The okeydoke that Americans were supposed to get
When the Deep State is preparing for a war it uses a lot of propaganda to get the people onboard.
Granted, that first sentence is so obvious as to be laughable. Of course, we are propagandized into supporting wars. But even at this late stage of the United States most Americans don’t recognize what is propaganda. That’s why stating the obvious is necessary.
Think about all the stories that came out before our post-9/11 invasion of Iraq: yellowcake, secret meetings between Saddam’s people and al Qaeda in Vienna, aluminum tubes, Saddam’s nuclear-tipped missiles could hit London in forty-five minutes. I heard the last one on the BBC, presumably a little lie to get the Brits to back the war. All of these stories and many more were false, but propaganda isn’t about truth. It isn’t even about creating a consistent narrative. It is about creating a fog of hate around its target, much like Orwell’s hate rooms in 1984. The great thing about these propaganda episodes (for propagandists) is that you can manufacture a majority of Americans to support a war even if they aren’t all onboard for the same reasons. If you fell for the false rape camp stories when Yugoslavia was being dismantled in the 1990s you might believe that Saddam’s sons raped random women in their rape palaces. Maybe you have worries about aluminum tubes. Or you have fond memories of that summer vacation in London or you are a fan of the Beatles and you didn’t want Saddam to nuke Abbey Road. Maybe you’re a fan of espionage novels and find the idea of al Qaeda terrorists and Saddam’s agents meeting in Vienna plausible, or maybe you saw “The Third Man” in your impressionable years. You see, you can already hear Anton Karas’ melancholy zither playing “The Third Man Theme”.
Perhaps the most ludicrous meme floated back then in the buildup to Dubya’s war was that the younger George Bush finally had the opportunity to get even with Saddam because of the shame his father endured for only being able to destroy parts of Iraq when he had been President. You may vaguely remember it. This time it’s personal, as the movie ads would say about the sequel. And Americans love grudge matches. When Dubya strutted across the deck of that aircraft carrier with a sock in the crotch of his flight suit our virile President not only won the war, he’d vindicated his dad. With testosterone.
One propaganda technique is called “bad-jacketing”. If you want to smear someone you don’t have to smear him directly. You put someone deemed terrible in the same picture as your target. When OJ Simpson was arrested in 1994 a story arose in the right-wing press that Bill Clinton had had plans to play a round of golf with him, but that the double-homicide intervened. Whether or not there was any truth to it doesn’t matter. If you were out to smear the Clintons at that point, suggesting that Bill had a golf game scheduled with OJ was a good way. Surely all those claims about Clinton the rapist and Clinton the philanderer were strengthened by that blip on the radar. Even as the story surfaced and then disappeared without any proof the residue remained.
In the present case the bad jacket is a double-breasted suit. All smears directed at Trump automatically rub off on Putin, and vice versa. How many posts in the media have suggested that Trump and Putin are gay lovers? There is a significant percentage of the population in the US that hates gays fiercely, and a larger percentage who fear and hate gays but don’t express it publicly.Their own hate embarrasses themselves. So those cute editorial cartoons of Putin and Trump wearing bondage leathers and embracing supplies a cover for secret haters and are in effect piling hate on hate on hate. The trifecta, and perfect for a propaganda campaign arising from Clinton’s neoliberal DNC.
I mention these examples from the Iraq War and the technique of “bad-jacketing” because there is a vagueness about the “Russian hack” story that on one hand reminds me of a propaganda buildup to a war, a multiplicity of contemporaneous “scandals” is a clue, this time directed against Russia, but on the other hand is missing something very important.
The first tell was last summer when the first word of Russia allegedly hacking the DNC’s computers became public. As we have come to find out, the DNC announced that it had been hacked but refused the FBI access to its servers. Why? Because the DNC preferred to have its own cybercrime experts examine them. And who were their cybercrime experts? CrowdStrike, owned by Dmitri Alperovitch, a Moscow-born immigrant who settled in the US as a youth. Curiously, he has a chair at the Atlantic Council, a Washington think tank that spends a lot of time thinking of reasons to go to war against Russia. How much do they want to go to war with Russia? A lot. Saudi Arabia and the Ukrainian World Congress are among their funders.
Well, sure enough, as could have been predicted, CrowdStrike did indeed find that Russia was hacking the DNC, although subsequently the hack information turned out to be unpersuasive. One piece of malware misidentified by Crowdstrike as Russian was actually Ukrainian. That’s a rather big mistake, if a malware’s country of origin proves anything at all, and in fact when the software’s country of origin was alleged to be Russian that was the logic in charging the Russians as the hackers. With recent Wikileaks revealing that the CIA has in its toolbox the ability to create hacks using others’ malware and then pinning the blame elsewhere, any claim of hacking and who authored the hacking should be open to question, as we’ve had enough proof to suspect all along. And, as always, the CIA is the last institution to trust when seeking the truth. This does not even address whether one of our moles in the Russian bureaucracy was aiding this okeydoke.
At the same time that the first indications of the Russian hack were announced, Alexandra Chalupa, a self-described “proud Ukrainian American” employed at the DNC, was doing opposition research on Trump, Manafort et al for their “connections” to Russia. In interviews last summer Chalupa was throwing around the words “treason” and “capital crime” in the direction of Manafort and Trump.
Note what we have: A self-contained scandal within the DNC, not open to contradiction by law enforcement (the FBI was kept out), pointing the finger at Russia for interfering with the “democratic process”. Our sacred democratic process!
Current-day Russia, and formerly when it existed as the Soviet Union, has been the number one target for US intelligence since President Roosevelt died and generally by the West since the Russian Revolution. I don’t have enough space to describe the decades of the history of propaganda directed against Russians, but I will briefly describe one, the shootdown of Indonesia Airlines MH-17. I will include a few pieces of evidence reported in “fake news” outlets and ignored in the mainstream US press, just to give the reader an idea of what the campaign against “fake news” is all about.
In July 2014 Malaysia Flight MH-17 was shot down over a battle zone in the eastern part of Ukraine that had refused to recognize the coup government in Kiev. That’s correct, depending on how you want to define it, the Donbass region either seceded from the greater Ukraine or the greater Ukraine was taken over in a fascist coup backed by the US and the Donbass region refused to recognize the fascists in Kiev.
The weapon generally blamed for the shootdown was a BUK missile, an old Soviet anti-aircraft missile long taken out of service in Russia but still in use around the world in countries once armed by the old Soviet Union, like Ukraine.
Within hours of the shootdown Ukrainians produced a recording of rebel chatter on radio where it appeared that the rebels were talking about shooting down the plane. A few days later it was determined that the recording was manufactured, using some rebel dialogue regarding shooting down a military supply plane that had been landing at a contested airport on the front lines of battle. What happened to the story of the recording? In the west the story about the recording being faked was ignored, but the original story wasn’t defended. It was allowed to disappear, leaving behind its residue.
Several days after the incident the Russians released radar readings of the event. It showed two Ukrainian fighter planes accompanying the airliner as it changed course and flew over the battle area in the minutes before the plane was attacked. What did Ukraine say about those two fighters? Nothing. What did the flight tower recordings with MH-17 say about those two jet fighters? Nothing, because, depending on the version of the story you read, either all the recordings of conversations between the control tower and the plane were made top-secret immediately after the incident, or were lost or otherwise missing, thereby giving Ukraine the ability to never have to answer what appeared on Russian radar to be two Ukrainian fighters steering the civilian airliner right to the place where it was to be shot down.
At this point it should be noted that Russian BUK anti-aircraft batteries are generally obsolete, but are complicated to operate. A BUK consists of the actual missile launcher carrying a battery of rockets and a separate truck that operates the radar targeting aspects of the weapon. The initial reports in the West said that it had been rebel forces that had shot down the airliner, but the rebel forces had no operable BUK weapon and it was unlikely that the infantry on the front lines had gone through the months of training to even operate one.
This problem was counteracted in the West by a “study” by “Bellingcat”. Bellingcat is supposed to be a somewhat anonymous citizen investigator operating from his home in Britain and reviewing “evidence” online. Bellingcat claimed that the BUK battery used in the shootdown had been secretly moved across the border from Russia into the rebel-occupied territory overnight, was used to shoot down the airliner, and then was snuck back into Russia. Sound preposterous? Of course, but not in the fog of propaganda. If it had been well known in the West that the Ukrainian army had seventeen (!) BUK anti-aircraft batteries in the battle area while the rebels had none, or the one “snuck in and out of the area by those tricky Russians”, perhaps the charge against the rebels and/or Russians would not have had the same effectiveness in the West. It might further weaken the western version of events if some talking head had pointed out that since the rebels had no air force, having anti-aircraft weapons in a battle theater where its enemy had no aircraft was useless unless the Ukrainians planned on shooting down someone else’s aircraft.
Armies actually keep track of their ordinance. But when Russia asked for records of whether any BUK missiles had been fired from any of the seventeen Ukrainian batteries in the battle zone Ukraine refused.
Meanwhile, the mainstream media operated as if it had to be the Russians, or the rebels backed by Russia. The Secretary of State, John Kerry, the weekend after the incident, declared on Sunday morning talk shows that the US had absolute proof via its spy satellites who had fired that missile. And, in truth, the US did know. It has spy satellites parked over Ukraine that have the capability to read the insignia on soldiers’ uniforms. One problem: the US never released their photos. In the years since the incident the US has never released those photographs. There have been investigations across Europe and in Australia, and yet the US refuses to release those photographs. The family of the only American on Flight 17 has personally asked for the photos to be released. Nothing.
Essentially, what the US intelligence and military has told the world is, “Trust us.” And most Americans do.
And while Kerry was making the rounds on the Sunday morning talk shows claiming he had evidence of Russian guilt the rest of the media were doing their work. From the morning show to late night TV, everyone was talking about… Putin! Jimmy Kimmel and the other various cohosts across the dial were making Putin the target of jokes, another very effective propaganda tool. Even the darling of the Left, John Oliver, was taking his turn whacking Putin. Based on what?
Most Americans believe that Russia shot down MH-17. For what purpose? A clue to many of the false flags presented to the public is that they do not have a coherent motive. Why would Russia want to smuggle a rather large, obsolete missile battery into a battle zone in the middle of the night to shoot down an airliner? However, if in fact Ukraine shot down that airliner and used the Mighty Wurlitzer of the CIA to promote Russia’s guilt it makes much more sense. A false flag.
What is the truth in the matter? I wasn’t there, and neither were you. Who do you trust, that evil caricature Putin, or America?
Propaganda often appears on parallel tracks. As the story of the Russian hack got more play in the mainstream media we had stories about Russia hacking voting machines and Russia even hacking a nuclear plant, all debunked. But because of the nature of propaganda truth was irrelevant. A good portion of the public never hears the retractions and more often than not there are no retractions. That fog of propaganda swirls on, and in the age of the internet there are millions ready to repeat the propaganda. Residue.
There was a second, parallel story in the wind last fall, the Washington Post’s “fake news” story and its promotion of PropOrNot. The author of the story, Craig Timberg, is the son of Robert Timberg, who’s written a hagiography of Senator John McCain, a strong supporter of war generally and specifically of the fascist elements in power in Ukraine.
PropOrNot designated hundreds of news sites as “fake news” sites. Considering the decades-long history of the Washington Post working hand in hand with the CIA in disseminating information (often false) some of us found WaPo calling the alarm on fake news to be at the very least ironic. PropOrNot generally identified any news source that was not onboard with the mainstream media, and not heavily against Russia, as fake.
Who is PropOrNot? They are officially anonymous, but they’ve left some hints, if you’re willing to look. For example, in posts at their website before the attention of WaPo, someone on the site used the term “Heroiam Slava!” What?
“Heroiam Slava” was a fascist salute that originated in Kiev in 1942, when the Nazis put their Banderite allies in power during their march east against the Soviet Union. In the months afterwards the new slogan was used by Ukrainian military units during Operation Nightingale, the local version of Germany’s Holocaust. The German command had found that the constant slaughter of civilians was taking its toll on the esprit de corps of German soldiers, so the work mass murder was passed to the Ukrainian fascists. During their time in power it is estimated that a million Jews were gassed, shot, garroted and shoved into mass graves. At the same time the Banderites also slaughtered uncounted numbers of Poles, ethnic Russians and pretty much anyone else who did not conform to Ukrainian ideas of racial purity.
So the Washington Post’s source for defining fake news were anonymous people who liked to repeat wartime slogans of the Nazis’ allies. It should be noted that since the fascists came to power in Ukraine in 2014 they have been shutting down all opposition press, frequently by assassination. Reporters who have troubled the regime have been identified by name, address, phone numbers et al. The Ukrainians have established an actual Ministry of Truth and have begun rewriting the history of World War II.
Craig Timberg had another source for his story: Clint Watts of The Foreign Policy Research Institute. The FPRI is an ultra-rightwing think tank created during The Depression which traffics in racialist eugenics and anti-Soviet/Russian proclamations. Their founder, Robert Strausz-Hupé, actually wrote a deranged op-ed piece for the New York Times condemning the movie “Doctor Strangelove” as Soviet propaganda. In short, Timberg’s sources of false news were old hands at anti-Russian propaganda.
Early on I said there was something missing. Hillary Clinton isn’t the President. Everyone expected her to win. When the story of Russia hacking the DNC was first floated, the world expected Clinton to be President. But why use only parts of the hacking story when you are already going to win the election? As we have seen, the majority of “news” about the Russian hacks actually occurred too close to the election to have any effect on the voting (if the DNC leaks had any effect at all), or after the election when the hacking stories could do nothing at all for Clinton’s election chances. (Timberg’s story appeared weeks after the election.) If you are going to use this “Russia hack-Trump traitor” story to win the election, why hold any of it back for release until after the contest was won or lost?
The hack story wasn’t created to get Clinton elected. It was done to give President Clinton her war in 2017.
Imagine now how the entire sitting government would have been behind President Clinton. We have the dastardly Russians going so low as to try to sabotage the elections to get their buddy Trump elected. Granted, Congress would still be completely in Republican control, as could be estimated prior to the election, but what’s the one thing Republicans stalwarts like John McCain and Lindsay Graham can agree on? War. And the Russians hacking the DNC and tampering with American Democracy? Outrageous. Clinton versus Putin, and this time it’s personal!
As I’ve asked before, what is the one thing that Hillary was falling over herself to deliver to the Deep State that Trump wouldn’t and couldn’t? A war with Russia. Trump is apparently too constrained by his business dealings with various Russians (I don’t think he’s constrained by any kind of loyalty; Trump has never displayed much loyalty to anyone). When Clinton announced she would create a “no-fly zone” in Syria early on in the primary debates, it was essentially her saying, “When I’m President I will go to war with Russia.”
The “Russian hack” story was going to be our Deep State’s casus belli, our reason to go to war with Russia. With Hillary’s failure in November the okeydoke was left without the most important part, a President ready to go to war. What we see now is the okeydoke being used against Trump. I doubt the Deep State thinks it can push Trump out for a more malleable chief of state (like they did with Nixon and JFK). You can probably consider the public scandal to be private negotiation behind the scenes. And the final tell will be if we are in some kind of hot war with Russia this time next year, or living in the rubble in the aftermath of a nuclear exchange.