I got an email from my twin the other day. She asked me whether I thought the timing of the current alert level in the UK regarding the perceived terrorist threat was too coincidental to be plausible, I thought by the tone of her message that she might be afraid that she was presenting some wildly speculative conspiracy theory. I answered that I felt she had read the situation quite correctly and I felt that if you were to take the film The Matrix as an allegorical story about the flow of general news and information across the Western world then I think it would portray things pretty acurately.

In addition to that recently I saw a news article that the police were issuing “unprecedented amounts of information regarding the recently arrested terror suspects.” I heard the information, much of it seeemed to relate to “possession of articles useful for preparing acts of terrorism” including instructions (no further qualifying information given) and maps, including maps of Afghanistan (no further qualifying information was given.) Now bearing in mind I have a copy of the Anarchist cookbook and a large 200 page atlas, I also possess the same information they have carted others off for. So if they want a reason to bang you up now, all they need is potential, this is no longer just some lunatic paranoid conspiracy theory it is exactly what they are doing, this to me spells one clear thing if they want to get you you’re fucked, after all who doesn’t have a map, some sugar, some bleach, or a can of petrol in the car? They still can’t determine what you’re thinking but they can lock you up just in case you might be thinking something they don’t want you to think.

Instrumental in this is the way it is all handled in the media, it is the frog and a pan of water analogy. Drop a frog into a pan of boiling water and the frog wriggles and writhes and dies in pain. However put a frog in a pan of cold water and heat the pan and the frog doesn’t notice the change in temperature and dies without a struggle. Were all the information presented to us in one go many would put 2 and 2 together, this cannot be alllowed to happen so it is trickled like the sand from the escape tunnels in the pocket of the POWs is sprinkled down the trouser leg into the yard. The proof of this is that if you present people with factual information about just how bad things have got they simply will not believe you, because they cannot conceive that such things would happen without them noticing.

The control of the flow of information and the desire to exercise social control by propaganda and tacit brainwashing is nothing new. The Nazis use of it is well-documented but increasingly less-taught, perhaps because through its teaching one would see the inevitable parallels. You might think that just rhetoric and sensationalistically extreme but I would suggest you look at the rise of a man called Alfred Hugenberg and his control of the German media in the 1920s-30s. If you cannot see the parallels between him and someone like Rupert Murdoch or Sylvio Berlusconi (the worst but by no means the only people to use their influence to attempt to brainwash the public to their own subjective view of reality.) then I would be very surprised indeed.

An example of how this media whitewash has been used is the way our parents and grandparents were subjected to was the treatment of the Cuban Missile Crisis in October 1962. It is very widely reported the key to the crisis was Kennedy’s standing firm in the face of Soviet threat to the Free World and how he made the Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev back down. This just simply isn’t true, it neglects to mention that the Soviet claim for the citing of the missiles was in fact the protection of Cuba from the United States, after all under Kennedy’s presidency the US had already attempted to perpetrate a coup d’etat in the Bay Of Pigs incident in 1961. One must remember that if this claim to be providing missiles as defence rather than as an aggressive act does not stand up to scrutiny then the US was just as guilty having placed its missiles to “protect” the United Kingdom, Italy and Turkey. In fact the US was far more the aggressor of the time since it possessed over 300 land-based Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles to the USSR’s 6 and overall according to the National Resources Defense Council’s Archive of Nuclear Data the US had 27,297 warheads to the USSR’s 3,332.

It was in fact the Soviets, principally Khrushchev who ensured that no retaliatory action was taken by Cuban forces against the aggressive US tactic of low-flying aircraft over Cuban territory seemingly in an attempt to provoke the first armed response. Khrushchev’s mistake was that in return for his decision to have the Cuban missile bases decommissioned the US withdrawal from Turkey was not widely publicised saving Kennedy the embarrassment of the climb-down. This failure ultimately led to Khrushchev’s removal from power 2 years later because the rest of the politburo felt that the propaganda war had been won by the US.

More recently the media propaganda situation has had to become more clinical, more systemic so much so that many people take it all for granted without questioning the legitimacy of the sources of information. We have news 24 hours a day but that does not mean we have all the news, we are reliant on certain key stations controlled by a very small number of organisations, the control must be absolute because it is no use trying to create fervour if the evidence from certain quarters contradicts it. These days you will find very little conflicting news.

After all if one charts major world events over the last five years they have gone something like this:

11/9/2001 World Trade Centre attacks. The US administration decides very quickly that since Al Qaeda have used training camps in Afghanistan, the Taliban are responsible for 9/11 and that gave the US carte blanche to exercise its “right” to a regime change. (Neither the fact that these camps had been setup with CIA funds, nor anything to do with the Caspian Oil Gas pipeline were mentioned.) After the Taliban had been removed from Kabul and a regime had been installed with a ‘safe pair of hands’ the US sought to turn its attention elsewhere knowing that the objectives for going into Afghanistan had been accomplished. Hamid Karzai’s election passed off with little fuss, no mention was made of the fact that in 1996/97 he was a consultant to American oil company Unocal on the US$2 billion project of a certain oil and gas pipeline between Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan, the Caspian pipeline. Interestingly much of the traffic of this pipeline is designed to provide support for the Dabhol power plant near Mumbai, designed to provide up to 20% of India’s energy needs and majority owned by Enron. You can see one might be forgiven for thinking that it is the same names cropping up again and again.

I do not think the 11th of Sept attacks were a conspiracy or the organisation behind them a fabrication this would be historical revisionism but I do believe the US government made what it wanted to out of them, after all they strung the war on terror out to include a nation that had previously nothing to do with Al Queda or the 11th Sept attacks simply because they wanted to remove a guy they put in charge in the first place. (No mention was made at the time of UN resolution 1441 that US President George W. Bush had already long since decided that it was a question of when rather than if the US would invade Iraq, and according to his Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill despite there not being any evidence of WMDs, Bush’s resolve was firm that it would be done whatever. No mention was made of Saddam Hussein’s past links with the CIA).

During the height of the Northern Ireland conflict only an idiot would have thought that because there were bombs going off in England that all Irishmen were terrorists and yet this is the logic applied currently, that Islam is a violent religion and by extension all Muslims have a guilt by association tag. And yet another example of the subjective presentation of events does come out of the Irish case because whilst globally the vast majority will know something of the IRA and the republican actions, only those far more involved would be able to name loyalist paramilitaries or the political parties that represent them. Ian Paisley, a supposed man of the cloth, is allowed to peddle his ideology of hate and intolerance whilst any foot out of line on the other side results in politician and media frenzy.

I do believe that Iraq had WMDs at least it had possessed them within the 10 years leading up to the US invasion, whether or not they had already been used is another question but to my mind the smoking gun the US was allegedly looking for was something they held all along, namely the invoices to the weapons they themselves and their allies had sold. The US had shown little interest in the welfare of the Iraqi people when Saddam was massacring Kurds, nor did they leap to help the Iraqi resistance in 1991 when uprisings around Basra and the Southern provinces were brutally crushed.

Now after the toppling of the secular Saddam and the leaving of an Iraq in no fit state to resist the US takeover of infrastructure and oil distribution, the US looks around for someone else and suddenly the Syrians are “sponsoring terrorism”, but it’s too soon after Iraq and they can’t quite get the troops together and there’s this public outcry so that dies down for a bit but wait, the Iranians are developing nuclear technology and this could mean they’ll have a bomb, but that just doesn’t seem to capture the imagination of the other major nations, they aren’t buying it Russia and China are standing firm, and lo, miraculously Hizbollah come out of the woodwork after Lebannon has been stable for years and there’s talk of Syria getting involved and now finally they’ve got a proper scrap in the Middle East.

There is little analysis as to what is causing the problem in the this conflict, little criticism of the role of Israel, often the aggressor, whilst Hizbollah are subjected to widespread vitriolic condemnation. it can only be a matter of time before an individual in Hizbollah is singled out as the most evil person since… (notice also that the list of comparitive evil epitomes does not include certain people like Suharto, Pinochet, Kissinger, Nixon etc.) Nothing creates crazed frenzy and panic like a good old fashioned apocalyptic threat at home, that really galvanises people to hate the bad guy, proper pogromic lynch mob hysteria that is.

So I guess that’s a yes I do think the current terror alert in the UK rather conveniently timed. After all how can it be that the really big terrorist acts get through with no intelligence and yet capriciously timed others are found out, and strangely made public very quickly. Surely you would want people to remain calm, business to continue as usual, you’d keep it under wraps until it had been fully investigated and picked apart. In addition to this whilst it is claimed that security is on high alert across the country’s airports it is not especially evident in anything other than irritating bureaucracy and ridiculous rules and hand luggage. Perimeter fences remain easy areas to get to with full views of runways and the discovery of a 12 year old boy who got through all the security checks without even having any travel documents does not seem to backup the government and police assertions.

The trouble is we are rarely made privy to the intelligence they claim to base a lot of these alerts on, it is very wooley and non-specific and a raft of knee-jerk legislation usually follows, accompanied by much outcry and yet passed through the legislature just the same. This is the government of the state of constant heightened alert. If one takes the perception of the world at large and in particular that of the safety of people and property there is a perception that crime against the person is sufficiently on the increase to make people feel insecure in their own homes. Where has this perception come from? By and large most people find out about crime through their neighbours and the media. Since communities are being increasingly eroded the reliance on the media seems likely to become almost the only source of information.

If you listen to the government around election time they will tell you that crime is going down and has been for their tenure, they will in turn quote statistics to prove it whilst the opposition will look at the statistics for individual crimes and single out the ones that are going up. However when it comes around to the time of passing repressive home office legislation the government are quick to single out the upturn in certain types of crimes so as to make you afraid enough not to question their decision to further erode your civil rights. Since the opposition are just as right-wing as the government their critique is that the legislation doesn’t go far enough.

In the UK at the moment anyone would be forgiven for thinking that up until the last 5 years there was no such thing as anti-social behaviour and that we have seen this sudden surge in crime committed by an evil youth element. (No mention is made as to the lack of social spending focused on people between the ages of 10-16.)

Contrary to what the mass media might have you believe, Raymond Kelly, Commissioner of the NYPD says that crime overall is down 12% in the US and down 65% in New York. This is not to say that there are not genuine problems, gun crime amongst the young is emotive and shocking but hardly widespread which is why events like Columbine create national and international headlines. Interestingly the lobby who will campaign that there is too much sex and violence on our TVs never protest at the morbid fascination that the media has with real-life tragedy such as Columbine, after all they choose to see it as the vindication of their idea and not as could be suggested the propagation of the problem.

Yes you can switch off the TV, or not read the newspapers, but equally then you will not know what the masses are being fed and it is therefore more difficult to counteract it. The advent of digital cameras and blogging will undoubtedly lead to greater independence in the recording of information, albeit from many different subjective sources, but to determine what is the news is often easier than one thinks. Firstly disregard the pap, the celebrity shite, gossip and such bollocks, this is not news, it is noise. Secondly ask yourself who is doing the telling and what they may want to achieve by putting a particular point of view forward. Thirdly find a source of information that is diametrically opposed to the first source you found and compare the information they gave. Think of it in the sense of a football game. The news is who played and who won, if you ask 2 fans on opposing sides they will tell you many different things about events of the game but they will both tell you the same result because that part of the report is fact. The rest is conjecture.

If people fail to finally realise the processed homogenised information that is being fed to them then Orwell’s vision of 1984 becomes ever more real only with far more technological instruments than Orwell could ever have envisaged. After all, news published on websites, how many people have the power to check if what is there 1 week after an event is what was reported originally on the actual day?

“He who controls the present, controls the past. He who controls the past, controls the future.”
-George Orwell

Song Of The Day ~ Zero 7 feat. Sia Furler – You’re My Flame

Original Comments:

kevin g made this comment,
Took me a while to read your entry, but I understand your point. Control of the media is a tool as you supply the facts/statistics you “feel” the public needs to know. But the public are just as much sheep as they let on to be. I know far too many “patriotic”/flag waving fellow citizens who really have no clue of what’s going on outside the US! It’s funny that I posted a bunch of The The lyrics in an entry, as I was hoping to drive the point home, the relevance, as the songs were from the 1980’s and related much more to 2006, though I guess I didn’t make an impact, as you are surely to do. Thanks.
-Redbaron responds – Hi Kevin, I appreciate your patience and committment wading through what turned into something of a marathon. The public are sheep, but it is important for every one of us to keep speaking up against the force majeure. Besides anyone else who quotes The The lyrics deserves to have their message heard. Which song did you use? Heartland/Angel Of Deception?

comment added :: 27th August 2006, 17:01 GMT+01