Truth-Telling: A Game of Chess

Truth-Telling: A Game of Chess

A quote attributed to George Orwell reads: "In a time of universal deceit - telling the truth is a revolutionary act".

If you break up the quote, the first question becomes, are we living in a time of universal deceit? Many would argue, as I would argue, that all governments in the current globalized world are circumventing the truth using official narratives. It's pretty easy to prove this "war on truth". From the Gulf of Tonkin incident that "justified" the Vietnam War to NSA's mass surveillance of Americans, and many instances in between, the government's "version of the truth" has been proven to be lies. Governments, in conspiracy with corporations and the media repeatedly lie about, and hide, issues that matter to us most. Governments, in bed with the media, keep us ignorant and occupied with trivia while they make backroom deals. The latest example you might not have heard of yet is "fast-track authority". The U.S. House of Representatives just passed a bill giving "fast-track authority" to the Obama administration to negotiate draconian "trade" deals, namely the TPP, TTIP and TISA. The draft texts of these "deals" are classified as secret, and even members of congress are barred from taking notes or commenting on specifics. Some among those who have read the draft texts of these so-called "trade agreements", and most who have read leaked chapters, are warning that these deals effectively handover world governance to a handful of multinational corporations.

So, how do so-called democratic governments and corporations lie and cover-up with impunity - without facing much resistance? Where are the truth-tellers? Where are the journalists? Where are the academia? Unlike in outright authoritarian states, in the West, journalists, intellectuals and academia are generally not locked up for speaking the truth [yet]. But that is because, most simply do not speak up. They do not challenge power. Most self-censor and avoid hot topics. The few who are brave enough to speak the truth are marginalized, harassed, some fired from their jobs and made an example of. Many who challenge the official narrative are blacklisted, and not given an ample platform. Some are attacked by their conformist peers and depicted as "loonies".

Truth-telling is increasingly becoming a game of chess, requiring a skill for strategy and courage for self-sacrifice. Go about it the wrong way, and you are exposed to the wrath of government. Former NSA executives William Binney and Thomas Drake lost their jobs and barely avoided imprisonment. Barret Brown and Chelsea Manning are serving long prison sentences for their disclosures. Documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras was repeatedly harassed by authorities. Julian Assange was forced into a stalemate and he has been stuck in an embassy because of bogus charges and threat of extradition. And, Edward Snowden is in forced exile in Russia, and is promised a long prison sentence upon his return.
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