“The Zarqawi PSYOP program is the most successful information
campaign to date.” — Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt, the U.S. military’s
There can be no doubt that the ‘death’ of ‘Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’
is part of a carefully planned disinformation campaign designed to divert attention
away from the slaughter of Haditha (and elsewhere), a campaign that the corporate
and state media have gleefully participated in. Indeed, 'al-Zarqawi' is itself
a psy-ops programme in its own right, replete with faked letters of authenticity,
fed to the press by the US military, which calls into question the source of
the Internet videos of beheadings, and who is behind the wave of kidnappings
and murders currently sweeping Iraq.
The BBC in particular have had a field day with ‘al-Zarqawi’ calling
him amongst other choice phrases, a “psychopath” and predictably,
describing those who question the role (let alone the existence) of ‘al-Zarqawi’
as “conspiracists” (BBC Radio 4, AM News 9/6/06).
So too with Channel 4 ‘News’. Jon Snow’s email ‘news’-letter
(8/6/06) had this to say
The bombing and killing of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the point man for al-Qaeda
in Iraq, is a dramatic and important moment.
Important? For whom exactly? In what way can the death of the alleged ‘al-Zarqawi’
be an important moment for the illegal occupation of Iraq? The implication is
that with ‘al-Zarqawi’ out of the way, the resistance to the occupation
will, by some process known only to Jon Snow, melt away. Point man? This kind
of nonsense is not even worthy of comment.
He’s been responsible for the beheading and slaughter of untold numbers
of people. He was certainly a Godfather of the Sunni insurgency and specifically
of targeted sectarian killings.
Alleged beheading? Godfather? Please Mr. Snow, who writes your abyssmal, infantile
copy? The only assertion of ‘al-Zarqawi’s involvement in beheadings
were the deaths of David Berg and Ken Bigley about which there are more questions
than answers. Neither beheadings have been proved to be the work of ‘al-Zarqawi’.
If they have Mr Snow, where is your proof? A video tape of masked individuals?
Back in May 2004, I wrote a piece on the Berg assassination (’Psy-Ops?’,
Included were the following references,
A CNN story tells us that,
“The voice on the tape could not be verified as that of al-Zarqawi.
CNN staffers familiar with al-Zarqawi’s voice said the voice on the
tape did not sound like him.”
And according to MSNBC,
Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was killed in the Sulaimaniyah mountains of northern
Iraq “during the American bombing there,” according to a statement
circulated in Fallujah this week and signed by the “Leadership of the
Allahu Akbar Mujahedeen.” www.msnbc.msn.com/id/4446084/
In the piece I also referred to the fact that the Website that the Berg video
appeared on had a London address. An address I found in a couple of minutes
Domains: al-ansar.net, al-ansar.biz, ansar.ws_
Host: Jazzira Net
Hail St.47, Umloj, Tabuk, Saudi Arabia
Whois summary for al-ansar.net/ansar.ws:
R., rachid email@example.com
184 High Holborn
London, London WC1V 7AP
2078312310 (this is a fax/data line, I phoned it)
To my knowledge this information, freely available on the Internet was never
pursued by anybody, neither the press nor the intelligence agencies pointing
to the fact that neither the government nor the press were at all interested
in establishing the facts surrounding the death of Berg nor where the video
really came from.
Snow’s email continued,
Zarqawi was not only the architect of the violent insurgency against the
Americans and the murderous assault on other foreign troops, but from an early
stage he has run a parallel bloody sectarian conflict which is now disfiguring
the ‘new Iraq’, with the attacks on Shias and their holy sites.
It just gets more outrageous with every paragraph. So now ‘al-Zarqawi’
is the architect of the resistance? Snow, get a life man. But worst is Snow’s
assertion that ‘al-Zarqawi’ “disfigur[ed] the ‘new Iraq’”!
Blasting the country back into the Stone Age doesn’t qualify as disfigurement
according to Snow.
And make no mistake, al-Zarqawi’s death provides more than breathing
space for the Americans.
From what, criticism? The resistance continues unabated with or without the
‘help’ of ‘al-Zarqawi’.
Amazing, totally unsubstantiated and unmitigated garbage but this is typical
of the kind of stuff the corporate media is shovelling out to an uninformed
public. There is not a shred of real, hard evidence to support anything Snow
has to say about ‘al-Zarqawi’. You might call it a ‘Snow job’.
The Independent too went OTT over ‘al-Zarqawi’ with a front-page
spread that would do credit to the red-tops with its hysterical coverage of
the death of the alleged ‘al-Zarqawi’ describing his life as “drenched
in blood”. The story bylined to Patrick Cockburn perpetuates the mythology
with its talk of a
“macabre innovation, [whereby] he staged beheadings of Western hostages
such as Ken Bigley which were then uploaded to the Internet to ensure the
Once again, there is not a single shred of evidence to support the claim that
‘al-Zarqawi’ was the ‘mastermind’ behind the beheadings.
Cockburn’s assertion is also factually untrue as the actual beheadings
were never shown on the Internet or anywhere else for that matter. All is smoke
and mirrors. Moreover, it was coverage by the Independent and others that assured
the maximum publicity for ‘al-Zarqawi’.
And indeed, on page 2 just to confuse the reader, we read that
“Zarqawi is believed to have beheaded two US hostages”
Note the use of the word “believed” as opposed to the front page
definative statement. In fact, the only references to the link between the beheadings
and ‘al-Zarqawi’ are those sown by the US government, which as we
will see are part of a carefully engineered psy-ops operation extending back
as far as 2002. There are in fact no independent sources to verify a single
allegation by the US concerning the role of ‘al-Zarqawi’ in anything
at all, aside from the original involvement of al-Zarqawi in Ansar al-Ansam
in northern Iraq, but even this has been called into question by other members
of the defunct Ansar al-Ansam.
Let’s take a closer look at ‘Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’. He made
his first public appearance in Colin Powell’s infamous disinformation
presentation to the United Nations in early 2003, although his name had already
cropped up (dead) in a CIA briefing paper as the alleged leader of a splinter
group based in the Kurdish area of northern Iraq. Dead because according to
the CIA, the base was flattened by a US bombing raid in April 2003.
There is also the appearance al-Zarqawi himself, if indeed it is the ‘real’
Zarqawi. First he lost a leg in Afghanistan, then some pretty sophisticated
surgery apparently restored it. Then even more remarkably, he rose from the
dead as acccording to a story dated 4 March 2004, Zarqawi was killed when the
US bombed the HQ of the Ansar al-Ansam where Zarqawi was allegedly hiding out,
in the north of Iraq in April 2003. But even this is questionable,
“None of the former Ansar members remembers ever seeing or even hearing
that Jordan-born Abu Musab Zarqawi was in Sargat, or anywhere else in the
small Ansar enclave. Washington accused Mr. Zarqawi – whose leg was
amputated in a Baghdad clinic in 2002 – of being Iraq’s prewar
link with terrorism.” Christian Science Monitor October 16, 2003, www.csmonitor.com/2003/1016/p12s01-woiq.html
I wrote following up in a story dated 24 October, 2004 (’Psycho-Wars’,
“Last winter Zarqawi was supposedly working with explosives and deadly
toxins at a terror camp in northeast Iraq. US Secretary of State Colin Powell
warned the United Nations Security Council of the dangers he posed in a presentation
in February last year. Powell claimed that Zarqawi and Ansar al-Islam were
Saddam’s link to al-Qaeda. The “evidence” behind Powell’s
assertions proved as empty as that on WMDs.” Asia Times, February 18,
But most damning of all is a story that was published on the Editor & Publisher
Website detailing the role of ‘al-Zarqawi’ as part of a sophisticated
US psy-ops disinformation campaign. The piece titled ‘A U.S. ‘Propaganda’
Program, al-Zarqawi, and ‘The New York Times’ By Greg Mitchell reveals
Midway through Thomas Ricks’ Washington Post scoop on Monday detailing
a U.S. military “propaganda program” aimed at convincing Iraqis
that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has a very prominent role in directing violence
in that country, there is one specific tip on how the plan may have also targeted
American reporters and audiences.
Ricks found that one “selective leak”—about a recently
discovered letter written by Zarqawi—was handed by the military to Dexter
Filkins, the longtime New York Times reporter in Baghdad. Filkins’s
resulting article, about the Zarqawi letter boasting of foreigners’
role in suicide attacks in Iraq, ran on the front page of the Times on Feb.
“Leaks to reporters from U.S. officials in Iraq are common, but official
evidence of a propaganda operation using an American reporter is rare,”
Ricks observed. He quoted Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt, the U.S. military’s
chief spokesman when the propaganda campaign began in 2004: “We trusted
Dexter to write an accurate story, and we gave him a good scoop … [but
Filkins] told Ricks he was skeptical about the document’s authenticity
then, and remains so now.
The story continues
Rod Nordland, [Newsweek’s] Baghdad bureau chief, on March 6 wrote:
“The letter so neatly and comprehensively lays out a blueprint for fomenting
strife with the Shia, and later the Kurds, that it’s a little hard to
believe in it unreservedly. It came originally from Kurdish sources who have
a long history of disinformation and dissimulation. It was an electronic document
on a CD-ROM, so there’s no way to authenticate signature or handwriting,
aside from the testimony of those captured with it, about which the authorities
have not released much information.” www.editorandpublisher.com/eandp/news/
The kicker however is the final sentence, where Ricks reveals an internal briefing,
authored by the U.S. military headquarters in Iraq, which revealed that Kimmitt
had concluded that, “The Zarqawi PSYOP program is the most successful
information campaign to date.” [my emph. WB]
Of course you’ll search high and low for any references to any of this
information either in the Independent, the BBC or on Channel 4. The hype surrounding
the ‘death of al-Zarqawi’ reveals more than anything else, the desperate
failure of the USUK occupation to stem the rising tide of resistance to the
barbarism being carried out on the people of Iraq.
Zarqawi's real name: Lieutenant Kije
Here is a briefing slide prepared for Army General George W. Casey
Jr., the top U.S. commander in Iraq:
The slide appeared as an adjunct to the Washington Post's famous
article from April 10, which described the psyop campaign to create a Zarqawi
myth. Since that time, we have seen the emergence of a Zarqawi video of questioned
authenticity, in which the oft-"killed" terrorist was seen conducting
exercises in a landscape that resembled the American southwest.
Previously, I asked a question that remains unanswered: If, in fact, Zarqawi
conducted these maneuvers (which included the firing of anti-tank weaponry in
open desert beneath a clear sky) within the borders of Iraq, why didn't American
spy satellites catch sight of him immediately? Google Earth has spotted firefights
on Baghdad streets. Surely, American overseers must scrutinize Iraq from the
sky carefully and routinely.
Shortly after this video hit the net, the American military released outtakes
which showed that Z handled his weapon in an amateurish fashion. Everyone was
so busy giggling that few thought to ask questions about the source of this
convenient footage. Supposedly, American soldiers found it during a raid. Which
raid? Why not humor us with a few details?
On second thought, don't bother. Any details provided by officaldom would never
convince, since so many recent events have justified cynicism. The Casey slideshow
confirmed what many had already suspected: Zarqawi existed solely because he
fulfilled a propaganda function. Once that fact became known, it was necessary
to bury the revelation. First came the video. When that ploy failed, Zarqawi
lost his value as bogeyman and thus had to die.
Maybe we should put quotation marks around the word “die.”
Maybe those gruesome images of his corpse were photoshopped. Maybe they were
real. Who can say? The only thing we can know for sure is that the scarecrow
no longer performed its intended function and was thus subject to removal.
If you know classical music, you've probably heard Prokofiev's "Lieutenant
Kije" suite, which originated as the score for a now-lost Russian film
based on an old short story. (The same story inspired an early episode of MASH.)
The Lieutenant was the fictional creation of a group of pankster soldiers who
wanted to give their unit an heroic and inspiring figure. When the Tsar asked
to meet this famed warrior, his "death" became mandatory.
The tale of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is simply the latest variant of the Lieutenant