Ken McCarthy on DIY Journalism
(part 2 of 2)
Yesterday I talked with Ken McCarthy about the growth of independent journalism on the web, how video is changing the way we interact online, and the recent interview he had with Scott Ritter, author of a book titled
Waging Peace which seeks to provide the Peace and Justice Movement with tools that are used to organize within military and business strategy. We continue today with a discussion on where the Peace Movement has been, challenges it faces, and how the organizing principles must themselves change to deal with the increasing sophistication of the pro-war industry. (You can catch up on part one of this interview here.)
When I read Scott Ritter’s book Waging Peace, I was struck with his point about how simplified the pro-war party is in their expression of ‘Guns, God, and Gays” and the only way to combat that is to be equally simple, while being faster than they are to speak out.
Absolutely. Here’s the good news, there’s way more of us than there are of them. There’s way more people that don’t want wars than people that do. The problem is those guys are really well organized. It’s not even that they have more resources; it seems like they have more resources, but if the energy of everybody, and the efforts of everybody who was serious about peace in the world were organized along a business like or even military basis, it would be quite a formidable force. Which is why, by the way, the Pentagon and etcetera go to such great lengths to disrupt the anti-war movement. Any time somebody establishes themselves as a serious anti-war group, a file gets opened up on them and they wind up getting tracked. Scott certainly went through that, he had FBI people showing up at his door all the time. I don’t know if that still goes on, but it certainly went on when he tried to tell people about what was going on in Iraq.
And then it gets even more involved. Everybody’s heard of COINTELPRO, I’m sure. And what’s that about? That’s really an elaborate system to infiltrate various groups, send agents who pretend to be enthusiasts and have them deliberately sow dissension and make the group look bad. I’m sure that’s going on today, I have no doubt.
During the sixties when there was a very effective cross-generational, cross-culture, cross-color, cross-class peace movement emanating out of Berkeley and, I have this pet theory, and I’m sure I’m not the only one that has it, that that the reason that LSD appeared in such huge quantities with such great force and with such massive publicity when it did, was specifically to blunt that movement. I can’t prove it, but if you look at the chronology it does look like it was orchestrated.
Scott said something very interesting at the end of our brief interview. And of course his book is called ‘the art of war for the anti-war movement’
as the subtitle, and if you read The Art Of War, it’s basically an acknowledgment that conflicts exist. And one of the conflicts is pro-war and pro-peace people. So conflicts do exist, and so The Art Of War is about how do you live in a world where there are going to be conflicts? And Sun Tzu talks about all the ways to avoid conflicts, all the ways to minimize conflicts, but also what to do if you find yourself in one. But ultimately, he said, and Scott said as well that the ultimate proof of your skill as a general is that there’s no force needed to accomplish a goal. Which, the US, in terms of how it controls it’s population has done that.
They’re not really forcing us to go to Iraq and bomb Iraq and spend all our money on Iraq and ruin our international standing and moral credibility. They didn’t fire a shot. We’re just going along with it. So they’re actually a perfect example of the art of war at a very high level. They control the information, they neutralize the other force by covert means, you know, subversion of the peace movement. I’m sure they were involved in messing up the peace movement as best they could for anti-Iraq invasion. So they’re doing everything right with what they’re doing.
One of the things that really got me interested in this stuff in a serious way was seeing a police riot in San Francisco, and I actually sat there and watched the police deliberately maneuver themselves so they could be provoked, so they could then take their bats out and start beating the crap out of people.
I was fascinated by that, I started really deconstructing what happened, and studying this, and I realized, wow, this goes on everyday. Every time there’s any kind of a, even a remotely successful demonstration in America, like that recent thing that happened out in L.A. with the immigration.. it always is the same thing. These ‘troublemakers’ appear, now they wear masks, they throw a rock at a policeman or something, and next thing you know all of a sudden you’ve got 500 police that just happen to be waiting around a corner under a tree with their bats swinging. Now all of a sudden they come pouring out from wherever they were, looking for blood.
So what concerns me is people go to demonstrations in this country, and they don’t even realize the real physical danger they’re being exposed to. There’s no justice out there.
I think that my generation, at least the ones that became aware of it first became aware of it during the Seattle demonstration in ’99 where it was pretty obvious that there was an influx of the so-called anarchists who were masked that started doing violent acts, and that’s pretty much the COINTELPRO model in kind of like fast forward motion.
I think the WTO protest in Seattle is a classic example. There was a squat.. you have to understand so little of that Seattle thing was ever really recorded. But basically, the police and everybody else.. they brought police from everywhere, from other states, from other planets practically. And it wasn’t just downtown where the demonstrations were. The police were roaming around the whole city just terrorizing everybody. They were going into neighborhoods that had nothing to do with the demonstration at all and frisking people and it was just.. it was insane.
But anyway right in the middle of that, right downtown, was a squat that was occupied by these so-called anarchists. And these guys were coming and going un-harassed, unmolested all day and night. No one ever troubled them. There was a scene where the police were standing in formation and the anarchists came up and started beating on their cars. Their commander told them not to do anything, then the anarchists disappeared.
Now that served two functions, number one it made the anti-WTO people look terrible. And number two, and this the other important part, this is a little subtlety that’s really important, they not only have to fool us, they also have to fool law enforcement people and the soldiers, because there are some bad cops but there really aren’t that many. Most of them don’t want to go out and beat up innocent people. So the stage has to be set so they are persuaded that there are these dangerous malicious people out there, and that they have to go out and do these things.
So just the beauty of that little operation there; make the police stand and watch their cars get smashed. What do you think that does to macho, high-testosterone guys who are in the business of not letting people mess with them? It drove them wild. And then you see the subtlety and the intelligence and the scheming on the other side is so thick and so deep, and this is the core of the problem, we’ve got no clue on our side. We’re just clueless. I could rant on this one for a long time.
So it’s BrassCheckTv.com that is your primary independent journalist site at this point?
Yeah, I’ve gotten lazy in my old age, basically I just go out and find good videos and then I put them up on the site. Then I write about them and send people to them. And occasionally I do something on my own, like the Scott Ritter interview, but the bulk of the stuff is stuff I find on the internet. I think what I’m doing, the service that I offer is that I’m putting the videos into context and giving people background on the significance of what they’re actually seeing sometimes in these videos, as a way of connecting them to other phenomenon that’s going on.
And that’s incredibly important. I know when I talked to Larry Beinhart he pointed out one of the reasons why The Daily Show was so important as a news program was because they actually gave you a historical context and nightly news doesn’t give a context for anything it reports. And I think that’s part of the key to actually being a viable source of news, is to have a historical context to what events mean.
Well if you really cared that somebody understood what was going on, you would always take a little time to provide that context. But if you, not only don’t care that they understand but actually don’t want them to understand, you only want them to respond emotionally in the direction you want them to respond, then you don’t give them any context. And Americans are always stunned when they go overseas and they meet somebody.. they meet people who knew more about the details of American politics than they do. Because in every other part of the world, once you become literate and an adult, you suddenly want to know what’s going on in detail around you. But in America, uh-uh.
All that stuff is carefully washed out, and part of it is the fact that you had all these immigrants coming over to work in the industrialization period. It was a big problem with them because they were socialists and real anarchists and they had political opinions. You know, we always say ‘America, Land of the Free and Home of the Brave’ but they had their own tradition of that in Europe. And they were very vehement about not taking any nonsense. So there was this whole.. things like the pledge of allegiance and even the fourth of July and Flag Day. All that stuff was created.. George Washington didn’t create that stuff and Abraham Lincoln didn’t create that stuff.. all that stuff was created in the late 19th century to get the immigrants in line. It was a whole massive psychological operation then. “Okay, we gotta get these people, they’re coming from Italy, they’re coming from Poland, they’re coming from wherever, and they have Labor movements over there. We gotta beat them down, and not just physically but psychologically and erase their ethnic roots and make everybody an American.” So that was a huge operation.
The second big operation, which a lot of people are unaware of, was World War I. That’s where a lot of the maturity of the science of coercion really got developed, because World War I was crazy. There was no reason for the United States to get involved in that war. It was nothing like it was portrayed in the history books. (By the way, for people that get confused, I’m talking about World War I, not World War II. Because a lot of people do get confused, they’re not even aware there were two of them.)
WWI was an imperial battle between imperial England and imperial Germany, period. Then some other countries got involved.. but it was none of our business. But the English who were very savvy came over and did some intense social engineering and got us into that war. And they used a lot of psychologically manipulative techniques to get us involved. There was no reason for us to go, no reason at all. That was purely an English/German pissing match. By the way, do you know what this was over? This will shock you, most people aren’t aware of it…
No, no what was it?
The Germans had just built a freight train line right into the heart of Iraq, although it wasn’t called Iraq then. And the English had already decided, in fact it was Churchill that had already decided that oil was going to fuel their fleets, not coal.
Wow, that’s amazing. We really haven’t gotten that far in the last hundred years have we?
We still want that big pool of oil in Iraq. Again it goes back to the military. And the military is very smart, they know “Hey, this oil stuff is way better. First of all we got these big ships, we got to be able to move them around. It’s not going to happen by willpower, we need fuel. We’re not going to use wood, and coal’s kind of troublesome… hey there’s this oil stuff, it’s great. Now we gotta make sure we control the sources of oil.” It’s very logical, it’s very sensible, it’s very rational. Unfortunately, it’s hyper-rational and many hundreds of thousands of innocent people get murdered in the process.
I did find Scott Ritter’s book
Waging Peace to be well worth reading, and I wouldn’t even have been made aware of it without the interview Ken McCarthy put together. It was this interview with Scott Ritter and the incredibly detailed approach that Ken McCarthy has taken to disseminating information online that I felt was important to get across. As for the historical context he provided… well, that was a freebie. If news isn’t going to report the news, then we’ll have to do it ourselves. Learning how to do this most effectively starts by looking at what the experts in the field are doing, and Ken is most definitely an expert.