zaterdag 16 november 2013

Michel Chossudovsky 4

America’s “War on Terrorism”: The Truth will Prevail

Global Research, November 14, 2013

To understand the complex web of deceit aimed at luring the American people and the rest of the world into accepting a military solution which threatens the future of humanity, get your copy of the international bestseller:
America’s “War on Terrorism”
by Michel Chossudovsky

“The livelihood of millions of people throughout the World is at stake. It is my sincere hope that the truth will prevail and that the understanding provided in this detailed study will serve the cause of World peace. This objective, however, can only be reached by revealing the falsehoods behind America’s “War on Terrorism” and questioning the legitimacy of the main political and military actors responsible for extensive war crimes.”–Prof. Michel Chossudovsky
Global Research Price: US $16.00
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America's War on TerrorismIn this expanded edition of Michel Chossudovsky’s 2002 bestseller, the author blows away the smokescreen put up by the mainstream media, that 9/11 was an attack on America by “Islamic terrorists”. Through meticulous research, the author uncovers a military-intelligence ploy behind the September 11 attacks, and the cover-up and complicity of key members of the Bush Administration.
The this special edition, which includes twelve additional chapters focuses on the use of 9/11 as a pretext for the invasion and illegal occupation of Iraq, the militarization of justice and law enforcement and the repeal of democracy.
According to Chossudovsky, the “war on terrorism” is a complete fabrication based on the illusion that one man, Osama bin Laden, outwitted the $40 billion-a-year American intelligence apparatus. The “war on terrorism” is a war of conquest. Globalization is the final march to the “New World Order”, dominated by Wall Street and the U.S. military-industrial complex.
September 11, 2001 provides a justification for waging a war without borders. Washington’s agenda consists in extending the frontiers of the American Empire to facilitate complete U.S. corporate control, while installing within America the institutions of the Homeland Security State.


“Chossudovsky starts by dispelling the fiction that the US and Al Qaeda have been long-term adversaries. [He] also probes US oil policy, which is obviously of particular concern to George W. Bush. Chossudovsky argues that the US has a much different relationship between Russia and China than is ever indicated in the mainstream (or progressive) press. Simply put, the US is moving into the countries which neighbor Russia and China in order to plunder natural resources and expand the reach of the US Empire. Pakistan?s Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) has been playing a key role in destabilizing the region as well as offering support in other intelligence matters… War and Globalization is full of surprises, even for those of us who consider ourselves well-informed. Chossudovsky is examining the true nature of US foreign policy and arguing that the terrible events of 9/11/01 have changed little of it… Material this provocative and well-researched is ignored by the left at great peril.”
- Scott Loughrey, The Baltimore Chronicle & Sentinel

“Canadian professor of economics Michel Chossudovsky contains that rare gift of a writer who can compile massive documentary evidence, then propound it in a succinct, lucid manner. In this illuminating work the host of the critically acclaimed Global Research website takes widely acclaimed and often repeated media assumptions and sharply refutes them, providing a chronology and road map behind 9-11 and related events… A large part of the book involves a necessary topic area that has been nervously glossed over by conventional American media sources for good reason; it hits too close to home and indicts the largest international energy conglomerates. The author spends much time examining the link between big oil and public policy. In terms of providing vital information, this compact volume provides more valuable information in one chapter than so many contemporary volumes do with many pages on 9-11 and related events… Chossudovsky demonstrates that the frequently repeated and fallacious Bushie shibboleths of getting Saddam before he gets us are rhetorical sallies designed to inflame public opinion by skirting around the important truths that only a few courageous authors such as himself dare reveal… Its bullseye clarity cuts through the morass of Bush verbage, daring readers to examine the pure, unvarnished truth of a nation using its military and intelligence capabilities to control the global oil market on the pretext of making the world a safer place.”
- William Hare, Florida United States
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Matt Taibbi 4


Chase's Twitter Gambit Devolves into All-Time PR Fiasco


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Follow us: @rollingstone on Twitter | RollingStone on Facebookase's Twitter Gambit Devolves into All-Time PR Fiasco

JPMorgan Chase
JPMorgan Chase headquarters in New York City.
Spencer Platt/Getty Images
I almost couldn't believe it when I heard that JP Morgan Chase was going to do a live Twitter Q&A with the public – you know, all those people around the world they've been bending over and robbing for, oh, the last decade or so. On the all-time list of public relations screw-ups, it's hard to say where this decision by America's most hated commercial bank (with apologies to Bank of America, which probably finishes a 49ers-like very close second this year) to engage the enraged public on Twitter ranks. For sure, anyway, it's right up there with Abercrombie and Fitch's rollout of thong underwear for 10 year-olds and the$440,000 afterparty AIG executives threw for themselves at the St. Regis Resort in Monarch Beach, California after securing a federal bailout.
Chase execs probably thought they were going to be inundated with questions, like, "What steps can I take to try to become as totally awesome as all of you?" This one can infer from the self-satisfied language of their announcing Tweet, which read:
What career advice would you ask a leading exec at a global firm? Tweet a Q using #AskJPM. On 11/14 a $JPM leader takes over @JPMorgan
Only on Wall Street would a bank that's about to pay out the biggest settlement in the history of settlements unironically engage the public, expecting ordinary people to sincerely ask one of their top-decision makers for career advice. The notion that this was their idea of reaching out to the public in a moment of public relations crisis – we'll take questions now on how you can become just as successful as us! – was doomed to be hilarious, and it turned out to be that and more.
Chase trotted out Vice Chairman Jimmy Lee to be pushed into the social media buzz-saw. Lee was an excellent choice for this role. As one of the world's leading Leveraged Buyout (LBO) pioneers, Lee is a human bridge symbolically connecting two different and equally loathsome eras in Wall Street iniquity – the Gordon Gekko/LBO Eighties and Nineties, and the price-rigging, bubble-making, steal-everything-not-nailed-down era covering the Wall Street of today. From the public's perspective, Lee basically represents the banker who foreclosed on your house and the guy who liquidated your factory in a deal financed by junk bonds, all in one.
Unsurprisingly, the public barraged him with abusive Tweets, and the bank ultimately had to cancel the Q&A
What's so hilarious about some of the anger-Tweets Chase received is that the authors didn't even have to be gratuitous, or stretch the truth, in order to find a sore spot. I like this one by "Downtown Josh Brown" at @ReformedBroker:
I have Mortgage Fraud, Market Manipulation, Credit Card Abuse, Libor Rigging and Predatory Lending AM I DIVERSIFIED? #AskJPM
Adam Coleman @AdamColeman had a more blunt question:
Can I have my house back?
But my favorite of all came from Kevin Roose @kevinroose:
Would you rather negotiate with 1 horse-sized Eric Holder, or 100 duck-sized Eric Holders? #AskJPM
(Incidentally, I'd go with 1 horse-sized Eric Holder – even in horse size, he'd go down like that stallion Alex Karras's Mongo punched out in Blazing Saddles.)
Anyway, this whole thing spun so totally out of control that there's already a YouTube sensation video of Stacey Keach reading the tweets with perfect Inside the Actors' Studio gravitas. And it's much, much funnier than it would have been even if William Shatner had done it. Check it out:
They pulled this disastrous stunt at a strange time. Chase is now facing serious troubles even apart from the upcoming, yet-to-be-concluded $13-billion settlement. The bank not long ago disclosed that it was under investigation in the ballooning probe into manipulation in the Foreign Exchange markets, a probe that will almost certainly swallow up many of the world's biggest banks before it's done.
The Forex mess is on par with the Libor disaster, and just like the Libor case, we will eventually be treated to a remarkable education into exactly how fragile the price-setting process for just about everything in the world is.
In Libor, we learned that some of the world's largest banks had been serially monkeying with world interest rates for years, dating back perhaps as far as 1991. In this case, the allegations are a bit more complicated, but center around a similar phenomenon – benchmark rates that are set based upon information easily manipulated by the very companies that stand to benefit most from it. In this case, there are five banks thatcollectively make up about 47 percent of the trading in the $5 trillion-a-day Forex market, and executives from those five banks were dumb enough to leave written records of what appear to be attempts to manipulate benchmark rates in an Instant Message group these idiots actually nicknamed "The Cartel."
Chase's chief dealer in London, Richard Usher, went on leave a few weeks ago, reportedly in connection with this mess. Expect the bank to end up eating yet another a massive plate of media unpleasantness once all of this Forex stuff comes out 

Chase's Twitter Gambit Devolves into All-Time PR Fiasco

The weird PR gambit mirrors the even weirder tone-deafness that may be holding up the settlement deal. The bank's seemingly crazy insistence upon trying to get the FDIC to pay for the potential liability of its acquistion, Washington Mutual, is one of those things that nobody who actually thought about how the public might respond to such a move would ever think to do. Chase has an opportunity to crawl out from under a giant pile of liabilities just by writing a check, and instead they're haggling, trying to get the public to pick up a big part of the bill. It's nuts, just like handing out career advice on Twitter in the middle of a Union-Carbide-scale PR disaster is nuts.
P.S. As noted on Twitter, I'm offering a Jamie Dimon t-shirt to the author of the best "J.P. Morgan Chase Q&A Fiasco" haiku. I'll announce the winner Monday, and please, if you win, don't forget to send me a mailing address. It took weeks to send out my Tom Friedman hand grenades last time.

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Global Uprisings!!!

De Mainstream Pers 77

NRC: 'wie "Victoria's Secret" zegt, zegt "Doutzen Kroes". En zo is het. Onze eigen Doutzen was erbij, en stal de show.'

Hoewel journalisten als Henk Hofland de massa verafschuwen werkt hij wel degelijk voor de massamedia. Dat is de voornaamste reden dat Hoflands ‘politiek-literaire elite’ in Nederland zich in zowel esthetisch als ethisch opzicht nauwelijks tot niet onderscheidt van de consumerende massa. Een willekeurig voorbeeld hiervan gaf zijn krant, de NRC, op donderdag 14 november 2013 (de dag dat ik dit schrijf), toen op haar internetsite de nieuwste lingeriemode uitgebreid werd getoond. Kennelijk gaat de 'elite' bij de NRC ervan uit dat haar 'politiek-literaire' publiek geïnteresseerd is in dit onderwerp. De  commercialisering is overigens een normaal verschijnsel in de massamedia, aangezien de oplagecijfers en dus de winst de enige doorslaggevende criteria zijn. In de bundel Masscult and Midcult. Essays Against the American Grain stelde de kritische Amerikaanse publicist Dwight Macdonald in de jaren vijftig over de massa dat ‘it’s morality sinks to the level of the most primitive members,’ en ‘its taste to that of the least sensitive and the most ignorant.’ En:

Yet this collective monstrosity, ‘the masses,’ ‘the public,’ is taken as a human norm by the technicians of Masscult. They at once degrade the public by treating it as an object, to be handled with the lack of ceremony of medical students dissecting a corpse, and at the same time flatter it and pander to its taste and ideas by taking them as the criterion of reality…

Macdonald beschreef hoe de massacultuur

Destroys all values, since value-judgements require discrimination, an ugly word in liberal-democratic America. Masscult is very, very democratic; it refuses to discriminate against or between anything or anybody. All is grist to its mill and all comes out finely ground indeed.  

Dit proces van massificatie en dus gelijkschakeling begon tijdens de industriële revolutie die

uprooted people from their agrarian communities and packed them into factory cities. It produced goods in such unprecedented abundance that the population of the Western world has increased more in the last two centuries than in the preceding two millennia.

Het gevolg was voor de mensen dat

It subjected them to a uniform discipline whose only precedent was the ‘slave socialism’ of Egypt.

Met één voorbehoud:

It was not until the end of the eighteenths century in Europe that the majority of people began to play an active part in either history or culture.

Up to then, there was only High Culture and Folk Art. To some extent, Masscult is a continuation of Folk Art, but the differences are more striking than the similarities. Folk Art grew mainly from below, an autochtonous product shaped by the people to fit their own needs, even though it often took its cue from High Culture. Masscult comes from above. It is fabricated by technicians hired by businessmen.

Daarentegen was

Folk Art the people’s own institution, their private little kitchen-garden walled off from the great formal park of their masters. But Masscult breaks down the wall, integrating the masses into a debased form of High Culture and thus becoming an instrument of domination.

Het gevolg is, zo schreef hij in de jaren vijftig in Masscult and Midcult dat

Today, in the United States, the demands of the audience, which has changed from a small body of connoisseurs into a large body of ignoramuses, have become the chief criteria of success.

Alleen in die cultuur kan een Henk Hofland onweersproken in een zogeheten kritisch  tijdschrift beweren dat het Westen ‘vredestichtend’ is, kan een slecht geïnformeerde Geert Mak bestsellers over Europa en de Verenigde Staten schrijven, schroomt de hoogleraar journalistiek Marc Chavannes zich niet te beweren dat voor de Verenigde Staten ‘democratie’ een ‘exportartikel’ was, etcetera. Bij gebrek aan kwaliteitsgevoel staan de ‘onwetenden’ weerloos tegenover de vloedgolf van nonsens die voortdurend over hen heen spoelt. Kwaliteit is vervangen door Kitsch, met een grote K. ‘The requirement of the mass market explain a good deal of bad writing today,’ constateerde al ruim een halve eeuw geleden Dwight Macdonald nadat hij Sixty Years of Best Sellers had bestudeerd. ‘Masscult is at best a vulgarized reflection of High Culture and at worst a cultural nightmare, a Kulturkatzenjammer.’ De AVRO op Radio Vier, Muziek voor Miljoenen, de lijst van de tien best verkochte boeken, de best bekeken films, de hoogste oplagecijfers van kranten en tijdschriften, de dwang van de kijk- en luistercijfers van de publieke en commerciele omroepen. In die werkelijkheid bestaat in een klein land geen enclave waar een ‘politiek-literaire elite’ een daadwerkelijk intellectueel bestaan erop na kunnen houden. Dat blijkt uit de praktijk, de bewoners van die vermeende enclave gedragen zich even smakeloos en onbenullig als de massa erbuiten. De zogeheten ‘politiek-literaire elite’ in de polder is niet meer dan een groepje elkaar bevestigende ijdeltuiten die net als de nieuwe rijken de oudere cultuur imiteren ‘without understanding its essence.’ Iemand die hun drijfveren onderzoekt, wordt al snel geconfronteerd met een moeras van sentimenten en onnadenkendheid, zoals ondermeer blijkt uit het gegeven dat  de 'elite' zonder goed geïnformeerd te zijn adembenemend snel voorstander is van ‘humanitair ingrijpen’ vanwege ‘responsibility tot protect,’ maar dat zij tegelijkertijd een gewelddadig neoliberaal systeem is stand houdt, waarbij

The poorest 40 percent of the world’s population accounts for 5 percent of global income. The richest 20 percent accounts for three-quarters of world income. According to UNICEF, 25,000 children die each day due to poverty.

Een dode Afrikaanse economische vluchteling ligt dood aangespoeld op een Spaans strand, terwijl toeristen ongestoord van hun vakantie genieten. 

De westerse massamens functioneert in een niet doorleefde werkelijkheid, in een virtuele Kitsch wereld. De Britse taalkundige George Steiner schreef in dit verband in Het Verval van het woord (1974) over

wat politieke beestachtigheid en leugen van een taal kunnen maken, wanneer deze laatste is losgescheurd van de wortels van de moraal en het gevoelsleven, afgestompt door cliché's, loze beweringen en woordrestanten De taal van de massamedia en de reclame... de stijl van het huidige politieke debat, zijn even zovele duidelijke bewijzen voor het verdwijnen van de vitaliteit en de nauwkeurigheid van uitdrukking. De taal van onze gemeenschap is in een hachelijke toestand geraakt, wanneer een onderzoek naar radio-actieve neerslag de naam ‘Operation Sunshine’ kan krijgen,

en, zo voeg ik eraan toe, wanneer het Westen als ‘vredestichtend’ wordt aangeprezen door een vooraanstaande journalist als Henk Hofland, door zijn collega’s uitgeroepen tot grootste Nederlandse journalist van de twintigste eeuw. Hoflands kwalificatie is geen vergissing, hij meent het echt, net als Geert Mak werkelijk meent dat de VS ‘decennialang ordewaker en politieagent’ op aarde is geweest. Steiner heeft gelijk toen hij schreef:

En de eisen van de massacultuur en de massacommunicatie hebben de taal een steeds geringere taak doen vervullen. Wat kan er, uitgezonderd halve waarheden, grove simplificaties of onbenulligheden, overgebracht worden aan dat half-geletterde massale gehoor, dat dankzij de overal doorgedrongen democratie de voorstelling mag bijwonen? Alleen in een verschraalde of gecorrumpeerde taal kan een dergelijke communicatie effectief worden gemaakt.

Hoflands aanname dat er een ‘politiek-literaire elite’ in Nederland bestaat, berust op zelfbedrog. Die 'elite' bestaat domweg niet. De literatoren die ooit maatschappelijk betrokken waren, behoren tot de generatie van het interbellum in Europa en tot de Beat-generatie van de jaren vijftig in de VS. Die behoorden tot de vernieuwende avant-garde. Maar daar heeft Hofland nooit onderdeel van uitgemaakt. Dwight Macdonald:

The old avant-garde has passed and left no successors. We continue to live off its capital but the community has broken up and the standards are no longer respected. The crisis in America is especially severe. Our creators are too isolated or too integrated. Most of them merge gracefully into Midcult, feeling they must be part of ‘the life of our time,’ whatever that means (I should think it would be ambitious enough to try to be part of one’s own life)

Het is een treffende omschrijving van H.J.A. Hofland en de andere Nederlandse mainstream opiniemakers; inderdaad, de meesten van hen ‘merge gracefully into Midcult,’ onderwijl denkend dat ze tot de 'High Culture' van vernieuwers behoren. In de praktijk kunnen ze ook niet anders dan zich zo soepel mogelijk inpassen in de karakterloze consumptiecultuur van de middenklasse. Voor de mainstream journalisten draagt deelname aan de avant-garde te veel risico’s met zich mee, en biedt hen niet snel genoeg en met zekerheid het comfort en de privileges die een collaborerend bestaan wel biedt. De zogeheten ‘politiek-literaire elite’ van Hofland wil absoluut niets inleveren ‘to revive the spirit of the old avant-garde, that is to recreatie a cultural – as against a social, political or economic – elite as a countermovement to both Masscult and Midcult.’  En dus dreef 'de elite' van mijn generatie mee met de economische hoogconjunctuur om nu, in politiek opzicht, met lege handen te staan. Om de pijnlijke stilte te te vullen bluffen zij thans dat ze noodzakelijk zijn voor het voortbestaan van een echte democratie, terwijl ze in de praktijk niet meer doen dan proberen de neoliberale 'democratie' overeind te houden. Dwight Macdonald:

The Lords of the Kitsch sell culture to the masses. It is a debased, trivial culture that avoid both the deep realities (sex, death, failure, tragedy) and also the simple. Spontaneous pleasures, since the realities would be too real and the pleasures too lively to induce what Mr. Seldes (Amerikaanse cultuurcriticus. svh) calls ‘the mood of consent’: a narcotized acceptance of Masscult-Midcult and of the commodified it sells as a substitute for the unsettling and unpredictable (hence unsalable) joy, tragedy, wit, change, originality and beauty of real life. The masses – and don’t let us forget that this term includes the well-educated fans of The Old Man and the Sea, Our Town, J.B., and John Brown’s Body – who have been debauched by several generations of this sort of thing, in turn to demand such trivial and comfortable cultural products.
En zo zijn we terug bij de schijnwereld van de Makkianen die om hun publiek te behagen met veel poeha pretenderen de politieke en literaire kaste te representeren, terwijl ze je reinste Kitsch verkopen, knollen voor citroenen. Dit is het logische resultaat van een kapitalistische democratie, die niet kapitalistisch is maar neoliberaal, en geen democratie, maar een plutocratie is. Degene die te lang in een leugen leeft, gaat geloven dat de leugen de waarheid is, en denkt dat zijn slavernij vrijheid is. Hij kan domweg de werkelijkheid niet meer zien. Hij is te gefixeerd op zichzelf, op zijn eigen materieel en psychisch welzijn. In zijn essay American Poetry citeert W.H. Auden een opmerkelijke passage uit Democracy in America van de Franse aristocraat Alexis de Tocqueville. Na zijn reis naar de VS schreef Tocqueville over de poëzie in de nieuwe wereld:

I am persuaded that in the end democracy diverts the imagination from all that is external to man and fixes it on man alone. Democratic nations may amuse themselves for a while with considering  the productions of nature, but they are exited in reality only by a survey of themselves…

The poets who lived in aristocratic ages have been eminently successful in their delineation of certain incidents in the life of a people or a man; but none of them ever ventured to include within his performances the destinies of mankind, a task which poets writing in democratic ages may attempt…

It may be foreseen in like manner that poets living in democratic times will prefer the delineation of passions and ideas to that of persons and achievements. The language, the dress, and the daily actions of men in democracies are repugnant to conceptions of the ideal… This forces the poet constantly to search below the external surface which is palpable to the senses, in order to read the inner soul; and nothing lends itself more to the delineation of the ideal than the scrutiny of the hidden depths in the immaterial nature of man…

The destinies of mankind, man himself taken aloof from his country and his age, and standing in the presence of Nature and of God, with his passions, his doubts, his rare prosperities and inconceivable wretchedness, will become the chief, if not the sole, theme of poetry.

Auden eindigt ruim een eeuw later met de opmerking dat

If this be an accurate description of the poetry we call modern, then one might say that America had never known any other kind.

Waarbij zij aangetekend dat vandaag de dag wij allen ‘Amerika’ zijn geworden en dat wij  permanent in het beeld beeld staan en het uitzicht versperren.

Auden’s essaybundel begint met Nietzsche’s woorden: ‘We have Art in order that we may not perish from Truth.’