Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould, a husband and wife team, began working together in 1979 co-producing a documentary for Paul's television show, Watchworks. Called, The Arms Race and the Economy, A Delicate Balance , they found themselves in the midst of a swirling controversy that was to boil over a few months later with the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Their acquisition of the first visas to enter Afghanistan granted to an American TV crew in 1981 brought them into the middle of the most heated Cold War controversy since Vietnam. But the pictures and the people inside Soviet occupied Afghanistan told a very different story from the one being broadcast to Americans.

Following their exclusive news story for the CBS Evening News, they produced a documentary (Afghanistan Between Three Worlds ) for PBS and in 1983 they returned to Kabul for ABC Nightline with Harvard Negotiation Project director, Roger Fisher. They were told that the Soviets wanted to go home and negotiate their way out. Peace in Afghanistan was more than a possibility, it was a desired option. But the story that President Carter called, "the greatest threat to peace since the second World War" had already been written by America's policy makers and America's pundits were not about to change the script.

As the first American journalists to get deeply inside the story they not only got a view of an unseen Afghan life, but a revelatory look at how the U.S. defined itself against the rest of the world under the veil of superpower confrontation. Once the Soviets had crossed the border into Afghanistan, the fate of both nations was sealed. But as Paul and Liz pursued the reasons behind the wall of propaganda that shielded the truth, they found themselves drawn into a story that was growing into mythic dimensions. Big things were brewing in Afghanistan. Old empires were being undone and new ones, hatched. America had launched a Crusade and the ten year war against the Soviet Union was only the first chapter.

It was at the time of the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993 when Paul and Liz were working on the film version of their experience under contract to Oliver Stone, that they began to piece together the mythic implications of the story. During the research for the screenplay many of the documents preceding the Afghan crisis were declassified. Over the next decade they trailed a labyrinth of clues only to find a profound likeness in Washington's official policy towards Afghanistan - in the ancient Zoroastrian war of the light against the dark - whose origins began in the region now known as Afghanistan. It is a likeness that has grown visible as America's entanglement in Afghanistan threatens to backfire once again.

Afghanistan's civil war followed America's Cold War while Washington walked away. A new strain of religious holy warrior called the Taliban arose but at the time few in America cared to look. As the horrors of the Taliban regime began to grab headlines in 1998 Paul and Liz started collaborating with Afghan human rights expert Sima Wali. Along with Wali, they contributed to the Women for Afghan Women: Shattering Myths and Claiming the Future book project published by Palgrave Macmillan (2002). In 2002 they filmed Wali's first return to Kabul since her exile in 1978. The film they produced about Wali's journey home, The Woman in Exile Returns, gives audiences the chance to discover the message of one of Afghanistan's most articulate voices and her hopes for her people.

In the years since, much has happened to bring Paul and Liz's story into sharp focus. Their efforts at combining personal diplomacy with activist journalism are a model for restoring a necessary dialogue to American democracy. Their book, Invisible History: Afghanistan’s Untold Story, published by City Lights (2009), lays bare why it was inevitable that the Soviet Union and the U.S. should end up in Afghanistan and what that means to the future of the American empire. Their book,
Crossing Zero The AfPak War at the Turning Point of American Empire
, published by City Lights (2011), lays out the paralyzing contradictions of America’s AfPak strategy. It clarifies the complex web of interests and individuals surrounding the war and focuses on the little understood importance of the line of demarcation between Afghanistan and Pakistan called the Durand line. Their novel The Voice is the esoteric side of their Afghan experience. Gould and Fitzgerald’s articles and blogs have been published in numerous online and print journals and newspapers such as The Boston Globe, The International Herald Tribune, Huffington Post, The New York Times, GlobalPost World News, Middle East Institute’s Viewpoints, CounterPunch, Sputnik News and OpEdNews. They have been interviewed by major media outlets such as MSNBC, RealNews TV, Democracy Now and numerous commercial and PBS radio stations from Boston to LA. They have also made presentations that have aired across the country on C-Span Book TV and the Cambridge Forum (WGBH Forum Network). Their presentation-Afghanistan and Mystical Imperialism: An expose of the esoteric underpinnings of American foreign policy is viewable here. For more information visit their websites at invisiblehistory and grailwerk.

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PART II: How Guilt, Innocence and Facts have been Rendered Irrelevant

America, an Empire in Twilight ~ Four Part Series

The seduction of Mirror Imaging: Mount Hood reflected in Mirror Lake, Oregon

The seduction of Mirror Imaging: Mount Hood reflected in Mirror Lake, Oregon

Now that the election is over and Donald Trump has been designated the winner, the absence of a resolution to America’s problems is more obvious than ever. How did we arrive at this moment?

While covering the presidential campaigns of the two most disliked candidates in American history, mainstream commentators found that facts just didn’t matter. As the candidates bobbed and weaved and excoriated each other as unfit for the presidency, neither showed any genuine capacity for leadership or could explain exactly how they’d make the desperately needed course-correction Americans want. Now that those missing facts have landed Donald Trump in the White House, panic is setting in.

Donald Trump has broken the old, decrepit system, but what kind of country does America want to become; and can President Trump be convinced that he must work with all the American people to realize it? America stands at a crossroads; and there is no better time to look back and connect those long forgotten events that have led us to this most momentous opportunity.

Wolfowitz Doctrine

Paul Wolfowitz

Paul Wolfowitz

Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1992, Paul Wolfowitz proposed a radical new national defense policy that rejected post-World War II collective internationalism in favor of a unilateral American dominance.

Known forever after as the Wolfowitz Doctrine, it would ultimately change the nature of America’s relationship to the world by requiring that any and all of America’s potential competitors either submit to America’s will or have their countries invaded and their governments subverted and overthrown.

The events of 9/11 enabled the U.S. to go to any lengths to enforce the plan, but the last fifteen years have been hard on “the dark force that orders the universe.” Judging by the rise of ISIS, strategic failures in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya and Ukraine, the unravelling of the Post World War II NATO alliance and the fracturing of the European Union along nationalist lines, the rapid decline in America’s Imperial power has become obvious to everyone.

Even the famed geostrategist Zbigniew Brzezinski admits, the era of America’s imperial expansion has ended and the time has come for a realistic realignment of U.S. goals and objectives. Yet, despite this overwhelming evidence that times have changed, the American government and its policymakers in Washington have until now continued to steer a self-destructive course toward a nuclear confrontation with the Russians and Chinese.

In this twilight world, where the traditional weapons of American power projection no longer guarantee the expected results, guilt and innocence and even facts have become irrelevant.

By openly embracing the imperial agenda of the Wolfowitz Doctrine, the U.S. left the realm of science and empiricism and entered an imperial realm, populated by those who can neither be understood nor reasoned with outside the confines of their own internally consistent logic.


The Cult of Intel

Dali Ship of Dreams

Salvador Dali Ship of Dreams

It is a strange and shadowy world where reality is made by those in power; and those in power can no longer tell the truth from their own fictions.

From its inception during World War II, America’s military/intelligence apparatus has acted more as a cult drawn from America’s ruling elite than a bureaucracy dedicated to the nation’s security.

It was said of America’s first spy agency the OSS that its initials stood for Oh-So-Social because of its abundant staffing with New York’s high society blue bloods. Victor Marchetti and John D. Marks even titled their 1974 book on their life in the CIA and Foreign Service as The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence.

But over the last forty years and especially since the events of 9/11, that “Cult” and its sister organizations in the military/intelligence community have emerged from behind the curtain to become a ubiquitous and forbidding presence.

In effect, Marchetti and Marks’ cult of intelligence has grown to become the dominant American “Culture.” But what that culture really is and where it’s leading us remains a frightening proposition that each and every American needs to understand.

After 9/11, “national security” came to pervade all aspects of American life, from the grocery store to academia to hotel check-ins to religion. This total militarization of American society helped to polarize the political process, obsolete diplomacy as a tool of American interests overseas, and slowly and inexorably change the way Americans think about their country.

Although tapering off slightly from its early popularity, the celebration of mass murder in such games as Call of Duty, after 15 years of budget-busting real war, is a cruel reminder of the Orwellian illogic of life on the other side of the mirror. But the deeper and more disturbing problem now surfacing is that real war and the imagined war played out on the video screens of America’s youths appear to have merged into one stark unreality, as they bring the real war home.

Human brain.

Apart from the moral implications, the future of society and the very nature of who we are as human beings have been fundamentally altered by such technology.

Recent studies indicate that heavy gaming may impact the integrity of the brain’s hippocampus, “which is associated with an increased risk of neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease.”

The altered states of awareness traditionally offered by drugs and mysticism, religion and meditation have been replaced by technology of all kinds and, through technology, real war and fantasy war have exchanged places. The tyranny of illogical thinking evidenced by the U.S. in its War on Terror can be traced most recently to the Cold War, where it had become necessary to throw out the burden of proof and invert the rules of logic in order to defeat Communism.

Our personal experience with this illogic came in 1982. In response to our PBS documentary on Afghanistan, Afghanistan Between Three Worlds, we were informed by Major Karen McKay, a spokesperson for the right-wing Washington-based propaganda outfit Committee for a Free Afghanistan, that getting proof of Soviet guilt in Afghanistan wasn’t necessary simply because “we know they’re guilty.”

Senator William Fulbright

Senator William Fulbright commented on Cold War psychobabble

Such faith-based assumptions were more the realm of medieval theologians than rational analysts, and the late Senator J. William Fulbright said so in his 1972 New Yorker article titled, Reflections: In Thrall To Fear.

“The truly remarkable thing about this Cold War psychology,” he wrote, “is the totally illogical transfer of the burden of proof from those who make charges to those who question them… The Cold Warriors, instead of having to say how they knew that Vietnam was part of a plan for the Communization of the world, so manipulated the terms of public discussion as to be able to demand that the skeptics prove that it was not.”

Fulbright realized that “Rational men could not deal with each other on this basis,” and arrive at anything resembling “truth.” But this understanding quickly evaporated as the Vietnam era ended and the U.S. drifted into a realm governed by irrational men, who believed their own illogic superseded the inconvenient facts and figures surrounding their failures.

Guided by old ideologues who had helped to create the Cold War — like Paul Nitze, Leo Cherne, William Casey and General Danny Graham and leading neoconservatives like Richard Perle, Harvard professor Richard Pipes and Paul Wolfowitz — their group known as Team B guided the restructuring of American military policy towards the Soviet Union, not on the basis of fact or proof, but only on what their biased minds could imagine.

Team B set about to psychologically reverse the impact the Cold War and especially Vietnam had on Washington’s ruling elites by accusing the CIA’s analysts of “Mirror imaging,” their own intentions, as President Kennedy’s science advisor Jerome Wiesner had claimed back in the 1960s. Only this time — in a fatal twist of Wiesner’s logic — Team B claimed the mirror image was of American weakness and not strength reflected in the mirror of the Soviets’ steely eyes.

Mirror image (Photo credit: Amazon's Bosch)

Mirror image (Photo credit: Amazon’s Bosch)

At the time the idea that the Soviet Union could or should be judged solely based on an ideological perspective was rejected by Washington’s more rational elite.

I would say that all of it was fantasy,” said Anne Hessing Cahn who worked on the staff of the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency from 1982 to 1988. “They looked at radars out in Krasnoyarsk and said ‘this is a laser beam weapon’ when in fact it was nothing of the sort… And if you go through most of Team B’s specific allegations about weapons systems and you examine them one by one, they were all wrong… I don’t believe anything in Team B was really true.”

So what is true about the prevailing motives of American national security policy that continue to crank out another generation of Cold War accusations against Russia?

In the summer of 1980 we got a major clue to the thinking behind the neoconservative’ s aggressive plotting to overturn the U.S. government’s rational policy regarding nuclear weapons (Mutual Assured Destruction) by replacing it with a faith-based policy that would justify fighting nuclear wars.

Join us next as we unravel the de-evolution of rational defense policy and its immersion into the mystical, as we explore the radical 1980 re-interpretation of the 4th century Just War Doctrine of the Catholic Church and its perennial advocates.


Copyright © 2016 Gould & Fitzgerald All rights reserved

America, an Empire in Twilight Series                                                 

PART I: When America Became the Dark Force

PART II: How Guilt, Innocence & Facts Have Been Rendered Irrelevant                               

PART III: Neoconizing the Just War Doctrine in the service of American Empire              

PART IV: America’s Late Stage Imperial Dementia

Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould are the authors of Invisible History: Afghanistan’s Untold Story, Crossing Zero The AfPak War at the Turning Point of American Empire and The Voice. For more information visit their websites at invisiblehistory and grailwerk.


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4 Responses to "PART II: How Guilt, Innocence and Facts have been Rendered Irrelevant"

  1. JadeZee1  December 3, 2016 at 5:08 am

    well stated but no explanation is sufficient without adding the part that these doctrines ALL represent the expansion and military goals of the state of israel.

  2. Jack Heart  November 30, 2016 at 7:21 am

    Excellent prose, logical chain of reasoning and very informative, again I complement the chefs

  3. Preston James, Ph.D  November 13, 2016 at 1:02 pm

    Outstanding work here, like Part I. This article explains the out of control war self-serving criminally psychotic aggressive war hawk ideology of PNAC that set the stage for these folks planning and deploying 9-11-01 as a false-flag, stand-down inside job. This is now a well accepted fact inside the Intel community, many of whom want extreme payback against these PNACers and top NeoCon war hawks who hijacked the Pentagon and the Major Mass Media propaganda machine. Highest commendations to these fine authors.

  4. JohnZ  November 12, 2016 at 8:04 am

    The imaginings of the cold warriors based on unreality induced by a paranoia and simply greed which implicates the Military Industrial Complex and its quest for ever greater profits also drove the cold war fantasy into realms that we now know were nothing more than just that, fantasy. The same fantasy that drove America into the disastrous war in Viet Nam, some, who to this day, continue to believe the lies and fabrications they were told.
    The same people behind 9/11 and the consequences thereafter, including the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya not to mention the destruction of our rights in America, all in the name of “security” has damaged America greatly. The massive debt, the loss of our privacy, the attacks on the Bill of Rights in the name of national security and the creation of the DHS and TSA both of which have displayed the true reason for their existence: control, has reduced America into a military police surveillance state, one that more closely resembles a dictatorship than a republic.
    This has been all part of the plan by the ruling elite: America is to become a corporate fascist state, where those at the top control everything and everybody and those under them are nothing more than plebes, to be used as nothing more than another piece of equipment.

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