One of the most bizarre media tricks we were spooned-fed over the last
month was the little psychological warfare drama organized around the issue
of torture in Abu Ghraib.
The New York Times published an interview with one of the many prisoners tortured
in Abu Ghraib, Ali Shalal Qaissi, now living in Jordan. Qaissi is the leader
of an association of the former prisoners of Abu Ghraib and he is trying to
have at least a little part of the truth about the torture of prisoners in Iraq
come out. Susan
Burke, the Philadelphia lawyer who is representing Mr. Qaissi and other
former prisoners in a lawsuit against civilian interrogators and translators,
has explained in great and compelling details how this interview really worked.
And, of course there are official documents confirming the paper work used to
set up the tortures, here,
And for a background including documents, pictures and films go here
This initial timid attempt to claim the right to speak for those who were tortured
and degraded by the whitened sepulchers that had claimed to the world they were
invading Iraq to stop torture and to bring democracy did not go unpunished.
Indeed, in a situation of generalized lies supported by an enormous
media apparatus which has sold out or been intimidated by the dictatorial power
of the US government and elite, the simple affirmation of basic truths is, rightly,
considered dangerous and intolerable.
Such a power is so arrogant and overwhelming that it has established
that the truth is what it says is the truth. This is not an exaggeration, it
is a statement of a fact. And in order to enforce this official truth, the dictatorial
power has created an enormous, unprecedented, apparatus of propaganda, intimidation,
and distortion that has been progressively taking over even the servile news
of just a few years ago. By implementing what fascism had only tried, this arrogant
power has organized a large network of mignons which is capable of being deployed
in a swarming (SWARMING) fashion against those who threaten to break the wall
of the big lie.
And so, we have today Fox news et similia in the US; and we have the
creation of similar operations in many countries. Media that fill their mouths
with the words democracy, freedom, and truth while being their paid executioner.
A population that is obviously against the war, against torture, against dictatorship,
and against invasions has been intimidated and has lost the most fundamental
precondition for democracy and freedom: the ability to express in a meaningful
and concrete way what they think. This population has been, intentionally, persuaded
that what they think is of no consequence and that what they want has no effect.
As in any fascist system, the purpose is to break the resistance of the population
and to force them to go to whoever seems the strongest for protection. And the
strongest appears to be, for the moment, the likes of O’Reilly and other
demagogical liars with the license to intimidate.
This, however, is only a part of the story. The fact is that no Fascism has
magic power to control a victim population forever. A spontaneous and, in fact,
insuppressible resistance has emerged. It has emerged without, and actually
despite, what is presented officially as the institutions of the “opposition.”
But the Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Roves of this country have, of course, also, shall
we say, a left hand. We saw how the New York Times was used by the psychological
warfare and propaganda offices of the Pentagon with Judith Miller’s “revelations”
of the nonexistent weapons of mass destruction. We saw how the “liberal”
New York Times supplied the best cover to spread that line while being attacked
with all the expected vulgarity by the likes of Fox News. It is a perfect
system of weight and counterweight that, in the best ying-yang tradition,
allows the powers that be to control both, its side and the “other side.”
Nothing is really new in fact, any unlawful elite that is determined to govern
against the will and the welfare of its population knows that, for example,
its control would be more secure if it can use -- in a coordinated fashion --
both police and organized crime -- i.e., if that elite can pull the strings
of the law enforcers and the law breakers, the terrorists and the antiterrorists
. . . Everyone has his role in the greater scheme, but only if they respond
to the puppet master.
So, it wouldn’t be surprising to find that this power has been interested
in placing his controlled assets deep inside what is officially perceived as
the opposite camp. It does not mean that they can totally control any opposition.
The opposition to dictatorship and brutality (torture, for example) is something
normal in every human being. No, the trick consists in trying to penetrate,
with operatives or controlled useful idiots, any organized form of opposition
and to try to subvert it from the inside. It does not always work, of course,
but the attempt to do so is what one should expect from such unlawful power.
So, when the most conscious elements of a population, deprived of viable institutions
and denied a free media and a voice, turn towards new creative solutions like
the online blogs, make no mistake that the powers-that-be will try to get inside.
They have a huge apparatus, maybe even militarily organized, that is familiar
with the Internet (is anybody surprised?) and trained in provocations and “Chaos
There are certain special moments, however, in which this apparatus runs the
risk of being exposed and unmasked. Some informer observers believe that the
present situation -- characterized by a large majority of the population being
disgusted with the war in Iraq and the criminal insanity of the elite, and rapidly
becoming immune to the stimula of fascist propagandists à la O’Reilly
-- is potentially one of those moments. When the situation is ripe, as it appears
to be now, a relatively small event is enough to produce a chain reaction.
Such a “relatively small event” could very well be the mobilization
organized by the secret apparatus of provocation and distortion directed at
stopping the truth on the torture in Iraq. What we are doing with this short
report is an experiment, and we invite everybody who cares for their country
and their own future to do the same, the results could be positively surprising.
It could be a first example on how to unmask the “apparatus.”
These are the elements that we have:
1) The tortures that took place, and apparently continue to
take place, in Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, Afghanistan, and many other locations
in Iraq and elsewhere -- these tortures have popped up in such a way that they
2) The US military -- either because there is an internal
resistance in the military itself, or in order to maintain its cover by throwing
a small bone to the general outrage -- have themselves opened an investigation
and admitted that cases of torture took place.
3) A cover up operation developed with show trials in which
the “few rotten apples” were cut loose, but, on the other side,
it was determined that the “accepted and unchallengeable truth”
was that there was no complicity aside from the “lone torturers.”
4) In particular, despite the evidence, it was determined
that the “acceptable truth” holds that the higher level of the Pentagon
had nothing to do with ordering torture, despite the evidence available.
5) If the “acceptable truth” is to be pushed down
the throat of the majority of the people, then no political institution or major
media should be able to oppose such an “acceptable truth.”
6) In order to do that it is necessary to activate an operation
of blackmailing, discrediting, confusion, and intimidation.
7) Such an operation must be activated whenever the holy lie
of the “acceptable truth” is jeopardized.
8) Thus, if one could discover one of the trigger points that
necessarily leads to an activation of the “apparatus,” if one is
able to identify clearly which action leads to a reaction by that apparatus,
then one would see precisely how the apparatus works; who is part of that apparatus
(both in the pro-war camp and otherwise); who is susceptible of being mobilized
by that apparatus (by conscious decision or by indirect influence); which media
organs , which organs, groups, blogs etc are part of the “rapid reaction
response” of the apparatus.
9) In the case of the revelations on the torture in Abu Ghraib,
we have a manual-like example. As said before, Ali Shalal Qaissi, one of the
tortured prisoners, took the first steps to organize the survivors of the torture
camp. The organization does not scream, does not accept provocations, does not
use violent words; it just pushes for the truth -- the truth impressed in their
skin -- to come out.
10) The potential consequences of such a rupture of the “accepted
truth” is huge. The apparatus has a few options. It can try to engineer
a provocation in order to extremize or fundamentalize the organization of the
survivors, and then denounce it as extremist, fundamentalist and violent. It
is obvious that the apparatus prefers always and in any case to deal with an
adversary that can be presented as anti-democratic and brutal. When the adversary
is not, measures must be taken to reshape it into that particular format through
penetration and/or escalating confrontation leading to a reaction. In this case
that tactic did not seem to work.
11) Another option is to discredit, i.e. the activation of
the so-called Discrediting Committee. For example, the image of Qaissi as a
sort of fascist high level leader of the close circles of Saddam Hussein can
be created, although he was just one of the representatives of a neighborhood.
People do not know that. It is enough to associate the survivor of the torture
camp with the now hated (yesterday allied to the Reagan Administration) Hussein
and the trick is ready for the public.
12) The “association with Hussein” seems, in fact,
to have been spread. Question: Who reported it? People can keep their eyes open
and find out. We can say that one of the first to report the handout from the
apparatus was an Italian daily, il Foglio, led by Giuliano Ferrara, the scion
of a top communist family then passed to the service of the Neoconservatives.
In particular, Ferrara is known as a docile instrument of Michael Ledeen, Karl
Rove's foreign policy advisor who has been involved in all of the major operations
of destabilization -- from the Propaganda Due Lodge to the fake documents of
the Niger Uranium. The revelation of the Niger Uranium fakery led to a previous
mobilization of the apparatus: the victims of that deployment were Ambassador
Joseph C. Wilson, his wife Valerie Plame, and the whole intelligence group inside
the CIA which is not in sympathy with the Rove-Cheney gang. Ledeen is the advocate
of what he calls Universal Fascism, a fascist system similar to that of Mussolini
but without the nationalist undertones. It seems that he hopes Rove and Co.
would help him to realize his nightmare.
13) However, the initiative of the survivors of Abu Ghraib
began to gain ground. The Australian TV news program, Dateline, interviewed
Qaissi and, after that, it was the Italian Rainews 24 that aired a factual
but powerful scoop that found an Italian and international public ready
and eager to finally see fragments of a truth which a majority were already
convinced for a long time. The picture of the “crucified” prisoner
with electrodes in his hands had finally a face for the public. See original
Rainews 24 represents a relatively small part of the Italian media that has
escaped the regimentation. Among other scoops, the TV station has broadcast
an interview with a former National Security Agency analyst who has openly said
that one of the top leaders of the Italian intelligence, Nicola Calipari had
been killed by American bullets in Baghdad. After Rainews 24, Qaissi was interviewed
by PBS's "Now," Vanity Fair, Der Spiegel . . .
14) The dam of the “accepted truth” had been broken.
The truth denied for so long was finally reported in major media. Besides the
monstrosity of the facts, what worried the “apparatus” was that
the large majority of the population was in the process of overcoming the sense
of isolation, intimidation, and confusion; it had found the first institutional
reference point that was saying: yes, it is true, what you always thought is
the reality. Thus, the Qaissi affairs was becoming dangerous for the protectors
of lies. Something had to be done, something effective and creative.
15) It was at this point, on March 11th, that the New York
Times published its interview with Qaissi accompanied with a picture of another
of the tortured prisoners, this one nicknamed by the torturers, Gilligan. Qaissi
had been nicknamed by the creative sadists, the Claw, because of a malformation
of his hand following an accident.
16) At that point the Discrediting Committee had put together
all its pieces.
17) As precise as a chronometer, the online magazine Salon,
announces on March 14 that they had been given by anonymous sources material
from the archives of the Army's Criminal
Investigation Command (CID) concerning Abu Ghraib. Most observers asked
themselves why CID material would be delivered to Salon, after it had been denied
to the New York Times with the official rationale that it would infringe on
the privacy of the prisoners. But this is not the main point. The point is that
Salon, sitting tall on the huge material so miraculously gained, launches not
a campaign against the torture, but a campaign of discredit against . . . Qaissi!
18 ) Salon’s
point -- the point then taken up by the large Court of Miracles that works
as mass dissemination for the line of the apparatus -- is “The New
York Times tried to tell the story of the man behind the infamous Abu Ghraib
photo. But the paper may have had the wrong prisoner.” And this is
the point that will be circulated all over the world. The unbelievable statement
by the CID that the prisoner nicknamed Gilligan “was the only one to the
tortured with electrodes” in Abu Ghraib is swallowed without comment.
19) In rapid succession, the scandal of the torture is forgotten
in favor of the “scandal” of the name in the New York Times. Nota
Bene: there are pictures of Qaissi hooded, with electrodes and “crucified,”
his image is easily identifiable by his malformed hand, but this is not news
or worthy to be mentioned. The “acceptable truth” has been reconstituted
and pictures and documentation that are not coherent with the official lie are
not given the right of existence by the media.
20) On the 14th already Salon announces triumphantly that
“The New York Times announced Monday night that it would review the accuracy
of a recent Page One story.” On the 19th, incredibly, the New York Times
fully apologized. Its source? The military and the CID, i.e. the group that
was being investigated. “Cited
as Symbol of Abu Ghraib, Man Admits He Is Not in Photo” titles the
Times. “The trouble was, the man in the photograph was not Qaissi.
note] Military investigators had identified the man on the box as a
different detainee who had described the episode in a sworn statement immediately
after the photographs were discovered in January 2004, but then the man seemed
to go silent.”
21) Thus, the New York Times, takes on faith a statement made
by a “disappeared” prisoner while its gall is reserved for Qaissi
guilty of not having disappeared but having created an organization of survivors
which is threatening the whole cover-up by the Pentagon. In a new low, after
the Judith Miller saga, the New York Tomes wrote: “Qaissi had energetically
filled the void, traveling abroad with slide shows to argue that abuse in Iraq
continued, as head of a group he called the Association of Victims of American
22) However, the various statements of this or that is not
what decides the line that will be believed in this world of deformed mirrors.
What decides the day is the control over the media and the ability to impose
exactly the opposite of freedom of the press. Who controls the media controls
the truth. Nobody wants to report the picture of Qaissi with his revealing hand.
Nobody wants to draw the obvious conclusion that Qaissi was tortured and thus
the spokesman who says that only one prisoner was tortured in that way, is lying.
23) Once established as the “precedent” and the
“record” (the apology of the New York Times), such an apology will
be used all over the world. Newspapers who spent their editorials in vilifying
the hated “liberals” discover the divine authoritativeness of the
New York Times. Semi-unknown blogs on the internet who have repeatedly declared
their faith in the neoconservative supreme being, are now praising the “leftist”
Salon and the “liberal” New York Times.
24) The most repulsive example was that of the Italian il
Foglio mentioned early. On the 15th of March, the little (or not so little)
poodle of Michael Ledeen, dedicated his first editorial to the spreading of
the “velina” from Washington. “Yesterday, a very leftist
magazine called Salon revealed another egregious falsification by the Italian
TV (Rainews24) that is a servant of the fascists of Tikrit [sic]: the famous
hooded prisoner interviewed days before by the New York Times and previously,
for the first time worldwide, by Raibufale 24 [an insulting nickname for
Rainews 24 ed] is not the man portrait in the [New York Times] picture.”
Qaissi, screams il Foglio “is not the man portrayed in those terrible
photos that a brave soldier of the American army had given to his superiors.”
“One cannot exclude that Qaissi was also tortured,” the newspaper
has to admit “but it is difficult that this is the case and certainly
he was not the hooded man in the pictures.” The fact that Rainews
published the actual picture of Qaissi does not affect the servile obedience
of il Foglio towards the “apparatus.” So, the line from the top
is reported perfectly and completely. The revelations of the torture show how
good and courageous is the US Army and how fair, democratic, and ready to admit
their mistake are the US media, all of them; contrary to the provincial, primitive
and anti-democratic Italian media such as Rainews 24. Il Foglio deserves an
A+ as chain of transmission for the discrediting committee.
25) There are other clues that lead easily to the puppet masters.
Il Foglio labels Qaissi as “gerarca baathista” [Baathist
fascist leader] even if any semi-functional journalist could easily find out
that he, Qaissi, was just a representative of neighborhood. But the implication
here is that the tortured prisoners deserves indeed to be tortured or worse,
because he is a “gerarca bahatista.” Second, Il Foglio expresses
its “admiration” for the New York Times that, contrary to the “most
Bolshevik TV in the Western world” recognized “immediately
its mistake by publishing two articles and has immediately opened an inquiry
like the one on Jayson Blair.” Il Foglio forgets of course Judith Miller.
26) In the wake of il Foglio, the “line” began
to emerged in a few Italian blogs and the dissemination of the talking points
from the Discrediting Committee began. [For one of the most transparent
example of useful idiocy go here.
Now lets see where else the line emerges. It will be an instructive exercise
in identifying the network used by the discrediting apparatus.