Fabricating an Enemy. “The Threat of Al Qaeda” as a Justification to Wage War
EDITOR'S CHOICE | 28.05.2015

Fabricating an Enemy. “The Threat of Al Qaeda” as a Justification to Wage War

This article was first published in January 2003, two months prior to the launching of the war on Iraq. It was subsequently included in my book entitled America’s “War on Terrorism”, Global Research, Montreal, 2005.

Since the publication of this article, the instruments of propaganda have gained in impetus and sophistication. The global campaign against Muslims has continued unabated with a view to creating an atmosphere of fear and intimidation.

Suspected terrorists are arrested on trumped up charges.  These arrests of individuals of Middle Eastern origin are not motivated by security considerations. Their main function is to provide legitimacy to the “Global War on Terrorism” and the Homeland Security State.  

The ultimate objective is to justify a war of conquest. 

Terrorist attacks by Muslims against the Homeland are said to be imminent. Counter-terrorism is intended to protect the Western World. 

Much of the justification for waging this war without borders rests on the legitimacy of the US  administration’s anti-terrorist agenda.  The latter forms part of the propaganda campaign, which in turn is used to sway the US population into an unconditional acceptance of the war agenda.

Both the Bush and Obama administrations have covertly supported and financed international terrorism. They have used Al Qaeda as well as ISIS as their foot-soldiers, while also using the atrocities committed by the “Islamic terrorists” as a justification for intervening on humanitarian ground.

In Iraq, the Obama administration is supporting ISIS while at the same time waging a fake “war on terrorism” against ISIS. Without the support of media propaganda, the legitimacy of the “war on terrorism” would collapse like a deck of cards. 

The ISIS brigades are integrated by US-NATO sponsored special forces, often recruited by private mercenary companies on contract to the Pentagon. These special forces which integrate the terror brigades are in permanent liaison with their US-NATO counterparts.

Michel Chossudovsky, May 27  2015

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One of the main objectives of war propaganda is to «fabricate an enemy» . As anti-war sentiment grows and the political legitimacy the Bush Administration falters, doubts regarding the existence of this “outside enemy” must be dispelled.

As the date of the planned invasion of Iraq approaches, the Bush Administration and its indefectible British ally have multiplied the “warnings” of future Al Qaeda terrorist attacks. The enemy has to appear genuine: thousands of news stories and editorials linking Al Qaeda to the Baghdad government are planted in the news chain. Colin Powell underscored this relationship in his presentation to the Davos World Economic Forum in January. Iraq is casually presented in official statements and in the media as “a haven for and supplier of the terror network”:

“Evidence that is still tightly held is accumulating within the administration that it is not a matter of chance that terror groups in the al Qaeda universe have made their weapons of choice the poisons, gases and chemical devices that are signature arms of the Iraqi regime.”1

In this context, propaganda purports to drown the truth, and kill the evidence on how Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaeda was fabricated and transformed into “Enemy Number One”.

Meanwhile, “anti-terrorist operations” directed against Muslims, including arbitrary mass arrests have been stepped up. In the US, emergency measures are contemplated in the case of war. The corporate media is busy preparing public opinion. A «national emergency» is said to be justified because «America is under attack»:

« the U.S. and Western interests in the Western world have to be prepared for retaliatory attacks from sleeper cells the second we launch an attack in Iraq.» 2

Defence of the Homeland

Emergency procedures are already in place. The Secretary of Homeland Defence -whose mandate is to «safeguard the nation from terrorist attacks» – has already been granted the authority « to take control of a national emergency», implying the establishment of de facto military rule. In turn, the Northern Command would be put in charge of military operations in the US «war on terrorism » theatre.

The Smallpox Vaccination Program

In the context of these emergency measures, preparations for compulsory smallpox vaccination are already under way in response to a presumed threat of a biological weapons attack on US soil. The vaccination program – which has been the object of intense media propaganda– would be launched with the sole purpose of creating an atmosphere of panic among the population:

«A few infected individuals with a stack of plane tickets–or bus tickets, for that matter–could spread smallpox infection across the country, touching off a plague of large proportions …. It is not inconceivable that a North Korea or an Iraq could retain smallpox in a hidden lab and pass the deadly agent on to terrorists.»3

The hidden agenda is crystal clear. How best to discredit the anti-war movement and maintain the legitimacy of the State? Create conditions, which instill fear and hatred, present the rulers as “guardians of the peace”, committed to weeding out terrorism and preserving democracy. In the words of British Prime Minister Tony Blair, echoing almost verbatim the US propaganda dispatches:

“’I believe it is inevitable that they will try in some form or other,… ‘I think we can see evidence from the recent arrests that the terrorist network is here as it is around the rest of Europe, around the rest of the world… The most frightening thing about these people is the possible coming together of fanaticism and the technology capable of delivering mass destruction.’”4

Mass Arrests

The mass arrests of individuals of Middle Eastern origin since September 11 2001 on trumped up charges is not motivated by security considerations. Their main function is to provide “credibility” to the fear and propaganda campaign. Each arrest, amply publicised by the corporate media, repeated day after day “gives a face” to this invisible enemy. It also serves to drown the fact that Al Qaeda is a creature of the CIA. “Enemy Number One” is not an enemy but an instrument.)

In other words, the Propaganda campaign performs two important functions.

First it must ensure that the enemy is considered a real threat.

Second, it must distort the truth, –i.e. it must conceal “the relationship” between this “fabricated enemy” and its creators within the military-intelligence apparatus.

In other words, the nature and history of Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaeda and the Islamic brigades since the Soviet-Afghan war must be suppressed because if it trickles down to the broader public, the legitimacy of the so-called “war on terrorism” collapses like a deck of cards. And in the process, the legitimacy of the main political and military actors is threatened.

The “9/11 Foreknowledge” Scandal

On 16 May 2002, the New York tabloids revealed that “President Bush had been warned of possible high jacking before the terror attacks” and had failed to act.5

The disinformation campaign was visibly stalling in the face of mounting evidence of CIA-Osama links. For the first time since 9/11, the mainstream press had hinted to the possibility of a cover-up at the highest echelons of the US State apparatus.

FBI Agent Coleen Rowley, who blew the whistle on the FBI, played a key role in unleashing the crisis. Her controversial Memo to FBI Director Robert Mueller pointed to the existence of “deliberate roadblocks” on the investigation of the September 11 attacks:

“Minutes after the 9/11 attacks the SSA [David Frasca, Director of the Radical Fundamentalist unit in the FBI] said ‘this was probably all just a coincidence’ and we were to do nothing until we got their permission, because we might screw up something else going on elsewhere in the country” 6

In response to an impending political crisis, the fear and disinformation campaign went into overdrive. The news chain was all of a sudden inundated with reports and warnings of “future terrorist attacks”. A carefully worded statement (visibly intended to instill fear) by Vice President Dick Cheney contributed to setting the stage:

“I think that the prospects of a future attack on the U.S. are almost a certainty… It could happen tomorrow, it could happen next week, it could happen next year, but they will keep trying. And we have to be prepared.”7

What Cheney is really telling us is that our “intelligence asset”, which we created, is going to strike again. Now, if this “CIA creature” were planning new terrorist attacks, you would expect that the CIA would be first to know about it. In all likelihood, the CIA also controls the so-called ‘warnings’ emanating from CIA sources on “future terrorist attacks” in the US and around the World.

Propaganda’s Consistent Pattern

Upon careful examination of news reports on actual, “possible” or “future” terrorist attacks, the propaganda campaign exhibits a consistent pattern. Similar concepts appear simultaneously in hundreds of media reports:

  • they refer to “reliable sources“, a growing body of evidence –e.g. government or intelligence or FBI.
  • They invariably indicate that the terrorist groups involved have “ties to bin Laden” or Al Qaeda, or are “sympathetic to bin Laden”,
  • The reports often points to the possibility of terrorist attacks, “sooner or later” or “in the next two months“.
  • The reports often raise the issue of so-called “soft targets”, pointing to the likelihood of civilian casualties.
  • They indicate that future terrorist attacks could take place in a number of allied countries (including Britain, France, Germany) in which public opinion is strongly opposed to the US-led war on terrorism.
  • They confirm the need by the US and its allies to initiate “pre-emptive” actions directed against these various terrorist organizations and/or the foreign governments which harbour the terrorists.
  • They often point to the likelihood that these terrorist groups possess WMD including biological and chemical weapons (as well as nuclear weapons). The links to Iraq and “rogue states”(discussed in Part I) is also mentioned.
  • The warnings also include warnings regarding “attacks on US soil”, attacks against civilians in Western cities.
  • They point to efforts undertaken by the police authorities to apprehend the alleged terrorists.
  • The arrested individuals are in virtually all cases Muslims and/or of Middle Eastern origin.
  • The reports are also used to justify the Homeland Security legislation as well as the “ethnic profiling” and mass arrests of presumed terrorists.

This pattern of disinformation in the Western media applies the usual catch phrases and buzz words. (See press excerpts below. The relevant catch phrases are indicated in bold):

“Published reports, along with new information obtained from U.S. intelligence and military sources, point to a growing body of evidence that terrorists associated with and/or sympathetic to Osama bin Laden are planning a significant attack on U.S. soil.

Also targeted are allied countries that have joined the worldwide hunt for the radical Muslim cells hell-bent on unleashing new waves of terrorist strikes. … The U.S. government’s activation of antiterrorist forces comes as the FBI issued a warning Nov. 14 that a “spectacular” new terrorist attack may be forthcoming – sooner rather than later. …

Elsewhere, the Australian government issued an unprecedented warning to its citizens that al-Qaeda terrorists there might launch attacks within the next two months. 8

Although CIA Director George Tenet said in recent congressional testimony that “an attempt to conduct another attack on U.S. soil is certain,” a trio of former senior CIA officials doubted the chance of any “spectacular” terror attacks on U.S. soil.9

“Germans have been skittish since the terrorist attacks in the United States, fearing that their country is a ripe target for terrorism. Several of the hijackers in the Sept. 11 attacks plotted their moves in Hamburg.10

“On Dec. 18, a senior government official, speaking on condition of anonymity, briefed journalists about the ‘high probability’ of a terrorist attack happening ‘sooner or later.’… he named hotels and shopping centres as potential ‘soft targets’… The official also specifically mentioned: a possible chemical attack in the London subway, the unleashing of smallpox, the poisoning of the water supply and strikes against “postcard targets” such as Big Ben and Canary Warf.

The “sooner or later” alert followed a Home Office warning at the end of November that said Islamic radicals might use dirty bombs or poison gas to inflict huge casualties on British cities. This also made big headlines but the warning was quickly retracted in fear that it would cause public panic. 11

The message yesterday was that these terrorists, however obscure, are trying – and, sooner or later, may break through London’s defences. It is a city where tens of thousands of souls,… Experts have repeatedly said that the UK, with its bullish support for the US and its war on terror, is a genuine and realistic target for terror groups, including the al- Qaeda network led by 11 September mastermind Osama bin Laden.12

Quoting Margaret Thatcher: “Only America has the reach and means to deal with Osama bin Laden or Saddam Hussein or the other wicked psychopaths who will sooner or later step into their shoes.”13

According to a recent US State Department alert: “Increased security at official US facilities has led terrorists to seek softer targets such as residential areas, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, hotels, schools, outdoor recreation events, resorts, beaches and planes.”14

Actual Terrorist Attacks

To be “effective” the fear and disinformation campaign cannot solely rely on unsubstantiated “warnings” of future attacks, it also requires “real” terrorist occurrences or “incidents”, which provide credibility to the Administration’s war plans. Propaganda endorses the need to implement “emergency measures” as well as implement retaliatory military actions.

The triggering of “war pretext incidents” is part of the Pentagon’s assumptions. In fact it is an integral part of US military history.15 In fact in 1962, the Joint Chiefs of Staff had envisaged a secret plan entitled “Operation Northwoods, to deliberately trigger civilian casualties to justify the invasion of Cuba:

“We could blow up a U.S. ship in Guantanamo Bay and blame Cuba,”

“We could develop a Communist Cuban terror campaign in the Miami area, in other Florida cities and even in Washington” “casualty lists in U.S. newspapers would cause a helpful wave of national indignation.”

(See the declassified Top Secret 1962 document titled “Justification for U.S. Military Intervention in Cuba”16 (See Operation Northwoods at http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/NOR111A.html ).

There is no evidence that the Pentagon or the CIA played a direct role in recent terrorist attacks. The latter were undertaken by organisations (or cells of these organisations), which operate quite independently, with a certain degree of autonomy. This independence is in the very nature of a covert intelligence operation. The «intelligence asset» is not in direct contact with its covert sponsors. It is not necessarily cognizant of the role it plays on behalf of its intelligence sponsors.

The fundamental question is who is behind them? Through what sources are they being financed? What is the underlying network of ties?

A recent (2002) classified outbrief drafted to guide the Pentagon «calls for the creation of a so-called « Proactive, Pre-emptive Operations Group » (P2OG), to launch secret operations aimed at “stimulating reactions” among terrorists and states possessing weapons of mass destruction — that is, for instance, prodding terrorist cells into action and exposing themselves to “quick-response” attacks by U.S. forces.» 17

The P2OG initiative is nothing new. It essentially extends an existing apparatus of covert operations. Amply documented, the CIA has supported terrorist groups since the Cold War era. This « prodding of terrorist cells » under covert intelligence operations often requires the infiltration and training of the radical groups linked to Al Qaeda.

Prof Michel Chossudovsky, globalresearch.ca

Tags: Middle East  US  bin Laden