* Iraq: false flag bombings and ‘sectarian violence’ *


Richard Moore

Original source URL:

Bush¹s War on Perception; the bombing of the Golden Mosque
Mike Whitney

January 19, 2007

We¹ve heard a lot about the bombing of Samarra¹s Golden Mosque lately. Bush has 
brought it up twice in the last week alone. It¹s a critical part of the 
administration¹s rationale for the occupation of Iraq, so we can expect to be 
reminded of it nearly as often as 9-11.

The destruction of the Golden-dome Mosque took place in February 2005 and has 
been identified as the "catalyzing event" that plunged the country into 
sectarian violence. That, at least, is just the official version. No one knows 
really what happened because the administration refused to conduct an 
independent investigation and the media excluded any account that didn¹t square 
with the Pentagon¹s spin on events.

What we¹re left with is mere speculation.

Here's what we know: Less than 4 hours after the explosion, the Bush public 
relations team cobbled together a statement that the bombing was the work of 
Sunni extremists or al Qaida terrorists. But, how did they know? They didn¹t 
have witnesses on the ground in Samarra and they¹ve never produced a scintilla 
of evidence to support their claims. It may be that the administration simply 
saw the bombing as an opportunity to twist the facts to suit their own purposes?

After all, the incident has been a propaganda-bonanza for the Bush team. They¹ve
used it to support their theory that Iraq is "the central battle in the war on 
terror" and that "we must fight them there if we don¹t want to fight them over 
here". It¹s become one of the main justifications for the occupation; implying 
that the US military is needed as a referee to keep the warring factions from 
killing each other. It¹s all just nonsense that¹s designed to advance the 
administration¹s political agenda.

If there had been an investigation, it would have shown whether the perpetrators
were experts or not by the placement of the explosives. There¹s a good chance 
they would¹ve found bomb-residue which could have determined the composition of 
the material used. Forensics experts could have easily ascertained whether the 
explosives came from Iraqi munitions-dumps (as suggested) or from outside the 
country (like the USA, perhaps?)

The incident may well have been a "false flag" operation carried out by US 
intelligence agencies to provoke sectarian violence and, thus, reduce the number
of attacks on American troops.

In any event, as soon as the mosque was destroyed the media swung into action 
focusing all of its attention on sectarian violence and the prospect of civil 
war. The media¹s incessant "cheerleading" for civil war was suspicious, to say 
the least.

In the first 30 hours after the blast, more than 1,500 articles appeared on 
Google News providing the government version of events without deviation and 
without any corroborating evidence; just fluff that reiterated the Pentagon¹s 
account verbatim and without challenge.

1500! Now that¹s a well-oiled propaganda system!

Most of the articles were "cookie cutter-type" stories which used the same 
buzzwords and talking points as all the others; no interviews, no facts, no 
second opinions; simple, straightforward stenography---nothing more.

The story was repeated for weeks on end never veering from the same speculative 
theory. Clearly, a great amount of effort was being exerted to convince the 
American people that this was a significant event that would reshape the whole 
context of the war in Iraq. In fact, the media blitz that followed was grander 
than anything since 9-11; a spectacular display of the media¹s power to 
manipulate public opinion.

There were a few articles that didn¹t follow the party-line, but they quickly 
disappeared into a cyber-"black hole" or were dismissed as conspiracy theories. 
One report in AFP said that the bombing "was the work of specialists" and the 
"placing of explosives must have taken at least 12 hours". The article 

       "Construction Minister Mohammed Jaafar said, 'Holes were dug
        into the mausoleum¹s four main pillars and packed with
        explosives. Then charges were connected together and linked
        to another charge placed just under the dome. The wires were
        then linked to another charge placed just under the dome.
        The wires were then linked to a detonator which was
        triggered at a distance."

Of course, what does that prove? Perhaps, al Qaida has skilled explosives 
experts? But why not investigate? After all, if this was the "catalyzing event" 
which was thrusting the country towards civil war; why not have the FBI come in 
and have a look-around?

A professional team of investigators could have quickly determined whether 
highly-trained saboteurs were operating in the area. (which meant that American 
troops would be at greater risk) Isn¹t that worth checking out?

Nope. The Pentagon did nothing. There was no effort at all to find out who might
have been involved. It was an open and shut case; wrapped up before the dust had
even settled in Samarra.

Very strange.

Apparently, there was at least one witness who was interviewed shortly after the
bombing. He said that he heard cars running outside the mosque "the whole night 
until morning" but, he was warned "to stay in your shop and don¹t leave until 

At 6:30 AM the next morning, the vehicles outside the mosque left. 10 minutes 
later the bombs exploded.

None of the people living in the vicinity of the mosque were ever questioned. 
Likewise, the Construction Minister Mohammed Jaafar has never resurfaced in the 
news again. I expect that his comments in the newspaper may have had something 
to do with his sudden disappearance, but then maybe not.

The Golden Mosque; truth or psy-ops?

The Bush administration is very serious about controlling information. That¹s 
why they launched the Pentagon¹s Dept of Strategic Information. The military is 
now deeply engaged in "full spectrum dominance" of all information technologies.
Consequently, "controlling the narrative" is more important than one might 
think. Propaganda is the cheapest and most effective way to control public 
behavior. The growth in public relations illustrates the importance that 
political leaders put on managing perception in a way that compels the masses to
conform to an elite agenda. That¹s why the administration has spent zillions on 
PR campaigns and inserted themselves into every area of human communication. 
They are forever looking for the right combination of patriotic and religious 
imagery that will get the public to march along in harmony.

The Bush administration has made some notable contributions to the traditional 
propaganda-paradigm. In fact, former Counselor at the State Dept, Philip 
Zelikow, (who was also executive director of the 9-11 Commission and author of 
the National Security Strategy NSS) is an expert in "the creation and 
maintenance of 'public myths¹ or 'public presumptions¹, which he defines as 
beliefs thought to be true although not necessarily known to be true with 
certainty, shared in common with the relevant political community (sounds like 
Rumsfeld)Š.He has taken a special interest in 'searing¹ or 'molding¹ events that
take on 'transcendent¹ importance and, therefore, retain there power even as the
experiencing generation passes from the scene". ("Thinking about Political 
History" Miller Center report; winter 1999) "Searing¹ or 'molding¹ events that 
take on 'transcendent¹ importance"?!? Like 9-11, for example?

       "In the Nov-Dec 1998 issue of Foreign Affairs he co-authored
        an article called 'Catastrophic Terrorism¹ in which he
        speculated that if the 1993 bombing of the World Trade
        center had succeeded 'the resulting horror and chaos would
        have exceeded our ability to describe it. Such an act of
        catastrophic terrorism would be a watershed event in
        American history. 'It could involve loss of life and
        property unprecedented in peacetime and undermine America¹s
        fundamental sense of security, as did the Soviet bomb test
        in 1949. The US might respond with draconian measures
        scaling back civil liberties, allowing wider surveillance of
        citizens, detention of suspects and use of deadly force.
        More violence could follow, either future terrorist attacks
        or US counterattacks. Belatedly, Americans would judge their
        leaders negligent for not addressing terrorism more
        urgently". (Wikipedia)

The previous paragraph is certainly worth rereading 2 or 3 times KEEPING IN MIND

Where, one might ask, did Zelikow get his crystal ball?

Zelikow correctly assumed that if a "catastrophic" event were to take place in 
America, it would trigger a massive revaluation of all our ideological 
commitments; "civil liberties, surveillance of citizens, detention of suspects 
and use of deadly force".

History would be divided into "pre 9-11 and post 9-11." And, all the 
restrictions on presidential power, inalienable rights, and aggressive war could
be swept away in an instant.

Isn¹t this the exact blueprint for what is taking place right now? What part of 
Zelikow¹s dark-vision has not been actualized?

This theory is the intellectual foundation for the creeping fascism that has 
infected our country. Its evil-brilliance is that it goes beyond propaganda¹s 
limited ability to shape public opinion and actually creates history by 
fabricating events that have a "searing" or "molding" effect on the collective 

Zelikow has figured out that the real essence of controlling behavior is not 
simply "propagating" ideas but understanding how humans process information and,
then, corrupting that process so it meets the objectives of the ruling elite.

Both 9-11 and the blowing up of the Golden dome Mosque are examples of how this 
theory works. 9-11 has been used to erase 200 years of legal precedent and 
establish a "unitary president" who has absolute power. The destruction of the 
mosque transforms a brutal colonial occupation into a "humanitarian 
intervention" which requires the US military to stay on indefinitely to prevent 
Iraqis from killing each other. In both cases, the "catastrophic" event creates 
the internal logic for the subsequent response.

Doesn¹t this explain why the administration has devoted so much energy to 
controlling the narrative?

The Salvador Option and the Bush Caliphate

The Defense Department developed its strategy for counterinsurgency in Iraq with
the assumption that they were "fighting a new kind of war". The days of large 
land-based armies and conventional weapons-systems are over. The coming century 
will require new skills for overpowering loosely-configured "indigenous" 
resistance organizations who can undermine the goal of seizing dwindling 

The war on terror conceals the fact that the US is presently engaged in a global
resource war.

An article by Michael Hirsh in Newsweek magazine, "The Salvador Option" (Jan 
2005), summarized the details of the strategy saying:

       "Newsweek has learned the Pentagon is intensively debating
        an option that dates back to a still-secret strategy in the
        Reagan administration¹s battle against a leftist guerilla
        insurgency in El Salvador in the early 1980s. Then, faced
        with a losing war against Salvadoran rebels, the US
        government funded or supported 'nationalist¹ forces that
        allegedly included so-called death squads directed to hunt
        down and kill rebel leaders and sympathizers."

The same pattern of terrorizing the public through "the application of extreme 
violence" has reemerged in Iraq with many of the same US leaders supervising the
covert operations. The plan was clearly designed to eliminate the need for more 
US troops to provide security and, instead, aimed at "pacifying" the resistance 
through a well-coordinated and fully-funded campaign of terror.

The (predominantly) Shiite militias operating out of the Interior Ministry were 
armed and trained by the CIA and were used to secretly to carry out 
assassinations and torture of suspected "Sunni insurgents." In his recent 
article "The Battle of Baghdad", Chris Sanders expands on this point:

       "Even more important is the fact that it has been the
        Americans in the form of one Colonel James Steel, who,
        reporting to then ambassador to Iraq, John Negroponte,
        oversaw the training of the Shia death squads a.k.a.
        "security forces" that have been turned loose on the Sunni
        population, a project called the "Salvador Option". This is
        not a civil warŠso much as deliberate mayhem incited, aided
        and abetted by the occupying power with the objective of
        forcing the disintegration of the country."

There¹s nothing new in Sander¹s observations although they are scrupulously 
omitted in the mainstream press. The Bush administration set out to apply its 
neoconservative theories in Iraq by deliberately destroying the social fabric of
Iraqi society so they could rebuild the country according to their "free market"
neoliberal ideology. The neocon principle of "creative destruction" was used 
with lethal precision and with devastating effects; the country is now in a 
state of total ruin.

The Pentagon¹s counterinsurgency strategy was developed long before the 
mutilated bodies of Sunni men began showing up daily bobbing along the Euphrates
River. It¹s part of a broader plan to dominate the entire region through 
military force. The purpose is to extend the Bush Caliphate--the "new world 
order"-- throughout the entire Middle East.

Somewhere along the line, things went horribly wrong and the Pentagon warlords 
lost control of their "brainchild" in the Interior Ministry. Now the Shiite 
death squads operate independent of their American overlords purging Baghdad of 
its Sunni population and laying the foundation for a future Islamic state. 
Events are simply beyond Bush¹s control. As author William Lind said recently, 
"The forces our invasion and destruction of the Iraqi state unleashed, far 
overpower any army we can deploy to Iraq, surge or no surge."

The neocon plan to decimate Iraqi society by inciting sectarian violence (divide
and conquer) was concocted long before the destruction of the Golden dome 
Mosque. In fact, the blowing up of the mosque was probably an attempt to 
disguise US involvement in the random bombings (markets, mosques, busy streets 
etc.) and death squad activity which soon spread throughout the Sunni heartland.

Consider Bush¹s comments in his speech to the nation last week:

       "The violence in Iraq has overwhelmed the political gains
        the Iraqis had made. Al Qaida terrorists and Sunni
        insurgents recognized the mortal danger that Iraq¹s election
        posed for their cause. And they responded with outrageous
        acts of murder aimed at innocent IraqisŠThey blew up one of
        the holiest shrines in Shia Islam‹the Golden Mosque of
        Samarra‹in a calculated effort to provoke Iraq¹s Shia
        population to retaliate. Their strategy worked Radical Shia
        elements; some supported by Iran, formed death squads. And
        the result was a vicious cycle of sectarian violence that
        continues today."

Is that what happened or is this just a clever way of shifting the blame from 
the real perpetrators of the bloodshed to the victims of Washington¹s dirty war?

Zelikow¹s theories have provided a master-plan for shaping public opinion around
"searing" events. He is right to assume that people will accept all manner of 
absurdities if they are assembled in the context of a larger catastrophe. 
Clearly, the Bush administration is venturing into uncharted waters, proactively
fabricating "historical events" to create their own reality and, thus, support 
the narrow objectives of an elite agenda.

The destruction of the Golden dome Mosque bears the same bloody fingerprints as 
do the victims of the occupation¹s unrelenting violence. The guilty parties may 
have escaped accountability so far, but when the smoke clears, we¹ll know whose 
bombs they really were.

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