~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~But, of course, the New York Times still has not verified the existence of the White House Iraq Group by mentioning it in its news pages.ARTICLE I~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
CREATING A SECRET PROPAGANDA CAMPAIGN TO MANUFACTURE A FALSE CASE FOR WAR AGAINST IRAQ
In his conduct while President of the United States, George W. Bush, in violation of his constitutional oath to faithfully execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his constitutional duty under Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution "to take care that the laws be faithfully executed," has both personally and acting through his agents and subordinates, together with the Vice President, illegally spent public dollars on a secret propaganda program to manufacture a false cause for war against Iraq.
The Department of Defense (DOD) has engaged in a years-long secret domestic propaganda campaign to promote the invasion and occupation of Iraq. This secret program was defended by the White House Press Secretary following its exposure. This program follows the pattern of crimes detailed in Article I, II, IV and VIII. The mission of this program placed it within the field controlled by the White House Iraq Group (WHIG), a White House task force formed in August 2002 to market an invasion of Iraq to the American people. The group included Karl Rove, I. Lewis Libby, Condoleezza Rice, Karen Hughes, Mary Matalin, Stephen Hadley, Nicholas E. Calio, and James R. Wilkinson.
The WHIG produced white papers detailing so-called intelligence of Iraq’s nuclear threat that later proved to be false. This supposed intelligence included the claim that Iraq had sought uranium from Niger as well as the claim that the high strength aluminum tubes Iraq purchased from China were to be used for the sole purpose of building centrifuges to enrich uranium. Unlike the National Intelligence Estimate of 2002, the WHIG's white papers provided "gripping images and stories" and used "literary license" with intelligence. The WHIG's white papers were written at the same time and by the same people as speeches and talking points prepared for President Bush and some of his top officials.
The WHIG also organized a media blitz in which, between September 7-8, 2002, President Bush and his top advisers appeared on numerous interviews and all provided similarly gripping images about the possibility of nuclear attack by Iraq. The timing was no coincidence, as Andrew Card explained in an interview regarding waiting until after Labor Day to try to sell the American people on military action against Iraq, "From a marketing point of view, you don't introduce new products in August."
September 7-8, 2002:
NBC’s “Meet the Press”: Vice President Cheney accused Saddam of moving aggressively to develop nuclear weapons over the past 14 months to add to his stockpile of chemical and biological arms.
CNN: Then-National Security Adviser Rice said, regarding the likelihood of Iraq obtaining a nuclear weapon, "We don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud."
CBS: President Bush declared that Saddam was "six months away from developing a weapon," and cited satellite photos of construction in Iraq where weapons inspectors once visited as evidence that Saddam was trying to develop nuclear arms.
The Pentagon military analyst propaganda program was revealed in an April 20, 2002 [should read 2008], New York Times article. The program illegally involved "covert attempts to mold opinion through the undisclosed use of third parties.” Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld recruited 75 retired military officers and gave them talking points to deliver on Fox, CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, and MSNBC, and according to the New York Times report, which has not been disputed by the Pentagon or the White House, "Participants were instructed not to quote their briefers directly or otherwise describe their contacts with the Pentagon."
According to the Pentagon's own internal documents, the military analysts were considered "message force multipliers" or "surrogates" who would deliver administration "themes and messages" to millions of Americans "in the form of their own opinions.” In fact, they did deliver the themes and the messages but did not reveal that the Pentagon had provided them with their talking points. Robert S. Bevelacqua, a retired Green Beret and Fox News military analyst described this as follows: "It was them saying, 'We need to stick our hands up your back and move your mouth for you.'"
Congress has restricted annual appropriations bills since 1951 with this language: "No part of any appropriation contained in this or any other Act shall be used for publicity or propaganda purposes within the United States not heretofore authorized by the Congress."
A March 21, 2005, report by the Congressional Research Service states that "publicity or propaganda" is defined by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) to mean either (1) self-aggrandizement by public officials, (2) purely partisan activity, or (3) "covert propaganda."
These concerns about "covert propaganda" were also the basis for the GAO's standard for determining when government-funded video news releases are illegal:
"The failure of an agency to identify itself as the source of a prepackaged news story misleads the viewing public by encouraging the viewing audience to believe that the broadcasting news organization developed the information. The prepackaged news stories are purposefully designed to be indistinguishable from news segments broadcast to the public. When the television viewing public does not know that the stories they watched on television news programs about the government were in fact prepared by the government, the stories are, in this sense, no longer purely factual -- the essential fact of attribution is missing."
The White House's own Office of Legal Council stated in a memorandum written in 2005 following the controversy over the Armstrong Williams scandal:
"Over the years, GAO has interpreted 'publicity or propaganda' restrictions to preclude use of appropriated funds for, among other things, so-called 'covert propaganda.' ... Consistent with that view, the OLC determined in 1988 that a statutory prohibition on using appropriated funds for 'publicity or propaganda' precluded undisclosed agency funding of advocacy by third-party groups. We stated that 'covert attempts to mold opinion through the undisclosed use of third parties' would run afoul of restrictions on using appropriated funds for 'propaganda.'"
Asked about the Pentagon's propaganda program at White House press briefing in April 2008, White House Press Secretary Dana Perino defended it, not by arguing that it was legal but by suggesting that it "should" be: "Look, I didn't know look, I think that you guys should take a step back and look at this look, DOD has made a decision, they've decided to stop this program. But I would say that one of the things that we try to do in the administration is get information out to a variety of people so that everybody else can call them and ask their opinion about something. And I don't think that that should be against the law. And I think that it's absolutely appropriate to provide information to people who are seeking it and are going to be providing their opinions on it. It doesn't necessarily mean that all of those military analysts ever agreed with the administration. I think you can go back and look and think that a lot of their analysis was pretty tough on the administration. That doesn't mean that we shouldn't talk to people."
In all of these actions and decisions, President George W. Bush has acted in a manner contrary to his trust as President and Commander in Chief, and subversive of constitutional government, to the prejudice of the cause of law and justice and to the manifest injury of the people of the United States. Wherefore, President George W. Bush, by such conduct, is guilty of an impeachable offense warranting removal from office.
Pincus then goes on in today's short article to recap the key known members and activities of the White House Iraq Group, enhanced with some of Scott McClellan's recently-added revelations (or confirmations), before concluding:
One obvious target for such an expanded inquiry would have been the records of the White House Iraq Group (WHIG), a group set up in August 2002 by then-White House Chief of Staff Andrew H. Card Jr.
WHIG's records would shed much light on whether, as Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.), chairman of the intelligence panel, put it: "In making the case for war, the administration repeatedly presented intelligence as fact when it was unsubstantiated, contradicted or even nonexistent."
Bill O’Reilly: You said they used propaganda and that is a loaded word.
Scott McClellan: The White House Iraq group, the White House Iraq Group was set up, it’s a marketing arm for selling the a war. That was a specific purpose that I talked about in the book
BO: Because they fervently believed that the guy was a danger and could hand his weapons off.
SM: No because the President had a bigger driving motivation which was to transform the middle east.
BO: You telling me that President Bush didn’t believe they had the,
SM: No, he did too. He believed that too.
BO:That’s not propaganda then, that’s not propaganda.
SM: It is when you package it all together—over sell it and over state it to the American people. That is propaganda.
... third time I've said that. (Laughter.) I'll probably say it three more times. See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda. (Applause.)You can see a video of the Catapult the Propaganda quote here.
-- George W. Bush, 24 May 2005 (text and stage cues from the whitehouse.gov transcript)
Rhode Island: Hi. I hope this question doesn't sound confrontational. My understanding is that you didn't become press secretary until a year or so after the Iraq war began. Can you tell us about what your role was before that? Were you privy to high-level discussions in the lead-up to the war? Thanks.
Scott McClellan: I became press secretary on July 15, 2003, a few months after the initial invasion. Prior to that, I served as the principal deputy press secretary. I was not involved in the policy-making on Iraq or in developing the overall marketing strategy for selling the war to the public. I did fill in for my predecessor at times, and even participated in some White House Iraq Group, or WHIG meetings. WHIG was set up as the marketing arm for selling the war to the public.
[...] much of Card's political history is mired in the Iraq war, and his association with the White House Iraq Group (acronym - WHIG, but I doubt the Whig party would approve of the Bush presidency at all).
Card was instrumental in the organization of WHIG, which was designed to sell fear and distrust to the American people, and sway our minds toward the war in Iraq. According to a 2002 CNN report, this group was used to push an "escalation of rhetoric about the danger that Iraq posed to the United States, including the introduction of the term 'mushroom cloud.'" Indeed, many people on this campus would have Card labeled a propagandist and a war criminal.
BILL MOYERS: Four years ago this spring the Bush administration took leave of reality and plunged our country into a war so poorly planned it soon turned into a disaster. The story of how high officials misled the country has been told. But they couldn't have done it on their own; they needed a compliant press, to pass on their propaganda as news and cheer them on.
Since then thousands of people have died, and many are dying to this day. Yet the story of how the media bought what the White House was selling has not been told in depth on television. As the war rages into its fifth year, we look back at those months leading up to the invasion, when our press largely surrendered its independence and skepticism to join with our government in marching to war.
BILL MOYERS: As the WASHINGTON POST'S veteran reporter Walter Pincus would later report, the propaganda machine was run by the president's inner circle — officials who called themselves the White House Iraq Group, or WHIG.....
You wrote that WHIG included Karl Rove, the chief of staff, Andrew Card, Mary Matalin, Condi Rice, Steven Hadley, Lewis Libby and they were in charge of selling the war.
WALTER PINCUS: Selling the war. Yeah.
PRESIDENT BUSH (9/11/02): Good evening. A long year has passed since enemies attacked our country.
BILL MOYERS: Their chief salesman had the best props at his disposal [spoken over a clip of Bush with the Statue of Liberty behind him on the 1st anniversary of 9/11/01]
PRESIDENT BUSH (9/11/02): …and we will not allow any terrorist or tyrant to threaten civilization with weapons of mass murder.
WALTER PINCUS: They created that link.
BILL MOYERS: The marketing group?
WALTER PINCUS: The marketing group. And the link was a twofold link. One, he had weapons of mass destruction. And two, he supported terrorists. And they repeated it everyday. anybody who watches-- television these days knows you sell a product, not just by saying it once, by saying it over and over again with new spokesmen two, three times a day and it sinks into the public.
BILL MOYERS: But is there anything unusual about an administration marketing its policy?
WALTER PINCUS: It's, I think each administration has learned from the other, and with this group is just the cleverest I've ever seen-- and took it to new heights.
NORM SOLOMON: The TV, radio, print, other media outlets are as crucial to going to war as the bombs and the bullets and the planes. They're part of the arsenal, the propaganda weaponry, if you will. And that's totally understood across the board, at the Pentagon, the White House, the State Department.
COLIN POWELL (9/26/02): A proven menace like Saddam Hussein in possession of weapons of mass destruction
PRESIDENT BUSH (Discussion with Congressional Leaders, 9/26/02): The Iraqi regime possesses biological and chemical weapons
DONALD RUMSFELD (DOD Press Briefing 9/26/02): We do have solid evidence of the presence in Iraq of Al Qaeda members.
PRESIDENT BUSH: The regime has long standing and continuing ties to terrorist organizations.
BOB SIMON: Just repeat it and repeat it and repeat it. Repeat Al Qaeda, Iraq. Al Qaeda, Iraq. Al Qaeda, Iraq. Just keep it going. Keep that drum beat going.
And it was effective because long after it was well established that there was no link between Al Qaeda and the government of Iraq and the Saddam regime, the polls showed that an overwhelming majority of Americans believed that Al Qaeda-- that Iraq was responsible for September 11th.
BILL MOYERS: Knight Ridder's early skepticism was a rarity inside the beltway bubble…..
JOHN WALCOTT: A decision to go to war, even against an eighth-rate power such as Iraq, is the most serious decision that a government can ever make. And it deserves the most serious kind of scrutiny that we in the media can give it. Is this really necessary? Is it necessary to send our young men and women to go kill somebody else's young men and women?
According to the results of free non-scientific online tests, TBL found that he was "Existentialist", "Communist", and "A Grammar God," i.e., if he were a short wall-eyed Frenchman rather than a 6'3" blond American, he would be constantly mistaken for Jean-Paul Sartre!