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Health Care & Environment
11.20 Dead fish to power cruise ships [using dead fish to ultimately kill more fish, animals and plants but at a slower rate]
11.20 Importing gas to replace domestic supply could push emissions up 20%, AGL says [We have to stop killing everything!!!]
11.20 The arts have a leading role to play in tackling climate change [We have to stop killing everything!!!]
11.20 Indonesia: dead whale had 1,000 pieces of plastic in stomach [We have to stop killing everything!!!]
11.18 Air pollution levels ‘forcing families to move out of cities’ [like from desertification, lack of drinkable water and rising oceans, there will also be pollution-caused immigration until humans fix things]
11.17 Policies of China, Russia and Canada threaten 5C climate change, study finds [Climate catastrophe is increasingly likely without worldwide organization, funding and commitment to winning THE WAR AGAINST GLOBAL WARMING.]
11.16 How pesticide bans can prevent tens of thousands of suicides a year [how many thousands more die early from eating pesticide-laced food?]
11.15 The Earth is in a death spiral. It will take radical action to save us [fossil fuel burning, un-recyclable plastic production/use and methane gas release must cease ASAP.]
11.15 The long read: The plastic backlash: what's behind our sudden rage – and will it make a difference? [the world wants to throw-up...]
11.15 Claws out: crab fishermen sue 30 oil firms over climate change [workers are waking-up...]
News Media Matters
US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'
11.21 With Statement Equal Parts 'Dangerous' and 'Imbecilic,' Trump Smears Khashoggi and Vows to Back Murderous Saudis [Keeping oil prices affordable prolongs its use, its burning and our dying]
11.20 New York City subway and bus services have entered 'death spiral', experts say [death spirals are the end-thing nowadays]
11.19 Last Week Tonight with John Oliver 11/18/2018 (HBO) [29:26 video]
11.19 Trump Says He Was 'Fully Briefed' and Also 'Not Briefed Yet' But Either Way Saudi Crown Prince 'Absolutely' Not Involved Because Trump Knows 'Everything That Went On' Without Listening to Tape of Khashoggi Murder
11.19 'We Need New Leaders, Period': Progressive Newcomers Urge Democrats to Embrace Bold Agenda or Face Primary Challenges [Current Democrat leaders are highly compromised by corporate donations]
11.20 'He may not rewrite immigration laws': Trump's asylum ban blocked by federal judge [Has anyone thought about putting razor-wire around the White House?]
11.21 Saudi Arabia Accused of Torturing Jailed Women’s-Rights Activists [Trump's great friends...]
11.14 The Guardian view on Yemen’s misery: the west is complicit [WAR CRIMES]
Economics, Crony Capitalism
11.19 Bankrupt Sears wants to give executives $19 million in bonuses [blatantly immoral and sick to richly reward those who led the company into the bankruptcy]
11.18 Big Pharma Bankrolled Pro-Trump Group As Trump Pushed Pharma Tax Cut [Corruption Central!]
International & Futurism
11.20 Trump administration hawks putting US on course for war with Iran, report warns [“Stupid is as stupid does.” –Forrest Gump]
11.18 France demands UK climate pledge in return for Brexit trade deal [Excellent!]
11.17 Thousands gather to block London bridges in climate rebellion [We're losing WWIII because the enemy is invisible while we're like frogs slowly cooking. We aren't informed enough to be alarmed, but must get organized and motivated to fight back. We need a War Plan to ruthlessly pursue the fight of our lives!]
Squeeze Play: Militarists and Media Close Off Alternatives to War
First published in Empire Burlesque yesterday, 6 October 2009
After World War II, the most powerful factions of the bipartisan American elite came to the conclusion that "an aggressive foreign policy based on military strength was the only real foundation of economic prosperity." (The quote is a description of Adolf Hitler's "doctrine of economic life"...)
We wrote here last week of Arthur Silber's telling insights into the misuses, abuses -- and ultimate uselessness -- of the "intelligence" reports produced by the security organs of powerful states....particularly the world's self-proclaimed "hyper-power" as it careens around the world in its obsessive-compulsive urge for domination. Silber's rule can be boiled down thusly: "Intelligence" is always -- always -- a political tool for the agenda of power, and it can never -- never -- be used to support an argument over policy. You can only argue and infer from the facts; if your case relies on "intelligence" – even if it seems temporarily favorable to your cause – then you are fighting on power's own turf, using power's own distorting terms, and making power's case, not yours. For once you accept that "intelligence" possesses some kind of objective truth when it seems to undercut some policy you abhor, what will you do when it suddenly changes and now supports that very policy? Again, Silber covers all this in eloquent detail, here and here.
This week gave us a glaring example of this principle in action. Scarcely had the pixels dried on Silber's posts when the New York Times came knocking with a story cobbled together from the usual anonymous "intelligence" sources to stoke the campaign of fearmongering over the "nuclear threat" from Iran.
The "intelligence" cited in the story is clearly aimed at undercutting the "intelligence" in the ballyhooed 2007 "National Intelligence Estimate" (NIE), in which America's security organs concluded that Iran did not have an active nuclear weapons program. As Silber notes, this report has been used incessantly by well-meaning dissidents who are rightly trying to head off the war of aggression against Iran that is the fervent – even wet – dream of America's powerful militarist factions. But as pointed out here years ago (again channeling Silber), that report was itself a trap for anti-war forces, because it also declared that Iran had been working actively on a nuclear weapon until 2003 – an assertion that flew in the face of all known facts and international inspection reports. To accept the claims of the NIE report as objective truth, you would also have to accept the warmongers' insistence that Iran was actively seeking a nuclear weapon, even though they may have temporarily put the program on hold. Again, you would be accepting the militarists' terms, and their deadly context: i.e., that Iran wants nukes, and must be stopped from getting them
In any case, the NYT story shows the "intelligence" worm turning to bite the citers of the NIE. The story cites a new report by unnamed staffers of the International Atomic Energy Agency which in turn cites unspecified, unconfirmed, tentative intelligence from unnamed sources that concludes – tentatively – that Iran might have re-started at least some parts of its nuclear weapons program (whose previous existence had, of course, never been proved). The money shot of the story is here:
There you have it. "Intelligence" giveth, and "intelligence" taketh away. If the already flawed and falsified NIE report is now "re-evaluated," or replaced by a new, more scary report on the "imminent threat" from Iran, what then? Shall we simply accept the new report as the objective truth – as many of us did with the NIE paper – and bow to its conclusions and implications? Or shall we not see, once again, that "intelligence" is just a flag run up by power – or by various factions in the halls of power as they tussle for pre-eminence – to rally forces around its agenda?
The NYT piece on the leaked report by unnamed IAEA staffers was followed hard upon by yet another war-stoking story the next day. Where the first story sought to give aid and comfort to the hard-core warmongers, the second was aimed squarely at "moderates," those who still hope wanly that we can maybe, somehow, some way, inflict harsh punishments on the Persians for their uppitiness without actually bombing or invading them outright. (This, you understand, is the most "progressive" position on Iran allowed within the parameters of "serious" discussion in our political-media Establishment.) The headline says it all: "Black Market Shows Iran Can Adapt to Sanctions."
In fact, the headline is the point: it is the idea that is meant to lodge in readers' minds, something to lurk there, unconsciously, when considering the great "debates" on "what we should do about Iran." Whenever "moderates" try to damp down war fever with talk of more sanctions, there'll be a little flutter in the cellarage of the brain: "Say, sanctions don't really work, do they? Iran can just go around them. I'm sure I've read somewhere just how they do that."
Again, as with "intelligence," the goal is to seize the terms of the debate, to frame it so that it excludes all other alternatives but the one that suits power's agenda. Sanctions don't work, the story tells us. So what tools are left for leaders who must "do something" about Iran? (The idea of not doing something about Iran is, of course, inconceivable for imperial policymakers; the logic and telos of the militarist cult of domination impels them to slap down Iran one way or another until Tehran goes down on bended knee. And our cultists aren't concerned in the slightest if Iran has a brutally repressive government or is run by religious extremists (see Saudi Arabia); all they want is acquiescence, and access to the local loot.) The logic is clear: if you must meddle, and sanctions are ineffective, then that leaves only military action.
And to whom does the Times turn for "expert" opinion on the inefficacy of sanctions against Iran? The sole analyst quoted is Michael Jacobson, of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy – a highly partisan extremist organization that was one of the chief instigators and incubators of the murderous war crime against Iraq, and one of the most enthusiastic cheerleaders for throttling Iran. There was of course not a single scrap of background or context regarding WINEP in the Times story. It was presented simply as an objective center for policy analysis. Whereas even the mildest, most moderate and milquetoasty "progressive" think-tank would invariably be described as "left-leaning," or identified as, say, "having opposed the Iraq War" or "a frequent critic of American foreign policy," etc.
But then again, those who advocate war in an imperial system based on war really need no further description; in such a system, the warmongers are thoroughly objective, mainstream, quite literally in the center of the prevailing worldview.
This week's one-two punch of pro-war propaganda from the Times is a classic squeeze play by the manipulators of "intelligence," designed to cut off all other options except the military one. We have seen a similar operation being carried out in recent days on the escalation in Afghanistan, with the high militarists – like General Stanley "Death Squads R Us" McChrystal and Pentagon holdover honcho Robert Gates – making showy public noises about the absolutely imperative need to throw more troops into the Central Asian cauldron. The clear intent is to ensure that Barack Obama remains faithful to the militarist faith he has so eagerly espoused, and doesn't start waving just because the war is unwinnable and the people don't want it.
This is life in a War State. And there can really be no serious argument that this is not what the United States has become: a structure and system of permanent war. Military action, military procurement, military bases, military needs, military dominance over diplomacy, budgets, "intelligence" and policy: these are the drivers of the modern American state. Beginning in the years just after World War II, the most powerful factions of the bipartisan American elite came to the conclusion that "an aggressive foreign policy based on military strength was the only real foundation of economic prosperity." (The quote is a description of Adolf Hitler's "doctrine of economic life" in the remarkable book by historian Adam Tooze, The Wages of Destruction.) "An aggressive foreign policy based on military strength" was also the only way to maintain the global hegemony American elites acquired at the end of the war – a position of power and privilege which, once gained, they felt was their divine birthright.
And although there is much that is irrational and atrociously inhumane in the practical application of such a system, the system itself has an iron logic: War makes us rich and powerful; thus we will make war.
In seeking to understand the actions and intentions of the American state in the modern world, it is important to keep this doctrine and its logic in mind.
Chris Floyd has been a writer and editor for more than 25 years, working in the United States, Great Britain and Russia for various newspapers, magazines, the U.S. government and Oxford University. Floyd co-founded the blog Empire Burlesque, and is also chief editor of Atlantic Free Press. He can be reached at email@example.com.
This column is republished here with the permission of the author.
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This story was published in the Baltimore Chronicle on October 7, 2009.
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