Cui bono?” is a phrase you’ll often see used on conspiracy-minded Youtube videos and discussion forums. It’s Latin for “Who benefits?”, and it refers to a perspective in legal analysis that the one who stands most to gain from a crime is often the perpetrator. It’s the “motive” part of “means, motive and opportunity“.

The term comes up in conspiracy circles a lot because motive is often the biggest plot hole in the official story promoted by the authorized narrative managers of the political/media class about a given event. The alleged Douma chemical attack last year, for example, had no discernible benefit to the Assad government whatsoever, but would have benefitted the cornered Al-Qaeda affiliates in the city by provoking air strikes from the west, so there remains a lot of skepticism from those who don’t automatically believe their government and the plutocratic media when they say that Damascus was responsible. Such skepticism is dismissively branded “conspiracy theory” by the establishment narrative managers, but it is fully justified.

So it’s a useful concept for analyzing world events in a way that punches through the fog of imperial propaganda. But the question “Who benefits from this?” can, and should, be taken much further.

Don’t just ask “Cui bono?” of potential false flag events. Ask it about every belief in your head. Rigorously holding that candle up to the ideas in your own mind will reveal a lot of junk floating around in there that benefit other people, both the powerful and the not-so-powerful.

To pick one of many possible examples, it’s very interesting how many of America’s ostensibly anti-establishment movements encourage their adherents to support one of America’s two mainstream establishment political parties. The so-called “Resistance” and the progressive movement both herd people who might otherwise support actual leftist movements into the oligarchic folds of the Democratic Party, as does even the lesser-evil voting promoted by those closer to the fringe like Noam Chomsky. On the right you’ve got the warmongering corporate whore party of the Republicans being enthusiastically backed by the MAGA crowd, who you’ll routinely see backing garden variety GOP agendas like the Supreme Court nomination of a longtime Bush lackey in the name of fighting the establishment. Closer to the fringe you’ve got the insufferable QAnon cult, who consistently argue that every Trump move from Assange’s arrest to bombing Syria is a brilliant 5-D chess maneuver against the Deep State.

If those in any of these various factions began sincerely asking the question “Who benefits from my believing this?” about the various reasons they hold for espousing their respective political positions, the answer would come back clear as day that of course the ones who benefit are the plutocratic class which owns both mainstream political parties and the opaque government agencies with which that class is aligned. In the flurry of reasons being proffered in favor of supporting a given faction, it’s easy to overlook the fact that some very powerful people are likely to benefit from that support.

All the information going around about what’s going on in the world is like this. News media must be consumed with an acute awareness that there are extremely powerful people who have a vested interest in manipulating the way you think and perceive. It’s just a fact, and if it isn’t at the forefront of your consciousness, your worldview will necessarily be severely malformed. Cultivating a reflexive curiosity about who benefits from a given narrative being promoted nips this in the bud.

But this isn’t just limited to news media. We get tons of stupid ideas in our heads from things like advertising, which obviously benefit no one but the advertisers and their employers. Women in particular are plagued with body image problems from being pummeled from a very early age with corporate psyops designed for precisely that purpose, and as a result we feed billions of dollars into various interests who profit from our belief that we shouldn’t have small tits or wrinkles or body fat.

Religion is another one. There are of course many immensely wealthy and powerful structures today which benefit from adherents to religion, but most of those who’ve benefited from widespread religious indoctrination aren’t even alive anymore. Governments and world religions have historically been inextricably intertwined with and supportive of each other, because religions can be used to manipulate the masses into believing that it’s virtuous to be poor, humble, meek, submissive and obedient, to “render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s”, and to believe it would be generally sinful to use the power of their numbers to kill their rulers and seize their wealth. The answer to “Who benefits from my religious beliefs?”, if you’re Christian, is something along the lines of “All existing Christian churches, all existing political structures built around exploiting Christian beliefs for political leverage, every preacher, pope and bishop who’s ever lived, and every western ruler since Emperor Constantine.”

Many of the beliefs which have been put into our heads for someone else’s benefit don’t profit the powerful at all; many of them have been implanted by our own loved ones. It’s unfortunate, but friends and family members will often have a vested interest in putting beliefs in our heads which don’t benefit us but them. Such beliefs often revolve around keeping us from getting above our station, from feeling too good about ourselves so that we don’t go off and improve our lives instead of staying in the confining circles we were born into. Others can include believing positive things about loved ones who were actually destructive and abusive to us. Some of them are as simple as beliefs about how we are and how we should be that kept us from talking back to our parents, which if left unexamined can create submissive psychological postures in us that can stay with us to the grave. We form a lot of the beliefs we have about ourselves from the feedback we get from other people, so even something said decades ago by a schoolmate who was only interested in keeping us from rising above them in social status can continue to warp our self image.

From ground-level to the highest echelons of power, there are people who have been benefitting from the beliefs in our heads. Only by doing the necessary inner work and asking “Cui bono?” of all the ideas we believe about our world, our society, our community and ourselves can we sift apart the untrue from the true and construct a clear-eyed worldview which benefits no one but ourselves and our fellow man. Someone’s benefitting from the beliefs in our heads, and, very often, it ain’t us.


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51 responses to “How The Question “Who Benefits From This?” Can Change Your Life”

  1. There is a danger in oversimplifying cause and effect in complex systems. I generally agree that the cui bono tool is very helpful. It has taught me the general trend in things like like seeing military forces always cluster around resources like oil and drugs, or coordinated news stories on certain issues always emerge at the same time and resonate (on the religious topic, following this can be like searching for the original source of the gospels, possibly a fool’s errand).

    However, there are some instances that causes and effects are not linear relationships between one cause and one effect. Like the comment above on billionaires starting charities: they could have an interest in controlling the world, but often I think people do things because they are narcissistic and believe themselves logically to be the good guy. There are layers of self delusion and conditioning. I seriously believe there are very few malicious diabolical people, but more often, egotistical and deluded people thinking they alone have the right/power/insight to do what is “right”. Of course, there are lots of psychotics out there but I think there are more self deluded and lazy thinkers than anything else. Meanwhile, for the little people faced with the torrent of information overload, mortality is always there tempting us to take a shortcut and say “fuck it, this is too complicated, I just want to live my life”, guiding us to short term simplifications or solutions which are imperfect or not comprehensive.

    I say all this because I actually think big trends seem to happen when there are synergies of “cui bono” supporting justifications of actions for groups of actors. It would be simply too difficult to say “let’s invent a prophet to manipulate the world and allow for oligarchs to maintain their stranglehold on world power”.

    In short I believe there are cascades of Cui Bono and they don’t always originate with a single controlling evil intent. It’s frustrating when the source of a problem is complexity and disorder, because those are systemically very difficult to counteract.

  2. Peter in Seattle Avatar
    Peter in Seattle

    The so-called “Resistance” and the progressive movement both herd people who might otherwise support actual leftist movements into the oligarchic folds of the Democratic Party, as does even the lesser-evil voting promoted by those closer to the fringe like Noam Chomsky.

    Unfortunately, recommendations from people like Chomsky are the most insidiously persuasive and the hardest to see through. In this connection, I recommend one additional question (more narrowly relating to politics), with full credit to the late Bruce Dixon of Black Agenda Report. It applies to Americans choosing between Democrats and Republicans, Canadians choosing between Conservatives and Liberals, and Brits choosing between Tories and the Blairite wing of the Labour Party: Is the more “liberal” party the lesser evil, or is it the the more effective evil?

    The answer to that question puts “throwing away your vote” on a “spoiler” in a whole different light, especially if it leads to the more effectively evil “liberal” party being replaced in the medium to long term by a bona fide progressive party. In Britain, this is happening via bitterly fought internal reform within the non-parliamentary Labour Party. In Canada, Liberals will need to be soundly supplanted by NDP. And in the US, the Democratic Party (like its “conservative” twin, the Republican Party) is owned lock, stock, and barrel by corporations and billionaires, and a new party of the 99% will have to be built from the ground up.

    Also, cui bono? Why, the lead singer for U2, of course! 😉

  3. Tulsi Gabbard was truthy and straightforward last night, and got the most google searches. Kamala Harris (“top tier candidate”) got eviscerated with the terrible swift sword of truth. 30 minute warning on your cellphone to get out of the way of nuclear detonation above you is an important imagery. Hawaii is a far outpost. They get a clearer view of all the dangers. When the ships stop coming, you run out of toilet paper. Stuff like that.

  4. As usual, the author brings up great points, which encourage the reader to self-reflect and examine the many narratives we hear ever day. I would request that the author reflect on her own beliefs with certain narratives such as climate change. Ask “Cui bono?” of the government-funded scientists and politicians who promote bigger government to the alleged problem of climate change. Thank you.

    1. Obviously there are people with a vested interest in gaining power and profit from a green energy shift. This doesn’t mean the science is fake. I’ve written about this here:

      I encourage you to examine your apparent assumption that nobody profits from maintaining the fossil fuel industry.

      1. I appreciate your response. I certainly understand that there are massive profits to be made in maintaining the fossil fuel industry. I do try to take this into account, but it also doesn’t mean the so-called climate science is correct just because a big oil company is not promoting it.

        As far as the IPCC, they have already been shown to lie and manipulate data. The people there have a massive incentive to promote the climate change agenda. It is the basis of their funding and their careers. Anyone who disputes the “settled science” will quickly be out of work in that field.

        I know I am not going to change your mind here with a short comment. I just ask that you keep an open mind on this issue and to explore all sides of the story in the future, just as you do with so many of the topics you address here. Thank you for your work.

      2. Bombshell Claim: Scientists Find “Man-made Climate Change Doesn’t Exist In Practice”

        A new scientific study could bust wide open deeply flawed fundamental assumptions underlying controversial climate legislation and initiatives such as the Green New Deal, namely, the degree to which ‘climate change’ is driven by natural phenomena vs. man-made issues measured as carbon footprint. Scientists in Finland found “practically no anthropogenic [man-made] climate change” after a series of studies.

        “During the last hundred years the temperature increased about 0.1°C because of carbon dioxide. The human contribution was about 0.01°C”, the Finnish researchers bluntly state in one among a series of papers.

        This has been collaborated by a team at Kobe University in Japan, which has furthered the Finnish researchers’ theory: “New evidence suggests that high-energy particles from space known as galactic cosmic rays affect the Earth’s climate by increasing cloud cover, causing an ‘umbrella effect’,” the just published study has found, a summary of which has been released in the journal Science Daily. The findings are hugely significant given this ‘umbrella effect’ — an entirely natural occurrence — could be the prime driver of climate warming, and not man-made factors. […]

  5. “Prove all things and hold on to that which is good!”
    Unfortunately, that is a lifetime job – sort of like discovering truth – it’s a process, never an end state for us mortals.
    BUT – most people ASS-U-ME – they reached that state ages ago and now defend it to death.
    Welcome to insanity!

  6. those who have been benefitting thus have been ruling the rest of us.
    they are not going to hand over their power and money to us peacefully.
    that’s all we need to know.
    BDS the 1% and everything they try to sell to us everyday and everyway!

  7. Not making much of a bombshell story the main stream media is once again pretending the story is not ” out there ” to be aired. President Trump funds the 9-11-01 responders executive order while the reports about the blasting material used gets kept under the rug! Who benefited from this monstrous false flag operation??

    1. Michel Bélisle Avatar
      Michel Bélisle

      Cui bono Ron?

      In my previous comment I wrote:

      “The answer is “all the people who want the economical and political statu quo”, meaning those who have money; those people could not wait to endorse the big lie with evident satisfaction.
      Remember in those days at the beginning of the 2000’s there were huge protests against globalization at the G-8 and other similar summits (We have not seen huge protests like this since 9-11 proving that this orchestrated event achieved what it was intended to achieve).

      I am fed up of all that bullshit. I have seen enough. Fortunately many prophecies are telling us the return of Jesus is near and I pray the Rosary to hasten His Glorious return.”

  8. Critical Thinking. I certainly agree that Cui Bono? is one of the questions, but I don’t believe this can be the first question or you don’t get yourself deep enough into the Root Cause of what you are trying to figure out. First you need to ask yourself, What went wrong?

    Let’s use our current example of Baltimore is a shithole. After this you need to answer the five why’s of why/how it went wrong.

    1. Why is Baltimore a shithole? Because the city doesn’t have the funds to fix the mess. 2. Why doesn’t Baltimore have the funds to fix the mess? Because all the good jobs left for lower costed areas to be produced. 3. Why did all the good jobs leave for lower costed areas to be produced? Because the cost of producing goods in Baltimore was too high. 4. Why was the cost of producing goods in Baltimore too high? Because the value of the dollar is too high. 5. Why is the value of the dollar to high? Because the dollar is valued by crude oil and other countries need dollars to purchase this crude oil and will sell their goods at lower prices in order to get dollars to purchase crude.

    Now from this level of peeling back the onion is when you ask Cui Bono? Who profits? I’ll leave this one to others to decide.

  9. Re: religion: at least Christianity, is a very useful tool for capitalists, since industrialization (and its ability to support everyone, whether they have a job or not, which enables socialism) didn’t happen until centuries after the Bible was written. Just keep thumping your Bible and pretend nothing has happened since then.

  10. “If those in any of these various factions began sincerely asking the question ‘Who benefits from my believing this?’ about the various reasons they hold for espousing their respective political positions, the answer would come back clear as day that of course the ones who benefit are the plutocratic class which owns both mainstream political parties….” Not quite so simple, I would submit. Who ALSO benefits, in their little walled-off egos, are all the non-plutocrats, from the poor to the upper middle class, who deep down would LOVE to be plutocrats, if only they got that unexpected break, made the right connection, inherited from an unknown relative, won the lottery, etc. If they themselves can’t be rich, really rich, then they can at least identify with the plutocrats and their interests, root for the winning team, find perverse satisfaction in that fantasy, otherwise known as The American Dream.

  11. for Korea-related information that you will NEVER get from the pressititutes, go to ZoominKorea and Korea Policy Institute.

    also read George Burchett at counterpunch and meet Brian Becker at his Loud and Clear radio show.

    you don’t have to ask “qui bono?” for their reporting. first of all, they do not hide it, and second, it is YOU the people (99%) who benefit.

  12. Sometimes it’s better to ask who does NOT benefit?

    Take the current “investigation” into Jeffrey Epstein and his alleged “trafficking operation.”

    We certainly know who would NOT benefit from the full truth of this story being exposed – the entire power structure of the world, including the U.S. government.

    How likely is it that government authorities want to expose how corrupt and sordid our “leaders” really are?

    Not very likely. Which is why I think any “investigation” into this matter will be limited, or contained.

  13. To question everything while believing in nothing is a terrible way to live. Believe what is important to you and ignore the rest. You can not do anything about it anyway.

    1. Michel Bélisle Avatar
      Michel Bélisle

      We can stop participating in the cynical electoral process and do not vote.

      When you know that our politicians have the obligation to believe the lie of 9-11 to become candidate, it tells a lot:

      So, if I could not become a candidate because I did not see wreckages of airplanes in the Pentagone and in a field in Pennsylvania on 9-11, the simple logic is that I cannot vote either.

      Of course you will say that people will continue to vote anyway and that I cannot do anything about it.

      It is their business if they want to be judge at the Second Coming of Jesus but I do not want to be part of it:

      (II Thess.II, 10–11), “to them that perish . . . God shall send the operation of error, to believe lying: that all may be judged who have not believed the truth, but have consented to iniquity.”

      In our days to participate in the electoral process seems to mean “consent to iniquity”.

      9-11 was done to perpetuate iniquity.

      And I am fed up of all that bullshit. Fortunately, according to many prophecies, the return of Jesus is near and I pray the Rosary to hasten His return.

    2. still promoting “keep your head in the sand to avoid the inconvenient truth” as a way to happiness???? qui bono???

      1. nondimenticare Avatar

        No, Caitlin did not headline her article with a typo. It is “cui bono,” “cui” meaning TO whom (or TO what), “qui” meaning, among other things, how, what, who. Not to be a pedant, but if we’re going to use the term – and we probably all have reason to – we should get it right.

  14. Michel Bélisle Avatar
    Michel Bélisle

    It was the same for 9-11. “Qui bono” to have distinctly seen airplanes in a field in Pennsylvania and in the Pentagone on that day where there were none to be seen.

    The answer is “all the people who want the economical and political statu quo”, meaning those who have money; those people could not wait to endorse the big lie with evident satisfaction.

    Remember in those days at the beginning of the 2000’s there were huge protests against globalization at the G-8 and other similar summits (We have not seen huge protests like this since 9-11 proving that this orchestrated event achieved what it was intended to achieve).

    I am fed up. I have seen enough. Fortunately many prophecies are telling us the return of Jesus is near and I pray the Rosary to hasten His Glorious return.

  15. “every preacher, pope and bishop who’s ever lived, and every western ruler since Emperor Constantine.” Not Exact. You forget the great Julian II.

    1. Dear Shane, I, as a naive university student, have found your comments at this site and elsewhere online to be quite intriguing and striking – they embody quite an astute historical sense. Is there an email I can reach you at? I can be reached at Best, Kevin

  16. A very useful article with its insight and a clear focus. I would add, however, what I have been so fortunate to learn from some very wise men and women – one must also ask how do I benefit? – what am I satisfying my desire for truth or my ego? We can all love lies that flatter us. For example, if I am rich I can love the lies that my wealth shows God favors the rich, or that we are smarter or more talented and so on. This is the competitive way of thinking.

    I have seen time and again that it is true, that the truth doesn’t have much of a chance, including in me, unless I ask what am I really getting out of believing this? Even the truth can be used for ego – e.g. I care more for people than those murderers in Washington and so on. Instead we should be asking every time we see evil – how is this both in me and in them? – so I can be more against it in myself and in other people – because the best thing in them also wants to be against it – even if that never is what runs them. Among the things I admire about Caitlin Johnstone are her willingness to look at evil like a scholar, write about it with logical passion and because she questions herself.

    Anytime you feel better than another person, or think that way, you are already on the wrong track. Everyone, just everyone, hates injustice unless their ego is involved and they do not want to see it.

  17. Beautiful job as usual Caitlin. Please keep on throwing your thought bombs under the tents of the unrightful rulers of our troubled realm. Their discomfort is my delight!

  18. Caitlin: you rock I find myself agreeing with everything you say/write. Awesome and I welcome and embrace it. Have been boycotting Democracy Now for over 2 years because, mostly, there are other reasons, but the MOST pertinent one is their establishment take on Syria. There is a wonderful young woman, an intrepid and fearless reporter who has actually gone to Syria and spoken with the people many times. Her name is Eva Bartlett: she is a bit younger than you but just as inspired and on fire to tell truth: check her out.
    I have a poem: wish to share: written on Gabriola Island, BC Canada July 30th 2019
    So much suffering, so much horror: have to remind myself: it’s all just a story
    No need to be a hero, no need for the glory: it’s only a story
    No need to see justice done: so many crying out for reprieve
    Their wounds a bleeding sore infecting our belief in everything we do and speak
    High sounding righteousness conceived and born in deceit
    We can no longer hide behind the lies all is revealed we are exposed. Anna Leather from Gabriola, BC the West Coast the best coast! Canada Love you Caitlin you rock girl: keep on I forward your writings to like-minded persons. I wish you joy contentment and serenity in spades!!

  19. I was born a “navy brat”, and lived in Spain from one to three, and Italy through five, and essentially “walked through western history” with our Mom, and my elder sister. We learned ancient Latin, as Mom translated the inscriptions, but from the very beginning, all three of we children were taught “cui bono”, as being the principle means of determining where and how to take what is proffered.
    None of us do anything without purpose or cause, so it is very effective in winnowing out intent, planning, and purpose. At the same time, it’s a valuable tool to investigate self, and decide what drives you find right, moral, egalitarian, and make long term choices for one’s life based on logic.
    My parents distinguished how they raised us, say “they raised adults, not children”, and it was obvious to me, most family’s raised “children”, focused on keeping them “in the circle”, not preparing them to leave the nest.
    People are gregarious creatures, we’ve long found we are far more efficient and effective in feeding ourselves, cooperatively, than by loner strategy, yet there are always some who’d rather not work. Seven, eight thousand years ago, being three, and not knowing “good picking’s from just so, so” was ameliorated shortly, by spitting out the unripe grains, and enjoying the ripe.
    Five thousand years ago, not knowing how to push a seed into the ground, and put stuff around it, to nourish it, would be corrected by parents or siblings, and one’s own benefit was easily seen.
    From there, it was natural to work collectively, and at that point, the opening for “leadership” arrived, and the notion one could be tasked with doing the work of thinking, rather than labor. The price of cooperative labor, is the difficulty to winnow out those who “half-ass” their way through life, from those who always try to get more planted, better, each time, by studying their ways and improving.
    Progress is only possible when there is room for improvement, and yet we’ve continued to move forward, in many areas which end our rational existence, and in which we enter an entirely irrational imposed thought pattern.
    We have progressed from hand to mouth living, through many ways of imposed “collectivist work”, with “thinkers” leading us, and in many cases, being worth their salt, having reasoned, rational proposals, that have truly improved our lives, however, the door was opened for any who claimed better capability, not only those who demonstrate it.
    We’ve been led to “progress” in directions entirely illogical, more, to occupy otherwise useful minds, and keep them from seeing where we stand, than for any other reason.
    We all, the world over, had good opportunity for a better life, immediately after the last world war, however, America won too much power, by dint of being outside the scope of the battle fields, and selling arms and equipment to all the allies, for gold, throughout the war, essentially turning Europe into vassal states, while they still owed us enormously.
    It is never good for one, unbalanced power, in any particular circle, and of course, this is in spades, for a world, we must live together on. We, the U.S., milked this dry, and then went to imposition of will by force, first by threat, once by war, always an option, and always chosen. We were not challenged by the collective world, via the U.N., I believe, mainly because others admired “the cat-bird seat” and merely wanted to replace us as occupants.
    We, People, mostly err, because we don’t think absolutes, rule is evil, when people are peers, but tend to thing, “his rule is evil, because of outcome, mine will be good, for the same reason”, and quite often, we know we are no better qualified than he, or she, just don’t want to be “laborer”.
    We have to choose, as “Peoples”, principles that are truly egalitarian, and we have to hold them as “sound founding stones”, not to be ignored, dismissed, but to rule over all our decisions, just as we hold math to be exact, and once considered words to have exact meanings.
    Our day, the U.S.”s, is over shortly, I only pray the rest choose to address “the beam in their own eye” before they pursue the “flek” in their neighbor’s eye. Jesus Christ did not raise the Vatican, men did. He did not suggest some should rule over others, merely observed that was “man’s way”, and suggested we can live well, in peace, by simply “treating our neighbor as we would be treated”.
    It is Man who takes faith, principles, reasonings, and turns them into tools of control, power and destruction. We can ignore the fact we have both good and evil within, and do what we would, without consideration, and we establish our little world with no moral or ethical foundation. That has been normal for societies, time immemorial.
    We can, and have, on occasion, looked deep inside, recognized the reality of good, the truth of actual “evil”, and we can eschew the evil, habituate ourselves to push it away, never allow it near, and “retreat, reconsider, and do differently” when we’ve erred and followed it, but except we do exactly this, we will live in constant turmoil, war, conflict over everything we need.
    I don’t believe we can achieve our end goal, without acknowledging authority above our own, and accept there are laws of nature, and of nature’s God, and by this, we can live in one accord. I’ve not seen it accomplished otherwise.
    Semper Fidelis,
    John McClain
    GySgt, USMC, ret.
    Vanceboro, NC, USA

  20. I was sent to a Catholic school for the superior education; the daily religious and political indoctrination was free. The hypocrisy of the priests, nuns and the entire system was obvious even to a child. Home life was much the same. Kennedy was murdered, then Oswald, the cover-up was clumsy, but still works. Tonkin Gulf, RFK, MLK, Noriega, 9/11, WMD’s, Al Queda, numerous mass shootings, Russians, Iranians, stolen elections courtesy of SCOTUS. Liberty, patriotism, jesus, 2nd amendment, Patriot Act, , massive gerrymandering, voter roll purges, a mafia don in the WH. The total fraud of christianity. Not definitive, nor sequential. Only what I’ve been watching for 60 years

    The most indoctrinated, manipulated, conditioned society on the planet. There isn’t anything we won’t believe and pay for. And it only gets worse by the day. Make America Great Again !
    Thanks for your column.

  21. Insightful, thoughtful, inspiring comments on this website. Thanks to Catlin and all!

  22. The second part of 4 Corners on Julian Assange is now available:
    You must be in Australia (or using a proxy in Australia) to access iView.

    1. Why not give us lesser mortals a summary (instead of suggesting proxy internet hassle) ?!

      Oz TV belongs to corporate media. Is ownership by the greedy 1% not inclined to arouse suspicions when said TV reports on Julian Assange ?
      (Reporters are being paid by the corporate entity are they not ?!)

      Will be very much appreciated.

      1. The Fatal Shore. Tasmania 1820’s.
        Who benefitted then? Are the same, elite social cohort still in charge?

      2. Using proxies is not a hassle, you should use one all the time. Different VPN services vary, but usually its one click to bring up the list of countries for the proxy location, and one click to chose Australia.
        ABC and SBS belong to the Australian Government, so they usually follow the Government/Opposition narrative, but 4 Corners is always pushing the boundaries.
        Of course they show a snippet of Gillard saying Assange was wrong to publish secrets, but the current editor of Wikileaks gets a lot of air time to explain what was going on, and his lawyer too.
        Nothing new for anyone who follows it closely, but its good to get whole story in two 45 minute chunks.
        Then the ABC will just let the story lie, without making a fuss.

  23. And the ” masterpieces ” just keep on coming from the Buddha Ms Caitlin! Thanks Ms Johnstone, as usual you are telling the truth to and about our very dysfunctional species.

  24. Joseph Dillard Avatar
    Joseph Dillard

    Not only “what other person or collective benefits, but what aspects of myself benefit?” For example, the doctrine of karma benefits government because it promotes compliance and social stability. A belief in psychism supports narcissism and grandiosity. A belief in conspiracy theories supports vigilance, distrust, and a belief that individual and fringe knowledge is superior to that of collectives and broadly accepted knowledge. That is sometimes true but generally is not. For example, the odds that the consensus of specialists in many fields of science are correct regarding global warming is much, much more likely to be true than the conspiracy theory of some global warming denier. Adding to your list of “Who benefits from my belief in Christianity?” We can obviously add, “pedophile priests and those who cover for them.” Islam? Essentially the patriarchy benefits. Judaism? Impressive social cohesion around a combination of grandiosity and perpetual victim status.

  25. Vincent DiSalvo Avatar
    Vincent DiSalvo

    Qui bono, Follow the money, and Occam’s Razor. Use those principles at all times.

  26. Have you noticed that a lot of ABC/SBS news focuses on Hong Kong recently, when it doesn’t seem to have much news value? The background theme is always strongly anti-China. They never mention that 75% of Hong Kongers voted for the current pro-China PM, nor worry about supporting protesters that storm parliament and trash it. Similarly the “prison camps” in Xinxiang for Uyghurs, the US arms sales to Taiwan, and the on-going South China Seas problems.
    Similarly there is a lot of anti-Russia news, currently on Navalny, who has been “poisoned” by the Kremlin, giving the opportunity to mention Scripal (Novichok), Yushchenko (dioxin), Litvinenko (Polonium-210). Having implied these were done by the Kremlin, they (in all balance and fairness!) mention that Russia denies all these claims.
    Why is this happening? Cui bono? Obviously it is happening because the US wants it to, and the Australian Government are always keen to help, most likely to pressure China and Russia over the trade talks.
    How is it done? Congress gives money to NED, it then gives the money to IRI and NDII, and they give it various “freedom and democracy” movements around the world, like Hong Kong xxx (name lost) movement that organise the riots/protests, making sure they are videoed, and sending the videos to CNN etc, who organise the ABC/SBS to get it. The protest organisers need to have a private network to do all this work, and the CIA can easily do that by handing out master passwords to VPN services in the US.
    And why does US really want to beat China and Russia? Because they want to rule the WHOLE WORLD.

    1. Polloy, I must say I haven’t noticed what the ABC/SBS presstitutes are focusing on because I stopped patronising them years ago when it became patently obvious that, on international politics, they just repeat the Canberra (ie Washington) line. And both major parties also spout the Washington line. Troops for a US war? Provoke the Chinese? Expel Russian diplomats? Russia/Putin shot down MH17? Assad ‘gases his own people’? Julian Assange is a criminal? Regardless of which party is in power in Canberra, it is, in Harold Holt’s words from all that time ago, All The Way with The USA. Sickening.

  27. Love your writing, Caitlin. Seems to me there are parallels between your points and “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz.

  28. Hello, Ms. Johnstone, Caitlin.

    I like the article and I have a lot going through my head, but I only want to comment on 2 things now.
    1) The political parties respectively the government, which is created in part by the election of these parties and what this has to do with superstition.
    2 Religion, Christianity.
    And both are in correlation to each other, especially, but not only for the USA, “God’s own country”, the “exceptional nation” with its “Manifest Destiny” and everything related to it.

    To 1. a reading recommendation with link to a book and a short outline from it. I guess you know the book already.

    The Most Dangerous Superstition by Larken Rose

    Preparing the Reader

    What you read in this book will, in all likelihood, go directly against what you have been taught by your parents and your teachers, what you have been told by the churches, the media and the government, and much of what you, your family and your friends have always believed. Nonetheless, it is the truth, as you will see if you allow yourself to consider the issue objectively. Not only is it the truth, it also may be the most important truth you will ever hear.

    More and more people are discovering this truth, but to do so, it is necessary to look past many preconceived assumptions and deeply ingrained superstitions, to set aside one’s life-long indoctrination, and to examine some new ideas fairly and honestly. If you do this, you will experience a dramatic change in how you view the world. It will almost certainly feel uncomfortable at first, but in the long run it will be well worth the effort. And if enough people choose to see this truth, and embrace it, not only will it drastically change the way those people see the world; it will drastically change the world itself, for the better.

    But if such a simple truth could change the world, wouldn’t we all already know about it, and wouldn’t we have put it into practice long ago? If humans were purely a race of thinking, objective beings, yes. But history shows that most human beings would literally rather die than objectively reconsider the belief systems they were brought up in. The average man who reads in the newspaper about war, oppression and injustice will wonder why such pain and suffering exists, and will wish for it to end. However, if it is suggested to rum that his own beliefs are contributing to the misery, he will almost certainly dismiss such a suggestion without a second thought, and may even attack the one making the suggestion.

    So, reader, if your beliefs and superstitions – many of which you did not choose for yourself, but merely inherited as unquestioned “hand-me-down” beliefs – matter to you more than truth and justice, then please stop reading now and give this book to someone else. If, on the other hand, you are willing to question some of your long-held, preconceived notions if doing so might reduce the suffering of others, then read this book. And then give it to someone else.[…]

    Please have a look at the and of the book about the copyright and if you like the book may you have some bucks left for Larken Rose and buy your own copy.
    To 2. A cite from you and then a cite about Christianity.

    […]Of course, the only reason anyone can attempt to claim that Barack Obama had “no scandals” is because in our bat shit crazy world, murdering, oppressing and exploiting large numbers of people isn’t considered scandalous.[…]
    — Caitlin Johnstone

    “Christianity is theoretically the most peace-loving, but practically the most bloodthirsty faith association in world history. After intensive study of the history of Christianity in antiquity, the Middle Ages and modern times, including and especially in the 20th century, I do not know of any organization of the world which is at the same time so long, so continuous and so terribly burdened with crimes as the Christian Church, especially the Roman Catholic Church. Since Constantine hypocrisy and violence have become the hallmarks of church history, mass murder the practice of a religion. Killing one was strictly forbidden, killing thousands was a work pleasing to God. The whole thing is not called mental illness, the whole thing is called Christianity”.
    — Karlheinz Deschner – writer and church critic


  29. There’s also a school of thought which says there is no such thing as a true act of altruism because all such acts ultimately serve self interest. Such an argument can be made logically and rationally but that doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be factual. If it becomes increasingly popular for billionaires to establish massive charitable foundations, is that because they’d rather shelter their fortunes in a tax free environment where they can decide for themselves how it is spent instead of paying taxes they know those idiots running the government will waste? Hmm, perhaps that school is right after all.

  30. Very good, and probably near impossible to accomplish; I doubt that as children any were ever told anything but lies; including the biggest lie of all, that any of us even deserve to live.

  31. Caitlin:

    You are sooooo good at explaining these matters – a collection of your essays – ethics and philosophical – how good would that be for all students – senior high/university. (How the political class and vested-interest gate-keepers would push to have them “unavailable”!!) I wish I were still teaching …

  32. Ok, but the last line “fellow man” would be more inclusive by saying: human beings.

  33. ‘to “render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s“‘

    Yeah I remember that one. Left out of the Bible is the fact that caesars, emperors, conquerors, etc., always think everything is theirs.

    1. Oh you can own property all right, just so long as you pay taxes regularly for that privilege. It becomes interesting to note the legal exceptions to that rule but yes, it helps to be the one making the rules. This is known as the power of the sword for good reason. It is our reality regarding power and who wields it.

  34. “Unequivocal 9/11 Nukes” > principia-australia(.)org
    WTC vaporization declassified by structural engineer

  35. On the national scale in the US, precisely the opposite is happening. “The People” are told by candidates that they and the US of A are exceptional. Nowadays, the exact opposite is closer to the truth.

  36. Re: Caitliln
    I came across this Aaron Mate article just prior to reading this “Cui bono” missive of yours.
    It struck me as somewhat of an example of that which you are ‘splaining”. (:-})
    As Usual,

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