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Posts Tagged ‘Security

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

It’s FEAR Season!

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Many, many thanks to ABC News for the opening fesivities to the long-awaited Campaign of FEAR!
I was beginning to think that it would never arrive…

In a recent interview, FBI director Robert Mueller told ABC News of his concerns for homeland security.

“When you have a series of events like this which are very public, where you have a number of people that are congregated together, we take additional precautions,” he said.

“That means identifying, focusing on the intelligence that’s available and scrutinizing it to pieces and running it to ground, to putting in place the precautions to assure the particular events go according to plan and free from terrorist attacks,” he said.

At the moment, the nation’s public threat level will remain at yellow, or “elevated,” but not orange, or “high.”

The reasons: There are no specifics indicating an attack on the U.S. is imminent, and U.S. officials do not want to be accused of trying to inject themselves into the presidential campaign.

“That’s a balancing act,” said Jerry Hauer, former Homeland Security official and ABC News consultant. “They really have to focus on these events and this critical time we’re going through as a nation, but they have to be very careful about the public message to not make it look political or like they’re fearmongering.”

Government officials point to the Sept. 11 attacks, which happened just nine months into a new administration, and the Madrid train bombings, which were carried out just three days before Spain’s 2004 general election.

They say history suggests a need to take potential threats seriously — especially in the very near future.

Bravo, Maestro! Encore, Encore!
Crank it’up, fokker!

Written by mudshark

July 28, 2008 at 9:48 pm

Federal Employees Cash In

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Well, how about that. The GAO says that Federal Employees have been ripping everyone else off blind. There’s a shocker, even more so that it made it to CBS, but then again, that’s the least of the problem.

(CBS/AP) Federal employees charged millions of dollars for Internet dating, tailor-made suits, lingerie, lavish dinners and other questionable expenses to their government credit cards over a 15-month period, congressional auditors say.

A report by the Government Accountability Office examined spending controls across the federal government following reports of credit-card abuse at departments including Defense, Homeland Security and Veterans Affairs.

Is it any surprise that Government is the #1 employer in the country?

Written by mudshark

April 10, 2008 at 2:52 am