It used to be the honorific of Frank Wisner, the first chief of political warfare for the Central Intelligence Agency, used to describe the C.I.A.’s plethora of front organizations and newsmedia stooges that he was capable of playing (like a great organ with many keyboards) for synthesizing any propaganda tune that was needed for the day. See Operation Mockingbird (http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/JFKmockingbird.htm ).
The fact that such an omnipresent Message-Machine is not ancient history but very much current affairs, is underscored by this NYT headline “Behind TV Analysts, Pentagon’s Hidden Hand”, Sunday, April 20, 2008 (http://tinyurl.com/6qhgfg).
Therefore, today, I use the term ‘Mighty Wurlitzer’ as a metaphor to pluralistically refer to the same message-machine, i.e., the intelligence apparatus for manufacturing consent and controlling dissent, and its concomitant conscious manipulation of peoples’ thoughts, feelings, actions and in-actions, in order to serve the primacy interests of the ruling-elite. The latter are, invariably, also the de facto owners of the complete messaging-system now even more globally ubiquitous than when Frank Wizner played the world for a fool.
This ‘grand organ’ is now able to even more effectively synthesize, implant, and reinforce, all the right set of beliefs (myths) among the entire world’s public – by suitably combining ‘events’ with imaginative ‘expos’ writing – which appropriately primes the world populations to acquiesce to the oligarchic agendas. While playing this orchestra is now an integral part of all state-craft, its major musical themes are entirely determined by the behind the scenes owners of the system. While some might refer to the underlying techniques as propaganda and psy-ops, ‘Mighty Wurlitzer’ singularly captures the messaging-system controlled under a unified purpose of command which is both highly compartmentalized, and cellularized. Only the Mighty Wurlitzer knows the entire tune.
To barely catch a glimpse of how it’s partially done, the following description by Col. Fletcher Prouty from the Preface to the first edition of his 1973 book “The Secret Team” is instructive:
‘There is another category of writer and self-proclaimed authority on the subjects of secrecy, intelligence, and containment. This man is the suave, professional parasite who gains a reputation as a real reporter by disseminating the scraps and “Golden Apples” thrown to him by the great men who use him. This writer seldom knows and rarely cares that many of the scraps from which he draws his material have been planted, that they are controlled leaks, and that he is being used, and glorified as he is being used, by the inside secret intelligence community.
Allen Dulles had a penchant for cultivating a number of such writers with big names and inviting them to his table for a medieval style luncheon in that great room across the hall from his own offices in the old CIA headquarters on the hill overlooking Foggy Bottom. Here, he would discuss openly and all too freely the same subjects that only hours before had been carefully discussed in the secret inner chambers of the operational side of that quiet Agency. In the hands of Allen Dulles, “secrecy” was simply a chameleon device to be used as he saw fit and to be applied to lesser men according to his schemes. It is quite fantastic to find people like Daniel Ellsberg being charged with leaking official secrets simply because the label on the piece of paper said “top secret,” when the substance of many of the words written on those same papers was patently untrue and no more than a cover story. Except for the fact that they were official lies, these papers had no basis in fact, and therefore no basis to be graded top secret or any other degree of classification. Allen Dulles would tell similar cover stories to his coterie of writers, and not long thereafter they would appear in print in some of the most prestigious papers and magazines in the country, totally unclassified, and of course, cleverly untrue.
In every case, the chance for complete information is very small, and the hope that in time researchers, students, and historians will be able to ferret out truth from untruth, real from unreal, and story from cover story is at best a very slim one. Certainly, history teaches us that one truth will add to and enhance another; but let us not forget that one lie added to another lie will demolish everything. This is the important point. Consider the past half century. How many major events — really major events — have there been that simply do not ring true? How many times has the entire world been shaken by alarms of major significance, only to find that the events either did not happen at all, or if they did, that they had happened in a manner quite unlike the original story?’
Coldly implicit in Col. Prouty’s afore-quoted empirical statement: “and the hope that in time researchers, students, and historians will be able to ferret out truth from untruth, real from unreal, and story from cover story is at best a very slim one”, is the Machiavellian notion of sewing faits accomplis in current affairs by straight-jacketing all public discourse in deception, and leaving the ferreting out of ‘truth’ to future generation of scholars and historians when separating myths from the calculus of hegemony can at best only be a bogus academic exercise entirely irrelevant to reversing the faits accomplis already sewn. See Convince People of Absurdities and get them Acquiescing to Atrocities: The Enduring Power of Machiavellian Political Science (http://tinyurl.com/historys-actors).
A pertinent example of Col. Fletcher Prouty’s fabricated leaks noted above, is Wikileaks’ recent disclosures of ‘The Afghanistan Papers’. Wikileaks has always been a rather transparent Mighty Wurlitzer ops. It is trivial to see through the absurdity of its existence despite it promoting itself as being a sort of watchdog upon the empire, and therefore, ostensibly, being inimical to its unbridled quest for “full spectrum dominance” – just like Al Jazeera television based in Qatar, which, absurdly enough, exists in the same nation as America’s CENTCOM headquarters, but still operates unchallenged bringing all the visual details of the gory crimes of empire inflicted by CENTCOM and its NATO Allies upon innocent Muslim civilians. The intended purpose of course being social engineering – the sine qua non for waging modern warfare upon civilian populations which can span the gamut from manufacturing consent to manufacturing pretexts and ripen conditions for “clash of civilizations” – in order to sustain the otherwise untenable “imperial mobilization”.
How can one tell manufactured reportage and fabricated leaks from the real stuff? How can one see through the Mighty Wurlitzer?
As daunting as it might appear to the mainstream television watcher, it is in fact rather straightforward for those unencumbered by blind faith in governments and its statecraft. Just look for the core-lies and unquestioned axioms of empire that are typically retained in the “leaks” and reportage which, in order to sound credible, often openly expose what is mostly already known anyway or judiciously employ some variation of “Limited Hangout” wrapped in a veneer of dissent or ‘freedom of the press’.
It’s the exact same recipe as is used by all the other fabricated and controlled dissent assets of empire when they are not outright spinning patent lies, for spinning half-truths requires far more brilliance. It is not for nothing that James Jesus Angleton, Head of CIA Counter Intelligence 1954-1974, is quoted in the 1992 BBC-2 Documentary on Operation Gladio: “Deception is a state of mind and the mind of the State”.
The core-lies retained in the recent Wikileaks’ disclosure – which I call ‘the Afghanistan Papers’ – is to once again reaffirm that there is a real nemesis called “Osama Bin Laden”, that the “war on terror” is real, that it is being inflicted upon the West from Pakistan-Iran nexus, and to re-substantiate the handoff of former President George W. Bush’s clairvoyance to the Obama Administration that “If another September 11 style attack is being planned, it probably is being plotted in Pakistan, and not Afghanistan”! That, when such a “planned” attack transpires, it “will make Sept. 11 pale by comparison”. See: ‘Bin Laden’: Key enabler of “imperial mobilization” and nuclear attack on Iran-Pakistan (http://print-humanbeingsfirst.blogspot.com/2008/04/binladen-keyenabler-nuclearattack.html).
The successful handoff of “imperial mobilization” to Pakistan and Iran, now further sprightly underscored by Wikileaks’ documents, is once again demonstrated by President Obama’s Secretary of State Hilary Clinton’s recent remark to the BBC: “There are still additional steps that we are asking and expecting the Pakistanis to take. But there is no doubt in anyone’s mind that should an attack against the United States be traced to be Pakistani, it would (have) a very devastating impact on our relationship”. And that is merely just another echo from the Obama Administration of what the Pakistanis themselves have been made to parrot the past 9 years, as demonstrated by its own Ambassador’s remark in 2008: ‘[On] Wednesday, a media report quoted Pakistan’s envoy to Washington as saying that US leaders had warned Islamabad that if the United States suffered an attack that was traced back to Pakistan Washington would retaliate. “Those (statements) have been made,” Ambassador Hussain Haqqani told editors and reporters at The Washington Post. “We want to make sure that it doesn’t come to that.”’. To show Pakistan’s unflinching willingness to do as much more as was asked, the Ambassador of Pakistan had further stated in an interview to Reuters in 2008:
‘Pakistan would attack Osama bin Laden the moment it had reliable intelligence on the Al Qaeda leader’s whereabouts, Ambassador Husain Haqqani said on Wednesday. Haqqani also said he was confident Pakistan could help foil any Al Qaeda plans to attack the United States, although he did not know of any right now. “A cooperative effort between all the allies, and that includes Afghanistan, Pakistan and the United States and NATO – I think we can thwart any potential plans for an attack,” Haqqani said in an interview with Reuters. He said Pakistani intelligence had helped defeat many of the “several dozen” Al Qaeda plots detected worldwide since the September 11, 2001, attacks, but government officials knew of no immediate threats to the United States. Haqqani said Pakistan would act on its own against Al Qaeda if necessary. “If Pakistan, Afghanistan or the United States had specific intelligence on the location of Osama bin Laden, they would have acted on it. No reservations would have come in the way of action on that, and none will even in the future,” he said. “If any of us had that actionable intelligence we would all act. We would act separately, we would act in tandem, we would act cooperatively – we would act.”’
So, could these ‘Afghanistan Papers’ have been any more convenient as a casus belli, carrying forth the same core-lies now entering its tenth year? If Wikileaks’ dramatization grabbing all the world’s headlines isn’t an officially sponsored “modified limited hangout” for exactly that purpose of reinforcing the core-lies, then the White House not even bothering to stop the New York Times – whose own motto is ‘All the news that’s fit to print’ – from publishing it, even giving it “all got gold stars” as the Salon put it, is downright inexplicable: “So, uh … why was all of this information classified and top secret? If it’s old news, and it just confirms what “everyone” already knows, what was the rationale for keeping it classified and calling WikiLeaks all sorts of mean names for publishing it?”
What would it matter afterwards, after Iran and Pakistan have been bombed, what were lies and what was truth? Did the bogus mea culpa by the 2005 Presidential Commission on intelligence failure, the Iraq Study Group’s disingenuous conclusion: “We conclude that the intelligence community was dead wrong in almost all of its prewar judgments about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction. This was a major intelligence failure,” reverse the decimation of Iraq? Did the New York Times 2008 revelation of Pentagon’s Message Machine after ‘all the barbers in town already knew it’, return back to its silos each and every cruise missile that was dropped upon the innocent civilians of Iraq?
That is the real import of the craftsmanship of the Mighty Wurlitzer!
Those attempting to see through its fog of deception when a fait accompli can still be averted – before missiles have left their silos, before pen has been put to legalisms – are labeled as ‘kooks’ and ‘conspiracy theorists’, their efforts infiltrated (as in cointelpro), and energies defocussed by introducing what’s cynically called “beneficial cognitive diversity”. See Anatomy of Conspiracy Theory (http://tinyurl.com/cognitive-diversity).
As this is a self-study note – because satisfying one’s curiosity by a modicum of due diligence is the order of business rather than reading synopsis and excerpts – the following suggested minimal reading is useful in comprehending the pernicious role of intelligence assets which perpetually infiltrate the media and the academe. You will learn how society is manipulated in the direction of its ruling-elite’s agendas, how ordinary peoples serving in positions of influence in the institutions of the ruling-elite involuntarily succumb to freely promulgating the oligarchs’ agendas, and most importantly, why it is almost impossible for ordinary decent peoples, too busy pursuing their ‘American Dreams’, to perceive this sophisticated manipulation which goes on 24×7.
- Hugh Wilford, The Mighty Wurlitzer, How the CIA Played America, Harvard Univ. Press 2008.
- Carl Bernstein, THE CIA AND THE MEDIA, Rolling Stone, October 20, 1977 (http://tinyurl.com/3ykyhd).
- Richard Keeble, Hacks And Spooks, March 3, 2006 (http://tinyurl.com/mz7z6d).
- William Schaap, attorney, expert witness on media disinformation, sworn court testimony, Volume IX, November 30, 1999. Video (http://tinyurl.com/ng8w9s), Transcript at King Center (also available here).
- Zahir Ebrahim, Prisoners of the Cave, 2003, Chapter 6: How does the US News Media end up towing the line? (http://tinyurl.com/nnk26a). The Military-Industrial-Media corporate complex with interlocked board memberships, and opaque stock ownership by institutional investors the largest of which is the U.S. Government (see Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports at http://CAFR1.com), represent the same vested interests which control the Policy Planning of the CIA and the Pentagon as the Primacy Imperatives of the sole superpower, the United States of America. These interlocking for-profit corporations and their majority stock-holders who profit from war, primacy, and hegemony, also own and control the news media, news distribution, the entertainment industry, and essentially all outlets of exercising sophisticated Hegellian Dialectics of Mass Deception upon a not too knowledgeable population. With increasing consolidation of information synthesis, packaging, and delivery into fewer and fewer corporate hands owned and controlled by a handful of people, the ideological alignment of their interests makes a sham of the much touted ‘fourth pillar of democracy’. Therefore, operationally speaking, the government is almost trivially able to influence news to manufacture consent for its primacy imperatives in the same way that the oligarchs are able to select the government to implement their agendas in an entirely bipartisan way. Rather than the White House issue daily directives to the editorial staff of major news organizations as in any vanilla dictatorship, the editorial staff and the corporate owners a priori know “All the news that’s fit to print.” With the right placement of assets and stooges in the news organizations, the tactical synchronization of worldwide propaganda is made superlatively effective – as the ‘War on Terror’ against ‘Militant Islam’. Also see Chapter 4: The Role of Mass Media in Empire Building (http://tinyurl.com/m5mbrl).
- Additionally, see the watered down ‘non-conspiratorial’ model of self-censorship to stay gainfully employed, and the self-selection of like-minded blind-sighted journalist-editorial-staff in any news organization as per the often unstated overarching imperatives of the news organization in which one automatically knows what flourishes and what doesn’t, in Noam Chomsky’s Manufacturing Consent, 1986. Chomsky’s treatise is applicable more to the incestuous self-censorship of shallow but well-intentioned mental-midgets – the bulwark of the newsmedia – rather than the calculating mercenarial agendists and vulgar propagandists selectively planted in key positions for psy-ops by the ‘Mighty Wurlitzer’. More insidious than “manufacturing consent” however, is “manufacturing dissent”, something which Noam Chomsky has unfortunately written little about, leaving it to his nondescript student to unravel in “Weapons of Mass Deception – The Master Social Science” (http://tinyurl.com/la5bv6). Witness the manufactured dissent in real action wherein it retains the same core-axioms as manufactured consent, in “My beef with the stellar congressman Hon. Ron Paul” September 15, 2009 (http://tinyurl.com/nn6dth). Also see “Open Letter to Hon. Ron Paul Supporters” October 29, 2008 (http://tinyurl.com/lawra8).
- What permits all this manipulation and deception to occur? It is the deliberate gaping-hole left in the ‘fourth pillar of democracy’ by the founders of the world’s greatest modern Republic on paper – a colossus in practice which has today taken over the world with its systems, values, and McDonalds backed by McDonnell Douglas (http://tinyurl.com/mcwwuv) whereby, the once ‘hidden hand’ of the market which went so hand-in-hand with its ‘hidden fist’ is now nakedly un-gloved – as explained in Prisoners of the Cave, Chapter 7: Resistance to Empire – New Directions (http://tinyurl.com/m22r3s).
- See the Message-Machine in its full-blooming operation today in “Anatomy of Modern Lies and the Merchants of Death” (http://tinyurl.com/ldr8mp).
- See the spin on Hugh Wilford’s book the Mighty Wurlitzer by Michael Warner in Intelligence in Recent Public Literature, as if willful public deception for a ‘greater cause’ was only the moral and categorical imperative of the past very judiciously engaged in by superlative ‘presidents and key Congressmen [who] held “a fairly sophisticated point of view” that understood that “the public exhibition of unorthodox views was a potent weapon against monolithic communist uniformity of action.” The CIA subsidized freedom in order to expose the lies of tyrants—and then winced silently when that freedom led to an occasional bite on America’s hand.’ The full URL is revealing: https://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/csi-publications/csi-studies/studies/vol52no2/pdf/U-%20Studies%2052-2%20-Jun08-MightyWurlitzer-Web.pdf (http://tinyurl.com/nrn8yq)
- This self-study would be incomplete without acquiring some familiarity with the name Edward Bernays. See his 1928 seminal classic on the art of behavior manipulation and involuntary persuasion titled ‘Propaganda‘ (http://tinyurl.com/ls7fcs). Read it online here. Watch Bernays describe his mind-craft briefly here. With more time on one’s hands, watch this four hours long, four-part BBC4 documentary titled “The Century of Self” featuring the work of Edward Bernays, the Freud family, and the political psychoanalysts: part-1 (http://tinyurl.com/yfh9gfa), part-2, part-3, part4. These mass manipulation techniques for both “engineering of consent” and its dialectical “manufacturing of dissent” are part and parcel of the Mighty Wurlitzer’s ordinary persuasion toolkit. More specialized psychological tools are continually explored and refined in many think-places in the West under the sanitized vernacular of “Human Relations” and “Public Relations”, including presumably at the Tavistock Institute in London. Listen to Aldous Huxley’s take on where mind-behavior manipulation techniques are rapidly headed, wherein people will simply end up loving their own servitude, titled “The Ultimate Revolution” (http://tinyurl.com/ahuxley), March 20, 1962, at Berkeley.
- Today, the Edward Bernays led comprehension of mass psychology, and its sophisticated manipulation as an essential instrument of state-craft ( http://tinyurl.com/endless-mindfck ) – the social “engineering of consent” – is empirical, and quite diabolical. This is betrayed, for instance, not only in the 1996 book by Zbigniew Brzezinski titled “The Grand Chessboard” where he noted his now famous maxim “Democracy is inimical to imperial mobilization”, but also in the 1997-98 report by the so called “Terrorism Study Group” which accurately predicted the chain reaction of reaction-response cycle to ‘Catastrophic Terrorism’, predicated upon the psychological axiom ‘Public Assumptions’ Shape Views of History: “Such presumptions are beliefs (1) thought to be true (although not necessarily known to be true with certainty), and (2) shared in common within the relevant political community. The sources for such presumptions are both personal (from direct experience) and vicarious (from books, movies, and myths).” The following passage from History commons ( http://tinyurl.com/mlzfns ) lends prima facie evidence ( http://tinyurl.com/6qhgfg ) to how the Mighty Wurlitzer diabolically harnessed the ‘searing’ or ‘molding’ event of 911, the “new Pearl Harbor”, to successfully implant the public myths for the never ending “War on Terror” ( http://tinyurl.com/dmr8gr ) deemed necessary by political psychoanalysts for overcoming the democratic instinctual aversion to “imperial mobilization”:“An act of catastrophic terrorism that killed thousands or tens of thousands of people and/or disrupted the necessities of life for hundreds of thousands, or even millions, would be a watershed event in America’s history. It could involve loss of life and property unprecedented for peacetime and undermine Americans’ fundamental sense of security within their own borders in a manner akin to the 1949 Soviet atomic bomb test, or perhaps even worse. Constitutional liberties would be challenged as the United States sought to protect itself from further attacks by pressing against allowable limits in surveillance of citizens, detention of suspects, and the use of deadly force. More violence would follow, either as other terrorists seek to imitate this great ‘success’ or as the United States strikes out at those considered responsible. Like Pearl Harbor, such an event would divide our past and future into a ‘before’ and ‘after.’”
- Another immediately pertinent text-book example of Edward Bernays’ influence on social engineering with the help of the Mighty Wurlitzer, is the psychological mantras and existential pretexts created to rapidly bring the “Ultimate Revolution” to fruition with microchip RFID implants in human beings. See Swine Flu: The Ultimate Revolution in the Making and the Note on Myth Construction ( http://tinyurl.com/2byhwml ). Climategate is clearly yet another Mighty Wurlitzer operation: see Between Global Warming and Global Governance – Concern for Environment is a ‘Hegelian Mind Fck’! ( http://tinyurl.com/cb74c6 ).
- Finally, the question of reform continually arises among the antagonists of the Mighty Wurlitzer, the idealists, and the “malcontents”. They would rather pretend that some rational “reform” can do away with the Mighty Wurlitzer altogether. The following response to the question raised by Robert Jensen, Professor of Journalism, “Can journalism schools be relevant in a world on the brink?”, September 15, 2009, injects a doze of reality-check: “Re-titling can perhaps make the problem-space more apparent: Can journalism schools be relevant in a New World Order of one-world government?” ( http://tinyurl.com/kpgkth ). Edward Bernays brilliant successes at mass behavior manipulation has conclusively shown that masses are typically not motivated into action by information, rather, by appeal to their irrational sub-conscious mind, to their fears, and that they remain quite susceptible under hidden emotional manipulation. It appears to this cynic, that unless the much wonted fourth pillar of democracy, journalism – the watchdog upon the corridors of power – adopts these same manipulative tactics of the oligarchs in order to even begin to play its theoretically assigned role in a theoretical constitutional republic, it is destined to largely remain a tool of signaling and communication among the elite themselves, and of the masses’ manipulation, regardless of any window dressing of reform! To substantiate this egregious point, see table 3 titled “APPROXIMATE USE OF MEDIA” in Zbigniew Brzezinski’s seminal book “Between Two Ages – America’s Role in the Technetronic Era”, page 14 ( http://tinyurl.com/nqlxk5 ). The readership data for the printed press like the NYT, while quantitatively dated, is qualitatively even more attuned to the hypnotic reality of television mass media today where useful advance information can sometimes be gleaned in the inside pages of the elite’s own printed press – provided one has learnt how to parse the elite’s language – bur rarely if ever on mass television.
When Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives to orchestrate a one-world government is the ingrained doctrine among the ‘ubermensch’ and their instruments, it is trivial to come up with any rationalism for even the most atrocious barbarism inflicted upon the ‘untermenschen’. Convince the public of absurdities and one can get them to acquiesce to any atrocity – from outright murderous invasion of other nations to torturing their civilians in the most horrendous conditions, to getting their own citizens to accept giving up their civil liberties without a sigh. Nothing new here – ‘standard 007 issue’ of the hectoring hegemons! That same Mighty Wurlitzer and its paymasters however would be chewing on cyanide capsules in another situation. It is best not to forget that. Baboons wear no clothes – even when they steal the sunglasses.
Originally published at Project HumanBeingsFirst.org.
Zahir Ebrahim, an ordinary researcher and writer on contemporary geopolitics, a minor justice activist, grew up in Pakistan, studied EECS at MIT, engineered for a while in high-tech Silicon Valley (patents here), and retired early to pursue other responsible interests. His maiden 2003 book was rejected by six publishers and can be read on the web at http://PrisonersoftheCave.org. He may be reached at http://Humanbeingsfirst.org.