Hartmann: Hyping Terror For Fun, Profit – And Power


Richard Moore

Friends - Happy new year!

Lest the world seem to depressing... keep in mind that you're alive and can 
have such thoughts.

Anger is healthier than depression, and hope is more powerful than despair.

best regards,

From: JFadiman
Date: Sun, 2 Jan 2005 18:25:31 EST
Subject: Fwd: .The Power of Nightmares
To: •••@••.•••

From: "Freddie Long" 
Subject: ....more on The Power of Nightmares.  
                   This by the redoubtable Thom Hartmann
Date: Sun, 2 Jan 2005 13:54:12 -0800


Hyping Terror For Fun, Profit - And Power
by Thom Hartmann

What if there really was no need for much - or even most - of
the Cold War? What if, in fact, the Cold War had been kept
alive for two decades based on phony WMD threats?

What if, similarly, the War On Terror was largely a scam, and
the administration was hyping it to seem larger-than-life?
What if our "enemy" represented a real but relatively small
threat posed by rogue and criminal groups well outside the
mainstream of Islam? What if that hype was done largely to
enhance the power, electability, and stature of George W. Bush
and Tony Blair?

And what if the world was to discover the most shocking
dimensions of these twin deceits - that the same men
promulgated them in the 1970s and today?

It happened.

The myth-shattering event took place in England the first
three weeks of October, when the BBC aired a three-hour
documentary written and produced by Adam Curtis, titled
<http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/3755686.stm> The Power
of Nightmares." If the emails and phone calls many of us in
the US received from friends in the UK - and debate in the
pages of publications like
html>The Guardian are any indicator, this was a seismic event,
one that may have even provoked a hasty meeting between Blair
and Bush a few weeks later.

According to this carefully researched and well-vetted BBC
documentary, Richard Nixon, following in the steps of his
mentor and former boss Dwight D. Eisenhower, believed it was
possible to end the Cold War and eliminate fear from the
national psyche. The nation need no longer be afraid of
communism or the Soviet Union. Nixon worked out a truce with
the Soviets, meeting their demands for safety as well as the
US needs for security, and then announced to Americans that
they need no longer be afraid.

In 1972, President Richard Nixon returned from the Soviet
Union with a treaty worked out by Secretary of State Henry
Kissinger, the beginning of a process Kissinger called
"détente." On June 1, 1972, Nixon gave a speech in which he
said, "Last Friday, in Moscow, we witnessed the beginning of
the end of that era which began in 1945. With this step, we
have enhanced the security of both nations. We have begun to
reduce the level of fear, by reducing the causes of fear-for
our two peoples, and for all peoples in the world."

But Nixon left amid scandal and Ford came in, and Ford's
Secretary of Defense (Donald Rumsfeld) and Chief of Staff
(Dick Cheney) believed it was intolerable that Americans might
no longer be bound by fear. Without fear, how could Americans
be manipulated?

Rumsfeld and Cheney began a concerted effort - first secretly
and then openly - to undermine Nixon's treaty for peace and to
rebuild the state of fear and, thus, reinstate the Cold War.

And these two men - 1974 Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and
Ford Chief of Staff Dick Cheney - did this by claiming that
the Soviets had secret weapons of mass destruction that the
president didn't know about, that the CIA didn't know about,
that nobody but them knew about. And, they said, because of
those weapons, the US must redirect billions of dollars away
from domestic programs and instead give the money to defense
contractors for whom these two men would one day work.

"The Soviet Union has been busy," Defense Secretary Rumsfeld
explained to America in 1976. "They've been busy in terms of
their level of effort; they've been busy in terms of the
actual weapons they 've been producing; they've been busy in
terms of expanding production rates; they've been busy in
terms of expanding their institutional capability to produce
additional weapons at additional rates; they've been busy in
terms of expanding their capability to increasingly improve
the sophistication of those weapons. Year after year after
year, they've been demonstrating that they have steadiness of
purpose. They're purposeful about what they're doing."

The CIA strongly disagreed, calling Rumsfeld's position a
"complete fiction" and pointing out that the Soviet Union was
disintegrating from within, could barely afford to feed their
own people, and would collapse within a decade or two if
simply left alone.

But Rumsfeld and Cheney wanted Americans to believe there was
something nefarious going on, something we should be very
afraid of. To this end, they convinced President Ford to
appoint a commission including their old friend Paul Wolfowitz
to prove that the Soviets were up to no good.

According to Curtis' BBC documentary, Wolfowitz's group, known
as "Team B," came to the conclusion that the Soviets had
developed several terrifying new weapons of mass destruction,
featuring a nuclear-armed submarine fleet that used a sonar
system that didn't depend on sound and was, thus, undetectable
with our current technology.

The BBC's documentarians asked Dr. Anne Cahn of the U.S. Arms
Control and Disarmament Agency during that time, her thoughts
on Rumsfeld's, Cheney's, and Wolfowitz's 1976 story of the
secret Soviet WMDs. Here's a clip from a transcript of that
BBC documentary:

" Dr ANNE CAHN, Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, 1977-80:
They couldn't say that the Soviets had acoustic means of
picking up American submarines, because they couldn't find it.
So they said, well maybe they have a non-acoustic means of
making our submarine fleet vulnerable. But there was no
evidence that they had a non-acoustic system. They're saying,
'we can't find evidence that they're doing it the way that
everyone thinks they're doing it, so they must be doing it a
different way. We don't know what that different way is, but
they must be doing it.'

"INTERVIEWER (off-camera): Even though there was no evidence.

"CAHN: Even though there was no evidence.

"INTERVIEWER: So they're saying there, that the fact that the
weapon doesn't exist.

"CAHN: Doesn't mean that it doesn't exist. It just means that
we haven't found it."

The moderator of the BBC documentary then notes:

" What Team B accused the CIA of missing was a hidden and
sinister reality in the Soviet Union. Not only were there many
secret weapons the CIA hadn't found, but they were wrong about
many of those they could observe, such as the Soviet air
defenses. The CIA were convinced that these were in a state of
collapse, reflecting the growing economic chaos in the Soviet
Union. Team B said that this was actually a cunning deception
by the Soviet régime. The air-defense system worked perfectly.
But the only evidence they produced to prove this was the
official Soviet training manual, which proudly asserted that
their air-defense system was fully integrated and functioned
flawlessly. The CIA accused Team B of moving into a fantasy

Nonetheless, as Melvin Goodman, head of the CIA's Office of
Soviet Affairs, 1976-87, noted in the BBC documentary,

" Rumsfeld won that very intense, intense political battle
that was waged in Washington in 1975 and 1976. Now, as part of
that battle, Rumsfeld and others, people such as Paul
Wolfowitz, wanted to get into the CIA. And their mission was
to create a much more severe view of the Soviet Union, Soviet
intentions, Soviet views about fighting and winning a nuclear

Although Wolfowitz and Rumsfeld's assertions of powerful new
Soviet WMDs were unproven - they said the lack of proof proved
that undetectable weapons existed - they nonetheless used
their charges to push for dramatic escalations in military
spending to selected defense contractors, a process that
continued through the Reagan administration.

But, trillions of dollars and years later, it was proven that
they had been wrong all along, and the CIA had been right.
Rumsfeld, Cheney, and Wolfowitz lied to America in the 1970s
about Soviet WMDs.

Not only do we now know that the Soviets didn't have any new
and impressive WMDs, but we also now know that they were, in
fact, decaying from within, ripe for collapse any time,
regardless of what the US did - just as the CIA (and anybody
who visited Soviet states - as I had - during that time could
easily predict). The Soviet economic and political system
wasn't working, and their military was disintegrating.

As arms-control expert Cahn noted in the documentary of those
1970s claims by Wolfowitz, Cheney, and Rumsfeld:

"I would say that all of it was fantasy. I mean, they looked
at radars out in Krasnoyarsk and said, 'This is a laser beam
weapon,' when in fact it was nothing of the sort. ... And if
you go through most of Team B's specific allegations about
weapons systems, and you just examine them one by one, they
were all wrong."

"INTERVIEWER: All of them?

"CAHN: All of them.

"INTERVIEWER: Nothing true?

"CAHN: I don't believe anything in [Wolfowitz's 1977] Team B
was really true."

But the neocons said it was true, and organized a group -
<http://www.fightingterror.org/>The Committee on the Present
Danger - to promote their worldview. The Committee produced
documentaries, publications, and provided guests for national
talk shows and news reports. They worked hard to whip up fear
and encourage increases in defense spending, particularly for
sophisticated weapons systems offered by the defense
contractors for whom neocons would later become lobbyists.

And they succeeded in recreating an atmosphere of fear in the
United States, and making themselves and their defense
contractor friends richer than most of the kingdoms of the

The Cold War was good for business, and good for the political
power of its advocates, from Rumsfeld to Reagan.

Similarly, according to this documentary, the War On Terror is
the same sort of scam, run for many of the same reasons, by
the same people. And by hyping it - and then invading Iraq -
we may well be bringing into reality terrors and forces that
previously existed only on the margins and with very little
power to harm us.

Curtis' documentary suggests that the War On Terror is just as
much a fiction as were the super-WMDs this same group of
neocons said the Soviets had in the 70s. He suggests we've
done more to create terror than to fight it. That the risk was
really quite minimal (at least until we invaded Iraq), and the
terrorists are - like most terrorist groups - simply people on
the fringes, rather easily dispatched by their own people. He
even points out that Al Qaeda itself was a brand we invented,
later adopted by bin Laden because we'd put so many millions
into creating worldwide name recognition for it.

Watching "The Terror of Nightmares" is like taking the Red
Pill in the movie The Matrix.

It's the story of idealism gone wrong, of ideologies promoted
in the US by Leo Strauss and his followers (principally
Wolfowitz, Feith, and Pearle), and in the Muslim world by bin
Laden's mentor, Ayman Zawahiri. Both sought to create a
utopian world through world domination; both believe that the
ends justify the means; both are convinced that "the people"
must be frightened into embracing religion and nationalism for
the greater good of morality and a stable state. Each needs
the other in order to hold power.

Whatever your plans are for tonight or tomorrow, clip three
hours out of them and take the Red Pill. Get a pair of
headphones (the audio is faint), plug them into your computer,
and visit an unofficial archive of the Curtis' BBC documentary
at the Information Clearing House
website. (The first hour of the program, in a more viewable
format, is also available

For those who prefer to read things online, an unofficial but
complete transcript is on this Belgian

But be forewarned: You'll never see political reality - and
certainly never hear the words of the Bush or Blair
administrations - the same again.

Thom Hartmann (thom at thomhartmann.com) is a Project Censored 
Award-winning best-selling author and host of a nationally syndicated 
daily progressive talk show. 

His most recent books are 

"The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight," 

"Unequal Protection," 

"We The People," 

"The Edison Gene, and 

"What Would Jefferson Do?."


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Richard Moore (rkm)
Wexford, Ireland

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