It’s Beginning to Smell a Lot Like Totalitarianism, and I Don’t Mean Russia
If we smell precisely the stench of the totality of steps taken in NATO countries in recent months, especially in the United States and the European Union, we can smell the stench of totalitarian rule or some would call it, fascism, being quietly imposed on our basic human freedoms. Some recent examples give pause for reflection as to where we are allowing our world to drift.
Let’s begin with a most ominous, bizarre, Jesuitical interview that the Roman Catholic Pope Francis gave to a Belgian paper December 7, comparing what he calls defamatory news to what he called the “sickness of coprophagia.” He stated:
QUESTION – A final question, Holy Father, regarding the media: a consideration regarding the means of communication…Coprophilia is defined in the Merriam-Webster dictionary as “marked interest in excrement, especially the use of feces or filth for sexual excitement.” And coprophagia is eating feces by humans, literally, eating shit.
POPE – The communications media have a very great responsibility…It is obvious that, given that we are all sinners, also the media can…become harmful… They can be tempted by calumny, and therefore used to slander, to sully people, especially in the world of politics. They can be used as a means of defamation: every person has the right to a good reputation, but perhaps in their previous life, or ten years ago, they had a problem with justice, or a problem in their family life, and bringing this to light is serious and harmful… This is a sin and it is harmful. A thing that can do great damage to the information media is disinformation: that is, faced with any situation, saying only a part of the truth, and not the rest. This is disinformation… Disinformation is probably the greatest damage that the media can do, as opinion is guided in one direction, neglecting the other part of the truth. I believe that the media should… not fall prey – without offence, please – to the sickness of coprophilia, which is always wanting to communicate scandal… And since people have a tendency towards the sickness of coprophagia, it can do great harm.
What people precisely, Holy Father, have a “tendency to towards the sickness of coprophagia”? Is this the dominant sickness of the human race? And if not, why do you make such a disgusting likeness between eating shit and citizens who read about politicians and their misdeeds or media that report on same? And who is to judge if factually true dissemination of facts about political figures from their past is relevant or not to help voters judge their character? I would say the comments are a perfect example of what he pretends to condemn.
Were it only a single, off-the-cuff remark by a religious figure, we could dismiss it along with claims such as the papal infallibility declaration proclaimed by the Vatican I on 18 July 1870. However, precisely because of such dogma and of the influence of the Roman Catholic Church and its Pope, notably in the countries of Western Europe, the United States and Latin America, such vague and dangerous remarks ought to be taken seriously as a signal of what lies ahead for the public freedom of speech.
The papal comments on coprophagia and journalism come amid an explosion of charges in the USA and EU that Russia is planting “fake news” as it is now being called, about Hillary Clinton in the US media by way of certain alternative media. Robby Mook, Hillary Clinton’s former campaign manager, said “fake news” was a “huge problem” the campaign faced in the recent US election: “I still think we have to investigate what happened with Russia here. We cannot have foreign, and I would say foreign aggressors here, intervening in our elections. The Russian were propagating fake news through Facebook and other outlets, but look, we also had… Breitbart News, which was notorious for peddling stories like this.”
Online stories that claimed a Washington D.C. pizza restaurant, Comet Ping Pong, was used by candidate Hillary Clinton and her campaign manager John Podesta for child sex, the so-called “Pizzagate” Scandal, is now being used to drum up popular opinion for censorship of the Internet as well as Facebook and other social media.
Senior New York Times reporter David Sanger wrote a vague, anonymous “according to senior Administration sources,” article on December 9 under the headline, “Russia Hacked Republican Committee but Kept Data, US Concludes.” What we are seeing is precisely the kind of fake news that Hillary Clinton and the Pope talk about. But it is mainstream establishment media doing the fakery.
The fakery is being orchestrated by the highest levels of the mainstream media in collusion with NATO circles and intelligence agencies such as the CIA, which has saturated the ranks of mainstream media with their disinformation agents according to former CIA head William Colby, who once allegedly said, “The CIA owns everyone of any significance in the major media.”
The campaign will continue, likely with some horrendous stories about some psychopath taking a gun and bursting into Comet Ping Pong pizza place shooting innocent customers, because it was said he read in alternative media fake news about the pedophile ring. That already took place, but the man fired no shots. The population is being manipulated to accept extreme censorship of internet and other alternative media, something unimaginable just months ago.
Like clockwork, the “fake news” campaign has spread to the European Union. After announcing she will run again in 2017 for Chancellor, Angela Merkel spoke ominous words suggesting government censorship of independent “populist” (sic) media might be necessary: “Today we have fake sites, bots, trolls — things that regenerate themselves, reinforcing opinions with certain algorithms and we have to learn to deal with them.” She declared, “we must confront this phenomenon and if necessary, regulate it… Populism and political extremes are growing in Western democracies..” Her remarks came after Google and Facebook cut off ad revenue to what they declared to be “fake” news sites.
In the EU, especially Germany, populist has an implicit negative or even fascist connotation as in “right-wing populist” parties who oppose Merkel’s open door to war refugees policies, or who these days oppose almost anything her heavy-handed government puts forward.
War on Cash
Now if we begin to see stealth propaganda preparing us to accept severe clampdowns on the one remaining free media, the Internet and related social media, we can also see an equally ominous, indeed, totalitarian move to create acceptance for the idea we give up the right to hold paper money, giving private, often corrupt, banks total control over our money, and in turn giving government agencies total control over where we spend for what.
This is the so-called cashless society. Arguments put forward are that elimination of cash will be more convenient to consumers or that it will eliminate or greatly reduce organized crime and shadow economy that evades taxation. In the EU, Sweden has already virtually eliminated cash. Sweden cash purchases today are down to just three per cent of the national economy compared to nine per cent in the Eurozone and seven per cent in the US. Public buses don’t accept cash. Three of Sweden’s four largest banks are phasing out the manual handling of cash in bank branches. Norway is following the same path.
In France today, it’s now illegal to do cash transactions over €1,000 without documenting it properly. France’s finance minister Michel Sapin, in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attacks, blamed the attacks on the ability of the attackers to “buy dangerous things with cash.” Shortly after the Hebdo attacks he announced capital controls that included the €1,000 cap on cash payments, down from €3,000, to “fight against the use of cash and anonymity in the French economy.” In high-inflation Eurozone €1,000 is not a huge sum.
Even in conservative Germany, a leading member of the Merkel coalition proposed to eliminate the €500 note and capping all cash transactions at €5,000. Some weeks later the European Central Bank, where negative interest rates are the order of the day, announced it would end issue of €500 notes by December 2018 arguing it made it too easy for criminals and terrorists to act.
And in the United States, as the campaign to sell skeptical citizens on cashless digital bank payments increases, JP Morgan Chase, the largest and one of the most criminal banks in the US, has a policy restricting the use of cash in selected markets. The bank bans cash payments for credit cards, mortgages, and auto loans; and it prohibits storage of “any cash or coins” in safe deposit boxes. So if you have a rare cold coin collection, you better stuff it in the mattress…
Negative Rates and Cashless Citizens
As long as cash–bills and coins of a national currency–are the basis of the economy, the central banks of the USA and EU as well as Japan, are unable to impose a severe negative interest rate policy much beyond the flirtation today by the ECB and Bank of Japan. If central bank rates were to go very negative, banks would be charging customers the absurd charge to make them pay to keep their cash on deposit or in savings at those banks. Naturally, people would revolt and withdraw in cash to invest in gold or other hard, tangible valuables.
Harvard economist and member of the Economic Advisory Panel of the Federal Reserve, Kenneth Rogoff, an advocate of the “war on cash,” noted that the existence of cash “creates the artifact of the zero bound on the nominal interest rate.” In his 2016 book, The Curse of Cash, Rogoff urged the Federal Reserve to phase out the 100-dollar bill, then the 50-dollar bill, then the 20-dollar bill, leaving only smaller denominations in circulation, much like what the mad Modi has just done in India.
Any serious observer of the world economy, especially of NATO nations in Europe and North America since the financial crisis of September 2008, would have to realize the current status quo of zero or negative central bank interest rates to prop up banks and financial markets is not sustainable. Unless cash is eliminated that is.
On April 5, 1933 President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 6102, “forbidding the Hoarding of gold coin, gold bullion, and gold certificates within the continental United States.” That was rightly denounced by many as outright theft, confiscation of privately held gold, by the Government.
Radical solutions such as done by President Roosevelt in 1933, yet in a monetary order where gold no longer dominates, is clearly becoming more attractive to the major bankers of Wall Street and the City of London. Rather than confiscate citizens’ gold, today the Gods of Money would have to find a way to steal the cash of citizens. Moving to their “cashless” banking, limiting how much cash can be withdrawn and then eliminating cash entirely as Swedish banks are doing would enable tax authorities to have perfect totalitarian control on every citizen’s use of money. Moreover, governments could decree, as did FDR, that cash above certain levels must be taxed under some or another national declaration of emergency.
As such bold, radical moves advance, they would of course be vociferously attacked not on CNN or The New York Times or Financial Times or other mainstream media tied to those criminal financial institutions, but in alternative media. Keep in mind it was the uncritical New York Times and Washington Post that uncritically retailed the fake news that led to declaration of war on Iraq in 2003, namely that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction aimed at Washington. That war has spread death and destruction of a scale unimaginable. No one complained at the time about that fake news.
The protest over moves to confiscate citizens’ bank holdings would come through alternate, independent media such as Zero Hedge or countless others. Recently, US media uncritically republished a purported list of “fake news” blogs and websites prepared by Assistant Professor of Communications at Merrimack College, Melissa Zimdars. Zero Hedge was on it.
This is not about endorsing or not endorsing any alternative blog or website. It is about the essential freedom of us all to be able to read and decide any and all opinions or analyses and not to have government decide what I am or am not allowed to read. It’s about the freedom to keep privacy about what I choose to buy and not leave a digital trail that my bank could release to the tax authorities or to Homeland Security or the FBI, or sell to profiling consumer operations. Controlling public communication and controlling private money would go a long way to creation of the perfect totalitarian state. Not a good idea, I would say.
F. William Engdahl is strategic risk consultant and lecturer, he holds a degree in politics from Princeton University.