This week's visit to our comrades at People's Daily gives us this discussion of the American military's admission of its use of a paid contractor ("the Lincoln Group"... funny, that... ) to dispense propaganda representing the American view of events in Iraq.
This is the kind of story that epitomizes why I try to bring you stories from former Cold War propaganda outlets Pravda and PD... because in today's bizarre world... those sources are more trustworthy than, oh, The New York Times. (Don't believe me?)
Of course, it's not just the Iraqis who our government seeks to influence through the occasional dip into propaganda every now and again... sometimes, we sell ourselves a bill of goods... consider this lengthy expose in Rolling Stone by James Banford on "the Rendon Group" (the Carlyle Group, the McLaughlin Group... never mind...)
The basic premise (surprise, surprise) is that the Bush government (Poppy's this time) hired John Rendon to "make a case" to the Panamian people on why an American war of aggression to remove a foreign leader (then Manuel Noriega) was a good thing. Rendon was later hired by the Kuwaitis to spread lies such as the Iraqi troops killed babies on incubators in order to stir up world (and American) fury to start Gulf War I. In the process, Rendon created the Iraqi National Congress (a true astro-turf as opposed to grass roots movement) in the early 90's, which he organized, served as paymaster of, etc. Fast forward ten years or so and Rendon's creation was the principal source of our "intelligence" as to Saddam's WMD threat...
The CIA evidently ran a lie detector test, and concluded that the "defector"
Adnan Ihsan Saeed al-Haideri... was full of s***, his tales of helping Saddam's men bury thousands of tons of the most dangerous weapons in the world... just thousands of tons of crap. But alas... we weren't done. The CIA was also running another operation (or DOD was... you're never sure with these things) to gin up support for a war with Saddam, and the truth well... wasnt that important in that operation.
So.. despite our government's knowing that this tale of Saddam's WMD was a (complete, total, undeniable) lie, this story of Saddam's massive caches of WMDs was nonetheless schlepped to the media... in particular, to war criminals Judith Miller and (the late?) Paul Moran, the latter of Australian television and long on the INC payroll himself. And Judy... more interested in getting on the front page and maintaining her cushy access... didn't bother doing, any... what's that word... verification? Just took things at face value... and yes, her overseers at the Times are every bit as guilty as she is (and no, it will not be preposterous if she, they and some others find themselves having to answer charges about their actions one of these days before, say, a war crimes tribunal...)
But... many fools accepted the credibility of the Times as proof enough that Saddam was dangeorus enough to warrant the ultimate act of going to war (fools not including yours truly, who knew from the Times' bogus and deliberate undercounting of protestors in February of 2003 of a massive anti-war protest in New York that I was at that the Times had, for wahtever reason, decided to throw its weight and prestige behind having the damned war... maybe... so its war correspondents could win Pulitzers? so its reporters would continue to be welcome at the tough guys' table? Who knows why... but not for anything resembling... journalism... or dare I say it... the truth...)
So here we are. We have a government willing to pay private contractor propagandists with taxpayer money to mislead voters into policies that, magically, require expenditures of yet more taxpayer money... lather... rinse... repeat... All I can say is that as long as we can still access Pravda and the People's Daily... and we still have media sources like Rolling Stone and New Yorker (and of course, m'self...) at least some of us can figure out what's going on out there.
Until then... trust no one... especially those trying to buy your attention.