Monday, May 14, 2007

How To Make Up Progress in Iraq

posted by The Sailor @ 7:25 PM Permalink

What do these stories have in common?
Pentagon restricting testimony in Congress

The Pentagon has placed unprecedented restrictions on who can testify before Congress, reserving the right to bar lower-ranking officers, enlisted soldiers, and career bureaucrats from appearing before oversight committees or having their remarks transcribed, according to Defense Department documents.

Robert L. Wilkie , a former Bush administration national security official who left the White House to become assistant secretary of defense for legislative affairs
last year, has outlined a half-dozen guidelines that prohibit most officers below the rank of colonel from appearing in hearings, restricting testimony to high-ranking officers and civilians appointed by President Bush.
in addition, according to the memo, the proceedings must not be recorded.

Wilkie's memo also stipulated that any officers who are allowed to testify must be accompanied by an official from the administration, such as Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and his top-level aides.

The guidelines claim the right to provide Congress only with witnesses who are Bush administration appointees -- as opposed to longtime senior government officials who do not owe their jobs to the current administration -- to provide sworn testimony.
Iraq to bar press from blast scenes

Iraq's interior ministry has decided to bar news photographers and camera operators from the scenes of bomb attacks, operations director Brigadier General Abdel Karim Khalaf said on Sunday (local time).
Iraq asks Qatar 'rein in' Aljazeera
The Iraqi government has asked its Qatari counterpart to interfere with the Arabic Aljazeera satellite channel to halt what it described as its anti-Iraqi rhetoric.
Aljazeera is banned to report from Iraq and its offices have been closed for nearly two years. However, the channel still manages to scoop major competitors by airing interviews and broadcasting events which seem to have angered the Iraqi authorities.
The statement signed by Foreign Ministry Hoshyar al-Zaibari said Aljazeera reporting of Iraq-related events mounted to "meddling in internal Iraqi affairs and directly contributes to the incitement of terror."
Gee, and here I thought that all those US military, suicide and IED bombings, the gunships firing on civilian homes, the sectarian violence and the house to house searches killing civilians contributed to the incitement of terror.
But it's not like this is a new thing:

Pentagon Moved to Fix Iraqi Media Before Invasion

In the run-up to the March 2003 invasion of Iraq, the Pentagon planned to create a 'Rapid Reaction Media Team' (RRMT) designed to ensure control over major Iraqi media while providing an Iraqi 'face' for its efforts, according to a 'White Paper' obtained by the independent National Security Archive (NSA) which released it Tuesday.
Both the paper and the slide presentation were prepared by two Pentagon offices — Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict, which, among other things, specialize in psychological warfare, and the Office of Special Plans under then Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, Douglas Feith — in mid-January, 2003, two months before the invasion, according to NSA analyst Joyce Battle.
The contractors included the Rendon Group and Scientific Applications International Corporation (SAIC) [...] The third company covered by the audit is the five-year-old Lincoln Group which, among other activities, has reportedly paid millions of dollars to Iraqi newspapers to publish pro-U.S. articles since the invasion.
The RRMT should also ''identify the media infrastructure that we need left intact, and work with CENTCOM targeteers to find alternative ways of disabling key sites," including, presumably, those media outlets whose messages were not consistent with the themes the Pentagon wished to convey.
And what were the alternative methods? I'm so glad I asked. They included bombing and killing reporters with an alternative viewpoint:
''Evidently, the Baghdad headquarters of the Arab satellite network 'al-Jazeera was not part of 'the media infrastructure that we need left intact,"' noted the NSA's Battle, who pointed to the Apr. 8, 2003 U.S. missile attack that hit the network's Baghdad bureau, killing reporter Tariq Ayoub. The Pentagon had been extensively briefed on the bureau's location before the invasion, and the offices were well-marked as a ''TV" facility.

Al-Jazeera's Kabul bureau which was located in a downtown office building was also destroyed by two ''smart bombs" during the U.S. air campaign in Afghanistan in late 2001. In April, 2004, during an extended battle covered by al-Jazeera — for Fallujah, Iraq, U.S. President George W. Bush suggested attacking the network's Qatar headquarters during a meeting with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, according to leaked notes of the talks.
And about those 'leaked notes'?
Two found guilty over Bush-Blair memo leak
Its contents were so secret that much of the trial was held behind closed doors with the press excluded.
Lie about it, bomb it, kill it, put it in prison ... it's still the truth.

And that's the only thing that escapes this war.

(A big hat tip to Bill Arnett, who inspired this post. Thanks Bill!)


At 10:16 AM, Blogger Bill Arnett said...

You're welcome, though you have put together the evidence of what we have become, a third-rate nation under the rule of despots, as well as I have ever seen anywhere.

No, my friend, the credit is all yours for this excellent, excellent post. Has bush/cheney put a military "handler" on your doorstep yet?


Post a Comment

<< Home