When All Else Fails

How propaganda is disseminated: WikiLeaks Edition

by Glenn Greenwald, Salon

This is how the U.S. government and American media jointly disseminate propaganda: in the immediate wake of some newsworthy War on Terror event, U.S. Government officials (usually anonymous) make wild and reckless — though unverifiable — claims. The U.S. media mindlessly trumpets them around the world without question or challenge. Those claims become consecrated as widely accepted fact. And then weeks, months or years later, those claims get quietly exposed as being utter falsehoods, by which point it does not matter, because the goal is already well-achieved: the falsehoods are ingrained as accepted truth.

I’ve documented how this process works in the context of American air attacks (it’s immediately celebrated that we Killed the Evil Targeted Terrorist Leader [who invariably turns out to be alive and then allegedly killed again in the next air strike], while the dead are always, by definition, “militants”); with covered-up American war crimes, with the Jessica Lynch and Pat Tillman frauds — the same process was alsoevident with the Israeli attack on the flotilla — and now we find a quite vivid illustration of this deceitful process in the context of WikiLeaks’ release of Afghanistan war documents:

CNN, July 29, 2010:

Top military official: WikiLeaks founder may have ‘blood’ on his hands

The top U.S. military officer said Thursday that Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks, was risking lives to make a political point by publishing thousands of military reports from Afghanistan.

“Mr. Assange can say whatever he likes about the greater good he thinks he and his source are doing, but the truth is they might already have on their hands the blood of some young soldier or that of an Afghan family,” Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, said at a news conference at the Pentagon. . . .

In equally stern comments and at the same session, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said the massive leak will have significant impact on troops and allies, giving away techniques and procedures.

“The battlefield consequences of the release of these documents are potentially severe and dangerous for our troops, our allies and Afghan partners, and may well damage our relationships and reputation in that key part of the world,” Gates said. “Intelligence sources and methods, as well as military tactics, techniques and procedures will become known to our adversaries.”

The Guardian, July 26, 2010:

The White House today condemned whistleblower WikiLeaks,accusing the website of putting the lives of US, UK and coalition troops in danger and threatening America’s national security of the US after it posted more than 90,000 leaked US military documents about the war in Afghanistan.

Sen. Carl Levin, CNN, August 1, 2010:

CANDY CROWLEY: I want to turn you to WikiLeaks, which also comes under your bailiwick to a certain extent. Some 90,000 documents with secret information or top secret information. Can you quantify the damage?

Read the rest at this link.

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