Skip to content


Rumsfeld-Era Propaganda Program Whitewashed by Pentagon

Dissident Voice Article

By Cyril Mychalejko

A controversial public relations program run by former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld’s Pentagon was cleared of any wrong-doing by the agency’s inspector general in a report published last month. The program used dozens of retired military officers working as analysts on television and radio networks as “surrogates” armed by the Pentagon with “the facts” in order to educate the public about the Department of Defense’s operations and agenda.

At the same time, the report quoted participating analysts who believed that bullet points provided by Rumsfeld’s staff advanced a “political agenda,” that the program’s intent “…was to move everyone’s mouth on TV as a sock puppet” and that the program was “…a white-level psyop [psychological operations] program to the American people.” It also found a “preponderance of evidence” that one analyst was dismissed from the program for being critical of former Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, while another analysts said a CNN official told him he was being dropped at the request of the White House.

Nevertheless, the inspector general exonerated the Pentagon, stating that it complied with Department of Defense (DoD) policies and regulations, including not using propaganda on the US public, while also claiming that retired military analysts, many of whom were affiliated with defense contractors, gained nothing financially or personally for the businesses they were affiliated with.

The investigation was requested by Congress after the New York Times published a story revealing the Pentagon’s public relations program, Behind TV Analysts, Pentagon’s Hidden Hand (04/20/2008), which was subsequently awarded a Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting . The article showed how these analysts, many of whom had ties to military contractors, were used to help sell the war in Iraq, to push other Bush Administration foreign policy “themes and messages” and to act as a rapid response team to counter criticisms in the media. One official Department of Defense talking points document released while the Bush Administration was still trying to sell the need for a war with Iraq to the public states, “We know that Saddam has weapons of mass destruction.”

According to the media watchdog Media Matters, between January 1, 2002 and May 2008 the analysts exposed in the Times article “collectively appeared or were quoted as experts more than 4,500 times on ABC, ABC News Now, CBS, CBS Radio Network, NBC, CNN, CNN Headline News, Fox News, MSNBC, CNBC, and NPR,” revealing the success and scope of Rumsfeld’s program. However, as Glen Greenwald pointed out, that figure is actually low because there were many more analysts that the Pentagon was using who weren’t mentioned in the article.

The inspector general issued an initial report in January 2009 which drew the same conclusions, but which was later recanted because “it was so riddled with inaccuracies and flaws that none of its conclusions could be relied upon.” This calls into question how forthright, accurate and independent an internal Pentagon audit can be, especially in light of the fact that even Republican Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) recently “blasted” the inspector general’s work—giving the office a grade of D-minus in a June 1 report.

This updated report on the use of retired military analysts relied heavily on interviews with Rumsfeld subordinates to ascertain guidelines, procedures and intent because of a lack of written policies. The report also stated that the Pentagon contracted with a private company to provide media reports – 48 in total – that tracked the commentary of military analysts receiving Pentagon assistance. Other significant findings included 147 organized events provided for the military analysts, sponsored trips to Iraq and Guantanamo and the likely receipt of classified information.

Keith Urbahn, spokesman for former Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, told the Washington Times that “the New York Times should give back its Pulitzer” and the Wall Street Journal declared that the report was evidence that “the Pentagon wasn’t running a secret propaganda shop, and scores of decorated military officers weren’t rapacious pawns.” However, Scott Horton, contributing editor at Harper’s, has a different take:

The Department of Defense is permitted to run recruitment campaigns and give press briefings to keep Americans informed about its operations, but it is not permitted to engage in “publicity or propaganda” at home. The internal DoD review exonerating the practice of mobilizing and directing theoretically independent analysts apparently focuses on the fact that the program conforms with existing department rules, but it overlooks the high-level prohibition on “publicity or propaganda,” which was plainly violated.

And we already know that the Bush administration made a habit, if not a policy, out of lying to the American public. The Center for Public Integrity, a nonpartisan, nonprofit investigative news organization, pointed out in January 2008:

President George W. Bush and seven of his administration’s top officials, including Vice President Dick Cheney, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, made at least 935 false statements in the two years following September 11, 2001, about the national security threat posed by Saddam Hussein’s Iraq…[as] part of an orchestrated campaign that effectively galvanized public opinion and, in the process, led the nation to war under decidedly false pretenses.

And the military is no different. One example, reported by the The Washington Post in June 2006, noted that military “briefings indicate that there were direct military efforts to use the U.S. media to affect views of the war.”

One issue that the Inspector General report did not deal with is the media’s role of enthusiastically turning to these military “experts” without disclosing their obvious conflicts of interest, as well as the mainstream media’s incestuous relationship with the Pentagon. For example, former CNN chief news executive Eason Jordan proudly stated back in 2003 that:

I think it’s important to have experts explain the war and to describe the military hardware, describe the tactics, talk about the strategy behind the conflict. I went to the Pentagon myself several times before the war started and met with important people there and said, for instance –’At CNN, here are the generals we’re thinking of retaining to advise us on the air and off about the war’ — and we got a big thumbs-up on all of them. That was important.

Immediately after the New York Times Pulitzer-winning story was published the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism, which weekly monitors roughly 1,300 stories from 48 different media outlets, reported that there were only two related pieces of coverage that came out after the New York Times broke the story, and both of them were on the April 24th broadcast of PBS NewsHour. The Pew Research Center reported, “In the cable news universe, where many of these analysts worked, silence greeted the story.”

Yet the “ military-industrial-media complex is not only a threat domestically, it is a threat abroad—as the Iraq war illustrates with the more than 1 million Iraqis killed, scores of people tortured and the country’s social service infrastructure in ruins.

This case of the U.S. government propagandizing its own people, and the media’s failure to serve as an independent watchdog, further undermines America’s democratic ideals. The world can’t afford to wait any longer for rigorous investigations, debates and reforms surrounding these matters.

View the original article at dissidentvoice.org

Related Posts with Thumbnails

Posted in Middle East, Politics.

Tagged with , , , , , .


0 Responses

Stay in touch with the conversation, subscribe to the RSS feed for comments on this post.



Some HTML is OK

or, reply to this post via trackback.

Support #altnews & keep Dark Politricks alive

Remember I told you over 5 years ago that they would be trying to shut down sites and YouTube channels that are not promoting the "Official" view. Well it's all happening now big time. Peoples Channels get no money from YouTube any more and Google is being fishy with their AdSense giving money for some clicks but not others. The time is here, it's not "Obama's Internet Cut Off Switch" it's "Trumps Sell Everyones Internet Dirty Laundry Garage Sale". This site must be on some list at GCHQ/NSA as my AdSense revenue which I rely on has gone down by a third. Either people are not helping out by visiting sponsors sanymore or I am being blackballed like many YouTube sites.

It's not just Google/YouTube defunding altenative chanels (mine was shut), but Facebook is also removing content, shutting pages, profiles and groups and removing funds from #altnews that way as well. I was recently kicked off FB and had a page "unpublished" with no reason given. If you don't know already all Facebooks Private Messages and Secret Groups are still analysed and checked for words related to drugs, sex, war etc against their own TOS. Personally I know there are undercover Irish police moving from group to group cloning peoples accounts and getting people booted. Worse than that I know some people in prison now for the content they had on their "secret private group". Use Telegrams secret chat mode to chat on, or if you prefer Wickr. If you really need to, buy a dumb phone with nothing for the NSA/GCHQ to hack into. Ensure it has no GPS tracking on it and that the battery can be removed. These are usually built for old people to get used to technology storing only a set of numbers to call. However they have no games, applications to install or other ways people can exploit the computer tracking device you carry round with you most of the day - your smart phone. If you are paranoid ensure that you can remove the battery when travelling around and do so to prevent GPS tracking or phone mast triangulation. Even with your phone in Flight mode or turned off, it can be turned on remotely and any features like front or back cameras, microphones and keylogging software can be installed to trace you.

So if your not supporting this site already which brings you news from the Left to the Right (really the same war mongering rubbish) then I could REALLY do with some..

Even if it's just £5 or tick the monthly subscription box and throw a few pound my way each month, it will be much appreciated. Read on to find out why.

Why?

Any support to keep this site would be appreciated. You could set up a monthly subscription for £2 like some people do or you could pay a one off donation as a gift.
I am not asking you to pay me for other people's articles, this is a clearing house as well as place to put my own views out into the world. I am asking for help to write more articles like my recent false flag gas attack to get WWIII started in Syria, and Trump away from Putin. Hopefully a few missiles won't mean a WikiLeaks release of that infamous video Trump apparently made in a Russian bedroom with Prostitutes. Also please note that this article was written just an hour after the papers came out, and I always come back and update them.

If you want to read JUST my own articles then use the top menu I have written hundreds of articles for this site and I host numerous amounts of material that has seen me the victim of hacks, DOS plus I have been kicked off multiple hosting companies, free blogging sites, and I have even had threats to cease and desist from the US armed forces. Therefore I have to pay for my own server which is NOT cheap. The more people who read these article on this site the more it costs me so some support would be much appreciated.

I have backups of removed reports shown, then taken down after pressure, that show collusion between nations and the media. I have the full redacted 28/29 pages from the 9.11 commission on the site which seems to have been forgotten about as we help Saudi Arabia bomb Yemeni kids hiding in the rubble with white phosphorus, an illegal weaapon. One that the Israeli's even used when they bombed the UN compound in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead. We complain about Syrian troops (US Controlled ISIS) using chemical weapons to kill "beautiful babies". I suppose all those babies we kill in Iraq, Yemen, Somalia and Syria are just not beautiful enough for Trumps beautiful baby ratio. Plus we kill about 100 times as many as ISIS or the Syrian army have managed by a factor of about 1000 to 1.

I also have a backup of the FOX News series that looked into Israeli connections to 9.11. Obviously FOX removed that as soon as AIPAC, ADL and the rest of the Hasbra brigade protested.

I also have a copy of the the original Liberal Democrats Freedom Bill which was quickly and quietly removed from their site once they enacted and replaced with some watered down rubbish instead once they got into power. No change to police tactics, protesting or our unfair extradition treaty with the USA but we did get a stop to being clamped on private land instead of the mny great ideas in the original.

So ANY support to keep this site running would be much appreciated! I don't have much money after leaving my job and it is a choice between shutting the server or selling the domain or paying a lot of money just so I can show this material.

Material like the FSB Bombings that put Putin in power or the Google no 1 spot when you search for protecting yourself from UK Police with "how to give a no comment interview". If you see any adverts that interest you then please visit them as it helps me without you even needing to give me any money. A few clicks per visit is all it takes to help keep the servers running and tag any tweets with alternative news from the mainstream with the #altnews hashtag I created to keep it alive!

However if you don't want to use the very obvious and cost free ways (to you) to help the site and keep me writing for it then please consider making a small donation. Especially if you have a few quid sitting in your PayPal account doing nothing useful. Why not do a monthly subscription for less money instead. Will you really notice £5 a month?



css.php