Controlling Public Opinion

20:18 Tue 25 Nov 2008. Updated: 17:11 28 Jan 2009
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Maroni should do what I did when I was secretary of the interior. He should withdraw the police from the streets and the universities, infiltrate the movement with secret (provocateurs) agents, ready to do anything, and, for about 10 days, let the demonstrators devastate shops, set fire to cars and lay waste the cities.
—Francesco Cossiga (former President of Italy), Retribution and revenge, Roberto Mancini, guardian.co.uk 24 Nov 2008

Assuming some degree of “democracy” in a state, it should be rather obvious that those in power will do anything that they can get away with in order to sway public opinion in their favor. This clearly implies that they will do what they can to discredit any popular movement they don’t control, and this in turn explains quite a lot of the “extremism” on display at large rallies/marches/demonstrations, where there are suddenly lots of ‘protesters’ doing more or less exactly what would be guaranteed to stoke mass desire for crackdown/repression in the name of security. This also explains why those particular protesters don’t tend to get arrested: many of them are agents provocateurs.

“Conspiracy theorist!”—I can already hear the cry. And yes, I am theorizing a conspiracy: a plan put into place by a group of people acting in their own interests and in secret. It’s hardly going to work if they come out and say that they planted people in crowds to start riots, now is it?

Remarkably, Chris Floyd reports that a former President of Italy, Francesco Cossiga, made just such an admission recently in a UK Guardian interview.

He feels comfortable enough to just say this, and I doubt that he’ll face much censure. Furthermore, he’s an extremely mainstream figure, in that he was Minister of the Interior, Prime Minister, President of the Senate, and President of Italy in his career. Oh, and he was also a law professor at one point (Jarosław Kaczyński, anyone?).

It’s disgusting, frankly, that they get away with this, and that apologists for this supremely antidemocratic behavior are so prevalent and so able to claim a “centrist” position—but then, the entire social setup is designed to make that possible, as far as I can see.

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