April 23, 2008

Americans: Target of Military Psychological Warfare

[This blog entry is still under development]

It's more than a scandal. It's military psychological operations (psyops) illegally directed at American citizens. The Pentagon's use of biased retired military officers on television is a deliberate effort to undermine civilian rule, which constitutes a threat to our democracy. (MORE).

Below are brief profiles and photos of the participants in this military propaganda campaign. They include the so-called the "military analysts," bush administration officials, and media executives.

Thanks to the liberal newspaper, the New York Times, we now know many details about what we already knew was happening. Former military officers were hand-picked by the White House to attend invitation-only briefings. Afterwards they knowingly spread Bush administration talking points via the corporate media, and continue to do so:
From the start, interviews show, the White House took a keen interest in which analysts had been identified by the Pentagon, requesting lists of potential recruits, and suggesting names. [Pentagon assistant secretary of defense for public affairs] Victoria Clarke's team wrote summaries describing their backgrounds, business affiliations and where they stood on the war.

The hand-picked TV "military analysts" were invited to take Pentagon-funded trips, following which they echoed Pentagon talking points on TV as paid "experts." The success of this domestic propaganda operation is exemplified in the following correspondence:

“We’re hitting a home run on this trip,” a senior Pentagon official wrote in an e-mail message to Richard B. Myers and Peter Pace, then chairman and vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
“Rumsfeld ultimately cleared off on all invitees,” said senior Clarke aide Brent Krueger, who left the Pentagon in 2004.

As exemplified in the personal narratives below, the vast majority of the hand-picked Pentagon pundits often had conflicting business interests profiting from the war.

Beyond the miss-conduct of many of these these analysts as individuals, Pentagon officials might have violated fundamental laws. US laws prohibit the use of US military propaganda on Americans. The rationale for these laws rests on the basic democratic principle of ensuring civilian primacy over the military.

Kenneth Allard, a former NBC military analyst who has taught information warfare at the National Defense University, said the campaign amounted to a sophisticated information operation. “This was a coherent, active policy,” he said.

Robert S. Bevelacqua, a retired Green Beret, is one of the Fox News participants who is speaking out against the Pentagon's domestic propaganda operation. “It was them saying, ‘We need to stick our hands up your back and move your mouth for you.’ ” More: Bevelacqua comments on WMD.

James T. Conway, then director of operations for the Joint Chiefs, presided over a conference call with analysts following the death of 14 Marines on August 3, 2005. He urged them, a transcript shows, not to let the marines’ deaths further erode support for the war.

“The strategic target remains our population,” General Conway said. “We can lose people day in and day out, but they’re never going to beat our military. What they can and will do if they can is strip away our support. And you guys can help us not let that happen.”

William V. Cowan, a Fox analyst and retired Marine colonel, was the chief executive of a new military firm, the wvc3 Group (More). At the time, the company was seeking contracts worth tens of millions to supply body a
armor and counterintelligence services in Iraq. (See Carlton Sherwood)

Wayne A. Downing (deceased), one of NBC’s most prominent analysts, was on the advisory board of the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, an advocacy group created with White House encouragement in 2002 to help make the case for ousting Saddam Hussein. He also had his own consulting firms and sat on the boards of major military contractors.

Timur J. Eads, a retired Army lieutenant colonel and Fox analyst who is vice president of government relations for Blackbird Technologies, a fast-growing military contractor. Mr. Eads said he had at times held his tongue on television for fear that “some four-star could call up and say, ‘Kill that contract.’ ” For example, he believed Pentagon officials misled the analysts about the progress of Iraq’s security forces. “I know a snow job when I see one,” he said. He did not share this on TV.

John C. Garrett is a retired Marine colonel and unpaid analyst for Fox News TV and radio. He is also a lobbyist at Patton Boggs who helps firms win Pentagon contracts, including in Iraq. His promotional materials state he “is privy to weekly access and briefings with the secretary of defense, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and other high level policy makers in the administration.” Mr. Garrett displayed an eagerness to be supportive with his television and radio commentary. “Please let me know if you have any specific points you want covered or that you would prefer to downplay,”

David L. Grange, a retired Army general and CNN analyst.

Robert L. Maginnis, a retired Army lieutenant colonel who works in the Pentagon for a military contractor, recalled feeling “very disappointed” after being shown satellite photographs purporting to show bunkers associated with a hidden weapons program. Mr. Maginnis said he concluded that the analysts were being “manipulated” to convey a false sense of certainty about the evidence of the weapons.

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.

Barry R. McCaffrey, one of NBC’s most prominent analysts, was on the advisory board of the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, an advocacy group created with White House encouragement in 2002 to help make the case for ousting Saddam Hussein. He also had his own consulting firms and sat on the boards of major military contractors. He was also involved with the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq.

Jeffrey D. McCausland, appears on CBS TV and radio. He is a defense industry lobbyist. He has been a frequent commentator on the war in Iraq and Afghanistan for CBS since 2003. In this capacity he has been quoted in the New York Times, Washington Post, Boston Globe, and Christian Science Monitor. He has appeared on the CBS Evening News, Morning Show, and Up to the Minute. He has also appeared on CNN Morning Show, CSPAN Booknotes, MSNBC, and Al Jazeera. [1]

“Good work,” Thomas G. McInerney, a retired Air Force general, consultant and Fox News analyst, wrote to the Pentagon after receiving fresh talking points in late 2006. “We will use it.”

Montgomery Meigs, a retired Army general and NBC analyst, appeared on “Today” after being flown to Guantanemo by the Pentagon. “There’s been over $100 million of new construction,” he reported. “The place is very professionally run.”

William L. Nash, a retired Army general and ABC analyst, with no defense industry ties, and no fondness for the administration, was reluctant to be critical of military leaders, many of whom were friends. “It is very hard for me to criticize the United States Army,” he said. “It is my life.” However, in April 2006, after an emergency briefing of seventeen analysts with Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld in the midst of the "Generals' Revolt," Nash was repulsed. “I walked away from that session having total disrespect for my fellow commentators, with perhaps one or two exceptions."

Joseph W. Ralston is 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 former defense secretary William Cohen.

Carlton A. Sherwood executive vice president the wvc3 Group. At the time, the company was seeking contracts worth tens of millions to supply body armor and counterintelligence services in Iraq. (See William Cowan)

Robert H. Scales Jr., a retired Army general and analyst for Fox News and National Public Radio, heads a consulting company that advises several military firms on weapons and tactics used in Iraq. He exchanged e-mail messages with the Pentagon that reveal an implicit trade of privileged access for favorable coverage. “Recall the stuff I did after my last visit,” he wrote. “I will do the same this time.”

Donald W. Shepperd, a retired Air Force general, was flown to Guantanamo Cuba to tour the prison after abuse claims were raised. He reported live on CNN by phone from Guantánamo stating that “The impressions that you’re getting from the media and from the various pronouncements being made by people who have not been here in my opinion are totally false.”

Paul E. Vallely, a Fox News analyst from 2001 to 2007. A retired Army general who had specialized in psychological warfare. “We lost the [Vietnam] war — not because we were outfought, but because we were out Psyoped,” he wrote. He urged a radically new approach to psychological operations in future wars — taking aim at not just foreign adversaries but domestic audiences, too. He called his approach “MindWar” — using network TV and radio to “strengthen our national will to victory.” (At least he's willing to admit we lost the Vietnam War.)

... and on the Government Side

Victoria (Torie) Clarke, the former public relations executive who oversaw the Pentagon’s dealings with the analysts as assistant secretary of defense for public affairs, had come to her job with distinct ideas about achieving what she called “information dominance.”

Lawrence Di Rita, one of Mr. Rumsfeld’s closest aides, said in an interview that a “conscious decision” was made to rely on the military analysts to counteract “the increasingly negative view of the war” coming from journalists in Iraq.

Brent T. Krueger, a senior aide to Victoria Clarke, was the point person for a small group of political appointees analysts who catered to they analysts. He indicated he was well aware that some analysts viewed their special access as a business advantage. “Of course we realized that,” Mr. Krueger said. “We weren’t naïve about that.” “They have taken lobbying and the search for contracts to a far higher level,” Mr. Krueger said. “This has been highly honed.”

Don Meyer, an aide to Ms. Clarke, said a strategic decision was made in 2002 to make the analysts the main focus of the public relations push to construct a case for war. Journalists were secondary. “We didn’t want to rely on them to be our primary vehicle to get information out,” Mr. Meyer said. (So compliant corporate journalists were a secondary way for the Pentagon to use push propaganda onto American citizens).

Bryan Whitman, a Pentagon spokesman.

Active Military Officers involved in the propaganda operation:

Richard B. Myers

Peter Pace


Pentagon, House to Investigate Propaganda Program:

The Pentagon’s inspector general office has announced an internal probe into the military’s domestic propaganda program. Last month, the New York Times revealed the Pentagon has used retired military officers to generate positive news coverage and push for the war in Iraq. The move comes one day after the House approved a measure ordering investigations by both the inspector general and the congressional investigative body, the Government Accountability Office. The House probe will focus on whether the program violates laws barring government funding of domestic propaganda.

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