You Can See The Propaganda Coming (or can you?)
by Bill Sardi by Bill Sardi
About a month prior to the September 11, 2001 terrorist aircraft takeover that used hijacked aircraft to crash in the World Trade Center buildings in New York City, CNN began airing a propaganda film entitled Beneath The Veil, about the harsh treatment of women in Afghanistan by the ruling Taliban. The documentary film, hosted by Saira Shah, had obviously been months in the making. It displayed some horrid atrocities that are often a normal part of the Arab world. But it threw in some real ringers, like the fact the Taliban forbid women the use of cosmetics, so women who wanted to use makeup did do so at secret beauty parlors. It was a propaganda film, aimed at softening up the American people for entry into Afghanistan to fight the Taliban.
The CNN film documentary was better understood a month later. I was in New York City on September 11, and watched the horrific scenes of the airliners crashing into the buildings at 6:00 AM New York Time on my hotel room TV set while I was furiously dialing home to California to advise sleeping family members and friends to turn on their television sets. Something was strange about the newscasts early on, because it seemed cameras were in position almost immediately following the first aircraft impact on the Towers.
Exit to Kabul, Afghanistan
The next evening, September 12, I was in the home of a businessman I had come to New York to visit. I was standing in his living room watching television when CNN took viewers to scenes from well-positioned cameras in Kabul, Afghanistan. In the distance flashing explosions could be seen as CNN reporters talked of an assassination of Northern Alliance leader Ahmed Shah Massoud. The newscast made it sound like Massoud, a former Afghan mujahidin freedom fighter who opposed Russian advances on that country years earlier, was killed that day. But later reports say he was killed two days earlier, on September 9, by two Tunisian al Qaeda operatives posing as journalists who had hidden a bomb inside a video camera. The bomb blew during an interview at Massoud’s headquarters and the al Qaeda operatives were said to have killed themselves in the blast. (If true, the news story sounded more like someone planted the bomb inside the camera and set it off from a remote location.)
The CNN report was strange. What was CNN doing on the night following 9/11, making a connection between the New York terrorist attacks and the Taliban in Afghanistan when little was known about who had hijacked the aircraft that struck the Twin Towers? Did CNN have prior knowledge of 9/11?
Northern Alliance leader Ahmed Shah Massoud, above, wore stylized garb, similar to Osama bin Laden. Did they have the same costume designer?
The problem for most Americans is that they have never gone beyond a grade school understanding of what they see on the propaganda tube. Some patriotic young Americans immediately ran off to enlist in the military after 9/11, probably based upon the horrific scenes of Americans dying in the Twin Towers.
Hyperspace to North Korea
Hyperspace now to current events. It’s Sunday, May 1, 2005, the day before world leaders would meet at the United Nations building over the nuclear ambitions of countries like North Korea. White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card walks onto the set for “NBC News Meet The Press." NBC host Tim Russert shows a film clip, an exchange between Hilary Clinton and Vice-admiral Lowell Jacoby:
(Videotape, April 28, 2005):
SEN. HILLARY CLINTON, (D-NY): Do you assess that North Korea has the ability to arm a missile with a nuclear device?
VICE ADMIRAL LOWELL JACOBY (Director, Defense Intelligence Agency): The assessment is that they have the capability to do that, yes, ma’am.
SEN. CLINTON: And do you assess that North Korea has the ability to deploy a two-stage intercontinental nuclear missile that could successfully hit U.S. territory?
VICE ADM. JACOBY: Yes. The assessment on a two-stage missile would give capability to reach portions of U.S. territory, and the projection on a three-stage missile, would be that it would be able to reach most of the continental United States.
The Pentagon later argued that Jacoby was not stating new information but only reiterating his previous statements that North Korea has a “theoretical capability to produce a warhead and mate it with a missile.” “We have no information to suggest they have done so,” Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said in a statement Saturday. It was pre-planned plausible denial.
Senator Jim Walsh said North Korea has never successfully tested a long-range missile or a nuclear device — much less a combination of the two. “We are very, very far from that point,” he told CNN.
Then later, on CNNs Late Edition, Andrew Card said: "”It appears that there was a test of a short-range missile on Sunday by the North Koreans and it landed in the Sea of Japan.”
Said Andrew Card: "They’ve tested missiles before. This is not the first time of alleged testing of a missile, so we know what they’re intent is and we’re trying to keep a good close eye on ‘em."
What timing. The week prior, U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lowell Jacoby testified on Capitol Hill that, according to a U.S. assessment, North Korea has the capacity to arm a missile with a nuclear device and hit U.S. territory.
Did the missile test actually occur? U.S. State Department spokesman Curtis Cooper issued a statement saying the missile test apparently took place Sunday.
BBC News cited Japanese news agency Kyodo as saying Tokyo had been informed by the US military of the North Korean test, believed to have been carried out at 05:00 AM PDT on Sunday (2300 GMT on Saturday).
By 6:11 AM on Sunday the Los Angeles Times reported that North Korea may have fired a missile, citing the Kyodo News service and national broadcaster NHK.
LA Times: "The reports quoted unidentified government sources as saying that the U.S. military informed Japan’s Defense Agency of the possible missile launch. The government was attempting to confirm the information, the reports said. The U.S. Embassy in Tokyo and the U.S. military both refused to comment, and an official at the Japanese Defense Agency said he could not confirm the report. The South Korean defense ministry also said it could not confirm the account." By 8:26 AM PDT the Associated Press had changed the headline into a fact: "North Korea test fires missile into Sea of Japan."
BBC News reported on Monday that Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroyuki Hosoda said that the test had still not been confirmed. But he said that if it were, it nevertheless did not appear to have been targeting Japan. “It appears similar tests are conducted occasionally,” he said. The timing of the reported launch “would not have anything to do with Japan,” Hosoda was quoted as saying in The Japan Times. “We believe it would have been something like an ordinary domestic military drill.”
On Sunday, Andrew Card had said North Koreans “are living in poverty — many in concentration camps. They do not have any exercise of democracy or freedom. They are not allowed to contact the outside world. [Kim] is not the kind of leader that is comfortable with the rest of the world.” It was beginning to sound like the Taliban propaganda story all over again.
Then, by Monday night, propagandist Paula Zahn of CNN had already prepared a thorough film documentary about Kim Jong II of North Korea and how he mistreats young girls in Korea. Again, sounds like the Taliban propaganda film.
Monday’s show: Nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles: What makes Kim Jong Il tick?
Americans can be led like little children. Few Americans ever put two and two together. Did North Korea fire a short-range missile that landed in the sea? Nobody can tell you for sure. Sounds like the Gulf of Tonkin incident that drew Americans into the Viet Nam war, an event which is now conceded to have never taken place.
Do you know propaganda when you see it?