The selective release of around a quarter million US State Department cables, some of them redacted after screening by corporate media entities such as The New York Times, The Guardian, Der Spiegel, and Le Monde, among others, comes at a time when there are calls by governments, including officials of the Obama administration, to restrict information content on the Internet.
In fact, the release of the State Department cables may have served as a digital "9/11," an event that has spurred on the agenda of neo-conservatives who continue to exercise influence outside and within the Obama administration to bring about total government control of the flow of information in cyberspace.
The CIA has established a Wikileaks Task Force, or "WTF," at CIA headquarters to examine the effects of the Wikileaks cable release. However, the CIA was relatively unaffected by the Wikileaks releases, but the WTF will, nevertheless, conduct a thorough review and present their findings to senior agency officials. The CIA stated its special task force is made up of seasoned officers.
Neocon agenda for State Dept. benefits from Wikileaks affair
Coincidentally or perhaps not, on September 16, 2009, a private meeting, held under the aegis of the neocon Hudson Institute, was convened in Washington, DC by two neocon figures from the Bush administration, Douglas Feith, the former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, and adviser to the Deputy Undersecretary, Abram Shulsky. Both worked for Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz at the Pentagon and both are leading members of a powerful pro-Israel neocon operational cell in Washington that now works from an interlocked group of non-profit think tanks, including Hudson, the Heritage Foundation, American Enterprise Institute, American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, and the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, among others.
Last March, Feith and Shulsky issued a report based on the conclusions of the private meeting titled "Organizing the U.S. Government to Counter Hostile Ideologies." The report calls for the creation of a new U.S. Information Agency, possibly with the title "National Center for Strategic Communication," which would be responsible for conducting information operations, a policy wonk appellation for propaganda, psychological warfare, and disinformation campaigns around the world.
Although the Hudson Institute report's target ideologies comprised the US and Israeli governments' usual bogeymen -- Iran's government, Hezbollah, Al Qaeda, Hamas, and the Pakistani and Afghani Taliban, the broad brush of "hostile ideologies" could also be applied to anyone who disagrees with the United States or Israel, and that includes a larger potential target list than the aforementioned groups.
In 2008 and 2009, Senator Sam Brownbeck (R-KS) and Representative William "Mac" Thornberry (R-TX) introduced companion legislation; both titled "the Strategic Communication Act," that would have re-create a U.S. Information Agency apparatus. Although no action was taken on the bills, the incoming and more neocon-leaning Congress may seek to push the legislation.
Brownback's bill specifically called for the creation of a National Center for Strategic Communication with a director who would answer directly to the president but who would have posted at U.S. embassies and consulates around the world a "Global Communications Corps" that would serve under a directorate and push U.S. propaganda efforts to local governments, media, and other entities. An Information Operations Directorate would take over all U.S. international broadcasting responsibilities from the Broadcasting Board of Governors. A Global Networks Directorate would conduct outreach to non-governmental organizations for "educational and cultural exchanges."
Neocons cited State Department's failure in report
In what looks appears to be a made-to-order situation for the neocons, the Wikileaks affair, which has placed pressure on Secretary of State and her department to revamp the way it handles its diplomatic communications, has made the idea of a new US Information Agency more palatable, especially considering the damage to the image of the United States arising from the leak of embarrassing cables. The following from the Feith/Shulsky directly slammed the State Department's primary role in passing on diplomatic communications:
"The State Department's failure to deal with the extremist ideology is unsurprising. The Department is not well suited to counter hostile ideologies. In general, State tends to view problems as conflicts over negotiable issues "not ideologies "because ideological problems are more difficult (or impossible) to solve diplomatically. State also lacks an effective operational capability " its primary function is reporting of diplomatic communications."
And it was exactly State's primary function, as described by Feith " the reporting of diplomatic communications -- that came under attack as a result of the machinations of Wikileaks' founder Julian Assange, an individual who was in contact with Israeli government officials and agreed to limit any fallout for Israel in the release of the State Department cables. The nexus of the interests of Israel, Feith/Shulsky, and Assange converge in the neocon plans for a revamped State Department with a powerful Information Agency second-guessing and trumping U.S. diplomatic officials around the world.
It is clear that Feith and Shulsky are trying to establish a psychological warfare and propaganda entity that they failed to set up within the Pentagon while they were there. The Hudson report states:
"Douglas J. Feith established the Office Of Strategic Influence (OSI) at the Department of Defense in late 2001. Led by Air Force Brigadier General Simon "Pete" Worden, OSI was Designed to conduct operations to counter the Ideology of our jihadist terrorist enemies. The office developed Innovative plans to distribute tens of thousands of satellite Radios and "Internet-in-a-box' laptop computers to Pakistan's border areas. Worden viewed information as the decisive weapon in the War on Terrorism. Public affairs officials at the Pentagon resisted OSI, however. They saw its existence as an intrusion into their Bureaucratic turf. Perhaps as a result of this dispute, an unnamed Pentagon official reportedly gave a story to the New York Times accusing OSI of planning To plant disinformation in foreign newspapers. Even though the accusation was entirely false, political pressure compelled the shutting down of the office. The OSI episode had a lasting chilling effect on strategic communications efforts at the Department of Defense."
Feith's and Shulsky's pathetic attempt to re-write history is countered by this excerpt from this editor's book, "Jaded Tasks":