Violence and deception are how the few control and exploit the many. Your freedom and life depends on understanding these tools of power and privilege.
The use of force and violence throughout the world and throughout history is typically obvious. Deception, by intent, is most often not recognized. But deception is used more than violence. Deception is more economical. It costs far less to control the education, the news, and the talking heads, than to use brute force of police and military in open conflict against most of the population. We are so immersed in deceptions that it has become our normal life. Few see it.
The following are some of the techniques that I have recently developed to help me detect deception. In other articles I discuss some specific deceptions (see Deception on the Right – I’m a Son of a Birch and Deception on the Left).
Motive does not prove intent to deceive but should be a warning to be very cautious, particularly if the consequences of being deceived are great.
Does the source have a motive to deceive you? The obvious motives are money, career, connections, and other benefits.
All of the mainstream media are an integral participant in the economy. They must support profits for corporations. Many uncritically accept lies or whole stories from the government or more often totally filter events or filter to the extent to provide a distorted perception. The news reporters and talking heads rarely need coercing. The deceptions are so pervasive that most job applicants are sufficiently indoctrinated before joining the news organization. A typical employee wants to please their boss and accepts their lead. Occasionally one needs to be disciplined (see Chris Hedges) but this is rarely necessary. Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky published a detailed investigation in “Manufacturing Consent.” There is also a documentary of this work.
Be suspicious if an organization has money. The truly independent organizations struggle to have sufficient funding. The U.S. government, through many organizations, distributes tax revenue toward shaping the world to benefit corporate interests.
Be suspicious if something appears free. My cell phone service in Colombia excludes data charges for Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp. I wonder who is paying for this and what are they getting in return?
Examine Historic Deceptions
After identifying government lies supporting a past war, you should be skeptical the next time. It is not hard to uncover many examples of deceptions and out-right lies from government officials, even under oath.
In training for my first participation in activism, I was shocked to learn that police can and do legally lie. I had assumed that I lived in a half-way decent country and authorities would be required to set a good example.
Look Behind the Facade
Organizations that are a threat to the people in power are either targeted for destruction or co-option. A co-opted organization can be used to give credibility to deceptions. National Public Radio (NPR) was my first experience with this (read more). Sometimes the organization is not fully co-opted, just compromised by an insider who can, at critical times, slip through propaganda to be received with the established credibility of the organization. Most organizations are compromised to some extent. Many are even created as a facades.
Note how in 325 AD, Roman Emperor Constantine merged the Catholic religion with the Roman Empire. He took what had been a rebel threat to the Roman Empire for over 300 years and started using the popular and beneficial teachings of Jesus as a facade for the expansion of the Roman Empire and subsequently the expansion of the Spanish and other empires through the world for more than 1700 years. Christian missionaries are still being used to take extractive corporate operations into indigenous regions.
It can be difficult to detect this manner of deception. All must be continually watched for compromised content. It is necessary to continually search for new sources of information. In my few years I have needed to abandon several sources. Recently, some deceptions have come through a few on the list I have provided to you. This is sad, but this is reality.
When I was very young, we used the label, “fag”, as a verbal attack. I had no idea what it meant, only that it worked. I apologize for my ignorance and harmful action.
It is not much different with adults. Labels get loaded with some negative connotation and slapped on targeted people. Communist, socialist, “red”, dictator, tyrant and terrorist are regularly and effectively used to damage reputations, isolate and target for physical attack.
The military indoctrination uses labels to overcome the natural human inhibition to killing another human being.
Conversely, labels like “democracy”, “defense”, and “national interest” are loaded with positive connotations and used to obscure human rights abuse and often criminal actions to accumulate wealth (see Hide the United States Empire).
In ~400 BCE China, Lau Tze taught that labels are not reality. They are at best crude approximations. Anyone who relies on labels is easily deceived. Labels are often reversed.
Understand Distraction Tactics
Distraction tactics are very common. It is also common to adjust the release timing of news events to use one to hide another. When news is dominated by one event, look for the lesser reported events that may be much more important. The United States and other countries even launch wars, in part to hide economic problems at home and divert the public.
Check Independent Sources
Find sources with the ethics and skills to investigate the validity of information. Sadly, many do no checking. Ignore these. You can also check against verified leaked document or documents obtained through FOIA requests. More reliable books and articles have references to official documents. Don’t trust government documents that are intentionally leaked.
Regularly get news from other countries not allied to the United States. They will have their own biases but you can often gain access to much valid information that has been filtered out of the Western news sources.
Nearly all of the United States journalists and authors exposing the lies and omissions are censored by Western media. You need to go outside U.S. influenced media, for example Telesur from Venezuela, RT from Russia or PressTV from Iran to get get informed by these U.S. experts. Of course, the U.S. media then uses this to further attack and isolate them as foreign stooges.
Skepticism is always needed and is crucial if the impact of deception is great, like the climate emergency.