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A Ticking Time Bomb: People Know They’re Being Lied To and They’ve Had Enough

Washington's "democratic" institutions work around-the-clock to dismiss reasonable criticism and thoughtful dissent as “Russian disinformation” — is it any wonder that they are losing the confidence of their people?

This post first appeared on Russia Insider

For trusted media outlets such as the CIA-linked Washington Post, the real purpose of promoting a "fake news" blacklist is not to expose KGB connections to random internet blogs — there is nothing to expose, after all — but rather to enforce new parameters for what in polite society is called "acceptable public discourse".

So for instance, the weather and your health.

<figcaption>Lies create angry mobs</figcaption>
Lies create angry mobs

You are allowed to discuss how humid it is today, or your favorite photograph of Hillary Clinton; you are even allowed to complain about your painful toe corns. 

Generally speaking, you are permitted to talk about various things that don't matter. The one thing that is strictly prohibited though is questioning the west's commitment to "kicking Russia in the ass", to quote the great orator Lindsey Graham.

Not wanting to "kick Russia in the ass" is fake news.

Are you beginning to understand?

Robert Parry has an excellent piece on how Washington has attempted to enforce strict obedience to its own narrative:

NATO has its own Stratcom command based in Latvia that also is assigned to swat down information that doesn’t conform to Western propaganda narratives. The U.S. Agency for International Development and the U.S.-funded National Endowment for Democracy also pour tens of millions of dollars into media operations with similar goals as do major Western foundations, such as currency speculator George Soros’s Open Society. Last December, the U.S. Congress approved and President Obama signed legislation to create an additional $160 million bureaucracy to combat “Russian propaganda.”

In other words, the West’s stratcom and “psychological operations” are swimming in dough despite the Times’ representation that these “anti-disinformation” projects are unfairly outgunned by sinister forces daring to challenge what everyone-in-the-know knows to be true.

If these “stratcom” operations were around in 2002-2003, they would have been accusing the few people questioning the Iraq-has-WMD certainty of putting out “fake news” to benefit Saddam Hussein. Now, journalists and citizens who don’t buy the full-Monte demonization of Russia and its President Vladimir Putin are put into a similar category.

Remember: The reason Michael Flynn was thrown under the bus is because he talked with the Russians. Talking with the Russians in not acceptable. Dialogue concerning anything Russia-related, even your favorite brand of Russian nesting dolls, is verboten. Parry explains why this is so dangerous to our so-called "democratic" institutions: the marketplace of ideas is now a squalid sheep-pen of self-censorship, hysteria and fear.

Instead of trusting in the free exchange of ideas, the new attitude at the Times, the Post and other Western news outlets is to short-circuit the process by smearing anyone who questions the official narratives as a “Putin apologist” or a “Moscow stooge.”

Beyond being anti-democratic, this anti-intellectual approach has prevented serious examination of the facts behind the West’s war or words against Russia. To shut down that debate, all you need to do is to say that any fact cited at a Russian news outlet must be false or “fake news.” Any Westerner who notes the same fact must be a “Putin puppet.”

Western “stratcom” doesn’t even want to allow Russian media to criticize politicians who are criticizing Russia. The Times article lamented that “Many false claims target politicians who present the biggest obstacles to Moscow’s goal of undermining the European Union.” The Times, however, doesn’t offer any examples of such “false claims.”

Instead, the Times writes that Russian news channels had “targeted the [French] presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron, who belongs to the party and is running on a pro-European Union platform.”

But what does that mean? Is it now an act of aggression when newscasts in one country criticize a leader of another country? If so, are the European news channels that have “targeted” U.S. President Donald Trump somehow deserving of U.S. government retaliation? Doesn’t the E.U. – and by extension The New York Times – accept the idea of political disagreement and debate?

This closed-mindedness is especially dangerous – indeed existentially risky – when applied to a confrontation between nuclear-armed powers. In such a case, the maximum amount of debate should be encouraged, instead of what amounts to blacklisting dissidents in the West who won’t toe the official propaganda lines.

It won't work. This is essentially the same tactic used to "ensure" Hillary Clinton's presidential victory: Make public support for Donald Trump — to the point where people won't even admit to pollsters who they intend to vote for — unacceptable.

Most people have mortgages, student loans, medical bills and other financial burdens probably thrust upon them by predatory lenders. It's a world full of things that no one can afford to own.

All they really have are their thoughts and opinions. And despite NATO's best efforts, most people don't like being told what to think and do. Because that's literally all they have.

The idea that you can scare people into silence is a ticking time bomb. It has never worked. Ever. You can delay the explosion, but it'll come soon enough.

A final word from Parry:

Western news outlets and governments even take pride in blocking such dissenting views and contrary information from reaching the American and European publics. Like East Stratcom — the E.U.’s Brussels-based 11-member team of diplomats, bureaucrats and former journalists — establishment institutions see themselves bravely battling “Russian disinformation.” They see it as their duty not to let their people hear this other side of the story.

If that is what the West’s institutions have come to — dismissing reasonable criticism and thoughtful dissent as “Russian disinformation” — is it any wonder that they are losing the confidence of their people?

To quote the great Sir Kenneth Clark: It's lack of confidence, more than anything else, that destroys a civilization.

(But those NATO stratcoms sure sound cool, don't they?)

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