Rex Tillerson, Biggest Gator in the Swamp

January 18, 2017 (Ulson Gunnar - NEO) - When US business tycoon-turned-politician Donald Trump ran for office, "drain the swamp" became a popular campaign cry. Trump likely was implying that he would "drain" corrupt and redundant features of Washington's establishment and distance Washington's leadership from the suffocating corruption of special interests on Wall Street.


Yet since winning the election, almost overnight (and in many cases, all during his campaign even), Trump has surrounded himself with precisely the sort of flora and fauna found in the deepest, dankest swamps.

And perhaps the largest specimen Trump is stocking the swamp he now presides over with, is his pick for US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson.

Tillerson is not only at face value the embodiment of both Wall Street and Big-Oil as a lifetime oilman joining Exxon in 1975, becoming president of Exxon Yemen in 1995 and serving as chairman and chief executive officer of ExxonMobil from 2006-2016, but also epitomizes the conflicts of interest and unwarranted influence Wall Street and Big-Oil are notorious for.

Most ironic of all, the abuses Tillerson played part in almost up until the day he was recruited by Trump, exercising unwarranted power and influence through the United States government and the very State Department he now stands poised to lead, was done during, and more importantly, with the administration of President Barack Obama.



The Intercept's article, "Rex Tillerson’s ExxonMobil Frequently Sought State Department Assistance, New Documents Show," would report:
The requests for help — documented in diplomatic cables obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request from DeSmogBlog as well as some previously released by Wikileaks — raise a whole new series of conflict-of-interest concerns about Tillerson, who retired as ExxonMobil CEO soon after being nominated by President-elect Donald Trump to be the next secretary of state.
In particular, The Intercept would reveal:
ExxonMobil sent State Department officials a request to help overcome local opposition to fracking in Germany; in Indonesia, the State Department acted as a advocate for ExxonMobil during contentious negotiations between the firm and the Indonesian government over a major gas field in the South China Sea; and in Russia, ExxonMobil asked the U.S. ambassador to press the Russians to approve a major drilling program, noting that a “warming of U.S.-Russian relations” overall would also help the company.
Those optimistic for rapprochement between the US and Russia, however, should understand that from ExxonMobil's point of view, rapprochement with Russia is more desirable the weaker Russia is when it finally occurs, thus giving ExxonMobil and other US special interests the upper-hand in negotiations, and if possible, a free hand as was the case in the wake of the Soviet Union's collapse and the wholesale looting of Russia's economy by the US and Europe that  followed.


Manning's Overdue Freedom Granted Amid Shameless Political Stunt

January 18, 2017 (Tony Cartalucci - LD) - Headlines are announcing the early release of US Army whistle-blower Private Manning from a jail sentence that began in 2013 and was to last 35 years. Manning is accused of passing US government documents to information clearing house Wikileaks before being arrested and charged for "espionage" in 2010.

Manning's release indicates an admission by the US of unjust imprisonment. However, the US has so far failed to acknowledge this fact publicly, assign blame, or hold responsible those who played a direct role in Manning's arrest, trial, conviction, and now over 6 year imprisonment.

Manning's release, however, was a carefully timed, politically-motivated stunt, devoid of moral convictions, principles, or mercy - as the stunt is designed to appear. At any time during the administration of Barack Obama, Manning's sentence could have been both vigorously opposed and commuted. However it was not. Manning was left to languish in prison, unjustly confined, so an exiting US president could perform a spectacle, adding to the illusion of both his own legacy, and to that of the office itself.

It is fitting that the United States, at this juncture in its history, cannot even exhibit positive qualities without polluting them with self-serving, political, and manipulative agendas.

Regardless of the depravity that defined both Manning's imprisonment and release, it should be remembered by all that despite Obama's "pardon," for each day Manning was imprisoned unjustly - or anyone for that matter - a crime is being committed against us all.    

Meanwhile, there are vast number of other political prisoners languishing either in American prisons or defacto in legal limbo under threat of arrest or assassination, including NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden, Wikileaks' Julian Assange. and lesser known prisoners including Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht.




Agorist Challenge: Fixing Flint Michigan's Poisoned Water

January 17, 2017 (Tony Cartlaucci - LocalOrg) - Did you know nearly 100,000 people in Flint Michigan are still drinking poisoned water?



That should be no surprise. The government and institutions charged and trusted to ensure the residents of this Michigan city had safe drinking water already demonstrated criminal levels of negligence and corruption, causing the problem to begin with. Expecting these same people and the system they represent to solve the problem lingers somewhere between the unreasonable and the absurd.

US President Barack Obama declared a federal emergency in Flint over a year ago - meaning that the problem isn't just corrupt, negligent, and criminal politicians in Flint - but that the incompetence and impotence goes all the way to Washington.

A year on and the "solutions" presented have ranged from simply forcing residents to buy bottled water and unsustainable charity providing those bottles, to superficial, even deceptive measures like replacing home faucets instead of the miles of poisoned plumbing running through the city.



As for actually fixing Flint's plumbing, government estimates range from "millions" to "billions" indicating no serious thought has been given to even so much as planning an infrastructure overhaul.

It is most certainly a showcase for the absolute failure of government. But could it be a showcase for something more positive?

A Showcase For Alternatives 

Anarchists and agorists propose that there is virtually no problem that cannot be solved through the market - voluntary exchanges between free citizens contributing to a better future. The few, semi-permanent solutions that have presented themselves in Flint have certainly leaned more toward this direction.


Fake News: The Latest Weapon in Information Space

January 16, 2017 (Tony Cartalucci - NEO) - The ability for technology and innovations to transform global economics and geopolitics is often underestimated, even sidelined in retrospect.


However, from the technological achievements that gave the British Empire mastery over the seas, to the industrial revolution that eventually disrupted and unraveled the empire's carefully constructed global system of mercantilism, the march of technological progress literally governors the rise and fall of global centers of power and the empires built around them.

Disruptive Information Technology

With the advent of information technology (IT), what once required immense capital and a substantial workforce to disseminate information across large segments of the population can now be done by a single individual for virtually no cost at all.

It is no longer necessarily the amount of resources one has at their disposal, but rather the power of their ideas and words that determine the efficacy of their message and the impact it has on society.

IT has leveled the playing field. The United States and Europe for decades, monopolized the flow of information across various forms of media. During World War II, the Allies easily outsmarted Axis powers and their less sophisticated, clumsy propaganda efforts. Between World War II and the Cold War, the US and British ruling circles not only held uncontested influence over their own populations, but through Voice of America and the BBC, they were able to project that influence abroad.

The cost of opening a radio station, a television studio, or a printing press to produce newspapers was prohibitive for the vast majority of people who may have disagreed with the "consensus" created by those who had the resources to produce mass media.

However today, not only does IT allow states once targeted by Western propaganda to better protect political and economic stability within their borders, they are able to get their side of the story out to Western audiences.

Beyond that, independent activists, journalists, and analysts can now write and speak before audiences of millions, contesting "mainstream" narratives promoted by circles of political and economic power worldwide.

The effects of this are evident everywhere we look.

The "alternative media," has already significantly disrupted manufactured "consensus" across a wide variety of interests from big-agriculture and big-pharmaceuticals, to agendas surrounding geopolitical conflicts everywhere from Ukraine to Syria.


Gizmodo Joins Fake News Bandwagon

Unless you consider posing as an objective tech magazine while lobbying for tech-corporations "fake news," then Gizmodo has been on that bandwagon for years. 

January 13, 2017 (Tony Cartalucci - LD) - Gizmodo in their headline, "Russian Propaganda Channel RT Mysteriously Cut Into C-SPAN's Web Feed [Updated]," would attempt to add to the hysteria circulating among pro-Western audiences regarding alleged Russian "hacking" by portraying a C-SPAN control room error as a case of possible "Russian hacking."


Gizmodo reported:
This afternoon, online viewers of politics-meets-Ambien channel C-SPAN were treated to a disturbing change in programming: For around 10 minutes, the web stream aired RT (formerly Russia Today) instead.

Gizmodo would add:
It’s a Max Headroom moment of sorts, with authoritarian overtones. After all, last week’s declassified report jointly authored by the CIA, FBI, and NSA stated in no uncertain terms that RT was being used throughout the election as a tool to disseminate propaganda and swing the vote towards Donald Trump.
However, the article was soon updated, revealing Gizmodo - like the rest of the corporate Western media - was participating in propaganda, not RT and certainly not nonexistent "Russian hackers."

An update buried at the bottom of the article finally admitted:
C-SPAN said an initial investigation indicated that the interruption was caused by “an internal routing error” and was not the result of a hack.
Gizmodo, which poses as a tech magazine, spends much of its time lobbying for corporations and tech-related establishment narratives while using its editorial space to pass off advertisements as objective critical reviews. Gizmodo is not alone - other alleged tech magazines ranging from Wired to Popular Science and Popular Mechanics, quite literally have staff who communicate directly with and for various departments of the US government.


Gizmodo, like its bigger brothers and sisters at the Washington Post, the New York Times, CNN, and the BBC, find themselves attempting to stoke hysteria regarding "Russian propaganda" only to expose themselves as being engaged in attempts to intentionally deceive and manipulate their audiences to achieve specific economic and political goals - which is ironically, the very definition of propaganda.