven't been following to proceedings closely, let me sum up what you missed:
    The prosecution is working to extradite Assange to the US under a US-UK extradition treaty, a treaty whose contents the prosecution now says we should ignore because they explicitly forbid political extraditions. The prosecution says it doesn't matter anyway because Assange is not a political actor, yet in 2010 the US government that's trying to extradite him labeled him a political actor in those exact words. Assange's trial is taking place in a maximum security prison for dangerous violent offenders because that's where he's being jailed for no stated reason and despite having no history of violence, which means he's kept separate from the courtroom in a sound-resistant safety enclosure where he can't hear or participate in his own trial. The magistrate judging the case says he can't be allowed out of the enclosure since he's considered dangerous, because he's been arbitrarily placed in a prison for dangerous violent offenders. The magistrate keeps telling Assange to stop speaking up during his trial and to speak through his lawyers, yet he's being actively prevented from communicating with his lawyers.
    Make sense?
    No?
    Not even a tiny bit?
    Oh. Okay. Let me explain.
    A British human rights and law reform organisation found that keeping a defendant locked in a sound-resistant glass cage apart from the courtroom, as they're doing to Assange currently, necessarily breaches their right to a fair trial. https://t.co/FG61rIu1ur
    — Caitlin Johnstone (@caitoz) February 27, 2020
    It's common in British courtrooms to have something called a "dock", a place where defendants sit separately from court proceedings. Not all UK courtrooms have docks, and not all docks are the "secure" glass cabinet type which Assange is kept in; they can also be open wooden enclosures. Because Assange is being kept without explanation in a maximum security prison normally reserved the most dangerous violent offenders and terrorism convicts, his trial is taking place in a cage that is very much the "secure" type (so much so that he's been complaining that he can't hear the proceedings in his own trial through the bulletproof glass), and there is an expectation that he remain there. The magistrate has ruled that this nonviolent offender shall be kept in his sound-resistant enclosure throughout the duration of his trial, bizarrely asserting that Assange poses a danger to the public.
    Former UK ambassador and longtime Assange supporter Craig Murray was at court all four days of the trial, and he described the situation as follows (Edward Fitzgerald is Assange's defense attorney, Vanessa Baraitser is the magistrate):
    On return, Edward Fitzgerald made a formal application for Julian to be allowed to sit beside his lawyers in the court. Julian was “a gentle, intellectual man” and not a terrorist. Baraitser replied that releasing Assange from the dock into the body of the court would mean he was released from custody. To achieve that would require an application for bail.

    Again, the prosecution counsel James Lewis intervened on the side of the defence to try to make Julian’s treatment less extreme. He was not, he suggested diffidently, quite sure that it was correct that it required bail for Julian to be in the body of the court, or that being in the body of the court accompanied by security officers meant that a prisoner was no longer in custody. Prisoners, even the most dangerous of terrorists, gave evidence from the witness box in the body of the court nest to the lawyers and magistrate. In the High Court prisoners frequently sat with their lawyers in extradition hearings, in extreme cases of violent criminals handcuffed to a security officer.

    Baraitser replied that Assange might pose a danger to the public. It was a question of health and safety.
    Ah yes, yes I'm sure everyone at the courtroom is very concerned that the emaciated computer nerd might at any moment go full beast mode and start throwing them all across the room. Sure thing, Vanessa.
    So to recap, Assange has been placed in a prison for dangerous offenders for no reason, and he's designated too dangerous to participate in his own trial because he's in a prison for dangerous offenders. Both the defense and the prosecution agree that this is absurd, yet the supposedly impartial judge ruled against them both.
    Does that make sense to you?
    No?
    Good. Means you're sane.
    Your Man in the Public Gallery – The Assange Hearing Day 3 - In yesterday's proceedings in court, the prosecution adopted arguments so stark and apparently unreasonable I have been fretting on how to write them up in a way that does not seem like https://t.co/Fd56lIUVcM
    — Craig Murray (@CraigMurrayOrg) February 27, 2020
    In the same report Murray also says Assange was forbidden from passing notes to his lawyers, yet when he tried to speak up during his trial to get someone's attention Baraitser told him he may only speak through his lawyers. Even when they let him, Shadowproof's Kevin Gosztola also reports that the defense has complained that they can't even see when he wishes to communicate something with them, because his dock is behind them in the courtroom.
    Bridges for Media Freedom reports the following:
    Assange then stood up in the dock and said, “The problem is I’m not able to get representation.” Judge Baraitser then told him to “keep quiet and speak through his lawyers.” He replied, “That’s the problem, I can’t.”
    Assange has also complained that even when he is both able and permitted to speak to his lawyers during the trial, he's unable to do so in private, saying, "I cannot communicate with my lawyers or ask them for clarifications without the other side seeing" and "The other side has about 100 times more contact with their lawyers per day."
    “I am as much a participant in these proceedings as a spectator at Wimbledon,” a frustrated Assange complained at one point.
    So Assange may only speak through his lawyers, but also he's also been presented with many obstacles to speaking with his lawyers. Perfectly normal stuff in a perfectly normal trial being treated in a perfectly normal way by a perfectly normal empire.

    It's pretty clear by the way Baraitser is even more biased against Assange than the actual prosecutors that she made up her mind how she's going to rule long before the trial even began. This is made all the more shady by the fact that there are apparently no photographs of this public official anywhere online, and indeed no documentation of her existence outside of the court.
    "Ms Baraitser is not fond of photography – she appears to be the only public figure in Western Europe with no photo on the internet," wrote Murray after noting her anger at someone photographing the courtroom. "Indeed the average proprietor of a rural car wash has left more evidence of their existence and life history on the internet than Vanessa Baraitser. Which is no crime on her part, but I suspect the expunging is not achieved without considerable effort. Somebody suggested to me she might be a hologram, but I think not. Holograms have more empathy."
    This by itself is weird. How is someone with no public face ruling on an extradition trial of such immense historical significance? How is a public official allowed to make a decision which will affect every member of the public in one way or another, yet the public is not allowed to know anything about her or what she even looks like? That, in my opinion, is weird and creepy.
    It’s interesting. I have done some research. Baraister does not exist outside of court. Nothing. https://t.co/R0YksHkfbR
    — Matt Kennard (@DCKennard) February 27, 2020
    Then there's the prosecution. They're trying to argue that the US-UK extradition treaty which expressly forbids extradition for political offenses is void and inapplicable to this case because of another law called the Extradition Act which is written differently, despite the fact that the extradition treaty formed the basis for Assange's extradition request in the first place.
    “We’re in a pretty strange Alice in Wonderland world where the treaty that controls and gives rise to the request, supposedly has nothing to do with the legality of it, it’s very strange,” Fitzgerald said at one point, adding: “it is generally accepted worldwide that people should not be extradited for a non-violent offense of a political nature.”
    The prosecution also attempted to argue that even if the exemptions in the extradition treaty did apply, it wouldn't matter because Assange is not accused of anything that could be called a political offense. They said the defense must “equate what Mr Assange is alleged to have done against whether or not the only purpose was to change the government in America or induce America to change its policy, both of which we say it’s not.”
    The defense correctly countered that not only was WikiLeaks trying to affect US government behavior, but that they actually succeeded in doing so. Not only that, but the US government has itself accused Assange of being a political actor who is trying to change America's behavior.
    "He's not a journalist. He's not a whistleblower. He is a political actor. He has a political agenda," State Department spokesman PJ Crowley said of Assange in 2010 after WikiLeaks began exposing US war crimes. "He is trying to undermine the international system that enables us to cooperate and collaborate with other governments and to work in in multilateral settings and on a bilateral basis to help solve regional and international issues."
    In other words, Assange is a political actor who is deliberately trying to interfere with the US government agenda of world domination.
    Defence counsel notes "We're in a pretty strange Alice in Wonderland world where the treaty that controls & gives rise to request supposedly has nothing to do with the legality of it, its very strange."#AssangeHearing #NoExtradition #FreeAssange pic.twitter.com/re0YhGQsfz
    — PamelaDrew (@PamelaDrew) February 27, 2020
    The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the word Kafkaesque as "of, relating to, or suggestive of Franz Kafka or his writings, especially: having a nightmarishly complex, bizarre, or illogical quality."
    "Kafka's work is characterized by nightmarish settings in which characters are crushed by nonsensical, blind authority," says Merriam-Webster. "Thus, the word Kafkaesque is often applied to bizarre and impersonal administrative situations where the individual feels powerless to understand or control what is happening."
    I generally try to avoid words that few people will understand in my writings, especially in my headlines, but, you know, damn. That's the most perfect definition of this ridiculous bootlicking bureaucratic nightmare maze that you could possibly come up with.
    We can expect more of this when the trial resumes in May, and, to be clear, this is the more just and equitable half of the fight. If Assange is successfully extradited to the United States as the mysterious Vanessa Baraitser seems primed to allow, he will face a rigged trial after he and his legal team were spied on by US intelligence agencies when preparing his defense. He and his legal team will be completely silenced from commentary on the trial, and he'll disappear into a black hole of "Special Administrative Measures" where he won't be heard from again.
    The time to speak up for Assange and the future of press freedoms is now. Not when he's extradited. Not after his fake trial and draconian sentencing. Now.


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    Default Re: The thread of Caitlin Johnstone's words

    Humanity Is Making A Very Important Decision When It Comes To Assange
    MARCH 1, 2020
    by CAITLIN JOHNSTONE
    https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2020/03...es-to-assange/



    "The propagandists have all gone dead silent on the WikiLeaks founder they previously were smearing with relentless viciousness, because they no longer have an argument. The facts are all in, and yes, it turns out the US government is certainly and undeniably working to exploit legal loopholes to imprison a journalist for exposing its war crimes. That is happening, and there is no justifying it.

    So the narrative managers, by and large, have gone silent.

    Which is good. Because it gives us an opening to seize control of the narrative.

    It’s time to go on the offensive with this. Assange supporters have gotten so used to playing defense that it hasn’t fully occurred to us to go on a full-blown charge. I’ve been guilty of this as well; I’ll be letting myself get bogged down in some old, obsolete debate with someone about some obscure aspect of the Swedish case or something, not realizing that none of that matters anymore. All the narrative manipulations that were used to get Assange to this point are impotent, irrelevant expenditures of energy compared to the fact that we now have undeniable evidence that the US government is working to set a precedent which will allow it to jail any journalist who exposes its misdeeds, and we can now force Assange’s smearers to confront this reality.

    “Should journalists be jailed for exposing US war crimes? Yes or no?”

    That’s the debate now. Not Russia. Not Sweden. Not whether he followed proper bail protocol or washed his dishes at the embassy. That’s old stuff. That’s obsolete. That’s playing defense.

    Now we play offense: “Should journalists be jailed for exposing US war crimes? Yes or no?”

    Demand an answer. Call attention to them and demand that they answer. Dig them out of their hidey holes and make them answer this. Drag them out into the light and make them answer this question in front of everyone. Because that is all this is about now.

    Don’t get sidetracked. Don’t get tricked into debating defensively. Force the issue: the US government is trying to establish and normalize the practice of extraditing and imprisoning journalists for exposing its misdeeds. That is the issue to focus on.

    You will find that anyone who dares to stick their head above the parapet and smear Assange now gets very, very squirmy if you pin them down and force them to address this issue. Because they cannot answer without admitting that they are wrong. And that they’ve been wrong this entire time. It’s a completely unassailable argument.

    We now have two and a half months to prepare for the second half of Julian Assange’s extradition hearing: all of March, all of April, and half of May. We’re going to need all that time to seize control of the narrative and make it very, very clear to the world that a very important decision is about to be made by the powerful on our behalf, if we don’t make that decision for them.

    This really is do or die time, humans. If we allow them to extradite and imprison Julian Assange for practicing journalism, that’s it. It’s over. We might as well all stop caring what happens to the world and sit on our hands while the oligarchs drive us to ecological disaster, nuclear annihilation or authoritarian dystopia.

    If we, the many, don’t have the spine to stand up against the few and say “No, we get to find out facts about you bastards and use it to inform our worldview, you don’t get to criminalize that,” then we certainly won’t have the spine it will take to wrest control of this world away from the hands of sociopathic plutocrats and take our fate into our own hands.

    This is it. This is the part of the movie where we collectively choose the red pill or the blue pill. We are collectively being asked a question here, and our answer to that question will determine the entire course we will take as a species.

    So what’s it going to be, humanity?

    Truth, or lies?

    Light, or darkness?

    A world where we can hold power to account with the light of truth, or a world where power decides what’s true for us?

    A world with free speech and a free press, or a world where journalists are imprisoned whenever they expose the evils of the most powerful institutions on this planet?

    A world where we all actively fight to free Assange and get the job done, or a giant, irreversible leap toward the end of humanity as we know it?

    Do we free Assange?

    Or do we sit complacent with our Netflix and our KFC and trust the authority figures to do what’s best?

    Do we take the red pill?

    Or do we take the blue one?

    Choose your path, humans.

    Choose wisely. "

    Also posted here: http://projectavalon.net/forum4/show...=1#post1338576
    Each breath a gift...
    _____________

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