Monday, 21 November 2011

I've Gone On Holiday By Mistake!

   Apologies for my sudden vanishing act this month! I had planned to blog at length (as usual), however I've had to down tools for a bit. Those who follow "The 'Guide", know that I'm a semi-regular, jobbing musician and periodical opportunities come my way that I try to take advantage of. Aside from a couple of impromptu & private events with Who's Renown - "The UK's longest running tribute band to The Who" (advert over!). I've also had the chance to ship off to a remote studio with some fellow musicians and work on a long delayed project.
   Thankfully, it hasn't been a "Withnail & I" experience (apart from a lack of modern communication). It's actually been an amazing experience so far, a reminder of the effect that modern life has on us - when we depart it for a while!- and something that I will hopefully write about soon.

   Whilst I'm only back for the day, I thought I would take a minute to let you know where I am.
I hope to return fully to the land of the living in early December and pick up where I left off.
Till then... Peace to you all.
The Truth Seeker's Guide.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Propaganda! - Evidence Of Media Fakery

   For the next few weeks, The Truth Seeker’s Guide is turning it’s attention to a huge subject: the “Perception Of Truth” and it’s specific and direct role in the mainstream media. Whilst I don’t want to venture too far into the notion of an all encompassing ‘illusion of truth’ and the nature of reality and existence, there are obviously much broader issues (in relation to the media) that do need to be addressed. Why is it so important for the purveyors of information to hold such sway over (and, more importantly, manipulate) the “Perception of Truth”? Are examples of these machinations apparent? Why (when you connect the dots) do intelligence agencies, health and psychological organisations and the military seem to be pulling the strings?  Why do some of these groups have a history of involvement with psychological, or dare I say Mind Control, experiments?

   To begin with though (and for the benefit of the uninitiated), it is important to remove a little of the broader context and look at some of the obvious examples of the Media conducting manufactured perception. For as long as can be remembered, art and photography has often distorted it's subject matter to create a manufactured 'perceived truth'.
There are numerous accounts of paintings that exaggerate the mood, appearance and stature of figureheads to present the air of heightened authority and strength or compassion and humility. The practice of Photoshopping images of our modern puppet leaders is commonplace, sometimes with mixed results…

   As imagery became inextricably linked with the media, the practice extended to other forms of tampering. Group shots of powerful individuals would sometimes be altered, to remove someone who had fallen out of political favour. Other images have been doctored to capture, heighten or distort the moment… usually to enhance or create a conveyed message. The doctored image of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protest (left), is particularly interesting because it coincides with a study published in the journal: Applied Cognitive Psychology, showing how people’s memories of events can be altered by viewing doctored images. After viewing the altered image, participants recalled the event as larger and more violent.

   The most obvious practices relate to the art of Propaganda, which in turn often relates to war or conflict. It is here that the notion of ‘crisis creation’ often comes into play. The Media uses it’s ‘perception filter’ to bombard the population with the desired threat, as a means of manufacturing additional fear, anxiety and confusion. In addition to this, comes the offer of solutions and security. Firstly, in the hands of the media… which will always tell us the truth and keep us informed (!), then secondly, under the control of the puppet leaders and their various offshoots. To sum it up, I refer to Walter Lippman who called it: “The Manufacture Of Consent”.

   Propaganda may well forever be connected with the great conflicts and upheavals of the last century, but it is in more recent times that it’s role in the media has come of age. The numerous conflicts in the Middle East  and surrounding area, have given us increased insight into the elaborate practices of manipulation in the media.

   An obvious and almost laughable example came from CNN during the 1990 Persian Gulf War. There are several videos available on the internet showing CNN reporter Charles Jaco fooling about on a stage set with fellow CNN staff. The Saudi Arabian "hotel" in the background was a blue screen surrounded by fake palm trees. Additional videos show a live CNN satellite feed recorded onto VHS showing the final cut. Jaco is wearing a different jacket and a gas mask, whilst his fellow correspondent Carl Rochelle wore a helmet. The sirens and missile sound effects are part of the stage set. The camera never pans out or shows the sky.

   Nowhere is the practice more noticeable than in the events surrounding the fall of Baghdad in April 2003, when the mainstream media created an ‘event’ depicting the toppling of his statue surrounded by thousands of jubilant Iraqi onlookers. Thanks to the internet, wide angle footage of Fardus Square (which had been closely framed in MSN reports) showed the crowd around the statue was sparse and consisted mostly of U.S. troops and journalists. Images which purported to be from the mass celebrations, were dispersed to the newspapers for front page usage. Research into these images, show clear indications of extensive tampering. Numerous MSN outlets, including the BBC, later admitted that only “dozens” of Iraqis participated in toppling the statue. 

   Despite these revelations, most people remember this as an historic and large scale, ‘Berlin Wall-style’ liberation. The images are burned into people’s mind and detached from the greater reality. The numerous other accounts of image and news falsehoods prove that the MSN’s reportage of the ‘War On Terror’ has yielded a successful propaganda operation…

   Then there are the images of burning buildings destroyed during an overnight Israeli air raid on Beirut’s suburbs in August 2006. Whilst it is initially obvious that the smoke has been copied and pasted to increase the plumes, later investigations into the image revealed it to be a composite of several others.

   In 2007, Reuters News was forced to admit that since 2005, over a thousand of its news photos and stories were false, faked or entirely staged to “create” news.  There were even more accounts in July 2008 of the New York & Los Angeles Times faking news coverage. That year, Sky News was slammed for using footage of the  ruins of South Ossetian capital, Tskhinvali, when reporting on Georgia’s key town of Gori. The news outlet claimed that it was footage of the aftermath of a Russian air bombing. The footage used was identical to the footage aired by Russian TV channel Zvezda (2 days previously) when it reported about Tskhinvali. Sky also made a report about Russian tanks supposedly advancing towards Gori, which was later rebutted. What damned the report more so, was the inclusion of a preceding picture of a road sign displaying the name of the town (Gori), written in Georgian and English.

   Today, the practice appears to have gone into overdrive. MSN reported that the fallout from the Fukashima nuclear disaster was minimal… scientific data shows the reality to have been a very different picture. Then, of course, we had the ‘death’ of Bin Laden and numerous pictures of his corpse floating around the news media. Many of these images have been proven to be Photoshopped.

   We’ve also had the drum-banging in relation to Iran & Syria. In the summer of 2011, MSN began covering the story of Zainab Al-Hosni - The Flower Of Syria - who was reported as being killed and mutilated at the hands of the “brutal Syrian regime”. It was reported that her mother wept over her dead body, when she was identified. For the Western news, she became the symbol of a subjugated population and a rallying cry to deal (quickly) with Syria. However, it turned out that she was never mutilated, nor did her mother weep over her body, nor was she even dead! Al-Hosni appeared on television, alive and well, to prove her identity and disprove the Western media’s claim. The story went extremely quiet after this…

   There is also the farce surrounding the liberation of Libya and the death of  Colonel Muammar Gaddafi (notice how Western MSN now spells his surname ’Qu’, when it has always been ’G’ in the past… subtle that!). Ignoring the latter aspect (I have found 6 contradictory pieces of footage of his death, thus far…), the events in Green Square, Tripoli in August are very suspect. 

After ‘rebel’ forces captured the Libyan capital, MSN aired ‘live footage’ of jubilation and euphoria. The footage has been scrutinised by researchers who have noticed odd behaviour on the part of the reporter and oddities in the architecture of the buildings and landscape that don’t quite match the alleged location. State television also warned of this specific fake report a few days before, claiming that Libyan Intelligence had been tipped off about an elaborate recreation of the Bab Al’ Azizia compound in Doha, Qatar. Nobody has been able to solidly confirm this at the moment, yet the MSN coverage of the whole Libyan operation speaks for itself. There are already doctored images (that have been used in news stories ) showing a manufactured perception of events.

   These few examples are small peanuts, of course. They are merely examples that set the stage for a much more elaborate, complex and darker drama.

I will leave you with a biased (but never the less apt) quote from Edward Bernays:

“If all men had to study for themselves the abstruse economic, political, and ethical data involved in every question, they would find it impossible to come to a conclusion about anything. We have voluntarily agreed to let an invisible government sift the data and high-spot the outstanding issues so that our field of choice shall be narrowed to practical proportions."

The question here is: Practical for what or whom?!
To Be Continued…

Books available from Carl James:
Science Fiction and the Hidden Global Agenda - Volume One -
Science Fiction and the Hidden Global Agenda - Volume Two -
What Really Happened at the London 2012 Olympics -