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In attempting to challenge some thoughts from a reply to one of my comments on an article in the Huffington Post, I encountered immediate deletion. I didn’t even receive the standard ‘Due to the potentially sensitive nature of this article, your comment may take longer to appear publicly.’ Here is the thread:
The article I commented upon can be found here.
My original comment:
Orwell would be so proud of our Western ‘leaders’ who live in a world where the unelected ‘officials’ (but Western supported) are legal but a referendum of the people is not.
Reply from Cam D.:
The West isn’t the one with the 30,000 strong occupational force on the ground forcing the issue, “protecting citizenry” while at the same time not allowing in UN monitors. Have you seen the ballot of the so called referendum? There isn’t a choice to stay with the Ukraine. How is that not rigged?
My reply that is not making it past the HP moderators:
First, the Russian troops in the Crimea have been stationed there under treaty for some time. Second, supposed shots fired at the monitors could very easily have been false flag attacks (just as the chemical weapons Assad supposedly used in Syria but were in fact Saudi-supplied and used by the anti-Assad rebels). Third, are you parroting the corporate media take on the referendum question? It seems so. I trust none of them; East or West. However, our leaders are so blatantly hypocritical it’s embarrassing. Remember Iraq? Libya? etc.. The US was born and expanded through violence and occupation, and it continues to use the same approach for hegemonic control of the globe.
Problematic? I think so. After a career as an educator, I know that correcting misperceptions is perhaps one of the strongest teaching tools that can be used to help students learn, question, and think critically. Deletion of such information does nothing to further conversations or ‘enlightenment’.
One of the books I read recently is the classic, Propaganda, by Edward Bernays. I don’t recall what post or website I was on that referred to it but I thought it worth the read. I wanted to explore the concept of liberty and how manipulation of information by the elite could be weaved into my next book (Olduvai 2: Exodus).
As the writeup on Amazon states about Bernays and his book: “A seminal and controversial figure in the history of political thought and public relations, Edward Bernays (1891–1995), pioneered the scientific technique of shaping and manipulating public opinion, which he famously dubbed “engineering of consent.” During World War I, he was an integral part of the U.S. Committee on Public Information (CPI), a powerful propaganda apparatus that was mobilized to package, advertise and sell the war to the American people as one that would “Make the World Safe for Democracy.” The CPI would become the blueprint in which marketing strategies for future wars would be based upon. Bernays applied the techniques he had learned in the CPI and, incorporating some of the ideas of Walter Lipmann, became an outspoken proponent of propaganda as a tool for democratic and corporate manipulation of the population. His 1928 bombshell Propaganda lays out his eerily prescient vision for using propaganda to regiment the collective mind in a variety of areas, including government, politics, art, science and education. To read this book today is to frightfully comprehend what our contemporary institutions of government and business have become in regards to organized manipulation of the masses.”
On the advice of my marketing consultant for Olduvai, I have been more active in attempting to develop an ‘online personality and following.’ One of the ways I have been doing this is to comment on various news articles or opinion pieces that tie in to my book’s major themes (i.e. geopolitics, economy, energy, environment, liberty, etc.) via online comment sections of a limited number of media and theme-related websites, using my book cover as my avatar and adding my website address as a ‘signature’ at the bottom. It has proven to be remarkably effective in attracting readers to my website.
What I have noted is that a relatively small portion of my comments do not get past the ‘moderators’ at the two websites where I have done most of my posting, The Huffington Post: Canada (HPC) and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC).
When you sign up to participate in such online discussions, your comments must meet certain criteria (CBC’s policy here; HPC’s here). Some of the criteria are fairly specific and not really open to much debate as to what is acceptable and what is not. For example, you may add up to three external links to your post or use French if responding on Radio Canada’s site. Other criteria are open to some disagreement over what is acceptable and what is not. Comments may not be threatening, harrassing, or sexually explicit. Some, however, are open to such broad interpretation that almost any comment could be deemed to be in violation. You may not make repetitive comments, for example. But what defines repetitive? If you interpret the world through a particular lens, for example Christainity, you will very likely bring the concept of God or Christ into your comments. Or, as I tend to do now, your global schema may consider the concepts of exponential growth and energy depletion as fundamental to how you view events. Regardless, my point is that the latitude that is given to moderators allows for personal biases and interpretations to direct the online discussion of many of these websites. I have found that CBC ‘disables’ my comment but continues to show it via my personal profile. The Huffington Post simply ‘loses’ it in the internet ether somewhere, no online record of the comment is visible.
There appears to be at least a couple of different methods used by these corporations to steer conversations. The comment can be entirely ‘disallowed’ or it can be held in queue for an extended period of time while others get through and then are posted far down the list, buried several pages in.
I also believe that some commentators are ‘blacklisted’ in the sense that their comments are not posted automatically but held up so that they may be moderated/censored more assiduously. I am certain that I am one of those whose comments have been flagged for greater scrutiny. I have sent communcation to both websites enquiring as to the process that is used, yet I have received no response to date (several weeks now).
The HPC’s flagging is quite interesting/humourous. For virtually every one of my posts, I get the message “Due to the potentially sensitive nature of this article, your comment may take longer to appear publicly.” It does not matter what the topic of the article is; apparently all articles have a ‘potentially sensitive nature’, even those in the sports section. Today (Jan. 30/14), I have been quite frustrated at not being able to challenge an article penned by Conrad Black in the HPC who argues that JP Morgan CEO, Jamie Dimon, has become a rich man due to his merit. I attempted to point out several instances of Mr. Dimon’s bank participating in market rigging, fraud, and corruption in order to boost their bottom line, but none of the posts got past the censors.
The conclusion I have reached is that these two sites work to direct the online conversation, especially when certain assumptions are challenged. To be fair to CBC, often my comments are disabled due to me adding my signature (website address) to the bottom; when I resubmit without the website, the comment is usually posted. However, there is absoluetly no consistency here as many of my comments with my website address are posted. And, every once in a while one does not get posted regardless of the presence or not of my website address.
Bernays himself states the following in the book: “The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country.” [An interesting sidebar to Bernays is that he worked with the American government to control the narrative of at least one government coup organised by the CIA: Guatemala (1957), where he worked with E. Howard Hunt a CIA operative associated with both the Kennedy assassination (eerily similar to the Guatamalan assassination) and Watergate.]
As Alex Jones’s website, InfoWars.com, suggests, there is a war on for your mind, and the corporate media is a large part of the propaganda campaign waged by the elite. Challenging biases, prejudices, assumptions, facts, opinions, etc. is important if we are to better understand the world and its complex isues. Disallowing such challenges through censorship serves only the status quo. As Dr. Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed states in his introduction to Censored 2013: Dispatches From the Media Revolution, it is important “to uncover and showcase news stories, in the public interest, that have been ignored, misreported, or simply censored by the so-called ‘mainstream,’ but more accurately, the corporate media.” It seems it will only be through independent media and bloggers that people will gain a broader perspective of world events and narratives. It will not be through the elite and their corporate media.
Why is this so? I defer to Murray Rothbard in his essay, Anatomy of the State: “…the State is that organization in society which attempts to maintain a monopoly of force and violence in a given territorial area….[it] provides a legal, orderly, systematic channel for the predation of private property; it renders certain, secure, and relatively ‘peaceful’ the lifeline of the parastic caste in society…[and] the majority must be persuaded by ideology that their government is good, wise, and, at least, inevitable…ideological support being vital to the State, it must unceasingly try to impress the public with ‘legitimacy,’ to distinguish its activities from those of mere brigands.” (emphasis added)
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The “Too Big Too Jail” nonsense that surrounds large U.S. banks and their above the law employees has been glaringly obvious and thoroughly documented for quite some time now. Yet what represents an even larger slap in the face to millions of hard-working, law-abiding citizens, is how relentlessly the “justice” system goes after small time criminals, while merely fining oligarch thieves for far worse crimes. I first covered this theme earlier this year in my piece Some Money Launderers are “More Equal” than Others, which discussed how HSBC was caught laundering billions of dollars for Mexican drug cartels.
Well HSBC is back in the news. This time it relates to their transferring funds on the behalf of financiers for the militant group Hezbollah. If transactions such as these had even the slightest link to Bitcoin, there would be endless uproar, calls for countless Congressional hearings and demands to stop the currency at all costs. But when HSBC is caught doing it, what happens? A $32,400 settlement.
More from The Huffington Post:
A major U.S. bank has agreed to a settlement for transferring funds on the behalf of financiers for the militant group Hezbollah, the Treasury Department announced on Tuesday.
Concluding that HSBC’s actions “were not the result of willful or reckless conduct,” Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control accepted a $32,400 settlement from the bank. Treasury noted, as did HSBC in a statement to HuffPost, that the violations were voluntarily reported.
Everett Stern, a former HSBC compliance officer who complained to his supervisors about the Hezbollah-linked transactions, told HuffPost he was “ecstatic and depressed at the same time.”
“Those are my transactions, I reported them,” he said, satisfied that the government was taking action. But, he added, “Where I am upset was those were a handful of transactions, and I saw hundreds of millions of dollars” being transferred.
Stern said he hopes the government’s enforcement actions against HSBC have not come to an end with the latest settlement. “They admit to financing terrorism and they get fined $32,000. Where if I were to do that, I would go to jail for life,” he said.
And the government watchdog’s claim that HSBC committed no “substantially similar apparent violations” in the past five years is likely to raise some eyebrows. In December 2012, the bank agreed to pay a $1.9 billion settlement for moving money that a 2012 Senate report found had likely helped drug cartels and a Saudi Arabian bank the CIA has linked to al Qaeda.
No one at HSBC was criminally charged for what U.S. Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer called at the time ”stunning failures of oversight.”The Senate report faulted the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, an independent bureau with the Treasury Department, for weak oversight of HSBC.
You know you are a Banana Republic if…
Full article here.
CNN and Huffington Post Are “External Stakeholders” In Nuclear Regulatory Commission Washington’s Blog
Painting by Anthony Freda: www.AnthonyFreda.com
Presstitute Media Shills for Nuclear Power
The mainstream media – and gatekeeper “alternative” media – are pro-war. They may occasionally criticize one tiny aspect of the war-fighting machinery, but never the overall war effort.
As such, it should not be entirely surprising that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission lists CNN and Huffington Post as “external stakeholders” in the NRC.
As EneNews reports:
Independent Evaluation of NRC’s Use and Security of Social Media, Office of the Inspector General, Jan. 2013:
Social Media Evaluation Interview List [Appendix VI, pg. 82]
- Internal Stakeholders (NRC staff) […]
- External Stakeholders (Press) Energy Editor, AOL, Huffington Post — Nuclear Writer, Huffington Post — Producer, CNN News
- External Stakeholders (Digital Influencers) Blogger, Atomic Power Review — Blogger, Idaho Samizdat: Nuke Notes — Blogger, Yes Vermont Yankee
- External Stakeholders (Nuclear Industry) […] Senior Manager for Social — Media, Nuclear Energy Institute […]
- External Stakeholders (US Government and US Senate Staff) US-CERT Representative, United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team — Policy Director, US Senate ….
Excerpts from the evaluation:
- As part of the press, I have to be able to quickly communicate a lot of technical information into something our readers will grasp. But it helps if NRC had strong info graphics or a section that provided a breakdown of technical info so I can understand the translation from its source. — Huffington Post
- NRC‘s materials are very basic and not very viral. Other agencies do a better job of including information graphics, photos, even clickable links. There‘s no extra. It‘s not influential. — Managing Editor, Huffington Post
- One producer from Cable News Network (CNN) suggested that what was currently offered on Flickr does not compel him to return and urged NRC to provide more content that did not involve people in a conference room or of the chairperson speaking from a podium.
The nuclear industry in Japan – and elsewhere – spends more on pr than on safety measures. Indeed, nuclear power is a form of crony capitalism, where taxpayers fund a market which would not even exist in a free market.
The presstitute media once again shills for the powers-that-be.
That little “entertaining” cell phone in your back pocket, which you are so addicted to thanks to all its apps, videos, messaging function and all other cool bells and whistles, that you can’t possibly live without? It is simply the definitive NSA tracking beacon used to find where you are at any given moment. The following infographic explains how the NSA does just that…
Ed Snowden’s latest revelation may leave SEC officials quaking as the NSA “has been gathering records of online sexual activity and evidence of visits to pornographic websites as part of a proposed plan to harm the reputations of those whom the agency believes are radicalizing others through incendiary speeches.” Of course, as we have seen, this ‘information’ would never be used by the government for non-radical-terrorist suppressing reasons, as the ACLU notes, is is “an unwelcome reminder of what it means to give an intelligence agency unfettered access to individuals’ most sensitive information using tactics associated with the secret police services of authoritarian governments.”
The National Security Agency has been gathering records of online sexual activity and evidence of visits to pornographic websites as part of a proposed plan to harm the reputations of those whom the agency believes are radicalizing others through incendiary speeches, according to a top-secret NSA document.
The document, provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, identifies six targets, all Muslims, as “exemplars” of how “personal vulnerabilities” can be learned through electronic surveillance, and then exploited to undermine a target’s credibility, reputation and authority.
The NSA document, dated Oct. 3, 2012, repeatedly refers to the power of charges of hypocrisy to undermine such a messenger.”
Full ACLU Statement:
The NSA considered discrediting six people by revealing surveillance evidence of their online sexual activity, visits to pornography websites, and other personal information, according to a report today in The Huffington Post. The article cited documents leaked by former NSA contactor Edward Snowden. The targets of the NSA’s plan were all Muslims whom the NSA characterized as “radicals” but who were not believed to be involved in terrorism. The documents say one of the targets was a “U.S. person,” a term describing American citizens and legal permanent residents, but all of the targets were reportedly outside the United States.
American Civil Liberties Union Deputy Legal Director Jameel Jaffer had this reaction:
“This report is an unwelcome reminder of what it means to give an intelligence agency unfettered access to individuals’ most sensitive information. One ordinarily associates these kinds of tactics with the secret police services of authoritarian governments. That these tactics have been adopted by the world’s leading democracy – and the world’s most powerful intelligence agency – is truly chilling.”
- How Much Would A Big Mac Cost If McDonald’s Workers Were Paid $15 Per Hour? (forbes.com)
- Or, McDonald’s Could Double Wages For Employees, Not Raise Price Of Big Macs, And Just Make Less Money … (businessinsider.com)
- Man Arrested for Calling 911 Over McDonald’s Order (whnt.com)
- Big Macs Would Only Cost 68 Cents More If McDonald’s Payed Workers Double (alternet.org)
- David Sirota: If McDonald’s raised wages to $15 an hour, a Big Mac would go up less than 25 cents (current.com)
- Here’s How Much More A Big Mac Would Cost If McDonald’s Doubled Wages (businessinsider.com)