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Added: Monday, August 19th 2019 at 1:19am by chuckman

John Chuckman






Not a terribly well-written article, but one with a solid and important subject.

There is no question that "Western" authorities are concerned with Russia having learned to effectively communicate and use media.

And concerned that people in “the West” now often have access to facts and explanations which are at variance to the official Washington "narrative."

I regard Russia’s new mastery of communications and media as an important development. In the 1950s, and even the 1960s, it wasn’t so necessary for the American government to contradict limited Russian sources of information because those sources were so clumsy and heavy-handed in their approach, in their very language, that Westerners, used to relatively sophisticated ways, for the most part, simply instantly discounted what was being said.

That cannot happen now. The communications from Russia are clear and mostly quite sensible and easily accessed through the Internet. In some cases, they are clearly superior to what is generated from “the West” because the nature of the information strongly suggests true communication rather than disinformation. Most educated people, at least those who are not dedicated ideologues, given exposure, can instinctively understand that difference.

Of course, the Russian media have their own agenda and offer some of their own propaganda, but that is simply the nature of all human endeavors. There is no such thing anywhere as bias-free news, but it is possible to approach something like the truth about events by sorting through various sources, each with its own agenda. Without alternative, easily-accessible sources like Russian media, this is a very difficult, if not almost impossible, task for most people.

Once, European news sources offered some degree of alternative view, but that is no more. Sources like Britain’s Guardian or the BBC today might just as well be produced in America, the only thing different about them being their accent. America’s imperial influence is just that heavy.

American authorities have already tried many stunts to blunt this new reality, perhaps the range and variety of them being a measure of official exasperation at there being leaks in the “bubble” they attempt to maintain over Western society.

In previous times of oppressive or badly-intentioned governments, it was quite possible to construct a pretty effective “bubble” or “dome” over a nation by controlling access and content of printed material and jamming any foreign or dissident radio broadcasts.

The Internet has changed that. Not that the Internet itself cannot be effectively jammed, but in “the West” the Internet has become such a daily part of everyone’s activities, including an immense amount of commercial activity, that the appearance and psychology of doing, say, what China does with the Internet, does seem out of reach.

And the very pretensions, even if pretty hypocritical, to values like free speech and press and communications do hamper a government like America’s from just jumping into the deep end and removing all access to what others say. I’m sure it would very much like to do that, because that is how controlling bullies are inclined, but a sudden turn like that would be quite counter-productive to the carefully-maintained appearance of free and open society.

So, there are hundreds of ways it just keeps nipping away at the edges, keeps experimenting, keeps looking for new means of control, without seeming to control.

Huge, government-friendly and government-dependent outfits like Google or Facebook do try, through a whole range of subtler dark schemes and techniques, to achieve a degree of control on what people may see. But things haven’t reached the point of oppressive control. And with so very many years of the Internet experience behind us, there are an awful lot of savvy people out there who discover their schemes.

Although it is widely suspected the American government does have a “kill” switch for the Internet, it would be extremely reluctant to use something like that outside of truly national emergency conditions because there is such an immense volume now of commerce and day-in, day-out communication, and its use would be traumatic.

We do have a whole range of nonsense from bloated, self-interested corporate entities trying to pose as some kind of well-intentioned guardians of truth, with various lame schemes for labeling what is true and what is false to efforts directly attacking foreign and alternative media and excluding them from freedom of operation. All such efforts clearly being totally removed from Enlightenment values.

By “Western” I mean, of course, the United States and the governments in Europe very under its thumb, the adjective “Western” in any political or international context having lost a great deal of the connotations it once carried, connotations of the Enlightenment and of supporting human rights and democracy.

We don’t see an awfully lot of Enlightenment in bombing the crap out of Syria and Iraq and Libya and Yemen and Afghanistan and still other places or in what happens to the millions of desperate refugees the bombing creates.

Nor do we see Enlightenment values in supporting cutthroat leaders like Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince and Egypt’s Generalissimo President or unelected pretenders to office like Venezuela’s Juan Guaidó.

And we get about as far from Enlightenment values as we can go with unqualified support, using authentic 1984 language like “showing restraint” applied to Israel’s army conducting regular ambushes of unarmed protesters in Gaza, shooting thousands of them, people only protesting for basic human rights.

It truly is hard for anyone to see Enlightenment values in the likes of John Bolton or Mike Pompeo or Donald Trump or Boris Johnson or Emmanuel Macron or Benjamin Netanyahu.

There really is a limit as to how far you can stretch the truth, no matter how hard you work on propaganda and disinformation. I believe the more extensive and desperate are your efforts at bringing the world under control, efforts in which America today is heavily engaged trying to preserve its past privileged position against natural evolutionary changes in the world’s economics and politics, the harder it becomes to cover the efforts all up, especially when other people work at uncovering them.

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