There’s a new documentary out, it’s hot, it’s impressive, it’s from the award-winning filmmakers of An Inconvenient Truth, it appeals to progressives, it’s being featured on Huffington Post and other progressive sites, but is it also unwitting war propaganda? Countdown to Zero, it appears to be a sort of stop the madness film, a film with a message of ultimate peace, a film about something which concerns every good progressive; nuclear disarmament, but is this film, in the final analysis, really about that?
First let’s examine the nature of propaganda, how it can take place, and how it is perpetuated. I’m one who believes that the winning influence of propaganda is largely carried out by unwitting messengers; members of the media, politicians, and yes, filmmakers, anyone poised to convey a message can be influenced by forces who desire to influence that message, therefore I am not accusing the filmmakers of an intention to deceive, not in the least, on the contrary, I believe the filmmakers’ motives are indeed to promote nuclear disarmament, but in the process of making this film, larger forces may have found a comfortable forum from which to convey their own agenda.
One small curiosity, which caught my attention, takes place in an interview with Russia Today, when former CIA agent Valerie Plame, who appears prominently in the film, states that she didn’t know how producer Lawrence Bender, who contacted her about doing the film, got her phone number. That seems to me an odd statement for a former CIA agent to make but, be that as it may, in the interview she simply mentions this as a sort of curious unsolved mystery and then moves on. It’s just a little thing, and it’s probably nothing, maybe it’s just the Columbo in me, but I am curious about how Bender got her personal phone number, though I don’t suppose it’s actually key to the points I’m making.
Yet I do wonder about the process of determining and accessing those to be interviewed; were all the people interviewed in the film listed ahead of time or did this process grow organically and if so, by what means? Under what influences and by whose recommendations were the persons to be interviewed determined? Some very big players in the world of war, occupation, and covert operation appear in the film, did one interview influence the birth of another? What was the process? Who influenced the process? What departments of government, if any, were involved in this process?
Why do I ask? Why should I care? First of all, we now know that powerful influences played a role in leading the media during the build up for two illegal wars, and that in each instance a story was presented by unwitting media participants, reporters, journalists, and interviewers, who perpetuated, based on the influences of these powerful internal governmental forces, the exact stories which supported the invasions of both Afghanistan and Iraq.
Tony Blair, who also appears prominently in Countdown to Zero, can certainly be viewed as a key figure in the perpetuation of propaganda which led our country, and his, into the illegal invasion of Iraq, and a key part of the US war rhetoric was the oft-repeated: let’s not let the smoking gun become a mushroom cloud.
The Downing Street Memo revealed Tony Blair’s knowledge of the cherry picking of evidence in the Bush administration’s build up to war, yet now he appears in Countdown to Zero as a sort of savior of disarmament. I don’t feel that I am being overly cynical for having trust issues here, but rather that I am feeling alerted to the lessons of the past, especially when I observe involvement by the very perpetrators of these lies.
There seems to be a hidden meaning in the trailer to the film, that of preparation for more war. The trailer feels very much like the sort of galvanizing the Bush administration did after 9-11; terrorists with a loose nuke, Iran or North Korea readying to unleash nuclear aggression. The overall message seems to be disarmament, zero, but if the premise is that there are loose nukes about, does anyone really believe developed nations are going to reduce their nuclear power to zero while rogue nations harbor loose nukes? Instead, the message seems to be we may want to consider preparation (propaganda) for a potential stand-off, or some form of military action.
The film highlights rhetoric from 9-11, stepping the alert up to a terrorist nuclear threat. Yet it appears the film makes no mention of the thousands of scholars, scientists, physicists, architects, engineers, pilots with decades of military and commercial flight experience, former high-ranking military and intelligence officers, and first responders, who very seriously question the official story of 9-11 and the gross omissions of both evidence and testimony which the investigative team eliminated from the published findings. Why wasn’t this basic premise explored even to a minimum? There are far too many scholars and professionals now advocating and petitioning for a new investigation for media intellectuals to claim ignorance about it any longer, but this film, by its omission, seems to do just that.
The film points out missing nuclear weapons, missing from the break up of the former Soviet Union, and highlights a claim that Osama Bin Laden has a goal to kill 4,000,000 Americans and implies that he can’t do that by hijacking planes and running them into buildings. What it doesn’t appear to mention is that Osama Bin Laden is not wanted for the crimes of 9-11, that he is not on the FBI most wanted list for the crimes of 9-11 and that when reporters queried about this oddity the FBI answer was, “We don’t have the evidence.” In other words, throughout the war rhetoric of two presidents, about Osama Bin Laden and the attacks of September 11, 2001, Osama Bin Laden is, apparently, not a suspect.
Also, notice the presence of the military industrial complex, in the film; Tony Blair, Robert McNamara (who, I realize, tried to cleanse his soul and confess his war crimes before he passed on), James Baker III, Zbigniew Brzezinski, and others. Clearly, the film focuses on Iran and North Korea as dangers to be alerted to, just as back in the day when Saddam Hussein was the catalyst for mushroom cloud alerts, but it all turned out to be, what? Propaganda.
There are always dangers, there are always threats, in this world, of some kind, but this in fact is what makes propaganda work so well, and good propaganda, good war propaganda is supposed to cause the public to feel good about violence, that’s the purpose of its use, to cause us to feel that we are overcoming violence by becoming for a time violent. This film seems, perhaps and at least in part, due to some of its participants, to be building a case for more war, under the auspices of preventing nuclear attack, it may not be the motive of the filmmakers, but by including members of the US/Britain propaganda machine, they have certainly opened the door for it..
The most cynical view I’ve read is that the film is preparing the public for a false flag operation. That’s the most extreme take on it, but we now know the Gulf of Tonkin was indeed a false flag operation and that it led us into the dark years of Vietnam, we know that Kennedy refused to cooperate with the Northwoods false flag operation, which was submitted to him by General Limitzer. Due to CIA whistleblowers, we know the US has been involved in other false flag operations, it’s a military tactic, not entirely uncommon. Now, numerous scholars believe 9-11 may have been a false flag operation, meant to herald the US into these illegal wars in the Middle East and to initiate the draconian measures of the Patriot Act here in the States. So the premise of false flag propaganda, concerning Countdown to Zero, while far-fetched, is not entirely ungrounded.
Regardless, while watching the trailer, I did feel that I was in the presence of some form of propaganda; when I see war makers coming off, somehow, as great advocates of peace, it just makes me wonder if something gamey is going on, I felt like I did when Obama accepted his Nobel Peace Prize and proceeded to give a talk on how war is peace and peace is war.
Call me jaded, but in my book peace begets peace, and if we are truly concerned about the Middle East and loose nukes, let’s begin disarmament while we start pouring war funding and war profits into humanitarian aid instead of into war and occupation; that’s a plan that may actually win hearts and minds rather than create more enemies.
FBI Most Wanted? Not:
Tony Blair and the Downing Street Memo:
Gulf of Tonkin:
How mushroom cloud propaganda works, and how well meaning people get duped into perpetuating it:
Valerie Plame on Russia Today:
An interesting perspective on Countdown to Zero:
More from 9-11 Truth Edmonton:
The phenomenon of thousands of scientists, physicists, architects, engineers…for 9-11 truth:
Documentary or War Propaganda?