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The Washington Post : it tolls for thee

The Washington Post : it tolls for thee

by Toni Solo, November 2nd, 2010

“The American fascist would prefer not to use violence. His method is to poison the channels of public information. With a fascist the problem is never how best to present the truth to the public but how best to use the news to deceive the public into giving the fascist and his group more money or more power.” - Henry A. Wallace, The Danger of American Fascism, New York Times, April 9, 1944.

“There are many who do not know they are fascists but will find it out when the time comes.”
Ernest Hemingway, For Whom the Bell Tolls, 1940*

That time is now and the analysis by Roosevelt's Vice-President, Henry Wallace, has proven prescient : for fascist read oligarch. The anti-American US ruling elite's betrayal of their country's people is savage and comprehensive. A look at the domestic betrayals gives a better understanding of the meaning of the betrayals on foreign policy.

The abandonment of 14.3% of the population to poverty and 17% to unemployment is accompanied by denial of the stagflation the great majority experience in real life - stagnant incomes and price inflation at anything between 3% and 7%. The Federal Reserve schemes to sell back heavily depreciated assets cheap to the very banks from whom they bought those same assets - at a premium over their market value - as part of the rescue plan following the collapse in 2008. Willy nilly, taxpayers will fund the difference - many billions of dollars.

A corollary of the financial sector's destruction of the US economy has been the abandonment of accounting standards via opaque, barely reported deals between major financial corporations, the Federal Accounting Standards Board and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Plenty of people have a mistakenly high opinion of the FDIC. But the FDIC is probably heading for insolvency, again, and is in any case, under Bush-appointee Sheila Bair, as compromised by corporate oligarch influence as any of the other US authorities.

The pathetic folding of regulatory bodies like the FASB and the FDIC to demands by corporate financial oligarchs compounds the overall failure of US regulatory authorities to better manage the devastating collapse of the financial system in the first place. In all likelihood, the US legal system will before too long lurch from wholesale injustice to irredeemable disrepute when Congress decides to bail out the banks' hopelessly flawed procedures for securitizing mortgages with some retrospective legislative patchwork.

The profound correlation between financial corruption and media corruption is self evident from the role of the media in misleading the people of the United States by misrepresenting the catastrophic failures of their country's predatory elite. Either they let pass ridiculous claims that the crisis was unforeseeable or else they blamed the carnivorous elite's hapless victims. Similarly, corporate accounts have for many years failed to give a true and fair view of the insolvent state of numerous important companies, especially the big banks.

Managed bankruptcy has always been, and remains, a readily applicable option – one carefully censored from public discussion by the corporate disinformation media. Four or five incompetent, criminal speculative financial conglomerates with a few thousand grossly overpaid personnel are too big to be allowed to fail. But tens of millions of vulnerable impoverished citizens are treated as insignificant.

This truly is the logic of fascism, one the US media have generally amplified and legitimized. Since World War Two the United States has consolidated its power and influence to subjugate weaker countries around the world more effectively than ever in order to control their natural resources. Now, as US power and influence declines around the world, the assault-via-impoverishment is being turned from vulnerable peoples overseas to the vulnerable majority of people in the United States itself.

The foreign policy betrayal

Peoples and governments in the rest of the world – especially the equally rotten elites in the European Union - know the US authorities are hopelessly corrupt. The US legislature is permanently suborned by corporate funding. The judiciary generally responds to corporate or political influence at almost every level as in environmental cases or the recent ruling on corporate political campaign finance or the cases of political prisoners like Mumia Abu Jamal, Leonard Peltier and the Cuban Five or the Angola 2, in solitary confinement for over 35 years.

US political, financial, media and judicial corruption spill seamlessly over from the domestic sphere into foreign policy. The by now regular scandals over revelations about the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan tell us nothing new about those massive war crimes. From the very start those wars were abominations of criminal inhumanity. From the very start, the US authorities paid cash to buy innocent people whom they then trafficked as political prisoners to Guantanamo and other destinations, subjecting those people to vile, systematic torture.

Continuing crimes against humanity by the US government mirror overseas the comprehensive domestic betrayal of people in the United States. That international betrayal feeds back into the domestic arena via the corporate media which currently serve mostly as echo chambers for US government propaganda. An interesting feature of that reality in recent years has been the incorporation of neocolonial progressive and radical opinion into the official disinformation feedback process.

Examining foreign news coverage in the US – and international – corporate media, one is struck by the uniformity of editorial opinion among the news media of NATO-member countries. They sustain a surprising continuity of themes within and across regions. Occasionally events belie their propaganda. The recent massively welcoming visit to Lebanon by the Iranian president confounded Western media caricatures of President Ahmadinejad as an odious, insane pariah – a constant NATO country media motif.

In Latin America, NATO country media have tried to peg the odious-insane-pariah motif on leaders like President Hugo Chavez in Venezuela and President Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua. That same motif was used to justify the coup d'état against President Manuel Zelaya in 2009 in Honduras. Other false motifs deployed against Venezuela and Nicaragua have included
• the US government seeks stability in the region whereas the Venezuelan government destabilizes the region;
• the US government seeks to promote democracy in Nicaragua whereas President Daniel Ortega is corrupt, incompetent and anti-democratic;
• US military deployments in the region, including reactivating the Fourth Fleet, promote peace and stability.

Arturo Valenzuela in Managua

A recent editorial in the Washington Post on Nicaragua gives a good example of how the corporate media serve government propaganda purposes. The editorial preceded by a few days a visit to Nicaragua by Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Arturo Valenzuela. The Washington Post's editorial takes on greater interest in the light of remarks by Valenzuela following his meeting with President Ortega in Managua.

Among the insincere banalities dropping from Valenzuela's forked tongue , with memento mori Death's Head ambassador Robert Callahan smirking beside him, was this, “We also discussed briefly the issue of Honduras where we in the United States accompanied the consensus of OAS member countries in condemning a coup d'état and in not accepting what was an overturning of a democratic process...”

Valenzuela's downright lie rewrites the shameful role of Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Thomas Shannon. They all made sure the US government adamantly refused to denounce the coup in Honduras as a coup d'état. They refused to do so because if they had it would have triggered a series of sanctions they were unwilling to impose.

The US government actively sided with Roberto Micheletti's fascist coup regime by insisting on treating them as equal partners in a fake “dialogue” with the legitimate President Manuel Zelaya. US diplomats consistently suggested that Zelaya himself was somehow to blame for the military coup that illegally exiled him from his own country. The US State Department then worked closely with the coup regime, buying them time to stage the illegitimate elections that brought Porfirio Lobo to power as a direct continuation of the coup.

The Washington Post on Nicaragua

When a senior diplomat insouciantly rewrites history, blatantly lying about yet another US government betrayal of fundamental democratic principles, it comes as no surprise that the State Department's propaganda mouthpiece, the Washington Post, does the same. In their disinformation editorial of October 20th “Nicaragua, Honduras and hypocrisy” the editors contradict their own government by alleging the events in Honduras from June 28th onwards were not a coup d'état.

They misrepresent the non-binding poll in Honduras scheduled for June 29th as an “illegal referendum”. They lie that President Zelaya sought via the referendum to help overturn a ban on re-election. In fact the poll posed a simple question to the Honduran people about whether they wanted the right to vote on whether or not to hold a constituent assembly to be held in the period of the President that would have succeeded Zelaya under normal circumstances.

The editors argue, ridiculously, that the stalwartly right wing Organization of American States was somehow railroaded by its minority of left-leaning governments into condemning the coup. Even disingenuous gangsters like President Alan Garcia of Peru and President Felipe Calderón of Mexico forthrightly condemned the coup. They understood they could not approve the coup in Honduras without creating an ominous precedent for their own corrupt regimes.

On the basis of their Munchausen syndrome account of the Honduran military coup, the State Department propaganda frauds at the Washington Post go on to make a grossly misleading comparison between Porfirio Lobo's illegitimate violently repressive regime and the legitimately elected government of Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua. Totally ignorant of Nicaraguan constitutional history, they talk about “blatantly illegal decrees” by Daniel Ortega, along with “manipulation of court rulings” and “mob violence to clear the way for his re-election”.

Left out from this far-fetched distortion of events in Nicaragua is the fact that the Nicaraguan opposition have a big majority in the country's legislature. The obvious question is why, if Daniel Ortega, is so undemocratic, the Nicaraguan opposition have failed to organize an effective resistance. The clear answer to that question is that President Ortega and his colleagues have consistently acted within the Constitution and scrupulously followed the relevant procedures.

So when the Washington Post throws histrionics and asks why the OAS has not reacted to the non-existent constitutional abuses allegedly committed by President Ortega, the answer is the same. The OAS has no reason to intervene in Nicaragua's internal affairs because President Ortega's government has followed the constitutional rules. The Washington Post's frauds allege that a Supreme Court ruling in favour of Daniel Ortega's right to stand for re-election was made by a court “composed entirely of Mr Ortega's Sandinista movement.” Another lie. The court that made that judgment was composed of several pro-Sandinista magistrates and also Liberal magistrates substituting for their Liberal colleagues who had wantonly absented themselves from Nicaragua's Supreme Court for several months.

The Washington Post propagandists also mess up their facts when they write of President Ortega “The former Marxist dictator lost four consecutive elections beginning in 1990..” Daniel Ortega was democratically elected with over 60% of the vote in 1984. He was never a “dictator”. Back then Washington Post darlings like Sergio Ramirez willingly served in Nicaragua's elected government. The Washington Post's pathetically weak grasp of Nicaraguan history rewrites events to their proto-fascist taste.

All through 2010, the Nicaraguan opposition have tried to create institutional chaos by unconstitutionally refusing to vote 25 top official posts including Supreme Court magistrates and Supreme Electoral Council officials. To resolve that crisis President Ortega acted on a clause that was never revoked by the country's legislature, one originally used to cover an institutional hiatus caused by the handover of power following the elections in 1990. Outmaneuvered, the Nicaraguan opposition falsely cried foul, a cry echoed by their foreign supporters in the Washington Post.

The Washington Post fakers pretend that supplementary judges sworn in to replace absent Liberal magistrates were all Sandinistas. That enables the Washington Post to lie that a packed Sandinista Court pushed through sensitive rulings in Daniel Ortega's favour. In fact the Liberal magistrates were correctly substituted by their own supplementary magistrates who then proceeded to deal with an enormous backlog of thousands of routine cases neglected for months by their Liberal colleagues. Subsequently, the Liberal magistrates who absented themselves returned to work accepting every single one of their colleagues' decisions without demur – including the ruling allowing President Ortega to stand for re-election.

Left hand - Right hand

Arturo Valenzuela and his Washington Post buddies are a perfect example of Goldman Sachs style ethics. Always get your left hand to deny what the right hand is doing - the ethics of scam-mongers and cheap crooks. Arturo Valenzuela lies that the US government condemned the coup d'état in Honduras. The Washington Post celebrates it. One arm of Goldman Sachs sells overpriced junk to its clients while another arm bets that same junk will crash in value.

Barack Obama makes smarmy calls for understanding, as Valenzuela put it in Managua: “Our vision with President Obama is to have a new deal with the countries of our America.” But the reality Latin American peoples and their leaders see is otherwise.

They see repeated militarist escalation via deployment of grossly disproportionate menacing US armed forces throughout the region. They experience reiterated covert support for anti-democratic oligarchies like those that provoked the military coup in Honduras and its attempted facsimile in Ecuador. They observe persistent funding to co-opt non-governmental organizations in support of minority opposition parties and partisan “electoral observers”.

They note continuing deep involvement of the CIA and the Drugs Enforcement Agency with the regional drugs trade as well as the role of US banks like Wells Fargo's Wachovia in laundering illicit proceeds from that trade. They are well aware of US government double standards in manipulating aid for development cooperation for political ends. They resent continued interference by US government diplomats and other officials in their internal affairs.

No one with high office in Latin America is likely to be fooled by frauds like Arturo Valenzuela, Secretary of State Clinton or President Obama. Everyone understands very well the cynical double dealing and sadistic power politics that are the US government's stock in trade. The only ones fooled by the US government and its accomplices in the corporate propaganda news outlets are the forever deceived people of the United States, despicably and comprehensively betrayed by their political, financial, commercial and media leadership.

Note : * Thanks to Wikipedia for the quote from Hemingway's novel


Toni writes for Tortilla con Sal

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