Psych-Wars By William Bowles

26 October 2004

“The target suffered a terminal illness before a firing squad in Baghdad.”
— CIA officer testifying to US Senate hearing, after bloody CIA aided Ba’ath Party coup overthrew Iraqi Prime Minister Abdel Kassem, 1963

The Kurt Nimmo article I posted here last week prompted some emails on the issue of US agent provocateurs and their role in destabilising the situation in Iraq. The problem for journalists and investigators is of course proving beyond all doubt that the US is up to this kind of skulduggery and unless Congress or the Senate is forced to take it on as in the case of the Pentagon Papers, there’s little likelihood of a definitive answer that names names.

However, history is littered with innumerable examples of psy-war operations conducted by the US around the planet, whether it was covert backing of the invasion of Cuba in 1961 or its support (and training) of death squads in Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua all the way through to its arming and support of UNITA in Angola for decades. Therefore it should come as no surprise that the US would be up to its neck in such operations as kidnappings and executions, all purportedly orchestrated by one man, Abu Masaab al-Zarqawi who prior to Colin Powell’s UN address in February 2003 was virtually unknown.

Since then, al-Zarqawi has been catapulted into the headlines by a series of discredited or unsubstantiated leaks and ‘exposés’ that have originated from the CIA and other Western intelligence agencies.

Ironically, one of Saddam Hussein’s first jobs for his new CIA employer was a (bodged) assassination attempt on the then prime minister of Iraq, Gen. Abd al-Karim Qasim in 1959. The reason for the attempted assassination was Qasim’s decision to withdraw Iraq from the anti-Soviet Baghdad Pact and realign Iraq with the Soviet Union. Even worse, Qasim appointed Iraqi Communists to key positions in his government. [1]

Perhaps even more telling is the admission by former National Security Council staffer Roger Morris who:

“…claim[ed]…that the CIA had chosen the authoritarian and anti-communist Baath Party “as its instrument. [my emph. WB]”” [2]

It’s the use of the word “instrument” that is so revealing of the tactics used by the US in order to further its policies, both domestic and foreign, for it reveals that the planners of ‘covert ops’ have no problem with using (and discarding) anyone or any organisation no matter what their tactics are including assassinations.

What struck me first about the appearance of the ‘beheadings’ that showed up on the Web – not to mention the steadily increasing demonisation of Al Zarqawi – was the timing. Invariably, they occur whenever events/revelations connected to US actions reflected negatively either on the occupation or the reasons used to carry it out.

Nimmo’s article also reveals the role of ’front’ organisations in destabilising the situation in Iraq:

…Members of the group, called the Iraqi Coalition for National Unity (ICNU), rarely stray from their US vehicles and special forces minders, grinning broadly for cameras from atop Humvees and raising their weapons in victory… Co-ordination between ICNU and US ground forces in Najaf is tight, handled by special forces and CIA operatives.” [3]

But not only do they act as a diversion they also do serious propaganda damage to the Iraqi Resistance, branding those who fight the occupation as ‘fanatics’, ‘bloodthirsty extremists’, ‘terrorists’ and so forth.

Skeptics will of course deride such propositions but following the tried and tested methods of the detective, we need to ask ourselves whether there is a motive – Yes, opportunity – Yes, and finally the means to carry out covert operations of this kind – a big Yes. The US maintains an entire army corps dedicated solely to psychological warfare at Fort Bragg [4] and the School of the Americas trained people in torture techniques starting as far back as the 1960s.

What is also striking about the appearance of so many ‘al-Queda-related terrorist’ groups is that they appeared almost simultaneously and all take the same form in their public appearances. The Websites that feature the grainy video clips have traceable domain owners enabling even the most incompetent intelligence agency to track them down, yet in not one instance has this happened nor has the mass media – that is quite happy to use the images and accept unquestionly the accusation that it is al-Zarqawi – asked the obvious question: why have the owners of these sites not been tracked down and prosecuted?

There is also the appearance al-Zarqawi himself, if indeed it is the ’real’ Zarqawi. According to a story dated 4 March 2004, Zarqawi was killed when the US bombed the HQ of the Ansar al-Islam where Zarqawi was hiding out, in the north in April 2003.

“None of the former Ansar members remembers ever seeing or even hearing that Jordan-born Abu Musab Zarqawi was in Sargat, or anywhere else in the small Ansar enclave. Washington accused Mr. Zarqawi – whose leg was amputated in a Baghdad clinic in 2002 – of being Iraq’s prewar link with terrorism.” [5]

And indeed the US itself is not sure about the role al-Zarqawi allegedly plays in the ‘global terror network’ as it has up- and then down-graded his role and responsibilities a number of times.

The propaganda/disinformation campaign built around al-Zarqawi was launched by Colin Powell at his notorious and totally discredited UN presentation in February 2003 designed to justify the impending invasion:

“Last winter Zarqawi was supposedly working with explosives and deadly toxins at a terror camp in northeast Iraq. US Secretary of State Colin Powell warned the United Nations Security Council of the dangers he posed in a presentation in February last year. Powell claimed that Zarqawi and Ansar al-Islam were Saddam’s link to al-Qaeda. The “evidence” behind Powell’s assertions proved as empty as that on WMDs.” [6]

The nature, location, allegiances, even Zarqawi’s very existence, has also changed over time depending on the circumstances hence:

“According to US administration pronouncements, Zarqawi was first a “close associate of [Osama] bin Laden”. Then his relationship to bin Laden became “uncertain”, before he was back to being a “close associate”.

“An official US statement declaring Ansar a terrorist group claimed that Zarqawi was a “senior al-Qaeda operative”, but later he was only “suspected” of being some kind of affiliate. Until two weeks ago, he was considered the leader of Ansar al-Islam. Now he is thought to head a Jordanian extremist group called al-Tawhid, and only linked to al-Qaeda and other groups.”

“Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has had a long-standing connection to senior Al-Qaeda leadership and appears to be highly regarded among Al-Qaeda and a close associate of Osama bin Laden and (his top henchman) Saif al-Adel,” the State Department said last October.” [7]

The most damning evidence of the US relationship to ‘al-Zarqawi’ is the US connection to Ansar-al-Islam based in the north of Iraq in a Kurdish area, a ’protectorate’ of the US since 1991.

The first question one must ask is why the US allowed this alleged ‘branch’ of al-Qu’eda to maintain its headquarters in the US-Kurdish controlled area where it carried out assassinations and attacks on the Kurdish PUK (apparently with the assistance of the Iraqi government).

“A sinister nexus between Iraq and the Al Qaeda terrorist network, a nexus that combines classic terrorist organizations and modern methods of murder. Iraq today harbors a deadly terrorist network, headed by Abu Musaab al-Zarqawi, an associate and collaborator of Osama bin Laden and his Al Qaeda lieutenants.” [8]

Then in April of 2003 following Colin Powell’s ‘revelations’ about al-Zarqawi at the UN, the headquarters of Ansar-al-Islam was pulverised by repeated missile attacks under the pretext of it being a centre for the production of chemical and biological weapons, an allegation subsequently shown to be a complete invention of the US.[9]

In fact the scope and range of Abu Musaab al-Zarqawi’s operations is pretty impressive for one man, involving alleged ‘dirty bombs’ in the US (Feb 2003), through to Ricin (also Feb 2003), all manner of horrors including radiation, germs and poison, allegedly to be used before March 31, 2003 in the US (Newsweek, 24 February 2003) that also proved to be a fabrication.

Al Zarqawi has also been accused of planning attacks using Ricin in Europe including an attack on London Underground in January 2003 (that ‘coincided’ with Bush’s visit). Then there’s al-Zarqawi’s alleged involvement in the production of explosives and lethal chemicals for attacks in Spain, once again shown to be inventions [10].

How one man can hop (literally, given his alleged unipedal condition) around the planet at will and build all this stuff all over the place, from a remote location in northern Iraq or alternatively, Afghanistan depending on which piece of US-sourced ‘intelligence’ you believe, is never explained except by the totally unfounded allegation that he is “a master of disguise” that no doubt includes hiding his lack of a leg.

In an essay I wrote earlier this year on al-Zarqawi following a front-page story in the Independent concerning the Berg ‘beheading’, it transpired that all the al-Zarqawi stories that appeared at that time concerning the alleged al-Zarqawi/Berg connection had only one source, a journalist for Newsweek magazine with alleged intelligence connections.[11]

In all likelihood following the classic ‘divide and rule’ tactics of the coloniser, Ansar-al-Islam is a US-inspired organisation, what else explains the fact that its main base existed in full view of the US from its inception in 2001 until its ’timely’ destruction in 2003 after having been named as al-Zarqawi’s organisation.

The most important aspect of the use of al-Zarqawi in the imperium’s propaganda war is the unquestioned acceptance by the mass media not only that he exists but of his alleged actions. A search of the media shows not a single independent reference to his existence or that ties him to his alleged actions. All the ‘evidence’ has unnamed or unsubstantiated sources typically with the tag ‘it is alleged’ or ‘it said to be’ or ’in all likelyhood’ or the classic ‘an unnamed source’ it is the work of Abu Masaab al-Zarqawi. All the references that have been checked have been shown to be false.[12] As Chossudovsky points out, since Powell’s February UN presentation rarely a day goes by without a mention of al-Zarqawi in the mass media in a rising crescendo of demonisation.[13]

The US has also backtracked on its identification of al-Zarqawi from the video and audio tapes released purportedly by al-Zarqawi, first claiming that it wasn’t and then claiming that it was al-Zarqawi whilst admitting that it has no way of actually identifying him. Therefore claims of using DNA testing ring hollow when set against the complete lack of evidence that the man even exists.

In the current situation with US forces stretched to breaking point and having withdrawn from virtually every major city and town in the country, raising the profile of ‘al-Zarqawi’ also serves to divert attention from the impending invasion and subsequent destruction of Falluja. By labelling Falluja as the ’nerve centre’ of al-Zarqawi’s organisation (without presenting a shred of evidence to support its claim) coupled to the ’convenient’ abductions and executions, the US hopes to elicit public support for its increasingly desperate and bloodthirsty actions.


1. ‘Saddam Key in Early CIA Plot’, Newsmax Wires Friday, April 11, 2003

2. ibid



5. Christian Science Monitor October 16, 2003

6. Asia Times, February 18, 2004

7. ibid

8. Colin Powell to the UN Security Council, February 15, 2003.

9. The Observer, 9 February 2003 and ABC News, 29 March 2003.

10. ‘Who is Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi?’ by Michel Chossudovsky, 11 June, 2004

11. Correspondence with Michel Chossudovsky and note 10 above.

12. See Note 9 above.

13. op cit

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.