Liberate Knowledge

…to democratize power in all its forms.

Dictionary of the Empire, Part 1

This is the second entry in a series of posts where I attempt to put the Empire’s complex language into laymen terms so we can all understand what U.S. politicians and pundits really say. Read Part 2 here.

Introduction to the Dictionary

When you hear Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, General Petraus, John McCain, Wolf Blitzer, and other leaders of the United States as well as political pundits speak, it can often be confusing to understand – as though their words and phrases don’t actually reflect reality. The primary reason for this is that these leaders and media talking-heads are actually speaking a different language that transcends normal dictionary definitions. In fact, they are speaking what is called the “Language of Empire,” a language in which words and phrases often have complex sub-layers or mean exactly the opposite of their normal definition.

Therefore, in order to help everyday people better understand the intentions of the United States’ media and political figures, I have begun to compile a list of phrases and words that the Empire uses and what they mean in normal words. This is a “Dictionary of the Empire.” Of course, this will have to be an ongoing project, as the Empire’s language constantly evolves and grows in order to suit its purpose at any given moment.


Call on both sides to show restraint

Dear oppressive regime that we support: please finish off the protesters at your earliest convince. As soon as possible would be better for our image.


A “democracy” supported by or called for by the United States is generally, best case scenario, a defacto dictatorship or police state. (See: the PA.) Otherwise, a “democracy” may have some democratic features, but it does absolutely everything the United States says it must do. If it does not, it is a rogue and/or terrorist entity/state.

International Community

As in: The International Community condemns something.

The United States and Europe. Also, any other countries we can strong-arm into agreeing with us.

Let Me Be Clear

Definition 1

Please use what I am about to say as my sound bite.

Definition 2

What I’m about to say is going to be incredibly wordy, but lack any actual meaning and substance.

National Security

Definition 1

“Whatever you are saying right now – shut the hell up.”

Definition 2

Oh, so you don’t want to pump any more money into the military-industrial-complex… WATCH OUT THE MUSLIM BOOGEYMAN IS BEHIND YOU.  I’m sorry, what were you saying?”

Definition 3

“Of course we don’t have any money for schools, roads, and health care. Those won’t keep you safe – bombs and bullets will. And we have a whole hell of a lot of money for those.

Social Media Revolution

We give no agency to the people on the ground who actually made the revolution possible through their sweat and blood, because it is confusing to us that non-white people can have agency. Thus, all of the credit goes to the tools they used in their uprising. And, anyway, the idea of a “Social Media Revolution” makes a fun headline that falls into our already existing consumerist narrative.


Definition 1: Used as – “We regret bombing that village/building/wedding.”

We’re just going to do it again in a week. Non-American lives are expendable.

Definition 2: Used as – “The United States regrets that Israel/Saudi Arabia/some other ally did that bad thing they did.”

Who cares? There’s nothing you can do to stop us.


The empire is never sorry for anything it does. This word does not actually exist in the Empire’s vernacular.


Someone who uses violence as a means to achieve or influence political aims.

…unless that person is not white, and especially Muslim, Arab, and/or Iranian. In which case they might be a terrorist simply for disagreeing with the United States. Or because in our gut we feel something is funny about them.

Please note: This definition generally does not extend to white people. Or, rather, white people on the right or the extreme right of the political spectrum (who are in reality responsible for the most attempted domestic “terrorist” attacks in the United States throughout the past 10 years).

Example of a white person that is defined as a terrorist: Bradley Manning.

Of course, white people that speak up against the U.S.’s wars or in defense of people they claim are being “unfairly targeted” as terrorists may be labeled as “terrorist sympathizers,” “helping terrorists,” etc. (It depends on the day.)


…any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him, or a third person, information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person…

United Nations Convention Against Torture

That definition is completely accurate… except when the United States, our allies, or a dictator we support is mentally and physically abusing Muslims, Arabs, and/or Bradley Manning.

Tragic events

It’s not our fault! They jumped in front of the bomb!

We are not at war with the “Muslim World”

But we are bombing most of it.


I hope you can use this list as a reference when listening to politicians, pundits, and military leaders speak. This should really help you understand their true intentions and the meaning of their actions. More words and phrases will be defined later!


One response to “Dictionary of the Empire, Part 1

  1. Jay Cassano March 20, 2011 at 4:24 pm

    Thanks for this. I think I’m finally prepared to watch a White House Press Briefing. No wonder journalist school is so hard.

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