Monday, October 4, 2010

The True Terrorists are not who you think "they" are

"the war is terrorism" image is from here
This includes men's war on women; straight people's war on queer people; non-Indigenous people's war on Indigenous people; whites' war on people of color; the rich's war on everyone else; the Global North's war on the Global South; the West's war on the East, and against All Life on the Earth.

I've been noticing the dominant media putting out these vague notions of "possible attacks" in any number of places--seemingly everywhere except by U.S. and NATO military forces who are terrorising many places around the world. We don't hear about those actions as "actual terrorists attacks" but rather as "us protecting ourselves". We will never hear the dominant media give other nations the benefit of THAT doubt, will we? Because anything or anyone that threatens the U.S. is "terroristic" but if the U.S. terrorises, including U.S. men terrorising U.S. women, the media won't determine that to be terror at all. Now why would that be, do ya think?

What follows is from The Guardian (UK). Please click on the title to link back.

Be very afraid – we are being fleeced by purveyors of fear

Home Office threat levels are absurd abstractions of no help to anyone except the security lobby raising cash through fear
In case you missed it, since Monday an "Irish-related" attack on Britain has been "a strong possibility". At the same time, an al-Qaida attack is "highly likely" and "only a matter of time". This presumably means one will occur – though, since August 2006, when this alarmist language was first to put us on continuous alert, terrorism has been like mad flu disease, afflicting Whitehall but strangely absent from the nation at large.

I hesitate to tempt fate, but this dog's dinner of nouns and qualifiers cannot mean anything to the general public. Rather than describing a menace to the British state, the words are more a comment on English teaching in schools. They are verbal garbage, reflecting a habit of bureaucratic mind and relieving public services – airport security, railway guards, traffic police – of the need for courtesy. They just want to keep the public scared and paying taxes.

Travelling on a First Great Western train nowadays is like entering Guantánamo – a cacophony of repetitive announcements telling passengers to protect their belongings at all times and inform the police if they see anything suspicious. Likewise the fatuous frisking of old ladies at airports, the half-hearted searching of bags in shops, the reams of safety literature pouring from the nation's printers. It is the white noise of state fear.

Nothing is as absurd as Home Office "threat levels". They purport to grade the risk of something called an "attack". This is not defined, but graces a crime with the glamour of a soldierly act. It grants terrorism political status and thus dusts the security industry with the glory of defending the realm.

Above all the threat must be kept alive, sorted into classes of low, moderate, substantial, severe and critical. We are currently at severe. What regius professor of English chose these words? I would put severe below substantial, the word being a strengthener of very, while substantial has substance. But I assume Whitehall has done focus groups and sweat tests. Substantial was perhaps greeted with a shrug, while severe brought on the shakes. As for critical – mujahideen "expected imminently" to hurl bombs down Oxford Street – it is surely the most devalued word in the OED.

There is no way a member of the public can sensibly use the information that an al-Qaida threat has altered from substantial to severe. These are abstractions. Are we supposed to calibrate our dread with Theresa May each morning, treating all dark skin as suspicious and every beard as hiding a foe?

The former home secretary, Alan Johnson, raised the al-Qaida threat level in January from substantial to severe, yet added that it would be "pretty daft" to say why. Under his predecessor the security service boasted that it had tabs on 2,000 individual terrorists, 200 networks and 30 active plots. The impression was the more the merrier.

The public pays the police and security services to protect them from these bombs going off, while accepting that occasionally one will get through. But it also pays not constantly to be reminded that there are bad people in the world. It pays to be relieved of fear. May claims to be "alerting not alarming" the public by "raising its awareness". She treats terrorism as, like gay rights and climate change, in need of an Arts Council grant.

In the mid-1970s, the Provisional IRA staged some 50 explosions in London, subjecting the city to far greater mayhem than today. Somehow we survived without the gargantuan counter-terror apparatus in place today. The bombing campaign came nowhere near toppling the British government or infringing the liberty of the state. The chief threat to that freedom today comes not from terrorists but from the government's response to them. Speaking in July on the fifth anniversary of the 7/7 tube attacks, the former head of the Met's Muslim Contact Unit, Robert Lambert, commented that the then Labour government, by taking its lead from a "flawed neocon" analysis of Islam, had "not reduced but increased the chances of terrorist attacks". The government had proclaimed that an evil ideology had entitled it "to derogate from human rights considerations" and "go to war not against terrorism but against ideas, the belief that al-Qaida was a violent end of a subversive movement".

To see what is happening we probably need to return to the old journalistic maxim, follow the money. There is now an extensive police and industrial lobby in Britain dependent for its resources on maintaining a high level of public fear. The lobby thrives on its own failures. The incidents in America on 9/11 (2001) and in London on 7/7 (2005) saw the greatest ever peacetime growth in spending on security. Unlike most forms of public spending, this one could by its nature demand cash with menaces and with no account of value for money.

The fear must be sustained if the resources are to flow. The west has been starkly free of terrorist "attacks" over the past decade. The lobby may plead this proves the money was well spent, but the staggering cost of anti-terrorism since 9/11, including two foreign wars, must have surpassed all actuarial calculation of western lives saved thereby.

Hardly a month goes by without someone in authority reminding us to expect another attack imminently. I have lost count of statements from MI5, the police and other experts that an attack is a matter of "not if, but when". The attacks never occur, or are brilliantly thwarted, like the one reportedly prevented this week, apparently by dropping bombs from drones on Pakistani villages. What is noticeable is that the tempo of such threats increases immediately before Christmas and when the security lobby is involved in a fight over money, as now.

This week the Police Federation chief, Paul McKeever, warned that policing the Olympics would be a "great burden" because of budget cuts. His union has constantly upped the "threat to the Olympics" to win £800m for just two weeks of cover – more even than Beijing. Now it wants more. Meanwhile the Met's John Yates, head of specialist operations, has declared that any cuts to his budget would be exploited by al-Qaida and "leave Britain vulnerable to terrorist attack". This is from a force with so much money that it can spend £48m on a "human resources computer" that is still not ready, and deploy a helicopter and 59 gunmen to kill one Chelsea barrister.

Britain's security/industrial complex has been allowed to run berserk under the long shadow of 9/11 and 7/7. It has been allowed to undermine civil liberty and tax the exchequer of a fortune. Now it has the effrontery to tell Britons that they are not safer but less safe as a result. After 10 years of soaring expenditure, the threat has actually risen.

I do not believe that this apparent failure to deliver value for money is real, or that some catastrophic explosion is imminent. I think this is just another lobby seeking money. As it plays with its words, the rest of us may shrug and go about our business. But I sometimes wonder who is the real terrorist.

Dominant Western Media: Who Controls It? Bottom line: it controls you more than you know.

image of "the monopoly guy" is from here

What follows is cross posted from The Economic Collapse blog. Please click on the title to link back.

Who Owns The Media? The 6 Monolithic Corporations That Control Almost Everything We Watch, Hear And Read

Back in 1983, approximately 50 corporations controlled the vast majority of all news media in the United States. Today, ownership of the news media has been concentrated in the hands of just six incredibly powerful media corporations. These corporate behemoths control most of what we watch, hear and read every single day. They own television networks, cable channels, movie studios, newspapers, magazines, publishing houses, music labels and even many of our favorite websites. Sadly, most Americans don't even stop to think about who is feeding them the endless hours of news and entertainment that they constantly ingest. Most Americans don't really seem to care about who owns the media. But they should. The truth is that each of us is deeply influenced by the messages that are constantly being pounded into our heads by the mainstream media. The average American watches 153 hours of television a month. In fact, most Americans begin to feel physically uncomfortable if they go too long without watching or listening to something. Sadly, most Americans have become absolutely addicted to news and entertainment and the ownership of all that news and entertainment that we crave is being concentrated in fewer and fewer hands each year.

The six corporations that collectively control U.S. media today are Time Warner, Walt Disney, Viacom, Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., CBS Corporation and NBC Universal. Together, the "big six" absolutely dominate news and entertainment in the United States. But even those areas of the media that the "big six" do not completely control are becoming increasingly concentrated. For example, Clear Channel now owns over 1000 radio stations across the United States. Companies like Google, Yahoo and Microsoft are increasingly dominating the Internet.

But it is the "big six" that are the biggest concerns. When you control what Americans watch, hear and read you gain a great deal of control over what they think. They don't call it "programming" for nothing.

Back in 1983 it was bad enough that about 50 corporations dominated U.S. media. But since that time, power over the media has rapidly become concentrated in the hands of fewer and fewer people....

In 1983, fifty corporations dominated most of every mass medium and the biggest media merger in history was a $340 million deal. … [I]n 1987, the fifty companies had shrunk to twenty-nine. … [I]n 1990, the twenty-nine had shrunk to twenty three. … [I]n 1997, the biggest firms numbered ten and involved the $19 billion Disney-ABC deal, at the time the biggest media merger ever. … [In 2000] AOL Time Warner’s $350 billion merged corporation [was] more than 1,000 times larger [than the biggest deal of 1983].

--Ben H. Bagdikian, The Media Monopoly, Sixth Edition, (Beacon Press, 2000), pp. xx—xxi

Today, six colossal media giants tower over all the rest. Much of the information in the chart below comes from The chart below reveals only a small fraction of the media outlets that these six behemoths actually own....

Time Warner

Home Box Office (HBO)
Time Inc.
Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.
Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
CW Network (partial ownership)
New Line Cinema
Time Warner Cable
Cartoon Network
America Online
Castle Rock
Sports Illustrated
Marie Claire
People Magazine

Walt Disney

ABC Television Network
Disney Publishing
Disney Channel
Buena Vista Home Entertainment
Buena Vista Theatrical Productions
Buena Vista Records
Disney Records
Hollywood Records
Miramax Films
Touchstone Pictures
Walt Disney Pictures
Pixar Animation Studios
Buena Vista Games
Hyperion Books


Paramount Pictures
Paramount Home Entertainment
Black Entertainment Television (BET)
Comedy Central
Country Music Television (CMT)
MTV Canada
Nick Magazine
Nick at Nite
Nick Jr.
Spike TV
The Movie Channel
TV Land

News Corporation

Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
Fox Television Stations
The New York Post
Fox Searchlight Pictures
Fox Business Network
Fox Kids Europe
Fox News Channel
Fox Sports Net
Fox Television Network
My Network TV
News Limited News
Phoenix InfoNews Channel
Phoenix Movies Channel
Sky PerfecTV
Speed Channel
STAR TV Taiwan
STAR World
Times Higher Education Supplement Magazine
Times Literary Supplement Magazine
Times of London
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
20th Century Fox International
20th Century Fox Studios
20th Century Fox Television
The Wall Street Journal
Fox Broadcasting Company
Fox Interactive Media
HarperCollins Publishers
The National Geographic Channel
National Rugby League
News Interactive
News Outdoor
Radio Veronica
Sky Italia
Sky Radio Denmark
Sky Radio Germany
Sky Radio Netherlands

CBS Corporation

CBS News
CBS Sports
CBS Television Network
CBS Radio Inc. (130 stations)
CBS Consumer Products
CBS Outdoor
CW Network (50% ownership)
Infinity Broadcasting
Simon & Schuster (Pocket Books, Scribner)
Westwood One Radio Network

NBC Universal

NBC News
NBC Sports
NBC Television Network
SciFi Magazine
Syfy (Sci Fi Channel)
USA Network
Weather Channel
Focus Features
NBC Universal Television Distribution
NBC Universal Television Studio
Paxson Communications (partial ownership)
Universal Parks & Resorts
Universal Pictures
Universal Studio Home Video

These gigantic media corporations do not exist to objectively tell the truth to the American people. Rather, the primary purpose of their existence is to make money.

These gigantic media corporations are not going to do anything to threaten their relationships with their biggest advertisers (such as the largest pharmaceutical companies that literally spend billions on advertising), and one way or another these gigantic media corporations are always going to express the ideological viewpoints of their owners.

Fortunately, an increasing number of Americans are starting to wake up and are realizing that the mainstream media should not be trusted. According to a new poll just released by Gallup, the number of Americans that have little to no trust in the mainstream media (57%) is at an all-time high.

That is one reason why we have seen the alternative media experience such rapid growth over the past few years. The mainstream media has been losing credibility at a staggering rate, and Americans are starting to look elsewhere for the truth about what is really going on.

Do you think that anyone in the mainstream news would actually tell you that the Federal Reserve is bad for America or that we are facing a horrific derivatives bubble that could destroy the entire world financial system? Do you think that anyone in the mainstream media would actually tell you the truth about the deindustrialization of America or the truth about the voracious greed of Goldman Sachs?

Sure there are a few courageous reporters in the mainstream media that manage to slip a few stories past their corporate bosses from time to time, but in general there is a very clear understanding that there are simply certain things that you just do not say in the mainstream news.

But Americans are becoming increasingly hungry for the truth, and they are becoming increasingly dissatisfied with the dumbed down pablum that is passing as "hard hitting news" these days.

So what do you think about the state of the mainstream media? Please feel free to leave a comment with your opinion below....

A Vision for Revolution: Imagine This

image is from here

How will it come to pass that the Earth is no longer polluted and ravaged by corporate greed and military weapons? How will animals cease becoming extinct? How will people live in economic systems which are spiritually, psychologically healthy? How do we collectively get to the place and the time on Earth when rape is no more? When misogyny is no more? When white supremacy and racism is no more? When trafficking and enslaving humans is no more?

I envision such a world--of peace, of justice, of humane humanity living harmoniously with, not on, the Earth. But by what means do we arrive there? I carry into that question the dreams and battles of many across the globe, fighting for human rights, for land rights, for rights to unpolluted and unowned water. I know there are many others around the world, particularly and most especially the most oppressed, the lease privileged, the most silenced, the most marginalised, and the most threatened with violence and violation, who long for a world without systemic exploitation and systematic violence.

I have always imagined this:

One day something miraculous will occur. What will happen is that anyone who causes others harm will experience the harm they cause. If they have been cruel, their cruelty will be visited upon and within them, and it will remain unrelenting until their souls are transformed by the experience, into compassionate, empathic human beings who, from that moment on, will be incapable of callousness and cruelty.

I imagine that the rapists, sex traffickers and slavers, incest perpatrators, and child molesters will feel all of the painful emotions and self-injurious thoughts experienced by those raped, trafficked, enslaved, incested, and molested. And through that awareness they will be radically transformed into people incapable of such acts of horror, and violation of bodies, of beings, and of trust.

I imagine that the Earth will let the wealthiest perpetrators of pollution--not the factory workers but the factory owners, not those struggling to pay their rent or their mortgage monthly, not anyone who is homeless or without income, but those wealthy enough to never have to worry about being homeless, without health care, without resources. The Earth, its skies, seas, and land, will work together to transform the minds and spirits of those who think of the Earth as a thing to be exploited, not a Being to be honored and respected.

I imagine a time when all creatures, great and small, will not have to fear humans at all. Because humans will stop destroying their environments, and will stop slaughtering animals they don't need to eat. And I mean that the people killing the animals do not need to eat to survive. Specifically that. In this time there will be no "commmercial" industries of food production. There will be local and regional food production, and it won't involved cruelty to animals.

I imagine that the terror experienced by any and all creatures who are threatened by humans who seek to make money off of those deaths, will be visited in their minds and bones by that terror, and it will not cease until those humans who profit from mass slaughter of animals, or gross, unnecessary corporate-led destruction of environments and ecosystems, will be radically transformed by the experience of that terror, such that when it eases they would never think again of practicing ecocide, of participating in economic systems that require mass slaughter to thrive or endure.

In such a world, people live with other animals and with the Earth and they live inside ecosystems that the Earth approves of, that the plants approve of, that animals approve of. There is no society that is not approved of by the Earth and its many creatures and other Life. Humans no longer rule.

In this world, men no longer rule women, in any way. No humans rule others, in any way. There is, instead, great empathy, great compassion, and a sense in each living person that only a few possess currently: the ability to determine one's own actions based on what is best for the whole of Life, not just what is best for oneself. Greed, degradation, and abuse, disappear as human phenomena.

In this world, Indigenous people have their land and their pre-colonial cultures; they live as they once lived before being invaded, conquered, and before any European men committed genocide on Earth. Non-indigenous people have their pre-colonial cultures also. But they will not have mindsets, paradigms, values, and practices that lead them to mistakenly think they ought to rule or dominate people around the world. Whiteness and manhood will not be identities of domination.

In this world, non-heterosexual people will have exactly the same rights and responsibilities as heterosexuals. Gender will cease to be played out as a war against women, as an oppositional, hierarchical dualism in which those ways of being that are seen as "feminine" are valued and respected less than anything considered "masculine".

In this world, people will not need to be afraid of losing their homes, unless due to natural occurrences that have no cause in human abuse of the Earth. People need not be afraid of each other, because the capacities of every human to feel empathy and compassion for everyone else will be equally shared and will forge the structures of our collective survival.

If you thought this post would contain battle plans, you don't understand what I mean by "revolution". What I  am imagining is a revolution of spirit, and an expansive growth of Love that replaces anxiety with serenity, cruelty with care, depression with joy, and war with peace.

Let us bring this world into being. Together.