The new propaganda is liberal. The new slavery is digital, by John Pilger


(The New Statesman, 4 April 2013, http://axisoflogic.com/artman/publish/Article_65527.shtml)

 

As Leni Riefenstahl said: “Propaganda always wins if you allow it”. 

Ben Affleck in Argo

What is modern propaganda? For many, it is the lies of a totalitarian state. In the 1970s, I met Leni Riefenstahl and asked her about her epic films that glorified the Nazis. Using revolutionary camera and lighting techniques, she produced a documentary form that mesmerised Germans; her Triumph of the Will cast Hitler’s spell.

She told me that the “messages” of her films were dependent not on “orders from above”, but on the “submissive void” of the German public. Did that include the liberal, educated bourgeoisie? “Everyone,” she said.

 

Today, we prefer to believe that there is no submissive void. “Choice” is ubiquitous. Phones are “platforms” that launch every half-thought. There is Google from outer space if you need it. Caressed like rosary beads, the precious devices are borne headsdown, relentlessly monitored and prioritised. Their dominant theme is the self. Me. My needs. Riefenstahl’s submissive void is today’s digital slavery.Edward Said described this wired state in Culture and Imperialism as taking imperialism where navies could never reach. It is the ultimate means of social control because it is voluntary, addictive and shrouded in illusions of personal freedom.

Today’s “message” of grotesque inequality, social injustice and war is the propaganda of liberal democracies. By any measure of human behaviour, this is extremism. When Hugo Chávez challenged it, he was abused in bad faith; and his successor will be subverted by the same zealots of the American Enterprise Institute, Harvard’s Kennedy School and the “human rights” organisations that have appropriated American liberalism and underpin its propaganda. The historian Norman Pollack calls this “liberal fascism”. “All is normality on display,” he wrote. “For [Nazi] goose-steppers, substitute the seemingly more innocuous militarisation of the total culture. And for the bombastic leader, we have the reformer manqué, blithely at work [in the White House], planning and executing assassination, smiling all the while.”

Whereas a generation ago, dissent and biting satire were allowed in the “mainstream”, today their counterfeits are acceptable and a fake moral zeitgeist rules. “Identity” is all, mutating feminism and declaring class obsolete. Just as collateral damage covers for mass murder, “austerity” has become an acceptable lie. Beneath the veneer of consumerism, a quarter of Greater Manchester is reported to be living in “extreme poverty”.

The militarist violence perpetrated against hundreds of thousands of nameless men, women and children by “our” governments is never a crime against humanity. Interviewing Tony Blair ten years on from his criminal invasion of Iraq, the BBC’s Kirsty Wark gifted him a moment he could only dream of. She allowed Blair to agonise over his “difficult decision rather than call him to account for the monumental lies and bloodbath he launched. One is reminded of Albert Speer.

Hollywood has returned to its cold war role, led by liberals. Ben Affleck’s Oscar-winning Argo is the first feature film so integrated into the propaganda system that its subliminal warning of Iran’s “threat” is offered as Obama is preparing, yet again, to attack Iran. That Affleck’s “true story” of good-guys-vbad- Muslims is as much a fabrication as Obama’s justification for his war plans is lost in PR-managed plaudits. As the independent critic Andrew O’Hehir points out, Argo is “a propaganda movie in the truest sense, one that claims to be innocent of all ideology”. That is, it debases the art of film-making to reflect an image of the power it serves.

The true story is that, for 34 years, the US foreign policy elite have seethed with revenge for the loss of the shah of Iran, their beloved tyrant, and his CIA-designed state of torture. When Iranian students occupied the US embassy in Tehran in 1979, they found a trove of incriminating documents, which revealed that an Israeli spy network was operating inside the US, stealing top scientific and military secrets. Today, the duplicitous Zionist ally – not Iran – is the one and only nuclear threat in the Middle East.

In 1977, Carl Bernstein, famed for his Watergate reporting, disclosed that more than 400 journalists and executives of mostly liberal US media organisations had worked for the CIA in the past 25 years. They included journalists from the New York Times, Time and the big TV broadcasters. These days, such a formal nefarious workforce is quite unnecessary. In 2010, the New York Times made no secret of its collusion with the White House in censoring the WikiLeaks war logs. The CIA has an “entertainment industry liaison office” that helps producers and directors remake its image from that of a lawless gang that assassinates, overthrows governments and runs drugs. As Obama’s CIA commits multiple murder by drone, Affleck lauds the “clandestine service . . . that is making sacrifices on behalf of Americans every day . . . I want to thank them very much.” The 2010 Oscar-winner Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty, a torture-apology, was all but licensed by the Pentagon.

The US market share of cinema box-office takings in Britain often reaches 80 per cent, and the small UK share is mainly for US coproductions. Films from Europe and the rest of the world account for a tiny fraction of those we are allowed to see. In my own filmmaking career, I have never known a time when dissenting voices in the visual arts are so few and silent.

For all the hand-wringing induced by the Leveson inquiry, the “Murdoch mould” remains intact. Phone-hacking was always a distraction, a misdemeanour compared to the media-wide drumbeat for criminal wars. According to Gallup, 99 per cent of Americans believe Iran is a threat to them, just as the majority believed Iraq was responsible for the 9/11 attacks. “Propaganda always wins,” said Leni Riefenstahl, “if you allow it.”

 

Source: The New Statesman

(images and excerpts from Leni Riefenstahl’s bio inserted by Axis of Logic)

 

More about Leni Riefenstahl

 

Leni Riefenstahl in 1923

Leni Riefenstahl’s prominence in the Third Reich, along with her personal association with Adolf Hitler, destroyed her film career following Germany’s defeat in World War II, after which she was arrested but released without any charges.

Riefenstahl was born on 22 August 1902. She was christened Helene Bertha Amalie. She was born into a prosperous family. Her father owned a successful heating and ventilation company and he wanted her to follow him into the world of business. However, her mother believed that Leni’s future was in show business. In 1918, when she was 16, she started dance and ballet classes at the Grimm-Reiter Dance School in Berlin, where she quickly became a star pupil.

Riefenstahl gained a reputation on Berlin’s dance circuit and she quickly moved into films. She made a series of films for Arnold Fanck, and one of them, The White Hell of Pitz Palu (1929), co-directed by G. W. Pabst, saw her fame spread to countries outside of Germany. Riefenstahl produced and directed her own work called Das Blaue Licht (1932), co-written by Carl Mayer and Béla Balázs. This film won the Silver Medal at the Venice Film Festival. In the film, Riefenstahl played a peasant girl who protected a glowing mountain grotto. The film attracted the attention of Hitler, who believed she epitomized the perfect German female….

Career Dancer and actress Riefenstahl took dancing lessons and attended dance academies from an early age and began her career as a self-styled and well-known interpretive dancer, traveling around Europe and working with director Max Reinhardt in a show funded by Jewish producer Harry Sokal…. Riefenstahl celebrated her 101st birthday on 22 August 2003 and … died in her sleep on the late evening of 8 September 2003 at her home in Pöcking, Germany. (Source)

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