Thursday, September 17, 2015

GOP Fear Debate at Reagan Library

On September 16, 2015 eleven GOP candidates squared off at the Ronald Reagan Library. The U.S. Department of Fear live-tweeted this prime time debate. Following are some highlights from the Department's timeline.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Winners of the 2014 Scare Me Shitless Awards

To view all the nominees, click here.

After the jump: our tally of final results for all nominees and a copy of the original poll.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Nominees for the 2014 Scare Me Shitless Awards

We've invited followers to submit nominations for the Scare me Shitless Awards. The award recognizes media organizations that have created fear out of non-events in 2014. On Christmas Day, the entire Internet will be invited to vote on the nominees.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Highlights of Putin's Annual Press Conference

On December 18, 2014, Fear Department staff live-tweeted the entirety of Putin's annual press conference. Following are the highlights.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Explaining Away the Killings of Vaccination Workers

Eighty-nine vaccination workers from Pakistan and Nigeria have been killed by extremists, and the number of new polio cases in Pakistan is up 400% over last year. Pakistan has exported the polio virus to China, Egypt and Syria. Just last Wednesday, four more Pakistani vaccination workers were gunned down. The world had nearly won the fight against polio.  What caused this sudden turn for the worse?

Into an environment rife with suspicions about vaccinations, we hijacked an anti-hepatitis campaign as cover for a CIA operation. As one foreign broadcaster put it:
In the wake of the CIA’s attempt to confirm bin Laden’s presence in Abbottabad through a fake hepatitis B immunization campaign, many residents and local governments in Pakistan as well as Afghanistan have refused to take part in medical vaccination efforts out of fear of participating in a Western plot. With polio now making a comeback around the world and health workers being killed or tortured by the Taliban, the consequences have been deadly.
We knew what we were getting ourselves into. Predictably, revelations of our scheme eroded the trust of ordinary Pakistanis in vaccination programs generally and emboldened violent extremists. The facts present a public relations nightmare for the Department.

Fortunately, our media partners are turning to time-proven methods to neutralize this narrative.  Here we look at four approaches they have taken.

#1 Bury it  
In a report on the four Pakistani vaccination workers killed last week, the LA Times waits until the fourteenth paragraph to mention our fake vaccination program.

#2 Blame the victims
The BBC blames the rise in polio cases on the Taliban, the ignorance of Britain's former colonial subjects and the stupidity of their government, but neglects to mention our covert operation:
This refusal to vaccinate is one of many reasons why Pakistan is failing to eradicate polio. But it's not just the influence of the Taliban - experts now point the finger at government mismanagement as well.
The New York Times attributes the violence against health workers and rise in polio cases to Pakistan's "political chaos." The 1,200 word article makes no mention of our CIA program.  According to the Times, the deplorable situation causes not Americans, but Pakistanis "embarrassment." It makes a "mockery" not of CIA leaders, but Pakistani politicians.

#3 Blame a local  
VOA pins the blame on a local doctor:
Pakistani officials insisted a fake vaccination campaign run by Pakistani doctor Shakeel Afridi has led to the attacks on polio teams. 
Afridi’s fake hepatitis vaccination campaign helped the CIA locate and kill terror mastermind Osama bin Laden in 2011. An anti-terror court sentenced Afridi to 33 years in prison. 
#4 Alter the dates
Newsweek, taking a page out of 1984, falsifies a date to make it appear as if a fatwa issued by Islamic clerics predated our decision to commandeer a vaccination program:
Attacks on polio vaccination teams in Pakistan have become increasingly common ever since the Pakistani Taliban leadership began declaring fatwas against the vaccination progammes, and in particular the female health-care workers helping to carry them out. 
The campaign to prevent the spread of the disease has continued despite this opposition, but in June 2012 it suffered a serious setback when radical Islamic clerics and Taliban leaders issued a fresh fatwa. This time, the reason for the religious edict had a political basis, banning polio workers from giving out vaccinations in Waziristan, so long as the US continued its campaign of drone strikes in the region. 
On June 16th a fatwa pamphlet, made by key Taliban leader Gul Bahadur, was distributed in Miranshah, the capital of North Waziristan, threatening anyone who attempted to carry out polio vaccinations in the region. “We announce a ban on polio vaccination campaign from today,” the pamphlet said. “Anybody who disrespects this order will not have the right to complain about any loss or harm.” According to the pamphlet, the drone attacks caused conditions worse than those of polio. 
Their opposition was fuelled further in July 2012 when it was discovered that the CIA had recruited now-imprisoned Pakistani doctor, Shakil Afridi to help them find al-Qaeda's former leader Osama bin Laden, by establishing a fake vaccination programme in the city of Abbottabad in a plan to obtain DNA samples from the children living near Osama bin Laden.
Newsweek's account is nonsense. Knowledge of our CIA vaccination operation became known a full year before the new fatwa. By the summer of 2011 it was widely known that we had turned the fear-mongering of Pakistani conspiracy-theorists into cold hard substantiated fact.

At the time, The Washington Post even observed, "news of that anti-hepatitis campaign, which U.S. officials said did not succeed in collecting bin Laden DNA, has stirred outrage among international public-health organizations, which say it could deal a stiff blow to efforts to stem polio and expand routine vaccinations in Pakistan and beyond."

"If you repeat a lie often enough, people will believe it" is a quote often attributed Joseph Goebbels. The Washington Post article reminds us that this quote has a corollary.  In the words of the Secretary of Fear, "A truth spoken once ought never be heard again."  In practice, this means that although from time to time a truth will get reported by U.S. media outlets, our media partners will try to avoid ever mentioning it again.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Will the Ferguson Decision Save Google Glass?

Consumers wearing Google Glass gather valuable surveillance data for the Department. Please don't beat them up.  — Public Service Announcement 
As you know, our media partners are there to make people stupid. Google, realizing people might also want to look stupid, came up with the idea of Google Glass.  Google Glass is essentially a camera affixed to a pair of nerdy-looking glasses. Early adopters are referred to as “glassholes.”  Despite the promise of this technology, it has been slow to catch on and there have even been calls for Google to kill it.

A technology so dorky, only the hottest of supermodels were suitable for ads.

The “big idea” behind Google Glass was to help you to see what our corporate partners want you to see.  We came up with some compelling carrots and sticks to get people wearing Google Glass. For example, we thought those who spy for us in the Google Glass Program might receive instant dossiers on the people they meet. As for sticks, we figured that in the near future, not wearing Google Glass would be like not having a Facebook account. It would make you conspicuous. If you weren't actively engaged in sharing what you see, people would assume you're a creep with something to hide.  

There has been some good news. Google Glass captured the imagination of our ally Dubai, an absolute monarchy in the Persian Gulf built on slave labor. The kingdom's detectives plan to use Google Glass facial recognition technology to ID criminals.

Our shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson brought calls to equip all police officers with video recording devices. While such proposals encroach too far on the freedom of police, Google Glass could point the way to a compromise with civil liberties groups. While providing for recording in the background, Google Glass facial recognition could call up files on anyone in an officer's line of vision. This way, police violence could be targeted at persons on Department lists.  Nobody with a consistent record of ratting-out their fellow citizens need ever be subjected to physical abuse or random arrest.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Our Relationship to Our Corporate Partners Explained

We have been asked to explain our relationship to our corporate partners.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Who is Khorasan? What does Khorasan even mean?

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

All We Need Is Our Bare Hands

Taking away our tanks won't change our attitude.
In the wake of Ferguson, NBC News reported, Obama Orders Review of Police Use of Military Equipment:
President Barack Obama has ordered a review of federal programs and funding that allow state and local law enforcement to acquire military equipment — a concern following the use of such gear during the recent unrest in Ferguson, Missouri. Obama has directed that the review consider whether dissemination of the military guns and armor to local law enforcement agencies is appropriate, according to a senior White House official. The review will also analyze whether local officials are properly trained to use the weapons and whether the federal government properly audits the use of the supplies, the official said.
Who should decide what constitutes appropriate policing in our democracy?  Obviously, the police themselves. Practically speaking, it's a decision for various organizations under the umbrella of Fear Department:
The review will be led by White House staff and relevant U.S. agencies — including the departments of Defense, Homeland Security, Justice and Treasury — and will be carried out in coordination with Congress, the official said.
If you thought this review panel might have us concerned, you would be mistaken.  A CNN story about a protest march in New York that coincided with the President's announcement of the review commission shows why we are not worried.

Eric Garner was accused of selling illegal cigarettes. He had just broken up a fight when we killed him.  According to the CNN report ("Police chokehold Death Sparks New York Protest March"):
During his fatal police encounter, Garner raised both hands in the air and told the officers not to touch him. Seconds later, a video shows an officer behind him grab him in a chokehold and pull him to the sidewalk, rolling him onto his stomach.

"I can't breathe! I can't breathe!" Garner said repeatedly, his cries muffled into the pavement.

An asthmatic and father of six, Garner was later declared dead at a nearby hospital.
 Review of police use of military equipment?  Bring it on! All we need is our bare hands.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Winner of America's Dick Award Announced

The votes have been counted. The people have spoken. America's Dick for 2014 is Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada!

Stephen Harper, pictured at rear, is winner
 of the 2014 America's Dick Awards.
And by a landslide. Stephen Harper received 190 votes, or 45% of the total--just over twice as many votes as runner-up David Cameron, the Prime Minister of Britain. Our poll closed the day before the British leader raised the UK terror alert to "severe" and gave the strongest fear-speech of his career.

Aussie leader Tony Abbott came in third place with 12% of votes. The Australian prime minister performed well considering his short time in office, besting veteran Dick-Award-worthy leaders like Turkey's Recep Erdoğan (8%), Germany's Angela Merkel (6%), Japan's Shinzō Abe (5%), and Sweden's Fredrik Reinfeldt (1%).

America's Dick is the leader who people say would be most likely to screw his own people for us. You can read about the nominees' achievements and our nomination criteria here.

Bruce Heyman, the Goldman Sachs managing director presently serving as U.S. Ambassador to Canada, will personally present the award to Mr. Harper next week in Ottawa.

Thanks to Stephen Harper, Canadians are more fearful than would seem reasonable given their longstanding rejection of statehood and far-north location thousands of miles away from the world's hot spots.

The Secretary of Fear told Fox News, "Stephen Harper is an exemplary ally.  He's created new opportunities for our corporate partners to feed at the Canadian trough. He's toughened sentencing to fill prisons. He's integrated border security. He's militarized Canadian police forces. He's used police to violently crush protests. He's censored government scientists. He's gutted Canada's environmental laws. He's carbon-friendly."

SecFear continued, "Before Harper, Canada had an unfortunate reputation as a peace-loving country. The country was admired internationally for its relatively independent foreign policy in spite of its proximity to us. Today Canada supports our policy of using violence to solve the problems we have created in the Middle East.  Harper is the first to cheer when our Israeli partners build a new settlement or bomb Palestinians.  For the first time in their history, Canadians have reason to fear being disliked."

Monday, August 18, 2014

Our Spin on How the Mideast Spiraled into War

Cable news networks are not supposed to provide background to current events. Poorly informed audiences are easier to frighten. As a rule, our media partners try not to provide perspective.

However, sometimes a superficial attempt to put events into context is better than none.  Case in point: the present unrest in the Middle East. Having lit the match, like any good arsonist, we want to distance ourselves from the fire. Mideast Spiraling in War and Terror, a recent CNN article, hides our tracks through charred forests.

First stop: Libya.

Gaddafi was overthrown by our NATO partners. Although they now have the run of the country, the jihadists played only a supporting role in toppling Gaddafi.  For the Department, Libya is a fiasco rivalled only by Iraq. Thoughtfully, CNN has completely written us out of Libya's history.

Next stop: Syria.

The armed opposition to Assad is largely comprised of hard-line Islamist groups including al-Nusra, ISIS and al-Qaeda. Moderates represent only a fraction of the firepower arrayed against Assad.  CNN says "rebels want to end the rule of al-Assad." Of course for extremist rebels, the endgame is Islamic rule. 

The video accompanying the article includes a map in which Syria and Iraq have been disappeared:

By showing Islamic State in control of all of Syria and Iraq, CNN makes the situation in the Middle East look bleaker than it really is. This wild distortion isn't fully qualified by correspondent Jim Sciutto in his narration of the video. Although Sciutto says IS/ISIS has "taken over more than a third" of Iraq, concerning ISIS in Syria, Sciutto says, "it was one of several rebel groups that was fighting the regime of Bashar al Assad." Of course, ISIS continues to fight the Syrian government.  The map, paired with Sciutto's narrative, wildly exaggerates IS successes. It overlooks Syria's role as the region's strongest bulwark against Islamic State.  Should we ever decide to attack Syria, CNN's audience won't think we're out of our minds.

CNN knows better than to let facts get in the way of a promising new narrative. In the video Jim Sciutto says, "When you look at these crisis, each one has brought a different policy response: in Syria, no intervention..." No intervention? Of course, in June we publicly admitted that we're aiding jihadists groups fighting the Syrian government.  Our continued support for various jihadist groups in Syria protects ISIS by diverting Assad's forces.  

How does CNN explain what happened in Iraq? 

Since spilling into Iraq from Syria...  No need to explain how that happened. No need to point out that we supported the efforts of Saudi Arabia and Qatar to train and arm thousands of Syria-bound jihadists; that we ourselves supplied jihadists fighting in Syria with aid, training and weapons. No need to explain that these policies wrecked Syria's ability to secure its territory and thereby created sufficient instability in Syria for ISIS to grow roots and now "spill into Iraq."  

Is CNN effective? We think so. Readers reacted as we might have hoped to this rewriting of Mideast history. Instead of blaming the Department for bombing otherwise stable nations like Libya and aiding jihadists from Tripoli to Aleppo, CNN's audience is learning--through reports like this one--to blame the locals. 

Readers of the CNN article said they liked this comment best: 

Mission accomplished.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Saturday, August 16, 2014

American's Dick Awards: Nominees

Update:  The results are in.

Named in honor of Richard Cheney, the America's Dick Award recognizes contributions of foreign leaders to our mission. America's Dick is a foreign leader who has gone the extra mile to advanced the agenda of the U.S. Department of Fear and its corporate partners.  He (or she) embodies our values in the day-to-day conduct of their office. While all of this year's nominees gladly put our agenda before the needs of their own citizens, America's Dick is the leader who people say would be most likely to screw them for us.

This year's nominees are: Shinzō Abe (PM of Japan), Tony Abbott (PM of Australia), David Cameron (PM of UK), Recep Erdoğan (PM of Turkey), Stephen Harper (PM of Canada), Angela Merkel (Chancellor of Germany) and Fredrik Reinfeldt (PM of Sweden).

Some leaders aren't eligible.  For example, Israeli PM Netanyahu is a dick, but he's not our dick.  Also, since they don't have a choice about tagging along, little pricks from insolvent client states like Ukraine, Ireland or Greece aren't eligible.

After reviewing the nominees, cast your vote at the top of the page ( You can only vote for one leader.  The poll closes on August 21, 2014.  

Friday, August 15, 2014

Ferguson photo op

Wesley Lowery of The Washington Post shot this photo of a staff member
just before we arrested him. (AP Photo/WaPo/Wesley Lowery).
The golden arches, symbol of our largest fast food industry partner, are believed to have been inspired by the St. Louis landmark. During the recent protests in the St Louis suburb of Ferguson, staff could often be found eating at McDonalds.

The other day, two journalists from the Washington Post and Huffington Post came into our McDonalds.

When the reporters pointed their video cameras at us, we had them arrested and roughed up a bit.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Norwegians More Fearful Than Israelis

If fear runs out, how will Gaza's destruction be sustained?
Is Israel suffering a fear deficit relative to other small nations?

Last Wednesday, a terror threat against Norway coincided with Israeli attacks on Gaza that have left hundreds of Palestinian civilians dead. Since few Israeli civilians have been killed by Gaza's rockets, Israel's main justification for pounding Gaza has been that it cannot stand to have its population living in fear.

However, an analysis of English-language Twitter data by our staff reveals that more Norwegians turned to Twitter to share their fears over a four-day period than Israelis since their country's military assault on Gaza began.  

Monday, July 21, 2014

The Middle East Desk

In honor of Israel's work in Gaza, we're posting a section from the "Foreign Affairs" chapter of Fear for America by the U.S. Department of Fear. Considered the essential guidebook to our activities, Fear for America comprises our most important tweets from the first term of the Obama administration.  It is published by The Fear Press.

Note: In the ebook, clicking the chapter title takes you to the Table of Contents and clicking a link under the chapter title takes you to the respective section.  Here these links don't work.



The United States has diplomatic relations with around 180 of the 190 countries in the world. For over a decade, the U.S. has been working tirelessly to convince every country to embrace the fear of terrorism. The techniques of diplomacy used by the U.S. include threats (you’re either with us or you’re with the terrorists), coercion (most favored nation status), and force (responsibility to protect).  

There’s no faction-ridden corner of the Middle East we don’t think it’s our business to stick our noses in. 


We remind our media partners that Gaza isn’t Syria. Under-report Palestinian casualties. Don’t treat Gaza eyewitness accounts as credible.

If Gaza had any interest in getting attention *peacefully* they’d have championed something humanitarian and creative like... a flotilla. 


Syrian War’s Spillover Threatens a Fragile Iraq
BREAKING: The jihadist insurgency we back in Syria now threatens the stability of Iraq.

Iraq Wants Exxon Out, Russia In

The Involvement of Salafism/Wahhabism in the Support and Supply of Arms to Rebel Groups Around the World
Some Qatar-channeled arms and money for Syria rebels may have been diverted to Sunni militants in neighboring Iraq. Sorry about that. 


At departmental meetings, it’s rare that a staff member will speak out against Israeli policy. Nobody here wants to be called an anti-Semite.

Congress plans cuts to our military, social security, Medicare, education, and foreign aid. Aid to Israel, of course, will increase.

Israel Won’t Warn US Before Iran Strike
$3 billion/year sure doesn’t buy us much leverage.

Palestinians Say Freeze in US Aid Taking Effect
We warned Israel that if they continued building settlements we would cut aid to the Palestinians.

If they build them, we will pay. 

Saudi Arabia

Why leave secular regimes in place to fend off al-Qaeda when Saudi-backed replacements are available? #Syria

Licking the boots of a Saudi prince never hurt anyone’s career in this town.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

New Twitter Account Is More Than a Stage to Showcase Terrorist Groups in the Guise of Trolling Them

We use our new Twitter account to promote Terrorists and
 intimidate analysts who don't abide by our playbook. 
Four years ago we launched @FearDept to promote publicize threats to the Homeland. Based on the success of that venture, in 2013 the Secretary of Fear authorized an expansion of our social media operations. Our new account is called @ThinkAgain_DOS (Dept Of State).

"Think Again" is the moto of our newest public relations and thought-policing initiative. The ostensive, publicly acknowledged purpose of the account is to strike back against Terrorists at a moment's notice whenever they terror-tweet. In other words, to troll them.

Some background. Once the destabilization of Syria was underway, the Secretary of Fear asked staff how some of the smaller terrorist groups could get noticed and attract followers. It had come to his attention that even some important terror groups like Al Nussra only have a few thousand followers. Sec Fear identified the need for a stage, a veritable security theater, where up-and-coming terror groups could make a name for themselves; a cyberspace where they could work on developing their infamy.  It occurred to us that if the Department were to follow some terrorist organizations on Twitter, it could enhance their visibility. Sec Fear's recognition of the need to raise the public profile of Twitter Terrorists was the inspiration behind @ThinkAgain_DOS. Pointing to the big picture, the Secretary explained:
Over time, enhancing the profile of Twitter Terrorists ought to help our corporate partners fund new and profitable counter-twitter-terrorism, cyber-warfare, and surveillance initiatives.  
However, our new Twitter account is more than a stage to showcase terrorist groups in the guise of trolling them.  Observers have noticed it serves another, rather insidious purpose.

Jonathan Krohn (@JihadiStuff) told CNN that we "target journalists and analysts with as much verve as attacking jihadis." Krohn's observation was grounded in his firsthand experience interacting with @ThinkAgain_DOS:

We had publicly insinuated that Krohn, an American writer and journalist, works for the Terrorists:

Aris Roussinos (@arisroussinos), a crisis reporter for Vice Magazine, observed of our new Twitter account:

More than a stage for promoting up-and-coming terrorists, @ThinkAgain_DOS provides a platform from which staff can insult, heckle and harass independent analysts and journalists.  This is important because with respect to our operations in Syria, there are voices we would like to silence.

To help Israel dominate its neighborhood, we have been trying to weaken the Syrian state. It's a policy that has resulted in over 150,000 deaths. So far, we have avoided criticism by blaming Assad on the one hand, and on the other, sending American celebrities to Syrian refugees camps to plead that the world do something. Of course, the revolving door between the Department and various human rights organizations has also helped us dodge criticism.

In Libya we funnelled about $500 million to al-Qaeda aligned groups. Likewise, it's no secret that the backbone of our Syria policy entails supporting armed resistance groups who depend on the muscle of al-Qaeda. The Financial Times describes the Terrorists as the "invaluable allies" of the groups we directly support.

Al Qaeda: The friend of our friend...

Whenever independent analysts draw attention to our tactical alliances with bonafide jihadists, we either ask our media partners to ignore their reporting (the Sy Hersh treatment) or we try to intimidate them into silence (#ThinkAgain strategy).

Saudi Arabia is our ally in the war against Syria's secular regime.
In terms of producing quality anti-Syria propaganda, apart from the fact Syria's Christians overwhelmingly support Assad and the likelihood that Assad would win a fair election [update: he won], the most inconvenient fact about Syria is its secularism. It's awkward for us that many Assad supporters have a Western mindset. It's downright embarrassing that Syria under Assad is a more open society than the absolute monarchies of the Gulf, our allies against the Syrians.

Partisangirl (@Partisangirl) has been one of the sharpest critics of our efforts to destabilize Syria. @Partisangirl is a Sunni Muslim who doesn't want to see her country return to the Middle Ages. Many Syrians share @Partisangirl's assessment that Assad remains Syria's best hope for keeping Syria an outpost of secular values in a region where women are often treated as second-class citizens.

The following screenshot is illustrative of the kind of interactions we have with @Partisangirl. To support her arguments, @Partisangirl will cite a reputable journal like Foreign Affairs. Our social media team at @ThinkAgain_DOS will counter with a link to a story we got printed in one of the tabloids.

PartisanGirl quotes from Foreign Affairs, we link to tabloid stories.

Because @Partisangirl is a strong debater, we have learned to respond to her arguments by insulting her. For example, noticing a typo in one of her tweets, we asked her why she couldn't speak English properly.

You might be tempted to call our interactions with @Partisangirl undiplomatic. Absolutely. The last thing we want is a debate about Syria with someone who knows what she is talking about.

We were engaged in a Twitter conversation with ISIS when @Partisangirl interrupted us, calling attention to our deception.

Partisangirl caught us trying to pass off an old photo of Lebanon for Syria.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

U.S. Senate Hearing on National Security Threats

In addition to providing the illusion of civilian oversight, the Senate Intelligence Committee provides our senior staff with a platform for announcing fears. On Wednesday January 29, 2014 the committee invited us to discuss worldwide security threats.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Dept Scrambles to Block Publication of Leaked Report

On or about Jan 14, 2014, a confidential 185-page report covering the entire scope of the Department's domestic and worldwide activities was leaked.  The report, commissioned by the Secretary of Fear for our corporate partners, has since been made available to the public on the website of an electronic bookstore. We are in contact with the company that operates the website and hope to have the report taken offline shortly.

Anyone with information about how our report came to be leaked is asked to contact the Department.  Remember: If you see something, say something. 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Ashton Kutcher: fear-maker, trust-maker

Blessed are the fearmakers, for theirs is the Department of Fear.    
- SecFear
"I trust my government. I trust them with my data, and I trust 
them to protect me. They've protected me -- they've made the best 
efforts to protect me my whole life."  
You can't turn on CNN without hearing about it. We have Americans believing it's a veritable epidemic. With the help of our media partners, we distribute fake reports that wildly exaggerate it.

Fear of human trafficking is a popular initiative of the United States Department of Fear.  Few celebrities work harder to spread awareness of this threat than Ashton Kutcher.  Wikipedia:
In April 2011, Kutcher and wife Demi Moore began a public service announcement campaign claiming that "Real Men" do not engage the services of child prostitutes who are the victims of human trafficking.  Kutcher's claims that 100,000 to 300,000 American children were sold into sexual slavery were criticized by newspaper the Village Voice, which gave evidence refuting the claims. Kutcher represented a study referring to minors "at risk" for sexual exploitation as referring to children actually being prostituted. Experts estimate the true numbers to be in the hundreds, not the hundreds of thousands. Kutcher reacted to the criticism by accusing the Village Voice of promoting child prostitution and using Twitter to request that Village Voice advertisers including American Airlines, Disney, the City of Seattle, and Domino's Pizza withdraw their advertising from publications owned by the Voice's parent company.
When a good fear campaign is at stake, it's often necessary to overlook the opinions of experts, ignore empirical evidence, and banish common sense.  Our media partners understand this point: CNN quoted Kutcher and Moore's ridiculous numbers without comment.

However false, the image of a quarter million American kids working as sex slaves encourages parents to fear child abduction.  Fear of abduction makes parents want to keep their children inside the house where they pass time watching television programming sponsored by our corporate partners.  Instead of playing with their friends outside, they occupy the sofa eating processed foods. As a consequence, some develop ADHD, others diabetes. The hope is that these children will become lifelong customers of our pharmaceutical partners.

As with any great fear-maker, Ashton Kutcher is also a trust-maker.  In a recent interview with Jenni Miller of Moviefone, Kutchner spoke about the importance of trusting the department.
I trust my government. I actually have a trust for my government with my data, and I trust them to protect me. They've protected me -- they've made the best efforts to protect me my whole life. I don't wake up and worry that there's gonna be a suitcase with a bomb in this hotel, because we live in one of the greatest countries in the world with one of the greatest intelligence communities in the world, that protect us and keep us safe consistently and constantly, and have yet to jeopardize my safety intentionally. So I'm okay with it. 
Ashton Kutcher understands that our attacks on Iraq and Libya, as with our efforts to arm al-Qaeda and destabilize Syria, are occasions where we have unintentionally jeopardized the safety of American soldiers and diplomats and, looking to the future, quite possibly our own civilians as well.   Kutcher told Moviefone:
I think that when we start thought policing people and idea policing people, then that's crossing a line. And I think, you know, everybody's so afraid of this imaginary line of thought police that they forget their own personal safety.
The notion of idea policing troubles Kutcher but he isn't on guard for it, suggesting the concern is "imaginary" (we didn't tell him).  Instead, Kutcher says the public must be mindful of their personal safety, fearing the terrorists and...

The abductors, traffickers, and pornographers. Kutcher continued:
You know, I want to know the IP address of every single person that's sharing child pornography on the Internet, because I might be able to find a child that's being molested somewhere and save that child. I think that that's valuable information to be shared. And if we didn't have these collection and filtering mechanisms for the Internet, we might not be able to help each other and save each other, and I think that the benefits far outweigh the potential downside. 
Instilling fear of child pornography is a powerful means of soliciting support for surveillance initiatives (see 'Stand with us or with the child pornographers').  The downside?  We are capable of planting child pornography on your computer.

Kutcher concludes the Moviefone interview with a shot of false hope:
And the great thing is, we live in a democracy where we get to elect our officials, and if, at a certain point, we feel like they've infringed upon our privacy too far, we can elect people that will demand our privacy.
Of course, if the American people were to elect candidates who support privacy, we would have NSA find something with which to blackmail these politicians. In the unlikely event NSA found nothing, we could always send some photos to the hard drives of their laptops...

Hat-tip DouglasLucas.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

We killed Nelson Mandela's dear friend

We ordered the assassination of a man whom Mandela felt a strong moral obligation toward. It happened on President Obama's watch.  Can you guess which of the hundreds of people we've targeted for assassination since 2008 this individual could be?

Nelson Mandela explains his loyalty to the man.

Here's a transcript:
I have also invited Libyan leader Gaddafi to this country. And I do that because our moral authority dictates that we should not abandon those who helped us in the darkest hour in the history of this country. Not only did they support us in victory, they gave us the resources for us to conduct this struggle and to win. And those South Africans who have berated me for being loyal to our friend, literally, they can go and throw themselves into a pool.
Mandela defends his decision to invite Gaddafi to his swearing-in ceremony as President of South Africa in 1994.  Three years later South Africa awarded Gaddafi the Order of Good Hope.

You may recall what we did to Nelson Mandela's dear friend.

President Obama's Secretary of State had this to say when she received word of Gaddafi's passing.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

May 1st: What to say to your children about Osama

It has become necessary to resurrect Osama as the Anti-Santa
Every Osama Day (May 1st) Homelanders celebrate of the death of Osama bin Laden, the greatest terrorist leader of all time.

However, this new American holiday has made parents anxious.  From Maine to Nevada, mothers and fathers ask us how to talk to children about Osama. It is a good question.

Because Osama Day is a joyous day, the Secretary of Fear is concerned that the most important part of the OBL legacy could easily be lost on the next generation.  "Children need to be reminded why we celebrate Osama's death," SecFear said.

Last year the problem was put to our staff psychologists.  After studying the matter, they concluded, first, that parents need to talk with kids about Osama. Second, they said the best time to have the talk is before the death celebrations. Third, they said that "a powerful consumer experience" must reinforce the conversation.

Our team -- the same guys who reverse-engineered CERN torture endurance training -- came up with a story suitable for parents to tell young children.  It goes like this:
Johnny, sit down, we're going to have a talk.  No not that talk.  Listen up, tomorrow is an important day in our Homeland's history.  Do you know what May 1st is famous for?  (Now, it's possible that Johnny's Marxist-Leninist social studies teacher has put the idea into your child's head that May 1st is "International Workers Day", "Labor Day", or God forbid, "Occupy Wall Street May Day".  If any these ideas come out of Johnny's mouth, you have a see-say situation on your hands: report the teacher.)

May1st is a happy day. The whole country comes together to celebrate the death of a bad man named Osama.  Basically what happened, Johnny, was Seal Team 6 flew into Pakistan under the cover of darkness and crash landed in Osama's backyard.  Our soldiers piled out of the wreckage of the chopper, broke into Osama's house and shot him dead.  Ordinarily, the department would have used drones, but then the CIA couldn't have made a good movie about it.  In the morning they threw Osama's body into the deep blue sea.

April 30th is OBL Eve. "OBL" are Osama's initials and "eve" means "the night before." In the South people say "Obleve."  Every Christmas Eve Santa gives your presents, doesn't he?  Well, OBL Eve is similar but there's one big difference:  Osama is the Anti-Santa.  What do you suppose the Anti-Santa does, Johnny?   (This is a good time to pause.  Let Johnny mull this one over.)

On OBL Eve, Osama Claus, the Anti-Santa, travels around the world on a Russian tank pulled by eight camels.  He stops at every house.   In the morning, the children of the house discover that their favorite toys have been destroyed.  (Leave a squiggly illegible note with the ruined toys. The squiggles should be your best approximation of Arabic. Johnny is crying hysterically.  Give him a hug before you continue.)  
Hey, cheer up big guy.  It's good for the economy.  In 8 months (fewer if Johnny's birthday is coming up, longer if you're still unemployed) Santa will bring you new toys.    

(That's what you tell Johnny the night before. If you haven't maxed-out all your credit cards, in the morning while Johnny holds his shattered toy and wipes away his tears, you surprise the kid.  You hand him a brand new toy. Besides terrifying your child, the idea of this holiday, as with all the others, is to help your family become more energized consumers.)
Happy Osama Day!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Results of our 'Kill or Capture' survey

If the President designates you a potential terrorist, would you rather we assassinate you under ██████████████████████████████ or capture, torture and indefinitely detain you without trial under Section 1021(b)(2) of NDAA 2012?

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Live by the drone, die by the drone?

Admiral Dennis C. Blair
Those of us ordering drone strikes risk falling victim to a drone strike according to Admiral Dennis C. Blair, former Director of National Intelligence.  The Admiral shared this fear on January 22 during an interview hosted by the Council on Foreign Relations.
. . . what I do fear the most, though, is that a terrorist -- and let me say I don't fear too much other nation- states that gain this capability. It's very -- you know if another country has it and is using it against you and then you can use the full -- the full array of both defensive systems and of retaliation to keep it from being used against you effectively.  
I do fear that -- and if al-Qaida can develop a drone, its first thought will be to use it to kill our president, senior officials, senior military officers. And it's possible, without a great deal of intelligence, to be able to do something with a drone that you can't do with a -- with a high-speed -- with a high-powered rifle or with -- driving a car full of explosives or the other ways that terrorists now use to try to kill senior officials. 
Had we better, on this account, think twice before firing missiles from drones at terror suspects? Admiral Blair doesn't think so:
And I think that there are ways to deal with that -- but it -- and I also think that whether we use them or not -- the way in which we use them or not won't affect the zeal of terrorists groups to be able to get them and to be able to kill senior officials for all of the reasons that we are familiar with.
Admiral Blair does not believe U.S. drone strikes stoke the "zeal of terrorists groups" to get drones and kill us. Although trusting the Admiral would allow staff to sleep easier, we find the counter-arguments compelling:
  1. Drone strikes may cause survivors to hold grudges against the department.  They help terrorist groups attract recruits to their cause.
  2. Every time we kill a terror suspect in a drone strike, we lose an opportunity to interrogate someone who might have had knowledge of an impending drone attack.  We're always assassinating people we should be torturing.
  3. We massively fund the development of drone technology, some of which is easy to copy.  
  4. We have set ourselves up to lose the propaganda war.  If the terrorists killed a senior official in a drone strike, would the department get sympathy or would people be shaking their heads saying, "Live by the drone, die by the drone"?
Admiral Blair said that if the terrorists are aiming to take out senior staff with drones, "there are ways to deal with that."  As the department tweeted earlier this week, we know how to address the threat of drone terrorism:

Sunday, January 20, 2013

We would have jailed Martin Luther King Jr. under NDAA

In a powerful speech Thursday, left-wing menace Dr. Cornel West put our power grab under the Obama administration in historical perspective,  explaining the damage we might have inflicted on the Civil Rights Movement.  In an address to Tavis Smiley Presents Poverty In America the African-American leader said he:  
  • Shares conservatives' suspicion of the department. 
  • Suspects we would have jailed MLK Jr. under NDAA if the law had existed then.  
  • Posits that a Culture of Fear prevents people from challenging our authority. 
You can watch the whole speech on CSPAN [update: we have posted it below].  Following is a transcript by department staff.

Dr. Cornel West: I don't want to be in that [White House] meeting either. 
Moderator:  I don't think you're going to be invited. 
Dr. Cornel West: I wouldn't go. I wouldn't go.  Because as a Jesus-loving free black man I would go to a crack house before the White House.  And the reason why I would is at least the crack addicts are honest about their addiction.  [applause] The White House is addicted to power. 
They're addicted to power. That's why you've got to bring power to bear.  But my calling is not just about power.  My calling is about love and justice.  And love and justice is always weak.  That's precisely why the black prophetic tradition in the history of this nation has been the leaven in the American democratic loaf.  Because we recognize that first you have to have a suspicion of government.  This is why I resonate with my conservative brother.  And the reason why is Martin Luther King Jr. was under the FBI surveillance from January 1956 to the day he died.  Governments can be repressive, viscous, ugly, violate your rights, violate your liberties, crush your people, generate the propaganda.  We need that sensibility too. Governments can also be affirmative if they're helping poor and working people.  Governments can use their power to support corporate elites. That's the beginning of crypto-fascism, when they come together with no accountability whatsoever. Not just politically but economically.  That's in part where things are moving. 
Let me say this: Martin Luther King Junior, today, could be taken to jail without due process or judicial process under the National Defense Authorization Act.  Because he had a connection with a freedom fighter who was called a terrorist named Nelson Mandela.  He just got off the Terrorist List -- in 2008 -- of America, let's be honest about that.   Because he had a relation to a "Terrorist." And under the present administration you can assassinate Americans, you can take them to jail without due process. That's a repressive side of the government that the Black Freedom Movement has always been suspicious of.  We got black political prisoners right now in America.  And they're in there precisely because the repression came down so hard and their love was such that they were willing to tell the truth.  That was a threat to the status quo.  And we don't even talk about them
That's why the Culture of Fear is not just silence, I don't think, my dear brothers and sisters. People are afraid. They're afraid to lose their jobs, they're afraid to lose their status, they're afraid of not going to the nice tea parties, they're afraid of not going to the White House.  You can't have a Culture of Fear and generate a movement.  That's why it's not just about justice.  Any justice that's only justice will soon degenerate into something less than justice.   We gotta talk about love. Martin was a tiding of love. If you're not talking about love and willingness to sacrifice, all this is just sounding brass and tinkling cymbal. We're not going nowhere.  We're not going nowhere.  You've got to hit the streets, you got to go to jail and be willing to die.  That's what the movement's about.  If you're not willing to do that, then keep your job and drink your tea.  That's what we're talking about.  
Note:  Although we haven't had time to transcribe it, the video posted above also includes further harsh remarks by Dr. Cornel West.  The civil rights leader is outraged by our decision to appropriate the spiritual legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. for the inauguration of President Obama.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Third Time Lucky

We had Anne-Marie Slaughter, a former director of policy planning at the Obama State Department, write an op-ed ("Syrian intervention is justifiable, and it's just," Washington Post, June 8) in support of bombing Syria.  We've reprinted seven key points with staff commentary.

1.  Don't believe us when we say we want regime change
For some reason China and Russia don't believe anything we say.
A.M. Slaughter: Henry Kissinger recently argued against intervention in Syria [“The perils of intervention in Syria,” Washington Post, June 3] on the grounds that it would imperil the foundation of world order. His analysis was based on a straw man, one put forward by the Russian and Chinese governments, that outside intervention would seek to “bring about regime change.”
Fear Dept: It goes without saying that any idea held by China or Russia is inherently worthless, any perception they share, mistaken. 

2. Our plan works like magic
A.M. Slaughter: The point of an intervention in Syria would be to stop the killing — to force Bashar al-Assad and his government to meet the demands of the Syrian people with reforms rather than guns. If the killing stopped, it is not clear what shape the political process would adopt, how many millions would take to the streets or whom different factions would support.
Fear Dept:  We’ve done a lot to stop the killing already.  For example, we’ve encouraged Gulf state dictators to supply Syrian rebels with guns and explosives. Some say we're providing serious logistics support to the rebels. We can't comment on allegations that Mossad trains militants bent on destabilizing Iran’s most important ally.

If we bomb a country with a pure intention for the killing to stop, the Universe will create the outcome we desire; we just can’t know what shape the manifestation of our desire will take in advance. 

3. Syrian institutions will remain intact
Minority religions are over-represented in Syrian institutions.
A.M. Slaughter: The majority of Syrians would almost certainly demand that Assad leave office, but by the ballot box or a negotiated political settlement that would leave the Syrian state in the sense of bureaucracy, the army, the courts largely intact. The chaos and horrific violence in Iraq resulted in large part from the US determination to destroy those institutions along with Saddam Hussein.
Fear Dept: All we have to do is bomb Syria and voilà! A negotiated settlement and elections will leave “bureaucracy, the army, the courts largely intact.” When it comes to the transfer of power, the fact that many of the key positions in these institutions are held by Alawites and allied minorities should not create any complications.

If the U.S. made a strategic mistake in Iraq it certainly wasn’t the initial decision to invade.

4. Libya is actually a success story
In Benghazi there were no militiamen to be seen.
A.M. Slaughter: As a cautionary tale, Kissinger and others point not only to Iraq but also to Libya. Kissinger lumped Libya in with Yemen, Somalia and northern Mali as a “blank space” on the map “denoting lawlessness.” Yet political scientist Juan Cole, who recently visited Libya, where he expected a fair degree of chaos, reports that in Benghazi, Misrata and Tripoli, “there were no militiamen to be seen, that most things were functioning normally, that there were police at traffic intersections, that there were children’s carnivals open till late, families out, that jewellery shops were open till 8 pm, [and] that Arabs and Africans were working side by side.”   The Economist reached the same conclusion early this year, reporting on relatively optimistic economic prospects.
Fear Dept: The fact our NATO air campaign did not eliminated all vestiges of civilization in several of the oldest cities in North Africa is a testimony to the righteousness of our decision to bomb the shit out of Libya.  And if we haven't ruined the economic prospects of one of the world's richest countries, that should count for something.   Slaughter was smart not to address the clashes in the Libyan countryside, the deteriorating situation in Mali, or the disaster that is Somalia in the wake of Ethiopia’s CIA-sponsored invasion. 

5. Let's hope nothing goes wrong
Not worth mentioning.
A.M. Slaughter: Kissinger is right that in the end NATO’s operations in Libya looked like an effort to remove Moammar Gaddafi from office, not because NATO planes took out command-and-control facilities in Tripoli from which Gaddafi and his generals were ordering civilian massacres but because NATO planes never sought to protect civilians supporting the regime against opposition troops. The response to this concern, however, is not to oppose intervention in Syria but to support a UN Security Council resolution with clear parameters about a limited use of force.
Fear Dept:  Our Security Council resolution on Libya said nothing about toppling Gaddafi, but we made that NATO’s mission anyway. For some reason China and Russia suspect we might pull the same stunt again.  In the past, Anne-Marie Slaughter argued that we don't need a Security Council approval for military action in Syria, suggesting the support of Arab league dictators ought to be sufficient.

Any use of force resolution would no longer be “limited” should the Syrians strike back against US, Turkish, NATO, or Israeli assets in the region. We're pleased Anne-Marie Slaughter does not think the possibility that a desperate Syrian regime would seek to draw Israel into the conflict is worth mentioning. 

6.  We have a plan to minimize civilian casualties
The civilian death toll from our military campaign will be zero.
A.M. Slaughter: Such a resolution, which would have to follow a request by the Arab League, should resolve to protect the establishment of no-kill zones by local Syrian authorities by whatever means necessary, short of foreign troops on the ground. These means would include the provision of intelligence and communications equipment, antitank and anti-mortar weapons, and, crucially, air support against Syrian government tanks and troops that seek to enter or overrun a zone. The provision of such support would also require the disabling of Syrian air defenses.
Fear Dept:  We have policies in place that should considerably reduce the civilian death toll from our military campaign.  None of the tens of thousands of innocent Syrian civilians that could reasonably be expected to die in our air campaign will be counted. That’s because the Secretary General of NATO does not count civilian deaths.  Moreover, the President calls the bodies of all military-age males found near strike zones “dead militants.” 

All the "no-kill zones" we carve inside Syria will provide a safe haven for friendly holy warriors from across the Middle East. We know these rebels will fight hard because many of them hate the fact that Syria is a secular state. They hate that Syria is not run by “genuine” Muslims of the Sunni sect. They hate that Syrian women have the freedom to walk the ancient streets of Damascus without head scarfs. On the other hand, they love getting paid in U.S. petrodollars. These fighters know the secular civilian population of Syria is a long way from being sufficiently terrorized to abandon support for Assad regime.  From bases protected by NATO air support, the holy warriors can hunt down Syrian soldiers and plot attacks against a variety of targets in Damascus. And nothing whatsoever the Assad regime does will protect ordinary Syrians from terrorism.  Nothing, that is, short of an effort to draw Israel into the conflict in hopes of generating a groundswell of popular support for its cause across the Muslim world.

"Whatever means necessary, short of foreign troops on the ground" includes extensive use of killer drones. 

7. Our motives in Syria are pure, our near genocides irrelevant
 People should not ask about the difference between
our support for Bahrain and Russia’s support for Syria.
A.M. Slaughter: Proposing this type of action would force the Russian and Chinese governments to come clean about the real motives for their positions. Even if Libya had never happened, would Russia really be willing to allow intervention in Syria? Assad would still be one of Moscow’s principal allies in the Middle East. Russia would still have port facilities at Tartus. It would still want to protect the principle that a govt can suppress popular demonstrations by any means it chooses, including the kinds of crimes against humanity, indeed near-genocide, that Vladi­mir Putin ordered in Chechnya at the turn of the century.
Fear Dept: Russia must “come clean” about their “real motives” for backing Assad. Of course, we have no obligation to explain why we’re selling a shitload of arms to Bahrain. Don't ask about the difference between our support for Bahrain and Russia’s support for Syria.  The department has a God-given right to defend the territorial integrity of our protest-stricken undemocratic client states.  Unlike in Syria, the protesters in Bahrain are peaceful. They have not taken up arms against the monarchy. We will go all-out to support heavily armed rebels (Libya, Syria), but the support we offer peaceful demonstrators is either stingy (Egypt, Yemen) or nonexistent (Bahrain, OWS).

Anne-Marie Slaughter recognizes that the “near genocide” that “Vladi­mir Putin ordered in Chechnya” is relevant to the debate about U.S. led military action against Syria, whereas more recent “near genocides” in Mesopotamia are not. For example, it would have been entirely inappropriate for Slaughter to have mentioned the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children who died "at the turn of the century" as a result of UN-imposed sanctions. It would have been equally inappropriate for Slaughter to have mentioned the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians who died as a direct result of our invasion of Iraq. Slaughter realizes our own "near genocides" in the Middle East are less relevant than Putin's in Central Asia.