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NYT Documents Long-Running Pentagon Psychological Warfare Op Against The American People - Elf M. Sternberg
NYT Documents Long-Running Pentagon Psychological Warfare Op Against The American People
This will be my one braindump for Sunday. It's that important. Read it all.
Records and interviews show how the Bush administration has used its control over access and information in an effort to transform the analysts into a kind of media Trojan horse – an instrument intended to shape terrorism coverage from inside the major TV and radio networks.

Analysts have been wooed in hundreds of private briefings with senior military leaders, including officials with significant influence over contracting and budget matters, records show. They have been taken on tours of Iraq and given access to classified intelligence. They have been briefed by officials from the White House, State Department and Justice Department, including Mr. Cheney, Alberto R. Gonzales and Stephen J. Hadley.

In turn, members of this group have echoed administration talking points, sometimes even when they suspected the information was false or inflated. Some analysts acknowledge they suppressed doubts because they feared jeopardizing their access.

A few expressed regret for participating in what they regarded as an effort to dupe the American public with propaganda dressed as independent military analysis.

"It was them saying, 'We need to stick our hands up your back and move your mouth for you,' " Robert S. Bevelacqua, a retired Green Beret and former Fox News analyst, said.

Kenneth Allard, a former NBC military analyst who has taught information warfare at the National Defense University, said the campaign amounted to a sophisticated information operation. "This was a coherent, active policy," he said.
The New York Times: Behind Military Analysts, the Pentagon's Hidden Hand.

Tags: ,
Current Mood: disgusted

26 comments or Leave a comment
jordan179 From: jordan179 Date: April 20th, 2008 09:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
Wait, you're "disgusted" that the US Government carries out propaganda in wartime? Isn't that fairly standard operating practice for countries during a war?
From: starbog Date: April 20th, 2008 11:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
Agreed. The post comes across as a bit shrill, to say the least.
shunra From: shunra Date: April 21st, 2008 01:12 am (UTC) (Link)
How about "before war time, in order to lead to war on false pretenses"? Is that also standard operating procedure for democracies?
jordan179 From: jordan179 Date: April 21st, 2008 01:42 am (UTC) (Link)
How about "before war time, in order to lead to war on false pretenses"? Is that also standard operating procedure for democracies?

Yes. As a matter of fact, it is. Look at the American quasi-wars with Japan in China, 1937-41, and Germany, 1941.

Which "false pretenses" did you have in mind here?
shunra From: shunra Date: April 21st, 2008 03:56 am (UTC) (Link)
The problem is not the propaganda. The problem is that they don't have enough actual facts, to they resort to false propaganda.

That rather flies in the face of allowing an informed citizenship make an informed decision (via its representatives).

It seems to me that propaganda is ok in a democracy when "propaganda" means "disseminating information" and not when it means "disseminating incorrect information in order to persuade the populace".

I think that modern English usage implies a tinge of falseness and inappropriate manipulativeness to any propaganda, does it not?
From: starbog Date: April 21st, 2008 12:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
Here in the UK, Parliment voted to proceed with involvement in the liberation of Iraq *beforehand*. The vote was passed by a very large majority and was supported by both government and opposition, from both left and right. I don't see what the problem is.
shunra From: shunra Date: April 21st, 2008 02:43 pm (UTC) (Link)

I'm sorry, we don't seem to share enough common ground even to discuss this issue.

From: starbog Date: April 21st, 2008 03:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
What else would you call the overthrow of a genocidal fascist tyranny and its replacement with a democratically elected and internationally-recognised government?
shunra From: shunra Date: April 21st, 2008 04:04 pm (UTC) (Link)
I would call what happened in Iraq the removal of all underpinnings of society and the selective arming of the most violent elements throughout Iraq.

I would call it the destruction of infrastructure and the plunging of the region into civil war.

Genocidal fascist tyranny is a very good description of Iraq in 2001. Mutually genocidal anarchy in active civil war and none of the underpinning of safety for any of the members of society is what I'd call it today. But now there is an added aspect of hundreds of thousands of dead, millions of wounded, and millions of refugees.

That is neither an improvement for the victims of the genocidal fascist tyranny nor for the world around them.
From: starbog Date: April 21st, 2008 04:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
Society in Iraq was non-existant, pre-2003. It was a giant prison camp. Any semblance of civil society had been obliterated by 30 years of Baathist tyranny, shameful realpolitik and the International Community's betrayal of the Iraq people in 1991. The very least the West could do, not withstanding the despicable attempts of Saddam's chief cronies France and Russia to keep him in power, was to make up for that by removing him and his regime.

What is happening now is emphatically NOT a civil war, not withstanding the frantic attempts of certain strata in the West to try and make out that it is for their own selfish political reasons.

In my book, fascist dictators getting the noose or the bullet (c.f. Ceaucescu or Saddam) is a unqualified good thing. Do you care so little for Iraqis that you would have left them to another 30 years of Saddam and subsequently Qusay and Uday and the gods knows who else after that?

shunra From: shunra Date: April 21st, 2008 04:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
Your description does not mesh with the reports I've read.
From: starbog Date: April 21st, 2008 04:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
Try reading something other than Michael Moore then.. Try Michael Totten or Michael Yon instead.
shunra From: shunra Date: April 21st, 2008 05:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
Straw man.
From: starbog Date: April 21st, 2008 05:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
No, its not. Judging from the public content of your LJ, you have a real problem with facts that go against your predefined narrative, to the point of excluding them completely. You obviously have considerable emotional energy invested in building up a "what it should be" picture, and are translating that across to reality, as opposed to calmly observing the "what is". Its very redolent of the creationist/theist mindset, and about as useful.
shunra From: shunra Date: April 21st, 2008 05:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
From: starbog Date: April 21st, 2008 06:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
srmalloy From: srmalloy Date: April 22nd, 2008 12:51 am (UTC) (Link)
It's nothing new. From Gustave Gilbert's Nuremberg Diaries, in his interview with Hermann Goering on April 18, 1946:
We got around to the subject of war again and I said that, contrary to his attitude, I did not think that the common people are very thankful for leaders who bring them war and destruction.

"Why, of course, the people don't want war," Goering shrugged. "Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece. Naturally, the common people don't want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship."

"There is one difference," I pointed out. "In a democracy the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare wars."

"Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."
drewkitty From: drewkitty Date: April 22nd, 2008 05:09 am (UTC) (Link)
So why do you object to the schools using propaganda to carry a leftist, pro-gay, anti-Christian agenda?

Oh, right . . .
jordan179 From: jordan179 Date: April 22nd, 2008 06:47 am (UTC) (Link)
So why do you object to the schools using propaganda to carry a leftist, pro-gay, anti-Christian agenda?

I do?
drewkitty From: drewkitty Date: April 22nd, 2008 08:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
So you don't object! Good to know.
jordan179 From: jordan179 Date: April 23rd, 2008 04:08 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm an atheist and a believer in gay rights, so why would failing to promote Christianity or anti-homosexuality bother me? The "leftist" part bothers me a little, but what bothers me far more is the generally low quality of public schools, especially in the inner cities.
mikstera From: mikstera Date: April 22nd, 2008 07:03 am (UTC) (Link)
Assuming this wasn't a "drive by" post, what definition of the word "propaganda" are you using?
drewkitty From: drewkitty Date: April 22nd, 2008 08:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
Semantics. I love it.

When a small consortium of textbook publishers, developing materials purchased by committees of government bureaucrats, has de facto control over the bulk of K-12 educational materials printed in America today, what can it be called EXCEPT propaganda?

I like the definition used here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Propaganda) "information presented in such a way as to influence its audience."

Effective presentation of factual information is different from deliberately slanting information and omitting material which is accurate but disagrees with your viewpoint. The former is journalism. The latter is propaganda.

From: (Anonymous) Date: April 22nd, 2008 10:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks for the definition... I didn't want to jump to any unwarranted conclusions.

Now, your assertion was propaganda was being used to carry on a "leftist, pro-gay, anti-Christian agenda."

Now, I don't know you, your ideology, your politics, etc. However, when I've seen assertions like this in the past, it has been my experience that they have generally broken down as follows:

"leftist" - does not absolutely and unequivocally adhere to a strict, socially conservative position

"pro-gay" - does not portray gays and lesbians as, at best, mentally disturbed, confused pawns of the Gay Agenda, and, at worst, sick, depraved animals who should be, at the very least, behind bars and kept away from "normal" people

"anti-Christian" - acts in a manner inconsistent with the absolute assumption that the only real Deity is the Christian Deity, the only real religion is the Christian religion, and all good, right, moral people are, of course, devout Christians

As I said, I don't know you, so I can't just assume that the above characterization is in any way an accurate portrayal of your particular views.

So, if you wouldn't mind, would you put your own descriptions to those terms, so that I don't end up making any false assumptions?

lucky_otter From: lucky_otter Date: April 21st, 2008 12:36 am (UTC) (Link)
See also: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/20/opinion/20sun1.html

Good stuff from the Times today.
ideaphile From: ideaphile Date: April 21st, 2008 06:28 am (UTC) (Link)

This is what it means to be an analyst

I got started writing a response here, but when I realized it was getting pretty lengthy, I decided to post it on my blog instead. It'll be on http://www.cnet.com/speedsandfeeds/ tomorrow morning.

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26 comments or Leave a comment