What lingering doubts anyone might have about the case for war in Iraq took another body blow today, as the former deputy director of MI6, claimed Britain had been "dragged into" the war
. [more inside]
- Given Saddam Hussein's central place in the American Consciousness over the last couple decades and particularly in recent years, I found 60 minutes' interview with FBI interrogator
George Piro pretty fascinating.
The "same people who attacked us on 9/11"?
It may be the very latest talking point from the Administration
, but it's actually true--altho it's not Al Qaeda in Iraq, but Saudis. Although Bush administration officials have frequently lashed out at Syria and Iran, accusing it of helping insurgents and militias here, the largest number of foreign fighters and suicide bombers in Iraq come from a third neighbor, Saudi Arabia ...
A historical note: 15 of the 19 hijackers
on 9/11 were Saudis.
Al Hurra television, the U.S. government's $63 million-a-year effort at public diplomacy broadcasting in the Middle East, is run by executives and officials who cannot speak Arabic, according to a senior official who oversees the program.
That might explain why critics say the service has recently been caught broadcasting terrorist messages, ...
from their About US page: Alhurra is operated by non-profit corporation “The Middle East Broadcasting Networks, Inc.” (MBN). MBN is financed by the American people through the U.S Congress.
US Govt. Accountability Office abstract about other MBN problems here.
War vs. Democracy: Untold Stories from the Lynch / Tillman Hearing
-- ...U.S. soldiers whose injuries or deaths remain mired in secrecy. Pat Tillman's brother and fellow Army Ranger Kevin Tillman advocated strongly for other families still waiting for answers. ... "The family was told, it was -- quote -- 'an ambush by insurgents.' Two years later, they found out that those -- quote -- 'insurgents' happened to be the same Iraqi troops that he was training. Before his death, he told his chain of command that these same troops that he was training were trying to kill him and his team. He was told to keep his mouth shut." ...
Thorough and eye-opening examination of the many ways the military spun, lied, withheld information on soldier deaths and injuries for propaganda purposes (and even delayed action until cameras were present in the Jessica Lynch
Hussein's Prewar Ties To Al-Qaeda Discounted.
A newly declassified report
(PDF) by the Pentagon's inspector general claims that Iraq was not working with al-Qaeda before the U.S. invasion and that the intelligence was manipulated
by then-Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith
. On the same day as the report came out, Dick Cheney claimed that they did have a relationship
via Abu Musab al-Zarqawi
. Zarqawi may be dead, but he's still useful
. [Via TalkLeft.]
January 8, 2007: The US Navy has a message for you(Tube) concerning the Navy Seals: "They are warrior diplomats and trusted teammates in the war against terrorism. They understand the political and cultural sensitivities of the countries in which they operate." Added
October 22, 2006: This former Marine commander has a message for you(Tube) as well, concerning "cultural sensitivities". Speaking of his part in the assault on Fallujah: "I started to cry... the woman seeing my reaction... put her hand on my cheek and said Insha'Allah... cause these people over there can accept it as God's will... but no, it wasn't God's will, it was my fucking order. I gave the order to fire those rockets into the building, and I killed her family. I have to live with that..."
Suicide Bombing: Just Say No.
Hollywood-style anti-suicide bombing PSA now in heavy rotation on Iraqi TV. Previously discussed here
before the spot was finished.
is a 15 year old master of flash-based propaganda, and burgeoning media sensation. Lowery's clips (especially this one
but also ones like this
)), have been described as mere facile emotionalism. Others however regard her work as courageous and truthful. She was enlisted to express the soul of the movement
for the recent Yearly Kos convention in Las Vegas. One thing's for sure: Lowery's method of story telling leaves traditional media confused and bewildered
Finally, Hollywood is getting on side in the War On Terror
:an anti-suicide bombing commercial is soon to be unleashed on all those jaded Iraqi couch potatoes.
The War They Wanted, The Lies They Needed.
"The Bush administration invaded Iraq claiming Saddam Hussein had tried to buy yellowcake uranium in Niger. As much of Washington knew, and the world soon learned, the charge was false. Worse, it appears to have been the cornerstone of a highly successful 'black propaganda' campaign with links to the White House." (Via Sic Semper Tyrannis.)
In Memoriam and in Protest
--why not use an online deathmatch as a pedestal for speaking out against a war?
Artist/Professor uses US Govt-developed America's Army
(...placing Soldiering front and center within popular culture and showcasing the roles training, teamwork and technology play in the Army. ...
) as protest and art space. DeLappe's homepage (and jpgs) here
I just watched the chilling video of a sniper
[Flash, NSFW] in Iraq on TV. It was given to Paul McGeough of the Sydney Morning Herald
and published on their site. As discussed on The ABC Lateline
programme (transcript not available at posting time but pretty much covered by the SMH). Please read the report to put the video in perspective. It's propaganda but...
an example of Operation Homefront?
--this news report about a Reservist back from Iraq is apparently part of a new Pentagon propaganda operation
aimed at us. ...Did Diaz return to the U.S. on emergency leave with an agenda -- to offer a positive spin that could help counter growing concerns among Americans about the U.S. exit strategy? How do we know that's not his strategy, especially after he discloses that superior officers encouraged him to talk about his experiences in Iraq? ...
U.S. Military Covertly Pays to Run Stories in Iraqi Press
--As part of an information offensive in Iraq, the U.S. military is secretly paying Iraqi newspapers to publish stories ...
The articles, written by U.S. military "information operations" troops, are translated into Arabic and placed in Baghdad newspapers with the help of a defense contractor ...
Many of the articles are presented in the Iraqi press as unbiased news accounts written and reported by independent journalists. ...
The Lincoln Group
is involved, and the military's "Information Operations Task Force"
. Meanwhile, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld on Tuesday cited the proliferation of news organizations in Iraq as one of the country's great successes since the ouster of President Saddam Hussein.
Leftist Propaganda video (embedded wmv) and quite well done!
Identical quotations and the truth, as disseminated by the US Military ...Following a car bombing in Baghdad on Sunday, the U.S. military issued a statement with a quotation attributed to an unidentified Iraqi that was virtually identical to a quote reacting to an attack on July 13. ...
What I Heard about Iraq
--from 1992 until today. head-spinning.
from Arab news networks such as Al-Jazeera
is hampering the US effort in Iraq, Rumsfeld told the troops during his Christmas Eve visit to Mosul: "Everything we do here is harder because of television stations like Al Jazeera and Al Arabiyah." In remarks that were not quoted in the American press, the defense secretary went on to tell the troops, "We don't go out and hire journalists and propagandize and lie and put people on payroll so that they'll say what you want. We just don't do that and they do and that's happening" (which is itself meta-misinformation
.) Meanwhile, the Pentagon's multimillion-dollar solution -- the CIA-funded Iraqi news network, Al-Iraqiya (featuring "Iraqi programs that make you laugh, cry, and learn"
) -- has become "an irrelevant mouthpiece for [coalition] propaganda"
according to one of its own former correspondents, veteran news reporter Don North.
Rumors of rape fan anti-American flames "They are raping our women!"
- This is the eternal tribalistic cry
, often all too true
but also often used as a baseless or exaggerated claim for war propaganda, to incite to hatred of a "barbaric" enemy who commits unspeakable acts ( see The "Rape of Kuwait"
). The history of Rape in Warfare
and may be instinctually driven
, at least in part.
Now, mass rumors
spreading through Turkey - which seem to have inspired a recent indigenous Turkish terrorist car bombing - allege mass rapes of Iraqi women by American troops. "There are more than 4000 rape events on the record"
claimed the Turkish journal Yeni Safak
, on October 22, "citing" (though the purported supporting citation contains nothing about such atrocities) internet sex therapist Dr. Susan Block's piece on the metaphorical "Rape of Iraq"
[ Warning : preceding link is NSFW
! Here's the work-safe CounterPunch
version]. Having more or less invented modern PR and propaganda techniques
(see Ed. Bernays
, Ivy Lee
) - handy during both war
- Americans are now on the receiving end of Propaganda's use of the shameless lie
. (identification of "mystery meat" links inside)
U.S. Army Used Media Cover in Iraq for Own Ends
which sounds like a big old bowl of yellow journalism but isn't really, at least I don't think so. It was more to refute the Iraqi Minister of Lies talking about the whooping the Iraqi war machine was delivering to the coalition forces.
The main issue that the reporters had was that they were only getting the one side of the story and not the Iraqi perspective.
But it raises some questions about the supposed objectivity of the media. Is this a proper use of them? To help achieve military goals? Or to try to avoid more unnecessary deaths?
The CBS News American Idol Power Hour.
Viacom, owner of networks CBS and MTV among many others, is aggresively pushing lucrative
offers for Private Jessica Lynch to get her on CBS News, including the possibility of her own video-hosting program on MTV and special editions of TRL. Corporate consolidation the way it is, are we in an era where synergy allows news-media-owning companies to offer not just material profit but flat-out media iconization in exchange for a good story? To put it another way: have we gone beyond using the news to promote entertainment owned by the same company to using entertainment as the currency to flat-out buy the news?
Dealing With Saddam
What's in the cards for the missing members of the Iraqi high command?
According to Reuters AlertNet
"The United States will soon deliver Iraq's deposed president Saddam Hussein and his inner circle into the hands of its own troops -- as a deck of playing cards...Brigadier General Vincent Brooks held up one of the first examples of the card packs at a Central Command briefing on Friday, explaining that each card depicted a character the United States wanted pursued, killed or captured."
Checking the deck
quite predictably we find that Saddam is portrayed as the Ace of Spades, and his strong-arm younger son Qusay
is tricked out as Ace of Clubs. Ironically, elder-psychopathic progeny Uday, who is said to favor the use of rape
as a weapon of torture
, is imaged as the Ace of Hearts.
An Adobe Acrobat PDF image of the full deck is available at Defense Link.
Is this the the new US military card game, Poke-Iman? "Hey, soldiers...gotta catch 'em all!"
Though you won’t hear about them
, there are dozens of Pentagon P.R. officers embedded with reporters in Iraq.
“This is tragic,” one senior planner said bitterly. “American lives are being lost.” The former intelligence official told me, “They all said, ‘We can do it with air power.’ They believed their own propaganda.”
The Information War:
"Every few minutes, another burst of satellite imagery and Internet information impacts among an interactive global audience. Ambushed by info, U.S. military commanders confident in their overwhelming firepower are increasingly expressing concern that the 'velocity of information' is spinning out of their control." [more inside]
Media covers massive D.C. (and world) Anti-War protests, discounts numbers - Backflash: NPR and the NYT later issued apologies for their drastic undercounting of the Oct. 26 D.C. Anti-War protest - later admitted to be between 100,000 and 200,000 in size "...It was not as large as the organizers of the protest had predicted. They had said there would be 100,000 people here. I'd say there are fewer than 10,000"(NPR's Nancy Marshall) Last saturday's D.C. AntiWar protest received far more media coverage but a similar discounting of the numbers. IndyMedia (above link) provided numbers more in line with D.C. Police statements. Many media outlets ran the same AP news feed. [NYT, NPR , CNN, ABC, AP] and claimed..."Thousands" or "tens of thousands" of protesters. But in the words of those who witnessed it (as I did - 2.5 times size of Oct. 26 protest, from what I saw): 'D.C. police chief Charles Ramsey said, "It's one of the biggest ones we've had, certainly in recent times." U.S. Capitol Police chief Terrance Gainer said, "I know everyone is skittish about saying a number, but this was big. An impressive number." A C-SPAN cameraman I spoke to spent the entire protest on the roof of a cargo truck just to the side of the stage. He told me that he had covered dozens of protests in his time, and that the crowd on Saturday was the biggest he had ever seen.' (story) and organizers claimed 500,000 marched in DC meanwhile, a new poll shows support for a war on Iraq is slipping in the US and also dropping at the UN
Iraq's Aziz Says U.S. Attack Would Fail
This is a news story? What is the Deputy Prime Minister Tareq Aziz supposed to say? "W. has been right all along, Saddam is a tyrant. We need to get him out. Even Saddam agrees he has gone to far." or "Now that you mention it, our military is a mess, the stuff we have bought is junk and your tanks will rip it to shreds."
White House acts to shed arrogant image. The White House will set up a new office to try to salvage America's plummeting image abroad, it was announced yesterday as an independent taskforce reported that even the country's allies saw the US as "arrogant", "hypocritical" and "self-absorbed".
This autumn, an office of global communications will take over the job of selling "Brand America" from the state department, which the White House believes has failed to do the job effectively.
Propaganda to garner support for an invasion in Iraq, genuine desire to promote the image of the country, or a meaningless facade that's a waste of money? You make the call.