Monday, April 21, 2008

FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF THE GLARINGLY OBVIOUS

"The corporate grip on opinion in the United States is one of the wonders of the Western world. No First World country has ever managed to eliminate so entirely from its media all objectivity — much less dissent. . . Of course, it is possible for any citizen with time to spare, and a canny eye, to work out what is actually going on, but for the many there is not time, and the network news is the only news even though it may not be news at all but only a series of flashing fictions..."
~ Gore Vidal.





In case there was still any doubt in your mind about who the ringmasters really are:


Hidden behind that appearance of objectivity, though, is a Pentagon information apparatus that has used those analysts in a campaign to generate favorable news coverage of the administration’s wartime performance, an examination by The New York Times has found.

The effort, which began with the buildup to the Iraq war and continues to this day, has sought to exploit ideological and military allegiances, and also a powerful financial dynamic: Most of the analysts have ties to military contractors vested in the very war policies they are asked to assess on air.

Those business relationships are hardly ever disclosed to the viewers, and sometimes not even to the networks themselves. But collectively, the men on the plane and several dozen other military analysts represent more than 150 military contractors either as lobbyists, senior executives, board members or consultants. The companies include defense heavyweights, but also scores of smaller companies, all part of a vast assemblage of contractors scrambling for hundreds of billions in military business generated by the administration’s war on terror. It is a furious competition, one in which inside information and easy access to senior officials are highly prized.

Records and interviews show how the Bush administration has used its control over access and information in an effort to transform the analysts into a kind of media Trojan horse — an instrument intended to shape terrorism coverage from inside the major TV and radio networks.

[ . . . ]

Though many analysts are paid network consultants, making $500 to $1,000 per appearance, in Pentagon meetings they sometimes spoke as if they were operating behind enemy lines, interviews and transcripts show. Some offered the Pentagon tips on how to outmaneuver the networks, or as one analyst put it to Donald H. Rumsfeld, then the defense secretary, “the Chris Matthewses and the Wolf Blitzers of the world.” Some warned of planned stories or sent the Pentagon copies of their correspondence with network news executives. Many — although certainly not all — faithfully echoed talking points intended to counter critics.

[ . . . ]

Over time, the Pentagon recruited more than 75 retired officers, although some participated only briefly or sporadically. The largest contingent was affiliated with Fox News, followed by NBC and CNN, the other networks with 24-hour cable outlets. But analysts from CBS and ABC were included, too. Some recruits, though not on any network payroll, were influential in other ways — either because they were sought out by radio hosts, or because they often published op-ed articles or were quoted in magazines, Web sites and newspapers. At least nine of them have written op-ed articles for The Times.

The group was heavily represented by men involved in the business of helping companies win military contracts. Several held senior positions with contractors that gave them direct responsibility for winning new Pentagon business. James Marks, a retired Army general and analyst for CNN from 2004 to 2007, pursued military and intelligence contracts as a senior executive with McNeil Technologies. Still others held board positions with military firms that gave them responsibility for government business. General McInerney, the Fox analyst, for example, sits on the boards of several military contractors, including Nortel Government Solutions, a supplier of communication networks.

Several were defense industry lobbyists, such as Dr. McCausland, who works at Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney, a major lobbying firm where he is director of a national security team that represents several military contractors. “We offer clients access to key decision makers,” Dr. McCausland’s team promised on the firm’s Web site.

Dr. McCausland was not the only analyst making this pledge. Another was Joseph W. Ralston, a retired Air Force general. Soon after signing on with CBS, General Ralston was named vice chairman of the Cohen Group, a consulting firm headed by a former defense secretary, William Cohen, himself now a “world affairs” analyst for CNN. “The Cohen Group knows that getting to ‘yes’ in the aerospace and defense market — whether in the United States or abroad — requires that companies have a thorough, up-to-date understanding of the thinking of government decision makers,” the company tells prospective clients on its Web site.


Read it. This is also why both the Washington Post and the LA Times sat on the conflict of interest inherent in the appointment of Lockheed Martin's Joseph Ralston as "PKK coordinator". Then there was this, from Playboy:


[Robert J.] Stevens has boasted that Lockheed Martin not only creates the technology, it makes military policy as well. He told The New York Times in November of 2004 that Lockheed stands at "the intersection of policy and technology," which, he observed, "is really a very interesting place to be. We are deployed, entirely in developing daunting technology" that "requires thinking through the policy dimensions of national security as well as technology." He acknowledges "this is not a business where in the purest economical sense there's a broad market of supply and demand."


If there's not a "broad market of supply and demand," for your product, then what's a good capitalist to do? Create a market:


The Pentagon is paying Lockheed Martin to try to predict insurgencies and civil unrest like the weather. It's part of a larger military effort to blend forecasting software with social science that has some counterinsurgency experts cringing.

Lockheed recently won a $1.3 million, 15-month contract from the Defense Department to help develop the "Integrated Crises Early Warning System, or ICEWS. The program will "let military commanders anticipate and respond to worldwide political crises and predict events of interest and stability of countries of interest with greater than 80 percent accuracy," the company claims. "Rebellions, insurgencies, ethnic/religious violence, civil war, and major economic crises" will all be predictable. So will "combinations of strategies, tactics, and resources to mitigate [against those] instabilities."


Watch for a lot more false flag operations in the future.

In case you missed it, last month at Wired, there was a short report on a Pentagon study to "recruit or hire bloggers":


A study, written for U.S. Special Operations Command, suggested "clandestinely recruiting or hiring prominent bloggers."

Since the start of the Iraq war, there's been a raucous debate in military circles over how to handle blogs -- and the servicemembers who want to keep them. One faction sees blogs as security risks, and a collective waste of troops' time. The other (which includes top officers, like Gen. David Petraeus and Lt. Gen. William Caldwell) considers blogs to be a valuable source of information, and a way for ordinary troops to shape opinions, both at home and abroad.

This 2006 report for the Joint Special Operations University, "Blogs and Military Information Strategy," offers a third approach -- co-opting bloggers, or even putting them on the payroll. "Hiring a block of bloggers to verbally attack a specific person or promote a specific message may be worth considering," write the report's co-authors, James Kinniburgh and Dororthy Denning.

Lt. Commander Marc Boyd, a U.S. Special Operations Command spokesman, says the report was merely an academic exercise. "The comments are not 'actionable', merely thought provoking," he tells Danger Room. "The views expressed in the article publication are entirely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views, policy or position of the U.S. Government, Department of Defense, USSOCOM [Special Operations Command], or the Joint Special Operations University."


In light of the glaringly obvious, whole-hearted co-opting of the mainstream media with the Pentagon's Propaganda Plan, it's impossible to accept US Special Ops Command comments that the idea of recruiting bloggers as merely a "thought-provoking" academic exercise.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

I read a headline today in Zaman that said "CHP might be shut down over dubious money transfer"...

So what does this mean? AKP, DTP, and CHP are all under the threat of being shut down.. that leaves the MHP in power by default? What a democracy!

Hamo said...

I feel a dirty smell under this AKP's closure case. Turks are trying to hide something or manythings by making world to focus into this case!

AKP has strong radical islamist roots and DTP has strong Kurdish orientation. I don't see much difference between the rest of the Turkish parties.

madtom said...

This news was made for you.. I knew when I read it that you would run with it.

Who would guess that retired military would give you a military point of view.

Stop the presses

And the thing about milbloggers, we lived through it, first with Command shutting down all the good ones, then Central command trying to co-opt blogs, inviting them to join the team, offering access to information. They even sent me one of those invitations, and I'm civilian, then all of a sudden, new general and the pressure just went away.

So again to those of us involved, not news, only confirmation.

I never did get offered a job though. What is up with that!

madtom said...

And I almost forgot to say, that I was also sent messages from .mil addresses to stop linking to you..That was back when they were busy shutting down milblogs, so all I'm saying is that they did notice you too...Needless to say, I refused, But who knows, maybe they got to you and your just playing the bad cop and following orders from the Pentagon...How much did they offer you...

Mizgîn said...

I saw that on CHP, Anonymous. What a bunch of retards.

Remember last year when AKP and CHP came to blows in the TBMM? Video here.

I hope they end up killing each other . . . sons of bitches.

When it comes to Kurds, Hamo, there is no difference between AKP, MHP, CHP. About the only Turkish party that is willing to work with DTP on equal footing is Ufuk Uras' ODP.

The NYTimes article is not news to me, either, Madtom, which is why I say it's glaringly obvious.

Of course they noticed me. Turkish general staff notices me, too, as does the Turkish prime ministry, the State Department, and lots of strange IPs from Langley, VA, as well as Lockheed Martin and its PR firm.

Not to worry; I'm not a capitalist and I'm loyal only to the hevals.

madtom said...

Lets just thank god that I live here in the US and that the US won the Cold War. Had that not happened, then maybe those invitations to "join the team", or to stop linking here would not have been as polite as they were, or worse.

The casualties were well worth the effort, they did not die in vain.

You like quotes:

"The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants."
-- Thomas Jefferson

madtom said...

That's what they all sayThat's what they all say. :)

There are incentives other than money, sex, power, access, and visas, to name a few.. :)

Mizgîn said...

Others can believe what they want. The people who matter, know ;)