Monday, January 12, 2015

Plus Ca Change: Photo-Ops Edition

Paris, January 11, 2015:

Washington, D.C.: September 11, 2011:

The first photo above shows 40 world leaders leading their publicity and security details on a solidarity march through Paris. Only if you were a bird or an aerial drone, however, would you have seen that the entire boulevard was actually closed to the millions of hoi polloi supposedly cheering them on. This ensured that the elite hides would be protected during their photo op in solidarity with the global military industrial complex. Here's what you were allowed to see in the news:

 You can just imagine the throngs of adoring fans following in their wake, can't you? It's the magic of corporate media propaganda. I guess nobody could ever have predicted that a flying renegade sans culotte with a camera was apparently able to avoid the snipers on the roofs to allow a tiny ray of reality to get through.

Here's how the New York Times flat-out lied about the leaders' participation in the rally:
 The world leaders — including President François Hollande of France, Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority and Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain — joined the march in a solemn line. They moved slowly, clasping arms to show solidarity with the victims. The crowd roared in approval.
What crowd? What roar? The Times should be sued for journalistic malpractice.

The Independent has more on the phony theatrics here. Ironically and appropriately enough, political cartoonists have been among the first to notice the hypocrisy.

Of course, political hypocrisy and co-optation of tragedy for personal and political and military gain is nothing new. The second staged photo from the top shows the entire US Congress jostling for camera position in order to bray God Bless America in solidarity with the plutocracy and the surveillance state. This was actually a made-for-TV tenth anniversary reprise honoring the mass murder than spawned a trillion-dollar war and surveillance state. It was restaged so that all of them could participate. As you might remember, Congress and the air were both in lock-down mode in the days and weeks following the actual attacks, and political photo-ops and political travel were both severely restricted. Between then and now, however, the Patriot Act saved our freedoms and made billions of dollars for corporations. The Homeland Security agency was created along with a spy apparatus so vast that no one official knows every moving part. None of the moving parts was able to stop the Paris massacre.

Meanwhile, some people are making a huge deal out of the fact that President Obama didn't travel to Paris to insert his own mug into the most recent photo-op. It brought a whole new meaning to "American Exceptionalism." And that is patently unfair, because he did send Neocon maven/Ukraine coup provocatesse Victoria Nuland in his place, along with his wealthy Ambassador/Campaign Bundler Jane Hartley. Secretary of State John Kerry, who is currently in India acting as Obama's advance man for another neoliberal marketing junket, bristled at criticism of Obama's failure to show up for the group Class Picture:
  Mr. Kerry asserted that the charge was misplaced.
“The United States has been deeply engaged with France from the moment this horrific event took place,” Mr. Kerry said. “And I really think, you know, this is sort of quibbling a little bit.”
He noted that Victoria Nuland, the senior State Department official for Europe, joined the American ambassador to France in the march, along with other embassy officials.
“The president and our administration have been coordinating very, very closely with the French on F.B.I. matters, intel, law enforcement, across the board,” he said. “For the United States, that relationship is a constant, and it is ongoing.”
Got that? Obama (choke) doesn't (hysterical laughter) do fake publicity schmaltz. He's the grownup in the global room, having spent his weekend coordinating with the spy and police state agencies to figure out, among other pressing matters, just how could all those drone strikes have failed to take out the terrorists of Paris while they were allegedly jihad-training in Yemen. Plus, he was probably busy coordinating with his CIA buddy John Brennan on the cover-up of the CIA's at least peripheral involvement in recruiting and/or training and/or arming the terrorists. Plus, even Obama probably realized that the presence of his imperial Drone King person would have been a provocation too far for the large population of poor, disaffected, jobless Muslim youth living in the de facto ghettos on the outskirts of Paris. 

We have to spin the terrorism over here so we don't have to spin the terrorism over there.

Plus, thanks to its "coordination" with the American security apparatus, France is perfectly capable of taking care of itself and has wasted no time going into its own full-bore Post 9/11 mode:
 Seeking to reassure a jittery and unsettled population after last week’s terrorist attacks, the French authorities said on Monday that thousands of police officers and soldiers would be deployed to protect Jewish schools and other “sensitive sites,” in one of the country’s biggest peacetime security operations.
The defense minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, said that 10,000 soldiers would be deployed by Tuesday evening, in what he called “the first mobilization on this scale on our territory.”
I wonder if they'll also deploy Predator and Reaper drones, which have been nicknamed "flying guillotines."  I can almost hear Robespierre's head cackling in his grave.

I can all too easily envision Cheney holdover Victoria Nuland, dressed as Madame DeFarge, substituting bags of petits fours for knitting needles as she needles the masses into making a sharp right turn.

Madame in Ukraine

Madame in Paris


Charles D said...

I have looked in vain for that photo of the great leaders of the world all alone on the street in Paris. Can you provide a link?

Karen Garcia said...


I added a couple of new links in my post, to pieces in The Telegraph and The Guardian. Word is starting to get out that the world leader march was naught but a shambolic bit of Grand Guignol.

Karen Garcia said...

Correction -- meant the Indendent, not the Telegraph.

annenigma said...

Thanks Karen.

Since Obama has recently been publicly humiliated in photos showing him being snubbed by other world leaders at gatherings, I bet he's not taking any chances. (I don't have links to those handy but I've seen them online.) Also, he needs to save himself for his grand and exceptional special security speech.

He will use that occasion to have his official White House photographer take flattering and highly emotive photos with just the right lighting and angles to exemplify his depth and grandness for display at his future Presidential Shrine/Library.

Oh, yeah. We've got his number. It's '1'. Or maybe 'I' is more like it.

Denis Neville said...

Photo op on empty, guarded street …“Nous sommes hypocrites!”

Daniel Wickham tweets a brief overview of the participating clowns in yesterday’s “circus of hypocrisy” in Paris:

Simone Wilson on the 12 biggest hypocrites marching for Charlie Hebdo:

Meanwhile, on this side of the pond … “We are hypocrites!”

Read Teju Cole’s eloquent New Yorker essay, “Unmournable Bodies,”

“… it is necessary to understand that free speech and other expressions of liberté are already in crisis in Western societies; the crisis was not precipitated by three deranged gunmen. The U.S., for example, has consolidated its traditional monopoly on extreme violence, and, in the era of big data, has also hoarded information about its deployment of that violence. There are harsh consequences for those who interrogate this monopoly. The only person in prison for the C.I.A.’s abominable torture regime is John Kiriakou, the whistle-blower. Edward Snowden is a hunted man for divulging information about mass surveillance. Chelsea Manning is serving a thirty-five-year sentence for her role in WikiLeaks. They, too, are blasphemers, but they have not been universally valorized, as have the cartoonists of Charlie Hebdo.”

Stray penises and politicos …

“Oaths do matter, and there are indeed consequences for those who believe they are above the laws that protect our fellow officers and enable American intelligence agencies to operate with the requisite degree of secrecy." - David Petraeus, CIA director, 2012 memo to CIA employees on John Kiriakou's conviction

“This man has suffered enough in my view.” - Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif) on CNN’s “State of the Union”

“Long-standing mavens of DC political power literally believe that they and their class-comrades are too noble, important and elevated to be subjected to the rule of law to which they subject everyone else. They barely even disguise it any more. It’s the dynamic by which the Obama administration prosecuted leakers with unprecedented aggression who disclose information that embarrass them politically while ignoring or even sanctioning the leak of classified information that politically glorifies them.” - Glenn Greenwald

annenigma said...

From The Guardian:

“I think it’s fair to say that we should have sent someone with a higher profile to be there,” spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters. “We here at the White House should have made a different decision,” he added, though he insisted the president was not consulted personally on the decision.

That's so lame, even for a lame duck. They must take us all for idiots. He was not 'consulted' personally, as if he's not the President, as if he didn't have any personal interest or curiosity about going, as if it never even entered his busy, oh so important mind.

Obama didn't go for the simple reason that he's a coward. At least the rest of the world knows it now.

annenigma said...

SOS Kerry said "Our ambassador was there and marched. Many people from the embassy were there and marched"... What a joke. As Karen said, they didn't march. They just posed as if they were marching, safely distant from and protected from the crowd.

Anyway, I get it now. Obama still can't find those comfortable marching shoes (Prada no doubt) he promised to wear in Wisconsin in 2011. When he says he stands with someone, that's what he means. He ain't moving his feet, except to saunter elegantly down a red carpet or the cool green of an exclusive country club.

He stands. Alone.

Valerie Tweedie said...

Chris Hedges has a brilliant essay "A Message from the Dispossessed" shedding a light on what we have done in the West to create the environment for this kind of destructive radicalism. Likewise, there is a great interview with Jeremy Scahill on Democracy Now offering additional insight into what is feeding radical islam and another interview discussing the Circus of Hypocracy of the leaders taking part in the march who are oppressing free press in their own countries.

Denis - Thanks for the Simone Wilson link - really good