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Ledeen, Ghorbanifar, and the strategy of tension [View All]

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starroute Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-12-06 10:50 AM
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Ledeen, Ghorbanifar, and the strategy of tension
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The stuff in the article quoted below is mind-blowing. It refers to events of 25 years ago but might as well be today. Everything that's being pulled on Iran now was in the playbook move-for-move back then. And then, as now, Ledeen and Ghorbanifar were in the thick of it.

The early sections of the article describe how the Reagan Administration first invented the war on terror as an excuse for maintaining power and secrecy even as the Cold War was winding down. Michael Ledeen and his associates were at the heart of this shift -- providing the theoretical basis for seeing global terrorism as a menace equivalent to the Soviet Union in its glory days and slamming the State Department and CIA for not going along with their claims.

But where it gets really eerie is in the section on the manufactured anti-Libyan hysteria which I've quoted below. (Note particularly the interesting phrase "strategy of tension," a reference to the methods used by Ledeen's neo-fascist friends in Italy to discredit the left through fake terrorist attacks.)


http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Ronald_Reagan/Deeper_...
The administration redoubled its domestic propaganda campaign to persuade the nation of the virulent menace of foreign terrorism. If no one could find convincing evidence of Soviet-sponsored terror, they could of Libyan support for violent European and Middle Eastern groups. And the administration could magnify the evidence until Americans felt positively threatened by what was in fact a weak and ineffectual power-and one that, far from being a surrogate of the USSR, did not even let the Soviets base ships at its ports. . . . The campaign against Libya started at the New Republic, whose line on terrorism and foreign policy in general was shaped increasingly by editor Martin Peretz's strong political commitment to Israel. The once-liberal magazine had begun publishing regular articles by Michael Ledeen and former Newsweek correspondent Arnaud de Borchgrave, a Jerusalem conference participant and a vociferous exponent of the theory that Soviet disinformation had duped the American media. . . .

On July 26, 1981 Newsweek reported that the administration was gearing up a major effort to topple Gadhafi, involving a "disinformation" campaign to erode the colonel's domestic support, formation of a "counter government" of Libyan exiles and a program of paramilitary and sabotage operations inside Libya to stir up discontent and expose Gadhafi's vulnerability. The next month, provocative U.S. naval exercises off Libya's coast provoked a rash-and desired-response from Gadhafi. U.S. jets downed two Libyan fighters in a dogfight over Gulf of Sidra. In September, columnist Jack Anderson confirmed that CIA director Casey had concocted a disinformation campaign to mislead the American press about Libya by planting false stories abroad. The stories accused Gadhafi of supporting the slave trade in Mauritania, mismanaging his country's petrodollar accounts and stirring up terrorism. . . .

November saw a positive flurry of reports linking Gadhafi to terrorist plots. . . . But the most significant theme in this strategy of tension surfaced with Newsweek. Its voluble U.S. intelligence sources tipped the magazine that "Gadhafi is plotting to assassinate the president and other top American officials," including Vice President Bush and Secretaries Haig and Weinberger. The average reader could sympathize with administration officials who were said to "openly admit that they would be delighted if someone else killed Gadhafi." The notorious Reagan assassination plot story hit the front pages of the New York Times on December 4. "The government has received detailed reports that five terrorists trained in Libya entered the United States last weekend with plans to assassinate President Reagan or other senior officials," the paper revealed. A "huge nationwide search for the potential assassins" was underway. . . . Fed a steady diet of Gadhafi rumors, the American public could be excused for believing President Reagan's dismissal of the Libyan's denials: "We have the evidence, and he knows it....l wouldn't believe a word he says if I were you." . . .

Then, as mysteriously as they had appeared, the hit teams vanished. By late December, officials decided "the hit squads have become inactive." Indeed, "the information about the hit squads has been and still is mushy," sources told the Washington Post. "The United States still does not know for sure whether any members of the two hit squads ever left Libya." Only in the context of the latest Iran arms scandal has the public finally learned that the source of the fanciful "hit squad" story was Manucher Ghorbanifar, a former Iranian SAVAK agent with close ties to Israeli intelligence. According to the Washington Post, the CIA believed he was a Iying schemer who "had made up the hit-squad story in order to cause problems for one of Israel's enemies." . . . These details confirm what the Los Angeles Times had learned in 1981: "Israeli intelligence, not the Reagan administration, was a major source of some of the most dramatic published reports about a Libyan assassination team allegedly sent to kill President Reagan and other top U.S. officials... Israel, which informed sources said has 'wanted an excuse to go in and bash Libya for a long time,' may be trying to build American public support for a strike against Libyan strongman Moammar Ghadhafi, these sources said."
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