Tuesday, August 27, 2013

No Shock And Awe as Obama Tiptoes Up to Military "Action" Against Syrian Regime

Like a man being sucked into the sea by an undertow, the demands that he shore up U.S. credibility is pressuring Obama to blow something up that belongs to the Assad regime in Syria. Various politicians are demanding a military attack since Assad crossed the "red line" of chemical weapons use- the line that Obama foolishly drew himself, once again falling haplessly victim of his own tendency to bluff at times. (The same pattern has been on display during the games of budget chicken he played with the GOP in the past.)

Of course, Assad crossed the line months ago. The latest attack, which the U.S. and even much of the Western media has been strangely reluctant to acknowledge, (notice how often the establishment media in the U.S., and BBC in UK, preface the nerve gas attack with the word "alleged") is so massive and brazen that Assad (and Putin too) will surely hold Obama in contempt if he once again looks the other way.

Doctors Without Borders, who supply the hospitals where the victims were taken, reports over 3,000 were gasses, with 355 fatalities. "Alleged" attack? Really? Get off it, cowardly West. THERE WAS A MASSIVE GAS ATTACK! Ok? Stop trying to create doubt as an excuse for inaction.

After the first attack, Obama should have said something low key, like "Assad knows where the line is," and then a few weeks later launched a surprise aerial attack. (Using cruise missiles or jets firing munitions from outside Syria, for example.) Any attack now, being anticipated well in advance, will lack any shock value. You don't telegraph your punches.

Anyway, if command and control centers are attacked, that can degrade the regime's power to kill and destroy to some extent, And with tons of nerve agents, the regime can murder hundreds of thousands of Syrians. Strong action short of invasion (which is rightly off the table) is required, otherwise Assad will no doubt increase the use the sarin and whatever.

Meanwhile in Syria, the scene of the crime, the UN inspectors, after five days of stalling by the regime, finally got permission to go to the area of the attack. On their way they were promptly fired on by regime snipers, forcing them to turn back. Following their standard playbook, the regime absurdly claimed the rebels fired on the well-marked UN vehicles.

It looks like years of horrors lie ahead for the people of that benighted land.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Does U.S. Muscle in the Mediterranean Have Syria in its Sights?

Or is it just another muddled message?

We the public are being kept appraised of the addition of U.S. warships in the Mediterranean, with the media adding the detail that they packing cruise missiles. (Obviously the Obama regime made a point of mentioning this to reporters so they'd pass it along to us- and not incidentally to the horrendous Assad regime in Syria.)

The latest crisis within this ongoing tragedy (now over two years old, with over 100,000 dead, 7,000 of whom are estimated to be children, and millions of internal and external refugees- oh yes, and the country's infrastructure is being systematically reduced to rubble by Assad's bombardments) is of course prompted by the latest Assad regime atrocity- another poison gas attack. So far, the UN inspectors inside Syria have been blocked from going to the area. (A rebel pocket in a Damascus suburb which is surrounded by Assad forces.)

Obama is being pulled by the political undertow to at least look like military "action" is a possibility. But a hard-core thug like Assad is hardly going to be impressed by a few warships. He already knows the U.S. has a Navy. And two years of U.S. standing by and mainly issuing verbal denunciations and doing not much more must give Assad confidence that the "red line" Obama drew- namely "no chemical weapons use," was a pure bluff. Meanwhile Russia pours arms into Syria to prop up Assad, Iran does likewise, plus sends "advisers" to help the war effort, and Hezbollah sends its fighters from Syria to help.

Obama is in an unenviable position, but one partly of his own making. Remember when the uprising began? It looked like Assad's days were numbered. That is why Obama and his then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, both repeatedly said "Assad must go." They said that because they believed it would happen. And it may have, if serious armaments had been shipped to the rebels. (Before foreign jihadists got in on the act, much later!) I haven't heard anyone in the U.S. Government saying "Assad must go" in quite a while, not even anonymously. Now they vaguely talk about a "diplomatic solution," whatever that's supposed to be. Maybe everyone will just stop fighting, if we say the right thing!

If Obama actually goes ahead and blows up something Assad cares about (his chemical weapons stockpiles would be a good place to start!) there are real risks. What if Assad tried to drag Israel in? It would be easy to do- just launch some missiles or artillery shells across the border- or a chemical munition! And the U.S. of course knows that Iran and Hezbollah, Assad's allies, don't "fight fair." They employ "terrorism," which means the U.S. has to wage "asymmetrical warfare." (I.e. B-2 bombers and aircraft carriers can't really defeat people sneaking around planting bombs, or blowing up trucks or themselves at U.S. embassies and consulates or businesses overseas, or in throngs of American tourists. Of course the U.S. also plays dirty- but that's called "special ops" or "covert ops" or "unconventional warfare," not terrorism, even though it's often indistinguishable in its civilian targets and methods, except for the suicide part.)

My guess is this is a feint by Obama, the sending of a couple of destroyers, (not even a cruiser! much less an aircraft carrier) and it is going to reinforce the impression of weakness when nothing happens. I hope I'm wrong, even though there are risks to using force. But as of now no one among Arabs and Muslims loves the U.S. At least if it sided with the rebellion, the millions of Arabs in the region who care about the plight of the people under siege would have a reason to feel more positively towards the U.S. There's not much point trying to straddle the fratricidal divides in the Arab world. But Obama is obviously anxious about jihadists managing to land a visible punch on American "interests." Not an irrational anxiety.

Oh by the way, that recent U.S. promise to finally send some small arms to the rebels? Not a single gun or bullet has been sent yet. Credibility's the watchword!

{Are you missing out on the sublime pleasure of receiving automatic alerts whenever there's a new essay here?

Imagine the luxurious feeling of having messages delivered to your own private email account, informing you whenever there's something new to read here. It would be just like your very own personal butler delivering breakfast in bed to you on a silver platter!

Go ahead, pamper yourself. You deserve it. Just head over to the top of the page and on the right side where it says Follow By Email enter your email address in the nice little white box provided for the purpose and click on Submit.

Follow By Email. Because you're worth it.}

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Whatever Happened to “American Credibility”?

The dog that didn't bark; the GOP.

Usually when American “credibility” is “tested,” there is intense political pressure on U.S. presidents to react forcefully (often violently); pressure from the national political establishment and the commanding heights of the elite media.

Today we have a situation that would ordinarily fit this bill. Yet there haven't been howls that Obama is creating a “disaster” for U.S. credibility, that his “weakness” is sapping American power. (Credibility meaning the weight that U.S. demands and threats carry, based on the expectation that the U.S. will enforce its will, with military assault if necessary. Having one's bluff called is highly destructive to credibility. And as a large part of what power is and what creates power is the perception that an entity or person is powerful. Thus loss of credibility results in actual loss of power, in that others are less afraid to resist demands and threats. Power is the ability to impose one's will, to make others obey, and to control events.)

Some time back, Barack Obama declared a “red line” that Syria's Assad better not cross- namely using chemical weapons on the people under his misrule.

Assad crossed that line some months ago, gingerly, testing, probing Obama's “resolve,” as seriousness of commitment is called in the vernacular of “international relations.” And he did it somewhat cunningly. He lied about doing it, while also floating the idea that the rebels might have chemical weapons. He must have been thrilled when some in the U.S. and European political and media elites decided to give some credence to these insulting lies, saying it was “unclear” what happened, and if something happened, who did it. (The general sleaziness of some of the rebels didn't help any, as it raised doubts about their claims and evidence. In their defense, it is understandable that desperate people would say and do almost anything to get help.)

Now it appears that Assad has escalated the use of chemical weapons against the Syrian population. Videos apparently show the results of a large attack that has killed up to 1200 or so Syrians, including children. One doctor trying to treat the victims with inadequate resources was interviewed by the BBC.
Once again, some in the West are grasping at reasons not to believe it. Their line is Why would Assad do this just when a UN chemical inspection team is in the country?

Because he's brazen, a shameless liar, and doesn't care what you think anyway. He knows you aren't going to stop him from killing. (Doing so would involve a war, and Iran and Russia are backing Assad, and Hezbollah in Lebanon is fighting by his forces' side in Syria. There would be no quick victory without a ground invasion, and the Iraq experience is a good sample of what would ensue, only worse, as Saddam Hussein had no one to stand by his side, unlike Assad. Plus, in what friendly neighboring country would the U.S. mass its invasion force? Turkey? Turkey nixed the use of its territory to invade Iraq, although this situation is different, as Turkey is burdened with fleeing Syrian refugees and Assad has shelled Turkey, killing Turkish citizens, and shot down a couple of Turkish jet fighters. How about Israel? Imagine that! Israel would be crazy to allow it. That's the one thing that could unite Arabs, Sunnis and Shiites. Well, the U.S. could always invade Lebanon, I guess. It's done that a couple of times, under Eisenhower and Reagan.)

The Syrian regime has responded to the latest denunciations and “expressions of concern” with the usual brazen denials and blame-shifting. (There were no chemical weapons! And the terrorists did it!) And for good measure the regime denounced the likes of Sky TV and Aljazeera for “having the blood of Syrians” on their hands. (How's that one for infuriating gall?) Russia has weighed in with skeptical comments about the reality of the atrocity. (Yet they're stymieing an investigation by a UN team already in Syria to look into chemical weapons attacks. Gee, that's odd. If they think Assad is getting a bum rap, how come they don't want a UN investigation which would clear Assad? I just can't figure that out, can you?)

At the moment Germany is the most out-front in demanding a proper UN investigation. (Is the U.S.”leading from the rear,” as during the aerial support for the Libyan people when they rose up against the psychopathic tyrant Qaddafi? It doesn't appear that way. By the way, the Western intervention in Libya was totally justified, and just, and a rare and welcome use of Western and U.S. military power to do some good in the world, even if the motives weren't pure. Doing the right thing even for the wrong reasons is better than doing wrong things for bad reasons. Yes, the aftermath is an unfortunate mess. Qaddafi hollowed out civil society and governmental institutions during his long misrule. And jihadists inevitably move in where there is weakness. Still, the Libyan people deserve a chance to build a better society than Qaddafi's nightmare which was imposed on them. Now if only the West would pay compensation for the few bad bombing strikes, they could hold their heads up with pride.)

Assad is giving Obama a fig leaf to save face by denying any chemical attacks, and/or attributing them to the rebels. (This attack was in a rebel-controlled area, so hard to see why they would gas their own territory. Maybe they're crazy!) So those so inclined can exaggerate causes for doubt. (Hey, maybe the whole attack is a hoax, using old videos. But it doesn't seem like it.)

Usually, when a much smaller foreign nation defies (or is perceived to defy) the U.S., force is swiftly exerted to make an example of the miscreant nation and thus reinforce U.S. power. (Notice that Cuba is still being squeezed in the coils of U.S. power, going on 54 years now, because it won't knuckle under.)

But “defying” the U.S. has become more noticeable of late. Venezuela, Ecuador, and Bolivia have been “defying” it in the last few years under independent presidents. (Respectively, Chavez and his successor, Correa, and Morales.) This is reflective of changes in the world political situation, which has created subtle shifts in the balance of power, diffusing power among other countries.

Russia and China are backing Assad. Syria in effect is a pivot point where those rival powers to the U.S. see an opportunity to stymie the U.S. and weaken the U.S. by letting it damage its own credibility. With their backing, Syria is protected from diplomatic moves against the Syrian regime at the UN since China and Russia have veto power on the UN Security Council. (The only part of the UN with any actual power.) Syria is now a place where various tectonic plates are rubbing against each other: not just distant large powers but regional ones including Turkey and the Gulf oil sheikdoms, plus the religious factions within Islam.

So it is a truism that the situation is “complex.” And now that the U.S. missed a chance to make a difference by refusing for two years (especially early on when the rebels seemed to be on a roll) to provide weapons and ammo to the rebels, the only real option left that could make a difference would be U.S. bombing of regime targets. Given the support of Russia and Iran for Assad (not to mention Hezbollah in Lebanon, which has sent combatants to fight on Assad's side), such an escalation would have unpredictable consequences. Plus, after two years of dithering, U.S.-fretting over jihadists moving in has finally come to pass. Now there really aren't any good options.

Remember way back when, two years ago, when Obama and his then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton repeatedly stated publicly that Assad had to go? We haven't heard that in awhile. Apparently that goal has been quietly abandoned. (Isn't that the definition of failure? Stating your aim and not achieving it?)

So much for “credibility.”

Yet the Republicans have been notably restrained in attacking Obama over this loss of “credibility.” Even those calling for military action, such as Senator John McCain, haven't attacked Obama or accused him of “weakness.” This would seem to point to a near consensus among the imperial elite in Washington that the U.S. had best not get too involved.

The costs of the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, costs that will stretch far into the future (wounded and mentally damaged veterans, interest on the debt incurred, for example) could be a factor in Washington's newfound gun-shyness. Especially since neither were rousing victories, but have left muddled and unstable situations in their wakes.

Of course, the flip side of caution is being drunk on power. That leads to messes like the Indochina war. That war, and the ones in Iraq and Afghanistan, provide valuable lessons to those in power about the limits of their power, of which they apparently require periodic reminders via disasters of their own making.

But they aren't the ones who pay, in blood or limbs. And only an infinitesimal part of the trillions in dollars squandered (that could instead have been used to make life much better for people) comes out of their own pockets.

Regarding the Syrian tragedy, at this point all the U.S. is concerned with is appearances. Surely the high apparatchiks who make policy realize there is no diplomatic solution to be had here. (That was obvious two years ago to me, given the nature of Assad and his regime. He wasn't going to be talked out of power! A person who commits the kind of extreme atrocities his regime has to hang on to power obviously will never give it up voluntarily.) So the game now is to issue denunciations, expressions of concern, wring ones hands, go through the motions at the UN of trying to get Russia and China to agree to some more toothless resolutions, and so on. Make it look like the U.S. cares about human beings. But the U.S. is just another powerful nation, that only cares about power. U.S. talk about “human rights” has always been only about public relations and political leverage over adversary and enemy regimes. It is part of propaganda.

After all, the U.S. is a nation that was founded on the twin pillars of genocide and slavery, (which it abolished well after most other nations did), and while it has evolved (fitfully) along with the rest of the world, its long history of domestic repression (which has been increasing greatly since the Al-Qaeda attack of 9/11/01, in part engineered by the FBI and CIA precisely to permit the current increase in police state power with its ever-more-omniscient surveillance and policing of dissent) is enough to convincingly refute the incessant propaganda about American “freedom.”

Friday, August 16, 2013

WHO Did You Say “Endangers Lives”?

Bradley Manning is currently groveling in the sentencing phase of his military show trial, apparently in a bid for mercy. (Maybe his tormentors will let him out of military prison when he's an old man, if he's “lucky.” Looks like he signed up for the Army for life, unwittingly.) [1]

This is as good a time as any to refute the propaganda line we keep hearing, including at this “trial,” that Manning (and Julian Assange, and now Edward Snowden and Glenn Greenwald), “endanger lives” by revealing U.S. crimes, surveillance, and oppression.

The U.S. power establishment constantly throws out the demonstrably false claim that the aforementioned people and their ilk “put lives at risk” by exposing U.S. crimes against humanity (as well as revealing various tittle-tattle, snarky comments about “allies,” and dirt from State Department cables and such). [2]

Of course, for a mass murdering empire to squeal when its “secrets” are revealed that “You're endangering lives!!” is the height of hypocrisy and breathtaking chutzpah (in addition to being calculated bullshit designed to manipulate ignorant public opinion). [3]

But there's another aspect of the establishment's hypocrisy that is less obvious. Take the New York Times, the establishment's self-anointed “newspaper of record.”

Today's print edition (August 16th) has an article on the top of page one, “In Tense Cairo, Islamists Look To Next Move.” Subhead: “New Protests Expected After Friday Prayer.” The background: Two days ago the military oligarchy attacked the Muslim Brotherhood sit-in protest in Cairo. (The military overthrew the first democratically-elected president in all of Egypt's history, the Brotherhood's Mohamed Morsi, who they've kept in custody since.) Using snipers and other brutal methods, the military murdered 638 people and wounded almost 4,000. (Those figures are from the article.)

The author, David D. Kirkpatrick, interviewed some men outside a mosque being used as a morgue for some of the bodies. The last sentence of the fourth paragraph says of the men, “A few argued openly for a turn to violence.”

The next paragraph starts with a quote: “'The solution might be an assassination list,' said Ahmed, 27, who like others refused to use his full name for fear of reprisals from the new authorities. [Actually the same old military “authorities” who have been in power since Col. Nasser led a military coup that ended the monarchy.”Authorities” is a term that legitimizes whoever is in power. {4}] 'Shoot anyone in uniform. It doesn't matter if the good is taken with the bad, because that is what happened to us last night.” [That is, on Wednesday, August 14th.]

Why was it necessary for the NYT to give Ahmed's age? Couldn't they have said “a young man” or “a man in his 20s”? What useful information does jeopardizing him with this detail serve?

But that's nothing. It gets much worse.

The next paragraph goes like this: “Mohamed Rasmy, a 30-year-old engineer, interrupted. 'That is not the solution,' he said, insisting that Islamic leaders would re-emerge with a plan “to come together in protest.”

The NYT fingered the hapless and naïve Mr. Rasmy with his full name, his age, and his occupation. Hey, why not publish his ID number too?

It's obvious what happens next. The secret police [aka “intelligence agents” or “security forces” as the Times calls secret policemen of "friendly" -to the U.S., of course- nations] pick up Mr. Rasmy for interrogation and torture, which is routine in Egypt. Kirkpatrick helpfully provided them with avenues of interrogation. What are your leaders plans? Who is the terrorist Ahmed?

And what if he doesn't know who Ahmed is? Then the only way t6o stop the torture is to finger someone else. And if the secret police decide he lied about that, then it gets worse.

The NYT knows full well that that is how things work in Egypt. You don't even have to be particularly sophisticated to know that.

Yet they named this man.

What useful information is imparted to the public by giving a full name, an exact age, and occupation of a stranger? He could be called “Mohamed, a professional in his 30s.” We lose nothing of value with that description. (Ironically, the NYT routinely blacks out very important information that they think it's better we don't know, often at the “request” of the government, especially “the White House.”)

The truth is, no one in a dangerous situation should even talk to the NYT. Secret police infiltrators could see you talking to them, as also may well have happened on this occasion. It would be quite incompetent of the Egyptian “security forces” to NOT have plants in that crowd, and also to not be shadowing the likes of Kirkpatrick, which doubtlessly they are. (Just as the FBI and CIA tails many foreign journalists in the U.S, and abroad too in the case of the CIA.)

The NYT consistently shows this callous indifference to the well-being of “nobodies” they use. They have done it during the Syrian uprising against Assad, endangering people rebelling or living in areas under siege. They did it to Libyans during the revolution against Qaddafi. Those are just the most recent examples.

They do this sort of thing all the time, with lowly average people in foreign lands. (They do it in the U.S. too, with the poor, the persecuted, the dissident. But many poor people are wised up enough to not give their names to such disreputable people as the NYT. For example, in the same issue of the NYT, in “Teenager's Errant Gunfire at Project In Bronx Leads to His Fatal Beating,” on page A21, not everyone in a public housing project will give the Times their names, which the Times attributes to fear of retaliation, probably correctly in this case. Fear of the police is another good reason for poor blacks to avoid mention in the establishment's media.)

The only people the NYT is interested in protecting is other members of the power elite. Daily, unnamed “officials” appear in their stories whispering alleged facts into the ears of Times reporters. Oftentimes the “information” is obviously “classified,” as I have pointed out elsewhere. [See “The New York Times Breaks the Law Again Today.”]

Might as well mention one other bad (and deceitful) habit of the NYT, which predictably occurred in the Kirkpatrick article. They like to hide the most important or damning to “authority” information that they are deigning to report (they refuse entirely to report even more important or critical info) in the third-to-last paragraph of articles. In this case, that's paragraph 26 of a 28 paragraph story. It describes what Kirkpatrick apparently saw in a mosque where victims of the slaughter were brought. Here is what it reveals:

“Many [bodies] were charred beyond recognition by the fires that Egyptian security forces set to eradicate the tent city.” It goes on. The important information, that the Egyptian military dictatorship burned people alive (or after shooting them) is deeply buried near the end of a long story. The rest of the U.S. media, especially broadcast, has virtually refused to report this detail at all, or tap-danced around the facts. At least Kirkpatrick tells it straight. My advice when reading the NYT: if you're pressed for time, just read the few and last couple of paragraphs of stories. The rest is mostly filler and repetition, many times.

1] A few words are in order here about that oh-so-fair “trial,” military court martial, technically. No transcripts, no recording devices allowed, reporters (real ones, not the establishment propagandists who only showed up on the first and last days) forced to act like spies to try and get info and report, military goons standing behind them in the press pen and spying on their computer screen, secret “evidence,” and so on. The officer acting as “judge” was promised a promotion to an appeals tribunal during the “trial.” A not so subtle message to her to make sure she reaches the expected decisions, in which case she will be rewarded. In other words, blatant bribery of the judge on behalf of the prosecution side, the military and government. Like I said, a real fair trial.

There's an old saying: military justice is to justice as military music is to music.

Of course, there is plenty of precedent for the government bribing judges. Most cases stay secret. One that didn't is the offer of the FBI directorship to the judge presiding over the prosecution of Daniel Ellsberg for exposing the Pentagon Papers. When it was revealed during the trial, the judge insisted it didn't influence him. Contrary to myth, the charges were not dismissed because of this. Rather, the egregious misconduct of the Nixon regime (burglarizing Ellsberg's psychiatrist's office to find dirt on Ellsberg, having Cuban fascist exile goons beat him up, and so on) is what led to the dismissal of charges by the judge. So Ellsberg wasn't “exonerated” by the courts, as a not guilty verdict would have done. Not that he needs exoneration from a criminal system.

2] The same day as the NYT printed Kirkpatrick's report (the 16th, probably a day after it went up online), the former State Department Chief Flack, P.J. Crowley, was on Democracy Now, pushing the propaganda lines that Manning “endangered people” and he “violated his oath” and deserves severe punishment,

3] I'll just touch briefly on the most obviously galling aspect of this: namely that this power establishment caused the deaths of over 100,000 Iraqis (at a minimum) with an unprovoked war of aggression, falsely and cynically portrayed as self-defense against an imminent threat from non-existent “weapons of mass destruction” in the hands of Saddam Hussein. (Hussein never made any threats to attack the U.S., so the propaganda was doubly false. The Bush regime used the 9/11/01 suicide airliner attacks, which were carried out under the watchful eyes of the CIA and FBI, which deliberately allowed them to proceed, as a golden political opportunity to carry out a long-held desire among the right wing of the power establishment to emplace a client regime in Iraq. In fact, back in the 1990s they'd even written a paper saying that “another Pearl Harbor” would be a perfect opportunity to carry out their scheme.)

Or take that the trove of military documents exposed by Manning and Assange.* The military records provided plenty of incriminating evidence of U.S. war crimes in Iraq. (See: “Dispatches – Iraq'sSecret War Files” a powerful documentary produced by Channel 4 (UK) and the Bureau for Investigative Journalism, that mined the Manning trove to great effect. Naturally, it wasn't on U.S. television. There is also the “collateral murder” video, taken in Baghdad, Iraq, and viewable in various forms on youtube.com and elsewhere, which you should watch if you haven't already. That video shows a murderous U.S. helicopter crew champing at the bit to slaughter a group of obvious civilians just walking in the street below, unaware of their imminent deaths at the hands of flying barbarians. Two Reuters photographers were among those slaughtered, as well as a father of young children who, seeing the bodies in the street, behaved like a decent human being and stopped his van to help. When they shot his children, the helicopter crew laughingly sneered that that's he gets for being so dumb as to take his kids to a “combat zone.”

By the way, when the U.S. military murders civilians, they call it “engaging the enemy” or “the target.” As these murderous goons did. Engage is their antiseptic euphemism for “gun down” or “blow to smithereens” human beings.

Putting this evidence of murder into the public domain is probably Manning's greatest “crime,” in the minds of the U.S. rulers.

For this service to humanity, Bradley Manning is going to be imprisoned for the rest of his life. (They would execute him if they hadn't calculated it would be politically unwise.)

* To a lesser extent establishment newspapers in several countries, including the New York Times in the U.S., also revealed some of what is contained in the Manning trove. The NY Times showed its gratitude to Assange with a long term campaign of character assassination and juvenile sniping, including a ludicrous, junior high school dissing of Assange in a NYT Sunday magazine cover story by former executive editor William “Bill” Keller, who seems to have psychological problems of his own. [See: Bill Keller's Character Assassination Hatchet-Job on Julian Assange.]

Another ingrate was the Guardian (U.K.) Apparently personality is more important than issues to these high level hacks. If you don't charm them, they'll knife you. Or maybe it was a political decision to erect a wall between “real” journalists, namely made members of the establishment, and outsiders who are anti-establishment. In short, like the World War II alliance between the capitalist West and the Soviet Union against the Axis powers, this was a temporary and uncomfortable compact of convenience which the poohbahs of establishment propaganda found distasteful, especially the NY Times.

4] The word “authorities” to refer to those in power places an aura of legitimacy around them. It also presumes that one should submit to them. We are all trained from childhood to submit to “authority.” The word “authority” also means one with superior knowledge, as in “Professor X is an authority on the use of political euphemisms to shore up structures of power.” This sense of the word bleeds over into its usage to refer to those with power. Authoritative, derived from authority, means that which can be relied on as true, the last word on something, the truth that must be accepted and deferred to. An authoritative source is one that trumps your worthless opinion, jack. This meaning too subliminally rubs off on “the authorities.”

That's not to say that all ideas are equal, or that there are no facts. It just means be skeptical, verify things, and think for yourself. That is the rational, human way.