Of Course, The Propaganda Ministry (a.k.a Mainstream Media) Forgot To Tell Your That Was The Fifth Time Israel Bombed Syria In March – Because They Are Controlled By Israel.

Syria’s state news agency SANA reported that Syrian air defenses “intercepted hostile targets” in the airspace of Damascus. There was no mention of any casualties or damage caused by the strikes.

Less than 24 hours earlier, SANA reported that two Syrian soldiers were wounded in Israeli strikes on the Syrian capital. Israeli officials haven’t commented on either strike, as Israeli typically does not take credit for individual airstrikes in Syria.

The intensified Israeli airstrikes in Syria come as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is facing a political crisis at home. After massive protests and dissent within the Israeli government, Netanyahu delayed his controversial judicial overhaul, but unrest in the country continues.

Earlier this month, Israeli airstrikes targeted the airport in the Syrian city of Aleppo, which was devastated by the massive earthquake that hit northwest Syria and Turkey on February 6th. The strikes temporarily shut down the airport, cutting off a vital channel for earthquake aid.

Israel claims its operations in Syria target Iran and Iranian weapons shipments, but the airstrikes often kill Syrians and damage civilian infrastructure. Of course, they are Syrians so their deaths and suffering mean nothing to the American or Israeli regimes/


Learn From A Real Reporter Who Is Not A Groveling Bootlicker Who Would Insulate The Press Secretary Of The Most Powerful Government Office On This Planet.

A fascinating exchange took place at a UN press briefing the other day between China Global Television Network’s Xu Dezhi and the UN’s Deputy Spokesperson for the Secretary-General Farhan Haq about the American military occupation of Syria. The exchange is interesting both for the wild pro-American bias shown by a UN official, and for the way it illustrates how much truth can be exposed when journalists do what they’re supposed to do in the press gallery.

Xu, who has done on-the-ground reporting in Syria in the past, asked Haq some challenging questions about an attack on an American military base in eastern Syria last week which injured multiple American troops and killed an American contractor. In his response, Haq made the extremely incorrect claim that there are no American armed forces in Syria, and refused to say whether the American military occupation of part of the country is illegal.

Here’s the UN’s transcript of the key part of this exchange:

Xu: Do you not urge everyone to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria?

Haq: Well of course, that’s a given, and obviously it’s important that the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria is respected. At the same time you are aware of the complexity of the situation of foreign forces, but we call for them to exercise restraint.

Xu: But, do you think the presence of the US military in Syria is illegal or not?

Haq: That’s not an issue that we’re dealing with at this stage. There’s been a war.

Xu: But, is that… because it sounds very familiar this week. We talk a lot about the UN Charter, the international law and relative resolutions. But, it sounds to me, a foreign military based presence in another country without invitation, sounds like something else to me.

Haq: I’ll leave your analysis to you. That there’s… At this stage there’s no…

Xu: What’s the difference between the situation in Syria and the situation in Ukraine?

Haq: There’s no US armed forces inside of Syria. And so I don’t have a… It’s not a parallel situation to some of the others.

Xu: You’re sure there’s no US military personnel in Syria?

Haq: I believe there’s military activity. But, in terms of a ground presence in Syria, I’m not aware of that.

Xu: Okay. Five US service members were injured in that attack. If there were no US service members in Syria, how could they got injured? That’s weird, right? Should I ask you about that? And by the way, if you’re talking about the resolution, the international law here is the resolution from Security Council 2254 (2015), I believe, it says in its PA [preambular] paragraph, “reaffirming its strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic and to the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations”.

Haq: Yes. I’m aware of that. And as you see, that is accepted by the members of the Security Council itself.

Xu: Yeah. So, again, back to my question, is that illegal to have presence in Syria for the US base, according to the relevant resolution that I just read out?

Haq: The relevant resolution does call for that and we call on all countries to respect that. I wouldn’t go beyond that at this stage.

To be absolutely clear, this is a UN official. Haq has been in his current position as deputy spokesperson for almost a decade, and routinely answers questions about Syria as part of his capacity in that position.

It is not some obscure esoteric secret that there are American military personnel in Syria; it’s in the mainstream news constantly. Just the other day The New York Times reported that “America still has more than 900 troops, and hundreds more contractors, in Syria.”

Haq was either ignorant of this extremely important and relevant piece of common knowledge, or was dishonestly pretending to be. The most charitable interpretation of his actions at this press conference is that he sincerely did not know America has armed forces in Syria.

To put it into perspective, this is like being a UN official and routinely taking questions about Ukraine from the press, but not knowing that Russia invaded Ukraine and has been fighting a war there since last year.

Haq is the son of a Pakistani politician but speaks with a pristine American accent, and his acrobatics in dodging around Xu’s American-critical questions would impress even Jen Psaki. The most interesting part is when he says “I’ll leave your analysis to you,” because it’s such a brilliant deflection that can be used on any inconvenient question you can imagine (“Sir why are you holding a severed human head in your hands right now?” “Look, I’ll leave your analysis to you.”)

Xu’s straightforward, intellectually honest questions were all it took to get Haq to expose himself as an airheaded empire lackey, and we can’t help but fantasize about how wonderful the world would be if this happened all the time.

Look, compare this oppositional interrogation with the shit show that erupted in the White House press gallery earlier this month when Today News Africa’s Simon Ateba interrupted some silly publicity appearance by the cast of Ted Lasso to complain that White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre had not called on him in seven months.

The entire press corps immediately leapt to the defense of the White House official in the most sycophantic way imaginable, turning against their fellow journalist and paternalistically telling Ateba to shut up and mind his manners when he accused Jean-Pierre of “making a mockery of the First Amendment.”

Reporters from immensely influential platforms like Reuters, AP and CNN shouted Ateba down with calls of “Be respectful!” and “Mind your manners,” with one woman even shrieking “Decorum!” at the top of her lungs like an overwhelmed child. AP’s Zeke Miller even apologized for Ateba’s “display”, saying “I just want to express our apologies in the press corps to the folks watching at home for the display we saw earlier.”

Those are the sort of groveling bootlickers who insulate the press secretary of the most powerful government office on this planet. Imagine what would happen if the press were as oppositional to Jean-Pierre as Xu Dezhi was to the UN’s Farhan Haq. Imagine what contradictions could be exposed, what hypocrisy illuminated, what inconvenient questions pursued until a fruitful response was arrived at.

Instead we get the world’s most powerful government represented by people whose only traits are the ability to skillfully avoid providing meaningful answers, receiving slobbering rim jobs from power-worshipping cronies who want nothing more than to be their friend. This is the exact opposite of a healthy dynamic, and the exact opposite of a functioning free press.

It should not take a reporter from Chinese state media to ask inconvenient questions about the most powerful and destructive government on earth; western journalists should be falling all over themselves to ask those questions, because that’s what the job is supposed to be. The fact that this isn’t what happens shows that the free press has been replaced with propaganda, and accountability has been replaced with the blind service of power.


Bolton Claims That The Notoriously Cruel Sanctions That Were Inflicted Upon Iraq Between 1991 And 2003 Were Too Lenient, Saying There Should Have Been “Enforced Cold-Bloodedly”.

In order to narrative-manage the public conversation about the Iraq War on the 20th anniversary of the invasion, those who helped unleash that horror upon our world have briefly paused their relentless torrent of “Ukraine proves the hawks were always right” takes to churn out a deluge of “Actually the Iraq War wasn’t based on lies and turned out pretty great after all” takes.

Council on Foreign Relations chief Richard Haas — who worked in the American State Department under Colin Powell when Bush launched his criminal invasion — got a piece published in Project Syndicate falsely claiming that the government and his former boss did not lie about weapons of mass destruction, and that “governments can and do get things wrong without lying.”

Former Bush speechwriter David “Axis of Evil” Frum cooked up a lie-filled spin piece with The Atlantic claiming that “What the U.S. did in Iraq was not an act of unprovoked aggression” and suggesting that perhaps Iraqis are better off as a result of the invasion, or at least no worse off than they would otherwise have been.

Neoconservative war propagandist Eli Lake, who has been described by journalist Ken Silverstein as “an open and ardent promoter of the Iraq War and the various myths trotted out to justify it,” has an essay published in Commentary with the extraordinary claim that the war “wasn’t the disaster everyone now says it was” and that “Iraq is better off today than it was 20 years ago.”

But by far the most appalling piece of revisionist war crime apologia that’s come out during the 20th anniversary of the invasion has been an article published in National Review by the genocide walrus himself, John Bolton.

Bolton sets himself apart from his fellow Iraq war architects by arguing that the actual invasion and overthrow of Saddam Hussein “was close to flawless,” and that the only thing America did wrong was fail to kill more people and topple the government of Iran.

Bolton criticizes “the Bush administration’s failure to take advantage of its substantial presence in Iraq and Afghanistan to seek regime change in between, in Iran,” writing that “we had a clear opportunity to empower Iran’s opposition to depose the ayatollahs.”

Unfortunately, however, as was the case after expelling Saddam from Kuwait in 1991, the United States stopped too soon,” Bolton writes.

Bolton claims that the notoriously cruel sanctions that were inflicted upon Iraq between 1991 and 2003 were too lenient, saying there should have been “crushing sanctions” that were “enforced cold-bloodedly”.

As Reason’s Eric Boehm notes in his own critique of Bolton’s essay, perhaps the most galling part is where Bolton dismisses any responsibility America might have for the consequences and fallout from the Iraq invasion, attempting to compartmentalize the “flawless” initial invasion away from all the destabilization and human suffering which followed by saying “they did not inevitably, inexorably, deterministically, and unalterably flow from the decision to invade and overthrow.”

Whatever Bush’s batting average in post-Saddam decisions (not perfect, but respectable, in my view), it is separable, conceptually and functionally, from the invasion decision. The subsequent history, for good or ill, cannot detract from the logic, fundamental necessity, and success of overthrowing Saddam,” Bolton writes.

This is self-evidently absurd. A Bush administration warmonger arguing that you can’t logically connect the invasion to its aftereffects is like an arsonist saying you can’t logically connect his lighting a fire in the living room to the incineration of the entire house. He’s just trying to wave off any accountability for that war and his role in it.

One might suspect that Bolton imagines a world where actions should not have consequences because he’s been living in exactly that type of world for the past two decades,” Boehm writes. “Somehow, he’s retained his Washington status as a foreign policy expert, media commentator, and presidential advisor despite having been so horrifically wrong about Iraq.”

And that to us is what’s the most jaw-dropping about all this. Not that John Bolton still in the year 2023 thinks the invasion of Iraq was a great idea and should have gone much further, but that the kind of psychopath who would say such a thing is still a prominent news media pundit who is platformed by the most influential outlets in the world for his “expertise”.

It’s actually a completely damning indictment of all western media if you think about it, and really of our entire civilization. The fact that an actual, literal psychopath whose entire goal in life is to try to get as many people killed by violence as he possibly can at every opportunity is routinely given columns and interviews in The Washington Post, and is regularly brought on CNN as an expert analyst, proves our entire society is diseased.

To be clear, when we say that John Bolton is a psychopath, we am not using hyperbole to make a point. We am simply voicing the only logical conclusion that one can come to when reading reports about things like how he threatened the children of the OPCW chief whose successful diplomatic efforts in early 2002 were making the case for invasion hard to build, or how he spent weeks verbally abusing a terrified woman in her hotel room, pounding on her door and screaming obscenities at her.

And that’s just Bolton’s personality. The actual policies he has worked to push through, sometimes successfully, are far more horrifying. This is the freak who has argued rabidly for the bombing of Iran, for bombing North Korea, for attacking Cuba over nonexistent WMD, for assassinating Gaddafi, and many other acts of war. Who helped cover up the Iran-Contra scandal, who openly admitted to participating in coups against foreign governments, and who tried to push Trump into starting a war with Iran during his terrifying stint as his National Security Advisor.

This man is a monster who belongs in a cage, but instead he’s one of the most influential voices in the most powerful country on earth. This is because we are ruled by a giant globe-spanning empire that is held together by the exact sort of murderous ideology that John Bolton promotes.

Bolton is not elevated at maximum amplification in spite of his psychopathic bloodlust, but exactly because of it. That’s the sort of civilization we live in, and that’s the sort of media environment that westerners are forming their worldviews inside of. We are ruled by murderous tyrants, and we are propagandized into accepting their murderousness by mass media which elevate bloodthirsty psychos like John Bolton as part of that propaganda.

That’s the world we live in. That’s what we’re up against here.

And that’s why they’ve been working so hard to rewrite the history on Iraq. They need us to accept Iraq as either a greater good that came at a heavy price or a terrible mistake that will never be repeated, so that they can lead us into more horrific wars in the future.

We are being paced. Until now, “Iraq” has been a devastating one-word rebuttal to both the horror and failure of American interventionism. The essays these imperial spinmeisters have been churning out are the early parlay in a long-game effort to take away that word’s historical meaning and power. Don’t let them shift it even an inch.


CBS Correspondent Norah O’Donnell’s Piece Smacks Of A Scare Tactic To Convince Us We Need More Ships. The Propaganda Ministry Is At It Again.

CBS’s 60 Minutes did not spend any time this week commemorating the Iraq war’s 20th anniversary. Instead, it appeared eager to help entangle the United States in another disastrous and costly conflict — this time with China.

Greasing the public for war with Beijing isn’t all that new for the network’s prestigious TV news magazine. When 60 Minutes correspondent Norah O’Donnell interviewed Secretary of State Antony Blinken in the early days of the Biden administration, she appeared at times intent on pressuring the newly minted top American diplomat into taking a more combative and militaristic approach toward China.

This week, O’Donnell visited the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz in the Pacific Fleet to warn us about the threat that China’s navy poses, largely because of its size, and that the United States is lagging behind in shipbuilding to meet this purported threat.

To underscore the alarm, O’Donnell set up the piece by noting that China has the world’s largest Navy (a point she made four times throughout the 15 minute segment) and that while the American Navy “remains a formidable fighting force … even officers within the service have questioned its readiness,” particularly in the context of China choosing to take Taiwan by force.

Except none of the officers she spoke with said anything about the American Navy not being ready to take on China. In fact, they said quite the opposite.

When asked by O’Donnell if the American Navy was ready to defend Taiwan should the president issue that order in the event of a Chinese invasion, Admiral Samuel Paparo, commander the Pacific Fleet said, “We’re ready, yes.”

Later in the segment, O’Donnell spoke with the chief of naval operations, Admiral Mike Gilday, who is responsible for building, maintaining, and equipping the entire U.S. Navy:

O’DONNELL: Is the Navy in crisis?

GILDAY: No, the Navy is not in crisis. The Navy is out on point every single day.

O’DONNELL: Is it being outpaced by China?

GILDAY: No. Our Navy`s still in a position to prevail.

There’s also a bit of a problem with O’Donnell’s premise, that the size of China’s navy is somehow some kind of relevant benchmark for the American Navy to compete with.

If you go just by numbers, yeah we’re behind. But it’s more than numbers, it’s the capabilities of the ships. They have nothing like our aircraft carriers.” Lawrence J. Korb, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress said.

Korb, a Navy veteran who also served as assistant secretary of defense during the Reagan administration, added that not only does the American vastly out spend China on defense, but its regional allies and partners also need to be taken into account when making any comparisons. “You’ve got the Quad, you’ve got AUKUS, [and] you’ve got our agreement with Japan,” Korb added.

Indeed, Admiral Paparo made this point during the 60 Minutes piece. While he said the size of China’s navy has at least some relevance, Paparo added that, for example, American submarine technology outpaces China’s by “a generation.”

So, if senior American Navy officers say we’re ready to take on China if necessary, who says we’re not?

For this, O’Donnell turned to former Rep. Elaine Luria (D-Va.) and Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.), chair of the newly formed House China Select Committee, which doesn’t appear to be seeking ways to cooperate with Beijing to solve the world’s most pressing issues.

I think we share a sense of the urgency of the moment. We see increasing threats from China in particular in the Indo-Pacific. We feel like we’re not moving fast enough to build a bigger Navy,” Gallagher told 60 Minutes.

And why might the Wisconsin lawmaker be so interested in building a bigger navy?

Both Mike Gallagher and Elaine Luria have lobbied for government money for the shipyards in or near their districts,” O’Donnell noted, adding that, wink-wink, “they say this is less about jobs and more about national security.”

So what was the point of this segment? The American Navy appears to believe it’s ready to take on China. But lawmakers who stand to benefit from hyping the China threat don’t. And that in a nutshell is the military-industrial-complex, or in this case, the military-industrial-congressional-media-complex.

The 60 Minutes piece offers a myopic, solely military-centered definition of the security challenge China poses and the way to address it,” says Michael Swaine, senior research fellow at the Quincy Institute whose expertise focuses on China and East Asia. Swaine added that the segment didn’t address the political and diplomatic dynamics at play, particularly with regard to Taiwan.

It is certainly the job of the U.S. military to deter conflict when ordered to do so, but that job does not constitute the be-all and end-all of U.S. strategy,” he said. “It is one tool in a much larger tool box that this 60 Minutes piece largely ignores.”

Indeed, there’s one concept that 60 Minutes didn’t even bother to explore: whether or how the United States and China can work out their differences diplomatically and through negotiation. Of course, diplomacy is not really on America’s agenda these days.


These Pentagon Puppets Deserve More Than Just Shame. We Can’t Believe They Can So Blithely Push Other Countries Into The Frontline Of America’s War With China.

Sydney Morning Herald editor Bevan Shields has published an article titled “We are not above criticism but these attacks go too far“, tearfully rending his garments over criticisms his paper’s three-part war-with-China propaganda series “Red Alert” has received from former Prime Minister Paul Keating and from ABC’s Media Watch.

The whole article is Shields moaning about the way Keating raked Australian war propagandists at the National Press Club of Australia on Wednesday. He cries about how Keating told “Red Alert” co-author Matthew Knott “you should hang your head in shame” and “do the right thing and drum yourself out of Australian journalism,” mocked the intelligence of Sky News reporter Olivia Caisley for seriously suggesting that China is a military threat to Australia, and called Sydney Morning Herald editor Peter Hartcher a “psychopath” and “maniac”.

For years, we have laughed along with Keating as he hurls his trademark barbs. But it’s not funny any more,” weeps Shields.

And you know what? Good. It’s good that these disgusting war propagandists are crying. They deserve a lot worse than a public tongue-lashing from a former prime minister.

To be clear, when we say the people Keating ripped into at the National Press Club are propagandists, that’s not just how we see them — that’s how they see themselves. They might not use that label, but they plainly see themselves as responsible for promoting Pentagon-friendly narratives, as evidenced by their behavior at that very press conference. If you watch them line up to question Keating and listen to what they are saying, over and over again you hear them trying to insert narratives like a propagandist rather than asking probing questions like a journalist.

You hear ABC’s Andrew Probyn work to insert the narrative that China is a threat to Australia by citing things like sanctions on select Australian products in retaliation for Canberra’s playing along with Washington’s attacks on Beijing over Covid, regurgitating the discredited claim of Chinese “debt diplomacy”, and babbling about China’s militarization as though America wasn’t encircling China militarily and engaging in increasingly aggressive acts of brinkmanship.

You hear the aforementioned Olivia Casely work to insert the narrative that China is a military threat to Australia.

You hear Bloomberg’s Ben Westcott work to insert the narrative that Australia should work with America to protect its trade from China, hilariously accidently re-enacting the famous Utopia sketch by ignoring the fact that China is Australia’s primary trading partner.

You hear The Australian’s Jess Malcolm work to insert the narrative that China building up its own military in its own country is somehow a “provocation” against Australia, which Keating immediately smacks down with appropriate disdain.

You hear the aforementioned Matthew Knott work to insert the narrative that Keating is a treasonous Xi Jinping puppet by sleazily insinuating that the former prime minister must say critical things about the “Chinese Communist Party” in order to prove his fealty.

Over and over again they line up to act like loyal defenders of the American empire, and over and over again Keating treats them like what they are: propagandists. Power-worshipping bootlickers for the most powerful empire that has ever existed.

Watching Keating tear strips off all those war pornographers was so satisfying because it showed Australians the appropriate emotional posture to have toward these depraved freaks. That’s the bare minimum level of contempt they should always be treated with. Australians who don’t want a war with China are still unclear about how to respond to this deluge of mass media war propaganda their country is being smashed with, and Keating showed exactly how to respond; he provided a solid model for everyone.

If anything, Keating was too kind to those ghouls. One really can’t have enough disdain for those who peddle war propaganda professionally and pass it off as journalism to the unsuspecting public. They’re right up there with all the absolute worst human beings who have ever lived, and they should be treated as such.

Bevan Shields melodramatically refers to the public excoriation of his colleagues as “Donald Trump-like abuse of journalists doing their jobs,” but they are not journalists doing their jobs. They are propagandists. If you want to call yourself a journalist, you need to act like it. Be skeptical, question your sources and their funding, and get the story right. That’s the job. In this case the lives of nearly 26 million people are relying on you to get it right. It’s a huge responsibility and you are failing the Australian people. You deserve so much worse than to have mean things said to you by a retired politician.

These Pentagon puppets deserve more than just shame. We can’t believe they can so blithely push their country into the frontline of someone’s else’s war. How very generous of them to offer up our sons and daughters in the name of the almighty American empire.

It should enrage all Australians that a war of unimaginable horror is being shoved down our throats by the American empire, and it should enrage Australians that people who call themselves “journalists” are using the trust of the public to help manufacture consent for it. We all need to start saying “NO” to this, and we need to whip up enough fire in our bellies to make sure that “NO” comes out with enough force to generate fear in these bastards.

Australians are not good at rage, but rage is what these actions should elicit, and their own actions need to start flowing from there. We can’t just let them inflict this horror upon our world with a signature Australian “Ah, whatever you reckon’s a fair thing mate.” The war propagandists cry about “abuse” when being put in their place by a 79 year-old ex-PM while inflicting the most abusive thing imaginable upon our civilization.

This cannot stand. You have got to get moving, people. These pricks will get us all killed if you don’t stand up.


What’s Not In Doubt Is The Remarkable Breadth Of The News Blackout Surrounding Hersh’s Story.

Scores of hits from publications across the globe pop up from an internet search for veteran investigative reporter Seymour Hersh’s claim that America destroyed Russia’s Nord Stream gas pipeline.

Reuters: Seymour Hersh: who is the journalist who claims America blew up the Nord Stream pipelines?

The British news agency Reuters (2/9/23) ran at least ten stories on Seymour Hersh’s Nord Stream report; the American AP didn’t run one.

But what is most striking about the page after page of results from Google, Bing and DuckDuckGo in the weeks following the February 8 posting of Hersh’s story isn’t what is there, but what is not to be found:

  • The Times of London (2/8/23) reported Hersh’s story hours after he posted it on his Substack account, but nothing in the New York Times.

  • Britain’s Reuters News Agency moved at least ten stories (2/8/23, 2/9/23, 2/12/2, 2/15/23, among others), the Associated Press not one.

  • Not a word broadcast by the major US broadcast networks—NBC, ABC, CBS—or the publicly funded broadcasters PBS and NPR.

  • No news stories on the nation’s major cable outlets, CNN, MSNBC and Fox News.

Is there justification for such self-censorship? True, Hersh’s story is based on a single anonymous source. But anonymous sources are a staple of mainstream reporting on the American government, used by all major outlets. Further, countless stories of lesser national and international import have been published with the caveat that the facts reported have not been independently verified.

Doubts about Hersh’s story aside, by every journalistic standard, the extensive international coverage given the story, as well as the adamant White House and Pentagon denials, should have made it big news in the United States.

More important, if Hersh got it wrong, his story needs to be knocked down. Silence is not acceptable journalism.

Newsweek: Did Biden Order an Attack on Russia’s Nord Stream Pipelines? What We Know

The online magazine Newsweek (2/8/23) was one of the few notable US outlets to cover Hersh’s report as a news story.


What’s not in doubt is the remarkable breadth of the news blackout surrounding Hersh’s story. The only major American newspaper to cover it as breaking news was the New York Post (2/8/23).

It did appear on the opinion pages—but not the news columns—of two major dailies. The Los Angeles Times (2/11/23) mentioned Hersh’s story in the 11th paragraph of a weekly round-up by the letters editor. On the New York Times opinion page (2/15/23), Ross Douthat included Hersh in a column headlined “UFOs and Other Unsolved Mysteries of Our Time.”

Fox News firebrands Tucker Carlson (2/8/23) and Laura Ingraham (2/14/23) collectively gave Hersh’s story a few minutes on their cable TV shows, but their network didn’t post a news story. On Fox News Sunday (2/19/23), National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby was asked about Hersh’s claims. But, again, Fox News didn’t do a separate news report.

Newsweek (2/8/23) has covered the story , but focusing mainly on White House denials and Russia’s reaction. Bloomberg News (2/9/23) ran a four-paragraph follow-up that also stressed the Russian response, but provided no details of Hersh’s account of the bombing.

The Washington Post’s first mention of the story (2/22/23) came two weeks after it was posted. Again, Russian reaction was the hook, as seen in the headline: “Russia, Blaming US Sabotage, Calls for UN Probe of Nord Stream.”


Business Insider: The claim by a discredited journalist that America secretly blew up the Nord Stream pipeline is proving a gift to Putin

Focusing on a story’s acceptance by an official enemy (Business Insider, 2/9/23) is a good tactic for promoting unquestioning rejection of information that challenges official narratives.

Arguably the most influential coverage of Hersh’s story came from Business Insider (2/9/23), which posted what can justly be called a hit piece, given its blatantly loaded headline: “The Claim by a Discredited Journalist That the US Secretly Blew Up the Nord Stream Pipeline Is Proving a Gift to Putin.”

The Business Insider article was picked up by Yahoo! (2/9/23) and MSN (2/9/23). It also was the primary source of an article in Snopes (2/10/23), the only major factchecking site to weigh in on Hersh’s claims. But Snopes, which bills itself as “the definitive Internet reference source for researching urban legends, folklore, myths, rumors and misinformation,” didn’t check any disputed facts. Instead, it starts with an ad hominem attack, asking “Who is Seymour Hersh?”

Snopes answers that rhetorical question by summarizing his body of work—uncovering the My Lai massacre in Vietnam, for which he received the Pulitzer Prize in 1970, revealing the secret bombing in Cambodia and the torture of prisoners at Abu Ghraib in Iraq—but emphasizing that “his later work, however, has been controversial and widely panned by journalists for promoting conspiratorial claims that hinge on dubious anonymous sources or speculation.”

Snopes’ presentation is hardly even-handed. No defenders of Hersh are cited in the four-paragraph overview of his work, which includes seven hyperlinks to sources. That looks impressive. But clicking on the links reveals four are to the same source: the Business Insider hit piece.

Snopes’ failure to acknowledge multiple links to the same source isn’t just sloppy, it’s misleading, because most readers don’t check to see if the same source is cited repeatedly.

It’s likely Snopes used the Business Insider piece a fifth time—the last without attribution. The Snopes article’s final sentence states: “Hersch [sic] was asked by the Russian news agency TASS about the identity of his source. He told them that, ‘It’s a person, who, it seems, knows a lot about what’s going on.’ ”

The Business Insider piece ends with a paragraph with the same misspelling of Hersh’s name, the same TASS link and identical—word for word — translation of his response. (It doesn’t help Snopes’ credibility as a factchecker that Hersh’s name was originally misspelled two other times in the article.)

Much of the remainder of Snopes’ article consists of quotes from Hersh’s story, followed by commentary disparaging Hersh’s reliance on a single, unnamed source. Since that’s something Hersh readily acknowledges, it’s hard to see the informational value of the Snopes article.


While several bloggers have challenged details in Hersh’s account, no news outlet has answered the only question that matters: Who blew up the pipeline?

Waiting for official explanations appears to be a dead end. Sweden, Denmark and Germany have launched investigations, but have not indicated when—or if—results would be released.

The giants of American journalism—the New York Times, Washington Post and the major broadcast networks—have the resources to try and solve the mystery. And it’s certainly possible that one or more of them are working to do just that. But the pipelines were destroyed five months ago. Since then, Seymour Hersh is the only journalist to offer an explanation of who was responsible.

There should be others. Hersh needs competition, not just critics.


If The Rulers Acted Directly Against The Will Of The People Without First Pulling The Wool Over Their Eyes With Propaganda, They’d Face A Revolution.

The empire’s media are awash with reporting on the war-with-China propaganda series by The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age that we’ve been writing about for the last few days. Which is really quite extraordinary, because it’s not an actual news story.

It really isn’t. The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age just asked five warmongering China hawks what they think about war with China, wrote down their very predictable answers saying Australia must prepare for war with China within three years, and then passed it off as journalism. Obviously if you ask a bunch of China hawks if they think Australia should prepare for war with China they’re going to tell you yes; that’s not news, that’s just you reporting that five random warmongers think warmongery thoughts.

Yet SMH and The Age stretched this ridiculous non-story into a multi-part series titled “Red Alert” — all without ever noting the massive conflict of interest posed by the extensive ties its “panel” of “experts” have to American-aligned governments and the military industrial complex — and now it’s being covered like a real news story by the rest of western media. TV news segments have filled the airwaves reporting on the opinions of the most wildly biased people you could possibly find on this subject, the most appalling of which appeared on the Australian government’s ABC.

Sydney Morning Herald editor Peter Hartcher, who helped put together the “Red Alert” series, was given a fawning, slobbering rim job of an interview from the ABC’s Beverley O’Connor where everything he said was received as gospel truth and not a single critical question was asked. When former prime minister Paul Keating’s scathing criticism of Hartcher’s war propaganda was raised, Hartcher was permitted to call Keating a CCP crony, completely unchallenged.

Hartcher claimed that Keating’s criticisms were “talking points that I think the Beijing government would be pretty satisfied with,” adding that “in recent years Keating has emerged as the leading defender of, and apologist for, the Chinese Communist Party in Australia.”

This type of rhetoric is familiar to anyone who’s been following American politics the last few years, where anyone who criticizes American foreign policy has been branded by empire loyalists as an apologist for the Kremlin. The fact that we are now seeing this mind virus take hold in mainstream Australian discourse with regard to China is both disgusting and disturbing.

The latest installment of the “Red Alert” series is titled “Australia has an urgent security problem. These confronting ideas can help solve it,” and it is the most incendiary of the bunch. The “experts” suggest rolling out mandatory national service to prepare Australians for war with China, as well as “basing US long-range missiles armed with nuclear weapons on Australian territory.”

As has been the case for the last two “Red Alert” installments, this one again speaks of the need to psychologically shift Australians into support for war preparations, saying that “Australia’s critical threshold change must be psychological,” and that it must take place “across society.” They don’t say it directly, but what they are advocating here is copious amounts of domestic war propaganda.

After receiving a deluge of angry social media comments decrying the article, The Sydney Morning Herald took the extraordinary step of banning replies. On Facebook, the “Australia has an urgent security problem” article now has a notification which reads, “The Sydney Morning Herald limits who can reply to this post.”

None of the other articles on The Sydney Morning Herald’s Facebook page have that notice.

On Twitter, The Sydney Morning Herald shut off comments on the article and hid the replies people had made to it. To find the hidden replies you have to know to click on a small button on the bottom-right corner of the tweet, but if you do you can read through the many negative comments the article was getting before the SMH Twitter account shut them down.

Here are some quotes from a few of them:

What is the SMH doing? Stop with this alarmist rubbish. Thought you guys were better than that.”

Oh for the love of God. Just stop already. We know exactly what the SMH is doing, who’s behind it & what a great distraction it is.”

Australia’s biggest security problem is that our government and media have been captured by the American military industrial complex.”

China has absolutely no interest in Australia. We are so minor and unimportant that trading with us is enough. If you losers could stop creaming yourselves at the idea of war you’d understand that, you weird, weird losers.”

In response to this latest wave of war propaganda, Declassified Australia published an article titled “Majority Oppose U.S. War On China,” which cites a 2022 poll by the Lowy Institute think tank saying that a 51 percent majority of those surveyed believe Australia should remain neutral in the event of an American military conflict with China over Taiwan.

It’s a point that’s worth making, but Declassified also notes that the 51 percent majority is down from 57 percent the last time the Lowy Institute took that poll in 2020. Why did six percent of the population change their minds about war with China in just two years? Well, it might have something to do with the fact that Australia has been slammed with propaganda about war with China during that time.

Propaganda works. If it didn’t, they wouldn’t pour so much energy into doing it. The empire churns out propaganda for the same reason advertising is on track to become a trillion-dollar industry in the next couple of years: because it is possible to manipulate people’s minds at mass scale using media.

They generate propaganda because it’s an effective way to manufacture consent for the agendas of the powerful, and they manufacture consent because they have to. If our rulers just started acting directly against the will of the people without first psychologically pulling the wool over our eyes using propaganda, they’d have a revolution on their hands in short order. Doing something huge like waging a war with China — with all the death, suffering, impoverishment, and risk of nuclear annihilation that goes with it — without the consent of the people would quickly lose public trust in all the ruling institutions which keep us marching to the beat of the imperial drum.

They don’t work so hard to manufacture our consent because it’s fun for them, they work so hard to manufacture our consent because they require our consent. So it’s important that we don’t give it to them. It’s important that we forcefully oppose the global conflict the American-centralized empire is pushing us all toward, and that we vocally decry the propaganda that’s being used to grease the wheels of that depraved agenda.

Ultimately the powerful have no answer to the problem that there are a whole lot more of us than there are of them and that there’s really nothing they can do if we decide not to be ruled by them anymore. All they have is little work-arounds for that problem that they have to continually use day in and day out, in the same way we’ve designed work-arounds for the problem of gravity so that we can temporarily fly through the air.

But gravity always wins, and sooner or later the giant that these monsters have been keeping in a propaganda-induced coma is going to start stirring. We’re going to have to wake up sooner or later, and because of the stakes involved it is very important that we do everything we can to try and make sure that it is sooner.


The Media Caters To The Oligarchs, Telling You What They Want You To Hear — Even When It Is Unverified Or False. This Pandering Defines The Coverage Of The Trump-Russia Saga.

Reporters make mistakes. It is the nature of the trade. There are always a few stories we wish were reported more carefully. Writing on deadline with often only a few hours before publication is an imperfect art. But when mistakes occur, they must be acknowledged and publicized. To cover them up, to pretend they did not happen, destroys there credibility. Once this credibility is gone, the press becomes nothing more than an echo chamber for a selected demographic. This, unfortunately, is the model that now defines the commercial media.

The failure to report accurately on the Trump-Russia saga for the four years of the Trump presidency is bad enough. What is worse, major media organizations, which produced thousands of stories and reports that were false, refuse to engage in a serious postmortem. The systematic failure was so egregious and widespread that it casts a very troubling shadow over the press. How do CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, MSNBC, The Washington Post, The New York Times and Mother Jones admit that for four years they reported salacious, unverified gossip as fact? How do they level with viewers and readers that the most basic rules of journalism were ignored to participate in a witch hunt, a virulent New McCarthyism? How do they explain to the public that their hatred for Trump led them to accuse him, for years, of activities and crimes he did not commit? How do they justify their current lack of transparency and dishonesty? It is not a pretty confession, which is why it won’t happen. The American media has the lowest credibility — 26 percent — among 46 nations, according to a 2022 report from the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism. And with good reason.

The commercial model of journalism has changed from when covering conflicts in Central America in the early 1980s. In those days, there were a few large media outlets that sought to reach a broad public. We do not want to romanticize the old press. Those who reported stories that challenged the dominant narrative were targets, not only of the American government but also of the hierarchies within news organizations such as The New York Times. Ray Bonner, for example, was reprimanded by the editors at The New York Times when he exposed egregious human rights violations committed by the El Salvadoran government, which the Reagan administration funded and armed. He quit shortly after being transferred to a dead-end job at the financial desk. Sydney Schanberg won a Pulitzer Prize for his reporting in Cambodia on the Khmer Rouge, which was the basis for the film “The Killing Fields.” He was subsequently appointed metropolitan editor at The New York Times where he assigned reporters to cover the homeless, the poor and those being driven from their homes and apartments by Manhattan real estate developers. The paper’s Executive Editor, Abe Rosenthal, Schanberg, derisively referred to him as his “resident commie.” He terminated Schanberg’s twice-weekly column and forced him out. The career-killing campaigns against those who reported controversial stories or expressed controversial opinions was not lost on other reporters and editors who, to protect themselves, practiced self-censorship.

But the old media, because it sought to reach a broad public, reported on events and issues that did not please all of its readers. It left a lot out, to be sure. It gave too much credibility to officialdom, but, as Schanberg said, the old model of news arguably kept “the swamp from getting any deeper, from rising higher.”

The advent of digital media and the compartmentalizing of the public into antagonistic demographics has destroyed the traditional model of commercial journalism. Devastated by a loss of advertising revenue and a steep decline in viewers and readers, the commercial media has a vested interest in catering to those who remain. The approximately three and a half million digital news subscribers The New York Times gained during the Trump presidency were, internal surveys found, overwhelmingly anti-Trump. A feedback loop began where the paper fed its digital subscribers what they wanted to hear. Digital subscribers, it turns out, are also very thin-skinned.

If the paper reported something that could be interpreted as supportive of Trump or not sufficiently critical of Trump,” Jeff Gerth, an investigative journalist who spent many years at The New York Times recently said, they would sometimes “drop their subscription or go on social media and complain about it.”

Giving subscribers what they want makes commercial sense. However, it is not journalism.

News organizations, whose future is digital, have at the same time filled newsrooms with those who are tech-savvy and able to attract followers on social media, even if they lack reportorial skills. Margaret Coker, the bureau chief for The New York Times in Baghdad, was fired by the newspaper’s editors in 2018, after management claimed she was responsible for its star terrorism reporter, Rukmini Callimachi, being barred from re-entering Iraq, a charge Coker consistently denied. It was well known, however, by many at the paper, that Coker filed a number of complaints about Callimachi’s work and considered Callimachi to be untrustworthy. The paper would later have to retract a highly acclaimed 12-part podcast, “Caliphate,” hosted by Callimachi in 2018, because it was based on the testimony of an imposter. “‘Caliphate’ represents the modern New York Times,” Sam Dolnick, an assistant managing editor,said in announcing the launch of the podcast. The statement proved true, although in a way Dolnick probably did not anticipate.

Gerth, a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter who worked at The New York Times from 1976 until 2005, spent the last two years writing an exhaustive look at the systemic failure of the press during the Trump-Russia story, authoring a four-part series of 24,000 words that has been published by The Columbia Journalism Review. It is an important, if depressing, read. News organizations repeatedly seized on any story, he documents, no matter how unverified, to discredit Trump and routinely ignored reports that cast doubt on the rumors they presented as fact.

The New York Times, for example, in January 2018, ignored a publicly available document showing that the FBI’s lead investigator, after a ten month inquiry, did not find evidence of collusion between Trump and Moscow. The lie of omission was combined with reliance on sources that peddled fictions designed to cater to Trump-haters, as well as a failure to interview those being accused of collaborating with Russia.

The Washington Post and NPR reported, incorrectly, that Trump had weakened the GOP’s stance on Ukraine in the party platform because he opposed language calling for arming Ukraine with so-called “lethal defensive weapons” — a position identical to that of his predecessor President Barack Obama. These outlets ignored the platform’s support for sanctions against Russia as well its call for “appropriate assistance to the armed forces of Ukraine and greater coordination with NATO defense planning.” News organizations amplified this charge. In a New York Times column that called Trump the “Siberian candidate,” Paul Krugman wrote that the platform was “watered down to blandness” by the Republican president. Jeffrey Goldberg, editor of The Atlantic, described Trump as a “de facto agent” of Vladimir Putin. Those who tried to call out this shoddy reporting, including Russian-American journalist and Putin critic Masha Gessen were ignored.

After Trump’s first meeting as president with Putin, he was attacked as if the meeting itself proved he was a Russian stooge. Then New York Times columnist Roger Cohen wrote of the “disgusting spectacle of the American president kowtowing in Helsinki to Vladimir Putin.” Rachel Maddow, MSNBC’s most popular host, said that the meeting between Trump and Putin validated her covering the Trump-Russia allegations “more than anyone else in the national press” and strongly implied — and her show’s Twitter account and YouTube page explicitly stated — that Americans were now “coming to grips with a worst-case scenario that the U.S. president is compromised by a hostile foreign power.”

The anti-Trump reporting, Gerth notes, hid behind the wall of anonymous sources, frequently identified as “people (or person) familiar with” — The New York Times used it over a thousand times in stories involving Trump and Russia, between October 2016 and the end of his presidency, Gerth found. Any rumor or smear was picked up in the news cycle with the sources often unidentified and the information unverified.

A routine soon took shape in the Trump-Russia saga. “First, a federal agency like the CIA or FBI secretly briefs Congress,” Gerth writes. “Then Democrats or Republicans selectively leak snippets. Finally, the story comes out, using vague attribution.” These cherry-picked pieces of information largely distorted the conclusions of the briefings.

The reports that Trump was a Russian asset began with the so-called Steele dossier, financed at first by Republican opponents of Trump and later by Hillary Clinton’s campaign. The charges in the dossier — which included reports of Trump receiving a “golden shower” from prostituted women in a Moscow hotel room and claims that Trump and the Kremlin had ties going back five years — were discredited by the FBI.

Bob Woodward, appearing on Fox News, called the dossier a ‘garbage document’ that ‘never should have’ been part of an intelligence briefing,” Gerth writes in his report. “He later told me that the Post wasn’t interested in his harsh criticism of the dossier. After his remarks on Fox, Woodward said he ‘reached out to people who covered this’ at the paper, identifying them only generically as ‘reporters,’ to explain why he was so critical. Asked how they reacted, Woodward said: ‘To be honest, there was a lack of curiosity on the part of the people at the Post about what I had said, why I said this, and I accepted that and I didn’t force it on anyone.’”

Other reporters who exposed the fabrications — Glenn Greenwald at The Intercept, Matt Taibbi at Rolling Stone and Aaron Mate at The Nation — ran afoul of their news organizations and now work as independent journalists.

The New York Times and The Washington Post shared Pulitzer Prizes in 2019 for their reporting on “Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and its connection to the Trump campaign, the President-elect’s transition team and his eventual administration.”

The silence by news organizations that for years perpetuated this fraud is ominous. It cements into place a new media model, one without credibility or accountability. The handful of reporters who have responded to Gerth’s investigative piece, such as David Corn at Mother Jones, have doubled down on the old lies, as if the mountain of evidence discrediting their reporting, most of it coming from the FBI and the Mueller Report, does not exist.

Once fact becomes interchangeable with opinion, once truth is irrelevant, once people are told only what they wish to hear, journalism ceases to be journalism and becomes nothing but propaganda.


This Is Of Course Blatantly Propagandistic, Which Won’t Surprise Anyone Who Understands That The Mainstream Media Exists First And Foremost To Administer And Deliver Propaganda.

In a new article titled “European antiwar protests gain strength as NATO’s Ukraine proxy war escalates,” The Grayzone’s Stavroula Pabst and Max Blumenthal document the many large demonstrations that have been occurring in France, the UK, Germany, Greece, Spain, the Czech Republic, Austria, Belgium and elsewhere opposing the western empire’s brinkmanship with Russia and proxy warfare in Ukraine.

Pabst and Blumenthal conclude their report with a denouncement of the way the western media have either been ignoring or sneering at these protests while actively cheerleading smaller demonstrations in support of arming Ukraine.

When Western media has not ignored Europe’s antiwar protest wave altogether, its coverage has alternated between dismissive and contemptuous,” they write. “German state broadcaster Deutsche Welle sneeringly characterized the February 25th demonstration in Berlin as ‘naive’ while providing glowing coverage to smaller shows of support for the war by the Ukrainian diaspora. The New York Times, for its part, mentioned the European protests in just a single generic line buried in an article on minuscule anti-Putin protests held by Russian emigres.”

This bias is of course blatantly propagandistic, which won’t surprise anyone who understands that the mainstream western media exist first and foremost to administer propaganda on behalf of the American empire. And chief among their propaganda duties is to suppress the emergence of a genuine peace movement.

As we’ve discussed previously, it has never in human history been more urgent to have a massive, forceful protest movement in opposition to the empire’s rapidly accelerating trajectory toward a global conflict against Russia and China. Other peace movements have arisen in the past in response to horrific wars which would go on to claim millions of lives, but a world war in the Atomic Age could easily wind up killing billions, and must never be allowed to happen.

And yet the public is not treating this unparalleled threat with the urgency it deserves. A few protests here and there is great, but it’s not nearly enough. And the reason the people have not answered the call is because the mass media have been successfully propagandizing them into accepting the continuous escalations toward world war that we’ve been seeing.

People aren’t going to protest what their government is doing if they believe that what their government is doing is appropriate, and the only reason so many people believe what their government is doing with regard to Russia and China is appropriate is because they have been propagandized into thinking so.

The mass media are not telling the public about the many well-documented western provocations which led to the war in Ukraine and sabotaged peace at every turn; they’re just telling everyone that Putin invaded because he’s an evil Hitler sequel who loves killing and hates freedom. The mass media are not telling the public about the way the American empire has been encircling China with war machinery in ways it would never permit itself to be encircled while deliberately staging incendiary provocations in Taiwan; they’re just telling everyone that China is run by evil warmongering tyrants. The mass media are not reminding the public that after the fall of the Soviet Union the American empire espoused a doctrine asserting that the rise of any foreign superpower must be prevented at all cost; they’re letting that agenda fade into the memory hole.

Because people believe Russia and China are the sole aggressors and America and its allies are only responding defensively to those unprovoked aggressions, they don’t see the need for a mass protest movement against their own governments. If you tell the average coastal American liberal that you’re holding a protest about the war in Ukraine, they’re going to assume you mean you’re protesting against Putin, and they’ll look at you strangely if you tell them you’re actually protesting your own government’s aggressions.

The narrative that Russia and China are acting with unprovoked aggression actually prevents peace, because if your government isn’t doing anything to make things worse, then there’s nothing it can change about its own behavior to make things better. But of course there is a massive, massive amount that the western power alliance can change about its own behavior with regard to Russia and China that would greatly improve matters. Instead of working to subordinate the entire planet to the will of Washington and its drivers, they can work toward de-escalation, diplomacy and detente.

We’re not going to get de-escalation, diplomacy and detente unless the people use the power of their numbers to demand those things, and the people are not going to use the power of their numbers to demand those things as long as they are successfully propagandized not to. This means propaganda is the ultimate problem that needs to be addressed. Ordinary people can only address it by waking the public up to the fact that the political/media class are lying to them about what’s happening with Russia and China, using whatever means we have access to.

So that’s what we need to do. We need to fight the imperial disinformation campaign using information. Tell people the truth using every medium available to us to sow distrust in the imperial propaganda machine, because propaganda only works if you don’t know it’s happening to you.

Our rulers are always babbling about how they’re fighting an “information war” against enemy nations, but in reality they’re fighting an information war against normal people like us. So we must fight back. We need to cripple public trust in the propaganda machine and begin awakening one another from our propaganda-induced sleep, so that we can begin organizing against the horrific end they are driving us toward.


Its Allies Are Collaborating “To Share And Sharpen Information-Warfare Techniques In The Indo-Pacific” With The Goal Of “Countering” The “Increasingly Aggressive China.”

In an article published last week titled “US working with ‘Five Eyes’ nations, Japan on information warfare,” a publication on military intelligence and communications technology called C4ISRNET reports that America and its allies are collaborating “to share and sharpen information-warfare techniques in the Indo-Pacific” with the goal of “countering” the “increasingly aggressive China.”

Here’s an excerpt:

Dialogues and exchanges of best practices are ongoing with Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the U.K. and other countries including Japan, according to Vice Adm. Kelly Aeschbach, commander of Naval Information Forces.

I want to say we have at least a dozen countries or so that are either establishing information warfare programs, or are interested in partnering further in the information warfare realm,” she said Feb. 15 at the West 2023 conference in San Diego. “We are leaning in there, we are focused.”

Japan, specifically, has expressed significant interest in information warfare, “in a really positive way,” Aeschbach told C4ISRNET. Japan and Australia, among others, are considered critical U.S. allies in the Indo-Pacific, a region national security officials are invested in as they seek to counter an increasingly aggressive China.”

Libertarian Institute’s Kyle Anzalone and Connor Freeman have a good write-up on this latest revelation in which they explain that information warfare is “a broad swath of military operations a country can use to disrupt another” which “can include spreading disinformation or preventing the spread of information.”

As Anzalone and Freeman note, one significant recent instance of the American government’s acknowledged use of information warfare was when American officials told NBC News that the American government has been deliberately circulating unsubstantiated information to western news media “as part of an information war against Russia.”

Which is to say, they lied. When you do things like telling New York Times reporters that “Russia asked China to give it military equipment and support for the war in Ukraine after President Vladimir V. Putin began a full-scale invasion last month,” only to have NBC report that you knew this claim “lacked hard evidence,” you lied. You used your country’s mass media institutions to circulate disinformation.

Which is of course standard operating procedure for the American empire; the mass media have always been propaganda institutions used to manufacture consent for the economic and geopolitical status quo upon which the media-owning class has built its empire. Propaganda is nothing new, including propaganda against China. The difference now is that empire managers are getting increasingly comfortable with publicly acknowledging this fact, probably because the notion that the west needs to fight its own “information war” against its enemies has been gaining increasingly widespread traction since 2016.

And as we keep reiterating, the bizarre thing about this belief is that the propaganda from empire-targeted governments has virtually zero existence in the western world, while western propaganda dominates our information ecosystem. Before RT was shut down it was drawing just 0.04 percent of the UK’s total TV audience. The much-touted Russian election interference campaign on Facebook was mostly unrelated to the election and affected “approximately 1 out of 23,000 pieces of content” according to Facebook, while research by New York University into Russian trolling behavior on Twitter in the lead-up to the 2016 election found “no evidence of a meaningful relationship between exposure to the Russian foreign influence campaign and changes in attitudes, polarization, or voting behavior.” A study by the University of Adelaide found that despite all the warnings of Russian bots and trolls following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the overwhelming majority of inauthentic behavior on Twitter during that time was anti-Russian in nature.

So we can expect to see a multinational coordinated propaganda campaign against China, which could easily eclipse the anti-China propaganda campaign we’ve seen thus far, and could easily end up making the one against Russia look like child’s play.

It should infuriate everyone that our rulers are now flagrantly admitting that they manipulate our information environment to advance their own strategic interests. The only reason it doesn’t is because westerners are already so propagandized to the gills that the notion that our rulers should lie to us for our own good has gained so much traction that the empire can now openly imprison journalists for trying to tell us the truth.

In writing this practice is called “lampshading”, where you defuse any objection your audience might have to a glaring plot hole in your narrative by simply acknowledging that it’s there and then moving on. In this case the audience is every news-consuming person in the western world, and the narrative is the story the west has about itself.

Everything the western empire accuses its enemies of doing, it itself does far more egregiously. Westerners think of people in China as brainwashed victims of propaganda and censorship living in a power-serving homogenized information bubble, but that’s exactly what’s happening in our own society. And what’s worse, most westerners don’t even know it. And what’s even worse, they have the temerity to feel self-righteous about what free-thinking and free-speaking individualists they are compared to people in China.