Posts Tagged ‘PRopaganda’

Sweetness & Light:

This is just one example of the hundreds of documents and thousands of emails that have been recovered from Britain’s Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, we noted earlier.

This is a pamphlet (a pdf file) from a company called Futerra, which claims to be “the sustainability communications agency”:

The Rules Of The Game

Evidence base for the Climate Change Communications Strategy

The game is communicating climate change; the rules will help us win it.

Futerra – Recommendations to the Climate Change Communications Working Group:

The principles of climate change communication

Why were the principles created?

The game is communicating climate change; the rules will help us win it.

These principles were created as part of the UK Climate Change Communications Strategy, an evidence-based strategy aiming to change public attitudes towards climate change in the UK. This is a ‘short version’ of a far longer document of evidence that can be found at www.defra.gov.uk.

There is plenty of evidence relating to attitudes towards and behaviour on climate change, general environmental behaviour change and the whole issue of sustainable development communication. As we reviewed the research for these principles, one ‘überprinciple’ emerged:

“Changing attitudes towards climate change is not like selling a particular brand of soap – it’s like convincing someone to use soap in the first place.”

At first glance, some of the principles may seem counter-intuitive to those who have been working on sustainable development or climate change communications for many years. Some confront dearly cherished beliefs about what works; a few even seem to attack the values or principles of sustainable development itself.

However, these principles are a first step to using sophisticated behaviour change modelling and comprehensive evidence from around the world to change attitudes towards climate change. We need to think radically, and the Rules of the Game are a sign that future campaigns will not be ‘business as usual’. This is a truly exciting moment.

For the full evidence for these rules, and the climate change communications strategy itself, please visit: www.defra.gov.uk

For the new UK sustainable development strategy please visit: www.sustainable-development.gov.uk

1. blowing away myths

Many of the oft-repeated communications methods and messages of sustainable development have been dismissed by mainstream communicators, behaviour change experts and psychologists. Before we go into what works, our principles make a ‘clean sweep’ of what doesn’t:

1. Challenging habits of climate change communication

Don’t rely on concern about children’s future or human survival instincts

Recent surveys show that people without children may care more about climate change than those with children. “Fight or flight” human survival instincts have a time limit measured in minutes – they are of little use for a change in climate measured in years.

Don’t create fear without agency

Fear can create apathy if individuals have no ‘agency’ to act upon the threat. Use fear with great caution.

Don’t attack or criticise home or family

It is unproductive to attack that which people hold dear.

2. forget the climate change detractors

Those who deny climate change science are irritating, but unimportant. The argument is not about if we should deal with climate change, but how we should deal with climate change.

3. There is no ‘rational man’

The evidence discredits the ‘rational man’ theory – we rarely weigh objectively the value of different decisions and then take the clear self-interested choice.

4. Information can’t work alone

Providing information is not wrong; relying on information alone to change attitudes is wrong. Remember also that messages about saving money are important, but not that important.

2. a new way of thinking

Once we’ve eliminated the myths, there is room for some new ideas. These principles relate to some of the key ideas emerging from behaviour change modelling for sustainable development:

5. Climate change must be ‘front of mind’ before persuasion works

Currently, telling the public to take notice of climate change is as successful as selling tampons to men. People don’t realise (or remember) that climate change relates to them.

6. Use both peripheral and central processing

Attracting direct attention to an issue can change attitudes, but peripheral messages can be just as effective: a tabloid snapshot of Gwyneth Paltrow at a bus stop can help change attitudes to public transport.

7. Link climate change mitigation to positive desires/aspirations

Traditional marketing associates products with the aspirations of their target audience. Linking climate change mitigation to home improvement, self-improvement, green spaces or national pride are all worth investigating.

8. Use transmitters and social learning

People learn through social interaction, and some people are better teachers and trendsetters than others. Targeting these people will ensure that messages seem more trustworthy and are transmitted more effectively.

9. Beware the impacts of cognitive dissonance

Confronting someone with the difference between their attitude and their actions on climate change will make them more likely to change their attitude than their actions.

3 linking policy and style communications principles

These principles clearly deserve a separate section. All the evidence is clear – sometimes aggressively so – that ‘communications in the absence of policy’ will precipitate the failure of any climate change communications campaign right from the start:

10. Everyone must use a clear and consistent explanation of climate change

The public knows that climate change is important, but is less clear on exactly what it is and how it works.

11. Government policy and communications on climate change must be consistent

Don’t ‘build in’ inconsistency and failure from the start.

4 audience principles

In contrast to the myths, this section suggests some principles that do work. These principles are likely to lead directly to a set of general messages, although each poses a significant implementation challenge:

12. Create ‘agency’ for combating climate change

Agency is created when people know what to do, decide for themselves to do it, have access to the infrastructure in which to act, and understand that their contribution is important.

13. Make climate change a ‘home’ not ‘away’ issue

Climate change is a global issue, but we will feel its impact at home – and we can act on it at home.

14. Raise the status of climate change mitigation behaviours

Research shows that energy efficiency behaviours can make you seem poor and unattractive. We must work to overcome these emotional assumptions.

15. Target specific groups

A classic marketing rule, and one not always followed by climate change communications from government and other sources.

5 style principles

These principles lend some guidance on the evidence of stylistic themes that have a high chance of success:

16. Create a trusted, credible, recognised voice on climate change

We need trusted organisations and individuals that the media can call upon to explain the implications of climate change to the UK public.

17. Use emotions and visuals

Another classic marketing rule: changing behaviour by disseminating information doesn’t always work, but emotions and visuals usually do.

6 effective management

These principles are drawn primarily from the experience of others, both in their successes and in the problems they faced:

18. The context affects everything

The prioritisation of these principles must be subject to ongoing assessments of the UK climate change situation.

19. The communications must be sustained over time

All the most successful public awareness campaigns have been sustained consistently over many years.

20. Partnered delivery of messages will be more successful

Experience shows that partnered delivery is often a key component for projects that are large, complex and have many stakeholders.

“First they ignore you; then they laugh at you; then they fight you; then you win.” Mahatma Gandhi

If you are inspired or sceptical, have questions or want to know more, then please contact: sustainability communications

020 7733 6363
www.futerra.co.uk
climate@futerra.co.uk

Please read this carefully. It is deeply chilling.

And, with just a few minor changes, it could have been written by any bureaucrat in the propaganda ministry of the Third Reich. Certainly the techniques are much the same.

Some enterprising people at ‘An Elegant Chaos’ have put together a search engine for the Climate Research Unit (CRU) files. You can also just browse the emails at that site.

You can also download a .zip compacted file of the entire CRU stash of emails and documents from S&L’s server by clicking here.

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*DISINFO: “Peer”-Reviewed Climate “Science” & “Scientific” Consensus.

Ignorance Is Futile:

When it comes to climate science, the ‘companion’ definition of ‘peer’ would be the one to use. When a group of radical partisans collude to hijack the peer-review process, in order to squash research and findings that conflicts with their own agenda, the result is conspiratorial disinformation.

These so-called scientists share their data and methods with each other, but then deliberately withhold them from those who might see their flaws. Then they trump up a so-called ‘scientific consensus’ argument using 1. manipulated data inserted into IPCC-type reports, and 2. their self-fulfilling peer-reviewed literature.

Consensus?

First of all, the idea of a ‘scientific’ ‘consensus’ is patently flawed. True science isn’t based on human opinion, but rather replicable math or observation. Neither of those criteria are reliable, despite the claims of Alarmists. So the consensus is the collective opinion of scientists who have an inherent predisposition with environmental ideology, being scientists who work with nature and all.

Opinion is pseudoscience by definition. And what of past scientific consensus? Pre-Eugenicist, post Civil War scientists claimed that ‘negros’ were of a lower species, not even human, which helped justify their harsh treatment, even to the Civil Rights era.  In the early 1900’s the consensus was in Eugenics (even Ted Roosevelt supported it), started in the US & UK, their Social Darwinist theories applied to early genetics ideas fueled the Nazi’s forced sterilizations and death camps.

Others like to refer to the large list of scientific councils most of whom agree with the ‘consensus’. The problem is the figureheads that run these bureaucratic organizations typically number less than 20, and their advocacy of the ‘consensus’ represents profit for their existence. And most, including the American Academy of Pediatrics (yes you red correctly), primarily lean on the consensus as declared by our CRU-IPCC conspirators.

Group Think?

A good examples of how these groups operate is as follows from this insider (Eric Berger) account:

I am and have been an AGU member for many decades, and the “leadership” of this “society” has never even asked members what we think about it. The current leadership is an entrenched, isolated bureaucracy that sits in Washington, D.C. and has become an active political actor, need I say more. In contrast, some of the other professional organizations I belong to actually ask members for comments, and form open committees to work on things like this with member input and critique. The AGU is NOT a consensus organization at all, nor a democracy either.

So with the AGU you have less than 20 people making a statement ‘on behalf’ of the 50,000 members, without virtually any input whatsoever. This one example should be good enough to make it obvious that the ‘consensus’ found in statements by these groups is unscientific in attempting to graph a true consensus.

If anything, listening to actual individuals competent in regards to elements of climate science should at least be considered. Yet Alarmists flat out dismiss the ever growing petition of 31,000+ scientists, including over 9,100 Phd’s, whom reject the global warming agenda.

Don’t listen to the individuals, instead listen to the figureheads of these groups who don’t even poll their members before making a statement.

NOTE: WordPress formatting messed up the paragraph breaks with a lot of stuff I pasted in…

The Hijack!

Today Timothy Ball helped lay out the framework of our conspirators network:

Tentacles of Climategate will reach far as information is divulged. People will rush to get on or off the bandwagon depending on their involvement. As a first hand observer, I must outline the history, identify the people involved and provide context.

The Scientists Involved in Deliberately Deceiving the World on Climate

The Public and Mainstream Media Still Don’t Grasp the Implications.
The “Ad Hoc Committee Report on the ‘Hockey  Stick’ Global Climate Reconstruction commonly known as The Wegman Report said, “Based on the literature we have reviewed, there is no overarching consensus on MBH98/99 (The infamous hockey stick paper).   As analyzed in our social network, there is a tightly knit group of individuals who passionately believe in their thesis. However, our perception is that this group has a self-reinforcing feedback mechanism and, moreover, the work has been sufficiently politicized that they can hardly reassess their public positions without losing credibility.” Wegman identified most of the people involved with the leaked information from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) – “climategate”.
They are still reinforcing each other and refuse to acknowledge the severity of their actions. Mainstream media helps by downplaying the significance or deliberately closing their eyes. It’s deeply disturbing to learn scientists have deliberately twisted science for social and political ends. I watched it happen, now I can set out the history and identify those involved.

Cabal; A Secret Political Clique or Faction

As recently as June 19th 2009, they gathered and reinforced each other at a Symposium to honor (?) Tom Wigley.
In a measure of bureaucratic involvement Univeristy Corporation of Atmospheric Research (UCAR) President Rick Anthes’ opening slide ridiculed McIntyre and McKitrick who broke the hockey stick. “The reply, by Wigley and Jones, is a monument of obfuscation, irrelevance and spite.” (Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick October 2, 2005). This was followed by a quote that said, “This doesn’t sound like the Tom Wigley we know and love…What’s going on here.” Well, Mr. Anthes the avuncular Wigley fooled most of the world. I know. I watched him.
I’ve written about poor climate science and political machinations. Now disclosure of the scientists involved at the CRU and beyond allows me to describe who and how they did it with the support of Maurice Strong. He established the political framework through formation of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). These scientists provided the science through the IPCC. Strong took their claims to the green movements through the 1992 Rio Conference.
Strong’s powerful connections in Canada were apparently used to involve Environment Canada (EC) in development of the IPCC and CRU connections. These bureaucrats drew in other government agencies who easily convinced politicians desperate to appear green. Gordon McBean, Assistant Deputy Minister (ADM) at EC, chaired the 1985 Villach Austria meeting when formation of the IPCC was planned. Here are the two major players in the CRU scandal, Phil Jones and Tom Wigley, in Villach in a series shown at Wigley’s career Symposium.

Meet the conspirators:

Figure 1: Phil Jones, Current Director of the CRU and Tom Wigley the power behind the scenes.

Figure 2: Wigley and H.H.Lamb, founder of the CRU

Figure 3: No wonder Prince Charles says we have 100 months left, he has a ‘reliable’ source

Figure 4: Jones, Santer and Wigley at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Figure 5: Major players in early and later days of the IPCC

Figure 6: Critical players in CRU and IPCC

Michael Mann

Maurice Strong

Tim Ball:

Jones’ innocent look belies his actions. In one email he wrote to Michael Mann: “I can’t see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report. Kevin and I will keep them out somehow—even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!”…Lamb worked every day almost to the end, but the real power was emerging in the person of Tom Wigley (Figure 2). Lamb knew what was going on because he cryptically writes in his autobiography, “Through all the Changing Scenes of Life: A Meteorologists Tale” how a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation came to grief because of, “…an understandable difference of scientific judgment between me and the scientist, Dr. Tom Wigley, whom we have appointed to take charge of the research.”Wigley is the grandfather figure and in control throughout as the emails illustrate. They seek his advice as in this email, which ends, “I hope these very hasty ramblings are helpful” The originator was seeking ideas for a National Academy of Sciences plan.Other comments are more direct and frightening. Bishop Hill summarizes, “Tom Wigley says that von Storch is partly to blame for sceptic papers getting published at Climate Research. Says he encourages the publication of crap science. Says they should tell publisher that the journal is being used for misinformation. Says that whether this is true or not doesn’t matter. Says they need to get editorial board to resign. Says they need to get rid of von Storch too.”In another push to have someone removed Wigley supports Michael Mann’s attack on the journal editor of Geophysical Review Letters (GRL) who published McIntyre’s 2005 paper. Again Hill’s summary, “Mann has challenged GRL editor-in-chief over the publication. Mann is concerned about the connections of the paper’s editor James Saiers with U Virginia [does he mean Pat Michaels?]. Tom Wigley says that if Saiers is a sceptic they should go through official GRL channels to get him ousted.) [Note to readers – Saiers was subsequently ousted]” This quote illustrates the problem for the public. Unless you understand the science and the events the comments make little sense. Apart from comments like how to avoid Freedom of Information (FOI) requests it is easy to divert attention.

The IPCC Connection:

The UN’s IPCC, spearheaded by the ‘hacked’ CRU, has been the primary driving source of Global Warming Alarmism. This admission by Keith Briffa about the IPCC’s ethics is ‘alarming’:

I tried hard to balance the needs of the science and the IPCC , which were not always the same. [from 1177890796.txt]

Tim Ball:

Wigley is prominent in the IPCC from the start. Graduate students are prominent names in the emails and the IPCC. Phil Jones is the focus as current Director of the CRU, but as Figure 1 shows he was alongside Wigley from the start. Another prominent CRU graduate is Benjamin Santer seen here with Jones and Wigley.
…Santer was lead author of Chapter 8 for the 1995 IPCC Report and involved in the first major controversy. He altered contents of the Chapter so it agreed with the Summary for Policymakers (SPM) without consent of other authors. The emails show how the Reports similarly achieved political not scientific objectives.
Of course, IPCC rules were carefully written to achieve this end.
…The people in Figure 6 are connected with East Anglia or the IPCC. In another photo (Figure 6) they are unsure of source or time but it puts Wigley and Jones together early with leading figures like Syukoru Manabe, whose computer model was the basis of the IPCC models, and Bert Bolin first chairman of the IPCC (now deceased).…All the people in the emails are listed in the various author lists of each of the IPCC Reports. For example, the 2007 list includes these names Phil Jones, Kevin Trenberth, Tom Karl, Keith Briffa, Jonathan Overpeck, Andrew Weaver, Martin Parry among others.

Phil Jones:

I can’t see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report. Kevin and I will keep them out somehow – even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is! [from 1089318616.txt]

What about the journals?

We’ll start with a bunch of quotes from the emails of the conspirators discussing their strategies for hijacking the peer-review process. The first example has Grant Foster with a list of reviewers another can count on:

Suggested Reviewers to Include
Please list the names of 5 experts who are knowledgeable in your area and could give an unbiased review of your work. Please do not list colleagues who are close associates, collaborators, or family members. (this requires name, email, and institution).

Tom Wigley [1]wigley@xxxxxxxxx.xxx NCAR
Ben Santer [2]<santer1@xxxxxxxxx.xxx> Lawrence Livermore
Mike Wallace [3]<wallace@xxxxxxxxx.xxx> U Washington [May not be most responsive]
Dave Thompson [4]<davet@xxxxxxxxx.xxx> Col State Univ
Dave Easterling [5]<David.Easterling@xxxxxxxxx.xxx> NCDC
Sincerely,
Grant

Phil Jones and Ben Santer talk about a journal wants to force him to release all of his raw data that he used in his paper:

I’m having a dispute with the new editor of Weather. I’ve complained about him to the RMS Chief Exec. If I don’t get him to back down, I won’t be sending any more papers to any RMS journals and I’ll be resigning from the RMS.

Santer:

Thanks, Phil. The stuff on the website is awful. I’m really sorry you have to deal with that kind of crap. If the RMS is going to require authors to make ALL data available – raw data PLUS results from all intermediate calculations – I will not submit any further papers to RMS journals.

Michael Mann on coercing a different journal:

I believed our only choice was to ignore this paper. They’ve already achieved what they wanted–the claim of a peer-reviewed paper. There is nothing we can do about that now, but the last thing we want to do is bring attention to this paper, which will be ignored by the community on the whole.
There have been several papers by Pat Michaels, as well as the Soon & Baliunas paper, that couldn’t get published in a reputable journal. This was the danger of always criticising the skeptics for not publishing in the “peer-reviewed literature”. Obviously, they found a solution to that–take over a journal!

So what do we do about this? I think we have to stop considering “Climate Research” as a legitimate peer-reviewed journal. Perhaps we should encourage our colleagues in the climate research community to no longer submit to, or cite papers in, this journal. We would also need to consider what we tell or request of our more reasonable colleagues who currently sit on the editorial board…[from 1047388489.txt]

In response, Phil Jones writes:

I will be emailing the journal to tell them I’m having nothing more to do with it until they rid themselves of this troublesome editor. A CRU person is on the editorial board, but papers get dealt with by the editor assigned by Hans von Storch.

Timothy Carter:

PS Re CR, I do not know the best way to handle the specifics of the editoring. Hans von Storch is partly to blame — he encourages the publication of crap science ‘in order to stimulate debate’.
One approach is to go direct to the publishers and point out the fact that their journal is perceived as being a medium for disseminating misinformation under the guise of refereed work. I use the word ‘perceived’ here, since whether it is true or not is not what the publishers care about — it is how the journal is seen by the community that counts.
…Note that I am copying this view only to Mike Hulme and Phil Jones.Mike’s idea to get editorial board members to resign will probably not work — must get rid of von Storch too, otherwise holes will eventually fill up with people like Legates, Balling, Lindzen, Michaels, Singer, etc. I have heard that the publishers are not happy with von Storch, so the above approach might remove that hurdle too.[from 1051190249.txt]

Another chain of emails contained a group discussion about “ousting” a journal editor that they determined to be in the “skeptics camp” for publishing some papers that were contrary to their view:

If you think that  Saiers  is in the greenhouse skeptics camp, then, if we can find documentary evidence of this, we could go through official AGU channels to get him ousted.

Other recent news regarding the AGU ‘ousting’ out the contrary:

We developed this session to honor the great tradition of science and scientific inquiry, as exemplified by Galileo when, 400 years ago this year, he first pointed his telescope at the Earth’s moon and at the moons of Jupiter, analyzed his findings, and subsequently challenged the orthodoxy of a geocentric universe. Our proposed session was accepted by the AGU.

In response to its acceptance, we were joined by a highly distinguished group of scientists – including members of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA, France and China, as well as recipients of the AGU’s own William Bowie, Charles Whitten and James MacElwane medals. Our participants faithfully submitted abstracts for the session.

…The merger was approved by the AGU Planning Committee. Thus our Galileo session now had grown to a total of 27 papers and was approved as a poster session at the Fall Meeting.

However, a few days later, after first approving our session and after we had assigned time slots for these new papers at AGU’s request, the Planning Committee revoked its approval and summarily dissolved our session.

Tim Ball, et al:

“What you’ve got here is confirmation of the small group of scientists who, by the way, Professor Wegman who was asked to arbitrate in the debate about the hockey stick, he identified 42 people who were publishing together and also peer-reviewing each other’s literature.” Dr Ball explains.
“So there’s a classic example of the kind of thing that bothered me. About twenty years ago, I started saying ‘Well why are they pushing the peer review?’… And now of course we realise it’s because they had control of their own process. That’s clearly exposed in these emails.”
“On a global scale it’s frightening because this group of people not only control the Hadley Centre, which controls the data on global temperature through the Hadley Climate Research Unit but they also control the IPCC and they’ve manipulated that. And of course the IPCC has become the basis in all governments for the Kyoto protocol, the Copenhagen accord and so on….”
www.infowars.com…

Professor Wegman’s ’43’:

The block (cluster) structure is very clear. Michael Mann is a co-author with every one of the other 42. The black squares on the diagonal indicate that the investigators work closely within their group, but not so extensively outside of their group. … However, it is immediately clear that the Mann, Rutherford, Jones, Osborn, Briffa, Bradley and Hughes form a clique, each interacting with all of the others.
A clique is a fully connected subgraph, meaning everyone in the clique interacts with every one else in the clique. The cliques are very clear in this layout. In addition to the Mann-Rutherford-Jones-Osborn-Briffa-Bradley-Hughes clique there are several others that are readily apparent. They are Rind-Shindell-Schmidt-Miller, Cook-D’Arrigo-Jacoby-Wilson, Folland-Vellinga-Allan-Knight, Stahle-Shugart-Therrell-Druckenbrod-Cleveland, Sangoyomi-Moon-Lall-Abarbanel, and Clement-Zebiak-Cane. The last cluster is somewhat of the miscellaneous cluster of people who had published with Michael Mann, but not much if at all with each other.
The social network analysis of authors’ relations suggests that the “independent reconstructions” are not as independent as one might guess. Indeed, the matrix outlined in Figure 5.8 illustrates the proxies that are used more than one time in twelve major temperature reconstruction papers. The black boxes indicate that the proxy was used in a given paper. It is clear that many of the proxies are re-used in most of the papers. It is not surprising that the papers would obtain similar results and so cannot really claim to be independent verifications.
heliogenic.blogspot.com…
View page 40 of the AD HOC report for social network graphs:
www.climateaudit.org…
Regardless, what do the journals say?
Much trumpeting has been done over a so-called consensus established by Naomi Oreskes. She reported an analysis of “928 abstracts, published in refereed scientific journals between 1993 and 2003 and published in the ISI database with the keywords ‘global climate change’”. There have been many detailed critiques of her paper, but here I’d like to keep it simple and look at it at face value. Alarmists like to claim that essentially all of the papers support the Global Warming argument. In reality however this is not nearly the case.

Only 20% support anthropogenic (man made) global warming. 55% were papers about climate change itself, covering observed and potential effects of global warming. 25% didn’t apply.

Key Critical: Just because a the abstract of a paper talks about the warming of the 1990’s doesn’t mean it supports a consensus on AGW! In reality only 20% of the paper supported the AGW ‘consensus’, yet Alarmists distort this view and claim that 75% do. Some even attempt to claim that 100% do.

There’s no dispute that the climate warmed during the 90’s. So if you do a search for ‘global climate change’ what results would you expect to get other than papers addressing the current warming trend?

In hindsight, it’s awful convenient that her study ended up ending in 2003, as today we know the earth has cooled since then:

Photobucket


Follow link for the rest of the interview.

Alternet:

Months after the Pentagon pundits flap, the Department of Defense continues to hand down contracts for propaganda in Iraq and beyond.

Less than a week after the Washington Post reported that the Department of Defense will pay private contractors $300 million over the next three years to “produce news stories, entertainment programs and public service advertisements for the Iraqi media in an effort to ‘engage and inspire’ the local population to support U.S. objectives and the Iraqi government,” Virginia Sen. Jim Webb wrote a strongly worded letter to Defense Secretary Robert Gates. “I have serious reservations about the need for this expenditure in today’s political and economic environment,” he wrote. “Consequently, I am asking that you put these contracts on hold until the Armed Services Committee and the next administration can review the entire issue of U.S. propaganda efforts inside Iraq.”

Such a review, if it were to happen, would be a formidable undertaking, one that would have to start with the declaration of the “War on Terror” itself. It’s a project the Bush administration has always approached as a PR campaign as much as a military one. Who can forget former White House Chief of Staff Andy Card’s explanation for the need to introduce the Iraq War to Americans in September: “From a marketing point of view, you don’t introduce new products in August.” And remember the short-lived attempt by administration officials to re-brand the “War on Terror” by renaming it the “Global Struggle Against Violent Extremism”? (Reports at the time were that administration officials worried that the original phrase “may have outlived its usefulness,” due to its sole focus on military might.)

Regardless of what you call it, the so-called “War on Terror” has cost American taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars in propaganda costs alone. As with so much of modern war-making, most of this work is carried out by private military contractors. With the word “Halliburton” now shorthand for waste, fraud and abuse for many Americans, taxpayers’ tolerance for war profiteering has reached new lows — especially when private military companies operating with no oversight undermine the very “hearts and minds” that mission propaganda is supposedly meant to advance.

Selling the War to Americans

Perhaps one of the Bush administration’s most egregious PR undertakings in the war on Iraq was revealed this spring, when the New York Times blew the lid off the Pentagon’s military analyst program, in which more than 75 retired military officials were recruited to spout pro-war rhetoric on major networks in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq. These “message force multipliers,” as they were branded, were provided with thousands of talking points by the Department of Defense starting in 2002. In one memo, dated Dec. 9, 2002 and titled “Department of Defense Themes and Talking Points on Iraq,” a quote from Paul Wolfowitz — “We cannot allow one of the world’s most murderous dictators to provide terrorists a sanctuary in Iraq” — was followed with a bullet point: “Saddam Hussein: A Global Threat.”

The investigative piece by the Times said the project “continues to this day,” seeking to “exploit ideological and military allegiances, and also a powerful financial dynamic: Most of the analysts have ties to military contractors vested in the very war policies they are asked to assess on air.”

“Records and interviews show how the Bush administration has used its control over access and information in an effort to transform the analysts into a kind of media Trojan horse — an instrument intended to shape terrorism coverage from inside the major TV and radio networks.” It would be hard to overstate the implications of such a program, particularly for a country that claims to be a beacon of democracy.

Although the Pentagon was said to have suspended its PR briefings of retired military officials shortly after the Times story broke, since claiming that its inspector general is conducting an investigation, in reality there has been precious little fallout. However, in one promising move, earlier this month, the Federal Communications Commission sent five letters of inquiry to TV military analysts in an apparent probing of the program. According to one report, “at issue is that some of them were also linked to Pentagon contracts, raising the issue of conflict of interest. In its letter signed by the chief of the investigations and hearings division enforcement bureau, the FCC suggests that TV stations and networks may have violated two sections of the Communications Act of 1934 by not identifying the ties to the Pentagon that their military analysts had.” Diane Farsetta at PR Watch, who has written extensively on the Pentagon’s pundits, particularly their work on behalf of defense contractors, says, “the good news is that that’s (a first) step toward conducting an investigation.”

Profiting off the “War of Ideas”

Beyond the Pentagon’s pundit “scandal,” the fact that propaganda contracts continue to be awarded to the very companies that have previously been implicated in ethical breaches for disseminating unattributed U.S. propaganda abroad is reason enough to renew alarm. More than the dollar amount, what is outrageous to Farsetta about the most recent propaganda contract is that it is “blatantly illegal.” “If you look at this most recent contract,” she explains, “one of the ‘strategic audiences’ is U.S. audiences.” According to federal law going back to World War II, she says “no taxpayer money can go to propagandize U.S. audiences.”

The Washington Post story describes the contract as the latest in a series of cutting-edge PR initiatives undertaken since 2003 that represent a revolution in what it calls “the military’s role in the war of ideas.” “Iraq, where hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent on such contracts, has been the proving ground for the transformation.”

“The tools they’re using, the means, the robustness of this activity has just skyrocketed since 2003. In the past, a lot of this stuff was just some guy’s dreams,'” said a senior U.S. military official, one of several who discussed the sensitive defense program on the condition of anonymity.

The Pentagon still sometimes feels it is playing catch-up in a propaganda market dominated by al Qaeda, whose media operations include sophisticated Web sites and professionally produced videos and audios featuring Osama bin Laden and his lieutenants. “We’re being out-communicated by a guy in a cave,” Secretary Robert M. Gates often remarks.

The new contract was awarded to four companies, most of whom Farsetta refers to as “the usual suspects,” including Lincoln Group, the Pennsylvania Avenue company that in 2005 was found to have planted articles written by U.S. military officials in Iraqi newspapers without attribution. (Although the group was cleared of any illegalities, even then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld recognized the potential breach, remarking, “Gee, that’s not what we ought to be doing.”

Selling the War to Iraqis

The main target audience for the $300 million contract is Iraqis. But, different from earlier propaganda efforts, the content is not simply meant to convince them of the noble intentions of their American occupiers. “Originally, the major focus was all about the U.S.,” says Farsetta. “The message then was, ‘Hey, you’re free now,’ but over time it has shifted to more ‘make sure you support your own government, your own police.'”

Indeed, the Washington Post quoted an unnamed official who described one component of the program:

“There’s a video piece produced by a contractor showing a family being attacked by a group of bad guys, and their daughter being taken off. The message is: You’ve got to stand up against the enemy.” The professionally produced vignette, he said, “is offered for airing on various (television) stations in Iraq. They don’t know that the originator of the content is the U.S. government. If they did, they would never run anything.

“If you asked most Iraqis,” he said, “they would say, ‘It came from the government, our own government.'”

A pretty blunt admission, to be sure, and one that lays bare the dubious ethical nature of the program (not to mention the extent that the military recognizes Iraqis’ antipathy for the U.S. government). But it’s not the first time the U.S. government has sought to play hand puppet with Iraqi media. Last spring, the NSA obtained and made public a document, along with a PowerPoint presentation, that revealed the Pentagon’s plans in the run-up to the war to create a “Rapid Reaction Media Team.” Jim Lobe, D.C. bureau chief of InterPress Services, covered the revelation in May 2007; as he wrote, the proposal was for a “six-month, $51 million budget for the RRMT operation, apparently the first phase in a one- to two-year ‘strategic information campaign'”:

Among other items, the budget called for the hiring of two U.S. ”media consultants” who were to be paid $140,000 each for six months’ work. A further $800,000 were to be paid for six Iraqi “media consultants” over the same period.

Both the paper and the slide presentation were prepared by two Pentagon offices — Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict, which, among other things, specialize in psychological warfare, and the Office of Special Plans under then undersecretary of defense for policy, Douglas Feith — in mid-January, 2003, two months before the invasion, according to NSA analyst Joyce Battle.

”The RRMT concept focuses on USG-UK pre- and post-hostilities efforts to develop programming, train talent, and rapidly deploy a team of U.S./UK media experts with a team of ‘hand selected’ Iraqi media experts to communicate immediately with the Iraqi public opinion upon liberation of Iraq,” according to the paper.

The ”hand-picked” Iraqi experts, according to the paper, would provide planning and program guidance for the U.S. experts and help ”select and train the Iraqi broadcasters and publishers (‘the face’) for the USG/coalition sponsored information effort.” USG is an abbreviation for U.S. government.

In a rather extraordinary quote, the document boasted, ”It will be as if, after another day of deadly agit-prop, the North Korean people turned off their TVs at night, and turned them on in the morning to find the rich fare of South Korean TV spread before them as their very own.”

Circumventing Congress

In the United States, few lawmakers have had a chance to scrutinize this latest deployment of public funds for propaganda. (Like so many other contracts awarded to private defense corporations, this one was awarded with no Congressional approval.) But Webb’s letter to Defense Secretary Robert Gates suggests that it could become an issue.

At a time when this country is facing such a grave economic crisis, and at a time when the government of Iraq now shows at least a $79 billion surplus from recent oil revenues, in my view it makes little sense for the U.S. Department of Defense to be spending hundreds of millions of dollars to propagandize the Iraqi people. There is now an elected government in Iraq, which is recognized to have the power and authority to negotiate a long-term security agreement with the government of the United States. Clearly that government is capable, both politically and financially, of communicating with its own people in the manner now contemplated by these DOD contracts — and without being accused by adversaries of being a foreign government that is fulminating internal conditions through propaganda.

Laudable as his efforts to reign in contractors may be — much of Webb’s letter was devoted to military contractors more generally, and Blackwater specifically — his letter made no mention of the myriad ethical questions raised by the propaganda contract. To name a few, says Farsetta, “the fact that the media produced is overwhelmingly not attributed to the U.S. government;” “the fact that one of the ‘strategic audiences’ listed in the contract is ‘U.S. audiences,’ in apparent violation of U.S. law;” and “the difficulties in holding private contractors operating in war zones accountable to any standard (ethical, performance or otherwise).”

Webb, who first learned about this contract as did most Americans, from the Washington Post, has called for a thorough review of the Pentagon’s “strategic communications” initiatives, including Congressional hearings.” Were this to happen, says Farsetta, “I would love for those hearings to include representatives from foreign governments and civil society groups where the U.S. has major propaganda operations, including Iraq and Afghanistan. The heads of firms like the Lincoln Group, L-3 and Rendon should also testify, under oath.”

But, she says, “What really bothers me is that Webb’s using the “we’ve given Iraq so much and now it’s time for them to step up” argument. That argument never fails to amaze and anger me. We bombed them in 1991, then for more than a decade placed them under such devastating sanctions that hundreds of thousands of children died, then bombed them more ferociously over a longer period of time. Yet some politicians have the gall to complain that the Iraqis aren’t doing enough now? That’s not to mention that the argument assumes that Iraqi leaders have the same priorities as U.S. officials. Personally, I say we need to get our propaganda and troops out of Iraq and pay them reparations.”

New Scientist:

When he analysed the speeches of John McCain, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, he found that even though the speeches were rehearsed, written by professionals and delivered by trained speakers, there were discernable differences between them. “It’s clear that the speeches are still highly individualised,” says Skillicorn. “This makes sense as the speeches have to, in some manner, reflect the speaker’s own voice and opinions. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be able to deliver them convincingly.”

Additionally, he says, little details count: pronouns such as “we” and “I” are often substituted subconsciously, no matter what is written in the script.

Each of the candidates had made speeches containing very high and very low levels of spin, according to Skillicorn’s program, depending on the occasion. In general though, Obama’s speeches contain considerably higher spin than either McCain or Clinton. For example, for their speeches accepting their party’s nomination for president, Obama’s speech scored a spin value of 6.7 – where 0 is the average level of spin within all the political speeches analysed, and positive values represent higher spin. In contrast, McCain’s speech scored -7.58, while Hillary Clinton’s speech at the Democratic National Convention scored 0.15. Skillicorn also found that Sarah Palin’s speeches contain slightly more spin than average.

So the analysis appears to back up McCain’s claim that he is a “straight talker”. However, for the purposes of political speech-making this may not be an entirely good thing for him. “Obama uses spin in his speeches very well,” says Skillicorn. For example, Obama’s spin level skyrockets when facing problems in the press, such as when Jeremiah Wright, the reverend of his former church, made controversial comments to the press.

“When you see these crises come along, the spin goes up,” Skillicorn says. “Obama is very good at using stirring rhetoric to deal with the issues. And it seems to work if you look at what happens in the polls afterwards.”

McCain does not seem as adept at using spin to his advantage, and his “straight talk” can make his speeches fall flat from a motivational point of view, according to Branka Zei Pollermann, founder of the Vox Institute in Geneva, Switzerland, who has analysed the candidates’ voices for communication consultants Clearwater Advisors, based in London.

“The voice analysis profile for McCain looks very much like someone who is clinically depressed,” says Pollermann, a psychologist who uses voice analysis software in her work with patients. Previous research on mirror neurons has shown that listening to depressed voices can make others feel depressed themselves, she says.

READ MORE

WSJ Market Watch:

COLUMBUS, Ohio, Sept 17, 2008 /PRNewswire-USNewswire via COMTEX/ — America’s Army Technology Used to Develop Educational Modules in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics
The U.S. Army and Project Lead The Way Inc. today announced a partnership to enhance student curriculum by using a variety of Army technologies to promote student interest in the engineering and technical fields. The partnership between U.S. Army’s America’s Army team, the 3D Recruiting Brigade, the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center (AMRDEC), the Ohio Department of Education (DOE) and Project Lead the Way Inc. (PLTW) will incorporate Army technology, gaming and simulation resources to enhance student achievement in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
The platform for the new curriculum is the America’s Army PC game, a free online game that provides civilians with a virtual role in the U.S. Army by introducing them to Army technologies, Rules of Engagement, training and missions. Used as a communications tool, the game has also been adapted for use within the military to produce effective and engaging virtual environments that enhance Soldier training in a number of areas including force protection, convoy survivability and nuclear, chemical and biological detection.
“The U.S. Army is committed to educating today’s youth. We are honored to work with Project Lead The Way to employ our technologies to allow students to explore critical subjects like math, engineering and the sciences in an innovative and hands-on manner,” said Col. Casey Wardynski, project originator and director of the America’s Army game project. “Encouraging our youth to develop expertise in science and engineering is imperative. The America’s Army Technology Education program provides a unique offering by combining the power of gaming and simulations with real life equipment to create a compelling academic program.”
Utilizing the gaming platform, PLTW, Ohio DOE and the America’s Army team have developed a number of applications which will be implemented over the coming year to enhance PLTW’s engineering curriculum, currently implemented in 3,000 middle schools and high schools nationwide. The first educational module will be incorporated into the PLTW Principles of Engineering course. Students will use the America’s Army gaming technology to explore kinematics in a ballistics project. They will be able to test the accuracy of their calculations in the virtual environment to observe how different variables such as displacement, time, velocity and elevation angles affect the principles of engineering. They will be able to visualize a parabola trajectory and calculate the varied velocities, ranges, and angles of their device within the game. Students will also be able to ‘drive’ a vehicle around a virtual obstacle course as well as perform a virtual helicopter drop and determine how various factors will affect the physics of the activity.
SOURCE U.S. Army
SEE ALSO:

AP:

In an address last June, the Republican vice presidential candidate also urged ministry students to pray for a plan to build a $30 billion natural gas pipeline in the state, calling it “God’s will.”

“Our national leaders are sending them out on a task that is from God,” she said. “That’s what we have to make sure that we’re praying for, that there is a plan and that plan is God’s plan.”

“God’s will has to be done in unifying people and companies to get that gas line built, so pray for that,” she said.

Business Week:

We are a nation at war and in many [ways] the reasons for war are fights over energy sources, which is nonsensical when you consider that domestically we have the supplies ready to go.

This all begs the question: was she actually referring to the ‘God of Abraham’, or was she referring to George W. Bush?

Her influences from that church are also worth noting.

Byzantine Blog:

fooling-the-world2.gif
This photo was first published by the Reuters as an image of a “dead woman being carried by the Georgian soldiers from the town of Gori”. But this “dead woman”, incredibly, is clutching the nurse’s arm.

fooling-the-world1.gif
This man exhibiting rage and grief happens to sit in the exact same place where the earlier picture was taken: the same pile of garbage is behind his back and scraps of metal from the picture of a “dead” woman being ‘rescued’ are lying around like in the earlier photo — plus some, additional, unidentified scraps of metal. What are these supposed to represent?

Fighting Dirty: Pictures to Provoke Hatred and More Suffering

Remember the image of an emaciated Bosnian Muslim allegedly caged behind “Serb barbed wire”, in a “Serb concentration camp” Trnopolje? The fake photo filmed by a British news team became a worldwide symbol of the war in Bosnia. Even after it was proven that the “prisoner” wasn’t a prisoner to begin with, and was filmed outside the gate, part of which had barbed wire, this picture had still continued to be proudly exhibited all over the world to this day as the “evidence” that Serbs ran the “concentration camps” in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Even the Hague tribunal’s web site carries this fake image on its home page, offering another demonstration of its patent bias and voluntary blindness, a willful disregard for the facts and truth in all forms.

CONTINUE READING

Also check out Danger Room’s post covering their attempts at questioning the media outlets responsible.