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Why Disinformation Works

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Source: Paul Craig Roberts

Have you ever wondered how the government's misinformation gains traction?

What I have noticed is that whenever a stunning episode occurs, such as 9/11 or the Boston Marathon bombing, most everyone whether on the right or left goes along with the government's explanation, because they can hook their agenda to the government's account.

The leftwing likes the official stories of Muslims creating terrorist mayhem in America, because it proves their blowback theory and satisfies them that the dispossessed and oppressed can fight back against imperialism.

The patriotic rightwing likes the official story, because it proves America is attacked for its goodness or because terrorists were allowed in by immigration authorities and nurtured by welfare, or because the government, which can't do anything right, ignored plentiful warnings.

Whatever the government says, no matter how problematical, the official story gets its traction from its compatibility with existing predispositions and agendas.

In such a country, truth has no relevance. Only agendas are important.

A person can see this everywhere. I could write volumes illustrating how agenda-driven writers across the spectrum will support the most improbable government stories despite the absence of any evidence simply because the government's line can be used to support their agendas.

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For example, a conservative writer in the June issue of Chronicles uses the government's story about the alleged Boston Marathon bombers, Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, to argue against immigration, amnesty for illegals, and political asylum for Muslims. He writes: "Even the most high-tech security systems imaginable will inevitably fail as they are overwhelmed by a flood of often hostile and dangerous immigrants."

The writer accepts all of the improbable government statements as proof that the brothers were guilty. The wounded brother who was unable to respond to the boat owner who discovered him and had to be put on life support somehow managed to write a confession on the inside of the boat.

As soon as the authorities have the brother locked up in a hospital on life support, "unnamed officials" and "authorities who remain anonymous" are planting the story in the media that the suspect is signing written confessions of his guilt while on life support. No one has seen any of these written confessions. But we know that they exist, because the government and media say so.

The conservative writer knows that Dzhokhar is guilty because he is Muslim and a Chechen. Therefore, it does not occur to the writer to wonder about the agenda of the unnamed sources who are busy at work creating belief in the brothers' guilt. This insures that no juror would dare vote for acquittal and have to explain it to family and friends. Innocent until proven guilty in a court has been thrown out the window. This should disturb the conservative writer, but doesn't.

The conservative writer sees Chechen ethnicity as an indication of guilt even though the brothers grew up in the US as normal Americans, because Chechens are "engaged in anti-Russian jihad." But Chechens have no reason for hostility against the US. As evidence indicates, Washington supports the Chechens in their conflict with Russia. By supporting Chechen terrorism, Washington violates all of the laws that it ruthlessly applies to compassionate Americans who give donations to Palestinian charities that Washington alleges are run by Hamas, a Washington-declared terrorist organization.

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It doesn't occur to the conservative writer that something is amiss when martial law is established over one of America's main cities and its metropolitan area, 10,000 heavily armed troops are put on the streets with tanks, and citizens are ordered out of their homes with their hands over their heads, all of this just to search for one wounded 19-year old suspect. Instead the writer blames the "surveillance state" on "the inevitable consequences of suicidal liberalism" which has embraced "the oldest sin in the world: rebellion against authority." The writer is so pleased to use the government's story line as a way of indulging the conservative's romance with authority and striking a blow at liberalism that he does not notice that he has lined up against the Founding Fathers who signed the Declaration of Independence and rebelled against authority.

I could just as easily have used a left-wing writer to illustrate the point that improbable explanations are acceptable if they fit with predispositions and can be employed in behalf of an agenda.

Think about it. Do you not think that it is extraordinary that the only investigations we have of such events as 9/11 and the Boston Marathon bombing are private investigations, such as this investigation of the backpacks.

There was no investigation of 9/11. Indeed, the White House resisted any inquiry at all for one year despite the insistent demands from the 9/11 families. NIST did not investigate anything. NIST simply constructed a computer model that was consistent with the government's story. The 9/11 Commission simply sat and listened to the government's explanation and wrote it down. These are not investigations.

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Dr. Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury for Economic Policy in the Reagan Administration. He was associate editor and columnist with the Wall Street Journal, columnist for Business Week and the Scripps Howard News Service. He is a contributing editor to Gerald Celente's Trends Journal. He has had numerous university appointments. His books, The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the West is available (more...)

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And I use that word as a non-Jew, because we have ... by Richard Girard on Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 3:26:21 PM
Great perception....And we know that the state of ... by yunus Luebben on Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 3:42:45 PM
In California, a semester studying the Constitutio... by Neal C Chambers on Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 11:19:43 PM
was taught in the public schools, the first respon... by Lois Gagnon on Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 4:23:26 PM
Speculating about who's making money from an event... by Simon Leigh on Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 5:58:23 PM
The right wing would be in serious trouble if crit... by Neal C Chambers on Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 11:22:16 PM
Have you tried watching US network TV recently? &n... by Derryl Hermanutz on Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 4:25:48 PM
things I have seen comes in the form of using "rea... by comncents on Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 6:56:43 PM
I thought Paul Craig Roberts was going to quote my... by Joe Giambrone on Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 4:27:56 PM
regurgitate what they hear most.Unfortunately, wha... by Mark Adams JD/MBA on Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 4:45:49 PM
Recent research suggests that it's genetic,  ... by Simon Leigh on Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 5:52:10 PM
Anyone that examines what is presented knows bette... by Dwight Boness on Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 7:10:02 PM
and I also  have the same  issue with IR... by Mark Sashine on Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 7:48:29 PM
If the Greatest Generation is so great why are the... by charles mcgee on Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 9:29:06 PM
They have an agenda their eyes are glued forward a... by Lance Ciepiela on Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 9:49:25 PM
To say that leftists believe in 9-11 because it af... by Neal C Chambers on Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 11:05:15 PM
They really believe 9/11 could have happened just ... by Ron Brassfield on Friday, May 24, 2013 at 10:06:29 AM
"1)  Majority know it was orchestrated from w... by Davey Jones on Thursday, May 30, 2013 at 1:54:21 PM
 The depiction of the Right Wing is also quit... by Neal C Chambers on Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 11:11:21 PM
 The premise that truth is irrelevant in Amer... by Neal C Chambers on Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 11:11:59 PM
Please keep telling it like it is, Dr. Roberts. &n... by Stan Stanfield on Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 11:46:05 PM
Wordsworth referred to "willing suspension of disb... by Michael David Morrissey on Friday, May 24, 2013 at 7:20:02 AM
is called  a DELIBERATE SELF _ INFLICTED ... by Mark Sashine on Friday, May 24, 2013 at 7:37:26 AM
Although this article no doubt appeals to the narr... by S. Juniper on Friday, May 24, 2013 at 9:08:38 AM
...between "random" details and essential ones. It... by Ron Brassfield on Friday, May 24, 2013 at 10:10:03 AM
Finally, a fellow voice of reason! We can only hop... by Andrew Schettino on Friday, May 24, 2013 at 3:24:25 PM
I think at some point, critical thinking needs to ... by anna kakol on Friday, May 24, 2013 at 11:34:33 AM
This conspiracy crap is nonsense. Has our or any g... by Andrew Schettino on Friday, May 24, 2013 at 3:12:54 PM
...if somehow one could weave all the agendas toge... by Daniel Penisten on Monday, May 27, 2013 at 7:31:18 PM