I’d like to tell you a folktale. It’s called “The Emperor’s New 9/11.”
Once upon a time there was an Emperor who loved war and military expansionism. He was always searching for new ways to instigate military conflicts without losing the support of the international community or waking up the populace to the fact that they’re just propagandized cogs in the machine of a globe-spanning Empire which uses endless military and economic violence to maintain its unipolar hegemony.
One day two men calling themselves Intelligence Experts came into town claiming that they had devised a wondrous new type of enemy threat that is invisible to the common folk.
“Is it as good as 9/11?” asked the Emperor excitedly. “Oh how I loved how that one allowed me to initiate a new era of military expansionism on the pretence of fighting global terrorism!”
“It’s even better!” explained the Intelligence Experts. “This magical enemy threat is comprised of Cyber Attacks which are completely invisible to public scrutiny, and you have complete control over where and when they happen. You just name a foreign government you don’t like, and we’ll say they have attacked the democracy of the Empire!”
“You mean the pretend democracy I lied to them about having?” asked the Emperor.
“Of course,” said the Intelligence Experts. “So you just name the disobedient government you want a fight with and we’ll give you your new 9/11.”
“Hmm, well I’m not very fond of the Russians,” said the Emperor. “They’ve been brazenly acting against our interests on the world stage and they keep getting friendlier with China. Let’s set to work on them first.”
So the Intelligence Experts set to work weaving their narrative about Russian Cyber Attacks. The Emperor put his mass media to work knitting together wonderful yarns of the Emperor’s wonderous new 9/11, simultaneously invisible to commoners yet outrageous and necessitating an aggressive response.
The Empire’s military budget was inflated, treaties were ended, and a new arms race was begun. Sanctions were rolled out against the Russian government, the Empire’s Nuclear Posture Review was readjusted with a much more hostile stance toward Moscow, troops were deployed and NATO was expanded. Anyone who objected to any of this was labeled Russian propaganda by the Empire.
“Oh, this is wonderful!” exclaimed the Emperor. “Let’s do Iran now! Ooh! And China too!”
“Iran and China have been attacking the Empire’s democracy!” announced the Intelligence Experts. “It’s like another 9/11!”
All was going swimmingly, until one day the Emperor was parading his new 9/11 around town for the commoners to admire.
“Oh, this 9/11 is even more impressive than the last one!” exclaimed the people. “I would happily throw my body into the gears of the war machine for it! Praise be to our mighty Emperor!”
Then one tiny voice rang out above the rest.
“But the Emperor hasn’t got a 9/11!” said a small child. “There’s nothing there at all!”
The child was immediately branded a Russian propagandist and banned from Facebook and Twitter.
It is not a coincidence that all these alleged attacks on American democracy are happening in ways that only the US intelligence cartel can see. It is not a coincidence that the US propaganda machine is constantly announcing invisible new attacks upon the nation from governments that have been longtime targets of that same intelligence cartel. It is not a coincidence that whenever these alleged attacks happen, the hard evidence that they happened is always classified.
Foreign “election interference” is 9/11 minus 9/11. It gets all the same urgent media coverage of 9/11, all the same outrage and all the same demand for forceful retaliation; it just doesn’t have the fallen buildings that people can look at or the bereaved family members that you can talk to. It’s a 9/11 that is completely invisible to everyone, so we have to take the word of intelligence agencies with an extensive history of lying that they happened at all.
Meanwhile, as the US is being victimized by these attacks that only the CIA and NSA can see, the US government is harming the American people to an infinitely greater degree than Russia, China and Iran are. The US government is destroying untold millions of lives at home and abroad, but Americans are being told to worry about invisible attacks by foreign countries that have literally never done anything to them.
Don’t be a sucker. Be the child at the Emperor’s parade.
Caitlin Johnstone is a Melbourne-based journalist who specialises in American politics, finance and foreign affairs. Her articles have been published in Inquisitr, Zero Hedge, New York Observer, MintPress News, The Real News, International Policy Digest and more. Caitlin is the author of Woke: A Field Guide For Utopia Preppers, an illustrated poetical guide to reclaiming the earth from the forces of death and destruction.