The Silence of Our Friends

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Ignorance Is Bliss

I had been helping my son to understand the impact of the United States on Central and South America by researching news items and printing them for him. While doing so I came across something called Operation Condor in two recent news items, and I had never heard of it. The two news articles:

Kissinger's extradition to Uruguay sought over Operation Condor at Yahoo News
Argentine military warned Brazil, Chile of 76 coup at the Washington Post

So there is this huge conspiracy with US support for repressive right-wing military dictatorships in South America that I have never heard anything about? Oh I have heard about the School of Americas which trained these murderous regimes, and I heard that there may have been some CIA support for the overthrow Allende in Chile, but it's like hearing whispered rumors. When you hear whispered rumors you assume that there may be truth to the rumors, but no concrete facts to back them up. That is what blew my mind when reading about Operation Condor. There are concrete facts to back it up, but our media and educational system will not tell us about it, they prefer for it to be perceived as rumors and conspiracy theory.

Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

This world is upside down. No, this is not a new discovery. But it is amazing to me to continue to discover just how deep and wide it is. I had to go digging for news about South America to find those two articles, when this is the kind of news that should be screaming all over ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, and MSNBC. It should be front page in our national newpapers and news magazines. It should be featured programing on the History Channel, Biography Channel, Military Channel, and other cable channels dedicated to documentary and history. It should be taught in the schools. Instead, do you know what I am knowledgeable about? I can tell you all about Anna Nicole Smith. I have the news on for at least an hour each morning and usually for several hours a day. I should be able to have a conversation about real news with anyone, but all I am prepared for is a discussion of fluff. As sad and tragic as the stories about Anna Nicole's life and death are for her family and friends, it is not national news, it is not relevant in most people's lives. It is no more sad or tragic than the many other people who lose their lives in their prime across America and around the world. If I am interested in Anna Nicole I should have to expend some effort to dig out news about her life and death, while being inundated with news about world events, politics, the workings of our government, how those workings affect people in the US, how those workings affect people in Africa, Asia, South America, Europe, etc. Instead I get fluff and propaganda, and I have to dig for legitimate news. Upside down.

What is really sad is that this could have also been covered by mainstream liberal and progressive blogs and websites. It's not and it won't be. Our lives are much more comfortable believing in lies and propaganda. There is only so far some are willing to go in learning the truth. The reality based community? Not so much. I was thinking about "The Matrix" when Morpheus offers the red pill (truth) and the blue pill (safety, comfort, habit) to Neo. Conservatives one and all would take the blue pill. Liberals would nibble or lick the red pill before taking the blue pill. Just raise any idea that 9/11 might have been allowed to happen or an inside job and see how fast you get shut down. The government has been so good at lying and covering up 9/11 that I don't know how anyone can conclude what is true and what is false. But these liberals, "Oh noes! It can only be incompetence! Don't say anything else!" *covering ears* "LA LA LA LA LA LA!" And these are the people aware of PNAC. Ignorance really is bliss.

23 comment(s):

Also note Guatemala in 1954 when the U.S. overthrew the Arbenz government.

CIA and Assassinations:
The Guatemala 1954 Documents

To be fair, there was a lot of discussion about this in the mainstream media when the Church Committee was meeting in 1975 and again during the Iran Contra investigations.

But that is a long time ago.

By Blogger Ravenmn, at 4/01/2007 1:41 PM  

Back before news as entertainment, I'm sure.

We have never known enough and are forgetting the little we did know. I say this in a collective sense. That's why when Chavez talks about the US attempted coup against him in Venezuela we in the US can say that he's nuts, we wouldn't do something like that. We already have, many times over, and those who have lived through it and have had relatives, friends, and neighbors die because of it know it. But we don't.

I only have vague memories of Iran Contra, because I was a grade schooler then. But I do remember my father saying that they were trumped up charges and nonsense. He's always been a staunch Republican and loves him some blue pill.

I intend to follow up on Operation Condor and our meddling in Latin America. But you also know my disdain for "intention". I don't know how much time I will be able to spend researching with everything in my life up in the air. I sure hope I can at least get a little of this out there to my readers, so that when the government is playing their smoke and mirrors, "It can't happen here" games, they will recognize it for what it is. Actually I think many are like me and already recognize it, but more like, give them actual facts and dates and that concrete evidence to back up what they say.

Thank you so much for the links RavenMN, because I know it will help with this research and getting the word out about our actions in Latin America. I just have to do my part now.

By Blogger Donna, at 4/01/2007 2:09 PM  

Ever wonder why they don't teach this stuff in skool?

Operation Condor even spilled blood on the streets of Washington DC w/ the Orlando Letelier assasination.

By Blogger Arcturus, at 4/01/2007 2:42 PM  

The percentage of Americans who want to hear that America is anything less than the world's foremost defender of democracy is even smaller than the percentage of Americans who still think Dubya is doing a bang-up job.

In other words, there's just not much of a market for "America-is-an-international-criminal" stories.

By Anonymous Eli, at 4/01/2007 3:04 PM  

This post threw me, but it's because I've gone too far in the opposite direction. I *assumed* that we had in fact, done all of those things, but that I just didn't have the facts at my fingertips. That's not good--I don't want to believe things with no evidence supporting those beliefs.

But which is the bigger problem: that the media report fluff, or that most Americans only care about fluff?

By Anonymous spotted elephant, at 4/01/2007 5:40 PM  

I didn't mean "which is the bigger problem", I meant which one caused the other.

By Anonymous spotted elephant, at 4/01/2007 5:50 PM  

I have this theory about our news media and the preponderance of fluff. 35 years ago, pre-cable, pre-internet, the news was 30 minutes long, once in the morning, once in the evening, and once late at night. It was short and to be limited to just what was truly news. Now, with several 24/7 news networks and the dissemination of information through the internet, they have to fill all that time with something, so they go digging up fluff. Since people are essentially voyeurs, the news they want is gossip, rather than something happening somewhere else.The media is playing to the lowest commen denominator, instead of expecting the population to stretch up to what's truly important.

By Blogger Rootietoot, at 4/01/2007 6:01 PM  

I don't know spotted elephant, but I'd say that Rootie has part of the answer. Because I do believe that 24/7 news does need alot of filler and if they filled it with investigative reporting they would go broke. So they found something cheap and easy. I remember early CNN, at nearly the same time shows like Current Affair and Inside Edition with their lurid headlines and celeb news were getting big. I think they are also the precursors to cable channels like E!. So CNN incorporated that. Thinking about what you said, Rootie, I wish the cable news networks would at least have their half hour morning, evening, and late night real news with no fluff, and do the fluff news combo for the rest of the day, with some hour long or more investigative reports during prime time at least several times a week, preferably every day.

I'm wondering what the deal is with MSNBC's obsession with prisons too. Does anyone else notice that in the evenings they run show after show after show on prisons across the country? While I think that prison reform is very important, it never seemed to me that this was the point of those shows. It's more like a guided tour and to show the "monsters" in their cages.

By Blogger Donna, at 4/01/2007 6:49 PM  

Arcturus, Did you know that two of the men convicted of the Letelier/Moffit assasination were CIA assets? And that George H.W. Bush, as head of CIA, went to the trouble to say to the media that DINA and the Chilean government had nothing to do with the assasinations in the weeks following? Even though one of those CIA assets was the planner of the murders and head of DINA; and the other a CIA agent, also a DINA agent, helped to carry it out with the help of some right wing Cuban exiles. DINA was the secret police/intelligence agency in Chile for anyone who doesn't know. The two former CIA assets are Col. Manuel Contreras and Michael Townley.

By Blogger Donna, at 4/01/2007 7:31 PM  

In other words, there's just not much of a market for "America-is-an-international-criminal" stories.

Unfortunately, there is in other parts of the world. They don't hate us for our freedom. It might be a good idea to find out why they do and put a stop to it. That's the only way we will stop terrorism. Continuing to be an international criminal only guarantees more terrorist attacks against Americans and the US in the future.

By Blogger Donna, at 4/01/2007 7:34 PM  

Unfortunately, there is in other parts of the world. They don't hate us for our freedom. It might be a good idea to find out why they do and put a stop to it. That's the only way we will stop terrorism. Continuing to be an international criminal only guarantees more terrorist attacks against Americans and the US in the future.

As a country, we have never really understood the concept of the "demand side", and have always attacked the supply side (not the economic theory). Our country attacks drugs, abortion, immigration, terrorism, solely from a supply or interdiction perspective, but never the root causes that create a "market" for them. (I'm not anti-immigration, but it's my observation that any strategy that does not aggressively target businesses that exploit cheap illegals is never going to succeed)

Oh, and Rootie is exactly right about fluff as a predictable result of 24-hour news. Of course, to fill some of that time with more in-depth analysis, or reporting on the actual news stories that still go unreported, would simply be unthinkable.

By Anonymous Eli, at 4/01/2007 10:12 PM  

Now, with several 24/7 news networks

All of whom are owned by a handful of rich white guys who have connections in the white house.

And of course the 24/7 channels don't do fluff 24/7, there's always a couple of financial sections each day - something which appeals to a demographic who is minimal and tiny, but rich as stink.

And of course, they're the demographic who places adverts on those channels. With TV, remember that they're not targetting mass audiences, they're trying to obtain audiences only as a way of getting advertisers on board - like kos and hte other big blogs - any attempts to appeal to viewers is a result of that, nothing more.

Our country attacks drugs, abortion, immigration, terrorism, solely from a supply or interdiction perspective, but never the root causes that create a "market" for them.

Terrorism is paid for by the US - the mujahadeen became Al Qaeda and the Taliban, HAMAS, Saddam, Iran and pakistan are all products of current or past US foreign policy, remember that the righties are very big on all the stock brokers who died in the towers - the emergency service personel who died because of rudi's incompetence are remembered as a side note.

Drugs are also paid for by the US - or are paying the US, one of the aspects of the Iran-Contra deal was that the columbian righties would be allowed access to the american street drug market, and most of the terrorist organisations we've trained and set up in the middle east have also been heavy drug traffickers, and while there's a global market for afghan heroine, america makes up a large aspect of that global market share, not least of which because many of the drug traffickers use the US as a central base of operations - those beach fronts are so nice, and it's a big business hub anyway, useful for the front ops they utilise to shuttle the big shipments about. Those lax security systems in the shipping business aren't merely accidents of a worthless administration - they allow all sorts of things to be inserted and exerted in around the docks.

Amd hte biggest dock in america is new orleans and the mississippi - which haliburton is rebuilding.

They are the Markets for all those problems, why on earth would they do anything about them?

By Blogger R. Mildred, at 4/02/2007 6:01 AM  

Eli, I reread what I wrote and it sounds like I am disagreeing with you, but I am not. I think we are both saying the same thing in different ways. I don't think that we like complicated narratives, we want a nice simple explanation with the bad guys and good guys easily identified. That's why it's hard to talk about the horrible things that America has been involved in, it messes up that simple story that America is a beacon of democracy, freedom, and justice. For the very simple minded, if you do try to bring up our involvement in Iran/Contra Operation Condor/Gladio etc, then you are anti-American. I'd rather have an America that really is a beacon of democracy, freedom, and justice, instead of using that as some sort of false front for death squads, torture, and pillaging. That makes me pro-American.

By Blogger Donna, at 4/02/2007 8:47 AM  

I'm thinking they don't go after root causes because they always go after the weak instead of the powerful. The drug laws and enforcement is geared towards the small time user or seller. They go after the sex worker instead of the pimps or johns. They go after the undocumented worker instead of the employer. They go after someone who illegally or mistakely claims the child tax credit instead of the big corporation or wealthy indivual hiding assets offshore or using creative accounting to cheat the system out of hundreds of thousands instead of a paltry couple hundreds or less.

By Blogger Donna, at 4/02/2007 8:54 AM  

R. Mildred, everytime I follow a lead on Operation Condor it is like a intricate spider web and easy to get lost and confused. Because they are all connected, the death squads and coups in Latin America, the drug trade, the spy networks in Europe and the US, Iran/Contra, etc etc etc. I don't know how I am going to be able to tie it all together and keep it together in my own mind, not to mention in any further posts.

By Blogger Donna, at 4/02/2007 8:59 AM  

Eli, I reread what I wrote and it sounds like I am disagreeing with you, but I am not.

That didn't even occur to me. It just sounded like you were expanding on it from the international perspective. That dichotomy between how the world sees us and how we see ourselves is one of the reasons we're not making an effort to be better as a country.

Because we think we're *already* the bestest and most virtuous country in the world, and everyone else is just *jealous*, or they hate our virtue because they're the forces of evil. But really, all they want is for us to LEAVE THEM ALONE.

By Anonymous Eli, at 4/02/2007 12:32 PM  

I remember seeing about Operation Condor in a documentary shown on Greek TV. At least these ideas have been talked about outside the USA.

By Blogger teacher dude, at 4/02/2007 1:49 PM  

It's been a while since I read about OC, so no those names aren't familiar - tho yea, I did know about the connections w/ US intell (& w/ some of the Cuban exiles as well?)

I've never been able to watch one of those prison shows start-to-finish. They are like some voyeuristic joy in retribution - a reveling in humiliation. There's patina of concern for prison conditions & human rights. I've seen bits on CA's Folsom, San Quentin (where death row is), Coalinga (women's facility, w/ the women's death row), & Pelican Bay (high-tech high security facility tucked away on the NW coast), & while they tut-tut about the overcrowding, I've never heard mention of the fact that medical care in the state's prisons was so inadequate as to cause a federal judge to declare the situation unconstitutional & appoint an outside 'receiver' to take over all medical programs/facilities/budgets/personnel.

Chavez? He's already weathered a coup attempt we were happy to support. The NED's Venezuela projects budget ain't going down, which isone of the agency's the CIA outsourced destabilzation efforts to after the Church revelations - & who can count the number of attempts on Castro's life?

By Blogger Arcturus, at 4/02/2007 5:52 PM  

Have you seen Why we Fight? It's got a map of all the places we've imposed our will on. Mostly, Latin and South America, Africa and the Middle East--sort of a equatorial band.

And, if you're going to do a closer look at our meddling down south, don't forget El Salvador--that's one FUCKED UP story, too. A lot of people died.

By Blogger Veronica, at 4/02/2007 7:16 PM  

Good stuff, Donna. I really appreciate the intrepid path you're carving out there, clearly with great determination. Keep going.

See William Blum on US foreign interventions since World War II.

See also War Is A Racket by Major General Smedley D. Butler.

By Blogger Kai, at 4/02/2007 11:41 PM  

The other part of the "fluff" has to do with media deregulation, i.e. media consolidation, i do believe.

By Blogger belledame222, at 4/03/2007 1:39 PM  

here via belledame. bloody nice one, both post and thread.

though coming from a different background in an other country on a much smaller scale (swiss white boy n all), also here there's similar local stories not in the news for obvious reasons.

but you can feel them in the air, poisoning the minds and souls.

to me it was always a relief finally learning the lesser nice truth.

knowledge is the real bliss.

always happy seeing other people eager to know instead of denying, too. there are so few.

keep it up. surgery or not, hope you're gonna be ok.

in case you don't know yet, check out and subscribe to their e-mail newsletter. plenty vital stuff that never hits the news or only months later.


By Anonymous am i a bodyfascist?, at 5/14/2007 3:36 AM  

Thanks for stopping by am i a bodyfascist. I'll check out project censored. I do need to get back to this story because there is so much to be told. I just don't have the time with our move coming up in less than two weeks.

By Blogger Donna, at 5/14/2007 8:39 AM  

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