Manfred Rupp ~ 09 Mai 005

Episode 15: A History of the War of Lies

part of: The Shadowed Ones

by Jeff Beardwood

Related by Daegle, Member of the Shadowed Elite in the Fourth Generation of the Wanderers

“My great-grandfather was a very young man when the World Trade Center was destroyed…perhaps 20 years old,” I started to explain. I addressed my answer to Arcono, since he was the one who had asked me to explain how I became a Shadowed One, but all sat around the dinner table sipping a hot drink, paying rapt attention.

“My family were Americans then, though it didn’t much matter, if you understand the impact of that terrible event…it really was a global shift. It brought real danger, death and destruction into the lives of people who had formerly felt safe from such things in their own lands, for the most part. People felt confused, helpless, insecure, angry.”

“Indeed, the same memories have been passed down from my grandparents’ generation,” Katia said warmly.

“For those reasons, and I’m sure more, my great-grandfather’s only brother enlisted in the military,” I continued. “My grandfather believes it was to overcome that feeling of helplessness…to feel like he was doing something. Unfortunately, very shortly thereafter the War of Lies followed.”

“The War of Lies?” Arcono wondered.

“To this day, no one knows the real motivations behind it, but the government of the United States at that time was intent on invading a country then known as Iraq,” I explained.

“Arcono nodded, “I read about that…a confusing time.”

“Very much so,” I agreed. “It is the only war in history I know of that was the subject of huge global protests before it began. So much so, that the powers that be had to fabricate reasons to justify their actions. Either their real reasons were too dubious or they underestimated the public’s ability to comprehend them I guess. They used the fresh scars of the recent attack on the World Trade Center buildings, still raw and unhealed…making weak ties between the two. They said it was to disarm this dangerous country. And so the invasion happened, without global support. Lives were lost…my great-grandfather’s brother among them. Not during the “liberation”, but afterward, during the years of occupation, while experts tried to bring stability to the region, while soldiers remained there, vulnerable, while those humans living with an army in their homeland grew desperate and resentful.”

“I’m so sorry about your great-great-uncle,” Felice said with genuine concern.

“My great-grandfather was in deep mourning. He was very close to his older brother. But what enraged him most was when the lies started to unravel. Wars have always been about propaganda. The manipulation of public opinion to support a war is a time-honored tradition. However, the age of information had a huge impact. People were no longer so easily manipulated as they once were. Information was too difficult to direct and control for a public able to gain access in so many new ways. As a result, miscalculations were made….truth had a way of surfacing now into immediate, general awareness as it had never before. It seemed every reason that had been offered to the public to justify this invasion proved to be false, one after the other. The US Government’s credibility crumbled.”

I had the strangest feeling then, sitting amongst the clan members…as if each of them in their own way was trying to put themselves in the place of my family members. It was not just their attention, but their willingness to try to share the experience and all its accompanying feelings…it was a unique experience to me. It was my first exposure to true witness.

“In the years after his brother died, my great-grandfather met and married my great-grandmother. She supported his grief, understood his outrage. They shared a great many political views. When the next election came around, they wanted to have an impact. They believed wholly in the political system as it was at that time. Their intention was to keep the lies from falling out of memory. It seemed to work. Their organization grew with much help. Literally thousands worked to ensure that the actions of those in power were not forgotten. New politicians were elected. New hope grew. It was a good time for them. My grandfather was born around that period, in 2011.”

“The organization they helped to build stayed intact, continued to try to provide a voice for their particular views. Some were unpopular. Some were more global-minded. But the issue nearest and dearest to my great-grandparents was freedom. One of the irrevocable harms done by the former administration was to introduce laws restricting personal freedoms. They were introduced in a time of great fear, when people were willing to sacrifice some freedom for security. It was this concern that drove my great-grandfather to work tirelessly, lobbying against bad laws, speaking at public functions, attending demonstrations. It was not a popular view, because the War of Lies had caused more unrest than it had healed. Where once an attack on American soil had been a shocking thing, they became all too common place. But he believed passionately in those the many freedoms Americans had once enjoyed and fought hard to regain them.”

“Your great-grandfather sounds like a great man,” Katia commented.

“He was a great hero to my grandfather, the source of my stories,” I told her. “Only a few years after my grandfather was born, as another election was looming, some strong accusations were cast upon their organization. They were being linked to some of this increased terrorist activity. My great-grandmother swears to this day these were lies to discredit and manipulate public opinion, just as lies had been told to secure approval for the war. My great-grandfather was still well respected, organized rallies, made sure he was heard. But the organization was branded as extreme and this eroded his position and frustrated him greatly. Then one day, at a big important rally, violence broke out. Some say it was opponents of my great-grandfather trying to make him look bad under the guise of his own organization. It was a huge personal price to discredit him, if so. Perhaps it was even true they were truly his supporters. Organizations can attract extreme fringe elements. They were no more immune to being manipulated than the authorities they opposed. But the clash with authorities that day was real. The rally turned into an angry mob and terrible things happened. That day 43 innocent people died, including my great-grandfather.”

“My grandfather was just a young boy. He has no real memories of this time. The little my great-grandmother will say about that day is venomous, even all these years later. She blames her people as much as the authorities. Mostly she cries for her loss. What we do know is that the news reports suggested more was going on that day than a political rally. They called my great-granddad and his followers terrorists. With the death of my great-grandfather, the movement lost faith in the ability to change the system from within. Those who were more radical in their views moved from the fringe to the central core of the organization. The claim by authorities that this was a terrorist organization, over the course of the next ten years, became a self-fulfilling prophecy. When my grandfather was old enough, he joined them.”

“Oh Daegle, I’m so sorry,” D’hlea said.

“A great many of the Shadowed Ones tell similar stories. Some from our parent’s time, for the schism in our society has been ongoing since then. Many of the new people who join us are idealists at heart, believe it or not. Most believe changes are necessary and have no faith in any other way to affect it. I have no delusions that the Shadowed Ones are any more or less noble than anyone else. But it is the life I have known. As I said to Katia a long time ago, it is a long string of retaliations now…no one can truly remember the first cause. Terrorists outside North America have their own reasons to be angry and retaliate. Some do operate here. Some even use our name. It has all gotten way out of hand. I think my great-grandfather would be horrified to know where the path he started to forge has taken us.”

“So many common threads with Wanderers in our early beginnings. It’s scary,” Mallen finally commented.

“With a very significant difference in methodology,” I pointed out.

“Maybe the path your great-grandfather set upon is not yet complete,” Katia said before taking a sip of her tea, looking at me in her piercing way over the brim of her cup.