1 December 2003
9/11, Pearl Harbour, ‘Red Scares’, Tonkin Gulf, the Miners Strike, ‘terrorism’, ‘subversion’, ‘Them’, ‘It’, ‘aliens’, ‘paedophiles’, epidemics, it’s a long list, indeed an endless list of fears, some real but most are inventions. All exploit what we fear most – the unknown, that in the final analysis resolves into what the future holds, the ultimate in unknowables.
Propaganda generally exploits fear of the unknown and the uncontrollable, we need only look at the kinds of words the propagandists use for they are usually vague in nature consisting of attacks on ‘our’ way of life, threats to ‘our’ liberty, undermining ‘our’ values.
Blair’s use of medical terminology (“vermin”, “disinfection”) or theatricalisms, (“darkness”, “stage”) and so forth, are all calculated to evoke deep-felt feelings of not being ‘in control’ of events without the intervention of a ‘strong force’ equipped with weapons that the ‘enemy’ understands. In other words, tactics that are in fact, identical to the enemy’s.
By inculcating an ‘us versus them’ mentality the dominant culture through the media and the state propagandists, would like us to think that we are all of like mind, united in ‘our’ love of liberty, the values ‘we’ cherish and hold dear to ‘our’ hearts. The ‘enemy’, sneaky and perfidious, capable of almost anything is not bound by ‘our rules’ hence we don’t need to play by ‘our’ rules when dealing with ‘them’. Ariel Sharon in one of his more unguarded moments once described Palestinians as like “cockroaches” who need to be “crushed underfoot”.
But as the events of the past couple of years show, these ‘cherished’ values can disappear in a puff of smoke. What was yesterday’s ‘fundamental right’ is suddenly today’s luxury or “experiment” as Gen. Tommy Franks so succinctly put it the other week. But not to worry, it’s only temporary, if we want to continue to enjoy these ‘rights’ then we are going to have accept their abrogation, it’s all for ‘our own good’. The state knows best.
How do they square these ideas and actions with the propaganda of the past decades that attacked authoritarian regimes for the denial of rights that they would now deny to us? It’s the political version of squaring the circle but the circle has to bent out of shape one little tangent at a time. Unless of course, a really big event can be conjured up such as 911.
“Plaintiff asserts, contrary to Defendant GWB’s [George W Bush) assertion that OBL [Osama bin Laden] is responsible for “911,” the compelling evidence that will be presented in this case through discovery, subpoena power by this Court and testimony at trial will lead to one undisputed fact, Defendant GWB failed to act and prevent “911” knowing the attacks would lead to our nation having to engage in an “International War on Terror (IWOT)” which would benefit Defendants both financially and for political reasons. Plaintiff asserts, her husband was murdered on “911” and Defendant GWB and many of his cabinet members are now profiting from the IWOT. Plaintiff will prove, the “Bush family” has had long ties to power in the federal government and with the OBL family which raises serious public trust questions yet to be answered, to include, but not limited to, the fact that Defendant Cheney is profiting immensely from his former company’s exclusive contracts to rebuild Iraq.”
In John Spritzler’s book “The People as Enemy” there is a fascinating section on the ‘surprise attack’ on Pearl Harbour that almost directly parallels the runup to 911 and the subsequent invasion of Afghanistan and then of Iraq, even the centrality of oil and the need to unite the American people behind a war that the public would not have otherwise supported.
“It is clear that Roosevelt appreciated the connection between U.S. oil and war with Japan…. [On July 19 1941]…Admiral Richmond Turner (Director of War Plans Division of the Navy Department)…stated: “It is generally believed that shutting off the American supply supply [of] petroleum [to Japan] will lead promptly to an invasion [by Japan] of the Netherlands East Indies.”” (p. 73)
Spritzler quotes the historian Charles Beard who after extensive study of government statements of the time wrote:
“…it is patent that the notice given by President Roosevelt to the Japanese Ambassador on August 17, 1941, was intended to be in the nature of a warning…[t]o the Japanese Ambassador, familiar with the language of diplomacy, the statement could only have one meaning.” (p. 74)
Spritzler goes on to say:
“An indication of the mood and intentions, at this time, of FDR and his highest level advisors is available to us in the form of diary entries by Secretary of War Stimson…. On November 7, “President Roosevelt took a vote of his full Cabinet on the proposition whether the country would back up the Administration if it struck at the Japanese in the south-eastern Pacific area; and the Cabinet was unanimous in feeling the country would support us.”” (p. 74)
And should anyone be under any illusions about the the US staying out of the war were it not for Pearl Harbour, we read:
“Far from being a shocking surprise and a terrible calamity for President Roosevelt and his close advisors. Pearl Harbour was the much sought-after solution to their greatest problem of getting a reluctant American population fired up for a nationalist war…. Secretary of War Stimson’s diary entry at 2pm December 7 [after the attack on Pearl Harbour]…says it all: “Now the Japs have solved the whole thing by attacking us directly in Hawaii…My first feeling was of relief that the indecision was over and that a crisis had come in a way which would unite all our people.” (p. 75)
This is but one example of the machinations of the ruling class in manipulating the public into supporting imperialist adventures that I could use in support of the thesis that firstly, if an enemy doesn’t exist it will be necessary to invent one, and if one does exist, it may still be necessary to provoke them into actions that will justify war. 9/11 fits this bill to a tee, even down to the fact that Osama bin Laden, the Taliban et al, were either former allies or at least part of a larger strategy involving the US in manipulating its ‘allies’ into actions that could justify war and intervention.
Most important of all from the perspective of the USUK propaganda campaign, it is vitally important that the public at large be kept in ignorance of the history of such machinations by its leaders, else the entire programme would unravel. And indeed, the past year or more has seen such a process occur, with major errors being committed by the imperium that have undermined its credibility in the eyes of its citizens. So much so that ‘our’ leaders have been forced into desperate acts, the most obvious being the invasion of Iraq.
And just as importantly, the public needs to be informed of the fact of how precisely, our rulers are able to ‘square the circle’. That for example, the CIA were instrumental in bringing Saddam Hussein to power in the first place and in maintaining him not only by arming him for his war against Iran but also supplying him with intelligence. In other words, it’s not merely about making money out of the sale of weapons but part of a larger strategy to suppress opposition to its objective of controlling resources critical to capitalism’s continued existence.
First and foremost for opponents of the imperium it is necessary to expose the connections and then to disconnect the propaganda from that which propels it, principally that the imperium acts out of principles based upon human rights and democracy rather than crass self-interest. That it operates exactly as it claims the ‘enemies of freedom’ do, in fact given its overwhelming force coupled to its outrageous hypocrisy, it has no claim whatsoever to the principles it espouses. It is only through the collusion of the media in a never-ending litany of lies and deception that it is able to persuade us that what it does is in ‘our’ collective interests.
And who was it who said that 9/11 was no conspiracy, except conspiracy is just another way of describing the workings of capitalism that knows no limits to what it will do in order to maintain its control, even the cold-blooded murder of its own citizens.