Sunday, July 03, 2005

White House web of lies unravels

Digby digs up a history lesson for us. He catches an interesting subpoena in the Plame case. It appears the grand jury would like a few more documents from the Iraq Group after previously having asked for paperwork in February 04. Digby had his sights on Jim Wilkerson then.

So, it now turns out that the "Iraq Group," the supervisory marketing arm of the Iraq march to war is in the sights of the Plame grand jury. Jim Wilkinson is the one member of the administration who is simultaneously a member of the OGC [Office of Global Communications(OGC) formerly the Coalition Information Center (CIC)], and the Iraq Group.

The thing to remember about both the OGC and the Iraq Group is that they are not just spin artists. They are propagandists.

...there is a very interesting story to be told about the unprecedented "PR" sell-job that the White House coordinated to convince the American (and British) people that Saddam was a "grave and gathering" danger.

Many of you have probably read the paper written by Sam Gardiner, the retired colonel who taught at the National War College, the Air War College and the Naval Warfare College ( in PDF ( here) in which he claims to have found more than 50 instances of demonstrably false stories planted in the press in the run up to the war and charges the OCG and the Iraq Group as the culprits. This overview of the paper, originally published in The Edge brings up something quite interesting that ties it into the Plame affair:

Colonel Sam Gardiner (USAF, Ret.) has identified 50 false news stories created and leaked by a secretive White House propaganda apparatus. Bush administration officials are probably having second thoughts about their decision to play hardball with former US Ambassador Joseph Wilson. Joe Wilson is a contender. When you play hardball with Joe, you better be prepared to deal with some serious rebound.

According to Gardiner, "It was not bad intelligence" that lead to the quagmire in Iraq, "It was an orchestrated effort [that] began before the war" that was designed to mislead the public and the world. Gardiner's research lead him to conclude that the US and Britain had conspired at the highest levels to plant "stories of strategic influence" that were known to be false.

The Times of London described the $200-million-plus US operation as a "meticulously planned strategy to persuade the public, the Congress, and the allies of the need to confront the threat from Saddam Hussein."

"Washington and London did not trust the peoples of their democracies to come to the right decisions," Gardiner explains. Consequently, "Truth became a casualty. When truth is a casualty, democracy receives collateral damage." For the first time in US history, "we allowed strategic psychological operations to become part of public affairs... [W]hat has happened is that information warfare, strategic influence, [and] strategic psychological operations pushed their way into the important process of informing the peoples of our two democracies."
Billmon also weighed in on this issue back then, and had this to say on Gardiner's work.
Col. Gardiner, I think, gives the benefit of too many doubts to people who deserve none of them. To me, his work just reinforces a fundamental truth: The war is not a series of discrete scandals (Yellowcake, Wilsongate, Halliburton, etc.) but rather a single, monstrous, unified scandal -- probably the greatest criminal conspiracy in the history of the United States. And it's still ongoing.
Back in the present moment Digby doesn't find it much of a stretch to target Rove as the perp instead.

There's a lot of speculation that this is a rat-fuck and it may be. But, I think that Karl's playing very close to the edge if he's doing this on purpose. He's the guy who stands to get scalded if this grand Jury turns up something. Unless this entire investigation is a corrupt White House inside job (and you never know) it's very risky. He's a guy who takes risks, so he may have done this, but my guess is that in the summer of 2003, facing the firsrt real criticism of Bush's presidency, he got mad and fucked up and he has been dog-paddling ever since, hoping it goes away.
Meanwhile, Colonel Gardiner has more to say in this recent interview with Kevin Zeese.

Kevin, I find it amazing that there is [only] now a growing interest in the marketing the war. There is absolutely no question that the White House and the Pentagon participated in an effort to market the military option. The truth did not make any difference to that campaign. To call it fixing is to miss the more profound point. It was a campaign to influence. It involved creating false stories; it involved exaggerating; it involved manipulating the numbers of stories that were released; it involved a major campaign to attack those who disagreed with the military option. It included all the techniques those who ran the marketing effort had learned in political campaigns.
The Colonel goes on to explain how they used these tactics to "fix the intelligence" and plant the terrorist=Iraq meme in the public mind. This is why so many otherwise intelligent people were fooled in believing we had to invade Iraq to protect ourselves.

In light of this sophisticated and costly psych-ops campaign, I can understand that. What I can't understand is why these same otherwise intelligent people, many of whom I call friends, can still protest they haven't seen sufficient proof that Bush deliberately lied.
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