TagConspiracy Theory

Fact checking The Men Who Stare at Goats

first earth battalion manual

Danger Room has an article posted fact checking the claims made in the new The Men Who Stare at Goats movie:

Hippie Army? True. Lt. Col. Jim Channon dove deep into the New Age movement, and came back to the military with a most alternative view of warfare — one in which troops would carry flowers and symbolic animals into battle. In the movie, Channon is played by Jeff Bridges. His First Earth Battalion is renamed the “New Earth Army.” But the ideas are the same. Much of the artwork from the New Earth manual is lifted straight from the Channon original.

Channon has been taking advantage of the publicity for his cause; this week he has a column in the Guardian newspaper, suggesting (among other things) that armies should be used for reforestation and navies to control over-fishing.

The military’s interest in Eastern and alternative practices is once again on the rise. “Warrior mind training“, apparently based on ancient Samurai techniques, is being taught at Camp Lejeune as a possible treatment for PTSD. Elsewhere the Army has a $4 million initiative exploring other approaches including Reiki, transcendental meditation and “bioenergy.” The Air Force is looking into acupuncture for battlefield pain relief.

Danger Room: Psychic Spies, Acid Guinea Pigs, New Age Soldiers: the True Men Who Stare at Goats

As pointed out at Danger Room, you can download the original First Earth Battalion Manual from Jim Channon’s web site

Previously:

Psychic Warfare from 1981-2008

Real life DHARMA Initiative # 1: SRI (Stanford Research Institute)

Birther Site Is Already Lying About Ft. Hood Shooter and Obama

Jerome Corsi, of Swift Boat infamy, has written a piece connecting Nidal Malik Hasan to Obama on WorldNetDaily (“the leading source of disinformation that the president wasn’t born an American.”)

Corsi points to a Homeland Security Policy Institute at George Washington University paper titled “Thinking Anew – Security Priorities for the Next Administration: Proceedings Report of the HSPI Presidential Transition Task Force” which lists Hasan as “Task Force Event Participant.”

What does that mean? It means Hasan, as Spencer Ackerman writes: “Hasan attended a meeting of a private organization that gave the transition some unsolicited advice.”

Washinton Independent: Birther Site Is Already Lying About Ft. Hood Shooter and Obama

(via Jeremy Scahill)

It’s only logical: Keanu Reeves is immortal

(via Dangerous Minds)

Gus Van Sant and Bret Easton Ellis teaming up to write screenplay about Theresa Duncan and Jeremy Blake

Gus Van Sant and author Bret Easton Ellis will team to write a feature about the double suicide of artists Theresa Duncan and Jeremy Blake.

PalmStar Entertainment, Celluloid Dreams and K5 Film have acquired screen rights to “The Golden Suicides,” a Vanity Fair article written by Nancy Jo Sales. […]

The couple descended into a paranoid spiral when the artists developed a consuming belief that government and religious organizations were conspiring against them. She killed herself in 2007. Blake found her body on the floor of their bedroom, and walked into the Atlantic Ocean a week later, ending his life.

Variety: Scribes make suicide pact

Previously:

Vanity Fair coverage of the deaths of Theresa Duncan and Jeremy Blake

Dead Woman Blogging: Theresa Duncan at 10 Zen Monkeys

(via Jorn Barger)

Meet the man who changed Glenn Beck’s life

In reality, however, the so-called 912ers were summoned to D.C. by the man who changed Beck’s life, and that helps explain why the movement is not the nonpartisan lovefest that Beck first sold on air with his trademark tears. Beck has created a massive meet-up for the disaffected, paranoid Palin-ite “death panel” wing of the GOP, those ideologues most susceptible to conspiracy theories and prone to latch on to eccentric distortions of fact in the name of opposing “socialism.” In that, they are true disciples of the late W. Cleon Skousen, Beck’s favorite writer and the author of the bible of the 9/12 movement, “The 5,000 Year Leap.” A once-famous anti-communist “historian,” Skousen was too extreme even for the conservative activists of the Goldwater era, but Glenn Beck has now rescued him from the remainder pile of history, and introduced him to a receptive new audience. […]

In 1969, a 1,300-page book started appearing in faculty mailboxes at Brigham Young, where Skousen was back teaching part-time. The book, written by a Georgetown University historian named Carroll Quigley, was called “Tragedy and Hope.” Inside each copy, Skousen inserted handwritten notes urging his colleagues to read the book and embrace its truth. “Tragedy and Hope,” Skousen believed, exposed the details of what would come to be known as the New World Order (NWO). Quigley’s book so moved Skousen that in 1970 he self-published a breathless 144-page review essay called “The Naked Capitalist.” Nearly 40 years later, it remains a foundational document of America’s NWO conspiracy and survivalist scene (which includes Skousen’s nephew Joel).

In “The Naked Communist,” Skousen had argued that the communists wanted power for their own reasons. In “The Naked Capitalist,” Skousen argued that those reasons were really the reasons of the dynastic rich, who used front groups to do their dirty work and hide their tracks. The purpose of liberal internationalist groups such as the Council on Foreign Relations, argued Skousen, was to push “U.S. foreign policy toward the establishment of a world-wide collectivist society.” Skousen claimed the Anglo-American banking establishment had a long history of such activity going back to the Bolshevik Revolution. He substantiated this claim by citing the work of a former Czarist army officer named Arsene de Goulevitch. Among Goulevitch’s own sources is Boris Brasol, a pro-Nazi Russian émigré who provided Henry Ford with the first English translation of the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion.”

Salon: Meet the man who changed Glenn Beck’s life

(via Justin)

Why the Republicans are (still) winning

This Labor Day weekend we learned that unemployment shot up again in August, after the false hope of an artificially low rate reported for July. And we learned that 1/9 of Americans are receiving food stamps.

And, in a major victory in their apparent quest to turn all of the United States into the town from Gummo, Republicans pressured the nation’s “green jobs czar,” into resigning for not being nice enough to the people who got us into this mess.

That professional Republican propagandists can paint Jones as an uncivil and racially insensitive conspiracy theorist is a major coup for them, and that these matters are more important than the state of our ever crumbling economy is telling.

How is that with a minority in both the house and senate, having lost the presidency, and with its political leadership in disarray the Republicans are still setting the agenda and winning political battles? Why are the Democrats bending over backwards to accommodate these swine that so cynically sold the nation up the river?

The easy answer is that there isn’t really much difference between the two parties. But that answer doesn’t tell the whole story.

To say “there’s no difference between the Democrats and Republicans” is to drastically over simplify. The worst Democrats in recent history (ex: Joe Biden and Joe Lieberman) are nowhere near as bad as the worst Republicans in recent history (ex: Jesse Helms and Strom Thurmond). The best Republican senators in recent history (ex: Arlen Specter) are no where near as good as the best Democratic senators in recent history (ex: Russ Feingold) George W. Bush was clearly a worse president than Bill Clinton.

But there is no denying that both parties serve the same corporate masters. The Democrats and Republicans are engaged in a perpetual game of “Good Cop, Bad Cop.” And this latest election cycle, and the first few months of Obama’s presidency, has made their pattern of action clear: 1) Get a conservative president or two (Reagan, Bush) into office, let them run the country into the ground. 2) Let the Dems take over for a while, but perpetuate Republican policy 3) Even though the Dems are essentially only maintaining previous Republican policy, attack, attack, attack 4) Get an even more conservative president into office. 5) Loop back to step 2.

At this stage of the process, the Republicans don’t need a strong political leader as long as their propaganda force -the Limbaughs and Becks – is in full effect. The Democrats evidently have no will to stand-up to these attacks, meaning we can expect a further rightward march off the cliff for the foreseeable future.

Conservative media take a strong stand against … learning?!?

This should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with the right’s usual stances on education:

If there is anybody out there who still doesn’t believe that the conservative media will attack President Obama no matter what he does, consider this: Right-wingers are telling children to skip school as a protest against Obama’s encouragement of students to stay in school. […]

There’s nothing you can imagine that is too crazy for these people to say. They’ll claim Barack Obama was secretly born in Kenya (his birth announcements in Hawaiian newspapers were just one part of an elaborate, decades-long conspiracy involving Kenyans, the media, Hawaii’s Republican governor, and the Stonecutters). They’ll say he has a diabolical plan to create government “death panels” to kill off the old and the young. They’ll claim he is building a secret private army (consisting of — I swear I am not making this up — AmeriCorps and Peace Corps volunteers) that is “just as strong” as the U.S. military so that he can “seize power” and create a “thugocracy.” […]

So Glenn Beck and his fellow tinfoil hat-wearers sprang into action. Beck went off on his “indoctrination” rant, warning of secret private armies (no, he isn’t worried about Blackwater — it’s the thought of English majors signing up to help teach people how to read that keeps him up at night).

Media Matters: Conservative media take a strong stand against … learning?!?

(via Atom Jack)

BTW, Glenn Beck was never really on my radar until recently, but his utter madness keeps coming up lately. Was he always this crazy, or did he recently snap or something?

Birthers and the democratization of media

“I’ve just recently realized the degree to which the Net and Web represents a victory for counter and subculturalism in one sense: The generation currently in their teens won’t even be able to recognize a consensus reality or know what the mainline politics of the moment allegedly is, because they won’t even look at centralized media.” – R.U. Sirius, Mondo 2000 issue 16, winter 1996

“Today’s cutting-edge youth demands free access to uncensored information over the Internet with universal encryption to guarantee secure, unmediated communications. Once again, through a technological backdoor, we are witnessing a social movement that threatens to pull the plug on the powers-that-be. As it loses its traditional control over information, government becomes irrelevant. After all the loudmouthed posturing and wishful thinking, all the manifestos and ephemera, will it really be the ones and zeros of the computer’s binary code that render authority obsolete and redefine human relations?” – Peter Stansill, Preface to the 1999 edition of BAMN: Outlaw Manifestos & Ephemera 1965 – 1970.

“It’s a total cacophony of disparate voices and ideologies. For every Noam Chomsky Archive or Mother Jones web site, there’s an Aryan Dating Service or a Holohoax site or a godhatesfags.com. It doesn’t favor one school of thought over another. But that’s a good thing! More chaos! More ideological Balkanization, please! Push the pedal to the metal of the Hegelian dialectic as hard and as fast as possible!

At root level, these competing voices all have certain things in common – a deep mistrust of the government and the capitalist elite, death-sucking powers that be. The Left hates something like NAFTA, but so does the Buchanan Brigade. I prsonally find myself in agreement with the Archie Bunker types when it comes to despising the New World Order of corporate greedheads who are reducing the working class of this country to renting their lives out like fucking slaves to Walmart and McDonalds for five bucks an hour.” – Richard Metzger, 21C, 1997.

In the 90s, the advent of the Internet age, many people, including myself, thought the Internet’s democratization of media would be vehicle for social progress. R.U. Sirius was correct that “consensus reality” would be demolished. But instead of a new enlightenment, we have a new dark age in which disinformation flows at will and even educated people can’t be bothered to check Snopes before hitting forward on the latest right wing chain e-mail.

The thinking seemed to go: access to information outside the mainstream media would in itself cause the media establishment’s authority to crumble and foster a new age of critical thinking. “The people” would get a better sense of what was really going on in the world, and demand change. People, awash in unverified sources, would also become more critical thinkers.

By 2002, in the wake of 9/11, and the rise of the “Warbloggers” it should have been clear that this simply wasn’t happening.

“Blogging” first entered mainstream consciousness with the rise of the “warblog” – pro-war often nominally libertarian blogs that launched after 9/11. Back before liberal sites like Daily Kos and the Huffington Post stole the show, Glenn Reynold’s Instapundit was the best known political blog. Reynolds was actually one of the most civil warblogs – others had a “most blood thirsty warblogger contest” (results, and no, it wasn’t a joke). Example post from Cato the Youngest:

Who calls for the destruction of an entire city in every post, and most comments and e-mails? Who has wished, in the pages of his blog, that he could be the bombadier-navigator on a B-1B, loaded with 38 200-kT AGM-69 missiles, with orders to scour the Middle East with thermonuclear fire? Who has suggested that the Israelis could annihilate Egypt by breaking the Aswan dams, in order to drive people to high ground, then nuking them? Cato the Youngest.

That is what the radical democratization of media wrought.

Maybe it should have been predictable. Ever since the death of Alan Berg at the hands of Nazis in 1984, the right has dominated talk radio – starting with Rush Limbaugh’s issue talk in 1984. And since the fairness doctrine was repealed in 1987, we’ve seen a lot more Limbaughs than Amy Goodmans.

“I think that the apparatus that we have, in terms of democracy and free speech, is probably as good as it’s going to get — we just have to find a way back to real power within the democratic apparatus that’s been captured by money and so forth.” – R.U. Sirius, Shift , July 2002.

“The base is not reality based.” – Jay Rosen, February 2009.

Which brings us to the “birthers.” Although the birthers are often compared to truthers, these people are even more deranged. At their best truthers raise valid questions about the government’s response to 9/11. At their worst, they extrapolate wild claims based on thin shreds of evidence.

Birthers don’t even have these sorts of thin shreds from which to spin their stories. They stand steadfast in the resolve to disbelieve Obama’s citizenship in the face of all contrary evidence, while offering not one bit of evidence themselves. (I wish they would apply the same standard of evidence to the existence of god as they do to the citizenship of Obama). If you show these people Snopes, they’ll dismiss it as conspiracy. They are allergic to the truth.

Meanwhile, the lack of centralized control has done little to rattle the powers that be. There are web sites dedicated to supporting any fringe belief you can think of. Everyone from StormFront to IndyMedia is routinely ignored by the establishment.

Not that the mainstream media is any better than the Internet. The Birthers have been given ample coverage, in a “he said, she said” treatment that legitimizes their lunacy. As much as the right loves to rail against relativism and post-modernism, their maniacal insistence that they be given “equal treatment,” and the media’s compliance with those demands, does more to create a postmodern, truth-less world than any French academic ever did.

Sadly, even as bloggers explain in detail how Goldman Sachs screwed America and provide factual analysis of Sotomayor’s record, lies and propaganda are able to shout them down. And our “watchdogs” choose to go after Matt Taibi instead of Goldman Sachs and to treat the “debate” over Sotomayor’s record like an actual controversy instead of a bunch of a nonsense. There seems to be no point in speaking truth to power. Power does not care what is spoken to it.

This should not be read as a reactionary rant. The yearning for a “golden age” of investigative journalism is a case of rosy retrospection.

What to do then when the watchmen are evil, and the populace is mad? I have no answers. My only solace at this point is that every outbreak of insanity seems to die down eventually, even if society writ large learns nothing from them.

Fake Kenyan Obama birth certificate exposed

In case you haven’t seen these links:

Obama hoax certificate based on South Australian certificate

An earlier list of many things wrong with the fake certificate

Why the government wants you to believe in crashed UFOs

It’s worth noting (mainly because few have bothered to note it, or to understand and appreciate the significance of the matter) that one of the “Recommendations” of a lengthy Technical Report prepared by the Air Force’s flying saucer study, Project Grudge, way back in August 1949, states: “That Psychological Warfare Division and other governmental agencies interested in psychological warfare be informed of the results of this study.”

The Department of Defense’s official definition of psychological warfare is: “The planned use of propaganda and other psychological actions having the primary purpose of influencing the opinions, emotions, attitudes, and behavior of hostile foreign groups in such a way as to support the achievement of national objectives.”

As the above Grudge revelations show, way back when in the formative years of Ufology, certain players were looking to understand how the subject could be used psychologically.

UFO Mystic: Crashed UFOs? Probably Not…

(via Mac)

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