We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

The Existential Question of Whom to Trust: “The Looming Threat of World War III” [commentary edited for an error]

Click here to access article by Robert Parry from ConsortiumNews. (Edited for an error regarding Chris Hedges--thanks to Caren of northwest Oregon. See first comment.)
The existing rewards-and-punishments system, which punishes truth-tellers and rewards those who deceive the public, has left behind a thoroughly corrupted information structure in the United States and in the West, in general.

Across the mainstream of politics and media, there are no longer the checks and balances that have protected democracy for generations. Those safeguards have been washed away by the flood of careerism.

The situation is made even more dangerous because there also exists a rapidly expanding cadre of skilled propagandists and psychological operations practitioners, sometimes operating under the umbrella of “strategic communications.” Under trendy theories of “smart power,” information has become simply another weapon in the geopolitical arsenal, with “strategic communications” sometimes praised as the preferable option to “hard power,” i.e. military force.
This former career journalist who worked for Newsweek and the Associated Press condemns his colleagues in journalism careers, but it turns out he is referring only to journalists who work for major media corporations. For people on the real left, it is a given that journalists working for major media must serve the ruling capitalist class or else they leave or are fired. Doug Valentine in his book The CIA as Organized Crime cites an example of a fake report (p. 123) submitted by Chris Hedges who was a journalist for the NY Times based on the testimony of two dissidents coached by the CIA to support the Empire's propaganda agenda to prepare the public for the eventual invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Parry concludes his essay by writing:
But the question is: whom to trust? And this is no longer some rhetorical or philosophical point about whether one can ever know the complete truth. It is now a very practical question of life or death, not just for us as individuals but as a species and as a planet.

The existential issue before us is whether – blinded by propaganda and disinformation – we will stumble into a nuclear conflict between superpowers that could exterminate all life on earth or perhaps leave behind a radiated hulk of a planet suitable only for cockroaches and other hardy life forms.
Nowhere does he refer to journalists such as Eva Bartlett, Vanessa Beeley, Jonathan Cook, and the journalists who work at TeleSur, Newsbud, Mint Press News, etc, all of whom work for little compensation while often risking their lives. These are the people to trust, and we need to support their work!


  1. Actually, Ron, Valentine's four citations all refer to Hedges' November 8, 2001 NYT article, "Defectors Cite Iraqi Training for Terrorism" which was based on accounts of 2 high-level Iraqi Army defectors who'd been scripted and bribed by the CIA to make such claims in return for promised Swiss bank accounts and power in the post-coup regime.

  2. You are absolutely right. Thank you for this correction!

  3. I edited my commentary to reflect what actually happened and cited only the first reference noted by Valentine in his book.


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