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Posts Tagged ‘media

Pentagon clears itself of propaganda violations

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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.

FDR's propaganda machine

FDR's propaganda machine


“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.

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Acts of War

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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

Written by mudshark

July 29, 2008 at 10:01 pm

FFF: One-Party System

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I can predict the winner of the presidential election even now: the government. In a one-party system, that’s how things work. One-party system? Yes. The American political scene makes much more sense if you think of the two parties as two divisions of the same party.

Admittedly that is hard to do at first. All American politics is presented as a tooth-and-claw rivalry between Republicans and Democrats. It is certainly true that elections determine who holds office among the parties’ candidates, and who holds office determines whose cronies get sinecures and contracts. That does give the appearance of real competition.

Moreover, the major news media are willing participants in the charade that Republicans and Democrats have substantially different ideas about things. Generally, we are asked to believe that Republicans want less government and more war, while the Democrats want more government and less war.

As you may have noticed, that makes no sense. War and government go hand in hand, and both parties want more government. Each side tends to dislike only the wars started by the other side.

Read Sheldon Richman’s complete article at the Future of Freedom Foundation.

Written by mudshark

May 2, 2008 at 6:25 pm

CNN calls up reinforcements for the next war

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Why let Fox News have all the fun and glory of screwing the minds of the myopic public right into the next triumphant snow-job of annihilation for more uninvolved civilians in another country that has done nothing, and has no potential to do anything to pose a real threat to the national security of the united states? That’s easy enough to fix, just go out and hire yourself a former white house press secretary that happens to be the most blatant war criminal apologist since the Truman administration and you’re good to go.

They smile in your face, all the time they wanna take your place, the back-stabbers

WASHINGTON (CNN) — Former White House press secretary Tony Snow will join CNN as a conservative commentator beginning Monday.

Snow most recently served as press secretary to President Bush. For 10 years, beginning in 1996, he appeared on Fox News Channel as the host of Fox News Sunday, Weekend Live with Tony Snow and other programs. Before joining Fox, Snow served as a substitute “From the Right” co-host for CNN’s Crossfire.

Increased Fragmentation Of TV News Audiences Along Party Lines

“Ideology and partisanship used to be completely unrelated to the television news people consumed,” said study author Barry Hollander, associate professor of journalism in the UGA Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. “But they’ve become significant factors in the last five years.”

Hollander analyzed five national telephone surveys conducted from 1998 to 2006 by the Pew Center for the People and the Press, and his results are scheduled to appear in the spring edition of the journal Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly.

I guess that’s one way of getting the warmonger viewers back in your camp, eh?

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Written by mudshark

April 22, 2008 at 12:40 am