Friday 8 August 2014

Think Tanks (in quotes)

Ministry of Truth

"Think tanks have such Orwellian names", said a friend. He was thinking of the propaganda organisation titled the "Ministry of Truth" and others from 1984.

think tank = lobby group = legal corruption (Ross Douthat, New York Times, Oct 2012)

A left-wing organisation that puts out press releases proposing policy is a "pressure group". The right-wing equivalent is a "think tank". (parody account @dailymailstyle)

I think these old-fashioned, ugly and dangerous 'think tanks' should be dismantled and replaced with attractive “power blocs”. (Ian Martin/@IanMartin)

Blackwater: mercenary squad “Not that you would know that from Blackwater's publicity material. Americans are used to corporate-speak, but when the business is war, more euphemism is needed than ever. When Blackwater says it ‘efficiently and effectively integrates a wide range of resources and core competencies to provide unique and timely solutions’, you think, ‘What?’ Translation: ‘We provide heavies and we teach people how to be heavies.’ Instead of saying ‘gunfire’, they say ‘active shooter incidents’. ‘Solutions’ is a classic corporate euphemism for a security company. You make what you do as vague as possible - except we all know what ‘solutions’ means in this particular case.” (The Guardian, October 29, 2007 Blackwater is now known as Academi.)

Common Purpose: provides training and networking for high-fliers. “Its critics say it is a secret networking organisation at the heart of the establishment, with a hidden agenda and influence… They believe it is shaping people to work to its hidden agenda of promoting a European super-state, forcing diversity on British society, and imposing political correctness,” says “The organisation's aim is to identify and train the next generation of leaders.” (The fiends! "Political correctness" is actually imposed by the Crime and Disorder Act of 1998.)

Foundation for Integrated Health:
lobby group for alternative medicine (“In 1993, Prince Charles founded his often re-named lobby group that ended up being called the ‘Foundation for Integrated Health’ (FIH). It was closed down in 2010 amidst allegations of money laundering and fraud.” Edzard Ernst)

Free Market Foundation: Its aims are to "protect freedoms and strengthen families" "It’s outrageous that our highest elected education officials voted to silence teachers and students in science class," said Jonathan Saenz, director of legislative affairs for the US nonprofit Free Market Foundation, whose objective is to "protect freedoms and strengthen families". (It’s now harder to teach creationism in Texas schools, creationists lost the vote. They want to keep “strengths and weaknesses” in the guidelines, i.e. the strengths and weaknesses of Darwinism.)

Housing Action Trust: “Liverpool tower blocks - scores of which were demolished by the amusingly named Housing Action Trust in the 1990s and early 2000s.” (Will Self, London Review of Books, Feb 2012 Liverpool HAT demolished 54 tower blocks. I wonder why? And why are we building more, again?)

Information Research Department: “a secret bureau in the Foreign Office… to counter Soviet propaganda” (BBC, February 2013)

Integrity: “…a special ministry at [Christian university] Harding called Integrity, designed to help students battle same-sex desires.” (Jeff Chu, Does Jesus Really Love Me?)

Joint Operations Command: “shadowy security politburo” (timesonline on the collective that’s running Zimbabwe, June 2008)

Keep Sunday Special: Started as a campaign to stop people shopping on a Sunday (it lost). Now its website claims “87% of people think it is important for family stability and community life to have a common day off each week.” (

New Culture Forum: “Dr Anthony Seldon, master of Wellington College, knows what children need: more fear in their daily lives. They need to face physical hardship and personal deprivation, he told the New Culture Forum – a centre-right think tank.” (Michele Hanson, Guardian October 2, 2007)

New Turn: think tank addressing political apathy among young people. “New Turn exists in order to not only try and tackle political apathy but also what in many cases is a lack of opportunity,” says its website, ungrammatically. “As a forum researcher you will actively follow your field of interest and churn ideas of how New Turn could introduce the issues and debates to the wider public in an engaging manner,” says its Facebook page.

Party Centre: The prison's existence was known only to those who worked or were imprisoned there and to a handful of high-ranking cadres, known as the Party Centre, who reviewed the documents emerging from S-21 and selected the individuals and the military and other units to be purged. (David Chandler, Voices From S-21)

Princeton Group: Archbishop of San Francisco Salvatore Cordileone is part of a new secret group aiming to ‘save traditional marriage’. According to research by Good as You, Cordileone is part of the Princeton Group, a newly-formed organisation which claims to be “developing and deploying an action plan to protect marriage and preserve religious liberties”. A leaked invite shows the group’s meeting this month is hosted by a committee including National Organisation for Marriage President Brian Brown... Alliance Defending Freedom President Alan Sears, and American Principles Project chairman Sean Fielder.

American Principles Project: “APP believes that local and national policies that respect the dignity of the person will lead to a flourishing society. As such, we educate and advocate for public policy solutions that respect and affirm: human life from conception to natural death; the union of one man and one woman as the definition of marriage; the freedom to practice and proclaim religion; authentic economic progress for working Americans; education in service of the comprehensive development of the person; and, the legacy of immigrants in contributing to the American story.” Anti-abortion, anti-equal marriage, anti-welfare?

Scientific and Medical Network: “promoters of spiritualist, pseudoscientific and occult medicine” says Andy Lewis/@lecanardnoir. According to its website, its membership “is composed of all kinds of people who are looking to align their interest or work in science and secular philosophy with a belief in the spiritual dimension of life”.

Traditional Britain Group: “We believe that exiting the EU and halting immigration are crucial to the survival of the British nation.”

World Congress of Families: They are for the “natural family”, but won’t say what they are anti. (“…the term "natural" precludes incompatible constructs of the family as well as incompatible behaviors among its members… Fourth, the "natural family" is a positive expression. It does not require a discussion of negative incompatibilities to define itself.” Sounds like they’ve had trouble with that wording.)

More euphemisms here, and links to the rest.

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