by Glenn Greenwald
By Danny Haiphong
March 14, 2015
[This article was originally published on 8 April 2014.]
Most Americans are taught in school that fascism is a ruthless one party dictatorship, the most popular example being Nazi Germany. This is a misconception. Fascism is a political economy, not merely a political system that existed in one moment of history. Fascism, as defined by Black revolutionary and assassinated political prisoner George Jackson, is the complete control of the state by monopoly capital. Fascism is the last stage of capitalism in the heart of the US imperial center where the relationship between the state and corporation becomes indiscernible. A difficult, but necessary, task for the left in this period is to acknowledge that fascism is the system of rule in the United States.
The privatization of the public sector, de-unionization of the entire labor force, and violent austerity are the seeds of domestically grown fascism in the economic realm. Such fascist activity has brought about the rapid decline of political and economic conditions for the working class and the rapid accumulation of wealth and profit for the ruling class. Workers are doing more and more on the job for less and less pay. The jobless are either searching desperately for work or not searching at all. Shelters are overflowing and turning the homeless away. The US has 25 percent of the world’s prisoners despite only possessing 5 percent of the world’s population. Mass joblessness, poverty, imprisonment, and homelessness are material forces that breed fear and competition amongst the working class.
The paradox of fascism lies in its ability to sustain and grow in the midst of deteriorating conditions for the majority of the population. The racist foundation of this country is useful in this regard. The white working class steadfastly defends its privileges obtained from white imperial pillage of Black and indigenous people both here and abroad. The white ruling class maintains unity with the white working class because, although exploitation has heightened for everyone, Black and indigenous people (including undocumented immigrants) remain economically and socially oppressed to a much harsher degree than Whites. To ensure racism does not precipitate a radical struggle between white supremacy and Black freedom, the US ruling class has molded and trained a Black political class. This class of neo-colonial elites, with Barack Obama leading the way, works in the interests of fascism by protecting the rule of the white ruling class while teaching the entire Black community that Black faces in high imperial places is not only desired, but also worthy of staunch defense.
Furthermore, fascism relies on a racist enforcement arm to control the political direction of the oppressed. The expanded surveillance and military state that currently spies, detains, and wiretaps the 99 percent remains more dangerous and repressive for the Black community. The vast majority of wiretaps, police and vigilante murders, and stop-and-frisks happen to Black and brown people. So instead of joining forces with the Black community to build a powerful movement, exploited white Americans can still rely on the state to enforce racism on its behalf.
The US corporate media and education system provide the ideological chains of fascism. In this period, both systems serve as mouthpieces for US imperial ambitions, values, and behaviors. Fascism is normalized in the American mind through the inculcation of racism, individualism, and a depoliticized and inaccurate conception of history and politics. The US education system conditions the oppressed and oppressors into their positions in society. Black and indigenous youth attend factory schools that emphasize obedience to authority, which instills a dehumanized and subservient disposition for a future in low-wage work or prison. From K-12, Black working class youth are taught to “pledge allegiance” to the flag of genocide and colonialism in over-crowded, police-occupied, and privatized schools. White youth “pledge allegiance” in better-funded schools more capable of conditioning them into positions of power. However, all youth are taught a mythological version of US history that applauds white supremacy, colonialism, and capitalist development as “freedom” and “democracy.”
The corporate media, despite being far more monopolized than the US school system, provides a more diverse means of education. Corporations like CNN and the New York Times habitually lie about the facts of political events to protect the white ruling class and its institutions from accountability. Corporate hip-hop, music, and television entertainment compliment corporate news syndicates by doping the mind full of mindless garbage. It matters little if the media of choice is watching “Scandal”, listening to Nicki Minaj on the radio, or reading the Washington Post. The boardrooms of five corporations are manufacturing consent to the US fascist system. Malcolm X succinctly summarized the function of the corporate media when he said “if you are not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing…”
by Glenn Greenwald
The identity of the Sony hackers is still unknown…
Dec. 19, 2015
A Japanese company with some offices in California was hacked. Several terrabytes of data were copied off its internal networks and some of it was put on file sharing sites. One of the items copied was a film produced in Canada that depicts as comedy the terror act of killing of a current head of state. The U.S. State Department applauded that movie scene. But there were tons of other data like social security numbers, payroll data, and internal emails stolen all of which that might have been the real target of the hackers.
The tools to hack the company are well known and in the public domain. The company, Sony, had lousy internal network security and had been hacked before. The hackers probably had some inside knowledge. They used servers in Bolivia, China and South Korea to infiltrate. There is zero public evidence in the known that the hack was state sponsored.
But the U.S. is claiming that the event is a “national security matter”. Who’s [sic] national security? Japan’s? Canada’s? Why? A private Japanese entertainment(!) company left the doors open and had some equipment vandalized and some of its private property stolen. Why, again, is that of U.S. “national interest”? Why would the U.S. even consider some “proportional response”?…
…the New York Times editors eat it all up:
[“]…North Korean hackers, seeking revenge for the movie, stole millions of documents, including emails, health records and financial information that they dished out to the world…[“]
How do the editors know that these were “North Korean hackers”? The same way the knew about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction? Make believe and anonymous claims by U.S. government officials? Yeah – those folks never lie. Right?
Edited/excerpted by Zuo Shou
Full article with supporting links: http://www.moonofalabama.org/2014/12/sony-hack-nyt-editors-find-new-iraq-wmd-.html
By Thomas Gaist
2 October 2014
An analysis written for the CIA’s internal journal Studies in Intelligence, “Managing a Nightmare: CIA Public Affairs and the Drug Conspiracy Story,” attributed to Nicholas Dujmovic, reviews the efforts of the agency to contain a series of articles by journalist Gary Webb documenting relationships between the CIA and US-backed Contra rebels.
The article is part of a trove of CIA documents released on September 18 in response to a Freedom of Information Act request.
As shock troops in a US-backed war against the Nicaraguan government, the Contras carried out a reign of terror against Nicaragua’s civilian population, killing tens of thousands. Support for the Contras by US intelligence was authorized by President Ronald Reagan, who instructed CIA head William Casey to “support and conduct … paramilitary operations” in Nicaragua in 1981.
The CIA began operations aimed at expanding the ranks of the Contra forces, which were recruited from elite military units of the Somoza regime and from layers of the peasantry. Arms shipments to the Contras were overseen by a secret cabal headed by Lt. Colonel Oliver North, despite a congressional prohibition.
Webb’s articles revealed that the US government continued to support Contra elements even with the knowledge that the latter were engaged in trafficking cocaine into major US cities and using the proceeds to finance their war against the Sandinista (FSLN) government of Nicaragua. Webb’s investigation showed that representatives of the US-backed right-wing militias worked with gangs in Los Angeles to sell tons of cocaine, leading to speculation from other commentators that the CIA directed the flow of drugs to target black neighborhoods.
Reagan with cabinet members in the White House, 1986
“Managing a Nightmare” makes clear that the CIA utilized its extensive network of relations with the US media to discredit Webb’s reporting by promoting the publication of stories in major news outlets attacking Webb’s research. The paper’s author, a CIA employee, concluded that the media relations campaign by the agency succeeded in containing the fallout from Webb’s revelations.
“A review of the CIA drug conspiracy story—from its inception in August 1996 with the San Jose Mercury-News stories—shows that a ground base of already productive relations with journalists and an effective response by the Director of Central Intelligence’s DCI Public Affairs Staff (PAS) helped prevent this story from becoming an unmitigated disaster,” Dujmovic wrote.
“By the end of September, the number of observed stories in the print media that indicated skepticism of the Mercury News series surpassed that of the negative coverage, which had already peaked. In fact, for three weeks the number of skeptical or positive pieces observed in the media constantly exceeded the number of negative treatments of the CIA,” Dujmovic found.
In some cases it is even possible, he noted, “to change the mind of a reporter whose initial inclinations toward CIA were negative but who is willing to listen to the other side of the story.”
Describing the methods used by the agency, Dujmovic explained that it was possible to spread the agency’s carefully tailored perspective in the US media without even needing to directly plant stories in newspapers.
“Public Affairs cannot dictate stories to the media … What CIA media spokesmen can do, as this case demonstrates, is to work with journalists who are already disposed toward writing a balanced story … CIA Public Affairs can help the journalist with information he might not have or a perspective that might not have crossed his mind,” Dujmovic wrote.
Dujmovic went on to predict that the CIA would face an upsurge of public distrust in the coming decades, calling for greater moves to build the public relations capacities of the agency.
“There will be other public relations crises with which CIA will have to contend … If historians such as Samuel Huntington are correct …we can expect periodic displays of public distrust in government roughly every 20 to 30 years—and we are just beginning such as phase. In such times, even fantastic allegations about CIA … will resonate with, and even appeal to, much of American society. At those times, it is especially important to have a professional public affairs staff help limit the damage and facilitate more balanced coverage of CIA.”
Written under the heading “Societal Shortcomings,” one of Dujmovic’s concluding paragraphs revealed the intellectual degeneration and contempt for democratic principles that rules within the power centers of the US government.
“Ultimately the CIA-drug story says a lot more about American society on the eve of the millennium that [sic] it does about either the CIA or the media. We live in somewhat coarse and emotional times–when large numbers of Americans do not adhere to the same standards of logic, evidence, or even civil discourse as those practiced by members of the CIA community,” Dujmovic wrote.
In reality, the story revealed the US media as eager attack dogs on behalf of the CIA’s efforts to destroy Webb and bury the material he was bringing to light.
As the WSWS noted in its review of Webb’s 1998 book Dark Alliance: The CIA, the Contras, and the Crack Cocaine Explosion, “Dark Alliance is as much an exposure of the American media as of the American intelligence apparatus and the Nicaraguan Contras. It is no discredit to Webb’s enterprise and intelligence to say that any serious and competent reporter, given the leads he was given, could have produced a similar exposé. That no other reporter did what Webb did demonstrates the largely controlled character of the American media.”
In a number of pieces aimed at burying the story, the major US newspapers reproduced CIA-concocted distortions of Webb’s reporting, attributing to him more extreme claims made by talk radio hosts and others about the extent of direct CIA involvement, and dismissing his claims on this basis.
In its review of Webb’s book, the New York Times proclaimed, “It is laughable to suggest that today’s CIA has the imagination or the courage to manage a cover-up on the scale” suggested by Webb. In fact, as the newly released document clearly shows, the CIA mobilized a systematic public affairs campaign precisely to “manage” the “nightmare” caused by exposures of agency collaboration with drug traffickers to provide funds for an illegal dirty war
The Los Angeles Times responded to the Contra-cocaine story by forming a “get Gary Webb team” of some 17 journalists, who worked systematically to produce material discrediting Webb, according to comments made by Times reporter Jesse Katz during a 2013 radio interview.
Katz said that the Times reporters were instructed to search Webb’s findings with a “microscope.” He added, “It was overkill. We had this huge team of people at the LA Times and kind of piled on to one lone muckraker up in Northern California.”
The Washington Post joined the media counterattack against Webb, with an article which, as the WSWS wrote in its review of Webb’s 1998 book , “parroted distortions of the series originally voiced by the US intelligence agencies (alleging, for instance, that Webb claimed the CIA had deliberately targeted black communities in promoting Contra cocaine trafficking).”
Reacting to the wave of attacks against Webb’s series, the editor at Webb’s employer, the Mercury News, published a repudiation of the articles, saying the paper had “fallen short” in its editorial responsibilities. Webb was never able to find employment again as a journalist, and died from an apparent suicide on December 9, 2004.
The practices described in the Dujmovic document were developed by the agency over decades. Operation MOCKINGBIRD, launched in the 1950s to disseminate CIA propaganda and overseen by Allen Dulles and later by Frank Wisner, cultivated a network of CIA-friendly journalists and developed cultural and student organizations to serve as fronts for the agency’s ideological warfare operations.
In a 1977 expose for Rolling Stone, Pulitzer Prize winner Carl Bernstein reported that numerous leading news outlets including CBS, Time, Life Magazine, the Washington Post, the Washington Star and the Christian Science Monitor published reports passed directly to them from the CIA.
The report of the 1976 Church Committee acknowledged the use of such methods by the agency overseas, stating, “The CIA currently maintains a network of several hundred foreign individuals around the world who provide intelligence for the CIA and at times attempt to influence opinion through the use of covert propaganda. These individuals provide the CIA with direct access to a large number of newspapers and periodicals, scores of press services and news agencies, radio and television stations, commercial book publishers, and other foreign media outlets.”
Despite the CIA suppression of investigative reporting on the matter, many of the US government’s own reports have confirmed significant involvement of the CIA with cocaine trafficking during the war.
The 1985 National Intelligence Estimate reported that top Contra leader Eden Pastora had links to traffickers. The Reagan administration acknowledged the existence of connections between the US-backed Contras and cocaine smuggling between 1985 and 86.
A CIA internal investigation acknowledged that the agency had worked with Contra elements involved in drug smuggling and that CIA agents “looked the other way” in order to further the political aims of the war.
“During the Contra era, CIA worked with a variety of people to support the Contra program,” CIA Inspector General Frederick Hitz wrote in a report based on the internal investigation which he headed. “These included CIA assets, pilots who ferried supplies to the Contras, as well as Contra officials and others. Let me be frank about what we are finding. There are instances where CIA did not, in an expeditious or consistent fashion, cut off relationships with individuals supporting the Contra program who were alleged to have engaged in drug trafficking activity or take action to resolve the allegations.”
A report issued from a Senate hearing co-sponsored by John Kerry and Christopher Dodd acknowledged that at least $800,000 in State Department funds went to known drug traffickers, supposedly as payment for their services in shipping aid to the Contras.
“There is no question in my mind that people affiliated with, or on the payroll of, the CIA were involved in drug trafficking,” said then Senator Kerry.
Circumstantial evidence abounds that the counter-revolutionary militias raised funds through drug sales inside the US. An investigation of the seizure of 430 pounds of cocaine in San Francisco led the San Francisco Examiner to report in 1986 that a “cocaine ring in the San Francisco Bay area helped finance Nicaragua’s Contra rebels.” The Examiner quoted convicted cocaine smuggler Carlos Cabezas saying that his drug money went to support “the Contra revolution” and that he “just wanted to get the Communists out of my country.”
Former Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) agent Celerino Castillo stated that cocaine traffickers shipped drugs to the US with the knowledge of the CIA in planes departing from El Salvador’s Ilopango Airport. Oscar Danilo Blandon testified to a grand jury that he smuggled cocaine into the US while working for the Contras and sold the drugs to dealers in Los Angeles.
In a strong indication of knowledge of the drug operations at the highest levels of the political and intelligence establishments, CIA director William Casey sought and Attorney General William French Smith signed a special exemption in February 1982 freeing the agency from legal requirements to report about the drug trafficking operations of its assets.
The Contra-cocaine story was only the latest in an extended pattern of collaboration between US covert operations and drug trafficking syndicates in South East Asia and Afghanistan. Writing about CIA involvement in the heroin trade in Afghanistan and Southeast Asia, historian Alfred McCoy noted that “the CIA did not handle heroin, but it did provide its drug lord allies with transport, arms, and political protection.”
“American involvement had gone far beyond coincidental complicity, McCoy wrote in his work The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia. “[E]mbassies had covered up involvement by client governments, CIA contract airlines had carried opium, and individual CIA agents had winked at the opium traffic. As an indirect consequence of American involvement in the Golden Triangle until 1972, opium production steadily increased.”
Relations between the US ruling elite and organized crime have flourished in the decades since the Contra war. In April 2006, the capture of a cocaine-laden DC9 owned by the Sinaloa cartel exposed money laundering operations by Wachovia bank on behalf of the massive cartel, which operates across more than 40 countries. The cartel, responsible for 25 percent of illegal drugs sold in the US, passed some $370 billion to Wachovia, investigators found.
Large infusions of drug money played a key role in stabilizing the finances of the big banks during the 2008 financial crisis, according to top UN official for drugs and crime Antonio Maria Costa. During a 2012 Al Jazeera interview, an official spokesman for the government of Mexico’s Chihuahua province accused the CIA of “managing the drug trade.”
CIA crimes against Nicaragua went far beyond collaboration with drug traffickers, of course. The agency was directly involved in organizing death squads, subversion, murder and intimidation against the population of Nicaragua and Honduras as part of its war against the Sandinistas. US intervention included the creation of Honduras’ “Battalion 3-16,” which carried out extra-judicial killings and torture to suppress opposition to the US-backed Honduran regime and Contras, while under the leadership of the US-trained General Luis Elvir.
Webb’s research was suppressed because it began to tear away the veil from this underworld of covert operations in which America’s government, media and major banks function as a permanent conspiracy against the working class in all countries.
Article link: http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2014/10/02/cont-o02.html
June 6, 2014
by Peter Hart
The New York Times (6/4/14) took a look at one of the economic puzzles of the last few decades: If growth has been strong, why aren’t we seeing a greater reduction in poverty? Interestingly, the research the Times is relying on offers some explanations–ones the paper doesn’t see fit to mention.
The story by Neil Irwin – “Growth Has Been Good for Decades. So Why Hasn’t Poverty Declined?” – notes that it’s considered conventional wisdom that the “surest way to fight poverty is to achieve stronger economic growth.” But since the mid-’70s, the US economy has grown, but the benefits of that growth have not been shared. He writes: “The mystery of why–and how to change that – is one of the most fundamental challenges in the nation’s fight against poverty.”
The piece is based on research from the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute. As Irwin sums it up:
If the old relationship between growth and poverty had held up, the EPI researchers find, the poverty rate in the United States would have fallen to zero by 1986 and stayed there ever since.
So what has happened to explain this? Irwin gives only a hint, writing that “liberal-leaning group’s policy prescriptions are open to debate.” Click on the EPI link in the Times piece, though, and you’ll see the researchers offer some pretty clear ideas about why they think this has happened:
Direct evidence highlights the key roles of the two most-visible and well-documented changes in labor market policy and practice over the past generation in driving wage trends: the erosion of the inflation-adjusted value of the federal minimum wage and the sharp decline in the share of the American workforce represented by a union.
Most specifically, EPI notes:
Between the 1970s and the late 2000s, the eroded minimum wage explains roughly two-thirds of the growing wage gap between low- and middle-wage workers, and weakened unions explain a fifth to a third of the entire rise of wage inequality.
The point of the piece is to think about what happened from the late 1970s onward. And Irwin does a good job of explaining how Paul Ryan-esque rhetoric about the need to get poor people to work misses the point, since “the reality is that low-income workers are putting in more hours on the job than they did a generation ago – and the financial rewards for doing so just haven’t increased.”
So why didn’t Irwin talk about the minimum wage or unions–the factors EPI singles out as being especially important to understanding this story?…
In this case, there does seem to be an explanation for the story it’s trying to tell. And for some reason, the Times doesn’t want to talk about it.
– What really happened 25 years ago in Tiananmen Square? –
by Brian Becker
June 4, 2014
Twenty-five years ago today, every U.S. media outlet, along with then President Bush and the U.S. Congress were whipping up a full scale frenzied hysteria and attack against the Chinese government for what was described as the cold-blooded massacre of many thousands of non-violent “pro-democracy” students who had occupied Tiananmen Square for seven weeks.
The hysteria generated about the Tiananmen Square “massacre” was based on a fictitious narrative about what actually happened when the Chinese government finally cleared the square of protestors on June 4, 1989.
The demonization of China was highly effective. Nearly all sectors of U.S. society, including most of the “left,” accepted the imperialist presentation of what happened.
At the time the Chinese government’s official account of the events was immediately dismissed out of hand as false propaganda. China reported that about 300 people had died in clashes on June 4 and that many of the dead were soldiers of the Peoples Liberation Army. China insisted that there was no massacre of students in Tiananmen Square and in fact the soldiers cleared Tiananmen Square of demonstrators without any shooting.i
The Chinese government also asserted that unarmed soldiers who had entered Tiananmen Square in the two days prior to June 4 were set on fire and lynched with their corpses hung from buses. Other soldiers were incinerated when army vehicles were torched with soldiers unable to evacuate and many others were badly beaten by violent mob attacks.
These accounts were true and well documented. It would not be difficult to imagine how violently the Pentagon and U.S. law enforcement agencies would have reacted if the Occupy movement, for instance, had similarly set soldiers and police on fire, taken their weapons and lynched them when the government was attempting to clear them from public spaces.
In an article on June 5, 1989, the Washington Post described how anti-government fighters had been organized into formations of 100-150 people. They were armed with Molotov cocktails and iron clubs, to meet the PLA who were still unarmed in the days prior to June 4.
What happened in China, what took the lives of government opponents and of soldiers on June 4, was not a massacre of peaceful students but a battle between PLA soldiers and armed detachments from the so-called pro-democracy movement.
On one avenue in western Beijing, demonstrators torched an entire military convoy of more than 100 trucks and armored vehicles. Aerial pictures of conflagration and columns of smoke have powerfully bolstered the [Chinese] government’s arguments that the troops were victims, not executioners. Other scenes show soldiers’ corpses and demonstrators stripping automatic rifles off unresisting soldiers,” admitted the Washington Post in a story that was favorable to anti-government opposition on June 12, 1989.ii
The Wall Street Journal, the leading voice of anti-communism, served as a vociferous cheerleader for the “pro-democracy” movement. Yet, their coverage right after June 4 acknowledged that many “radicalized protesters, some now armed with guns and vehicles commandeered in clashes with the military” were preparing for larger armed struggles. The Wall Street Journal report on the events of June 4 portrays a vivid picture:
As columns of tanks and tens of thousands soldiers approached Tiananmen many troops were set on by angry mobs … [D]ozens of soldiers were pulled from trucks, severely beaten and left for dead. At an intersection west of the square, the body of a young soldier, who had beaten to death, was stripped naked and hung from the side of a bus. Another soldier’s corpse was strung at an intersection east of the square.”iii
– The massacre that wasn’t –
In the days immediately after June 4, 1989, the New York Times headlines, articles and editorials used the figure that “thousands” of peaceful activists had been massacred when the army sent tanks and soldiers into the Square. The number that the Times was using as an estimate of dead was 2,600. That figure was used as the go-to number of student activists who were mowed down in Tiananmen. Almost every U.S. media outlet reported “many thousands” killed. Many media outlets said as many 8,000 had been slaughtered.
Tim Russert, NBC’s Washington Bureau Chief, appearing later on Meet the Press said “tens of thousands” died in Tiananmen Square.iv
The fictionalized version of the “massacre” was later corrected in some very small measure by Western reporters who had participated in the fabrications and who were keen to touch up the record so that they could say they made “corrections.” But by then it was too late and they knew that too. Public consciousness had been shaped. The false narrative became the dominant narrative. They had successfully massacred the facts to fit the political needs of the U.S. government.
“Most of the hundreds of foreign journalists that night, including me, were in other parts of the city or were removed from the square so that they could not witness the final chapter of the student story. Those who tried to remain close filed dramatic accounts that, in some cases, buttressed the myth of a student massacre,” wrote Jay Mathews, the Washington Post’s first Bureau Chief in Beijing, in a 1998 article in the Columbia Journalism Review.
Mathews’ article, which includes his own admissions to using the terminology of the Tiananmen Square massacre, came nine years after the fact and he acknowledged that corrections later had little impact. “The facts of Tiananmen have been known for a long time. When Clinton visited the square this June, both The Washington Post and The New York Times explained that no one died there [in Tiananmen Square] during the 1989 crackdown. But these were short explanations at the end of long articles. I doubt that they did much to kill the myth.”v
At the time all of the reports about the massacre of the students said basically the same thing and thus it seemed that they must be true. But these reports were not based on eyewitness testimony…
Excerpted; full article with footnote links: http://www.pslweb.org/liberationnews/news/what-really-happened-in.html
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