Subject: ON CIVIL SOCIETY, THE HUMAN PSYCHE, AND IMPERIAL GRAND STATEGY.
6 September 2014
Dear Colleagues and Friends of CEIMSA,
In this period of war propaganda and psychological warfare, we have returned to a reading of Freud’s classics in an attempt to disarm those who would manipulate us for the greater good of Imperial Wealth. As Marx wrote, “there is no royal road to science;” but we ignore the attempt at scientific understanding at great risk to ourselves and to our environment. Freud’s monumental attempts to delineate the constituent parts of the human psyche in functional terms remains a landmark effort to emancipate mankind from the servitude of “normative behavior” at a time when incest, rape, corporal punishment, racism, and militarism were socially acceptable forms of behavior.
Sigmund Freud's (1856-1939) popular book, Psychopathology of Everyday Life (1901), is an analysis of the unconscious sources of ordinary errors and lapses, such as forgetting names, words, mistakes in speech, reading and writing, erroneous actions, and holding superstitious beliefs.
“I therefore differ from a superstitious person,” wrote Freud in 1901, “in the following manner :”
I do not believe that an occurrence in which my mental life takes no part can teach me anything hidden concerning the future shaping of reality; but I do believe that an unintentional manifestation of my own mental activity surely contains something concealed with belong only to y mental life --that is, I believe in outer (real) chance, but not in inner (psychic) accidents. With the superstitious person the case is reversed: he knows nothing of the motive of his chance and faulty actions, he believes in the existence of psychic contingencies; he is therefore inclined to attribute meaning to external chance, which manifests itself in actual occurrence, and to see in the accident a means of expression for something hidden outside of him. There are two differences between me and the superstitious person: fist, he projects the motive to the outside, while I look for it in myself; second, he explains the accident by an event which I trace to a thought. What he considers hidden corresponds to the unconscious with me, and the compulsion not to let chance pass as chance, but to explain it as common to both of us.
Thus I admit that this conscious ignorance and unconscious knowledge of the motivation of psychic accidentalness is one of the psychic roots of superstition Because the superstitious person knows nothing of the motivation of his own accidental actions, and because the fact of this motivation strives for a place in his recognition, he is compelled to dispose of them by displacing them into the outer world. . . . The dim perception . . . of psychic factors and relations (which naturally has nothing of the character of perception) of the unconscious was taken as a model in the construction of a transcendental reality, which is destined to be changed again by science into psychology of the unconscious. (pp.144-145)
Also mistakes in reading and writing do not lack examples in which more remote and more complicated motivations can be recognized.
There is no doubt that the disturbances of the speech functions occur more easily and make less demand on the disturbing forces than other psychic acts.
But one is on different ground when it comes to the examination of forgetting in the literal sense --i.e., the forgetting of past experiences. (To distinguish this forgetting from the others we designate sensu strictiori the forgetting of proper names and foreign words . . ., as 'slips'; and the forgetting of resolutions as 'omissions'.) The principle conditions of the normal process in forgetting are unknown. We are also reminded of the fact that not all is forgotten which we believe to be. Our explanation here deals only with those cases in which the forgetting arouses our astonishment, in so far as it infringes the rule that the unimportant is forgotten, which the important matter is guarded by memory. Analysis of thee examples of forgetting which seem to demand a special explanation shows that the motive of forgetting is always an unwillingness to recall something which may evoke painful feelings. We come to the conjecture that this motive universally strives for expression in psychic life, but is inhibited through other and contrary forces from regularly manifesting itself. The extent and significance of this dislike to recall painful impressions seems worthy of the most painstaking psychologic (sic) investigation.
I can perhaps give the following outline concerning the mechanism of actual forgetting. The memory material succumbs in general to two influences, condensation and disfigurement. Disfigurement is the work of the tendencies dominating the psychic life, and directs itself above all against the affective remnants of memory traces which maintain a more resistive attitude towards condensation. The traces which have grown indifferent merge into a process of condensation without opposition; in addition it may be observed that tendencies of disfigurement also feed on the indifferent material, because they have not been gratified where they wished to manifest themselves. As these processes of condensation and disfigurement continue for long periods during which all fresh experiences act upon the transformation of the memory content, it is our belief that it is time that makes memory uncertain and indistinct. It is quite probable that in forgetting there can really be no question of direct function to time. From the repressed memory traces it can be verified that they suffer no changes even in the longest periods. The unconscious, at all events, knows no time limit. The most important as well as the most peculiar character of psychic fixation consists in the fact that all impressions are on the one hand retained in the same form as they were received, and also in the forms that they have assumed in their further development. This state of affairs cannot be elucidated by any comparison from any other sphere. By virtue of this theory every former state of the memory content may thus be restored, even though all original relations have long been replaced by newer ones.(pp.155-157)
In his last major work, Civilization and its Discontents (1930), Freud examined the role played by repression in society, as a whole, compared to that in the life of an individual.
The analogy between the process of civilization and the path of individual development may be extended in an important respect. It can be asserted that the community, too, evolves a super-ego under whose influence cultural development proceeds. It would be a tempting task for anyone who has a knowledge of human civilizations to follow out this analogy in detail. ... (p.88)
I believe the line of thought which seeks to trace in the phenomena of cultural development the part played by a super-ego promises still further discoveries. I hasten to come to a close. But there is one question which I can hardly evade. If the development of civilization has such a far-reaching similarity to the development of the individual and if it employs the same methods, may we not be justified in reaching the diagnosis that, under the influence of cultural urges, some civilizations, or some epochs of civilization –possibly the whole of mankind—have become ‘neurotic’? . . . An analytic dissection of such neuroses might lead to therapeutic recommendations which could lay claim to great practical interest. I would not say that an attempt of this kind to carry psycho-analysis over to the cultural community was absurd or doomed to be fruitless. But we should have to be very cautious and not forget that, after all, we are only dealing with analogies and that it is dangerous, not only with men but also with concepts, to tear them from the sphere in which they have originated and been evolved. Moreover, the diagnosis of communal neuroses is faced with a special difficulty. In an individual neurosis we take as our starting-point the contrast that distinguishes the patient from his environment, which is assumed to be ‘normal’. For a group all of whose members are affected by one and the same disorder no such background could exist; it would have to be found elsewhere. And as regards the therapeutic application of our knowledge, what would be the use of the most correct analysis of social neuroses, since no one posses authority to impose such a therapy upon the group? But in spite of all these difficulties, we may expect that one day someone will venture to embark upon a pathology of cultural communities.(p.91)
‘Natural ethics’, as it is called, has nothing to offer here except the narcissistic satisfaction of being able to think oneself better than others. At this point the ethics based on religion introduces its promise of a better after-life. But so long as virtue is not rewarded here on earth, ethics will, I fancy, preach in vain. I too think it quite certain that a real change in the relations of human beings to possessions would be of more help in this direction than any ethical commands; but the recognition of this fact among socialists has been obscured and made useless for practical purposes by fresh idealistic misconception of human nature. [Here Freud is referring to the abolition of private property and the call for call for sexual freedom to replace the family. He maintains that such social reforms would not abate the aggressive instincts of our species and that these instincts would simply manifest themselves in other ways.](p.90)
The fateful question for the human species seems to me to be whether and to what extent their cultural development will succeed in mastering the disturbance of their communal life by the human instinct of aggression and self-destruction. It may be that in this respect precisely the present time deserves a special interest. Men have gained control over the forces of nature to such an extent that with their help they would have no difficulty in exterminating one another to the last man. They know this, and hence comes a large part of their current unrest, their unhappiness and their mood of anxiety. And now it is to be expected that the other of the two ‘Heavenly Powers’ ..., eternal Eros, will make an effort to assert himself in the struggle with his equally immortal adversary. But who can foresee with what success and with what result?(p.92)
In this work Freud also established himself as a non-religious thinker. In his famous reply to an earlier letter sent to him by the French writer Romain Rolland, he states that he never experienced the spiritual ‘oceanic’ feelings of ‘oneness’ with the world, which Rolland suggested might be “the source of religious energy which is seized upon by various Churches and religious systems….”
From my own experience I could not convince myself of the primary nature of such a feeling. But this gives me no right to deny that it does in fact occur in other people. The only question is whether it is being correctly interpreted and whether it ought to be regarded as the fons et orige of the whole need for religion.
… The idea of men’s receiving an intimation of their connection with the world around them through an immediate feeling which is from the outset directed to that purpose sounds so strange and fits in so badly with the fabric of our psychology that one is justified in attempting to discover a psycho-analytic –that is-, a genetic explanation of such a feeling. The following line of thought suggests itself. Normally, there is nothing of which we are more certain than the feeling of our self, of our own ego. This ego appears to us as something autonomous and unitary, marked off distinctly from everything else. That such an appearance is deceptive, and that on the contrary the ego is continued inward, without any sharp delimitation, into an unconscious mental entity which we designate as the id and for which it serves as a kind of façade –this was a discovery first made by psycho-analytic research, which should still have much more to tell us about the relation of the ego to the id. But towards the outside, at any rate, the ego seems to maintain clear and sharp lines of demarcation. There is only one state –admittedly an unusual state, but not one that can be stigmatized as pathological—in which it does not do this. At the height of being in love the boundary between ego and object threatens to melt away. Against all the evidence of his senses, a man who is in love declares that ‘I’ and ‘you’ are one, and is prepared to behave as if it were a fact. … What can be temporarily done away with by a physiological [i.e. normal] function must also, of course, be liable to be disturbed by pathological processes. Pathology has made us acquainted with a great number of states in which the boundary lines between the ego and the external world become uncertain or in which they are actually drawn incorrectly. There are cases in which part5s of a person’s own body, even portions of his own mental life –his perceptions, thoughts and feelings-- , appear alien t5o him and as not belonging to his ego; there are other cases in which he ascribes to the external world things that clearly originate in his own ego and that ought to be acknowledged by it. Thus even the feeling of our own ego is subject to disturbances and the boundaries of the ego are not constant.(pp.12-13)
… An infant at the breast does not as yet distinguish his ego from the external world as the source of the sensation flowing in upon him. He gradually learns to do so, in response to various promptings. He must be very strongly impressed by the fact that some sources of excitation, which he will later recognize as his own bodily organs, can provide him with sensations at any moment, whereas other sources evade him from time to time –among them what he desires most of all, his mother’s breast—and only reappear as a result of his screaming for help. In this way there is for the first time set over against the ego an ‘object’, in the form of something which exists ‘outside’ and which is only forced to appear by a special action. A further incentive to a disengagement of the ego from the general mass of sensations –that is, to the recognition of an ‘outside’, an external world—is provided by the frequent, manifold and unavoidable sensations of pain and unpleasure the removal and avoidance of which is enjoined by the pleasure principle, in the exercise of its unrestricted domination. A tendency arises to separate from the ego everything that can become a sou54rce of such unpleasure, to throw it outside and to create a pure pleasure-ego which is confronted by a strange and threatening ‘outside’. The boundaries of this primitive pleasure-eco cannot escape rectification through experience. Some of the things that one is unwilling to give up, because they give pleasure, are nevertheless not ego by object; and some sufferings that one seeks to expel turn out to be inseparable from the ego in virtue of their internal origin. One comes to learn a procedure by which, through a deliberate direction of one’s sensory activities and through suitable muscular action, one can differentiate between what is internal –what belongs to the ego—and what is external –what emanate from the outer world. In this way one makes the first step towards the introduction of the reality principle which is to dominate future development. This differentiation, of course, serves the practical purpose of enabling one to defend oneself against sensations of unpleasure which one actually feels or with which one is threatened. In order to fend off certain unpleasurable excitations arising from within, the ego can use no other methods than those which it uses against unpleasure coming from without, and this is the starting-point of important pathological disturbances.(pp.13-15)
Thus we are perfectly willing to acknowledge that the ‘oceanic’ feeling exists in many people, and we are inclined to trace it back to an early phase of ego-feeling. The further question then arises, what claim this feeling has to be regarded as the source of religious needs.(p.19)
Freud concluded this discussion with a quote from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s (1749-1832) poem, Zahme Xenien IX :
He who posses science and art also has religion;
But he who possesses neither of those two, let him have religion!’(p.21)
The 11 items below will remind CEIMSA readers that to remain well-informed of current events is essential for our mental health, that we stand on the shoulders of giants for our conceptual understanding today, and that we diminish these historic intellectuals at our own peril: their fall is our own! We submit as an axiomatic truth, that a spiritually mutilated people can be expected to have ideas which match their state of mind . . . .
Item A., from Information Clearing House, is a video interview with British MP George Galloway discussing the recent attack upon him by a Zionist fanatic in London.
Item C., from Information Clearing House, is an article by Paul Craig Roberts on the decline of the US labor force and the US government lies that serve the rich.
Item D., from Mark Crispin Miller, founder of News from the Underground, is an attempt to cut through the war propaganda and military PsyOps that enshroud the fighting in Ukraine.
Item E., from Information Clearing House, is an article by Mike Whitney on the downing of Malaysia Flight 17.
Item F., from Mark Crispin Miller, is a report from Craig John Murray, former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan who calls the UK ‘a Rogue State' today and a ‘Danger to World’.
Item G., also from Mark Crispin Miller, is an article by Robert Parry in quest of ‘The Big Lie’ in Ukraine, so close to the eyeball that it cannot be seen.
Item H., from The New York Times, is a video recording of the recent speech by Russian President Vladimir Putin on laying out his first proposal to end the Ukraine conflict.
Item I., from Democracy Now !, is a news broadcast discussion with Princeton University Professor Stephen Cohen on nuclear powers withholding the details of Malaysia Flight 17.
Item J., from Truth Out, is an article by
And finally, we invite CEIMSA readers to view a classic documentary of class struggle in 20th-Century America.
Directed by Barbara Kopple
[It's hard to believe that some 40 years after the Depression, there were parts of Appalachia that were hardly better off than they were in the 1930s. The care-worn faces of the miners and their families speak volumes. They're the tough, proud faces of people struggling to make a living the way that their parents and grandparents did in generations past.
Kopple skillfully weaves archival footage and traditional labor songs through the film to give a historical perspective to the strike against Eastover Mining Company. Above and beyond the labor issues, the film takes a hard look at the living conditions, health issues, and poverty faced by Harlan's residents, the human toll that goes along with the mining industry.]
Professor of American Studies
University of Grenoble-3
Director of Research
University of Paris-Nanterre
Center for the Advanced Study of American Institutions and Social Movements
The University of California-San Diego
British MP George Galloway speaks to Nargess Moballeghi about the incident.
If you were invaded...what would you do?
If you were invaded...what would you do?
4 Minute Video
The US economy can no longer create enough livable jobs to keep up with the growth in the working age population.
The labor force participation rate has declined from 66.5% in 2007 prior to the last downturn to 62.7% today. This decline in the participation rate is difficult to reconcile with the alleged economic recovery that began in June 2009 and supposedly continues today. Normally a recovery from recession results in a rise in the labor force participation rate.
A Lie That Serves The Rich
The Truth About The American Economy
by Paul Craig Roberts, John Titus, and Dave Kranzler
What they're fighting for in East Ukraine (MUST-SEE).
Here's an indispensable corrective to the jive that's been so copiously churned out by the US/European press ever since the US started this horrific crisis back in February.
To see the version with English subtitles, you may need to put the video on full screen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yH35raTPVu8
Watershed press conference by top Novorussian officials
There is no overstating the importance of this press conference by by Alexander V. Zakharchenko, Chairman of The Council of Ministers of The Donetsk National Republic. As as soon as I saw it myself, I asked two of our Teams (Russian and Oceania) to work together on a translation as fast as possible. They did as stellar job and I can now share this video with you. I want to especially mention and thank the following people:
To all of you we all - and I
personally - owe a huge THANK YOU for your fantastic work, professional skills
and heroic dedication to bring the voice of Novorussia
to the rest of the world. In this "information war" the speed
at which you made this crucial press conference available is a major victory
against the Empire's propaganda machine!
This is the first time that we hear what the new - post Strelkov - commanders have to say. This is the first time that the Novorussians are going on the offensive. And this is the first time that we get to hear the views, values and ideas of the people fighting against the Nazi junta. This is truly a watershed moment.
Many thanks and kind regards,
PS: There is an important error in the translation: at 16:53, the subtitles say "we did not capture any regional administrations". They SHOULD say "we were not THE FIRST to capture any regional administrations"
The MSM doesn’t care about identifying the criminals who killed 298 passengers.
There is no innocent explanation for the sudden disappearance of MH17 from the media and political spotlight. The plane’s black box has been held in Britain for examination for weeks, and US and Russian spy satellites and military radar were intensively scanning east Ukraine at the time of the crash. The claim that Washington does not have detailed knowledge of the circumstances of the crash and the various forces involved is not credible.
What they're fighting for in East Ukraine (MUST-SEE).
Craig John Murray, former ambassador to Uzbekistan and former Rector of the University of Dundee, a British blogger, political activist.
ST ANDREWS, (SCOTLAND), August 28 (RIA Novosti) Mark Hirst – The United Kingdom as a rogue state and a danger to the world, a former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan Craig Murray said.
“The British Government is deeply, deeply immoral. They don’t care how many people they kill abroad if it advances them. Anybody who votes No [to Scottish independence] is voting to support a pathological state which is a danger in the world, a rogue state and a state prepared to go to war to make a few people wealthy,” Murray said in a speech made ahead of an historic vote on Scottish independence to be held in just three weeks.
He told an open public meeting in St Andrews that the actions he witnesses as a senior diplomat had changed his “world view” and said it was now “impossible to be proud of the United Kingdom.”
“I think it is impossible to be proud of the United Kingdom. I think when we invaded Iraq we did to the United Nations what Hitler and Mussolini did to the League of Nations,” Murray added. “I think what we have done since where the truth is often much hidden, if you look at Libya it is a disaster now we bombed it and we killed 15,000 people when NATO bombed Sirte, something they never told you on the BBC. Did we make it better? No,” a diplomat stated.
“I’ve seen things from the inside and the UK’s foreign interventions are almost always about resources. It is every bit as corrupt as others have indicated. It is not an academic construct, the system stinks,” a former British Ambassador said.
Murray, who is a member of “English for independence” a group of English born residents living in Scotland who back Scottish independence, said that although he had once been proud to be British, the UK’s involvement in rendition, torture and the invasion of Iraq had altered his allegiance.
“I was a British diplomat for 20 years. I was always very patriotic to be British and I was very, very proud of it,” he stated.
“When I first became a British Ambassador and first went out in my own flag car with the Union Jack flying on the front I had a lump in my throat. It was a proud moment for me. It was only six months after that I discovered that in the country where I was Ambassador we and the Americans were shipping people in order for them to be tortured. Some of them were tortured to death,” Murray added.
“Now as you may imagine, my world view changed,” he added.
“It was at the same time, a month later, that we invaded Iraq against the will of the Security Council. Not just without the permission of the Security Council but in the full knowledge that if it had gone to the Security Council we would have been voted down,” the former diplomat said.
“I know for certain - as I used to be head of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office unit that monitored Iraqi weapons of mass destruction - I know for certain that they knew there weren’t any. It wasn’t a mistake, it was a lie,” Murray concluded.
Former Secretary General of NATO, Lord George Robertson earlier warned Scottish independence would have a “cataclysmic” impact on the world.
Robertson, a former British MP, told an audience in the United States, that “the loudest cheers for the break-up of Britain would be from our adversaries and from our enemies. For the second military power in the West to shatter this year would be cataclysmic in geopolitical terms.”
Voters in Scotland will go to the polls on 18th September and will be asked one question, “Should Scotland become an independent country?”
Who's telling the "Big Lie" on Ukraine?
Who’s Telling the ‘Big Lie’ on Ukraine?
by Robert Parry
[Exclusive: Official Washington draws the Ukraine crisis in black-and-white colors with Russian President Putin the bad guy and the U.S.-backed leaders in Kiev the good guys. But the reality is much more nuanced, with the American people consistently misled on key facts, writes Robert Parry.]
If you wonder how the world could stumble into World War III – much as it did into World War I a century ago – all you need to do is look at the madness that has enveloped virtually the entire U.S. political/media structure over Ukraine where a false narrative of white hats vs. black hats took hold early and has proved impervious to facts or reason.
The original lie behind Official Washington’s latest “group think” was that Russian President Vladimir Putin instigated the crisis in Ukraine as part of some diabolical scheme to reclaim the territory of the defunct Soviet Union, including Estonia and other Baltic states. Though not a shred of U.S. intelligence supported this scenario, all the “smart people” of Washington just “knew” it to be true.
Russian President Vladimir Putin addresses a crowd on May 9, 2014, celebrating the 69th anniversary of victory over Nazi Germany and the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Crimean port city of Sevastopol from the Nazis. (Russian government photo)
Yet, the once-acknowledged – though soon forgotten – reality was that the crisis was provoked last year by the European Union proposing an association agreement with Ukraine while U.S. neocons and other hawkish politicos and pundits envisioned using the Ukraine gambit as a way to undermine Putin inside Russia.
The plan was even announced by U.S. neocons such as National Endowment for Democracy President Carl Gershman who took to the op-ed page of the Washington Post nearly a year ago to call Ukraine “the biggest prize” and an important interim step toward eventually toppling Putin in Russia.
Gershman, whose NED is funded by the U.S. Congress, wrote: “Ukraine’s choice to join Europe will accelerate the demise of the ideology of Russian imperialism that Putin represents. … Russians, too, face a choice, and Putin may find himself on the losing end not just in the near abroad but within Russia itself.”
In other words, from the start, Putin was the target of the Ukraine initiative, not the instigator. But even if you choose to ignore Gershman’s clear intent, you would have to concoct a bizarre conspiracy theory to support the conventional wisdom about Putin’s grand plan.
To believe that Putin was indeed the mastermind of the crisis, you would have to think that he somehow arranged to have the EU offer the association agreement last year, then got the International Monetary Fund to attach such draconian “reforms” that Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych backed away from the deal.
Then, Putin had to organize mass demonstrations at Kiev’s Maidan square against Yanukovych while readying neo-Nazi militias to act as the muscle to finally overthrow the elected president and replace him with a regime dominated by far-right Ukrainian nationalists and U.S.-favored technocrats. Next, Putin had to get the new government to take provocative actions against ethnic Russians in the east, including threatening to outlaw Russian as an official language.
And throw into this storyline that Putin – all the while – was acting like he was trying to help Yanukovych defuse the crisis and even acquiesced to Yanukovych agreeing on Feb. 21 to accept an agreement brokered by three European countries calling for early Ukrainian elections that could vote him out of office. Instead, Putin was supposedly ordering neo-Nazi militias to oust Yanukovych in a Feb. 22 putsch, all the better to create the current crisis.
While such a fanciful scenario would make the most extreme conspiracy theorist blush, this narrative was embraced by prominent U.S. politicians, including ex-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and “journalists” from the New York Times to CNN. They all agreed that Putin was a madman on a mission of unchecked aggression against his neighbors with the goal of reconstituting the Russian Empire. Clinton even compared him to Adolf Hitler.
This founding false narrative was then embroidered by a consistent pattern of distorted U.S. reporting as the crisis unfolded. Indeed, for the past eight months, we have seen arguably the most one-sided coverage of a major international crisis in memory, although there were other crazed MSM stampedes, such as Iraq’s non-existent WMD in 2002-03, Iran’s supposed nuclear bomb project for most of the past decade, Libya’s “humanitarian crisis” of 2011, and Syria’s sarin gas attack in 2013.
But the hysteria over Ukraine – with U.S. officials and editorialists now trying to rally a NATO military response to Russia’s alleged “invasion” of Ukraine – raises the prospect of a nuclear confrontation that could end all life on the planet.
The ‘Big Lie’ of the ‘Big Lie’
This madness reached new heights with a Sept. 1 editorial in the neoconservative Washington Post, which led many of the earlier misguided stampedes and was famously wrong in asserting that Iraq’s concealment of WMD was a “flat fact.” In its new editorial, the Post reprised many of the key elements of the false Ukraine narrative in the Orwellian context of accusing Russia of deceiving its own people.
The “through-the-looking-glass” quality of the Post’s editorial was to tell the “Big Lie” while accusing Putin of telling the “Big Lie.” The editorial began with the original myth about the aggression waged by Putin whose “bitter resentment at the Soviet empire’s collapse metastasized into seething Russian nationalism. …
“In prosecuting his widening war in Ukraine, he has also resurrected the tyranny of the Big Lie, using state-controlled media to twist the truth so grotesquely that most Russians are in the dark — or profoundly misinformed — about events in their neighbor to the west. …
“In support of those Russian-sponsored militias in eastern Ukraine, now backed by growing ranks of Russian troops and weapons, Moscow has created a fantasy that plays on Russian victimization. By this rendering, the forces backing Ukraine’s government in Kiev are fascists and neo-Nazis, a portrayal that Mr. Putin personally advanced on Friday, when he likened the Ukrainian army’s attempts to regain its own territory to the Nazi siege of Leningrad in World War II, an appeal meant to inflame Russians’ already overheated nationalist emotions.”
The Post continued: “Against the extensive propaganda instruments available to Mr. Putin’s authoritarian regime, the West can promote a fair and factual version of events, but there’s little it can do to make ordinary Russians believe it. Even in a country with relatively unfettered access to the Internet, the monopolistic power of state-controlled media is a potent weapon in the hands of a tyrant.
“Mr. Putin’s Big Lie shows why it is important to support a free press where it still exists and outlets like Radio Free Europe that bring the truth to people who need it.”
Yet the truth is that the U.S. mainstream news media’s distortion of the Ukraine crisis is something that a real totalitarian could only dream about. Virtually absent from major U.S. news outlets – across the political spectrum – has been any significant effort to tell the other side of the story or to point out the many times when the West’s “fair and factual version of events” has been false or deceptive, starting with the issue of who started this crisis.
Blinded to Neo-Nazis
In another example, the Post and other mainstream U.S. outlets have ridiculed the idea that neo-Nazis played any significant role in the putsch that ousted Yanukovych on Feb. 22 or in the Kiev regime’s brutal offensive against the ethnic Russians of eastern Ukraine.
However, occasionally, the inconvenient truth has slipped through. For instance, shortly after the February coup, the BBC described how the neo-Nazis spearheaded the violent seizure of government buildings to drive Yanukovych from power and were then rewarded with four ministries in the regime that was cobbled together in the coup’s aftermath.
When ethnic Russians in the south and east resisted the edicts from the new powers in Kiev, some neo-Nazi militias were incorporated into the National Guard and dispatched to the front lines as storm troopers eager to fight and kill people whom some considered “Untermenschen” or sub-human.
Even the New York Times, which has been among the most egregious violators of journalistic ethics in covering the Ukraine crisis, took note of Kiev’s neo-Nazi militias carrying Nazi banners while leading attacks on eastern cities – albeit with this embarrassing reality consigned to the last three paragraphs of a long Times story on a different topic. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “NYT Discovers Ukraine’s Neo-Nazis at War.”]
Later, the conservative London Telegraph wrote a much more detailed story about how the Kiev regime had consciously recruited these dedicated storm troopers, who carried the Wolfsangel symbol favored by Hitler’s SS, to lead street fighting in eastern cities that were first softened up by army artillery. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “Ignoring Ukraine’s Neo-Nazi Storm Troopers.”]
You might think that unleashing Nazi storm troopers on a European population for the first time since World War II would be a big story – given how much coverage is given to far less significant eruptions of neo-Nazi sentiment in Europe – but this ugly reality in Ukraine disappeared quickly into the U.S. media’s memory hole. It didn’t fit the preferred good guy/bad guy narrative, with the Kiev regime the good guys and Putin the bad guy.
Now, the Washington Post has gone a step further dismissing Putin’s reference to the nasty violence inflicted by Kiev’s neo-Nazi battalions as part of Putin’s “Big Lie.” The Post is telling its readers that any reference to these neo-Nazis is just a “fantasy.”
Even more disturbing, the mainstream U.S. news media and Washington’s entire political class continue to ignore the Kiev government’s killing of thousands of ethnic Russians, including children and other non-combatants. The “responsibility to protect” crowd has suddenly lost its voice. Or, all the deaths are somehow blamed on Putin for supposedly having provoked the Ukraine crisis in the first place.
A Mysterious ‘Invasion’
And now there’s the curious case of Russia’s alleged “invasion” of Ukraine, another alarmist claim trumpeted by the Kiev regime and echoed by NATO hardliners and the MSM.
While I’m told that Russia did provide some light weapons to the rebels early in the struggle so they could defend themselves and their territory – and a number of Russian nationalists have crossed the border to join the fight – the claims of an overt “invasion” with tanks, artillery and truck convoys have been backed up by scant intelligence.
One former U.S. intelligence official who has examined the evidence said the intelligence to support the claims of a significant Russian invasion amounted to “virtually nothing.” Instead, it appears that the ethnic Russian rebels may have evolved into a more effective fighting force than many in the West thought. They are, after all, fighting on their home turf for their futures.
Concerned about the latest rush to judgment about the “invasion,” the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, a group of former U.S. intelligence officials and analysts, took the unusual step of sending a memo to German Chancellor Angela Merkel warning her of a possible replay of the false claims that led to the Iraq War.
“You need to know,” the group wrote, “that accusations of a major Russian ‘invasion’ of Ukraine appear not to be supported by reliable intelligence. Rather, the ‘intelligence’ seems to be of the same dubious, politically ‘fixed’ kind used 12 years ago to ‘justify’ the U.S.-led attack on Iraq.”
But these doubts and concerns are not reflected in the Post’s editorial or other MSM accounts of the dangerous Ukraine crisis. Indeed, Americans who rely on these powerful news outlets for their information are as sheltered from reality as anyone living in a totalitarian society.
Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his new book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com). For a limited time, you also can order Robert Parry’s trilogy on the Bush Family and its connections to various right-wing operatives for only $34. The trilogy includes America’s Stolen Narrative. For details on this offer, click here.
Who is NATO defending?
Putin Lays Out Proposal to End Ukraine Conflict
Video by NEIL MacFARQUHAR
Where are the details of Airline Flight N° 17 ?
Stephen Cohen, professor emeritus of Russian studies and politics at New York University and Princeton University. His most article for The Nation is "The Silence of American Hawks About Kiev’s Atrocities."
Did Major Countries Agree Not to Disclose Key Details in Downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17?
The Terrible Truth: the Production of a Frankenstein, Made in the USA.
How the US Made ISIS: Their Videos and Ours, Their "Caliphate" and Ours