11:30 am - March 23rd 2009
Over at the Yorkshire Ranter, Alex Harrowell comments on the ongoing story of Glen Jenvey, who featured as an anti-terrorist ‘expert’ in a Sun story about threats, which it now appears he posted himself, against public figures on a Muslim web forum.
It’s a very good question just how many terrorism stories (especially ones that have the “Internet” flag set – it means “stuff I don’t understand” to a lot of editors) are the work of these people, whether the upscale, Decent version or Jenvey’s Comedy Gladio.
There are indeed some interesting connections between the kind of right-wing “CounterJihad” networks represented by Jenvey and the so-called “decent left“.
But before that, all this reminds me of a quote from former Pentagon Neocon Abram Shulsky:
Soviet front groups might have been more effective, but Stalinist paranoia made impossible the operational autonomy needed to succeed. To the extent that future practitioners of this type of propaganda have learned lessons from the Soviet experience, we may expect that the nonstate groups will be controlled in a more sophisticated manner and their ties to a given state will be less obvious.
New methods of spreading propaganda (such as via Internet web sites of Non-governmental organizations [NGOs], or specialized email lists) allow a deceiver to reach target audiences via multiple channels. Many of these channels may remain relatively invisible to the public at large. (Elements of Strategic Denial and Deception by Abram Shulsky in Strategic Denial and Deception: The Twenty-First Century Challenge, edited by Roy Godson and James J. Wirtz, Transaction books, 2002, p23.)
Shulsky went on to note that “Despite the media’s self-image of hardheaded cynicism, it is relatively vulnerable to this type of manipulation.” (p24.)
The Sun’s story, which claimed that British Muslims were preparing a ‘hit-list’ against prominent British Jews, and is now being sued by Alan Sugar over it, seems to bear this theory out.
Would this apply to the ‘decent left’ too? Note, for example:
– The notionally left-wing Democratiya recently featured an interview with Andrew Bostom, a member of the CounterJihad Europa network. This extreme right grouping was created with the help of Christine Brim, who also happens to be a senior figure in a Washington neoconservative think-tank, the Center for Security Policy (CSP).
– The CSP advocates ‘political warfare‘ against Islam, and its head, Frank Gaffney, is at the center of a number of Islamophobic networks in Europe and the US. Most recently, he hosted Geert Wilders during his recent trip to Washington. (Chesler and Bostom were in attendance on the New York leg of Wilders’ US tour).
– CSP legal counsel David Yerushalmi heads the Society of Americans for National Existence, which produced some of the material which ended up in Policy Exchange’s controversial briefing against the Global Peace and Unity event in London.
– Frank Gaffney’s sister Devon Gaffney Cross runs the Policy Forum on International Security Affairs, a neocon propaganda outfit, partly funded by the Pentagon, which has targeted the European media in recent years.
– In 2004, the FT’s Christopher Caldwell noted that Cross planned to bring to London, “the widest possible variety of foreign-policy voices, from Bush Republicans (she has invited the under secretary of defence, Paul Wolfowitz, to participate) to Clinton Democrats (such as the former CIA director James Woolsey) to the human-rights activists of the Democratic left (who cluster around the Freedom House Foundation and American organised labour).”
In reality, all the elements of this ‘varied coalition’ were identifiably neoconservative. According to the Forum’s website:
The response to our efforts, among the media, has been both prompt and enthusiastic. Editors of The Financial Times, The Daily Telegraph, The London Times, The Economist, The Sun and The Spectator have all participated in our discussions.
– I wonder whether the Policy Forum had something to do with the occasion at Annabel’s recounted by Cristina Odone?
It was here that Thatcher’s makeover was plotted; here that, when Paul Wolfowitz asked to meet some of Britain’s leading journalists, The Observer’s Nick Cohen found himself sitting next to John Lloyd and Charles Moore, drinking champagne.
It was also highlighted by Sunny at Pickled Politics:
Who was the “pleasant American” lady who invited [Cohen] to meet Paul Wolfowitz at Annabel’s? (Nick Cohen, Evening Standard, 21 June 2005).
Is she by any chance related to the lady who’s been running “cozy, off-the-record briefings by senior Pentagon officials, fellow-neo-cons and fellow members of the Defense Policy Board (DPB) for select British and European reporters in exclusive clubs and cafes in London and Paris”. (http://www.ips.org/blog/jimlobe/?p=176).
Some answers would be nice.
This is a guest post. Tom Griffin is a freelance writer and researcher. He is currently undertaking a Ph.D on neoconservative networks in Europe at the University of Strathclyde. He writes on his eponymous blog.
· Other posts by Tom Griffin
Story Filed Under: Blog ,Foreign affairs ,Media ,Realpolitik ,Terrorism ,Think-tanks ,United States
Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.