Wars and media deceptions: How people are taken for a ride

Noam Chomsky is 82. A colleague of Chomsky recently asked him did all of his books, articles and presentations about the crimes and terror carried out by the US state provide him with a sense of satisfaction. Without hesitation, Chomsky is said to have replied, “No.”

Chomsky has been informing and inspiring millions across the world for over 40 years, but his dissatisfaction stems from the fact US-backed killings, brutality and wars continue today despite his efforts and probably even more so than when he first became a prolific voice of dissent in the 1960s. Lesser motivated writers may have given up years ago.

But Chomsky is aware of something: the truth matters. Chronicling the truth not only provides an alternative to official propaganda, but also a historical account for future generations of the deceptions and barbarity being carried out in the names of justice and freedom. Today, more than ever, dissention is needed to counter powerful governments and corporations that have access to huge financial resources and are able to manipulate the media at will.

Given that US military commander General Petraeus is on record as saying US strategy is to conduct a war of perceptions continuously through the news media, imagine for one moment if the prevailing view of world forwarded by the mainstream media and swallowed by most people is based on a pack of lies. It’s an issue worth bearing in mind because it probably actually is.

Take British politician George Galloway’s comments to a US senate committee hearing in 2005 concerning the invasion of Iraq. He told Senator Norm Coleman that he gave his heart and soul to oppose the policy that Coleman had promoted and his political life’s blood to try to stop the mass killing of Iraqis by the sanctions on Iraq which killed one million Iraqis. Galloway told the senator that Iraq, contrary to his claims, did not have weapons of mass destruction. He also told Coleman that, again contrary to his claims, that Iraq had no connection to al-Qaida and no connection to the atrocity on 9/11, 2001.

Galloway concluded by saying, “Senator, in everything I said about Iraq, I turned out to be right and you turned out to be wrong, and 100,000 people paid with their lives; 1,600 of them American soldiers sent to their deaths on a pack of lies; 15,000 of them wounded, many of them disabled forever on a pack of lies.”

And that pack of lies became a common sense version of reality for the masses as the media cheer-leaded the invasion of Iraq based on false claims about Saddam Hussein possessing weapons of mass destruction. Think Iraq then. Think Iran now.

Small part

But that’s just a small part of what may well be a larger pack of lies. Consider an alternative reality for a moment. How about the notion that al-Qaeda does not really exist as an organised, unified entity and is just a loose list of Islamist fighters that the US funded against the Russians in Afghanistan and still uses for its strategic aims today, whether in Libya or Syria? Or that events surrounding 9/11 were a false flag operation to gain US public support for an ongoing ‘war on terror’ (against the convenient, ever-present al-Qaeda ‘threat’) that purposively destroys or curtails civil liberties at home, while justifying military plunder in one resource rich country after another?Some may say these are merely conspiracy theories gone wild. But there is in fact a great deal of supporting evidence for the cases mentioned above.

The point is that they are highly credible alternative versions of reality that hardly ever (if at all) receive any airtime or column inches in the mainstream media. If they were to appear and people then began to question the mainstream media’s depiction of recent history and events, then the pack of lies about a war on terror, a simplistic made-for-TV Hollywoodesque good versus evil view of the world or removing tyrants from power under the lie of humanitarian interventionism would soon come tumbling down.

Modern day media myths that have ordinary people lining up in support of ‘anti-terror’ wars or suchlike would then be in tatters and the actual reality seen for the bloody imperialism that it is. It is not without reason that a document by the British ministry of defence leaked to WikiLeaks describes investigative journalism as a ‘threat’ greater than terrorism.

Pronouncements by the US and its allies on democratic principles, human rights and respect for international law would then be seen for what they really are too: arrogant, duplicitous rhetoric aimed at legitimising policies that use taxpayers’ money to line the pockets of the Chevrons, Occidental Petroleums and Halliburtons of the world, but which have nothing whatsoever to do with democracy or human rights.

The truth matters, especially when it reaches a mass public audience. It is then that the US can become extremely jittery. Look no further than the impact of WikiLeaks and the subsequent plight of Julian Assange to appreciate this. The US government is also aware that the truth matters. That’s why it tries to bury truth and the carriers of it at every available opportunity.  

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