FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Concealing the Truth

Concealing the truth from the people is not unusual in politics. It is perhaps more pronounced in global politics partly because it is more difficult to hold powerful global actors accountable. That might is right is an adage that rings true at the international level more than in the domestic arena.

There are currently a number of international issues where the truth is concealed or camouflaged. The demonstrations in Hong Kong for instance which have gone on for weeks are perceived by a lot of people as a struggle for freedom and democracy against an authoritarian government in Beijing. The truth may be a little more complex. It may be in the interest of certain elements in some Western capitals to encourage mass protests in Hong Kong as part of their larger agenda to create instability in China. This in turn may be aimed at curbing China’s rise as a global power which its adversaries perceive as a challenge to their hegemony of the planet.

The crisis in Kashmir is another example of an issue where the entire story may not be known to the people. While changes made to the Indian Constitution have been presented by the government in New Delhi as an attempt to integrate the disputed territory into the national structure, the real reason may be more closely aligned to the ideological orientation of the present BJP leadership. This is why it may have serious repercussions for India’s religious diversity which has been its civilizational hallmark.

A third region in crisis may also reveal that the underlying causes may be quite different from what has been portrayed in the media. Iran has been depicted as the country that is responsible for the present tensions in West Asia. Even if we confined our observation to the immediate circumstance, it is obvious that it is the United States’ decision to scuttle the Iran nuclear deal of July 2015 that is the real reason for the tensions. Why President Trump moved in that direction has a lot to do with increased Israeli and Saudi influence over the White House and their misperception of the power dynamics in West Asia.

Perhaps an even more blatant instance of concealing the truth is the continuing crisis in Venezuela. The US and some of its allies are trying to convey the impression that if the oil-rich state is grappling with serious economic challenges it is due entirely to an oppressive leadership pursuing socialist policies. The truth is that unending schemes and ploys by the US since the presidency of Hugo Chavez which even witnessed a failed coup against him in April 2002 are the main cause of Venezuela’s woes.

If the truth about what is happening in relation to Venezuela, Iran, Kashmir and Hong Kong is not widely known it is largely because the media, old and new, serve the interests of the powerful. This may not be obvious to many of us because these are on-going crises in constant flux. A quick look at some past episodes may be useful.

In August 1964, the US leadership alleged that North Vietnamese ships had fired at US ships in the Gulf of Tonkin. The allegation provided the justification for the US to intensify its aggression against North Vietnam. The truth is there was no North Vietnamese attack against US ships. The incident was invented as the US Secretary of Defence at that time Robert McNamara admitted years later.

To justify US military action against Iraq when the latter invaded Kuwait in August 1990, a story was concocted that accused Iraqi soldiers of plucking babies out of their incubators and throwing them onto the floor of a hospital in Kuwait. The fabrication was designed to incite public anger against an “utterly brutal and inhuman regime” in Baghdad. A few years later a monstrous lie was invented about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction in order to convince the world that the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq in 2003 was totally justified.

A more recent example of political lying was the accusation that Bashar Al-Assad of Syria was responsible for a chemical gas attack in Eastern Ghouta on the 21st of August 2013. It was the celebrated investigative journalist Seymour Hersh who revealed the truth: that the Western backed rebels were behind the chemical attack.

More than any country in West Asia it is tiny Cuba that has borne the brunt of its huge neighbour’s lies and distortions. Since its Revolution in 1959, it has been constantly accused of fomenting instability and violence in Latin America. And yet, it is the US through its agents and proxies that has orchestrated acts of terror against Cuba the most infamous of which was the downing of a Cuban commercial plane on the 6th of October 1976 that killed 73 people including a number of children. The mastermind of that heinous crime Posada Carilles was given protection in the US until his death in May 2018.

Why lies are propagated so frequently and the truth sacrificed so easily, it is not difficult to understand. It is because the powerful want to protect their power at all costs. Sometimes this would require targeting their foes without proof.

This may be true of two final episodes which I have kept to the end because both have not been investigated thoroughly and therefore one cannot draw definite conclusions. The 9-11 tragedy and the MH 17 disaster though different in many ways are similar in some respects. In both cases, a certain party pointed fingers at the “culprits” almost immediately without presenting an iota of evidence. US officials and the media accused Osama bin Laden of planning 9-11 within hours of the attacks upon the Twin Towers and the Pentagon. Similarly, the then US Secretary of State, John Kerry stated that “There is overwhelming evidence of Russia complicity in the downing of a Malaysia airline plane,” as quoted in the BBC on the 21st of July 2014, 4 days after the disaster. Kerry did not bother to provide any evidence.

It is equally significant that in both cases important questions about the actual episodes have remained unanswered. In the 9-11 episode, it is still unclear what caused the collapse of a third tower in the vicinity of the Twin Towers and what exactly hit the Pentagon. Likewise, in the case of MH 17, the official version of what had caused the downing of the plane does not blend with some eye-witness accounts or with expert analysis of the nature of the damage to the cockpit.

9-11 was the raison d’etre for the US led onslaught on Afghanistan on the 7th of October 2001. More important, it ignited the US led War on Terror that lasted more than a decade and was seen by many Muslims as an affront to their identity and their dignity. Is it a coincidence that after the July 17th air disaster — the overwhelming majority killed were Europeans —- European governments were more supportive of severe economic sanctions against Russia proposed by the US some months before? Did the disaster unwittingly achieve some geopolitical objective?

It is only if we continue to ask probing questions that the truth that is concealed will be revealed for the good of everyone.

More articles by:
bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
Weekend Edition
March 27, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Rob Urie
Bailouts for the Rich, the Virus for the Rest of Us
Louis Proyect
Life and Death in the Epicenter
Paul Street
“I Will Not Kill My Mother for Your Stock Portfolio”
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: The Scum Also Rises
Pam Martens - Russ Martens
Stimulus Bill Allows Federal Reserve to Conduct Meetings in Secret; Gives Fed $454 Billion Slush Fund for Wall Street Bailouts
Jefferson Morley
Could the Death of the National Security State be a Silver Lining of COVID-19?
Ruth Hopkins
A Message For America from Brazil’s First Indigenous Congresswoman
Kathleen Wallace
The End of the Parasite Paradigm
Anthony DiMaggio
Misinformation and the Coronavirus: On the Dangers of Depoliticization and Social Media
Andrew Levine
Neither Biden Nor Trump: Imagine Cuomo
David Rosen
God’s Vengeance: the Christian Right and the Coronavirus
David Schultz
The Covid-19 Bailout: Another Failed Opportunity at Structural Change
Evaggelos Vallianatos
In the Grip of Disease
Edward Leer
Somebody Else’s World: An Interview with Kelly Reichardt
Robert Fisk
What Trump is Doing in the Middle East While You are Distracted by COVID-19
Daniel Warner
COVID-19: Health or Wealth?
Thomas Klikauer – Norman Simms
Corona in Germany: Hording and Authoritarianism
Ramzy Baroud
BJP and Israel: Hindu Nationalism is Ravaging India’s Democracy
Richard Moser
Russia-gate: the Dead But Undead
Ron Jacobs
Politics, Pandemics and Trumpism
Chris Gilbert
Letter From Catalonia: Alarming Measures
Richard Eskow
Seven Rules for the Boeing Bailout
Jonathan Carp
Coronavirus and the Collapse of Our Imaginations
Andrew Bacevich
The Coronavirus and the Real Threats to American Safety and Freedom
Peter Cohen
COVID-19, the Exponential Function and Human the Survival
César Chelala - Alberto Luis Zuppi
The Pope is Wrong on Argentina
James Preston Allen
Alexander Cockburn Meets Charles Bukowski at a Sushi Bar in San Pedro
Jérôme Duval
The Only Oxygen Cylinder Factory in Europe is Shut down and Macron Refuses to Nationalize It
Neve Gordon
Gaza Has Been Under Siege for Years. Covid-19 Could Be Catastrophic
Alvaro Huerta
To Survive the Coronavirus, Americans Should Learn From Mexicans
Prabir Purkayastha
Why the Coronavirus Pandemic Poses Fundamental Challenges to All Societies
Raouf Halaby
Fireside Chatterer Andrew Cuomo for President
Thomas Drake
The Sobering Realities of the American Dystopia
Negin Owliaei
Wash Your Hands…If You Have Water
Felice Pace
A New Threat to California’s Rivers:  Will the Rush to Develop Our Newest Water Source Destroy More Streams?
Ray Brescia
What 9/11 Can Teach Us About Responding to COVID-19
ADRIAN KUZMINSKI
The Covid-19 Opportunity
John Kendall Hawkins
An Age of Intoxication: Pick Your Poison
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
The Propaganda Virus: Is Anyone Immune?
Nicky Reid
Fear and Loathing in Coronaville Volume 1: Dispatches From a Terrified Heartland
Nolan Higdon – Mickey Huff
Don’t Just Blame Trump for the COVID-19 Crisis: the U.S. Has Been Becoming a Failed State for Some Time
Susan Block
Coronavirus Spring
David Yearsley
Lutz Alone
CounterPunch News Service
Letter from Truthdig’s Editor-in-Chief Robert Scheer to the Publisher Zuade Kaufman
CounterPunch News Service
Statement From Striking Truthdig Workers
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail