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Part III – 9/11, Psychological Warfare and the American Narrative Series

Thursday, August 25th, 2011

A Clockwork Afghanistan

By Elizabeth Gould and Paul Fitzgerald
afghanThe struggle to determine what the United States would become in the 21st century didn’t begin at 9/11. 9/11 consumed America’s attention, but the December 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan was the signature event that made 9/11 inevitable. The invasion of Afghanistan ended détente and renewed the Cold War. At the time it was presented as an open act of aggression by the Soviet Union and declared by President Jimmy Carter to be the most serious threat to peace since World War II. The invasion would establish a new narrative of uncompromising hostility toward the Soviet Union, erase decades of efforts by moderates inside both Soviet and American systems to end the Cold War, would increase defense spending to World War II size levels thereby changing the United States from a creditor to a debtor nation and would firmly establish the arrival of the so called New Right and its aggressive militarist logic on the American political scene.

The root cause of what the United States suffers from today, both politically and economically stems from the psychological warfare campaign triggered by the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. At that time, Americans responded dutifully if not robotically to the threat as a barrage of propaganda poured from a hoard of foreign policy “experts” claiming vindication for Vietnam while bemoaning America’s military weakness. Zbigniew Brzezinski himself claimed that the Soviet invasion was a vindication of his prediction that the Soviets would be emboldened by a lack of U.S. resolve elsewhere. The shaken president, Jimmy Carter announced a U.S. boycott of the 1980 Moscow Olympics, the creation of a rapid deployment force to the Middle East and a new get tough posture toward the Soviet Union.

pipesOn January 2, 1980 the MacNeil Lehrer News Hour presented former U.S. Ambassador Theodore Eliot and Harvard Professor Richard Pipes to speculate on the implications of the invasion. As an unabashed neoconservative ideologue, Pipes should have been considered a controversial choice sitting alongside the thoroughly Eastern establishment Eliot. But on this evening Pipes had been carefully chosen to play the very special role of delegitimizing détente with the Soviet Union while moving the discussion permanently and irretrievably to the neoconservative right. Paired with Eliot, the dean of American diplomacy and soon to be Secretary General for the United States of a gathering of international elites calling itself, the Bilderberg group, the two were there to send the signal that the ideology of neoconservatism, globalism and the institutions of the American government were now one and the same.

It was a moment that would change the United States in ways that few Americans would immediately understand and many continue to find baffling. Years earlier, Pipes had been chosen to chair a highly controversial operation known as the Team B experiment in competitive analysis.

The decade of the 1970s had presented a series of strategic shocks to the United States. The Watergate scandal and the Arab oil embargo, campus protests, combined with the American military failure in Vietnam had shaken Washington’s own belief in the American narrative. Vietnam had removed the veil from America’s Cold War defense-intellectual elite, revealing their elaborate plans and complex mathematical formulas to be useless as a guide to action. But even before the end of that war in 1975, pressure had been building from a powerful collection of right-wing ideologues to ignore their own complete intellectual failure, wind back the clock and return to an openly militarized Cold War approach to the Soviet Union.

bushBacked by Gerald Ford’s CIA director George W. Bush, the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (PFIAB) vice chairman, Leo Cherne, and the father of Cold War thinking, Paul Nitze, Team B’s goal was to turn the CIA’s thinking about the Soviet Union on its head.

“The intensity and scope of the current Soviet military effort in peacetime is without parallel in twentieth century history,” they claimed in their top secret 1976 report. The Soviets were preparing for a “third world war” and were comparable only to “Nazi remilitarization of the 1930s.” Given military superiority and the will to use it, they reasoned, at some point in the near future the Soviets would make a strategic move that the United States would be militarily unable to stop.

But it was in their claim that the Soviets would first “intimidate smaller powers . . . adjacent to the USSR . . . where pro-Soviet forces have an opportunity to seize power but are unable to do so without military help,” that the Team B assessment attained a level of prophecy.

If anything could be described as a psychological warfare operation come unhinged, it was the Team B experiment. Team B effectively exposed the government’s own process of rational analysis to an irrational exercise in personalized, politicized, ethnic and faith-based psychological warfare. And it succeeded.

By 1979, the Team B and its acolytes Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz and Zalmay Khalilzad had so managed to overlay their alternate reality onto the mind of government that when the invasion of Afghanistan took place in 1979 their fantasy appeared to be as real and foreordained as it was intended to be.

Richard Pipes made clear in that January 2, 1980 broadcast that Afghanistan was “a superb springboard from which to launch offensives both into the Indian subcontinent and into Iran and the Iranian Gulf….” And then invoked the magic of World War II by stating that never before had the Soviets “felt bold enough… to engage in a direct blitzkrieg. So if they get away with it in Afghanistan, there’ll not only be great danger for our whole Middle eastern position but we will have encouraged them to engage in actions of this sort in other parts of the world, including, for example, Southeastern Europe or possibly even Western Europe.”

ratherA “direct blitzkrieg” aimed at the Middle East, India, Southeastern and even Western Europe? Just like the phantom threat posed by Saddam Hussein in 2003 and brought forward by the very same people, the idea that the Soviets might cut off a vital oil supply was all that was needed to capture public opinion. That spring CBS News anchor Dan Rather followed up with a coast to coast broadcast reinforcing the company line: the American people were asleep to Soviet designs and had better start supporting the Mujahideen “freedom fighters” before it was too late.

The major media had been priming the pump for months prior to the invasion citing Brzezinski and the importance of the “arc of crisis,” and predicting that the Soviet Union would be driven toward the Persian Gulf within the decade due to intelligence reports that it was “running short of the oil it needs to fuel an expanding economy.” Never mind that the Soviet economy was actually contracting at that point and the CIA’s secret 14-page memo titled “The Impending Soviet Oil Crisis,” was pure hokum.

brzezBrzezinski and his Team B allies wanted the Soviets in Afghanistan as part of a long standing plan for the conquest of Eurasia and the psychological warfare campaign to convince Americans of the Soviets’ malevolent desires for world domination was already gearing up to make it reality.

International Rescue Committee Chairman Leo Cherne was well practiced in the arts of such deception. As of 1978, the year of the Marxist coup in Afghanistan the IRC was already at work stating in their Annual Report that they were actively engaged in bringing Afghan refugees to Europe and the United States following “The takeover of Afghanistan by dictatorial forces sympathetic to the Soviet Union…” The IRC’s Annual Report that year featured a photograph of Cherne’s old protégé at the Research Institute of America, board member William J. Casey while conducting a tour of Southeast Asia. Casey would serve as Chairman of the Executive Committee the next year before running Ronald Reagan’s 1980 election campaign and shortly thereafter becoming his CIA director.

The IRC in cooperation with the CIA had virtually created the elaborate psychological warfare mechanism that sold the U.S. military buildup in Vietnam to the American public. By 1975 their campaign of black lies had been exposed as a dangerous fraud. But in faraway Afghanistan, those mistakes would be forgotten with the help of the Europeans and a covert globalist agenda.

It was obvious to us in 1980 that the Soviet invasion was not what it seemed and even more obvious that the Western response to it was not what it should have been. 1979 was a critical moment in American history. Vietnam had created huge problems for the post World War II infrastructure and economy. Huge debt and a military resurgence was the last thing the U.S. needed. But when Theodore Eliot showed up at a preview of our first-person 1981 Afghan documentary on life behind Soviet lines and demanded to know who in the U.S. government had “authorized” our project, we realized we had penetrated a psychological warfare campaign that was steeped in the irrational.

Like clockwork, the 1979 Soviet invasion would open a back door for a small band of globalists to bleed, loot and ultimately disassemble the Soviet Union, just the way the very same people would use 9/11 to go through the front door to bleed, loot and disassemble the United States. Copyright © 2011 Gould & Fitzgerald All rights reserved



Part II – 9/11, Psychological Warfare & the American Narrative Series

Thursday, August 18th, 2011

Building the Afghan Narrative with Black Propaganda, the People, the Process & the Product

By Elizabeth Gould and Paul Fitzgerald

By definition, America’s use of Psychological Warfare is described as the “The planned use of propaganda and other psychological actions having the primary purpose of influencing the opinions, emotions, attitudes, and behavior of hostile foreign groups in such a way as to support the achievement of national objectives.” Of course this very definition is itself propaganda, a white lie which omits the fact that America’s domestic population is just as often the target of psychological warfare as any “hostile foreign groups.” goeThe state’s use of psychological warfare to bend the population to war is as old, if not older than the existence of states themselves. But it was perhaps Nazi Reichsmarschall Hermann Goering whose statement while on trial at Nuremberg best summed up the cynical simplicity of the logic.

“Of course people don’t want war. But after all, it’s the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it’s always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it’s a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders, that is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to greater danger.”

Psychological warfare in the form of propaganda comes in all shapes and sizes as well as shades of black, grey or white. America’s coordinated use of psychological warfare began in earnest during World War II and ever since has grown and expanded into public relations, advertising, cinema, radio and television, electronic video games and now social media. Its pro-war boosterism extends over sports, religion, education, news and entertainment (and of course the military) to form a seamless electronic cocoon-like web. It is employed on an ever growing list of those deemed as enemies of America as well as on a confused and agitated American public – whose corporate news networks frame and manage an increasingly shallow narrative while engaging in a kind of Orwellian Kabuki Theatre of fairness and balance.

Americans were heavily propagandized to support a U.S. entry into World War II and again heavily propagandized to accept the morality of deploying the atomic bomb to end it, despite dissent from within the scientific community. Even Mickey Mouse was conscripted for America’s total war effort along with the minds of America’s youth. Following the war Americans were heavily propagandized to accept the Cold War, the need for maintaining a permanent army, navy and air force as well as the buildup of a nuclear weapons arsenal.

afghan Since 9/11 Americans have been bathed in psychological warfare on Islamic terrorism despite the fact that only a handful of incidents in the West can be attributed to radical Islamists. What is generally not appreciated by America’s leadership about this kind of prolonged use of propaganda on the American public is that it exposes the rationale for the longest war in American history in Afghanistan as flimsy and unconvincing and completely sidesteps the outright lies and deceptions used to justify the 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq.

The origins of Washington’s war in Afghanistan have always been strategic, long term and particularly black, obscured throughout the Cold War by a narrative adapted from Britain’s 19th century colonial expansion.

Given little priority during the U.S.’s long involvement in Vietnam in the 1950s and 60s, America’s psychological warfare campaign shifted its attention to Central Asia in 1973 when Afghanistan’s king was overthrown by his brother in law and cousin Mohammed Daoud with the help of the Parcham faction of the Marxist/Leninist People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA). The role of the Communist party meant so little to the U.S. media at the time it remained invisible in both Time and Newsweek’s published reports of the coup. But to U.S. ambassador Robert G. Neumann, the presence of the PDPA meant that a “limited Great Game” with the Soviet Union was now back in play.

A coordinated campaign of pressure from U.S.-backed Pakistan and Iran soon ousted Daoud’s Marxist partner while the Shah’s dreaded spy agency SAVAK moved in to help Daoud clean house of leftists. The Shah even readied a military force to invade should Daoud waver in his newfound anti-Communist zeal. But by 1978 a new day for Iran and Afghanistan was about to dawn.

congEnter Hafizullah Amin. Before, during and after World War II the U.S. had created a number of psychological warfare organizations designed to compete with the political propaganda of Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. Integrated closely into the CIA’s intelligence and psychological warfare units after the war, organizations like Leo Cherne’s International Rescue Committee (IRC) and according to the CIA’s own website, the Congress for Cultural Freedom “helped to solidify CIA’s emerging strategy of promoting the non-Communist left–the strategy that would soon become the theoretical foundation of the Agency’s political operations against Communism over the next two decades.”

In constant competition with the KGB, the CIA was also known to target foreign students destined to hold high rank in their home countries. Handpicked by U.S. administrators to participate in a UNESCO/Columbia University program, Amin was sent to New York in 1957. He later completed a master’s degree at Columbia—coincidentally at a time when future National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski was gaining prominence as a professor there.

aminAmin claimed to have become radicalized at the University of Wisconsin in 1958. He also claimed to have become a Marxist that summer but would conceal his emergence as a leader in the Kalq faction of the PDPA until much later. Despite being a Marxist, Amin was again chosen in 1962 by the Americans to attend Columbia, this time as a doctoral candidate and rose quickly to become the president of the Afghan Student Association. A disclosure in Ramparts magazine in 1967 would reveal the CIA’s sponsorship of that same Afghan Student Association during that time. Following his return Amin rose rapidly in Afghan politics and by 1978 was positioned to play a pivotal role in another Palace coup, this time of Prince Mohammed Daoud himself.

1978 was a pivotal year in the foreign policy of the United States as President Jimmy Carter’s National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski made steady inroads into Secretary of State Cyrus Vance’s power. By that year he had persuaded Carter to transfer jurisdiction over the CIA from the Inter-Agency Policy Review Committee, (headed by the secretary of state) to the National Security Council’s Special Coordinating Committee which he chaired. This shift gave Brzezinski control over covert operations in Afghanistan. It also gave him control of the psychological warfare campaign necessary to make those operations work both at home and abroad.

Hafizullah Amin played the perfect foil to Brzezinski’s propaganda war which, regardless of the lack of evidence, painted the PDPA takeover in Kabul as a clear example of the growing dangers of Soviet expansionism and their pursuit of dominance in the Persian Gulf. Throughout 1978 and into 1979 Amin’s actions dovetailed perfectly into the expanding psychological warfare campaign with Brzezinski blaming Amin’s February 1979 assassination of American Ambassador Adolph Dubs, on the Soviets.

Transcripts from Politburo meetings in Moscow from March 1979 show a Soviet leadership confounded as the events unfolded, referring to conversations with Amin as looking “like a detective novel.” Had the operation been scripted in advance by the CIA to confuse Moscow, it was working brilliantly.

The subsequent, December 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan ended détente, renewed the Cold War and opened a U.S. relationship with Communist China that could not have been imagined at the time. It established a new narrative of an expanding Evil Empire threatening America’s vital interests in the Persian Gulf and would redefine U.S. objectives along neoconservative lines. These lines were laid out within days of the Soviet invasion by former U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Theodore Eliot and Harvard Professor Richard Pipes in a MacNeil Lehrer broadcast on January 2, 1980.

But it wasn’t until we probed this new narrative by going to Afghanistan ourselves in 1981 and were challenged personally in a public forum for doing so by Ambassador Eliot, that we realized there was much more to Ambassador Eliot and his narrative than met the eye. Copyright © 2011 Gould & Fitzgerald All rights reserved


Part 1: 9/11, Psychological Warfare & the American Narrative

Thursday, August 11th, 2011

A Campaign Where the Lie Became the Truth and the Truth Became the Enemy of the State

By Elizabeth Gould & Paul Fitzgerald

sept11 9/11. The number still rings in the mind as if chosen to act as a Pavlovian trigger: Outrage, anger, paranoia, retribution. A shadowy band of religious zealots fly not one, but two commercial airliners into the heart of America’s financial community while others deal a deadly blow to the Pentagon. It was a Hollywood movie, an act of war rivaling Pearl Harbor. Why did it happen? Who would do this to Americans, to America? How could a band of ragged terrorists plotting from a cave in faraway Afghanistan have accomplished such a complex task given the size and pervasiveness of the largest and most expensive military/intelligence apparatus in the history of the world? And even more curiously, why would Islamic radicals give the ideology-driven neoconservative administration of George W. Bush exactly the pretext they needed to launch a bloody invasion and further occupation of the Middle East?

According to the official narrative, 9/11 was an attack on everything American and in so doing changed everything about America. Like Kafkaesque characters who’d suddenly found themselves on the other side of a Cold War “Iron Curtain” mirror, Americans would now have to “watch what they say and watch what they do,” open up to questioning or face jail when prodded by squinty-eyed border guards and forsake any hope of privacy or dignity in a new world of electronic spies and full body scans. Former National Security Advisor, Admiral John Poindexter’s Total Information Awareness program would be enacted and a preexisting “Patriot Act” would be signed into law to clamp down on dissent and real or imagined domestic terrorism.

Some careful observers like Anthony Lewis of the New York Times had already noticed the bizarre coup-like changes coming over Washington in the months leading up to the attack as the George W. Bush administration inaugurated radical shifts in domestic and foreign policy that seemed un-American and alien to anything that had gone before. But those concerns would soon be forgotten in the race for revenge.

9/11 would ultimately give President George W. Bush and his neoconservative advisors all the public approval they needed to transform America and invade Afghanistan and Iraq to cleanse the world of evil in an endless “war on terror.” In the end it would turn America’s reputation for racial and religious tolerance, military invincibility and economic dominance on its head.

Looking back on the carnage of the last ten years it’s easy to see how the psychology of 9/11 changed America. What’s not easy to see is how a long standing campaign of covert psychological warfare built up since the early days of World War II had made the slow destruction of American democracy and the ascension of rule by secrecy inevitable, long before the planes ever left the runway on 9/11:

“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.” -Dr. Joseph Goebbels

As chief propagandist for the Nazi Party, Joseph Goebbels system of black propaganda not only helped Hitler’s rise to power but kept him there by utilizing near-hypnotic powers over the German people even after the consequences of his disastrous failures had become obvious.

cherneTo counter Goebbels’ propaganda theatre emanating from Nazi party headquarters at Munich’s Braunes Haus (Brown House), an organization named Freedom House was founded in New York City in 1941. Fronted by American celebrities and public luminaries such as Eleanor Roosevelt, the brains behind the outfit was Leo Cherne, the psychological warfare specialist/co-founder of the Research Institute of America (RIA), which would much later be labeled the “CIA for businessmen.”

If anyone was a match for Goebbels mastery of the black arts of psychological warfare it was Cherne. In 1938 Cherne had published a guide to industrial mobilization in Adjusting Your Business to War, prophetically forecasting the outbreak of war in Europe in 1939 and on September 1st of that year completed a 3000-page report titled, Industrial Mobilization Plans for World War II, the very day that German troops crossed into Poland.

That same year Cherne asked a young protégé named William J. Casey, the future director of the CIA, “How do you take a country like ours, stuck in depression, and convert it into an arsenal?” Their combined answer was the loose-leaf book called The War Coordinator. Cherne and Casey’s psychological warfare campaign would establish a narrative that didn’t just embrace freedom as its major theme, in their minds their ideas would actually become Freedom and through the use of propaganda would grow and harden over the decades into an impenetrable shield-like narrative of American triumphalism.

Cherne’s prophecies on war and business attained a near mystical quality and over the decades following World War II he would attract the most powerful and influential figures in American business and politics to his causes. A listing of Freedom House trustees on its 50th anniversary in 1991 includes people as diverse as Kenneth L. Adelman, Andrew Young, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Jeane J. Kirkpatrick, Albert Shanker, Donald Rumsfeld and James Woolsey. It has since become an exclusive neoconservative bastion.

freedomhouseFreedom House’s narrative is no less than the narrative of the American century where, “It has fought on the side of freedom and against aggressors in struggles that can be evoked by simple words and phrases: the Marshall Plan, the Truman Doctrine, NATO, Hungarian Freedom Fighters, the Berlin Wall, the Prague Spring…” and of course Afghanistan.

We experienced Freedom House’s simple words and phrases and their dark influence on the major media in the spring of 1983 in a televised Nightline program following a trip to Afghanistan with Harvard Negotiation Project Director, Roger Fisher. We had brought Fisher to Afghanistan to explore the possibilities of a Soviet withdrawal of forces and discovered the Soviets were desperate to get out. But instead of expanding on Fisher’s efforts to get the Soviets out of Afghanistan, host Ted Koppel undermined the very premise of the discussion by introducing a political officer of the Jamaat-i Islami, which Koppel described as “an anti-communist resistance group based in Pakistan. He is here in the United States under the auspices of two American organizations, concerned with democracy in Afghanistan, the Afghan Relief Committee and Freedom House.”

Had Koppel and Freedom House really been concerned about democracy in Afghanistan, their choice of the Jamaat-i Islami could not be viewed as anything but the darkest of black propaganda, an outright lie.

Originally founded by the Pakistani theologian Abul Ala Maudidi in 1941, the goal of the Jamaat-i Islami was more than just that of gaining political representation for radical Islamists. The Jamaat was to be an all-embracing, extremist Islamic Society, crafted through the strictest interpretation of Islamic law, as a replacement for a modern western-style democracy.

Through the help of the mainstream media during the 1980s the psychological war promoted by Freedom House and Ronald Reagan’s C.I.A. director William J. Casey held the Soviets in Afghanistan for an additional six years, destabilized Central Asia, encouraged the growth of the largest heroin operation in history and enabled the rise of the very Islamic extremists that allegedly planned and carried off the attacks on 9/11.

Ten years after 9/11 Afghanistan remains the center of a growing Islamic insurgency and the longest war in American history. The success of America’s seventy year old psychological warfare campaign, where the lie became the truth and the truth became the enemy of the state, has now so disorientated America’s institutional thinking that we have reached the moment when the state can no longer shield the American people from the consequences of that lie. Copyright © 2011 Gould & Fitzgerald All rights reserved



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