Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Shrinking the Technosphere, Part III

[Réduire la techno-sphère, Partie III]

[Part I] [Part II]

Previously in this series of posts we outlined how inside the US special interests use political technologies to keep the population fooled. We also showed how these efforts will eventually fail, either through internal contradiction or because the parasites eventually end up killing the host. We will now turn our attention to political technologies used by the US against the rest of the world. This may seem like a digression from the task of addressing the question at hand—of how to bring about social change in order to avert climate catastrophe—but it is necessary.

The long list of political technologies used within the US to keep Americans fooled helped us show just how pervasive and destructive these technologies are. We are yet to see any ways to neutralize these technologies—because Americans have failed to do so. To find examples of successful ways to neutralize them, we have to look at what the US has been attempting to do to the rest of the world—and failing.

No matter how good America's luck has been—isolated geographic location, plentiful natural resources, the gigantic windfall of its victory in World War II, the additional windfall of the Soviet collapse—the luck was bound to run out eventually. In fact, to a large extent it already has: as a purely practical matter, it simply isn't possible to continue running roughshod over the entire planet if you run roughshod over your own population as well. The US has less than 5% of the world's population, half of whom are obese, a third on drugs and a quarter mentally ill. It leads the world in deaths from gun violence, police murders and prison population. Half the children are born into poverty and a third into broken and nonexistent families. Over a quarter of the working age population is permanently out of work. By no stretch of the imagination is this a description of a group that can rule the world..

Beyond the simple matter of all good (or, if you prefer, evil) things eventually coming to an end, the rest of the world has evolved some effective antibodies against American political technologies, and some of them may be helpful in bringing about the rapid social changes that are needed in order to avert climate catastrophe. Before the US empire is swept away in a wave of confusion and embarrassment, we may be able to extract some useful lessons from it.

We can divide the political technologies the US uses against the rest of the world into three broad categories. Although the first two may not involve overt, physical violence—at least not every time they are applied—all three categories are actually forms of warfare—hybrid warfare.
  1. International Loan Sharking
  2. The Orange Revolution Syndicate
  3. Terrorism by Proxy
John Perkins describes International Loan Sharking in his Confessions of an Economic Hit Man:
Economic hit men (EHMs) are highly paid professionals who cheat countries around the globe out of trillions of dollars. They funnel money from the World Bank, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and other foreign “aid” organizations into the coffers of huge corporations and the pockets of a few wealthy families who control the planet's natural resources. Their tools included fraudulent financial reports, rigged elections, payoffs, extortion, sex and murder. They play a game as old as empire, but one that has taken on new and terrifying dimensions during this time of globalization.
These efforts eventually produce a bankrupt country that is unable to service its foreign debt. Whereas in previous eras the US used gunboat diplomacy to extort payments from deadbeat countries, in a globalized economic environment this has been rendered largely unnecessary. Instead, the simple threat of refusing to provide liquidity to the country's banks is enough to make it capitulate. In turn, capitulation leads to the imposition of austerity: health, education, electricity, water and other public services are either cut or privatized and bought up on the cheap by foreign interests; private savings are confiscated to make symbolic payments against a ballooning foreign debt; subsidies and tariffs are changed to benefit G8 nations to the country's detriment, and so on. Society crumbles; young people, and anyone talented or educated, tries to emigrate, leaving behind the destitute old, the hopeless, and the social predators.

This political technology has worked a great deal of the time, most recently with Greece, Portugal and Ireland. But there are still some countries which, although integrated into the global economy, are politically able to withstand this juggernaut and insist on maintaining their sovereignty and on pursuing a set of policies independent from Washington's dictate. In these cases, the US deploys a different political technology, which goes under the name Orange Revolution (although the actual colors vary). This technology uses large groups of nonviolent protesters to produce social disorientation, disorganization and disintegration, to render the political elites within a country impotent, and to exploit the moment of chaos and confusion in order to install a puppet regime that can be controlled from Washington.

The methods of Orange Revolution are often touted as a nonviolent way to bring about regime change. Gene Sharp, the great theoretician of nonviolent revolution, is insistent that all protest should be nonviolent. But the concept nonviolence, comforting though it is to delicate minds, needs to be set aside—because it just plain doesn't exist.

Just because a crowd isn't throwing Molotov cocktails at police while illegally blocking access to a public building does not make it nonviolent. First, the use of a crowd for a specific purpose is already a form of force. Second, if the demonstration is illegal, and if restoring public order would require violence, then the crowd is using the threat of violence against itself as a weapon against the rule of law. Calling such a crowd nonviolent is tantamount to declaring that a man making demands while pointing a gun at his own head isn't being violent simply because he hasn't shot himself yet.

The architects of regime change insist on the use of “nonviolent” tactics specifically because they pose a much thornier problem for the authorities than an outright revolt. If the government faces an armed uprising, it knows exactly what to do: put it down. But when the youth of the nation parades around in matching T-shirts (that have been mysteriously shipped in from abroad) shouting deliberately anodyne, aspirational slogans, and the entire happening takes on the air of a festival, then the government's ability to maintain public order gradually melts away.

When the conditions are right, the regime changers fly in the mercenaries with the sniper rifles, carry out a public massacre, and blame it on the government. These snipers appeared in Egypt in 2011 during the effort to topple Hosni Mubarak. They also appeared in Vilnius in 1991 and in Moscow in 1993. In Tunisia in 2011 they actually got detained. They had Swedish passports and Northern European faces. They said that they were there to hunt wild boar—with sniper rifles, in Tunis. (An alternative version is that were real Swedish wild boar hunters driven to Tunis by a wild boar shortage in Sweden.)

Let us not allow ourselves to be misled: all three types of political technologies the US uses against the rest of the world are types of warfare—hybrid warfare—and “nonviolent warfare” is an oxymoron. “Nonviolence” is a misnomer; with respect to Orange Revolutions, the correct term is “delayed use of violence.”

What transpires in the course of an Orange Revolution is typically as follows:

Phase 1: Groundwork. The action is instigated by a small, ideologically and politically unified, networked group of elite individuals sponsored by Washington's NGOs, think tanks and the US State Department. Their goal is to appear to the government as “the voice of the people” and to the people as “the legitimate authorities.” They use methods of information warfare: hunger strikes, small demonstrations, speeches by dissidents and symbolic clashes with police in which the protesters play the victim. To hide the fact that they are a small, closed clique of outsiders and foreigners in Washington's pay that has conspired to overthrow the government, they merge into large popular groups of citizens, infiltrate legitimate protest movements, and inject their specific slogans alongside popular public demands. Once they achieve a “virtual majority” and accumulate enough followers to march them out for a photo shoot so that Western media outlets can champion them as a popular protest movement, they move on to...

Phase 2: Destruction of Public Order. During this phase, the goal is to achieve maximum social disruption through nonviolent means. Streets and public squares are occupied by almost perfectly peaceful crowds of young people chanting moderate, popular slogans. They start by holding officially sanctioned demonstrations, then start probing the limits by changing the route or by holding meetings longer than scheduled. They start using ploys such a sit-down demonstration accompanied by the announcement of an indefinite hunger strike. While doing this, they actively propagandize the riot police, demanding that they be “one with the people” and trying to force them to become complicit in their at first minor transgressions against public order. As this process runs its course, public order gradually disintegrates.

During this phase, it is important that the protesters do not engage in any sort of meaningful political dialogue, because such dialogue may lead to a national consensus on important issues, which the government could then champion, restoring its legitimacy in the eyes of the people while sapping the protest movement of its power. The regime changers pursue the opposite strategy: of delegitimizing the government by proliferating all sorts of councils and committees that are then held up as democratic, and therefore legitimate, alternatives to the government.

The time of elections is a particularly opportune moment for the regime changers to exploit by claiming that there has been fraud at the polls and by using the social organizations they have infiltrated as fronts in order to claim to be speaking on behalf of the true majority. The White Ribbon Revolution in Bolotnaya (“Swamp”) Square in Moscow on May 6, 2012, right before Putin was to be reinaugurated as president, went nowhere; in that instance, the regime changers broke their teeth, and their local operatives in the “opposition movement” are now some of the most widely despised people in Russia. (Hilariously, the little white ribbons, which were shipped into Russia from somewhere just in time for this action, had also been worn by Nazi collaborators during World War II—something many Russians knew while the foreign puppetmasters behind the fake protests clearly didn't.) But almost the same technology did work later during the Euromaidan Revolution in Kiev in February of 2014.

When those tasked with protecting what's left of public order become sufficiently worn down to react forcefully when the situation calls for it, the stage is set for...

Phase 3: The Occupation. During this phase, which, if effective, is quite short, the protesters storm and occupy a symbolically important public building. This is a very traditional revolutionary tactic, going back to the storming of the Bastille on July 14, 1789, or the storming of the Winter Palace on November 7, 1917. If the preparations were successful, by this point the government is too internally conflicted to act, the defenders of public order are too demoralized to follow their orders, or both. In some cases, as in Serbia, in Georgia and in Kyrgyzstan, this is all it took to move on to phase 5. The highly organized people behind the supposedly spontaneous blitz now declare themselves as the legitimate government, and demand that the real government obey them and step down. However, sometimes it doesn't work, in which case there is always...

Phase 4: The Massacre. Mercenaries with sniper rifles are flown in and ushered into the upper floors of public buildings overlooking city squares where rallies and demonstrations are being held. By this time the defenders of public order are sufficiently demoralized by their inaction in the face of increasingly brazen challenges from the protesters that a few of them can be easily corrupted by large bribes from the foreign sponsors of the regime change operation. They accept the money and depart from the scene, leaving doors unlocked or even handing over the keys. The mercenaries go to work and kill a hundred or so people. Western media immediately express outrage, pinning the responsibility for the massacre on the government, and demanding that it resign. The protesters are incited to immediately echo these slogans and a groundswell of misplaced outrage sweeps the government out of power, setting the stage for...

Phase 5: Regime Change. The new government, hand-picked by the US embassy and the US State Department, assumes power, and is immediately given recognition and support by Washington.

This strategy can be quite successful—to a point. As we shall see, society can and sometimes does develop effective antibodies against it. It is notable that just about any government—from the most democratic to the most autocratic—is susceptible to it, the only real exceptions being absolute monarchs who can make heads roll the moment someone starts speaking out of turn, or those rulers who derive their legitimacy from a divine right that cannot be questioned without committing sacrilege.

The government has no good tactical options. It cannot declare the mass of protesters outside the law, because they are, after all, its citizens, and most of them are not even directly guilty of any administrative transgressions. But if it is to restore public order, it must crack down on the demonstrators. If it cracks down early, then it looks heavy-handed and authoritarian, handing ammunition to the protest movement. If it cracks down at the height of the protests, then it causes a lot of unnecessary casualties, turning much of the population against itself. And if it attempts to crack down when it's too late, then it only ends up looking even weaker, accelerating its own demise.

But the government does have an excellent strategic option, provided it lays the groundwork for it beforehand. The problem with opposing this sort of supposedly nonviolent, externally driven regime change operation is that it cannot be effectively opposed by a government. But it can be quite effectively opposed and disrupted by a relatively small group of empowered individuals acting directly and autonomously on behalf of the people. This is the topic we will take up next.

We will not discuss the third method of regime change—Terrorism by Proxy—because, frankly, it doesn't work. It is yet to result in the installation of a stable puppet regime in any of the countries where it has been tried. It failed in Afghanistan: after the Soviets finally withdraw, the country became a failed state. America's pet terrorists, termed al Qaeda, were then used as decoys to justify invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, but the decoys came to life and threatened to destabilize the region. The latest group of America's pet terrorists, ISIS, who, as of this writing, are so impressed by the Russian bombing campaign against them that they are busy shaving off their beards and running away, has become a huge embarrassment for the US. Terrorism by Proxy does reliably produce failed states, and although some may claim that this is a reasonable foreign policy end-goal, it is very hard to argue that it is in any sense optimal.

In a sense, this is a requiem for these three political technologies.

The first one—International Loan Sharking—is not going to work too well going forward. Developing countries can now borrow from China's Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, in which they can become shareholders. Countries around the world are unloading their dollar reserves and entering into bilateral trade arrangements that circumvent the dollar system. With its own finances in disarray, the US is no longer able to function as the purveyor of financial stability.

The Orange Revolutions have also largely run their course, because the political technology for neutralizing them is by now quite far along. The latest large-scale effort—in the Ukraine in 2014—has resulted in a failed state. Subsequent efforts in Hong Kong and in Armenia fizzled.

Lastly, Terrorism by Proxy not only never worked correctly, but is now poised to prove hugely embarrassing for the Washington establishment. The Russians, with Syrian, Iranian and Iraqi help, are swiftly rubbing out America's pet terrorists with equanimity and poise, while their erstwhile puppetmasters in Washington are visibly demoralized and spouting preposterous nonsense. But there are still some important lessons to be extracted from all this—and we should extract them before it all gets covered by a thick layer of dust.


NowhereMan said...

Great post! This should be required reading for all Americans, even though it would be mostly dismissed and ridiculed. But anyone with half a brain can plainly see that most of these tactics are already being employed widely right here at home too. It's going to be one helluva descent once the bottom drops out for good, which might well happen in the fall/spring of 2016-2017 in conjunction with our staged presidential pageant. I look for another economic shock doctrine event combined with another major staged terrorist event or two (or three...) to invoke martial law and fully mobilize the shock troops. Having been effectively conditioned to worship "the authorities," Americans will reveal their soft Nazi underbellies and acquiesce to every manner of horror perpetrated in their name, and that will be that. The empire will go into full authoritarian mode and the final dissolution - however protracted and painful it might be - will commence in earnest. Fun times ahead for all!

Robert Goad said...

Thanks for breaking this all down and, in the end, perhaps inspirational that the USSA empire might lose its funding due to monetary ineptitude and greed. Amidst all the media white noise it's puzzling just how far the empire is going to be able to push their agenda. Seemingly underpinning the whole charade is the global central banking network, of which China and Russia have one. I'd love to see some historical analysis of how Mr. Putin has dealt with his own central bank.

Down here in Mexico it is virtually impossible to get information about Mexicos central bank manuevering, history, ownership, etc.. The head of the mexican central bank, Augustin Carstens, was second choice to the current IMF head. Carstens, by the way, is a classic physical cliche of a cartoon banker: about 2 meters wide and a healthy eater. One opponent of mexican fiat money down here, Carlos Salinas Price, who has pushed for a actual silver peso, said at one time that he felt his life was in danger due to this stance.

These monetary puppeteers of the geo-political scene are dangerous doods..... and I wonder if we have yet to see them really take off the gloves as their power leaches away? Meanwhile, nice to see them slowly fade. For now anyway.

pvbonafina said...

Brazil was also targeted for a regime change op after last year elections, although they aparently followed a slightly different script this time, probably to avoid turning the country into a costly mess like the Ukraine and to make better use of the utterly corrupt political class. It basically went like this: after phase 1 and 2 were accomplished by the typical foreign-funded NGOs and their accomplices in the press, the president chose to capitulate to every last demand of the bankers instead of being overthrown by an imminent judicial coup. So in the end we got the same old neoliberal shock doctrine without the actual regime change.

Howard Skillington said...

This is a disquieting moment in history to be an American. Neither squad of our one political party can muster a candidate who can be respected or taken seriously by anything approaching a majority of voters. Everyone in the financial realm is holding his breath for fear that someone will pull out a hatpin. All sorts of deniers secretly pray that the next gun nut doesn’t pick their child’s school, that the next un-natural disaster doesn’t devastate their area. And now that, finally, Russia, China, Iran and, soon, others are openly challenging U.S. global hegemony, the response from Washington is curiously subdued – almost as if acknowledging that this had to happen sooner or later.

It feels like the moment before the doomed Titanic suddenly tipped on end, when the band finally had to stop playing and no one could pretend any longer that everything is fine.

Robert Magill said...

Fortunately the US elites are as inept as they are venal. We cannot expect any remedy from the American people who as Chomsky has reported are the victims of a hundred plus years of "manufactured consent'.
As the empire slides into history and we are extremely lucky, we might survive as a second world entity.

beetleswamp said...

I had an opportunity to talk with some Fijians about their recent spat of military coups and it turns out their prime minister Bainimarama is still very popular because he seems to have squashed the corrupting influence of foreign interests that were taking over the country. In the Western media be is slammed as a dictator, but it makes me wonder how things in Hawaii might have been different if the sugar cane barons got evicted by a strong leader.

TH in SoC said...

You seem to have well addressed some thoughts and questions I have been chewing on lately regarding the means by which the U.S. exports "democracy," aka "addiction," "consumerism," "decadence," and "hedonism." I have also been thinking about the cohesive societies which successfully resisted such exports. Russia, China and Iran are very prominent, but on that same list also belong Zimbabwe and Singapore. It would be interesting to compare and contrast these countries.

forrest said...

"Playing the victim" typically means having policemen do things to one that are not nice and fairly rapidly, at said policemen's discretion, stop being fun and can be quite unpleasant. Unless those police are already effectively on your side, you really don't want to do that.

So basically it comes down to which side has the most effective propaganda. Usually, unless they're pretty drastically incompetent, this should be the government. Making said government look corrupt and tyrannical is going to be easiest... when that government in fact is corrupt and tyrannical. It follows that the most natural way to frustrate a group of insurrectionists would be to stop engaging in corruption and abuse of authority... but then, corruption and abuse of authority is the major purpose of government, isn't it? At least, that was Lao Tse's view, that government begins when the strongest bandits in an area meet together and decide, "It's about time we got this whole racket better organized." (And corporations, of course, historically originated as creations of governments seeking a way to reward their strongest supporters with a monopoly of some potentially lucrative mission. Tax farming may be the earliest form of this (?) -- You auction off the right to collect the tax revenues in some province you don't care much about; and the winner recruits his own local goon squad, takes on the hard work of torturing the peasants into revealing where they've hidden the family pig, takes a cut, and delivers the cash stipulated, without exposing your soldiers to risk and blame.

"Nonviolence" really is "non", in the sense that if you're doing it right you are not doing horrible things to people... frustrating people not being in the same class as blowing off bits -- and hardly "forcing" anybody to do you violence; any such hypothetical forcee could stop any time he wanted to. The intention to rule violently after the revolution, to defraud and loot a country clean, something that might be achieved by a nonviolent beginning but is hardly nonviolent. Such means in themselves are pretty neutral, and work better for good ends than for bad ones.

It's too bad the means of deceitful propaganda have become so effective that neither government nor revolution can readily be kept honest... If it were possible to immunize oneself and others against organized deception, that would seem to be the only way anyone could really govern -- in the sense of reliably producing desirable outcomes, or to effectively resist tyrannical systems...

DeVaul said...


I thought you were making a joke about "shaving off their beards" etc., but I just saw a video on RT.com and it showed a short photo of a pile of shaved off beards lying in some scrub during a video about the "heroic" Russian pilots and their survival gear (water, salt, machete, flares). I am glad they have not had to use it yet, as that would mean the US had provided IS with serious anti-aircraft missiles -- something I hope does not happen. Also, has anyone noticed that the Russian pilots and crew members seem to wear only a shirt and trousers and not much else? Contrast that with our soldiers, who look like cartoon characters with all the crap they're carrying -- and in the middle of a desert to boot!

I asked a question over at RT.com, but their forum seems overloaded with trolls and name-callers who find serious questions to be, well... odd. My question was this: if the Russians can see the IS religious fanatics fleeing their positions at night, why are they not strafing and bombing them? Why do they allow them to retreat? Where do the Russians think they will go after leaving Syria (sans beard)?

I know the Russians have night vision and can see them even in jets and helicopters, so what is the reasoning behind this? Does Vlad intend to spring a net on them at the border and then impale them all along the southern Caucasus, thus becoming a Romanian hero? Personally, I wouldn't have a problem with that, but I just don't think that is in the cards.

Dmitry Orlov said...

ISIS has been trying to escape at night, in convoys, as they used to, but their columns keep getting blown up because the Russians fly at night too, so now their tactic is to break up into small groups, disperse and hide out.

NowhereMan said...

Great post and great comments this week all!

@Forrest: The problem now as I see it it, is there is no one government or one opposition to calculate options for. There's many of both! In part, that's a planned outcome, as the shadow government running things in the US has long capitalized on the fact that it provides deniability for its worst atrocities, and in part its a product of all this wonderful media technology we have now that has turned our lives into a 24/7 Carnival Funhouse experience. And in fact, as Dmitry's article documents, most of the organized faux opposition and faux terrorism we see now are just cleverly staged shadow government psy-ops events as well, which in turn generate just enough real follow-on events to keep everyone guessing as to which is which. The likelihood that a real live genuine opposition could see through all this smoke and mirrors disinformation well enough to effectively counter it is thus always kept extremely minimal. In that respect, absent the nukes coming out, which is always an unfortunate possibility here in the US, the alignment of Russia and China to effectively quarantine the madness here in the US seems to be the only possible effective alternative. Here's hoping they have the strength and resolve to continue it, but as the MH17 incident has already shown, US shadow government figures may have already executed plans to eliminate Putin the old-fashioned way, and if they ever succeed at that, god only knows what horrors would be unleashed thereafter.

DeVaul said...

Oh, I see. Strange that RT.com did not mention that. They only talk about HQ centers, arms depots, fortifications, communications centers, staging areas, training camps, underground tunnels and cities, supply junctions, mobile artillery (Toyotas), and several armored vehicles stolen from Syria and the US, among many other things.

I sure would like to see an actual categorized tally of all the "structures" demolished because it appears that ISIS had a larger civilization than Turkey.

The Russians appear to be transparent, but of course they are not totally transparent, but this is much better than the US way, which is to lie about everything and show nothing, unless of course it is a mercenary ramming a bayonet up Gadhafi's butt. I thought we had reached our absolute nadir with the unprovoked invasion of Libya and total destruction of that country, but I was wrong. A Vietnam era gunship recently circled a hospital in Afghanistan for an hour hammering the operating room and IC unit for one hour with 30 mm explosive shells, leaving injured children "burning in their beds".

Will that pilot and his crew commit suicide? Will they high-five their comrades back at the base and talk about the "adrenalin rush" of smoking out those Taliban doctors? Can they ever show their faces again? Anywhere? Will they remain "unknown" forever? I'm guessing yes. I'm also guessing they, or at least the pilot, will become soldiers of fortune. If they return to the US, they will eventually be smoked out and sued -- and identified.

forrest said...

This piece looks apropos.


re comment on comment on... I don't know that there's one government to overthrow or one opposition to overthrow it with (except Christ's) -- I just know that they're all agin us; and I don't think I can keep all the players straight even with a program.

It's all people lying to people, either about facts or their meaning or both at once; and if all we can do is clean up our own act & try not to be fooled too much or two often, hey; we're the only opposition movement I can trust... though I'm not sure about you...

Living is opposition. Let's do that!

Alex said...

DeVaul - since the Russian pilots are not in need of pulling high-G maneuvers, no need for a G-suit, so why not just wear light clothes? Even the standard US Nomex flight suit is light and comfortable.

US troops are sure loaded down with a lot of heavy stuff. May be necessary at times, anyone who's served the Empire is welcome to chime in here.

As an old motorcycle nut, I notice an obsession with protection in modern gear, there's plastic "armor" built into modern jackets and I hate it. Yes, I am protected, but now I can't move freely and I feel am more likely to get hurt if I crash. Empire thinking, gotta be safe, safe, safe, but it may make you less so.

Chris Ferris said...

Is there a part IV coming? I feel left hanging. Let's hear the lessons learned.

Sunthar Visuvalingam said...


I've forwarded the links to your ongoing exegesis of "naturelike technologies" to Amitav:





DeVaul said...

Perhaps no lessons have been learned.

Is this not why we find ourselves in the same situations over and over again?

Tim Bloom said...

Thanks for writing out this thread. The "G8" is the "Group of Seven" plus Russia. It has been suspended. While I don't doubt the leaders of Russia would appreciate favorable trade terms, that wasn't the result of their inclusion in that forum. You probably meant the "G7". It's a minor typo, but considering the context, relevant. I just wanted you to be aware. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G8

Carry on!