The Central Ministry of Propaganda

This piece from the Black Agenda Report is great on it’s own, but it contains a link to a leaked CIA report that makes it the most important story I’ve seen in quite some time, because it shines a light onto one of the methods the national security state uses to stage manage your reality.

The report’s title is “CIA report into shoring up Afghan war support in Western Europe”, and it’s basically a collection of talking points and strategies designed to sway public opinion in favor of the unpopular war.

The first question that comes to my mind, of course, is who were these talking points and strategies written for? Doesn’t the “free press” generate it’s own stories, as opposed to merely amplifying the message of a super-secret organization whose primary purpose is to undermine opposition to American military and corporate power?

That was a rhetorical question, by the way.

This actually shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone.  After all, former CIA Director and “boating accident victim” William Colby once claimed that “The Central Intelligence Agency owns everyone of any significance in the major media.”

Carl Bernstein backed him up in his October 20, 1977 Rolling Stone piece, The CIA and the Media, where he laid out the CIA’s operation in pretty stunning detail.

There’s a lot more information out there on this topic.  Just search on the term Operation Mockingbird, which was the CIA’s code name for it’s media infiltration project.

But getting back to the matter at hand, this recently leaked CIA report contains language that even Joseph Goebbels would be proud of.

Here are a few section titles:

“Public Apathy Enables Leaders To Ignore Voters”


“Tailoring Messaging Could Forestall or At Least Contain Backlash”


“Appeals by President Obama and Afghan Women Might Gain Traction”

Here’s some specific “suggestions” straight from the report:

•Afghan women could serve as ideal messengers in humanizing the ISAF role in combating the Taliban because of women’s ability to speak personally and credibly about their experiences under the Taliban, their aspirations for the future, and their fears of a Taliban victory. Outreach initiatives that create media opportunities for Afghan women to share their stories with French, German, and other European women could help to overcome pervasive skepticism among women in Western Europe toward the ISAF mission.

•According to INR polling in the fall of 2009, French women are 8 percentage points less likely to support the mission than are men, and German women are 22 percentage points less likely to support the war than are men.

• Media events that feature testimonials by Afghan women would probably be most effective if broadcast on programs that have large and disproportionately female audiences.

So as you can see, it is most certainly not crazy to suggest that there is a conspiracy to manage the news in favor of the corporo-militarist agenda.  Granted, this particular memo only pertains to Europe, but the Bernstein piece was all about American journalists, and Colby did stipulate “everyone of any significance in the major media.

Here’s the piece from Black Agenda Report, and do make certain to read the entire CIA memo.

Freedom Rider: Obama’s CIA

by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

Global public opinion has been called the “second superpower” – second only to the United States in capacity to shape world events. But the premiere intelligence agency of the reigning state superpower routinely manipulates world opinion to suit U.S. purposes. The CIA distorts global realities in furtherance of President Obama’s war aims in Afghanistan/Pakistan.

The United States government believes it has any right to undermine people and governments around the world.”

It is easy to understand the actions taken by the current presidential administration if certain facts are acknowledged. The most important fact is this: the system doesn’t change because parties in power change. The same rulers still rule, and White House occupants, whether Republican or Democrat, don’t get near 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue unless they make those rulers extremely happy first.

All of this means that government agencies, such as the Central Intelligence Agency, will do what they have always done. The CIA’s job is to undermine opposition to American military and corporate power. That was true in the days of the cold war, and it is still true in 2010.

The investigative website, Wikileaks, did the world an enormous favor by leaking a CIA document called “CIA Red Cell Special Memorandum: Afghanistan: Sustaining Western European Support for the NATO Led Mission – Why Counting on Apathy Might Not be Enough.” The long winded yet creepy title says it all.

Last month the Dutch parliamentary government fell when its citizens decided they no longer wanted to be engaged in the continued occupation of Afghanistan. Europeans are overwhelmingly opposed to this policy, yet have been unable to get their governments to act as they would like on this issue. Afghanistan is not their biggest priority, and their other concerns are apparently addressed well enough to keep them from focusing on this particular aspect of their countries’ foreign policy.

Apathetic citizens may mumble and grumble and wring their hands, but they won’t take action against the powers that be.”

The CIA report states that apathy is a good thing for people in the line of work of subverting popular will. Apathetic citizens may mumble and grumble and wring their hands, but they won’t take action against the powers that be. French and German voters will tell pollsters that they oppose their nations’ presence in Afghanistan, but those feelings haven’t led to policy changes as of yet. The CIA fears that this dysfunctional dynamic may change:

If some forecasts of a bloody summer in Afghanistan come to pass, passive French and German dislike of their troop presence could turn into active and politically potent hostility. The tone of previous debate suggests that a spike in French or German casualties or in Afghan civilian casualties could become a tipping point in converting passive opposition into active calls for immediate withdrawal.”

The author of the memo presumes to know how best to appeal to French and German noble instincts. According to these CIA experts, the French will be swayed by appeals from Afghan women and the Germans are afraid of drugs and terrorism. It is unclear if they know what they are talking about, but that is hardly the point. The most important point is that the United States government will find the means to propagandize citizens of other nations, and subvert the popular will. Whether from allied nations or not, human beings are not supposed to get any big ideas about controlling their own destinies. They are supposed to act as the United States wants them to and in this case that means continuing to bring death to the Afghan people.

According to these CIA experts, the French will be swayed by appeals from Afghan women and the Germans are afraid of drugs and terrorism.”

The memo doesn’t explain how to go about making the French weep for Afghan maidens and the Germans to fear that they will be invaded by drug dealing terrorists, but that doesn’t matter either. The very fact that the United States government believes it has any right to undermine people and governments around the world ought to be a scandal and should not be forgotten.
This is not a new story. The Obama administration CIA is behaving in the same way as every other president’s CIA. If it were not so serious, it would be laughable that the CIA would use fears of drug dealing in order to sway public opinion in Germany or anywhere else. The CIA has itself been a drug dealer for many decades in Southeast Asia, in Latin America and in Europe. There would never have been a French Connection drug route without American government support of organized crime.

The United States continues to be a threat to peace around the world. It is unfortunately still the most powerful nation, and this time has a popular president who as the CIA memo points out, is uniquely qualified to persuade people to work against their better instincts and their own best interest. “The confidence of the French and German publics in President Obama’s ability to handle foreign affairs in general and Afghanistan in particular suggest that they would be receptive to his direct affirmation of their importance to the ISAF mission—and sensitive to direct expressions of disappointment in allies who do not help.” The current Nobel Peace Prize winner has a lot of undeserved credibility. It is indeed unfortunate when the American president is popular and well liked.
This CIA memo is the latest in a long list of evidence proving that it really isn’t possible to change our system, assuming that anyone in power is ever really interested in doing that. Barack Obama certainly isn’t. He is up to the old tricks of every other American president, speaking softly perhaps, but still carrying the big stick of aggression against the rest of the world.

Margaret Kimberley’s Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR. Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)


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