Telling a Martian what hospitals do

12 Mar

Here’s something I wrote a week ago:

While corporate media do actively lie when circumstances and a systemically driven deference to power require it, their preferred MO is to lie by omission. Not only is that safer. It is in the long term more effective …

I’m often making this point. The context for the above was the silence by all Western media – debarred by their business models from being truthful with us on matters vital to power 1 – on the February 20 publication by China’s Foreign Ministry of its report on “US Hegemony and Its Perils”.

Shortly after, on March 7, the ‘quality’ sections of Western media echoed the preposterous story, first aired in the New York Times and Washington Post, that last September’s pipeline sabotage was the work of a few Ukrainian mavericks without the knowledge of Washington or Kiev – see Nordstrom: the comedy continues. Neither NYT and WashPo, nor Guardian, Der Spiegel and all the other media doing their bit to spread this risible damage limitation spin …

… the fantastical denial of US involvement, with its even more fantastical variant that Evil Putin is the culprit – he being too stupid to figure out that, should he wish to disrupt gas supply to Europe, he had only to turn off the taps – has foundered on the reefs of reality …

… saw fit to mention a February 8 piece by Seymour Hersh.

(He who more than half a century ago forced these same outlets, on pain of being globally scooped by media minnows, to come clean on the My Lai massacre of old men, women and children in a “South Vietnamese” village suspected of Viet Cong sympathies.)

His more recent piece – How America Took Out The Nord Stream Pipeline – had confirmed what anyone paying attention had long ago concluded. On ground of means, motive and opportunity, not to forget Joe Biden’s own dark promise, Washington had to be the perp.

Thus spake the MEP married to Polish American neocon and Russia hawk, Anne Applebaum

That same coalition of the attentive would also conclude that NYT and WashPo ‘revelations’ of a handful of ‘patriots’ having the wherewithal for so sophisticated an operation in the world’s most heavily patrolled sea lanes – having too the desire to deal a crippling blow to Europe’s consumers and businesses 2 – was, as Caitlin Johnstone put it, the equivalent of the small child who, having broken the living room lamp, tells M & D that a very bad man in cape and twirling moustache had burst in and done the dirty deed.

In the China report example we’re talking media lies of omission. The pipelines example shows lies of commission (by unnamed ‘intelligence sources’ aided by the mendacity or self-serving credulity of journalists unworthy of the name) and omission. Neither is better or worse than the other. Both advance evil agendas.

(Try Caitlin’s post today.)

Imagine walking down a city street with your proverbial Martian. As you pass a hospital she asks, “what is that building?”

“That”, you reply, “is where people get their arms and legs cut off while they’re asleep.”

It’s the truth. Just not the whole truth, or anything remotely close to it. As a matter of fact it’s so tiny and grotesquely skewed a slice of the stuff as to be one big fat fucking lie.

I rest my case.

* * *

  1. Chomsky nailed it. “Media are large corporations selling privileged audiences to other corporations. Now the question is: what pictures of the world would a rational person expect from this?” In the case of The Guardian (trapped between inability to cover its costs by selling ad space, and reluctance to set a paywall sure to threaten its standing as the world’s leading liberal paper) increased reliance on wealthy sponsors like Bill Gates and George Soros is the result. For their part state funded broadcasters like ABC, BBC and PSB depend on politicians fearful of or in bed with a media oligarchy, as well as their upper echelons being political appointees from the corridors of power. (One fruit of the March 2023 stand-off between BBC Director General Tim Davie, and former England striker and current soccer commentator Gary Lineker, is to place a spotlight not only on Davie’s political affiliations – showing the suspension of Lineker to combine hypocrisy and folly in ways he surely regrets – but also the financial ties of his own appointee as BBC chair, Richard Sharp, with former prime minister and serial liar Boris Johnson.)
  2. As I and others have repeatedly argued, here for instance, the damage done to Europe by the Nordstrom sabotage is not an unfortunate price paid by the US for weakening Russia. It is a war aim. Cut off from trade with Eurasia, Europe is bound more tightly to the US imperial orbit. More specifically here, as energy-starved EU businesses go to the wall or relocate in the USA, its transatlantic rival is weakened even as US LNG exporters do a roaring trade. Tell me again what Henry Kissinger said: “To be an enemy of America can be dangerous, but to be a friend is fatal.” As when that other Nixon man, US Treasury Secretary John Connally, told a stunned G10 in Rome 1971 the dollar was to be decoupled from gold – “our currency, your problem”  – we see a strange compulsion to confess.

    Or brag.

2 Replies to “Telling a Martian what hospitals do

  1. Just yesterday I was reading a post by journalist John Pilger on Gough Whitlam and how the US/UK got rid of this democratically elected PM (presumably because they are the proud sponsors of democracy) and how Australian democracy never recovered from it. Pilger is also very outspoken on news that never reaches “the people”. I use the words journalism and news deliberately, because what Pilger speaks of are fine examples of both.

    Thanks for Caitlin’s offering, as always a good read.

    I should have read your piece above before I commented on the previous one. Duh!


  2. This is from a Syrian site I use:
    China succeeded in mending one of the most complex political, diplomatic, and security issues in the Arab and Islamic world bringing the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Saudi Kingdom to agree on restoring diplomatic ties and work on normalizing the relations between the two major Islamic countries.
    Chinese diplomacy managed to fix what the US and Israel worked decades to destroy, the relations between the two Islamic regional heavyweight rivals whose rivalry has broken the Arab and Islamic world and incited dozens of conflicts with the Saudi regime sponsoring every radical terrorist group to counter the Iranian presence across the Islamic world. A joint tripartite statement issued by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Islamic Republic of Iran, and the People’s Republic of China took the world by surprise detailing the results of the four days negotiations that took place in Beijing under the Chinese patronage between senior officials from the two Islamic countries: Joint Trilateral Statement by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Islamic Republic of Iran, and the People’s Republic of China
    In response to the noble initiative of His Excellency President Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China, of China’s support for developing good neighborly relations between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Republic of Iran; and based on the agreement between His Excellency President Xi Jinping and the leadership in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the Islamic Republic of Iran, whereby the People’s Republic of China would host and sponsor talks between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Republic of Iran; Proceeding from their shared desire to resolve the disagreements between them through dialogue and diplomacy, and in light of their brotherly ties;
    Adhering to the principles and objectives of Charters of the United Nations and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), and International conventions and norms;
    The delegations from the two countries held talks during the period 6-10 March 2023 in Beijing – the delegation of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia headed by His Excellency Dr. Musaad bin Mohammed Al-Aiban, Minister of State, Member of the Council of Ministers, and National Security Advisor, and the delegation of the Islamic Republic of Iran headed by His Excellency Admiral Ali Shamkhani, Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council of the Islamic Republic of Iran. The Saudi and Iranian sides expressed their appreciation and gratitude to the Republic of Iraq and the Sultanate of Oman for hosting rounds of dialogue that took place between both sides during the years 2021-2022. The two sides also expressed their appreciation and gratitude to the leadership and government of the People’s Republic of China for hosting and sponsoring the talks, and the efforts it placed towards its success. The three countries announce that an agreement has been reached between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Republic of Iran, which includes an agreement to resume diplomatic relations between them and re-open their embassies and missions within a period not exceeding two months, and the agreement includes their affirmation of the respect for the sovereignty of states and the non-interference in internal affairs of states. They also agreed that the ministers of foreign affairs of both countries shall meet to implement this, arrange for the return of their ambassadors, and discuss means of enhancing bilateral relations. They also agreed to implement the Security Cooperation Agreement between them, which was signed on 22/1/1422 (H), corresponding to 17/4/2001, and the General Agreement for Cooperation in the Fields of Economy, Trade, Investment, Technology, Science, Culture, Sports, and Youth, which was signed on 2/2/1419 (H), corresponding to 27/5/1998. The three countries expressed their keenness to exert all efforts toward enhancing regional and international peace and security. Issued in Beijing on 10 March 2023.
    The above statement was signed by the heads of the delegations from the three countries:
    Admiral Ali Shamkhani, Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council of the Islamic Republic of Iran,
    Musaad bin Mohammed Al-Aiban, Minister of State, Member of the Council of Ministers, and National Security Advisor,
    And Wang Yi, Member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and Director of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the CPC Central Committee.
    Translation provided by the official Saudi Press Agency SPA.

    I now follow what Wang Yi and Mau Ning(Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson) are saying “China demands US troops withdrawal from Syria” and this “As Bakhmut Falls, US May Turn From Ukraine, Starting With Pipeline Story. March 8, 2023
    “If the Donbass city of Bakhmut falls to the Russians the U.S. may need to save face in order to reverse course in Ukraine”, writes Joe Lauria, which is where I found the NYT & WaPo stories and Lauria’s interpretation of what they were actually saying.

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