How U.S. propaganda works

Everyone is already familiar with fake news.
The Gulf of Tonkin incident, Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, virtually every Russiagate story, etc.
Those are easy and obvious. But most propaganda involves what isn't said.
For example, let's look at today's headlines.


(Reuters) - Washington has made preparations to withdraw diplomats from Iraq after warning Baghdad it could shut its embassy, two Iraqi officials and two Western diplomats said, a step Iraqis fear could turn their country into a battle zone.

Any move by the United States to scale down its diplomatic presence in a country where it has up to 5,000 troops would be widely seen in the region as an escalation of its confrontation with Iran, which Washington blames for missile and bomb attacks.

Oh noes! Withdrawing from Iraq would be terrible!
At least that is what every news outlet tells us.
What all the news outlets leave out, without exception, is that nine months ago the Iraqi government demanded that we withdraw from their country and we flat out refused.


Washington is not willing to bow to Iraqi demands to withdraw its troops and any future discussions with Baghdad will be purely confined to the future structure of its forces in the country, the US state department has said.

The recommitment to US troops in Iraq defies an Iraqi parliament vote last week demanding all US forces leave in the wake of the killing of the Iranian general Qassem Suleimani by a drone strike in Baghdad. The US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, said the US was only willing to discuss force reconfiguration with the Iraqis, and a greater contribution by Nato forces.

Recall that Trump also threatened Iraq with sanctions and sent them a bill for billions of dollars for US military bases built in Iraq that Baghdad neither wanted nor asked for.

So now we are "threatening" to do what Iraq demanded we do nine months ago.
Gee I wonder how they'll react?
Also missing from these news stories is how Iraq and Iran just agreed to strengthen political and economic ties.

The next example is from Syria. These three headlines are from NBC, Fox and Vox.
Notice the different spins. They are all mostly bullsh*t.


Are we fighting Russia, Iran, or ISIS in Syria?
It's none-of-the-above.

For the real story you must look at foreign news outlets.
Here (and here) is what is missing.


We are fighting local Syrians who want us out, while we steal their oil.
Even CNN reported the stealing oil part.

Say what you will about propaganda in defense of our imperialist wars, they don't hold a candle to corporate propaganda.
The corporate propaganda in defense of our financial overlords is all-encompassing and much more professional.
Last week buzzfeed released an important report about massive and widespread criminal behavior by the largest banks.

Laws that were meant to stop financial crime have instead allowed it to flourish. So long as a bank files a notice that it may be facilitating criminal activity, it all but immunizes itself and its executives from criminal prosecution. The suspicious activity alert effectively gives them a free pass to keep moving the money and collecting the fees.

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, or FinCEN, is the agency within the Treasury Department charged with combating money laundering, terrorist financing, and other financial crimes. It collects millions of these suspicious activity reports, known as SARs. It makes them available to US law enforcement agencies and other nations’ financial intelligence operations. It even compiles a report called “Kleptocracy Weekly” that summarizes the dealings of foreign leaders such as Russian President Vladimir Putin.

What it does not do is force the banks to shut the money laundering down....
The FinCEN Files investigation shows that even after they were prosecuted or fined for financial misconduct, banks such as JPMorgan Chase, HSBC, Standard Chartered, Deutsche Bank, and Bank of New York Mellon continued to move money for suspected criminals.
In all, suspicious activity reports in the FinCEN Files flagged more than $2 trillion in transactions between 1999 and 2017. Western banks could have blocked almost any of them, but in most cases they kept the money moving and kept collecting their fees.


This is huge.
But the news media outlets are partners of those very same banks.
So what we got was a near universal censorship of the story.

the New York Times refused to cover the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists’ stunning report on how five of the biggest banks on Wall Street have continued to launder dirty money for fugitives and suspected criminals. The Wall Street Journal, whose name suggests that perhaps its focus should be Wall Street, failed to put the story on its front page, opting instead to bury it under an innocuous headline about HSBC’s stock hitting a new low.

The same news blackout occurred last year when the public interest group, Better Markets, published an in-depth report on “Wall Street’s Six Biggest Bailed-Out Banks: Their RAP Sheets & Their Ongoing Crime Spree.” Three days after the report came out, major news outlets were still refusing to cover the report. We wrote this in a report three days after the study was released:

“We checked the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Financial Times, Bloomberg News, Reuters, CNBC, and CNN. We could find no mention of the Better Markets report. (We checked again this morning. There is still a news blackout.)

“We know that the Wall Street Journal was aware of the report because Lalita Clozel, a banking regulation reporter for the Wall Street Journal, Tweeted on April 10 that Democrats in the House Financial Services Committee room were handing out the report to journalists while the Chair of the Committee, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, was introducing the bank CEOs.

“There are four words in this outstanding report from Better Markets that rendered it unpalatable to corporate business media: ‘rap sheets’ and ‘criminal enterprise.’ We searched Bloomberg News, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times back to 2004 to see if at any time they had used the words ‘rap sheet’ to describe the unprecedented serial crime sprees of these Wall Street mega banks. They had not.”

It took a full week for Forbes to do an article about it.
CNBC reported on it the very next day, but twisted themselves into knots in order to deflect attention away from their owners with the headline: Secret documents show how North Korea launders money through U.S. banks.

Clearly the news media reports falsehoods, and we should always be on-guard for it, but the really important stuff, the things you need to know, gets silenced and buried without you ever knowing that it existed.

39 users have voted.


Leaked docs expose massive Syria propaganda operation waged by Western govt contractors and media

Western government-funded intelligence cutouts trained Syrian opposition leaders, planted stories in media outlets from BBC to Al Jazeera, and ran a cadre of journalists. A trove of leaked documents exposes the propaganda network.

Western government PR firms not only influenced the way the media covered Syria, but as the leaked documents reveal, they produced their own propagandistic pseudo-news for broadcast on major TV networks in the Middle East, including BBC Arabic, Al Jazeera, Al Arabiya, and Orient TV.

These UK-funded firms functioned as full-time PR flacks for the extremist-dominated Syrian armed opposition. One contractor, called InCoStrat, said it was in constant contact with a network of more than 1,600 international journalists and “influencers,” and used them to push pro-opposition talking points.

Another Western government contractor, ARK, crafted a strategy to “re-brand” Syria’s Salafi-jihadist armed opposition by “softening its image.” ARK boasted that it provided opposition propaganda that “aired almost every day on” major Arabic-language TV networks.

Virtually every major Western corporate media outlet was influenced by the UK government funded disinformation campaign exposed in the trove of leaked documents, from the New York Times to the Washington Post, CNN to The Guardian, the BBC to Buzzfeed." (emphasis mine)

20 users have voted.

@aliasalias 3 weeks ago

A Washington, DC-based PR firm linked to the US government and Democratic Party, CLS Strategies, ran a fake news network on Facebook and Instagram, spreading propaganda for Bolivia’s coup regime and the right-wing opposition in Venezuela and Mexico.

Just another way that we get fed bullsh*t.

20 users have voted.

@aliasalias because it always finds its way back to the Royal Household. Always. the U.S. is almost a proxy for British Empire 2.0

12 users have voted.

@Battle of Blair Mountain

and brain shut down years ago when I'd run across stuff by the Lyndon LaRouche people going on about some secretive elite group of Brits manipulating global affairs - now I think I should have been making more of an effort to pay attention...

3 users have voted.

Julian Assange is facing execution by the US. It may be quick, or slow, rotting away in Supermax, but the outcome will be the same. How they can deny Assange wasn't a journalist speaks volume as to what is acceptable in "journalism" today. News outlets can't explain how what they do resembles propaganda, they just deny it.

22 users have voted.

@Snode @Snode

and Project Veritas, either. I'm sure there are Deep State/MSM/social media moguls that would would be fine with having him thrown in some black hole prison.

Speaking of people the above people would like to have disappeared - Tulsi G was ahead of the game on PV's latest expose with her proposed legislation to prevent ballot harvesting

Her tweet from today:

Project Veritas offers further evidence of the need to ban ballot harvesting. It's not a partisan issue. It's been abused to help both R & D candidates, including in North Carolina & California. Please help by telling your congressional rep to pass our bipartisan bill HR8285.

O'Keefe's latest - color the Dem establishment triggered:

2 users have voted.

Terrific essay.

The bs never ends about will we stay or will we go in the ME. Let alone what we are doing there in the first place.

14 users have voted.


Roy Blakeley's picture

have a way of coming back home.

13 users have voted.

@Roy Blakeley
They were refugees from Honduras, the 2nd biggest narcostate in the world after Afghanistan.
They were fleeing to our border after an openly rigged election. The people of Honduras came out to protest, and the army, and paramilitary thugs, shot them down.
Meanwhile, Trump Administration was giving the Honduran army billions of dollars in aid.

16 users have voted.

@Roy Blakeley

And imperialist methods
have a way of coming back home.

Don't they just?

2 users have voted.
Bollox Ref's picture

Another war-mongering classic.

Over a hundred years of 'good times'.

15 users have voted.

from a reasonably stable genius.

Socialprogressive's picture


13 users have voted.

I picked the wrong pandemic to quite sniffing glue.
If your car is running, I'm voting for it.

janis b's picture


if that's an option.

4 users have voted.


“It's easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled.”

(attributed to) ― Mark Twain

6 users have voted.

Closely akin to the misdirection gimmick of "threatening" to vacate Baghdad after being ordered by Baghdad to vacate is the bullshit within bullshit strategy most tragically employed to sell the Second Gulf War.

To this day, we use "weapons of mass destruction in Iraq," as an emblem for political manipulation couched in the form of "intelligence." It turned out that there were no nuclear, chemical or biological weapons under the control of Saddam Hussein and his government. So, we are correct when we remind people that "intelligence" is not necessarily accurate and is often just a pack of lies.

Left unexamined is the premise behind the assertion of WMDs in Iraq -- that if there were WMDs, the USA must therefore invade the country. That is insane, and it remains the infinitely elastic rationale for war against any country that the national security "community" deems unacceptable. Iran is the most obvious example of this now generally accepted idea across the alleged "spectrum" of American politics -- "we" cannot "tolerate" a "rogue state" with weapons of mass destruction.

This rationale was applied by the Trump government against Syria after an alleged gas attack led to our forces launching a farcical non-lethal attack as punishment. Within the current range of acceptable national politics, nobody from Tulsi Gabbard to Rand Paul is willing to go the whole route and say it is none of our fucking business who has the same kind of weapons that we deploy all around the world.

This preposterous tale of the Ruskies putting a price on the head of GIs is of course a hoked up lie -- but, once again, the bullshit within the bullshit goes unquestioned.

Suppose Russia paid money to Afghans to kill Americans who have been trying to control the uncontrollable territory that Alexander the Great failed to subjugate. So what?


Charlie Wilson's War is a 2007 American biographical comedy-drama film, based on the story of U.S. Congressman Charlie Wilson and CIA operative Gust Avrakotos, whose efforts led to Operation Cyclone, a program to organize and support the Afghan mujahideen during the Soviet–Afghan War.


I thought the movie was exceptionally good as a movie, but idiotic propaganda as a narrative. Nevertheless, the reality is that the USA did, in fact, supply arms to the rebels in Afghanistan with the sole purpose of killing Russians.


Charlie befriends maverick CIA operative Gust Avrakotos and his understaffed Afghanistan group to find a better strategy, especially including a means to counter the Soviets' formidable Mil Mi-24 Hind helicopter gunship. This group was composed in part of members of the CIA's Special Activities Division, including a young paramilitary officer named Michael Vickers. As a result, Charlie's deft political bargaining for the necessary funding and Avrakotos' careful planning using those resources, such as supplying the guerrillas with FIM-92 Stinger missile launchers, turns the Soviet occupation into a deadly quagmire with their heavy fighting vehicles being destroyed at a crippling rate. Charlie enlists the support of Israel and Egypt for Soviet weapons and consumables, and Pakistan for distribution of arms. The CIA's anti-communism budget evolves from $5 million to over $500 million (with the same amount matched by Saudi Arabia), startling several congressmen. This effort by Charlie ultimately evolves into a major portion of the U.S. foreign policy known as the Reagan Doctrine, under which the U.S. expanded assistance beyond just the mujahideen and began also supporting other anti-communist resistance movements around the world. Charlie states that senior Pentagon official Michael Pillsbury persuaded President Ronald Reagan to provide the Stingers to the Afghans.


The underlying premise of all this cheerleading for the CIA was that it was a GREAT ACCOMPLISHMENT to kill Russians.

Like all these media balloons, the real agenda is not to get Trump to "get tough" with Russia, it is to define, "normal." And the normal they want is the Neo-Conservative notion of Full Spectrum Dominance, where America can kill or torture or depose governments at any time it pleases -- while all the other countries in the world are forbidden from doing the same, and we must invade any country BEFORE it is able to do such a thing.

Invented by George W. Bush, the policy is forthright, "We will not wait while dangers gather." Like Japan in World War II, our national security strategy is to strike first. Our efforts to control events in Afghanistan and Iraq have not been successful almost two decades into the forever war, but that has nothing to do with whoppers like The Bounty on GI Scalps. It is the premise behind those as yet unsuccessful efforts to control countries on the far side of the world that matters to our rulers.

That premise is that nobody else can defend themselves from us. If we as a citizenry buy that, we have become this century's Genghis Khan. I don't think anything like a majority of Americans even pays attention to stories like this, let alone believes them. But it is painful to see how many people who call themselves Democrats buy the premise that anybody who copies our behavior must be destroyed.

(Mostly a repost.)

10 users have voted.

I cried when I wrote this song. Sue me if I play too long.

@fire with fire
North Korea that has openly threatened to nuke the West Coast of the USA.
Time to feed fat boy a diet of lead. No not going alone. I've read that China is upset with North korea because China is trying to cozy up to South Korea commercially.
So, act in concert with China to pull down, not the communist government, but the dynasty and install someone sane. Well, saner.

1 user has voted.

We are so screwed.

@The Voice In the Wilderness

North Korea that has openly threatened to nuke the West Coast of the USA.

This was likely an empty threat. At best their missiles might reach Hawaii.

4 users have voted.

@The Voice In the Wilderness .

We got no business talking about the leadership of another country being insane.

10 users have voted.

I cried when I wrote this song. Sue me if I play too long.

@The Voice In the Wilderness " the North suffered the greater damage, due to American saturation bombing and the scorched-earth policy of the retreating UN forces.
1 The US Air Force estimated that North Korea’s destruction was proportionately greater than that of Japan in the Second World War, where the US had turned 64 major cities to rubble and used the atomic bomb to destroy two others.
American planes dropped 635,000 tons of bombs on Korea -- that is, essentially on North Korea --including 32,557 tons of napalm, compared to 503,000 tons of bombs dropped in the entire Pacific theatre of World War II.2 The number of Korean dead, injured or missing by war’s end approached three million, ten percent of the overall population. The majority of those killed were in the North, which had half of the population of the South; although the DPRK does not have official figures, possibly twelve to fifteen percent of the population was killed in the war, a figure close to or surpassing the proportion of Soviet citizens killed in World War II.3"

..."But for the North Koreans, living in fear of B-29 attacks for nearly three years, including the possibility of atomic bombs, the American air war left a deep and lasting impression. The DPRK government never forgot the lesson of North Korea’s vulnerability to American air attack, and for half a century after the Armistice continued to strengthen anti-aircraft defenses, build underground installations, and eventually develop nuclear weapons to ensure that North Korea would not find itself in such a position again.."

"Air Force Gen. Curtis LeMay, head of the Strategic Air Command during the Korean War, told the Office of Air Force History in 1984. Dean Rusk, a supporter of the war and later secretary of state, said the United States bombed “everything that moved in North Korea, every brick standing on top of another.” After running low on urban targets, U.S. bombers destroyed hydroelectric and irrigation dams in the later stages of the war, flooding farmland and destroying crops." (that's a specific war crime btw)

6 users have voted.

This was genocide. Some in South Korea are beginning to wake up to the reality that they got hoodwinked by the US and the toll on the North, their people, was way beyond reasonable. There are many in South Korea that would dearly love to reunite with their brothers and cousins in the North. The US is the biggest obstacle, the US likes it as it is, an excuse to spend money and project power. One more country that we will never leave, along with Germany, Japan, Iraq, Afghanistan, Italy etc., etc., etc.

I could cry for the Koreans.

5 users have voted.

Capitalism has always been the rule of the people by the oligarchs. You only have two choices, eliminate them or restrict their power.

@aliasalias you own the internet.

2 users have voted.


We move. It has to be something, but not killing millions. But it's all kabuki, prearranged with China.
1. We make some agreed upon assault on military forces, not civilians.
2. China's selected man/woman in Korea revolts.
3. China recognizes their puppet and warns USA.
4. USA & China have a sham summit and announce that the USA withdraws it's troops and China guarantees a nuclear free Korea. Do we have nukes there? If so, it';s a nuclear free peninsula is the settlement. With Xi's trained seal in charge of the North.

Nations used to do this all the time.

The crazy man is gone and both China and the USA get to claim they stood tough. Only loser is fat boy.

0 users have voted.

We are so screwed.

@fire with fire
The reason that we can't tolerate any other country having WMD is that we love them so much that we can't stand the thought of anyone else having them, unless they are US lapdogs, like the UK. We are going to spend $2T updating our nukes. Doh??? We can already destroy all life on the planet, but how many times over? We have extensive stockpiles of chemical weapons that we refuse to get rid of and lots of nasty stuff in our military labs including Novichok. Russia got rid of all of their chemical weapon stockpiles, including Novichok. Interesting that Novichok is used to assert blame on Russia for any CW poisoning. Makes no sense. But how did Russia get rid of their Novichok? They contracted a US company, who then proceed to send the stuff to military labs in the UK, France, Germany, Sweden and other countries. We have used CW regularly in warfare against third world countries in the form of white phosphorus, herbicides and I would include Napalm (who put the stick in Napalm?). We have active programs to create bioweapons called "gain of function". The idea is to improve the contagiousness and lethality of known viruses from the wild. Sound familiar? Was the viral Lab in Wuhan doing this work under contract from the US Defense Department? Some think so. The thing is China will not admit it because they let the virus out and the US will not admit to this program.

So for us developing chemical, viral, bacterial and nuclear weapons of mass destruction is just fine? The excuse that "we are the good guys" is absurd as we are the most destructive, war mongering, anti democratic country on the face of the planet since and including the end of WWII.

7 users have voted.

Capitalism has always been the rule of the people by the oligarchs. You only have two choices, eliminate them or restrict their power.