Report from Propaganda Central By William Bowles

22 November 2003

“The West wakes up to the extent of Al-Qu’eda’s reach – franchised by Al-Qu’eda”

That was how Channel 4 News opened up last night’s broadcast (21/11/03). But I must say I’m impressed as it pretty well sums up the relationship between the imperium and Osama’s global ‘franchise’. Osama is the New World Order’s version of Colonel Sanders, all image and no substance. After all, have you not wondered why he is elusive as the proverbial Pimpernel?

And just in case we don’t get the message of the new propaganda campaign, on opening today’s (22/11/03) Independent I read on page 2:

“How al-Qa’ida has split into into dozens of autonomous, hard-to-find ‘franchises’”

Is this opposed to the earlier, ‘easy-to-find’ non-franchised versions? In a piece by Kim Sengupta that could have been written in propaganda central:

“Al-Qai’da [sic] has as many heads as the mythical Hydra. One was decapitated in Afghanistan…. But the organisation has now sprung up again in a number of countries in franchised form.”

Not content with this state/media fantasy, Sengupta really piles it on by telling us:

“According to Western and Arab intelligence sources, the pattern emerging is of the remnants of the al-Qa’ida leadership…requesting missions to be carried out at suggested times and regions, and leaving the details of the attacks to local bodies.”

And we all know how ‘reliable’ Western intelligence sources are don’t we. But it gets worse when Sengupta quotes a Mr Rohan Gunaratna of the Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies in Singapore who describes ‘al-Qa’ida’ camps as:

“a terrorist Disneyland, where you could meet anyone from any Islamist group.”

How come Western intelligence can’t mingle and meet in this Islamic Disneyland? But Sengupta, clearly not satisfied with ladling on an endless pile of metaphors and analogies from franchise to Hydra to get across his state-sponsored message, quotes a Mr Michael Pillsbury, Pentagon ‘terrorism consultant’ who tells us that:

“the evolution of the terrorist groups is analogous to a process of corporate merger and acquisition.”

I kid you not. But what is amazing is that the combined forces of the British and American intelligence agencies that must have a combined budget in excess of $100 billion can tell us that “about 20,000 people from 47 countries passed through the al-Qa’ida camps from the mid-1990s until the invasion of Afghanistan in October 2001,” but has absolutely no idea where the 20,000 or so people are. Maybe Pillsbury should buy a ticket to al-Disneyland, I’m sure it would count as a legitimate expense.

An in another piece on page 2 by Mr Peter Popham in Istanbul, obviously less sure about his sources than Sengupta is, tells us that:

“Back-to-back explosions are one of the hallmarks of al-Qa’ida, if that is who was responsible.”

Well as they were back-to-back then they must have been al-Qu’eda or is some rival group muscling in on Osama’s ‘franchise’? Maybe Peter Popham should have a chat with Kim Sengupta who apparently has all the answers. And where did this nonsense about “back-to-back explosions” being a “hallmark” of al-Qu’eda come from, or should it be ™ given the new franchise that Osama has obtained? Yet more rubbish from propaganda central being unashamedly peddled by these mouthpieces of the imperium.

An imperial soap opera
Talk about winding us up. The propaganda onslaught of the past week with each day building on the previous like some nightmare soapie, culminating in the Istanbul bombings, has all the hallmarks of having been written well in advance.

But not to worry as Ober Gruppen Fuhrer Blunkett tells us “not to panic” in spite of all warnings including his latest vague reference to a ‘plot’ to blow up something unspecified as he won’t give us the details. Foreign minister Jack ‘the lights are on but nobody’s home’ Straw in an echo of his US masters said:

“This is an attack on civilisation…. Everybody’s now a target. With these ruthless fanatics whom we now face, everywhere is now a target.”

Not content with this, Denis MacShane, minister for Europe in an openly racist attack on Britain’s Muslim community said that Britain’s Muslim leaders had to choose between “terrorism” and the “British way”. I assume the “British way” is marshalling the armed forces and illegally invading foreign countries, no mucking about sneaking around in the dead of night like those dastardly terrorists. The British way of terrorism is out in the open, after all, we are fighting for ‘our’ civilisation.

A marriage made in hell
I am now more convinced than ever that the bombings in Istanbul was an evil provocation on the part of the USUK imperium. The synchronisation between Blair/Bush statements this week about the nature of war on terror being “global” in scope clinches it for me.

Yet in spite of ratcheting up the anté it’s clear the population are still unconvinced. Blair made a serious error in dropping the pretence of exercising some kind of ‘restraint’ on Bush by openly embracing the unbridled “global war on terror” this week, a sure sign of just how desperate the leaders of western capitalism really are.

And even though the gloves are off and we can all ‘look forward’ to the next phase of the ‘war on terror’ now that the imperium has declared that it’s global in scope, it’s clear that without public support, it’s going to be difficult to justify even more repression of our civil rights in order to combat the ‘franchise’. Like peas in a pod, Blair and Bush, with their backs to the wall are going for broke, after all, what other choice do they have?

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