The Memory Hole of Continuous Proven Fraud over Nine Years
Canadians are within a few days of stopping or allowing the Harper regime to continue to destroy the democracy and life fabric of Canada. But the dots are taboo to connect. The PR-led opposition has joined the corporate media in a public stage ritual of forgetting. The endless lies, election cheats, and bullying abuses through nine years of PMO civil destruction go scot free.
The Harper regime has cheated or stole every election. Yet not even the Conservative robo-call fraud to deprive up to 500,000 citizens of their votes in the 2011 election has been raised in the official campaign. No-one on stage remembers any of it back to the first Harper theft of power in 2006, featuring the Harper-RCMP deal to falsely accuse the Liberal Finance Minister Ralph Goodale in criminal investigation just prior to the election. Nor is Harper’s violation of his own Election Act in calling the 2008 election and its massive illegal spending on attacks ads filling the airwaves with public hate just before the vote. All has been proven off the campaign stage, but all has been silenced on it. The regime’s near-daily record of lies, scandals and violations has gone the memory hole of the electoral campaign, with $54 million on hand for attack ads.
Nothing sticks because public information is repressed in every form by the Harper PMO, the corporate media publish only transient details and flattering pictures, and the mainstream parties silently submit to the rule of amnesia. Yet every destruction tracks back to the Mafia-like despotism of the Harper PMO whose rule of fear, division, lies, character assassination and public sector dismantling runs free with no connection on stage. Even as I write, Harper tells more public lies that “there are no cuts at the CBC” and that “marijuana is far more dangerous than tobacco’.
The Wheat Board clause is the addition replacing the gagging clause (which comes in enough). We may recall how the proven big liars and war criminals of the US Republican party getting re-elected there despite their crimes against democracy and law. Harper is the branch-plant version with more years allowed to strip the country’s public accountability and wealth to serve the rich. Constituencies of bigotry and greed provide the energies of attack always in motion.
From Fraud, War against Science and Dispossession of the Poor to tthe Niqab Sting
Fraud, war against public knowledge, and dispossession of the poor are the hallmarks of the Harper regime exposed in many forms off stage from an aroused Canadian public. But they are amnesiac in the official campaign. They continue with impunity and the tacit support of official opposition silence. The clear majority of citizens loathe the man destroying Canada’s common life substance and identity. But the pathological meaning is taboo to name on the public stage.
In the turning point of the election campaign that Harper was losing on the ground, national attention was suddenly diverted to the veil rights of two indoctrinated women claiming duty to Allah and the Prophet to keep their faces hidden in citizenship ceremony. How could such a red herring reverse the Harper defeat overnight when not even the Koran prescribes veils?
Yet a feudal harem duty became solemnly claimed as a public right by the politically correct even in swearing citizen allegiance to Canada. Incredibly the leader of the Quebec stronghold of the opposition NDP took the bait. Playing against the role that had been long fit up for him by the corporate press – the angry man – he donned the image of liberal tolerance. He stood up for the symbol of an ancient, foreign right of possession of women, and predictably alienated his Quebec support. Along with the NDP’s me-too neo-liberalism of “no deficit”, the party blew the national election lead into third place within days.
Public relations and political correctness are dear to marketing men and pollsters running the NDP too. But they do not work with citizens who dislike turncoats to neo-liberal dogma and are used to seeing people’s faces as fellow citizens.
Thus dragged into a stand enabling no-one’s life in the country, the campaign for the working people of Quebec and Canada became weak and alien – a betrayal of its voter base. In truth, the stand does not even protect the veiled immigrants. Their fathers and husbands can now demand the right of their proprietorship over them as a sacred right in Canada itself against long evolved citizen norms of openness and trust. Thus the entire Harper record of perpetual lies and harms against the common life interest of Canada disappeared into the memory hole over a false right serving no-one’s better existence in the country.
Thus a total diversion to a sectarian demand in citizenship oath itself succeeded. It completely switched the life-and-death of the 2015 election to an unconscious visceral plane where emotional knee-jerk was guaranteed – the master psych-op of the Harper regime. The fact that the issue is still before the courts known to rule against Harper over-stepping laws of every kind was ignored. But Harper rule won again by appeal to the knee-jerk unconscious of the masses.
This is in fact the crypto-fascist key of all Harper public appeal. Play the primeval fear card and step up PMO command to stop the fabricated danger to the country. Transnational attack dog Lynton Crosby, “master of the dark arts of dirty politics”, was on hand to orchestrate the diversion in the midst of a losing election. Simultaneously Harper’s-re-jigged Election Commission overrode the Election Act that says no non-Canadian may “induce anyone to vote” one way rather than another. Anything goes in this regime of corruption all the way down.
The Underlying Grammar of Amnesia and Illusion
The underlying deep structure of amnesia and illusion can be formulated in one sentence. National elections are increasingly reduced to a corporate market game of propagandas to sell one product rather others to targeted private-interest groups who will behave predictably as an aggregate as buyers of commodities for sale. The first premise here is that public intelligence does not exist, and the second is that any lie and fraud you can get away with is smart. .
No-one seems to see the entailment that the common life interest of citizens is ruled out a priori.Slogan rhetoric and partisan hype is all there is for the P-R managers of the game. “Middle class” can be asserted as vehemently by one party as the other with no meaning. The health, home and literacy of all citizens, not just the middle class having more money, is repelled by the marketing mind. Here the common interest is the latest opinion poll of selves with no facts involved.
The deciding force is private money, but this too is taboo to speak on the public stage. So is is the predictable result. Those who control more money more fund the party that wins even it cumulatively destroys the collective life capital of society and world.
The party meant to oppose this refuses to say it nd the mass media never allow it into their ad vehicles. So the ‘left’ party buys in and presses everyone on its lists to give more money to pay corporate media for more ads. One X on a card at the end decides it all in the end. Yet ever more people cannot access even that. This is the design of Harper’s Orwellian ‘Fair Elections Act’, excluding all those without an official identification resident address – in short, the poor and native citizens. Buttressing this fix of the election, Harper rule redefines electoral boundaries at the same time so that his party picks up an extra 22 seats, compared to the NDP and the Liberals adding six and two seats respectively. The riggings and frauds never stop.
In the dominant value system, the underlying formula is that more money in private pockets is the final good. Worship of riches that contribute no life function and increasingly pollute and deplete the world are kept out of public view. That the global gold baron patron of the Munk Institute debate been featured in this election is a metaphor of this regime’s total corruption. The instant institute becomes the private corporate ground for where Harper is willing to debate. No media or even opposition party reports that the Munk institute is a special recipient of many millions from Harper’s government, lavishes Tory front-men with rich company positions when they step down, helps to reset University of Toronto to a transnational corporate propaganda site, and causes continual human rights abuses in poor countries by its world-leading gold extractions from their lands. The right-wing audience repeatedly applauded Harper alone, and no mass media reported the fix.
This is one way in which the Harper regime reduces the country to a looting basin for borderless corporate market vehicles. His “economic record” never deviates from this outcome, but this again is taboo to say in the campaign. Mass ignorance rules along with absolute power to command. But no-one names the game. What distinguishes the Harper regime, from prior administrations is its war on public knowledge and democracy at every plane – its market-fascist logic. But who thinks through the meaning of every step? None is seen or connected on stage. Aan Orwellian propaganda field is the ocean to the voters and citizens surrounded by it.
As always in this totalizing corporate game, images are the only reality. Corporate media carry the only common messages the majority see. The truth becomes whatever sells.
Yet which contending party does not buy in? For the Harper regime, taxes like death are bad by definition, and the more money in private pockets is the ruling public value. One meta law governs the war of movement – to feed without limit on the public purse and expropriate all life-serving programs outside private profit and control.
The Harper Corruption of Canada Spreads by the Taboo Against Naming It.
Even the official opposition with the most progressive tradition of the three major parties has played the corporate-ad game instead of naming the proven despot, liar, and fraud in the PMO. As in BC in 2013, the NDP snatches defeat from the jaws of victory by empty advertising logic with no life substance. And as with Jack Layton who first let the fanatic Harper in the door by attacking only Liberals in the 2006 debates, the NDP is too busy going after Liberals to expose the usurper destroying the country.
A narcissism of small differences prevails, with the Liberals now outflanking the NDP to the left. The NDP’s leader, Thomas Mulcair, has the capacities of an ace prosecuting attorney to expose the Harper regime as tyrannically corrupt. Yet there has been no mention of the Harper record of continual public lies, cheating, criminal behaviors, war-mongering, and – most lethal to democracy – stripping of public science, communications and accountability at every level.
Consequences follow. The Harper regime has not only torn up the Kyoto Protocol. It has closed down scientific monitorings of everything from freshwater fish and contaminants to unique carbon load detectors, fired 2000 federal scientists, shut down and destroyed public archives of fisheries and oceans, prohibited any public communication of scientific information by those remaining, and abolished habitat-protecting laws 99% of Canada’s waterways.
Not only Canada’s environment and environmental knowledge, laws and resources have been attacked non-stop by the Harper regime. It wages war against all life-protective intelligence and knowledgethat can recognize the disastrous consequences. Its master goal is to serve the runaway global corporate juggernaut that devours the world to maximize private money demand as the only value there is.
Try to think of an exception. The long train of lies, abuses, interferences, public information destructions, criminal appointments, violations of laws, and vengeful uses of the state beggars belief in its perversion of the democratic process. Even more deeply, the collective life capital bases on which every one of us depends from the atmosphere to the ocean bottoms to the rule of life-protective law and common knowledge are exactly what are targeted and defunded to turn all of government into more private market riches at the top.
Yet the near-daily Harper outrages have already come and gone with no connected tracking of them in the official campaign. So silenced have the public positions of the opposition parties been that a complicity under partisan appearances seems hard to deny. Yet we need to know the depth of the corruption that has spread into Canada’s very metabolism and marrow. Unconscious submission to the ruling game of corporate mass sales has become the way we decide how to live even if it increasingly destroys Canada and life on earth.
Tracking the Beast Not Named
We need to recall out of the memory hole of all that has been forgotten in the 2015 election what destruction Harper has wrought on Canada’s abilities to function as a democratic society and intelligent civilisation. In fact, his meta program is to destroy everything that cannot be bought and sold for private profit – the underlying fanatic goal that is not seen.
It includes what is not publicly tracked or connected – destroying the public post delivery and financially gutting the nation’s only public broadcaster CBC; attacking the prairie family farm by dismantling the Canadian Wheat Board; continuous gaggings of elected representatives; continual appointment of criminals to office; stripping Statistics Canada and the mandatory Canada Census that are the recording memory of the nation; destroying the country’s gun registry against provincial and law-enforcement requests; continual anti-union interference in collective bargaining; smearing of veteran advocates resisting abuse and dismissal of their federal ombudsman; tax agency attacks on venerable social charities not towing the Harper line; gag orders on any federal civil servant not controlled by partisan public relations officers; lying attack ads without remission on any opposition leader who may compete against Harper; putting protestors under blanket state surveillance with black lists of their leaders; covering up torture and lawless police and armed-force killings across continents; risking the lives of Canada’s foreign troops for Harper photo-ops (he forbids any photographers but his own at press conferences); continuously false cost estimates of public money for new institutional violence, dispossession and caging policies; falsification or disappearance of documents across jurisdictions; use of Government of Canada identifiers and publication channels for party propaganda including even government cheques, altogether costing over $700 million of taxpayer funds; implicitly accepting bribes in return for public offices on the public purse for significant donors in every possible form of partisan pay-off; public contempt of parliament twice as prime minister with endless parliamentary abuses; fixed blocking of parliamentary and individual access to public information; silencing of the public service in every domain; forced loyalty oaths to political incumbents; omnibus bills that sneak through fascist-style overwhelming of any debate; secret trade deals that ruin the productive lives of countless thousands of citizens; dismembering Statistics Canada and lying about it; arbitrary shut-downs of Parliament when convenient for continued rule; incessant interferences in independent bodies like the National Energy Board, the CRTC, the Integrity Office and – for reporting vast sums of illegal spending – the Parliamentary Budget Office itself.
As for foreign affairs, Harper’s attack-dog regime has been by far the most war-mongering administration in Canada’s history. It has declared without any evidence Iran as the “greatest threat in the world” while applaudingd the continuously war-criminal actions of the Israel state. It has led the NATO bombing of once thriving Libya to irreversible ruin. It has jumped to recognise the violent and neo-Nazi-led coup in Ukraine and blame Russia for the resulting civil war and failed state. It has constructed endless false claims of Islamic terror threats and rushed to bomb in the Middle East to “stop ISIS” in ignorance of its Saudi-CIA funding, arming and creation. It has completely reversed Canada’s tradition as a peacemaker nation, voted off even the UN Human Rights Commission.
All follows the fascist pattern not named. Harper long ago gave notice of his readiness to commit the supreme crime under law in demand that Canada join the war-criminal bombing and genocide of Iraq on completely false pretexts in 2003. Here again, however, he has been given a free pass by the opposition parties in Parliament and on the 78-day campaign.
The Cover-Up Not Seen
Marketing elections run by private money for private money can override or silence all that a society needs for its better life. Once the corporate media control all perceptions to serve self-maximizing marketers from the top down with no common life interest binding across differences, no shared life value or ground can be seen.
If corporate-market PR machinations capture opposition parties themselves, there is no centre of gravity of the common good. There are only sales pitches to targeted consumers. Nothing else gets in. Since private money alone can buy the media time to pitch political products, the competition becomes over who has more money to buy ads. That the election is won by those with most private money backing is an underling meaning that disappears into the frenetic contest to get more of it to win. Nothing else is defined but more-money-needed in the 2015 campaign of the NDP even after all the evidence is in.
The shared life infrastructures of air to breathe, green space to enjoy and vocations to serve disappear from the conversation. Even the continuous frauds, lies, civil society destructions, and giveaways to the corporate rich are forgotten in this cover-up process not seen. Incredibly, no-one charges Harper for his proven record to destroy the very fabric of Canada’s democracy and capacity to govern for the public. It does not exist in this field of meaning. Only the memory hole remains on the campaign stage.
Do You Trust this Man?
The electoral opposition to the Harper regime’s decade of society destruction and transfer of public wealth to the rich has one more big lie to consider. Just 12 days before the election, it was announced that the TPP (‘Trans-Pacific Partnership’) had been rammed through before the election and before Canadians or Parliament have had a chance even to read it. No matter. Harper proclaims he “is 100% certain that it is good for Canada and all Canadians”. All the terms and details remained secret and inaccessible. Not one of the factually certain costs to Canadians is admitted as an issue. No citizen or party and knows any more than allowed to be told to them. The Trade Minister refused to be interviewed. All the certain life sacrifices of local economies, people’s secure livelihoods, food security, and vast new transportation pollution and carbon loads are simply erased from the ledger. They do not exist to this mind-set.
The TPP was announced the day I complete this analysis. But already one can recognize that every step follows in the tracks of Harper’s absolutely unaccountable and fraudulent rule – unlimited central control, complete secrecy, exclusion of public information in every detail, silencing of everyone else around including his own party’s elected MP’s, worship of the transnational corporate system of ever more profit as infallible, omnipotent boast of knowing the future for all citizens, and a very big-lie core of all he proclaims.
One might say Harper is a fanatic beyond all precedent in Canada’s prime ministry, and a pathological liar by demand of the corporate market doctrine of which he is a creature. This is why the life-blind inner logic of what drives him is not available to his mind. What sustains him are the corporate media barons and the extreme right-wing business roundtables from which he graduates. This is why he must always have them around in debates, as at the Munk centre. They pump him on in the CEO-despotism and greed they all bow to that destroys the world. The same happens across oceans in different variations. The TPP organizes corporate rule across the most distant continents into global dictatorship over all sovereign governments involved, over new and old unions of organized workers who can withdraw labour, over public policy shifts to serve people instead of endless foreign profits out of their countries, and over evolved recourses of democracy and government by collective life need.
This is the covered up meaning of Harper’s certitude of better lives for all. What life-blind doctrine has ever been so mindlessly ignorant of the facts of human life and the common life support systems of our planet? They simply do not exist to this corruption of mind. A borderless corporate market ever larger and more unaccountable to the public, human life and the biosphere itself is the God of the world destruction.
Masked in the absurd slogan of “free trade” which is free for none but transnational corporations – and why they always love it – no media challenges this deranged mind-set any more than its big advertisers. And the two mainstream parties are always funded by its agents. This is why the evil consequences are always ignored even though they follow necessarily from these one-sided treaties of transnational corporate rights. These are the real certainties that even the money masters and their servants cannot deny – that big transnational foreign corporations will always displace and ruin small and local businesses in every sphere they enter; that jobs and wages will always be lost, lower and less secure in the aggregate; that organized workers in unions will always be smashed or reduced further; that environmental restraints and regulations will always be eliminated if they do not conform to corporate rights to the profits they expect; that no-one except corporate lawyers will be able to judge by secret tribunal operations accountable to no one or no international law whether a public policy is valid if a private corporation sues it at public expense; and that every penalty for not conforming to this corporate treaty mechanism, with no non-profit public body allowed to dispute it, is without upper limit of money punishment to be paid by the taxpayers of the country that has disobeyed the new global corporate rights as judged by the private and unelected corporate-lawyer tribunal made up of the same people who wrote the treaty in secret and without public debate.
This is the already established format of the ‘Trans-Pacific Partnership’ which no-one can truthfully deny, and this what Stephen Harper is “certain is good for Canada and Canadians” as he gives away Canada’s sovereignty and imposes still secret foreign terms on the country in the middle of an election. Official Opposition leader Thomas Mulcair has for the first time in this election stood against the job-destroying, hollowing-out system that Harper leads with big lies – just as Brian Mulroney did before him with NAFTA promising “jobs, jobs, jobs” when 500,00 secure manufacturing jobs with living salaries and benefits were soon destroyed in fact.
The Harper regime has already lost 400,000 jobs under its watch. But the TPP will disemploy more than that when race-to-the-bottom Asian wages, safety, financial and environmental regulations are available to transnational corporations and banks to feed on at the expense of Canadian society, sovereignty, family security, youth opportunities and natural life and resources. This is the competition to the lowest denominators of life and life ruin that Harper adores as his ideal, ‘the free market’ of private corporate money sequence that override all else. .
Yet the real Canada beneath corporate-money functions sees through the endless lies and betrayals that are masked as “Conservative”. This worse-than-Mulroney despot and quisling of money power might come unstuck in his latest destruction of the common life bases of the country. Recall that this party of sell-out to private and transnational money powers ended up with two seats once the people caught on to the fraud.
As the issue of missing and murdered Indigenous girls and women becomes harder to ignore in the face of mounting evidence and terrifying statistics, communities, families and activists have repeatedly called on the government to lead a national inquiry.
Chief Isadore Day is the Regional Chief of Ontario, and is a spokesperson for the campaign. Roshini Nair spoke with him by phone. This interview has been edited and condensed.
What are you hoping to achieve with the Who is She? campaign?
Who is She? is a campaign organized by the Chiefs of Ontario to fundraise and raise awareness for an Ontario First Nations-led inquiry process into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. We want to raise the public conscience about missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in Canada.
Is this just an Ontario-based campaign or are you involving people from around Canada?
Ontario is going to do what we could do as a region within the Assembly of First Nations to raise the level of awareness, to establish a national dialogue. From that perspective, we are taking the initiative as a region, but we are certainly extending our request to all other regions, and the country to become engaged in this issue.
And the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) and other regions have been supportive?
They are supportive of it. Other regions are supportive. Simply, we weren’t waiting for anybody, even the AFN. We just felt like it was time, and we did it. Our staff was ready, I worked closely with them, and we just did what we needed to do.
And I’d like to state for the record that Ontario First Nations are wanting to utilize the Who is She? campaign to invoke a national dialogue on this very critical issue because it’s not just a First Nations issue, it’s a Canadian issue.
There’s a sense of urgency. What are you looking for specifically in terms of funding?
We know that, we need at least $500,000 to begin the inquiry process. That’s a basic assumption, knowing that we’re going to have to hire lawyers, we’re going to have to have facilitators, and we’re going to have to have an information management system. There are a number of prerequisite issues we’re going to need to establish in the inquiry process.
And there will be costs associated with to ensuring that the families can become engaged. That there’s going to need to be possibly some professional counseling that’s going to be involved along the way, maybe some legal fees for folks that may come forward through the inquiry process that may say, hey listen, I’ve got more information about a case.
Without the statutory power and framework of a government-led inquiry, what does the process look like for an Indigenous-led inquiry?
An inquiry that’s coming from this perspective that doesn’t have the current statutory trigger for a national call for an inquiry means we definitely need to ensure that there’s safeguards in place such as confidentiality agreements. We’re going to have to do this thing right, so we will hire consultants that will help us navigate through the, some of the formal judicial elements of an inquiry and again, that takes money, that takes a little bit of time.
We’re actually taking responsibility for laying that process out. We would be working with those that we know in the legal community, we’ve got First Nation judges on the bench that will be able to provide us information.
This is going to be different because we are going to own the process, we are going to design the process, we are going to be able to walk our people through that process in a way that it’s us doing it.
Going forward there will probably be a much greater willingness on the part of our people to say “yes, you know what, I trust this process because it’s us doing it.” There’s a real “on the ground” sense that we’re taking control, and we’re also taking responsibility for the pain and anguish that’s been created as a result of this issue and that’s something I believe our citizens are going to feel quite comfortable with.
It’s really important that we recognize opportunity during a federal election campaign. There will be a lot of Canadians paying attention to the issues that are important to various sectors in Canadian society.
A lot of people are wondering what’s happening with First Nations issues in this country and they will be looking at how federal parties respond to the issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women. As we start to elevate and increase more awareness, it will certainly be an option for Canadians to say “how is this party responding to missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls and family violence?” and they’ll say “well this one doesn’t really care too much” and “this one does” so that’s who I’m going to vote for.
And then after the election — what if the next government is willing to mount an inquiry? What would happen to your inquiry?
There certainly will be a governance structure that ensures that there’s a decision-making process in place to allow us to make that change based on what the families want, what the communities want. We definitely are not going to replace a national inquiry. That’s not what this is about. We’re going to do what we can to prepare for an Ontario First Nations-led inquiry process and if we can dovetail some of our efforts, you know establish a much better way to engage, then certainly I think that’s something that a formal inquiry will probably invite.
And we’ll have them put ourselves in a much better position a lot sooner, because we didn’t wait for the federal government
How is the campaign going so far?
Well, we are getting money coming in. It happened right away. People were saying it’s about time, and there seems to have been a flood of enthusiasm and people congratulating us for this step forward. They were saying, more than anything, it’s time to get this work done
And what’s next?
We’re getting ready for other meetings with the premiers and territories and meeting with the federal government post 2015 federal election. I also want to recognize and commend the superb leadership and courage of Premier Kathleen Wynne who standing shoulder-to-shoulder on this issue on a number of different levels. They’re just waiting to find out exactly what it is that we want from Ontario. The fact that they’re standing beside us is symbolically a huge issue.
We want Canadians to make this known to the federal government that we really need to call an inquiry process. It’s a national issue, and we definitely want to take this opportunity to advocate on behalf of our families and above all, we want to prevent this thing from happening in the future.
Donate to the Who is She? campaign here.
Roshini Nair is a multimedia journalist based in Vancouver. Follow her on twitter @roshini_c_nai
Published in partnership with Shadowproof.
There are numerous examples of American colleges or universities invoking “civility” to stifle free speech, especially speech around the issue of Palestinian human rights. Multiple instances exist where students have demanded particular speech or acts of expression, which make them uncomfortable, be controlled or suppressed. On a lesser scale, there also appears to be a trend toward constraining “classified speech.”
“Classified speech” is speech containing or relying upon information, which is public but the United States government has not declassified yet. Colleges or universities that are part of the American security industrial-complex have “facility security clearances” or other obligations they have agreed to follow so administrators can maintain the stature of being a place that conducts classified U.S. government research.
Yet, the result of such arrangements is what happened to Washington Post journalist Barton Gellman, who produced Pulitzer Prize-winning work on documents from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.
Gellman was invited to Purdue University in Lafayette, Indiana, to give a keynote presentation on Snowden and “national security journalism in the age of surveillance.” The presentation was part of a colloquium called “Dawn or Doom” on the “risks and rewards of emerging technologies.” It was live streamed, and Gellman was promised a link for sharing his presentation after the event.
Purdue University emphasized in its description of the event that Gellman would offer a “fresh account of the disclosures and their aftershocks, drawing upon hundreds of hours of work with the classified NSA archive and scores of hours of interviews with Snowden.”
As Gellman has recounted, Purdue “wiped all copies” of his video and slides from university servers on the grounds that Gellman “displayed classified documents briefly on screen.”
“A breach report was filed with the university’s Research Information Assurance Officer, also known as the Site Security Officer, under the terms of Defense Department Operating Manual 5220.22-M. I am told that Purdue briefly considered, among other things, whether to destroy the projector I borrowed, lest contaminants remain,” Gellman added.
Gellman recognizes under a Pentagon agreement Purdue had to appear shocked when “spillage” was discovered at his presentation. The university ultimately determined three slides, which covered about five minutes in his presentation, tainted the talk so much that the entire keynote had to be erased so no student at Purdue would ever see the “breach.”
In a statement provided to Inside Higher Education, the legal counsel for Purdue, Steve Schultz, defended the decision to wipe all copies of Gellman’s presentation:
We don’t view this episode as any sort of compromise of Purdue’s commitment to free and open inquiry. It was the university’s desire to raise awareness of Mr. Gellman’s area of expertise that brought him to campus in the first place. When the classified nature of some material was confirmed, Purdue’s security officer made a judgment call, based on a reading of regulations, that we shouldn’t disseminate it. Purdue’s DSS industrial security representative confirmed the propriety of this assessment. In the course of communicating the decision to the technical team, the entire speech was removed from the website. We have acknowledged that perhaps a better way to comply with the law would have been to block only the classified information in question. But we don’t make the laws; we only do our best to follow them.
This overzealous attitude was exhibited by attendees at Gellman’s presentation. Gellman was specifically asked if he had shown documents classified “TS/SCI” or “top secret/sensitive compartmented information.” No one asks a journalist that question unless they have a background in classified intelligence work and are concerned about protecting the sanctity of U.S. secrets.
The same questioner wanted to know if the NSA had declassified the documents in question. Gellman explained they were still classified and, for the most part, government employees have been informed they should not look at them. He added the government will not declassify information because it does not want someone else to decide what is classified and what is not. However, that ties them up in some “pretty bad knots.”
This was not a good enough answer. One post-doctoral research engineer asked a follow-up about whether documents were “unclassified.” Gellman answered, “No, they’re classified still.”
As became evident, a number of people in the audience (possibly “junior security rangers” on faculty and staff) had no interest in exploring the issue of over-classification or how the government absurdly claims to still have control over information after it has leaked. They were uninterested in debating the extent to which agencies fight to maintain an alternative reality among government employees.
This kind of zeal is not entirely new. It has been seen in response to the Snowden’s disclosures and the documents from Chelsea Manning, which were published by WikiLeaks.
A military defense university established by Congress and known as the Defense Acquisition Universityblocked access to the Post in order to prevent trainees and workers from exposure to “classified material being released.”
A State Department official reportedly warned students at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) that students applying for jobs in the federal government could see their prospects jeopardized if they were found to be reading and sharing documents from WikiLeaks or talking about WikiLeaks on Facebook or Twitter. (The university later reversed its position.)
But, most often, the zeal has been reserved for personnel working inside government agencies, like the Defense Department, which blocked The Guardian to shield employees from NSA documents, or the Library of Congress, which blocked access to WikiLeaks.
In fact, one of the oldest research libraries in the country reacted in a manner very similar to Purdue. The White House’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) made a recommendation, and the Library of Congress claimed to be following “applicable law” that required them to “protect classified information.” They went along with the notion that “unauthorized disclosures of classified documents do not alter the documents’ classified status or automatically result in declassification of the documents.”
Such a posture toward information is less about security and more about loyalty. Students and faculty engaged in classified government research, who make up a very small part of the university, act as missionaries guarding against anyone who violates the blessedness of information marked classified by anyone from the vast security apparatus with such power.
Not only does a policy like this empower students and faculty to challenge a journalist for engaging in investigative journalism, but it makes it possible to take concrete action to effectively police speech.
As Gellman reflected, “Now the security apparatus claims jurisdiction over the campus (“facility”) at large. The university finds itself “sanitizing” a conference that has nothing to do with any government contract. Where does it stop? Suppose a professor wants to teach a network security course, or a student wants to write a foreign policy paper, that draws on the rich public record made available by Snowden and Chelsea Manning? Those cases will be hard to distinguish from mine.”
Or, take it a step farther. The documents are not classified to the government. The information contained in the document is classified.
If the policy is fully embraced by Purdue University is applied, when any of that information is discussed with a reporter and is published, it has now technically a “breach” that the university should protect itself from because the government did not classify the information. That means any major newspapers covering national security stories should probably be censored and/or removed entirely from campus.
Such a policy is incomprehensible and, contrary to the view of Purdue’s legal counsel, toxic to any institution claiming to value academic freedom and open inquiry. Nonetheless, it is what institutions think they must adopt in order to protect access and prestige, as a part of the American security industrial-complex.
When the dark lord of the Anglo-American empire, Zbigniew Brzezinski, stated that the United States should retaliate against Russia as a result of the latter ruining the former’s credibility in the Middle East (which the U.S. needed no help in doing), the world got a glimpse into just how far the ruling elite is willing to take the world’s population in its quest for total hegemony.
After all, Brzezinski is no mere talking head or media mouthpiece. He is the architect of al-Qaeda and controller of much of the American geopolitical strategy. When he states that retaliation must be part of U.S. strategy, there is a very real possibility that it will be.
Indeed, in order to understand much of the U.S. geopolitical strategy at work today, it might serve us well to consult the work Brzezinski in his book The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy And Its Geostrategic Imperatives.
The book, written in 1997, seemed to lament the fact that the public would not support such blatant imperialism unless they truly viewed the crusade to be in their own immediate self-interest. Only fours year later, the public would receive such a “sudden threat or challenge” to their “sense of domestic well-being” in theform of the 9/11 attacks.
In regards to Russia, Brzezinski clearly laid out his desire to see a fractured Russia, a nation that was drastically smaller in size and much weaker in terms of its governmental structure. In other words, a Russia incapable of opposing Anglo-American hegemony.
Given the enormous size and diversity of the country, a decentralized political system, based on the free market, would be more likely to unleash the creative potential of both the Russian people and the country’s vast natural resources. In turn, such a more decentralized Russia would be less susceptible to imperial mobilization.
Brzezinski makes it clear that the strategy towards Russia is one that involves the breakup of the country into three parts, loosely confederated, partially beholden to NATO-dominated Europe, and blended with the other powers of Asia.
A loosely confederated Russia—composed of a European Russia, a Siberian Republic, and a Far Eastern Republic—would also find it easier to cultivate closer economic relations with Europe, with the new states of Central Asia, and with the Orient, which would thereby accelerate Russia’s own development. Each of the three confederated entities would also be more able to tap local creative potential, stifled for centuries by Moscow’s heavy bureaucratic hand.
Likewise, Brzezinski sees China and the greater Asian region uniting under a loosely confederal system, effectively forming the world into a realm of what is, essentially, three main trading blocks, full of impotent states and third world fiefdoms.
Clearly, Russia is not going to allow itself to be destroyed and broken up into three parts for the benefit of the hegemony of world oligarchs. Yet Brzezinski’s desire are clearly the goals of the ruling elite and a plan to make them a reality is already in motion.
In order to accomplish such a task, it would require an enormous battle politically, economically, and militarily. Unfortunately for the world, it appears the ruling elite is prepared to do just that.
 Brzezinski, Zbigniew. The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy And Its Geostrategic Imperatives. Basic Books. 1997. Pp. 40-41
 Brzezinski, Zbigniew. The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy And Its Geostrategic Imperatives. Basic Books. 1997. Pp. 202.
 Brzezinski, Zbigniew. The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy And Its Geostrategic Imperatives. Basic Books. 1997. Pp. 202-203.
 Brzezinski, Zbigniew. The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy And Its Geostrategic Imperatives. Basic Books. 1997.
In recent years, there’s been a small genre of left-of-center journalism that, following President Obama’s lead, endeavors to prove that things on Planet Earth are not just going well, but have, in fact, never been better. This is an inherently subjective claim, of course; it requires that one buy into the idea of human progress, for one thing. But no matter how it was framed, there’s at least one celebrated leftist activist, author and journalist who’d disagree: Chris Hedges.
In fact, in his latest book, “Wages of Rebellion: The Moral Imperative of Revolt,” Hedges argues that the world is currently at a crisis point the likes of which we’ve never really seen. There are similarities between our time and the era of the 1848 revolutions throughout Europe — or the French Revolutionary era that preceded them — he says. But in many ways, climate change least among them, the stakes this time are much higher. According to Hedges, a revolution is coming; we just don’t yet know when, where, how — or on whose behalf.
Recently, Salon spoke over the phone with Hedges to discuss his book, why he thinks our world is in for some massive disruptions, and why we need revolutionaries now more than ever. A transcript of our conversation which has been edited for clarity and length can be found below.
Do you think we are in a revolutionary era now? Or is it more something on the horizon?
It’s with us already, but with this caveat: it is what Gramsci calls interregnum, this period where the ideas that buttress the old ruling elite no longer hold sway, but we haven’t articulated something to take its place.
That’s what that essay I quote by Alexander Berkman, “The Invisible Revolution,” talks about. He likens it to a pot that’s beginning to boil. So it’s already taking place, although it’s subterranean. And the facade of power — both the physical facade of power and the ideological facade of power — appears to remain intact. But it has less and less credibility.
There are all sorts of neutral indicators that show that. Low voter turnout, the fact that Congress has an approval rating of 7 percent, that polls continually reflect a kind of pessimism about where we are going, that many of the major systems that have been set in place — especially in terms of internal security — have no popularity at all.
All of these are indicators that something is seriously wrong, that the government is no longer responding to the most basic concerns, needs, and rights of the citizenry. That is [true for the] left and right. But what’s going to take it’s place, that has not been articulated. Yes, we are in a revolutionary moment; but maybe it’s a better way to describe it as a revolutionary process.
Is there a revolutionary consciousness building in America?
Well, it is definitely building. But until there is an ideological framework that large numbers of people embrace to challenge the old ideological framework, nothing is going to happen. Some things can happen; you can have sporadic uprisings as you had in Ferguson or you had in Baltimore. But until they are infused with that kind of political vision, they are reactive, in essence.
So you have, every 28 hours, a person of color, usually a poor person of color, being killed with lethal force — and, of course, in most of these cases they are unarmed. So people march in the streets and people protest; and yet the killings don’t stop. Even when they are captured on video. I mean we have videos of people being murdered by the police and the police walk away. This is symptomatic of a state that is ossified and can no longer respond rationally to what is happening to the citizenry, because it exclusively serves the interest of corporate power.
We have, to quote John Ralston Saul, “undergone a corporate coup d’état in slow motion” and it’s over. The normal mechanisms by which we carry out incremental and piecemeal reform through liberal institutions no longer function. They have been seized by corporate power — including the press. That sets the stage for inevitable blowback, because these corporations have no internal constraints, and now they have no external constraints. So they will exploit, because, as Marx understood, that’s their nature, until exhaustion or collapse.
What do you think is the most likely way that the people will respond to living in these conditions?
That is the big unknown. When it will come is unknown. What is it that will trigger it is unknown. You could go back and look at past uprisings, some of which I covered — I covered all the revolutions in Eastern Europe; I covered the two Palestinian uprisings; I covered the street demonstrations that eventually brought down Slobodan Milosevic — and it’s usually something banal.
As a reporter, you know that it’s there; but you never know what will ignite it. So you have Lenin, six weeks before the revolution, in exile in Switzerland, getting up and saying, We who are old will never live to see the revolution. Even the purported leaders of the opposition never know when it’s coming. Nor do they know what will trigger it.
What kind of person engages in revolutionary activity? Is there a specific type?
There are different types, but they have certain characteristics in common. That’s why I quote theologian Reinhold Niebuhr when he talks about “sublime madness.”
I think that sublime madness — James Baldwin writes it’s not so much that [revolutionaries] have a vision, it’s that they are possessed by it. I think that’s right. They are often difficult, eccentric personalities by nature, because they are stepping out front to confront a system of power [in a way that is] almost a kind of a form of suicide. But in moments of extremity, these rebels are absolutely key; and that you can’t pull off seismic change without them.
You’ve said that we don’t know where the change will comefrom,and that it could just as easily take a right-wing, reactionary form as a leftist one. Is there anything lefties can do to influence the outcome? Or is it out of anyone’s control?
There’s so many events as societies disintegrate that you can’t predict. They play such a large part in shaping how a society goes that there is a lot of it that is not in your control.
For example, if you compare the breakdown of Yugoslavia with the breakdown of Czechoslovakia — and I covered both of those stories — Yugoslavia was actually the Eastern European country best-equipped to integrate itself into Europe. But Yugoslavia went bad. When the economy broke down and Yugoslavia was hit with horrific hyperinflation, it vomited up these terrifying figures in the same way that Weimar vomited up the Nazi party. Yugoslavia tore itself to pieces.
If things unravel [in the U.S.], our backlash may very well be a rightwing backlash — a very frightening rightwing backlash. We who care about populist movements [on the left] are very weak, because in the name of anti-communism these movements have been destroyed; we are almost trying to rebuild them from scratch. We don’t even have the language to describe the class warfare that is being unleashed upon us by this tiny, rapacious, oligarchic elite. But we on the left are very disorganized, unfocused, and without resources.
In terms of a left-wing populism having to build itself back up from scratch, do you see the broad coalition against the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) as a hint of what that might look like? Or would you not go that far?
No, I would.
I think that if you look at what’s happened after Occupy, it’s either spawned or built alliances with a series of movements; whether it’s #BlackLivesMatter, whether it’s the Fight for $15 campaign, whether it’s challenging the TPP. I think they are all interconnected and, often times — at least when I’m with those activists — there is a political consciousness that I find quite mature.
Are you optimistic about the future?
I covered war for 20 years; we didn’t use terms like pessimist or optimist, because if you were overly optimistic, it could get you killed. You really tried to read the landscape as astutely as you could and then take calculated risks based on the reality around you, or at least on the reality insofar as you could interpret it. I kind of bring that mentality out of war zones.
If we are not brutal about diagnosing what we are up against, then all of our resistance is futile. If we think that voting for Hillary Clinton … is really going to make a difference, then I would argue we don’t understand corporate power and how it works. If you read the writings of anthropologists, there are studies about how civilizations break down; and we are certainly following that pattern. Unfortunately, there’s nothing within human nature to argue that we won’t go down the ways other civilizations have gone down. The difference is now, of course, that when we go down, the whole planet is going to go with us.
Yet you rebel not only for what you can achieve, but for who you become. In the end, those who rebel require faith — not a formal or necessarily Christian, Jewish or Muslim orthodoxy, but a faith that the good draws to it the good. That we are called to carry out the good insofar as we can determine what the good is; and then we let it go. The Buddhists call it karma, but faith is the belief that it goes somewhere. By standing up, you keep alive another narrative. It’s one of the ironic points of life. That, for me, is what provides hope; and if you are not there, there is no hope at all.