35 Years Ago — Gaddafi Target of U.S. Disinformation (October 2 1986 — Bob Woodward) [Disinformation Goes Mainstream]

“Your White House, specifically your national security adviser, constructed an operation whereby the free press in this country was going to be used to convey a false story to the world, namely that Qaddafi was planning new terrorist operations.”

New York Times (October 3 1986) 

libya_bombing_reagan_meeting_14_march_1986
14 March 1986 — Reagan Strikes on Tripoli and Benghazi

October 2 2021 — On October 2 1986, the Washington Post published an extraordinary story written by legendary journalist Bob Woodward: “Gadhafi Target of Secret U.S. Deception Plan”. Under orders from the White House, the US Intelligence Community was planting false information in the US media. As a result of this scandal, the use of the word ‘disinformation’ became mainstream in the English language. Follow us on Twitter: @INTEL_TODAY

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RELATED POST: Disinformation — Who Coined That Word Anyway?

“There is a wonderful book that you might read… And the title of it is from a quote from Winston Churchill: ‘In time of war, the truth is so precious, it must be attended by a bodyguard of lies.'”

Secretary of State George P. Shultz (October 3 1986)

 

If you read this blog, chances are they you are familiar with the Iran-Contra Affair. At the same time, it is quite likely that you have never heard of a major US scandal that was running parallel to the Iran-Contra Operation.

The two operations were in fact two branches of a single policy. If the delivery of weapons to Iran was the “Carrot” part of the plan suggested in the 1985 “Fuller MEMORANDUM“, the disinformation regarding “Libyan terrorism” was the “Stick”.

I would argue that one must know and understand this ‘old story’ in order to understand past cases, such as the Lockerbie Affair, or current ones such as the Salisbury Novichok attacks.

Although, the word ‘disinformation’ was certainly used long before by English-speaking Intelligence Agencies (CIA, MI6), it did not appear in English dictionaries until the late 80s.

‘Disinformation’ first made an appearance in English dictionaries in 1985, specifically in the Webster’s New College Dictionary and the American Heritage Dictionary.

English use increased in 1986, after revelations that the Reagan Administration engaged in disinformation against Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

All the facts are well documented. Yet, only one person resigned over this affair.

Bernard Kalb resigned today (08 October 1986) as chief spokesman for Secretary of State George P. Shultz in protest of the government’s disinformation program directed at Libyan leader Moammar Kadafi. (…)

He said his choice was to remain at the department and vanish into acquiescence or to quit in protest.” LA Times

But as the world — and the US Congress — discovered with horror the Iran-Contra Affair, the “Libyan Scandal” was quickly forgotten. There never was an investigation.

Gadhafi Target of Secret U.S. Deception Plan By Bob Woodward (October 2, 1986)

The secret plan, adopted at a White House meeting on August 14 1986, was outlined in a three-page memo that John M. Poindexter, the president’s national security affairs adviser, sent to President Reagan.

“One of the key elements” of the new strategy, the Poindexter memo said, “is that it combines real and illusionary events (…)

Beginning with an Aug. 25 report in The Wall Street Journal, the American news media — including The Washington Post — reported as fact much of the false information generated by the new plan. Published articles described renewed Libyan backing for terrorism and a looming, new U.S.-Libya confrontation. But U.S. intelligence officials had actually concluded in August that Gadhafi was “quiescent” on the terrorist front, according to the Poindexter memo.

The secret plan also called for “foreign media placements” by the CIA.

When a report appeared on the front page of The Wall Street Journal on Aug. 25 stating without qualification that “The U.S. and Libya are on a collision course again,” it was embraced publicly by Poindexter and White House spokesman Larry Speakes, who called the article “authoritative.”

(…)

The CIA undertook placements of false information in the foreign media. Other covert techniques involving communications, U.S. aircraft and submarines were planned.

One planning document said that the false information should include articles showing that the Soviet Union was planning a coup in Libya. It said, “Libyan intelligence should be provided photography of Libyan dissidents meeting with Soviet officials in Paris, Baghdad, etc.”

Today, we know that serious people had a a variety of reservations regarding this operation. But the strong anti-Gadhafi sentiment in the administration overrode all other considerations.

At one point, according to a source, Reagan made a joke about the Libyan leader’s well-known proclivity for wearing ostentatious and colorful clothing.

The president quipped, “Why not invite Gadhafi to San Francisco, he likes to dress up so much.”

Shultz rejoined: “Why don’t we give him AIDS!”

Others at the table laughed.

After fake news reports appeared describing the purported U.S. proposal to take joint action in Chad, the French voiced concern to the State Department that, instead of frightening Gadhafi, the disinformation ‘scuttled possible cooperation with the French on Chad in the near future.’

A National Security Council memo dated Aug. 7, recommended that the United States attempt to “shame France into asserting itself” in Chad, a former French colony.

The document suggested communicating through “military-to-military channels and not through the political channels which failed earlier this year . . . . Given the stated desire of some [French] general officers to cooperate with us against Gadhafi, we might actively encourage them to sell the proposal to their civilian leadership.”

Lockerbie — Three Decades of Lies: J’Accuse…!

QUICK NOTE — To make it easier for the readers to retrieve various chapters of this book, I have created a special page  “Lockerbie” where all the links to the chapters will be listed with a brief description. You can access that page directly as it appears at the far right of the top bar of this blog. END of NOTE

Lockerbie — Three Decades of Lies: J’Accuse…!

Here is the timeline/story of one of the major US scandals you probably never heard of.

08 January 1986

STATE DEPARTMENT REPORT IN LIBYA UNDER QADDAFI New York Times

“Qaddafi has used terrorism as one of the primary instruments of his foreign policy and supports radical groups which use terrorist tactics.”

The report lists the anti-US illegal activities of Libya in Europe, Africa, the near and far-east, Central and Latin America as well as direct threats against the US.

The Reports specifically names the activities of Qaddafi  in Nicaragua and his support for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Command.

The Report concludes : “Qaddafi has abused diplomatic privilege for terrorist purposes, reneged on international agreements and blatantly used terrorist violence against political opponents. In addition, Qaddafi’s support of terrorism, regardless of his direct operational involvement in a given terrorist act, helps legitimize terrorism as an acceptable political activity.

05 April 1986

La Belle Disco bombing — Reagan accuses Libya

Evidence:  a pair of intercepted cable transmissions from the Libyan People’s Bureau–its embassy–in East Berlin.

A witness names the cables’ recipient as Said Rashid.

[INTEL TODAY: This is the “Said Rashid” who allegedly ordered the MST-13 timers from a Swiss company MEBO.  The owner of MEBO — Edwin Bollier — claims that he delivered the first series of MST-13 timers to Rashid in Libya sometimes between September and November 1985. According to the Lockerbie trial, Pan Am 103 was destroyed with the use of this type of timer. The link between Lockerbie and the MST-13 timers has been discredited by several scientists. NB: Bollier’s passport has no Libya entry stamp for this period.]

Germany Finally to Try ’86 Disco Bombing Case

“The despicable attack in Berlin fits the pattern of increased Libyan activities including Rome and Vienna. We have suspicions that this bombing is part of that pattern.” Bernard Kalb

German authorities do not support this theory.

Christian Lochte, Head of the Hamburg Branch of the BfV speaks on TV the next week:

“I cannot rule out that Libya, in some way, is responsible. But I must say that such hasty blame regarding Rome and Vienna, for which Libya had immediately been made responsible, did not prove to be correct.”

14 April 1986

 US President Ronald Reagan orders retaliatory strikes on Tripoli and Benghazi

France denies airspace

Malta warns Tripoli. Le Monde , NYT (See 06/08/1986)

The week after the raid, Reagan said: “If their government continues its campaign of terror against Americans, we will act again.”

17 July 1986

The US Senate ratified the Supplementary Extradition Treaty (Supplementary Treaty) between the United States and the United Kingdom.

“The pact was eagerly sought by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who seeks the return of Irish Republican Army members accused of crimes in Great Britain.”

NYT PACT WITH BRITAIN ON EXTRADITIONS BACKED BY SENATE

“President Reagan had asked for quick Senate approval of the treaty as a sign of gratitude to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher for her support of the April 14 U.S. bombing raid against Libya.”

British Extradition Treaty, Irish Aid Approved

About the 1986 U.S. bombing of Tripoli, Thatcher wrote in her 1993 memoirs:

“There were revenge killings of British hostages organized by Libya, which I bitterly regretted. But the much vaunted Libyan counter-attack did not and could not take place.”

[INTEL TODAY: EXCUSE ME? What does it mean about Lockerbie? Two Libyan citizens were indicted by the US and the UK in 1991!]

23 July 1986

Alleged Libyan Plot to Bomb US Embassy in Lomé, Togo.

Togo’s Interior minister Lade said that “two suitcases, which were loaded with explosives, an automatic pistol, and three grenades, were intercepted. These containers had been sent from Libya to its embassy in Cotonu, the capital of neighboring Benin, and the transshipped to Togo.” (See 11&13/08/1986)

06 August 1986

NYT: MALTA SAYS LIBYA GOT A TIP ON RAID

07 August 1986

NSC Letter; Operation VECTOR

Howard R Teicher proposes “to shame France into joining in some action… White House might have to go around the civilian government and rely and military to military channels… as political channels have failed earlier this year.”

“Given the stated desire of some French general officers to cooperate with us against Gadhafi, we might actively encourage them to sell the proposal to their civilian leadership.”

Around this day – DDI Richard Kerr and Tom Twetten are sent to the White House to explain what the CIA could do “to apply psychological pressure on Gaddafi”.

Twetten said it would be no problem for the CIA “to plant false stories in publications abroad” to unnerve Gaddafi.

10 August 1986

MALTA SAYS IT WARNED LIBYA OF U.S. RAID

“Prime Minister Mifsud Bonnici said the planes were picked up on radar 30 to 45 minutes before the raid, and Libya was notified shortly thereafter.”

11 August 1986

Togo’s Interior Minister: “A terrorist attack on the United States Embassy here using explosives sent from Libya has been thwarted.” NYT

13 August 1986

Le Monde: Plot against US Embassy in Lomé

The information was discussed in a four-States mini-summit. Although Senegal is not a member state of this summit, its defense minister was invited.

Arrestation de neuf personnes accusées de préparer des attentats

14 August 1986

11AM. Reagan meets with Shultz, Weinberger, Casey, Poindexter and Admiral William Crowe (Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff)

“Poindexter lavished praise on Defense, saying that the April 14 raid had been technically impressive, that it had deterred terrorism…”

Poindexter Memo is agreed.

The MEMO states: “U.S. intelligence officials have concluded in August that Gadhafi was quiescent on the terrorist front.”

16 August 1986

Reagan signs NSDD: “Deception and Disinformation”

Top Secret. Code word VEIL

25 August 1986

Wall Street Journal: Collision course

“Libya is plotting new terrorist attacks”

26 August 1986

“Officials indicated today that Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi was planning terrorist attacks, and the White House warned that it was prepared to take whatever action is necessary to thwart the Libyan leader. ”

NYT: U.S. SAYS LIBYA MAY HAVE PLANS FOR NEW TERROR

27 August 1986

”The Reagan Administration has perhaps launched a deliberate campaign of disinformation.”

Le Monde Un nouveau raid sur la Libye?

23 September 1986

Attempted Coup in Togo; “MST-13 Timers appearance” . US team brings one timer back to Washington.

Keep in mind that without this MST-13 timer, PT/35(b) [The key evidence in the Lockerbie investigation] would  not have helped the Lockerbie investigators since it would never have been matched to a MST-13 MEBO timer.

02 October 1986

Gadhafi Target of Secret U.S. Deception Plan

Elaborate Campaign Included Disinformation That Appeared as Fact in American Media.

Washington Post, Bob Woodward

03 October 1986

“Disinformation Program” widely covered in the US; 5 stories in the NYT, 3 on the front page!

INITIAL REPORT ON LIBYAN PLOTS STIRRED SKEPTICISM

Lies Wound America, Not Libya

“Your White House, specifically your national security adviser, constructed an operation whereby the free press in this country was going to be used to convey a false story to the world, namely that Qaddafi was planning new terrorist operations.”

EXCERPTS FROM SESSION WITH THE PRESIDENT

03 October 1986

In the evening, Shultz speaks to reporters at a Press Briefing:

There is a wonderful book that you might read… And the title of it is from a quote from Winston Churchill: “In time of war, the truth is so precious, it must be attended by a bodyguard of lies.”

04 October 1986

F.B.I. WILL SEEK AIDE WHO CITED NEWS DECEPTION

Senator William S. Cohen, Republican of Maine, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said he grew worried last summer while reading news reports indicating that Colonel Gaddafi had become increasingly unstable and was facing internal threats.

”That did not seem consistent with other information I was looking at, Cohen said. I can only conclude that the reports were without foundation or someone was deliberately seeking to plant such information.”

08 October 1986

Bernard Kalb resigned today as chief spokesman for Secretary of State George P. Shultz in protest of the government’s “disinformation” program directed at Libyan leader Moammar Kadafi.

Kalb Quits State Dept. Post to Protest ‘Disinformation’: Fears Loss of His Own Credibility

03 November 1986

The Lebanese magazine Ash-Shiraa exposed the Iran-contra scandal.

REFERENCES

Gadhafi Target of Secret U.S. Deception Plan (02 October 1986)

Elaborate Campaign Included Disinformation That Appeared as Fact in American Media.

Washington Post — Bob Woodward

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35 Years Ago — Gaddafi Target of U.S. Disinformation (October 2 1986 — Bob Woodward) [Disinformation Goes Mainstream]

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