2013's propaganda ban repeal, which served the U.S. in its efforts that year to manufacture popular belief in a supposed chemical attack by Assad on the citizens of Syria, also served Washington in its February 2014 coup in Ukraine. As Strategic Culture's Eric Zuesse has written about the Ukraine coup's origins:
"The network behind this coup had actually started planning for the coup back in 2011. That's when Eric Schmidt of Google, and Jared Cohen, also now of Google but still continuing though unofficially as US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's chief person tasked to plan 'popular movements' to overthrow both Yanukovych in Ukraine, and Assad in Syria."
These and the other pieces of evidence that Ukraine's regime change was U.S.-engineered were hidden from Western media consumers, who only heard about a Ukrainian "democratic revolution" that prompted a heinous act of aggression in Ukraine by Vladimir Putin.
In reality, it was the U.S. that had caused the crisis in Ukraine, and it's the U.S. that had consequently initiated a new cold war. After the Ukraine coup, Russia had reason to fear NATO nuclear missiles not just near, but on, Russia's border. And Victoria Nuland, Barack Obama's central agent behind the coup, had made sure that the new person to head Ukraine's government would be the far-right and rabidly anti-Russian Arseniy Yatsenyuk. As a result, Ukraine's government has since been a fascistic and aggressive antagonist towards Russia, with the Nazi-tied regime carrying out anti-Russian war provocations, inflaming armed conflict with pro-Russian separatists at the behest of the Trump administration, and engaging in ethnic cleansing against Ukraine's Russian-speaking communities.
In this light, the return of the cold war tensions was not initiated by Russia. Indeed, Putin's 2008 intervention in Georgia and his 2014 intervention in Ukraine were largely done in response to NATO's aggressive expansionism, and Russia's efforts to militarily protect Syria and Venezuela have also been the result of the U.S. empire's belligerence. The new cold war is, rather, the result of America's operations to strong-arm China and its allies Russia, Syria, Venezuela, Iran, Cuba, and north Korea into submission. And the catalyst for this potential run-up to nuclear conflict was the 2014 regime change project in Ukraine, whose surrounding atmosphere of intensive state-manufactured propaganda has reflected the nature of the years since then.An empire of illusion
Talking from my experiences and observations as an American, the onset of this new cold war has produced a dystopian new era, one where reality is constantly being twisted by powerful actors who seek to perpetuate a war that has no end in sight. This is a more extreme version of the War on Terror, whose dozen years of existence prior to the start of the new cold war had already primed the American people for a scenario where they would be told to fear not just terrorists, but also the world's other major superpowers.
The messaging campaigns used to manufacture consent for all of these war campaigns have been carried out both through the dissemination of state propaganda itself, and through the suppression of information that contradicts this propaganda. The onslaught of online censorship throughout the last several years was begun with a statement from the U.S. government whose purpose was to declare war on voices which challenge the official narratives; in January 2017, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence published a report on Russia that devoted seven of its 25 pages to RT America, the chief television hub for America's small selection of antiwar and socialist commentators. The report said that:
"RT's reports often characterize the United States as a 'surveillance state' and allege widespread infringements of civil liberties, police brutality, and drone use.
RT has also focused on criticism of the US economic system, US currency policy, alleged Wall Street greed, and the US national debt. Some of RT's hosts have compared the United States to Imperial Rome and have predicted that government corruption and "corporate greed" will lead to US financial collapse."
This McCarthyist view of the critics of capitalism and imperialism is one that U.S. intelligence agencies, as well as the online companies they hold influence over, have been applying to how they treat journalists who object to the war effort. Since the media sensation around supposed Russian interference in U.S. elections began in 2016, the world has experienced the biggest wave of Internet censorship in history. The algorithm manipulations and content purges from the online companies have accompanied ambitious new projects from the U.S. and E.U. to police the Internet, which threaten to constrain Internet freedom all around the globe.
After Facebook's big purge of alternative media accounts in October 2018, a top neocon insider promised that the shutdown of the open Internet will go much further. Jamie Fly, director of the Asia program at the influential U.S. and NATO-funded think tank the German Marshall Fund, stated that:
"Russia, China, and other foreign states take advantage of our open political system. They can invent stories that get repeated and spread through different sites. So we are just starting to push back. Just this last week Facebook began starting to take down sites. So this is just the beginning."
Fly and the other power players within the empire are attempting to influence world events by controlling the flow of information. It's crucial to them that the Western public views the current geopolitical developments through the American-centric, pro-imperialist lens through which the government presents current events. Having fully expanded their propaganda operations, they're now in the process of de-platforming the opposition press, which is their only obstacle to total control over the narrative.
However, while the empire may try to insulate those within its sphere of control from reality, reality itself is remarkably stubborn. The CIA's propaganda, sophisticated as it is, can't reverse the trend of imperial collapse that the United States is experiencing. No matter how much the think tanks, intelligence agencies, and corporations work to shut down dissenting voices, climate change and other threats to the system will continue to progress. The coming years and decades will be a period of great instability, where the collapse of global capitalism and the accelerating ecological crisis will upend civilization as we know it.
During this upheaval, we can't let society's collective mind be controlled by a circle of oligarchs who intend to deceive us into remaining docile in the face of emerging dystopia. We must continue to seize control of the narrative and take society in a different direction.