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Punishing Pentagon Propaganda

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Responses to the exposure of corporate media military "experts" being secretly told what to say by the Pentagon have ranged from yawns to shouts to ass-scratching.  On Wednesday, the Center for Media and Democracy ( http://www.prwatch.org ) published this comment:

"As Paul Schmelzer wrote on the Minnesota Independent website, 'There were two National Conferences on Media Reform in Minneapolis over the weekend: the one I attended and the one Bill O'Reilly, Juan Williams and Fox News talking head Mary Catherine Ham didn't.'  O'Reilly's show tried to manufacture controversy about the conference, which I and others from the Center for Media and Democracy attended. But before addressing that, how about some real news on a genuinely controversial issue?  During Sunday's closing plenary, FCC Commissioner and fake news foe Jonathan Adelstein pledged to push for multiple thorough investigations of the Pentagon military analyst program. So far, the Pentagon's Inspector General and the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the investigative arm of Congress, have launched inquiries into the Defense Department's secret cultivation of military pundits. But those investigations aren't enough."

Hmm.  Multiple thorough investigations?  By a Bushite dominated commission?  Or even Bush's (In)justice Department?  Sounds serious.  But the Center for Media and Democracy has done a better job than anyone else in laying out the criminality involved in Pentagon punditry - the obvious and indisputable criminality not requiring even a single unthorough investigation.  And that work was heavily drawn on, and is credited in the footnotes to, the very first of the 35 articles of impeachment that Congressman Dennis Kucinich introduced on the House floor on Monday evening.

Yes, investigations are not enough.  Nothing short of impeachment is.  

ARTICLE I
CREATING A SECRET PROPAGANDA CAMPAIGN TO MANUFACTURE A FALSE CASE FOR WAR AGAINST IRAQ

In his conduct while President of the United States, George W. Bush, in violation of his constitutional oath to faithfully execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his constitutional duty under Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution  "to take care that the laws be faithfully executed", has both personally and acting through his agents and subordinates, together with the Vice President, illegally spent public dollars on a secret propaganda program to manufacture a false cause for war against Iraq.


The Department of Defense (DOD) has engaged in a years-long secret domestic propaganda campaign to promote the invasion and occupation of Iraq.  This secret program was defended by the White House Press Secretary following its exposure.  This program follows the pattern of crimes detailed in Article I, II, IV and VIII..  The mission of this program placed it within the field controlled by the White House Iraq Group (WHIG), a White House task-force formed in August 2002 to market an invasion of Iraq to the American people.  The group included Karl Rove, I. Lewis Libby, Condoleezza Rice, Karen Hughes, Mary Matalin, Stephen Hadley, Nicholas E. Calio, and James R. Wilkinson.

The WHIG produced white papers detailing so-called intelligence of Iraq's nuclear threat that later proved to be false. This supposed intelligence included the claim that Iraq had sought uranium from Niger as well as the claim that the high strength aluminum tubes Iraq purchased from China were to be used for the sole purpose of building centrifuges to enrich uranium.  Unlike the National Intelligence Estimate of 2002, the WHIG's white papers provided "gripping images and stories" and used "literary license" with intelligence. The WHIG's white papers were written at the same time and by the same people as speeches and talking points prepared for President Bush and some of his top officials.

The WHIG also organized a media blitz in which, between September 7-8, 2002, President Bush and his top advisers appeared on numerous interviews and all provided similarly gripping images about the possibility of nuclear attack by Iraq. The timing was no coincidence, as Andrew Card explained in an interview regarding waiting until after Labor Day to try to sell the American people on military action against Iraq, "From a marketing point of view, you don't introduce new products in August."

September 7-8, 2002:

NBC's "Meet the Press: Vice President Cheney accused Saddam of moving aggressively to develop nuclear weapons over the past 14 months to add to his stockpile of chemical and biological arms.

CNN: Then-National Security Adviser Rice said, regarding the likelihood of Iraq obtaining a nuclear weapon, "We don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud."

CBS: President Bush declared that Saddam was "six months away from developing a weapon," and cited satellite photos of construction in Iraq where weapons inspectors once visited as evidence that Saddam was trying to develop nuclear arms.

The Pentagon military analyst propaganda program was revealed in an April 20, 2002, New York Times article.  The program illegally involved "covert attempts to mold opinion through the undisclosed use of third parties."  Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld recruited 75 retired military officers and gave them talking points to deliver on Fox, CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, and MSNBC, and according to the New York Times report, which has not been disputed by the Pentagon or the White House, "Participants were instructed not to quote their briefers directly or otherwise describe their contacts with the Pentagon."

According to the Pentagon's own internal documents, the military analysts were considered "message force multipliers" or "surrogates" who would deliver administration "themes and messages" to millions of Americans "in the form of their own opinions."  In fact, they did deliver the themes and the messages but did not reveal that the Pentagon had provided them with their talking points.  Robert S. Bevelacqua, a retired Green Beret and Fox News military analyst described this as follows: "It was them saying, 'We need to stick our hands up your back and move your mouth for you.'"

Congress has restricted annual appropriations bills since 1951 with this language: "No part of any appropriation contained in this or any other Act shall be used for publicity or propaganda purposes within the United States not heretofore authorized by the Congress."

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David Swanson is the author of "When the World Outlawed War," "War Is A Lie" and "Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union." He blogs at http://davidswanson.org and http://warisacrime.org and works for the online (more...)
 
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Return to basic national defense, abandon empire o... by Dan Lion on Thursday, Jun 12, 2008 at 1:14:15 AM