History Podcasts

Were British fears of Russia using Afghanistan as a staging post for an invasion of India unfounded?

Were British fears of Russia using Afghanistan as a staging post for an invasion of India unfounded?

I know that "The Great Game" was originally concerned with Russian-British competition in Central Asia, but my question is was this competition and British fear founded on anything? My understanding of Russian history at this point leads me to believe that the Tsarist empire was not in a position to try and undertake such a massive task. Perhaps I am mistaken about this, but I would like to see evidence supporting, or disproving, the British concerns.

I think everyone who has posted here (@ihtkwot, @mgb, @Russell) have all brought up important points. I agree with @ihtkwot and @Russell that Russia simply did not have the military capacity to challenge Britain's hold on India (a territory that the British would have vigorously defended). Also, Russia seemed far more interested in territories to the west and the burning desire to acquire a warm-water port on the Baltic and Black seas well explained by this commentator. While British concerns of a Russian military invasion of India are almost certainly unfounded (and as @mgb notes, rationality does not factor in irrational fears), Britian did have a much more legitimate fear of Russian economic and military influence of India, rather than outright domination.

There is a very good analysis by Nikki R. Keddie on the Russian/British dynamic in Afghanistan's neighbor to the west (also a neighbor of British Indian territory at the time), Iran in her book Modern Iran: Roots and Results of Revolution. While there is a far more likely possibility of Russian invasion of Iran, the usual sparring ground between Britain and Russia was not on direct military engagement or even proxy wars, but rather focuses on influence of the government over economic and military concessions.

Had Russia been successful in endeavors to dominate India's neighbors, they would have been in a position to influence actors within India. While this could have been a stepping stone to invasion, it is certainly a bit of stretch to worry about a grand invasion from a region as contested as it was (particularly later when German and American interests started getting involved). Given British interest in an area that often contained few exploitable natural resources or economic wealth, it seems quite clear that the empire was very interested in maintaining this border region to protect India from outside influence.

The Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan in the late 20th century has its roots in the "Great Game" of the 19th century. At stake then was the British domination of India.

Russia had long wanted a warm water port to the south. Her first choice was Constantinople (Istanbul), which met with British opposition e.g. in the Crimean war. Her second choice was Persia (Iran), and there was Soviet and British competition for influence in that country up to, and including the early part of World War II. Her third choice was "India," (including modern Pakistan, long part of British India). According to William L. Shirer in the "Rise and Fall of the Third Reich," one reason that the Soviet Union stayed in a pact with Hitler's Germany was because Hitler initially offered the Soviet Union a port in India (the offer was reneged when Germany invaded the Soviet Union).

So yes, Britain had reason to fear that a Russian penetration of Afghanistan would work against her interests in India, (modern) Pakistan, or Iran.

William Dalrymple, author of Return of a King: The Battle for Afghanistan 1839-42 seems to argue these fears were indeed ill-founded, at least in the sense that they led to an ill-founded strategy. This is from The Economist's book review:

Thus began the “Great Game”, an entirely unnecessary competition for Afghanistan between Russia and Britain, conjured up by armchair polemicists in London.

It's not entirely clear which author's view the sentence is meant to convey, but this interesting related interview makes me think it is broadly Dalrymple's, who is recognized as an expert author on the region's history.

Siege of Malakand

The siege of Malakand was the 26 July – 2 August 1897 siege of the British garrison in the Malakand region of colonial British India's North West Frontier Province. [8] The British faced a force of Pashtun tribesmen whose tribal lands had been bisected by the Durand Line, [9] the 1,519 mile (2,445 km) border between Afghanistan and British India drawn up at the end of the Anglo-Afghan wars to help hold back what the British feared to be the Russian Empire's spread of influence towards the Indian subcontinent.

The unrest caused by this division of the Pashtun lands led to the rise of Saidullah, a Pashtun fakir who led a great army of at least 10,000 tribesme [3] [10] against the British garrison in Malakand. Although the British forces were divided among a number of poorly defended positions, the small garrison at the camp of Malakand South and the small fort at Chakdara were both able to hold out for six days against the much larger Pashtun army.

The siege was lifted when a relief column dispatched from British positions to the south was sent to assist General William Hope Meiklejohn, commander of the British forces at Malakand South. Accompanying this relief force was second lieutenant Winston Churchill, who later published his account as The Story of the Malakand Field Force: An Episode of Frontier War.

Soviet invasion of Afghanistan

Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article.

Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, invasion of Afghanistan in late December 1979 by troops from the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union intervened in support of the Afghan communist government in its conflict with anti-communist Muslim guerrillas during the Afghan War (1978–92) and remained in Afghanistan until mid-February 1989.

In April 1978 Afghanistan’s centrist government, headed by Pres. Mohammad Daud Khan, was overthrown by left-wing military officers led by Nur Mohammad Taraki. Power was thereafter shared by two Marxist-Leninist political groups, the People’s (Khalq) Party and the Banner (Parcham) Party—which had earlier emerged from a single organization, the People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan—and had reunited in an uneasy coalition shortly before the coup. The new government, which had little popular support, forged close ties with the Soviet Union, launched ruthless purges of all domestic opposition, and began extensive land and social reforms that were bitterly resented by the devoutly Muslim and largely anti-communist population. Insurgencies arose against the government among both tribal and urban groups, and all of these—known collectively as the mujahideen (Arabic mujāhidūn, “those who engage in jihad”)—were Islamic in orientation.

These uprisings, along with internal fighting and coups within the government between the People’s and Banner factions, prompted the Soviets to invade the country on the night of December 24, 1979, sending in some 30,000 troops and toppling the short-lived presidency of People’s leader Hafizullah Amin. The aim of the Soviet operation was to prop up their new but faltering client state, now headed by Banner leader Babrak Karmal, but Karmal was unable to attain significant popular support. Backed by the United States, the mujahideen rebellion grew, spreading to all parts of the country. The Soviets initially left the suppression of the rebellion to the Afghan army, but the latter was beset by mass desertions and remained largely ineffective throughout the war.

The Afghan War quickly settled down into a stalemate, with more than 100,000 Soviet troops controlling the cities, larger towns, and major garrisons and the mujahideen moving with relative freedom throughout the countryside. Soviet troops tried to crush the insurgency by various tactics, but the guerrillas generally eluded their attacks. The Soviets then attempted to eliminate the mujahideen’s civilian support by bombing and depopulating the rural areas. These tactics sparked a massive flight from the countryside by 1982 some 2.8 million Afghans had sought asylum in Pakistan, and another 1.5 million had fled to Iran. The mujahideen were eventually able to neutralize Soviet air power through the use of shoulder-fired antiaircraft missiles supplied by the Soviet Union’s Cold War adversary, the United States.

The mujahideen were fragmented politically into a handful of independent groups, and their military efforts remained uncoordinated throughout the war. The quality of their arms and combat organization gradually improved, however, owing to experience and to the large quantity of arms and other war matériel shipped to the rebels, via Pakistan, by the United States and other countries and by sympathetic Muslims from throughout the world. In addition, an indeterminate number of Muslim volunteers—popularly termed “Afghan-Arabs,” regardless of their ethnicity—traveled from all parts of the world to join the opposition.

The war in Afghanistan became a quagmire for what by the late 1980s was a disintegrating Soviet Union. (The Soviets suffered some 15,000 dead and many more injured.) Despite having failed to implement a sympathetic regime in Afghanistan, in 1988 the Soviet Union signed an accord with the United States, Pakistan, and Afghanistan and agreed to withdraw its troops. The Soviet withdrawal was completed on February 15, 1989, and Afghanistan returned to nonaligned status.

Were British fears of Russia using Afghanistan as a staging post for an invasion of India unfounded? - History

Once a teacher always one, I sense is true. In wondering the other day how Mr. Barney my 1960 high school history teacher would be reaching us with today’s technology I came across a two-part YouTube special on ‘Afghanistan: The Great Game’. Then as the last week of February 2020 ended, President Trump announces he and the Taliban have made a ‘deal’. So, I imagined being back in Mr. Barney’s class being assigned to watch the ‘Afghanistan the Great Game’ documentary, follow current news about Trump’s Afghanistan Deal, and write an essay on what is happening. Every Friday we had a current events Weekly Reader, that I think Mr. Barney used to marry the past to the present. It is the way I teach my classes today – every week we read a chapter with videos and then by Saturday 6pm students submitted a 5-page paper, 1.5 spacing, using only that chapter, our discussion, and videos as references. I read the papers Sunday/Monday and re-turned them heavily marked at Tuesday class as we started again with a new chapter. This is going to be an interesting week – online intime, it is called.

Afghanistan the Great Game (Part I)
In this episode, Stewart tells the story of Soviet and United States involvement in Afghanistan. From 1928 until 1978 there had been relative peace and in the 1960s and 󈨊s was on the hippie trail but the cold war was at its height with Afghanistan surrounded by American allies Iran and Pakistan. In northern Afghanistan soviet aid was provided and in southern Afghanistan American aid. In Kabul Islamists and communists vied for supremacy and when the communists took control in 1978 they asked the SovietUnion for military assistance. Reluctantly they agreed after the Afghan president went to Moscow in 1979. 80,000 troops entered Afghanistan and the United States saw a chance for revenge against the Soviets who aided the communists in Vietnam. The CIA covertly through GeneralZia, President of Pakistan, provided modern weaponry. CharlieWilson and socialite JoanneHerring were prominent in the raising of 9 billion dollars covertly passed to Afghanistan. In 1988 the Soviets pulled out and the country descended into a vicious five-year civil war that the Taliban emerged victorious imposing strict Islamic law. Afghanistan became a safe haven for many terrorist groups after the Twin Towers were attacked in New York.

Afghanistan the Great Game (Part II) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j6jItZF5ZeU
In this episode, Rory Stewart tells the story of British interventions in Afghanistan in the 19th century, when the British Empire became obsessed with the idea that their rival, Russia, was considering the invasion of Afghanistan as a staging post for an attack on British India. It was a period of mutual suspicion and paranoia that later became known as “The Great Game”. Afghanistan was perceived by Victorian Britain, as it’s believed to be today, to be an immediate threat to British national security. In this first film, Rory Stewart tells the story of the decision-making that led to the first British invasion of Afghanistan, and the three Anglo-Afghan wars fought in this era. And he tells the story of Afghanistan’s unlikely reaction to this period. When an Afghan-elite made a futile attempt to impose western-inspired ideas and modernity on the country.

Trump says Taliban wants deal in Afghanistan visit
President Donald Trump paid a surprise Thanksgiving visit to Afghanistan, where he announced the U.S. and Taliban have been engaged in ongoing peace talks and said he believes the Taliban want a cease-fire. (Nov. 28)

Afghanistan: Fears political divide may thwart peace deal
A week-long “reduction in violence” between the Taliban, US and Afghan forces has brought hope of a lasting peace deal. But there is concern it could be delayed by political division following a controversial election. Al Jazeera’s Hoda Abdel Hamid reports.

Taliban Country
Nearly 20 years after the U.S. drove the Taliban from power in Afghanistan, the group claims it holds more territory than any time since the war began in 2001. As President Trump says he wants to end the war, FRONTLINE reporter Najibullah Quraishi goes on a dangerous journey inside both Taliban- and ISIS-held territory and exposes the harsh reality that not only is the Taliban once again wielding power, but the threat from ISIS looms large.

Bitter Lake
Bitter Lake explores how the realpolitik of the West has converged on a mirror image of itself throughout the Middle-East over the past decades, and how the story of this has become so obfuscating and simplified that we, the public, have been left in a bewildered and confused state. The narrative traverses the United States, Britain, Russia and Saudi Arabia—but the country at the center of reflection is Afghanistan. Because Afghanistan is the place that has confronted political figureheads across the West with the truth of their delusions—that they cannot understand what is going on any longer inside the systems they have built which do not account for the real world. Bitter Lake sets out to reveal the forces that over the past thirty years, rose up and commandeered those political systems into subservience, to which, as we see now, the highly destructive stories told by those in power, are inexorably bound to. The stories are not only half-truths, but they have monumental consequences in the real world. https://thoughtmaybe.com/bitter-lake/

US signs historic deal with Taliban • Feb 29, 2020
The US and the Taliban signed an agreement that begins the potential full withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan and could pave the way to ending America’s longest war.

US signing a historic deal with the Taliban | ABC News • Feb 29, 2020
America’s longest war may finally be nearing an end and could allow for withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan

Afghanistan’s Taliban, US sign peace deal • Feb 29, 2020
The US and the Taliban have signed a historic deal, aimed at paving the way for peace and the exit of foreign troops from Afghanistan. The ceremony in Doha was attended by dignitaries including the US secretary of state and foreign ministers from Qatar and Pakistan.

Now the task is to complete Mr. Barney’s written assignment. I’ll be back!

The United States and the Mujahideen

The United States viewed the conflict in Afghanistan as an integral Cold War struggle, and the CIA provided assistance to anti-Soviet mujahideen rebels through the Pakistani intelligence services in a program called Operation Cyclone.

Learning Objectives

Discuss the ties between the United States and the mujahideen

Key Takeaways

Key Points

  • Although U.S. President Jimmy Carter’s focus was more on Iran during the months before the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, he initiated a covert program through the CIA to financially support the Afghan rebels, the mujahideen, in July 1979.
  • After the Soviet invasion in December 1979, which was a surprise to Carter, the CIA expanded the program, code-named Operation Cyclone, and began providing weapons along with money to the mujahideen through the Pakistani intelligence services.
  • Operation Cyclone was one of the longest and most expensive covert CIA operations ever undertaken. More than $20 billion in U.S. funds was funneled into the country to train and arm Afghan resistance groups.
  • The U.S.-built Stinger antiaircraft missile, supplied to the mujahideen in very large numbers beginning in 1986, struck a decisive blow to the Soviets.
  • The Stingers were so renowned and deadly that in the 1990s, the United States conducted a “buy-back” program to keep unused missiles from falling into the hands of anti-American terrorists, an effort which was covertly renewed in the early 2000s.
  • Conspiracy theorists have alleged that Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda were beneficiaries of CIA assistance, a claim which is refuted by many experts.

Key Terms

  • mujahideen: The term for one engaged in Jihad. In English usage, it originally referred to the guerrilla type military outfits led by the Muslim Afghan warriors in the Soviet–- War, but now may refer to jihadist outfits in other countries.
  • Operation Cyclone: The code name for the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) program to arm and finance the Jihadi warriors, mujahideen, in Afghanistan from 1979 to 1989, prior to and during the military intervention by the USSR in support of its client, the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan.
  • Reagan Doctrine: A strategy orchestrated and implemented by the United States under the Reagan Administration to overwhelm the global influence of the Soviet Union in an attempt to end the Cold War. Under this doctrine, the United States provided overt and covert aid to anti-communist guerrillas and resistance movements to “roll back” Soviet-backed communist governments in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

U.S. Response to Afghan-Soviet War

American President Jimmy Carter was surprised by the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, as the consensus of the U.S. intelligence community during 1978 and 1979—reiterated as late as September 29, 1979—was that “Moscow would not intervene in force even if it appeared likely that the Khalq government was about to collapse.” Indeed, Carter’s diary entries from November 1979 until the Soviet invasion in late December contain only two short references to Afghanistan, and are instead preoccupied with the ongoing hostage crisis in Iran. Despite the focus on Iran, Carter had authorized a collaboration between the CIA and Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), and through the ISI, the CIA began providing $500,000 worth of non-lethal assistance to the mujahideen on July 3, 1979—several months before the Soviet invasion.

In the aftermath of the invasion, Carter was determined to respond vigorously to what he considered a dangerous provocation. In a televised speech, he announced sanctions on the Soviet Union, promised renewed aid to Pakistan, and committed the United States to the Persian Gulf’s defense. Carter also called for a boycott of the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow, which raised a bitter controversy.

The thrust of U.S. policy for the duration of the war was determined by Carter in early 1980 when he initiated a program to arm the mujahideen through Pakistan’s ISI and secured a pledge from Saudi Arabia to match U.S. funding for this purpose. U.S. support for the mujahideen accelerated under Carter’s successor, Ronald Reagan, at a final cost to U.S. taxpayers of some $3 billion.

Operation Cyclone

Operation Cyclone was the code name for the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) covert program to arm and finance the Jihadi warriors, mujahideen, in Afghanistan from 1979 to 1989, prior to and during the military intervention by the USSR in support of its client, the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan. The program leaned heavily toward supporting militant Islamic groups that were favored by the regime of Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq in neighboring Pakistan, rather than less ideological Afghan resistance groups that had been fighting the Marxist-oriented Democratic Republic of Afghanistan regime since before the Soviet intervention. Operation Cyclone was one of the longest and most expensive covert CIA operations ever undertaken. Funding began with $20–$30 million per year in 1980 and rose to $630 million per year in 1987. Funding continued after 1989 as the mujahideen battled the forces of Mohammad Najibullah’s PDPA during the civil war in Afghanistan (1989–1992).

President Reagan greatly expanded the program as part of the Reagan Doctrine of aiding anti-Soviet resistance movements abroad. To execute this policy, Reagan deployed CIA Special Activities Division paramilitary officers to equip the mujihadeen forces against the Soviet Army. Although the CIA and Texas Congressman Charlie Wilson received the most attention for their roles, the key architect of the strategy was Michael G. Vickers, a young CIA paramilitary officer working for Gust Avrakotos, the CIA’s regional head who had a close relationship with Wilson. Vicker’s strategy was to use a broad mix of weapons, tactics, logistics, and training programs to enhance the rebels’ ability to fight a guerrilla war against the Soviets. Reagan’s program assisted in ending the Soviet’s occupation in Afghanistan.

The United States offered two packages of economic assistance and military sales to support Pakistan’s role in the war against the Soviet troops in Afghanistan. The first six-year assistance package (1981–87) amounted to $3.2 billion, equally divided between economic assistance and military sales. The U.S. also sold 40 F-16 aircraft to Pakistan during 1983–87 at a cost of $1.2 billion outside the assistance package. The second six-year assistance package (1987–93) amounted to $4.2 billion. Out of this, $2.28 billion was allocated for economic assistance in the form of grants or loan that carried the interest rate of 2–3 percent. The rest of the allocation ($1.74 billion) was in the form of credit for military purchases. More than $20 billion in U.S. funds was funneled into the country to train and arm the Afghan resistance groups. The support proved vital to the mujahideen’s efforts against the Soviets.

The U.S.-built Stinger antiaircraft missile, supplied to the mujahideen in very large numbers beginning in 1986, struck a decisive blow to the Soviet war effort as it allowed the lightly armed Afghans to effectively defend against Soviet helicopter landings in strategic areas. The Stingers were so renowned and deadly that in the 1990s, the United States conducted a “buy-back” program to keep unused missiles from falling into the hands of anti-American terrorists. This program may have been covertly renewed following the U.S. intervention in Afghanistan in late 2001 out of fear that remaining Stingers could be used against U.S. forces in the country.

The Soviets were unable to quell the insurgency and withdrew from Afghanistan in 1989, precipitating the dissolution of the Soviet Union. However, the decision to route U.S. aid through Pakistan led to massive fraud as weapons sent to Karachi were frequently sold on the local market rather than delivered to the Afghan rebels. Karachi soon “became one of the most violent cities in the world.” Pakistan also controlled which rebels received assistance. Of the seven mujahideen groups supported by Zia’s government, four espoused Islamic fundamentalist beliefs—and these fundamentalists received most of the funding.

Conspiracy theorists have alleged that Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda were beneficiaries of CIA assistance. This is refuted by experts such as Steve Coll—who notes that declassified CIA records and interviews with CIA officers do not support such claims—and Peter Bergen, who concludes: “The theory that bin Laden was created by the CIA is invariably advanced as an axiom with no supporting evidence.” U.S. funding went to the Afghan mujahideen, not the Arab volunteers who arrived to assist them.

Reagan and the Mujahideen: President Reagan meeting with Afghan mujahideen leaders in the Oval Office in 1983

Frame, Display, Preserve

Each frame is custom constructed, using only proper museum archival materials. This includes:The finest frames, tailored to match the document you have chosen. These can period style, antiqued, gilded, wood, etc. Fabric mats, including silk and satin, as well as museum mat board with hand painted bevels. Attachment of the document to the matting to ensure its protection. This "hinging" is done according to archival standards. Protective "glass," or Tru Vue Optium Acrylic glazing, which is shatter resistant, 99% UV protective, and anti-reflective. You benefit from our decades of experience in designing and creating beautiful, compelling, and protective framed historical documents.

Indian Defence Review

The “Great Game” was a term prevalent in the 19th century, for the strategic rivalry and conflict between the British Empire and the Russian Empire for supremacy in Central Asia. It represented the international struggle to build a stable and secure Asian rimland from the Persian Gulf on the west to India. It aimed at securing a barrier between global economies and the networks of communication and defence linked by the sea, on the one hand, and power based in the Asian heartland on the other.

India’s relations with Central Asia are influenced to a major degree by the actions of Russia, China, Iran, Pakistan and the US.

Today, the Great Game is alive again. However, it has mutated into a different dynamics with varied combinations and permutations as the actors and goals have changed with time. Specifically, the number of actors has increased, and the game is not entirely confined to the goal of security and stability of the Indian subcontinent as the geospatial centre of the Asian rimland. The availability of energy has become a larger issue. While geography remains constant there are now an increased number of factors impacting the Game, making it less predictable.

The term “The Great Game” is usually attributed to Arthur Conolly, an intelligence officer of the British East India Company’s 6th Bengal Light Cavalry, though it was romanticized by Rudyard Kipling.1 From the British perspective, the Russian Empire’s expansion into Central Asia threatened to destroy the “jewel in the crown” of the British Empire, India. As the Tsar’s troops began to subdue one Khanate after another, the British feared that Afghanistan would become a staging post for a Russian invasion of India.

The British were all too aware that all invasions into India, throughout history, were through Afghanistan and the Northwest Frontier. With that in mind, in 1838 they launched the First Anglo-Afghan War and attempted to impose a puppet regime under Shah Shuja. The regime was short lived and the first British venture into Afghanistan ended in disaster. After the annexation of the Punjab in 1849, the British Empire extended up to the Hindu Kush mountains and Afghanistan was seen as a buffer state. The Russians continued to advance steadily southward towards Afghanistan and by 1865 Tashkent had been formally annexed.

In order to secure their interests Britain launched the Second Anglo-Afghan War in 1878, when their mission was turned back from Kabul. In retaliation a force of 40,000 men was sent across the border. The second war was almost as disastrous as the first for the British, and by 1881, they again pulled out of Kabul.

The Third Anglo-Afghan War of 1919 was precipitated by the assassination of the then ruler Habibullah Khan. His son and successor Amanullah declared full independence and attacked British India’s northern frontier. Although little was gained militarily, the stalemate was resolved with the Rawalpindi Agreement of 1919 when Afghanistan became an independent state.

India has lost valuable time in creating viable leverages and lacks bandwidth to use the hard power approach in pursuing its national interests in the region.

With the end of the Second World War and the beginning of the Cold War, the United States displaced Britain as the global power, asserting its influence in the Middle East in pursuit of oil, containment of the Soviet Union, and access to other resources. This period is sometimes referred to as “The New Great Game”, and the term became an analogy or framework in the military, security, and diplomatic communities for events involving India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and, more recently, the post-Soviet republics of Central Asia.

The Soviet war in Afghanistan was a nine-year conflict involving Soviet Union forces supporting the Marxist People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan government against the mujahideen resistance. The latter group found support from a variety of sources including the United States, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and other Muslim nations in the context of the Cold War. This conflict was concurrent to the 1979 Iranian Revolution and the Iran–Iraq War. The Soviet war in Afghanistan began on 27 December 1979 and ended on 15 February 1989.

The latest war in Afghanistan began on 7 October 2001 when the United States (US) launched a military operation in response to the 11 September 2001 airline attacks. The stated purpose was to capture Osama bin Laden, destroy Al-Qaeda, and remove the Taliban regime. The US stated that, as policy, it would not distinguish between Al-Qaeda and nations that harbor them. There are now two military operations in Afghanistan, which seek to establish control over the country. Operation Enduring Freedom is a US combat operation involving some coalition partners and currently operating primarily in the eastern and southern parts of the country along the Pakistan border. The second operation is the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), initially established by the UN Security Council at the end of December 2001 to secure Kabul and its surroundings. NATO assumed control of the ISAF in 2003 and operations are still ongoing.

The Problem of Asia

Alfred Mahan, a US Navy officer and president of the US Naval War College, best known for his Influence of Sea Power upon History series of books, analyzed the geopolitical structure of world politics at the dawn of the 20th century. He divided the continent of Asia into three zones: 2

To prevent Russian expansionism and predominance on the Asian continent, Mahan opined that pressure on Asia’s flanks could be the only viable strategy pursued by sea powers.

  • A northern zone, located above the 40th parallel, characterized by its cold climate, and dominated by land power
  • The “Debatable and Debated” zone, located between the 40th and 30th parallels, characterized by a temperate climate and,
  • A southern zone, located below the 30th parallel, characterized by its hot climate, and dominated by sea power.

The Debated and Debatable zone, contained two peninsulas on either end (Asia Minor and Korea), the Isthmus of Suez, Palestine, Syria, Mesopotamia, two countries marked by their mountain ranges (Persia and Afghanistan), the Pamir Mountains, the Tibetan Himalayas, the Yangtze Valley, and Japan. Within it, there were no strong states capable of withstanding outside influence or even maintaining stability within their own borders. So whereas the political situations to the north and south were relatively stable and determined, the middle remained “debatable and debated ground.”

North of the 40th parallel, the vast expanse of Asia was dominated by the Russian Empire. Russia possessed a central position on the continent, and a wedge-shaped projection into Central Asia, bounded by the Caucasus mountains and Caspian Sea on one side and the mountains of Afghanistan and Western China on the other side. To prevent Russian expansionism and predominance on the Asian continent, Mahan opined that pressure on Asia’s flanks could be the only viable strategy pursued by sea powers.

Areas south of the 30th parallel were dominated by the sea powers – Britain, the US, Germany and Japan. To Mahan, the possession of India by Britain was of key strategic importance, as India was best suited to exert balancing pressure against Russia in Central Asia. Britain’s predominance in Egypt, China, Australia, and the Cape of Good Hope was also considered important. The strategy of the sea powers, according to Mahan, ought to be to deny Russia the benefits of commerce from the sea. He noted that both the Dardanelles and Baltic straits could be closed by a hostile power, thereby denying Russia access to the sea. This would reinforce Russia’s expansionism in order to obtain wealth or warm water ports. The natural geographic targets for Russian expansionism in search of access to the sea would therefore be the Chinese seaboard, the Persian Gulf, and Asia Minor.

The British continued with their obsession about the Great Game till their withdrawal from India. Sir Olaf Caroe organized the Viceroy’s Support Group (VSG) in 1942 in his capacity as Foreign Secretary in Britain’s Government of India. It worked on the premise that the security of the Asian rimland from the Persian Gulf to Indochina “is one complete strategical problem.” The security of the Gulf was bound up with the security of the Indian subcontinent which in turn depended on Burma and Indochina. A stable subcontinent formed the fulcrum in the system. Its fragmentation would leave the wings isolated and the balance broken. The notion of a continuous Great Game that would survive the withdrawal of British rule in India transfixed the VSG’s work.3

According to Olaf Caroe, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 was a predictable (and predicted) “after-effect” of India’s partition in 1947. By creating two mutually antagonistic successor states in India and Pakistan, the partition effectively turned the subcontinent’s power potential in on itself. For nearly a century, power based on a stable subcontinent had provided a counterpoise to Russia that had allowed the emergence of a viable Afghan state. The fragmentation of the counterpoise on the subcontinent allowed the Russians to calculate their interests and options in 1979 very differently than their predecessors had in 1838, 1878, and 1919. The continued hostility of India and Pakistan thus weighed heavily against the reconstruction of security and stability in Afghanistan. The latter thus reemerged as a base area and seedbed it had once formed for forces of regional instability and terrorism.

Zbigniew Brzezinski, a former US National Security adviser, advocated a 21st century version of the Great Game after the implosion of the Soviet Union. 4 He cast Eurasia as the playing field upon which the world’s fate is determined. As the US emerged as the world’s sole superpower, he delineated its global strategy to maintain its exceptional position in the world. Central to his analysis was the exercise of power on the Eurasian landmass, which is home to the greatest part of the globe’s population, natural resources, and economic activity. He animadverted that Central Asia is the “grand chessboard” on which US supremacy will be ratified and challenged in the years to come. The problem was to manage the conflicts and relationships in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East so that no rival superpower could rise to threaten US interests. Popular media have referred to the current conflict between international forces and Taliban forces in Afghanistan as a New Great Game. Its arena has expanded to include Central Asia, as the vantage of power has shifted to this region.

The Real Reason for the Afghan War?

When the United States decided to invade Afghanistan to grab Osama bin Laden—and failed, but stayed on like an unwanted guest—could it have known that the Afghans were sitting on some of the world’s greatest reserves of mineral wealth?

We’ve raised this topic before (see here)—where we noted the dubious 2010 claim, published by the New York Times, that “the vast scale of Afghanistan’s mineral wealth was [recently] discovered by a small team of Pentagon officials and American geologists.” Other evidence, and logic, point to the fact that everyone but the Western public knew for a long time, and before the 2001 invasion, that Afghanistan was a treasure trove.

So we were interested to see a new piece from the Times that emphasizes those riches without stressing the crucial question: Was the original impetus for the invasion really Osama—or Mammon?

The failure to pose this question is significant because the pretense of a “recent discovery” serves only to justify staying in Afghanistan now that the troops are already there—while ignoring the extent to which imperial-style resource grabs are the real drivers of foreign policy and wars, worldwide.

As long as we continue to dance around that issue, we will remain mired in disaster of both a financial and mortal nature. As long as we fail to tote up who are the principal winners and losers then we fail to understand what is going on.

Some of the least likely candidates for insight are waking up. To quote Alan Greenspan: “I’m saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil.” Who will say the same about Afghanistan and its mineral wealth? Once we acknowledge what General Wesley Clark claims (and which the media keeps ignoring)—that he was told the U.S. had plans ready at the time of the 9/11 attacks to invade seven countries (including Iraq and Afghanistan)– then the larger picture begins to come into view.

At this point, we can’t help but revisit our WhoWhatWhy exclusive tying the 9/11 hijackers to that very reliable U.S. ally, the Saudi royal family— which itself needs constant external war and strife throughout the Middle East to keep its citizens from focusing on its own despotism and staggering corruption, and to maintain its position as an indispensable ally of the West in these wars. It was the actions of the Saudi-dominated 9/11 hijackers and their Saudi sponsor, Osama bin Laden, that created the justification for this endless series of resource wars. So, learning that the hijackers themselves may have been sponsored by, or controlled by elements of the Saudi royal family is a pretty big deal.

If there is a road to a happy ending in Afghanistan, much of the path may run underground: in the trillion-dollar reservoir of natural resources — oil, gold, iron ore, copper, lithium and other minerals — that has brought hopes of a more self-sufficient country, if only the wealth can be wrested from blood-soaked soil.

So, according to the world’s most influential opinion-making outlet, the fact of Afghanistan’s mineral wealth has nothing to do with why the United States and its allies want to stay—and why others want us to leave. No, we are told, it is just a fortuitous “discovery” that can benefit the Afghans themselves, make them “self-sufficient.” If only it can be extracted…..

Of course, this narrative continues, the suffering Afghans can only be helped to become self-sufficient if enough long-term military and technical might is applied to the country.

We’d love to see more reporting from The Times about what Western companies knew and when they knew it. Instead, we see JPMorgan Chase’s Afghan venture mentioned, in passing, between references to efforts by the Chinese to get their piece of the action:

Already this summer, the China National Petroleum Corporation, in partnership with a company controlled by relatives of President Karzai, began pumping oil from the Amu Darya field in the north. An investment consortium arranged by JPMorgan Chase is mining gold. Another Chinese company is trying to develop a huge copper mine. Four copper and gold contracts are being tendered, and contracts for rare earth metals could be offered soon.

The truth is, as long as the Chinese and Russians are cut in on the deal, their objections to military actions that enrich oligarchs everywhere are likely to be muted.

Imperial militaries exist in large part to grab and hold resources vital to the continuance of empires, while their paymasters back home reap benefits. That includes the rest of us, who must balance the security and creature comforts this approach provides against the death and destruction it inevitably entails. And we can’t begin to do the moral calculus until we acknowledge what’s being done in our name around the world, and why.

Find out more

Allied Intervention in Russia, 1917 - 1920 by JFN Bradley (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1968 University Press of America, 1984)

Russian Democracy's Fatal Blunder: The Summer Offensive of 1917 by LE Heenan (Praeger, 1987)

'Imperial Russia's Forces at War' in Military Effectiveness, Volume 1: The First World War ed by AR Millett and W Murray (Allen & Unwin, 1988)

Passage Through Armageddon: The Russians in War and Revolution, 1914 - 1918 by W Bruce Lincoln (Simon & Schuster, 1986 Oxford University Press, 1994)

The Russian Civil War by Evan Mawdsley (Allen & Unwin, 1987 Birlinn, 2000)

The Eastern Front, 1914 - 1917 by Norman Stone (Hodder & Stoughton, 1975 Penguin, 1998)

The End of the Russian Imperial Army, 2 volumes, by Alan Wildman (Princeton University Press, 1980 - 1987)

A Guide to Mainstream Media ‘Fake News’ War Propaganda

In response to the establishment media’s contrived ‘fake news’ crisis designed to marginalise independent and alternative media sources of news and analysis, 21WIRE is running its own #FakeNewsWeek campaign, where each day our editorial team at 21st Century Wire will feature media critiques and analysis of mainstream corporate media coverage of current events – exposing the government and the mainstream media as the real purveyors of ‘fake news’ throughout modern history…

Patrick Henningsen
21st Century Wire

As mainstream media pundits, government officials and Silicon Valley technocrats continue the alarmist crusade over the perceived scourge of ‘fake news’ circulating on social media, their misplaced obsession belies the fact that the government-media complex has long been waging its own private disinformation war, against the global public.

As the establishment continues its attempt to discredit alternative sources of information through its fake news faux crisis, it’s clear that some corporate media moguls would like to turn back the clock – back to the days when a handful of powerful institutions enjoyed a complete monopoly over the production of news and dissemination of information. For at least the last century and half, this tightly-controlled information syndicate has been able to manufacture a type of consensus reality. By channeling public opinion in this way, the establishment has used the mainstream press to facilitate a number of engineered outcomes – including war.

More than ever, it’s important to highlight how for many decades, these same media organizations, including the most respected brands in western mainstream media, have been the driving force behind some of most deceptive reporting and militaristic propaganda campaigns which have enabled the conditions for violent conflict worldwide. These acts of media malice have contributed to the unnecessary deaths of countless innocent people.

Undoubtedly, many who work in the media will not see it that way, but history speaks for itself.

Here are but a few of the greatest war propaganda deceptions of all-time – brought to you by the establishment’s own mainstream media. Here are the real consequences of fake news…

‘Remember the Maine!’

War propaganda is as old as the media itself.

In the winter of 1898, a terrible incident befell America after the USS Maine, one of its flagship Naval vessels had sunk following an unexplained explosion in Havana harbor in Cuba. Afterwards some leading US newspapers took advantage of the confusion and emotive nature of the story, including William Randolph Hearst’s New York Journal and its racy sister publication, the Evening Journal, and also Joseph Pulitzer’s New York World, blaming the incident on Spanish saboteurs. Shortly afterwards, the US entered the Spanish-American War in order to capture Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam and the Philippines. This practice of over-reporting and embellishing a story to stir public outrage became known as “yellow journalism” – a badge proudly worn by Hearst in his day. Certainly, Hearst was well ahead of his time in believing media outlets should insert themselves into events in order to affect political outcomes on behalf on the government. One year earlier in 1897, Hearst’s New York World [1] opined the doctrine of “journalism of action” which meant that a newspaper should inject itself into public life, in order to “fitly render any public service within its power.”

Are things really much different today?

The Gulf of Tonkin Deception

On August 4, 1964, a joint US Navy patrol ran into bad weather off the coast of Vietnam, causing problems with US radar and sonar, at a time when heightened tensions in the region had placed the US national security team on red alert. Amid the confusion, some US agent or official, either in the CIA, the NSA or the Pentagon national security structure – circulated a false report that the US Navy vessels and planes were under attack from North Vietnamese patrol attack boats in international waters in the Gulf of Tonkin. The next day, President Lyndon B. Johnson appeared on national television to announce[2] his intent to retaliate against North Vietnamese targets, stating, “Repeated acts of violence against the armed forces of the United States must be met not only with alert defense, but with positive reply. The reply is being given as I speak to you tonight.” The infamous event came to known as ‘The Gulf of Tonkin Incident.’ Despite the fact that there were obvious discrepancies in some of the government account of events, the mainstream media accepted the government’s fake story without question. With the media providing public relations backing, Washington was then able to take the next step and declared War on Vietnam, albeit on false pretenses. This was the beginning of a 10 year-long bloody conflict which saw 55,000 US servicemen killed and 250,000 injured and maimed, along with over 1 million Vietnamese killed.

The First Gulf War

It seems that Saddam Hussein’s incursion in neighboring Kuwait wasn’t enough to justify this historic US military operation because the first Gulf War, or ‘Persian Gulf War’ featured a number of fabricated and fake reports produced or circulated by the corporate mainstream media.

On October 10th, 1990, 15 year-old Nayirah al-Ṣabah, daughter of Saud bin Nasir Al-Sabah (the Kuwaiti ambassador to the US) provided a tearful testimony in front of the mainstream media TV cameras, recounting alleged human rights abuses in front of a US Congressional Committee. The Kuwaiti teenager claimed that Iraqi soldiers took hundreds of babies out of incubators in a Kuwaiti hospital during the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. Her dramatic testimony later turned out to be completely false.

During the 1990-1991 Gulf War when a leaked clip showed how CNN had constructed a fake blue screen studio set-up to give a false impression that reporters like Charles Jaco were at alternative locations, including a live sound stage used to simulate missile attacks in Saudi Arabia complete with fake date palm trees. This was also the first war where US cable TV provided the bulk of 24 hour mainstream media propaganda promoting every aspect of America’s military operation, led by CNN. Since then, CNN has become the Pentagon’s premier military and war propaganda outlet in the US.

Kosovo ‘Genocide’

After the Rwanda massacres of 1994, the ‘genocide’ alarm has become a tried and true tool used by western media outlets in order to expedite a ‘humanitarian intervention’ under the banner of R2P (Responsibility to Protect). As the narrative commonly goes, because the US “did not act” in 1994, over 500,000 Tutsis were killed in Rwanda. Granted, the desire to intervene in such a tragedy is born out of compassion and concern for humanity, but when the term ‘genocide’ is casually tossed about in the media in order to invoke an emotional reaction of public outrage, then the media risks stripping the term of its real meaning, and its potency as a call to humanity.

From 1998-1999, the US and Europe under the operational banner of NATO – backed the Kosovan Liberation Army (KLA) ‘rebel’ fighters from the Kosovo region of Yugoslavia in a proxy war against the military forces of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. With the help of NATO intelligence and military assets, the KLA began attacks on police and Yugoslavian government facilities in Kosovo, which led to an increased presence of Serb paramilitaries and ‘regular forces’ who then began targeting KLA personnel and political sympathisers, as well as political opponents. It is estimated that during this initial period of fighting, Federal forces killed some 1,500 to 2,000 civilians and KLA combatants. From here, the conflict or “civil war” as it was portrayed in the Western mainstream media, began to escalate dramatically and with that, a flurry of alarmist and sensational western media reporting.

Justin Raimondo, independent journalist and editor of Antiwar.com reported back in 2000:

“The headline in the London Guardian [18 Aug. 2000] was really a bit of an understatement: “Serb killings ‘exaggerated’ by West.” The subhead, however, underscored the enormity of the lie: “Claims of up to 100,000 ethnic Albanians massacred in Kosovo revised to under 3,000 as exhumations near end.” Think of what this has to mean: Madeleine Albright, James Rubin, and Jamie Shea didn’t pull this off single-handedly. Not only the US government, but the worldwide media fabricated a “genocide” and, on that basis, launched a savage war against a sovereign nation that had never attacked us, in the name of “humanitarianism – a war, I might add, that was stopped but has not ended.”

Raimondo continues, “Where are the bodies, all 100,000 of them? This became the task of the “war crimes experts,” as the Guardian describes them: to produce what never existed in the first place – a task that naturally had to end in failure. The Guardian reports:

“As war crimes experts from Britain and other countries prepare to wind down the exhumation of hundreds of graves in Kosovo on behalf of the UN’s International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in the Hague, officials concede they have not borne out the worst wartime reports. These were given by refugees and repeated by western government spokesmen during the campaign. They talked of indiscriminate killings and as many as 100,000 civilians missing or taken out of refugee columns by the Serbs.”

As the standard progression goes, on the back of the humanitarian outrage which was playing out in the western media, the west soon demanded a “No Fly Zone’ over Kosovo and parts of Yugoslavia. In the end, it decided to proceed unilaterally, outside of the remit of international law, and in true Matador fashion – the western press offered no resistance at all. Journalist Lewis MacKenzie of the Globe and Mail explains:

“In 1999, with NATO celebrating its 50th anniversary and no enemy in sight to justify its existence, it sought a new role and solicited a UN resolution to establish a no-fly zone over Serbia/Kosovo – the scene of a civil conflict in the latter, with involvement of the former. When it proved impossible for the UN Security Council to approve such a resolution, NATO, in a highly questionable and arguably illegal move, commenced bombing a sovereign nation, the former Yugoslavia (Serbia/Kosovo). Justification, it was argued, was provided by a dated, no-longer-applicable UN resolution that provided for a no-fly zone to protect European Union monitors in Kosovo. The fact that the EU monitors were no longer deployed in Kosovo was conveniently ignored. What followed was an all-out bombing campaign against the infrastructure of the former Yugoslavia, all under the guise of enforcing a “no-fly zone.” The term was beginning to get a bad reputation.”

By the end of the war, you could see a clear process had been formalized – the production and dissemination of disinformation between government departments, political leaders and mainstream media outlets – in order to steadily advance a war agenda. Antiwar.com’s Raimondo concludes:

“It was lies, all lies, from beginning to end. They may have originated from government sources, in most cases, but in spreading these lies far and wide the Western media were more than willing accomplices. Keeping in mind that over 5,000 civilians were slaughtered in the NATO air strikes, the ladies and gentlemen of the Fourth Estate might fairly be characterized as Madeleine’s willing executioners. This is a takeoff, of course, on the favored phrase of the New Republic wing of the War Party, which condemns the entire Serb nation as “Milosevic’s willing executioners.” Based on the myth of an Albanian Kosovar “holocaust” perpetrated by the Serbs, not only Milosevic and his regime but the entire Serbian people are condemned as being no better than the “good Germans” who voted Hitler into power and tacitly supported the Holocaust. Here was classic war propaganda, on a par with stories of Belgian babies impaled on German bayonets during World War I and tall tales told during the Gulf war of babies dumped out of incubators and gasping for breath on the floor of a Kuwaiti hospital. The idea is to get public opinion behind the complete subjugation and “reeducation” of the Serbian people, utilizing the postwar German model.”

It has to be mentioned also, that one of the leading agents of disinformation in NATO’s Kosovo operation was CNN’s ‘war correspondent’ Christiane Amanpour, whom Raimondo singles out as a key purveyor fake news that moulded public opinion enough to allow the war to escalate on schedule for NATO:

“In the case of the Kosovo war, the retreat has already begun. Far too late to help the victims of the vicious “Allied” air war: they are dead and buried, or else mutilated beyond repair. Yet we are still waiting for some acknowledgment – aside from a few stories in overseas newspapers – from the media that they were wrong. After endless horror stories illustrated with fantastically high death tolls were aired day after day on CNN, when will we hear a retraction? Christiane Amanpour repeated her husband’s lies with a perfectly straight face: tens of thousands slaughtered, we were told, and the murderous drug-dealing KLA were really “freedom fighters,” the Albanian equivalent of George Washington and his Continental Army! Journalists didn’t question the government line about alleged Serbian “genocide”: instead they wanted to know if the President would send in the ground troops – and if not, why not?”

Incredibly, we would see a near repeat of this planned model again in Syria.

Osama Bin Laden: A Mythology of Convenience

A really big lie which was already baked into the official 9/11 narrative: “The terrorist known as Osama bin Laden carried out the 9/11 attacks and he is being given shelter in the nation of Afghanistan. If the Taliban government does not hand over this fugitive, then the US will have no choice but to retaliate against Afghanistan.” Kabul then asked if the US would provide evidence that bin Laden was indeed responsible for the spectacular attacks. This request was ignored by US authorities, but Washington’s ignorance paled in comparison to the mainstream media’s collective inability to follow-up on this, the most crucial piece in the story. In reality, the US was not going to wait for answers, or for the illusive bin Laden to appear. Washington had already mapped out its ‘strategic’ targets and scrambled its long-range stealth bombers. Assets were being mobilized and a new war began as ‘Operation Enduring Freedom’ launched on October 7, 2001. Some 15 years later, the Afghans are still having to endure the Pentagon’s version of freedom, as US-led forces are still occupying and controlling large regions of the country, but doing so conveniently under a NATO banner. To understand the scale and scope of the Afghanistan lie, consider the following: In 2006, the Muckraker Report [3] contacted FBI Headquarters to inquire why Bin Laden’s “Most Wanted” poster did not indicate any connection to 9/11. When asked why, the FBI official stated that, “The reason why 9/11 is not mentioned on Usama Bin Laden’s Most Wanted page is because the FBI has no hard evidence connecting Bin Laden to 9/11.” You’d think that would have been the big scoop, for some investigative journalist working at the New York Times, or the Washington Post. Instead, the press simply fell into line with the official narrative memo issue by the Bush Administration.

Beyond all this however, a bigger media failure which still continues to this day, is the total redaction of the fact that Obama Bin Laden was an intelligence asset of the CIA since the 1980’s during Operation Cyclone (among others) which facilitated a US policy of funding, training and arming a radical Islamist Mujahideen ‘rebels.’ Sound familiar?

The Media’s WMD Deception in Iraq

In March 2003, on the eve of the Iraq War, US and UK government officials had managed to convince their respective mainstream media cadres that Iraq’s Saddam Hussein was harboring massive stockpiles of chemical weapons which came to be commonly known as “Weapons of Mass Destruction.” Despite repeated assurances by UN weapons inspectors and long-time US weapons experts on the ground like Scott Ritter, both President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair appeared to have already made up their minds that Saddam was hiding vast stores of deadly munitions and therefore a US-led invasion was a fait accompli. Despite the fact they had no proof or actual evidence, the press didn’t seem to mind because they were “very confident” about the “intelligence.” The White House then dispatched Secretary of State Colin Powell to the United Nations in New York where he regurgitated a made-up story about Saddam Hussein’s deadly mobile anthrax labs, aka “The Winnebagos of Death” [4]. Yes, it sounded completely crazy to millions of intelligent, normal people at the time, and yet – it was good enough for the mainstream media circa 2002 – 2003.

Aside from CNN, ABC, and NBC’s complete allegiance to the government’s fraudulent war effort, America’s once vaunted ‘papers of record,’ The New York Times and The Washington Post, helped endlessly in republishing government-issued fictional accounts. One journalist in particular, Judith Miller from the New York Times, managed to dupe the public by citing the same ‘sources’, like disgraced Iraqi dissident Ahmed Chalabi, that were feeding the US intelligence community false information about Iraq’s supposed stockpiles of WMDs.

The New York Times Later admitted that many of Miller’s stories were false. Still, the damage was already done. The result of this government-media complex campaign of actual fake news: 1 million dead Iraqis, thousands of dead US servicemen, tens of thousands wounded and maimed, along with trillions of US taxpayer funds spent – an open bill which continues to this day.

Miller has since been rewarded for her patriotic efforts with a job at FOX News.

The Planned Take-Down of Libya

Next was a revamp of the Iraq narrative, this time spear-headed by the new liberal ‘humanitarian interventionists,’ led by America’s Barack Obama and France’s Nicholas Sarkozy against Libya in 2010 and again, under cover of the NATO flag. To get the ball rolling, western politicians and the media tried to conflate a perception of political and armed dissent in Libya as part of the wider ‘Arab Spring’ movement, while simultaneously calling for the support of armed opposition groups on the ground.

In 2011, after working behind the scenes helping to organize, arm and equip militant Jihadis fighters and rebel operatives in Libya, the Obama Administration, led by then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, desperately needed an excuse to ground the Libyan Air Force in order that NATO-backed Jihadi fighters on the ground could successfully overthrow the government of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. The most direct route to achieve air superiority would be to implement a ‘No Fly Zone’ over Libya, but with the public relations scars still fresh from the Iraq debacle, Presidents Obama and Sarkozy knew that a No Fly Zone needed broad international support and therefore had to be done through the United Nations. In order to get the global public behind the campaign, a series of fake news stories were concocted by the US State Department and the mainstream media. The first one was the popular talking point that Gaddafi was using military fighter jets to “gun down peaceful protesters in the streets.” Despite the lack of any proof or evidence that this actually happened, the entire mainstream media in the US and Europe ran with it anyway. This bogus claim became the keystone of the No Fly Zone campaign. Another outlandish tale was that Gaddafi was issuing Viagra to his troops so that they could go out and commit “mass rape” against the women of Libya. This invented story was originally disseminated by Qatari government media outlet Al Jazeera [5], and was specifically designed to help generate more western liberal and left-wing sympathy for a ‘humanitarian intervention’ by NATO, particularly from women in the US and Europe. The key emissary who delivered this fake news item to the public –and gave it credibility, was none other that Obama’s former Ambassador to the UN and National Security Advisor, Susan Rice. [6]

The other media lie which was promulgated in partnership with the US political establishment was the myth that ‘Genocide’ was imminent in Libya at the hands of Colonel Gaddafi’s black ‘African Mercenary’ brigade, prompting the routine trope in the the Responsibility to Protect script of, “We must act now, before it’s too late,” and using the ‘Rwanda’ talking point as a marketing call to action.

Writer Maximilian Forte describes how this narrative was constructed:

“Just a few days after the street protests began, on February 21 the very quick to defect Libyan deputy Permanent Representative to the UN, Ibrahim Dabbashi, stated: “We are expecting a real genocide in Tripoli. The airplanes are still bringing mercenaries to the airports”. This is excellent: a myth that is composed of myths. With that statement he linked three key myths together—the role of airports (hence the need for that gateway drug of military intervention: the no-fly zone), the role of “mercenaries” (meaning, simply, black people), and the threat of “genocide” (geared toward the language of the UN’s doctrine of the Responsibility to Protect). As ham-fisted and wholly unsubstantiated as the assertion was, he was clever in cobbling together three ugly myths, one of them grounded in racist discourse and practice that endures to the present, with newer atrocities reported against black Libyan and African migrants on a daily basis. He was not alone in making these assertions. Among others like him, Soliman Bouchuiguir, president of the Libyan League for Human Rights, told Reuters on March 14 that if Gaddafi’s forces reached Benghazi, “there will be a real bloodbath, a massacre like we saw in Rwanda”.[7]

As a result of these and other unfounded ‘human rights’ abuses trumpeted throughout the mainstream media, on March 17, 2011, UN Resolution 1973 was passed by the UN Security Council and the No Fly Zone was then immediately transformed into a US-led mass-bombing campaign of Libya by NATO. It is estimated that 30,000 Libyans were killed through ‘rebel’ ground fighting, artillery and relentless NATO bombing which toppled the Libyan government and to this day, has turned the once stable country into a permanent failed state and a terrorist haven. Looking back, it’s hard to believe that so few questioned these made-up stories, but like with Iraq and so many other wars, the media played their role in propelling the fake news.

Russia’s Phantom Invasion of the Ukraine

As far as the corporate mainstream is concerned, this story is the media’s gold standard of fake news. Not a day goes by in the US media that you don’t hear the need for the US and NATO to “Counter Russian aggression,” alongside the tandem claim that, “Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine,” or “the Russian annexation of Crimea!” and how Moscow is somehow ‘occupying’ the peninsula militarily.

So who is driving this narrative? Once again, leading the way in the collective media construction of the ‘Russian Invasion’ narrative was a familiar rag. In April 20, 2014, a photo was published by the New York Times allegedly from inside Russia showing ‘Russian soldiers’ said to have later appeared in eastern Ukraine. This fake news story created by the New York Times was then sent along the usual disinformation daisy chain, with CNN and others elevating the story into “proof” of nefarious Russian military aggression. This in turn, was then cited by US State Department, and then by hawkish US politicians as the proof required to back a more aggressive policy against Russia. However, the photographer later went on record to state his photo was actually taken inside the Ukraine.

Award-winning investigative journalist Robert Parry [8] explains:

“Two days after the New York Times led its editions with a one-sided article about photos supposedly proving that Russian special forces were behind the popular uprisings in eastern Ukraine, the Times published what you might call a modified, limited retraction.

“Buried deep inside the Wednesday editions (page 9 in my paper), the article by Michael R. Gordon and Andrew E. Kramer two of the three authors from the earlier story has this curious beginning: “A collection of photographs that Ukraine says shows the presence of Russian forces in the eastern part of the country, and which the United States cited as evidence of Russian involvement, has come under scrutiny.”

By that time, the damage had already been done, and the media and political classes were already off and running with the narrative.

So the progression of disinformation is as follows: a mainstream media outlet (usually a ‘credible’ broadsheet like the New York Times or Washington Post) inflate or fabricate a sensational story, which then cascades through broadcast TV and cable news networks, which is then parroted by western political leaders – giving the public a false impression of ‘consensus’ that a said claim is legitimate. This is how western governments achieve what award-winning journalist and filmmaker John Pilger calls “manufacturing consent.”

Bizarrely, one of the key media trigger words to invoke a ‘Russian Invasion’ of the Ukraine is a term known as “little green men.” This portable term has been used by everyone from NATO General Philip Breedlove, to US Vice President Mike Pence during his presidential debate against Tim Kaine. TASS correspondent Vladimir Zinin describes the term as follows: “The notorious ‘green men’ who appeared in Crimea — they’re like the toy soldiers children play with, without a name or a face. Their past and their future is a cardboard box, which can be opened when it’s time to begin playing a new game.” [6]

Russia’s Little Green Men (Image Credit: FPRI)

John Haines [9] who is a senior fellow at the Cold War era right-wing think tank, Foreign Policy Research Institute (FPRI), explains the context:

The claimed emergent advantage in asymmetric warfighting — nonlinear war [2] as conceptualized by Russian strategists, sometimes called hybrid warfare — concerns such Western military commanders as General Philip M. Breedlove. “NATO must be prepared for little green men,” those “armed soldiers without insignia that create unrest, occupy government buildings, incite the population,” he said. “Once the green men are there,” General Breedlove warned, “a revolution happens quickly.” [3] A year later he added, “What we see in Russia now in this hybrid approach to war, is the use of all the tools that they have to reach into a nation and cause instability.” [4]

In reality, the little green men could have been a number of actors, from newly formed militia, to local defense forces and yes, even Russian special forces deployed to protect strategic military and logistical assets located over its border on eastern Ukraine. Indeed, this was also cited in Haine’s report:

“In February 2014, the 3rd Guards Spetsnaz Brigade of Russia’s Main Intelligence Director (aka GRU) deployed “for the protection of strategic facilities in Crimea… until the full stabilization of the situation in Ukraine” according to the Regnum news service. [11]”

As far as the western media were concerned, it was important to keep the use of this term vague and avoid specifics and context wherever possible. Still, this popular term could be dropped into the script at any time, and was meant to constitute a Russian Invasion of the Ukraine. It was a colorful comic book-like term, which is probably why the US gravitated towards it with such enthusiasm. In the past, comic book-like characterizations and dumbed-down metaphors have been very effective in convincing the American public to back a war – like Colin Powell’s colorful depiction of “Winnebegos of Death.”

Russia’s ‘Illegal Annexation’ of Crimea

Regarding Crimea, one habitual failure of the western media… is failing to report how on March 16, 2014, an overwhelming majority of Russian-speaking people living in Crimea had actually held a snap nation referendum about whether to remain, or leave the Ukraine. The results were stunning, with 95% voting to leave and rejoin Russia. The majority was impressive, although not surprising considering what was happening in the rest of the Ukraine. Residents only had to take one look at the chaos which was unfolding in Kiev police and protesters in Maidan Square being shot by unknown and suspected mercenary snipers, western-backed neo-Nazis marauding in the streets, an economy in free fall, as well as talk of Kiev’s military being deployed to hunt down Russian-speaking dissenters in eastern Ukraine. In additional to all this, US officials were present in Kiev actively promoting far right NeoNazi affiliated political groups including the Svoboda and Right Sector parties in the Ukraine led by US Senator John McCain (a fact conveniently ignore by major US media outlets) and others, and all with a hand-picked puppet government installed by Victoria Nuland and the US State Department [10] (all gleefully cheered on by Washington and the EU) in what can only rightly be described as a western-backed coup d’etat and installation of a Putsch regime in Kiev.

The repeated claim by western journalists and politicians that Crimea’s move towards secession was “illegal” is quickly nullified by the fact that the western-backed mob’s occupation of, and setting fire to federal buildings, injuring and killing police, before pushing out democratically elected Viktor Fedorovych Yanukovych at gunpoint – a transition admittedly brokered by the United States – meant that the government in Kiev was neither legal nor constitutional (according the Ukraine’s own legally ratified constitution). The argument could then be made that the government in Kiev was dissolved under duress, and that going forward any claims of legality or otherwise coming out of Kiev, Washington, or Brussels – lack real context, and thus lack real merit. It should be clear to any reasonable observer or mainstream media journalist or pundit looking at the totality of the situation, that Russia did not oust an elected leader, nor did it push the Ukraine towards civil collapse and into a violent civil war – it was the US and its NATO member state partners (with the backing of the EU) who achieved this transformative feat. Any reasonable media professional should see that.

After seeing this horror unfold, it goes without saying that events in Kiev would have in all likelihood been a main driver in influencing the Crimean people to vote in favor of a new Autonomous Republic of Crimea with a 95% majority, in effect reunifying Crimea with Russia. Yes, that’s right – Crimea was only attached to the Ukraine after 1954, when then Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev transferred Crimea from the Russian Soviet Federation of Socialist Republics (RSFSR) to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic (UkrSSR). If one was to apply the western logic that Russia ‘annexed’ Crimea, then you could use that same flawed logic to suggest that West Germany had also annexed East Germany in 1990. An utterly ridiculous claim, and yet, this is what passes for geopolitical analysis in western politics in the 21 st century. This is a prime example of how the media’s misappropriation of language and ignorance of history can completely distort a narrative by inverting reality, rather than actually trying to accurately depict it.

As far as western cries of “the Russian military is now in Crimea”, what these struggling pundits also don’t mention is that, long before Washington’s February 2014 color revolt in Kiev, the Russian military has maintained permanent bases in Crimea, including some 30,000 troops and technical support crew members in and around Sevastopol, home of the Russian Black Sea Fleet – since 1783.

Both mainstream lies – that Russian invaded the Ukraine, and that Russia illegally annexed and is “occupying” Crimea – are responsible for placing the US and Russia on their worst diplomatic footing in 50 years, and inching Russia and NATO towards a possible conflict.

Based on recent history, it would be hard to argue that war-footing is not in the interest of the western military industrial complex, nor that the corporate media are helping to facilitate the public perception of “the threat” which justifies such war-footing.

Syria: An Exercise in Coordinated Corporate Media Deception

Then came Syria. No other modern conflict has been mired in so many competing narratives as Syria has, which continue to this day. Splits on the narratives stretch beyond the mainstream media, and into alternative media circles as well. The global ‘left-wing’, led by President Obama, US Democrats, and R2P liberal interventionists, have opposed any halt to the free flow of arms and ‘rebel’ terrorists from neighboring Turkey and Jordan into Syria, and wholly support a policy of ‘regime change’ – something roundly rejected by the anti-war left previously in Iraq. So the old anti-war party of the left has split into the new pro-war regime change party. This has paved the way for one of the biggest, and darkest festivals of deception in modern times.

Early on in the conflict, and in the spirit of Charles Jaco, CNN’s Anderson Cooper can be seen on-air trying to obfuscate his TV network’s own fakery with British operative, Danny Dayem, playing the role of “Syrian activist” from the city of Homs – after Dayem was caught staging reports with fake sound effects and other contrived elements in order to create the appearance of a “war report” from Syria. Despite this, CNN issued no public apology (and to my knowledge, no one was fired because of it, no surprise there).

Other accusations of mainstream media fakery coming out of Syria’s war theatre include NBC News correspondent Richard Engel’s contrived kidnapping stunt which appeared to be designed to demonize President Assad, UK Channel 4’s unbelievable ‘baby in the incubator‘ story, and last but surely not least – the BBC’s infamous ‘Saving Syria’s Children’ panorama documentary aired on the same day as the UK Parliament was set to vote on military intervention in August 2013.

Undoubtedly, Washington and NATO member states felt confident after their swift success in destabilizing and destroying Libya, to repeat the process in Syria. However, they needed to deploy a series of lies first. Once the contrived Arab Spring in Syria narrative was deployed in the spring of 2011, western liberal interventionist outrage became the order of the day. The talking point then became, ‘We must act to protect this fragile democratic movement and protect the peaceful protesters from the dictator Bashar al Assad.’ As in Libya, western powers, along with financiers Saudi Arabia and Qatar, began flooding the region with weapons and were training and advising armed insurgent fighters [11], with orders to first destabilize Syria, before eventually overthrowing the government in Damascus.

The next big lie was a familiar one – the WMD. The US and UK claimed Syria’s government crossed a ‘red line’ by “using chemical weapons against his own people.” A false flag sarin gas WMD event was staged in East Ghouta, Damascus in August 2013, however, it failed to trigger the necessary declarations of war against Syria by the UK and US governments.

A study by an MIT University professor [12] demonstrated how the event was staged, most likely by US-backed ‘rebels’ embedded there. Since that time, a number of other academics and journalists have exposed the East Ghouta attack as a staged provocation.

Despite repeated failed attempts to pin the chemical weapons war crime on the Syrian government, the western mainstream media continued to rehash and recycle the same ‘WMD’ charges against the Syrian government, as part of a sustained public relations and slanted disinformation campaign which seems to have been spearheaded by the New York Times and others.

The lies didn’t end there. In June 2014, the great terror specter known as Islamic State (ISIS) suddenly appeared in the headlines. A number of questionable videos were permanently fixed on to western media screens, and it wasn’t long before the US had the excuse it needed to deploy its air forces over Syria, presumably to “degrade and destroy ISIS.” After nearly 18 months of bombing by the newly expanded US ‘Coalition’, ISIS was hardly dented, leaving many to suspect that ISIS might very well be a dangerous Trojan horse designed and supported by NATO and Gulf GCC member states. This turned out to be true by all accounts, especially when counting NATO member Turkey’s key role [13] in enabling the movement of arms, supplies and fighters over its border with Syria.

EDITORS NOTE: It has since been confirmed that the US, through the Department of Defense, has organized several tons of weapons used by al Qaeda and ISIS fighters, transported via diplomatic flights landing at Incirlik Air Base in Turkey, and via Saudi Arabia. See the full report here.

Regarding Syria, there were many other lies before and afterwards – too many to mention in fact, but we’ll share just one more. Later in 2016, came the next lie, the supposed, “Siege of Aleppo.” John Kerry and other interventionist cheerleaders were all claiming, “We must act now, to save the innocent residents of Aleppo from a humanitarian disaster.” CNN and others parroted a misleading report issued by Rupert Colville, spokesperson for the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, who tried to mischaracterize the liberation of terrorist-occupied East Aleppo as a “meltdown of humanity.” What they, and every mainstream media outlet conveniently failed to mention was that the overwhelming majority of Aleppo residents, 1.5 million of them, were residing in government-protected West Aleppo. East Aleppo had been taken over by western and gulf-backed terrorist ‘rebels’ in 2012 and later dominated by al Qaeda in Syria aka Al Nusra Front, and many of East Aleppo’s remaining 180,000 residents were being held against their will by the occupying terrorists. Indeed, the East side had been under attack by Syrian and Russian forces – attempting to liberate that part of the city. Spun by western media and political leaders, they attempted to get western voters to back saving their “moderate rebels” (who in actuality are western-backed Islamist militants) with another No Fly Zone over northern Syria, and ultimately regime change. Sound familiar?

Dedicated alternative media hounds will still dig relentlessly for the truth, but it’s clear that the issue of Syria has caused some serious fractures. This is partly because of the overwhelming complexity of the conflict, still characterized by the mainstream as a ‘civil war.’ The culpability of mainstream media outlets turned anti-Syria regime change propaganda mills should be obvious by now, with outlets like CNN, NBC, BBC, The New York Times and the Washington Post – all producing around the clock misleading reports from ‘anti-regime activists’ embedded exclusively in terrorist-held areas in Syria. The worst of these has to be the exploitation in western media of the 7 year-old Bana Alabed aka ‘Bana of Aleppo‘ whose Twitter account rose to prominence in September 2016.

Such reports and imagery were designed to generate sympathy towards ‘rebel’ (terrorist) factions and were being supplied to the western media by two US and NATO state funded ‘opposition’ media outlets, the Aleppo Media Centre and the White Helmets.

Another deceptive factor is the emerging trend of pseudo ‘alternative media outlets’ designed to appear as alternatives to the mainstream when in fact they are as establishment as the leading media conglomerate brands. Many of these outlets were disseminating reports furthering the media mythos of the ‘moderate rebel’ in Syria, thus reinforcing the US State Department’s deceptive foreign policy narrative for Syria. The drive for advertising clicks also rewards shallow and sound bite-based ‘news’ coverage, rather than focused, in-depth investigative reporting. Add to this, the proliferation of well-financed pseudo ‘alternative’ media outlets like the Daily Beast (under the umbrella of billionaire and FOX founder Barry Diller), Buzzfeed News (funded by NBC Universal), Vice News (seed funded by FOX), Democracy Now! (funded by the Ford Foundation), The Intercept (funded by billionaire Pierre Omidyar), Alternet (foundation-funded, with past funding by George Soros’s Open Society) – and one can better understand how the narrative was muddled early on with Syria – one of the most important international stories of our generation.

In a belated, desperate attempt to validate five years of media distortions and lies, NATO has recently released a report through its unofficial propaganda arm, The Atlantic Council, dramatically entitled, “Breaking Aleppo“ which was immediately laundered through mainstream outlets like The New York Times, despite the fact that NATO’s report contains a number of unfounded claims and factual errors.

In terms of fake news and disinformation, the Syrian Conflict set a new benchmark for western war propaganda.

‘The Russian Hack’

In the heat of the US 2016 Presidential Election, a near repeat of the Iraq WMD scam unfolded, only this time the Obama government and the same “intelligence community” generated an official conspiracy theory that Russia had somehow hacked into the US election systems, the Democratic National Committee (DNC), and Clinton campaign manager John Podesta’s emails. Backed by the Obama White House, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and the mainstream media pressed ahead on blaming Russia – not just for DNC leaks, but also for hacking into US election systems in Arizona [14] – despite the fact that there was no evidence of either other than innuendo and pure speculation. The media’s coverage on this issue was deceptive from the onset.

In a leading news release, entitled, Russian hackers targeted Arizona election system,” [15] we can see how after the cock-sure headline, the first paragraph would always sound definitive:

“Hackers targeted voter registration systems in Illinois and Arizona, and the FBI alerted Arizona officials in June that Russians were behind the assault on the election system in that state.”

Later in the article, you can see the media walking back the charge to cover themselves for future inquiry:

“It turned out that the hackers had not compromised the state system or even any county system. They had, however, stolen the username and password of a single election official in Gila County.”

Here we can see how the media and the ruling party employed emotive headlines to sell an idea, even though there was nothing in the story at all.

A probable answer to this puzzle was revealed by a local broadcast affiliate WSBTV in Atlanta, who confirmed:

“The Georgia Secretary of State’s office now confirms 10 different cyberattacks on its network all trace back to U.S. Department of Homeland Security IP addresses.”

Not surprisingly, the Georgia report received no traction in the national press.

Is it possible that persons inside the US government were involved in hacking, or probing US election systems? It’s a question worth asking: if domestic federal agencies are hacking US systems, then are our electronic voting systems really secure? Again, you would think that the national media would be keen to follow-up on this promising lead, but instead they ignored it, and opted instead to pursue the elaborate Russian conspiracy theory-plot.

The Russian Hack story was then expanded by the White House and the Democratic Party to claim that Russia actually intervened in the Presidential election on behalf of Donald Trump, thus helping him defeat the odds-on favorite Hillary Clinton. To date, no actual evidence has been produced by the US government to back-up this incredible conspiracy theory. Interestingly, just as in 2003 with Iraq, the establishment enlisted the help of some of the same media operatives to advance the mainstream’s fake news story. This story, which is likely false, has unnecessarily set back US-Russian relations 30 years to the Cold War era.

In December 2016, a month after the election, former New York Times ‘journalist’ of WMD fame, Judith Miller (now with FOX News), suddenly appeared on the scene [16] to give support to the White House and CIA’s shaky ‘Russian Hack’ narrative. “As Sen. McCain said, it’s pretty clear that the Russians did something,” said Miller. “And it’s pretty clear — according to 17 U.S intelligence agencies — what they did helped Donald Trump.” Another case of MSM déjà vu?

Germany’s ‘ISIS Crisis’

One event on its own does not constitute a crisis, but if the government-media complex is able to line-up a progression, or gestalt sequence of events, then consensus can be manufactured on what constitutes a “state of emergency.”

The year 2016 was one of the most intense years in terms of terrorism stories in Europe, featuring seemingly endless reports of ‘ISIS-inspired’ attacks and incidents in countries like France and Germany. Both far-right and far-left political factions have been feeding off of the instability in Europe, and in almost every case, additional new ‘Police State’ measures have followed each and every ‘terrorist’ incident. Therefor, it’s worth investigating beyond the ‘security headlines’ to find out what actually happened in each of these supposed ‘ISIS-inspired’ incidents.

This appears to be what happened in Germany, as a year-long ‘ISIS crisis’ unfolded in the media – adding to the backdrop for the existing political drama of the Migrant Crisis. It started off in February 2016, after it was reported that a 15-year-old girl identified as ‘Safia S’, had stabbed a policeman in the neck with a kitchen knife during a routine check at Hanover train station, in what German prosecutors claimed was an ‘ISIS-inspired’ attack. Later in May, another incident was initially dubbed by the media as a “ISIS knife attack” because someone claimed that the attacker shouted “Allahu Akbar” (God is great) as he raged aboard a commuter train, although it was later revealed that the event was not terror related at all [17], but rather the work of an unemployed, mentally disturbed drug addict. Nonetheless, the ‘ISIS’ talking point was set into motion, with the emotive media meme already injected into the public consciousness.

A month later came the infamous “ISIS Axe Murder” aboard another German commuter train, injuring 20 people. In this incident, a 17 year-old Afghanistan refugee and asylum seeker living in foster care is alleged to have gone on a violent ‘jihadi’ rampage[18]. This event was initially labeled as an “ISIS” event solely on the basis that (once again) the attacker shouted the now standard domestic terror battle cry, “Allahu Akbar” as he stabbed people. We’ll never know the full story as he was promptly shot dead by police. Afterwards, and rather conveniently, the ‘ISIS media department’ known as “AMAQ” had apparently posted an online declaration that the axe murdering teen was representing their organization and its aims [19]. As is normally the case now, the western media do not vet or question statements made online by ISIS -instead the western media repeat them verbatim. The potential for manipulation here should be obvious, with ISIS assigning credit to anyone or any event they chose – which is then instantly validated by the western media.

Soon after the train incident, came the Munich ‘McDonalds’ Shooter – where 18 year-old Ali David Sonboly is said to have killed 9 people in broad daylight. Initially, the media tried to paint this also as a ‘jihadi’ and ‘immigrant’ event, only to find out later that the alleged shooter (who shot himself after his alleged shooting spree) was actually a German born and raised, and was part Iranian (not Sunni, or Arab) – and had absolutely no ‘Islamist’ ties [20]. The media initially tried to claim that he also shouted “Allahu Akbar” – while at the same time claiming he shouted anti-immigrant slogans like “f***ing foreigners!” Coincidentally, this Munich incident took place on the five-year anniversary of another unlikely GLADIO-style event, that of Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik who allegedly shot and killed 77 people as well as set-off a car bomb in Oslo in 2011. Interestingly, Breivik was said to be a right-wing Christian Zionist, and member of a Masonic Lodge, giving the story a stark GLADIO tone.

Days later, a 27 year old Syrian refugee and asylum seeker in Germany was said to have carried out a bizarre “suicide bomb attack” in the German town of Ansbach [21], by allegedly killing himself and injured 12 others after setting off an explosive backpack outside a music festival in that city. Authorities speculated that the 27-year-old’s motive was that he had been denied asylum a year ago, although it was also reported that he was on the mental health authority’s radar after having already established a clear history of making attempts on his own life. Add to this Bavarian Police spokesman Michael Schrotberger who claimed, “If there is an Islamist link or not is purely speculation at this point.” In Germany, rejection of such applications is really the norm rather than the exception. According to Germany’s 2014 statistics, over half of the country’s 80,000 political asylum seekers had their applications rejected.[22] Regardless of the clear lack of any conclusive evidence connecting the suspect to ISIS, a new mainstream media ‘migrant crisis’ talking point was quickly set into motion, as Bavarian interior minister, Joachim Herrmann declared, “It’s terrible… that someone who came into our country to seek shelter has now committed such a heinous act and injured a large number of people who are at home here, some seriously.” Case closed – it had to be ISIS.

The end result of these and the other supposed ‘ISIS-inspired’ events which followed in 2016, has been massive public outrage and fear in Europe, with the public backing the continual German government support of US-NATO state intervention in Syria, but also a u-turn by German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s previous stance on the issue of immigration. This month, Merkel announced plans to begin deporting migrants from Germany. On its surface, this appears like a 180 degree reversal of her government’s ‘open door’ refugee policy.

These are but a few examples demonstrating what can, and will go wrong when the press blindly accepts the government narrative as gospel (and accepts ISIS-issued media memos), allowing the mainstream media to push out and validate government-approved fake news to an unsuspecting public.

This practice of collusion between the government and corporate media has enabled most major global conflicts which the US and its allies have participated in over the last century or more.

If there’s one thing we can learn from history it’s that absolute power corrupts absolutely. With their monopoly over print and the airwaves, the government-media complex has been able to control what the public believes they know about any given conflict.

Now that their monopoly is broken, we have a chance to break the continuous cycle of planned geopolitical strife and endless warfare – so long as we can keep the truth flowing.

Q: If you cannot trust the mainstream media, then who can you trust?
A: Become your own researcher.

Patrick Henningsen will be speaking at the Media on Trial event in London on Thursday Oct 19, 2017. For tickets and information, visit Eventbright.

Author Patrick Henningsen is an international journalist and current affairs analyst, and executive editor of 21st Century Wire, as well as the host the SUNDAY WIRE radio show on Alternate Current Radio, and also host of Patrick Henningsen LIVE on Independent Talk 1100 KFNX AM in Phoenix.

Watch the video: ΑΦΓΑΝΟΣ ΣΕ ΣΟΥΗΔΟ θα σας σφάξουμε όλους (January 2022).