Deceiving the People: Social Engineering and the 21st Century

By JAMES F TRACY | GLOBAL RESEARCH | MARCH 20, 2013

On March 9, 1995 Edward Bernays died at the age of 103. His professional endeavors involved seeking to change popular attitudes and behavior by fundamentally altering social reality.[1] Since he laid the modern groundwork for deceiving the public we are for better or worse living out his legacy today.

Several years ago Project Censored directors Peter Phillips and Mickey Huff identified and explained the “truth emergency” that is among the greatest threats to civil society and human existence. This crisis is manifest in flawed (or non-existent) investigations into 9/11 and other potential false flag events, fraudulent elections, and illegal wars vis-à-vis a corporate-controlled news media that fail to adequately inform the public on such matters. While neglecting or obscuring inquiry into such events and phenomena major media disparage independent and often uncredentialed researchers as “conspiracy theorists” or, more revealingly, “truthers.”[2]

The truth emergency continues today, and social engineers like Bernays long understood the significance of undermining the use of reason, for it is only through reason that truth may be determined and evaluated. To be sure, individuals and institutions that have successfully achieved legitimacy in the public mind are recognized as having a monopoly on the capacity to reason and are thus perceived as the foremost bearers of truth and knowledge. Through the endorsement of “experts”—figures perceived as authoritative in their field—the public could easily be persuaded on anything from tobacco use and water fluoridation to military intervention abroad.

Today reason is defined one dimensionally; its relationship to truth largely taken-for-granted. Yet as Leibniz observed, reason marks our humanity, suggesting a portion of the soul capable of a priori recognition of truth. With this in mind the modern individual in the mass has been rendered at least partially soulless through her everyday deferral to the powerfully persuasive notion and representation of expertise. However narrowly focused, under the guise of objectivity the institutionally-affiliated journalist, academic, bureaucrat, and corporate spokesperson have become the portals of reason through which the public is summoned to observe “truth.”

These agents of reason are largely bereft of emotion, moderate in temperament, and speak or write in an unsurprisingly formulaic tone. The narratives they relate and play out present tragedy with the expectation of certain closure. And with a century of commercial media programming the mass mind has come to not only accept but anticipate such regulation and control under the regime of institutionally-sanctioned expertise.

The selection and arrangement of experts by corporate media guarantees a continued monopoly on “truth,” particularly when presented to an uninquisitive and politically dormant public. Yet this phenomenon extends to ostensibly more trustworthy media outlets such as public broadcasting, where a heightened utilization of credentialed expertise is required to ensure the consensus of those who perceive themselves as more refined than the Average Joe.

This preservation of what passes for reason and truth cannot be sustained without a frequent dialectical struggle with unreason and falsity. Since many individuals have unconsciously placed their genuine reasoning faculties in abeyance and often lack a valid knowledge of politics and history, their unspoken faith in government and the broader political economy to protect and further their interests is groundless. Against this milieu those genuinely capable of utilizing their reasoning capacities in the pursuit of truth are often held up as heretical for their failure to accept what is presented as reality, with the requisite “conspiracy theory” label wielded in Orwellian fashion to denote such abnormal intellectual activity.

Lacking the autonomous use of reason to recognize truth, form often trumps substance. For example, a seemingly obscure news website with unconventional graphics or an emotional news presenter purporting to discuss the day’s affairs is typically perceived as untrustworthy and illegitimate by a public conditioned to accept forms of news and information where objectivity and professionalism often camouflage disinformation.

In 2013 the truth emergency is greater than ever, and in the era of seemingly never-ending pseudo-events and Potemkin villages presented by major media as the reality with which we must contend, the application of independent reason in pursuit of truth has all too frequently been replaced with an unthinking obeisance toward the smokescreen of expertise disguising corporate power and control.

Notes

[1] Peter Phillips and Mickey Huff, “Truth Emergency and Media Reform,” Daily Censored, March 31, 2009.

[2] “Edward Bernays, ‘Father of Public Relations’ and Leader in Opinion Making, Dies at 103,” New York Times, March 10, 1995.

Western Democracy: A Farce And A Sham

Paul Craig Roberts
Infowars.com
November 3, 2011

Every day that passes adds to the fraudulent image of what is called Western democracy.

Consider that the entire Western world is outraged that the Greek prime minister announced that he is going to permit the Greek people to decide their own fate instead of having it decided for them by a handful of banksters, politicians, and bureaucrats living it up at taxpayer expense at “talks” in the French resort of Cannes on the Mediterranean.

The Greek economy is facing its fourth year of decline and lacks the revenues to service its national debt held by private European banks. The banks don’t want to lose any money, so a handful of power brokers reached an agreement with representatives of the Greek government to write off some of the debt in exchange for EU capital subsidies to be financed by inflicting severe austerity on the Greek population. Wages, salaries, pensions and medical care are being cut while the rate of unemployment rises to depression levels. Government employees are laid off. Valuable public properties are to be sold to private parties for pennies on the dollar. In short, Greece is to be looted.

Large numbers of Greeks have been in the streets protesting the austerity policy and have reached the point of anger of throwing Molotov cocktails at the police. Greece is disintegrating politically. The Greek people sense that the EU “bailout” is not bailing out Greece. It is bailing out the French, Dutch, and German banks at the expense of the Greek people.

The Greek prime minister, watching his party’s support and power crumble, announced that he would let the people decide in a referendum. After all, allegedly that’s what democracies do. But it turns out that “we have freedom and democracy” is not supposed to be taken literally. It is merely a propagandistic slogan behind which people are ruled through back-room deals decided by powerful private interests.

The Greek prime minister’s announcement that he would put the back-room bailout deal to a referendum shocked the EU hierarchy, Washington, and investors. Who does this Greek guy think he is permitting the people, who bear the cost of the deal, to have a say in it? Who let this Greek guy out of his cage? This is not the way democracies are ruled.

The EU power brokers are outraged over the Greek prime minister’s departure from normal procedure. But the Greek PM is relying on the Greek people to approve the deal, and not without reason.

The Greek people have been brainwashed for decades as to the importance of “being part of Europe.” That means being a member of the European Union. When the Greeks realize that voting down the bailout of the banksters means being thrown out of the European Union, which is what they will learn between now and the referendum, they will vote for the back room deal.

Polls already indicate this. A poll for a Greek newspaper indicates that whereas 46% oppose the bailout, 70% favor staying in the EU, which the Greeks see as a life or death issue.

If this poll is a reliable indicator, the Greek PM has made a brilliant political decision. The Greek people will vote in favor of what they have been protesting violently in the streets. As the Greek people will do themselves in, the politicians are off the hook. This is the bet that the Greek PM has placed.

Whatever the outcome, keep in mind that the entire Western political and investor world was shocked that a politician, instead of simply imposing a back room deal, said he would let the people decide. Letting the people decide is a no-no in Western democracies.

If you need more evidence of this mythical creature called “Western democracy,” consider that Western governments are no longer accountable to law. Contrast, for example, the sexual harassment charges that are plaguing US presidential candidate Herman Cain’s campaign with the pass given to high government officials who clearly violated statutory law.

What follows is not a defense of Cain. I take no position on the charges. The real point is different. In America the only thing that can ruin a politician is his interest in sex. A politician, for example, George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, B. Omama, cannot be ruined by violating United States and international law or by treating the US Constitution as a “mere scrap of paper.” Bush and Cheney can take America to wars based entirely on lies and orchestrated deceptions. They can commit war crimes, murdering large numbers of civilians in the cause of “the war on terror,” itself a hoax. They can violate US and international laws against torture simply “because the president said so.” They can throw away habeas corpus, the constitutional requirement that a person cannot be imprisoned without evidence presented to a court. They can deny the right to an attorney. They can violate the law and spy on Americans without obtaining warrants. They can send due process to hell. In fact, they can do whatever they want just like Hitler’s Gestapo and Stalin’s secret police. But if they show undue interest in a woman or proposition a woman, they are dead meat.

Very few commentators have said a word about this. The House of Representatives did not impeach President Bill Clinton for his war crimes against Serbia. They impeached him for lying about a sexual affair with a White House intern. The US Senate, which had too many sexual affairs of its own to defend, didn’t bother to try to convict.

This is Amerika today. A president without any authority whatsoever, not in law and certainly not in the Constitution, can assassinate US citizens based on nothing except an assertion that they are a “threat.” No evidence is required. No conviction. No presentation of evidence in any court. Just a murder. That is now permissible to the Amerikan president. But let him try to get a woman who is not his wife into bed, and he is a cooked goose.

In Amerika there is no such thing any longer as torture; there is only “enhanced interrogation.” A mere word change has eliminated the crime. So torture is permissible.

In Amerika today, or in the UK and the EU, anyone who tells the truth is a “threat.” Julian Assange of Wikileaks, who made public information leaked to him by US government sources horrified by the criminal actions of the United States government, is now, as a result of Amerikan pressure on UK courts, being turned over to Sweden, which, for favors from the “world’s only superpower,” will turn him over to the US regardless of law to be prosecuted on trumped-up charges.

Western “civilization” is totally corrupted by American money. There is no integrity anywhere. For a decade Washington has been murdering women, children, village elders, and journalists in the name of the hoax “war on terror.”

What terror does the world actually see? The world sees the terror that Israel, protected by Washington, inflicts on the Palestinians. The world sees the terror that the US inflicts on Serbia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, Latin America and now Africa, with Syria, Lebanon, and Iran waiting in the wings. The “war on terror” is nothing but an orchestrated invented excuse for Amerika-Israel to achieve hegemony while enriching their armaments industries.

In Greece, at least the PM committed to giving the people a say in their fate. In America the people have no voice whatsoever. The sheeple are content to be protected by “security,” porno-scanners, warrantless wiretapping, indefinite detention, and sexual groping. To carry on the hoax “war on terror,” the US government has elevated itself above the law.

The American effort to achieve accountability to law, the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement, if not shut down by cold weather, ice, and snow, is likely to be shut down by police violence. One riot begun by provocateurs is all it takes to transform protesters into “domestic extremists,” the number one concern of Homeland Security. The presstitute media will make the case against the rioters, and the sheeple will buy it.

The police have been militarized by Washington. Community police forces no longer represent the local public that pays their salaries. Local police represent Washington’s war against America.

American citizens are all suspects. Anyone who goes through airport security knows this. The only law that the US government obeys is not even a law. It is a bureaucratic regulation that prevents, even in dire wartime, any profiling of suspects by ethnicity or country of origin.

Consequently, all native born, flag-waving, American super-patriots are suspects when they board commercial airliners. Americans who have a life time of security clearances are subject to being porno-scanned or sexually groped. Airport Security cannot tell a “terrorist” from a CIA analyst, a Marine general or a US Senator.

Well-connected members of the ruling elite, such as Michael Chertoff, can become rich from selling the porto-scanners to taxpayers in order “to protect the public from terrorists.”

The only terrorists Americans will ever experience are those funded by their own tax dollars within their “own” government. A people incapable of perceiving its real peril has no chance of surviving. America might be a military superpower, but it no longer exists as a free country with accountable government and a rule of law.

Dr. Paul Craig Roberts is the father of Reaganomics and the former head of policy at the Department of Treasury. He is a columnist and was previously an editor for the Wall Street Journal. His latest book, “How the Economy Was Lost: The War of the Worlds,” details why America is disintegrating.

Decline of the United States of America: The Moral, Political and Economic Causes

by Rodrigue Tremblay
Global Research
September 7, 2011

“The deterioration of every government begins with the decay of the principles on which it was founded.” Montesquieu, (Charles Louis de Secondat)  (1689-1755)

“I am convinced that I am acting as the agent of our Creator. By fighting off the Jews, I am doing the Lord’s work.” Adolf Hitler (1889-1945), German politician and future German Chancellor, Mein Kampf, chap. 2, 1925

I believe that God wants me to be president.”George W. Bush, American 43rd president, speech in Washington D.C., June 1, 2004

“This economy of ours is on a solid foundation.” George W. Bush, American 43rd president, January 4, 2008 (N.B.: the U.S. economy was about to enter into recession.)

“I believe that the Iraqi people will greet us as liberators.” Sen. John McCain, March 20, 2003

“We used to hustle over the border for health care we received in Canada. And I think now, isn’t that ironic?” Sarah Palin, American politician and former governor of Alaska, (admitting that her family used to get treatment in Canada’s single-payer health care system, despite having demonized such government-run programs as socialized medicine that will lead to death-panel-like rationing, March 6, 2010)

“The Lord says be submissive. Wives, you are to be submissive to your husbands.” Michele Bachmann, Rep. of Minnesota and 2012 Republican presidential candidate, (on the question of submitting to the authority of her husband, 2006). Rep. Bachmann is also a graduate of Oral Roberts University.

“Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.”
The Bible (New Testament), 1 Timothy 2:11-12

Think of the American economy as a large apartment block. A century ago—even 30 years ago—it was the object of envy. But in the last generation its character has changed. The penthouses at the top keep getting larger and larger. The apartments in the middle are feeling more and more squeezed and the basement has flooded. To round it off, the elevator is no longer working. That broken elevator is what gets people down the most.” Lawrence Katz, Harvard University economist, 2010

The American economy is in the Doldrums, the American Political System is Dysfunctional and Paralyzed

Around the world, many are baffled by what’s happening to the United States. It seems that all at once the wheels are going off the cart. The American economy is in the doldrums, the American political system is dysfunctional and paralyzed, and a series of elective, far away foreign wars is ruining the country.

The U.S. economy used to be an engine of economic growth and the American political system used to be a well-oiled checks-and-balances machine that was geared toward progress and that could accommodate both leadership and compromise. Moreover, Americans can be proud that their constitution, at least on paper, is one of the best in the world, having been crafted by enlightened founders who believed in individual and democratic freedom.

In this short article, I will identify what I think to be the two major causes of America’s current decline. (I welcome comments.)

-The first cause is a moral one: it is related to the widespread corruption that permeates many institutions and sectors of the U.S. society, the most corrupt of them all being the political system and the corporate system. It is no accident that the epicenter where these two corrupt systems meet is at the Pentagon, an agency that reports upon reports picture as a cesspool of corruption.

The result of that widespread corruption is that the United States is now generating a sub-standard class of politicians to administer its affairs who are not the servants of the common good, but who rather serve happily the narrow money interests that finance them. The U.S. corporate elite, for the most part, has abandoned all loyalty to its country while it roams the world in order to make short-term profits at all costs and avoid paying taxes in its country of origin.

The result: wacky politicians and greedy business people are in charge.

The same can be said about the biased corporate media who have also abandoned all pretenses of neutrality and objectivity in informing the people and who have rather donned the mantle of unadulterated propaganda in order to cynically manipulate information and public opinion, to the delight of their money masters.

Things were never perfect in the past, but I would argue that the current level and scope of corruption in the U.S. society is unprecedented and is a root cause of the decline of the United States.

The second cause of American decline is more structural and more economic in nature. It is related to a widespread ignorance of the practical consequences of economic and financial globalization that began under the Nixon Republican administration (1969-1973) and which accelerated under the Republican administrations of Ronald Reagan (1981-1989) and of George H. Bush (1989-1993).

I shall tackle each of these causes separately.

I-  The U. S. has abandoned its Democratic Ideals and the Quality of its Politicians is Sub-Standard

Let’s talk first about the moral and political causes of American decline.

British Prime Minister Winston Churchill (1874-1965) once quipped that “democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.”! Indeed, democracy is a very fragile political system that can sometimes fail the very people it is designed to serve. American president Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) defined it as “a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.”

But democracy is at its worst when an oligarchy takes control of a country’s institutions and imposes its agenda. Such is the case with today’s United States. Money interests, not the sovereign people, control the political system today; they control the corporate media system, they control the U.S. Supreme Court and much of the judicial system and, I would argue, they control a large chunk of the academic system.

The results are everywhere to be seen. The United States has reached levels of inequality in wealth and income that used to be seen only in some backyard third-world countries.

Another form of political corruption and of intellectual decay is the widespread refusal nowadays to abide by article VI of the U.S. Constitution. Indeed, article VI expressly stipulates that “no religious Test  shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.” This would seem to me to be clear enough.

Some fifty years ago, in 1960, Sen. John F. Kennedy was elected president of the United States, stating that his religious beliefs were his own personal affair and that, as an elected official for all the people, he was going to use his best judgment in his public decisions, and not be obligated to follow the diktats of any established religion, not even of his own, the Roman Catholic Church, nor its foreign Pope.

As an indication of how much the United States has regressed on the question of separation of Church and State, consider that a presidential candidate of the quality of Sen. John F. Kennedy would most likely not be elected to office today with such a stand of intellectual independence. Mind you, most of the Fathers of the U.S. Constitution could not be elected either, a clear indication that the United States has strayed away from its founding principles.

Consider what President James Madison (1751-1836) had to say about religion in politics: “The number, the industry, and the morality of the priesthood, and the devotion of the people have been manifestly increased by the total separation of the Church from the State.” Do you really believe that President Madison could be elected today? Nowadays, in fact, religious zealots dominate the Republican party while some half of democrats think that a presidential candidate must have “strong religious beliefs” to be considered for public office. The only problem is that such a view is in direct conflict to what the U.S. Constitution says!

Mixing personal and official religion with democratic politics is a form of intellectual corruption. —It’s dynamite. If the United States continues in the same destructive direction that many theocratic Muslim countries have followed for centuries, with disastrous results, I would not hesitate to predict that the U. S. will self-destruct.

II- The Widespread Confusion Between What Works in an Open Economy as Compared with a Closed Economy

Let’s talk economics.

The U. S. economy, like most industrial economies, is an open economy. This means that goods and services can be exported and imported while facing a minimum of border taxes and other barriers to international trade. For a quarter of a century now, it has also meant that the U. S. economy is part of the economic globalization model. The latter goes much further than free trade: it means that corporations and banks can move their capital, technology and production plants around the world in search of the greatest profit and the best investment environment. I happen to believe that this globalization model has been pushed too far and has become a major cause of economic stagnation in the industrial economies.

When it comes to economic policies, what can work in a closed economy does not necessarily work in an open economy. Consider macroeconomic policies to stimulate a stagnant economy. In an open economy, keynesian-type stimulus policies of deficit government spending or of tax reduction do not work properly, essentially because stimulus policies of this type are the equivalent of heating a house in winter with the windows and doors wide open. The new deficit spending may help the world economy, since much of the new spending ends up abroad, but the domestic multiplier effect of such spending can be very low. This means that such an economic stimulus in an open economy may not be as effective in stimulating economic activity as hoped and, in some circumstances, it can do more harm than good.

Nevertheless, many politicians (and some economists!) cling to the old idea that lowering taxes for the rich when the government is in deficit or new non-infrastructure government deficit spending can stimulate the economy. This obviously does not work, at least not if the new deficit spending is not focused domestically. Spending deficit money in Afghanistan or in Iraq doesn’t much stimulate the U.S. economy!

What works in an open economy are policies geared toward changing relative prices in order to encourage domestic production and employment. First of all, a lowering of the real exchange rate can encourage net exports and stimulate domestic production and employment, provided the government does not sustain excessive domestic absorption through unproductive large deficits.

Another approach to skew relative prices in favor of domestic production and employment is to use the tax system accordingly. Presently, many American corporations are hardly taxed at all on their profits when they operate abroad. Some appropriate taxation of these profits can encourage repatriation of capital and support additional domestic investments. It may be argued that the American political system is not flexible enough to allow for the use of tax policies to encourage domestic production and employment. If so, this would be another indication that the current state of the political system in the U. S. is inimical to economic progress.

These are only a few examples of public policies that can have a positive impact on the functioning of the economy.

In general, and that will be my conclusion, I would say that it is in the interest of any country to avoid giving power to idiots, ignoramuses, incompetents, devious and delusional characters or to demagogues. If not, watch out. —More countries are destroyed by their own politicians than by foreign armies.

Rodrigue Tremblay is professor emeritus of economics at the University of Montreal and can be reached at rodrigue.tremblay@yahoo.com. He is the author of the book “The Code for Global Ethics” at: www.TheCodeForGlobalEthics.com/

Intelligence Thugs using social networks to influence masses

RT
April 2011

Wayne Madsen has written about intelligence in America for decades, having transitioned from a Naval officer to journalist, specializing in investigative reporting.

In the past he’s written about the FBI’s Carnivore Internet monitoring program, but now, he says, the government isn’t watching what we do online, but is using the web, rather, to tell us how to do it.

Using the media for propaganda purposes is nothing new for the CIA, says Madsen. He cites the 1960s pirate station Radio Swan as an example of the American government’s attempt to discretely influence the public over 50 years ago, broadcasting messages in favor of the Bay of Pigs Invasion. Now, says Madsen, the government is taking to Twitter and Facebook to get their point across—but isn’t being clear at all on how it’s doing it.

What is happening today, says Madsen, is just the latest example of psychological operations perpetrated by the government to influence the public. Madsen attests that online messages claiming to be from US fronts overseas are actually from Americans—not the Libyans and their neighbors who we are led to believe are sending the tweets.

“I think the US is probably behind these Twitter feeds. We don’t know if they came from Libya,” he says. Madsen even suggest that the microblog messages could easily be constructed from military bases in America by our own officials—not war-ravaged and rebellious Libyans.

Madsen notes that Internet availability in Libya has barely saturated the country, with only five percent of the population having access to the web. It would make sense, then, that the tweets, blogs and status updates chronicling the drama in North Africa are being orchestrated by the US government as a means of making their message heard, even if it’s done through surreptitious means.

While these actions would jeopardize the ethics of the CIA, the organization has been sneaky before in its usage of conduits. The Agency would plant stories in foreign newspapers, which would then be picked up overseas and, from there, indirectly carried by US outlets.

Madsen also sites that relationships between the US government and major technology and communication corporations, such as AT&T and Google, as long-standing and apparent across the board.

Regardless of whether or not the CIA is covertly casting these tweets, Madsen says that US and NATO involvement in Libya has brought the situation to a stalemate and is thus one propaganda program that has furiously failed.

Obama authorizes secret support for Libya rebels

Obama has signed a secret order authorizing covert U.S. government support for rebel forces seeking to oust Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

Reuters

Obama signed the order, known as a presidential “finding”, within the last two or three weeks, according to four U.S. government sources familiar with the matter.

Such findings are a principal form of presidential directive used to authorize secret operations by the Central Intelligence Agency. The CIA and the White House declined immediate comment.

News that Obama had given the authorization surfaced as the President and other U.S. and allied officials spoke openly about the possibility of sending arms supplies to Gaddafi’s opponents, who are fighting better-equipped government forces.

The United States is part of a coalition, with NATO members and some Arab states, which is conducting air strikes on Libyan government forces under a U.N. mandate aimed at protecting civilians opposing Gaddafi.

In interviews with American TV networks on Tuesday, Obama said the objective was for Gaddafi to “ultimately step down” from power. He spoke of applying “steady pressure, not only militarily but also through these other means” to force Gaddafi out.

Obama said the U.S. had not ruled out providing military hardware to rebels. “It’s fair to say that if we wanted to get weapons into Libya, we probably could. We’re looking at all our options at this point,” the President told ABC News anchor Diane Sawyer.

U.S. officials monitoring events in Libya say that at present, neither Gaddafi’s forces nor the rebels, who have asked the West for heavy weapons, appear able to make decisive gains.

While U.S. and allied airstrikes have seriously damaged Gaddafi’s military forces and disrupted his chain of command, officials say, rebel forces remain disorganized and unable to take full advantage of western military support.

SPECIFIC OPERATIONS

People familiar with U.S. intelligence procedures said that Presidential covert action “findings” are normally crafted to provide broad authorization for a range of potential U.S. government actions to support a particular covert objective.

In order for specific operations to be carried out under the provisions of such a broad authorization — for example the delivery of cash or weapons to anti-Gaddafi forces — the White House also would have to give additional “permission” allowing such activities to proceed.

Former officials say these follow-up authorizations are known in the intelligence world as “‘Mother may I’ findings.”

In 2009 Obama gave a similar authorization for the expansion of covert U.S. counter-terrorism actions by the CIA in Yemen. The White House does not normally confirm such orders have been issued.

Because U.S. and allied intelligence agencies still have many questions about the identities and leadership of anti-Gaddafi forces, any covert U.S. activities are likely to proceed cautiously until more information about the rebels can be collected and analyzed, officials said.

“The whole issue on (providing rebels with) training and equipment requires knowing who the rebels are,” said Bruce Riedel, a former senior CIA Middle East expert who has advised the Obama White House.

Riedel said that helping the rebels to organize themselves and training them how use weapons effectively would be more urgent then shipping them arms.

According to an article speculating on possible U.S. covert actions in Libya published early in March on the website of the Voice of America, the U.S. government’s broadcasting service, a covert action is “any U.S. government effort to change the economic, military, or political situation overseas in a hidden way.”

ARMS SUPPLIES

The article, by VOA intelligence correspondent Gary Thomas, said covert action “can encompass many things, including propaganda, covert funding, electoral manipulation, arming and training insurgents, and even encouraging a coup.”

U.S. officials also have said that Saudi Arabia and Qatar, whose leaders despise Gaddafi, have indicated a willingness to supply Libyan rebels with weapons.

Members of Congress have expressed anxiety about U.S. government activities in Libya. Some have recalled that weapons provided by the U.S. and Saudis to mujahedeen fighting Soviet occupation forces inAfghanistan in the 1980s later ended up in the hands of anti-American militants.

There are fears that the same thing could happen in Libya unless the U.S. is sure who it is dealing with. The chairman of the House intelligence committee, Rep. Mike Rogers, said on Wednesday he opposed supplying arms to the Libyan rebels fighting Gaddafi “at this time.”

“We need to understand more about the opposition before I would support passing out guns and advanced weapons to them,” Rogers said in a statement.

“The whole issue on (providing rebels with) training and equipment requires knowing who the rebels are,” said Bruce Riedel, a former senior CIA Middle East expert who has advised the Obama White House.

Riedel said that helping the rebels to organize themselves and training them how use weapons effectively would be more urgent then shipping them arms.

According to an article speculating on possible U.S. covert actions in Libya published early in March on the website of the Voice of America, the U.S. government’s broadcasting service, a covert action is “any U.S. government effort to change the economic, military, or political situation overseas in a hidden way.”