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Part I--Psychological Warfare and the American Mind

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Five-Part Series: 15th anniversary of 9/11


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The moment Truth became the Enemy of the State


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9/11/2001. The date still echoes in the mind with outrage, anger, and utter disbelief. Through the clarity of hindsight it now seems more than ever like a Madison Avenue commercial intended to sell the American population on another war they didn't need or want. But that's what we got. Fifteen years of it so far and no end in sight. Believing in the official narrative of 9/11 requires what's referred to in drama as a willful suspension of disbelief. How could this happen? How did a band of ragged terrorists plotting from a cave in faraway Afghanistan accomplish such a feat given the pervasiveness of the most expensive military/intelligence apparatus in the history of the world? How did three skyscrapers defy the laws of physics and manage to collapse as if brought down by a controlled demolition? And even more curiously, why would Islamic radicals provide the neoconservative administration of George W. Bush with exactly the pretext they needed to launch a bloody invasion of Afghanistan and further occupation of the Middle East?

Who among America's national-security mandarins at the CIA or FBI or Department of Defense would be held accountable? No one would. Instead America's national-security apparatchiks would be rewarded with expanded powers to eavesdrop and torture; powers that were supposed to be anathema to the American way of doing things. Like Kafkaesque characters who'd suddenly found themselves on the other side of the Cold War mirror, Americans would now have to "watch what they say and watch what they do" as a preexisting "Patriot Act" would be signed into law to clamp down on dissent and real or imagined domestic terrorism.

Some careful observers like Anthony Lewis of the New York Times had already noticed the bizarre coup-like changes coming over Washington in the months leading up to the attack as the George W. Bush administration inaugurated radical shifts in domestic and foreign policy that seemed un-American and alien to anything that had gone before. But those concerns would soon be forgotten in the race for revenge.

9/11 would ultimately give President George W. Bush and his neoconservative advisors all the public approval they needed to transform America and invade Afghanistan and Iraq to cleanse the world of evil. In the end it would turn the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and America's reputation on its head.

Looking back on the carnage of the last 15 years it's easy to see the psychological changes in America. What's not easy to see is how a longstanding campaign of covert psychological warfare built up since the early days of World War II had made the slow destruction of American democracy and the ascension of rule by secrecy inevitable, long before the planes ever left the runway on 9/11:

"If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State." - Dr. Joseph Goebbels

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As chief propagandist for the Nazi Party, Joseph Goebbels' system of black propaganda not only helped Hitler's rise to power but kept him there by utilizing near-hypnotic powers over the German people even after the consequences of his disastrous failures had become obvious.

To counter Goebbels' propaganda theatre emanating from Nazi party headquarters at Munich's Braunhaus (Brown House), an organization named Freedom House was founded in New York City in 1941. Fronted by American celebrities and public luminaries such as Eleanor Roosevelt, the wizard behind the outfit was Leo Cherne, psychological warfare specialist/co-founder of the Research Institute of America (RIA), which would later be labeled the "CIA for businessmen."

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Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould are the authors of Invisible History: Afghanistan's Untold Story and Crossing Zero The AfPak War at the Turning Point of American Empire and The Voice,a novel. Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould, a husband (more...)
 

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