Truth, Or I Dare You To Call It Propaganda

Photo of a paper document alleged to be Pentagon briefing slides on the Ukraine war.

You can have truth, or you can have propaganda, but you can’t have both. Which will it be?

Investors who are clients of Bank of America were upset recently when a conference to listen to experts on current events heard several presenters who sounded like they were reciting Putin’s talking points!

For example, from the prepared remarks Nicolai Petro, a professor of political science at the University of Rhode Island who is alleged to have once worked at the State Department, (obtained by Financial Times which I’m quoting here):

“Under any scenario, Ukraine would be the overwhelming loser” in the war. Its industrial capacity would be “devastated”, partly by its economic policy of becoming an agricultural superpower “as recommended by the EU and the United States” and its population would continue to shrink as people left to look for employment abroad. 

“If this is what Russia meant by removing Ukraine’s capacity to wage war against Russia, then it will arguably have won,” he said. 

 He said the US government had no interest in a ceasefire because it had the most to gain from a prolonged conflict through a “dramatic increase in EU energy and military dependence on the US”.

According to FT, a BofA client complained, “The whole event was overwhelmingly pro-Russian.”

This is what happens to people’s brains after long marination in false dichotomy.

The truth about what has happened and will happen in Ukraine is murky, contested, and sometimes confusing. But it’s not partisan.

The truth doesn’t care who wins in Ukraine.

The U.S. and its banksters, on the other hand, are presently caught between a rock and a hard place. Face the truth and use that knowledge to make some rational decisions about investments among other things? Or promote the patriotic narrative that Putin is all bad, all the time, and Zelensky is a hero — and make decisions based on that?

Because you can have intel or you can have propaganda, but you can’t have both.

There are hundred of documents similar to this one. If a hoax, somebody put a lot of time into this.

Which leads us to the fascinating trove of alleged Pentagon-sourced documents on Ukraine, China, and the Middle East. Are they real? Were they leaked or “leaked” or maybe hacked?

Some of the facts seem credible, for instance, that four Ukrainian troops have died for every one Russian troop. It’s the kind of data it’s almost impossible to be certain about, but it is congruent with the tragedy we’ve seen unfolding for the people of Ukraine, like the long battle for Bakhmut which they just lost, and their ongoing conscription challenges. 

If leaked, these documents appear to have come from someone pretty far inside — either at the Pentagon or as a high ranking official of another allied nation.

Were they leaked by a European ally in retaliation for the bombing of the Nord Stream pipeline?

By a pro-Russian infiltrator in one of those spaces?

Or maybe a gamer stumbled onto the trove in the output tray of a printer at their office, snagged it, and shared it with their buddies? Mostly the documents seem to have come out in channels like 4chan or in Minecraft chat rooms. What’s that about?

Julian Assange has now been tortured almost to death for leaking truths about the Iraq War, the dirty dealings of the ultra wealthy, and the like. That the U.S. is behind his extrajudicial punishment makes for some spectacular hypocrisy as in the case of a Wall Street Journal reporter just arrested in Russia for trying to obtain classified information about military production.

Did Evan Gershkovich in fact do that or was he just an innocent reporter doing his job, as U.S. Secretary of State Blinken would have us believe?

More than one person has suggested that Gershkovich was nabbed in order to be exchanged for a prisoner the Russians want back, in the way Brittney Griner appears to have been used.

If Russia offered to release Gershkovich in exchange for Assange’s freedom, it would be on par with offering Edward Snowden asylum in Moscow: a blow for truths our government doesn’t want us to know.

Democracy Then! Propaganda Now

Democracy Now!, legacy alternative media for the latte left, has been repeatedly exposed as biased in favor of the U.S./NATO empire. But most who watch DN! cannot tolerate the cognitive dissonance to acknowledge this shift.

Credit for the title of my post — Democracy Then! Propaganda Now —  goes to “Diogenes” who posted a version of it commenting on this discussion between Max Blumenthal, Aaron Mate and Randy Credico on The Grayzone’s YouTube channel. 

A shorter version of the video can be found attached to this Grayzone tweet, but the longer version (11 or so minutes) is worth watching if only to see Julian Assange lied about to his face as he repeatedly denies the false charge that wikileaks said Donald Trump would be less dangerous as president than Hillary Clinton. 

Count how many times Assange says “No, we didn’t” while DN!’s guest talks over him.

Summary of The Grayzone’s charges against Democracy Now!:

  • John Pilger told Blumenthal he was banned from DN! because their funder the Lannan Foundation did not like Pilger’s views
  • DN! was wrong on wikileaks & Julian Assange, and has never apologized
  • DN! was wrong on the Syrian war & the White Helmets
  • DN! was wrong on Russiagate, which it heavily promoted
  • DN! was wrong on alleged Uyghur genocide
  • DN! is wrong on the Ukraine war origins & goals, and clearly biased against Russia

The propaganda of the U.S. empire is, as many have observed, outstandingly effective. 

It has split the antiwar movement in the U.S. by capturing many of their sources of information.

I once worked in marketing (for cars) and learned of the strong spending to build brand loyalty among college students. Because research shows that brand loyalties are formed when we are quite young and these loyalties are extremely resistant to change for most people. 

This is why it’s effective to lure people into trusting a news outlet like Democracy Now! (or Common Dreams, or NPR, etc. — those are posts for another day). Once trust has been established, the slow drift toward supporting the imperial narrative can begin. Much like the frog in that pot of slowly warming water, most won’t notice and many will employ strong denial tactics to maintain  that they’re not being boiled to death.

Some have identified the first sign of Democracy Now!’s rightward drift in their coverage of the unfortunate events of 9/11/01. Since the current nonstop warmongering of the U.S. kicked off using 9/11 as a pretext, that makes a lot of sense. But substantiating that claim would take more research than I have time for at the moment. 

Just something to think about.