The recent assertion by the Trump White House that Damascus and Moscow released “false narratives” to
mislead the world about the April 4 sarin gas attack in Khan Shaykhun, Syria,
is a dangerous next step in the “fake news” propaganda war launched in the
final days of the Obama administration. It is a step whose deep roots in
Communist Trotsky’s Fourth International must be understood before deciding
whether American democracy can be reclaimed.

Muddying the waters of
accountability in a way not seen since Sen. Joe McCarthy at the height of the
Red Scare in the 1950s, the “
Countering Disinformation and Propaganda Act” signed into law without fanfare by Obama in December 2016
officially authorized a government censorship bureaucracy comparable only to
George Orwell’s fictional Ministry of Truth in his novel “1984.” Referred to as
Global Engagement Center
,” the
official purpose of this new bureaucracy is to “recognize, understand, expose,
and counter foreign state and non-state propaganda and disinformation efforts
aimed at undermining United States national security interests.” The real
purpose of
Orwellian nightmare
is to cook the books on anything
that challenges Washington’s neoconservative pro-war narrative and to
intimidate, harass or jail anyone who tries. As has already been demonstrated
by President Trump’s firing of Tomahawk missiles at a Syrian government
airbase, it is a recipe for a world war, and like it or not, that war has
already begun.

This latest attack on Russia’s
supposed false narrative takes us right back to 1953 and the beginnings of the
cultural war between East and West. Its roots are tied to the Congress for
Cultural Freedom, to James Burnham’s pivot from Trotsky’s Fourth International
to right-wing conservatism and to the rise of the neoconservative
Machiavellians as a political force. As Burnham’s “
Struggle for the World
” stressed,
the Third World War had already begun with the 1944 Communist-led Greek
sailors’ revolt. In Burnham’s Manichean thinking, the West was under siege.
George Kennan’s Cold War policy of containment was no different than Neville
Chamberlain’s policy of appeasement. Détente with the Soviet Union amounted to
surrender. Peace was only a disguise for war, and that war would be fought with
politics, subversion, terrorism and psychological warfare. Soviet influence had
to be rolled back wherever possible. That meant subverting the Soviet Union and
its proxies and, when necessary, subverting Western democracies as well.

The true irony of today’s late-stage
efforts by Washington to monopolize “truth” and attack alternate narratives
isn’t just in its blatant contempt for genuine free speech. The real irony is
that the entire “Freedom Manifesto” employed by the United States and Britain
since World War II was never free at all, but a concoction of the CIA’s
Strategy Board
’s (PSB) comprehensive psychological
warfare program waged on friend and foe alike.

The CIA would come to view the
entire program, beginning with the 1950 Berlin conference, to be a landmark in
the Cold War, not just for solidifying the CIA’s control over the non-Communist
left and the West’s “free” intellectuals, but for enabling the CIA to secretly
disenfranchise Europeans and Americans from their own political culture in such
a way they would never really know it.

As historian Christopher Lasch wrote in 1969 of the CIA’s cooptation of the American left, “The
modern state … is an engine of propaganda, alternately manufacturing crises and
claiming to be the only instrument that can effectively deal with them. This
propaganda, in order to be successful, demands the cooperation of writers,
teachers, and artists not as paid propagandists or state-censored time-servers
but as ‘free’ intellectuals capable of policing their own jurisdictions and of
enforcing acceptable standards of responsibility within the various
intellectual professions.”

Key to turning these “free”
intellectuals against their own interests was the CIA’s doctrinal program for
Western cultural transformation contained in the document
PSB D-33/2. PSB D-33/2 foretells of a “long-term intellectual
movement, to: break down world-wide doctrinaire thought patterns” while
“creating confusion, doubt and loss of confidence” in order to “weaken
objectively the intellectual appeal of neutralism and to predispose its
adherents towards the spirit of the West.” The goal was to “predispose local
elites to the philosophy held by the planners,” while employing local elites
“would help to disguise the American origin of the effort so that it appears to
be a native development.”

While declaring itself as an
antidote to Communist totalitarianism, one internal critic of the program, PSB
officer Charles Burton Marshall, viewed PSB D-33/2 itself as frighteningly
totalitarian, interposing “a wide doctrinal system” that “accepts uniformity as
a substitute for diversity,” embracing “all fields of human thought — all
fields of intellectual interests, from anthropology and artistic creations to
sociology and scientific methodology.” He concluded: “That is just about as
totalitarian as one can get.”

Burnham’s Machiavellian elitism
lurks in every shadow of the document. As recounted in Frances Stoner Saunder’s
“The Cultural Cold War,” “Marshall also took issue with the PSB’s reliance on
‘non-rational social theories’ which emphasized the role of an elite ‘in the
manner reminiscent of Pareto, Sorel, Mussolini and so on.’ Weren’t these the
models used by James Burnham in his book the Machiavellians? Perhaps there was
a copy usefully to hand when PSB D-33/2 was being drafted. More likely, James
Burnham himself was usefully to hand.”

Burnham was more than just at hand
when it came to secretly implanting a fascist philosophy of extreme elitism
into America’s Cold War orthodoxy. With “The Machiavellians,” Burnham had
composed the manual that forged the old Trotskyist left together with a
right-wing Anglo/American elite. The political offspring of that volatile union
would be called neoconservatism, whose overt mission would be to roll back
Russian/Soviet influence everywhere. Its covert mission would be to reassert a
British cultural dominance over the emerging Anglo/American Empire and maintain
it through propaganda.

Hard at work on that task since 1946
was the secret Information Research Department of the British and Commonwealth
Foreign Office known as the IRD.

Rarely spoken of in the context of
CIA-funded secret operations, the IRD served as a covert anti-Communist
propaganda unit from 1946 until 1977. According to Paul Lashmar and James
Oliver, authors of “
Britain’s Secret Propaganda War,”
“the vast IRD enterprise had one sole aim: To spread its ceaseless propaganda
output (i.e. a mixture of outright lies and distorted facts) among top-ranking
journalists who worked for major agencies and magazines, including Reuters and
the BBC, as well as every other available channel. It worked abroad to
discredit communist parties in Western Europe which might gain a share of power
by entirely democratic means, and at home to discredit the British Left.”

IRD was to become a self-fulfilling
disinformation machine for the far-right wing of the international intelligence
elite, at once offering fabricated and distorted information to “independent”
news outlets and then using the laundered story as “proof” of the false story’s
validity. One such front enterprise established with CIA money was Forum World
Features, operated at one time by Burnham acolyte
Brian Rossiter Crozier. Described by Burnham’s biographer Daniel Kelly as a
“British political analyst,” in reality, the legendary Brian Crozier functioned
for over 50 years as one of Britain’s top
propagandists and secret agents.

If anyone today is shocked by the
biased, one-sided, xenophobic rush to judgment alleging Russian influence over
the 2016 presidential election, they need look no further than to Brian
Crozier’s closet for the blueprints. As we were told outright by an American
military officer during the first war in Afghanistan in 1982, the U.S. didn’t
need “proof the Soviets used poison gas” and they don’t need proof against
Russia now. Crozier might best be described as a daydream believer, a dangerous
imperialist who
acts out his dreams with open eyes. From the beginning of the Cold War until
his death in 2012, Crozier and his protégé
Robert Moss propagandized on behalf of military dictators Francisco
Franco and Augusto Pinochet, organized private intelligence organizations to
destabilize governments in the Middle East, Asia, Latin America and Africa and
worked to delegitimize politicians in Europe and Britain viewed as
insufficiently anti-Communist.

The mandate of his Institute for the
Study of Conflict (ISC) set up in 1970 was to expose the supposed KGB campaign
of worldwide subversion and put out stories smearing anyone who questioned it
as a dupe, a traitor or Communist spy. Crozier regarded “The Machiavellians” as
a major formative influence in his own intellectual development, and wrote in
1976 “indeed it was this book above all others that first taught me how
[emphasis Crozier] to think about politics.” The key to Crozier’s thinking was
Burnham’s distinction between the “formal” meaning of political speech and the
“real,” a concept which was, of course, grasped only by elites. In a 1976
article, Crozier marveled at how Burnham’s understanding of politics had
spanned 600 years and how the use of “the formal” to conceal “the real” was no
different today than when used by Dante Alighieri’s “presumably enlightened
Medieval mind.” “The point is as valid now as it was in ancient times and in
the Florentine Middle Ages, or in 1943. Overwhelmingly, political writers and
speakers still use Dante’s method. Depending on the degree of obfuscation
required (either by circumstances or the person’s character), the divorce
between formal and real meaning is more of less absolute.”

But Crozier was more than just a
strategic thinker. Crozier was a high-level
covert political agent who put Burnham’s talent for obfuscation and his Fourth
International experience to use to undermine détente and set the stage for
rolling back the Soviet Union.

In a secret meeting at a City of
London bank in February 1977, he even patented a private-sector operational
intelligence organization known at the Sixth International (6I) to pick up
where Burnham left off: politicizing and privatizing many of the dirty tricks
the CIA and other intelligence services could no longer be caught doing. As he
explained in his memoir “Free Agent,” the name 6I was chosen “because the
Fourth International split. The Fourth International was the Trotskyist one,
and when it split, this meant that, on paper, there were five Internationals. In
the numbers game, we would constitute the Sixth International, or ‘6I.’ ”

Crozier’s cooperation with numerous
“able and diligent Congressional staffers” as well as “the remarkable General
Vernon (‘Dick’) Walters, recently retired as Deputy Director of Central
Intelligence,” cemented the rise of the neoconservatives. When Carter caved in
to the Team B and his neoconservative National Security Adviser Zbigniew
Brzezinski’s plot to lure the Soviets into their own Vietnam in Afghanistan, it
fulfilled Burnham’s mission and delivered the world to the Machiavellians
without anyone being the wiser. As George Orwell wrote in his “Second Thoughts
on James Burnham”: “What Burnham is mainly concerned to show [in The
Machiavellians] is that a democratic society has never existed and, so far as
we can see, never will exist. Society is of its nature oligarchical, and the
power of the oligarchy always rests upon force and fraud. … Power can sometimes
be won and maintained without violence, but never without fraud.”

Today, Burnham’s use of Dante’s
political treatise “De Monarchia” to explain his medieval understanding of
politics might best be swapped for Dante’s “Divine Comedy,” a paranoid comedy
of errors in which the door to Hell swings open to one and all, including the
elites regardless of their status. Or as they say in Hell, “Lasciate ogne
speranza, voi ch’intrate
.” Abandon hope all ye who enter here.

Copyright – 2022 Fitzgerald &
Gould All rights reserved

Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould are authors of Invisible History: Afghanistan’s Untold Story, published by City Lights (2009), Crossing Zero The AfPak War at the Turning Point of American Empire, published by City Lights (2011).
Their novel
The Voice , was published in 2001. Their novelized memoir, The Valediction Three Nights of Desmond was
published by TrineDay (2021) and
The Valediction Resurrection was published by TrineDay (2022). For more information
invisiblehistory , grailwerk and