Propaganda, Character Assassination & the Campaign Against Prof David Miller
Dr Piers Robinson
On October 1st 2021, the University of Bristol decided to buckle in the face of a near 3 year-long pro-Israel lobby campaign and fire Professor David Miller.
I have worked with David for many years now, co-published work on the theory of propaganda, researched and written about the UK FCO propaganda operation (ongoing) that has sought to overthrow the Syrian government, and developed the fledgling Organisation for Propaganda Studies.
David was, is, and will continue to be, a major intellectual force with respect to our understanding of propaganda, and his integrity, particularly in relation to the Israel-Palestine issue, is now cemented in history. He became a voice for the Palestinians, highlighting the ways in which propaganda has worked in order to simultaneously suppress public understanding of the nefarious actions of the Israeli government against them and erase awareness of their plight.
Inevitably and predictably he became an essential target for the pro-Israel lobby and the implementation of a remarkably sustained and aggressive campaign designed to falsely smear him as ‘anti-Semitic’ and have him fired.
I also have a relationship with the University of Bristol. I studied for my MSc in International Relations back in 1996-97 (funded by the Economic and Social Research Council [ESRC]) and continued in 1997 to undertake a PhD (also ESRC funded) under the supervision of Professor Eric Herring. I left at the end of the 2nd year of the PhD to take up my first full-time academic post at the University of Liverpool, School of Politics and Communication Studies. My PhD was awarded in 2000 from the University of Bristol.
Smear campaigns and character assassination are a core feature of contemporary propaganda and our ‘democratic’ landscape. There is even an academic Handbook on the tactic, titled The Routledge Handbook of Character Assassination and Reputation Management, whilst US investigative journalist Sharyl Atkinson has provided a powerful account detailing how legitimate political views are stifled through nefarious attempts to destroy reputations.
I have witnessed this tactic first hand through my experience researching propaganda and the war on Syria.
For the ‘thought crime’ of questioning and researching UK government-linked ‘influence operations’ in that war, in particular the controversy over the OPCW (Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons) and the alleged chemical weapon attack in Douma 2018, myself and other colleagues (including David), have been subjected to aggressive and continuous smearing some of which is documented here.
Even when OPCW whistleblower scientists emerged and corroborated what we had been saying, those attacking us have simply continued with accusations of our being ‘conspiracy theorists’, ‘war crime deniers’ and agents of ‘disinformation’. That smear campaign also now incorporates OPCW whistleblowers with attempts to blacken their reputations.
What we see today is not completely new and David’s experience is not an isolated one.
In an earlier era, scientists such as Professor Steven Jones were smeared and pushed from their positions when raising perfectly objective, evidence-based and rational questions regarding 9/11. Chemist and laboratory director Kevin Ryan was fired for blowing the whistle on his own company which had obfuscated evidence related to the building collapses that occurred on 9/11.
To this day, and as Dr David Hughes has recently detailed in an academic journal, mainstream academia continues to self-censor and avoid substantial analysis of 9/11.
Today, with Covid-19, we now appear to be seeing an unprecedented level of attacks on academics who have raised what are, again, perfectly objective, evidence-based and rational questions regarding the efficacy of lockdowns and the drive toward coerced/mandated injections.
High profile and leading academics such as Sunetra Gupta (University of Oxford) and even Professor Robert Malone, inventor of mRNA technology used in the current Covid-19 injection, have had to battle concerted drives to discredit them, with, for example, Gupta being accused of being a ‘conspiracy theorist’.
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