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When the US imperialist machine is using controversial books to build its propaganda


It seems that the US imperialist machine is using the same methods it was using forty years ago at the dawn of neoliberalism and the rise of neoconservatives. One of these methods involves controversial books - often filled with inaccuracies, exaggerations, or even false facts - which were taken for granted in order to permit the imperialists to build a convenient propaganda.

As The Grayzone reported recently [most important parts highlighted]:

The U.S. assassination of Qassem Soleimani in January touched off a new wave of disinformation about the top Iranian major general, with Trump administration allies branding him a global terrorist while painting Iran as the world’s worst state sponsor of terrorism. Much of the propaganda about Soleimani related to his alleged responsibility for the killing of American troops in Iraq, along with Iran’s role in Syria, Lebanon, and Yemen.

But a second theme in the disinformation campaign, which has been picked up by mainstream outlets like the Wall Street Journal and National Public Radio, was the claim that Soleimani deliberately unleashed al-Qaeda terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s campaign to kill Shiites in Iraq. That element of the propaganda offensive was the result of the 2017 publication of “The Exile,” a book by British journalists Adrian Levy and Cathy Scott-Clark, which spun a new version of the familiar U.S. propaganda line of a supposed Iranian terror alliance with al-Qaeda.

[...]

Careful study of the enormous cache of internal al-Qaeda documents released by the U.S. government in 2017 further discredited the tall tale of Iranian facilitation of al-Qaeda terrorism.

Nelly Lahoud, a senior fellow at the New American Foundation and former senior research associate at the West Point Combating Terrorism Center, translated and analyzed 303 of the newly available documents and found nothing indicating Iranian cooperation with, or even knowledge about the whereabouts of Zarqawi or other al-Qaeda military leaders prior to their detentions of April 2003. 

[...]

Adrian Levy and Cathy Scott-Clark were well aware that those al-Qaeda operatives living in Tehran’s military training center were under severe constraints, akin to a prison.  Meanwhile, senior figures like Zarqawi and Saif al-Adel, the head of the al-Qaeda shura council, were far away from Tehran, planning new operations in the region amid friendly Sunni contacts. These plans included Zarqawi’s campaign Iraq, which he began organizing in early 2002. Nevertheless the authors declared, “From [the Iranian training center], al-Qaeda organized, trained and established funding networks with the help of Iran, co-ordinated multiple terrorist atrocities and supported the bloodbath against Shi’ites by al-Qaeda in Iraq….

The situation resembles the era of the Reagan administration where many neocons managed to penetrate in key positions, influencing heavily Reagan's decisions on foreign policy.

In a similar case, the neoconservatives set out to prove that the Soviet threat was far greater than anyone. They would demonstrate that the majority of terrorism and revolutionary movements around the world, were actually part of a secret network, coordinated by Moscow to take over the world.

The main proponent of this theory was a leading neoconservative who was the special adviser to the Secretary of State. His name was Michael Ledeen and he had been influenced by a best-selling book called "The Terror Network". It alleged that terrorism was not the fragmented phenomenon that it appeared to be. In reality, all terrorist groups, from the PLO to the Baader-Meinhof Group in Germany and the provisional IRA, all of them, were a part of coordinated strategy of terror run by the Soviet Union.

Even the CIA completely disagreed. They said this was just another neoconservative fantasy.

But the neoconservatives had a powerful ally. He was William Casey, and he was the new head of the CIA. Casey was sympathetic to the neoconservative view. And when he read "The Terror Network" book, he was convinced. He called a meeting of the CIA's Soviet analysts at their headquarters and told them to produce a report for the President that proved this hidden network existed.

But the analysts told him, this would be impossible because much of the information in the book came from black propaganda the CIA themselves had invented to smear the Soviet Union. They knew that the terror network didn't exist because they themselves had made it up.

Melvin Goodman, head of CIA office of Soviet Affairs from 1976 to 1987, states: “And when we looked through the book, we found very clear episodes where CIA black propaganda - clandestine information that was designed under a covert action plan to be planted in European newspapers - were picked up and put in this book. A lot of it was made up. It was made up out of whole cloth. [...] And we even had the operations people to tell Bill Casey this. I thought maybe this might have an impact, but all of us were dismissed. Casey had made up his mind. He knew the Soviets were involved in terrorism so there was nothing we could tell him to disabuse him. Lies became reality.

In the end, Casey found a university professor, who described himself as a terror expert and he produced a dossier that confirmed that the hidden terror network did, in fact, exist. Under such intense lobbying, Reagan agreed to give the neoconservatives what they wanted, and in 1983, he signed a secret document that fundamentally changed American foreign policy.

The country would now fund covert wars to push back the hidden Soviet threat around the world.



The whole story proves that some propaganda methods of the US empire remain the same. It also verifies that the imperialist machine has only changed the name of the enemy. The dangerous threat back then was the alleged "Soviet-sponsored terrorism." Today, it's the different forms of "Islamic terrorism", depending on what is convenient for the imperialists to justify another war or intervention, each time.

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