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Part III–Psychological Warfare and the American Mind

OpEdNews.com September 13, 2016

Five Part Series: 15th anniversary of 9/11, 2016

By Paul Fitzgerald Elizabeth Gould

U.S. Navy Secretary of the Navy, Paul Nitze, and  Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral David McDonald, 1964.

U.S. Navy Secretary of the Navy, Paul Nitze, (father of Cold War thinking)
and Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral David McDonald, 1964.
Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons) License DMCA
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A Clockwork Afghanistan

By Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould

The forces vying to determine the direction of the American Empire in the 21st century began their struggle long before 9/11. It might be said that the December 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan was the signature event that made 9/11 inevitable. The Soviet reaction to infiltration and destabilization on their southern border ended detente and renewed the Cold War but also kicked off a U.S. backed Islamist expansion into Central Asia that has now spread like a plague into Europe and the Middle East and today threatens to ignite World War III. At the time the Soviet invasion was presented as an open act of aggression and declared by President Jimmy Carter to be the most serious threat to peace since World War II. It would establish a new narrative of uncompromising hostility toward the Soviet Union and erase decades of efforts by moderates inside both Soviet and American systems to end the Cold War. It would increase defense spending to World War II size levels thereby changing the United States from a creditor to a debtor nation and would also embed the so called New Right and their neoconservative allies with their aggressive, militarist agenda into the American political establishment.

The engine that drives today’s ideological and economic warfare against Russia and the crisis the United States suffers from in both its domestic and foreign agendas, both politically and economically stems from an extended psychological warfare campaign cooked up against the Soviets during the Cold War but prolonged and intensified during their long war in Afghanistan.

Following the events of December 27, 1979 Americans responded dutifully to a prepared script as it poured from a hoard of foreign policy “experts” bemoaning America’s military weakness while claiming Afghanistan was payback for Vietnam. Zbigniew Brzezinski himself claimed in his memoirs that the Soviet’s move into Afghanistan was a vindication of his concern “that the Soviets would be emboldened by our lack of response over Ethiopia.” 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.

On January 2, 1980 the MacNeil Lehrer News Hour brought in former U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Theodore Eliot and Harvard Professor Richard Pipesto speculate on the implications of the invasion. As an unabashed neoconservative ideologue, Pipes should have been considered a controversial choice sitting alongside the thoroughly mainstream Eastern establishment Eliot. But on this evening Pipes had been chosen to play the very special role of delegitimizing detente with the Soviet Union while moving the discussion permanently and irretrievably to the neoconservative right wing. Paired with Eliot, the dean of American diplomacy and soon to be Secretary General for the United States of the Bilderberg group, the message was made clear 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 biased, highly partisan study of the CIA known as the Team B experiment in competitive analysis.

The decade of the 1970s 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 opened the door for detente with the Soviet Union. Vietnam removed the veil from America’s Cold War defense-intellectual elite, revealing their complex mathematical formulas for war to be useless as a guide to action. But even before the end of that war in 1975, pressure had been building from an influential collection of neoconservative hawks assembled by Albert Wohlstetterto ignore the facts on the ground, blame de’tente for American weakness and wind back the clock to an openly militarized Cold War approach to the Soviet Union.

Backed by Gerald Ford’s CIA director George H.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 CIA’s own process of rational analysis to an exercise of 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 the Afghan Zalmay Khalilzad had so managed to overlay their alternate reality onto the mind of American government that when the invasion of Afghanistan took place that December their imaginary, foreordained crisis had become as real as it was intended to be.

But it was in the reliance of World War II-style imagery where the hyperbole strove to achieve the glow of Hollywood’s golden era. Richard Pipes made it 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.”

This had been Team B’s siren call from the start. America had weakened itself through de’tente and negotiation while the Soviets had been secretly preparing a “direct blitzkrieg” aimed at the Middle East, India, Southeastern and even Western Europe, and now here it was. Just like the phantom threat posed by Saddam Hussein in 2003 and brought forward by the very same group of ideologues, 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 that sentimental Rick’s Cafe 1940s Hollywood 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 setting the public up 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.

Brzezinski 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.

The International Rescue Committee’s Chairman Leo Cherne was well practiced in the methods necessary to provoke the desired reaction from the public. According to its annual reports for 1978, the year of the Marxist coup in Afghanistan, the IRC was already 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 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 involvement in Vietnam to the American public. In 1975 their campaign ended in failure but in faraway Afghanistan, those mistakes would be forgotten. We got a personal look at the inside agenda and what would be done to keep it a secret in December of 1981 when Theodore Eliot, former U.S. Ambassador and Bilderberg General Secretary showed up at a private preview of our documentary Afghanistan Between Three Worlds and demanded our silence.

How did they get away with it? How could the American public be so caught up in the media theatrics to support the funding of Islamic fanaticism in Afghanistan they’d completely miss out on the largest CIA operation in American history?

Join us next time when we explain how Americans of all stripes had been lulled into accepting a British Imperial agenda as their own long before the Soviets crossed the border in our next installment of Psychological Warfare and the American Mind.

Copyright – 2016 Fitzgerald & Gould All rights reserved

Part I–Psychological Warfare and the American Mind

Part II–Psychological Warfare and the American Mind

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