By Liam Scheff
May 29, 2012
Debuting on The Bob Tuskin Show, Tuesday, 5/29/12 at 8pm edt, investigative journalist Liam Scheff unveils his new book, covering and uncovering issues from CIA and Smedley Butler, to JFK and 9/11, to Vaccines and HIV, to Big Bang theory and beyond…Tune in at 8PM for a one-of-a-kind discussion by a unique researcher and voice in the alternative media.
Here is an excerpt from the opening lines of “Official Stories,” by Liam Scheff
In my new book, “Official Stories,” I lay out a foundation of the history that we really should’ve learned in school – but didn’t. Each chapter begins the same way;
The Official Story: The mainstream belief, the press release, advertisement, conventional wisdom; the official version of events.
The Lone Gunman: The person or thing blamed for the problem or action in question.
The Magic Bullet: The object or device the gunman requires to make the official story work.
These are the three planks of any truly “official story.” You’ve got the overview: “HIV Causes AIDS,” “JFK was shot by a lone assassin,” or “the polio virus causes polio and vaccines stopped it.” Then the lone gunman: Lee Harvey, HIV, Osama, Polio. Finally, the magic bullet: The various bits of suspension-of-disbelief physics, biology or logic that are given to make it all work.
There is a principle operating on each page; it’s a phrase that is easy to remember. It’s one that came to me after struggling with the official stories of our time for decades. I realized a simple truth that could have saved me countless years of poor decision-making in my youth. It’s that bit of truth so self-evident, you’ll be able to finish it once you hear the opening half of the syllogism.
“Official stories exist to protect officials.”
This book is written with that concept in mind; from astronomy to biology, English literature to American history. You can test it as a concept: Do the officials and the institutions they protect and serve say, “Even if it costs us our jobs, let’s have the truth! Even if it destroys our little club of power-brokers, we want all the evidence to come out!”
No, I’ve never seen that happen either. It’s not human nature. “Power corrupts,” goes the adage. “People in power tend to remain in power.” Given public scandal or leaked impropriety, they tend to manage it internally. Sometimes they levy a fine or give a “censure,” an official note of poopy conduct, which doesn’t impede anyone’s trajectory or future run for the Presidency (Hi, Newt!)
Official stories exist to protect officials, by intention, or that subtle machining and exclusion of evidence by the slippery fingers of the opportunistic human ego – and with our mute consent. Because it’s we, the people, who allow our officials to fashion their “official story” and give it to us to ingest, to swallow whole, to debate the merits of a lie. We chatter it about in mock debate: “Does it hold up? Is it believable…enough?”
An official story always has one definable quality: It’s never our side’s fault. Blame it on the outsider, always. Blame it on “failures,” but don’t hold anyone truly accountable.
And if a conspiracy (an action we don’t like but hear about) is irrefutable; if the hand is photographed inside the cookie jar; if the dress is stained and the DNA matches; if the CIA-backed Arab tyrant is shaking hands with the Secretary of Defense, then we allow our officials to lie to us, one more time. We let them pretend it’s the fault of one person, who we’ve never heard of: “Scooter,” or “G. Gordon” or “Lee Harvey.” And they scapegoat, ostracize and sacrifice the weakest, least important member of the club.
These terms come to us from the ancient world, because conspiracy and cover-up are practices as old as civilization. For all our belief in democracy, progressivism or justice, at a very real level we’re the same species we always were. Don’t let the iPods and cellphones fool you; we’re citizens of ancient Rome, distracted by public entertainment, chasing sensation and cheering for Caesar bringing home the spoils of war. Understand that and you’ll understand a great deal.
We like our official stories, because they let us off the hook with no need for self-examination. “We were infiltrated! Abused! Misled!” by some mad outsider to the group: A “lone gunman” who used a McGuffin, a nearly magical device – a rifle with magic bullets, buildings which defy physics, viruses which defy principles of biology – to perform an immensely complex (and conspiratorial) act. “There he is!” Goes the press. “Get him!” So we do. And the news barkers who are paid to forge the myth, forget the details and peddle the official press release as though it were true.
Instantly, as if waiting just off-stage for their moment, defenders of the newly-minted “official story” arise, coming from private think tanks and universities to appear on talk shows on Fox, PBS and CNN. They rant and scream at the “nutters, deniers and truthers” who question officialdom. “I believe Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone,” becomes a statement of identification for “patriots.” Or, “useful idiots.”
As Stalin (and Lenin and Mao) knew too well, there are always reasonably articulate people with a penchant for fighting in public, who will adopt a piece of carefully-constructed propaganda as their own rallying cry. They will shill for it, fight for it and battle any comers who dare question it.
You’ll meet them along the way, but you might not know them until they’ve wound you up. Their goal is to stop you from asking questions. My advice – don’t waste time with them. Always go to the top. Never debate but in the most public space you can find, where the largest crowd can watch the two opposing views unfold. And remember, your debate isn’t with your fellow citizen. It’s with the crafters of the official story. It’s with the officials.
Treat Them Like Family
Let’s make it personal. I grew up in a family of doctors, researchers and high-level medical professionals. I learned over the months and years of my childhood the unspoken, primary rule of science and history and known to the rule-makers: “Facts Change.”
From holiday to holiday, as the family met, my uncles, grandfather, grandmother and mother – all in medicine and science – discussed the new “facts.” The new facts of oncology, virology, surgery and to a lesser degree, politics. Their politics was medicine. And it was wildly political – and personal.
“Who is in power at the NIH? What’s the new protocol? Thank God we’re not doing that one anymore. I never trusted it.”
What was “true” in the medical literature at any moment was only true for a short time (shorter and shorter, in fact). It was replaced by a new truth in six months. And what was “true” six months ago? “A bump on the road to understanding. Nobody thinks that anymore!” But it had been “true.” And the new truth? Just don’t ask us about it six months from now.
It wasn’t that science was progressing; it was about power. The institutions of science (or, priesthood) and government (or, kingship) work on the principle of assuring the public that they are in control; their knowledge is good, stable, strong and correct. And that “we, the people” are wise to put our trust in matters of state and medicine in the hands of experts.
It is a strand woven into human identity; we’ll fight eternally with friends and family about the meaning and interpretation of the events of our own lives. “No, that’s not what I said! You’re misinterpreting. I didn’t do that, you’re projecting. You don’t know what you’re talking about!” But we grant kings and priests a kind of…it’s the same thing we view movies with; a suspension of disbelief. Just lie to us convincingly and we’ll bite the hook, even as we know we’re chewing on a fable. And society rolls along.
If you doubt this is true, think about who records history. Kings and their priests (or government officials and corporate juggernauts) who oversee the royal records (or news corporations) don’t allow their inglorious, cowardly and vicious acts to be recorded. Sure, you’ll get court gossip. But not the real twisting and breaking of arms that goes on in the blackened rooms. No, we get a myth, “weapons of mass destruction,” instead of the truth, “We’re going to overthrow every former Soviet satellite government.” (And hold onto that thought).
It takes sixty years, or four hundred and a succession of heirs, for a dangerous truth to be told. At that point, we don’t even notice; we’re occupied with our current disasters. “Oh, right, they shot the President back then and a hundred leaders overseas. But they’d never do that now!”
We furnish officials with a level of trust that we’re not consciously aware of. Because questioning them, as we’d question the decisions of a family member or close friend, makes us uncomfortable. If we understood that kings and priests (presidents and scientists) are as compromised and troubled as the people and groups we deal with every day…we might not sleep at night. So, we swallow the pill of “official story.” “Well, I know mistakes were made, but I don’t think they would have done that!” we tell ourselves. And we stop thinking about it.
It’s wired into the species. Perhaps it’s a self-preservation tool, this self-deception. Perhaps it keeps us from a constant state of revolution; perhaps it is a fatal flaw in our species. In any case, it takes real work to overcome our willingness to be duped by the powers-that-be. And real work to untangle the actual evidence from the fable we’ve been told, again and again.
. . .
Read the rest of the story in “Official Stories,” which takes on 10 myths of our time, from CIA to JFK and 9/11, Vaccination and HIV, to Big Bang and beyond…