Waging Peace: Combatting War Propaganda and Propagandists (Part Three)

Waging peace: Combatting war propaganda and propagandists (Part Three)

Resisting the pull of the war propaganda vortex

Calvin Mulligan December 29, rev. Dec 31, 2023. (c) Futurescapes.ca (All rights reserved)

We live in a world of deception. Few things we’ve been sold in this world are “as advertised”, including war. Humans tend to be credulous consumers of information, so it’s a given that we’ve all been deceived by war propagandists — likely on multiple occasions. Who wants to continue being canon fodder in information wars waged by the Powers-That-Be? Once we declare, “enough is enough”, we can view our failures in discernment as learning experiences. Didn’t a wise man once say that it’s only a mistake if nothing is learned from the experience?

Here are 15 tips and techniques that you can use to avoid being pulled into the vortex of war propaganda in your quest to discern and defend the truth. Practice applying them daily in order to develop your propaganda-detection radar, recognizing that even in the best of circumstances we can’t possibly know the whole truth.   

1. Opt for default skepticism: In the post-truth era, every message coming from from the exterior world of establishment institutions, fake leaders and professional liars should be met with skepticism as a matter of course. Major General Smedley Butler (1881-1940) America’s highest ranking US military man at the time, published his assessment in 1930. The title of his book tidily summed it up — “War is a racket.” If the world had absorbed Butler’s insights, it’s unlikely we’d be on the brink of another world war 93 years later.

2. Stay frosty: This military expression is encouragement to compatriots to stay cool under fire. It’s also good advice to citizens caught in the thick of information/propaganda wars. Propagandists will try to ensnare and immobilize you with emotive stories. They eagerly weaponize human emotions using children in particular. Thus during the Syria conflict, the West used the identity and purportedly the thoughts of an 8 year old Syrian girl to mobilize Western public opinion against Syrian President Assad. I tried in vain to alert my former church librarians to the fact that the book this girl supposedly authored (“Dear World” 2017) was in fact Western war propaganda. Stay in your left brain so you can exercise logic and critical thinking when you are bombarded with propaganda constructs. Two of the more notorious examples are stage-managed wonderkind Bana Alabed (Syria conflict) and Greta Thunberg (environmental propagandist).

3. Avoid a rush to judgement. Let’s face it; most of us aren’t directly engaged in kinetic war, so it’s important as citizens that we resist the rush to judgement. Give that screaming headline or video account of an alleged war atrocity a few days to see if it can survive some scrutiny. Passing on such stories only gives them credence. Besides, how will you retract the story once it’s distributed far and wide if it discredited? I’m still encountering sources citing the fake “beheaded babies” story launched at the outset of the Israel-Hamas conflict.

4. Demand evidence: Baseless assertions don’t constitute evidence of the truth. It’s remarkable how many articles printed in mainstream propaganda media demonizing the designated enemy are 100% evidence-free. Distill the content and all you’re left with is unsupported claims and assumptions, smears and tired cliches.

4. Seek corroboration from multiple sources. One way to evaluate the credibility of a report or article is to seek corroboration of the story from three independent sources (triangulation). A single story widely circulated throughout the mainstream media echo chamber remains just a single uncorroborated story, but it can do immense harm if it’s false and intended to mislead.

5. Assess the credibility of the source: Check the track record of the journalist behind the story and his/her employer when it comes to truthful reporting? Based on their respective track records, for example, both journalist Sara Sidner and CNN get negative credibility scores. Sidner was the so called “journalist” that reported the unsubstantiated Hamas-beheaded Israeli babies story. And CNN is the long-standing champion of fake news.

5. Ask yourself “Qui Bono?” In a forensic investigation, one of the first questions an investigator asks is: “Oui Bono?” or “Who benefits?” (from the crime?) It’s a good question to ask when assessing the veracity of a report — specifically, who would benefit if you and the larger audiences were to believe the story? Who would benefit if for example if the public was convinced one side or the other was engaged in war crimes?

6. Open up your analytic lens and look up: The propagandist wants to keep your info “headlights” set on dim and narrowly focused on the immediate. Resist the containment and consider events leading up to the story as well as the outcomes trailing from it. During the Russia-UA conflict, the establishment’s fake analysts conveniently “forgot” the 2014 Maidan Square Coup (supported by the US) and resulting displacement of UA’s PM. They also “forgot” the UA’s many violations of the Minsk Accords leading up to Russia’s military operation in 2022. It obviously worked as NATO’s war propagandists successfully lured millions into waving blue and yellow flags. An honest look at the actual history in the region however, would demonstrate that the term “unprovoked invasion was flimsy propagandist bulls*t.

As UK author, Martin Geddes puts it: “Where we are divided as humanity, attention should be on locating the hidden hand that manipulates us.” In short, who or what globalist entity may be managing both sides of the apparent conflict?

7. Treat anonymous sources and institutional spokespersons as suspect: How much credence should one give a statement issued by the military of one side of a conflict or another or one of their allies? The short answer is none until it can be independently corroborated. If one took the various reports of UA military success over the past two years at face value, you would actually believe that Ukraine was about to announce a victory. Realistically, this never was a reasonable expectation. The credulous UA flag wavers were being fed a rich diet of war propaganda.

8. Disregard the pronouncements of “fact checkers” and supposed “mis-info” gerus. In general, the so-called “fact checkers” are establishment-sponsored entities designed to deflect criticism and discredit competitive claims on behalf of their sponsors. In short, they reinforce the official narrative and their shills as such are incapable of objective, independent assessment.

9. Consider “astro turf” committees and organizations with official-sounding names suspect. Such entities are formed in order to create the appearance of substantive “grass roots” opposition to the establishment’s designated bad guy or a facade appearing to be an authoritative source of  intel. Such groups may in reality amount of no more than a handful of partisans united in their hatred for the political villain du jour or manufactured opposition. Consider that the false Nayirah testimony designed to capture the support of US citizens was guided and coached by big league PR firm, Hill and Knowlton hired by a Kuwaiti astroturf PR committee called the Citizens for a Free Kuwait.

During the Syrian conflict, it was learned that Western media were largely relying on one individual operating out of his apartment in London as the authoritative source for their stories on the conflict. The rather pretentious name of his organization, “the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights” implies objectivity and independence. But the patronage of the anti-Assad Western media suggests the converse.

10. Recognize the use of weaponized language as an indicator of bias or advocacy. Presumably, intelligent people seek independent, thoughtful, and objective analysis of a conflict. And presumably, the source is committed to presenting factual information and allowing the reader the opportunity to reach his or her own conclusions. But during war, we’re bombarded with propaganda thinly disguised as objective journalistic analysis. The critical difference is the latter seeks to persuade rather than inform.

Consider the frequent and typically one-sided application of the term, “terrorist” in the context of the Israel-Hamas war. Even those who dare to protest genocide and call for a cease-fire risk are painted “terrorist sympathizers.” Objectively, who is a “terrorist” in this situation? Strangely, I haven’t seen the term applied to the Israeli forces that reportedly bombed hospitals and killed woman, children and civilians in the thousands. Is this a case of one man’s terrorist is another’s freedom fighter? In any case, the use of weaponed language in this manner is indicative of either advocacy journalism or genuine war propaganda.

11. Sensitize yourself to the feeling of being “herded”. Growing up on on a livestock enterprise, I learned at a young age how to herd beef cattle in the desired direction (the corral, pasture, or up the chute into the truck for market). You made yourself “large” by waving an old hockey stick and making noise to rouse the languishing cattle and get them moving in the right direction. War propagandists do the same to us; they use exaggerated or sensationalized information to arouse outrage and nudge us to support their war-making. Developing a sensitivity to what it feels like to be herded by the propaganda media can be an essential survival skill. The herding of the masses with the respect to the UA war, the Vaxx war, and now the Israel-Hamas war is a case study in the use of propaganda and mass mind control. Learn to recognize and resist it.

12. Trust your gut. Sometimes, when reading or hearing a commentary we’re left with a vague sense that something is off. Don’t dismiss that feeling. Your radar may have picked up on an anomaly at the subconscious level. It can be a timely signal to investigate more closely.

13. Ask yourself what’s being ignored or omitted. What’s not being said may be more important than what is being said. So ask yourself what is being omitted from the story. How much of the real story has been edited in order to subtly guide you to a foregone conclusion? What questions weren’t asked? What issues were completely ignored?

14. Spot cliched talking points. Propagandists seed their material with what they consider to be “sticky” or memorable phrases and/or memes. “Unprovoked attack” got a lot of mileage during the Russia-UA conflict. Israel’s so-called right to defend itself has been frequently been touted in the current conflict. (Upon reading this phrase, you and I are supposed to respond: “Oh, yeah of course…how could I have forgotten that”?” and move on.

But not so fast. Some have countered by asking since when does a military occupier and warden of what’s been called the world’s largest prison camp (Gaza) have any such “right). Is it time to play another “victim card”.

15. Pay attention to what and who is being censored: War propaganda campaigns are, in reality, wars against the truth. One truthful report can defeat a war-maker’s entire false narrative. The truth can expose war crimes, false flags and other forms of theatre. Thus war makers go to great lengths in their push to achieve “narrative supremacy” censor competing sources relentlessly. Some go so far as to kill journalists while attributing such deaths to the fog of war. Don’t buy it. In the context of the Israel-Hamas conflict, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) reports that as of December 23:

  • 69 journalists and media workers were confirmed dead (62 Palestinian, 4 Israeli, and 3 Lebanese);
  • 15 journalists were reported injured;
  • 3 journalists were reported missing;
  • 20 journalists were reported arrested; and there have been multiple reports of assaults, threats, cyberattacks, censorship and killings of family members.

I don’t harbour any respect for war propagandists or any sympathy for their bloody cause. Their job is provoking conflict, securing public support for wars and sustaining them until their masters’ bloodlust and hunger for profits and treasure is satiated. War propagandists (usually hired gun PR firms) are Satan’s servants dutifully working to ignite hell on earth. We can pray that God delivers us from their evil of course, but waging peace requires more. Among other things, it means learning how to recognize the adversaries’ tactics and how to counter them. In the words of the protest hymn of the sixties, we shall overcome.

— Calvin

End notes:

Dear World: A Syrian girl’s story of war and plea for peace (2017): https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/Dear-World/Bana-Alabed/9781501178450

Journalist casualties in Israel-Gaza war: https://cpj.org/2023/12/journalist-casualties-in-the-israel-gaza-conflict/

Abby Martin explains why Israel is targeting journalists in Gaza (“They’re killing the truth”)


CNN reporter who “confirmed fake beheaded Israel babies promoted Libya intervention propaganda in 2011


Syrian Observatory for Human Rights


Registered Israeli foreign agent driving contrived campus antisemitism crisis


Christian Zionism


How the government manipulates the facts (with Pilger) (Courtesy, Doug)


Credulous or dishonest journalists regurgitate pro-war propaganda


30 years after our ‘endless wars’ in the Middle East began, still no end in sight: https://www.brookings.edu/articles/30-years-after-our-endless-wars-in-the-middle-east-began-still-no-end-in-sight/

War is a racket


Israeli government propagandist wrecked over October 7 intelligence failure narrative


Bearing witness to atrocity: 15 ways to bypass Israeli media censorship (Veteran’s Today): https://www.vtforeignpolicy.com/2023/11/bearing-witness/

World on fire sends global defence orders soaring


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