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"Who controls the food supply controls the people; who controls the energy can control whole continents; who controls money can control the world" - Henry Kissinger

and yet...

"Sooner or later everyone sits down to a banquet of consequences" – Robert Louis Stevenson

You're being served a crock - you don't have to eat it

If you cannot entertain the idea that your government may be lying to you about what’s happening in the Middle East; if you cannot except the possibility that finding and telling the ‘truth’ is not the primary agenda of print media like the NYT, the WaPo, or the FT…not the guiding light of televisual media like CNN, Fox, and the BBC…then you should probably not bother reading any further - this piece is a waste of your time.

If you are still here…please read the following comments and ask yourself which one rings the most ‘truth’ for you. Here’s number one:

“This landmark agreement includes the announcement of a $110 billion Saudi-funded defence purchase—and we will be sure to help our Saudi friends to get a good deal from our great American defence companies. This agreement will help the Saudi military to take a greater role in security operations.

We have also started discussions with many of the countries present today on strengthening partnerships, and forming new ones, to advance security and stability across the Middle East and beyond.

Later today, we will make history again with the opening of a new Global Centre for Combating Extremist Ideology—located right here, in this central part of the Islamic World.

This ground-breaking new centre represents a clear declaration that Muslim-majority countries must take the lead in combatting radicalization, and I want to express our gratitude to King Salman for this strong demonstration of leadership”

And here’s number two:

“The American President has no policies. There are policies drawn by the American institutions, which control the American regime, which are the intelligence agencies, the Pentagon, the big arms and oil companies, and financial institutions, in addition to some other lobbies, which influence American decision-making. The American President merely implements these policies, and the evidence is that when Trump tried to move on a different track, during and after his election campaign, he couldn’t. He came under a ferocious attack. As we have seen in the past few weeks, he changed his rhetoric completely and subjected himself to the terms of the deep American state, or the deep American regime. That’s why it is unrealistic and a complete waste of time to make an assessment of the American President’s foreign policy, for he might say something; but he ultimately does what these institutions dictate to him. This is not new. This has been on-going American policy for decades”

I’ll bet a Jackson to a donut that number two is closer to your experience of the ‘truth’, than number one…which, if you’ve been paying attention to events in the Middle-East, probably sent you scurrying for a brown paper bag…welcome back.  

You may have already guessed who said what, but if you’re still wondering: Number one was Donald Trump speaking in Riyadh last week. Number two was Bashar al-Assad, from an interview he gave to teleSUR. There is a transcript of that interview, along with excellent comment and analysis here:

- Brandon Turbeville: ‘Syria’s Assad Just Explained How The U.S. Really Works’

But for me, the following says it best:

The only thing keeping westerners from seeing through the lies that they’ve been told about Syria is the unquestioned assumption that their own government could not possibly be that evil. They have no trouble believing that a foreigner from a Muslim-majority country could be gratuitously using chemical weapons on children at the most strategically disastrous time possible and bombing his own civilians for no discernible reason other than perhaps sheer sexual sadism, but the possibility that their government is making those things up in order to manufacture consent for regime change is ruled out before any critical analysis of the situation even begins.

Despite the evil and unforgivable invasion of Iraq having happened a mere fourteen years ago, sold to the public based on nothing but lies and mass media propaganda, mainstream America is unwilling to consider the possibility that this is happening again. Unwilling to turn and face the implications of what this would mean for their worldview, their self-image, and the entire system they’ve developed for examining and interpreting their experience of their lives up until this point”

- Caitlin Johnstone: “You only hate Assad because your TV told you to”

Personally, I have absolutely no problem entertaining the idea that we have agencies in the west that are capable of murdering innocent people, of pinning war crimes on their ‘opponents’, of spinning a narrative that is designed to demonise the ‘enemy’ and ‘justify’ war.  Governments have been doing that for centuries.

I do not have any qualms with the idea that oil, gas, dollars and ‘power’ are the motivating factors behind our government’s actions – that the moral outrage they spout is turned on and off depending on who is doing the killing and the dying. I haven’t heard Theresa May condemning the slaughter of children in Yemen.  Have you?  That’s because the UK government, my government, is terribly keen to sell even more weapons to Saudi Arabia…and she knows that killing kids in Yemen is where many of them end up…it’s just that Theresa doesn’t like to talk about it – she’s shy like that.

Neither do I have trouble with the notion that our media is either complicit with this, or just plain stupid – I’ve spent months reading Gideon Rachman and Philip Stephens at the FT for God’s sake – ‘clueless’ doesn’t do it justice.

And neither do I think that our politicians have the balls or the backbone required to ‘tell the truth and shame the devil’.  If you were President of the United States could you have stood up in front of that crowd of creeps in Riyadh… people who fund terrorism, head-chopping, woman stoning…and God knows what else…and said this:

“I want to express our gratitude to King Salman for this strong demonstration of leadership”

No you couldn’t, could you?  And if you put any credence on anything Trump says, neither could he just a few weeks ago when he was castigating Clinton for her Saudi links.  Something has changed.  Somebody or something has gotten inside the Donald’s brain and rewired a few things. The question in my mind is this: Is he active, complicit, or stupid?  A killer, a liar, or a dummy? Because as sure as hell, he is not telling the truth.

And I have a similar question for the media.  For people like Rachman and Stephens at the FT, and their equivalents at the other so called ‘quality’ outlets: Are you going to be complicit, or are you going to tell the truth?  Are you a liar, a dummy, or a journalist?

If you want more on this, go to the Caitlin Johnstone article.  As well as her analysis there is a video from independent journalist Vanessa Beeley, who’s been on the ground in the Middle East. There’s also a video of comments made by the great John Pilger - a guy who was doing real journalism when the current crop of platitude pedlars were still trying to make a name for themselves at the Oxford debating society. Here’s the link again:

- Caitlin Johnstone: “You only hate Assad because your TV told you to”

I hope you’re having a good holiday weekend – you’re going to need your strength soon…

Best wishes, MarkGB


Sleight of hand, sleight of mouth

Truth Still Struggling