The Gaslighting Government

The Gaslighting Government

The film Gaslight (1944), directed by George Cukor and starring Ingrid Bergman and Charles Boyer, relays the story of a con artist, Sergis Bauer, who under the assumed name of Gregory Anton seduces and marries a young woman, Paula Alquist. The smitten bride has no idea that her charming husband murdered her aunt, Alice Alquist, who left behind a home in London where a cache of priceless jewels is stashed somewhere in the attic. The newlyweds move into the home, which Paula has inherited, and the husband proceeds to dig through the contents of the attic in an impassioned effort to locate the jewels. In order to accomplish this aim, he must keep his wife inside the house while he goes out at night, ostensibly to work in his studio. Instead, he reenters the attic of the house from an alley entrance.

While rummaging around upstairs, directly above his wife’s head, Bauer makes noises, and his use of a lamp causes the gaslight downstairs to flicker, naturally raising questions in his wife’s mind. He quells her concerns about what is going on by persuading her to believe that her perceptions are mere figments of her imagination and indeed evidence that she is going mad. To bolster this claim, he takes down paintings and hides them, after which he insists that she was the one to have moved them, despite having no memory of having done so. The criminal comes very close to having his wife committed to an insane asylum, at which point he would be free to search the entire house without raising any suspicions whatsoever, because she will be out of the picture. Just in the nick of time, the scheme is thwarted by the arrival on the scene of a hero (played by Joseph Cotten) to save the day.

The term gaslighting has come to refer thus to the phenomenon by which people are systematically persuaded to question their own perceptions of reality. It is a tactic deployed by sociopaths and psychological abusers who persuade docile people to accept whatever they say, no matter how preposterous, and no matter how much it conflicts with the deliverances of their very own senses. Such psychological manipulators are greatly aided in this endeavor through their persuasion of other people to agree with their version of what is going on.

Governments which exert influence over the mainstream media are quite adept at this sort of manipulation, as is well-illustrated by the build up to every war. Those who oppose bombing campaigns are portrayed as cowards and traitors, if not miscreants, by war profiteers, who remarkably persuade much of the populace of the necessity of military intervention, despite the fact that it will kill innocent civilians who have nothing whatsoever to do with the behavior of the leaders said to necessitate recourse to war. Gross injustices are in this way portrayed as not only permissible and just, but also obligatory.

The gaslighting tactic was equally well illustrated by the U.S. government’s response to the revelation that illegal mass surveillance had been undertaken against the entire population. Rather than expressing compunction for the crimes committed, those responsible instead insisted that no one was really looking at any of the data anyway. This line was further bolstered by cries throughout the media that “Innocent people have nothing to hide!” The scandal was shortly thereafter forgotten by much of the populace whose right to privacy had been violated by their very own government.

Similarly, when Wikileaks published the Collateral Murder video depicting civilians, including Reuters journalists, executed point blank from an Apache helicopter by the U.S. military, people all over the world were naturally appalled. The powers that be responded to the public uproar by vowing to investigate. But they ultimately concluded that no crime had been committed, for the soldiers had acted in accordance with their rules of engagement. In other words, if you thought that you were witnessing with your very own eyes the unthinkable murder of civilians on film, you were wrong, according to the gaslighting government. Likewise, when the U.S. government defined dead suspects as dead terrorists, by labeling them Enemy Killed in Action (EKIA), even when located outside areas of active hostilities, they effectively decreed that they could use lethal drones to kill anyone anywhere for any reason. Having been told by the gaslighting government that everything done in their name was intended to keep them safe, the populace generally acquiesced to this usurpation even of citizens’ rights to a fair trial before being summarily executed at the caprice of bureaucrats.

Predictably enough, given the precedents already set by the U.S. government, when ten civilians were killed by a Reaper drone in Kabul, Afghanistan, on August 29, 2021, the Pentagon concluded their investigation of the case by claiming that they had committed no crimes in destroying those people, seven of whom were children. But that was only because they had not violated the laws of war rewritten by none other than themselves and, again, according to which anyone can be killed at any time for any reason, provided only that the government has determined that this should be done.

These examples underscore the fact that political power once captured is rarely ceded and progressively expands in the absence of resistance, a principle equally well illustrated by the handling of the COVID-19 crisis by governments the world over. Entire populations have been kept in a continuous state of uncertainty, never knowing what they will be forbidden from doing next. Vaccine passports, following the trajectory of circular stickers on floors, have swept through the First World, having been taken up in Israel, Canada, and throughout Europe, in addition to cities such as New York and Los Angeles, with millions of citizens now denied the right to socialize, use public transportation, go shopping, work, drive, or lead any semblance of a normal life without first presenting their health credentials. In Australia, healthy people in the Northern Territory who have been in contact with persons who tested positive for COVID-19 are being sent to quarantine camps.

Fear and uncertainty are powerful tools by which to gain, retain and augment government control because everything that officials do is claimed to benefit their constituents. Whether it is the war on terror or the current health crisis, all bureaucrats everywhere sincerely profess to be doing no more and no less than trying to protect their compatriots’ lives. That’s the standard refrain, rehearsed each time a new policy or intervention is imposed, or a civil liberty stripped away. There is no need to assess the consequences of well-intended initiatives, because the docile populace charitably permits government officials to plod along with their failed policies, no matter what they do—even when they kill citizens themselves. That was how the fiasco in Afghanistan dragged on for two decades, and that is why even when the Fool’s Errand was at last recognized for what it was by people in the position to effect change, a number of pundits and politicians protested in response, insisting that pulling out was a mistake.

As in the case of the many liberty-restricting measures adopted throughout the Global War on Terror, the attempt by governments to force their citizenry to subject to serial injections of novel substances into their bodies is said by supporters to be intended only to protect them. All across the globe, arbitrary punishments are being exacted against those who refuse to comply, this despite the ongoing protests by thousands of people for months on end in countries such as France and Australia, where the protesters obviously have not dropped dead from their failure to comply with public health measures, whether masking, vaccination or social distancing.

The government of Austria recently announced that all of its unvaccinated population would be locked down. Shortly thereafter, the lockdown was extended to cover vaccinated persons as well. It seems likely that this was a part of the gaslighting government’s general strategy to demonize the unvaccinated as the cause of the loss of the freedom of the vaccinated, under the assumption that the latter would increase pressure on the former to comply. Ratcheting up their campaign to vaccinate every citizen, the Austrian government has further announced a hefty 7,200 Euro fine to be extracted from those who persist in resisting.

The polarization of people into two antithetical groups, the vaccinated and the so-called antivaxxers, has been very effective in shutting down nearly all debate into serious questions regarding the efficacy of COVID-19 public health policies. When case numbers surge, this is immediately blamed upon the unvaccinated, as is the appearance of each new variant, even though a number of virologists maintain that the decision to vaccinate the entire population during a pandemic (rather than waiting some time) itself led to the creation of new variants, as the virus fought to survive in vaccinated hosts by wriggling its way around the spike protein antibodies created in response to the mRNA injections.

Because fully half of the population persists in a state of manifest terror at the prospect of death by virus, the major challenge today for free people has become to defend our shrinking liberties from governments which have clearly been captured by pro-Big Pharma forces. It is stunning that so many people have been persuaded to believe that they should do whatever Pfizer wants them to, despite the company’s well-documented history of malfeasance and fraud. Only the climate of fear and uncertainty continuously cultivated by media outlets (sponsored by Pfizer!) and government spokespersons can explain this group behavior phenomenon, which exhibits many characteristics of religious cults. It goes without saying that cult leaders are exemplary gaslighters, for their followers occupy a world of the cult leader’s creation. New Normal, anyone?

Cults are created and flourish in a climate of fear and/or uncertainty. A self-proclaimed special leader with unique access to The Truth arrives on the scene to magnanimously offer himself to a group of people as the solution to the dire situation. In the United States, gaslighter par excellence Dr. Anthony Fauci has become the go-to guru, despite having repeatedly issued contradictory guidance on everything from masks to lockdowns to travel bans to natural immunity to virus origin and the wisdom of mandatory vaccination. When confronted with his contradictions, Fauci has claimed that he lied for the good of the people. In fact, none of this behavior is surprising, because the way in which cult leaders maintain control of their groups is by continually rehydrating the very sense of uncertainty and fear which led people to join in the first place.

One of the most graphic uses of gaslighting by public health officials has been their utter refusal to acknowledge the reality of natural immunity through previous infection. There is no other case of a disease known to humankind and for which a vaccine exists, where previously infected and fully recovered people are exhorted to undergo vaccination. That’s because vaccines are specifically designed to provoke a response from the immune system. Vaccines incite the production of antibodies and T-cells which protect a person from the invasion of a virus. If the immune system did not protect infected people, then they would all be dead. Instead, 99% of people who contract COVID-19 survive, clearly demonstrating the efficacy of natural immunity. Most significantly, if the human immune system could not hold its own against a virus, then no vaccine designed to jolt the human immune system into fighting that same virus could possibly be effective. It is a case of gaslighting extraordinaire to claim that the immune system will only work if one is vaccinated with an elixir whose efficacy depends on the ability of the immune system to work.

A second, and equally remarkable, case of gaslighting occurred in the initial marketing campaign for the mRNA products, when representatives of the product companies exuberantly claimed that the vaccines offered up to 95% efficacy against severe illness and death, which was a protection already enjoyed naturally by the vast majority of the population pre-vaccine, because they were never vulnerable to serious illness from the virus in the first place. Having been persuaded to believe in the manifestly preposterous conjunction that natural immunity is worthless, and mRNA “vaccines” reliant for their efficacy on natural immunity are necessary, much of the populace stands ready to accept nearly any other contradiction which comes their way, even when it entails the surrender of their civil liberties.

Leaders continue to spout out absurdities such as: “We’re going to protect vaccinated workers from unvaccinated co-workers,” and the gaslighting government has been relentless in its quest to persuade skeptical citizens that their perceptions of what is going on are all wrong. Parents who worry that their children are being harmed by mask requirements which reduce oxygen flow to their brains, and prevent them from learning appropriate behavior through reacting to facial cues, have been told by the gaslighting government (Jen Psaki, Biden’s press secretary) that masks are just like “hair ribbons.” Those who wonder whether financial interests (such as stock holdings and patent ownership) might possibly influence bureaucrats’ policy recommendations are shutdown as “conspiracy theorists”. Obviously there is no merit to the idea that nonvaccine therapies were proscribed for the simple reason that Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) of the experimental vaccines required that there be no alternative therapies available. That’s just another conspiracy theory, according to the gaslighting government.

The list of ideas which fly in the face of commonsense but are fully embraced by true believers is amazing to behold. Clearly it makes perfect sense to require healthy people to undergo experimental medical interventions with unknown longterm side effects. There is nothing wrong with requiring healthy people to submit to medical treatments as a condition on their current and future employment, even though the treatment in question does not prevent transmission of or infection by the disease whose symptoms it is designed to moderate. It is perfectly logical to prevent people from traveling from one country to another where the rate of infection is even worse than the country of origin. The government is better situated to determine which medications a patient should ingest than is the patient’s own doctor. There is nothing at all alarming about the government sending out the vaccine police to ensure compliance with what public health officials believe should be the treatment of healthy people, despite knowing nothing about their medical history or circumstances. It is perfectly fine to mandate that healthy people undergo experimental injections while protecting the manufacturers from legal repercussions in the event of adverse effects up to and including death. Cloth masks have no prophylactic benefit against viruses whose size is smaller than the pores of the cloth, but people should be required to wear them anyway. Health passports do not prevent infection and transmission, because the “vaccines” which they document do not prevent infection and transmission, but people should nonetheless be required to have them in order to be able to participate in society. It is entirely normal for democratically elected leaders to upbraid their constituents and threaten them menacingly, proclaiming, “Our patience is wearing thin!” when they decline to take drugs for which they have no need.

The list goes on and on, and so long as the (for the most part) scientifically illiterate populace continues to bleat “Listen to The Science!” under the assumption that Fauci, a mere man, is the apotheosis of the enormous edifice of all scientific knowledge, then they will continue to accept new and arbitrary policies. The idea that lockdown, quarantine, masking and vaccination requirements will continue on until COVID-19 disappears from the face of the earth has been successfully insinuated into the minds of the Branch Covidians, even though “the virus” will continue to mutate, just as coronaviruses have always done.

Once lured into a gaslighter’s web, it becomes progressively more difficult for people to be debriefed as time goes on. They have invested, made sacrifices, and embraced a narrative which becomes more and more compelling, even in the face of conflicting evidence. Human nature is such that no one wants to admit that they were fooled. Accordingly, instead of blaming at least some of the millions of deaths of Americans throughout the pandemic on the poor policies with which they themselves complied, the followers of Fauci & Co. remain steadfast in their belief that the death toll would have been much worse had they not agreed to do whatever their local health authorities told them to.

For years, the companies in the mRNA therapy business were waiting to test their products on human beings and, with the sudden appearance of COVID-19, their opportunity at last arrived. Advocates of universal vaccination are by now so intransigent in their beliefs that they are not bothered in the least by evidence that males in the age cohort 12-17 years are at greater risk from myocarditis post-vaccination than from the virus itself while unvaccinated. The strident call to inoculate small children with next to no vulnerability to COVID-19 is equally perplexing. Before 2020, few people would have rallied to inject perfectly healthy children with experimental elixirs designed to protect other people from a virus to which the children themselves were not vulnerable. It is shocking that anyone would offer their children up as guinea pigs in what is manifestly an experimental trial for a product of which they have no need.

Impervious to statistical data which belies the story which they have been persuaded to believe, such as the relatively good outcomes in places such as Florida and Sweden, and the poor outcomes in California and New York, in addition to the “inexplicable” success story of largely unvaccinated Africa, where vaccine hesitancy is rife and many nonvaccine remedies have been widely used, the true believers continue to insist that Fauci’s decrees must be heeded. This despite the fact that the virus death toll of 2021 was greater than that of 2020, even after widespread uptake of the “vaccine” so vigorously promoted as the solution to the crisis.

Nonetheless, according to the gaslighting government, this is a “pandemic of the unvaccinated,” reinforcing in the minds of half the population that every single COVID-19 death is caused directly by the evil “antivaxxers” who decline the treatment. In fact, it has become increasingly clear that the virus is untameable and endemic, as data from highly vaccinated Israel and Gibralter strongly suggests. Ignorant of or impervious to this data, the “good” vaccinated are being told by their gaslighting governments that if they do not present themselves for booster shots at regular intervals (Britain recently shortened the period of eligibility from six to three months), then they, too, will number among the irresponsible unvaccinated killers.

In the face of crisis, leaders are inclined to follow the simple precept: Do something. Do anything, the false assumption being that inaction is always worse than action. Having once implemented new policies, leaders are protected by the inaccessibility of counterfactual outcomes, and they always insist that things would have been much worse, had they not done what they did. Educated people, however, are now well aware that the government’s Global War on Terror itself led to a groundswell of support for the originally quite small group of extremists known as Al Qaeda, and the creation of factional franchises which spread throughout the Middle East and Africa. Similarly, we know that many of the excess deaths over the course of the past two years were caused not by the COVID-19 virus but by the political policies imposed in response to it.

In some parts of the world the average age of persons killed by COVID-19 has been greater than the actuary tables would have predicted, had the virus never emerged. In contrast, the rise in suicides and drug overdoses among young people, most of whom were not even vulnerable to COVID-19, is most plausibly explained by the draconian political policies preventing them from living what should have been their carefree lives. Not unrelated to the destruction of thousands of small businesses caused directly by government lockdowns, homelessness has increased dramatically, as any inhabitant of a major U.S. city can attest, with the sobering existence of vast tent encampments filling the sidewalks in front of shuttered stores for blocks on end.

Meanwhile, as was predicted by critics back in 2020, strict lockdown and medical triage policies have had as a further tragic effect that people terrified of contracting what they were propagandized to believe was the Black Death were prevented, not only by their own fear, but also by policies postponing routine screenings, from seeking even necessary medical interventions such as chemotherapy and surgery. In the U.K. alone, an estimated 50,000 early cancer diagnoses were missed. Yet government leaders and their appointees have doubled down on their failed policies, despite all of the evidence that they have been blinded by a monomaniacal obsession with one cause of death to the exclusion of any other of the many problems in society. Disturbingly, some medical facilities now refuse to treat the unvaccinated, even for serious illnesses which may culminate in their deaths.

Dozens of peer-reviewed scientific papers have confirmed the rational grounds for skepticism harbored by “noncompliant” citizens, but the gaslighting government plunders ahead undeterred. For they know that their devotees, having lived since 2020 in a state of profound uncertainty, terrified by what was made to seem the looming specter of their imminent death, will agree to anything, up to and including the usurpation of their bodily autonomy.

If you, Skeptical Citizen, reject The New Normal, then there is evidently something wrong with you. The very last thing which anyone should care about is whether the government itself caused the pandemic by funding the gain-of-function research used to create the COVID-19 virus.

U.S. 5th Circuit Court sides with liberty, reaffirming stay against OSHA’s ETS

Hot off the press, here’s some light legal reading from the U.S. 5th Circuit Court for everyone to enjoy this weekend. The clear concern with liberty expressed in this finding offers hope that sanity will eventually prevail against the Covid-19 hysterics and medical tyrants attempting to strip people of their bodily autonomy.

https://dl.airtable.com/.attachments/db446ada300c17b1c8e3a6530561a46f/e7ff5065/BSTHoldingsvOSHAOrder.pdf

The Frances Haugen Insurgency

The Frances Haugen Insurgency

Former Facebook employee Frances Haugen has taken the world by storm by stealing and sharing reams of company communications in which the social media giant’s cavalier attitudes toward a range of behaviors among its users are revealed. She compares what she regards as “the Facebook problem” with earlier corporate revelations in history which led to legislation regulating tobacco and automobile use, and she emphasizes that children are specifically at risk from the company’s policies. The disgruntled former employee also alleges that Facebook products—in particular, Instagram—harm young women by promoting unhealthy and unrealistic body images.

Despite the vagueness and generality of these complaints, Haugen is being hailed as a “whistleblower” by everyone who agrees with her ideological and political perspective, which is as plain as day: textbook neoliberal, big government, pro-Democratic Party. The objective of the Frances Haugen insurgency is equally manifest: to implement formal government censorship of social media platforms, a literal Ministry of Truth, for “the good” of the people who use them.

The mere fact that Haugen has been granted such an impressive platform and portrayed throughout the mainstream media as some sort of heroine does not imply that she is a “whistleblower” any more than calling the innocent people killed by bombs “collateral damage” somehow exonerates the killers for their completely avoidable acts of homicide. Frances Haugen, whose vast and highly visible media tour has been funded by Pierre Omidyar (according to Glenn Greenwald, formerly of The Intercept, which, too, is funded by Omidyar), is not, let us be perfectly frank, a whistleblower. This is yet another case where language has been redefined to support a particular political program. Just as “assassination” became “targeted killing” and “torture” became “enhanced interrogation techniques” when authorized by the U.S. president, the concept of “whistleblower” has now been rebranded to cover people who speak out in ways approved of by the very people who provide the speaker with a platform for airing grievances with which all “good” people will agree, with the ultimate aim of expanding the orchestrators’ own domain of power and control.

In reality, Haugen has “revealed” only that the social media platform founded by Mark Zuckerberg has not been conducting itself in the manner in which Haugen’s associates want it to. Spectacularly enough, Haugen alleges that publicly traded Facebook has been run as—wait for it—a profit-driven company. One might immediately dismiss such a complaint as a failure on the part of the so-called whistleblower to understand the nature of business in a capitalist society. But Haugen holds an M.B.A. from Harvard University. Presumably in securing that credential she was taught that publicly traded companies work for their shareholders and aim to maximize profit. That’s what they do. Sure, there are plenty of “woke” companies, which launch “socially conscious” initiatives, but those activities are part and parcel of the marketing apparatus. Erecting a “woke” façade apparently improves the image of a company and thereby increases the sales of its products—at least to the woke. I am not intending here to express cynicism but to state the uncontroversial fact that publicly traded companies which do not keep their shareholders happy eventually fail. Should “wokeness” cut into profits—by alienating self-styled “anti-woke” or “based” customers—then it is bound to be curtailed, at least in the case of any competently run company.

The fact that Haugen has secured such a wide-ranging audience is all the more remarkable given that nearly everyone already knew that Facebook was a profit-driven company. That is precisely why when one creates an auxiliary page at the platform, to promote a book or a small business or product, virtually nobody who likes or follows the page is ever alerted to new content posted there, unless the page owner forks over some funds. The page feature is no doubt a huge moneymaker for the company, as many users feel that it is worth putting Facebook on credit card autopay to ensure that someone—anyone—will see what they have to sell—or to show and to tell.

Ms. Haugen, who touts her own personal risk as evidence of her sincerity, may have stolen documents from Facebook and violated her NDA (nondisclosure agreement), but she has not uncovered any litigable crimes. That’s because private businesses have the right to run their companies and, in this case, moderate their content, as they please. We know that the Big Tech social media giants censor posts and exclude people who post what they identify as “disinformation” or “hate speech.” Up to now, this has been regarded by many liberty advocates as perfectly acceptable, on the grounds that private companies have every right to remove content which they themselves find objectionable or to banish users who violate their terms of service. In their backyard, people must play by their rules. Now, however, the issue has become a test of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which states:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

This provision limits not private businesses but only the government. Indeed, it is specifically designed to protect the people from the government, not to protect the government from the people. Anyone who labels Haugen a “whistleblower” has succumbed to an incredible con job, whereby the First Amendment is to be entirely negated by creating a government-run regulatory body whose role will be to censor content directly, not indirectly, as has been done until now. I wholeheartedly agree with Glenn Greenwald that the reason for this initiative is not that Facebook has acted criminally in maximizing profit but that they have not been subservient enough to government pressure already put on them to prohibit certain types of content.

Facebook is a profit-driven company, not a branch of the U.S. government. The algorithms used by Facebook do not allow people to see new content organically and chronologically as it is posted by those whom they follow. Instead, Facebook leads users to certain content and prevents them from seeing other content. None of this is done with the intention of promoting extremism. It just happens to be the best way to maximize profit. Haugen’s complaints and moralizing are made from a specific, TDS (Trump Derangement Syndrome) perspective, the same one which fueled three years of the nugatory Russiagate hunt to prove that Trump was elected only thanks to Vladimir Putin. That the platform has been used by human traffickers is merely a pretext by which to persuade people to believe that it needs to be controlled by a central government authority or Ministry of Truth. In fact, the same argument, mutatis mutandis, would apply to the use of vehicles to transport victims. Or to cellphone usage, given that criminals also communicate using those devices.

There are plenty of obvious responses to Haugen’s many complaints. Children’s use of the internet, as of the television, should be monitored by their parents, who are responsible for them until they achieve adulthood. Furthermore, seeing pictures and reading texts does not cause cancer and lung disease, and therefore is nothing like smoking cigarettes. Again, where was Frances Haugen (now thirty-seven years old) before the internet? Apparently not looking at magazines such as Vogue, which have promoted images of extremely thin women for more than a century. Each of her many complaints is similarly simple to diffuse, evincing a general conflation of cultural causes and effects.

Yet the story just keeps getting better and better. At the Lisbon Tech Fair on November 1, 2021, Haugen, the keynote speaker, went even so far as to call for the resignation of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. She claimed that leaving Zuckerberg in place would be a grave error because she believes that 10 million lives are at stake. (What?!) If such a projection does not sound sensationalist to you, then I’d venture to guess that you number among the people who believe that the protest on January 6, 2021, was the worst thing to happen to the United States since the Civil War. And, yes, Haugen has indeed included among her many grievances Facebook’s “dangerous” contribution to that nugatory “insurrection” attempt, just in case there were any lingering doubts as to her ideological sympathies.

Remarkably, Haugen is so confident in her self-righteousness (or is it just her security detail?) and so little afraid of Facebook, whose documents she stole, that she seems to believe that she should be able to select the company’s CEO. This preposterous conceit should sound familiar, for it is not at all unlike the U.S. government’s longstanding practice of decreeing who should govern foreign countries. The sort of CEO favored by Haugen & Co. would be the corporate analogue to Juan Guaidó, whom the U.S. government “recognized” as the true president of Venezuela in 2019, notwithstanding the democratic election of Nicolás Maduro by the people of Venezuela.

The farcical nature of Haugen’s obviously scripted, theatrical production is best illuminated by contrast to cases in the real world (not Haugen & Co.’s imagination) where millions of lives are in fact directly at stake—specifically, in the wars of choice continually waged by the United States. The true whistleblowers, who reveal the criminality of what the government is doing and has done, invariably wind up either dead, exiled or imprisoned under conditions even worse than those of terrorist suspects. Why should that be the case? Because the government wishes not only to prevent these entirely nonviolent dissidents from getting the word out but also to deter other possible future whistleblowers from following in their footsteps. Thanks to genuine whistleblower Edward Snowden, we know that the NSA sweeps up all of our cellphone data, regardless of whether or not we have been convicted of or are suspected of crimes. Snowden was stripped of his U.S. passport and now resides in Russia.

The persecution of Julian Assange is another case in point. The U.S. government is not pursuing anything approaching justice in this case, for Assange published top secret documents provided to him by whistleblower Bradley (now Chelsea) Manning, among others. Assange, being an Australian national, certainly has no obligation to support the U.S. government and cannot with legal or linguistic propriety be termed a traitor. The relentless pursuit of Assange is clearly intended to prevent him from having any further effect on the world. By founding Wikileaks and revealing what goes on behind the scenes of so-called just wars, Assange had the potential to effect a veritable antiwar revolution. Instead, he is wasting away in prison while his lawyers attempt to prevent his extradition to the United States to face charges of espionage. This despite well-documented criminal violations on the part of the plaintive, ranging from spying on Assange and his lawyers to plotting to kill him.

The reason why investigative journalists break stories based on stolen documents is because they have discovered news about which the populace is ignorant. Wikileaks published the Collateral Murder video stolen by Private Manning not to glorify Julian Assange but because it showed U.S. soldiers killing Reuters journalists from a helicopter. This was shocking in and of itself, but the accompanying audio recording revealed the attitudes of the killers toward their victims, including their desire to kill even wounded persons. This was surely news to most people of the United States, and around the world, and it needed to be reported because, in a free society, citizens must know what they are paying for when they file taxes each year. Otherwise, they are being coerced through deception.

Similarly, drone program whistleblowers have sought to alleviate their profound sense of guilt and shame by documenting the horrifying truth for all Americans to see, in the hope that, if only they knew that they were accomplices to murder, then at least some among them would withdraw their support from the serial military interventions in the Middle East. The Obama administration rebranded assassination as “targeted killing” and used that label as their cover for executing, on the basis of purely circumstantial evidence, thousands of persons suspected of collaboration with terrorist groups, in places where there were no U.S. citizens on the ground to protect. We were recently afforded the opportunity to glimpse the “rigor” with which targets were selected by those running the U.S. government’s drone program when Zemari Ahmadi, an aid worker, and his entire family were taken out by a Reaper drone in Kabul, Afghanistan, on August 29, 2021.

Anyone who has been listening to the critics and whistleblowers who abandoned the drone program, such as Brandon Bryant, Cian Westmoreland, Stephen Lewis, Michael Haas, and Daniel Hale, already knew that such executions of suspects on the basis of scant evidence have been carried out for years. Of those who have spoken out, Daniel Hale deserves special mention, for he also stole and shared a trove of documents, published online as The Drone Papers, and later in book form as The Assassination Complex, which revealed to the public precisely what was graphically displayed in the strike carried out on August 29, 2021. Persons “outside areas of active hostility” are targeted based on cellphone SIM card data, the claims of bribed informants looking to procure wads of cash, and drone footage appearing to confirm the killers’ prior beliefs that the suspects are indeed terrorists. None of the victims were ever provided with the opportunity to demonstrate their innocence before being incinerated, and none have been permitted to surrender—most having had no idea that they were about to be erased from existence by a missile launched from a drone. In other words, this practice of “targeted killing” blatantly violates the Geneva Conventions prohibiting the summary execution of unarmed soldiers and the requirement of taking as prisoners any of those who agree to lay down their arms.

Where is Daniel Hale today? He certainly was not invited to speak before the U.S Congress or as a special guest before the British Parliament about the malfeasance of the U.S. and U.K. government in executing innocent human beings on the basis of shoddy evidence. Instead, Hale, a genuine whistleblower, who committed a crime in order to reveal the much worse crimes of his government, is now serving a nearly four-year sentence (forty-five months) in Federal prison for sharing with the public the truth about the drone program. Despite the gravity of Hale’s revelations, no one in the mainstream media discussed the outrageousness of killing suspects offered no opportunity to demonstrate their innocence, nor even to surrender, before being carbonized in places where no U.S. citizen’s life was at stake. Instead, Daniel Hale was hardly mentioned by anyone in the mainstream media at all. Upon his conviction, a line or two to the effect that another former soldier had been convicted under the Espionage Act could be found in a few media outlets. Oh well, another spy bites the dust!

Given the obvious role of the mainstream media in supporting the war party duopoly, having persuaded the populace to believe that “offensive military action is defensive,” and “suspects are terrorists,” and “We are good, and they are evil,” perhaps the Frances Haugen insurgency was bound to happen eventually. Here we are, in 2021, in a world where political operatives speak out not to reveal crimes committed by the government but to strengthen its power to suppress dissent through undermining the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, thereby permitting the commission of even more crimes by the state.

Make no mistake: Haugen’s repeated expression of concern for children is a rhetorical tactic to garner support for the federal government’s usurpation of the power of private companies to determine what may and may not be said and shown on their platforms. Just as the claim that infants were being ripped from incubators by Saddam Hussein’s henchmen in Kuwait was instrumental in galvanizing support for the ill-begotten First Gulf War on Iraq in 1991, Haugen makes a big show of caring about the children supposedly harmed by Facebook in order to persuade congress to establish a broad regulatory power not currently enjoyed by the government.

The potential for misuse of this open-ended of expansion of executive power is well illustrated by the 2002 AUMF (Authorization for Use of Military Force). Recall that in October 2002, the U.S. Congress ratified the AUMF on the grounds that President George W. Bush needed to protect the world from Iraq’s dictator, who was said to possess WMD (weapons of mass destruction) and the intention to share them with factional terrorists. In the subsequent two decades, the AUMF was wielded repeatedly as the alleged authorization for every president to kill anyone anywhere they wanted, even “outside areas of active hostility.”

For now, words still have meanings, and 2 + 2 = 4. But the very real danger to the citizens of a republic inherent to Haugen’s initiative cannot be exaggerated. The establishment of a full-fledged Ministry of Truth would stifle, if not altogether eliminate, dissent. For such a regulatory apparatus would possess the means to prevent its own dismantlement for generations to come, by silencing everyone who disagrees with the government, denouncing them as purveyors of disinformation or, worse, traitors.

Given the outrageousness of Haugen’s call for Zuckerberg’s resignation, one hopes that people will come to question her motives and think through the implications of her demands. Perhaps the most beneficial outcome of the Frances Haugen insurgency will be to permit us to determine, by their reactions to Haugen, who among the current crop of politicians are in fact closet totalitarians, their rhetoric about the importance of democracy notwithstanding.

When is a whistleblower not a whistleblower? When she’s a politically driven hack who promotes censorship in order to expand the power of the government by diminishing the power of citizens to express themselves.

The Meaning of ‘Let’s Go Brandon’

The Meaning of ‘Let’s Go Brandon’

By now everyone is aware that “Let’s Go Brandon!” is code for “F*ck Joe Biden!” This linguistic innovation came about when a hapless NBC reporter told her audience that the members of a crowd shouting in unison were exuberantly expressing their enthusiasm for Brandon Brown upon his first career NASCAR Xfinity series victory at Talladega Superspeedway on October 2, 2021. In fact, the crowd was yelling “F*ck Joe Biden!” just as other crowds, at other sporting events, had been doing regularly over the summer of 2021. From the clip it is unclear whether the reporter is actually mishearing the fans in the stands, or is attempting (perhaps at the behest of her handlers via an earbud?) to convince the television audience that they should hear what the network wants them to hear. Either way, in no time at all, “Let’s Go Brandon!” became a full-fledged pop cultural phenomenon, even more surprising than the very fact that entire groups assembled at mass gatherings have felt compelled overtly to express their dissatisfaction with the U.S. president by chanting the original locution, “F*ck Joe Biden!”

Because the hilarious episode took place in a live-broadcast news report, it was impossible to erase and naturally went viral, culminating in a frenzy of “Let’s Go Brandon!” chants and memes, hats and signs, t-shirts and iTunes hits, reaching much farther than the original chant, with no sign of letting up anytime soon. Even in places as far flung as Australia and Germany, the craze has gained traction among crowds of people who jubilantly echo back “Let’s Go Brandon!” when prompted by speakers at protest events, emboldened by the sudden ability to express profanities without being profane.

Not long after the original NBC fiasco, rumors abounded on social media that Facebook had decided to prohibit users from sharing in the “Let’s Go Brandon!” fun, by labeling the phrase an instance of hate speech, which is explicitly forbidden by the social media platform’s terms of agreement. That turned out not to be the case, though believing that it was true was not the most ridiculous of mistakes, given that people are regularly banned from the platform for expressing opinions at odds with “the official story” as pronounced by the government. Most notably, throughout the Coronavirus pandemic, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter have regularly called out as purveyors of “disinformation” or “misinformation” anyone who happens to disagree with Anthony Fauci’s opinion du jour. The label conspiracy theory continues to this day to be applied to everything from the claim that COVID-19 was manmade and funded by the U.S. government, to the fact that Fauci-run research institutes supported experiments in which beagle puppies were tortured. Perhaps the only thing that saved “Let’s Go Brandon!” from deletion at Facebook was the undeniable fact that Joe Biden is a privileged white male, a member of a class deemed altogether exempt from the possibility of hate speech, as we learned throughout the Trump years, when the expression of hatred was not only not prohibited, but in fact encouraged and indeed taken to be clear evidence of moral righteousness among all good people—at least according to themselves.

Correlatively, fear of being called out as a hateful racist may best explain the fact that many on the left overlooked not only President Barack Obama’s many disappointing compromises and his utter abandonment of the “Hope and Change” platform on which he was elected, but also his normalization of assassination and his summary execution without indictment (much less trial) of brown-skinned U.S. citizens through the use of lethal drones. Who were the citizens who spoke out against such atrocities? Primarily libertarians and other defenders of civil liberties. Meanwhile, with the exception of a few “extremist” progressives, the left continued to laud the first black president, no matter what he did. My point here is that the phenomenon of  “Let’s Go Brandon!” could never have happened under Obama, because people were afraid to criticize even the most despicable of his undertakings. No one could chant “F*ck Barack Obama!” without being immediately labeled a racist, even when his policies were objectively disgraceful.

Promotion of the concept of hate speech has always struck me as a thinly disguised effort to outlaw whatever some people do not wish to hear, in other words, a wedge to crack open the door to censorship. Closely related to hate speech are alleged hate crimes which are dubiously identifiable, relying as they do on knowledge of the perpetrator’s intentions, and presupposing that some acts of, say, murder, are somehow worse than others. Somewhat ironically, censoring hate speech might actually make it more difficult to identify so-called hate crimes. In any case, both concepts are grounded in confusion.

First, there are compelling practical reasons for not prohibiting the verbal expression of hatred, above all, that one needs to know who one’s enemies are in order to have any chance of protecting oneself from them. Second, there is no reason for believing that anyone’s use of speech directly causes any other person to do anything. Free people choose to do what they do, and it is decidedly paternalistic to pretend that one person’s expression of odium somehow causally determines other people’s actions. Third, if a person intentionally and premeditatedly ends the life of another human being, then he has committed a capital crime. Why should anyone care whether he hated his victim or, as in the case of some domestic murderers of former partners, loved her so much that he could not allow her to continue living on without him?

There have been misogynistic serial killers, who for whatever reason hate all women (or brunettes with middle parts, or…), but usually when people talk about hate crimes, they mean crimes committed out of racial or religious animus. Thus many of the murders committed throughout the Holocaust were “hate crimes” in the sense that the victims were selected for elimination on the basis of their race and religion. But, again, murder is murder, and from the perspective of the victims, it does not matter in the least what the reason was for their having been erased from the face of the planet.

The U.S. government regularly terminates people’s lives under cover of “national self-defense,” and the vast majority of the victims have been brown-skinned and poor. The racial and economic conditions of the victims of U.S. interventions abroad has always been treated by political and military elites as though it were entirely coincidental—as the first black president’s eight-year stint as commander-in-chief clearly demonstrated! But no one is using missiles launched from lethal drones to execute suspects without indictment (much less trial) in First World countries, where such action would risk the collateral damage deaths of the privileged persons who pay for their government’s crimes. When pasty white U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron decided to execute brown-skinned British citizens suspected of terrorist alliances, he waited for them to travel to Syria before sending out the drones. Cameron obviously felt empowered to do so by the precedent set by President Obama, who had executed brown-skinned U.S. citizens in Yemen, also using lethal drones.

In such cases, the killers themselves invariably claim to mean to do well, but from the perspective of the victims and those left bereft, the professedly good intentions of the killers are utterly irrelevant. Drawing a distinction between the crimes of the Nazis and the crimes of the occupiers of Afghanistan and Iraq, or the thousands of acts of homicide committed in other countries of the Middle East and Africa, or the nonstop terror campaign throughout the first two decades of this century against all of the people living in any of those places, may make it easier for U.S. taxpayers to sleep better at night. They are nonetheless funding mass murder: the intentional, premeditated homicide of thousands of human beings, most of whom are entirely innocent of any wrongdoing. Bombs are specifically designed, developed and produced for the sole purpose of dropping on other people’s property. Unlike guns, bombs are intrinsically offensive weapons.

Joe Biden, in contrast to Barack Obama, is a white male. Presumably no one hates Biden for those features. Indeed, in the worldview of those who wish to distinguish “hate crimes” from other types of crime, Biden’s race and gender are supposed to be characteristics which make him the very antithesis of the members of a targeted, marginal group. He has the good fortune of being situated on the baseline against which all others are measured, to their detriment, according to those who insist that the United States remains deeply mired in racism and sexism. Rather than hating Joe Biden for being a white male (which among the “hate speech” crowd is supposed to be impossible), those who chant “Let’s Go Brandon!” may disdain the president for his policies, or deride him for his ineptitude. They may despise Joe “Our patience is wearing thin” Biden for attempting to strip people of their bodily autonomy by coercing them to undergo experimental injections which they do not even need as a condition on their continued or future gainful employment. I suppose that one way in which “Let’s Go Brandon!” could be construed as an instance of hate speech would be if it were an expression of hostility toward dementia victims. But of course the Democratic Party is quick to dismiss any suggestion to the effect that Biden falls into that marginalized group.

As crowds of people have found common cause in telling Joe Biden what they really think of him, there are many others who wish for this not to happen. They find what has been going on hateful or childish or stupid or whatever—just more typical behavior on the part of MAGA deplorables. What those who are exasperated by “Let’s Go Brandon!” fail to recognize is that “F*ck Joe Biden!” is itself code for “Impeach Joe Biden!” or “Joe Biden is wrong!” or “Biden is a failure!” or “Biden is a joke!” or whatever the emoter’s personal interpretation and grievances happen to be. That’s the beauty of language: it is infinitely interpretable. When people chant “F*ck Joe Biden!” none of them literally means “F*ck Joe Biden!” (After all, who would want to do that?)

Oh, was that hateful? The ultimate problem with censoring speech is that the meaning of each and every phrase lies not with the speaker, but with the reader. Censorship is a tool of tyranny, wielded by those incapable of convincing their rivals through the use of language that their interpretations are wrong. If the “Let’s Go Brandon!” crowd is mistaken about Joe Biden, then by all means show them the error in their ways. If the disagreements are too fundamentally anchored in values, then it may be impossible to change their view.

The solution to disagreements about values is not, however, to redefine lies as truth and offense as defense and war as peace and health as sickness and prudence as selfishness and assassination as targeted killing and torture as enhanced interrogation techniques and dissent as disinformation. The meanings we attach to language evolve over time, but unilaterally redefining words to suit one’s purposes is nothing more and nothing less than linguistic legerdemain. Proclaiming from a pedestal that 2 + 2 = 5 does not make it so. Preventing people from expressing their views through the use of language demonstrates not the righteousness of the censors, but the weakness of their arguments.

RIP Colin Powell

Should Generals be Diplomats?

“Retired General Colin Powell was appointed US Secretary of State under President George W. Bush, and you may recall his colorful powerpoint presentation before the UN General Assembly in the run-up to the 2003 war on Iraq—yellow cake, aluminium tubes, mobile chemical laboratories (think: Breaking Bad). Powell did not convince very many of his colleagues at the UN that Iraq needed to be invaded in order to thwart Saddam Hussein’s allegedly imminent transfer of WMD (weapons of mass destruction) to Al Qaeda, but the US government went to war anyway. Why? Because the Bush administration wanted to, and UK Prime Minister Tony “Poodle” Blair had pledged that he was “absolutely” with Bush, “no matter what”. (See the Chilcot Report and its implications.) Even more important than having a tiny “coalition of the willing” was the congressional conferral on Bush of the 2002 AUMF (Authorization for Use of Military Force), giving him the liberty to wage war on Iraq as he saw fit and at a time of his choosing. The rest is history.”

full article from We Kill Because We Can: From Soldiering to Assassination in the Drone Age blog

RIP Abdulrahman al-Awlaki

RIP Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, a sixteen-year-old U.S. citizen killed in Yemen on this day in 2011 by a missile launched from a U.S. drone. “We murdered some folks.”

thedroneage.wordpress.com/2016/07/11/we-

Conscience and Non-Compliance: The Case of the COVID-19 Vaccine

Conscience and Non-Compliance: The Case of the COVID-19 Vaccine

How selfish, ignorant and stupid can people possibly be? ask in various ways Emmanuel Macron in France, Jacinda Arden in New Zealand, Gavin Newsom in California, Bill de Blasio in New York, and even Queen Elizabeth in Britain, along with a surprising number of other public figures, including celebrities, who for some reason have agreed to join in on the global propaganda campaign currently underway. Many political leaders, including U.S. President Joe Biden, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Victorian (Australia) Premier Daniel Andrews, have repeatedly informed their constituents that “Our patience is wearing thin.” “Do the right thing!” they continue to chant. “Just get the vaccine!” But where carrots have failed, governments are now taking up sticks, mandating vaccination for large classes of persons based not on their health profiles—as ethical medical practice would require—but only on where they happen to work or to live.

In truth, there are plenty of epistemologically respectable reasons, firmly grounded in data, for declining to roll up one’s sleeve for the COVID-19 “vaccine.” Among people who read books, some are wary of Pfizer’s track record. The drug giant holds the dubious distinction of paying out the largest fine for healthcare fraud in history. For fifteen years, Pfizer’s anti-smoking drug Chantix (varenicline), having received a “priority FDA review,” reaped billions of dollars in profits. More than 500 suicides were reportedly committed, and another ~2000 attempted, by persons taking the drug. The “suicidal ideation” side effect began to be reported within the first year of the 2006 marketing launch. Chantix was finally pulled from the market in September 2021, not for its untoward psychological effects, but because it had been determined to be carcinogenic.

Johnson & Johnson, too, has a checkered past, having repeatedly lied to consumers about its products, including its widely used baby powder, for decades. AstraZeneca, whose vaccine remained the primary choice in Britain throughout 2021, despite having earned the sobriquet “clot shot” (and having been banned altogether by Denmark), has also been subject to hefty fines for malfeasance, including the off-label marketing of Seroquel (quetiapine), which has been linked to suicides and other deaths among soldiers to whom the antipsychotic drug was prescribed as a sleep aid. Like the other manufacturers of psychotropic drugs, AstraZeneca has based its marketing claims on shortterm, not longterm studies of its products. Critical studies in recent years have concluded that placebos are in fact at least as effective as the psychiatric products being peddled to everyone for anything, and less harmful in the longterm. As for DARPA-funded Moderna, there are no “skeletons in the closet,” because the COVID-19 mRNA therapy is the first of their products ever to make it to market.

Even setting aside concerns with the pharmaceutical and biotech firms making a killing from the COVID-19 pandemic, there are specific reasons for doubting the wisdom of undergoing innoculation in this particular case. Most obviously, the elixir being shot into billions of arms all over the world is a treatment touted primarily for its efficacy in averting severe symptoms and death. If one is vulnerable to those effects, then one has some reason for considering the treatment. In fact, according to data readily available from many sources, including the CDC (Centers for Disease Control), the vast majority of people are not vulnerable to such effects, so the rational choice of whether to get the jab can only be a matter of personal risk assessment, just as is the choice of whether to undergo any optional medical treatment. Yes, there is a small chance that a healthy person under the age of seventy with no comorbidities will succumb to the virus, developing severe symptoms, requiring hospitalization and perhaps even dying. But there is also a chance, if ever-so slim, that the person may find himself on the losing end of the adverse effects bell curve, suffering one among dozens of possible complications, including myocarditis, Bell’s Palsy, or even death.

The insidious charge of “selfishness” directed toward those who decline the treatment is based upon the old definition of vaccine and the idea that the good of society requires everyone to pitch in and do their part for public health. Before the Coronapocalypse, vaccines were defined and designed as substances which would prevent transmission of and infection by a disease. If you already had and survived the disease, then you did not need the vaccine, because vaccines were developed specifically to mimic the wondrous workings of the human immune system. The vaccines of the past introduced a small dose of the enemy virus—whether dead or alive—into the body to provoke an immune response so that, should the full force of the wild virus be encountered in the future, the body would already have the needed antibody and T-cell apparatus in place, ready to attack and eliminate the invader rather than allow it to take over and possibly kill its host.

Not only has the concept of vaccine been redefined by public health officials so as to subsume the current injections, which do not prevent transmission and infection, but people who have already recovered from COIVD-19 are being told that they, too, should undergo vaccination. This is a medically—and indeed logically—dubious prescription, given that the vaccines provoke the body to produce a small subset of the virus (the spike protein), which was already defeated by the previously infected person’s body, in the case of anyone who survived. Moreover, numerous studies have demonstrated the robustness of protection acquired through previous infection.

It is no longer a matter of dispute that undergoing innoculation with foreign mRNA to induce one’s body to produce a viral spike protein which will jolt the immune system into generating antibodies does not prevent transmission of or infection by COVID-19. Accordingly, this now debunked early marketing point should not figure into anyone’s personal decision at all. We know that cases have continued to spike to new levels exceeding those of a year ago, back when nobody was vaccinated. The accuracy of the testing regimen has been called into question over and over again, but because the same PCR tests used this year were used last year, only time will tell how the tallies will change once the emergency use authorization of the test expires at the end of 2021.

We also know from the rich body of statistics available from Israel, the most highly vaccinated country on the planet, that what we are witnessing is not, as the propaganda puppets continue to claim, “a pandemic of the unvaccinated.” We know that vaccine efficacy wanes rapidly (particularly for the Pfizer product), with a vulnerable vaccinated person’s protection dropping from 88% to 47% and continuing to diminish further over time. Many “fully vaccinated” people have been hospitalized and died. So what are we to conclude?

Tellingly, elderly persons and those who for other reasons are more vulnerable to COVID-19 are the only ones in the United States being offered  “booster shots” after six months, to elevate their protection to the initial level, which is not 95%, as the marketers initially claimed, but at most 88%, for the most vulnerable persons. Recent studies have revealed that the adverse effects odds are actually worse than the virus odds for some cohorts, including males from the ages of twelve to fifteen, who suffer a greater incidence of myocarditis than other groups postvaccination, making the jab nothing short of irrational for them. We can further deduce from the fact that boosters are only being provided to the most vulnerable persons in the United States that invulnerable persons (such as children and healthy adults) never really needed the mRNA treatment in the first place. For anyone who remains confounded by this perhaps astonishing implication, let us spell it out explicitly: If you were “fully vaccinated” many months ago, at some point you will no longer be vaccinated at all. But the government is not offering you a booster shot? That’s because you number among the vast majority of people who are not vulnerable to COVID-19.

That’s right: you, Gentle Double-jabbed Reader, served as a voluntary subject (pro bono!) in an experimental pharmaceutical trial for a product of which you had no need. Instead of being incensed with people who did not roll up their sleeve, you should be angry with the powers that be who persuaded you to undergo an unnecessary medical treatment. And you should be relieved that you were not one of its victims. See VAERS (the Vaccine Adverse Effect Reporting System) for more information on that.

Government bureaucrats lie all the time, Anthony Fauci being only one of the most brazen figures in recent history to claim that his serial prevarication is somehow “noble.” Rarely have so many people so openly embraced so many lies. Through a relentless propaganda campaign, a large swath of the population has been persuaded to believe that their neighbors are selfish and even evil for their rational disagreement on a matter of medical choice. Preposterously, in cities such as Los Angeles and New York, proof of vaccination is being demanded for participation in most social activities, despite the fact that booster shots are not being offered to healthy young people vaccinated more than six months ago, and previous infection provides robust protection. In other words, the “vaccine passports” being required in such places serve no public health purpose whatsoever but instead constitute a badge of compliance, and are part of a frightening global effort to forge a two-tiered society where “some people are more equal than others.”

The extreme, Manichean polarization we are witnessing has been no mean feat of propaganda, rivaled in history only by calls for war in violation of international law, such as the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Some of the people being threatened with the termination of their jobs for refusing to undergo COVID-19 “vaccination” do not have the luxury of living off their savings as an alternative to working. Some among them are heads of households with children to feed. They are facing a moral dilemma: whether to sacrifice the well being of their family in order to heed their own conscience. For it is indeed a matter of conscience; it is not a matter of need. People have been offered free vaccines for more than nine months in the United States. Some among them chose to decline, for reasons offered above, or for religious reasons, or for whatever their reasons happened to be. It does not even matter what their reasons were, for human beings have the dignity of choosing what to put into their own bodies.

We should be concerned not only with the disastrous financial consequences for the thousands of people who are now losing their jobs, but also with the moral consequences for a society of persons being coerced to violate their own conscience and renounce their medical freedom. In fact, much more is at stake here than people’s livelihood and physical health. We are witnessing a culling of conscience across all sectors of society as individuals who dare to disagree are disparaged, denounced, and marginalized as miscreants whose civil liberties may be taken away, as though they were convicted felons.

The sinister nature of what is unfolding before our very eyes in real time is betrayed in part by the fact that citizens are being ordered to submit to vaccination despite the immunity from legal prosecution of the product companies in the event of negative or even deadly side effects. (This is because of the PREP [Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness] act.) If the populace agrees to this pharmaceutical takeover of their very own bodies, then they will no longer have any rights, not even the right to life. They will have become, in effect, slaves. Any pharma goo deemed necessary by the powers that be in the future will, following this precedent, become a condition on the exercise of what were formerly considered citizens’ God-given rights to conduct themselves as they please, within the limits of the law. The hitch here is that the laws are being rewritten so as to criminalize medical choice, in a stunning denial of human rights which, lest we forget, resulted only from centuries of hard-fought battles against tyranny, now rearing its ugly head all over again.

Standing up for what is right is never easy in the face of angry mobs fueled by fear. But holding the line is indeed what we must now do. Whatever our personal medical choice happens to be, we should support the healthcare workers losing their jobs, the dissenting doctors who bravely speak out, and all of the people attempting to abide by their conscience in these difficult times. We must defend the perimeters of our own bodies and reject the obnoxious idea that anyone else should be able to decree that we be injected with whatever they happen to believe we should be forced to accept. This is a very slippery slope on which we must refuse to step. If we surrender our bodily autonomy to the government, then we will have nothing left. Wrong is wrong. Do not comply.

A Fitting Flourish on a 20 Year Killing Spree

A Fitting Flourish on a 20 Year Killing Spree

On August 29, 2021, the U.S. military killed a group of people in Kabul, Afghanistan, using a Hellfire missile launched from an MQ-9 Reaper drone. The Pentagon claimed that “the procedures were correctly followed, and it was a righteous strike.” In a surprising development, rather than merely parroting the Pentagon account of what transpired, the New York Times decided to investigate what happened and has produced a compelling film to illustrate that the people incinerated were not ISIS-K terrorists, or anyone associated with groups posing a threat to U.S forces and allies. Instead, the victims were an aid worker, Zemari Ahmadi, and his entire family, including seven children. While the Pentagon believed that the target was behaving suspiciously, in fact, he was going about an ordinary day of running errands. Ahmadi, an electrical engineer by training, worked for a California-based NGO, Nutrition and Education International. On his last day of life, he was bringing water to his home, and transporting colleagues around town.

Reporters for the New York Times pieced together very clear security camera footage of Ahmadi moving about with colleagues, holding laptops and empty plastic water containers, which they placed in a white Toyota Corola. The Pentagon interpreted the water bottles and laptops as evidence of an imminent terrorist attack. In press conferences after the strike, officials maintained that a large secondary explosion showed that the car contained bombs, intended for use to further disrupt the evacuations underway at Kabul airport. Independent weapons experts enlisted to assess the damage at the scene, however, found no evidence of a secondary blast. They found no damage to peripheral structures, and no indication that the destruction of the car and the deaths of ten human beings were caused by anything but the missile launched from a U.S. drone.

Unfortunately, the only thing truly surprising about this development is that a mainstream media outlet has done some real reporting to get to the bottom of the story. What distinguishes this from hundreds of other drone strikes in Afghanistan throughout the twenty-year War on Terror is only that the Pentagon was not allowed to squelch any possible suggestion to the effect that they incompetently killed innocent people while claiming to be protecting them. The New York Times enthusiastically promoted the government line all through the War on Terror, portraying in a positive light even abominations such as the Obama administration’s Terror Tuesday meetings, during which nominees for elimination were considered on the basis of flashcard presentations. I am frankly surprised that the story of what happened in Kabul less than two weeks ago made it through the editorial office at the New York Times and have to wonder whether the editor who gave the piece a green light will continue to be gainfully employed. It would be nice to believe that the New York Times editorial board has done some soul-searching and wishes to repent for its warmongering ways, but let us be perfectly clear: through publishing pieces in which they verily gushed over Obama’s new role as a technokiller, the New York Times helped to make palatable and ultimately normalize assassination of suspects by lethal drones on the basis of purely circumstantial evidence.

The summary execution of suspects was established as a standard operating procedure during the War on Terror not only in Afghanistan and Iraq, but all over the Middle East and in Africa as well. We know from documents stolen and shared by whistleblower Daniel Hale, that, far from ensuring that no civilians would be killed before drone strikes were carried out, analysts deemed targets guilty until proven innocent. Scandalously, many of the persons killed were of entirely unknown identity. When standards of justice were inverted in this way, injustice was systematically perpetrated under a specious guise of national defense. Standards of truth were also corrupted as military bureaucrats wove stories to attempt to convince the populace that they did nothing wrong, even when they killed scores of human beings at gatherings such as funerals and weddings, and even when they bombed hospitals. Recall also that when Pat Tillman, the former NFL player who volunteered to fight in the War on the Terror, was killed in a friendly fire incident, the Pentagon concocted a fable to paint him as a hero instead. And that was only one of many cases in which truth was abandoned in the name of public relations to prop up a misguided and ill-fated military mission. Lies were what kept the war on Afghanistan going long after it should have ended. Trillions of dollars and countless lives later, the administration finally acknowledged that it had been a Fool’s Errand all along.

Lies were used not only to keep troops on the ground in Afghanistan long after the mission to locate Osama bin Laden had ended, but also to expand the War on Terror to many surrounding countries and to Africa as well. Most of these were undeclared wars, said by their perpetrators to be necessary in national defense and claimed to be authorized by a sweeping AUMF (Authorization for Use of Military Force), which congress cowardly bestowed upon President George W. Bush in order to avoid responsibility for whatever might ensue, allowing him, in effect, to bomb wherever he wanted to. No U.S. citizen was ever protected by any drone strike targeting suspects in unoccupied lands, and now that Afghanistan is no longer under U.S. occupation, what happened on August 29, 2021, can be used as a lens through which to see the magnitude of injustice perpetrated over twenty years in Yemen, Pakistan, Somalia, Libya, and beyond. In such countries, locals who attempted to dispute official pronouncements on the military-aged men killed and claimed to be terrorists were denounced, discredited, and sometimes targeted, again for being so-called propaganda outlets for Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups. But because the U.S. military no longer controls the narrative of what is going on in Afghanistan, having returned the country to the Taliban, we have been afforded a rare glimpse into the terrible reality of what has been done in our name for two decades.

Perhaps this latest tragedy could have been avoided, had the revelations of Daniel Hale and Julian Assange been taken seriously. Preposterously, Hale is serving a prison sentence, and Assange is the ongoing victim of a relentless persecution campaign to extradite him to the United States to face charges under the Espionage Act for publishing factual material, including the shocking Collateral Murder video. If the U.S. government were to acknowledge the concerns of whistleblowers and admit that executing people on the basis of circumstantial evidence contradicts everything the United States supposedly stands for, including human rights, then they would have to pause and assess what the actual consequences of their drone program have been. Instead, they criminalize the whistleblowers and plod on as before.

Rather than learn from their mistakes, the Pentagon persists in doubling down on failed strategies. Lest we forget, the U.S. government was provoked by the events of September 11, 2001, into launching a vast and ruinous campaign of terrorism, torture, and mass homicide throughout the Middle East. The provocation strategy worked once again in August 2021, when a bomb set off at the Kabul airport, killing thirteen Marines, immediately led to President Biden’s declaration that he would seek revenge. Three days later, the drone strike on August 29, 2021, incinerated an entire family of ten people who were hoping to obtain refugee visas to the United States. This was, once again, a misguided reaction to a terrorist attack specifically intended to goad the U.S. government to overreact, which of course it did. The difference between this drone strike and the hundreds of others which preceded it is only this: because the military had already left Afghanistan, there was no one around to suppress the counter narrative of locals at the scene of the crime.

Throttling the Truth: Why the Case of Julian Assange Is More Important Than Ever

Throttling the Truth: Why the Case of Julian Assange Is More Important Than Ever

In a world with a functional Fourth Estate, the case of Julian Assange would be on the front page of major newspapers every day. Instead, it has been all but blacked out. Perhaps this makes sense, given that the raison d’être of Wikileaks, according to its founder, was to provide to the public important news which is omitted by the mainstream media outlets. To defend Wikileaks in a sustained way would be for network news channels and syndicated newspapers to acknowledge, at least tacitly, that they have been coopted by the government, as critics have long maintained. Nonetheless, the unwillingness of truth-driven journalists to say more about what is going on is puzzling and suggests that the situation is far worse than we may imagine. The future of press freedom is at stake and, with it, the very possibility of dissent.

In some ways, the U.S. government’s quest to silence Assange has already succeeded, for the founder of Wikileaks is no longer having any effect on the world, and he has had very little effect since 2018, when his internet access was cut off. From 2011 to 2019, Assange lived in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, having sought asylum there in order to avoid persecution by the U.S. government. He was wrenched from his safe haven in 2019, when the government of Ecuador stopped protecting him and permitted the British government forcibly to remove him from the premises. This appears to have been a case of bribery or threat, and most likely both, given the well-established modes of “persuasion” used by the U.S. superpower to bend lesser powers to its will. Whatever ultimately precipitated his ejection from the embassy, Assange was taken away by agents of the United Kingdom and placed in Belmarsh prison, where he remains today, awaiting the court’s decision on whether to extradite him so that he can be made to stand trial in the United States on charges of espionage.

Assange, an Australian citizen, published troves of secret documents stolen by whistleblowers who wished to illuminate what they took to be malfeasance, both in the Global War on Terror and in the DNC’s (Democratic National Committee) efforts to determine the outcome of the Democratic presidential primary election in 2016. I suspect that, if the extradition quest succeeds, the death knell for Julian Assange will have been not the dissemination of war-related materials, such as the shocking Collateral Murder video showing Reuters journalists “neutralized” in Iraq by soldiers hovering above in an Apache helocopter, but the revelation that the progressive candidate Bernie Sanders never stood a chance against the pre-selected nominee of Democratic Party elites, Hillary Clinton.

I say this because despite the fact that Assange’s asylum at the Ecuadorian Embassy was abruptly ended under President Trump, and may well have been a cynical and primarily political ploy to further discredit the already discredited Russian collusion narrative, the Biden administration continues to pursue Assange just as ruthlessly. According to the Russian collusion hoax, which dominated U.S. political discourse for more than three entire years and continues to be discussed by some pundits still today, Trump was elected as the president of the United States in 2016 only because of the Russians. Trump’s election had nothing whatsoever to do with the fact that Hillary Clinton was an abysmal candidate who haughtily called half the nation “deplorable,” nor because she was a hawk who rallied for the disastrous 2003 invasion of Iraq, nor because she was instrumental in persuading President Obama to bomb Libya, among other foreign policy disasters to her credit. Just as I doubt that President Biden will pardon whistleblower Daniel Hale, because doing so would tarnish the image of Barack Obama by acknowledging that he lied about the drone program, I doubt that Biden/Harris will drop the charges against Assange, who is blamed by all self-styled right-minded Democrats for the election of Donald Trump.

Whoever shared the DNC email trove with Wikileaks (whether Russian trolls or Seth Rich, the DNC staffer murdered in Washington, DC, on July 10, 2016—or perhaps someone else altogether) the missives clearly revealed to Bernie Sanders voters that they had been played. All of their hours of volunteer work, all of their hard-earned cash donated in small sums to a campaign doomed to fail from the start, were obviously for naught. There can be little doubt that some Sanders supporters declined to vote at all in 2016 after discovering in Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta’s emails what had been going on behind the scenes at the DNC. Thousands of registered Democrats left the party in what they hashtagged as a #DEMEXIT protest, and some among them went even so far as to vote for Donald Trump. For this, Assange will never be forgiven by millions of people, some of whom continue to suffer from Trump Derangement Syndrome (TDS) and persist in blaming the Russians for every catastrophe under the sun. Rational people recognize, of course, that if the DNC had not rigged the election, then there would be no reason for their voters to be angered by the primary result. Resolute “I’m With Her” Hillary Clinton supporters are not bothered in the least by the behind-closed-doors shenanigans of the DNC, but only by the fact that they were made public by Wikileaks.

Assange also shared with the public evidence of U.S. war crimes, so one reason his case is rarely mentioned by anyone in the mainstream media is simply that war coverage is slanted to support the U.S. military. Viewed as a simple market-driven problem, the major news channels today are primarily in the business of infotainment rather than journalism, and it seems unlikely that pointing out that taxpayers fund the murder of innocent people abroad could do anything but lower ratings. The networks are obviously more interested in audience satisfaction than truth, as the case of Rachel Maddow illustrates. A judge recently ruled that Maddow is not a journalist but a liberal activist, who offers hyperbole in place of facts and “distorts reality.” This, however, is supposed be fine because her viewers are expected to know that she is not reporting the news but sharing her own often emotional views. During the Trump years, the author of Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power somehow lost the journalistic plot to become Hillary Clinton’s arch apologist, ironically comporting herself in a manner not unlike Alex Jones and abandoning altogether her former role as an antiwar critic. Needless to say, Maddow, in contrast to Jones, has not been deplatformed across the Big Tech outlets and denounced as a lunatic, for she, unlike Jones, is a useful sensationalist, who has come dutifully to serve the establishment.

There was a time, years ago, when Julian Assange was still being discussed quite a bit in the mainstream media, and that initial, propaganda-riddled coverage seems to have got lodged in people’s minds. In my travels around the world, I have been surprised by the responses of people in completely different places to my questions about the founder of Wikileaks. Anecdotally, I can report that there are apparently intelligent, reasonably well-informed people, not only in the United States, but also in the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and even Assange’s country of citizenship, Australia, who believe that he is an underhanded, morally despicable criminal. This they take to have been demonstrated by the fact that Assange was summoned back to Sweden to answer allegations of rape some years ago but “bolted,” as his critics characterize it, rather than confront his accusers back in 2011.

A decade after Assange took refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy, it no longer seems to matter to many of those same people that Swedish authorities abandoned the Assange case for lack of evidence to sustain an indictment. The initial portrait painted of Assange, in a very effective discreditation effort, as someone who cowardly evaded justice by hiding out in the embassy, seems to loom larger in many people’s minds than the crimes which he exposed. Needless to say, this morally unsavory portrait was made even uglier to Hillary Clinton Democrats after the leak of DNC emails which most likely did contribute to Donald Trump’s election in 2016, regarded by so many as “unthinkable.”

The Assange haters, in clinging to the image created for them by the media, are either unwilling or unable to consider rational explanations, such as simple prudence, for Assange’s decision to protect himself through seeking political asylum. To offer only one of many possible examples, consider the plight of Michael Hastings, one of the most public antiwar journalists to have emerged on the scene in the twenty-first century and whose work actually ended the career of General Stanley McChrystal. Hastings died under strange circumstances in a single-car automobile accident on June 18, 2013, shortly after having told friends that he was being pursued somehow by the FBI, and also that someone had been tinkering with his car. Suggestions to the effect that there may have been foul play involved were swiftly dismissed, and Hastings has by now been forgotten by all but a few “conspiracy theorists.” But it is a fact that single-car accidents are a specialty of the CIA, and Hastings had picked fights with people in very high places. Indeed, at the time of his death, Hastings was working on an exposé of Obama’s lethal drone czar, John Brennan, who had been confirmed as CIA director on March 8, 2013. The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) declined to investigate the case, and Hastings’ wife, Elise Jordan (a former speechwriter for Condoleezza Rice, improbably enough), went out on the media circuit to insist that the death was an accident.

Whatever may or may not have been done to Hastings, the point is that Julian Assange, being acutely aware of what the CIA and its affiliates were capable of doing, acted altogether prudently in protecting himself by seeking refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy, and remaining there up until he was forcibly removed. The Collateral Murder video footage, after all, depicted the execution of journalists. Even more ominously, Obama’s expansion of the drone program effectively normalized extrajudicial killing, formerly known as “assassination,” of noncitizens and citizens alike. From the cases of Anwar al-Awlaki, his son, Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, and Samir Khan (editor and publisher of Inspire magazine) there can no longer be any doubt that the U.S. government is willing to kill even its own citizens with no due process whatsoever.

Before being muted and sequestered, Julian Assange, like both Michael Hastings and Anwar al-Awlaki, was a very public and vocal opponent of U.S. military interventions in the Middle East. Once in the Ecuadorian embassy, Assange and his lawyers were spied upon, which surely counts as evidence that his concern for his own safety was sound. Added to that, according to his defense team, there were discussions among Spanish paid operatives about taking Assange’s life while he was living under asylum. Nonetheless, Assange, who has been kept in Belmarsh prison with very little interaction with anyone for more than two years, is being treated as though he were a convicted criminal.

On July 7, 2021, the UK High Court ruled that the U.S. government could continue its quest for extradition, and on August 11, 2021, a judge ruled that Assange will remain in prison while the U.S. government is permitted to expand the grounds for its appeal, having raised doubts about the mental health pretext used in the January 4, 2021, court judgment according to which extradition to a supermax prison in the United States might lead to Assange’s suicide. What is undeniably a concerted effort to muffle the founder of Wikileaks is succeeding, for he continues to be wholly consumed with the matter of his own survival. This despite the obvious violation of procedure through spying on him and his lawyers, and despite the fact that Sigurdur Ingi Thordarson, a key witness in the U.S. case against Assange, revealed in an Icelandic newspaper that he had fabricated his story in exchange for immunity offered to him by U.S. authorities.

The U.S. government wishes to try Assange under their expansive interpretation of the 1917 Espionage Act, for having illegally obtained and disseminated top secret U.S. government documents. But surely Assange has neither a legal nor a moral duty to support the government of the United States, least of all when he believes that it regularly commits war crimes, evidence of which he has made public and for which he is now being persecuted. As many critics have insisted, to claim that Assange violated U.S. law by publishing documents obtained and shared by whistleblowers sets a very dangerous precedent by expanding the power of the state to the point of being able to stifle dissent by preventing journalists anywhere from reporting on war crimes committed by governments anywhere. This is a step onto a totalitarian slope, allowing only the state propaganda department to determine what constitute the facts and allowing the government both to deny and to hide all evidence of the government’s own crimes, such as those detailed in the Afghanistan War Diary and the Iraq War Diary published by Wikileaks.

After twenty years of squandered blood and treasure, the U.S. war on Afghanistan ended unceremoniously with the Taliban taking over the country, demonstrating once again, as the saying goes, that Afghanistan is “the place where empires go to die.” Predictably, the major networks have continued to tap the usual suspects, the incompetent war architects themselves, to criticize not the war itself but the manner in which it was ended. While foreign policy experts seem at the moment to be consumed with an ugly blame game, I suspect that the timing of the U.S. withdrawal had more to do with other, more ambitious projects in the works, and in no way reflects an abandonment by political elites of their imperial aims. For it is becoming increasingly clear that there is a vigorous and well-orchestrated effort, in countries all around the globe, to create a different sort of world altogether, one where places such as Afghanistan no longer matter much at all.

Placing the case of Assange into the broader context of ongoing efforts to squelch dissent, it is noteworthy that the Biden administration press secretary, Jen Psaki, recently revealed, in a display of open scorn for the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, that the government is “working closely with Facebook” to stop the dissemination of what they regard as misinformation. But Psaki herself is open to charges of disinformation, not only about the COVID-19 vaccines, about which she parrots Fauci, claiming a mythical “The Science” as her source of knowledge, but also whenever she speaks about Biden’s predecessor. In an exchange with a reporter over negative vaccine messaging by Biden before becoming president, Psaki quipped, “I would note that at the time, just for context, the former president was also suggesting people inject versions of poison into their veins to cure COVID. So I think that’s a relevant point.” There is no film or document in which Trump tells people to inject themselves with poison or to drink bleach, because he never did.

The Biden Ministry of Propaganda continues nonetheless to keep these tropes alive just as surely as the Bush team continued to pretend that Saddam Hussein really did have WMDs and was somehow in cahoots with Al Qaeda, even as it became increasingly obvious that neither was true. The situation has become far more perilous now, however, for the very future of the republic. The government has long worked closely with the mass media news outlets, especially to promote war, but the very possibility of whistleblowing is in danger of being altogether eliminated as the government works with the Big Tech companies to censor so-called disinformation on the only available alternative news source, the internet. Already in 2021, the U.S. government seized entire websites in Iran, and there is little reason to think that they will stop there. After all, one country’s cyberattack is another country’s national defense.

In her press conference, Psaki was referring to “misinformation” about COVID-19, meaning reports in conflict with the administration’s own narrative, but by the same logic, there could no longer be any dissent from the misadventures of the U.S. military, no matter what they did. Convicting Assange as a spy would likely put an end to what small amount of true journalism continues on today, cementing the current substitution of propaganda for news, with the government granting the government itself the right to black out sites such as Wikileaks altogether. Before sermons by Anwar al-Awlaki were removed from the internet, he was “convicted” of terrorism in the public eye by extrajudicial state execution. If Assange were convicted in a court of law of espionage, then some in the government could be expected to feel justified in erasing every trace of his work from the world.

If the internet, along with the mainstream media, comes to be completely controlled by the government, then dissent will be impossible, and a formerly democratic society will have been transformed into a totalitarian system, where oligarchs determine what may and may not be said, and those who demur are criminalized, not for violent or fraudulent acts, but for disagreeing with “the official story” and standing up for the truth. We have seen how redefining “offense” as “defense” and “bombing” as “humanitarian intervention” were cynical but highly successful ploys to promote the war machine. Those who dare to dissent, like Assange, and manage to do it effectively, are discredited and deplatformed, by hook or by crook.

In the current COVIDystopic climate, even credentialed scientists and doctors are permitted only to parrot the decrees of the government’s small committee of policymakers with clear financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry. When they dare to demur, backing up their dissent with data-based research, they are deplatformed. Remarkably, it has become official government policy in many places around the world that healthy people can be criminalized as public menaces and citizens required, on pain of loss of civil liberties, to serve as subjects in experimental trials for medical treatments of which they have no need. Under Obama, the presumption of suspect innocence was perversely inverted to become a presumption of guilt and used as the pretext for executing thousands of persons located outside areas of active hostility. Now we are witnessing an inversion of presumed health to sickness, with citizens being required to demonstrate their vaccination status in order to go about their daily lives. We have seen over a matter of mere months political leaders go from attempting to bribe citizens to undergo experimental vaccination in exchange for lottery tickets, cash payments and free food, to criminalizing their very attempt to conduct their lives peaceably in civil society by attending public events, dining out, using public transport, visiting museums or going shopping.

The Department of Homeland Security recently listed “Opposition to COVID Measures” as one of its “Potential Terror Threats.” What happens next? We know from history that once groups of people are convincingly portrayed by the government as despicable criminals and pariahs, then there is no limit to what “good people” will do to see that they be eliminated, and those who have freely declined the COVID-19 vaccines are now being punished in the cities of Paris, New York, Los Angeles, and New Orleans, where they are no longer permitted to participate in society. The most frightening aspect of the propaganda campaign currently underway is that it has been propagated through easy-to-parrot soundbites (such as “Listen to The Science!”) which many people, in states of total self-deception, proclaim from the hilltops against what they take to be the unwashed, unvaxxed, unmasked and ignorant enemy. So convinced are compliant citizens by now of their moral righteousness that many of them will not even engage in discussions with those who disagree.

The revelations of Julian Assange, Bradley/Chelsea Manning and Daniel Hale demonstrated for all to see the government’s assertion of the right to kill anyone anywhere, without indictment or trial, on whatever grounds it deems sufficient. Assassination is certainly the most direct and facile way of dealing with dissidents who are articulate enough to defend themselves in a court of law. Anwar al-Awlaki, for example, was able to convey clear, antiwar, anti-imperialist objections to the U.S. government’s fiascos in the Middle East. Rather than allow him to pose an intellectual threat to the official story, by having him stand trial in a court of law, al-Awlaki was summarily silenced for all time through incineration by lethal drone.

Perhaps, then, no one should be surprised by the increasingly aggressive attempts by Western governments to coerce citizens to submit to experimental medical treatments, even while death has been acknowledged to be one of a number of documented side effects. The latest spec sheets for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines now include a full paragraph warning about the danger of myocarditis, yet the propaganda campaign to vaccinate young persons at nearly no risk from COVID-19 plows ahead with the CDC now recommending a third “booster” shot for everyone who has already received two shots, regardless of their age or health condition.

As data continues to be amassed, more and more research studies are appearing to vindicate “the quacks” who disagreed early on with the reigning global public health narrative. These studies may be ignored by the Biden administration’s Ministry of Propaganda, but we must patiently await the day when the fear of the virus no longer propels people blindly to follow the government’s arbitrary diktats, nor to pressure their neighbors into doing the same. Public health officials, being political appointees, will not save the world from what looks at this point to be an inexorable march toward totalitarianism. Our last best hope lies in the courts. We must mount lawsuits to defend our civil rights, and we must, along with Julian Assange, cling to our faith that there are still a few sane and rational judges who have not been politically or financially coopted, nor terrorized by the sheer fear of death after a year and half of non-stop propaganda. Those judges will assess the data and side with the truth in defending societies from their bureaucratic tyrants run amok.

The Drone Program Whistleblower Problem

The Drone Program Whistleblower Problem

“I was the CIA director. We lied, we cheated, we stole…We had entire training courses…”

– Former CIA Director and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

 

The concept of whistleblowing seems simple on its face: a government employee recognizes that crimes are being committed by the agency they work for and reports them so that the public is made aware that their tax dollars are being misused by those in charge. But what happens when large parts of the operations of an entire agency (such as the CIA), or even the entire executive branch of government, are grounded in immoral behavior? Is it possible to effectively “blow the whistle” on the entire sprawling apparatus? Or is that conceptually impossible, given that the government reserves for itself the prerogative to issue judgments on what it does?

A system of checks and balances in the United States is said by its defenders to be preserved through having three separate and independent branches of government: the executive, the legislative, and the judicial. If a governor enacts a law which some citizens believe violates the Constitution, then they can sue the governor, and a judge will issue a verdict on the matter. If the citizens do not win the suit, they can still appeal the ruling by taking the case up again in a higher court. Eventually, the most contentious disputes wend their way up to the Supreme Court, where debate comes to an end and a final judgment is made. This system allows some degree of checks and balances on lower court judges whose political biases may impede objective assessment of the matter in question. Of course, Supreme Court justices, too, are human beings who have been appointed by politicians, so bias cannot be altogether eliminated. But because the nine Supreme Court justices are never appointed by the same president, there is some hope that perspectives will be balanced, and at the very least, dissenting justices in the minority are able to articulate the grounds for their dissent, so that if ever the matter reaches the high court again, it can be informed by those concerns.

Legality and morality, however, are two different things, as much as we may wish for the former to reflect the latter. Expressing moral dissent from what is being done by the government becomes far more difficult when the perpetrators are granted by law the ability to commit moral atrocities, as in war. During wartime, the standards of civil society are completely flouted, permitting the premeditated, intentional killing of human beings, even of soldiers who have been coerced to fight, and even of completely innocent civilians, provided only that the perpetrators claim to have good intentions. Antiwar activists continue to question the “just war paradigm” presupposed by modern military practice, but the complete abolition of war remains a lofty ideal, given the less lofty financial dynamics propelling the war machine forward.

As difficult as it is to take issue with war itself, many veterans throughout history have done just that, having once witnessed firsthand the stark disparity between wartime rhetoric and reality. It is even more difficult to criticize government killers when they operate under a cloak of secrecy. If final judgments regarding alleged wrongdoers are exclusive to the very institution or branch being criticized, then the system becomes microcosmic of tyranny, for the head of the institution effectively writes the “laws” for his subordinates. One example of this was the military’s own assessment of events captured in the video footage Collateral Murder, which was shared by Private Bradley (now Chelsea) Manning through Wikileaks. In that harrowing film, Reuters journalists are killed by U.S. soldiers hovering above them in a helicopter. After assessing the episode in response to public outrage over what transpired in New Baghdad, Iraq, on that day, the Pentagon concluded that the soldiers had in fact acted in accordance with military protocol. Manning did the public a great service by revealing a shocking truth about what the U.S. military regards as acceptable behavior.

Notwithstanding the oft-recited claim that the United States is a pillar of democracy, there are sizable portions of the U.S. government which are beyond the reach of effective criticism for the simple reason that they are shrouded in secrecy on grounds of national defense. Notably, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the part of the Pentagon’s wide-ranging initiatives paid for using the ever-expanding Black Budget operate with effective impunity. The pretext of “national self defense” is used to prosecute and sometimes destroy the lives of those who dare to demur from the sorts of immoral activities undertaken by government entities allegedly for the good of the nation. In many cases, what are really being defended are the agencies themselves and the comportment of their compliant employees.

The reason given for the assiduous pursuit of whistleblowers in such cases is identical to the alleged reason for the secrecy: that to reveal anything about what is underway is to compromise national security. When whistleblowers expose what look to be war crimes, they are said by prosecutors specifically to endanger the lives of those implicated in the allegations—both regular government employees and cultivated sources. Indeed, the mere possibility of endangering the perpetrators—even when there is no evidence of any harm done by the leaks—usually suffices for the prosecutors of whistleblowers to win their cases. The irony, of course, is that the reason why the revelation of unsavory government activities to the public is dangerous to the perpetrators is manifestly that the acts in question are immoral and will be denounced by most any right-minded person who is made aware of them.

Before the twenty-first century, crimes such as the assassination of suspected enemy spies were committed both by the CIA and by the Pentagon. There was very little, if any, congressional oversight over secretive assassination programs throughout the Cold War, and the small number of congresspersons privy to the details evidently agreed with what was going on. Nonetheless, in the 1970s, the Church Committee and the Pike Committee did manage eventually to rein in the CIA and the Pentagon run amok during the Vietnam War, when hatred and fear of communism led government administrators to devise morally dubious programs such as Phoenix, which resulted in widespread civilian carnage. A moratorium was put on assassination by President Ford in 1976 through Executive Order 11905, and it seemed that the self-correcting system had worked to some degree—albeit not in time to save the lives of thousands of human beings.

During the Global War on Terror waged in response to the events of September 11, 2001, the moratorium on assassination came to an end. Far from being regarded as taboo, such killing was normalized and came eventually to be openly acknowledged and even vaunted to the public. In effect, the intentional, premeditated execution of specific individuals—formerly known as assassination and considered illegal under international law—was rebranded as targeted killing and embraced as a new standard operating procedure of what was enthusiastically billed as smart war. By using remotely piloted aircraft (RPAs), or lethal drones, it would no longer be necessary to risk troops’ lives, which was naturally good news to politicians who promoted the drone program without thinking about the consequences for the people on the ground, nor the global effects later on down the line, when other governments began to deploy lethal drones in achieving their aims.

“Taking the battle to the enemy” was deemed necessary for national self-defense, and now, the marketing line went, it could be done without sacrificing any U.S. soldiers’ lives. There might be a bit of so-called collateral damage here and there, but as usual it would come to be ignored or brushed aside as one of the inevitable consequences of “the fog of war.” By portraying targeted killing as a rational way of minimizing combat losses, the whole notion of what counts as permissible warfare was transformed, seemingly irrevocably, given that the United States and Israel set the precedent. Over the course of the war on terror, thousands of people have been killed, and many times more maimed and terrorized, using missiles launched from drones hovering above Yemen, Syria, in Northern Africa, and beyond, in programs administered by the CIA rather than the military. The fact that drone strikes “outside areas of active hostility” (where no U.S. troops were on the ground to protect) were made the province of the CIA to initiate and supervise was diaphanously intended to evade meddling congressional attempts at oversight.

By now, lethal drones have been purchased by governments all over the world, who are free to use these weapons to dispatch anyone whom they designate as the enemy, no matter where they may be. First in line among non-U.S. heads of state to emulate President Obama in intentionally hunting down and assassinating citizens located abroad was U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron. Cameron used lethal drones in 2015 to execute British citizens located in Syria, despite the fact that capital punishment is forbidden by U.K. law. Had Cameron indicted and tried his victims in Britain, then they would likely still be alive, even if found guilty in a court of law. Rather than prosecute his targets as citizens entitled to due process, Cameron waited until they traveled to Syria before extrajudicially assassinating them.

Where formerly it was considered illegal (under the Geneva Conventions) for a soldier to execute an unarmed enemy soldier point blank, in the Drone Age it is said to be perfectly permissible for an operator located thousands of miles away from a “battlefield” devoid of allied soldiers to push a button and eliminate a suspected enemy combatant, along with anyone who happens to be around him at the time. Still reeling from the shock of what transpired on September 11, 2001, politicians and the populace alike were essentially tricked into believing the manifest absurdity that a soldier located in a trailer in Nevada could be said to kill in self-defense a person who not only was not provided with the right to surrender nor prove that he was not a terrorist, but in fact was not even armed. Understandably, some of the enlisted soldiers lured into working in the U.S. government’s interagency drone program have deeply regretted their participation and abandoned the profession.

A few of the persons privy to the details of the drone program have spoken out, including Daniel Hale, a former signals intelligence analyst who was recently sentenced to nearly four years in prison for violating the Espionage Act. Hale, who worked in the drone assassination program in Afghanistan, stole and shared a trove of top-secret documents, which were published online by Jeremy Scahill of The Intercept as “The Drone Papers,” and in book form as The Assassination Complex. The documents confirmed what other apostate drone operators had already claimed: that the U. S. government, far from achieving “near certainty” about their targets before dispatching them with missiles launched from drones, in fact defined all victims of drone strikes as Enemy Killed in Action or EKIA, provided only that they were military-aged males. Instead of needing to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt before executing these suspects, the entire program has been based on the preposterous premise that such persons are guilty until proven innocent. Under this assumption, lengthy hit lists have been drawn up for years by analysts using circumstantial evidence such as SIM card data from cellphones of suspected terrorists. No matter that some of the military-aged males incinerated by drones may have worked as taxi drivers, delivery persons, etc. If their number was derived during a data sweep from the phone of a person already suspected of having terrorist organization connections, then they became “guilty until proven innocent” by transitivity. In “crowd killing,” entire groups of men of unknown identity have been eliminated under the assumption of guilt by association.

The atrociousness of this inversion of justice, which took place during Barack Obama’s presidency and resulted in the deaths of thousands of unnamed persons of color, is difficult to exaggerate. The fact that Hale, in an eleven-page handwritten letter which he sent to the judge presiding over his trial, has explicitly taken issue with President Obama’s public statements on the drone program makes it seem very unlikely that President Biden will pardon the whistleblower—although I certainly hope that I am wrong about this. The problem in this case is that to pardon Daniel Hale would be to acknowledge that either President Obama lied to the public when he said that drone strikes were only carried out when there was “near certainty” that no civilians would be harmed, or else he was incompetent, having no idea what was being done by his drone program czar, John Brennan, and those whom he supervised. A classic Charybdis and Scylla.

Daniel Hale is obviously not a spy, for his avowed intention in disclosing top secret documents was only to alert the public about what was going on in the drone program under a bogus pretext of national self defense. What he revealed is not that a few rogue operators have killed innocent people with impunity, but that the entire drone program is premised on the assumption that it is perfectly acceptable to execute anyone anywhere on the basis of purely circumstantial evidence. In addition to cellphone SIM card data, drone video footage and the testimony of bribed informants on the ground are also used to add names to hit lists. But in the third world countries where these drone strikes have been carried out, the destitute locals who provide HUMINT, or human intelligence, obviously have compelling financial incentives to locate targets for the people paying them.

To acknowledge that Daniel Hale was right to act on his conscience and inform the populace that they were being lied to is simultaneously to assert that the entire drone program is fundamentally misguided, indeed just as wrong as murder—because that is what it is. Hale correctly recognized the financial incentives driving the employees of the “killing machine,” with private military companies (PMCs) rewarded for identifying as many “terrorists” (in reality, suspects), as possible. All of the employees involved in the hunting down and killing of suspects using lethal drones outside areas of active hostilities have been embroiled in a taxpayer funded large-scale program of mass murder. Yet this killing has been rendered banal to most citizens, in large part because the mainstream media outlets decline to discuss the matter at all, deferring as they always do to the Pentagon under, again, a pretext of national self-defense.

Pin It on Pinterest