“An Arab company is going to take over the port! More at 11…”
— (A highly agitated news reader on a local TV station.)
Baltimore, MD – It was painful to listen to the disinformation about the deal which would have allowed the Dubai Ports World company of the United Arab Emirates to handle the stevedoring operations in six U.S., ports, including Baltimore’s. The voices coming from the TV screen, usually dripping with hysteria, would screech: “An Arab company is going to take over the port!” This was the lead-in to the 5 PM, 6 PM and 11 PM news on all four local TV channels for nearly three weeks of saturated hype. The truth is that none of the ports were being turned over to an Arab country, and security would continue to be handled by the Coast Guard, U.S. Customs and a wide array of local port-related cops at all of the major U.S. seaports.
There are certainly other valid serious security concerns about our nation’s ports. However, the ownership of the stevedoring operation raised in the Dubai deal isn’t one of them. It has always been local, unionized, ILA labor, who do the loading and unloading of the container cargo from the steamship vessels, thus security would not be compromised by who owns and/or manages the stevedoring operation.
Nevertheless, the above lead-in was repeated by the newscasters, ad nauseam, appealing to the darkest fears of many after 9/11. Each news hours would begin with that sound bite. In spite of the fact that it was totally incorrect, its premise was never questioned or qualified by the newscaster and/or any of their guests. I think that particular line will go down in media history as one of the most inaccurate single statements of recent years. It will be studied in courses on “Propaganda,” along with this mother of all whoppers: “Iraq’s Saddam Hussein has WMD!” How ironic this all is. It was President George W. Bush, who used lies, deceptions, and fear to sell his war in Iraq to the all-too-trusting American people. Now, he ends up being “hoisted on his own petard,” when “fear” and “distortions” were cleverly manufactured and used, via a pliable mass media, against him and his gang. In this case, they torpedoed his inadequately presented, and poorly prepared, Dubai port deal.
History has something to teach us here. In 1918, a German intellectual, Oswald Spengler, published his tome, “The Decline of the West.” This was 15 years before the Nazis took over the government in his country by democratic means. Spengler made this prophetic statement: “What the Press wills is true. Its commanders evoke, transform, interchange truths. Three weeks of press work, and the truth is acknowledged by everybody.” Keep in mind, this insightful comment was made long before the means of mass communication, like: radio, television, cable and the internet, were even invented and/or fully developed and also before the ownership of much of the media was consolidated by the megacorporations. So how much more true is this today? Spengler also elaborated on another insidious power of the so-called “free press.” It was always free, he said, to take notice of what someone, a friend or foe, said or not. But, more importantly: “It could condemn any ‘truth’ to death simply by not undertaking its communication to the world – a terrible censorship of silence, which is all the more potent in that the masses of newspaper readers are absolutely unaware that it exists.” The truth in the Dubai case was that an Arab company wasn’t “taking over” any U.S. ports. By the time the Bush-Cheney Gang got around to making that clear, however, it was too late to save the deal.
In any event, when the Arab-baiting U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-MD) came on the local TV to do her biased spiel about the port deal, I was ready to toss my shoe at the set. This was even before I knew she was going to vote to extend the the USA Patriot law. (She had also voted for the original act.) One of the mysteries about all of this Dubai port-created business was how the agency actually in charge of the port of Baltimore, the Maryland Port Administration, (MPA), never issued one press release to combat the erroneous story line being put out by fear-mongers, like: Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY), and other ranters.
Questions: Why didn’t the MPA attempt to set the record straight in the Dubai matter? And, why didn’t the office of Maryland’s GOP Governor, Robert Ehrlich, a George W. Bush cheerleader, do the same? His office, and the MPA, had all kinds of sophisticated pr. resources at their beck and call to get to the heart of this matter. Yet, on this controversial Dubai port deal, they all remained uncharacteristically – silent! On another level, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of NYC said that those in the U.S. Congress, who had so shamelessly denigrated the Dubai port deal, were engaging in the “cheapest political shot in the world.”
Getting back to Schumer. He’s an Iraqi War Hawk, who reminds me of the late Sen. Joseph McCarthy. Schumer was the point man for the anti-Dubai port campaign. He is the same character who introduced into the federal legal system, in the late ’90s, the medieval concept of “secret trials based on secret evidence.” Schumer’s accomplice in that scheme was Sen. Arlen “Magic Bullet” Specter (R-PA). Mikulski, a fake liberal, also voted to endorse the Schumer-Specter’s Bill of Rights’ shredding scam. What a huge disappointment she has been as a Senator.
In his popular book, “The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind,” the Frenchmen Gustave Le Bon, brilliantly analyzed the psychology of mass behavior. Many of the principles he revealed in his study are relevant to the Dubai port dispute, and also to other matters. “The crowd,” Le Bon said, doesn’t “thirst after truth.” It thinks, if at all, “in images.” It is easily manipulated by the Wire Pullers, who know how to use the techniques of mind control on it. The scariest image today for most Americans, of course, are the ones which surfaced on 9/11. They have been embedded into our consciousness. Le Bon underscored this point: “A hundred petty crimes or petty accidents will not strike the imagination of crowds in the least, whereas a single great crime or a single great accident will profoundly effect them, even though the results be infinitely less disastrous than those of five hundred accidents put together…” He said it’s the “visible image” which makes the most serious impression on the imagination of the masses. Another way of illustrating this principle is: There are about 440,000 deaths a year in the U.S. caused by cigarette smoking. The death toll from the 9/11 tragedy was under 3,000. Yet, it is the horrific image of the WTC collapsing that is most profoundly fixed in our minds.
Finally, I believe the people are now being programmed by insidious pro-war propaganda mongers to accept yet another unjust and unnecessary military conflict. The target this time is Iran!  In the eyes of the cunning Wire Pullers, we Americans are merely a nation of ignorant Bible-belting, Elvis-worshipping, Hip-Hop-loving, Six-Pack guzzling and Reality-TV-watching Rednecks. They cruelly exploit us like the pimp does the prostitute, while sucking the country to the marrow. The truth, however, is that we are the spiritual heirs of Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Douglass, Kennedy, Chavez, King and Parks, and we have a mighty legacy of heroic deeds to call on for our renewal. But first, America must wake up!
Notes:. “Cargo Containers Vulnerable,” AP, Baltimore Sun, 03/12/06. . http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/ . A minority in this country are still baffled by the failure of the Media and/or the Feds to pursue the compelling story about the “Five Dancing Israelis Arrested on 9/11.” For the shocking details, see, http://www.whatreallyhappened.com/fiveisraelis.html . NY Post, 03/11/06, Liam Houlihan’s “Port Nix Was a Bad Signal.” .http://www.boogieonline.com/revolution/legal/police/terror95.html . http://www.geocities.com/justicewell/specter.htm . http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/L0494245.htm