This is not the sort of thing you see in a confident, brave, and civilized nation, it’s the sort of stuff you’d expect to see toward the end. It’s the stuff of craven war-mongers, of dishonest cowards, of a totally deranged and very dangerous media. The signs are everywhere; imperial decline is set to accelerate rapidly in the coming years.
– From the April post: Prepare for Impact – This is the Beginning of the End for U.S. Empire
Fake news, propaganda and garbage information is everywhere and I’m not going to pretend otherwise. That being said, the key thing to understand is fake news from obscure websites you’ve never heard of is not what represents the real, global danger of rampant dishonest information. The real danger of fake news is the stuff that’s consistently being vomited onto the pages of “respectable,” billionaire-owned corporate media.
Obscure blogs and independent thinkers such as myself aren’t influencing foreign policy, domestic policy or anything that really matters (look around you). While alternative media did indeed play a monumental role in the election of Donald Trump, how much really changed when it comes to the true power centers?
Not much, not much at all. Goldman Sachs and Wall Street are more in control than ever before, and neocons and other assorted interventionists seem to be running foreign policy.
All of this reminds me of the famous saying, “if voting made any difference, they’d make it illegal.” Indeed, the time has come for all of us to own up to the very real and present danger of corporate media, which seemingly exists to provide public relations for oligarchs and the foreign policy establishment. Not that this should be surprising, you’d have to be the most naive creature on earth to think newspapers owned by billionaires are going to tell the public the truth. Indeed, I made the following observation earlier today on Twitter.
If you don't think it's bizarre that all the "respectable" newspapers are constantly pushing for more war, I don't know what to tell you.
— Michael Krieger (@LibertyBlitz) June 27, 2017
Truth be told, it’s way beyond bizarre, it’s downright terrifying. Note that most major newspapers could barely catch their breath from demonizing Trump during his first three months, yet suddenly saw him as a heroic figure as soon as he lobbed a few bombs at Assad. This is like giving a puppy a treat for peeing on a wee wee pad. The corporate press is literally training Trump to wage as much imperial war as possible. It’s crucial to understand that Trump, or any other administration really, can only do so much on the interventionist war front as the corporate press permits and pushes. Unfortunately, the corporate press is always pushing for war.
When was the last time The New York Times came out strongly against a foreign policy establishment war?
— Michael Krieger (@LibertyBlitz) June 27, 2017
Today provided yet another example of how the “respectable” oligarch-owned press unquestionably repeats government propaganda when it comes to foreign policy. Two days after Seymour Hersh blew a hole in the fairytale account of Assad using chemical weapons in April, and merely a few hours after Sean Spicer started conditioning the public for more war with evidence-free claims that another chemical attack was imminent, here’s how the New York Times covered the April attack.
Naturally, you have the photo of the hurt child to pull at your heartstrings underneath which is written, “after a nerve agent was used in an attack in April.” Of course, there is no proof that a nerve agent was used in the attack; in fact, there seems to be increasing proof that there wasn’t. Yet, that doesn’t stop The New York Times from doing it again and again later in the piece.
WASHINGTON — American officials have seen chemical weapons activity at a Syrian air base that was used in the spring nerve gas attack on rebel-held territory, the Defense Department said on Tuesday, scrambling to explain what prompted a White House statement a day earlier that Syria would “pay a heavy price” if it carried out another one.
Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, told reporters that what looked like active preparations for a chemical attack were seen at Al Shayrat airfield, which was struck in April by American cruise missilestwo days after the Syrian government dropped bombs loaded with toxic chemicals in northern Syria. Another Defense Department official said that an aircraft shelter at Al Shayrat that had been hit by an American Tomahawk missile was being used for the preparation.
The United States and other world powers have accused Mr. Assad’s forces of repeatedly using chemical weapons to subdue rebels seeking to topple his government. Chemical attacks killed more than 1,000 people near Damascus in 2013 and dozens more in northern Syria in April of this year.
The paper consistently states non-facts as facts in order to push a particular narrative. Meanwhile, here’s some of what Seymour Hersh reported in German newspaper Die Welt over the weekend:
The available intelligence made clear that the Syrians had targeted a jihadist meeting site on April 4 using a Russian-supplied guided bomb equipped with conventional explosives. Details of the attack, including information on its so-called high-value targets, had been provided by the Russians days in advance to American and allied military officials in Doha, whose mission is to coordinate all U.S., allied, Syrian and Russian Air Force operations in the region.
Some American military and intelligence officials were especially distressed by the president’s determination to ignore the evidence. “None of this makes any sense,” one officer told colleagues upon learning of the decision to bomb. “We KNOW that there was no chemical attack … the Russians are furious. Claiming we have the real intel and know the truth … I guess it didn’t matter whether we elected Clinton or Trump.”
The Execute Order governing U.S. military operations in theater, which was issued by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, provide instructions that demarcate the relationship between the American and Russian forces operating in Syria. “It’s like an ops order – ‘Here’s what you are authorized to do,’” the adviser said. “We do not share operational control with the Russians. We don’t do combined operations with them, or activities directly in support of one of their operations. But coordination is permitted. We keep each other apprised of what’s happening and within this package is the mutual exchange of intelligence. If we get a hot tip that could help the Russians do their mission, that’s coordination; and the Russians do the same for us. When we get a hot tip about a command and control facility,” the adviser added, referring to the target in Khan Sheikhoun, “we do what we can to help them act on it.” “This was not a chemical weapons strike,” the adviser said. “That’s a fairy tale. If so, everyone involved in transferring, loading and arming the weapon – you’ve got to make it appear like a regular 500-pound conventional bomb – would be wearing Hazmat protective clothing in case of a leak. There would be very little chance of survival without such gear. Military grade sarin includes additives designed to increase toxicity and lethality. Every batch that comes out is maximized for death. That is why it is made. It is odorless and invisible and death can come within a minute. No cloud. Why produce a weapon that people can run away from?”
The target was struck at 6:55 a.m. on April 4, just before midnight in Washington. A Bomb Damage Assessment (BDA) by the U.S. military later determined that the heat and force of the 500-pound Syrian bomb triggered a series of secondary explosions that could have generated a huge toxic cloud that began to spread over the town, formed by the release of the fertilizers, disinfectants and other goods stored in the basement, its effect magnified by the dense morning air, which trapped the fumes close to the ground. According to intelligence estimates, the senior adviser said, the strike itself killed up to four jihadist leaders, and an unknown number of drivers and security aides. There is no confirmed count of the number of civilians killed by the poisonous gases that were released by the secondary explosions, although opposition activists reported that there were more than 80 dead, and outlets such as CNN have put the figure as high as 92. A team from Médecins Sans Frontières, treating victims from Khan Sheikhoun at a clinic 60 miles to the north, reported that “eight patients showed symptoms – including constricted pupils, muscle spasms and involuntary defecation – which are consistent with exposure to a neurotoxic agent such as sarin gas or similar compounds.” MSF also visited other hospitals that had received victims and found that patients there “smelled of bleach, suggesting that they had been exposed to chlorine.” In other words, evidence suggested that there was more than one chemical responsible for the symptoms observed, which would not have been the case if the Syrian Air Force – as opposition activists insisted – had dropped a sarin bomb, which has no percussive or ignition power to trigger secondary explosions. The range of symptoms is, however, consistent with the release of a mixture of chemicals, including chlorine and the organophosphates used in many fertilizers, which can cause neurotoxic effects similar to those of sarin.
Given the reporting of a journalist with decades of history calling out government b.s., you’d think the New York Times would at least mention Hersh’s reporting in their article. Nope, not a peep.
The Atlantic does a similar thing. Here are a few excerpts from its Syria piece this morning. Let’s start with the title.
“Another” chemical attack. Meanwhile, it looks like the last one never even happened, yet does The Atlantic mention the report authored by Sy Hersh two days earlier? Of course not, but it does continue to repeat the fake news claim of an April chemical weapons attack over and over.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer released a statement Monday night accusing the Syrian government of potentially engaging in preparations for another chemical weapons attack. While the statement offered minimal details, it argued that a future attack “would likely result in the mass murder of civilians, including innocent children.” On April 4, a government-led chemical attack in Syria’s northwestern Idlib province resulted in the deaths of more than 80 civilians. According to Spicer, the Syrian government’s latest preparations closely resemble those carried out prior to April 4.
Never let the truth get in the way of a good story.
If indeed enacted, a new chemical weapons attack could have reverberating consequences throughout the international community. In response to April’s attack, the U.S. launched 59 tomahawk missiles at a Syrian air base—the nation’s first military operation against an Arab government since President Obama’s intervention in Libya in 2011. At the time, the administration referred to the strike as a “one-off” occurrence intended to deter future chemical attacks. But, in the wake of the operation, administration officials reported that President Trump had been deeply troubled by graphic images of Syrian children struggling to breathe. “No child of God should ever suffer such horror,” Trump said while announcing the strike.
“The nation’s first military operation against an Arab government since President Obama’s intervention in Libya in 2011.”
Since that went so well, we may as well do it again.
Meanwhile, do you know anything about David G. Bradley, the man who owns Atlantic Media? I didn’t think so. Here’s a brief snippet mentioning him from a 2010 Daily Beast article about D.C. “richest power players.”
Far more visible is well-heeled entrepreneur and Atlantic Media publisher David G. Bradley, who owns The National Journal, The Atlantic, and Hotline. In 1979, a 26-year-old Bradley founded the Research Council of Washington. Over the years he zeroed in on health care and finance, and in 1997 he sold the company for more than $300 million. He is known for hosting monthly ultra-exclusive off-the-record dinners—a Valhalla of insiders, top journalists, foreign leaders, and White House officials—in his glass-enclosed office at the Watergate. “It’s a joy for me,” Bradley has said. “I launched it for the romance of it. It’s more book club than it is clubhouse.”
I’ll let you make your own determination as to whether or not this sort of thing is likely to lead to hard-hitting, power challenging journalism. Sounds like a bunch of elitists stroking each other to me.
Which brings me to the main point. The major newspapers do not hold power to account. They aren’t working for the public interest, and you can see the results all around us. With government, corporate oligarchs and the media entirely aligned against the best interests of the population at large, the situation looks very bleak. The imperial train wreck appears unstoppable.