Posts Tagged ‘Iran’
conveniently positioned to be slurped down the weekend memory hole…
WASHINGTON (AFP) — An internal investigation has cleared the Pentagon of violating a ban on domestic propaganda by using retired military officers to comment positively about the war in Iraq in the US media.
In a report posted on its website Friday, the Pentagon’s inspector general said “we found the evidence insufficient to conclude that RMA (retired military analysts) outreach activities were improper.”
The report said the controversy, which erupted in April following an expose in the New York Times, warranted no further investigation.
The Times found that the Pentagon laid on special briefings and conference calls for the retired officers, many of whom then repeated the talking points as military experts on television news shows.
It also found that many of the media analysts also worked as consultants or served on the boards of defense contracting companies, but that those ties often went undisclosed to the public.
US law bars government agencies from using funds for domestic propaganda, but the inspector general’s report said the definition of propaganda is unclear.
The report said historically it has been interpreted to mean publicity for the sake of self aggrandizement, partisanship, or covert communications, and that by those standards the evidence did not show a violation of the ban.
“Further, we found insufficient basis to conclude that (the office of the assistant secretary of defense for public affairs) conceived of or undertook a disciplined effort to assemble a contingent of influential RMAs who could be depended on to comment favorably on DoD (Department of Defense) programs,” it said.
It said the Pentagon invited retired military analysts to 121 meetings, 16 Pentagon briefings, 105 conference calls and nine trips — four to Iraq and five to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
“We determined that those activities were conducted in accordance with DoD policies and regulations,” it said.
It said some 70 retired military officers were involved with the program at one time of another.
One, retired general Barry McCaffrey, was not invited back after he criticized the war effort, the report said. Another was blocked from attending, possibly because of a dispute with an unnamed senior military officer, it said.
It said it found no instances where retired officers with ties to military contractors “used information obtained as a result of the … outreach program to achieve a competitive advantage for their company.”
“Of the 70 RMAs that we examined, we found that 20 (29 percent) had some type of corporate association,” it said.
…and you’ll just love it to death
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Ivo H. Daalder
Dr. Porter is an investigative historian and journalist on U.S. national security policy. He is also the author of four books, the latest of which is Perils of Dominance: Imbalance of Power and the Road to War in Vietnam (University of California Press, 2005). He also writes for Inter Press Service on U.S. policy toward Iraq and Iran since 2005.
The show is streamed live from the Antiwar Radio page at Antiwar.com,
The argument that the two parties should represent opposed ideals and policies, one, perhaps of the Right and the other of the Left, is a foolish idea acceptable only to the doctrinaire and academic thinkers. Instead the two parties should be almost identical, so that the American people can ‘throw the rascals out’ at any election without leading to any profound or extensive shifts in policy.
Carroll Quigley – Author of Tragedy & Hope
The coverage of the presidential election is designed to be a grand distraction. This is not new, but this year, it’s more so than ever.
Pretending that a true difference exists between the two major candidates is a charade of great proportion. Many who help to perpetuate this myth are frequently unaware of what they are doing and believe that significant differences actually do exist. Indeed, on small points there is the appearance of a difference. The real issues, however, are buried in a barrage of miscellaneous nonsense and endless pontifications by robotic pundits hired to perpetuate the myth of a campaign of substance.
The truth is that our two-party system offers no real choice. The real goal of the campaign is to distract people from considering the real issues.
Influential forces, the media, the government, the privileged corporations and moneyed interests see to it that both party’s candidates are acceptable, regardless of the outcome, since they will still be in charge. It’s been that way for a long time. George Wallace was not the first to recognize that there’s “not a dime’s worth of difference” between the two parties. There is, though, a difference between the two major candidates and the candidates on third-party tickets and those running as independents.
The two parties and their candidates have no real disagreements on foreign policy, monetary policy, privacy issues, or the welfare state. They both are willing to abuse the Rule of Law and ignore constitutional restraint on Executive Powers. Neither major party champions free markets and private-property ownership.
Those candidates who represent actual change or disagreement with the status quo are held in check by the two major parties in power, making it very difficult to compete in the pretend democratic process. This is done by making it difficult for third-party candidates to get on the ballots, enter into the debates, raise money, avoid being marginalized, or get fair or actual coverage. A rare celebrity or a wealthy individual can, to a degree, overcome these difficulties.
The system we have today allows a President to be elected by as little as 32% of the American people, with half of those merely voting for the “lesser of two evils”. Therefore, as little as 16% actually vote for a president. No wonder when things go wrong, anger explodes. A recent poll shows that 60% of the American people are not happy with the two major candidates this year.
This system is driven by the conviction that only a major party candidate can win. Voters become convinced that any other vote is a “wasted” vote. It’s time for that conclusion to be challenged and to recognize that the only way not to waste one’s vote is to reject the two establishment candidates and join the majority, once called silent, and allow the voices of the people to be heard.
We cannot expect withdrawal of troops from Iraq or the Middle East with either of the two major candidates. Expect continued involvement in Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Georgia. Neither hints of a non-interventionist foreign policy. Do not expect to hear the rejection of the policy of supporting the American world empire. There will be no emphasis in protecting privacy and civil liberties and the constant surveillance of the American people. Do not expect any serious attempt to curtail the rapidly expanding national debt. And certainly, there will be no hint of addressing the Federal Reserve System and its cozy relationship with big banks and international corporations and the politicians.
There is only one way that these issues can get the attention they deserve: the silent majority must become the vocal majority.
This message can be sent to our leaders by not participating in the Great Distraction—the quadrennial campaign and election of an American President without a choice. Just think of how much of an edge a Vice President has in this process, and he or she is picked by a single person—the party’s nominee. This was never intended by the Constitution.
Since a principled non-voter sends a message, we must count them and recognize the message they are sending as well. The non-voters need to hold their own “election” by starting a “League of Non-voters” and explain their principled reasons for opting out of this charade of the presidential elective process. They just might get a bigger membership than anyone would guess.
Write-in votes should not be discouraged, but the electoral officials must be held accountable and make sure the votes are counted. But one must not be naïve and believe that under today’s circumstances one has a chance of accomplishing much by a write-in campaign.
The strongest message can be sent by rejecting the two-party system, which in reality is a one-party system with no possible chance for the changes to occur which are necessary to solve our economic and foreign policy problems. This can be accomplished by voting for one of the non-establishment principled candidates—Baldwin, Barr, McKinney, Nader, and possibly others. (listed alphabetically)
Yes, these individuals do have strong philosophic disagreements on various issues, but they all stand for challenging the status quo—those special interest who control our federal government. And because of this, on the big issues of war, civil liberties, deficits, and the Federal Reserve they have much in common. People will waste their vote in voting for the lesser of two evils. That can’t be stopped overnight, but for us to have an impact we must maximize the total votes of those rejecting the two major candidates.
For me, though, my advice—for what it’s worth—is to vote! Reject the two candidates who demand perpetuation of the status quo and pick one of the alternatives that you have the greatest affinity to, based on the other issues.
A huge vote for those running on principle will be a lot more valuable by sending a message that we’ve had enough and want real change than wasting one’s vote on a supposed lesser of two evils.
In Scott Ritter’s latest piece at Truthdig, he covers the ongoing covert operations inside Iran and the long partnership of the CIA and MEK and the potential coming coup, again.
The current situation concerning the MEK would be laughable if it were not for the violent reality of that organization’s activities. Upon its arrival in Iraq in 1986, the group was placed under the control of Saddam Hussein’s Mukhabarat, or intelligence service. The MEK was a heavily militarized organization and in 1988 participated in division-size military operations against Iran. The organization represents no state and can be found on the U.S. State Department’s list of terrorist organizations, yet since the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, the MEK has been under the protection of the U.S. military. Its fighters are even given “protected status” under the Geneva Conventions. The MEK says its members in Iraq are refugees, not terrorists. And yet one would be hard-pressed to find why the 1951 Geneva Convention on Refugees should confer refugee status on an active paramilitary organization that uses “refugee camps” inside Iraq as its bases.
The MEK is behind much of the intelligence being used by the International Atomic Energy Agency in building its case that Iran may be pursuing (or did in fact pursue in the past) a nuclear weapons program. The complexity of the MEK-CIA relationship was recently underscored by the agency’s acquisition of a laptop computer allegedly containing numerous secret documents pertaining to an Iranian nuclear weapons program. Much has been made about this computer and its contents. The United States has led the charge against Iran within international diplomatic circles, citing the laptop information as the primary source proving Iran’s ongoing involvement in clandestine nuclear weapons activity. Of course, the information on the computer, being derived from questionable sources (i.e., the MEK and the CIA, both sworn enemies of Iran) is controversial and its veracity is questioned by many, including me.
read Scott’s complete article at Truthdig
from IPS: 6/12/08
Two key pledges made by the George W. Bush administration on military bases in its negotiations with the government of Iraq have now been revealed as carefully-worded ruses aimed at concealing U.S. negotiating aims from both U.S. citizens and Iraqis who would object to them if they were made clear.
Recent statements by Iraqis familiar with U.S. demands in negotiations on the U.S.-Iraq “strategic framework” agreement have highlighted the fact that administration promises that it would not seek “permanent bases” or the use of bases to attack Iran or any other neighbouring countries were deliberately misleading. The wording used by the Bush administration appears to have been chosen to obscure its intention to have both long-term access to Iraqi bases and complete freedom to use them to launch operations against Iran and Syria.
Thanks to Bill Giltner and the Libertarian Longhorns for inviting Scott to speak to their organization.