by Rob Growland
The pundits who are in charge of the US empire’s many and varied wars in this 21st century have given a new – and almost contradictory – meaning to the old adage “The pen is mightier than the sword”. They have added the pen to their arsenal, joined it to the sword, you might say, to make their warfare even harder to resist.
They can do this only because they have at their disposal the highly potent weapon called “the corporate-controlled mass media”. They long ago recognised the truth of another popular adage: “You can fool some of the people all the time but you can never fool all the people all the time.” Early in the last century they discovered the handy truth that you don’t need to fool all the people all the time. You only need to fool a significant number at any given time. The rest don’t matter.
In fact, leaving a relative few “unfooled” is a useful tool in itself: it allows the lying, uncaring, ignorance-peddling corporate mass media to pose as “free” since its capitalist bosses tolerate “rival” media and alternative views – if you know where to look for them.
As long as corporate mouthpieces dominate the corporate mass media, the minority media can be left to say whatever it likes: it will be drowned out by the corporate media’s co-ordinated, orchestrated tumult, all relentlessly plugging the same line and thereby apparently confirming its truth.
Imperialism, whether British, French, Belgian, US or any other, has long used the concept of “divide and rule” to thwart the people’s aspirations for freedom and their natural tendency to unite in a common cause. Whether it was the Indian independence struggle or that of the people of the Belgian Congo, the struggle of the people of Ethiopia or of Rhodesia, one way or another imperialism would find a way to split, divide, delay or divert that struggle to keep its profits rolling in.
And in every case, the corporate mass media would malign the victims of imperialism, not the imperialists.
When the Afghan revolution tossed the country’s venal king out on his ear, US imperialism backed the feudal beys as they fought to protect their privileges. When the USSR intervened to help the Afghan people against these reactionary throwbacks to feudalism, the USA sought out religious fanatics to launch a “holy war” against the Soviets. Al-Qaeda was created and armed by the US.
And for all its tough talk about “the war on terrorism”, the US is still arming and helping to create organisations of terrorist religious fundamentalists, for use against perceived opponents of US policy. Tony Cartalucci, in a September 12, 2012, article for Global Research, suggested the offensive film from California that was used to provoke riots in many countries including Australia, was in fact “a false pretence for violence long-planned”.
The film, he noted, resembled the type of anti-Muslim propaganda produced by the US think-tank the Clarion Fund, a source of “neo-conservative” agitation. “The Clarion Fund regularly produces anti-Muslim propaganda … specifically to maintain a strategy of tension using fear and anger to drive a wedge between Western civilization and Islam to promote perpetual global wars of profit.”
To overthrow Libya’s leader Gaddafi and to seize the country’s oil, the US used a murderous NATO bombing campaign that killed thousands, and armed terrorist gangs in the guise of “pro-democracy fighters”. US Senator John McCain came out and supported the terrorists: “I have met with these brave fighters, and they are not Al-Qaeda. To the contrary: They are Libyan patriots who want to liberate their nation. We should help them do it.” Unfortunately for McCain’s credibility, the US Army’s own reports state that Benghazi’s terror brigades officially merged with Al-Qaeda in 2007.
When the US invaded Iraq, it produced a united Sunni-Shi’ia resistance to the US troops riding rough shod over their country. The US response was again to send in religious fanatics to wage terror war against the united resistance in both Iraq and Afghanistan. These foreign fighters fuelled a destructive and divisive sectarian war that undermined any united resistance.
A disproportionately high percentage of these terrorist fighters are volunteers from Libya, members of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) who played a major role in overthrowing the secular government of Gaddafi. The LIFG is linked directly to Al-Qaeda according to West Point Reports and is listed to this day by the US State Department, the UK Home Office and the UN as a “foreign terrorist organisation.”
Cartalucci makes the point that “Despite a concerted effort by Western media houses to portray Libya as in the hands of progressive democratic secularists, the country was intentionally handed over [by NATO] to extremists to serve as a base of militancy to destabilise and destroy targets of Western interest around the word… .
“These same terrorists are now not only the defacto rulers of much of Libya, but are leading death squads in Syria and arming militants in Mali.”
Even Reuters news-agency, in its coverage of the fighting in Syria, concedes that the ongoing battle has nothing to do with democracy, but instead is purely a sectarian campaign aimed at “pushing out” Syria’s minorities, perceived to be “oppressing Sunni Muslims.” This, of course, is not a serious claim: it is a propaganda ploy designed to facilitate US intervention.
Cartalucci again: “With Libya’s ‘democratic progress’ exposed as only tenuously covering up NATO’s creation of a nation-wide safe haven for Al-Qaeda terrorists to subsequently be deployed against the West’s political enemies across the Arab World and beyond, it will be even more difficult, if not impossible to continue promoting this same “change” in Syria. Libya, through direct action of NATO, has been overrun by terrorists. Syria’s government is desperately trying to prevent its people from being likewise overrun. And even as the US buries its own ambassador, killed by terror brigades it itself armed and thrust into power through covert and direct military intervention, in a nation now wrecked by sectarian and tribal infighting, it insists on replicating its ‘success’ in Syria.”