Ides of March: The next chapter in the History of the Future was being written. If it held true, billions of people and millions of species would be annihilated. The narrative was as clear as day and anyone should have been able to see how the drama would play out. But, intellectually and emotionally paralyzed, most people did nothing to save their lives. Many who did see it coming weren’t able to believe what they saw, while others simply hoped for divine intervention. Some would try to act, but only after it was too late.
History, as it does, was repeating itself. From Cain and Abel to the War on Terror, it was more of the same, just for different reasons. Only the uniforms and the weapons changed. From sticks and stones to biological, cyber, chemical, and nuclear weapons … civilization had come a long way in its ability to kill more with less.
Once again, a handful of madmen and madwomen in high government positions were leading their people in the march toward death and mass destruction. And right on cue, as in ages past, hundreds of millions of madmen and madwomen were joining up and signing on as loyal followers and true believers in the “cause.”
How stupid can they be?
It was as though 21st-century civilization itself was suffering from chronic Attention Deficit Disorder and Alzheimer’s Disease at the same time. Billions of people were behaving as though yesterday never happened.
Were their brains too fried to remember just a decade back? Or were they too ashamed to admit to being conned by Little Boy George Bush who blew his horn — trumpeting that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and ties to Al Qaeda — and Tony “Bullshit” Blair, who swore to God, Queen and Country that he had the proof in his hands?
Do “We the People” lack the courage to remember how “we” (not me) believed Secretary of State Colin “Lying” Powell’s two-bit UN act, during which he unveiled bogus “proof” of Saddam’s mobile WMD labs? Are those patriots who waved flags and swore their support afraid to recall nasty National Security Adviser Dr. Condoleezza Rice’s ominous warning that “We know that he [Saddam Hussein] has the infrastructure, nuclear scientists to make a nuclear weapon … we don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud”?
The messages of fear and hate were planted in the minds of the populace, and the propagandists didn’t have to dig too deep to sow the seeds. The average Joe and Jane’s excuses for their ignorance, denial and/or support for war range from; “I’m too busy and don’t have the time to worry about what’s going on” or, “I don’t want to know, it depresses me,” to, “they are our leaders, they know best.”
Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, his deputy Paul Wolfowitz, the Joint Chief of Staff, CIA Director, Senators, Congressmen, Congresswomen, policy chiefs, military experts, retired generals — a never-ending parade of war hawks — were flooding the airwaves, screeching for the blood of Saddam Hussein. Day in, day out, they spread the word that if “we” didn’t kill Hussein, he’d kill us with WMDs. And that was just for starters! Given his ties to Al Qaeda, terrorists would soon wreak havoc in a neighborhood near you.
The White House lied and the media swore to it. Want more facts? Here they are:
In the years subsequent to the Iraq invasion, evidence has proved that the Bush administration not only cherry-picked intelligence to reach a predetermined conclusion, but knowingly twisted information known to be unreliable into an unassailable argument for war. Anyone, including myself, who questioned or challenged that conclusion was blacklisted by the media, threatened, and more or less accused of treason. Presidential mouthpiece Ari Fleisher — contender for the “Josef Goebbels Award for Distinguished Service” — declared, “There are reminders to all Americans that they need to watch what they say, watch what they do.”
As we would document in a special Trends Journal report, “Trends and Tragedies,” TV and cable anchors feared reprisal. (See “Trends and Tragedies,” Trends Journal, June 2008).
“There was a sense, a pressure from the corporations who own where we work, and from government itself, to really squash any dissent,” said CBS’s Katie Couric. “I can remember getting in trouble with administration officials because of asking questions that they didn’t feel comfortable with.”
“There was just a drumbeat of support from the administration and it is not our job to debate them,” cowered ABC’s Charlie Gibson.
Studies showed that of the 393 on-camera sources appearing on ABC, CBS, NBC and PBS newscasts, only one percent was anti-war and just six percent expressed skepticism. In “Trends and Tragedies” we built the case that high crimes and misdemeanors had been committed by President Bush and others in his administration. The correctness of the position we had taken from the onset of the war was irrefutably confirmed by additional information provided by former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan, in his book “What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington’s Culture of Deception.” Whistleblower McClellan accused the White House of “spreading distortions,” “shading the truth,” speaking “half-truths,” and telling “outright lies” in a “political propaganda campaign to sell the war to the America people.”
(Trends Journal, Winter 2011)
Now, in April 2014, the tune’s the same, just the lyrics have changed. The current villain is Vladimir Putin, the new Adolf Hitler. Once again, the public is being lied into war and programmed to hate. And once again, every media Tom, Dick and Harriet has quickly bought into the lies and eagerly peddled them to anyone who will listen.
From Start to Finish
Forecasting trends requires knowledge of the past and understanding of the present in order to anticipate the future. Since the end of the Cold War, relations between the U.S. and Russia have ranged from cordial, during Clinton’s years, to stormy, through Bush’s terms, and are now extremely rotten under Barack Obama’s reign. For the general public of both nations, it was a distant relationship with no strong feelings one way or another. That is, up until now.
I have been warning about “Cold War 2.0” breaking out between the U.S. and Russia for years. Most recently, in the Winter 2014 Trends Journal, I wrote about how Russian President Putin stopped U.S. President Obama from launching a military strike against Syria. And how, as a result, President Obama’s prestige suffered after he backed down from his threat to punish Syrian President Assad for crossing the “red line” that Obama had drawn. In contrast, Forbes magazine, highly respected among America’s financial elite, ranked the Russian President — for taking measures to work towards peace in Syria — as the most powerful person in the world.
But it was more than just Putin that had Obama’s prestige and poll numbers sinking to new lows. Obama’s act was turning sour. The appeal of the President’s plastic smile and teleprompter oratory had run its course. After five years in office, Obama had failed to deliver either “Hope” or “Change” that anyone could believe in. He didn’t even deliver on the first promise he made on his first day in office: To return America to the “moral high ground,” and “to restore the standards of due process and the core constitutional values that have made this country great,” by closing the Guantanamo Bay detention facility within a year.
The only bragging rights Obama could claim was that “he” killed America’s Public Enemy No. 1, Osama bin Laden. What had been hyped as the signature piece of legislation that would define his legacy, “Obamacare,” turned out to be the biggest federal fiasco in the course of our nation’s history.
Further hacking away at Obama’s image, Putin, in November 2013, killed a U.S.-sponsored trade agreement that was about to be struck between the European Union, the International Monetary Fund and the Ukraine government by offering better terms. The rest is history.
And amidst all I’ve read, watched and witnessed on the subject, the most thorough telling of the United States’ role in overthrowing Ukraine’s democratically elected government, the import of the Crimea situation and the way Putin’s deal was scuttled and IMF terms imposed upon Ukraine … has been done by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts. It’s all there for those wishing to open their minds, study the facts and draw their own conclusions. But the history you will read in Dr. Roberts accounting is not the history you will read in the official tomes a hundred years from today. Nor will it mirror the outright lies, twisted facts and government propaganda being hawked by the Western media and sold by presstitutes today. Dr. Roberts has written history as it happened. You can read all about it in this issue (page 16) and on his web site: www.paulcraigroberts.org/
As detailed in Dr. Roberts’ observations, Ukraine was only one part of a much grander geopolitical strategy. Under the Obama Administration, U.S. conflict with Vladimir Putin’s Russia was part of a trend:
Back In The (Old) USSR
Kicking off his run for a return engagement, old boss Vladimir Putin, as it now stands, will win the race for Russian President in March 2012, despite some unexpectedly vocal and well financed opposition … and despite what he says is an attempt by the United States to derail his victory.
Following parliamentary elections in December, large scale political protests erupted in Russia, provoked by claims that the elections had been rigged. In response to the unrest — unprecedented in his more than decade-long rule — Putin claimed it had been instigated by America: “I looked at the first reaction of our US partners,” Mr. Putin said. “The first thing that the Secretary of State did was say that they [the election results] were not honest and not fair, but she had not even yet received the material from the observers. She set the tone for some actors in our country and gave them a signal,” Mr. Putin continued. “They heard the signal and with the support of the US State Department began active work.”
(Trends Journal, Winter 2012)
Two years and several geopolitical squabbles later — in the months leading up to the Ukraine crisis — a not so subtle volley in a “More trouble with Russia” campaign was launched by the US. Not willing to let an atrocity go to waste, on 29 December 2013, following a terrorist bombing in a train station in Volgograd, a Russian city several hundred miles from where the Sochi 2014 Olympics were to be hosted, headlines across America blared: “Terror Attacks Hit Russia Leading Into 2014 Winter Olympics.” Week after week, leading up to the February games, government officials, “credible sources,” and “intelligence experts” warned Americans that travelling to Sochi was risky. From toothpaste bombs and shoe bombs to black widow bombers, the message was clear:
Security expert: It’s not if but when for Sochi Olympics terror attack
Veteran security consultant Bill Rathburn hopes that he’s wrong about the upcoming Winter Olympics in Russia, but he has more than a hunch that he’s not.
“The security threat is higher than it’s ever been in the history of the Olympic Games,” Rathburn told Yahoo News. “In my opinion, it’s not a matter of whether there will be some incident, it’s just a matter of how bad it’s going to be.”
Rathburn, a former police chief in Los Angeles and Dallas, directed security for the 1996 Summer Games in Atlanta and served in various planning roles for six other Olympics.
Rathburn’s biggest concern is with Doku Umarov, described by some as “Russia’s bin Laden.” Six months ago the Chechen rebel leader threatened attacks on civilians in Russia and urged Islamic separatists to use force to disrupt the Olympics, which he described as “satanic dances on the bones of our ancestors.”
(Yahoo News, 16 January 2014)
The fear campaign worked. Just days before the opening ceremony, a February 5th CNN poll showed that 57 percent of Americans believed terror would strike during the Sochi Games. And that wasn’t all. According to the steady stream of reports, hotel rooms were in disrepair, the city was filthy, poor people had been shipped out of sight and stray dogs shot. The Olympic venues were not ready, reporters claimed, it wasn’t safe to drink the yellow water … and there were homophobes everywhere. Minor annoyances were magnified and achievements were dismissed. Americans even popularized a hashtag #SochiProblems on Twitter to highlight any failures.
The propaganda campaign was a resounding success. U.S. TV ratings fell 12 percent from those for the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, four years earlier. A Gallup poll in early February showed 60 percent of Americans viewed Russia unfavorably, the most since 1994, while 63 percent viewed Putin unfavorably. Thus, when the Ukraine crisis violently erupted, American minds had already been pre-programmed by propaganda. Facts would not get in the way. The stage for war and hate had been masterfully set.
Bad news and good ratings
After the 2000 Presidential election of hanging chads, uncounted ballots, and a Supreme Court decision that weaseled him into the White House, George W. Bush began his first term with a 57 percent approval rating. From that point on, it was all downhill. On the day before 9/11, Bush’s popularity rating fell to 51 percent. America was in recession and it had become obvious to everyone half awake that the President of the United States was as incompetent as he appeared to be.
At the instant “terror” struck, however, Bush’s poll numbers skyrocketed, as if by magic. Just ten days later, with war drums loudly beating, his popularity soared to 90 percent. It was a miracle. Overnight, he was transformed from a disaster-in-the-making into the Commander in Chief. On 7 October 2001, with 88 percent of Americans and most of the Western world cheering him on, George W. Bush launched Operation Enduring Freedom, what would be the longest war in American history.
Now, in April 2014, with Barack Obama sinking in the poll ratings, would history repeat itself? Would a down-and-out President take the nation to war to regain his lost power and diminishing popularity? Time and trends will tell.