How War Propaganda Keeps on Killing

Exclusive: The “fake news” hysteria has become the cover for the U.S. government and mainstream media to crack down on fact-based journalism that challenges Official Washington’s “group thinks,” writes Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry

A key reason why American foreign debacles have been particularly destructive mostly to the countries attacked but also to the United States is that these interventions are always accompanied by major U.S. government investments in propaganda. So, even when officials recognize a misjudgment has been made, the propaganda machinery continues to grind on to prevent a timely reversal.

In effect, Official Washington gets trapped by its own propaganda, which restricts the government’s ability to change direction even when the need for a shift becomes obvious.

President George W. Bush announcing the start of his invasion of Iraq on March 19, 2003.

President George W. Bush announcing the start of his invasion of Iraq on March 19, 2003.

After all, once a foreign leader is demonized, it’s hard for a U.S. official to explain that the leader may not be all that bad or is at least better than the likely alternative. So, it’s not just that officials start believing their own propaganda, it’s that the propaganda takes on a life of its own and keeps the failed policy churning forward.

It’s a bit like the old story of the chicken that continues to run around with its head cut off. In the case of the U.S. government, the pro-war or pro-intervention “group think” continues to run amok even after wiser policymakers recognize the imperative to change course.

The reason for that dilemma is that so much money gets spread around to pay for the propaganda and so many careers are tethered to the storyline that it’s easier to let thousands of U.S. soldiers and foreign citizens die than to admit that the policy was built on distortions, propaganda and lies. That would be bad for one’s career.

And, because of the lag time required for contracts to be issued and the money to flow into the propaganda shops, the public case for the policy can outlive the belief that the policy makes sense.

Need for Skeptics

Ideally, in a healthy democracy, skeptics both within the government and in the news media would play a key role in pointing out the flaws and weaknesses in the rationale for a conflict and would be rewarded for helping the leaders veer away from disaster. However, in the current U.S. establishment, such self-corrections don’t occur.

Russian President Vladimir Putin after the military parade on Red Square, May 9, 2016 Moscow. (Photo from:

Russian President Vladimir Putin after the military parade on Red Square, May 9, 2016 Moscow. (Photo from:

A current example of this phenomenon is the promotion of the New Cold War with Russia with almost no thoughtful debate about the reasons for this growing hostility or its possible results, which include potential thermonuclear war that could end life on the planet.

Instead of engaging in a thorough discussion, the U.S. government and mainstream media have simply flooded the policymaking process with propaganda, some of it so crude that it would have embarrassed Joe McCarthy and the Old Cold Warriors.

Everything that Russia does is put in the most negative light with no space allowed for a rational examination of facts and motivations – except at a few independent-minded Internet sites.

Yet, as part of the effort to marginalize dissent about the New Cold War, the U.S. government, some of its related “non-governmental organizations,” mainstream media outlets, and large technology companies are now pushing a censorship project designed to silence the few Internet sites that have refused to march in lockstep.

I suppose that if one considers the trillions of dollars in tax dollars that the Military Industrial Complex stands to get from the New Cold War, the propaganda investment in shutting up a few critics is well worth it.

Today, this extraordinary censorship operation is being carried out under the banner of fighting “fake news.” But many of the targeted Web sites, including, have represented some of the most responsible journalism on the Internet.

At Consortiumnews, our stories are consistently well-reported and well-documented, but we do show skepticism toward propaganda from the U.S. government or anywhere else.

For instance, Consortiumnews not only challenged President George W. Bush’s WMD claims regarding Iraq in 2002-2003 but we have reported on the dispute within the U.S. intelligence community about claims made by President Barack Obama and his senior aides regarding the 2013 sarin gas attack in Syria and the 2014 shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over Ukraine.

In those two latter cases, Official Washington exploited the incidents as propaganda weapons to justify an escalation of tensions against the Syrian and Russian governments, much as the earlier Iraqi WMD claims were used to rally the American people to invade Iraq.

However, if you question the Official Story about who was responsible for the sarin gas attack outside Damascus on Aug. 21, 2013, after President Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry and the mainstream media pronounced the Syrian government guilty, you are guilty of “fake news.”

Facts Don’t Matter

It doesn’t seem to matter that it’s been confirmed in a mainstream report by The Atlantic that Director of National Intelligence James Clapper advised President Obama that there was no “slam-dunk” evidence proving that the Syrian government was responsible. Nor does it matter that legendary investigative journalist Seymour Hersh has reported that his intelligence sources say the more likely culprit was Al Qaeda’s Nusra Front with help from Turkish intelligence.

Investigative reporter Seymour Hersh

Investigative reporter Seymour Hersh

By straying from the mainstream “group think” that accuses Syrian President Bashar al-Assad of crossing Obama’s “red line” on chemical weapons, you are opening yourself to retaliation as a “fake news” site.

Similarly, if you point out that the MH-17 investigation was put under the control of Ukraine’s unsavory SBU intelligence service, which not only has been accused by United Nations investigators of concealing torture but also has a mandate to protect Ukrainian government secrets, you also stand accused of disseminating “fake news.”

Apparently one of the factors that got Consortiumnews included on a new “black list” of some 200 Web sites was that I skeptically analyzed a report by the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) that while supposedly “Dutch-led” was really run by the SBU. I also noted that the JIT’s conclusion blaming Russia was marred by a selective reading of the SBU-supplied evidence and by an illogical narrative. But the mainstream U.S. media uncritically hailed the JIT report, so to point out its glaring flaws made us guilty of committing “fake news” or disseminating “Russian propaganda.”

The Iraq-WMD Case

Presumably, if the hysteria about “fake news” had been raging in 2002-2003, then those of us who expressed skepticism about Iraq hiding WMD would have been forced to carry a special marking declaring us to be “Saddam apologists.”

Washington Post's editorial page editor Fred Hiatt.

Washington Post’s editorial page editor Fred Hiatt.

Back then, everyone who was “important” in Washington had no doubt about Iraq’s WMD. Washington Post editorial page editor Fred Hiatt repeatedly stated the “fact” of Iraq’s hidden WMD as flat fact and mocked anyone who doubted the “group think.”

Yet, even after the U.S. government acknowledged that the WMD allegations were a myth – a classic and bloody case of “fake news” – almost no one who had pushed the fabrication was punished.

So, the “fake news” stigma didn’t apply to Hiatt and other mainstream journalists who actually did produce “fake news,” even though it led to the deaths of 4,500 U.S. soldiers and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. To this day, Hiatt remains the Post’s editorial-page editor continuing to enforce “conventional wisdoms” and to disparage those who deviate.

Another painful example of letting propaganda – rather than facts and reason – guide U.S. foreign policy was the Vietnam War, which claimed the lives of some 58,000 U.S. soldiers and millions of Vietnamese.

The Vietnam War raged on for years after Defense Secretary Robert McNamara and even President Lyndon Johnson recognized the need to end it. Part of that was Richard Nixon’s treachery in going behind Johnson’s back to sabotage peace talks in 1968, but the smearing of anti-war dissidents as pro-communist traitors locked many officials into support for the war well after its futility became obvious. The propaganda developed its own momentum that resulted in many unnecessary deaths.

A Special Marking

In the Internet era, there will now be new-age forms of censorship. Your Web site will be excluded from major search engines or electronically stamped with a warning about your unreliability.

Journalist Robert Parry

Journalist Robert Parry

Your guilt will be judged by a panel of mainstream media outlets, including some partially funded by the U.S. government, or maybe by some anonymous group of alleged experts.

With the tens of millions of dollars now sloshing around Official Washington to pay for propaganda, lots of entrepreneurs will be lining up at the trough to do their part. Congress just approved another $160 million to combat “Russian propaganda,” which will apparently include U.S. news sites that question the case for the New Cold War.

Along with that money, the House voted 390-30 for the Intelligence Authorization Act with a Section 501 to create an Executive Branch “interagency committee to counter active measures by the Russian Federation to exert covert influence,” an invitation to expand the  McCarthyistic witch hunt already underway to intimidate independent Internet news sites and independent-minded Americans who question the latest round of U.S. government propaganda.

Even if a President Trump decides that these tensions with Russia are absurd and that the two countries can work together in the fight against terrorism and other international concerns, the financing of the New Cold War propaganda — and the pressure to conform to Official Washington’s  “group think” — will continue.

The well-funded drumbeat of anti-Russian propaganda will seek to limit Trump’s decision-making. After all, this New Cold War cash cow can be milked for years to come and nothing – not even the survival of the human species – is more important than that.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and

52 comments for “How War Propaganda Keeps on Killing

  1. stan
    December 14, 2016 at 14:52

    Ay study of war propaganda begins with chapter 6 of Mein Kampf. Read it if you want to understand how the American people were manipulated into supporting the mass murder of the muslims.

  2. stan
    December 14, 2016 at 13:38

    Any study of war propaganda begins with chapter 6 of Mein Kampf. Read it if you want to understand how the people of our nation were manipulated into supporting the mass murder of the muslims.

  3. December 10, 2016 at 19:24

    The “fake news” propaganda in my view is cause for celebration by Alternative media, not consternation.

    The fake news campaign comes hard on the heels of: [i] mainstream media’s failure to elect Hillary Clinton despite their best efforts to sabotage the Trump campaign; and [ii] a Gallup Poll out last September 14, showing that:

    “Americans’ trust and confidence in the mass media “to report the news fully, accurately and fairly” has dropped to its lowest level in Gallup polling history, with 32% saying they have a great deal or fair amount of trust in the media. This is down eight percentage points from last year.

    “While it is clear Americans’ trust in the media has been eroding over time, the election campaign may be the reason that it has fallen so sharply this year. With many Republican leaders and conservative pundits saying Hillary Clinton has received overly positive media attention, while Donald Trump has been receiving unfair or negative attention, this may be the prime reason their relatively low trust in the media has evaporated even more. It is also possible that Republicans think less of the media as a result of Trump’s sharp criticisms of the press. Republicans who say they have trust in the media has plummeted to 14% from 32% a year ago. This is easily the lowest confidence among Republicans in 20 years.”

    But mainstream media blames alternative news sites for their loss in trust so are going after their competitors, fairly inviting a Sherman Act conspiracy in restraint of trade antitrust lawsuit.

    I’m reminded of the famous Mahatma Gandhi quote: “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” Nothing in my experience of scrapping with the Establishment for over 38 years has ever disproved that statement.

    So by my reckoning, alternative media has reached Ghandi’s third step, with only their win to go. It’s cause for celebration, not cause for consternation.

  4. Abe
    December 9, 2016 at 14:27

    “PropOrNot’s […] Tweet on November 7 indicates that the research of Peter Pomerantsev, a Senior Fellow at the Legatum Institute in London, who has also been cooperating on research with the Information Warfare Project of the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA) in Washington, D.C, inspired its efforts. […]

    “CEPA’s website indicates that on May 10 it hosted Senators Chris Murphy and Rob Portman to discuss ‘Russia’s sophisticated disinformation campaign.’ CEPA’s President, A. Wess Mitchell is quoted as saying: ‘What’s missing is a significant effort on the part of the U.S. government. Not nearly enough has been done.’

    “Six days after Washington Post reporter Craig Timberg ran his first PropOrNot story, he published another article indicating that ‘Congressional negotiators on Wednesday approved an initiative to track and combat foreign propaganda amid growing concerns that Russian efforts to spread ‘fake news’ and disinformation threaten U.S. national security.’ Quoted in the story was none other than the very Senator who had met with CEPA in May on that very topic, Senator Rob Portman.

    “Portman is quoted as follows: ‘This propaganda and disinformation threat is real, it’s growing, and right now the U.S. government is asleep at the wheel.’ Among Portman’s top three donors to his 2016 Senate race were Citigroup and Goldman Sachs, two Wall Street behemoths that would very much like to pivot the national debate to anything other than Wall Street power and corruption.”

    Who’s Behind PropOrNot’s Blacklist of News Websites
    By Pam Martens and Russ Martens

  5. b.grand
    December 9, 2016 at 01:18


    Robert Parry,
    Sounds like Counterpunch will sue. How about Consortium News?

  6. Abe
    December 8, 2016 at 15:30

    “we have all witnessed a dizzying barrage of lies, propaganda, and a controlled message of unprecedented scale. WikiLeaks revelations from the Clinton and Podesta files showed the world the depth of collusion, graft, and draconian measures on behalf of the elites in control of western society. Google and the others as tools of the security machine cannot be controverted. And now the same people who tried to buy the presidency of the United States, who fueled the Arab Spring, ISIL, the refugee crisis, the economic crisis, and endless war, they’re out to close the gates on a billion free people. Twitter’s blog post from yesterday gives us the underpublicized announcement.

    “’Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter, and YouTube are coming together to help curb the spread of terrorist content online. There is no place for content that promotes terrorism on our hosted consumer services. When alerted, we take swift action against this kind of content in accordance with our respective policies.’

    “For those users of these networks who are not so aware, this disguised censoring apparatus probably seems as harmless and positively idealistic as Google’s ‘Do no evil’ dogma from bygone years. Disguised as an anti-terror collaboration, this latest Orwellian move by the establishment is nothing of the kind.”

    Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Twitter Become the Gatekeepers
    By Phil Butler

  7. Abe
    December 8, 2016 at 15:27

    “Whether it is being just a company or ‘more than just a company,’ Google’s geopolitical aspirations are firmly enmeshed within the foreign-policy agenda of the world’s largest superpower.”

    Google Is Not What It Seems
    By Julian Assange

  8. mercurius politicus
    December 8, 2016 at 10:57

    The current war on reality in the media is the most intense I have ever seen, and I say this as a lifelong student of the history of journalism. It even exceeds the blanket “good war” meme of World War Two, which until now has stood as the gold standard of mass indoctrination based on deceit.

    This development is really quite exciting. It suggests to me that the ruling elite is so terrified of Trump that they have lost all sense of proportion. They are so frightened by one of their own gone rogue that they are going to make the serious blunders that could very well topple them from power.

    There is no animal more dangerous that a power addict who feels that he is about to suffer an intervention. I hope the Donald has the sense to deal with these people appropriately when push comes to shove. Since he is a businessman rather than a politician I suspect he may.

    The war that is now beginning will take on a life of its own, as all wars do. It will not be controllable by those who have rashly declared it. That’s the eternal delusion of all warmongers, that they are so powerful that they are able to control the darkness they let loose. The ‘dogs of war’ are beyond human control, whether in a war of arms or one of words.

  9. December 8, 2016 at 03:51

    As with many other issues the fake news issue will turn out to be a minefield. For a start it’s going to be rather difficult to sort out what fake news counts as ‘real’ fake news and ‘fake’ fake news simply because of the varying interests. For instance, in cases where ‘real news’ in the interests of the C.I.A is leaked to major news outlets, that ‘real news’ might be regarded by the Defense Department as ‘fake news’, as doesn’t serve their interests best. Who decides which becomes the ‘real’ fake news then? The news outlets themselves cannot run the risk of publishing any old fake news without assurances that the fake news they publish is the genuine fake news beforehand. And what wiil reasers be expected to think in such cases? Will reading fake news become as anti-American as being a member of the communist party was during the McCarthy witch hunt even if you read it by mistake? How will they distinguish what is fake news if they read an account published by the corporate media that differs substantially from an event they actualy witnessed, which is often the case? Will they have to report those news outlets to a truth committee set up to decide what is real and what is fake?

    And then there is the issue of the countless fake stories rival politicians constantly dig up about each other in election run-ups. Will the fake news dug up about the losing contender be declared fake fake news by the winner?

    Will the responsibilty for publishing fake news lie with the news outlet that published the fake stories or with the politicians that released them? Will ‘trusted’ corporate news outlets that publish stories that are later declared to be fake be added to the list of fakes? Will trusted outlets that publish ‘fake news’ that turns out to be true be removed from the list ot ‘fake news’ peddlers they were added to if is found to be in the interest of the ruling government to make a U-turn and declare former ‘fake news’ to be ‘real news’.

    As Sir Walter Scott once penned: “Oh! What a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive”.

    The danger for the corporate mainstream is that it wil be seen as even more unreliable and untrustworthy than it already is.

    • Bill Bodden
      December 8, 2016 at 14:26

      The danger for the corporate mainstream is that it wil be seen as even more unreliable and untrustworthy than it already is.

      Not as long as there are people like a correspondent to our local newspaper in today’s edition who only trusts the New York Times and the Washington Post.

  10. Joe Tedesky
    December 8, 2016 at 02:02

    Here’s a link to a zerohedge article where WaPa posted a editors note with an amendment made towards the Thankdsgiving Day edition concerning ‘fake news influenced by Russia’. Read see what you think of the WaPo editors note….

    I feel there is a bit of classic irony going on here, where you have a story against fake news influenced by Putin to throw a U.S. Candidate down for defeat, and the idea that a Clinton who is always selling the public ‘fake things’ is the one who in her mine is hurt by the alternative Internet news sites lying about her. A liar dropping a dime on a lie, which may not be a lie, but the truth. Only in modern day America.

    Be honest when you read or watched the ‘PizzaGate’ video where supposedly these news breeders were reporting on a child sex ring predator lot who low and behold is Hillary’s campaign manager and his brother (who is a somebody to Hillary Clinton too) are John and Robert Podesta, didn’t it just make you put on the pause button in your brain? The rapid and many accusations made were hard to analyze and study with no real references to follow…I like mean, where do you go with this data. Then a light bulb went off, whereas I pictured the ‘PizzaGate’ story to be just the thing to go get the MSM to go dog sleds over, and blast the their burgers with loads of ketchup and cheese, and promote this as evidence of more proof of Russia manipulations on our American media. Have you watched cable news so far since Sunday, where the white guy shooter was taken alive after he shot up the Comet Pizzeria place….and now the pundits are talking about all of the ‘fake news’ that’s out there on the worldwide wide, and it’s Russian influenced.

    I honestly believe that this is all about Hillary’s losing the election, and while having something to blame when this message about Russia obscures what should be talked about, and that is Hillary’s security breaches, and her and the DNC robbing the Sanders voters their equal fair share in the primaries. The mass media controls the public’s perception of timeline, and facts. The louder, the more, a meme gets said, the more it is promoted even further…you all know that, but blaming, hiding, and always changing the theme is a way of controlling the public. The public hears a comedian make fun of Hillary’s misgivings and then suddenly it’s no big deal….you see. A casual joke on a Sitcom could do the trick to aid toward swaying your opinion on a subject, or person.

    …so getting back to the WaPo editors note, do you think the WaPo editor is being up front and honest?Remember these are the type of high echelon e ecutives that when they tell you they’re not tricking you then that means they are probably tricking you. The first two questions I ask you I interrupt you both times with the right answer. You didn’t even get a chance to say anything, because I asked the question, and I answered it. The third time is where I ask the question and you instead give the answer….I just learned something, and you will think nothing or very little of it as your life goes on. Why I’m stupid, and I know that much, so what do you think they are doing? Reverse some of what I just said and you will have the Orwellian MSM mind control in practice.

    This ‘fake news’ stuff is not going to go away. We need a free internet news revolution to maintain our Constitutional right to have a free press. The slightest best meaning supervision, or judgement to police the words offered by an author would bring the whole idea of free speech to a sudden stand still, and not a pretty stand still either. If policing the news were to come about, there will be a crack down to everyone’s spoken words. You may not want to be the political talking uncle at a family Thankdsgiving fest. As a society America and Europe are not far already from having a complete police state . The bonus for these boys and girls is taking down the real fact news givers, and that’s a fact. Now is the time to act.

    • Joe Tedesky
      December 8, 2016 at 10:48

      John and Tony Podesta (correction to my fake news) sorry Robert

      • Realist
        December 10, 2016 at 23:13

        I’ll always know who you meant, as Tony Podesta (the older brother) was the editor of the student newspaper and head of the student government at the University of Illinois in Chicago during the mid-60’s. They were political animals even as youngsters.

  11. Chuck Woolery
    December 7, 2016 at 23:51

    Mr. Perry makes some valid points. But he loses credibility when he claims that all reports of WMD in Iraq were the fake news. Intelligence sources were led astray by fake news coming from Saddam himself who wanting others in the region to think he had WMD. There was certainly hopeful thinking and perhaps even some dishonest accusations about Iraq’s nuclear capability but there should have been real fears about Iraq’s biological and chemical WMD potential. So real that the only logical response would have been NOT to attack. Months before the invasion it was front page news in the WPost that blood samples of Iraqi soldiers captured during the FIRST gulf war had Smallpox antibodies. The fact that they were born AFTER the eradication Smallpox was unmistakable evidence (unless it was faked by medical researchers which I’m sure some conspiracy minds will assert) that they had been exposed to Smallpox. After the break up of the Soviet Union and their sloppy dismantling of their bio weapons labs (employing close to 50,000 people) there were fears that Smallpox samples or even weaponized smallpox may have been stolen or taken by unpaid scientists for compensation. Bush launched a pre invasion smallpox vaccination campaign of unverifiable value…that eventually was halted by the US soldiers and first responders who refused to take the required vaccine. An invasion after that was monstrously irresponsible! Had any Smallpox storage facilities been accidentally hit or Saddam decided to use it retaliation or defense, life as we know it now would have been obliterated. Before the first Gulf War I saw copies of the sales receipts of biological agents sent to Iraq at tax payers expense from a facility here in Rockville, MD where I live. Tissue Culture labs. There is no doubt Saddam used chemical weapons against his own people, the Kurds, and Iran in his ten year war against them… When Saddam was our buddy at that time the US provided him with chemical precursors for Chemical WMD and targeting information on Iranian forces. There was a highly rational suspicion that Saddam had chemical and biological WMD. There was NO way to know he didn’t. To claim certainty that we know he didn’t is “Factually not correct”. It’s not fake news unless people know these facts and keep spreading the myth that all the WMD reports leading up to the invasion were ‘fake news’.

    • Bill Bodden
      December 8, 2016 at 00:17

      There was certainly hopeful thinking and perhaps even some dishonest accusations about Iraq’s nuclear capability but there should have been real fears about Iraq’s biological and chemical WMD potential.

      Within a few hours of Colin Powell’s shameful speech at the UN Security Council on February 5, 2003 making the case for Saddam Hussein’s biological and chemical weapons Robert Fisk, one of the most experienced and knowledgeable journalists in the Middle East, ripped Powell and his lies to pieces. So, the only reason for fearing those weapons was the same gullibility that bought into other WMD propaganda.

    • Abe
      December 8, 2016 at 04:02

      The factually not correct “Chuck Woolery” keeps spinning the propaganda wheel of fortune, but can’t make it past round 1.

      Investigative journalists like Parry never made the general claim that “all reports of WMD in Iraq were fake news” as “Chuck” repeatedly asserts.

      Parry and other skeptical journalists reported that the WMD reports leading up to the invasion were not rational or credible.

      “Chuck” obligingly provides a concise list of Iraq WMD propaganda talking points. Review it well. There will be a test. Very soon.

    • Richard Annotico
      December 8, 2016 at 17:30

      Chuck. You seem to be saying that because we could not with Absolute Certainty know that SADDAM did NOT have Nuclear WMD’s then we could Claim that he DID, and Justifiably act on that Speculation. That is RANK Nonsense !!! Of Course we knew SADDAM had Chemical & Biological WMDs , Because the US SOLD THEM TO SADDAM after the US encouraged SADDAM to Attack a supposedly Weakened IRAN, after it’s REVOLUTION in 1979 (To retaliate, for Iranian Students taking Hostages in the US Teheran Embassy, and our humiliating failed Special Ops attempt to Rescue them). BUT Chemical and Biological Weapons have a SHELF LIFE !!!!! And SCOTT RITTER, a US WMD Inspector with the UN INSISTED that there was NO evidence FOR, and A Ton of EVIDENCE Against SADDAM having any WMDs. BUT Bush Picked out of Intelligence Reports ONLY that Info that would Support his GOAL, and Actually sent back a Series of Intelligence Reports to DELETE info that didn’t Support His Favored Goal, and Rewrite them to Support his Position. BUSH scared the world with rumors of aging chemical and biological weapons that would have long ago turned to harmless goo. All Evidence of SADDAM Destroying Aging Stockpiles of WMDs were Ignored. SUSPICIONS, PARANOIA, or SPECULATIONS based on Self Interested Agenda Driven People, is NOT SUFFICIENT to IRRESPONSIBLY BEAT THE DRUMS OF WAR. And I can say with CERTAINTY that COLIN POWELL KNEW with CERTAINTY he was Presenting Biased & Inaccurate Info at the United Nations at the Bidding of his Boss, Geo BUSH. The BUSH/POWELL “MUSHROOM CLOUD was NOT a CERTAINTY, and BUSH’s Whole Propaganda Campaign was the Epitome of Concocted, Creative “Fake News”. And I would find it Extremely Difficult to assign ANY Credibility to Someone who would could not understand that even if SADDAM had any WMDs that he would use them only as a Deterrent, & Defense, rather than Offense and face COMPLETE and Utter ANNIHILATION, With Israel’s 300 Nukes, & US 8.000 Nukes.

    • Tannenhouser
      December 8, 2016 at 20:53

      Garbage. After 14 years of illegal sanctions and a sanctimonious live fire training ground labeled ‘no fly zone’, They ALL knew there were no nada zilch zero WMD left as that is precisely why the Poppa roach never put boots on the ground after its manufactured Kuwaiti pretext in the first place.

    • Steven A
      December 9, 2016 at 10:27

      Chuck Woolery writes: “Intelligence sources were led astray by fake news coming from Saddam himself who wanted others in the region to think he had WMD.”

      I, like probably many readers here, was following the Iraq WMD claims closely in the year leading up to the invasion of 2003 and never saw a shred of evidence to support this particular claim. The inspectors reports were a fundamental body of evidence on the subject (analyzed in detail by Glen Rangwala at the time, with hyperlinks to the original reports), but the contents of these were consistently distorted or dismissed in the mainstream media, based on the unsupported innuendo that the inspectors were no match for Saddam’s trickery. Instead, the likes of Judith Miller’s “sources” were taken as reliable.

      A lot of the difficulty in officially providing Saddam a clean bill of health vis-a-vis WMDs stemmed from the regime’s initial attempts to hide its programs, followed by its secret (i.e. unsupervised by the inspectors) destruction of them in the early 1990s. But by 1998, a huge amount of work had been done – for example, all but two of Iraq’s more than 600 Scud missiles had been accounted for. Likewise, it was established that Iraq had indeed disposed of VX nerve agent at the site where it claimed that it did so – based on discovery of reaction products and stabilizer chemicals at the site in question – and the elimination of Iraq’s capability to produce VX had been verifiably confirmed. Nevertheless there remained a difficulty in _proving_ that _all_ of Iraq’s VX had been disposed.

      After the renewal of the inspections regime in 2002, Iraq was nothing but cooperative – trying to avoid war. Iraq’s response to the demand for a full accounting – an 8000 page report submitted to the inspectors – was dismissed out of hand by the U.S. administration with the media in lock-step – even though nothing in it was actually found to be deceptive during the lead-up to war or in the post-war investigations. For example, Iraq maintained that its inventory of shorter rage (150 km) missiles was legal under the UN’s restrictions, even though in a few tests these missiles had slightly exceeded the 150 km limit (favorable wind conditions or the like), and the results of these tests had never been concealed. Furthermore, the inspections regime had not actually ruled against these missiles. But as soon as the inspectors, under U.S. pressure, _did_ rule against them, Iraq fully cooperated in their destruction. This was a slow process, incomplete at the onset of the U.S. invasion, precisely because Iraq was playing by the book, meaning that the missiles in all the various locations were being destroyed under the supervision of the inspectors, who could not be everywhere at once.

      There was plenty of evidence before the war that evidence was being systematically distorted by the administration. Cheney claimed that a particular high level defector had confirmed that Saddam was hiding WMDs, whereas this defector had actually testified – and this was reported before the war – that all such weapons had been destroyed. The fact that the source for the mobile biological weapons labs claim which Colin Powell made in his UN address was considered to be a prevaricator by the German intelligence investigators who first interviewed him – this was known prior to the U.S. invasion. Many other items on the list of administration claims were shown to be fabricated or hyped. For example, David Albright’s analysis showed that the aluminum tubes in question were not appropriate for centrifuges.

      After the war started, we learned more specific details about the administration’s efforts to spin and deceive the public for a war that had been decided on long in advance – though such agencies as the White House Iraq Group and the Office of Special Plans. It was evident to people actually engaged in the work of intelligence analysis (i.e. Col. Karen Kwiatkowski), that the OSP’s talking points on Iraq, the latest version of which were _required_ to be _inserted verbatim_ into any relevant report, were completely distinct from the real analysis in the rest of such reports. They were motivated by the political requirements of the war policy.

      The post-war War Party talking point – completely ignoring these external pressures coming from the U.S. administration itself – that it was actually Saddam who misled “us” into thinking he had such weapons – seems to be a whole-cloth lie, and evidently serves the imperative of preserving the War Party’s (including the mainstream media’s) ability to propagandize for war.

  12. Bill Bodden
    December 7, 2016 at 23:45

    Ideally, in a healthy democracy, skeptics both within the government and in the news media would play a key role in pointing out the flaws and weaknesses in the rationale for a conflict and would be rewarded for helping the leaders veer away from disaster. However, in the current U.S. establishment, such self-corrections don’t occur.

    Given the fact that people, Americans and people of other nations, are lied to from the time they learn to understand the spoken word there is much to be said for encouraging skepticism of any concepts that are promoted by any official body. A good time to begin questioning authority would be the day after children learn the pledge of allegiance. “One nation, … , indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” Does anyone have any idea where that nation might be or if such a nation exists?

  13. George Collins
    December 7, 2016 at 21:40

    One trivial quibble from the Peanut Gallery: something within, I know not what, resists the notion that fake news and its rebuttal are both generally considered comparable, not say moral equivalents. Otherwise, put, Bob Parry is too modest in reporting his record of outing WaPo’s editorial gurus and too gentle in labeling governmental propaganda merely as fake news. Of course, he does point out some fake news has caused uncounted murder of innocents while masquerading as R2P Samaritans.

    I’m an irregular fan of Tucker Carlson’s Fox routine, but just tonight he laid low the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Shiff, who “faked” that US Intelligence agencies have determined that Russia is the source of the Wicked Leaks that did so much to impugn the DNC and Hillary Clinton’s campaign. On the basis of that libel, and that faux “intelligence” contention as to what the Intelligence Community “knows”, Shiff, ipso facto, owns entitlement to claim he too “knows” Russia did it.

    Stiff did elevate his performance by the gratuitous slur that Tucker was carrying water for Putin. And so we have a Parry paradigm of how a web of lies and their defense may cause our collective demise.

    I would not call Tucker Carlson, as often as not obnoxious, a “fake news” propagandist for his challenge to what Shiff “knows” as “fake news”, or call Shiff’s protestation that “he knows” merely fake news.

    In this instance, Carlson, insufferable style aside, was the aggressive journalist hound who deserves inclusion as member of the fourth estate, good standing.

    Shiff, based on what I “think” I know of the too cute by half and potentially war criminal web of propaganda used against Russia, at least since the Ukraine and Crimea instigations began, qualifies as poster boy exemplar as to how the establishment, once it feints, as it did regarding Putin, becomes duty-bound and hog-tied to past lies, no matter the cost to countless lives.

    Shiff, putatively, is willing to lie and risk nuclear doom to avoid confessing that Democrat attacks on Russia merit Orwellian interpretation and, coincidentally, corroborates the “Parry doctrine” as to how idiocy, despite exposure, perdures whether to save face or justify economic waste and homicidal mayhem.

    Has anyone heard today that the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor maybe was not a surprise?

  14. Gregory Kruse
    December 7, 2016 at 21:39

    Possibly the most extreme case of propaganda outlasting obvious truth was Germany in 1944-45.

    • December 10, 2016 at 22:57

      @ “Possibly the most extreme case of propaganda outlasting obvious truth was Germany in 1944-45.”

      An even more extreme case is the U.S. from 1947 to the current date and extending through the foreseeable future. Via the false propaganda themes of the Red Scare, the War on Drugs, and the War on Terrorism, a military-industrial complex was formed in the U.S. that now controls government itself, with tens of millions of casualties in U.S. foreign wars and no end in sight.

  15. Cal
    December 7, 2016 at 20:54

    ”The reason for that dilemma is that so much money gets spread around to pay for the propaganda and so many careers are tethered to the storyline that it’s easier to let thousands of U.S. soldiers and foreign citizens die than to admit that the policy was built on distortions, propaganda and lies. That would be bad for one’s career.”>>>>

    There it is in a nutshell.

    The nutshell cure?—a nice Swat Team to finger and punish each and every “”individual” involved. To bring down the Vulture Shadow government, both political and media, you first have ‘to cull’ the individuals from their various herds and ‘ruin them.’

  16. GeorgyOrwell
    December 7, 2016 at 20:47

    However, if you question the Official Story about who was responsible for the sarin gas attack outside Damascus on Aug. 21, 2013, after President Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry and the mainstream media pronounced the Syrian government guilty, you are guilty of “fake news.”

    This coming from Robert Parry who attacked, ridiculed and belittled the 9/11 Truth Movement. He apparently thinks the fairy tale as presented in the 9/11 Commission Report

    • Abe
      December 7, 2016 at 22:31

      One of the ways propaganda works on the internet is via trolls who attempt to smear investigative journalism sites with comments that reference various forms of “conspiracy theory”.

      Propaganda trolls occasionally show up in the comments sections of reputable independent media outlets like Consortium News.

      Commenter “GeorgyOrwell” showed up on Consortium News after Robert Parry published several critical reports on the downing of Malaysian Air flight MH-17.

      Regularly spouting the “9/11 was an inside job” refrain, “Georgy” has loudly and nonsensically accused Parry of somehow endorsing the “official story of 9/11”.

      Sorry “Georgy,” investigative journalists aren’t endorsing the 9/11 Commission Report when they mention the report’s contentions.

      • December 10, 2016 at 22:46

        “… investigative journalists aren’t endorsing the 9/11 Commission Report when they mention the report’s contentions.”

        I think they give that report far too much weight when they mention the report’s contentions without so much as acknowledging that the accuracy of those contentions is highly controversial. I’ll even go a bit farther and say that omitting such a caveat leaves an impression in the reader’s mind that the author believes and wants his readers to believe those contentions; in other words, the author is in fact endorsing those contentions.

  17. F. G. Sanford
    December 7, 2016 at 19:58

    The problem now emerging is that some formerly real news providers have taken to insisting that “fake” news, which formerly might have been considered real by those same purveyors, really is fake. Apparently, they are intent on convincing some audiences that they aren’t the least bit gullible and are unpersuaded by the actual, undisputed dialogues and overwhelming circumstantial evidence that accompanies these “fake” stories. Nope, far be it from them to be “taken in”. Of course, these stories will remain in the realm of ‘urban legend’ and ‘popular parapolitics’ in the same way that the Zapruder Film continues to convince die-hard believers that, because Kennedy’s brains got blown out, Oswald must have done it. Not that I’m a defender or critic of “social justice warriors” one way or the other, but it’s worth watching some of those Mark Dice videos. I especially enjoyed the one where people are eager to sign a petition to put “Bigfoot” on the endangered species list. Another was a jaw-dropping assortment of women willing to sign a petition to “End Women’s Suffrage”. We’re basically a country of morons, and the majority of us will believe almost any excuse as long as it is sufficiently implausible. And, our ruling elites want to keep it that way. They certainly appear to be succeeding. Condi Rice got away with testifying to Congress, “Who could have thought terrorists would fly airplanes into buildings”, after she got briefed that terrorists were planing to fly airplanes into buildings. As far as the latest “fake” news sensation burning up the internet is concerned, I personally wonder how many Americans would suffocate on the smoke before suspecting a fire. As long as that story stays alive, maybe there is some scintilla of skepticism left among American propaganda consumers. In the meantime, Americans continue to lament the encroachment of civilization on Bigfoot’s habitat. And, the Kennedy Assassination Records remain classified. Obviously, “national security” is still at stake…even with Castro and Kruschev both dead. Go figure.

  18. Gregory Herr
    December 7, 2016 at 18:57

    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; OR ABRIDGING THE FREEDOM OF SPEECH, OR OF THE PRESS; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

    I also seem to recall something about a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. In college we used to be taught something about intellectual curiosity, intellectual honesty, and the need for a free debate of ideas and information…compare and contrast, compare and contrast. The freedom to explore opinions, discover evidence, and debate in open forums without censure is essential to the citizen’s government we are supposed to have. We were taught not to fear being mistaken, only to loathe an insistence on being mistaken when the evidence shows thus.
    Apparently, the MSM lackeys and their paymasters are too cowardly to subject their opinions or their evidence to competition or scrutiny. As for me, I’m perfectly capable, as are most, of basic logic, considering sources and corroboration, and determining what makes sense. And if I’m “faked out,” show me the error in my thinking or evidence….don’t tell me I can’t read this or that, or speak my mind. In fact, I feel a responsibility to speak my mind (as we all should) concerning any topics that may involve moral questions or ambiguity. Too bad the Washington Post doesn’t have the same policy or journalistic standards.
    We the people do not need censors!

    • Gregory Herr
      December 10, 2016 at 18:33

      I think (in clarification) I was taught not to fear the flexibility to change one’s mind; that it was important to follow the methodology of evidence and new developments. It is unavoidable as a common condition of humans that we each cannot truly say that we have not sometimes been “mistaken” in one fashion or another. The real point is to grow in our knowledge and understanding, and that cannot take place without (sometimes elusive) “truth” being the ultimate condition of that growth.
      Of course to have an “as best that can be determined” factual knowledge base of prodigious breadth and depth still requires the “meaning” of how we each react to our understanding of truth. And then it comes down to motives and what those motives are based upon. One can be truly “knowledgeable” yet not abide in action and conviction that all children born upon this Earth are “precious assets of our common humanity”. For me, gradations of motive in moral terms go from this point or how far from this point the actions and motives of individuals stray. Of course such determinations are times exceedingly complex, but it’s seems to me a worthwhile starting point.
      It also seems to me that what I might call “nefarious” motives and actions often necessarily involve the willingness to distort or disregard what one knows to be true.

  19. RAW
    December 7, 2016 at 18:32

    “Apparently one of the factors that got Consortiumnews included on a new “black list” of some 200 Web sites was that I skeptically analyzed a report by the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) that while supposedly “Dutch-led” was really run by the SBU.”

    Yes indeed, and another factor is Consortiums readership has a level perspective on the zionist power configuration’s influence in media. Way too many critics here… can’t have that.

  20. Taras77
    December 7, 2016 at 18:09

    Excellent Article, Mr Parry-thanks much!

    Attached is a link to today’s article from Walls Street on Parade-I believe it to be a site well worth visiting on a daily basis as they are keeping tabs on much of the chicanery which goes on a daily basis; today’s article summarizes some research into the ProporNot saga from WaPo. Not surprising, it mentions some possible links to a very well funded nec con org in the UK: Legatum Institute, with mentions of some of the usual neo con suspects. A person not mentioned who is prominent at Legatum and who writes for WaPo on a regular basis is Anne Applebaum. I used to read her articles for entertainment as she is virulently anti-Putin and has come out with some astounding assertions such as nuclear war should not be unthinkable in europe and NATO never promised not to move eastward. There are others if anyone is interested and WaPo has a list of some of her move recent articles.

    Peter Pomerantsev is also mentioned-he has been highly visible in neo con circles, testified before congrressional committee, and co-authored an article or more with our boy, Michael Weiss. I did not see any mention to our other hero higgens and/or bellingcat but would not be at all surprised to find some link down the line.

  21. Jpecci
    December 7, 2016 at 17:33

    The new government enemy is China. Propaganda has started already. Russia is already yesterday’s adversary.

  22. Pablo Diablo
    December 7, 2016 at 17:31

    Gotta keep the War Machine well fed. (or we might not have 1% or 2% growth).

  23. Peter Loeb
    December 7, 2016 at 17:25


    “I suppose that if one considers the trillions of dollars in tax dollars that the Military Industrial Complex
    stands to get from the New Cold War, the propaganda investment in shutting up a few critics is well
    worth it” Robert Parry, above

    Books from the late 90’s made clear that both workers and management in defense contractors
    dreamed of another World War II. Back then, workers told W.R. Greider, things were
    There were thousands of jobs. Weapons rolled off assembly lines. like crazy, Those were
    the “good times”. Now factories are empty. Weapons are sold at discounts.

    I have no update on the defense industry and would love some critical analyses of our day
    in books on the market.

    We need more knowledge to document our .claims.

    Thanks for the continuing reporting on this issue Mr. Parry!

    —-Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA

    • Bill Bodden
      December 8, 2016 at 01:10

      Updated documentation will probably indicate it is business as usual

  24. tony
    December 7, 2016 at 16:55

    Corporate media : ‘Syrian regime bombing rebels in Aleppo’
    Translation : Syrian military liberating Aleppo from terrorists.

  25. Abe
    December 7, 2016 at 16:21

    Goebbels’ Principles of Propaganda:

    “…die Propaganda ist gut, die zum Erfolge führt, und die ist schlecht, die am gewünschten Erfolg vorbeigeht, selbst dann, wenn sie noch so geistreich ist, denn es ist nicht die Aufgabe einer Propaganda, geistreich zu sein, ihre Aufgabe ist zum Erfolge zu führen.”

    “…that propaganda is good that has the desired results, and that propaganda is bad that does not lead to the desired results. It does not matter how clever it is, for the task of propaganda is not to be clever, its task is to lead to success.”

    – Joseph Goebbels, Erkenntnis und Propaganda (Knowledge and Propaganda) speech in 1928 to an audience of Nazi party members at the so-called “Hochschule für Politik” in Berlin.

    Leonard W. Doob was the Sterling Professor Emeritus of Psychology at Yale University, He was a pioneering figure in the fields of cognitive and social psychology, propaganda and communication studies, as well as conflict resolution.

    Doob’s 1934 Harvard PhD dissertation, started in Germany, was a study of news propaganda. Doob served as Director of Overseas Intelligence for the Office of War Information in World War II.

    In 1950, Doob’s article, “Goebbels’ Principles of Propaganda” was published in the Public Opinion Quarterly, an academic journal published by Oxford University Press for the American Association for Public Opinion Research.

    Doob’s article is required reading for understanding how political propaganda functions in today’s military-industrial-media-sureveillance complex.

    • George Collins
      December 7, 2016 at 20:06

      Thanks for the Doob reference. Your summary brings to mind the putative father of American Propaganda: Freud’s nephew, Edward Bernays: “Propaganda 1928”.

    • Abe
      December 7, 2016 at 20:28

      In his 1965 autobiography, Biography of an Idea: Memoirs of Public Relations Counsel Edward L. Bernays, he recalls a dinner at his home in 1933 where

      “Karl von Wiegand, foreign correspondent of the Hearst newspapers, an old hand at interpreting Europe and just returned from Germany, was telling us about Goebbels and his propaganda plans to consolidate Nazi power. Goebbels had shown Wiegand his propaganda library, the best Wiegand had ever seen. Goebbels, said Wiegand, was using my book Crystallizing Public Opinion as a basis for his destructive campaign against the Jews of Germany. This shocked me. … Obviously the attack on the Jews of Germany was no emotional outburst of the Nazis, but a deliberate, planned campaign.”

    • Abe
      December 7, 2016 at 20:37

      The originator of modern public relations, Edward Bernays pioneered the use of psychology and other social sciences to design its public persuasion campaigns.

      In Propaganda, Bernays’ 1928 opus, he asks “If we understand the mechanism and motives of the group mind, is it not possible to control and regiment the masses according to our will without their knowing about it? The recent practice of propaganda has proved that it is possible, at least up to a certain point and within certain limits.”

      • December 10, 2016 at 22:23

        I was a member for 27 months of the U.S. Army’s 4th Psychological Operations Group [1] in Viet Nam. It is perhaps useful to keep in mind when evaluating propaganda that its core requirement is credibility, not truth. Credibility is far broader than truth and often bears little relationship to truth. The central role of credibility as the cornerstone of propaganda was perhaps best illustrated by the name of the Group’s monthly newsletter, “Credibilis.”

        [1] The 4th PsyOp Group has since been renamed as the 4th Military Information Support Group (Airborne) and is currently the Army’s only active duty psychological warfare unit. During the Viet Nam War, the 6th PsyOp Group was also active, playing a support role from Okinawa.

  26. Ruth Gibson
    December 7, 2016 at 16:15

    This reporting has reminded me of 2 incidents that the NYT reported about Ukraine. One was printing pictures of Russian tanks allegedly invading eastern Ukraine. The photographer came forward and insisted he had taken the photos two years earlier in Russia at some well-publicized and routine war games. The second was allegations that the Russian Army had invaded eastern Ukraine and was leading the fight of the Russian speaking dissenters against the Maidan putsch. NYT sent two senior reporters to the region and reported that the fighters they met, some of whom were military vets from former USSR days, and all of whom were born and reared in the region. The NYT published “retractions” of the fabricated stories, but the MSM kept right on with the debunked and fabricated narrative of Russian invasion and Russian Army leading the fight against Kiev’s bogus regime.

  27. lynne gillooly
    December 7, 2016 at 16:10

    Fact-based dissent is our Patriotic duty. Blatant Fake News is the opposite. The scary thing is who decides.
    Talk radio has been spewing fake news, propaganda and conspiracy nonsense for decades. We have had a cable news network do the same thing for 20 yrs. Will they be shut down?

  28. evelync
    December 7, 2016 at 16:09

    re:”The reason for that dilemma is that so much money gets spread around to pay for the propaganda and so many careers are tethered to the storyline that it’s easier to let thousands of U.S. soldiers and foreign citizens die than to admit that the policy was built on distortions, propaganda and lies. That would be bad for one’s career.”
    Washington has been pushing a faux and destructive narrative for so many decades – that cannot hold up to scrutiny with the consequences getting worse and worse with millions of people displaced and hundreds of thousands killed with no positive results – that they are now trying to silence the messengers.

    Way too much secrecy so most Americans take foreign policy as not their responsibility and leave it up to delusional elected officials and those running the machinery of government.

    Thank you Mr. Parry.

    I called several Senators today to ask them to read the news on this web site and watch Professor Andrew Bacevich’s lectures on line:
    Rand Paul
    Bernie Sanders
    Jeff Coons
    Chris Murphy
    Jeff Flake
    Sheldon Whitehouse
    and I called some others last week.

    There are some Senators who seem clueless to me so I tried to pick ones who seem intelligent and perhaps have the courage to step outside the bubble.

    • Bill Bodden
      December 8, 2016 at 00:02

      The problem with all but very few senators and representatives is that they are owned to one degree or another by the Israel Lobby and the military-industrial complex. So, if you call them about Israel and Palestine or a theme of current propaganda you will be wasting your time unless you agree with their positions. The only hope for change is that enough constituents call or email in exceptionally large numbers asking for a little integrity and humanity for a change.

      • Brad Owen
        December 8, 2016 at 07:46

        It really seems to me that the only hope for change is for the voters to organize in each district like it is its’ own political union “local”, and vote out anyone who takes big corporate money or refuses to listen to calls, emails or letters, to be replaced with a political union “local” member. This is my theory of approach towards the Green Party U.S. where I pay $10 a month “Union Dues”. They’re deciding now which way they’ll go; dues-paying membership (a REAL Peoples Party; but it would take millions of members from the ranks of ordinary citizens), or an NGO donor-supported party (like a “limosine-liberal” party). I think the first way is the only worthwhile approach.

      • Gregory Herr
        December 8, 2016 at 17:51

        …a little integrity and humanity for a change…
        I like the phrase. Some might start to feel a bit shamed, but then they would decide Putin put us all up to it.

  29. Ted Tripp
    December 7, 2016 at 15:56

    I wonder how hard the propagandists are pushing against China, as John PIlger makes a pretty strong case in his movie, The Coming War on China. One bit is the mischaracterization of the little islands China is building, which Pilger suggests, are purely defensive and in response to American encirclement.

    • Joe L.
      December 8, 2016 at 12:21

      Well there is no doubt that China’s building islands and expanding its’ military is a response to being surrounded by US Military Bases. Have you ever looked at a map of US military bases, what country would not feel threatened? I will put a link to a map and just imagine instead this map were reversed and it was China or Russia that had the United States completed surrounded with military bases in the islands that surround North America. Would the US see that as a threat? Absolutely, and I am sure that the US would also respond as Kennedy threatened to do during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

  30. December 7, 2016 at 15:36

    Never trust, corporate-owned, main stream media! You will never get the truth, only their propaganda, pushing their profit-run agenda!

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