Distinction in travel journalism
Is independent travel journalism important to you?
Click here to keep it independent

18 Mar, 2012

A global ponzi scheme of lies, deception and disinformation

Originally Published:  18 March 2012

The March 11 massacre of 16 Afghan civilians and the March 14 farewell-to-arms by a departing Goldman Sachs executive may appear to be totally separate events but perhaps are interconnected in more ways than can be initially imagined.

It would be tempting to attribute both to the Ides of March, the interplanetary alignments which supposedly trigger changes in human behaviour. However, there is little doubt that both will become well-entrenched as pieces of history shaping the new world order.

The two biggest problems facing mankind today in terms of human and financial costs are military conflict and financial/economic crises. Both can be linked to the largest cover-up and disinformation campaigns since the end of World War II.

These campaigns are destined to fail. The people behind them know it, but, caught in a lose-lose “damned if they do and damned if they don’t” situation, they have no option except to stay the course.

The war in Afghanistan can only be sustained because it depends on brainwashing the American public into a) thinking they are being protected; and b) sending their children to kill or be killed in defense of the cause.

A key part of this disinformation campaign is to keep the full impact of wars out of the public eye. The U.S. public certainly is not being told the full story about the deep psychological, mental and physical damage being inflicted on hundreds of thousands of servicemen and women.

Would it be good journalism to shine more light on this? It certainly would, but unlike Vietnam, it is not being reflected on U.S. TV screens.

There is no shortage of mentally disturbed servicemen like Staff Sgt. Robert Bales and his fellow killers. Their tragedies eventually will surface. As the wounds fester, and the national economy roller-coasters from one sharp bend to the next, their families will sooner or later decide that they need to go public.

That’s when the servicemen/women and their families will do what Greg Smith of Goldman Sachs fame did on March 14 – blow the whistle. Indeed, that is what “bonds” the two events; both Greg Smith and Sgt Robert Bales were unable to cope with their internal demons and decided to “open fire”, the latter at ordinary civilians and the former at his ex-employer.

The targets and methods differed, but the mindset of anger and frustration driving the actions was shared.

Greg Smith’s assault on the “toxic culture” of Goldman Sachs must have shocked the money mandarins. Just like the military, multinational mega-corporations ,too, claim to be operating in accordance with the highest standards of professionalism, integrity and nobility.

Thanks to Greg Smith, everyone now knows that this is a load of crock.

Smith’s exposure of the actions of “morally bankrupt people” and the “toxic and destructive” culture reverbated across the corporate world. Suddenly, all those MBA students who have used Goldman Sachs as a role model of good corporate culture were sitting shell-shocked.

Such “toxic” cultures exist everywhere, especially in governments and international organisations. Going forward, they will face tremendous pressure for transparency and accountability in the way they do business.

In both instances, the spin-doctors swung into action with damage-control exercises. The standard operating procedure requires them to spew out the usual platitudes, make the perfunctory apologies, blame the actions as being the work of lone individuals and not reflective of the professional conduct that drives the rest of the organisation, announce an investigation, promise to address any concerns or issues that may have arisen, etc., etc.

Deny, deflect, detract. The press release template is always on standby and ready to be issued, after a quick search-and-replace of names, place, date and context.

Greg Smith got hit by a smear campaign that sought to portray him as being disgruntled and frustrated because he has been denied a bonus.

In the U.S. military, spin-doctors anyway have been working overtime in the last few months trying to explain why US servicemen are urinating on the bodies of dead Afghans, burning copies of the Qur’an and now, killing Afghan civilians.

The U.S. military also kills dozens of civilians daily with drone strikes. But the U.S. public is told all victims are “militants” and blindly accepts that line. To question it is to be unpatriotic and “give comfort to the enemy.”

However, readers can be sure that when the surviving family members of the drone victims take revenge, as they inevitably will in line with Afghan tribal tradition, those acts of violence will be described as “terrorism” perpetuated by fanatic Muslims. They will be further used to justify continuation of the “war on terror”.

Unless these lies are confronted, the wars will go on and on and on.

So, too, will the cycle of financial and economic crises. It is widely known that the “financial terrorists” — rogue traders, currency and commodity speculators, amongst others — are primarily responsible for the recent bouts of instability that have plagued global economies in recent years.

Virtually none have been held accountable. On the contrary, the cover-up continues, resisting all forms of regulatory control.

The entire system today has become a ponzi scheme of lies, deception and disinformation spewed out by think-tanks, research companies and right-wing media such as those owned by the once powerful but now discredited Rupert Murdoch.

However, even Murdoch, facing a trial-by-fire over the phone-hacking scandal, has learned the hard way that suppressing, distorting the truth has never worked and will never work.

Regardless of whether it is the forces of colonialism, occupation, apartheid, communism, military dictatorships or corporate empires, they never learn that the forces of a clean conscience and the pursuit of truth can never be defeated.

The real game-changing shift will occur when both the American people realise that they have been persistently and consistently lied to, and the Muslim people decide to confront and counter the fact that they have been persistently and consistently lied about.

That’s when the two forces will merge into a common force for good against the liars. And unjust rulers will fall, as they always do.