Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Radio Free Pentagon

Donald Rumsfeld’s short lived Office of Strategic Influence spawned a termites’ nest of truth ministries; the Office of Special Plans, the Information Operations Task Force and the Iran Directorate are just a few of the ones we know about.

The Pentagon’s latest information warfare effort involves a network of foreign language web sites that promote U.S. interests. I doubt whether anyone at the Pentagon seriously thinks foreign language web sites are going to win over any foreign hearts and minds, but foreign language web sites could be neat placea to plant covert propaganda that can migrate into the domestic press without anyone knowing it originated at the Pentagon, huh?

According to USA Today, “Journalism groups say the sites are deceptive and easily could be mistaken for independent news.”

Great. Caesar’s. Ghost. The time for journalism groups to get concerned about Pentagon propaganda being mistaken for independent news was several years ago.

How Many Fingers Am I Holding Up?

I’m frankly surprised that any journalism group in America would still refer to such a thing as “independent news.” Like George Orwell’s hapless 1984 protagonist Winston Smith, we are awash in a sea of political messages, and these days most of those messages seem to emanate from the Pentagon. America in the time of Bush the younger has become, above all else, a militaristic oligarchy, and the Department of Defense is the ruling government agency. Who better than the DoD then to take charge of the Big Brother Broadcast?

The Pentagon has plenty of allies in its information campaign against the American public. By now there’s barely a commercial news organization in the country that isn’t a habitual accomplice.

At one end of the bandwidth we have conservative talk radio, FOX News and periodicals like Bill Kristol’s Weekly Standard. These outlets target the segment of the American right that given the question “Nose is to face as blank is to foot” will skip over “toe,” “arch,” and “heel” and answer “shoe.” Sean and Rush and Bill K. and Bill O. aren’t the Pentagon’s only exho chamberlains, though, and the analogically challenged aren’t the only ones buying the message.

For evidence that the so called “liberal” mainstream press that helped Dick Cheney’s White House Information Group sell the invasion of Iraq is still a vital venue of covert propaganda, one need look no further than the fact that Michael R. Gordon, Judith Miller’s Nigergate partner in crime, still writes for the New York Times. It doesn’t help that supposedly seasoned military correspondents get goose bumps every time they write about watching General David Petraeus challenge buck privates to one-arm push up contests, or that news editors have granted administration “officials” unrestricted license to spike the public information system with brainwash behind a mask of anonymity. And I keep wondering how much longer big media will continue to report on the air strikes Mr. Bush has been conducting in Somalia and Pakistan before they start asking when and how Congress gave him permission to do that.

The alternative press has brought important revelations to public attention like Dick Cheney’s attempts at fomenting war with Iran and Admiral William Fallon’s attempts to put Cheney and his neocon “crazies” back in their box. On May 7, the administration once again failed to deliver on its promise to show proof that Iran is arming Iraqi militants when none of the huge cache of “Iranian” weapons captured in Basra and Karbala turned out to have come from Iran. That story should have been shouted from rooftops for days, but the only item I could find about it on the web was a piece in the LA Times blog section posted by Tina Susman in Baghdad. The New York Times and Washington Post didn’t run a single word on the story.

Can anyone make a compelling argument that the mainstream press isn’t totally immersed in the Bush tank?

Unfortunately, the alternative press also at times takes the sins of the establishment to new sub-standards. I am predisposed to believe a story that begins, “Dick Cheney practices ritual Satan Worship” until I get to the part that reads “according to those familiar with his evil.” Thus, I was highly critical of a recent CounterPunch article by Andrew Cockburn that described a finding by Mr. Bush that would escalate covert actions against Iran that “according to those familiar according to those familiar with its contents, [is] ‘unprecedented in its scope.’" I can’t help but wonder if all of “those familiar” with the finding used the exact words "unprecedented in its scope" when they told Cockburn about it.

The American Conservative, perhaps best described as the voice of the alternative right, ran a related piece on May 9 titled “War With Iran Might Be Closer Than You Think” by former CIA agent Philip Giraldi. Giraldi says “There is considerable speculation and buzz in Washington today suggesting that the National Security Council has agreed in principle to proceed with plans to attack an Iranian al-Qods-run camp that is believed to be training Iraqi militants.”

We’d be living in a much different world if all the speculation and buzz in Washington came true. For one thing, Karl Rove would be doing time for perjury and obstruction of justice instead of knocking down major mammon as a political analyst on FOX.

Pardon my skepticism, but I can’t help but wonder if the sources for these kinds of stories are the D.C. Generation Y types who color the PowerPoint slides and run the 4-in-1 printer. I also wonder if those kiddies aren’t being fed a load of tripe to regurgitate to their pals in the alternative press so they’ll put it on the info highway and make themselves sound like they hang out in belfries after work.

Don’t get me wrong. Like my friend Larisa Alexandrovna of Raw Story and at Largely, I’m “convinced that the Cheney-side of the Bush-Cheney administration will take a scorch and burn policy on their way out.” In fact, I fully expect Cheney to try to torch the entire planet earth before he moves on to the number two spot in hell. I’m just not wholly certain that the exit strategy includes a full bull military strike on Iran.

Making everyone think the administration will pull the dreaded October Surprise might just be a ruse to keep everyone from focusing on the administration’s real goal. I’m quite sure that goal is to transform the Middle East into a neo-incarnation of Cold War Europe in which the neoconservative cabal can keep America entangled in a low intensity but expensive armed conflict of convenience that can endure for a a hundred, a thousand or a million years (whatever it takes!).

It may require a strike on Iran to achieve that; it may not. Truly diabolical strategies can succeed in many ways.

Commander Jeff Huber, U.S. Navy (Retired) writes at Pen and Sword .

"So we can play war…"

"Populated by outrageous characters and fueled with pompous outrage, Huber’s irreverent broadside will pummel the funny bone of anyone who’s served." — Publishers Weekly

"A remarkably accomplished book, striking just the right balance between ridicule and insight." — Booklist

View the trailer here.


  1. Anonymous3:06 PM

    Cheney for the #2 spot in hell? I don't think so! I bought a bumper sticker in NYC that says Cheney-Satan 2008! :-)

  2. Anonymous3:16 PM

    Orwell said as much when he explained the meaning of Big Brother's slogan, "War Is Peace:"

    "War, however, is no longer the desperate, annihilating struggle that it was in the early decades of the twentieth century. It is a warfare of limited aims between combatants who are unable to destroy one another, have no material cause for fighting, and are not divided by any genuine ideological difference. . . But in a physical sense war involves very small numbers of people, mostly highly trained specialists, and causes comparatively few casualties. The fighting, when there is any, takes place on the vague frontiers whose whereabouts the average man can only guess at, or round the Floating Fortresses which guard strategic spots on the sea lanes. In the centers of civilization war means no more than a continuous shortage of consumption goods, and the occasional crash of a rocket bomb which may cause a few scores of deaths. War has in fact changed its character. More exactly, the reasons for which war is waged have changed in their order of importance."

    By changing war in this way, Orwell explains, permanent warfare has become for the general population indistinguishable from permanent peace. Why do all roads lead to Teheran in the minds of our own Ministry of Truth? Because it's THERE, Dude--DUH! In Orwell's world Oceania might constantly switch sides between Eurasia and Eastasia, but it was always at war with one or the other--simply because it existed.

  3. LOL, WK. I hear Cheney's people are calling for Satan to drop out of the race.


    Thanks for the long quote. Funny thing, when I read 1984 in school, I just thought it was a scary story.


  4. Anonymous4:43 PM

    from the watchman- war is peace... ignorance is strength... freedom is slavery

  5. Anonymous7:56 PM

    from the watchman- Oops! sorry... next time i'll read the blog first and then comment...

  6. "next time i'll read the blog first and then comment..."

    ROFL, Watchman. Always appreciated around here but not required.


  7. Anonymous10:38 AM

    OT, but the government injects deportees with psychotropic drugs:


    And how about that, one drug was used by the Soviets against political prisoners.

    I'd go play golf to take my mind off this stuff, but our President leads by example: sacrifice your golf game for the greater good!

  8. "I hear Cheney's people are calling for Satan to drop out of the race."
    I guess that reduces McInsane to a mere minion.

  9. WK,

    Too bad nobody shouted "fore" when the GOP nominated him in 2000.


    Funny you should mention that. I think he was already a minion, much as Bush has always been.


  10. Anonymous12:24 AM

    Speaking of crazies:


    And perhaps not so off base, given her mentor Cole's remarks on Hitler and the power of covenant.

  11. G.

    Holy cow is that ever funny. Thanks for the link.


  12. Commander,

    I kinda disagree with your use of the word "truth" in connection with Rumsfeld's "ministries" to describe any of this crap. The only disagreement I have with what you say.

    Like most of the folks who comment here, I learned a long time ago, to get real news, you read foreign newspapers.

    Pepe Escobar, and your colleague Gareth Porter both write in the current edition of Asian Times, and put the screws to the administrations latest "case for war against Iran."

    No Iranian weapons cache. Kinda like no WMD's.


    When I read an American newspaper website that covers something as horrendous as the cyclone in Burma, or the earthquake in China, and there is a plea: "If you are living in these areas, send us your pictures, and your accounts of what is taking place."

    My thoughts are these, : What a lazy, irresponsible, non-involved way to deliver the news. No journalism here. None. So much easier to reprint press releases, Pentagon propaganda, someone else's pictures, you name it.

    It obviously is too much trouble, time, and expense to send a reporter to see what's going on.

    No wonder newspapers are dying.

    Thanks again for all you do.

  13. Anonymous11:51 AM

    Ha, the Dick Cheney foto album is great!

    Reminds me of this:


  14. Dickipedia... GET OUT! ROFL...

  15. Commander,

    The Dick Cheney stuff is great. I read on a website down here in Texas, "The Joker" is coming down to campaign for the Republican nominee for Tom DeLay's old seat in Congress.

    Susan (sometimes aka Juanita herownself) has a website called:

    (Told you -- it's Texas.)

    She kinda makes up a little for us losing Molly Ivins.

    The nominee, Pete Stark, is ex-USN. All his campaign stuff pictures him in uniform.

    If you don't have a sense of humor, between the fundamentalists, and the neocons, you can't survive down here.

  16. Sorry - wrong Pete. Pete Olson is our very own Repub candidate from Ft. Bend County, Texas.

    Pete Stark, is the guy who has already endorsed the other party candidate.

    My bad.

  17. EL,

    Cool website Juanita has. Don't apologize for being from Texas. My best friend is from Texas. Heck, he's Mexican to boot!


  18. Anonymous4:21 PM

    Good Job! :)