All Out Propaganda Effort Again?

I was going to write a bit on this when I saw a Guardian story that smacked as pure junk meant to leak back to us, but a few minutes after I saw this link out from Crooks & Liars:

Oh, and just as they did four years ago, the press is still dutifully typing up and broadcasting BUSHCO warflogging propaganda
Tonight ABC have broken the story that Bush has authorized covert action against Iran. Quelle suprise! Who the f**k would ever have imagined that?
The CIA has received secret presidential approval to mount a covert "black" operation to destabilize the Iranian government, current and former officials in the intelligence community tell the Blotter on ABCNews.com.

The sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the subject, say President Bush has signed a "nonlethal presidential finding" that puts into motion a CIA plan that reportedly includes a coordinated campaign of propaganda, disinformation and manipulation of Iran's currency and international financial transactions.

..."Vice President Cheney helped to lead the side favoring a military strike," said former CIA official Riedel, "but I think they have come to the conclusion that a military strike has more downsides than upsides."
Now some who were paying attention already suspected that the Bush administration's neocons had been using groups like the MeK for proxy attacks on Iran, and that will doubtless continue. But I've bolded what was for me the "leap of the page" part of the story - the use of disinformation and propaganda. I've some immediate thoughts on this.

Firstly, as I understand it, the federal government is prohibited by law from planting propaganda in the U.S. media (but John Yoo's probably already written the classified finding that The Decider Guy can decide otherwise) however there is no such stricture on planting stories designed to mislead in the foreign media and then making sure those stories get attention here in the U.S. from the Republican noise machine of blogs and Benadorian mainstream media pundits.

Which brings today's Guardian dross about a supposed secret plan for Iran to aid both Sunni and Shia groups in Iraq to mount a summer offensive into sharper focus.
It seems that the incompetent bush administration thinks it can sell the narrative that the Iranians are supporting Sunni, Shia, and everything in between. Not only that, but apparently they are trying to sell you that Syrians are supporting both sides too:

Cable News as Propaganda Agents

Today's coverage of the violence in Lebanon reveals a remarkable degree of bias and stupidity. CNN and Fox News are the most egregious. All are busy pandering to neocons and supporters of Israel who tend to favor a Likudnic view of the world. Consider the following reported on CNN:

Smoke billowed Monday from a Palestinian refugee camp as Lebanese forces battled Islamic militants linked to al Qaeda for a second day near the northern city of Tripoli. The clashes have left dozens dead and wounded. The fighting was sparked Sunday when Lebanese Internal Security Forces raided a building in a neighborhood north of Tripoli, army sources said. Militants from Fatah al-Islam began shooting at the forces, who returned fire, triggering clashes in the vicinity of the Nahr al-Bared Palestinian refugee camp. . . .
Nayla Mouawad, Lebanese social affairs minister, said the militants have "Syrian allegiance and only take orders from Syria."

If you are like George Bush you may not appreciate the fact that there are Sunni muslims and Shia muslims. Radical Sunnis and radical Shias dislike each other intensely. Each considers the other a heretic. So what the hell is the media up to? Let's ask Pat Lang, who posted some keen insights at Sic Semper Tyrannis:

The 24/7 news networks were hard at work today trying to make Syria responsible for the Sunni zealots in the camps. The statement was being made today that these groups were connected to AQ. No evidence was offered, but the assertion was repeatedly made based on the "possibility" that had supposedly been voiced by some nameless person in the Lebanese government. Various Lebanese were asked that question - "Is this Al-Qa'ida?" Nobody could be found who was willing to say that there was an organizational link to Al-Qa'ida, but the question was asked over and over again. This question was paired with another - "Is Syria controlling and "behind" this group?" Nobody could be found who would say that either, but the question was asked over and over again.

Now, think about it, folks Al-Qa'ida is a virulently anti-Shia Sunni group. Everyone "knows" how much Syria supports Hizbullah, a virulently anti-Sunni Shia group. So, which is it? Which side does the Syrian government support? Does the Syrian government support both at the same time? If you believe that, then you really are a sucker for propaganda.

Funny how the messages are coming out in an almost mirroring type of repetition meant to support the bush strorylines and supposed war plans. Anyways... Let's get back to the original post on the ridiculous idea of Iran supporting both their allies and their enemies:

It also may explain why mainstream press and right wing bloggers are repeating as serious a claim by neocon Claude Moniquet that Iran is attempting to draw up plans to strike targets in Europe and has conducted reconnaissance of European nuclear power stations. Moniquet is head of the European Strategic Intelligence and Security Center, which is described by the AP as "independent" but is essentially a foreign adjunct of The Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, a neocon Washington group which counts among its members a virtual A to Z of prominent anti-Iranian figures such as Bill Kristol, Richard Perle, Charles Krauthammer, Frank Gaffney, James Woolsey and Newt Gingritch.

In fact, it explains a heck of a lot about the myriad of "anonymous officials" who have become sources for anti-Iranian stories, many of which have later turned out to be utterly false. And incidentally, explains the entire output of the daily Telegraph's shills-in-residence Con Coughlin and Phil Sherwell. The drums in the deep aren't being beaten by accident or individually but instead in a co-ordinated concerto.

In fact, this story should call into question every single story involving anonymous sources on Iran, whether it be about their nuclear program or about their alleged involvement in Iraq. There's simply no way to know whether the story is true or a propaganda plant without independent, verifiable and named sources backing it up.

Which oddly enough includes The Blotter's story itself.

Remarkably quickly, rightwing pundits have marched in lockstep with a single message about this revelation: blame the leak on the liberals and add that the leak makes an attack on Iran the only option left.

The White House intended on using this plan to keep from having to use a military option to stop the mullahs from getting their hands on a nuclear weapon. In fact, ABC reports that Dick Cheney preferred the military option, but that Bush overruled him in favor of the covert action instead. As I have written repeatedly here, a military strike is a lousy choice given the terrain, battleground, and options for targets in Iran as well as the political situation on the ground.

Thanks to the loose lips at Langley and ABC, that option may have to go back to the top of the list. Covert actions that appear on national television tend to lose the element of surprise, after all, and the Iranians can now take steps to block these actions...Someone in the CIA or in the larger "intelligence community" can't keep their mouths shut. Thanks to them, we may wind up with no other option against Iranian nuclear ambitions except the military strike.
and Wizbang's Kim Priestly adds:
Prediction: at some point, the nutroots will accuse Cheney of ordering a member of his staff to leak the President's secret covert action to ABC in order to force the military strikes that Bush overruled.
Given the speed with which the extreme Right has established message discipline and given the admission that the Bush administration was already conducting propaganda operations against Iran, I think that's a perfectly reasonable accusation to make. Interesting that Kim thought of it first. But we may never know what the truth is.
Yep... The most important thing here is to consider the fucking sources. There is "no way to know whether the story is true or a propaganda plant without independent, verifiable and named sources backing it up."

But I am willing to bet that the only verifiable sources that will come forward and push these crazy ideas as "credible" will turn out to be the same incompetent neocon children and bush stooges that sold us a pack of lies on Iraq to begin with. That is, if the media is complicit and/or gullible enough to use these liars as credible sources again.

Oh wait... The media are already recycling some of the same bush stooges to push failed policy on in to the never ending story for your children's children's participatory pleasure...

One of Homeland Security's favourite little propagandists, Frances Frago Townsend, pops up to spew out the right wing crack she has been inhaling during the bush smokescreen years:

President Bush, trying to defend his war strategy, declassified intelligence Tuesday asserting that Osama bin Laden ordered a top lieutenant in early 2005 to form a terrorist cell that would conduct attacks outside Iraq _ and that the United States should be the top target.

Frances Fragos Townsend, the White House homeland security adviser, said the intelligence bolsters the Bush administration’s contention that al-Qaida wants to use Iraq as a staging area to launch terrorist attacks around the world, including the United States.

OK... Stop right there and think about this for a moment. His war strategy has been to stop terrorists that want to attack the United States by attacking Iraq, a country that didn't have any Al Qaeda links at all until long after the US invaded Iraq.

And bush continues to waste our time in Iraq because Al Qaeda is planning to attack the USA everywhere BUT in Iraq.

Just want to make sure I am keeping this straight.

She said that in the spring of 2005, bin Laden instructed Hamza Rabia, a senior operative, to brief al-Zarqawi on al-Qaida planning to attack sites outside Iraq, including the United States. She did not disclose where in the United States those attacks were being plotted

Townsend disclosed the information to The Associated Press and other news agencies in advance of Bush’s commencement speech Wednesday at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. Bush is expected to emphasize the continuing threat of terrorism and recount steps taken by his administration to prevent attacks.

Now the incompetent little neocon child is thinking he can use this line of pure crack to continue to escalate this failure? And don't forget what kind of bush junk is trying to get you hooked on this bush crack...

Osama Bin Laden's capture was “a success that hasn’t occurred yet,” according to White House Homeland Security Adviser Frances Frago Townsend.

As she explained to CNN's White House correspondent Ed Henry last night:

HENRY: You know, going back to September 2001, the president said, dead or alive, we're going to get him. Still don't have him. I know you are saying there's successes on the war on terror, and there have been. That's a failure.

TOWNSEND: Well, I'm not sure -- it's a success that hasn't occurred yet. I don't know that I view that as a failure.

Well... Time travel is just another success that hasn't occurred yet. BUT as soon as it does let me be the first to travel back in time and slap Townsend silly for making an absurd a statement on what is clearly a bush FAILURE.

Townsend is just an example of another Brownie "Heckuva job" comment waiting to come from bush after the next big disaster in the USA. Makes me wonder if we should have a color coded alert system for incompetent and idiot statements put up on the TV screen beside each of our own government employees.

You can watch Townsend throw out GOP talking point after talking point on Charlie Rose (Sept. 2006) about the successes in Afghanistan (even though the Taliban is on the rise again), on Bin Laden getting away at Torah Bora being a mistake only looking at it in retrospect (even though bush handed the military operation there to local friendlies of the Taliban, that was not a mistake in retrospect, that was failure on the spot), and how Iran is so tied into the GWOT now (setting the table for the future episodes of "Empire on the Rise"), and how Saudies are our friends (even though they ARE funding the insurgency)...

Just think of the usefulness of a warning like that up there flashing on the screen beside their faces each time they start spewing their right-wing-crack and how many of these past failures might have been avoided with a simple Right-Wing-Crack Warning System.

The fact that Townsend is a former Clintonian and helps set the table for MORE WAR now, while spewing GOP talking points so easily, just reinforces the need, IMHO, to obliterate all right-wing DLC leftovers from the Clinton era out of office along with the far-right-wing GOP.Just in case you wonder where this right-wing-freak's loyalties really lie now:
Townsend is a former prosecutor who toiled for both Rudy Guiliani and Janet Reno. The Post points out that her husband, referred to in the piece only as "John," was "a classmate of Bush's at Andover and Yale." It adds that her position was occupied previously by "four-star generals who brought decades of experience to the fight," but that her greatest asset is "the president's ear" -- not to mention a contribution of the maximum $2,000 to the Bush-Cheney re-election campaign in March 2004, an unusual move from a National Security Council staffer, and generally regarded, as U.S. News and World Report put it, as "a pledge of loyalty."
"A pledge of loyalty"??? How fucking republican of her.

The Bush Pledge:
"I want you to stand, raise your right hands," and recite "the Bush Pledge," said Florida state Sen. Ken Pruitt. The assembled mass of about 2,000 in this Treasure Coast town about an hour north of West Palm Beach dutifully rose, arms aloft, and repeated after Pruitt: "I care about freedom and liberty. I care about my family. I care about my country. Because I care, I promise to work hard to re-elect, re-elect George W. Bush as president of the United States."
A little info on John Townsend for shits and giggles, 'cause you are curious, right?

Mr. Townsend, 47, is a partner in the Washington law firm of Hughes Hubbard & Reed. He received undergraduate and law degrees from Yale University. He is the son of Vera N. Townsend of Austin, Tex., and the late Col. John D. Townsend. The bridegroom's father was retired from the United States Army.
Just so's you know he is a Lawyer that does a lot of lawyering for the drug industry (IE: Pfizer, Merck), winning cases that keep drug prices artificially high for us.

Mr. and his Mrs. Townsend are both major players in a bush criminal world. Don't believe anything that either of them say.
The White House, bush, cheney, and all of their regular stooges are throwing shit at the fan from everywhere, right now, and none of it is sticking anywhere because NONE OF IT MAKES ANY SENSE AT ALL. Unless you are trying to scare the American people into continuing the Iraq follies, and, maybe, are hoping to get more war in Syria and/or Iran.

In the meantime bush is trying to hide the fact that he is increasing his Iraq ESCALATION.

President Bush is quietly implementing a second Iraq troop surge that would “nearly double the number of combat troops in Iraq this year.” According to the analysis of Pentagon redeployment numbers:

This “second surge” of troops in Iraq, which is being executed by extending tours for brigades already there and by deploying more units, could boost the number of combat troops to as many as 98,000 (from 52,500) by the end of this year. When support troops are included, the total number of U.S. troops in Iraq could increase from 162,000 now to more than 200,000 — the most ever — by the end of the year.

This escalation would bring the total number of brigades in Iraq to 28 by winter. In the current escalation, Bush ordered five brigades to accompany the 15 already stationed in Iraq.

While Bush proudly trumpeted the first escalation in January with a nationally televised address, he is reportedly keeping this one under wraps, not addressing it in any major public medium. “It doesn’t surprise me that they’re not talking about it. I think they would be very happy not to have any more attention paid to this,” said retired Army Maj. Gen. William Nash.

Now why would they need all of these troops there AND why are they trying to keep this quiet? It wouldn't be to provide more clandestine pressure on Iran, would it? And it couldn't be because the first escalation is not working, could it?

Five U.S. soldiers have died this month in Amiriya, victims of improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, and snipers. Since the arrival of additional troops in February, the square-mile area patrolled by 1st Lt. Schuyler Williamson's platoon and others from the 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry, has been the site of 300 IEDs buried in or alongside the road. An Army intelligence map uses small red blast symbols to mark bomb sites. The symbols obscure entire thoroughfares.

Soldiers here now openly declare pessimism for the mission's chances, unofficially referring to their splinter of heavily fortified land as "the Alamo."

"Sometimes," said Brendan Gallagher, the captain who oversees Williamson, "we like to comfort ourselves when we are taking a lot of IEDs and casualties by saying that the enemy is desperate, they are doing this because they are scared. But how many times can they actually be desperate? I sometimes worry that this period will end up going down here as their surge, not ours."


Over the course of four recent days, his soldiers were struck repeatedly by IEDs, one of which blasted a hole through an Army medic's foot, requiring him to be sent home. The platoon was also attacked by snipers; a bullet ripped through the fingers of an Iraqi national police captain accompanying the Americans on a joint patrol.

Checkpoints operated by Iraqi police at two entry points into Khadra came under gunfire several times a day, and a desecrated corpse suspected to be that of an Iraqi policeman was found hanging May 15 from a lamppost in Amiriya.

I mean, It all looks like another round of whackamole to me:
A while back many of us were ripping on McCain for originally suggesting sending more troops and pointed out the fact that the Generals were telling the McCains and Lieberman's of the world that this could never work.

McCain has repeatedly said that he would like to see another 20,000 U.S. troops in Iraq. As General Abizaid explained, McCain’s plan runs counter towards our goal in Iraq — specifically, the Iraqis taking responsibility for their own country. Abizaid said, “It is easy for the Iraqis to rely upon to us do this work. I believe that more American forces prevent the Iraqis from doing more, from taking more responsibility for their own future.”

Contrary to what Petraeus has been saying, my lying eyes are telling me this is whackamole revisited, and the troops on the ground aren't buying his rosy pictures of progress either:

Petraeus, the new commander managing the "surge" of troops in Iraq, will be the first to caution realism. "Sure we see improvements - major improvements," he said in our interview, "but we still have a long way to go."

What tactics are working? "We got down at the people level and are staying," he said flatly. "Once the people know we are going to be around, then all kinds of things start to happen."

More intelligence, for example. Where once tactical units were "scraping" for intelligence information, they now have "information overload," the general said. "After our guys are in the neighborhood for four or five days, the people realize they're not going to just leave them like we did in the past. Then they begin to come in with so much information on the enemy that we can't process it fast enough."

You get the feeling that they are counting on the military, and the public being unable to process all of the information fast enough? Oh yeah! And never mind that the bulk of the intelligence being funneled at all of us, the military included, is very likely being cherry picked, filtered and distorted by all of the same neocons... Again.

So, even when there is "independent, verifiable and named sources backing it up," DON'T. FUCKING. BELIEVE. IT. Especially when all of it clearly makes no sense at all.

Meanwhile, if you write any stories that actually make sense... The bush White House is sure to cut off your access:
McClatchy's D.C. Bureau Claims It's Barred From Defense Secretary Plane
“Staffers at McClatchy’s Washington, D.C., Bureau — one of the few major news outlets skeptical of intelligence reports during the run-up to the war in Iraq — claims it is now being punished for that coverage.”

Bureau Chief John Walcott and current and former McClatchy Pentagon correspondents say they have not been allowed on the Defense Secretary’s plane for at least three years, claiming the news company is being retaliated against for its reporting.


Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman called such assertions “absurd,” adding, “There is no basis of fact for that allegation. It is not true. There are always more people who would like to travel with the secretary than seats available.”

PBS’ Bill Moyers recently highlighted McClatchy’s excellent pre-war journalism. Watch it HERE.

The only thing absurd about this is how most of the MSM just repeats obvious lies and propaganda from the bush administration without checking any of the facts. And the ones that sell this bush propaganda repeatedly are the kind of assholes with access to that plane.

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