The establishment media have now coined a term for news sites that regularly challenge their orthodox narrative, fake news. This is rich for news organisations that have cheerled wars in the Middle East, turned a blind eye to atrocities committed by our allies and consistently supported the suppression of viable national democratic institutions by a cabal of global corporations. For the last 30-odd years a small set of worldwide news outlets such as CNN, BBC, Sky News and Fox News have literally manufactured the news we consume. They set agendas and decide which events, staged or otherwise, deserve our attention. Some wars go almost unreported, while mercenary reporters go out of their way to discover any evidence of atrocities committed by our official enemies. However, now CNN and the BBC have serious competition as more and more people switch off their TV sets and seek alternative sources for their news online.
Last week the UK government passed the Investigatory Powers Bill that requires Internet service providers and mobile phone companies to keep logs of customers' browsing history for a year, so that government agencies can gain access to this minefield of data. In the wake of Donald Trump's surprising electoral success, we have begun to hear calls for filtering and even outright censorship of alternative news sites such as Zerohedge, Drudge Report, Breitbart and Infowars. In the UK social justice warriors have campaigned to ban allegedly rightwing newspapers such as Daily Express, the Sun and the Daily Mail (which is now the most popular British online news site) from college campuses. My twitter feed has messages urging me to sign petitions to stop major corporations from advertising in these papers. Naturally without advertising they would lose their main revenue stream. Just a couple of weeks before the US presidential election, Barrack Obama lent his support to the concept of a truthiness filter that would rank information sources by their reliability. Indeed we've seen a number of initiatives, supported by NGOs, that claim to help us check facts, so much so that the verb fact-check has now entered the Oxford Dictionary. The mainstream media resorted heavily to fact-checking during the recent EU referendum and US presidential campaign. Presumably if you are unsure about a claim you should visit a purportedly non-partisan site that will set the record straight. Fact-checking services use a technique that the public relations industry has perfected over the decades. First they rely on a foundation of indisputable facts and common misconceptions that can easily be debunked. However, their real purpose is not to disprove unfounded claims, but to discredit any verifiable facts that challenge their integrity. To do this, rather than disprove incriminating allegations outright, they present selective evidence to the contrary intermingled with a few unfounded or wild accusations that can easily be disproven. e.g. Is it true that Hillary Clinton participated in satanic rituals involving children? Whatever the evidence on this claim may be, it was never the main focus of any investigation into the operations of the Clinton Foundation or Hillary's role as US Secretary of State. Such questions are mere diversions from the real issues such as Saudi funding of both the Clinton Foundation (confirmed by Wikileaks) and Hillary Clinton's awareness that Saudi Arabia funded Daesh / ISIS. Fact-checking has turned into a massive industry whose main purpose is to sanitise news and discredit alternative news sources.
In some left-leaning circles it is now mildly trendy to lampoon anyone who lends credence to news reports from sites they inevitably dismiss as alt-right, pro-Putin, conspiracy-theorising, misogynist, homophobic, transphobic, Neo-Nazi or possibly, if it suits their agenda, Islamic fundamentalist. Back in the day Western conformists would dismiss any unorthodox facts perhaps as Soviet propaganda. Most challenges to mainstream Western propaganda came not surprisingly from the left. The traditionalist right hated the Soviet Union so much they would support almost anything the US did to defeat it, including arming the Mujahideen or supporting repressive dictatorships in Saudi Arabia, Chile or El Salvador.
The tide began to turn in the post-Soviet era as the US and its allies waged wars on humanitarian pretences against regimes they accused of despotism, nationalism or both. The old left-right divide on US-led wars faded as the new universalist establishment won the support of the conformist left and even some genuine radical thinkers such as the late Christopher Hitchens, who exposed the misdemeanours of Henry Kissinger and then went on to support the 2003 invasion of Iraq. We no longer fought wars to prop up anti-communist religious extremists and dictatorships, enforce neoliberal economic policies or defeat the USSR's allies. Rather we now intervened militarily to spread democracy, human rights and enlightened Western values against anachronistic nationalists and/or religious conservatives. As ever, the establishment media accused opponents of Western military intervention of siding with the enemy, who was no longer the Soviet superpower, but a motley crew of isolated rogue states that failed to cooperate with the new corporate world order. To counter mainstream war propaganda you have to be an expert on Middle Eastern, Central Asian and Russian history. You also need access to reliable sources of information that challenge the globalist narrative. As a result most of us with a limited budget and limited time have to rely on alternative news sites and try to read between the lines. I always have time for John Pilger and no serious scholar of turn-of-millennium politics would be complete without reading Noam Chomsky and Ed Herman's Manufacturing Consent. The latter made the important point that most of the information you need to reach logical conclusions about world events is freely available, but submerged by a deluge of manufactured news, based on selective factoids and staged media events. To hide the truth the mass media do not have to lie, merely omit inconvenient news.
Real Fake News
While the mass media has allowed some debate about the US role in the destabilisation of the Middle and Russia's recent intervention in support of the Syrian government, much of the news we have seen on our TV screens has been filtered by an allegedly humanitarian organisation, the White Helmets. If you only ever get your news from the BBC, Guardian, CNN or Sky News, you will be none the wiser. Even traditionally anti-war MPs from the SNP and the leftwing of the Labour Party have recycled the line that most deaths in the Syria can be attributed to Bashar Al Assad's regime and that the Russians have bombed civilians indiscriminately while the peace-loving White Helmets saved innocent children from an evil alliance of the Russian and Syrian barrel bombs. Journalists Vanessa Beeley and Eva Bartlett have exposed the web of deceit behind the Syrian conflict, especially the strong ties between the White Helmets, Blackwater and Al Nusra, a Syrian opposition militia affiliated with Al Qaeda and with a record of brutal attacks on Christians. In 2013 the BBC broadcast Saving Syria's Children. The footage is no longer available from the BBC iPlayer and copies have been removed from YouTube. It purportedly showed Napalm attacks by Syrian government forces against civilians in a rebel-held area. Robert Stuart has analysed the documentary, which appeared fake from the start, and identified a number of actors used in other propaganda pieces. It was little more than a macro-simulation, yet served as the basis for widely publicised claims that the Syrian regime had deliberated targeted civilians with chemical weapons. Why would the Assad Dynasty wait forty years until the whole world was watching to start massacring its own people?
The more I learn about the Syrian conflict from people who have witnessed the operations of Western NGOs and opposition militias firsthand, the more I distrust the mainstream narrative and clearer it becomes that the US-led alliance destabilised the region. I want the freedom to read dissident news and challenge the truth that emanates from the corporate media. We are heading down a slippery slope to the kind of state-sanctioned censorship that China has imposed on its people.
If I had lived in the Soviet Union, as a natural rebel I would have probably listened to the BBC World Service or Voice of America to find out what's really going on in my country. The more the ruling classes censor the media, the more people begin to distrust it and the harder it is to sort the wheat from the chaff.
If we start censoring tabloid newspapers because they publish stories critical of mass immigration, itself a product of globalisation, we'll end up censoring dissident sites that challenge the disinformation of our mainstream media on matters of war and peace. In the end we will be unable to hold our governments to account because any hard facts that contradict their narrative will be taboo.
You cannot favour free speech only for a narrow range of opinions you deem acceptable. You have to defend people's right to express opinions you may find offensive or interpret facts in a manner you find at odds with reality. It seems our real rulers are playing the infantile left like a fiddle. They have now joined forces with the corporate left to demand censorship of opinions and news they deem as hate speech. Our future is uncertain. We may soon have the technology not only to monitor all human interactions and track people's movements, but to read people's minds and remotely administer psychoactive drugs. If we don't make a stand now against corporate interference in news gathering and intellectual freedom, it may soon be too late.
How President Trump could signal the demise of the USA as a superpower and how the globalist elite may switch allegiance to other centres of power.
In George Orwell's 1984 Oceania appeared to be in a never-ending war against Eastasia. Airstrip One, the new name for Great Britain, belonged to Oceania with North America and Australasia, but Eurasia stretched across continental Europe to Vladivostok. At least since Britain's WW2 alliance with the USA first against Nazi Germany and later against the former Soviet Union, the UK intelligentsia has consistently supported the US in its many deployments oversees. Admittedly the British government remained technically neutral over the Vietnam War, but the mainstream media gave the US State Department an easy time over the sheer scale of its war crimes in Indochina. Critical analysis came mainly from the left, whom we could split into pro-Soviet and anti-Soviet camps. Yet the carefree hedonism that accompanied the protest movements of the 1960s and 70s could not have existed in the same form in any other society. Students could stage colourful musical protests and develop a hippie counterculture precisely because of the affluence that their capitalist society provided. In the USSR you only had freedoms that the state explicitly permitted. While Americans could protest against racial segregation or unjust wars, Soviet citizens could not openly oppose the party line. Many anti-war rebels of the 1960s would become the entrepreneurs and neoconservatives of the 1980s and 90s. With the fall of the USSR, global capitalism was all that remained in most of the world. Even China embraced its own brand of crony capitalism managed by a one-party state. Yet the US did not stop waging wars in multiple conflict zones. It simply redeployed some resources from Western and Central Europe to the Middle East. The State Department's new goal was not the defeat of Soviet communism or the protection of Western Europe against a rival expansionist superpower, but the pursuance of a New World Order dominated by liberal democracy and free enterprise. Alas both stated goals were mere illusions. Personal freedom depended on widespread prosperity and social cohesion, while free enterprise depended on ideal market conditions, economic growth and healthy competition. In short the relatively successful mixed economy model that boosted living standards in North America and Western Europe in the 1960s and 70s relied on a fine balance between private enterprise, state interventionism, managed international trade and protectionism.
By opening up markets to global corporations and transferring powers to supranational organisations, rather than create a new world of commercial opportunities for an increasingly mobile and versatile labour force, the ruling elites have paradoxically expanded the role of governments and a wide range of non-governmental people management organisations. If you let your manufacturing industry relocate to low wage economies and let low-paid migrants do all the manual jobs that local workers used to, you have to offer your disenfranchised working classes alternative employment. For a while many bought the theory that old manufacturing jobs would be replaced by new jobs in retail, marketing, media and information technology. But big businesses first outsourced call centres to places like India or the Philippines and then replaced them with interactive Websites. The manufacturing jobs of the recent past are not coming back, because it will soon be cheaper to automate these tasks. If the US can no longer rely on steady stream of Mexican immigrants to pick fruit for peanuts, it can hire a team of talented robotics engineers to automate the whole process and thus save future generations of the humiliation of such back-breaking drudgery.
Rapid economic and technological developments have disempowered the working classes, or at least those unable to adapt. As a result, contrary to all the rhetoric who may hear about millions of new small businesses (usually contractors), we've seen a massive rise in the welfare-dependent population. As clever-accounting hides the true level of unemployment, it may be better to talk of underemployment, i.e. people employed only part time to do unrewarding jobs that serve no real practical purpose and who could not survive without some form of welfare subsidy. More disturbingly, the boom of this century's first decade was largely fuelled by debt. Big business sold millions of tonnes of consumer goods with a very limited shelf life that would be soon be superseded by further innovations. Clearly the economic numbers do not add up. Nobody on an average wage can conceivably afford the kind of lifestyle we see in American soap operas. Real estate inflation has long been much higher than retail inflation. More and more young Americans, just like their cousins in Western Europe, can no longer afford to get on the housing ladder, as the wealth gap grows. Traditionally the forgotten people of rural and suburban America would have voted Democrat. They did not need a tax cut, but more government help to get back to work. However, the last 8 years have only seen more jobs outsourced abroad, growing levels of unskilled immigration and record levels of welfare dependence. Trump's rhetoric on immigration and unfair trade deals appeals to more conservative Americans from the Rust Belt and Deep South. The Clinton campaign could only offer more of the same, while receiving massive funding from the same global corporations who outsourced manufacturing jobs and supported the US's disastrous wars in the Middle East. More than any other politician Hillary Clinton has advocated pro-active military interventionism combined with greater global convergence and high levels of immigration. If one slogan could resonate more with your average Joe than anything else, it was Trump's rallying cry of Americanism, not Globalism. The country that exported its brand of universalism to the rest of the world, now wishes to shield itself from the world it helped to create.
Deep in the belly of global finance is a man seldom mentioned in the mainstream media, George Soros. He doesn't just move currency markets, but has been active in fomenting protest movements against national governments that fail to cooperate with the global institutions Mr Soros favours. His Open Society Foundation has its tentacles in many organisations which masquerade as left-leaning grassroots movements (See Organizations Funded Directly by George Soros ) . His involvement in world affairs started shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall through various business schools and media outlets in former Warsaw Pact countries. But after a brief foray into the Balkans quagmire, Mr Soros turned his attention further afield funding pro-EU groups, such as the fanatically federalist European Movement. All these organisations share a few key features. They champion the rights of perceived minorities, especially migrants, and offer new international solutions to social injustices. While some campaigns seem innocent or even laudable, the solutions on offer always lead in one direction: greater global convergence. The trendy left has gone from being mildly critical of George Soros in the early 90s when they rightly viewed him a meddlesome billionaire banker, to brothers in arms. Soros-funded campaign groups, most notably those claiming to further migrant rights, have hired many left-leaning journalists and activists, who genuinely believe they are working for the greater good of humanity. Disasters, such as the regional conflict in Syria and Iraq, are presented as opportunities for refugees to enrich Western Europe with their diverse customs and immense talent. While Soros-funded activists are often critical of past Western intervention in the region, they are more focused on facilitating the movement of refugees rather than stopping the wars that purportedly caused the refugees to flee in the first place. In my experience most Soros-funded activists also recycle the orthodox line that the mainstream media endlessly promotes on the causes of such conflicts, i.e. they are inevitably blamed on local despots rather than foreign intervention, except when the intervening foreign power is conflict with globalist interests as in the case of the recent Russian intervention to help Syria defeat ISIS.
Three apparently disparate groups have thus converged in supporting a new universalist agenda. Together they call themselves the international community supported by major governments (such as the US, UK, Australia, France, Germany etc.), major corporations and an international intelligentsia of enlightened experts and human rights campaigners. Sometimes these groups are so intertwined, it's hard to tell them apart. Someone may start their career as a political activist for some noble cause, such as refugee rights, global hunger prevention or climate change awareness, then get a job with an international charity before moving to a global corporate services company like Price Waterhouse Coopers, Ernst and Young, Deloitte or KMPG with a stint in politics or media advocacy.
More disturbing, however, are the close ties between mercenaries and NGOs. The US has long deployed security contractors in conflict zones. These mercenaries are literally guns for hire, who may protect the mining interests of global corporations in African trouble spots such as Sierra Leone or Equatorial Guinea one year and the next be on a mission to train opposition forces in Syria or supplement the Iraqi government's ill-disciplined armed forces. One such group is Blackwater, recently rebranded Academi. Former British army officer and security expert James Le Mesurier, worked for Blackwater in its murderous operations in Iraq. In 2014 he founded the infamous White Helmets in Syria, allegedly to defend civilians in conflict zones and provide critical humanitarian and medical aid. At last we saw a merger of deceptively progressive media activism and the kind of dirty tricks operations many believed the CIA had ceased to undertake in Central America. We now have videographic evidence of Humanitarian aid workers colluding with the same Islamic fundamentalist militias that the US denies supporting. Well-intentioned politicians and former aid workers, such as the late Jo Cox, naively lent their support to this organisation and as a result many worldwise Guardian readers developed a new worldview that pitted the forces of progress represented by the EU, NATO and NGOs against the forces of reactionary nationalism personified by their new bÃƒÂƒÃ‚Âªtes noires of Bashar Al Assad and Vladimir Putin. This simplistic worldview could point to Assad's brutal repression and autocratic rule as well as Putin's alleged corruption and anachronistic views on homosexuality.
Many analysts, myself included, sought to explain recent military conflicts purely in terms of superpower politics and economic expedience, e.g. privileged access to key resources such as oil. It seemed logical to attribute US interventions in the Middle East to US corporate imperialism Others opted for convoluted explanations that typically implicated Israel. Thirteen years after the US occupied Iraq their Air Force is still bombing insurgents, while its ally Saudi Arabia is busy bombing the Houthi militia and loyalists in Yemen. Let su not forget the US's pivotal role in arming and funding opposition militias in Syria. The Middle East quagmire has led to the emergence of more virulent strands of Islamic fundamentalism whose influence has infected not only the Middle East and South Asia, but growing Muslim communities in Europe and North America. This begs the question to what extent do these wars benefit ordinary Americans? After all many of us fall into the trap of claiming that the Americans invaded Iraq and Afghanistan, the Americans destabilised Libya and Syria or the Americans sold arms to Saudi Arabia and Israel. In reality most Americans did no such thing. Their government did. Worse still even many politicians are woefully unaware of their government's role in destabilising much of the world. The US State Department will never admit to funding head-chopping Islamic extremists. It simply claims to have supported Syrian opposition forces who want to see the replacement of the current Baathist regime with a more democratic system. Traditionally a large cross section of patriotic Americans would have supported whatever the US military and secret services did abroad because they believed, mistakenly in my opinion, that such actions ultimately served to defend and broaden the reach of the liberal, democratic and free market values on which their country was founded or at least the kind of prosperous and socially cohesive society that had evolved by the late 1960s. However, many have begun to question this logic. How did US interventions in the Middle East help ordinary Americans back home? They may just have given the United States a few more years of cheap oil, thus delaying an inevitable transition to more more fuel-efficient vehicles. Yet our ruling elites expect North Americans and Europeans to pay the price of a never-ending series of wars, flows of migrants and refugees and resurgent Islamic fundamentalism, a rival strain of global cultural convergence. All for a few barrels of oil.
Something Bigger Is Afoot: Global Realignment
When the world learned that the US electorate had failed to endorse Hillary Clinton and had let a former reality TV star and property mogul Donald Trump win instead, the neoliberal media erupted in indignation. Throughout the campaign the BBC could only discuss how to prevent the accidental election of a populist demagogue because of wild conspiracy theories about Hillary's email server. As it became clear that Trump had indeed won and may break with over 30 years of military and political interventionism combined with free trade and open borders, the mainstream media began to change their tune. If the world's strongest economic power will no longer spearhead the globalist project because it jeopardises the security of its own citizens, who will? What follows is admittedly conjecture as neoconservatives within the Republican Party, not least those allied with Vice President Mike Pence, may keep the USA firmly within the globalist camp. The linchpin in this realignment is not Theresa May or Angela Merkel, but Vladimir Putin. There are now no major ideological differences between mainstream conservatives opinion in Russia and United States. They all support the same basic values of strong families, limited government, hard work and enterprise. Today only the government account for just 35.8% of the Russian economy and 41.6% of the US economy. By contrast the UK figure is 48.5% (France 56.1%, Germany 45.4%). A bilateral trade agreement between Russia and the US would be of huge mutual benefit. Russia has immense resources and the US still leads the world in structural engineering. In a near future where most mundane jobs can be automated, big business will no longer need a large pool of malleable cheap labour. Why should the US continue to waste vast resources trying to reshape Middle East and build a new world order in its image, if the cost vastly outweighs any benefits to its current citizens. A deal with Russia and continued friendly relations with Canada, Australia and Japan could give US businesses access to vast resources without the high political and military costs associated with interventions in the more densely populated regions of the world.
Yesterday Nick Clegg, the former leader of the British Liberal Democratic Party and passionate supporter of the European Union, voiced his concerns about Trump's alleged friendship with Vladimir Putin. After dismissing the idea of a European Army as a wild conjecture during the recent EU referendum debate, Mr Clegg urged Britain to align militarily the new EU Armed Forces to oppose Russian expansionism. Here Mr Clegg makes a fundamental error of judgement. While the USSR undoubtedly had expansionist aims and Soviet troops were until 1990 stationed as far west as Berlin and Prague, Russia only has a few border disputes with countries that were historically part of the Russian Empire and have large Russian speaking populations. Russia has no immediate strategic need to occupy Ukraine or invade tiny Estonia. Russia has plenty of land and resources and has managed surprisingly well with sanctions imposed by EU and US. However, it would like to maintain its longstanding commercial and cultural ties with these countries. Ukraine and Baltic States could prosper as intermediaries between Central Europe and Russia. Amazing the establishment media here hate Putin so much, they are willing to entertain the possibility of new military alliance, potentially with the USA, to oppose Russia. We must ask whose interests such a conflict would serve.
The worst human rights abuses in today's frenetic world occur, not unsurprisingly, in regions under the greatest environmental stress, i.e. those least able to provide their people with a comfortable standard of living, namely most of the Middle East, North and West Africa, Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, Burma and parts of Central America. Many of these countries are close allies of the US and/or NATO. How can one justify belligerence against Russia because it fails to share the West's values on homosexuality and has purportedly very high levels of corruption (though whether corruption is greater in Russia than in the US or EU is matter for reasonable debate), while selling arms to and collaborating closely with Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Bahrain ? These countries are not just repressive dictatorships with extreme levels of state-sanctioned corruption, they enforce a strict Islamic code on women's rights to education and workplace equality and outlaw homosexuality completely. If we cared about human rights, surely we should impose a trade embargo against these countries and refuse to buy any of their products until they adopt our standards of morality?
Let's forget about all the moral case for disengaging with the Middle East, the business case is much stronger. I disliked Donald Trump's simplistic rhetoric against Islamic extremists and his offensive bad hombre reference to illegal Mexican immigrants who statistically commit a very high percentage of crimes in the US. However, the USA cannot accommodate everyone in the world who would like to take their slice of American prosperity. Just consider Nigeria, with a current population of some 190 million and fertility rate still over 5 children per woman. Its population is projected to rise to some 500 million by 2050. Most Nigerians now live in or around major urban centres and are keen to emulate the consumption patterns of North Americans. Only a naive policy advisor could fail to envisage potential socio-environmental problems as hundreds of millions leave the developing world to seek prosperity in richer countries. One would have to be amazingly naive to believe that most of these new citizens of the affluent world will acquire the kind of high tech skills we will need in 2050. If the destiny of many of current US citizens is a life of welfare dependence under the guise of the basic income, why should we subsidise 100s of millions of new citizens in the US rather than Africa, the Middle East or elsewhere. If the likes of Amazon want a larger pool of keen consumers, do they really need to live in the United States? Moreover, if existing information technology can let us communicate instantly with people all over the world, do we need to move physically to another country to share our cultural experiences? Indeed we could live together more peacefully if each national community had its own cultural space where its own rules apply. Modern telecommunications ensure that we are still aware of other ways of life. If you think all women should conceal their bodies and faces, move to a country where such rules apply. If on the other hand you're quite happy to bare all at the beach on a hot summer's day, you may visit locales where naturism is tolerated. Believe me, over the next 50 years we will have plenty of contentious moral issues to debate. Should we allow euthanasia for mental illness sufferers or human cloning? Both these controversies have huge implications and thus must be held to the strictest standards of open public debate. This cannot be done in a world of poorly educated welfare claimants dependent on corporate benevolence.
Personally, I suspect many will soon be very disappointed with Donald Trump's presidency, but not because he will reintroduce anachronistic discrimination against women, blacks or homosexuals (a mere figment of the infantile left's imagination), but because he will be a prisoner of the same neocon lobbyists who held sway under Clinton, Bush and Obama. However, if his administration seeks peace with Russia and withdraws from Middle East after eliminating ISIS, while renegotiating trade deals in the interests of working class Americans, the globalist cabal may well move to Berlin. If NATO splits, it will not because the USA abandoned Europe, but because globalists want war with Russia.
I just don't know how they can pull this off without involving other key military players such as Saudi Arabia (the world 4th largest military spender), India or even China. If you imagine Europe 20 years from now with a large and politically engaged Muslim population allied with Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan (and what about Iran?), the mind boggles. We'd have a Middle Euroasian Union comprising the Arab World, European Union, South West Asia, North Africa and possibly West Africa as far as Nigeria. We could call this new superbloc, Globalistan. Its official religion would be Political Correctness and its official language Globish, with only partial mutual intelligibility with Oceanic English.