Review: Disinformation –22 Media Myths That Undermine the War on Terror (Hardcover)

3 Star, Information Society, Misinformation & Propaganda

Amazon Page
Amazon Page

3.0 out of 5 stars One third correct, one third misleading, one third nonsense,

January 11, 2006
Richard Miniter
This book caught my eye in an airport bookstore, and I certainly do recommend it for purchase and review if you can afford it (see last line), but with a ton of salt. It could be usefully read with Larry Beinhart's “Fog Facts,” Robert Parry's “Lost History,” and Roger Shattucks's “Forbidden Knowledge.” Taken together, the four books provide a superb overview of what can be known, ignored, lost, hidden, or manipulated.

One third of these myths are correct and acceptable. For example, the myth that Bin Laden was funded by CIA (he was not, he was funded by the Saudi government), and the myth that Bin Laden is extraordinarily wealthy (he is not, he gets up to $10M a year from varied sources including $1M from his family in Saudi Arabia) are both well known to those who read widely in this area.

One third of these myths are misleading and incomplete. For example, the myth that Bin Laden was not heard of suggests that he came out in 1998 when he actually came out, with the full support of the Saudi government, in 1988. The author appears unwitting of the book by Yossef Bodansky on “Bin Laden: The Man Who Declared War on the US” and varied interviews in the pre-1998 era when Bin Laden said, on the record and on camera, that he planned to attack America if it did not remove its military forces from the Middle East. The myth on the 6 August CIA briefing to the President is *very* misleading, and ignores the enormous additional information that was provided.

Some of the myths are pure nonsense. The three that stand out are the author's attempt to show that Iraq had a great deal to do with Al Qaeda; that Al Qaeda does not have nuclear devices; and that Halliburton has not really profited from Iraq. The author is disingenuous at best. All of the Arabic literature clearly shows that Bin Laden despised Saddam Hussein and had no need nor desire for his support, incidental encounters not-withstanding (the President of Czechoslovakia, Vaclav Havel, has repeatedly stated that the myth of a meeting in Prague is just that–a myth). Paul Williams has done a fine job of bringing together all the open source information on Al Qaeda having both nuclear devices, and access to Pakistani and Russian and Iranian expertise in “refreshing” those devices (see my review of “Osama's Revenge: THE NEXT 9-11 : What the Media and the Government Haven't Told You”). Finally, on Halliburton (which includes the Brown and Root company that many say smuggles drugs back into the US with CIA complicity), the author is actively either ignorant or dishonest. Halliburton cooks its books, plain and simple. They are under active investigation for cheating the military in Iraq, and they paid $15M on billions in profit in one tax year that has been publicly examined.

One quarter of the book is appendices of dubious value.

Bottom line: if you make more than $75K a year and like to be informed, buy the book. If you make less, do not bother, get a good steak instead.

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