Thursday, April 12, 2012

Crushing Dissent - The Smearing of Wikileaks and Occupy

Close your eyes for a moment and imagine the worst possible future abuse by a government over its own citizens. The first thing likely to come to mind for many would be assassination of citizens without due process. Sadly, you will have to think a bit harder; in the US, which so often describes itself as the world's leading democracy and regularly criticizes the human rights records of other nations, the right to kill its own citizens before allowing them a chance to give their side of the story has already been reserved. Targets are placed on a 'kill list' by a secret panel working out of the White House, and their findings are brought to the President, who makes the final decision on whether a suspect will live or die. And not just the suspect, anyone else unfortunate enough to be standing close by when the drone strikes.

It is a fundamental tenet of law in any country that can call itself even remotely civilized that one is innocent until proven guilty, and that no matter how bad something looks on the surface, formal due process must be followed to get to the root of any alleged guilt. The alternative is chaos: lynch mobs and random punishment based on hearsay or unverified evidence. Terrifyingly, the World's Leading Democracy(TM) now countenances such lawlessness, setting a precedent that other nations are bound to follow, basing their judgments on 'secret evidence', while the citizenry are supposed to blindly trust the actions of the same government that has demonstrably lied and orchestrated cover-ups on multiple issues.

Imagine if citizens, sufficiently outraged, took to the streets and blogs to protest. Would it make any difference? Make no mistake: the powers behind the governments, namely the banks, the corporations, special interest/lobbying groups, and the super rich, are working toward ensuring that any protest in the future that threatens the status quo will be ineffective.

Some protests will succeed (to some degree), of course - the Trayvon Martin case being one such recent display of people power - but the elites will not be overly concerned about giving in on such issues of justice as they do not even slightly threaten their hold on real power; indeed, such concessions serve to reinforce the false view that ordinary people actually have the power to change society in any meaningful way under the current system.

In reality, any form of dissent which presents a potential threat will be crushed mercilessly. Citizen protest sadly has as much chance of changing things as an asthmatic squirrel has of scaling the north face of the Eiger on an antique tricycle...ahem. Recent examples include Julian Assange/Wikileaks and the Occupy movement. A closer look at how these two threats were dealt with yields details of the methodology used.

Instead of learning the truly astonishing abuses uncovered via Wikileaks, the public is told in multiple media outlets and by a glittering cast of political household names that the recklessness of Wikileaks in publishing secret information will cost innocent lives. Then the target of hate is given a face; and so a personality cult is created around Julian Assange. Almost every single article has the words 'rape allegations' tacked on the end, so the reader goes away subconsciously thinking Assange is a rapist, even though he has not been charged with any crime. Tell that to The Daily Mail, which was forced to run five corrections regarding false allegations they made in articles about Wikileaks and Assange. In my book, I argue for prohibitive fines for such misleading journalism - only in that way can newspapers be forced to stop deliberately deceiving the public.

David Leigh, the 'investigations' executive editor of The Guardian unnecessarily published the password of the file containing the US diplomatic cables in one of the most stupid acts of internet recklessness of all time in his book co-written with Luke Harding (not in any way written to cash in on the Wikileaks phenomenon) and then went on to shamelessly blame Wikileaks for recklessness. He also told journalism students at City University that Assange is a 'Frankenstein's monster' who 'didn't used to wash regularly' and was 'quite deranged'. Meanwhile, supporters of Assange are smeared in comments threads around the world by astroturfers and ordinary people who have been taken in by the propaganda as 'naive' and 'Assange worshippers'.

On a more ominous note, the recent Stratfor leaks prove that the US has issued a sealed indictment against Assange, ready for if/when he is extradited to Sweden. The expectation is that he will then be taken to the US, where his outlook would be bleak when we consider the abusive treatment of the alleged leaker of the US diplomatic cables, Bradley Manning. Assange can expect no sympathy from Barack Obama, who, when asked about Bradley Manning, said: "He broke the law." I am no lawyer, but even I can see that Obama, a graduate of Harvard Law School, has some basic misconceptions about assigning guilt to a man yet to stand trial.

This all-encompassing deluge of, erm...bullshit leaves the average reader of news, the vast majority who lack either the time or the inclination to read past the surface, with an overwhelmingly negative impression of Wikileaks and its founder. To them, Assange is simply an attention-seeker with dubious personal habits and hygiene. Without digging deeper, what else could the average punter possibly think? And the actual abuses revealed via Wikileaks are lost in the background noise and fail to stir popular outrage. This is a tragic failing of modern establishment media.

The Occupy movement has suffered a similar fate. After the initial wave of euphoria which swept the world when people heard someone was actually going out onto the streets to try to do something about the criminals in government and on Wall Street, the propaganda machine ground into action. Lacking a single leader, the movement was smeared throughout the corporate-owned media en masse as a bunch of hippies who smoke a lot of marijuana and don't wash. They were advised to 'get a job' and stop bothering ordinary hard-working people. The fact that the movement itself contains a huge number of ordinary hard-working people failed to reach the front pages. In a presidential election year, they are now nigh on ignored, and we are instead treated to a witless stream of endless gaffes and missteps of candidates and their campaign staff.

On top of the smear campaign, protesters are regularly subjected to police violence and intimidation despite protesting peacefully, and those arrested can also expect special treatment at the hands of the police.

Returning to our original question, how many people do you know (including yourself) would risk the citizen abuses above, knowing full well that any protest you make is almost certainly likely to fail or be ignored no matter how long you continue? Protesting takes time, energy, conviction and courage, things that many people do not possess as they have families, jobs and other obligations to protect, obligations which would be severely jeopardized in the event of injury or arrest.

Meaningful protest in the traditional sense is finished. The only remaining frontier for effective protest is the internet, and the elites are already working hard to ensure this also comes under their control, justifying such efforts by invoking the threats of online piracy and even terrorism. You can be certain that internet-savvy organizations like Wikileaks and Anonymous will be the subjects of massive FBI investigations to ensure their silencing. For this reason, these organizations deserve our support and, indeed, respect for the risks they are taking on behalf of a world public that is largely hostile to them thanks to the endless smearing in the media.

What is the answer? There is only one thing that the elites would not be able to prevent: a massive grassroots movement towards direct democracy, a perfectly viable (despite what people often believe) system of government that would greatly reduce or even eliminate the abuses of the elites. Switzerland, a strong and stable society, utilizes a form of direct democracy, proving that such a system is workable.

In order to excise this cancer, massive support of such a movement would be required from all popular progressives and other public figures in order to promote awareness. One possible way of implementing such a grassroots campaign is detailed in my book (see footnote below), which is free to download. If we do not act soon, even the freedom of the internet will be severely curtailed and the chance will be lost. For those of us who do not want a future of pervasive surveillance of every aspect of our lives and ever-worsening abuses by those in power, it really is that critical. In a media environment suffering a surplus of superlatives, that cannot be stressed enough.

'The 99.99998271% - Why the Time is Right for Direct Democracy’ by Simon Wood is available for free download. In this 70-page book, the current state of human rights and democracy is discussed, and a simple method of implementing direct democracy is suggested.
Simon Wood on twitter (simonwood11) and Facebook or at his blog.

3 comments:

  1. http://freeuntodeath.wordpress.com/

    http://freeuntodeath.wordpress.com/

    http://freeuntodeath.wordpress.com/


    This is a call to action.
    Please, help us get the word out.
    Don't be distracted anymore!
    We have nothing to be afraid of...

    #ExpectUs

    ReplyDelete
  2. NO! NO! NO!

    You desperately need a history lesson.
    "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

    We, of course, need to stop abuses and that has to begin with insisting upon our media playing their vital role in this Wold's Leading Democracy(can that be tradmarked?)... and if they won't then picking up the torch our very selves.
    The people have more power than they know... and it does NOT begin at the polls... it begins in what they are willing to do every time they slide their asses behind their desks and continue to prop up these massive businesses for fear of not feeding their families and paying their mortgages. Fight for each other... go meet your neighbors... build relationships so you've someone to rely on who will help when you have to say "No! I won't!", "No! It's wrong!", "No! It's not fair!", "No! It's immoral!" to YOUR boss.
    Example: My local utility company(ies!) have hidden their cruel reduction of the time given to pay before utilities will be cut off from 3 months plus just years ago to less than a month (less than 2 weeks in most cases) after your due date. They've used the recession as a cover up even having the media mechanically spout their press releases which dishonestly proclaim the sadness of increased utility disconnections as a result OF said recession... 1)Media spouted... 2)People believed... 3)Public felt helpless to act even when they knew the truth.
    BUT, it took workers to continue to threaten customers with these deadlines and insist they move into paying hourly (with swipe cards) for their electricity continuing to spout the company lines of "It will help you get a better idea of how much you use" or "You'll have more real control" or "If you accept this (ridiculously unfair treatment), we'll turn your electricity back on tomorrow, no payment required". Leaving (in this area) hundreds of thousands of families living from hour to hour with electricity concerns. Now that can't be stressful. (Talk about adding another weight so a citizen doesn't have the 'energy' to fight back.)

    Or their's the new fun trick phone and credit card companies are using: Customer- "I'm calling for my balance." Company Rep- "That would be $___.__. And you said you'll be paying by the end of the day?" In other words, "This is being recorded and if you aren't paying attention and say 'Yes' we are now able by law to cut your service off with no further notice."

    These are basic everyday occurances in millions of peoples lives and it takes our colluding for them to perpetrate it on our fellow citizens. This is where it starts... and where fixing this mess will begin.
    These companies cannot rule us without OUR help. We are their army... when will we put our guns down and refuse to harm another citizen under the guise of having to feed our families?
    Don't just fight to feed your family... insist that all families should have the fair right to feed themselves without being tricked, stiffed, used and lied to... or lead down a yellow brick road to Anarchy (so they can swiftly, sweetly sweep in and take control).

    Stand up and protect the laws rather than letting media (of all kinds) flip you about back and forth at the whim of the (ever changing) masses. For we all know how intelligent and careful TRUE mob rule is. ...Right?

    #standingourground-theREPUBLIC(TM)
    ~still fighting for true freedom from a far less than middle class front

    ReplyDelete
  3. Anon...

    Thanks for the comment and for reading the blog! I'm not sure why you're saying, 'No, no, no' because if you read my book, you'd see that I am in complete agreement with what you say. However, one of the major issues with DD is highlighted by you here - lack of action by people on a mass scale; this tendency of people to hope someone else solves the problems of society.

    For this reason among many I have suggested in my book a system which would hopefully bypass such apathy. I just need someone with the resources and programming skills to step in and get things rolling.

    Again...you're right. But the reality is, what you're asking people to do simply won't happen unless their lives and/or livelihoods are imminently, tangibly and personally threatened. And in most cases, while people are suffering, they begin to think that it is normal to suffer.

    Anyone out there with skills/resources I mentioned?? Please contact me!

    ReplyDelete

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