Colleen's thoughts on writing, directing and coaching, and her unique take on life itself!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007


The Bush administration has used disinformation masterfully over the past eight years. Karl Rove is normally the creator of the self-serving fabrications spread to party loyalists, conservative groups, media, churches and others who will spread false information without question until the lie is believed to be the truth.

What exactly is "disinformation?"

It's the deliberate pronouncement of fraudulent statements passed off as "facts."

For example, many Americans still believe that Saddam Hussein, the executed leader of Iraq, was in some way responsible for the attack on the New York City World Trade Center September 11, 2001.

That false statement was made by Bush administration spokespeople so often, many Americans believed the lie when it was initially released, and astonishingly continue to believe it, even though it has been proved a hundred times over to be outrightly and completely false.

If it's possible, Saddam Hussein and Iraq had less than nothing to do with the attack.

Iraq was terrorist-free under Hussein because he was the ultimate dictator - paranoid about outsiders stirring up his carefully controlled population, which he ruled with a near- sadistic hand. He knew if any of the dozens of warring tribal factions in Iraq were armed or felt free to fight again (tribal wars have been going on for centuries, including the conflict between the Sunnis and Shiites), he would lose control of the people and "his" country.

It was not until the US attacked Iraq that terrorists, including al qaeda, found the opening they sought to not only move into the country, but use the deadly debacle created by the US in Iraq to recruit new members because now they had concrete evidence that the US is an aggressor; that it wants to occupy Middle Eastern nations.

Interestingly, the number of terrorists actually needed in Iraq is very few because now so many Iraqis themselves are furious at the US - whom they blame for devastating their country and being the cause of the violent deaths of some 600,000 innocent Iraqis. Their anti-US feelings have fomented them into taking arms against our soldiers in harms way there.

American intelligence sources report that approximately 4% of fighters in Iraq are associated with al qaeda. If that sounds like it's good news, it's not. It only means all the terrorist cells and individuals not fighting in Iraq are free to ply their trades in other nations.

Al Gore's #1 NYT best selling book The Assault on Reason just arrived here; I'll read it this week and review it next week here. I have a feeling these sorts of issues will be discussed there because often, if we're accurately informed about a subject, we can discern truth from lie by using simple reason.

Like, if you knew about how Saddam ran his country - ruling by making people terrified of him while keeping it terrorist-free, never wanting anyone to challenge his autocratic authoritarianism; that he would never tolerate tribal in-fighting because it would detract from his iron-fisted control - you would understand that anyone claiming that terrorists were allowed in Iraq or that Saddam had anything to do with them is simply and outright unreasonable.

Because the US Senate Intelligence Committee's Report on Prewar Intelligence Assessment about Postwar Iraq outlined these and many other facts, it predicted the horrors we face today if Saddam were not only unseated but the nation itself attacked to allow US-backed individuals to take over.

Unfortunately, many US Senators and Representatives believed this misinformation put out by the Bush administration instead of reading the report gathered by some 81 separate intelligence agencies, and voted to give George Bush the authority to invade Iraq - including US Senator Hilary Clinton.

It all comes back to the need for an educated, informed nation to effectively run a democratic republic like the United States.

But between outright disinformation disseminated freely by people who know the truth because they want to manipulate you, and an unquestioning media - that can be hard to come by through "normal" media outlets. US media tend to reproduce whatever they are told by "authoritative" sources without question or perspective - and those "authoritative sources" tend to be the very people who disseminate disinformation these days.

Think of the glib government disinformation on its response to Katrina - that "Brownie's doing a heck of a job," while we saw the massive destruction with our own eyes. The meteorologist who gave President Bush and the US Federal Government the grave warning of the oncoming disaster himself days before the hurricane struck. The response: "We had no idea this would happen."

Disinformers *love* this; they also love how frightened US media are when they are accused of being "unfair" or "one-sided" about their coverage.

Here's how that works:

Mr. X, an authoritative spokesperson, says "10."

US media pass it on, uncensored, unquestioned, unexamined.

Then Mr. C, an authoritative spokesperson who knows that "10" is an outright lie, says, "10 is not true! In fact, here's evidence it's an outright fabrication and harmful to our nation!" And there's the proof that you can see with your own eyes (Iraq's astonishing devastation, Katrina reconstruction is NOT happening as promised, etc.)

Mr. X responds, "There the 'liberal media' goes again - unfairly showing only ONE SIDE of the story!"

The media, terrified of being called "unfair," steps up the quotes by Mr. X and his cohorts, so we keep hearing "10," over and over again, and seldom see Mr. C and the actual evidence of Mr. X's fraudulent statement.

After awhile, "10" sounds like it *should* be true. Thereby becoming part of Stephen Colbert's genius term, "truthiness;" which means something that feels like it should be true.

By the way, I hope you understand that disinformers believe *you* are not only ignorant, but stupid. Stupid enough to buy whatever they sell. They particularly need their own followers to be ignorant of facts and stupid. Who else would believe such overtly ignorant statements and disinformation but people who want to believe them because they are their leaders and trust them blindly.

That's why "believers" whose information is challenged become so emotionally charged and outraged when others tell them anything that disagrees with what they've been told by their leaders. Because if the truth-tellers make those leaders wrong, then they -- the believers -- have to realize how stupid they were to believe them in the first place.

And no one likes to think of themselves as being duped. It's embarrassing. So they fight harder to "prove" the disinformation given them by their leaders.

This happens all the time in extremist religious circles who disperse disinformation, whether it's extreme fundamentalist Muslims or extreme fundamentalist Christians.

Here are more ways Wikipedia finds disinformation (intentional misinformation, lies, misrepresentation) are used: forged documents, manuscripts, photographs; propagation of malicious rumors and fabricated intelligence.

More, "In the context of espionage or military intelligence, it is the deliberate spreading of false information to mislead an enemy as to one's position or course of action. It also includes the distortion of true information in such a way as to render it useless.

"Disinformation techniques may also be found in commerce and government, used by one group to try to undermine the position of a competitor. It in fact is the act of deception and blatant false statements to convince someone of an untruth."

Tomorrow, I'll discuss how disinformation differs from propaganda, misinformation, The Big Lie, and other ways people with specific agendas not only try, but succeed to control your behavior, votes and money with misleading and outright untruthful statements.

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