Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Pentagon spying. Dexy Filkins lying? Iraq

Good evening. We'll start out with Democracy Now! like always but note that Amy Goodman wasn't on today. Not because she was blowing off some steam or relaxing which she's earned the right to do and then some between the show and the Un-Embed the Media Tour, but because she has laryngitis. So I'll just say I hope she gets well and takes all the time she needs.

C.I. wrote about that today. If you missed it, please read it. We are really lucky to have Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez and everyone else who's working behind the scenes on Democracy Now! but at a time when silence is pretty much everywhere and when so many play "War Got Your Tongue." Now maybe they got the time to bore you with their non-thoughts on a TV show like Prison Break, but they can't say a damn thing about the war. Lot of cowards out there. Lot of silence. Lot of fear. So be glad that we've got Democracy Now! but support them. C.I. noted that you could donate online at their site or you could send something in to this address:

Democracy Now!
P.O. Box 693
NY, NY 10013

If you go the site, you can print up a form if you want to send something in snail mail. Community member ??? noted that to C.I. And I'll back up C.I.'s point. If you don't have money to give, you don't have it. I got high school readers and college readers and I'm going to college myself and working half a day during the week so I got it that money's tight. (And read the interview I did last night for another view of how tight money is.) So if you got the money to give, that's great. But if you read that and think, "I wish I did have the money to give" well you can still give. How can you give without money?

You can get the word out. Say you wanted to give twenty bucks but you weren't able to because you didn't have it. Well could you get the word out on Democracy Now! to twenty people? That's twenty more people who would be watching and twenty more people who would be getting some real news and twenty more people who would be thinking about something other than nonsense. That's a contribution.

Iraq Officials Deny Report on Seized Forged Ballots
Meanwhile, Iraqi officials are denying a New York Times report that said border guards have seized a tanker filled with thousands of forged electoral ballots headed from Iran. According to the Times, the driver of the vehicle reportedly told interrogators another three trucks carrying forged ballots have already crossed into Iraq.

Elaine and I were kind of surprised that C.I. didn't highlight this item but C.I. let's members do the picks. But if you missed it, the article that has a problem, it's by the hideously bad Dexter Filkins. He wrote the article. And here's what C.I. noted about it first thing this morning:

Dexter Filkins does love what he's told. (Spoonfed in the Green Zone?) "Police Seize Forged Ballots Headed to Iraq From Iran" relies on "official said" four times. Sometimes, to spice up the single source for his story, an anonymice one, he will add a subclause between "official" and "said." Maybe you'll count more. For fun, go through the article and find named sources and note if they spoke to Filkins or not? (I think you already know the answer to that one.)

Dexter Filkins was in Falluja and didn't see anything. He made it into a video game while it was a slaughter and now we know white phosphorus was used there and that's another thing Filkins forgot to tell readers. Elaine talked to C.I. today and asked, "Did you know about this?" meaning that the article was being questioned and C.I. didn't is the short answer but check out Elaine's site because she is blogging tonight. So check out Like Maria Said Paz for more on that.

But you heard it questioned in some places and in others you heard silence. Not because someone was writing about something else that was important which is cool, there's a whole mess of lies coming down each day. But what's not cool is if you jerk off with nonsense while some of us are trying to be adults in the real world.

Pentagon Monitoring Anti-War Events Across the Country
Meanwhile, NBC News is reporting the Pentagon has been extensively monitoring the events and gatherings of peaceful anti-war groups across the country. A military database obtained by the network lists small activist meetings and events among 1,500 “suspicious incidents” over a 10-month period. The events included a gathering at a Quaker Meeting House in Lake Worth, Florida, to plan a protest of military recruiting at local high schools. In total, the database listed over four dozen anti-war meetings or protests.

This is one Elaine and I agreed on when we were on the phone but as soon as Dad got home he goes, "You gotta do three headlines tonight because there's one you gotta put in." He meant that one. He wanted that in. He said stuff like that is too important to ignore and that it's happened to us before in this country and everyone should note it so that America knows what's going on.

That's like Danny Schechter's Tell the Truth movement. And Tony said, "Dude, you gotta start noting Danny more. C.I. does." And I found this tonight, in my bulk folder which I don't check as often as I should and it was the thing Ryan "Kansas" was talking about last night, Danny Schechter's "News Makes News: Info War Now Page One in the NY Times:"

"The campaign was begun by the White House, which set up a secret panel soon after the Sept. 11 attacks to coordinate information operations by the Pentagon, other government agencies and private contractors."
This secret war was perhaps a secret to the New York Times but not to those of us who have been tracking the deployment of information warfare for several years. It's a sign of the times (and The TIMES) that our media is just getting hip to a multi-million dollar government strategy designed in part to spin news, reinforce message points, cover up crimes and plant information that ends up being punted by analysts on Fox News and other TV outlets. It is part of the methodology for turning lies into "credible" news.
According to the report, at least l000 articles have been planted in the Iraqi and Afghan press, but widely acknowledged, if unstated, is that much of it "blows back" into US media as news, a practice winked at by government officials. (To challenge this disinformation has launched a "Tell The Truth About The War" campaign recommending websites like for more accurate news.)
Why is it that we are just learning about this vast undertaking now? It is not because information about information war was not out there.
Writing in my new book, "When News Lies," Retired Air Force Colonel Sam Gardiner, who teaches at our war colleges, relays his experiences in trying to alert major media outlets about his own detailed study about how the Pentagon constructed and distorted major stories during the Iraq war. He references meetings with the Washington Post, The Atlantic, 60 Minutes, The LA Times and the News Hour at PBS where he tried to interest journalists in blowing the whistle.
He walked away totally frustrated.
"By this time, I'd had enough," he writes. "I had to get this monkey off my back. I had to move forward rather than to keep looking back. I had to have some closure. My solution was to publish my stories on the web."
I saw a small reference to his study buried in US News & World Report. The magazine cited it, but did not give it much visibility. I was dumbstruck. Here was what I considered possibly the "Pentagon Papers" of the Iraq War and yet it was being totally downplayed.
Having been among the first in Boston, in 1970, to name Daniel Ellsberg as the leaker of that Vietnam War investigation, I knew the importance of hard-hitting studies by military insiders.
So should the New York Times and Washington Post, or so you would think? They defied the government to publish the Pentagon Papers and were willing to go to jail to do so. Today, they are busy keeping journalists collaborating with the government out of jail.
I tracked Sam Gardiner down and visited him in his Virginia home, just ten miles from the Pentagon. He is very articulate and impressive. He showed me documents and shared his well-informed deconstructions of news stories. He agreed to appear in my film WMD (Weapons of
Mass Deception) that reveals part of the Information Warfare story.

Now I wasn't the only one doing an interview last night. Rebecca talked with Maria and Martha so check that out.

Remember my motto: The Common Ills community is important and the Common Ills community is important to me. So I'll do my part for the Common Ills community.