Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Strategic Information Warfare 

Then and Now:
I had seen for years how effectively the president could lie about his policies, with the safe assumption that his lies would not be exposed. That assumption was based on his subordinates' loyalty to him, to their bosses, and to their own careers and on the effective strength of their promises and oaths to keep secrets, no matter what was concealed or what the evident impact of the concealment was.

Of course there were circumstances, such as diplomatic negotiations, certain intelligence sources and methods, or various time-sensitive military operational secrets, that warranted strict secrecy. But what I had just come to realize was that there were times when it was potentially a dangerous thing for a president to have to much confidence in his ability to keep secrets. It could encourage him to take, secretly, the first step in a process that he could not later control, a fatal misstep that public debate might well have prevented. August 1964 had been such a time, likewise March and July 1965. ~ Daniel Ellsberg, "Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers", page 205.

"prohibited, covert propaganda activities"

[Excerpts follow] See all documents: National Security Archive / / Public Diplomacy and Cover Propaganda The Declassified Record of Ambassador Otto Juan Reich / A National Security Archive / Electronic Briefing Book / Edited by Thomas Blanton / March 2, 2001:
The Bush administration has floated the name of Otto Juan Reich for possible nomination as Assistant Secretary of State for Latin American Affairs (see Al Kamen, “In the Loop,” The Washington Post, 15 February 2001). Mr. Reich served in the Reagan administration as assistant administrator of the Agency for International Development (AID) from 1981 to 1983, then as the first director of the State Department’s Office of Public Diplomacy for Latin America and the Caribbean (S/LPD) from 1983 to 1986, and finally as ambassador to Venezuela.

Mr. Reich’s tenure at the Office of Public Diplomacy generated major controversy during the exposure of the Iran-contra scandal and left an extensive document trail, some of the highlights of which are included in this Briefing Book. For example:

* The Comptroller-General of the U.S., a Republican appointee, found that some of the efforts of Mr. Reich’s public diplomacy office were “prohibited, covert propaganda activities,” “beyond the range of acceptable agency public information activities….” The same September 30, 1987 letter concluded that Mr. Reich’s office had violated “a restriction on the State Department’s annual appropriations prohibiting the use of federal funds for publicity or propaganda purposes not authorized by Congress.” The letter also said, “We do not believe, however, that available evidence will support a conclusion that the applicable antilobbying statute has been violated.”

* The General Accounting Office in an October 30, 1987 letter and report found that Mr. Reich’s office “generally did not follow federal regulations governing contractual procedures” in its contracting “with numerous individuals and several companies.” The GAO quoted Mr. Reich as saying “he was generally unfamiliar with the details related to the office’s contracting procedures. Instead he relied on his staff as well as State’s procurement office to ensure that federal regulations were adhered to.”

* The bipartisan report of the Congressional Iran-contra committees (November 1987, p. 34) found that “[i]n fact, ‘public diplomacy’ turned out to mean public relations-lobbying, all at taxpayers’ expense.” The committees concluded their discussion by quoting the Comptroller-General’s findings in the September 30, 1987 letter. A detailed critique of the public diplomacy operation, written by Iran-contra committee staff, was deleted from the Iran-contra report after heated partisan debate (see Robert Parry and Peter Kornbluh, “Iran-Contra’s Untold Story,” Foreign Policy, No. 72, Fall 1988, pp. 3-30).

* A staff report by the House Foreign Affairs Committee (September 7, 1988) summarized various investigations of Mr. Reich’s office and concluded that “senior CIA officials with backgrounds in covert operations, as well as military intelligence and psychological operations specialists from the Department of Defense, were deeply involved in establishing and participating in a domestic political and propaganda operation run through an obscure bureau in the Department of State which reported directly to the National Security Council rather than through the normal State Department channels…. Through irregular sole-source, no-bid contracts, S/LPD established and maintained a private network of individuals and organizations whose activities were coordinated with, and sometimes directed by, Col. Oliver North as well as officials of the NSC and S/LPD. These private individuals and organizations raised and spent funds for the purpose of influencing Congressional votes and U.S. domestic news media. This network raised and funneled money to off-shore bank accounts in the Cayman Islands or to the secret Lake Resources bank account in Switzerland for disbursement at the direction of Oliver North. Almost all of these activities were hidden from public view and many of the key individuals involved were never questioned or interviewed by the Iran/Contra Committees.”


* On March 12, 1985, one of Mr. Reich’s staff, Daniel “Jake” Jacobowitz, on detail from the U.S. Air Force, wrote a detailed “public diplomacy action plan” that paralleled the North chronology, with candid commentary about the lobbying campaign including a three-item list of audiences: “U.S. Congress,” “U.S. media,” and “interest groups.”


Perhaps the most illuminating discussion of the psyops detailees can be found in a May 30, 1985 memo from Jake Jacobowitz to Mr. Reich about the impending arrival of five detailees, calling them the “A-team” and including the comment “Since he is a PSYOP type he will also be looking for exploitable themes and trends….”

* The final document included here is an April 15, 1984 memo drafted by Mr. Reich for Secretary of State George Shultz to send to President Reagan, describing a specific intervention by Mr. Reich with CBS News as an example of the day-to-day work of the public diplomacy office.

Office of Public Diplomacy | From SourceWatch

The Office of Public Diplomacy, officially known as the Office of Public Diplomacy for Latin America and the Caribbean, was part of a White House ordered PR plan in the 1980s to provide cover for the secret CIA war in Nicaragua. CIA director William J. Casey initiated the propaganda campaign after meeting with private sector PR men. Walter Raymond, Jr., a CIA propaganda expert, moved over to the National Security Council to get the program up and running. Raymond is reported to have instructed his OPD subordinates to "concentrate on gluing black hats on the Sandinistas and white hats on UNO [the contras' United Nicaraguan Opposition]."[1] ( Raymond picked Otto Reich to run the new OPD, which was housed in the State Department. Despite the unraveling of the Iran-Contra scandal, the full story of the OPD -- a covert, illegal, inter-agency propaganda campaign aimed at US citizens and Congress -- never received full public scrutiny.

Robert Parry on Willian Casey's perception management operation:
Hounding the Press
At the same time, the White House worked to weed out American reporters who uncovered facts that undercut the desired images. As part of that effort, the administration attacked New York Times correspondent Raymond Bonner for disclosing the massacre of about 800 men, women and children in the village of El Mozote in northeast El Salvador in December 1981. Accuracy in Media and conservative news organizations, such as The Wall Street Journal's editorial page, joined in pummeling Bonner, who was soon ousted from his job.

The administration also made sure to reward its friends. According to one National Security Council memo dated May 20, 1983, U.S. Information Agency director Charles Wick brought private donors to the White House situation room for a fund-raiser which collected $400,000 for AIM and a few other pro-Reagan groups.

By then, "public diplomacy" was becoming Casey's new code word for influencing the opinions of the American people as well citizens of foreign countries. "The overall purpose" behind Casey's initiative "would be to sell a 'new product' -- Central America -- by generating interest across-the-spectrum," another NSC document stated.

A "public diplomacy strategy paper," dated May 5, 1983, summed up the problem. "As far as our Central American policy is concerned, the press perceives that: the USG [U.S. government] is placing too much emphasis on a military solution, as well as being allied with inept, right-wing governments and groups. ...The focus on Nicaragua [is] on the alleged U.S.-backed 'covert' war against the Sandinistas. Moreover, the opposition ... is widely perceived as being led by former Somozistas."

The administration's difficulty with most of these press perceptions was that they were correct. But the strategy paper recommended ways to influence various groups of Americans to "correct" the impressions anyway, what another planning document would call "perceptional obstacles." "Themes will obviously have to be tailored to the target audience," the strategy paper said. (see: Lost History: CIA's Perception Management, by Robert Parry Consortium News)

Holy Warriors:
The Saudi ulama rejected religious pluralism, but many in the Saudi royal family, including Prince Turki, respected unbending religious faith even when it was Christian. Casey won the GID's personal loyalty to the extent that Saudi intelligence, with permission from King Fahd, agreed to secretly fund Casey's riskiest anticommunist adventures in Central America.

More than any other American, it was Casey who welded the alliance among CIA, Saudi intelligence, and Zia's army. As his Muslim allies did, Casey saw the Afghan jihad not merely as statecraft, but as an important front in a worldwide struggle between communist atheism and God's community of believers. ["Ghost Wars; The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, From the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001", by Steve Coll (Washington Post South Asia bureau chief 1989-1992); page 93.]

* GID= General Intelligence Dept. (Saudi Intelligence service)
* Prince Turki al-Faisal = director of GID at time.
* Zia = Zia-ul-Haq, Mohammed. Former Pakistani president, military general, and dictator. Died in a plane crash in 1988.

Realated continue reading (via Corrente): ...Towards a Grand Unified Theory of Republican Governance



Far out on the desert to the north dustspouts rose wobbling and augered the earth and some said they'd heard of pilgrims borne aloft like dervishes in those mindless coils to be dropped broken and bleeding upon the desert again and there perhaps to watch the thing that had destroyed them lurch onward like some drunken djinn and resolve itself once more into the elements from which it sprang. Out of that whirlwind no voice spoke and the pilgrim lying in his broken bones may cry out and in his anguish he may rage, but rage at what? And if the dried and blackened shell of him is found among the sands by travelers to come yet who can discover the engine of his ruin? ~ Cormac McCarthy Blood Meridian

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