During 1940 the determined efforts of President Franklin Roosevelt to involve America in the war against Hitler’s Germany were blocked by the overwhelming opposition of the American people, running at 80% according to some polls. A group of young Yale Law School peace activists had launched the America First Committee and it quickly attracted 800,000 members, becoming the largest grassroots political organization in our national history. The leadership of the AFC included many of our most prominent business and journalistic figures, and famed aviator Charles Lindbergh, one of our greatest national heroes, served as its top spokesman.
With American antiwar sentiment so seemingly strong and resolute, various political stratagems were employed to reduce it. In late October 1941, just few weeks before the attack on Pearl Harbor finally settled the issue, FDR announced in a nationwide radio broadcast that he had obtained a German map that revealed the secret Nazi plans to seize control of Latin America, which Hitler would then use as a base to attack the United States as part of his bold plan of world conquest.
Our President declared:
Hitler has often protested that his plans for conquest do not extend across the Atlantic Ocean. I have in my possession a secret map, made in Germany by Hitler’s government – by the planners of the new world order. It is a map of South America and a part of Central America as Hitler proposes to reorganize it…This map makes clear the Nazi design, not only against South America but against the United States as well.
Probably millions or even tens of millions of Americans believed FDR’s words about that direct threat to our national security and therefore softened their resistance to our country’s involvement in the European war. But as historians have long since acknowledged, the map was a forgery, probably produced by FDR’s own close British collaborators. In an earlier private conversation with the British ambassador, FDR had warned that his secret activities with the British would probably lead to his impeachment if they were revealed.
I think few Americans at the time were willing to publicly accuse our President of such major falsehoods, but from a distance of more than eighty years, what strikes me is the sheer absurdity of FDR’s accusation. Germany had no significant navy and had been stymied for over a year by the barrier of the English Channel, only 18 miles wide. Yet apparently a large majority of the American media and the American public were willing to believe that the Germans could easily cross the thousands of miles of the Atlantic Ocean and gain control of the countries of South America, whose total population was considerably larger than that of Germany itself. So the excitement of being privy to a secret intelligence document seems to have triumphed over rational thought in the minds of many people, including eager journalists.
FDR’s illegal efforts to involve us in a totally unnecessary war outraged many of our Military Intelligence professionals at the time, but they were bound by an oath of secrecy, and their views only became known years or decades later when they published their books and personal memoirs. Extensive archival research by Prof. Joseph Bendersky fully uncovered their extremely bitter contemporaneous sentiments, and he noted the “fierce delight” they took in FDR’s eventual death: “Finally, the evil man was dead!”
American Pravda: Secrets of Military Intelligence
Ron Unz • The Unz Review • June 10, 2019 • 12,500 Words
Just after the end of the war, Gen. George Patton, one of our most illustrious military commanders, told his colleagues that he intended to resign his commission so that he could begin a nationwide speaking tour to provide the American public with the true facts about the war that they had just fought. Patton soon died in a highly-suspicious vehicle accident, and decades later his self-confessed American assassin revealed that he had killed Patton under direct orders from top figures in our own government.
American Pravda: Was General Patton Assassinated?
Ron Unz • The Unz Review • August 22, 2016 • 2,400 Words
Government officials have long recognized that secret information, even if heavily distorted or completely false, can be used to effectively shape media coverage. Many journalists and pundits are always eager to receive leaks, confidential tidbits that they are willing to make the centerpiece of their one-sided stories, thereby allowing themselves to be manipulated.
A perfect example of this process occurred during the run-up to the Iraq War, when leaks of secret intelligence information from Bush Neocons were widely promoted in such elite media outlets as the New York Times and the New Yorker. This persuaded our gullible citizenry that Saddam Hussein was on the verge of developing nuclear weapons and also planned to attack our country with anthrax and other deadly biological weapons, while seemingly being in cahoots with Osama bin Laden, his regional arch-enemy. As I described a decade ago, most of Congress and the American people fully accepted such obvious nonsense, resulting in our disastrous Iraq War, which began the destruction of much of the Middle East:
The circumstances surrounding our Iraq War demonstrate this, certainly ranking it among the strangest military conflicts of modern times. The 2001 attacks in America were quickly ascribed to the radical Islamists of al-Qaeda, whose bitterest enemy in the Middle East had always been Saddam Hussein’s secular Baathist regime in Iraq. Yet through misleading public statements, false press leaks, and even forged evidence such as the “yellowcake” documents, the Bush administration and its neoconservative allies utilized the compliant American media to persuade our citizens that Iraq’s nonexistent WMDs posed a deadly national threat and required elimination by war and invasion. Indeed, for several years national polls showed that a large majority of conservatives and Republicans actually believed that Saddam was the mastermind behind 9/11 and the Iraq War was being fought as retribution. Consider how bizarre the history of the 1940s would seem if America had attacked China in retaliation for Pearl Harbor.
An even greater absurdity unfolded last year, after a serious of mysterious underwater explosions destroyed the $30 billion Russian-German Nord Stream pipelines, probably Europe’s most important civilian energy infrastructure.
Numerous top American officials had publicly threatened to eliminate the pipelines if Russia invaded Ukraine, but after Russia did so and Nord Stream was destroyed, virtually all the mainstream media outlets both in America and in Europe declared that Russian President Vladimir Putin had probably destroyed his own pipelines, thereby further demonstrating his criminal insanity, and scarcely any other possibility was even considered. When Prof. Jeffrey Sachs was interviewed on Bloomberg TV and pointed to the American government as the obvious suspect, his statement was greeted with horror and disbelief and he was quickly yanked off the air.
Professor Jeffrey Sachs [Columbia] on Bloomberg causing chaos saying US was most likely involved in Nordstream leaks according to data & other experts “even reporters tell me …. privately of course …” and that we are on a pretty dangerous path to a nuclear conflict pic.twitter.com/U6FsC2tdp6
— Detty (@0ddette) October 3, 2022
American Pravda: Of Pipelines and Plagues
Ron Unz • The Unz Review • October 3, 2022 • 3,900 Words
Over the last half-century, Seymour Hersh had established himself as our greatest investigative journalist, and a few months after the attacks, he provided a very detailed account of exactly how our own military had destroyed the pipelines under orders from President Joe Biden, but no mainstream outlets reported his bombshell revelations.
However, Hersh had successfully broken many previous government cover-ups, and his blockbuster revelations left the earlier claim that Russia had destroyed the Russian pipelines looking rather threadbare, so various Western Intelligence agencies soon leaked a replacement cover story. The Nord Stream pipeline attacks probably ranked as the greatest act of industrial terrorism in world history, but the media now began reporting that the attacks had probably been carried out by a handful of shadowy Ukrainian activists operating from a rented sailboat. I’m not sure how many gullible Westerners fell for that particular fabrication, but Hersh quickly explained why the technical details of that new scenario were completely impossible.
Obviously not all intelligence leaks are false or useless. But we must be very cautious in accepting them, especially if they seem to strongly support the obvious political goals of the leakers.