A great propaganda story originated with retired Gen. Edward Lansdale, a top pioneer in counterinsurgency expertise for the U.S. military and the CIA. A legend in both the Philippines and in vietnam, some of his antiterrorist propaganda coups are classics in both countries. His sense of logic and humor, plus his understanding of the cultures and mores of the people are a model that some of your foreign service phonies might do well to study. But enough of that.
Soothsayers are very respected and sought out in the Far East. Knowing this, while on a CIA assignment in the 1950s, Ed Lansdale decided to write an almanac. He filled it with all sorts of prophesies for act-of-God catastrophes for the Communists, terrorists, and others who were on the opposite side of Lansdale’s battles.
“Modestly priced – gratis copies would smack too much of propaganda and be suspicious – it could be sold in the communist north…If it were well done, copies would probably pass from hand-to-hand and be spread all over the Communist-controlled regions,” Ed Lansdale wrote later.
His almanac was filled with all sorts of dictions about 1955, written in the people’s idiom by a master: Ed Lansdale. It told of very troubled times for Communists and their friends. The almanac went over like wildfire and drive the Communist authorities to extremes to censor it. You know the effect of censorship of anything on people…it made them want more.
Lansdale recalls, “To my own amazement, it foretold some things that actually happened. My almanac became a bestseller. It sold out everywhere when it hit the stands.”