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Agnotological war DIE HARD III Herman Tiu Laurel 03/21/2011

Monday, March 21, 2011

Agnotological war

Herman Tiu Laurel
Agnotology is a neologism on the study of culturally-induced ignorance or doubt, particularly as this relates to the publication of inaccurate or misleading scientific data. And since the press and media shape 70 percent of what’s known to be culture and knowledge today, it would be more accurate to also include media-induced ignorance through their selective information and news.

In the three literally burning issues of the day, many problems in people’s understanding of the truth are symptomatic of the agnotological conditions perpetrated by news media and the dominant information system hegemonies of the world. From the Fukushima crisis in Japan, to the Libyan struggle in North Africa, to the pro- and anti-nuclear as well as the pro- and anti-Merci impeachment debates in our own setting, the deliberate inducement of ignorance have all led to adverse consequences for people everywhere.

In the nuclear fall-out crisis stemming from the Fukushima reactors’ failures and radiation emissions, we find a culturally-induced ignorance of the Japanese people toward complacency with regard to their authorities’ abuses and unreliability. Japanese power plant officials, for one, kept everyone ignorant of very vital information.

In the first few days, no one was given an inkling as to the enormity of the problem. It was only when one nuclear reactor after another gave way that a clear admission that at least four of them were in really serious trouble came out. Despite this, the Japanese continued to be very trusting of their nuclear authorities, even after threatening radiation levels reached beyond the 20 to 30-mile radius.

What we’re witnessing here is a case of “structured ignorance.” It took criticism from cultures less trusting of authorities against Japan’s niggardly crisis updates to alert everyone of the mortal dangers in this unfolding crisis. Still, this hasn’t been the worst of the lot.

In the case of Libya , where media-induced ignorance through blatant misinformation and disinformation are being used to justify a foreign-backed coup d’etat and eventual Nato oil and land grab, so-called “Allied” fighter jets are now pounding on Tripoli as of posting time.

Al Jazeera was at the forefront of this disinformation and misinformation campaign, starting with its unsubstantiated reports (and later proven false by Russian satellite monitoring) of Gaddafi forces and war planes mowing down unarmed civilian demonstrators. In all video docus from Libya I have seen, the anti-Gaddafi forces were always heavily armed. While there are those who see Al Jazeera as an alternative to CNN and BBC, it actually plays a complementary role through its more subtle information subversion as it appears to be less pro-West than it actually is.

Al Jazeera, for instance, pumped up demonstration casualties to “thousands,” even when these later turned out to be only over a hundred. Such exaggeration was especially blatant considering the fact that even as the turmoil in Libya entered its third week, with a full scale battle in the city of Misrata, the real casualty figure there numbered only 25.

By and large, Al Jazeera’s interviews and panel discussions hardly ever feature the side of Gaddafi or the voices of pro-Gaddafi people on the ground. And as the Gaddafi counter-offensive gained ground, it became clear, too, that the alleged “total loss of popular support” for the Libyan strongman was completely false.

Yet, Al Jazeera’s on-site reporters kept on annotating their news with a blatant anti-Gaddafi virulence.

One of the most obvious lies Western media and the anti-Gaddafi forces tried to foist on the world in the first week of the conflict was that the Libyan opposition movement abhors foreign intervention even to support its cause. But not long after Gaddafi’s counter-offensive successes and before the UN “No Fly Zone” resolution, the anti-Gaddafis in Benghazi were literally begging for it and jubilated when Nato promised to start arming them and bombing pro-Gaddafi Libyans for a grand bloodbath of Arab blood.

With Nato and monarchist anti-Gaddafi forces collaborating, an oil and land grab that will “Balkanize” Libya isn’t too far in the horizon. But more devastation will follow, just as what invading forces did to Iraq.

As the world continues to be kept ignorant of the systematic destruction of the cultural heritage and infrastructure of Iraq by its occupying forces, this is the crux of what Felicity Arbuthnot wrote in a recent article about Libya: The bombing of Libya will begin on or nearly to the day of the 18th anniversary of the beginning of the destruction of Iraq, 19th March (in Europe). Libya, too, will be destroyed — its schools, education system, water, infrastructure, hospitals, and municipal buildings. There will be numerous “tragic mistakes” and “collateral damage,” involving mothers, fathers, children, babies, grandparents, the blind and the deaf, and so on. And like the wonders of past empire’s remains, as with these nations’ rich histories (Iraq and Afghanistan), Libya’s, too, will be gone… forever.

Finally, let’s apply this agnotology to the Philippine setting: The debates between pro- and anti-nuclear power advocates, same with pro- and anti-Merci Gutierrez impeachment proponents simply reveal that both sides are wrong. In the former instance, all of them are all deliberately leaving out geothermal power in their discussions. This, despite a 2010 report by the World Geothermal Congress that total potential of the world for geothermal energy “…is equivalent to 40,000 GW while the total world energy demand (today) is equivalent to 15,000 GW.”

Both the pro- and anti-nuclear power lobbies are definitely creating ignorance of the only true alternative — geothermal energy, of which the Philippine has limitless potential.

Meantime, in the Merci impeachment moro-moro, the nation is being kept ignorant of the fact that both sides are similarly corrupted and will never work to sustain the “Rule of Law” when they all threw this away and resorted to the “Rule of Force” in the case of President Joseph Estrada.

Truly, the facts are there for all to see; and only an agnotological media will continue to befuddle the issues to the people’s detriment.

(Tune in to Sulo ng Pilipino, Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 6 to 7 p.m. on 1098AM dwAD; TNT with HTL, Tuesday, 8 to 9 p.m., with replay at 11 p.m., on GNN, Destiny Cable Channel 8, on “Energy Futures;” visit http://newkatipunero.blogspot.com for our articles plus select radio and GNN shows)

(Reprinted with permission from Mr. Herman Tiu-Laurel)

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110321com4.html


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