In my now highly-dated e-book Seeing Through Smoke I wrote about how, once propaganda becomes the basis of a society, even the most sceptical will be fooled much of the time:
In a society like the late Soviet Union, it may have been the case that everyone knew fifty percent of what they read in Pravda (ironically meaning “truth”!) to be false. But in a totalitarian state there was no independent way for them to know which fifty percent they should discount. I have no doubt that canny Russian dissidents who rightly rejected news reports on one issue were hoodwinked into believing other falsehoods, or indeed were dismissive of propaganda that turned out, in the event, to be perfectly true. Even dissidents may disagree.
One example I gave was how in his book about the very subject of propaganda, A. M. Meerloo used the illustration of the mass-panic caused by Orson Welles’ radio broadcast of War of the Worlds, which itself has turned out since he wrote to be a PR exaggeration that has persisted in the public imagination for nearly a century.
We must accept that the murkiness of the big “deception” issues like COVID, climate change, intersectionality and so on will involve a certain degree of “fog of war” that makes dissidents disagree on details. For example, English statistician Norman Fenton, in discussion with Bret Weinstein, explains how he was converted from acquiescence to instant scepticism on climate change by being one of the presenters of a BBC documentary on the subject, seeing the poor science used and, more significantly, how he and his fellow mathematicians were carefully scripted and edited in the material broadcast. Weinstein in general agrees, but retains some fears that methane released from permafrost may indeed tip the planet into disaster.
The question is, of course, who raised the issue of methane, who paid for the research, and whether it might have been invoked to bolster up the failing narrative on fossil fuel warming. After all, several ice ages have been and gone without runaway global warming occurring, and there have two long pauses in the satellite lower troposphere temperature rise, the present one lasting for the last eight years, despite the steady rise in CO2 and, presumably, methane.
We may overestimate our access to reliable sources of information, given that in many ways our society has become as informationally totalitarian as the USSR ever was. We may follow alternative sources on the Ukraine war, we may read Robert F. Kennedy, Jr, on the real story of how lockdown policies came to be instituted (US counter-terrorism agency manipulation, since 2004), but the issues we aren’t fired up about come to us from the same compromised news sources that spin the mainstream lies, and we don’t filter them.
Just a couple of examples, one relatively benign and one more insidious. The first is the flooding in Pakistan, which is the Natural Disaster du Jour because (as my church bulletin said in earmarking this weeks offering to the appeal) unprecedented rains caused by global warming have put 1/3 of the country under water. Or so we are told.
The last figure actually comes from a Pakistan official saying that flooding is present in 1/3 of the country’s provinces, which the press have recycled as being the percentage of land underwater. The actual figure is 10-12%, which is severe but not unprecedented. And the floods are actually only the worst “in a decade.” The corrupt state of water management policies in the light of increasing population leading to inadequate drainage, and the farming of unsuitable land, being the major factor in turning a drama into a crisis.
Now, it’s still a humanitarian tragedy and therefore worthy of the world’s generous attention, but the distortions of truth benefit (a) the institutionally corrupt Pakistan authorities, whose mismanagement gets buried, and who get to increase their financial aid and hence their personal rake-off, (b) the western press, which always profits from portraying maximal tragedy, and (c) the climate change lobby, with yet another graphic, but entirely false, icon of doom to add to polar bears, walruses, and floating plastic continents. Perhaps the focus on the flooding even diverts attention, both internationally and internally, away from the recent US-engineered ousting of the popular, but anti-NATO, Imran Khan, and the present efforts to get him jailed on terrorism charges. They’ve already had popular riots over the coup, so proceeding with his silencing whilst attention is distracted would make sense to the Pakistani government – and the US warmongers.
Conspiracist thinking? Maybe, but why has the press been so much less forthcoming on the similar floods in India, Nepal, Indonesia, Yemen, the Philippines, South Korea, Northwest China, Vietnam, Thailand, Afghanistan, Japan, Sri Lanka, Iran, and most significantly Bangladesh, where 90,000 have been displaced and 4.2 million souls affected? Where is the international appeal about those?
None of these suspicions would be viable if we didn’t already know the cosy relationship between the CIA and the world’s media, going back to Project Mockingbird:
“We’ll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false.” – William J. Casey, CIA Director (1981)
In Britain, too, the news agency Reuters was funded by MI6 back in the 1960s and 1970s to produce anti-Soviet propaganda for our consumption. Is it now producing its stream of anti-Putin propaganda out of the goodness of its heart? After all, it was “ex-MI6” Christopher Steele who produced the dodgy Russiagate dossier that plagued Donald Trump’s adminsitration and filled the media for four years before, belatedly, being debunked. The same Christopher Steele has peddled the rumours of an imminent coup against a sick Vladimir Putin, widely and uncritically reported. And the Russian press has been censored for us (though not vice versa), so that alternative facts are hard to find.
My second story best shows, I think, the difficulty of finding truth especially once one knows the extent of official deception – “…everything the American public believes is false”? We all know (and that too was in my church diary sheet) how millions of Uyghur Muslims are being brainwashed, raped and worse in camps in the Xinjiang territory of northwest China. But how do we know? It’s in the MSM that lies about everything else, but we are ready to believe it because we know the Chinese government is totalitarian, racist, and thoroughly ruthless, because that too is constantly in the MSM. Few of us have been to China to check.
But, you will say, the UN, as any web-search will show in hundreds of posts, has produced a 46 page report saying that the claims of crimes against humanity “are possible.” Eye-witness testimony, etc. However, the very experienced and often outspoken head of the UN mission to Xinjiang, Michelle Bachelet, though apparently given full access to members of the public, found no direct evidence of the camps, which she was told had been dismantled, but resigned the day the report was published:
According to Al Jazeera, the United Nation’s Human Rights Office is politically charged and nearly all its high commissioners have avoided seeking term extensions.Wikipedia
So did the Chinese steer her away from where she needed to go, and did she tone down her comments to ingratiate the CCP, or did she actually resign because she was pressured by the West to produce a poorly evidenced report supporting the allegations? You choose.
There are other contradictions. There’s a girl who posts on YouTube having escaped from North Korea, who describes the situation there, and we treat her testimony as useful evidence. But a Uyghur from Xinjiang, living in America, speaks evidently angrily about the American disinformation regarding the camps, describing the improving standards of living and cultural recognition of the Uyghurs, in order to discredit her country. Maybe she’s a Communist plant, but why should we assume that?
The main source of the Uyghur oppression story is a Fundamentalist Evangelical named Adrian Zenz. That seems a prima facie reason to trust him – but it seems the organisations he works for are funded by the CIA. Does US intelligence espouse missionary objectives?
And there seems to be evidence that the CIA has been training up separatist Uyghur militants specifically to perform terrorist acts in China, in order to destabilise the government, the long-term aim being to replace it with a globalist regime more compliant to the West. That, it seems, was one reason for the long US (and UK) presence in Afghanistan, which gave access to these separatist groups for a far bigger geopolitical goal than subduing Afghanistan. Destroy Russia, and the way is open to destroy China, and for the American Corporate Empire to reign unchallenged for 1000 years… Europe is, after all, already obediently destroying itself in obedience to Washington. And Britain is just Washinton’s lapdog.
Implausible? Maybe, but Turkey has been employing Uyghur militants for its operations in Syria, just as the US has fostered Islamists, including, astonishingly, al Qaeda, for its operations there. Given the long history of US regime change operations, including the Maidan coup in Ukraine of 2014 that opened the door to massive clandestine NATO arming and training there, as well as Biden family profiteering, the fostering of armed separatists in China would not be out of character. And why would we criticise China for dealing with them as we have dealt with our own terrorists? Could it be that most Uyghurs are as opposed to violent Islamists as we would be?
My point is not that there are no human rights abuses of Uyghurs, but that we are on more uncertain ground about this, and many other issues, than we assume. There are independent reporters on the ground, as there are in Ukraine, who deny the Western accounts vehemently, but perhaps they are stooges of the Chinese Communist Party, or gullible left-leaning idealists like those intellectuals who were so blind to the horrors of Stalinism when they visited Soviet Russia? Two countries steeped in propaganda – which side is better at it, or from our point of view, which side is using it more effectively here?
But those who promote the genocide story may also have an agenda, and may also receive funding from deeply cynical governments like the US, which has already fomented one proxy war this year, and has done its best to provoke China over Taiwan and risk a second. They are well used to mobilizing Christian concern cynically – do you remember how Terry Waite was apparently exploited, I’m certain unwittingly, to divert attention from yet more clandestine US activity, resulting in his long ordeal as a hostage?
But it later emerged that US Lt Col Oliver North had also been working behind the scenes, brokering an illegal arms deal with the Iranian government in exchange for the release of hostages. The money raised was then diverted to the anti-communist Contra rebels in Nicaragua. While Waite insisted he had no involvement whatsoever in the deal, the warlords of Lebanon were furious. Their suspicions were compounded when it emerged Waite had used a US helicopter for a secret trip to Lebanon, and had also been seen with North.https://www.shropshirestar.com/news/local-hubs/mid-wales/llangollen/2022/01/21/doctors-betrayal-led-to-terry-waite-being-taken-hostage/
I’m not sure what the lesson to learn from all this is, except for Christians to be as wise as serpents as well as innocent as doves. Even so, when wading through a swamp of lies, some mud is bound to stick to you. We are bound to end up believing at least some of the lies, but challenging even some of them gives us nuisance value. Somehow we need to keep love and willingness to suffer alive, whilst being under as few illusions as possible about the prevalence of evil.
God is truth, and will eventually prevail.