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Wikileaks reveals US secret plan to defeat communism using Bob Dylan and James Taylor

Apr 10, 2013

A new document dump from Wikileaks reveals a US strategy from the cold war—propaganda deployed in the name of psychological warfare, intended to turn hearts and minds away from communism and toward the glorious American way. That psychological weapon: Bob Dylan. And even more dangerous: James Taylor.

A cable revealed by Wikileaks called “CULTURAL PRESENTATIONS: POPULAR MUSIC GROUP” was sent from the Russian embassy back to Washington. The cable was originally classified for “limited official use,” and outlines its secret plan:

“EMBASSY SUGGESTS, FOR DEPARTMENT CONSIDERATION, FOLLOWING AMPLIFICATION OF PARA 4 REFTEL DISCUSSION OF POSSIBLE POPULAR MUSIC GROUPS FOR USSR TOUR. …WHILE THIS WOULD BE NEW FOR SOVIET TOUR, AS WOULD MOST ASPECTS CURRENT MUSIC, BELIEVE TIME RIPE TO MAKE ATTEMPT.”

Apparently, though, Russians were not down with soul music.

BELIEVE “SOUL” GENRE NOT OF TOP INTEREST HERE, AND SUGGEST PRIORTY CONSIDERATION BE GIVEN TO “SOFT ROCK”, “BLUES/ROCK”, OR “COUNTRY ROCK”.

The Russian embassy’s A-list was Bob Dylan, James Taylor, Joni Mitchell, or—jettisoning the subtlety altogether—Don McLean of “American Pie” fame.

The B-list included what they called “blues rock”: The Allman Brothers, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Richard Betts. Down on the C-list was “country rock”: Poco, Cactus, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, or Leon Russell.

Of course, Dylan rose to fame on a tidal wave of criticism of the US government and its war efforts, basically leading the anti-war effort of the 60s, and would never serve as a “pawn in their game,” as he sang on the 1964 album “The Times They Are A-Changin’.”

Dylan did eventually get around to playing in Communist China, if not Soviet Russia, in 2011, but not as a part of government propaganda campaign. He insisted among some controversy that the restrictive Chinese government hadn’t censored his set list.

As for James Taylor, well… he’s still kicking, too.


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