Michael Ledeen's relation to religion

From Powerbase
Jump to: navigation, search
[T]he politics of mass manipulation, the politics of myth and symbol—have become the norm in the modern world - Michael Ledeen, 1977[1]

Arguably, two of the most important of factions engaged in such processes of normalisation are the coalition of evangelical Christians often called the New Christian Right and the aggressive political ideologues commonly labeled Neoconservatives. According to Domke, Bush's brand of political fundamentalism uses "language and communication approaches that [are] structurally grounded in a conservative religious outlook but [are] political in content and application".[2]

Hugh Urban’s study[3] takes Domke's notion of political fundamentalism to examine the political uses of fundamentalism (defined as a "pattern of religious militance by which self-styled 'true believers' attempt to arrest the erosion of religious identity, fortify the borders of the religious community, and create viable alternatives to secular institutions and behaviors." [4]

He does this in terms of the “strategic manipulation of religious beliefs, narratives, and sentiments for political gain at home and for aggressive militarism overseas.” His study focuses specifically on Michael Ledeen as a particularly influential Neoconservative theorists, who has also written about the political uses of religion with a concentration on Europe. For Urban, Ledeen is a key figure in bringing the Christian Right and the Neoconservatives together to influence the Bush administration.

Considered by many the "Guru of the Neoconservatives" and "the driving philosophical force" behind the Bush administration's aggressive foreign policy, Ledeen has also appeared over seventy times on Pat Robertson's televised 700 Club, promoting the Neoconservatives' political plan for the Middle East before an audience of several million evangelical viewers. An outspoken admirer of the political philosophy of Niccolo Machiavelli, Ledeen believes firmly in the use of religion as a powerful political tool to arouse nationalist sentiment and to generate public support for otherwise unpopular things, such as war. Indeed, his favorite example of a great political leader is Moses, who, in his view, used his divine authority to impose a kind of "temporary dictatorship" upon his own people in order to lead them to the higher goal of freedom.[5]

Possibly this over states Ledeen's influence, and for Urban Ledeen engages in a neo-Machiavellian philosophy, but the essay contains no mention of Wilfredo Pareto, who is also an influence on Ledeen or at the very least helpful in understanding aspects of his approach and formulation of Machiavelli writings, which it must also be added have been demonised somewhat. Although Urban presents Ledeen as an actor amongst many, Urban identifies Ledeen’s influence in the policies of the Bush administration’s as encompassing the preemptive invasion of Iraq, the indefinite detention and abuse of prisoners, the CIA's network of secret prisons and the National Security Agency's program of warrantless wiretapping of U.S. citizens. Within this ambit he aims to identify a commonality and attribution rooted in the manipulation of religious sentiment and the—he uses the term ‘authoritarian’—political agenda of such radical Neoconservatives as Ledeen.

Drawing on the work of Stephen Halper and Jonathan Clarke in their (2004) ‘America Alone’ The Neo-Conservatives and the Global Order,[6] the Neoconservatives are defined as sharing three main characteristics:

(a) a belief that the human condition is defined as a choice between good and evil and that the true measure of political character is found in the willingness by the former to confront the latter.
(b) an assertion that the fundamental determinant of the relationship between states rests on military power and the willingness to use it.
(c) a focus on the Middle East and global Islam as the principal theater for American overseas power.

Stephen Halper is an American and a Stanford graduate with doctorates from both Oxford and Cambridge, and a Fellow of Magdalene College, Cambridge, and director of the Donner Atlantic Studies Programme in the university’s Centre of International Studies, who served in the White House and the State Department under Nixon, Ford, and Reagan and Jonathan Clarke is an Oxford graduate, who served in the British foreign service and is now a Foreign Affairs Scholar at the CATO Institute in Washington.

The Neoconservative’s outlook is also strongly related to the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War and Urban quotes Robert Kagan and William Kristol who argued that America now has a form of moral obligation to use its military power to spread its interests much in the manner of ancient Rome, for the purposes of "preserving and reinforcing America's benevolent global hegemony, which undergirded what George H. W. Bush rightly called a 'new world order.'" Irving Kristol is (again) categorised as the "godfather" of the Neoconservatives, presumably in the parental sense rather than cosa nostra terminology, and Fukuyama's widely-read (and widely repudiated) work, The End of History and the Last Man is also viewed as a contribution to the conceptualisation that history has a direction and that American-style democracy and free-market capitalism represent the final stage of human development; although, this is to a certain extent a re-working of Rostow’s modernisation theory, itself formulated through the work of Talcott Parsons.

Urban argues that an important characteristic of Neoconservativism that is often overlooked and which he argues is central is the belief in the importance of religion as ‘a necessary social force and political instrument.’ Although he does not attribute any actual religious belief in most of the Neoconservatives, he argues that they recognize the power of religious belief in ‘maintaining social order and inspiring nationalist sentiment’. Furthermore, he states that Irving Kristol’s position was to accommodate the religious right as a voting bloc, and that religion as such is not an inimical feature of conservatism.

For Urban, Ledeen is an important intellectual influence in the Neoconservative and this is attested to by his position as the "freedom chair" at the American Enterprise Institute, he also adds that Ledeen ‘has provided much of the theoretical justification for various Neoconservative agendas, including the pre-emptive invasion of Iraq’. But it could it be argued that most of Ledeen’s writing at the AEI are informal to the point of comedy and the Neoconservative justification is something of an illusion?

Quoting from William O. Beeman’s (2003) Who is Michael Ledeen? Urban states:

"Ledeen's ideas are repeated daily by such figures as Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Wolfowitz... He basically believes that violence in the service of the spread of democracy is America's manifest destiny. Consequently, he has become the philosophical legitimator of the American occupation of Iraq."[7]

And Thomas B. Edsall and Dana Milbank’s (2003) "White House's Roving Eye for Politics," which stated that Ledeen had been regularly consulted by Karl Rove, who said to him:

"...anytime you have a good idea, tell me"; more than once, in fact, "Ledeen has seen his ideas, faxed to Rove, become official policy or rhetoric."[8]

Urban locates Ledeen’s standpoint as based on his a Ph.D. work on European fascism and in particular Gabriele D'Annunzio, whose work he sees it a "model for much of the movements of mass politics of the 20th century", particularly in D'Annunzio's use of "the politics of mass manipulation, the politics of myth and symbol" in wedding religious symbolism with nationalist politics. Ledeen's attitudes on covert operations, he argues, stem from his broader political philosophy, which is drawn explicitly from Machiavelli.

In 1999 he published Machiavelli on Modern Leadership; Why Machiavelli's Iron Rules are as Timely and Important Today as Five Centuries Ago, which was then circulated among members of Congress who were attending a political strategy meeting shortly after its release. Ledeen makes an unapologetic call for a return to Machiavelli's harsh, but realistic advice, which he sees as the only means to save the U.S. from its decline into moral malaise and political ruin. The Clinton administration in his view marked the worst decay of strong American values and the surest sign that we need to return to Machiavelli's harsh political realism: "the corruption has spread far and wide" and "we will soon find ourselves in the same desperate crisis that drove Machiavelli to call for a new dictator to set things aright. ... [W]e need Machiavellian wisdom and leadership."

Machiavelli was not the only writer to stress the importance of false appearances in politics and allude to the ruthless nature of the game of power, but it is the willingness to deceive the public and the apparatus that surrounds this that is of interest; that and the psychological nature of those who are practitioners. Machiavelli’s career had been in the service of the Soderini government until it was destroyed by the Medici, he had been suspected of conspiracy against the Medici and arrested, and tortured, it was after this that he began, The Prince, in 1513. His position in terms of the Medici is somewhat analogous to Caligula’s relationship to Tiberius. In arguing that “a prince must not worry if he incurs reproach for his cruelty so long as he keeps his subjects united and loyal” Machiavelli is insinuating himself and exculpating the Medici to survive: the work was not published as such, it was circulated amongst ‘friends.’ There is also a general tendency to be selective when discussing Machiavelli, not limited to Ledeen.

Leeden’s interpretation seems largely opportunistic. His opinion that Machiavelli "is simply stating the facts: if you lead, there will be occasions when you will have to do unpleasant, even evil, things or be destroyed," (Ledeen, Machiavelli, p. 106) may well be true: but what is evil in this world? His argument that the "liberal malaise" of the Clinton era was, as Urban puts it, the kind of “severe social and political crisis that would call for such an entry into evil”, is logical dependent on evil’s definition, but that it means that “only violent and extremely unpleasant methods can bring us back virtue," (Ledeen, quoted by Urban in Heer and Wagner, "Man of the World.") is prima facie a Phyrric victory, and as Urban puts it:

….if the social "corruption" of the Clinton era called for "unpleasant measures" to restore our national virtue, then the attacks of September 11, 2001, would require more extreme measures still; in Ledeen's view 9/11, more than any other event, demands that our leaders now be willing to enter into evil.

Ledeen's many pronouncements on the Clinton administration are limited by several other factors, the political disaster of the subsequent administration being one of them and the fact that a great deal of the 'evil' perceived by the Republicans was manufactured as smears.[9]

One would have to wonder whether this is just another one of Ledeen’s chutzpah-laden political jibes. Was it not Clinton who attempted to kill Bin laden? What is the practical outworking of entering into ‘evil’ for its own sake compared to some eventual goal. Surely on this point defenders of Clinton could argue that any evil detected was merely the footprint of Machiavellian strides towards the same destiny Ledeen’s proscription offered? Is evil not a case of res ipsa loquitur in respect of undesirability, if in following Machiavelli, Clinton appeared “a man of compassion, a man of good faith, a man of integrity, a kind and a religious man” because “the common people are always impressed by appearances” how then is the "liberal malaise" deviating from a course Ledeen qua Machiavelli would recommend? Urban’s focus is on Ledeen's admiration of D'Annunzio and Machiavelli's recognition of the power of religion (the appearance of religious faith) as a key political tool. Urban, drawing on Machiavelli, notes that while this is extremely useful for inculcating patriotism and nationalist fervour among ‘the common people’, the actual practice of religious morality or compassion could be a real liability for the prince, “who must often act in quite irreligious and uncompassionate ways.”

A prince, therefore, need not necessarily have all the good qualities I mentioned above, but he should certainly appear to have them. I would even go so far as to say that if he has these qualities and always behaves accordingly he will find them harmful; if he only appears to have them they will render him service. He should appear to be compassionate, faithful to his word, kind, guileless, and devout ... But his disposition should be such that, if he needs to be the opposite, he knows how ... [A] prince, and especially a new prince, cannot observe all those things which give men a reputation for virtue, because in order to maintain his state, he is often forced to act in defiance of good faith, of charity, of kindness, of religion.[10]

Who are the common people who are fooled? Who are the politicians who will openly say that they follow Leeden in extolling the virtues of utter hypocrisy? If all-consuming expertise in the “art of war is all that is expected of a ruler” why does Ledeen support the Republicans? What does this mean for the notion of a divided Power Elite? Urban presents religion as a utility in terms of a form of ‘persuading one's citizens to die for a higher cause.’

Urban notes the extensive use of religious language in Bush's press statements and that Bush's chief speech writer was Michael Gerson, a graduate of Wheaton College (known as "the evangelical Harvard"), who wove numerous explicit and subtly double-coded references to scripture and Christian hymns throughout Bush's speeches and that:

In Bush's public discourse freedom is not simply a political concept; it is the gift of the Almighty to humankind and the irresistible direction of history. As he told the United Nations in November, 2001: "[H]istory has an Author who fills time and eternity with His purpose. We know that evil is real, but good will prevail against it."

For Urban the Neoconservatives' "end of history" idealism blends smoothly with an evangelical Christian vision of God's ultimate triumph over evil and that Implicit in these statements are the following basic articles of faith, which are at once religious and political in nature:

History is not a random series of events but has a specific direction
History is guided by God
The progress of history involves a fundamental conflict between Good and Evil and the ultimate triumph of the former over the latter;
The goal of history is freedom for all humankind
The United States is God's chosen agent in the spread of freedom

Weber and "the wreck of a land"

Religion's use and social function can be understood in terms of authority. It would be interesting to bring in Weber’s idea that the capacity of religion to inspire political responsibility can be measured in terms of its readiness to endorse the use of physical force to bear here. Particularly since after his psychological problems, Weber travelled to the US in 1904 and it influenced his conception of mass political parties, machine politics and the necessary role of bureaucracy in 'mass democracy.' [11]. Marianne Weber's biography argued that Weber believed that the purpose of political and social institutions was the development of an autonomous, free personality. Weber considered European political history as a struggle by different rulers “to appropriate the financial and military means that in feudal society were relatively dispersed.” [12]. For Weber the national units were the “historical ultimates that can never be integrated into more comprehensive and harmonious whole.” [13] This represents Weber’s antagonism towards socialism, especially the concept of international socialism. But (as regards some totalising US empire) Weber viewed the rationality of capitalism within national units as the optimum in terms of achieving freedom. Integration of the state vis-à-vis control of the economy, as socialism would imply, meant centralization and a consequent loss of freedom. According to Weber:

"…the state had 'nationalized' the possession of arms and of administrative means [from feudalism]. Socialization of the means of production would merely subject an as yet relatively autonomous economic life to the bureaucratic management of the state. The state would indeed become total, and Weber, hating bureaucracy as a shackle upon the liberal individual, felt that socialism would thus lead to a further serfdom." ([14]

What of the ‘iron shell’ of bureaucracy in Ledeen’s formulations? Weber’s observations on religion, the city, and political rulership, raise questions of the relationship between morality, politics, and science. Weber argued that actors have a will to believe in the ‘meaningful’ nature of their endeavours and that social science should examine this (alongside a more materialist conception). This type of exploration will of necessity confront the world of values imposed by the elite (even Weber’s early work confronted the ‘patriotism’ of the Junker land lords use of immigrant labour in its economic effects). Ledeen’s work takes the almost opposite route. The particular characteristics of ascetic Protestantism (again it should be noted that Weber drew on US Protestant sects) which led to the development of capitalism, bureaucracy and the rational-legal state, led, as outlined in Politics as a Vocation, to the 'Weber Thesis:' the definition of the state as an entity which claims a monopoly on the legitimate use of physical force, a definition still of relevance to modern political science. For Weber there are roughly three inner justifications, hence basic legitimations of domination.

(a) the authority of the “eternal yesterday”, i.e. of the mores sanctified through the unimaginably ancient recognition and habitual orientation to conform. This is "traditional" domination exercised by the patriarch and the patrimonial prince.
(b) the authority of the extraordinary and personal gift of grace (charisma), the absolutely personal devotion and personal confidence in revelation, heroism, or other qualities of individual leadership. This is “charismatic” domination, as exercised by the prophet or —in the field of politics— by the elected war lord, the plebiscitarian ruler, the great demagogue, or the political party leader.
(c) domination by virtue of “legality”, by virtue of the belief in the validity of legal statute and functional “competence” based on rationally created rules. In this case, obedience is expected in discharging statutory obligations. this is domination as exercised by the modern “servant of the state” and by all those bearers of power who in this respect resemble him. [15]

We might be tempted to say thanks to Ledeen we can add “the authority of forgery” — but his 'Grave New World'[16] was an early neoconservative foreign policy tract, which, when based at the Center for Strategic and International Studies set out three principal theses:

The concepts of traditional authority, including the centuries old notion of raison d'etat, have lost their sway in the United States [...] the courts are trying to claim authority for themselves [...] the media have adopted an ideology that serves their own interests and weakens their opponents within the United States [and] on occasion . . . even strengthens opponents of the United States.[...]The 'new class' of the news media wants to take for itself the privileges that previously adhered to the old ruling classes while stripping them of their traditional rights and privileges [...] the only real dispute among persons of intelligence and good will [...] is over [...] where to draw the line [...] on the First Amendment and determining [...] what obligations the citizenry must fulfill in exchange for the right to free speech.[17]

It seems implicit in Ledeen’s admiration of religion as propaganda that faith must be part of a delusion fostered for some ulterior motive. Ledeen, in Machiavelli, p. 109-110, quoting Machiavelli's Discourses, I, 12. states:

"a good state must rest on a religious foundation. To remain good, a state must 'above every other thing keep the ceremonies of their religion incorrupt and keep them always in their veneration, because one can have no greater indicator of the wreck of a land than to see the divine cult scorned. [A]long with good soldiers and good laws, the best state ... requires good religion.... fear of God underlies respect for men.... [Machiavelli] considers the Roman Catholic Church too corrupt and too soft. He wants a tougher, more virile version of the faith, which will inspire men to fight for the glory of their country." '"

In this Urban sees a co-mingling with Ledeen’s “often barely-concealed, admiration for such twentieth-century figures as D'Aununzio and the early fascists”, In Ledeen's writing on Moses, which focuses on the order of the slaughter of all the idolaters who worshiped the golden calf, but Ledeen confuses the acts of the Old Testament characters with God’s intentions, and omits the development of religion inherent in the Old and New Testaments. King David was an adulterer and a murderer: we are not enjoined to follow his example, and God did not desire the Jews to be ruled by a King (hence Nathan (the prophet) and Zadok (the priest) anoint Solomon King).

While Urban states that Ledeen's vision of foreign policy has been followed by the Neoconservatives in the Bush administration, he, and most likely others are further disturbed by Ledeen’s urging that the administration to go further still, and use military force in Iran. Urban quotes Ledeen to show that this view was promulgated in a 2004 interview with Pat Robertson’s 700 Club, mirroring the rhetoric of the cold war conspiracy theories spread by Ledeen and other members of a network of think tanks:

“Iran is the center of the terror network ... it’s the most dangerous of all the terror countries, and you really marvel that it’s taken us this long to get on board with what the president has wanted to do all along.” Robertson’s response to Ledeen’s call for war on Iran was a glowing affirmation: “We hope and pray that we’ll get some normal Americans in the State Department soon," thanking him for appearing once again on his show. “Thank you, Pat,” Ledeen replied, “it's always a treat.”

Urban offers indications that many in the US administration have seriously considered Ledeen’s plans for Iran along the lines of the transformative power of “creative destruction”. Although he cites Seymour M. Hersh’s April 17, 2006, New Yorker article this makes no mention of Ledeen. But possibly Pat Robertson needs some explanation — and while there is no exact comparison in the UK; the Rev. Ian Paisley on acid would seem a faint analogy — Greg Palast noted back in 1999,[18] that Robertson was appointed to the board of a US subsidiary of the Bank of Scotland (BOS). According to Palast’s investigation, Robertson, leader of the 1.2 million-strong ultra-right political front, the Christian Coalition, was adopted by BOS to tap into the “conspiracy wonks and charismatic evangelicals who” make up the Coalition with a view to managing their savings. He estimates Robertson’s own personal wealth as between $200m and $1 billion. Robertson’s linking of miracles to donations made to his organisation would seem a basic requisite for a US TV evangelist but Palast also notes the oddities that are also ‘channeled’ through Robertson’s prophetic trances: reporting, for example, that the “Kosovo Liberation Army sells heroin;” a technique adopted by Ledeen in his regular communications with the long dead James Jesus Angleton via a Ouija board. Robertson’s lucrative cable channel was sold in 1997 to Rupert Murdoch and more recently Palast has written on Robertson’s utterances: “Hugo Chávez thinks we're trying to assassinate him. I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it.”[19] In other interviews Palast has touched on the relationship of think tanks, universities and pressure groups to this nexus:

[Koch brothers] industries is a private company, and we don’t know how much they’re worth. But I would bet they are close to or more than [Bill] Gates. They are the guys who funded some of the big think tanks, George Mason University, Citizens for a Sound Economy, Cato Institute, all these fronts which created the huge intellectual Right. They’re the number one funders of the right wing. And by the way, their father founded the John Birch Society. What’s smart about the Kochs is they work their way through fronts.[20]

Leeden's use of Propaganda

According to Fred Landis’ (1987) Disinformationgate[21], Ledeen was involved with Oliver North in the Iran-Contra affair in the development and dissemination of disinformation, and as a broker in an Iran-Contra related deal between the US and Iran. He took a leave from Center for Strategic and International Studies to join the Reagan administration as an adviser to North on the National Security Council and in 1983 was on the planning group that led to the creation of the State Department's Office of Public Diplomacy:

In 1983, North was involved in the Grenada invasion. The media were excluded and U.S. Army psyops took over the local press and radio. The mainstream U.S. media got a bizarre white paper authored by Michael Ledeen, purportedly based upon the three tons of documentation the U.S. invaders seized.[22]

Landis outlines several media hoaxes perpetuated by Ledeen:

  • The notion that the CIA was destroyed under Carter
  • That there was a KGB mole in the Carter Administration
  • That the loss of Iran and Nicaragua was the work of the mole
  • That the Soviet Union is behind an International Terror Network
  • That it tried to kill the Pope
  • That the Libyans tried to kill President Reagan
  • That the Iranians tried to kill President Reagan
  • That Fidel Castro and Tomas Borge are major narcotics dealers

He also states that Ledeen was a founder of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs and was a major participant in the 1979 and 1984 Jonathan Institute conferences on terrorism, observing that both institutes have substantial ties to Mossad: “Indeed Ledeen is the missing link of covert operations by Mossad in the United States during the Reagan Administration.” He also notes that:

The most visible trail left by Mossad is the disinformation activities of Ledeen and friends. Michael Ledeen, Robert Moss and Claire Sterling were all speakers at the 1979 Jerusalem conference of the Jonathan Institute, a meeting which many Israeli intelligence agents attended. The speakers bemoaned the fall of Somoza and the Shah; Moss blasted the KGB; Ledeen pointed out that even the KGB would not have succeeded if it were not for their mole (unnamed) in the Carter Administration. Ledeen and his codisinformationists always raise the specter of a KGB role in Iran and Nicaragua, primarily to justify more U.S. covert action. Indeed one of the themes at the Jerusalem Conference was that Carter had destroyed the CIA.[23]

For Landis disinformation became one of the buzzwords of the Reagan Administration, covering news they did not like, including statements by Democrats, disinformation about Libya, Iran, Grenada and Nicaragua, including President Reagan’s accusation that Sandinista leaders were drug dealers:

What is not generally realized is that disinformation is always coordinated with other covert operations. Often a specific disinformation theme is deception and cover for other activities by the originator. Michael Ledeen has been involved in the dissemination of a number of disinformation stories which provide sufficient data to test this proposition.[24]

The CSIS is home to several individuals involved in Public Diplomacy including Richard V. Allen and Ray Cline, both founding members of the Committee on the Present Danger, an anti-Soviet group that promoted the policy of containment militarism. Cline served on the board of the Consortium for the Study of Intelligence, a decade-long project of the military strategy think tank, the National Strategy Information Center (NSIC), and was also a close associate of Maj. Gen. John K. Singlaub and the World Anti-Communist League. Admiral Thomas Moorer, also a director of the National Strategy Information Center, is on the board of the American Security Council (ASC) which runs the Coalition for Peace Through Strength, and the board of Western Goals, a group that focused on uncovering communist sympathizers in the U.S. The 1987-1988 Board of Trustees included Anne Armstrong, former ambassador to Great Britain and David Abshire who ran US Public Diplomacy.

Walter Raymond, who hired Ledeen, became the National Security Council's international communications director and special assistant to the President in 1983, as authorized by Reagan's NSDD-77 in January 1983. This called for strengthening the organization, planning, and coordination of the various aspects of the public diplomacy of the US. Raymond wrote in a number of NSC memoranda in May 1985 that he hoped a "Freedom Fighters International" movement would be formed. The group was to include the Nicaraguan contras, Afghan mujaheddin, Jonas Savimbi's UNITA in Angola, amongst other groups. NSDD-77 set up a cabinet-level Special Planing Group that was composed of representatives of the Defense and State Departments and the USIA headed by Charles Z. Wick. Richard Perle, also in 1983 recommended that Michael Ledeen be hired at the Department of Defense as a consultant on terrorism.[25]

Landis also states that Raymond also conducted outreach to private businessmen to support the public diplomacy program. According to a March 3, 1983 NSC memo, titled "Presidential Meeting with Funders," Raymond wrote that a number of businessmen and private officials were committed to raise private funds for U.S. propaganda activities in Europe. The individuals, who had been contacted by Wick, included: Dan McMichael (described as "Dick Scaife's man"), Mike Joyce of the Olin Foundation, Les Lenkowsky of the Smith Richardson Foundation, Leonard Sussman and Leo Cherne of Freedom House, David Rockefeller, Dwayne Andreas, Henry Salvatori, Rupert Murdoch, Carl Lindner, and Clint Murchison, Jr.

William Preston, Jr. and Ellen Ray's Disinformation and Mass Deception: Democracy as a Cover Story outline the process whereby:

Daniel James, Claire Sterling, and Michael Ledeen, among others, seem to pick up disinformation themes almost automatically. In fact, coordination between the development of propaganda and disinformation themes by the covert media assets, the overt propaganda machine, and the bevy of puppet journalists is quite calculated. A theme which is floated on one level— a feature item on VOA about Cuba for example—will appear within record time as a lead article in Reader's Digest, or a feature in a Heritage Foundation report, or a series of "exposes" by Moss and de Borchgrave or Daniel James in some reactionary tabloid like Human Events or the Washington Times or Inquirer. Then they will all be called to testify by Senator Denton's Subcommittee on Security and Terrorism, repeating one another's allegations as "expert witnesses." After that they are given credibility by the "respectable" Cold War publications like the National Review, Commentary, and the New Republic. And finally, since they have repeated the theme so many times it must be true, they are given the opportunity to write Op Ed pieces for the New York Times or the Washington Post.[26]

Preston and Ray's work is prefaced by a quote from John Le Carre which aptly sums up the formula of the propaganda:

God appointed America to save the world in any way that suits America. God appointed Israel to be the nexus of America's Middle Eastern policy and anyone who wants to mess with that idea is a) Anti-Semitic, b) anti-American, c) with the enemy and d) a terrorist.[27]


  1. Michael A. Ledeen, The First Duce: D'Annunzio at Fiume (Baltimore, MD, and London: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1977), p. 202.
  2. David Domke, God Willing? Political Fundamentalism in the White House, the "War on Terror," and the Echoing Press (London and Ann Arbor, MI: Pluto Press, 2004), p. 6.
  3. Urban, Hugh B. (2007) Machiavelli meets the religious right: Michael Ledeen, the neoconservatives, and the political uses of fundamentalism, Journal of Ecumenical Studies, January 1.
  4. Gabriel A. Almond, R. Scott Appleby, and Emmanuel Sivan, Strong Religion: The Rise of Fundamentalisms around the World [Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003.
  5. Urban, Hugh B. (2007) Machiavelli meets the religious right: Michael Ledeen, the neoconservatives, and the political uses of fundamentalism, Journal of Ecumenical Studies, January 1.
  6. Stephen Halper and Jonathan Clarke in their (2004) ‘America Alone’ The Neo-Conservatives and the Global Order, Cambridge University Press.
  7. William O. Beeman (2003) Who is Michael Ledeen? quoted in Urban.
  8. Thomas B. Edsall and Dana Milbank (2003) "White House's Roving Eye for Politics," Washington Post, March 19, p. A-1.
  9. Christopher Hayes (2007) The New Right-Wing Smear Machine, November 12, The Nation. The Hunting of the President: The Ten-Year Campaign to Destroy Bill and Hillary Clinton (2001), St. Martin's Griffin press, by Joe Conason and Gene Lyons aimed to reveal how Richard Mellon Scaife and Jerry Falwell bankrolled the smear campaign that led to scandals like Whitewater and Troopergate, neither of which, the authors claim, actually produced evidence of Clinton's misconduct.
  10. Urban (2007) Machiavelli meets the religious right: Michael Ledeen, the neoconservatives, and the political uses of fundamentalism, Journal of Ecumenical Studies, January 1.
  11. From Max Weber: Essays in Sociology, H.H. Gerth (Translator), C. Wright Mills, Oxford University Press, 1958, p. 18
  12. Gerth, Hans and C. Wright Mills, (1958) From Max Weber: Essays in Sociology, New York, Oxford University Press, p. 48
  13. Gerth, Hans and C. Wright Mills, (1958) From Max Weber: Essays in Sociology, New York, Oxford University Press, p. 48
  14. Gerth, Hans and C. Wright Mills, (1958) From Max Weber: Essays in Sociology, New York, Oxford University Press, p. 50.
  15. Weber, M. (1919) Politics Politics as a Vocation. Extracts at: http://www.mdx.ac.uk/www/study/xWeb.htm
  16. (1985) Grave New World, Michael A. Ledeen, New York: Oxford University Press
  17. See William Griffith (1985) New York Times May 19, review of Ledeen's Grave New World. This adds 'His discussion of the probable Soviet involvement in the plot to kill the Pope is surely correct'.
  18. Greg Palast (1999) 'I don't have to be nice to the spirit of the Antichrist'.
  19. Greg Palast (2006) The Assassination of Hugo Chávez, July 3.
  20. An Interview with Award Winning Muck Raker Journalist Greg Palast. (undated), Rob Kall, OpEdNews.com
  21. Fred Landis (1987) Disinformationgate, quoted from Iran-Contra and the Israeli Lobby from (2003) Covert Action the Roots of Terrorism, Ellen Ray and William H. Schaap, Ocean Press], Covert Action Information Bulletin 27.
  22. Fred Landis (1987) Disinformationgate, quoted from Iran-Contra and the Israeli Lobby from (2003) Covert Action the Roots of Terrorism, Ellen Ray and William H. Schaap, Ocean Press], Covert Action Information Bulletin 27.
  23. Fred Landis (1987) Disinformationgate, quoted from Iran-Contra and the Israeli Lobby from (2003) Covert Action the Roots of Terrorism, Ellen Ray and William H. Schaap, Ocean Press], Covert Action Information Bulletin 27.
  24. Fred Landis (1987) Disinformationgate, quoted from Iran-Contra and the Israeli Lobby from (2003) Covert Action the Roots of Terrorism, Ellen Ray and William H. Schaap, Ocean Press], Covert Action Information Bulletin 27.
  25. Democrats' Dilemma: Deeper than Al Gore, August 4, 1999, Consortiumnews.com
  26. William Preston, Jr. and Ellen Ray (1983) Disinformation and Mass Deception: Democracy as a Cover Story, Covert Action Information Bulletin, Spring-Summer, No. 19, p. 3–12.
  27. John LeCarre, London Times, January 15, 2003.