That was then
May 5, 2002 8:23 PM   Subscribe

That was then,this is now.
posted by srboisvert (31 comments total)
Why do I feel like I am in an X-Files episode sometimes?
posted by srboisvert at 8:25 PM on May 5, 2002

That was February. This is May.
posted by rusty at 8:27 PM on May 5, 2002

Thanks look at the date of the the 'then' post.
posted by srboisvert at 8:38 PM on May 5, 2002

If the Pentagon is/was going to engage in disinformation, would they tell us?
posted by ParisParamus at 8:39 PM on May 5, 2002

There's previous MetaFilter discussion of this announcement, which was itself later retracted.
posted by NortonDC at 8:40 PM on May 5, 2002

Back on topic...WTF? Why are we not lynching these evil warmonging bastards? The current ones, I mean. It is obvious to even the thickest-headed among us that The Pentagon is run by the most corrupt, despicable, military-industrial complex toadies. These men have proven themselves capable of every sort of atrocity imaginable, the plot detailed in this article being only the latest example.

The U.S. Department of Defense's main goal seems to be that of insuring that we'll always need the U.S. Department of Defense. And people laugh at me when I suggest that the government may very well have had foreknowledge of 9/11.
posted by Optamystic at 9:09 PM on May 5, 2002

Ha Ha Ha

I'm laughing at you Optamystic.
posted by evanizer at 9:12 PM on May 5, 2002

Thanks for the article on Body of Secrets, srboisvert. I had heard of this book but not the about Operation Northwoods. I don't know which is more disturbing, the plans themselves or the fact that Oliver Stone played a role in having them exposed. Bizarro.
posted by homunculus at 9:18 PM on May 5, 2002


Did you even read the linked article?

America's top military brass even contemplated causing U.S. military casualties, writing: "We could blow up a U.S. ship in Guantanamo Bay and blame Cuba," and, "casualty lists in U.S. newspapers would cause a helpful wave of national indignation."

Nothing familiar about that. Nothing at all.
posted by Optamystic at 9:19 PM on May 5, 2002

Remember the Maine.
posted by Kikkoman at 9:41 PM on May 5, 2002

Well, I'm glad this thread won't be compromised of COMPLETE heresy...there is no proof of anything in this current "War on Terrorism" that suggests that propaganda has been used, at all. The links, through the post, provide for the most BS-inducing comments I can't possibly imagine. Congratulations to the poster for his/her own tactics of propaganda. Yeesh.
posted by BlueTrain at 9:50 PM on May 5, 2002

I thought I heard about this a while ago... Wasn't the idea more to mislead the enemy than to pull a fast one on our own citizens?
posted by Yelling At Nothing at 9:58 PM on May 5, 2002

comprised, not compromised...whoops.
posted by BlueTrain at 10:00 PM on May 5, 2002

This Salon piece goes into more detail about the book. Apparently, Bamford also finds convincing evidence that the U.S. military deliberately provoked the Gulf of Tonkin incident which led to American involvement in the Viet Nam War. And here's a link to the section of the book that details the Pentagon's aborted plan to use terror against U.S. citizens to build support for a war against Cuba.

Get it yet?
posted by Optamystic at 10:02 PM on May 5, 2002

this news story just defies all logic. if the pentagon admits to be willing to lie to the world, wouldn't that bring into question every piece of information they have ever decided to release? and why would they tell the public about their plans in the first place? maybe I'm missing something, but this strikes me as the most colossally stupid thing I've read in a long time.
posted by mcsweetie at 10:49 PM on May 5, 2002

Propaganda? From the government? Next thing you'll tell me they're wasting our tax dollars!

Of course the fake acts of terrorism to provoke war with Cuba are insane, but its par for the course in cold war USA. That said, there's place for "peaceniks" in the government and in the White House but the purpose of the Pentagon is to come up with new and fantastic ways of blowing the bad guys away.
posted by owillis at 10:49 PM on May 5, 2002

Schwarzenegger for President.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:51 PM on May 5, 2002

(Note for the humour-impaired : the above was not intended seriously. Thank you.)
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:52 PM on May 5, 2002

if the pentagon admits to be willing to lie to the world, wouldn't that bring into question every piece of information they have ever decided to release?

Why, you don't question the pieces of information the Pentagon releases? They do have an agenda, after all. (Not that I'm condoning their actions.)

Schwarzenegger for President.

Ok, but only if Predator runs for president in Russia.
posted by epimorph at 11:01 PM on May 5, 2002

Could Metafilter be a CIA plant too?
posted by semmi at 11:06 PM on May 5, 2002

Nothing to see here, move along...

You've stumbled upon a non-existent post, or one that was deleted for various reasons.

posted by donkeyschlong at 11:52 PM on May 5, 2002

posted by donkeyschlong at 11:53 PM on May 5, 2002

owillis: but the purpose of the Pentagon is to come up with new and fantastic ways of blowing the bad guys away

Thank you, Mr. Moral Reductionist. Put down the Spidey comic book and back away slowly! Perhaps the next Pentagon strategy should be the ol' airplane-into-skyscraper routine; a perfect attack against the "bad guys". Besides, wouldn't it be more accurate- or shouldn't it be the case- that the Pentagon's role is not to come up with ways to blow the bad guys away, but instead to defend our nation and its borders (where blowing the bad guys away is only a possible option used solely as a last resort to meeting the goal of protecting our nation and its borders). Deliberately provoking war so that there will be bad guys to blow away seems to be begging the Pentagon question.

Tom Tomorrow raises the question of when stuff like this ceases to be pertinent and becomes "history" to be ignored with a casual wave of the hand on his blog a few days ago:
I mean, we know for a fact that the U.S. Government has engineered coups and assassinations all over the globe, made secret deals with drug runners and terrorists from Nicaragua to Iran, harassed and spied on politically active U.S. citizens, knowingly exposed its citizens to radioactivity and biological agents, and even dosed them with LSD on occasion--and this is just the short list off the top of my head as I'm sitting here sipping my coffee. I'm sure most of you could come up with another couple dozen examples, without even beginning to veer into questionable conspiracy territory.

Do you really imagine the psychology of control is so different today? Do you imagine that in these days of secrecy and lies, when the ends justify the means and the administration is grabbing power like some crazed contest winner who can keep anything he can shove into his shopping cart in the space of five minutes--except it's worse because there's no time limit on this one yet--do you really think the really scary blood-curdling stuff is all over, ancient history, nothing that could ever happen today?

I envy you your serenity, but only in that passing way that I envy the serenity of the cult member or lobotomy victim.

And--how long does it take for something become safely relegated to the past? We live in a hyper-accelerated world, and the time frame for these things is constantly compressing. If, next month, we find out that civilian casualties in Afghanistan were ten times worse than anyone expected, will we shrug and say, "Oh, that was last November! People did things differently back then!"
posted by hincandenza at 12:09 AM on May 6, 2002

(Uh...that's what I meant to say with the Schwarzenegger crack. Can we just pretend I did?)
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:48 AM on May 6, 2002

I hope that the BBC's 'Century of the Self' series gets a play in the US, as it's essential watching for anyone interested in the role of 'psychological control' in Cold War politics and beyond. As for this, I suppose it means that we'll get the details of modern propaganda wars in 2040-ish, armageddon permitting. It's an interesting experiment in patriotic loyalty, in a way: when the Pentagon says, "we'll lie for your benefit - oh, no we won't", it's a test of faith to rank alongside the Cretan liars. Is it better to support a consistent liar, a liar who dabbles with the truth, or a truth-teller who dabbles with lying?
posted by riviera at 5:14 AM on May 6, 2002

if the pentagon admits to be willing to lie to the world, wouldn't that bring into question every piece of information they have ever decided to release?

You are presuming that the public will care. Hincandenza's quote above responds to that expectation pretty well, I think.
posted by rushmc at 7:02 AM on May 6, 2002

yeah, like memento might offer useful allegory wrt to long-term memory! (or lack thereof :)
posted by kliuless at 7:11 AM on May 6, 2002

Congratulations to the poster for his/her own tactics of propaganda

Wow! Juxtaposing two articles without any commentary other than an obligatory x-files reference is propaganda? I am now frightened by my own powers (not mention gender ambiguity). Yeesh!
posted by srboisvert at 8:42 AM on May 6, 2002

kliuless: yeah, like memento might offer useful allegory wrt to long-term memory! (or lack thereof :)

(Sort of aside) Straight up! At the risk of being accused of godwining twice in a day, I had a theory about Memento that it was in part an allegory of the [willful] social amnesia that allows for fascist regimes to take root. Leonard was perhaps not coincidentally cast as a chiseled blonde Aryan hardbody, who was persuaded and used (not without some willful participation on his part, as it turned out) through a lack of memory and a perversion of the historical record to attack and demonize males named John G.- but it could have as easily been Jews or Black people or Homosexuals. The clever editing technique, derided by clueless critics as merely a "gimmick", was in fact a brilliant way to make us the audience complicit in this demonization, as our own memory was effectively shortcircuited and we became part of the judging and conviction of "John G".

The excellent "The Stranger" writer, Charles Mudede, had I believe a not- dissimilar meditation on this in his review of the movie, which I highly recommend.
posted by hincandenza at 10:25 AM on May 6, 2002

Good call, hincandenza.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 1:17 AM on May 7, 2002

hey, nice article thanks! yeah, like i think memento "brings to life" philosophy (of memory, i guess) the same way the matrix dealt with metaphysics, which i thought was really cool. i just came across this thing on disinfo i thought was pretty interesting, btw. i've been meaning to get prometheus rising for the longest time, but i never get around to it :)
posted by kliuless at 10:46 AM on May 7, 2002

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