Constant's pations

If it's more than 30 minutes old, it's not news. It's a blog.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Iraq: DoD propaganda read by Americans stateside

The revelations by the LA Times/NYT/Bloomberg that DoD has been planning stories is only part of the problem.

"The only good is knowledge and the only evil is ignorance."

-- Socrates Greek philosopher in Athens (469 BC - 399 BC).
* * *

The real issue: Who picks up these stories?

The way the LA Times and DoD personnel convey the information, it appears that the information hasn't been leaking back to American news media.

However, this is not the case.

China has picked up one of the cited sources; and this made its way back to the Free Republic.

The issue involves Operation Steel Curtain.

* * *

Update: 4 Dec 2005

Interesting links:

2003: US media model in Iraq not free from censorship.

Information dominance: C4ISR (command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance

Iraq contractor list.

Note [See page 15]: SAIC is listed as a subcontractor under Northrop Grumman's Vinnell, to provide training to the new Iraqi army. Apparently this means providing propaganda to make the trainees feel good about themselves, despite reality: Inability to lead combat operations, still need special forces leadership and assistance.

Iraqis must be very stupid: US special forces conduct training on "dummy citizens" in non-combat situations to "learn how to provide training" -- done at a very basic level. Trainees can quickly learn how to do things. It appears the issue with the Iraqis is motivation, interest, focus, and desire, or lack thereof.

It doesn't say much for America when the original objective of the war changes from WMD to "help with Democracy," but the recruits aren't interested in learning. You can't make someone embrace democracy when they refuse or have something else on their mind: Lack of water, power requirements.

  • Why should we believe the "status of Iraqi training reports" when the same firm providing the training also provides the information on "how things are going" by way of media reports/propaganda?

    At best, this is a conflict; and at worst, DoD shows a pattern of denying independent assessments of what is going on -- That happened in Cambodia.

  • What kind of award fees, or contract performance goals/sanctions exist if the SAIC-like firms fail to meet their objectives?

    It appears SAIC has built-in contract incentives to create the impression things are going well; and they have the information-network to provide the illusion that things are going well, despite what appears to be a problem with training.

    The problem we have is when there is a body of knowledge, software system, and a Joint Staff view of "how combat information should be organized and integrated into C3I as C4ISR " under the umbrella of a war fighting doctrine, but the results, despite the massages, fails to justify confidence in that model.

    At best, SAIC has shown that it has a problem translating requirements into software products for DoJ; we fail to see why DoD-related results would be superior. The more things one integrates from the C3I- to C4ISR-models, the greater the complexity; however, the software development efforts, despite the reports, appear to indicate that there has to be quite a bit of monkeying around with the systems to get them to perform, much less achieve ambiguous/transitory/shifting combat objectives.

    Congressional Review Issues

    See page 15

    SAIC, Science Applications International Corporation is listed on page 15 of this "contractor list" as being related to the training the Iraqi army.

    However, this appears to be in conflict with its other role: Providing propaganda, and other information about "how things are going."

    We are concerned in re Statement on Accounting Standard 99 in re "Fraud indicators":

    It appears as though SAIC is in a position to not only train, but "provide favorable information" about the status of that training.

    1. What independent methods does DoD and/or Congress use to ensure the SAIC award fees are based on actual results, and not affected by SAIC-generated propaganda?

    2. Why should Congress, the Public, or Dod believe the "status reports about Iraqi training" given SAIC's apparent ability to [a] financially benefit if the reported results are at odds with reality; and [b] SAIC is in a position to provide favorable media coverage which some in DoD could use to provide award fee inputs to SAIC [sub contractor] and or Northrop Grumman [primes]?

    3. Given SAIC's software performance problems with DoJ/FBI data management [software didn't solve the problem], why should we believe that SAIC's contribution to Northrop Grumman is superior in re DoD and Iraq?

    4. To what extent can SAIC, through its favorable self-assessments of how things are going in Iraq in re training, influence the DoD's award fee inputs to the Fee Determining Official [FDO]?

    End update: 4 Dec 2005

    * * *

    Update: 3 Dec 2005

    DoD announced that if the contractors have failed to perform has intended, they would take appropriate action. Ref

    Note: This doesn't say the conduct is or isn't appropriate nor what they wanted. Rather, the way DoD has worded their "threat of sanctions" is premised on the false assumption that "if someone did something they weren't supposed to do, there will be sanctions.

    However, it is likely the opposite is true: The contractors, because they have correctly done what DoD wanted -- pay people to plant propaganda -- that there will be nothing done.

    Also, Chairman of JCS Casey has stated the $300M contracts for all the contractors are classified. This means that, given the dollar amount, there would or should be Congressional reporting, and also NSA's OPSEC requirement. With a dollar figure this high and multiple contractors, this would qualify as a "major program" -- it remains to be seen whether DoD has appropriately informed the HASC/SASC of their plan.

    Also note the SAIC contractor is the same outfit that produced some arguably defective and unreliable DoJ information technology software. It remains unclear why SAIC gets paid money to [a] produce unreliable software; [b] spew forth unreliable information in Iraq.

    Is SAIC in the "unreliable service" industry? On the contrary, SAIC is doing exactly what DoD and DoJ want: Propaganda and ineffective government information management programs, very effective if you want a government that can't do much, but likes to talk about illusions.

    End Update

    * * *

    The specific people involved appear to be RNC staffers from the 2004 election. [via TPM]

    Maha reminds us of the $300M, 5Year contracts to provide the support to DoD: SAIC, L-3's SYColeman.

    This seems very similar to what Rendon did in early 2002 in re the alleged WMD-misinformation.

    Why do I smell another Downing Street Memo: Names, meetings, contracts, agreements, and a massive "we have no idea what you're talking about"-response to the FOIAs?

    The issue becomes: If investors were driving the invasion, why have they abysmally performed in the execution? The answer: Nobody cares about results, they just wanted an excuse to get the money -- Iraqi contracts.

    Can you smell Halliburton, procurement fraud kickbacks?

    Then, use the kickbacks as more money for the RNC to bribe officials . . .

    * * *

    But it gets better. Lincoln's CEO is related to the RNC: Christian Bailey.

    So this means that we can indirectly link the DoD's Iraqi propaganda effort with the current DoJ Legislative Liaison, Elizabeth Marcel Apisson, the RNC General Counsel in NYC during the RNC Convention [ 212-356-2015 ]; and her husband David Carmen, indirectly linked to the Carmen Group's lobbying efforts on behalf of the KAZAKHSTAN, spending approximately $8,000 in travel to fly between the United States and KAZAKHSTAN.

    David Carmen is a registered Republican and has publicly disclosed his campaign contributions.

    The Carmen group was listed on the DOJ registered lobbyist list as being a lobbyist for KAZAKHSTAN, with $627K in funding involved, through an apparently closely held firm named Parville Finance Ltd.

    Marshall Stanford, apparently indirectly associated with the Carmen Group, is associated with South Carolina has taken trips:

    April 18, 2000 - April 21, 2000 (4 days)
    Location(s) - Kazakhstan
    Purpose - Fact-finding trip

    Notes - Travel Cost - $7,129.00
    Lodging Cost - $345.00
    Meal Cost - $80.00
    Other Cost -
    Total Cost - $7,554.00
    Additional family members - No



    Republican Party South Carolina

    Total number of trips - 3
    Total cost of trips - $16,598.40
    Average cost per trip - $5,532.80
    Total number of days spent traveling - 19 days
    Rank of representative - 310 (Out of 621)


    Full Travel list:
    Republican Party
    South Carolina

    Total number of trips - 3

    Total cost of trips - $16,598.40
    Average cost per trip - $5,532.80
    Total number of days spent traveling - 19 days

    Rank of representative - 310 (Out of 621)

    Individual trips

    Sponsor(s) -

    AEI World Forum Dates -
    June 15, 2000 - June 18, 2000 (4 days)

    Location(s) - Denver, CO
    Purpose - Social security - gave speech

    [Recall, some in 2005 were removed from the RNC's Denver Social Security speech for a bumper sticker, "No more blood for oil." They decided to file suit: Copy.]

    Notes -
    Travel Cost - $150.00
    Lodging Cost - $465.00
    Meal Cost - $200.00
    Other Cost -
    Total Cost - $815.00

    Additional family members - No

    Sponsor(s) - Carmen Group

    Dates - April 18, 2000 - April 21, 2000 (4 days)

    Location(s) - Kazakhstan

    Purpose - Fact-finding trip
    Notes -
    Travel Cost - $7,129.00
    Lodging Cost - $345.00
    Meal Cost - $80.00
    Other Cost -
    Total Cost - $7,554.00
    Additional family members - No


    Sponsor(s) - Human Rights Project
    Dates - April 21, 2000 - May 1, 2000 (11 days)
    Location(s) - Nepal, India
    Purpose - Assess Tibetan refugee crisis

    Notes - Travel Cost - $6,621.90
    Lodging Cost - $1,207.50
    Meal Cost - $400.00
    Other Cost -
    Total Cost - $8,229.40
    Additional family members - No

    Curiously, in 1993 Austrian jets intercepted CIA jets on the way to Azerbaijan.

    But not to be outdone, it appears the Carmen Group does have a sense of humor, going so far as to leave public comments linking a strange operation Cameltoe to their lobbying efforts. At this time, we are unable to understand the significance or relevance of operation Cameltoe to Iraq and the apparent combined DoD-RNC efforts to dump propaganda on the American public for what is arguably an unlawful war in Iraq.

    * * *

    Let's consider the broader geographical issues in re the apparent DoD effort to indirectly provide the American public with propaganda about the war in Iraq:

  • What is the motivation of DoD to provide this information

  • What specific events have occurred that DoD wants to mobilize public support for

  • What issues is Congress considering

  • Are there White House objectives in expanding combat operations

  • What resistance in Congress or the American public's mind must be overcome to launch combat operations in either Iran or Syria, while at the same time credibly creating the picture of "A drawdown" in Iraq?

    * * *

    What appears to be occurring is what happened during Vietnam.

    Just as Johnson was calling for Vietnamization and troop withdrawals, actual combat operations on the ground and air were expanding. Although President Bush may have announced a strategy to withdraw troops from Iraq, this approach includes an increase in aerial bombardment and special forces units, both which failed in Vietnam.

    Recent Operation Steel Curtain is on the Syrian Border. It is our judgment that Bush is attempting to orchestrate a Cambodian-like-justification to go into Syria -- Hersh reports the Special Mission Units have already done just that.

    However, we believe the LA Times has pointed to something more important: To what extent, despite the "big uproar over Iraq-WMD-Plame" is the same thing going on with Syria?

    It is our view that Operation Mass Appeal launched by the MI6 is continuing in re Syria, but there are other communications occurring.

    We doubt Congress will have the requisite staff or interest to review the matter. They, as of late, have shown little interest in looking into Phase II or the Eastern European Detention Centers. Hersh hints that Congress wouldn't want to know where the rest of the detention centers are; we suspect that there may be some in areas like Africa, such as South Africa or Libya but we're just guessing.

    It is possible that the public references to Eastern Europe reported in the WashingtonPost were deliberate red herrings to distract attention from the real detention locations, TBD. [See p. 179 of 208]

    * * *

    Let's take a look at the specific quote from the LA Times:

    One of the storyboards, dated Nov. 12, describes a U.S.-Iraqi offensive in the western Iraqi towns of Karabilah and Husaybah.

    "Both cities are stopping points for foreign fighters entering Iraq to wage their unjust war," the storyboard reads.

    It continues with a quote from an anonymous U.S. military official: " 'Iraqi army soldiers and U.S. forces have begun clear-and-hold operations in the city of Karabilah near Husaybah town, close to the Syrian border,' said a military official once operations began."

    Another storyboard, written on the same date, describes the capture of an insurgent bomb-maker in Baghdad. "As the people and the [Iraqi security forces] work together, Iraq will finally drive terrorism out of Iraq for good," it concludes.

    It was unclear whether those two storyboards have made their way into Iraqi newspapers.

    The point is: Not only have the stories been used in Iraq, they've been quoted in China, and subsequently used Stateside.

    Here's the link for this single example.

    There's no telling how many other stories have been planted in Iraq with the full expectation they find their way back to the States, as links from Congress, DNC, or RNC, websites.

    It remains to be seen whether Congress, picking up from its "outrage" over the pre-Iraq-manipulation, reviews the matters now, or requires a larger catalyst.

    Given the unfavorable weather, and the inability to oversee Phase II, we see little prospect Congress will assert its oversight. It has enough trouble staying focused on its Constitutional mandate without the White House-orchestrated distractions of Iraq.

    * * *

    Notice the common format for the Waxman Press release: Italics, bold, and blue font.

    Consider the incentive to focus on attention on more "requests by DNC to review matters" that go nowhere: Just like Phase II, diverting attention from impeachment and the White House.

    * * *

    It is our view that the Joint Staff is using an Operation Mass Appeal-like campaign to generate American support for Special Mission Units crossing into the Syrian and Iranian borders [See Page A-27; Backup].

    However, we judge that the arms flows from Syria are benign; insurgents within Iraq need not hide in Syria; and material support from Iraq is more interested in maintain stability in Iraq. We fully expect the situation in Iraq to deteriorate as we saw in Kosovo.

    The President would be wise to scrap his "Plan for Victory" and immediately make a bee-line for Teheran, sit down the Iranian President, and forge a plan for stability both within Iraq and along the Iranian-Iraqi border.

    Approximately 65% of all returning American military forces from Iraq have sought mental health support; they are in no position to provide reliable, sustained combat support in other theaters for some time.

    At best, the current situation in Iraq is spiraling down into a Yugoslavian-like disaster with ethnic cleansing. Although the choir may be in harmony with PollyAnna, the chapel roof is no defense to nature's fury.

    Caesar's strategy for victory frightened the barbarians to the North, insulating Europe for 2,000 years of internal strife.