Document:Robert Moss, extract from The "Terrorism" Industry

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Disclaimer (#3)Document.png book extract  by Edward S. Herman dated 1990
Subjects: Robert Moss
Source: The "Terrorism" Industry

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Robert Moss has been a major figure in the organization of terrorism think tanks and in the dissemination of the right-wing version of the Western model of terrorism. In fact, as Fred Landis has pointed out, "For a price, Moss would go to Rhodesia, South Africa, Iran, and Nicaragua and tailor his standard KGB plot to local circumstances, thereby justifying repression of the political opposition and denial of human rights."[1]

Moss was associated with Brian Crozier in both the Free World Forum and ISC, CIA-sponsored propaganda operations in Great Britain in the 1960s and early 1970s. In the early 1970s he helped to organize a group of Chilean journalists in the Institute of General Studies, a CIA-controlled think tank in Santiago that, among other functions, served as a conduit for CIA disinformation targeted at the Chilean military.[2] In March 1973, the Chilean weekly magazine 'SEPA' carried a cover story by Moss entitled "An English Recipe for Chile-Military Control" Moss was identified as a "British sociologist."[3] Like Crozier, Moss was also long associated with 'The Economist', the London-based newspaper that has traditionally toadied to American power and provided places as news reporters for CIA and British intelligence agents. [4]

Moss obtained brief notoriety when it was disclosed that a book he wrote in the early 1970s entitled 'Chile's Marxist Experiment', which was subsequently purchased in bulk by Pinochet, had been planned, outlined, and all but written by the CIA itself, which paid for Moss's travel to and from Chile and carefully edited each draft. [5] When it was discovered that 'Chile's Marxist Experiment' had been published in the United States as well, in clear violation of laws prohibiting domestic CIA propaganda operations, an investigation was launched by Representative Don Edwards of the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Civil and Constitutional Rights. [6]

During the latter years of his rule, Somoza secretly purchased the Nicaraguan weekly newsmagazine 'Vision' in an effort to enhance his image. The editor selected by Somoza, at £20,000 per year, was Robert Moss. In 1977, Moss extended his service to the beleagered Ian Smith regime of Rhodesia. On February 20, 1977, the London 'Daily Telegraph' featured a Moss article, "Moscow's Next Target in Africa," which claimed that British and American insistence on including the guerrillas in a Rhodesian settlement package was a "prescription for another Marxist dictatorship, which will provide the base for black guerrillas and Soviet proxy troops to attack the ultimate target, South Africa." A few days later a full-page ad sponsored by the South African government, through a front group called the "Club of Ten;' [7] reproduced Moss's article in full-page ads that appeared in major papers in Great Britain and the United States.

Moss extended a similar service to the shah of Iran, who reciprocated this assistance. A former shah aide in the Iranian press office, Siamak Zandt, claimed in 1979 that "substantial gifts" had been given by the shah to friendly reporters. Along with Arnaud de Borchgrave, who Zandt said received a matched pair of rugs worth $10,000 each, Zandt "named a number of Europeans as recipients of expense money, free plane tickets, lavish hotel accommodations and gifts. Among them, he said, was Robert Moss. Moss is the more controversial, having written a book about Chile that was financed by one of the Central Intelligence Agency's front organizations." [8]

Moss and de Borchgrave have worked closely together, most notably in coauthoring two spy thrillers - 'The Spike' and 'Monimbo'. These books are illustrations of an important and underrated genre of propaganda and disinformation extensively used by the organized right. (William Buckley, Jr., alone, has published six spy thrillers; Crozier has published one, entitled 'The Andropov Deception'.) The genre allows claims that the authors might have difficulty proving by an appeal to evidence to be offered in dramatic form and presented as true-to-life fiction. The main theme of The Spike is that the KGB has penetrated the American media, passing along its lies through naive liberals, who are barely concealed representations of Seymour Hersh, David Halberstam, and others. This is a favorite disinformation theme of the extreme right, made lifelike and validated for true believers through the vehicle of fiction. Meanwhile, it is the KGB that plants the story that the hero of 'The Spike' has received gifts from a nasty dictator - thus the shah's real gifts to de Borchgrave and Moss are transformed into "KGB propaganda," again without the need of evidence. Fred Landis wrote in 1980: "'The Spike' unites into a coherent whole each and every single piece of disinfprmation spread by these [right-wing] think tanks over the last four years." [9] He points out that the book was published simultaneously in five countries, with a major publicity campaign, and with vocal public endorsement from current and former CIA officials. The themes of 'The Spike' describe what the right wing believes and wants to get over to the public. If it has to be done in fictional form, so be it.

Moss has other connections of interest. Together with de Borchgrave and Birchite John Rees, who headed Mid-Atlantic Research Associates, a risk assessment and advisory firm, Moss coedited a publication entitled 'Early Warning' [...]. He also once helped operate an "independent news service" in Washington, D.C., called Capitol Information Service. His colleague at Capitol was Victor Fediay of the Hale Foundation, with whom Moss worked in a plan to destabilize the Azores [...].

A featured speaker at the 1979 Jonathan Institute conference, Moss delivered the desired message and more. The Soviet Union was everywhere trying to undermine the West, and the PLO was its favorite agent. As Khomeini was in the news in July 1979, Moss suggested that his success was a result of Soviet, Libyan, and PLO subversion of the shah. He also claimed that "a special PLO unit - whose members were selected by the KGB residencies in Baghdad and Beirut for specialist training in security techniques in the USSR - now functions as the nucleus of a new secret police, a revolutionary SAVAK."[10] As the conference aim was to show that the PLO and Soviets were everywhere, Moss found them even in Iran. This was too much even for the friendly reporters present in Jerusalem. Several of them challenged Moss, demanded evidence, and requested a special press conference with Moss the following day. Moss refused, citing the confidentiality of his sources and the sensitivity of intelligence data.[11]

In spite of Moss's reputation as an intellectual mercenary and disinformationist, and the fact that the New York Times's own London news service had exposed Moss's hidden service to both the CIA and the shah just one year earlier, the Times featured his article "Terror: A Soviet Export" in their Sunday 'Magazine' for November 2, 1980. The essay, which reproduced information culled from the Jonathan Institute conference, was little more than a string of unsubstantiated allegations. But the propaganda value of the message overrode the compromised character of the source and the absence of any supporting evidence for the claims, as was true of the Times's use of Claire Sterling.[12]


  1. ^ . Landis, "Robert Moss, Arnaud de Borchgrave, and Right-Wing Disinformation," p. 38.
  2. ^ . Ibid.
  3. ^ . Blum, CIA, p. 240.
  4. ^ . In addition to Moss and Crozier, Philby worked for The Economist, upon the recommendation of officials of M16. The assistant foreign editor of the paper from 1947-54 was Donald McClachan of Naval Intelligence: Patrick Honey, a close friend of Crozier and affiliated wich ISC and the Foreign Office's Information Research Department, was a foreign editor, as were others. See "Wilson, MI5 and the Rise of Thatcher," Lobster, no. 11, appendix 8.
  5. ^ . London Guardian, Dec, 19-22. 1976.
  6. ^ . Landis, "Rohert Moss. , . ," pp. 37ff.
  7. ^ . On the "Club of Ten," see Mervyn Rees and Chris Day, Muldergate: The Story of the Information Scandal (Johannesburg: Macmillan Souch Africa, 1980), pp. 3240. The name "Club of Ten" was chosen by Dr. Eschel Rhoodie of South Africa's Department of Information for no other reason than to arouse "intense speculation." The club was founded by Rhoodie and Dr, Connie Mulder as a front for passing pro-government propaganda to the press, often with the aid of Judge Gerald Sparrow, a wealthy British rightist formerly with the International Court in Bangkok. The club also published a magazine, Phoenix, fully funded by the South African government.
  8. ^ . New York Times News Service, London, Nov. 18, 1979, quoted in Landis, "Rohert Moss," p. 37.
  9. ^ . Ibid., p. 39.
  10. ^ . Robert Moss, "The Terrorist State," in Jonathan Institute, International terrorism: The Soviet Connection, 1979, p. 23.
  11. ^ . Suzanne Weaver, "The Political Uses of Terror," Wall Street Journal, July 26, 1979.
  12. ^ . The Times used Sterling as a news reporter in 1984 and 1985 in connection with the alleged Bulgarian plot to shoot the pope. She was disseminating the favored line: therefore her compromised credentials were ignored, and serious misrepresentation of fact followed in the Times's news coverage. See Herman and Brodhead, Bulgarian Connection, pp. 190-99.