Politicians have often used scapegoating and we see that now with the increased focus and finger pointing towards immigrants, Russia, and Syria. Usually, when they use this technique, it is accompanied by support from the US mainstream media; note 90% of media is owned by just 6 companies. The media’s purpose is to push the same message as mainstream politicians. The media uses their status and built up trust as established news organizations to effectively manufacture consent. The people genuinely trust these sources and never question them. We see this in Colin Powell’s UN speech in 2003 about WMDs. The Washington Post reported “Powell left no room to argue seriously that Iraq has accepted the Security Council’s offer of a “final opportunity” to disarm. And he offered a powerful new case that Saddam Hussein’s regime is cooperating with a branch of the al Qaeda organization that is trying to acquire chemical weapons and stage attacks in Europe.” Why didn’t the Post question this narrative more? So what’s the point of this media backed scapegoating? It is to divert attention away from the real issues and place the blame on something or someone else. Those who want to hold politicians accountable need to be aware of this technique. If we are constantly distracted and our attention is diverted from the real problems we can not hold power in check and we can not progress as a nation. Democrats are blaming Russians, Trump is blaming immigrants and the Western world is blaming Syria, but it is all just our modern day version of scapegoating.
An earlier example of scapegoating is seen in our invasion of Iraq in 2003. Let’s remember it is the CIA and the US government who are responsible for Hussein’s rise to power in Iraq. In the 1980s the US armed and supplied Hussein with weapons with the intention of taking out Iran in the Iran-Iraq war. Hussein was put in power for the purpose of taking out Iran, a country with the 4 largest oil reserves in the world. In the Iran-Iraq war, Hussein used chemical weapons on the Iranian forces and the Kurdish population of northern Iraq. In a famous event called the “Halabja event” Iraq used chemical weapons on the Kurdish population in northern Iraq.
It was Hussein’s attempt to counter-attack Kurdish and Iranian opposition forces who had taken over the area. Foreign Policy Magazine and the New York Times reported that the US government knew Hussein was using chemical weapons but looked the other way. The US government even helped supply Saddam Hussein’s chemical weapons. On June 9, 1992, Ted Koppel reported on ABC’s Nightline that the “Reagan/Bush administrations permitted—and frequently encouraged—the flow of money, agricultural credits, dual-use technology, chemicals, and weapons to Iraq.” Bruce Riedel, a expert on U.S. security, south asia affairs and counter-terrorism said “The Reagan administration feared that Iran’s army might slice through Iraq to the oilfields of Kuwait and Saudi Arabia”. The official justification for the US getting involved in the Iraq-Iran war was the portrayal of a doomsday scenario where if Iran defeated Iraq, Iran would head straight for Israel. However we now know that the real reason was to prevent oil fields in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia from possibly being taken over by Iran. Fast forward to 2003 and suddenly we are upset about Hussein’s use of chemical weapons, which the US helped supply. Interestingly, Hussein stopped selling oil in US dollars in October of 2000 and switched to selling oil in euros. This netted Iraq a nice profit for his country and might not have pleased the US. The US started building a propaganda campaign to take down the Iraqi government just a year later and after the September 11th attacks. There was strong evidence pointing to the reason for doing so was for oil, with even the US military drawing up detailed plans to secure and protect Iraq’s oilfields.
Now in 2017 we see the neo liberal left blaming Russia for interfering in the US election of 2016. The neo conservative right does this as well. In reality, Russia is a scapegoat to deflect attention away from the real issue of corporate influence in politics. However, of course news organizations and politicians don’t talk about the influence of corporations in our elections and our government. Look at Goldman Sachs; a corporation that always has former employees on both sides of the democratic and republican parties working in the government.
They were also the main beneficiary of the bailouts after the 2008 housing crisis. Some of these former Goldman employees are Henry Paulson under the Bush Administration and Timothy Geithner of the Obama Administration. Many other former Goldman employees have worked in government at various times including Robert Rubin, Stephen Friedman (who chaired the New York Federal Reserve from 2008-2009), William C. Dudley and Larry Summers. In the current administration Steve Mnuchin, Gary Cohn and Stephen Bannon are all former or current Goldman Sachs employees. Rubin, a Goldman employee, helped to arrange the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act, which is considered to be one of the main causes of the 2008 financial crisis as the repeal lead to reckless activities in the financial industry. In the Obama administration there were over 12 former or current Goldman Sachs Employees. This is of course just one of the many examples of corporate influence in government.
For a striking example of corporate influence just look at Rex Tillerson, the former CEO of Exxonmobil. Tillerson has no experience in politics at all and is now in charge of the secretary of state position. As Secretary of State he manages foreign relations and foreign affairs, given he comes from the oil industry his appointment suggests that oil is behind all of our foreign relations. After a supposed chemical attack by Assad, he became one of the driving forces for a war in Syria. It’s ironic that there are two competing gas pipelines vying to run through Syria and our Secretary of State is an oil man. The pipeline rejected by Syria was the pipeline proposed by U.S. allies, all of whom now support the Syrian opposition forces. Of course we don’t hear much about this from mainstream media. Lastly, look at Christopher Dodd, the former chief of the (MPAA) Motion Picture Association of America. Dodd was the driving force behind bills like SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and the PIPA (Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act). Bills that would directly benefit the MPAA which coincidentally, Dodd works for.
Russia’s influence in our election and our government is up for debate. But, unlike the uncertainty of Russia’s influence on the US government, it is clear that certain industries and corporations directly impact US foreign and domestic policy. The policies that these former corporate employees enact always benefit their old companies and industries, often at the expense of the people. Our government is not democracy in action that responds to the will of the people, instead it responds to the will of corporate interests. Unfortunately, this is consistently overshadowed by Russia being blamed for corrupting our election and possibly having behind the scenes influence in our government.
Why do I call attention to political scapegoating? That is simple. The people are purposely being mislead. Our government hides the real truth behind its motives. If the people knew the real motive behind many of our government’s actions it would threaten the credibility of the people and organizations that are committing these acts. Delusion, is the lifeblood of politics and it always has been. The more ignorant people are to the truth, the easier it is to manipulate and control them. The solution is to question more and be more skeptical of the mainstream media and our politicians. Know what you are being distracted from and you will lay the groundwork to taking your power back. Wake up and see the truth.