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Anatomy of a Lie: The Zarqawi Psy-Ops, and an opportune death

...I suspect that his convenient death (real or otherwise) is being desperately hyped by a psy-ops campaign largely geared towards the American public. Originally, Zarqawi was used to show that al Qaeda and the foreign 'terrorists' element were strong in Iraq. He has now evolved into an ad hoc diversion from the slaughter at Haditha. Don't believe me? Fine. When's the last story you read about Haditha?...


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Anatomy of a Lie: The Zarqawi Psy-Ops, and an opportune death

DelicateMonster, Daily Kos

June 10, 2006

In what way can the death of the alleged 'al-Zarqawi' be an important moment for the occupation of Iraq? The implication is that with 'al-Zarqawi' out of the way, the resistance to the occupation will melt away. That's nonsense. I suspect that the death of Zarqawi to the Iraqi insurgency means less than an L.A. drive by. The remainder of the insurgency--which has far more Iraqi citizens than foreign elements: an unhappy fact the Pentagon and its complicit handmaiden, the US media, has gone to great lengths to ignore-- the rest of the Iraqi insurgency want to see the U.S. Military out of Iraq or dead. Probably, both.

Additionally, there's good reason to suspect that Zarqawi's death is more a propaganda gambit than a real news event--even divorced of all the idiotic hype. Here's what one General Kimmit said about a year ago in a moment of uncharacteristic candor:

"The Zarqawi PSYOP program is the most successful information campaign to date." -- Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt, the U.S. military's chief spokesman

More beneath the fold...

 Frankly, I think that the 'death' of 'Abu Musab al-Zarqawi' is part of a carefully planned disinformation campaign designed to divert attention away from the slaughter of Haditha (and elsewhere). CNN, MSNBC, BBC and FOX in particular have had a field day with 'al-Zarqawi' calling him amongst other choice phrases, a "psychopath" and predictably, describing those who question the role or importance of 'al-Zarqawi' as "conspiracists" But the charge is ludicrous, the identity of Zarqawi as a propaganda vehicle is well known. As recently as April, Thomas Ricks of the Washington Post has been writing about the Pentagon's use of the Jordanian Al-Zarqawi as a propaganda tool:


The U.S. military is conducting a propaganda campaign to magnify the role of the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq, according to internal military documents and officers familiar with the program. The effort has raised his profile in a way that some military intelligence officials believe may have overstated his importance and helped the Bush administration tie the war to the organization responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

The documents state that the U.S. campaign aims to turn Iraqis against Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian, by playing on their perceived dislike of foreigners. U.S. authorities claim some success with that effort, noting that some tribal Iraqi insurgents have attacked Zarqawi loyalists.

For the past two years, U.S. military leaders have been using Iraqi media and other outlets in Baghdad to publicize Zarqawi's role in the insurgency. The documents explicitly list the "U.S. Home Audience" as one of the targets of a broader propaganda campaign.

'Abu Musab al-Zarqawi' had actually made his first public appearance in Colin Powell's infamous disinformation presentation to the United Nations in early 2003, although his name had already cropped up in a CIA briefing paper as the alleged leader of a splinter group based in the Kurdish area of northern Iraq. Apparently, he was dead at the time, because according to the CIA, the base was flattened by a US bombing raid in April 2003.

There is also the appearance al-Zarqawi himself, if indeed it is the 'real' Zarqawi. First he lost a leg in Afghanistan, then some pretty sophisticated surgery apparently restored it. Then even more remarkably, he rose from the dead again. How? According to a story dated 4 March 2004, Zarqawi was killed when the US bombed the HQ of the Ansar al-Ansam where Zarqawi was allegedly hiding out.

 Christian Science Monitor October 16, 2003,

If you want to follow the bread crumb trail of this particular operation, The Editor & Publisher Website details the role of 'al-Zarqawi' as part of a sophisticated US psy-ops disinformation campaign. The piece is titled 'A U.S. 'Propaganda' Program, al-Zarqawi, and 'The New York Times' By Greg Mitchell

Not unsurprisingly, it reveals the connection between our propaganda ministers in the Pentagon and our so called paper of record:

Midway through Thomas Ricks' Washington Post scoop (http://www.washingtonpost.com/...) on Monday detailing a U.S. military "propaganda program" aimed at convincing Iraqis that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has a very prominent role in directing violence in that country, there is one specific tip on how the plan may have also targeted American reporters and audiences.

Ricks found that one "selective leak"--about a recently discovered letter written by Zarqawi--was handed by the military to Dexter Filkins, the longtime New York Times reporter in Baghdad. Filkins's resulting article, about the Zarqawi letter boasting of foreigners' role in suicide attacks in Iraq, ran on the front page of the Times on Feb. 9, 2004.

"Leaks to reporters from U.S. officials in Iraq are common, but official evidence of a propaganda operation using an American reporter is rare," Ricks observed. He quoted Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt, the U.S. military's chief spokesman when the propaganda campaign began in 2004: "We trusted Dexter to write an accurate story, and we gave him a good scoop ... [but Filkins] told Ricks he was skeptical about the document's authenticity then, and remains so now.

The story continues

Rod Nordland, [Newsweek's] Baghdad bureau chief, on March 6 wrote: "The letter so neatly and comprehensively lays out a blueprint for fomenting strife with the Shia, and later the Kurds, that it's a little hard to believe in it unreservedly. It came originally from Kurdish sources who have a long history of disinformation and dissimulation. It was an electronic document on a CD-ROM, so there's no way to authenticate signature or handwriting, aside from the testimony of those captured with it, about which the authorities have not released much information."


Naturally that doesn't prevent the rightwing Wurlitzers from creating a 'reality' where there is nothing at all...

In his Post story today, Ricks also does not mention what happened next.

William Safire, in his Feb. 11, 2004, column for the Times titled "Found: A Smoking Gun," declared that the letter "demolishes the repeated claim of Bush critics that there was never a ''clear link' between Saddam and Osama bin Laden." Safire mocked the Washington Post for burying the story on page 17, while hailing a Reuters account quoting an "amazed" U.S. officials saying, "We couldn't make this up if we tried."

Three days later, another Times columnist, David Brooks, covered the letter as fact under the heading "The Zarqawi Rules." The letter was covered in this manner by other media for weeks. So clearly, the leak to Filkins worked.

Read the final sentence, where Ricks reveals an internal briefing, authored by the U.S. military headquarters in Iraq, which revealed that Kimmitt had concluded that, "The Zarqawi PSYOP program is the most successful information campaign to date."

I suspect that his convenient death (real or otherwise) is being desperately hyped by a psy-ops campaign largely geared towards the American public. Originally, Zarqawi was used to show that al Qaeda and the foreign 'terrorists' element were strong in Iraq. He has now evolved into an ad hoc diversion from the slaughter at Haditha. Don't believe me? Fine. When's the last story you read about Haditha?  

Actually, if Zarqawi is real or not hardly matters. In an increasingly anti-American Arab world, hostility from the US made it easy for Zarqawi--or anyone like him-- to develop his own organization and finance it. The siege of Fallujah in April 2004 and the storming of the city by US Marines in November led to al-Tawhid wal-Jihad - whose name was later changed to al Qaeda's Organisation in Iraq - becoming a powerful force. We pretty much created the monster we just killed with such ballyhoo and lust, if he ever existed at all...

So the person the US military murdered may or may not be a historical Zarqawi, but it hardly matters. As a distant correspondent once wrote to me from his 'data analysis' position in Naval Intelligence at the Pentagon: Perception is Reality.

I had the distinct impression that he was proud of this particular insight. Worse, that he firmly believed it.

:: Article nr. 23859 sent on 10-jun-2006 16:49 ECT


Link: www.dailykos.com/story/2006/6/10/3111/47435

:: The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website.

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