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Chris Hedges on The Language of Tyranny (main item)

see also (Egypt): 'A Cautionary Tale' by William Blum

PLUS Assange, Pilger & others from StopTheWar

AND, well...



Most days several political circulars land in my email in-tray (see links). In moments between wandering & idling (ie, indulging in those 'holiday' aspects of life that make everything else worthwhile) I usually make time to sift through them.

Occasionally, an article that grabs my interest is convoluted and nebulous, so to pick-up the gist I speed-read (or block-read) it. A few articles, though, stand out for their impressively articulate and concise analyses of some complex issue. Among them, I sometimes find one on a key subject that's so well written it shines above the rest. The item below by Chris Hedges is one of these.

As anyone who's surfed around this weird site of mine will know, I've long been pronouncing on the lethal character of corporate power. Chris Hedges exposes here an aspect of this that must make the nature and extent of the swindle glaringly self evident to the most obstinate capitalist.

Hedges' reference to methods employed by WW2 Nazis explains the two key tactics perennially employed by the corporate elite: one tactic for the aware, one for the unaware. These have always been, and are being now more than ever, used to control the populace of almost every country - as, in more extreme and obvious ways, it's been used for decades against Egyptians (as one recent example of many). I've included at the end a couple of reader-replies from 'infomationclearinghouse' for the significance of their observations which are absent from the main text. (The first of these, though, has mistaken the Nazi issue to be central rather than merely an example Hedges uses to make our - the world's - predicament so alarmingly clear.)

Other items are selected for their combined topical and pivotal significance and speak for themselves... always looking to unearth new political angles, propaganda & whatever devious government/corporate agendas come to light!

Phil (9.2.11)


'Recognizing the Language of Tyranny'
By Chris Hedges
February 07, 2011 "



Empires communicate in two languages. One language is expressed in imperatives. It is the language of command and force. This militarized language disdains human life and celebrates hypermasculinity. It demands. It makes no attempt to justify the flagrant theft of natural resources and wealth or the use of indiscriminate violence. When families are gunned down at a checkpoint in Iraq they are referred to as having been “lit up.” So it goes. The other language of empire is softer. It employs the vocabulary of ideals and lofty goals and insists that the power of empire is noble and benevolent. The language of beneficence is used to speak to those outside the centers of death and pillage, those who have not yet been totally broken, those who still must be seduced to hand over power to predators. The road traveled to total disempowerment, however, ends at the same place. It is the language used to get there that is different.

This language of blind obedience and retribution is used by authority in our inner cities, from Detroit to Oakland, as well as our prison systems. It is a language Iraqis and Afghans know intimately. But to the members of our dwindling middle class—as well as those in the working class who have yet to confront our new political and economic configuration—the powerful use phrases like the consent of the governed and democracy that help lull us into complacency. The longer we believe in the fiction that we are included in the corporate power structure, the more easily corporations pillage the country without the threat of rebellion. Those who know the truth are crushed. Those who do not are lied to. Those who consume and perpetuate the lies—including the liberal institutions of the press, the church, education, culture, labor and the Democratic Party—abet our disempowerment. No system of total control, including corporate control, exhibits its extreme forms at the beginning. These forms expand as they fail to encounter resistance.

The tactic of speaking in two languages is as old as empire itself. The ancient Greeks and the Romans did it. So did the Spanish conquistadors, the Ottomans, the French and later the British. Those who inhabit exploited zones on the peripheries of empire see and hear the truth. But the cries of those who are exploited are ignored or demonized. The rage they express does not resonate with those trapped in self-delusion, those who continue to trust in the ultimate goodness of empire. This is the truth articulated in Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness” and E.M. Forster’s “A Passage to India.” These writers understood that empire is about violence and theft. And the longer the theft continues, the more brutal empire becomes. The tyranny empire imposes on others it finally imposes on itself. The predatory forces unleashed by empire consume the host. Look around you.

The narratives we hear are those fabricated for us by the state, Hollywood and the press. These narratives are taught in our schools, preached in our pulpits and celebrated in war documentaries such as “Restrepo.” These narratives humanize and ennoble the enforcers of empire. The government, the military, the police and our intelligence agents are lionized. These control groups, we are assured, are the guardians of our virtues and our protectors. They produce our heroes. And those who challenge this narrative—who denounce the lies—become the enemy.

Those who administer empire—elected officials, corporate managers, generals and the celebrity courtiers who disseminate the propaganda—become very wealthy. They make immense fortunes whether they deliver the nightly news, sit on the boards of corporations, or rise, lavished with corporate endorsements, within the vast industry of spectacle and entertainment. They all pay homage, even in moments defined as criticism, to the essential goodness of corporate power. They shut out all real debate. They ignore flagrant injustices and abuse. They peddle the illusions that keep us passive and amused. But as our society is reconfigured into an oligarchic system, with a permanent and vast underclass, along with a shrinking and unstable middle class, these illusions lose their power. The language of pleasant deception must be replaced with the overt language of force. It is hard to continue to live in a state of self-delusion once unemployment benefits run out, once the only job available comes without benefits or a living wage, once the future no longer conforms to the happy talk that saturates our airwaves. At this point rage becomes the engine of response, and whoever can channel that rage inherits power. The manipulation of that rage has become the newest task of the corporate propagandists, and the failure of the liberal class to defend core liberal values has left its members with nothing to contribute to the debate. 

The Belgian King Leopold, promising to abolish slavery and usher the Congolese into the “modern” era, was permitted by his European allies to form the Congo Free State in 1885. It was touted as a humanitarian gesture, as was the Spanish conquest of the Americas, as was our own occupation of Iraq. Leopold organized a ruthless force of native and foreign overseers—not unlike our own mercenary armies—to loot the Congo of ivory and rubber. By the time the Belgian monarch was done, some 5 million to 8 million Congolese had been slaughtered. It was the largest act of genocide in the modern era until the Nazi Holocaust. Leopold, even in the midst of his rampage, was lionized in Europe for his virtue. He was loathed in the periphery—as we are in Iraq and Afghanistan—where the Congolese and others understood what he was about. But these voices, like the voices of those we oppress, were almost never heard.

The Nazis, for whom the Holocaust was as much a campaign of plunder as it was a campaign to rid Europe of Jews, had two methods for greeting arrivals at their four extermination camps. If the transports came from Western Europe, the savage Ukrainian and Lithuanian guards, with their whips, dogs and clubs, were kept out of sight. The wealthier European Jews were politely ushered into an elaborate ruse, including fake railway stations complete with flower beds, until once stripped naked they became incapable of resistance and could be herded in rows of five under whips into the gas chambers. The Nazis knew that those who had not been broken, those who possessed a belief in their own personal empowerment, would fight back. When the transports came from the east, where Jews had long lived in fear, tremendous poverty and terror, there was no need for such theatrics. Mothers, fathers, the elderly and children, accustomed to overt repression and the language of command and retribution, were brutally driven from the transports by sadistic guards. The object was to create mass hysteria. The fate of the two groups was the same. It was the tactic that differed.

All centralized power, once restraints and regulations are abolished, once it is no longer accountable to citizens, knows no limit to internal and external plunder. The corporate state, which has emasculated our government, is creating a new form of feudalism, a world of masters and serfs. It speaks to those who remain in a state of self-delusion in the comforting and familiar language of liberty, freedom, prosperity and electoral democracy. It speaks to the poor and the oppressed in the language of naked coercion. But, here too, all will end up in the same place.

Those trapped in the blighted inner cities that are our internal colonies or brutalized in our prison system, especially African-Americans, see what awaits us all. So do the inhabitants in southern West Virginia, where coal companies have turned hundreds of thousands of acres into uninhabitable and poisoned wastelands. Poverty, repression and despair in these peripheral parts of empire are as common as drug addiction and cancer. Iraqis, Afghans, Pakistanis and Palestinians can also tell us who we are. They know that once self-delusion no longer works it is the iron fist that speaks. The solitary and courageous voices that rise up from these internal and external colonies of devastation are silenced or discredited by the courtiers who serve corporate power. And even those who do hear these voices of dissent often cannot handle the truth. They prefer the Potemkin facade. They recoil at the “negativity.” Reality, especially when you grasp what corporations are doing in the name of profit to the planet’s ecosystem, is terrifying.

All tyrannies come endowed with their own peculiarities. This makes it hard to say one form of totalitarianism is like another. There are always enough differences to make us unsure that history is repeating itself. The corporate state does not have a Politburo. It does not dress its Homeland Security agents in jackboots. There is no raving dictator. American democracy—like the garishly painted train station at the Nazi extermination camp Treblinka—looks real even as the levers of power are in the hands of corporations. But there is one aspect the corporate state shares with despotic regimes and the collapsed empires that have plagued human history. It too communicates in two distinct languages, that is until it does not have to, at which point it will be too late.

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Plus a couple of relevant 'informationclearinghouse' replies:


This essay was incisive and a surgical strike against prevalent current lies in the media and educational institutions of the USA, UNTIL Mr. Hedges wrote: "The Nazis, for whom the Holocaust was as much a campaign of plunder as it was a campaign to rid Europe of Jews". This seemed to spring out of nowhere and has little relationship to his main argument. It was forced. 

Recall that Stalin was a Georgian, who before he was 20 years old, ran off to oil rich Baku, managed by the Rothschilds, and he joined the oil workers union only to penetrate as a spy and have executed the many protest leaders. Stalin executed several with his own hands before he was 20. Then, he eradicated the intellectuals of Tbilisi, the capital city of his own country. From there he went on to Moscow, where his secret police and armies exterminated over 35 million people, not even counting the war dead of WW2. And Hedges yabbers on and on about Hitler, who herded up Catholics and homosexuals and intellectuals too, not only jews. Hitlers body count is far far lower than Stalins. Mao has a bigger body count, in fact, than Hitler. Why always make comparisons to Hitler, 60 years later? Why get stuck in the mud? Move on man. The Congolese holocaust should be compared to the holocausts of Stalin, not Hitler. Then we have an apt analogy.



"The narratives we hear are those fabricated for us by the state, Hollywood and the press." 

Mr. Hedges, you're an intelligent writer and well-educated, but your refusal to name the culprits behind out economic malaise, the Zionist owned, Jewish run Federal Reserve, along with those Zionist owned, Jewish run 'Too Big to Fail" Wall Street banks is befuddling. 

All of which you speak is true, but it could NOT happen without financing from those gangster banksters who are running Congress and ruining this country, at the same time, robbing us blind. 

Are you that ignorant that you can't see the forest for the trees or does your paycheck come from those trees? 




A brief topical note lifted from Bill Blum's website: www.killinghope.org


A cautionary tale

(from an anti-empire report by William Blum - 3. 2. 11)

In July of 1975 I went to Portugal because in April of the previous year a bloodless military coup had brought down the US-supported 48-year fascist regime of Portugal, the world's only remaining colonial power. This was followed by a program centered on nationalization of major industries, workers control, a minimum wage, land reform, and other progressive measures. Military officers in a Western nation who spoke like socialists was science fiction to my American mind, but it had become a reality in Portugal. The center of Lisbon was crowded from morning till evening with people discussing the changes and putting up flyers on bulletin boards. The visual symbol of the Portuguese "revolution" had become the picture of a child sticking a rose into the muzzle of a rifle held by a friendly soldier, and I got caught up in demonstrations and parades featuring people, including myself, standing on tanks and throwing roses, with the crowds cheering the soldiers. It was pretty heady stuff, and I dearly wanted to believe, but I and most people I spoke to there had little doubt that the United States could not let such a breath of fresh air last very long. The overthrow of the Chilean government less than two years earlier had raised the world's collective political consciousness, as well as the level of skepticism and paranoia on the left.

Washington and multinational corporate officials who were on the board of directors of the planet were indeed concerned. Besides anything else, Portugal was a member of NATO. Destabilization became the order of the day: covert actions; attacks in the US press; subverting trade unions; subsidizing opposition media; economic sabotage through international credit and commerce; heavy financing of selected candidates in elections; a US cut-off of Portugal from certain military and nuclear information commonly available to NATO members; NATO naval and air exercises off the Portuguese coast, with 19 NATO warships moored in Lisbon's harbor, regarded by most Portuguese as an attempt to intimidate the provisional government. In 1976 the "Socialist" Party (scarcely further left and no less anti-communist than the US Democratic Party) came to power, heavily financed by the CIA, the Agency also arranging for Western European social-democratic parties to help foot the bill. The Portuguese revolution was dead, stillborn. 1

The events in Egypt cannot help but remind me of Portugal. Here, there, and everywhere, now and before, the United States of America, as always, is petrified of anything genuinely progressive or socialist, or even too democratic, for that carries the danger of allowing god-knows what kind of non-America-believer taking office. Honduras 2009, Haiti 2004, Venezuela 2002, Ecuador 2000, Bulgaria 1990, Nicaragua 1990 ... dozens more ... anything, anyone, if there's a choice, even a dictator, a torturer, is better.

see also: 'political letters'




From - Stop The War


Defending WikiLeaks


JULIAN ASSANGE: There is nothing more wrong than a government lying to its people about wars, then asking these same citizens to put their lives and their taxes on the line for those lies. If a war is justified, then tell the truth and the people will decide whether to support it. READ MORE: http://bit.ly/gRzBDn

JOHN PILGER: What WikiLeaks has given us is truth, including rare and precious insight into how and why so many innocent people have suffered in reigns of terror disguised as wars, and executed in our name. READ MORE: http://bit.ly/fNR9nT

JEMIMA KHAN: Until proved otherwise, Julian Assange has done nothing illegal. There is a fundamental injustice here. There are calls for the punishment (execution even) of the man who has reported war crimes, but not for those that perpetrated or sanctioned them. READ MORE: http://bit.ly/fmiin5


AND, well....

You know, sometimes - when some issue like Egypt happens - I kind-of wake-up (I don't mean from sleep, but like a sudden brief leap of consciousness) and reflect how we're actually living in really primitive times - like someone during the fall of the Roman Empire might have reflected - because it just strikes me as absurdly backward how a whole nation can be held in a kind-of state of fear, of continually threatened imprisonment and torture - as 80-million people in Egypt were..... What kind of failed brains allow someone like Mubarak (who obviously suffers severe psychological aberrations: an ego-bloated multi-billionaire serial killer) to terrorise a whole nation for 3-decades? I know the US/Israel were/are solid behind it - as in Saudi Arabia, most of the middle-east (and to varying extent elsewhere) - but how/why can the acolytes who toady around such a maniac keep-up the endless terrorising and torturing and murdering as they do? What a way to go on - what kind-of a life is that? It reminds me of those primitive tribes from the stone-age where the chief ruled like iron with his little mob of machete-wielding thugs and a witchdoctor whose potions and dances would have scared the pants off an accomplished samurai warrier. And here too, in the UK in 2011, how is it that almost everyone has to sweat their lives away for a pittance while several thousand billionaires continue with impunity to rip them off...? All this is so preposterous, so primitive and pointless (what's the use of more than a few £million to any individual?) - it more resembles an improbable fiction story peopled with deranged psychotics. The only possible conclusion: we live in a world of infantile nutters during a very early chaotic stage of human development. 

I, for one, don't belong in this era - it's all so alien and mad! If only I could zoom forward a bit... or better: several millennia!

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