By Rainer Shea – Jan 12, 2021
Welcome to the latest stage in the process of reaction that’s occurring within the U.S. ruling class amid Washington’s imperial decline. This is the stage where after Trump’s personality cult has escalated a petty political dispute into violence, the liberal technocrats who will soon have control over the White House are escalating their war against dissent.
As Biden’s team plans their waves of online censorship, surveillance under the “Great Reset” brand, and cold war escalations against Russia and China, they’re justifying this to the masses by pointing to the alarming events which Trump has stirred up. They’re portraying a fortification of the liberal order as the only cure for the rise of white supremacist terrorism, deteriorations of bourgeois democratic integrity, public health crises, and economic shockwaves that the country has been experiencing. It’s an extension of the propaganda strategy that these liberal technocrats used during the era of “Russiagate” hysteria, which Glen Ford of the Black Agenda Report described in 2018 as follows:
The ruling circles of the imperial superpower set out to destabilize and call into disrepute the sitting government of the home country. They have inflicted great trauma and anxiety among the public in the process, but thanks to the corporate media component of the cabal, most of the blame has accrued to the targets of the campaign: Trump, “the Russians” and those defamed as “dupes” and “co-conspirators” with the fictitious Putin-Trump axis. It is quite evident that this campaign of self-inflicted chaos is a project of the global corporate class, manifesting elsewhere in the “West” in remarkably similar fashion, but with local characteristics. Russia is, thus, charged with attempting to subvert governments around the world through minions like the St. Petersburg outfit.
Russiagate was the ideological predecessor to the Great Reset. Both propaganda campaigns are designed to take advantage of the symptoms of late-stage capitalism to prop up militaristic, McCarthyist, and American chauvinist mentalities. They’ve both pointed to the horrors that the country has been undergoing during the Trump era, and presented an embrace of the U.S. intelligence agencies, corporate and state-run media outlets, and war machine as the solution. They’ve both played on the widespread desire for our society to go “back to normal,” with an emphasis being put on the instruments for state violence that “normal” in the United States has always represented.
Russiagate provided the ideological base for the dystopian measures that Trump’s Democratic successor would impose. As Glenn Greenwald wrotetwo years ago in response to a poll which showed that more Democrats than Republicans supported continuing the wars in Syria: “A new generation of Democrats, politically engaged for the first time as a result of fears over Trump, [are] being inculcated with values of militarism and imperialism, trained to view once-discredited, war-loving neocons such as Bill Kristol, Max Boot, and David Frum, and former CIA and FBI leaders as noble experts and trusted voices of conscience.” Now the intelligence actors, opportunistic politicians, and dishonest pundits who helped create this ideological base will enact their steps to “fix America.”
Biden will carry out a Patriot Act 2.0. Biden, who’s boasted about being the author of the 2001 Patriot Act, plans to enact new anti-terrorism measures, with his goal reportedly being to create a new White House post overseeing the prevention of ideological “extremists” from carrying out insurrectionary activity. Any honest assessment of the nature of the U.S. national security state, which jails black liberation fighters under the label of “black identity extremists,” tells us that this post will be used primarily for persecuting those fighting against capitalism, colonialism, and imperialism.
Biden plans to use the precedent that the recent Assange ruling has set to further erode press freedom. The U.K. blocked Assange’s extradition because of concerns over prison safety instead of because of any concerns over press freedom, legitimizing all the fraudulent charges the U.S. empire has made against Assange. Throughout all of the core imperialist countries, there’s now an opening to prosecute journalists under the Espionage Act, as the U.S. has been trying to do to Assange (and will remain determined to do). Biden’s team will see great use in this precedent, because it was established through the persecution of a man for his journalistic work to reveal U.S. war crimes in Iraq.
And Biden, along with his war-hungry future secretary of state Antony Blinken, aim to keep the war crimes that they plan to commit on the lowdown. They hope they’ll manage to create the narrative that they’re “ending the endless wars,” even though they’ll simply be leaning more onto proxies, mercenaries, and secret troops while continuing the drone strikes. To do this, they’ll have to prevent leaks about the horrifying realities of what Washington will be carrying out abroad in these next several years. This entails getting Big Tech to crack down far more on anti-imperialist journalists. This entails expanding the Obama/Trump war on whistleblowers to a new dimension, one based in the unprecedented disregard for the rights of journalists that’s been established during Assange’s persecution.
It will also entail a paradigm of propaganda which makes all of this war and repression legitimate in the eyes of the public. The key to this will be to paint any source which reports on the Biden administration’s atrocities as a foreign agent, a “useful idiot” for Putin, or an “extremist” who wants to bring back the chaos which just unfolded at the national capitol. It’s the McCarthyist approach which was established during the Russiagate era. During the Great Reset era, it will be used to stoke suspicion about anyone who dares challenge the government’s noble efforts towards bringing our society back from the brink.
These are the kinds of narratives that will be put out by the governing clique of Richard Stengel, who’s branded himself as the Biden administration’s “chief propagandist” while directing the transition team for the U.S. Agency for Global Media. Stengel has advocated for the U.S. government to use propaganda on its “own population,” for the country to “rethink” the First Amendment, and warned that “The bad actors use journalistic objectivity against us. And the Russians in particular are smart about this.”
Stengel’s self-described obsession in these last few years with fighting “Russian disinformation” shows the mindset that the ruling class has right now. Their fixation is on policing the minds of the masses so that during this moment of rising economic disruption, imperial decline, and class conflict, people won’t gain the anti-imperialist political consciousness to be able to coherently defy the system.
We’re still a ways away from the ultimate phase of censorship which U.S. military experts anticipate, wherein domestic warfare will break out and the government will shut down the internet in the zones the military occupies. But it’s alarming how much the language from today’s oligarchic censors and liberal technocrats mirrors the language from the military reports which predict these dystopian future scenarios; a U.S. Army War College report from 2016 concluded that during a situation of military intervention within the U.S. itself, the military will need to “identify online opinion-makers who could have a major impact in any controversy over US military intervention.”
At that point, the country’s descent into wartime censorship will have transitioned from Russiagate to the Great Reset to something even more extreme. Right now, the ruling class is trying to placate the suffering masses with war propaganda, and with promises of a post-pandemic techno-utopia. When the endless wars further destabilize society, and the utopia fails to materialize, capital will resort to waging open war against the population while using dictatorial censorship to try to cover up Washington’s future war crimes. Russiagate was a preparation for this endgame, as Ford indicated in another part of his article:
Capital is using Russiagate to inflict extreme shocks to the very political system they claim to be defending. The trauma is necessary, they believe, because capital has nothing to offer to the masses of people, and must therefore dramatically weaken or destroy the political mechanisms through which the people make demands on the rulers. They are preparing the landscape for a regime of permanent austerity and war, and plan to suppress all opposition on the Left.
Featured image: File Photo.