There is undoubtedly an information war raging. There are intentional liars, people who witlessly repeat these lies, poor research, and opinions spun to look as if it is research. To sort the ever increasing amount of information from disinformation, there are a few simple methods people can use.
But above all, people must personally dedicate themselves to following the truth no matter where it brings them, having the courage to accept a reality that may not necessarily mesh with their current perception. The inability to do this will render moot all other means of determining the veracity of any given report or piece of analysis.
Find the Original Source
This is fundamental. When anyone, anywhere makes a claim, whether it is in a historical documentary or book, or regarding current events, one must find the original source. Where did this information come from? Is it a direct quote? If so, can this quote be verified? If the quote is “alleged” or “leaked” or otherwise second-hand information or the sources never revealed, it is impossible to verify and therefore impossible to consider as verified.
Often conversations relayed by second-hand sources serve as the basis of propaganda. It is essentially the process of placing words into the mouths of people who never said anything of the sort. Media that repeatedly uses quotes that are impossible to verify may be engaged in disinformation.
If the quote is confirmed, that alone does not mean that what was said was “true.” It simply means that someone made a statement – the veracity of which must be determined through other means. Finding the source of a claim often helps shatter long-held myths. This is particularly true in regards to historical matters.
Follow the Money
All protests, political movements, and armed struggles require immense amounts of resources to start, perpetuate, and most importantly to succeed. They also require leadership. If one finds themselves reading reports of events that do not mention funding or the names of specific leaders, either those reporting on the events don’t have these facts and should make note that such information is both missing and essential to find, or misdirection and disinformation is at play.
Omitting these facts has been done intentionally across the Western media to obfuscate Western involvement particularly in “political uprisings” and “armed rebellions” that are made to appear spontaneous and indigenous but are in fact long-planned, foreign-backed conspiracies. The so-called “Arab Spring” is perhaps the most notorious example of this, where the Western media failed intentionally and repeatedly to identify the funding and individuals involved in both street protests and subsequent armed attacks on security agencies across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.
Had the public carefully read through reports, and followed the money, they would have found a combination of US State Department money and the Anglo-American-backed Muslim Brotherhood behind each and every “uprising” across the Middle East, with Al Qaeda forming the subsequent armed groups that overran Libya and are currently leading attempts to overthrow the government of Syria.
Look at What People Do, Not at What They Say…
There are media reports, government press releases, op-eds, analysis, and policy papers of every kind. Many times, these various sources contradict each other. How does one go about determining which is true and which is disinformation? It is quite simple, don’t simply listen to what reporters, analysts, and policymakers say, look at what they and those they have influence over are doing.
The United States claims that it is fighting the so-called “Islamic State” (ISIS) in Syria. However, if we “follow the money” and realize that it is impossible for ISIS to sustain its fighting capacity within Syria or Iraq alone, and requires an immense amount of resources from abroad to continue its operations, we realize those resources are undoubtedly passing through territory the US and its allies in fact control.
That the US is not interdicting these vital supplies, including additional fighters, weapons, and cash, is proof that claims in the media and amid government press releases that the US is “fighting ISIS” are false.
Conversely, in veteran journalist Seymour Hersh’s 2007 New Yorker article, “The Redirection,” he stated explicitly, citing US and Saudi officials, that the West and its regional allies planned to use sectarian extremists affiliated with Al Qaeda to wage a regional proxy war against Syria and Iran. This also so happens to be precisely what is now playing out across the MENA region. Hersh’s analysis can be tracked down through his sources, by following the money – as only state-sponsorship can explain Al Qaeda and ISIS’ fighting capacity in Syria, Iraq, and beyond – and by simply looking at what is now unfolding across the region.
None of what the current corporate media or government press releases say can be verified in a similar manner, and certainly, none of what is said by the West currently, matches what is actually happening on the ground.
Finally, let us consider policy papers released by corporate-funded think tanks like the Brookings Institution. Such policy papers have repeatedly laid out plans for arming extremists, incrementally invading and occupying Syria, and eventually toppling the Syrian government. This too, is precisely what we see happening on the ground, though the Western media and Western representatives claim the cause is not a premeditated Western conspiracy, but a series of coincidences and unfortunate turns of fate.
The truth is hard to arrive at, not only because people intentionally seek to fool others, but because often, many unintentionally fool themselves. Reality can be unpleasant. Watching a nation be destroyed can be heartbreaking and the desire to insulate oneself from the pain through cognitive dissonance can be overwhelming. However, one of the greatest maxims in human conflict is to truly know yourself and know your enemy. Truth isn’t just a matter of virtue, it is a factor that will make the difference between victory and defeat.
If victory over the forces of greed and hegemony is truly our goal, then we must face the facts no matter how unpleasant. Our failure to do so will cost us everything – and those driven by greed and hegemony know. That is why they have invested so much in clouding reality and obfuscating the truth. We must invest more in seeing through this clouded reality, and discover the truth, no matter how unpleasant.
Tony Cartalucci is a Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.