Lies & The Propaganda Of Fear

To read the posts on the other issues please use the links named after the different page-subtitles.

For additional information see also the sections
Lies & The Propaganda Of Fear

Sam Gardiner: Bush Administration Psychological Warfare Against the U.S.? - Flashback: Truth from These Podia

VIDEO Operation Saddam - America's Propaganda War

Privatizing The Truth; Bush's War On Information

Rumsfeld and Cheney Revive Their 70's Terror Playbook

Two VIDEOS: A Lesson On Propaganda - Bush and Rumsfeld Speeches On The War On Terror (02-17-2006)

Manipulating the American Psyche: Setting And Resetting The TERROR Trap

Fabricating Intelligence as a Justification for War: "The Intelligence and Facts were fixed around the Policy"

Depiction of Threat Outgrew Supporting Evidence

Tom Ridge's Mea Culpa: The Code Orange Terror Alerts were based on Fake Intelligence

Read also

How Our Governments Use Terrorism To Control Us


vs. The Facts


News & Comments


Important Reports

Related Links

American Rhetoric: Rhetoric of 9-11

September 11 News: Osama bin Laden Speeches

The Path of War Timeline

Very Pissed Off Combat Veterans -- And Blueprints For Change By John McCarthy

The Lies That Led Us To Wage Wars

- Lies & The Propaganda Of Fear -

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Setting The TERROR Trap

A TvNewsLIES Editorial


Manipulating the American Psyche

September 8th, 2003

Let’s hear it for the White House speech writers! With the cunning of Madison Avenue admen, they pulled off another good one last night. In what appeared to be a major address to the nation about Iraq, George Bush was given his opening salvo for the ’04 election run: Terror sells! Hit ‘em hard!

The scheduled address to the nation lasted a bit over 15 minutes. The American people were waiting to hear their president explain the chaos that had erupted in Iraq. They were concerned about the daily attacks and the rising numbers of dead and wounded among their sons and daughters in the military. They wanted a plan. They wanted an exit strategy. They wanted to know how many more billions of dollars would be spent on a failing policy that was spiraling downward. They wanted to know whether the United Nations would be offered a partnership in rebuilding and providing security in Iraq. What they got was spin.

In the fifteen minutes of shame enjoyed by George W. Bush last night, the terror trap for the American psyche was expertly oiled and sprung. In that short time, speech writers had given the president an opportunity to utter the word "terror", in some form, TWENTY SEVEN times! Do the math: that’s 1.8 times every single minute. Then throw in "Al Qaeda", – uttered three times, and another three references to the 9/11 attacks, - and the deed was done. Steadily, repetitiously and unashamedly, - the line between the war on Iraq and the war on terror was eradicated. Karl Rove’s non sequitur strategy went off without a hitch: the invasion of Iraq was justified, the pundits applauded, and the people trembled.

This morning, there are few questions, and no challenges from the media. Not one pundit of the airwaves has demanded that the Bush administration demonstrate clearly and unequivocally the connection between Saddam Hussein and the terrorist attacks of 9/11. No one has asked how, just how, the allotment of another 87 billion dollars to Iraq will make Americans safer in their homes. No one has asked how much of the money will be going to Halliburton and other American corporations in Iraq with ties to Washington. And no one has demanded to know why the UN, so utterly "irrelevant" only months ago, is now being charged with the "responsibility" of bailing us out.

The mantra for terror was given a trial run long before this speech. For months, almost every spokesperson for the White House, the State Department and the Department of Defense has used some variation of the word "terror" in tandem with any reference to Saddam Hussein or his ruling party. The extraordinary effectiveness of this manipulation of the American psyche is not only clear, it is terribly frightening. The percentage of Americans who now believe that Saddam Hussein was involved in the 9/11 attacks has risen from under 50 a few months ago to more than 70! The brainwashing of America is on a roll.

The Bush administration has seen the handwriting on the wall. Recent polls reflect a growing concern about the integrity of the President and disappointment in his policies. The quagmire in Iraq threatens to spiral out of control. The jobless rate continues to grow, and the broken promises of the 2000 campaign are becoming more apparent than ever.

And so, fear becomes a necessary factor in retaining the White House next year. Without a nation awash in propaganda and misinformation about terrorism, and without a media to assist in its dissemination, there can be no victory. A terrified electorate can be relied on to re-elect those who promise that they alone know the enemy, and they alone can save us from disaster. An alarmed populace cannot sense the trap that has been set, and do not know that it is slowly and efficiently closing around their minds.


George Bush’s “Major Speech” Resets the TERROR Trap!

Will America Take the Bait?

A TvNewsLIES Analysis - October, 2005

The best political weapon is the weapon of terror.
- Heinrich Himmler -

On the morning of October 6th, George W. Bush made a not-for-prime time “major” speech before a select group of supporters. For those unfamiliar with the National Endowment for Democracy, rest assured that it is a highly controversial, tax-supported group that tries to influence elections in foreign countries. What a perfect audience for the President!

The speech was redundant and unremarkable, despite being hyped as significant’ and highly important. There was little new rhetoric and not an iota of comfort for a nation consumed with concern about the morass and turmoil in Iraq. There was, however a concerted effort to capitalize on a strategy that worked so well in the President’s rush to war in 2003: make them afraid.

The speech this morning was carefully constructed to prey upon the innermost fears triggered by the attacks of 9/11. It pulled out every available stop in an effort to use those alarms to gain support for staying the course in Iraq. The speech this morning was designed to once again lure Americans into the insidious and sinister Bushco Terror Trap.


In case you missed it, the tactics started early in the week. George Bush and Dick Cheney both got the word out last Monday: Without provocation, Bush’s senior aides warned that “a quick exit for US troops could sow a deadly harvest of future terror attacks on US soil.” At almost the same time, Cheney cautioned that Iraq could become a staging area for large-scale terrorist attacks on the United States if troops are withdrawn too early. They had tossed the public some food for future thought.

The next opportunity came at Tuesday’s press conference. The President was asked only ONE question about the war, yet he managed to repeat “terror” or “terrorist” SEVEN times during his exchange with reporters. “We also got [sic] to continue to make sure we meet our obligations to prevent further terrorist attacks,” Mr. Bush reminded us. “Iraq is a part of a global war on terror,” he insisted, without challenge or explanation, as usual.

The stage was set, subtly and craftily to try to win back waning support for the war. The main performance would be on Thursday, when the President would give his ‘”significant” speech to the nation. It would be “the latest shot in a volley of addresses on Iraq by top administration figures” ahead of a referendum on Iraq's draft constitution on October 15. With little fanfare, but with calculated measure, the Trap was being put into place. It was oiled and refurbished and ready to go.

And then it was almost speech time, and the nation waited. They could not have known that the Terror Trap was alive and well and about to be elevated to a new level of prominence.


Before analyzing the Thursday speech, let’s take a look back at the glory days of The Terror Trap. It was first assembled and used immediately after 9/11. The Bush cartel took full advantage of a nation stunned by tragedy to cash in on their fears. References to terror and more terror were inserted into every major speech. Terror alerts and terror threats were etched into the American psyche, and the invasion of Iraq was hyped as the first major battle in the War against Terror.

The Trap worked brilliantly, at least for a time. And then, as the lies that led to war began to lose their luster, the strategy had to change. The Terror Trap was put aside in favor of a series of other justifications – each different, each deceptive, and each designed to defend the bloodshed and the horror and the chaos in Bush’s failing war of choice. Twenty seven different rationales for Bush’s war were documented in a brilliant thesis by Devon Largio in 2004*, and each, in turn, was accepted as reasonable by most of the nation.

It is important to note that Largio’s study concluded that, ”one…rationale …became very important to official sources and the media: the imminent threat that Iraq posed, though the words “imminent threat” did not appear in official statements of the administration [it] became the catch-phrase in the media and the public.“

Not surprisingly, fear of another strike on American soil lured millions of Americans into the Terror Trap. Convinced that Saddam Hussein was a serious menace, they gave a trembling nod to the invasion of Iraq. Every high level spokesperson in the Bush administration had warned Americans that annihilation by mushroom cloud or biological warfare or some other WMD was only moments away. Aided and abetted by the corporate media, the administration used fear of terrorism as an effective strategy to garner support for the illegal and immoral war it had planned long before 9/11.

In their rush to war in Iraq, the Bush/PNAC war planners learned one thing for certain: fear, however illogical, is a formidable persuader. The Terror Trap worked like a charm the first time around. This morning it was taken out of mothballs and set again.


Thursday morning came and George Bush had a serious problem. This speech had to win support for the war in Iraq, but that could not be done by talking about what was really happening on the ground. So, with a cunning sleight of hand, Mr. Bush opted NOT to talk about Iraq at all.

He talked about terror and terrorists and plots and attacks. He talked about evil extremists out to kill everyone, everywhere on earth, and he talked about never backing down and never giving in and never accepting anything less than complete victory. It was the same old, same old.

Actually, there was nothing major, or significant, or really new in what he said. In fact, when it was over, you had to wonder why he had bothered making the speech at all. But then again, there had to be a reason for the speech, - and upon taking a closer look, there it was: the newly renovated, freshly repainted and remodeled Terror Trap.

TVNL maintains that this ‘major’ speech given by George Bush used four shrewd and deceptive techniques designed to create a new and expanded justification for the Bush/PNAC wars. Each was subtly interjected to refocus the nation’s attention on a larger and far more insidious danger they could imagine on their own. Each was cleverly woven into a speech designed to inspire and exploit the nations fears while it said almost nothing of substance at all.

Let’s have a look:

  1. ERASING IRAQ: In a strange way, this morning’s speech was actually quite momentous. In less than an hour George Bush managed to perform a miracle: he completely erased the war in Iraq. He made no attempt to explain it, justify it, or even refer to it. There was no hint that the bloodshed and the chaos in Iraq would end anytime in the near future. There was no mention of an exit strategy or a timeline for bringing home the troops. The message: Listen up, America: we simply have to stay in Iraq. Terrorists have made that country their base for global domination. Forget the other excuses; this is why we’re staying the disastrous course. The old Iraq War is no more. A more devastating one has started. Deal with it.

  2. EXPLOITING 9/11: Hello, world, was the message, better beware. Those same evil extremists who brought you 9/11 are now planning to destroy humanity in general. But don’t you worry; George Bush won’t let that happen. Our brave young men and women are dying in Iraq right now to save the planet from total annihilation by nameless, unidentifiable, radical terrorists. That’s why we’ll stay the course.

    The speech warned of an insidious, united enemy that was responsible for every single act of terrorism everywhere in the world from the WTC to Bali and Chechnya. These perpetrators of 9/11 were now out to ‘enslave whole nations.” But first, of course, these Islamic, radical, extremist, militant terrorists want to launch another assault the American people. Are you trembling, yet?

  3. RESURRECTING JOE MCCARTHY: Hell, if terrorists won’t frighten you, maybe communists will. It was almost pathetic to hear George Bush invoke that old bugaboo in order to further demonize Osama bin Laden and other radical Islamists. What a desperate attempt to revive old fears by unearthing an enemy long since dead and buried. It seems that his speech writers were forced to dig deeply into their bag of dirty tricks for that one. But maybe reminders of the communist threat would strike a bit more fear into the hearts of Americans if all else failed. It couldn’t hurt.

  4. REFUSING THE BLAME: And finally, the President’s speech was a declaration of our total innocence and unquestionable purity as a nation. Not a single action by the US or its allies, we were told, contributed in any way to the murderous deeds of our enemies, ever. George Bush assured the nation that neither our presence in Saudi Arabia or Lebanon, nor anything else we have every done, motivated any attacks against us, now or in the past. Israeli presence in the West Bank, he went on to say, had nothing whatsoever to do with terrorist attacks anywhere. These evil Islamic leaders have endless ambitions of imperial domination, Bush explained, and they wish to make everyone powerless except themselves. His message was clear: Fear this radical scourge, America, but trust me to rid the world of these evil extremists. We’re making real progress, folks; just hang in there.


At this very moment George Bush and his PNAC puppeteers are well into the third year of their failed and disastrous war in Iraq. At this very moment, the American military death toll is closing in on 2000. At this very moment, the majority of Americans believe that the war was a mistake. And, at this very moment, George Bush and his misbegotten handlers are beginning to panic.

The White House really has no choice but to try and counter the waning support for the war in Iraq. They know is out there and they understand the power of fear and how to exploit it. More speeches will follow. All the speakers will echo the War on Terror theme. The question now is: will it work? Will Americans once again take the bait laid out for them? Or, do they now understand that the war in Iraq has nothing whatsoever to do with the threat of terrorism that permeates so much of the world?

Will Americans refuse to be trapped another time? Only time will tell.

Ironically, so much of Bush’s speech can be turned right back onto him. So many of the accusations George Bush made in his speech were accurate depictions of his own policies of empire and global domination. But fear easily trumps irony in a world gone mad, and there’s no way of knowing at this moment which way this nation will go.

Hopefully, we’ve come full circle, and greater sources of information have made more Americans less vulnerable to the snares of their government. If that is the case, the nation will be able to see through the smoke and mirrors of the Bush administration. If that is indeed the case, despite all the effort, the renovated Terror Trap will be an utter and historic failure.



Setting The Terror Trap

George Bush’s Major Speech Resets the Terror Trap

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