Such namechecking appears to have measurably increased in more recent times.
As mentioned last year, I bought David Icke's great doorstop of lunacy and shoddy history. (It's fun.) The Matrix runs all the way through it. And despite a brief nod toward The Architect, it's all material and examples for the first film.
Which seems to be the case across the board. People regularly refer to the tropes from the first film, principally Morpheus's 'red pill/blue pill' speech or 'there is no spoon'. Almost no one refers to the rubbishy second and third films.
In the taxi on the way back from Jake's book launch last week, my partner and I had an encounter that was either genuinely GCHQ or -more likely- being buzzed by the archons.
It started with with an out-of-nowhere argument about how intelligence agencies "couldn't possibly" record phone calls and store all our data or generate false digital footprints for blackmail despite Glen Greenwald showing that is exactly the case, and ended with shouting threats of violence toward anyone "who believes in flying saucers and all that garbage". If you've ever been in a black cab, you'll know such levels of vitriol are exclusively reserved for recently arrived immigrants from unpopular countries, minicab drivers and that's pretty much it.
We gratefully get out of the cab and my partner -who is not in anyway involved with all this malarkey- was the first to say "it's almost like that guy was a plant."
I'm drunk so I think about how to describe hijacked realities and the use of modern interpretations of gnosticism as an essential map to describe a holographic territory that probably doesn't resemble it all that much, or how -oddly enough- a more sane interpretation than a physical human encounter with a spook is an archonic 'pushback sync' .
But I'm also lazy and want to buy a kebab so I opt for the shortcut. Reality, I say, is pretty much like The Matrix. An image of Agent Smith hijacking the form of a passerby pops into my mind and I realise that I haven't seen any of the films for more than a decade... and the sequels I've only ever seen once.
So, yesterday, I watched the sequels back-to-back, having watched the first one on Sunday. And yeah, they are flabby, meandering storylines but I have an increased tolerance for such messiness seeing as Cloud Atlas has the same problem and I still find it astonishing.
And it seems to me the emotional reason why the sequels are so unpopular is that too little of it is set in the actual matrix. The Matrix makes dumb people feel smart. One can congratulate oneself on 'being smart enough' to see that reality is an illusion that traps almost everyone else before settling in to watch a reality TV programme where poor people with undiagnosed mental illnesses compete for vanishingly small prizes while misspelled text messages of support or derision scroll across the bottom of the screen.
The thing is... we all already know this. All of us. We know that modern history is an entirely engineered screen memory masking the extreme emotional and energetic abuse we have all suffered at the hands of some very bad people/things. We aren't at the beginning of the first film. The developed world has been collectively force-fed the red pill. It's no longer a question of whether you will wake up, or whether others will wake up. We are at the beginning of the second film.
Systemic programme failure
At the beginning of the second film, we have the human resistance, we have the empire striking back and tunnelling straight down towards a sexy, late-nineties Ewok rave party, but we also have a crucial part of the control mechanism -Agent Smith- going rogue and effectively eating the matrix.
So let's turn to the real world, where the control system is breaking down and turning on itself while much of the planet wakes up to its hypocritical flim-flam. Let's also consider the relentless pushback of a control mechanism that has been exposed.
Unfortunately for me, let's return to Kiev. (Sync: I've been battling British Airways since the incident and finally got my compensation on Monday. Sometimes we win.) Merkel said that she thought Putin had lost his mind. Bullshit. He knows exactly what he's doing. He is an extremely dangerous man but he's not crazy. Putin is what happens when two teenage boys Weird Science the entire KGB into sexy human form. He is the Magnus Carlsen of the Grand Chessboard.
First to Engdahl:
The events in Ukraine since November 2013 are so astonishing as almost to defy belief.
An legitimately-elected (said by all international monitors) Ukrainian President, Viktor Yanukovich, has been driven from office, forced to flee as a war criminal after more than three months of violent protest and terrorist killings by so-called opposition.
His “crime” according to protest leaders was that he rejected an EU offer of a vaguely-defined associate EU membership that offered little to Ukraine in favor of a concrete deal with Russia that gave immediate €15 billion debt relief and a huge reduction in Russian gas import prices. Washington at that point went into high gear and the result today is catastrophe.
A secretive neo-nazi military organization reported linked to NATO played a decisive role in targeted sniper attacks and violence that led to the collapse of the elected government.
But the West is not finished with destroying Ukraine. Now comes the IMF with severe conditionalities as prerequisite to any Western financial help.
That's the background. A democratically elected government making the unpopular but correct decision for its people. Unfortunately, these same people happen to live in a strategically significant, energy-rich country that is a cornerstone of the ol' enemy's border defence. (As ever, the energy component is hugely significant.)
And what passes for American heavyweight diplomacy to counter the actions of a lifelong KGB spy and masterful game player? A hypocritical bonesman and "fuck the EU". Oh, and Nazis. Lots and lots of bona fide actual Nazis. Way to bring your A-game, Obama.
Back to Engdahl.
Ever since the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 the crack-para-military UNA-UNSO members have been behind every revolt against Russian influence. The one connecting thread in their violent campaigns is always anti-Russia. The organization, according to veteran US intelligence sources, is part of a secret NATO “GLADIO” organization, and not a Ukraine nationalist group as portrayed in western media.
According to these sources, UNA-UNSO have been involved (confirmed officially) in the Lithuanian events in the Winter of 1991, the Soviet Coup d’etat in Summer 1991, the war for the Pridnister Republic 1992, the anti-Moscow Abkhazia War 1993, the Chechen War, the US-organized Kosovo Campaign Against the Serbs, and the August 8 2008 war in Georgia. According to these reports, UNA-UNSO para-military have been involved in every NATO dirty war in the post-cold war period, always fighting on behalf of NATO. “These people are the dangerous mercenaries used all over the world to fight NATO’s dirty war, and to frame Russia because this group pretends to be Russian special forces. THESE ARE THE BAD GUYS, forget about the window dressing nationalists, these are the men behind the sniper rifles,” these sources insist.
If true that UNA-UNSO is not “Ukrainian” opposition, but rather a highly secret NATO force using Ukraine as base, it would suggest that the EU peace compromise with the moderates was likely sabotaged by the one major player excluded from the Kiev 21 February diplomatic talks—Victoria Nuland’s State Department. Both Nuland and right-wing Republican US Senator John McCain have had contact with the leader of the Ukrainian opposition Svoboda Party, whose leader is openly anti-semitic and defends the deeds of a World War II Ukrainian SS-Galicia Division head. The party was registered in 1995, initially calling itself the “Social National Party of Ukraine” and using a swastika style logo. Svoboda is the electoral front for neo-nazi organizations in Ukraine such as UNA-UNSO.
That article was from a couple of weeks ago. But all these claims of 'supporting democracy' by aligning with openly Nazi parties that have seized power in a sovereign country appear to be falling on entirely deaf ears. Too many red pills have gone down too many throats.
The evidence for this comes from mainstream news sources, which have been spheres of emanatory state propaganda for more than a hundred years. That goes for both sides, obviously, but we'll come to that.
Diplomatic pronouncements are renowned for hypocrisy and double standards. But western denunciations of Russian intervention in Crimea have reached new depths of self parody. The so far bloodless incursion is an "incredible act of aggression", US secretary of state John Kerry declared. In the 21st century you just don't invade countries on a "completely trumped-up pretext", he insisted, as US allies agreed that it had been an unacceptable breach of international law, for which there will be "costs".
That the states which launched the greatest act of unprovoked aggression in modern history on a trumped-up pretext – against Iraq, in an illegal war now estimated to have killed 500,000, along with the invasion of Afghanistan, bloody regime change in Libya, and the killing of thousands in drone attacks on Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, all without UN authorisation – should make such claims is beyond absurdity.
It's not just that western aggression and lawless killing is on another scale entirely from anything Russia appears to have contemplated, let alone carried out – removing any credible basis for the US and its allies to rail against Russian transgressions. But the western powers have also played a central role in creating the Ukraine crisis in the first place.
The US and European powers openly sponsored the protests to oust the corrupt but elected Viktor Yanukovych government, which were triggered by controversy over an all-or-nothing EU agreement which would have excluded economic association with Russia.
In her notorious "fuck the EU" phone call leaked last month, the US official Victoria Nuland can be heard laying down the shape of a post-Yanukovych government – much of which was then turned into reality when he was overthrown after the escalation of violence a couple of weeks later.
The president had by then lost political authority, but his overnight impeachment was certainly constitutionally dubious. In his place a government of oligarchs, neoliberal Orange Revolution retreads and neofascists has been installed, one of whose first acts was to try and remove the official status of Russian, spoken by a majority in parts of the south and east, as moves were made to ban the Communist party, which won 13% of the vote at the last election.
It has been claimed that the role of fascists in the demonstrations has been exaggerated by Russian propaganda to justify Vladimir Putin's manoeuvres in Crimea. The reality is alarming enough to need no exaggeration. Activists report that the far right made up around a third of the protesters, but they were decisive in armed confrontations with the police.[..]
In the case of Crimea, which was only transferred to Ukraine by Nikita Khrushchev in the 1950s, that is clearly true for the Russian majority. And contrary to undertakings given at the time, the US and its allies have since relentlessly expanded Nato up to Russia's borders, incorporating nine former Warsaw Pact states and three former Soviet republics into what is effectively an anti-Russian military alliance in Europe. The European association agreement which provoked the Ukrainian crisis also included clauses to integrate Ukraine into the EU defence structure.
That western military expansion was first brought to a halt in 2008 when the US client state of Georgia attacked Russian forces in the contested territory of South Ossetia and was driven out. The short but bloody conflict signalled the end of George Bush's unipolar world in which the US empire would enforce its will without challenge on every continent.
Given that background, it is hardly surprising that Russia has acted to stop the more strategically sensitive and neuralgic Ukraine falling decisively into the western camp, especially given that Russia's only major warm-water naval base is in Crimea. [More.]
If there is good news in this clusterfuck, it is our widespread awareness that the US/NATO position is steaming, stinking bullshit. Because that's a new thing. It's a glitch in the matrix.
Hysteria seems to be the mood in Washington and Kiev, with the new Ukrainian prime minister claiming, "We are on the brink of disaster" as he calls up army reserves in response to Russian military movements in Crimea.
Were he talking about the country's economic plight he would have a point. Instead, along with much of the US and European media, he was over-dramatising developments in the east, where Russian speakers are understandably alarmed after the new Kiev authorities scrapped a law allowing Russian as an official language in their areas. They see it as proof that the anti-Russian ultra-nationalists from western Ukraine who were the dominant force in last month's insurrection still control it. Eastern Ukrainians fear similar tactics of storming public buildings could be used against their elected officials.
Kerry's rush to punish Russia and Nato's decision to respond to Kiev's call by holding a meeting of member states' ambassadors in Brussels today were mistakes. Ukraine is not part of the alliance, so none of the obligations of common defence come into play. Nato should refrain from interfering in Ukraine by word or deed. The fact that it insists on getting engaged reveals the elephant in the room: underlying the crisis in Crimea and Russia's fierce resistance to potential changes is Nato's undisguised ambition to continue two decades of expansion into what used to be called "post-Soviet space", led by Bill Clinton and taken up by successive administrations in Washington. At the back of Pentagon minds, no doubt, is the dream that a US navy will one day replace the Russian Black Sea fleet in the Crimean ports of Sevastopol and Balaclava. [More.]
Consider, again in the Guardian, the words of venerable battleaxe, John Pilger, about the breaking of the control mechanism.
The crimes of western states like Britain have made accessories of those in the media who suppress or minimise the carnage.
The Faustian pacts that contrived a world war a century ago resonate today across the Middle East and Asia, from Syria to Japan. Then, as now, cover-up was the principal weapon. In 1917 David Lloyd George, the British prime minister, declared: "If people knew the truth, the war would be stopped tomorrow. But of course they don't know and can't know."
But for how long? There is no question that the epic crime committed in Iraq has burrowed into the public consciousness. Many recall that "shock and awe" was the extension of a murderous blockade imposed for 13 years by Britain and the US and suppressed by much of the mainstream media, including the BBC. Half a million Iraqi infants died as a result of sanctions, according to Unicef. I watched children dying in hospitals, denied basic painkillers.
Ten years later, in New York, I met the senior British official responsible for these "sanctions". He is Carne Ross, once known in the UN as "Mr Iraq". He is now a truth-teller. I read to him a statement he had made to a parliamentary select committee in 2007: "The weight of evidence clearly indicates that sanctions caused massive human suffering among ordinary Iraqis, particularly children. We, the US and UK governments, were the primary engineers and offenders of sanctions and were well aware of the evidence at the time but we largely ignored it and blamed it on the Saddam government … effectively denying the entire population the means to live."
I said to him: "That's a shocking admission."
"Yes, I agree," he replied. "I feel ashamed about it ..." He described how the Foreign Office manipulated a willing media. "We would control access to the foreign secretary as a form of reward to journalists. If they were critical, we would not give them the goodies of trips around the world. We would feed them factoids of sanitised intelligence, or we'd freeze them out."
This is a systemic glitch. It's not just a western failure. The internet's angriest hot chick, Abby Martin, announced on-air that while she may work for RT, she does not approve of Putin's actions. And another American RT journalist has just resigned because she refused to report what is clearly Kremlin propaganda. Good! GOOD!
Such actions are the natural extension of the same widespread anger (although hardly shock) at the extreme manipulation of reddit by intelligence agencies and trolls to keep accurate news off the front page.
Returning to the films, then. I will just come out and say it... I lacked the sophistication to grokk the worldview when I first saw it. My understanding of both Jacques Vallée and gnosticism was derived entirely from Cosmic Trigger. It didn't help that Reloaded and Revolutions are effectively the one film released a year apart. They make a lot more sense when you watch them both through.
It didn't -and still doesn't- help that you have to put a lot more work into understanding the final films. The first one is easy: your reality is engineered and you are a slave. The next two are what you do with that. After the enlightenment, the laundry. The audience is denied the frisson of being in on the secret. It is confronted with the grim reality of the human situation... outnumbered, outgunned, probably gonna lose.
So they're actually a lot more sophisticated on a philosophical level. I particularly liked the Valléean analysis that fortean phenomena -The Oracle, Seraph, etc- are parts of the control mechanism that have gone rogue and have to hide or are quickly deleted. Also how fake enlightenment in the physical form of a saviour (clue!) is itself part of the ecology of the control system it purports to free you from.
There is still some very clunky dialogue, terrible acting and some really on the nose symbolism: the ship Neo takes to machine city is called Logos, and The Merovingian is named for the most conspirataining bloodline this side of Alex Jones, but still points to the continuity and antiquity of our prison.
Beyond all that, though, is a highly intelligent exploration of how one responds to a control system once it has been so recognised. There's gods and demiurges, psi effects, the search for meaning. It's messy and confusing, just as our post-apocalypse turned out to be.
Extending the metaphor back to the Grand Chessboard, Putin emerges as Agent Smith. After contact with Neo, he detaches from the matrix and begins replicating himself inside it, ultimately coming to control it. (This metaphor allows us to interpret Snowden -inside Russia- as Neo... which makes Greenwald Morpheus. Fun.)
In the end, this is quite a good map for what's going on in the world. Putin is destroying the matrix, yes, but he is not the good guy by any stretch of the imagination. He would remake our failing control mechanism to look like him.
Ha! And as I finish writing this, Crimean MPs vote to join Russia. That's too weird.
Another Agent Smith is born.