The wide scale US acceptance of fluoride-related compounds in drinking water and a wide variety of consumer products over the past half century is a textbook case of social engineering orchestrated by Sigmund Freud’s nephew and the “father of public relations” Edward L. Bernays. The episode is instructive, for it suggests the tremendous capacity of powerful interests to reshape the social environment, thereby prompting individuals to unwarily think and act in ways that are often harmful to themselves and their loved ones. The example is especially pertinent today as Western governments withhold data and utilize propaganda techniques to suppress knowledge of new technologies and life-threatening disasters such as the still-unfolding nuclear breakdown in Fukushima.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is directing $1.1 million to fit students in seven US pubic school districts with “galvanic skin response” bracelets. The devices are designed to measure students’ receptivity to teachers’ lessons through biometric technology that reads and records “skin conductance, a form of electrodermal activity that grows higher during states such as boredom or relaxation.” [1, 2].
In 1964 Harper‘s magazine published the now famous essay, “The Paranoid Style of American Politics,” by historian and public intellectual Richard Hofstadter. Appearing in the wake of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination and Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater’s Republican presidential nomination, the tract remains emblematic of liberal anxiety toward serious and in many cases unresolved questions regarding the forces behind American governance. “The Paranoid Style” overall helped establish the term “conspiracy theory” as perhaps the most powerful epithet in the American political lexicon. “American politics has often been an arena for angry minds,” Hofstadter wrote.
“Human rights have purely instrumental value in the political culture,” Noam Chomsky observed almost twenty years ago. “They provide a useful tool for propaganda, nothing more.”  Since early 2011 Western media outlets have given considerable attention to civilian casualties in Libya and Syria, thus playing an important role in conditioning public opinion for massive military operations that have, in the case of Libya, proven immensely harmful for civilians and beneficial toward forces that stand to profit handsomely from control of that country’s resources. A repeated claim has been that the Qaddafi, Assad, and other autocratic Middle Eastern regimes the US has seen fit to support over the past several decades have suddenly chosen to “crackdown” on their civilian populations, and thus the West must intervene on humanitarian grounds.
The police state’s framework for suppressing information and opinion arguably threatens all forms of independent thought and appears poised to intensify as the “war on terror” continues. As the recent emergence of US plans for indoctrination in reeducation camps reveals (PDF), Western governments’ actual enemy is the capacity for a people to exercise critical thought en route to intervening in and altering political-economic processes.
In the immediate wake of President Obama’s May 1, 2011 announcement of the alleged extrajudicial killing of Osama bin Laden by US military forces, a struggle reemerged over the official 9/11 myth that major journalistic outlets have been complicit in perpetuating over the past decade. The corporate media’s reaction to the robust skepticism over bin Laden’s assumed execution suggested a great deal about the extent to which they are locked in to upholding the broader 9/11 parable and serving the Anglo-American political-economic establishment and status quo.
“Sanitized killing is cheap and efficient. Rule of law principles and other disturbing issues aren’t considered. Secrecy and accountability go unaddressed.” –Stephen Lendman, “America’s Drone Command Centers: Remote Warriors Operate Computer Keyboards and Joysticks“.
It is estimated that one in three CIA drone strikes in Pakistan kills a child . Between 2004 and 2011 at least 168 children have been killed in America’s drone war in that country alone.
In the purported digital age one is frequently presented with the notion that communication will inevitably make society a more coherent whole. Yet media technology has failed to conquer the combined obstacles of the censorial use of language and geographic distance when it comes to relating the many horrors of modern warfare. Instead, such technology has reinforced a now familiar tradition of language games that cleanses atrocities from the popular memory.