The Manipulation of U.S. General Colin Powell and Pakistani Cricket Star Imran Khan
Mass media and popular culture are powerful tools of manipulation when wielded by those skilled at waging way by way of deception. When shaping the opinion of an unsuspecting public, the star power of military leaders and sports heroes is routinely appropriated.
That duplicity was on display in February 2003 when Colin Powell gave false testimony to the U.N. Security Council that helped launch the U.S.-led invasion of a Muslim nation. Similar duplicity was deployed in May 2005 when Pakistani cricket icon Imran Khan launched from Islamabad a false story that provoked outrage at the U.S. in Muslim nations.
Since the “bread and circus” era of the Roman Empire, pop culture has proven a potent means to distract and misdirect. With the modern reach of mass media, pop culture can be deployed not just to manipulate the public’s mental state but also to promote for political office high-profile personalities such as astronauts, newscasters, war heroes and even well known comedians.
Those who induced the U.S. to wage war in Iraq on false pretenses used Secretary of State Colin Powell for that purpose when he was dispatched to the U.N. to vouch for phony intelligence. The Powell “brand” as a credible four-star general was appropriated by pro-Israeli war-planners to market the false impression that Iraq had mobile biological weapons laboratories.
By deploying a public official’s known integrity to obscure their duplicity, those complicit in this deceit discredited both Powell and the U.S. while also undermining the credibility of the U.N. The phony intelligence on which Powell relied was provided by George Tenet, Director of Central Intelligence, and vouched for by Paul Joyal, reportedly Tenet’s Ashkenazi Chief of Staff.
A similar power-of-association ploy emerged two years later when the pop culture celebrity of Imran Khan was appropriated to provoke violence worldwide that damaged the image of the U.S. A global crisis commenced soon after those handling public relations for this legend of the cricket world summoned reporters to a May 6, 2005 press conference in Islamabad.