Cuckoos in the Nest
Promoting official narratives
Cuckoos in the Nest?
“Here we all are, living under the most reactionary democratically-elected government we've ever known, in a Labour-controlled city, where all animals are equal but some *councillors* are more equal than others. Where too often, lions are led by donkey-jackets. Living proof that the further left you go, the more right-wing you become.”
Jim Nelson (Michael Palin) GBH 
“Among the core self-identified purposes of JTRIG  are two tactics: (1) to inject all sorts of false material onto the internet in order to destroy the reputation of its targets; and (2) to use social sciences and other techniques to manipulate online discourse and activism to generate outcomes it considers desirable.”
Glen Greenwald. Intercept: 'How Covert Agents Infiltrate the Internet to Manipulate, Deceive, and Destroy Reputations' February 24 2014. 
Eight years after the 1984 UK miners strike the Trades Union Congress (TUC) General Council met outside London for the first time in many years in the middle of a new campaign against pit closures announced by the recently elected Conservative Government of John Major. The venue that November day was the Mansion House in Doncaster, South Yorkshire. A part of the country which represented the power base of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM).
As is normal on such occasions the advertised lobby of the TUC General Council Meeting to support the miners attracted not only local NUM Branches but also a mixture of organised groups associated with the political left. During the lobby the narrow steps to the main entrance of the Mansion House quickly became a problem.
In a scene reminiscent of an Ealing Comedy from the 1950's some very capitalist like competition emerged among differing organised groups from the political left for their banner to occupy the prime spot on the entrance steps. Amid a certain amount of jostling between two particular factions (one of whom may have been The Spartacus League?) The Socialist Workers Party (SWP) had to step in as referee, eventually securing the contested space for one of the local Miners Branch banners as a compromise.
As with organised religion this feature of political organisation which results in a growth in differing groups and denominations each competing for the same space is often the inspiration for humorous observation. Arguably the most well known being the 1979 film 'Life of Brian.'
Writer Alan Bleasdale's TV series GBH , eleven years later, took these observations up a level by injecting a serious point into the humour of outside interference and manipulation by the State.
Outside of the humour there certainly exists a growing body of credible evidence detailing the kind of State interference identified by journalists such as Greenwald, among others, in the second of the above quotes  spanning well over a century or more.
Activities incorporating not only the 'usual suspects'  but also any civic grouping or organised campaign deemed as posing any challenge to the dominant official narratives which produce a status quo beneficial to existing power relationships.
From family and community groups seeking justice  through to environmental campaigners  and animal rights . Activities which include not only infiltration but also manipulation and control with the State and its agents acting as provocateurs directing campaigns via illegal acts to undermine them. Illegal activities which now enjoy legal protection .
“we know that around 150 undercover police officers infiltrated over one thousand British political groups across four decades, forming long-term relationships with women, fathering children, and engaging in some of the most radical direct action.”
Conner Woodman: 'The Infiltrator and the Movement. Jacobean Magazine. 23 April 2018 
As with any other activity of this type methods and strategies evolve over time. In the article from the Intercept, an extract from which is quoted above, the journalist Glen Greenwald identifies some of these as being “attempt(s) to control, infiltrate, manipulate, and warp online discourse.”
Whatever the methodology or area within which it is employed – on or offline – the objective is control of the narrative to undermine any challenge to the favoured official narrative. One such option being to exploit the competition for space between organised groups on the political left to undermine them by introducing official narratives into the discourse.
One such example was explored in a previous article, Joining the dots . The key point being the need for scepticism of such official narratives and the purpose to which they are employed because many such narratives seek to justify particular ends – whether geo political, social or smearing of official enemies.
Such narratives have a long history of being at variance with the evidence and the facts. From the fake Zinoviev letter  and the false second Gulf of Tonkin incident  through to the Kuwaiti babies removed from incubators fabrication . Despite being official lies each was successful in achieving the official objective at the time.
Arguably the most well known example of this century thus far was the official narrative of the existence of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD's) to justify the invasion of Iraq. A narrative challenged at the time as yet another in a long line of self-justifying official narratives. Challenges to a narrative subsequently justified with testable objective based evidence from within what was sneeringly regarded by the guardians of that official narrative as the 'reality based community.' 
With such a long historical and contemporary pedigree two observations occur:
(i) Most genuine objective observers and commentators would adopt an initial cautious position of scepticism of any official narrative and its motives.
(ii) Regard any amplification and promotion of such official narratives coming from within the political left with deep suspicion.
Not simply from the perspective of using the competition for the same space in some factional 'turf war' by different organised groups claiming to be the only authentic position within that space to create further disunity but also to guard against the injection of such official narratives as meaningfully representative of the political left.
“Western governments have a long history of presenting individual accounts as objective facts in order to push an imperialist agenda. The US uses anti-China stories to condone trade wars, calls for sanctions, military drills on their coast and to drum up support for territorial conflicts in and around China — Hong Kong, Tibet, Taiwan and now of course, Xinjiang.”
Kate Woolford: Xinjiang: staying afloat in a wave of disinformation. Morning Star, 12/04/2021 
The argument presented in the above quote from an article in the Morning Star certainly adopts an initial position of healthy scepticism of an official narrative. However, digging deeper it becomes obvious this is merely one of a series of articles  from the same publication during March and April 2021 designed to counter criticism from another erstwhile organisation competing for the same space, Alliance for Workers Liberty (AWL).
Criticism which not only echoed Official narratives pertaining to China but amplified them by accusing its rivals at the Morning Star of being “genocide denialist's . An accusation arising from an previous Morning Star article of February 2021 .
At one level its certainly reasonable to observe the existence of a turf war here not unlike the farce which evolved on the steps of the Doncaster Mansion House that day in November 1992. Similar examples of such features can be found towards other organised groups such as the Socialist Workers Party  Yet, to conclude this represents the only feature of the process misses another interesting feature - that of support for and amplification of official narratives from within that particular source seeking to present that position as the authentic voice of the political left rather than any of its rivals.
China is far from the only example in which such official narratives are parroted, promoted and advanced in this way. The official narratives in relation to Syria and by extension Russia being merely one case in point.
“Additionally, Eliot Higgins of Bellingcat answered Hersh’s arguments, in detail, immediately after the article first appeared in the German paper Die Welt……..
……...The role of Putin and Assad in promoting conspiracy theories has been exposed time and again”
Jim Denham: 'A Lazy Day at the Office.' Alliance for Workers Liberty 2 October 2019. 
The arguments used here, which again support and amplify official narratives, has not exactly aged well with those narratives being challenged by credible whistle-blowers.  Yet regardless of such evidence alarm bells must surely be ringing at the use of a source, Bellingcat, widely considered on the basis of verifiable evidence to be a paid source of official Western Security Agency propaganda narratives . To the extent that even objective figures on the political right challenge the claims of that source as a 'guard dog for the establishment.' 
Not that such findings from within the reality based community pose any problems. As with the previous example of the Morning Star the same contributor/writer simply smears any other source from the political left which contradicts or challenges the official narrative he, on behalf of the AWL, is openly supporting and amplifying as a meaningful and credible position for the political left to adopt.
Here's the same source, Jim Denham, in a piece which could have been published in the Guardian, Washington Post, New York Times or one of a dozen similar official Corporate Media outlets, including Bellingcat, favourable to official narratives, killing two birds with one stone – on this occasion the Grayzone as well as the Morning Star – for the crime of being sceptical about that official narrative:
“In a later piece in the Morning Star of Aug 15-16 Martinez revealed that his sole source of information was the Grayzone website run by conspiracy theorist and Putin apologist Max Blumenthal.”
Jim Denham: China and the Uyghurs. Alliance for Workers Liberty 29 August 2020. 
After castigating the chosen targets for their scepticism towards several official narratives on the basis of an argument constructed on a false dilemma  – the enemy of my enemy is my friend - claiming an absence of credible evidence its seems reasonable to anticipate some solid evidence to substantiate the support for those official narratives.
Unfortunately, the best on offer is nothing more than an unsubstantiated assertion “The overwhelming evidence (accepted by everyone who is not a dupe, stooge or apologist” with no supporting evidence offered beyond this is so because I've said it and therefore it must be so. With the standard school playground level labeling of anyone who disagrees being whatever handy invective comes to mind.
Certainly there exists room for critique here of consistently poor arguments based on pre-assumed assertions about what one aims to deduce coupled with an absence of supporting evidence and robust analysis. Throwing mud for the sake of it.
However, the point here is not to re-hash the merits or otherwise of the respective arguments or engage in a compare and contrast exercise. It is simply to focus attention on the consistent usage and promotion of official narratives  across a range of issues from this particular source in the evidenced based known context of evolving strategies by Establishment Corporate State agencies to manipulate and control discourse and activism to generate desired outcomes.
A focus which raises reasonable questions as to how much of a role continues to be played, as already extensively documented, by State Agencies in these apparent 'turf wars' using this particular organisational source (the AWL)?
Questions which are relevant simply as a result of the influence and impact that such organised groups enjoy within not only the political left in general but also within day to day grassroots organisation and activity.
 Joint Threat Intelligence Research Group.
 A small sample:
 Suskind, Ron (October 17, 2004). “Faith, Certainty and the Presidency of George W. Bush”. The New York Times Magazine. ISSN 0028–7822
NB: Another lengthy denunciation of rivals for the same space long not only on critique but also evidence free assertions.
 A consistency which covers not only China, Syria and Russia but also Palestine/Israel, anti-Semitism and the Labour Party among others.