Okay, so we know now that the Bush administration has been using all kinds of devious means to push propaganda on the American public--fake news generated by the Pentagon for overseas, and ultimately, courtesy of blowback, U.S. consumption, fake news reports by fake reporters peddled to local TV stations, bought reporters and syndicated columnists paid to shill for the administration's policies, and even fake reporters salted into the White House press corps to ask puffball questions if the president or press secretary start getting too much heat.
But why is this all happening? Surely the Bush administration isn't the first to push its story out there. And sure, the administration should take some of the blame for this Soviet-style manipulation of public opinion.
This column already made the point that if the White House press corps were doing its job and asking tough, probing questions, James Guckert, aka Jeff Gannon, would have stood out like a stallion with a hard-on--er, excuse me, a sore thumb.
But what about the "Karen and Mike Show," those fake "news reports" by fake reporters which were sent directly to local TV stations across the country by the DEA and the Department of Health and Human Services, where they were often aired without question as local reports on administration activities. Do local news shows have so little concern about the content and veracity of their programs that they would just run a report by a reporter they don’t even know without fact-checking it and checking on the credentials of the reporter? Of course not! They had to know that the reports they were broadcasting were from government agencies and were nothing but blatant propaganda. This is the video equivalent of publishing press releases verbatim.
Oops! Lots of newspapers do that--and not just government press releases. They publish corporate press releases verbatim, too. Just scan the business pages of the New York Times.
So where are the mass resignations of editors of the news outlets that ran the reports by "Karen Ryan" and "Mike Morris," or whoever they are, the journalistic poseurs from the Bush administration who fobbed off their television reports on the public? I haven't heard of a single firing or resignation.
Then, of course, there’s Fox TV, which hasn't met a government press or calculated leak that it didn't believe and rush onto the air, unworried about its veracity. Nobody's resigning in disgrace from Fox. Why bother--the whole operation is a running disgrace.
The real culprit in this massive propaganda scam, though, has to be the public, which seems to take little interest in actively evaluating the news it is being spoon-fed. Unlike the Soviet public, which had, and the Chinese public which has a completely cynical view of the media in those two nations, and which long ago learned how to weed out the occasional truth from between the lines of lies and misrepresentations, the American public is almost completely passive and gullible, accepting the garbage that passes for news each day as the gospel truth. At least the Soviet Union had its samizdat press, and China has its xiaodau xiaoxi (grapevine).
2:12 pm pst
Thursday, February 17, 2005
Nominating a Liar and Killer to Head America's new KGB
The nomination by President George Bush of John Negroponte for the new post of director of national intelligence, in charge of overseeing all the burgeoning intelligence operations of the United States, is both obscene and predictable.
Negroponte, currently the U.S. ambassador to Iraq and, unofficially, the head of the U.S. occupation of that country, is a career foreign service officer on paper, but in fact a veteran CIA operative responsible for some of the agency's blackest crimes of murder and torture in Central America during that region's dark days of civil war, revolution and counter-revolution in the later part of the 20th Century.
As U.S. ambassador to Honduras from 1981-85, Negroponte played a key role in organizing the military repression in that poorest of Latin American nations, and in creating and running the so-called Contras, the U.S-organized military operation to undermine and overthrow the elected Sandinista government in Nicaragua.
What makes Negroponte the perfect candidate to be America’s KGB chief is his refined cover. He has the Republicans on the Republican-dominated Intelligence Committee in his pocket anyhow, and as a career diplomat, urbane and fluent in five languages, he also appeals to the mushy national security state Democrats like John Rockefeller (D-W. VA), Evan Bayh (D-Indiana), Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Ron Wyden (D-Oregon), who will be asked to join in rubber-stamping his nomination. If his appearance before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, during hearings on his nomination for the post of ambassador to Iraq is any indication, he will breeze through this next "test.' Democratic Senators Chris Dodd (D-Connecticut) and Joseph Biden (D-Del.) gushed over him at those earlier hearings, and didn't ask anything about his role in promoting death squad activities or in covering up human rights abuses in Central America, which included the murders of several dozen priests and nuns.
Americans concerned about our vanishing civil liberties, and about the expanded use of official state terrorism against American citizens and resident aliens since 9/11 should be concerned about this appointment, however. The new intelligence chief will be responsible for overseeing the nation’s vast $100-billion spying operation and its ballooning, largely secret budget.
This man's record is worse than not encouraging--it's downright terrifying.
Negroponte deliberately falsified State Department human rights reports every year of his ambassadorship in Honduras. According to the Maryknoll Order, many U.S. missionaries and other religious activists were murdered in that country in the 1970s and especially the early 1980s by CIA-trained Honduran soldiers of the so-called Battalion 3-16, whose operations they claim Negroponte oversaw, or "at best overlooked."
Even The New York Times, which has rarely met a covert operation it didn't support, credits Negroponte with "carrying out the covert strategy of the Reagan administration to crush the Sandinista government in Nicaragua"--an effort which the paper fails to note was illegal, and which ultimately included the trading of guns for drugs on CIA-financed aircraft. Negroponte helped with this massively corrupt and illegal war effort of the Reagan administration even after it had been expressly banned by the U.S. Congress.
One would think that kind of insult to the Congress would elicit at least some opposition to Negroponte’s appointment, but not a word about it came up during his ambassadorship hearings (Sen. Dodd actually said, "I happen to feel he's a very fine Foreign Service officer and has done a tremendous job in many places."), and it seems unlikely he’ll be asked about it this time around.
Come to think of it, that's probably about the way members of the Communist Party Central Committee probably responded to each new appointment to head the U.S.S.R.'s intelligence apparatus...
10:28 am pst