The Propaganda Network Behind Trump’s Bizarre Tabloid Charges

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Accuracy in Media

Ted Cruz

Until Tuesday, political observers thought Donald J. Trump got information about foreign affairs from the Sunday shows. Then we learned that he had relied on an unsubstantiated story in the National Enquirer for the facts about the assassination of John F.Kennedy.

The charges were classic Russian disinformation. These had a double purpose—taking attention away from the communist conspiracy that actually murdered President Kennedy, and transferring the notoriety to Trump’s political opponent in the U.S. presidential race.

The attack on Cruz’s father, publicized by Trump on the Fox News Channel, was taken directly from the National Enquirer but has also been transmitted by a series of outlets known to be part of Moscow’s global propaganda apparatus, and some lesser-known left-wing, or “progressive,” sites. One name that figures prominently in several of the reports and who apparently “broke” the story is Wayne Madsen, who claims all kinds of high-level intelligence connections. Until the Cruz story, his main claim to fame was being the source for a story in the Globe—another supermarket tabloid—which allegedthat President George W. Bush was having an extramarital affair with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

A regular contributor to the Russia Today and Iranian Press TV propaganda channels, Madsen has also alleged that Barack Obama and/or his family members had CIA connections. He highlights the work of his grandmother in his bio, calling her “a newspaper reporter and editor for Land og Folk as well as a novelist.” Land og Folk was a Danish language communist newspaper. One of Madsen’s admitted journalism icons is I.F. Stone, exposed as a Soviet agent of influence.

Madsen’s story tried to link Cruz’s father to JFK assassin Lee Harvey Oswald, a pro-Marxist member of the “Fair Play for Cuba Committee,” which had links to the Communist Party USA and the Socialist Workers Party.

The irony is that one of Trump’s other close associates, Roger Stone, wrote a book trying to implicate JFK’s vice president, Lyndon Johnson, in the murder of the president—not Lee Harvey Oswald.

Referring to Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), his main opponent at that point in the campaign, Trump appeared on “Fox and Friends” and, without rebuttal, said, “His [Cruz’s] father was with Lee Harvey Oswald prior to Oswald’s being, you know, shot.” He added, “Nobody even brings it up, I mean they don’t even talk about that. That was reported and nobody talks about it.” Cruz told ABC News, “It’s ludicrous, it’s ludicrous. I was never in New Orleans at that time.” He added, “That’s typical of Donald Trump—just attack and make all kinds of innuendo and attacks with no substance.”

Those who have followed how this bizarre charge arrived in the pages of the National Enquirer have also looked at the various outlets of disinformation, many with links to Moscow or Tehran, which also picked it up. Taken together and analyzed in broad terms as a foreign-instigated propaganda ploy, the charge against the father of Senator Cruz reflected the desperation among those who had feared that Cruz would derail Trump’s campaign in the Indiana primary and stop Trump’s march to the nomination. With Cruz out of the way, Trump can complete his hostile takeover of the Republican Party and make it into a carbon copy of the nationalist and populist European parties that have divided Europe and treated Russian President Vladimir Putin as a statesman in foreign affairs.

Trump’s sympathizers saw Cruz as a real conservative whose views made him a foreign policy realist, committed to Ronald Reagan’s vision of peace-through-strength. By contrast, Trump wants to make deals with Moscow and pull back from American support for NATO and U.S. allies in Europe and Asia. With Cruz out of the way, it doesn’t seem to matter much to Moscow whether Trump or Hillary Clinton wins in November. Either way, the Russians and their surrogates stand to make more aggressive moves in Europe and the Middle East.

Here are some of the titles, sources and dates of how the phony story appeared in various outlets, beginning with Madsen:

Once Trump picked up the National Enquirer story, Iranian Press TV went into action, running a report, “Trump accuses Ted Cruz’s father of having ties with JFK assassin.” The reaction among followers of the Iranian “news” agency was ecstatic. Here are a few responses:

  • Kennedy was killed by the U.S. Zionist lobby for questioning Israel’s right to nuclear weapons. It is no secret in America. The CIA together with the Mossad took him out to stop him talking too much about Israel going Nuclear. Nothing to do with Cuba or the Soviets.
  • This is the type of thing the powers that control don’t want: A guy opening up cans of worms about unsolved conspiracy theories that potentially could indict the Zionists.

On Tuesday night, after smearing Cruz’s father, Trump acknowledged the Texas senator’s “beautiful family.”

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