• Monthly
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $other
  • use PayPal

Support Our Annual Fund Drive!fund-drive-progress-thermometer

We only shake our readers down two times a year, but when we ask we mean it. So, please, help as much as you can. All contributions are tax-deductible.
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

A Free Press or a Ministry of Truth?

 

In his novel 1984, George Orwell portrayed a future time in which the explanations of recent events and earlier history are continually changed to meet Big Brother’s latest purpose. Previous explanations disappear down “the memory hole.”

Sound familiar? Any American who pays attention can observe the identical phenomenon occurring in the US today.

Think about the Bush Regime’s changing explanations for the failed US occupation of Iraq. Shortly after Bush’s May 2003 announcement of “mission accomplished,” the mission revealed itself to be very much unaccomplished. Americans were told that the cause of the snafu was a small Sunni insurgency of two or three thousand at the most inspired by “die-hard Baath party remnants. Remember the propagandistic deck of cards identifying the most wanted down to the less wanted? Americans were assured that once Saddam Hussein and his relatives and henchmen were rounded up, our troops would be pelted with the promised flowers instead of roadside bombs.

When the roundups, trials, and executions failed to fix the problem, the “die-hard” explanation disappeared. A new explanation, with no continuity to the old, took its place.

The new explanation was that Syria was allowing foreigners to cross its border into Iraq to commit jihad against the American troops. This explanation lasted until it became all too clear, despite the propaganda, that the “foreign fighters” were remarkably well accepted by, and concealed within, the Iraqi communities that were suffering all the collateral damage of the conflict.

When it came time for the US to create an Iraqi government, it was evident that it would be one dominated by Shi’ites. Then, for a limited time, it was permissible to recognize that the insurgency was popularly based in the Sunnis.

As the insurgency evolved into what the Iraq Study Group described as a Sunni-Shi’ite civil war with US troops unclear on which side they stood, the Bush Regime and the captive media began blaming Al Qaeda for the escalating violence. Americans were assured by the Ministry of Truth that there wasn’t a civil war, just outsiders stirring up conflict. This enabled Big Brother to deny that there was a civil war and to revive fear of terrorist attacks in the US and UK, the new Oceania.

The Al Qaeda explanation was soon discarded into the memory hole. The explanation implied that Oceania’s invasion of Iraq had greatly expanded the ranks and strength of Al Qaeda, thus contradicting big Brother’s claim that his war in Iraq was making Oceanians safe by stamping out terrorism. The Al Qaeda explanation had to depart for another reason as well. Cheney, Israel, and the neocons, the rulers of the new Oceania, plan to attack Iran, and so the insurgency in Iraq is now being blamed on Iran.

The Ministry of Truth has accommodated the latest explanation, just as it did all others before, without remarking on the funeral of the previous explanation. All of a sudden, a new explanation appears and is repeated until it, too, goes down the memory hole.

The American and British media work the same way as the Ministry of Truth in Oceania. A day arrives when the “truth” no longer serves the empire or hegemonic power or center of moral purpose in the world, or for short, the regime. When that day arrives, a new explanation appears and is repeated until it, too, is discarded down the memory hole.

In recent weeks Americans have been fed a series of reports from official sources that Iran is arming both Iraqi insurgents and the Taliban in Afghanistan. Experts, both within the government and without, who have been made more attentive by the Bush Regime’s false charges of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, have disputed the news reports.

But the reports keep on coming. As I write, the latest story is that the US military “discovered a field of rocket launchers near a US army base south of Baghdad armed with 34 Iranian-made missiles.” Can you imagine? The insurgents went to the trouble of lugging powerful missiles within striking distance of a US base and just left them there unfired to be discovered by the Americans. To further serve Cheney’s plan to attack Iran, the media report states: “Earlier this month, US commanders stepped up the charges [against Iran], claiming that senior leaders of Iran’s special forces and of the Lebanese Shiite Hezbollah militia have trained Iraqi fighters and provided other support.”

Notice that none of the explanations fed to Americans over the years have ever mentioned, even as a faint possibility, that the US invasion and occupation of Iraq might be the cause of the violence in Iraq.

Allegedly, the US is a free and open country with a free press and a government accountable to the people. Yet, the information fed to the American people is as thoroughly false as that fed to the citizens of Oceania by Big Brother through the Ministry of Truth in Orwell’s famous novel.

In Orwell’s novel, despite the totalitarian power of the government, nothing happens to people as long as they accept the government’s intrusive monitoring of their lives and do not become interested in truth or facts.. In such a world, truth and individuality pass out of human consciousness and become unimportant. Citizens survive by accepting Big Brother’s ever-changing reality.

This is what the mainstream media in the US and UK are enabling the new Oceania to accomplish. It is pointless to complain about a few Judith Millers here and there at the New York Times, or the obvious warmongers at the Weekly Standard, Fox “News,” and Wall Street Journal editorial page. The entire corporate media is behaving as a Ministry of Truth.

PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal editorial page and Contributing Editor of National Review. He is coauthor of The Tyranny of Good Intentions.He can be reached at: PaulCraigRoberts@yahoo.com

 

 

 

More articles by:

Paul Craig Roberts is a former Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury and Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal. Roberts’ How the Economy Was Lost is now available from CounterPunch in electronic format. His latest book is The Neoconservative Threat to World Order.

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
Weekend Edition
October 11, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Becky Grant
CounterPunch in Peril?
Anthony DiMaggio
Fake News in Trump’s America
Andrew Levine
Trump’s End Days
Jeffrey St. Clair
High Plains Grifter: the Life and Crimes of George W. Bush
Patrick Cockburn
Kurdish Fighters Always Feared Trump Would be a Treacherous Ally
Paul Street
On the TrumpenLeft and False Equivalence
Dave Lindorff
Sure Trump is ‘Betraying the Kurds!’ But What’s New about That?
Rob Urie
Democrats Impeach Joe Biden, Fiddle as the Planet Burns
Sam Pizzigati
Inequality is Literally Killing Us
Jill Richardson
What Life on the Margins Feels Like
Mitchell Zimmerman
IMPOTUS: Droit de seigneur at Mar-a-Lago
Robert Hunziker
Methane SOS
Lawrence Davidson
Donald Trump, the Christian Warrior
William Hartung – Mandy Smithburger
The Pentagon is Pledging to Reform Itself, Again. It Won’t.
Richard Moser
The Empire Is Running Out of War Stories. Or is it? Will American Exceptionalism Rise Again?
Roger Harris
Why Trump is Facing Impeachment
Doug Lummis
Everything Going Wrong in Okinawa
Ramzy Baroud
Administrative Torture: Free Heba al-Labadi, a Jordanian Citizen in Israeli Prison
Christopher Ketcham
Ode to the Drums of Ginger Baker
W. T. Whitney
Upcoming Elections Represent Testing Time for Bolivia’s Socialist Government
Louis Proyect
Building Soldier Resistance Under the Shadows of Fascism
Mark Ashwill
Reflections on General Giap and the End of an Era in Vietnam
Gabriel Leão
Killing the Messengers: Rising Violence Against Journalists and Indigenous Leaders Defending the Amazon
Graham Peebles
Climate Change: All Talk No Action
Arthur Hoyle
The Meaning of Donald Trump
Dean Baker
Those Quaint Corporate Scandals in Japan
Laura Santina
Take Their Feet Off Our Necks
Julian Vigo
The New Workers’ Revolution is Afoot
Robert Koehler
The Rights of Nature
Dan Bacher
New Report Reveals Oil Waste in CA Aquifers
David Swanson
Trump’s Opponents Have Him Beat . . . When It Comes to Incompetence
Ben Debney
Liberals, Class and the Joker Complex
Brian Wakamo
Paying College Athletes: California Takes on the NCAA
Theo Wuest
Don’t Leave Equality to the Supreme Court
Jesse Jackson
To His Wealthy Donors, Trump is the Grifter
Mairead Maguire
Pathways to Peace
George Wuerthner
Logging Wild and Scenic River Corridors in the Name of Reducing Wildfires is a Really Bad Idea
Tracey L. Rogers
We Can’t Hug Away Injustice
Mike Garrity
How the Alliance for the Wild Rockies Stopped Trump From Bulldozing Cabinet-Yaak and Selkirk Grizzly Bears into Extinction
Lawrence Wittner
Why Are Americans So Confused About the Meaning of “Democratic Socialism”?
Nicky Reid
Climate Cthulhu: A Post-Modern Horror Story
Seth Sandronsky
A Sacramento King’s Ransom: Local Tax Dollars and the Owner’s Wealth
Susan Block
Cougar 2020?
David Yearsley
Mother Mallard’s Little Boy Grows Up
Elliot Sperber
Taking Out Columbus
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail