Information Warfare, Psy-ops
and the Power of Myth
By Mike Whitney
02/15/07 "ICH" --- - The bombing of the Golden Dome
Mosque in Samarra is the cornerstone of Bush’s
psychological operations (psy-ops) in Iraq. That’s why
it is critical to have an independent investigation and
discover who is really responsible. The bombing has been
used as a “Pearl Harbor-type” event which has deflected
responsibility for the 650,000 Iraqi casualties and more
than 3 million refugees. These are the victims of
American occupation not civil war.
The bombing was concocted by men who believe that they
can control the public through perception management. In
practical terms, this means that they create events
which can be used to support their far-right doctrine.
In this case, the destruction of the mosque has been
used to confuse the public about the real origins of the
rising sectarian tensions and hostilities. The fighting
between Sunni and Shiite is the predictable upshot of
random bombings and violence which bears the signature
of covert operations carried out by intelligence
organizations. Most of the pandemonium in Iraq is the
result of counterinsurgency operations (black-ops) on a
massive scale not civil war.
The Pentagon’s bold new approach to psychological
operations (psy-ops) appears to have derived from the
theories of former State Dept official, Philip Zelikow
(who also served on the 9-11 Commission) Zelikow is an
expert on “the creation and maintenance of ‘public
myths’ or ‘public presumptions’. His theory analyzes how
consciousness is shaped by “searing events” which take
on “transcendent importance” and, therefore, move the
public in the direction chosen by the policymakers.
“In the Nov-Dec 1998 issue of Foreign Affairs he (Zelikow)
co-authored an article called ‘Catastrophic Terrorism’
in which he speculated that if the 1993 bombing of the
World Trade center had succeeded ‘the resulting horror
and chaos would have exceeded our ability to describe
it. Such an act of catastrophic terrorism would be a
watershed event in American history. ‘It could involve
loss of life and property unprecedented in peacetime and
undermine America’s fundamental sense of security, as
did the Soviet bomb test in 1949. The US might respond
with draconian measures scaling back civil liberties,
allowing wider surveillance of citizens, detention of
suspects and use of deadly force. More violence could
follow, either future terrorist attacks or US
counterattacks. Belatedly, Americans would judge their
leaders negligent for not addressing terrorism more
Zelikow’s article presumes that if one creates their own
“searing event” (such as 9-11 or the bombing of the
Golden Dome Mosque) they can steer the public in
whatever direction they choose. His theory depends
entirely on a “state-media nexus” which can be depended
on to disseminate propaganda uniformly. There is no more
reliable propaganda-system in the world today than the
New Clues in the Bombing
New clues have surfaced in the case of the bombing of
the Golden Mosque which suggests that the claims of the
Bush administration are false. An article by Marc
Santora, (“One Year Later, Golden Mosque still in
Ruins”, New York Times) provides eyewitness testimony of
what really took place one year ago:
“A caretaker at the shrine described what happened on
the day of the attack, insisting on anonymity because he
was afraid that talking to an American could get him
killed. The general outline of his account was confirmed
by American and Iraqi officials.
The night before the explosion, he said, just before the
8 p.m. curfew on Feb. 21, 2006, on the Western calendar,
men dressed in commando uniforms like those issued by
the Interior Ministry entered the shrine.
The caretaker said he had been beaten, tied up and
locked in a room.
Throughout the night, he said, he could hear the sound
of drilling as the attackers positioned the explosives,
apparently in such a way as to inflict maximum damage on
the dome”.(NY Times)
Clearly, if the men were men dressed in “commando
uniforms like those issued by the Interior Ministry”,
then the logical place to begin an investigation would
be the Interior Ministry. But there's never been an
investigation and the caretaker has never been asked to
testify about what he saw on the night of the bombing.
However, if he is telling the truth, we cannot exclude
the possibility that paramilitary contractors
(mercenaries) or special-ops (intelligence) agents
working out of the Interior Ministry may have destroyed
the mosque to create the appearance of a nascent civil
Isn’t that what Bush wants to divert attention from the
occupation and to show that the real conflict is between
Shiites and Sunnis?
It's unlikely that the mosque was destroyed by “Sunni
insurgents or Al Qaida” as Bush claims. Samarra is
predominantly a Sunni city and the Sunnis have nearly as
much respect for the mosque as a cultural icon and
sacred shrine as the Shiites.
The Times also adds, “What is clear is that the attack
was carefully planned and calculated”.
True again. We can see from the extent of the damage
that the job was carried out by demolition experts and
not merely “insurgents or terrorists” with explosives.
Simple forensic tests and soil samples could easily
determine the composition of the explosives and point
out the real perpetrators.
The Times even provides a motive for the attack: “Bad
people used this incident to divide Iraq on a detestable
Bingo! The administration has repeatedly used the
incident to highlight divisions, incite acrimony, and
prolong the occupation.
Finally, the Times notes the similarities between 9-11
and the bombing of the Golden Mosque: “I can describe
what was done as exactly like what happened to the World
Trade Center.”(NY Times)
In fact, the bombing of the Golden Mosque is a
reenactment of September 11. In both cases an
independent investigation was intentionally quashed and
carefully-prepared narrative was immediately provided.
The government’s version of events has been critical in
supporting the extremist policies of the Bush
Just as 9-11 has been used to justify the enhanced
powers of the “unitary” president, the evisceration of
civil liberties, and a permanent state of war; so too,
the bombing of the Golden Mosque, has been used to
create a fictional narrative of deeply ingrained
sectarian animosity that has no historical precedent.
Both events need to be exposed by thorough and
The Bush administration has consistently abandoned the
limitations of “reality-based” politics. They govern
through demagoguery, force and deception. This is no
9-11 and the Golden Mosque are the foundation blocks in
the Pentagon’s “Strategic Information” program. It is a
war that is directed at the American people and it
relies heavily on the power of myth.
Forewarned is forearmed.