Why Does Chris Hedges Hedge His Bets?

Revelations about the machinations of the so-called “deep state’s” conspiracies often conceal deeper truths that go unmentioned. This is quite common, whether it is done intentionally or not.

Sometimes it is intentional and is directed by the intelligence agencies themselves or their accomplices in the media, who operate a vast propaganda network.  In that case, it is because the secret rulers have been caught doing some evil deed, and, not being able to fully deny it, they admit to part of it while concealing deeper secrets.  This is termed “a limited hangout.”  It is described by ex-CIA Deputy Director Victor Marchetti, author of The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence, as follows:

Spy jargon for a favorite and frequently used gimmick of the clandestine professionals. When their veil of secrecy is shredded and they can no longer rely on a phony cover story to misinform the public, they resort to admitting—sometimes even volunteering—some of the truth while still managing to withhold the key and damaging facts in the case. The public, however, is usually so intrigued by the new information that it never thinks to pursue the matter further.

For the average person, it is very hard to read between the lines and smell a skunk.  The subterfuge is often very subtle and appeals to readers’ sense of outrage at what happened in the past.  After the Church Hearings in the 1970s, and then Carl Bernstein’s limited hangout article in Rolling Stone in 1977, where he named the names and “outed” many major media and individuals for having worked with the CIA, many people breathed deeply and consigned these evil and propagandistic activities to the bad old days. But these “limited hangouts” have been going on ever since, allowing people to express outrage and feel some sort of redemption is at hand in the naïve belief that the system is reformable.  It is a pipe dream induced by the smallest puff on the media’s latest recreational drug, for which no prescription is needed.  The media that more openly and proudly than ever reveal their jobs as stenographers for the intelligence agencies (see my US Media Propaganda. Drawing “Liberals” and “Leftists” into the CIA’s Orbit. NPR)

In The Iceman Cometh, the playwright Eugene O’Neill puts the delusional nature of so much public consciousness thus:

To hell with the truth! As the history of the world proves, the truth has no bearing on anything. It’s irrelevant and immaterial, as the lawyers say. The lie of a pipe dream is what gives life to the whole misbegotten mad lot of us, drunk or sober.

Truth may never have been popular, but if one studies the history of propaganda techniques as they have developed in tandem with technological changes, it becomes apparent that today’s incredibly sophisticated digital technology and the growth of screen culture that has resulted in what Guy Debord has called “the society of the spectacle” has made the manipulation of truth increasingly easier and far trickier.  News in today’s world appears as a pointillistic canvas of thousands of disconnected dots impossible to connect unless one has the desire, time, determination, and ability to connect the points through research, which most people do not have.  “As a result,” writes Jacques Ellul in his classic study, Propaganda, “he finds himself in a kind of kaleidoscope in which thousands of unconnected images follow each other rapidly” and “his attention is continually diverted to new matters, new centers of interest, and is dissipated on a thousand things, which disappear from one day to the next.”  This technology is a boon to government propagandists that make sure to be on the cutting edge of new technology and the means to control the flow of its content, often finding that the medium is the message, one that is especially confounding since seemingly liberating – e.g. cell phones and their easy and instantaneous ability to access information and “breaking news.”

Then there are writers, artists, and communicators of all types, whether consciously or not, who contribute to the obfuscating of essential truths even while informing the public of important matters. These people come from across the political spectrum.  To know their intentions is impossible, unless they spell them out in public to let their audiences evaluate them, which rarely happens, otherwise one is left to guess, which is a fool’s game.  One can, however, point out what they say and what they don’t and wonder why.

A recent article, Our Invisible Government, by the well-known journalist, Chris Hedges, is a typical case in point.  As is his habit, he sheds light on much that is avoided by the mainstream press. Very important matters.  In this piece, he writes in his passionate style that

The most powerful and important organs in the invisible government are the nation’s bloated and unaccountable intelligence agencies. They are the vanguard of the invisible government. They oversee a vast “black world,” tasked with maintaining the invisible government’s lock on power.

This, of course, is true.  He then goes on to catalogue ways these intelligence agencies, led by the CIA, have overthrown foreign governments and assassinated their leaders, persecuted and besmirched the names of those – Edward Snowden, Julian Assange, et al. – who have opposed government policies, and used propaganda to conceal the real reasons for their evil deeds, such as the wars against Vietnam, Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya. He condemns such actions.

He spends much of his article referencing Stephen Kinzer’s new book, Poisoner in Chief: Sydney Gottlieb and the CIA Search for Mind Control and Gottlieb’s heinous exploits during his long CIA career.  Known as “Dr. Death,” this Bronx born son of Jewish immigrants, ran the CIA’s mind control programs and its depraved medical experiments on unknowing victims, known as MK-ULTRA and Artichoke.  He oversaw the development of various poisons and bizarre methods to kill foreign leaders such as Fidel Castro and Patrice Lumumba.  He worked closely with Nazi scientists who had been brought to the United States by Allen Dulles in an operation called Operation Paperclip.  Gottlieb was responsible for so many deaths and so much human anguish and suffering that it is hard to believe, but believe it we must because it is true.  His work on torture and mind control led to Abu Ghraib, CIA black sites, and assorted U.S. atrocities of recent history.

Hedges tells us all this and rightly condemns it as “the moral squalor” and “criminality” that it is.  Only a sick or evil person could disagree with his account of Gottlieb via Kinzer’s book. I suspect many good people who have or will read his piece will agree with his denunciations of this evil CIA history.  Additionally, he correctly adds:

It would be naive to relegate the behavior of Gottlieb and the CIA to the past, especially since the invisible government has once again shrouded the activities of intelligence agencies from congressional oversight or public scrutiny and installed a proponent of torture, Gina Haspel, as the head of the agency.

This also is very true.  All these truths can make you forget what’s not true and what’s missing in his article.

But something is missing, and some wording is quite odd and factually false. It is easy to miss this as one’s indignation rises as one reads Hedges’ cataloguing of Gottlieb’s and the CIA’s obscenities.

He omits mentioning the Clinton administration’s dismantling wars against Yugoslavia, including 78 days of non-stop bombing of Serbia in 1999 that killed thousands of innocent people in the name of “humanitarian intervention,” wars he covered for the New York Times, the paper he has come to castigate  and the paper that has a long history of doing the CIA’s bidding.

He claims that Gottlieb and the CIA’s scientists failed in their “vain quest” for mind control drugs or electronic implants that might, among other things, get victims to act against their wills, such as acting as a Manchurian candidate, and as a result, “abandoned” their efforts.  That they failed is not true, and that they abandoned their efforts is unknowable, unless you wish to take the CIA at its word, which is a hilarious thought.  How could Hedges possibly know they abandoned such work?  A logical person would assume they would say that and continue their work more secretly. On one hand, Hedges says, “It would be naive to relegate the behavior of Gottlieb and the CIA to the past,” but then he does just that. Which is it, Chris? By definition, the “invisible” government, the CIA, never reveals their operations, and lying is their modus operandi, especially with their brazen in-your-face biblical motto: “And ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.”

He says the invisible deep state “failed to foresee…the 9/11 attacks or the absence of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.”  This is factually wrong and quite absurd, as is well documented.  They simply lied about these matters ex post facto.  He suggests such failures were due to “ineptitude,” a coy word used by numerous other writers who find reasons to deny intentionality to the “deep state.”

He therefore is implying that the attacks of September 11, 2001, a subject that he has consistently failed to address over the years even while he has written in detail about so much else, did not involve America’s “invisible government forces.” The ineptitude explanation fails elementary logical analysis. Does he think it was intelligence ineptitude that allowed operatives to wire the highly-secure Twin Towers and Building 7 for controlled demolition that brought those buildings down, as the testimony of one’s eyes and that of hundreds of NYC firefighters who reported explosions throughout the buildings affirm?  Ineptitude is another word for avoidance of evidence, gathered over the years by careful scholars and researchers.  Ineptitude is another word for the belief “in miracles,” as David Ray Griffin has phrased it.

What does he think Colin Powell was doing at the United Nations on February 5, 2003 with CIA Director George Tenet sitting behind him when he lied repeatedly and fabricated evidence for Iraq having weapons of mass destruction to promote and justify the U.S. war against Iraq?  Ineptitude?  A failure of intelligence?

Chris Hedges is a very intelligent man, so why does he write such things?

Most importantly, why, when he writes about the past evil deeds of the intelligence operatives – Gottlieb and the CIA’s overseas coups and assassination of foreign leaders, etc. – does he fail to say one word about the CIA’s assassination of domestic leaders, including President John Kennedy in 1963, the foundational event in the invisible government’s takeover of the United States.  Can an act be more evil and in need of moral condemnation?  And how about the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy in 1968, or Malcolm X in 1965? Why does Hedges elide these assassinations as if they are not worthy of attention, but Gottlieb’s sick work for the CIA is?  Like the attacks of September 11, 2001, he has avoided these assassinations throughout the years.

I don’t know why.  Only he can say.  He is a very well-read man, who is constantly quoting from scholars about various important issues.  His books are chock full of such quotations and references.  But you will look in vain for references to the brilliant, scholarly work of such writers on these assassinations, the attacks of September 11, 2001, and the CIA’s criminal and morally repugnant activities as James Douglass, David Talbot, David Ray Griffin, William Pepper, Graeme MacQueen, Lisa Pease, and so many others.  Is it possible that he has never read their books when he has read so much else?  If so, why?

As I said before, Chris Hedges, who has a passionate but mild-mannered style, is not alone in his disregard of these key matters. Other celebrity names on the left have been especially guilty of the same approach: Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, and Alexander Cockburn, to name just a few (Zinn and Cockburn are dead).  They have avoided these issues as if they were toxic.  Nor would they logically explain why.  The few times they did respond to those who criticized them for this, it was usually through a dismissive wave of the hand or name calling, a tactic such as the CIA developed with the term “conspiracy theory.” Cockburn was particularly nasty in this regard, priding himself on dismissing others with words such as kooks, lunatics, and idiots, even when his logic was deplorable.  He liked to use ineptitude’s synonym, “incompetence,” to explain away what he considered intelligence agency failures.  “Why,” he wrote in one piece attacking September 11 critics while upholding the government’s version, “does the obvious have to be proved?”  “Brillig!” as Humpty Dumpty would say.  Absolutely brillig!

The CIA’s mind control operations need to be exposed, as Hedges does to a degree in this latest article.  But revealing while concealing is unworthy of one who condemns “creeps who revel in human degradation, dirty tricks, and murder.”  It itself is a form of mind control.

Perhaps he will see fit to publicly explain why he has done this.


47 thoughts on “Why Does Chris Hedges Hedge His Bets?”

  1. A deeply thoughtful discourse on the very topic Why? is to be found in the first 20 or so pages of Peter Dale Scott’s “Deep Poliics and the Death of JFK”

    I would suggest that, after reading Scott’s analysis, all seriously interested and cogent persons here may wish to re-convene under his illuminating ideas about “why?

  2. It is so unfortunate how divided we are- as many have mentioned here and elsewhere, getting tagged as a proponent or enemy of esoteric agendas will stop or prejudice a conversation before the sentence can be finished. Therefore in order to either support a livelihood or even get a call from a talk show one has to be vigilant not only to NOT get branded as anti-semitic, pro or against Trump, pro official story or against, denier of this or that, or not- but one can not even be remotely associated with those who have been so branded. I have not read much of David Irving’s work, but that British historian is a case in point, as I had to look him up once when someone on a forum tagged me as an Irving sympathizer.
    I’ve always admired Chris Hedges, but he is a creature of the media and in that sense we have to judge for ourselves if he is sincerely uninterested in the assassinations of the 60s or 911 or if he is paid to be so.
    I tend to think he is an honest fellow and just doesn’t want to be distracted from his main theme of corporate rot while speaking somewhere and someone yells out one of the usual cat calls. He has given Norman Finkelstein a spot on his show, but I haven’t yet seen David Ray Griffin. I remain hopelessly optimistic. But none of us should hold our breaths for an appearance of Dr Judy Wood, sadly.

  3. Enough already! All of you! Please stop the intellectual wind baggery , climb out of your ivory towers, go down into the streets and talk to real people. I love you Ed Curtin, as a teacher and as a mentor. Learning from you has changed my life in hard, but necessary ways. I have witnessed so much truth down here in the real world of hungry people, desperate mothers and suffering junkies. Do you really think all this intellectual cud chewing matters to them? I am not trying to undermine peoples’ intelligence. Its just that there has been too many words and not enough action. I am not denying that the CIA is still very much at large along with all their extended intelligence family. So much talk and no heart, no hands getting dirty! Any of you? Do you have any hands on stories to share with me? Stories like those about Jesus who got his hands dirty and broke bread with the little people? Intellectual thought and discussion is an important and powerful tool, but that power is empty without the action to back it up. I yell at people on Face Book any chance I get, about my gravest concern: perpetual war and defense spending. And I will continue to do so. Climate emergencies, 9/11, assassinations, CIA mind games: none of this matters anymore if the psychopaths with the bombs, poison gases, germs and drones aren’t stopped. I’m not ready to write off Chris Hedges just yet. I’ve seen and heard the passion in him, not the intellectual, but the father. That’s how he reaches me. Living a WASP life does not preclude one’s capacity for change. Enough! I will stop pulpit pounding now.

    1. If there is no understanding of the process “action” is ineffective, save for wasting effort, is it not?

      Read Marx, Friend.

      I proffered an explanation and example of why CH and others hedge their bets… If they do not, they’ll krapout. Like Hunter Thompson and many others.

      Below a “discussion” revolving about “cult”… In this respect we agree, it seems, as discussions devoid of semantic value, of undefined and imaginary clubs some do not like, is obviously silly “action”.

      But action can be good. Garden for the dawn, do not fret about the ongoing denouement – it’s a done deal…

      1. I was thinking more in terms of the sociological side of things since our host teaches this subject, how would his students approach such an question?

        for example David Ike thinks that Queen Elizabeth 11 is a lizard
        so do a lot of other people

        I’m asking a simple question from a sociological perspective and you’ve instantly taken it as some form of insult or challenge to the 9/11 truth movement

        1. I asked a straight question about as unrelated as your own to the topic upon which we are focused. I am delighted that you have the ability to know my thoughts despite what is written. However my question did not assume anything, yours did. You did not answer my question…

          The topic is why CH hedges his bets… I have proffered several thoughts on this.

          “Cults” have nothing to do with this, as the terms itself is entirely subjective and undefined – it’s an emotional term used, often, and also for paralipsis – used to take dialogue off topic.

          Since, however, this digression has occurred…

          Let us examine a writer who, evidently, did not manage to hedge his bets so well… Here’s a fragment from 2000

          “…. Look around you. There is an eerie sense of Panic in the air, a silent Fear and Uncertainty that comes with once-reliable faiths and truths and solid Institutions that are no longer safe to believe in. … There is a Presidential Election, right on schedule, but somehow there is no President. A new Congress is elected, like always, but somehow there is no real Congress at all — not as we knew it… . Prepare for the Weirdness. Get familiar with Cannibalism…”

          Hunter failed to hedge? Alas.

          Hunters’ essay> http://www.espn.com/espn/print?id=891226&type=story

          And a story about his failure> http://aneta.org/thompsonmurder_com/ )

          I would offer this definition of “cult”. A cult is a real or imaginary Nth club, which the speaker wishes the audience to know he disproves of.

          1. Mr Hedges won’t bend the mental knee, so to speak to the so called truth movement, ergo he becomes a traitor?


            could it be cult behaviour? Who knows, however i came across this character called Charlie Veitch who thinks it is a cult, he was a big truther, look him up, apparently he was in a BBC documentary, he walked away from the truth movement afterwards,said he was wrong,received death threats, now thats what i call cult behaviour!

            over to you

            Just asking

    1. When cult is understood, say via heuristic, it can mean directly about an individual, e.g., Jesus Christ, MLK, Jim Jones, Obama, Trump, etc.; and it can mean the flock, the followers of a leader.

      Important and necessary dimensions of Legitimacy aside, viz who is properly a “cult leader”, your question raises a point about Cult and 9/11/01 attacks.

      A cult, as I understand it from the twin uses as concepts, cease to be a cult once, to employ Max Weber, the “man and the flock” become routinized as it were. That is, accepted at some level as “legitimate” within a community/civilization/culture/society. [His “routinization of charisma”, though not totally on-point for what I’m attempting to communicate, is partly what I’m getting at, for example.]

      This explains both why a cult and its leader, historically, to borrow a cliché: are often a “flash in the pan.” Plus, the leader dies and with him/her, the movement is kaput — this happens.

      But some [cults] survive and evolve, as it were, and the rest is history. Apostles in action.

      And this does not mean what becomes an institution born of a cult would necessarily resemble, as an institution, that which were their hopes and dreams as cult. [Leader dies, Apostles die, and then the rest of humanity makes do with whether we want to keep this tradition going.]

      Christianity does not equal Jesus Christ, even though the former could not have become without the latter.

      But because the big C was born of the JC, some of us may rightly criticize the big C from the perspective of what we may imagine JC’s hopes and dreams may have been.

      A recent Supreme Court majority decision written by Justice Thomas essentially said it was not discriminatory for a certain “Christian” baker to refuse selling a wedding cake to a certain “Gay” couple.

      Thomas said this was an expression of religious freedom, thus OK.

      Justice Ginsburg dissented, essentially arguing that commerce cannot be so discriminatorily impeded, thus not OK.

      From my perspective, the correct dissent would have been to simply state: No Christian would ever, were she or he a Christian, would ever ever ever deny a personal a wedding cake, irrespective of their sex-identity.

      That dissent in my humble opinion may have ended up being the majority.

      However, I understand why it was not used [leaving aside the fact no one on this 9-person bench ever even considered something as obvious] – it wasn’t because institutions “act”/“talk” in the language of institutions.

      JC as cult-man is not invited to the discussion any more; Christianity, as an institution, cannot be ignored.

      Ginsburg’s inability to see the essence of Christianity; and Thomas’ inability to see the essence of Christianity is another topic for another day.

      As for Cult/cult and 9/11/01 attacks. . . .

      By inspection it would appear, because those searching for truth of what happened on that fateful day are not taken seriously by any institution – yet – that, perhaps by default, “9/11 truth movement” is a Cult – But, big fat but: absent a leader, can this movement, using a heuristic, properly be labeled a Cult without a Cult Leader?

      For me, that is a question to ponder.

      And though it may be true that cult for some is a “dirty” word, let them eat cake. It is also a very useful concept especially applied to, say our current “debate” in our country about “legitimacy” of Trump.

      His opponents, and this is irrespective of one’s individual personal thoughts/feelings on Trump – whether they acknowledge this or not: see him as a cult leader who must be destroyed. And by extension, he MUST remain a Cult-man, and not “legitimate” or legitimate, thus can be destroyed without any needed reflection that might imply remorse.

      And so we have this spectacle of many trying to defend Trump as their “cult/commander in chief”; those opposed to him, that is, opposed to him being seen as legitimate.

      The religious qua religious dimension of this — including from the perspectives of competing camps — of this spectacle I am intrigued by.

      And so a book about this man, instead of being named: “The Trump Phenomena” may better be named: “The Cult of Trump and The Resistance: Essays on Legitimacy”, etc.

      The point being: it is “easier” in our “American System” to ignore [and, for that matter, literally destroy “as need be”] anything [and anyone] that smells of Cult—be that those brave folks seeking answers to what happened on Sept. 11. 2001, Nov. 22, 1963, Oct. 1, 2017, and so on and so forth.

      Emmanuel Ortiz’ poem has many dates: “Before I begin this poem….”


      1. Interesting and unusual post, Jim. Thank you for it. And thanks again to Ed, who provides a perfect place for such provocative commentary to be published and pondered. Given your references to Jesus and Christianity, you might enjoy this Orthodox scholar’s take on the interplay (collision) between the two and the resulting political and economic implications. David Ray Griffin, himself a theologian, once wrote a small book calling for the church to become the champion of the Sept. 11 truth movement. As he no doubt anticipated, there were not enough “ears to hear” sitting in the pews.


        1. The church has not yet become a champion of the Sept. 11 truth movement, but it’s not over. I’m part way through Griffin’s new book, “The Christian Gospel for Americans: A Systemic Theology,” which like other works of his should wake up people still asleep or resisting. Check it out.

      2. it’s not about trying to destroy anybody,its about establishing the truth,if we view 9/11 as a crime you have to have hard forensic evidence,you cant just have a theory, you have to back it up with very hard facts

        as for cults i dont except this idea of the need for a leader,let me give you an example, the brexit vote in Britain,those who want to remain in the EU truly believe it will be the end of Britain if she leaves the EU,its totally irrational behaviour,honestly people become completely hysterical, they think Britain will become a fascist state, or they’ll be trapped in some sort of North Korean hell,and yet when questioned about the EU they know absolutely nothing about how it functions, they believe in this thing, an institution not a person,and if you challenge them on social media you get banned,de platformed,the worst of it is you have those who want to leave who are even more irrational

        9/11 truthers don’t need a leader as the “truth” as such transcends all else,i see it as a collective social spasm by people who feel powerless against the actions of the state and the way the international globalised system works

        essentially this system balkanises our society,we become atomized,in our own little worlds,under such conditions there has to be hope,for Britain its brexit, for Americans its 9/11,for many its the LGBT community,for many more its a kind of resistance against what they consider a greater conspiracy of the evil western empire,its this latter point i think the truth movement belongs, so it doesn’t need a leader as such it has leaders,who become heretic s amongst the diverse groups, therefore this idea of attacking ones own side, which is presumably what this article is about is frankly an irrational act of self harm

        i view all these things as symptoms of post modernist thinking which essentially destroys and deligitimises all knowledge and results in behaviour which is “cult like”

        1. There’s plenty of hard forensic evidence in the 9/11 truth effort, and it’s coming out. No thanks to intellectuals who talk about postmodernism. (Not to say postmodernism isn’t a fascinating topic.) We truthers are making progress, while the managers of the news media and the opinion media of all stripes assiduously avoid reporting or commenting on it. News operations are businesses. unlike Ed’s blog, and are captive of all sorts of forces they don’t talk about, but some of their news people want to report on the great wealth of evidence that contradicts the government fairy tale but cannot and get paid for it.

      1. Do you also believe in flat earth theory, I’ve just watched a YouTube video and some guy who totally mangled a load of physics to prove the earth is actually flat!

        1. Your “some guy” video obviously has nothing to do with over 3,000 architects and engineers (whose work I referenced) who rely on science and the laws of physics to do their life’s work which is to insure public safety in building design and construction. Perhaps you should choose more reputable sources than random “some guys” on Youtube if you ever hope to educate yourself – eh?

          1. Gary the operative word is
            ” educate myself ” as opposed to brainwashing myself

            Charlie Veitch who made the BBC documentary thought he’d brainwashed himself, oh and he talked to loads of experts

  4. And how does Class recon in the reasoned deductions as to motives for the compromized Zinn, Hedges, Chomsky and so forth…one might extend this to RT news…why does the elephant get ignored? The 911 affair is transparently a Reichtag Fire, and an inside job…the official stories risible – why say nothing about this foundational lie?

    One does not wish to be expelled from one’s own class… Is this, perhaps a partial reason? There’s “alienation” to consider… (Marx’s Theory of says much)

    These men have spent their lives as poseurs? Well… Did they speak the obvious whole truth?

    Ben Margolis, the “left-wing” lawyer, used to advise his associates that they represented not so much their client, as his class…. (If I understood his interviews)…was he right?

    People defend their own class. Debs and Marx and Fidel and Che and Mao and other heroes…they betrayed their class.

    Ben had a point… Maybe Fidel and Mao had good timing, eh?

    I went to listen to Hedges, and the Presbyterian Voice was off-putting – and I agree as to perceptions… However he assumes, or seems to assume, also, that a collapse of the US civil order is liable to take place, and that therefore the logical actor ought to plan for the reconstructionary, or revolutionary, phase.

    In such an agenda any reference to 911 would simply serve to impede, eh?

  5. Jim is right. Chris Hedges is inherently marginal because he performs helpless, lugubrious hand-wringing. If you were to emulate him you would be politically useless too. When he does act, he meekly follows authorized channels, as when he went to the comically crooked hacks of the supreme court to contest the NDAA. He found he got more sympathy from Scalia than from synthetic hero RBG. By contrast, a real subversive like William Pepper goes over the government’s head to the outside world. Rather than wasting time with the bent US judiciary, Pepper appealed to the IACHR and panicked CIA into their botched prison hit of Sirhan Sirhan.

  6. Thanks for a great post Ed. I, and I’m sure many others, have shared your concerns, questions and observations about Chris over the years. You did an excellent job expressing those questions.

    Chomsky is a particularly interesting case I must say. He ignores massive amounts of information freely available to all of us that points to the complete fraudulence of the Warren Commission (even at the tender age of 13 I was loath to believe in a “magic bullet).” Not the least of which evidence is the reality that multiple witnesses about to testify to the House Select Committee on Assassinations in the late 1970’s, if we are again to believe the “official story,” decided to commit suicide rather than testify only days or weeks before they were to appear. Such, apparently, is the amazing power long deceased – “lone assassin” – Lee Harvey Oswald exercises from the grave.

    In amazement I have watched video of Chomsky transform from the uber-rational critical thinking style he is noted for, into essentially a blabbering irrational Glenn Beck impersonator, with the mere audience member suggestion that the official 9/11 story may not be accurate. One gains a rather different perspective on the NYT’s designation of Chomsky as the West’s “most important dissident,” when we see him function as a quite obvious gatekeeper on the most important events impacting the American republic. Having a very important “dissident” who evidence-free supports the Warren Commission AND the 9/11 Commission is no doubt quite very “important” to not only the paper of record, but to all other servants of the empire.

    Thanks for not being afraid to say what needs to be said on these matters Ed. Your work is much appreciated.

  7. Even when one is aware that we are living amidst the Spectacle and are being propagandized from cradle to grave it’s still difficult to ascertain the TRUTH these days.

    The ubiquity of information, the 24/7 news cycle, 5G internet searing our brains with data makes it almost impossible to NOT have our attention diverted constantly.

    Compounding the search for the TRUTH is our inability to transcend our limited mindset or to stretch our minds enough to accept the “blasphemous” thoughts that our beloved government would create a false flag disaster to further its dark agenda.

    Guy Debord captured the essence of this concept quite succinctly;

    “He will essentially follow the language of the spectacle, for it is the only one he is familiar with; the one in which he learned to speak. No doubt he would like to be regarded as an enemy of its rhetoric; but he will use its syntax. This is one of the most important aspects of spectacular domination’s success”.

  8. The good questions raise others. It may be useful to revisit the formal language of Rhetoric when analyzing Chris’s writing.

    In the example the error, the error under discussion, is a rhetorical error, a flaw – which raised serious questions about “why”?

    The error, more properly “flaw”, is “paralipsis” – ignoring salient matters and focusing on others.

    It may be the paralipsis is merely an artifact of style… But as Orwell tells us, it’s hard to criticize when your salary depends on you believing a fairytale…

    Formal Rhetoric is teachable and easily learned…but not taught, generally, particularly outside exclusive and private educational institutions.

    I propose that this omission from the syllabus, which began in US institutions more than 100 years ago, has so weakened most US persons’ ability to think critically that they are nearly helpless against the experts at propaganda and population influencing project – from selling stuff people don’t need to creating panic and consent for murder, and war – the supreme crime.

    Why is that? Cui bono? The obvious correlation, if not agency, seems to be the financial benefits which accrue to the “advertising rackets” – from soap-sellers to war mongers. Popular ignorance of classical Rhetoric makes their “job” (crime?) easy.

    1. You’re absolutely right sir about people giving half-baked responses about governmental corruption. I to have wondered why even the most important critics of governmental abuses turn a blind eye to the obvious proverbial “elephant in the room”, when it comes down to the big reveals that ludicrously get swept under the cognitive rug of our biggest advocates of truth. I’ve come to the conclusion that famous people only go so far with their accusations because they fear violent persecution of one form or another by the powers that be.

      It’s the only logical reason that I can access that justifies why intelligent activests fail to tell the total truth. Because Fear of losing everything is the most important powerful tool in a corrupt government’s arsenal.

      1. It may also be that the academics generally do not study chemistry and physics – and their specialized educations weaken their ability to perceive the obvious. For example of the obvious see “Looking at the 9/11 False Flag After 18 Years ” (Bacon @ offguardian) NOAA overhead (9/23-01) shows building 1,2,3, 4, 5, & 6 were demolished as well as the affair with # 7 (“pull-it” said Silverstein.) The legislature in Cali does not seem to know that lead in an element, Romney spoke of having airliners with windows that open… The levels of basic ignorance is bald and terrible.

        2 aluminum tubes, six buildings flat. Who needs explosives?

  9. I was reading Luciana Bohne’s Facebook page this evening and wanted to respond to a question she posed, but her FB doesn’t accept comments from just anyone.

    Her question was as follows:

    [[[The Paradox within Liberal Ideology

    I wanna know the answer to this: at the dawn of the liberal age, how can the mother of liberalism, Great Britain (and her bastard spawn, USA), explain that she was at the same time the biggest holder of slaves* of all European imperialist countries? How can the marriage between liberalism and slavery be explained?]]]

    And then I read this Ed Curtin essay.

    A fragmented consciousness, this would have been my response to Bohne’s perplexity.

    The shoe fits Hedges too.

    I suppose, like Nihilism, a fragmented consciousness is in a way inescapable, but something we must always “fight” against in pursuit of truth and understanding and beyond that, freedom and dignity in life.

    My own discomfort with Hedges is attenuated simply because he is minor figure and a questionable scholar, and in no classical sense, at least, an intellectual.

    This essay reminded me of some questions I’ve had over years that I have theories about, but not firm conclusions, however minor they may seem.

    For example: Why did Herbert Marcuse support Zionism?

    Why did John Dewey go to bat for Leon Trotsky?

    Why is Max Weber’s critique of Marx and capital accumulation seen by some of us as perhaps scholarly, but also, unfortunately, self serving?

    Robert Nisbet’s Sociological Tradition is silent on this elephant in the room.

    But Weber’s attitude towards Marx, if it did not create a tradition of attitudes towards Marx, for me, is nonetheless a blue print, the likes of Hedges — and obviously, not just Hedges — profit by.

    I say this not to disparage Hedges, nor Weber. However, the greatest crimes in my lifetime were never solved.
    JFK, MLK, RFK, Jim Jones, Sept. 11/01 attacks, to name the obvious, and many many others, like Mandaly Bay and the ongoing attempt using spooks to discourage civic engagement in US political process [Google “Las Vegas Mandalay Bay” and good luck finding information about what did or did not go down on 10/1/17; the first several dozen hits are silent on 10/1/17]

    Again, not to disparage Hedges, but his Prejudice, Arrogance and Ignorance do a false and fragmented consciousness make.

    We have no margin for error.

    I don’t think Hedges and many many many others of “his standing and ‘perspective’” have figured this out yet.

    If they had, they would not take the liberty to be incoherent, as the Curtin essay elucidates.

    The fact of the matter is, we have not had a president since JFK; perhaps JFK thought he was in charge; none since him have suffered that illusion. Obama, in my simple view, was the most vain at pretending he was “in charge.” Trump, the least vain about that.

    We can place an asterisk aside Pres. Bush the elder, of course.

    Ike’s so-called warning of industrial military terroristic complex more likely was his admission he too lost control of the government; the supreme WWII Allied Commander, and Commander in Chief wasn’t in charge, either.

    What is one to conclude by J Edgar Hoover immediately blaming Oswald as Bush Jr. immediately blamed “faceless terrorists”? Or Truman before the sun had set on 1963 advocating CIA be abolished?

    What is one to make of the destruction of Tavis Smiley over nothing after writing a book that, among other things, exposes Thurgood Marshall abandonment of MLK in his final year of life, when he did climb the mountain top?

    I can’t blame Hedges and those of his stripe for not wanting to be killed for what they say/write; but they have nothing to fear: they are on the road to nowhere.

    Thank you Ed Curtin for your essays.


    1. Jim,
      Thanks for your wonderful response with its many examples. You are so obviously a scholar of intellectual history and I agree with your various examples from Max Weber to Marcuse. I thought I was perhaps one of the few people around who know Nisbet’s The Sociological Tradition and have it on my book shelf. Your reference to it made me smile. Yes, a fragmented consciousness is a good way of describing Chris Hedges, much of whose work I admire and surely agree with. Sometimes when I read an essay of his I wonder if I had written it or if he had read my mind. Sometimes. The problem with his current article is not a new one, and it shares similarities to the work of many others on the left. But these left and right categories are useless now, for those seeking and trying to express truth in a non-fragmented way escape categories. I know if I referenced all your great points a general readership might be confused since your grasp of history is just outstanding and unusual these days. Many thanks and Pax, Ed

  10. Jul 11, 2019 CIA Pushes for Expansion of Secrecy Law to Stifle Public Criticism

    More than three decades later, the CIA is apparently unsatisfied with the protections the bill granted covert agents. It has enlisted a select group of senators and representatives to help expand the universe of individuals who are protected, making members of the press who cover intelligence matters more vulnerable to prosecution.


  11. Ed raises here THE question that has perplexed and demoralized so many on the left for so long. Why have even some of the most outspoken opponents of neoliberalism, some of the most prominent voices of dissent, ducked the most important machinations of the deep state, the interlocking series of demonic acts, from 1963 to 2011, which laid the foundation for the deep state take-over of American government and culture? Perhaps they have decided that deep state propaganda has been so successful in covering up these stage-setting crimes against humanity that to question the official narratives would be to marginalize and discredit themselves. Thus the consequence of such questioning, as perhaps they see it, would be the stilling of their dissident voices on the panoply of other interrelated issues of vital significance– perpetual war, plutocracy, looming ecocide, the immiseration of the working class, etc. Perhaps they have forgotten that the only force powerful enough to break through a web of tightly spun lies is, as the old oath goes, the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. This is the most charitable explanation I can offer to myself and others equally vexed and disheartened by the ducking of the biggest and most fundamental issues by some of the left’s loudest and most (otherwise) outspoken voices. But it still, in my gut, doesn’t satisfy, leaves me feeling that there has to be more here than mere prudential silence. It fails to explain why these deeply-committed opponents of neoliberalism not only duck these issues but flippantly disparage those who continue to probe them. Silence should suffice for my proffered charitable explanation, but we are dealing with more than silence. So what the hell ARE we dealing with? Thank you, Ed, for doggedly continuing to ask this question of questions.

    1. Hedges leads a very comfortable life: home in Princeton, weekly show on RT, weekly top slot on Truthdig. He is a frequent participant in numerous conferences and an adoringly received lecturer on the circuit. Despite numerous columns on impending ecological collapse, he managed to vacation in Europe this summer. I don’t believe he travelled by solar-powered sailboat. When he discusses his teaching at a NJ prison on behalf of Rutgers University, he never fails to mention that he has taught at some of the most prestigious universities in the US. And, although he disparages the NY Times, he always mentions his tenure there and his position as Mid East Bureau chief. His ridicule of the wealthy elite, when he discusses his time at prep school and Harvard, seems tinged with shadows of one of the seven deadly sins. Several years ago, when discussing his decision to finally be ordained as a minister, he stated that his motivation was to get health insurance.
      Despite some Calvinist guilt, it seems he likes the good life, wishes he had more of it and doesn’t want to jeopardize what he already has. Being a WASP bad boy seems to give him the best of both worlds

      1. Thanks for the interesting take on Hedges. What, may I ask, do you do with Chomsky, whose academic reputation and position (and consequent lifestyle) would seem to be substantially more secure than Hedges, thus allowing Chomsky, one would think, greater latitude to speak freely?

      2. Thanks, Barbara. I know nothing about Hedges’ personal life but what he writes, and just stick to the public record. Pax, ED

    2. Newton,
      I understand that argument,but Cockburn and Zinn maintained their positons up until their deaths. They had no time left to dissent and their platform would soon be pulled from under them, so what did they have to lose. Chomsky is 90 years old or so. Maybe they should have listened to Kris Kristoffensen sing “Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.” Pax, Ed

      1. Along those lines, Ed, I sometimes I wonder if the opposite of neoliberalism, the mortal enemy it fears the most, is not socialism but existentialism.

      2. not true about zinn.
        just before he died he backtracked on his dismissal of 911…he stated something was amiss and a proper investigation was in order to address obvious improbable official explanations of what happened that day..he knew the truth…and at the end he caved to his true nature..I knew Howard and was his student for 3 years at BU and live on the cape where both zinn and chomsky have summer homes…. chomsky and hedges understand that to go down that road is career suicide..zinn didn’t care at the end..he was a wonderful man… a lefty/socialist who enjoyed the good life capitalism brings…the ultimate irony.

        1. Tim, Thanks for your comment. Could you send me info about Howard saying that? I don’t deny that he did many wonderful things and remember talking with him as we marched in protest around Danbury Prison in support of our mutual friend Daniel Berrigan. who was imprisoned within. Pax, Ed

          1. …….Howard Zinn wrote: “Considering how the 9-ll tragedy has been used by the Bush administration to propel us into immoral wars again and again, I believe that David Ray Griffin’s provocative questions about 9-ll deserve to be investigated and addressed.”
            He knew Ed. The 911 rabbit hole was to distracting for intelligent people to go down as it distracts from all the fine work one has done to get anywhere near a mainstream audience and affect change, something Howard spent a lifetime working on with a passion few have achieved..He didn’t want all that work dismissed as “conspiracy theory’ and all that that term destroys so cleverly. In the end he supported Griffin’s work and said so in print..a 180 degree turn around from his previous comments.

            1. Thanks,Tim. I missed that statement he made even though I have read David Ray Griffin’s book (all his books). However, I was referring to JFK, RFK, and other matters as well. Howard, like Chomsky, had disdain for those who thought the CIA murder of these men was consequential or even true.

              1. Absolutely. Can’t speak for Zinn and his take on JFK/RFK murder. But all one needs to read is Chomsky’s ‘rethinking Camalot’ to see where Noam’s head is at in regard to JFK. Chomsky is a broken record and a gatekeeper like so many who allowed to forum to the larger audience. After all what is MIT but and acronym for CIA. Chomsky;s arrogance always turned me off whereas Zinn was totally approachable and open. Zinn’s wife Rosylyn was a sweetheart while The Chomps was a nightmare..maybe that had something to do with it!!
                Hard to believe Zinn didn’t see the obvious especially after Oliver Stone’s film opened the topic to a new generation. Zinn loved the movies..I think maybe he felt he had to walk within certain bounds to achieve what he sought which ultimately was good and genuine.

  12. Mr. Curtin, since i came upon you, ’twas astonishment at first sight, i never miss the latest you’ve graced us, and now i’m convinced, you’re the most honest observer, beyond mayhaps Glen Ford’s Black Agenda Report, currently unstringing the mined designers’ webs. that you speak with artistry as well, quite does me in. thank you. you’re this side of alright.

      1. Mr Curtin do you think people who agree with the official version of events regarding 9/11 should be banned and blocked from internet forums? especially those sites/articles which promote the alternative, what some would call conspiracy theory of events

        Just asking

          1. Good! then can you please ask
            Off-Guardian,who have your above article on their website, why they’re blocking people, after all they set up their platform because they’d been blacked and banned so many times on the Guardian website

            I ask this because they seem to be operating the policy of you’re either with us or against us,a bit to
            George Bush for me,however all it does is create a more polarizing and toxic environment

            For my part I’m simply a disinterested observer who has observed this unhealthy and dangerous pattern evolving

            …again just asking,incidentally many thanks for your prompt reply

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