To that end, the movers and shakers are trying to co-opt public angst by moving it in a misdirection more favorable to their continued bottom line. Fear not the virus, looming evictions and foreclosures, job losses, and hunger. Fear instead the news that Vladimir Putin has allegedly put a bounty on the heads of the American killing forces which have occupied Afghanistan for the last two decades. Be enraged that Donald Trump is in total denial and has done absolutely squat about it.
You have to give the Permanent War State credit for chutzpah. The New York Times, designated mouthpiece for the latest #Russiagate propaganda, reports with as much as a straight rhetorical face as it can muster, that U.S. "spies and commandos" operating within Afghanistan complained in vain that Putin was bribing the Taliban to kill them. These would be the same commandos whose job description includes performing terroristic night raids on sleeping Afghan families. These would be the spies whose job description has historically included the torture of Afghan prisoners at the Bagram Air field and other secret locales around the world.
Now we are asked to believe that these occupying troops with their assault rifles and their grenade launchers and their torture devices are poor little snowflakes who are shocked, shocked that their own lives are in such danger decades after they invaded and occupied a foreign country.
I have no idea whether Putin ordered this alleged bounty, or whether Trump knew of it. I do know that before its own long immersion in what is known as the Graveyard of Empires, the United States waged its own long proxy war against the former Soviet Union, literally creating Al Qaeda to bring that former rival power to its knees and destroy it. I do know that Osama bin Laden was a CIA asset, if not outright operative, who waged US-backed jihad against the Russians. If that isn't the US putting a bounty on the heads of those invading Russians, then I don't know what is.
Meanwhile, The Guardian today actually places the carefully-planted story of the bounty and Trump's totally unpatriotic reaction to it above the terrible news that Covid-19 is now out of control. So as not to appear the helpless and cynical actors for the oligarchic government that they are, with their failure to give relief to constituents, the hysterical headline is that "Congress is to be briefed on the bounties plot." The newspaper then disapprovingly reports that for his own part, Trump is trying to distract attention from the latest deep state diversion by re-tweeting a photo of a wealthy St. Louis couple aiming their weapons at anti-racism protesters from a balcony of their mansion.
It's a battle of the inflammatory reports. It's the imposition from above of yet another newly-defined reality. The permanent war/security state wants to ensure that a pesky old pandemic will not deflect either attention or trillion-dollar funding from the true purpose of the corporate-captured US government: which is to wield power for the sake of power and to gobble up profit for the sake of profit.
The Bounty story seems to have a multi-faceted purpose. The permanent ruling class first needs to enlist the electorate in its latest campaign to discredit Trump so thoroughly and so finally that once the Joe Biden administration (the neoliberal Bush/Clinton/Obama restoration) takes office, the public's appetite will be thoroughly whetted for war on Russia - virus or no virus, depression or no depression. With no intention of ever de-militarizing their domestic police forces, they will try to shame us intosympathizing with the beleaguered "commandos" who will fill all those police jobs when they return home from Afghanistan and other occupation zones. (As for the beleaguered spies, they can run for Congress as "moderates.")
The constant creation of what "Bush's Brain" (Karl Rove) once dubbed "new realities" is how our leaders will attempt to keep us in line. "We're an empire now," Rove reportedly told journalist Ron Suskind. "And when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality - judiciously, as you will - we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors."
But as historian Greg Grandin notes in "Kissinger's Shadow," it is that still-living, almost centenarian who got the propaganda ball really rolling during the US war on Vietnam.
"There are two kinds of realists," he quotes Kissinger as saying in the 60s. "Those who manipulate facts and those who create them. The West requires nothing so much as men able to create their own reality."
What we are therefore faced with at this point in the Decline and Fall of the American Empire is "deep state" manufactured reality confronting Trump's serial lying. If only they would just cancel each other out!
Meanwhile, we can at least try and expose their reality-bending subterfuge. The latest Times article trying to sell us both on war with Russia and voting against Trump in November is actually a case study in shoddy gaslighting. From its reliance on unnamed sources to its evidence-free innuendos to its smarmy use of the passive voice, it's relatively easy to deconstruct it right down to its rotten core.
For example, there's this paragraph typical of the classic genre:
The crucial information that led the spies and commandos to focus on the bounties included the recovery of a large amount of American cash from a raid on a Taliban outpost that prompted suspicions. Interrogations of captured militants and criminals played a central role in making the intelligence community confident in its assessment that the Russians had offered and paid bounties in 2019, another official has said.You'd think that there never had been piles upon piles of dirty cash, whole planeloads of it, ever arriving in Afghanistan, or that local leaders and CIA-installed puppets had never been paid off, or that the heroin trade had never been lucrative part and parcel of the two decade-long occupation.
The Times has also reverted to its description of the torture of indigenous populations ("captured militants and criminals") within US colonies and occupation zones as "interrogations." These prisoners presumably told CIA operatives or their outsourced hired guns exactly what they wanted to hear.
Tellingly, the alleged Russian bounty killings stopped in February, once Trump verbalized his desire to withdraw all troops from Afghanistan. According to the planted Times narrative, this fact amounts to evidence that there had, indeed, been a "Russian plot."
The article then quickly descends into outright farce, with Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois approvingly quoted as tweeting that "Trump needs to expose and handle this and stop Russia's shadow war."
Shadow wars are apparently so much more vile than actual righteous American wars, where bombs are dropped, children blown up and whole families slaughtered in their homes. What really seems to bother Kinzinger is the possibility that the so-profitable Afghanistan War could be actually ending.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, temporarily let off the hook for her dismal response to the pandemic, was even more unintentionally hilarious during in her ABC-Disney TV appearance on Sunday:
“Russia has never gotten over the humiliation they suffered in Afghanistan, and now they are taking it out on us, our troops,” she said of the Soviet Union’s bloody war there in the 1980s. “This is totally outrageous. You would think that the minute the president heard of it, he would want to know more instead of denying that he knew anything.”Notwithstanding that it's impossible to prove a negative, and that if the Bounty story is indeed rank, CIA-planted fiction, then Pelosi's accusation is nothing less than a variation of "when did you stop beating your wife?"
The oligarchic stenographers on ABC-Disney of course never asked Pelosi about the outrageous proven fact that she had been thoroughly briefed on the Bush administration's monstrous torture program and never said a word about it publicly as it was occurring. You'd think she'd want to inform people instead of pretending ignorance. Her excuse was she was only following orders on secrecy rules and thus absolved herself of any complicity.
The only question remaining is: what comes after the farce?