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The U.S. Is Abandoning Democracy, Becoming an Aristocracy Instead Washington’s Blog

The U.S. Is Abandoning Democracy, Becoming an Aristocracy Instead Washington’s Blog.

Preface by Washington’s Blog: Given that the 2016 election might be yet another Clinton versus yet another Bush, we certainly do have an aristocracy in America.

-By Eric Zuesse:

Each country is either an aristocracy, ruled by hereditary wealth and status; or else a democracy, ruled by the public or “demos” (without hereditary wealth or status being a major factor deciding a person’s success).

It’s either one, or the other — or somewhere between those two political poles.

The American Revolution was waged against aristocracy (which was the longstanding system), who happened to consist of British aristocrats. The American Revolutionists fought to establish a democracy instead. They did this, though democracy had never before existed (except in very limited form, in very small places, such as ancient Athens, and even there only briefly).

Thus, the American Revolution was a truly revolutionary “revolution,” unlike any before it.

Not only was hereditary status banned by the Constitution (in Article I, Section 9, Clause 8), but wealth itself was removed from political power. A property qualification (a requirement that one must own a certain amount of wealth), for the right to vote, was rejected by the members of the Constitutional Convention in 1787, even though a few members there had wanted such a requirement. However, even the few who did want that, such as Gouverneur Morris, said they wanted a property qualification only in order to prevent an aristocracy in this country; not to start a new one here. That’s how unified against aristocracy they were. Everyone agreed: aristocracy must be avoided.

On 7 August 1787, Morris said to the Convention, “Give the votes to people who have no property, and they will sell them to the rich who will be able to buy them.” James Madison’s record of the Convention went on to say of his speech: “He had long learned not to be the dupe of words. The sound of [the word] Aristocracy therefore had no effect on him. It was the thing, not the name, to which he was opposed, and one of his principal objections to the Constitution as it is now before us, is that it threatens this Country with an Aristocracy.”

But, anyway, Morris’s proposal, for a property-qualification for the right to vote, was voted down.

Madison then gave a speech himself, saying: “The right of suffrage is certainly one of the fundamental articles of republican Government, and ought not to be left to be regulated by the Legislature. A gradual abridgment of this right has been the mode in which Aristocracies have been built on the ruins of popular forms.” Those words could be said by today’s Democrats, against certain proposals by today’s Republicans. But these words were said then by the man who drafted the U.S. Constitution. Today’s Republicans should blush, as supporters of (what the Founders would have viewed as) traitorism: a violation of what this country is fundamentally about.

Everybody at the Constitutional Convention was an enemy to aristocracy; all of them were democrats (small-“D”).

No policy-position is as anti-democratic as is the proposal to eliminate estate taxes — taxes on estates (inheritances) that are very large. The reason is that inheritances are the foundation for any aristocracy. Even the idea or concept of inherited wealth or status is anathema to democracy — a virtual invitationto aristocracy. America’s Founders waged the Revolutionary War to destroy aristocracy here; and that’s the reason why the U.S. Constitution prohibited it, in the only way they knew how (at that time).

Inheritance of a small amount from one’s parents — only enough to give a child a modest boost (yet, still, children of the poor don’t get such a boost) — can be debated by supporters of democracy; but large inheritances must be taxed very heavily, if the concept of democracy is to be meaningful at all.

If inherited wealth or status is permitted, then democracy is doomed: wealth and power will become more concentrated with each successive generation.

However, today’s U.S. has eliminated taxes on all estates below $5 million, and has lowered the taxation-rate on large estates. This means that some babies enter this world with more money than the average American draws as income throughout his or her entire lifetime. Other children are born with little or nothing, and must go into debt in order merely to survive. Their children suffer even worse. Then their wages are garnisheed to pay those debts. Serfdom emerges and spreads.

That’s not the only sign of democracy dying in America. Other signs are more subtle. For example:

On 13 March 2014, Robbie Couch at Huffington Post headlined “Chelsea Clinton Tells SXSW That She’s ‘Obsessed With Diarrhea’ — For a Great Reason,” and showed video of this U.S. princess, daughter of a former President, saying, “I’m obsessed with diarrhea” because “I find the fact that 750,000 children still die every year around the world because of severe dehydration due to diarrhea unacceptable.” Reader-comments following this report did not object to the star-system that has taken over in our country and that propelled her upwards, the system that causes a person of no remarkable abilities (such as this princess) to have news-media flocking to her, and reporting every self-promotion that issues from her (so that not only the ex-President’s wife, but also their daughter, will inherit the dynasty-founder’s public attention), while far-more-capable actual experts on the given subject receive no such hereditary advantage, and are ignored by star-struck media.

Chelsea’s parents are centi-millionaires because, due to Bill Clinton’s (earned) Presidency, they receive (unmerited) enormous speaking fees, of hundreds of thousands of dollars for each speech they give at closed-to-the-press meetings at Goldman Sachs, etc., fundraising for themselves or their political campaigns, plus favored access to investment information, and other such advantages that are typical for aristocrats and that cause inequality of wealth to be soaring in this country — as it now is soaring.

Chelsea Clinton’s paparazzi press constitutes a sign of America’s descending into aristocracy.

But, instead of democratic revulsion against it, the reader-comments to this news-story were like this:

“Hillary 2016 and Chelsea in 2024!!!!”

“goodonya Chelsea!!!!”

“Look at the great genes she has…..smart, smarter & smartest…..U GO GIRL!!!”

“She really is a cutie. More importantly, she is a smart cookie.”

She hadn’t said anything noteworthy, but people were praising her as if she had.

Latching onto a charitable cause, in order to promote oneself, is both good and bad: it is good if the person is especially well-qualified to talk about the subject (which Chelsea Clinton wasn’t), or else is especially articulate and persuasive in making the case (which Chelsea also wasn’t), or else doesn’t easily get sidetracked onto other topics (such as tacos, as Chelsea was — and a quick goodbye to the cause of opposing diarrhea — for which, it turns out, she wasn’t even fundraising).

There are millions of people who can make a case more informatively than Chelsea, or more persuasively, or with fewer of “uh” and “um” and repeated, stumbled, words. But those other people aren’t aristocrats, as Chelsea Clinton is.

And, so, since this country is degenerating from a democracy into an aristocracy, our “news” media become more and more focused on less and less qualified “stars” such as she. Competency is no longer rewarded with success. And incompetency increasingly is. Not only the body-politic, but the economy, thus head downhill.

This is becoming a “whom do you know” country, no longer a “what do you know” one — much less a “what can you do” economy.

Democracy in the U.S. is dying, and those are just some signs of the broader trend toward a rule by aristocrats, otherwise called “plutocracy,” which inevitably means, in fact, rule by thieves, stealing from the masses to enrich the classes: kleptocracy. Because inherited wealth or status is stolen from everyone else, not earned in fair competition.

This is the new welfare program for the super-rich. It’s Robin Hood in reverse. And it is profoundly un-American.

It is even anti-American, in the sense that America’s Founders had waged war against rule by aristocrats. But today’s Americans accept it.

———-

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

The U.S. Is Abandoning Democracy, Becoming an Aristocracy Instead Washington's Blog

The U.S. Is Abandoning Democracy, Becoming an Aristocracy Instead Washington’s Blog.

Preface by Washington’s Blog: Given that the 2016 election might be yet another Clinton versus yet another Bush, we certainly do have an aristocracy in America.

-By Eric Zuesse:

Each country is either an aristocracy, ruled by hereditary wealth and status; or else a democracy, ruled by the public or “demos” (without hereditary wealth or status being a major factor deciding a person’s success).

It’s either one, or the other — or somewhere between those two political poles.

The American Revolution was waged against aristocracy (which was the longstanding system), who happened to consist of British aristocrats. The American Revolutionists fought to establish a democracy instead. They did this, though democracy had never before existed (except in very limited form, in very small places, such as ancient Athens, and even there only briefly).

Thus, the American Revolution was a truly revolutionary “revolution,” unlike any before it.

Not only was hereditary status banned by the Constitution (in Article I, Section 9, Clause 8), but wealth itself was removed from political power. A property qualification (a requirement that one must own a certain amount of wealth), for the right to vote, was rejected by the members of the Constitutional Convention in 1787, even though a few members there had wanted such a requirement. However, even the few who did want that, such as Gouverneur Morris, said they wanted a property qualification only in order to prevent an aristocracy in this country; not to start a new one here. That’s how unified against aristocracy they were. Everyone agreed: aristocracy must be avoided.

On 7 August 1787, Morris said to the Convention, “Give the votes to people who have no property, and they will sell them to the rich who will be able to buy them.” James Madison’s record of the Convention went on to say of his speech: “He had long learned not to be the dupe of words. The sound of [the word] Aristocracy therefore had no effect on him. It was the thing, not the name, to which he was opposed, and one of his principal objections to the Constitution as it is now before us, is that it threatens this Country with an Aristocracy.”

But, anyway, Morris’s proposal, for a property-qualification for the right to vote, was voted down.

Madison then gave a speech himself, saying: “The right of suffrage is certainly one of the fundamental articles of republican Government, and ought not to be left to be regulated by the Legislature. A gradual abridgment of this right has been the mode in which Aristocracies have been built on the ruins of popular forms.” Those words could be said by today’s Democrats, against certain proposals by today’s Republicans. But these words were said then by the man who drafted the U.S. Constitution. Today’s Republicans should blush, as supporters of (what the Founders would have viewed as) traitorism: a violation of what this country is fundamentally about.

Everybody at the Constitutional Convention was an enemy to aristocracy; all of them were democrats (small-“D”).

No policy-position is as anti-democratic as is the proposal to eliminate estate taxes — taxes on estates (inheritances) that are very large. The reason is that inheritances are the foundation for any aristocracy. Even the idea or concept of inherited wealth or status is anathema to democracy — a virtual invitationto aristocracy. America’s Founders waged the Revolutionary War to destroy aristocracy here; and that’s the reason why the U.S. Constitution prohibited it, in the only way they knew how (at that time).

Inheritance of a small amount from one’s parents — only enough to give a child a modest boost (yet, still, children of the poor don’t get such a boost) — can be debated by supporters of democracy; but large inheritances must be taxed very heavily, if the concept of democracy is to be meaningful at all.

If inherited wealth or status is permitted, then democracy is doomed: wealth and power will become more concentrated with each successive generation.

However, today’s U.S. has eliminated taxes on all estates below $5 million, and has lowered the taxation-rate on large estates. This means that some babies enter this world with more money than the average American draws as income throughout his or her entire lifetime. Other children are born with little or nothing, and must go into debt in order merely to survive. Their children suffer even worse. Then their wages are garnisheed to pay those debts. Serfdom emerges and spreads.

That’s not the only sign of democracy dying in America. Other signs are more subtle. For example:

On 13 March 2014, Robbie Couch at Huffington Post headlined “Chelsea Clinton Tells SXSW That She’s ‘Obsessed With Diarrhea’ — For a Great Reason,” and showed video of this U.S. princess, daughter of a former President, saying, “I’m obsessed with diarrhea” because “I find the fact that 750,000 children still die every year around the world because of severe dehydration due to diarrhea unacceptable.” Reader-comments following this report did not object to the star-system that has taken over in our country and that propelled her upwards, the system that causes a person of no remarkable abilities (such as this princess) to have news-media flocking to her, and reporting every self-promotion that issues from her (so that not only the ex-President’s wife, but also their daughter, will inherit the dynasty-founder’s public attention), while far-more-capable actual experts on the given subject receive no such hereditary advantage, and are ignored by star-struck media.

Chelsea’s parents are centi-millionaires because, due to Bill Clinton’s (earned) Presidency, they receive (unmerited) enormous speaking fees, of hundreds of thousands of dollars for each speech they give at closed-to-the-press meetings at Goldman Sachs, etc., fundraising for themselves or their political campaigns, plus favored access to investment information, and other such advantages that are typical for aristocrats and that cause inequality of wealth to be soaring in this country — as it now is soaring.

Chelsea Clinton’s paparazzi press constitutes a sign of America’s descending into aristocracy.

But, instead of democratic revulsion against it, the reader-comments to this news-story were like this:

“Hillary 2016 and Chelsea in 2024!!!!”

“goodonya Chelsea!!!!”

“Look at the great genes she has…..smart, smarter & smartest…..U GO GIRL!!!”

“She really is a cutie. More importantly, she is a smart cookie.”

She hadn’t said anything noteworthy, but people were praising her as if she had.

Latching onto a charitable cause, in order to promote oneself, is both good and bad: it is good if the person is especially well-qualified to talk about the subject (which Chelsea Clinton wasn’t), or else is especially articulate and persuasive in making the case (which Chelsea also wasn’t), or else doesn’t easily get sidetracked onto other topics (such as tacos, as Chelsea was — and a quick goodbye to the cause of opposing diarrhea — for which, it turns out, she wasn’t even fundraising).

There are millions of people who can make a case more informatively than Chelsea, or more persuasively, or with fewer of “uh” and “um” and repeated, stumbled, words. But those other people aren’t aristocrats, as Chelsea Clinton is.

And, so, since this country is degenerating from a democracy into an aristocracy, our “news” media become more and more focused on less and less qualified “stars” such as she. Competency is no longer rewarded with success. And incompetency increasingly is. Not only the body-politic, but the economy, thus head downhill.

This is becoming a “whom do you know” country, no longer a “what do you know” one — much less a “what can you do” economy.

Democracy in the U.S. is dying, and those are just some signs of the broader trend toward a rule by aristocrats, otherwise called “plutocracy,” which inevitably means, in fact, rule by thieves, stealing from the masses to enrich the classes: kleptocracy. Because inherited wealth or status is stolen from everyone else, not earned in fair competition.

This is the new welfare program for the super-rich. It’s Robin Hood in reverse. And it is profoundly un-American.

It is even anti-American, in the sense that America’s Founders had waged war against rule by aristocrats. But today’s Americans accept it.

———-

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

U.S. “Special Plans”: A History of Deception and Perception Management | Global Research

U.S. “Special Plans”: A History of Deception and Perception Management | Global Research.

Global Research, February 21, 2014
weapons_of_mass_deception-293x307

A major controversy during the administration of President George W. Bush concerned the use or misuse of intelligence with regard to Iraqi weapons of mass destruction programs and possible links between Iraq and al-Qaida. The best known elements of that controversy were Iraqi motivations behind the procurement of aluminum tubes, whether Iraq had sought to acquire uranium from Niger, if Iraq was seeking to reconstitute its nuclear weapons program, and whether it was producing and stockpiling chemical or biological weapons.

But another aspect of that controversy involved two components of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy — the Office of Special Plans and the Policy Counterterrorism Evaluation Group (PCTEG). During the Bush administration, and after, there have been numerous accounts that either confused the functions of those offices or attributed actions to them that they never undertook.

Photo: Under Secretary of Defense Douglas Feith.

One potential cause for confusion is that the term “Special Plans” has been a euphemism for deception since World War II, and for ‘perception management’ (which included deception and ‘truth projection’) since at least the mid-1970s. And during the George W. Bush administration the term apparently had a dual use — as a traditional euphemism (for perception management) as well as a temporary title for planning with regard to Iraq, Iran, and counterterrorism.1

Clearing up the confusion requires an examination of four different classes of documents — those concerning deception and special plans prior to the Ronald Reagan administration, those focusing on special plans during the Reagan administration, those related to the Office of Special Plans under Under Secretary of Defense Douglas Feith, and others focusing on the PCTEG.

Deception & Special Plans, 1946-1980

As noted, the term Special Plans was used as a euphemism for deception going back to at least World War II. In March 1944, General Omar Bradley, commander of the U.S. 12th Army Group, established a Special Plans section to “prepare and implement deception and cover plans for all United States forces in the United Kingdom.” Post-war use of the term is illustrated by the existence, in December 1948, of the Special Plans Section of the Strategy Branch of Headquarters U.S. Air Force.2


Memorandum to the assistant chiefs of the Air Staff. Document 4.

Over two years earlier, in the summer of 1946, the absence of organizations to conduct cover and deception operations was the subject of several War Department memos. A Top Secret July 5, 1946 memo (Document 1)from the Office of the Chief of Staff assigned responsibility for the supervision of War Department cover and deception matters to the Director of Plans and Operations. Three days later, the department’s Adjutant General directed (Document 2) that the commanding general of the Army Ground Forces manage tactical deception activities — that is deception during battle, and those which might involve radio, sonic, or camouflage deception.

Two further memos from the same period of time addressed the issue of establishing a cover and deception organization for the Army Air Forces (AAF). A memo (Document 3) from the assistant chief of the air staff for intelligence notes the role of cover and deception in World War II, the absence of an organization to conduct such activities, and the need to establish one. He also suggests roles that the assorted AAF assistant chiefs might play in cover and deception operations. Another memo (Document 4) directed creation of an AAF cover and deception organization — although it is not clear what further action, if any, was taken.

A document from three decades later, a Secret September 28, 1976, memo (Document 5) from the director of naval intelligence to the acting chairman of the “United States Evaluation Board,” indicates that the board was involved in managing deception operations. The main subject of the memo was whether information requested by the board was “within the purview of the USEB.” Other parts of the memo note that the board was established for cover and deception purposes and that one of its roles was processing “feed material” — information or documents — to be transmitted to target nations via controlled foreign agents (CFAs) or double agents (DAs).

In August 1980 the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) entry (Document 13) in the Department of Defense telephone directory indicated the existence of a Special Plans Branch within the Joint Staff’s Special Operation Division. A page from the 1980 JCS organization and functions manual (Document 6) indicated that the term “Special Plans” was equivalent to “perception management,” while not explaining that perception management consisted of two distinct and opposite activities — deception and ‘truth projection.’ Not surprisingly, consideration of various attempts at perception management were viewed as part of the U.S. response to the seizure of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and its employees in November 1979.3

Examples of work concerning perception management with regard to Iran include a number of declassified memos or reports produced in 1980. One of those memos, “Perception Management: Iran” (Document 7), after stating its purpose and providing background, specifies its assumptions (e.g. “the principal decision makers who can authorize release of US citizens held in Iran are the Ayotallah Khomeini and/or the terrorists holding the prisoners”) and then goes on to specify 12 possible means of perception management. Those means included radio broadcasts using U.S.-owned transmitters, intrusion into Iranian radio communications frequencies, letter-writing campaigns, and the demonstration of military capabilities.

A more detailed product relating to the hostages (Document 8ADocument 8B), which emanated from the Army’s 4th Psychological Operations Group, examined the target audience and stated themes, assessed effectiveness, examined accessibility, and offered conclusions. Those conclusions asserted that the “most lucrative target audience” were Khomeini loyalists and other religious devotees. The most productive themes with respect to Khomeini and his followers would be those “emphasizing dangers posed to the Islamic revolution by prolongation of the embassy crisis.”

Work on perception management with regard to Iran also included production of a series of background option papers, including one (Document 10) on “interim non-violent options.” Those options included starting a rumor campaign that some hostages had been killed or kidnapped (as prelude to calling for accountability by the “IRC” — presumably the Iranian Revolutionary Council), dropping leaflets stating the case for release of hostages and restatement of U.S. military capability, interdiction of the Tehran power grid, probes of Iranian air space, and an overflight of Iran using the supersonic SR-71. The overflight might include “detonation of photo flash over selected Iranian military, government, and Industrial facilities.”

A June 1980 paper (Document 12) discussed possible psychological operations in support of Project SNOWBIRD — the planning and preparation by a joint task force for a second mission to rescue the U.S. hostages in Tehran. Included among the possible operations were deceptive “small actions and communications” to suggest that the United States was beginning to have second thoughts about employing military force. In addition, the memo stated that some of the proposed actions “are on very tenuous legal ground.”

Central Intelligence Agency, “DCI’s Schedule for Wednesday, 8 April 1981.” From Document 14.

Special Plans & Deception, 1981-1990

The DoD telephone directory and JCS organization and functions manual from 1980 provided documentary evidence that by the end of the administration of Jimmy Carter special plans was considered of sufficient importance to have a component of the Joint Staff dedicated to that activity. (According to one former officer in that division, a special plans branch had existed for several years when he joined the division in 1978.)

But the interest in strategic deception and special plans would be raised to another level in the administration of Carter’s successor, Ronald Reagan. One element of that concern was what the Soviet Union was doing to deceive or hide from U.S. intelligence — a concern that led to support for at least two satellite programs, a radar imagery program (LACROSSE) and a stealth imagery satellite (MISTY).4

Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) William J. Casey.

Very early in the Reagan administration, Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) William J. Casey was briefed on the “US strategic deception program” (Document 14). Among those briefing Casey were General Richard Stilwell, the deputy under secretary of defense for policy review, and Lt. Gen. Philip Gast, the director of operations for the Joint Staff. Possibly it was another briefing on the same subject later that month to acting CIA deputy director of operations John Stein, that led Stein to write Casey (Document 15) reporting that he had told Stilwell and General Eugene Tighe, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, that he believed “the project worthwhile and long needed” and that he “offered to them full support from the directorate.”

A year later, in April 1982, Stein, who by then had had the ‘acting’ removed from his title, received a letter (Document 16) from Major General E.R. Thompson, former Army assistant chief of staff for intelligence. The letter indicated that Thompson was director of the Defense Special Plans Office (DSPO), and informed Stein that attached to the letter he would find the DSPO charter as well as an Operational Capabilities Tasking memorandum that Thompson had received from the DIA director. Beyond noting the enclosures, the letter informed Stein that the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence had reduced the office’s budget request to 20 persons and $1.6 million, which “will allow us to stay in business, but only in a planning mode.” Even worse for the future of the office, the House intelligence oversight committee had “zeroed out the request for FY 83″ — which Thompson attributed to the lack of a charter at the time and concern about the extent of CIA support for the effort. He also noted that the DCI would be receiving an appeal to support the SSCI recommendation at the Congressional authorization committee’s conference.

Photo right: General Richard G. Stilwell.

But whatever efforts the DoD and CIA made to ensure that DSPO continued in operation failed and failed fairly quickly — as indicated by the DoD’s response (Document 18) to a June 1983 Freedom of Information Act request for copies of “the organization chart and mission statement for the Defense Special Plans Office.” A letter from Charles Hinkle, the DoD’s director for Freedom of Information and Security Review, stated that “no record pertaining to [the] request was found and that ‘no such office’ exists.” He did attach a memorandum from DSPO sponsor Richard Stilwell to the director of the Washington Headquarters Service (WHS), which explained why there was “no such office.” It indicated that the DSPO charter had been the subject of two DoD Directives — one classified Confidential and the other classified Top Secret. Stilwell informed the WHS director that “the directives were charter documents establishing a DoD activity whose establishment subsequently was not authorized by Congress.” Stilwell recommended that “holders destroy them immediately.”

A second FOIA response (Document 19), received that fall by Scott Armstrong, then of theWashington Post, provided a bit of additional information about the sensitivity with which DoD viewed information about the office. Armstrong had submitted requests for records relating to the DSPO. Hinkle’s response stated that all relevant DoD documents relating to the office were classified. He also attached the same memo from Stilwell recommending that holders of the directives destroy them — as well as a somewhat more forceful cancellation notice from O.J. Williford, whose title was given as “Director, Correspondence and Directives.” Williford instructed, rather than recommended, with regard to the two DoD directives on DSPO, that receivers of the notice to “remove and destroy immediately all copies you have on file.”

Department of Defense Telephone Directory cover from document 20.

While DSPO did not survive into the winter of 1983, other Special Plans organizations in the Department of Defense continued to function. The department’s December 1983 telephone directory (Document 20) showed that, in addition to the previously noted Special Plans Branch in the Joint Staff Special Operations Division, there was a Special Plans Branch within the Human Resources Division of the Defense Intelligence Agency. Also telling is the fact that the two offices were located side-by-side in the Pentagon — in 2C840 (JCS) and 2C841 (DIA).5

Documents also allude to some of the product of the special plans effort in the Joint Staff — although in highly redacted form. In August 1985, the Joint Staff J-3 produced a Top Secret Report* by the J-3 to the Joint Chiefs of Staff on Special Plans Overview Guidance (Document 21). The only unredacted substantive portions from the original DoD FOIA response were several section titles indicating some of the objectives of possible perception management efforts, including “deterrence of US/Soviet Hostilities,” “crisis stability,”and “advantage in warfighting capability.” A recent request for a less-redacted copy of the document produced a ‘no records’ response.

The following year, press reports suggested two possible deception/perception management efforts by the United States. In October 1986, a front-page story in the Washington Post, written by Bob Woodward, stated that “in August the Reagan administration launched a secret and unusual campaign of deception designed to convince Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi that he was about to be attacked again by U.S. bombers and perhaps be ousted in a coup.” The objective was to increase Gadhafi’s anxiety about his internal strength and U.S. military power with the expectation that he would be less likely to undertake acts of terrorism and be more likely to be toppled from power. Several months earlier, in March, Aviation Week & Space Technology reported that the “Defense Dept., in conjunction with the Central Intelligence Agency, has initiated a disinformation program that it is applying to a number of its aircraft and weapons development programs to impede the transfer of accurate technological information to the Soviet Union.” The effort was reported to cover 15-20 programs, including the B-2 bomber, the Navy’s A-12 Avenger, aircraft being tested at Area 51, and the Strategic Defense Initiative.6

The topic of perception management with regard to strategic defense was the subject of an April 1987 memorandum (Document 23) from the Joint Staff director of operations to 20 different individuals, including the JCS chairman, military service chiefs of staff, the commanders of the unified commands, and the directors of the DIA and National Security Agency. Titled Special Plans Guidance – Strategic Defense, its few unredacted portions defined strategic defense as “all military matter and operations pertaining to the defense of the North American region, including activities involving Canada, against attack by aircraft, missiles, or space vehicles.” It also notes twelve broad areas which possibly warranted additional review when considering [term deleted but likely ‘perception management’] support of Strategic Defense.” Included among those areas were: surveillance and detection, recovery and reconstitution, hardening and survivability, and Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) resources.7

In 1994, the General Accounting Office (GAO) investigated whether a June 1984 Army ballistic missile defense test that had taken place after the establishment of SDI, had involved deception which may have suggested a more successful effort than had actually occurred. The GAO reported (Document 26) that there was a DoD deception program associated with the Homing Overlay Experiment — with the intention of affecting Soviet perceptions of U.S. ballistic missile defense capabilities and influencing arms negotiations and Soviet spending. However, the accounting office also reported that the secretary of defense said the planned deception (which would have involved the explosion of the target if the interceptor failed to hit it but passed sufficiently close to “support the appearance” of an interception) was cancelled prior to the test.

The Office of Special Plans, 2002 – 2003

Twenty years after the disestablishment of the nascent DSPO another special plans office would be at the center of controversy. This time it was the Office of Special Plans, established under Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith. In his memoir, War and Decision, Feith writes that in the summer of 2002, as “the President moved toward challenging Iraq in the United Nations, the Iraq-related workload in Policy became overwhelming.” The “Policy organization had only two staffers devoted full-time to Iraq,” but “this absurd situation was rectified with the creation of the team that became known as the Office of Special Plans.”8

Feith goes on to state that after he and William Luti, who headed the Near East and South Asia (NESA) office, had received permission to hire about an additional dozen people for that office, it became possible to create a distinct division in the office to handle northern Persian Gulf affairs. According to one account, the office was “given a nondescript name to purposely hide the fact that, although the administration was publicly emphasizing diplomacy at the United Nations, the Pentagon was actively engaged in war planning and postwar planning.”9

Feith, while agreeing on the desire to give the office an unrevealing name, explained the office’s title somewhat differently — “The President was emphasizing his desire for a diplomatic solution to the Iraq problem, but various journalists interpreted his intensified attention to Iraq as a sign that he had decided on war.” Bearing in mind a warning from Deputy National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley to administration officials “not to aggravate the problem” and since Feith and Luti “anticipated a flap” if the news media found out that the Pentagon had established a new Iraq office, they decided on an alternative designation for the new organization — Special Plans.10

Feith writes that “the Office of Special Plans was nothing more than a standard geographic office within the Policy organization, with the same kinds of responsibilities that every other geographic office in Policy had. It was simply the office of Northern Gulf Affairs — and indeed, after Saddam was overthrown, that became its name.” However, “although the name ‘Special Plans’ was intended to avert speculation, the two words eventually were taken by conspiracy theorists to imply deep and nefarious motives.”11

Douglas J. Feith, Undersecretary of Defense, For: Special Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for White House Liaison, Subject: Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Special Plans and Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs (SP/NESA), August 23, 2002. Unclassified. Document 27.

Released documentation on the creation and disestablishment of the Office of Special Plans begins with an August 23, 2002 memo (Document 27) from Feith to an assistant to the secretary of defense. In the memo Feith notes his expansion of the responsibilities of the deputy assistant secretary of defense for Near East and South Asian affairs “as a result of September 11th,” that he had established a “new Directorate for Special Plans in NESA,” and had requested that Luti be promoted to deputy under secretary of defense for special plans and Near East and South Asian affairs (within the Office of International Security Affairs). The deputy secretary of defense approved the request via a September 13, 2002 memo (Document 28), and a month later the department’s director of administration and management followed suit (Document 29). That approval covered both the creation of the new position and Luti’s reassignment to that position.

A description of Luti’s responsibilities were part of an undated document (Document 31) that ran a little over two single-spaced pages. The description, in accord with the desire to avoid press reaction, never specifies what was meant by the term ‘special plans,’ and notes the incumbent’s responsibility to support the department’s policy and ISA’s “in developing U.S. strategy for a wide-range of contingencies and assessing the adequacy of U.S. campaign planning to carry out the strategy.” It also noted the deputy under secretary’s role in planning and policy direction on ISA programs concerning all nations in the Middle East and South Asia.

Another undated document (Document 32), consisting of a cover page and three charts, provides a clearer description of the changes. The cover itself indicates that the Office of Special Plans was actually the Office of Special Plans and Near East and South Asia Affairs and its expansion was motivated by a need to “deal with Iran, Iraq, and War on Terrorism.” A chart shows that within the office was a “Director, Special Plans,” who was formerly the “Director, Northern Gulf.”

Products of the office include two briefing papers. One, focused on the pros and cons of a provisional government for Iraq (Document 29). Another (Document 34) concerned “Iraqi Opposition Strategy.” Among its key points were that “U.S.-led coalition forces will have the lead in liberated Iraq,” and that “Iraqis will initially have only an advisory role.” It noted disagreement with the State Department’s view that the external opposition should be treated differently from “newly-liberated Iraqis.”

In July 2003, as Feith noted, in the aftermath of the fall of the Saddam Hussein regime, the office’s name and its components were changed (Document 35). The term ‘special plans’ was removed and Luti’s title reverted to deputy under secretary of defense for Near Eastern and South Asian affairs while the director of special plans became the director for Northern Gulf affairs.

As Feith also observed, the office’s existence and purpose became the subject of numerous articles and papers – attention which continued during and after the office’s demise. Two of the earliest examples of that attention include a response from the department’s public affairs office (Document 33) to a series of questions from journalist Seymour Hersh — who was researching an article for The New Yorker that would be published in the May 12, 2003 issue under the title “Selective Intelligence” — and a June 4, 2003, Department of Defense press briefing (Document 35).12


Answers 1 through 8 from the Department of Defense. Document 33.

The DoD public affairs response (Document 33) consisted of answers to the 20 questions posed byThe New Yorker. The information in the response related to personnel strength, its basic mission and reason for the office’s creation, its role (or lack of) in intelligence production, whether the office had disputes over the validity of intelligence data with the CIA and State Department, the activities of specific individuals believed to be associated with the Special Plans unit, and whether Special Plans employees referred to themselves as “The Cabal.”

The DoD briefing (Document 35), which included participation from Feith and Luti, followed The New Yorker article and disputed several of its statements (thus, repeating some of the comments made in the DoD response to The New Yorker‘s questions). Among the assertions disputed by Feith was that the Special Plans unit was responsible for reviewing intelligence concerning terrorist organizations and their state sponsors. He stated, “it’s a policy planning office.” He also asserted that “the reports that were obtained from the debriefings of these Iraqi defectors were disseminated in the same way that other intelligence reporting was disseminated, contrary to one particular journalist account who suggested that the Special Plans Office became a conduit for intelligence reports from the Iraqi National Congress to the White House,” adding, “That’s just flatly not true.”13

Policy Counterterrorism, 2002-2003 and Beyond

In the DoD briefing (Document 35), Feith did not dispute that he formed a team to review intelligence concerning terrorist groups and their sponsors — just that it was not the Office of Special Plans.

During the briefing he told his audience that after September 11, he “identified a requirement to think through what it means for the Defense Department to be at war with a terrorist network.” Thus, he asked some people “to review the large amount of intelligence on terrorist networks, and to think through how the various terrorist organizations relate to each other and how they relate to different groups that support them; in particular, state sponsors. And we set up a small team to help digest the intelligence that already existed on this very broad subject. And the so-called cell comprised two full-time people.” He added that “I think it’s almost comical that people think that this was set up as somehow an alternative … to the intelligence community or the CIA.”14


Douglas J. Feith, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, Memorandum for Director, Defense Intelligence Agency, Subject: Request for Detail of Intelligence Analyst, December 5, 2001. Secret. Document 37.

As with the Office of Special Plans, there are a series of released memos depicting the origins of the intelligence review office. An apparently initial, undated (but no later than December 5, 2001), memorandum (Document 37) from Feith to Vice Adm. Thomas R. Wilson, the director of DIA, requested detail of an intelligence analyst. The memo noted that Feith had assigned “a number of intelligence-related duties to my Policy Support office,” that he had established “a small office … to assist in preparing specific sensitive intelligence requirements, and that the National Security Agency had supplied an intelligence specialist for a year. One anticipated aspect of the analyst’s duties, Feith notes, would be as “substantive liaison” to a DIA Iraqi “Red Cell.”15

That memo to Wilson did not assign a name to the “small office” — and referred to a two-person team established in October 2001 to examine the connections between terrorist groups and state sponsors. In his memoir, Feith wrote that “as the need for actionable intelligence became more apparent, I determined to get help in reviewing the intelligence that already existed on terrorist networks.” He further elaborated that “a vast quantity of intelligence reporting routinely landed on my desk, including ‘raw’ intelligence reports … It was my responsibility to make use of the reports and for this I needed staff assistance.” The two individuals Feith assigned to provide assistance were David Wurmser, a John Hopkins University Ph.D. and an intelligence officer in the Naval Reserve, and Michael Maloof, “a veteran Defense Department professional” who specialized in analyzing international criminal networks.16

The result of their work was a 154-slide presentation, Understanding the Strategic Threat of Terror Networks and their Sponsors — described in one account as a “sociometric diagram of the links between terrorist organizations and their supporters around the world.”17 Among the key observations, Feith informed Senator John Warner in June 2003 (Document 43A), was that “terrorist groups and their state sponsors often cooperated across ideological divides (secular vs. religious; Sunni vs. Shi’a) which some terrorism experts believed precluded cooperation.

By January 2002, both Wurmser and Maloof had left their positions. On January 22, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz sent a short memo to Feith titled “Iraqi Connections to Al Qaida,” that stated, “we don’t seem to be making much progress pulling together intelligence on links between Iraq and Al Qaida,” and added, “We owe SecDef some analysis of this subject.”18

On January 31, Peter W. Rodman, the assistant secretary of defense for international security, requested and received (Document 38) Feith’s approval — probably at Feith’s request — to establish a Policy Counter Terror Evaluation Group (PCTEG) “to conduct an independent analysis of the Al-Qaida terrorist network.”19 It specified four elements of PCTEG studies — studying al-Qaida’s worldwide organization (including its suppliers, its relations with States and with other terrorist organizations), identifying “chokepoints” in cooperation and coordination, identifying vulnerabilities, and recommending strategies to render the terrorist networks ineffective.

As recommended by Rodman, Feith signed a February 2, 2002, memo (Document 39) to DIA director Wilson informing him of the creation of a Policy Counter Terrorism Evaluation Group and what it would be doing. In addition, he asked for three individuals — two working for the DIA element that supported the Joint Staff – to be assigned to the group for 90 days. Approximately two weeks later, Wilson responded (Document 40), informing Feith that he could assign two of the three requested individuals to the evaluation group. While their names are deleted from Wilson’s response, numerous accounts identified one as Chris Carney, a naval reservist and subsequently a congressman (2007-2011).20

But even before Feith’s request for assistance, the PCTEG had produced an initial analysis of the links between al-Qaida and Iraq — according to a February 21, 2002, memo (Document 41) from Rodman to Feith. The memo told the deputy under secretary that a further analysis would follow in two weeks — and would include suggestions “on how to exploit the connection” between al-Qaida and Iraq and recommend strategies.


Douglas J. Feith, Under Secretary of Defense, to The Honorable John Warner, June 21, 2003. Unclassified. Document 43.

In a pair of June 21, 2003, letters (Document 43A,Document 43B) to Senate Armed Services Committee chairman John Warner and Rep. Jane Harman, Feith informed them that in the summer of 2002 the one remaining group member, along with an OSD staffer, produced a briefing, Assessing the Relationship between Iraq and al Qaida.21 It was first presented to the secretary of defense on August 8, and then, on August 15, DCI George Tenet and several other members of the CIA. A meeting between Feith’s representatives and Intelligence Community experts followed on August 20. In September, the briefing was presented to Stephen Hadley and I. Lewis Libby, chief of staff for the Office of the Vice President. Subsequently, Feith reported, the one-member team focused on “related issues, including work in support of the interrogation of al Qaida detainees,” until January 2003 when the final member of PCTEG departed.22

A “Key Questions” slide posed four questions which concerned the probability that there were contacts between Iraq and al Qaida; the probability that there was cooperation regarding such support functions as finances, expertise, training, and logistics; the probability that Iraq and al Qaida actually coordinated decisions or operations; and the probability that if a relationship existed, Iraq and al-Qaida could conceal its depth and characteristics from the United States.23

The only unclassified substantive slide from any of the briefings (Document 42) is titled “Fundamental Problems with How Intelligence Community is Assessing Information.” It identified three perceived problems — that the IC was applying a standard it would not normally employ, that there was a consistent underestimation of the importance Iraq and al-Qaeda would attach to concealing a relationship between the two, and that there was an assumption that secularists and Islamists will not cooperate, even when they have common interests.” That slide was not employed in the briefing to Tenet because, according to Feith, “it had a critical tone.”24

Another slide presented in the briefings was titled “What Would Each Side Want from a Relationship?” It identified one Iraqi objective — to obtain “an operational surrogate to continue war.” Another, titled “Summary of Known Iraq-al Qaida Contacts,1990-2002,” noted an alleged meeting between 9/11 hijacker Mohammed Atta and an Iraqi intelligence officer stationed in Prague. A slide that was employed in the September briefing, but not the others, was titled “Facilitation: Atta Meeting in Prague.” A slide titled “Findings” discussed alleged contacts, cooperation, and shared interests between Iraq and al-Qaida. It also contained a statement about coordination between Iraq and al-Qaida on 9/11 — with the exact wording differing from briefing to briefing. Five findings common to all the briefings were: “more than a decade of numerous contacts,” “multiple areas of cooperation,” “shared anti-US goals and common bellicose rhetoric — Unique in calling for killing of Americans and praising 9/11,” and “shared interest and pursuit of WMD,” and the “relationship would be compartmented by both sides, closely guarded secret, indications of excellent operational security by both parties.” The briefing for the secretary of defense asserted there was “one indication of Iraqi Coordination with al-Qaida,” while the briefing for Hadley and Libby stated there “were some indications of possible Iraqi coordination with al-Qaida.” In the briefing to Tenet, the slide claimed there was “one possible indication of Iraqi coordination with al-Qaida.”25

Feith’s efforts to dispell concern about the PCTEG continued , later that month, with a one-page “Fact Sheet on So-Called Intel Cell (or Policy Counter Terrorism Evaluation Group, PCTEG)” (Document 44). The fact sheet noted that the group’s focus was analysis of “the connections among terrorist groups and their government supporters in Iran, Syria, Iraq, Libya, Saudi Arabia, and the Palestinian Authority” — specifics not provided in earlier memos or statements. The fact sheet also reported that by April 2002 the PCTEG had decreased to one staffer, that it did not focus on the issue of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and that the Iraq-al-Qaida briefing grew out the PCTEG’s review of interconnections among terrorist groups and “the discovery by a staffer of some intelligence reports of particular interest.” The one-pager would not defuse the controversy over the organizations established under Feith’s tenure, with a number of articles continuing to repeat the disputed claims.26

In October 2004, Senator Carl Levin (D-Michigan) issued a 46-report (Document 45A), entitledReport of an Inquiry into the Alternative Analysis of the Issue of an Iraq-al-Qaeda Relationship, which consisted of two key parts. One focused on what Levin characterized as the development and dissemination of an “alternative” assessment of the relationship between Iraq and al-Qaida. That assessment, he argued, “went beyond the judgments of intelligence professionals in the [Intelligence Community], and … resulted in providing unreliable intelligence information about the Iraq-al-Qaeda relationship to policymakers.” Another presented Levin’s argument that the alternative analysis became the preferred view of the Bush administration concerning any Iraq – al Qaida connection, in contrast to the judgments reached by the Intelligence Community — which were more skeptical than those of Feith’s group.

A somewhat different, although overlapping, focus can be found in a report (Document 45B) issued by the Republican Policy Committee in February 2006. Among the issues it addressed was the organization and functions of the Office of Special Plans, the nature of the PCTEG, whether the PCTEG collected its own intelligence regarding an Iraq-al Qaida connection, whether the alternative work on the Iraq-al Qaida connection was hidden from the Intelligence Community, and whether it was wrong for staff from the Office of the Secretary of Defense to question Intelligence Community analysis. It also posed the question whether Senator Levin had evidence for “his allegations about deception of Congress?” — specifically the allegation that Feith inaccurately told congressional committees that DOD made CIA-requested changes to a document that DOD delivered to the committees. The policy committee claimed that “the CIA has confirmed in writing that DOD did, in fact, make all the CIA-requested changes.”

Photo right: Cover to Document 47.

The DoD Inspector General published a more detailed report in February 2007 (Document 47— Review of the Pre-Iraqi War Activities of the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy —many of whose key findings were presented in a briefing on the report (Document 46). The report was the result of requests by two senators. One was Senator Pat Roberts (R-Kansas), who at the time was chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. On September 9, 2005, he requested a review of whether the Office of Special Plans “at any time conducted unauthorized, unlawful or inappropriate intelligence activities.” The other senator was Carl Levin, who about two weeks after the Roberts request, also asked the inspector general to review the activities of the under secretary of defense for policy, including the PCTEG and Policy Support Office, “to determine if any of the activities were either inappropriate or improper and if so, to provide recommendations for remedial actions.”27

Since, as the report noted, the “actual Office of Special Plans had no responsibility for and did not perform any of the activities examined in this review,” the report focused on the activities of the Policy Support Office and PCTEG. It defined its objective as being “to determine whether personnel assigned to the [Office of Special Plans, the Policy Counterterrorism Evaluation Group, and the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy] conducted unauthorized, unlawful, or inappropriate intelligence activities from September 2001 through June 2003.”28

The Inspector General’s primary conclusion was that the “Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy … developed, produced, and then disseminated alternative intelligence assessments on the Iraq and al Qaida relationship, which included some conclusions that were inconsistent with the consensus of the Intelligence Community, to senior decision makers.” While such actions were not, in the inspector general’s opinion, “illegal or unauthorized, the actions were … inappropriate given that the products did not clearly show the variance with the consensus of the Intelligence Community and were, in some cases, shown as intelligence products.” In addition, the inspector general concluded that, as a result, Feith’s office “did not provide ‘the most accurate analysis of intelligence’ to senior decision makers.”29

The intelligence assessments the report referred to essentially constituted the briefing Assessing the Relationship between Iraq and al Qaida. With regard to the study on Understanding the Strategic Threat of Terror Networks and their Sponsors, the inspector general noted that it served as “an example of an appropriate application of intelligence information.” But with regard to the August/September briefings, it pointed to various CIA and DIA reports that, it judged, did not support some of the findings stated in the briefing. The CIA reports included a June 21, 2002, document titled Iraq and al-Qaida: Interpreting a Murky Relationship and an August 20, 2002, draft, Iraqi Support for Terrorism. DIA products cited by the report included a July 31, 2002, assessment, Iraq’s Inconclusive Ties to Al-Qaida and an August 9, 2002, memorandum by an analyst with the agency’s Joint Intelligence Task Force Combating Terrorism — “JITF-CT Commentary: Iraq and al-Qaida, Making the Case.” The latter was a response to a paper, “Iraq and al-Qaida, Making the Case,” that was reportedly the basis of the August and September briefings.30

By the time the Inspector General’s report was published, Feith had left government, so the official, 47-page, response came from his successor — Eric S. Edelman.31 The response, as published in the Inspector General’s report, consisted of the comments on the draft version of the report but serve as a response to the final report in the many areas where the two were the same.

Among the comments was the assertion that the briefing’s reference to a “cooperative” relationship between Iraq and al-Qaida “was consistent with the DCI’s own comments to Congress in 2002 and 2003.” In addition, Edelman argued that “senior decision-makers already had the IC’s reports and assessments on Iraq and al-Qaida,” thus they “already had ‘the most accurate intelligence’” — that is, he noted, “if one accepts, as the Draft Report seems to do, that the IC’s assessments are the ‘most accurate.’” He also objected that, since no laws were broken or DoD directives violated, there was no reason to characterize the work as inappropriate. In addition, “The Secretary, and by extension, the Deputy, unequivocally had the latitude to obtain an alternative, critical assessment of IC work on Iraq and al-Qaida from non-IC OSD staff members rather than from the DIA or the Assistant Secretary of Defense for C3I, without vetting such critique through any Intelligence Community process.”32

Conclusion

The term “special plans” was coined over seventy years ago as a euphemism for deception, and subsequently became a euphemism for perception management, one element of which was deception. Thus, confusing actual or potential enemies was always an objective of special plans activities. During the George W. Bush administration the term produced confusion of a different kind — including over attempts to sort out the activities of components of the Defense Department’s policy office.


THE DOCUMENTS

DECEPTION AND PERCEPTION MANAGEMENT, 1946-1980.

Document 1: Office of the Chief of Staff, War Department, Memorandum, Subject: Cover and Deception, July 5, 1946. Top Secret

Source: National Archives and Records Administration.

This memo assigns responsibility for the supervision of War Department cover and deception matters to the Director of Plans and Operations — including supervision and training as well as preparation of future military strategic cover and deception plans and policies. It also assigns the director responsibility for evaluating the results of World War II cover and deception activities.

Document 2: Office of the Adjutant General, War Department, Memorandum, Subject: Tactical Cover and Deception, July 8, 1946. Top Secret.

Source: National Archives and Records Administration.

Responsibility for tactical deception to be employed by ground forces is assigned, by this memo, to the Commanding General, Army Ground Forces. It identifies three specific types of units involved in tactical deception activities — radio, sonic, and camouflage.

Document 3: Maj. Gen. George C. McDonald, Assistant Chief of Air Staff -2, to Commanding General, Army Air Forces, Subject: Army Air Force Cover and Deception Organization, n.d., circa 1946. Top Secret.

Source: National Archives and Records Administration.

This memo, from an Air Force Assistant Chief of Staff to the commander of the Army Air Forces addresses the issue of an Army Air Force cover and deception organization. It notes use of cover and deception during World War II, the current absence of such an organization and need to establish one, as well as suggesting responsibilities for various Army Air Force officials and components in a cover and deception effort.

Document 4: Headquarters, Army Air Forces, Memorandum, Subject: Establishment of Headquarters, Army Air Forces Cover and Deception Organization, n.d. Top Secret.

Source: National Archives and Records Administration.

This memorandum, to the assistant chiefs of the Air Staff, following up General McDonald’s recommendation (Document 3), directs establishment of an Army Air Forces Cover and deception organization and assigns responsibilities to different assistant chiefs of staff. (It is not clear whether such an organization was ever established).

Document 5Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Department of the Navy, Memorandum for the Acting Chairman, United States Evaluation Board, Subj: Rewrite of USEB Charter, September 28, 1976. Secret.

Source: National Archives and Records Administration.

This memo, from the Director of Naval Intelligence, is addressed to the Acting Chairman of the “United States Evaluation Board.” The memo notes that the board was established “for cover and deception purposes,”with counterintelligence agencies being responsible for CFAs/DAs (presumably ‘controlled foreign agents’ and ‘double agents’), and the role of the Evaluation Board in processing “feed material” — information or documents to be passed to foreign intelligence services via the CFAs/DAs.

Document 6Joint Chiefs of Staff, JCS Pub 4, Joint Chiefs of Staff Organization and Functions Manual, 1980 (Extract)

Source: Department of Defense Freedom of Information Act Release.

This extract from the Joint Chiefs of Staff 1980 organization and function manual discloses the existence of a Special Plans Branch within the Joint Staff and its responsibility to “provide guidance and instructions to appropriate agencies on the conduct of special planning (perception management) activities.”

Document 7: Joint Chiefs of Staff, “Perception Management: Iran,” 1980. Secret.

Source: DoD Freedom of Information Act Release.

This memo was written during the hostage crisis that began with the seizure of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran on November 4, 1979. Its purpose is stated as outlining a concept for employing psychological operations in support of resolving the “crisis in Iran on terms favorable to the interests of the United States.” It summarizes the situation, specifies assumptions, target groups, potential themes, and the concept — including both the organization and management of the effort as well as twelve possible measures.

Document 8A: Maj. Gen. Jack V. Mackmull, Commander, John F. Kennedy Center for Military Assistance, Subject: Psychological Operations Plan – Iranian Hostage Crisis, February 14, 1980. Secret.

Document 8B: Colonel Alfred H. Paddock Jr., Headquarters, 4th Psychological Operations Group, Subject: Psychological Operations Plan – Iranian Hostage Plan, February 13, 1980. Secret w/att: Statement of PSYOP Objective. Secret.

Source: Department of Defense Freedom of Information Act Release.

General Mackmull’s February 14 letter transmits the February 13 letter and attached document from Colonel Paddock of the 4th Psychological Operations Group. Paddock’s letter notes the specific objectives of expanding the National Strategic Psychological Operations Plan to address the “captors” responsible for the seizure of the U.S. embassy in Tehran. The attached plan provides a statement of PSYOP objectives, defines the target audience, states themes, assesses effectiveness, and offers conclusions.

Document 9: Lt. Col. [Deleted], Memorandum to JCS, Subject: Strategic Political [Deleted], March 6, 1980, Confidential. w/att: Memorandum for the Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff, Subject: Strategic/Political [Deleted] RICE BOWL Ops, March 6, 1980. Top Secret.

Source: Department of Defense Freedom of Information Act Release.

This memo, whose title is partially redacted, concerns psychological operations to be conducted during Operation RICE BOWL — the planning phase of Operation EAGLE CLAW, the attempted U.S. mission to rescue American hostages in Tehran in April 1980.

Document 10: Joint Staff, Memorandum to Major General Vaught, Subject: Background Option Papers, May 16, 1980. Top Secret.

Source: Department of Defense Freedom of Information Act Release.

One of the background option papers prepared by the Joint Staff included one on “interim non-violent options.” Those included a rumor campaign, dropping of leaflets, interdiction of the Tehran power grid, a supersonic overflight by an SR-71 (accompanied by photo flash bombs), and periodic semi-overt probes of Iranian air space.

Document 11: Colonel [Deleted], Chief of Staff, Memorandum for Major General Vaught,Subject: “Backburner,” June 2, 1980. Secret.

Source: Department of Defense Freedom of Information Act Release.

This memo reveals the existence of a perception management effort designated “Backburner” but provides no specifics. It does recommend some actions in support of the plan — including withdrawal of the U.S. carrier task groups from the Indian Ocean and employing hostage families to create “an illusion of well being among the hostages.”

Document 12: Lt. Col. [Deleted], Memorandun for General Vaught, Subject: Psychological Operations Support for SNOWBIRD, June 2, 1980. Secret.

Source: Department of Defense Freedom of Information Act Release.

This memo discusses possible psychological operations in support of a second possible attempted mission to rescue U.S. hostages in Iran. Included among the possible operations were “small actions and communications” to indicate that the US was beginning to have second thoughts about employing military force. The memo also noted that some of the actions proposed “are on very tenuous legal ground.”

Document 13: Department of Defense, Department of Defense Telephone Directory, August 1980 Unclassified. (Extract)

Source: U.S. Government Printing Office.

These pages from the August 1980 issue of the Department of Defense’s telephone directory indicates the existence of a Special Plans Branch within the Joint Staff’s Special Operations Division.

PERCEPTION MANAGEMENT AND SPECIAL PLANS, 1981-1990

Document 14: Central Intelligence Agency, “DCI’s Schedule for Wednesday, 8 April 1981,” April 8, 1981. Secret.

Source: www.cia.gov/err

This page from DCI William Casey’s schedule includes an entry for a meeting on the Defense Department’s “strategic deception program” — a briefing given by Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Review Gen. Richard Stillwell as well Lt. Gen. Philip Gast, the chief of operations for the Joint Staff.

Document 15: John H. Stein, Acting Deputy Director for Operations, Memorandum for: Director of Central Intelligence, Subject: Briefing Provided Acting DDO by General Tighe and General Stillwell, April 24, 1981. Secret.

Source: CIA Records Search Tool (CREST).

This memorandum from the CIA’s acting deputy director of central intelligence for the Director of Central Intelligence reported on a briefing Stein received from General Stillwell (Document 14) and the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency “on their special project” — which may be a reference to the DoD perception management/deception program.

Document 16: Major General E. R. Thompson to Mr. John Stein, April 23, 1982. Top Secret.

Source: CREST.

This letter to CIA deputy director of operations John Stein is signed by Major General E. R. Thompson, who had served as the Army assistant chief for intelligence, and who the letter identifies as the director of the Defense Special Plans Office (DSPO). The letter focuses on the need for resources to operate the office. It also notes the existence of a charter for the DSPO and an Operational Capabilities Tasking memorandum (copies of which were attached to the letter but not released).

Document 17: Martin Hurwitz, Director, General Defense Intelligence Program, to Mr. James S. Wagenen, June 11, 1982. Secret.

Source: CREST.

This letter, from the director of the General Defense Intelligence Program, responds to a request from a staff member of the House Appropriations Committee for sources of funds, via realignment, for the Defense Special Plans Office.

Document 18: Charles W. Hinkle, Director, Freedom of Information and Security Review, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense, to Dr. Jeffrey Richelson, July 25, 1983. Unclassified w/att: General Richard G. Stilwell, Deputy Under Secretary of Defense, Memorandum for the Director, Washington Headquarters Services, Subject: Cancellation of DoD Directives TS-5155.2 and C-5155.1, February 2, 1983. Unclassified.

Source: Department of Defense Freedom of Information Act Release.

In response to a June 22, 1983 Freedom of Information Act for copy of the organization chart and mission statement for the Defense Special Plans Office, the DoD’s Director of Freedom of Information and Security Review stated that “no such office exists” and encloses a relevant memorandum. The memorandum explains that the office did exist and why it no longer did as of July 25, 1983.

Document 19: Charles W. Hinkle, Director, Freedom of Information and Security Review, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense, to Mr. R. Scott Armstrong, July 25, 1983.Unclassified.

Source: R. Scott Armstrong.

This DoD response to FOIA requests by Washington Post writer Scott Armstrong for records related to the Defense Special Plans Office states that the DoD copies of the directives were classified in their entirety — as were all other documents cited in the letter, including those related to the office’s creation and budget and accounting issues.

Document 20: Department of Defense, Department of Defense Telephone Directory, December 1983, Unclassified. (Extract)

Source: U.S. Government Printing Office.

While the DSPO no longer existed as of December 1983, the Special Plans units in the Special Operations Division and the Defense Intelligence Agency (created subsequent to August 1980) remained in existence — and occupied adjoining suites in the Pentagon — as indicated by this extract from the December 1983 Department of Defense Telephone Directory.

Document 21: Joint Chiefs of Staff, Report* by the J-3 to the Joint Chiefs of Staff on Special Plans Overview Guidance, August 9, 1985. Top Secret.

Source: Department of Defense Freedom of Information Act Release.

The title of this almost entirely redacted document indicates that, in 1985, the Joint Chiefs of Staff produced an overview guidance for special plans activities. (A recent request for the document produced a ‘no records’ response).

Document 22: John H. Fetterman, Jr. Deputy and Acting Chief of Staff, U.S. Atlantic Command, Subj: Deception Planning Organization, October 28, 1985, Confidential.

Source: Department of Defense Freedom of Information Act Release.

This Atlantic Command instruction illustrates the existence of deception planning organizations not only at the Defense Department and defense agency level but also at the unified commands. Among the topics discussed were planning considerations as well as ‘Special Means and Feed Material’ — that is use of agents of deception and the material to be fed to deception targets.

Document 23: Lt. Richard A. Burpee, Director of Operations, Joint Staff, SM-224-87, Subject: Special Plans Guidance – Strategic Defense, April 6, 1987. Top Secret.

Source: Department of Defense Freedom of Information Act Release.

A key element of the Reagan administration’s defense policy was strategic defense, which included the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), better known as ‘Star Wars.’ This document, most which has been redacted, focuses on special plans related to U.S. strategic defense programs. It notes a number of areas that “may warrant additional review when considering [perception management] support of Strategic Defense.”

Document 24: Joint Chiefs of Staff, JCS Admin Pub 1.1, Organization and Functions of the Joint Staff, October 1, 1988. Unclassified. (Extract)

Source: Department of Defense Freedom of Information Act Release

This extract from the Joint Chiefs of Staff organization and functions manual shows the structure of the J-3 (Operations) directorate of the Joint Staff and the locus of Special Plans management for the JCS in the directorate’s Operations Planning and Analysis Division. It also reveals the existence of an “Interdepartmental Special Plans Working Group.”

Document 25: United States Central Command, Regulation 525-3, Military Deception Policy and Guidance, August 11, 1990. Secret.

Source: Central Command Freedom of Information Act Release.

As did the 1985 Atlantic Command instruction (Document 22) this document concerns military deception activity at the unified command level. It notes that US military deceptions “shall not be designed to influence the actions of US citizens or agencies, and they will not violate US law, nor intentionally mislead the American public, US Congress, or the media.”

Document 26: General Accounting Office, GAO/NSIAD-94-219, Ballistic Missile Defense: Records Indicate Deception Program Did Not Affect 1984 Test Results, July 1994. Unclassified.

Source: http://gao.gov

This GAO report was produced in response to a request by a member of Congress that the office investigate claims made in 1993 of DoD deception in its June 1984 ballistic missile defense test – Homing Overlay Experiment 4 (HOE 4). It reports on DoD’s acknowledgment of a deception program associated with the HOE, that there was no evidence that DoD deceived Congress about HOE 4 intercepting its target (although the department did not disclose how it made interception easier), and that plans for a deceptive explosion was dropped prior to the test in the event of a near miss.

SPECIAL PLANS, 2002 – 2003

Document 27: Douglas J. Feith, Undersecretary of Defense, For: Special Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for White House Liaison, Subject: Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Special Plans and Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs (SP/NESA), August 23, 2002. Unclassified.

Source: Department of Defense Freedom of Information Act Release

This memo, from Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith, announces his plans to create a Directorate of Special Plans within the office of the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs. The directorate, Feith explained, was to assume responsibility within his office for the war on terrorism. Feith requests approval of his nominee to head the new office.

Document 28: Jacqueline G. Arends, Special Assistant to the Secretary for White House Liaison, For: Deputy Secretary of Defense, Subject: Candidate Approval Position Adjustment – Liu, September 13, 2002. Unclassified w/att: Douglas J. Feith, Under Secretary of Defense, For: Special Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for White House Liaison, Subject; Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Special Plans and Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs (SP/NESA), August 23, 2002. Unclassified.

Source: Department of Defense Freedom of Information Act Release.

This memo from the special assistant to the Secretary of Defense for White House Liaison to the Deputy Secretary of Defense requests approval to establish the office proposed by Feith in his August 23 memorandum (Document 27) as well as to appoint William Luti to the position.

Document 29: OSD/SP/NESA, “Pros and Cons of a Provisional Government,” October 10, 2002, Secret/Noforn.

Source: Department of Defense Freedom of Information Act Release.

The organizational authorship attributed to this memo concerning the formation of a provisional Iraqi government — “OSD/SP/NESA” — indicates the memo is a product of the Special Plans component of the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

Document 30: Assistant Director for Executive and Political Personnel, To: Director, Personnel and Security, Director of Administration and Management, Subject: Establishment of the SES General Position of Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Special Plans & Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs) and Noncareer Reassignment of William J. Luti, October 13, 2002. Unclassified w/att: Approval/certification, October 21, 2002. Unclassified.

Source: Department of Defense Freedom of Information Act Release

This memo follows up on the earlier memos from Feith (Document 27) and Arends (Document 28) on creation of the position of Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Special Plans & Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs). It describes the position as advising and exercising “responsibility for all policy matters of Defense interest pertaining to special plans and the defense policy on the countries of the Middle East and South Asia.” It recommends approval of the proposed position and nominee — recommendations which the last page indicates were accepted.

Document 31: Department of Defense, Deputy Under Secretary of Defense Special Plans and Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs, n.d. Unclassified.

Source: Department of Defense Freedom of Information Act Release.

This document describes, inter alia, the nature and purpose of the position of the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense Special Plans and Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs.

Document 32: Department of Defense, Office of Special Plans and Near East and South Asian Affairs: Expansion to Deal with Iran, Iraq, and the War on Terrorism, circa late 2002- 2003.

Source: www.waranddecision.com

These briefing slides, intended to describe the expansion of the Office of Special Plans and Near East and South Asian Affairs, includes a organization chart for the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, a description of the organization prior to October 2002, and a depiction of the post-October 2002 reorganization. The last chart indicates that the Director, Special Plans was responsible for “Iran, Iraq, War on Terrorism.”

Document 33: Office of Public Affairs, Department of Defense, Answers to Questions Posed by Seymour Hersh/The New Yorker, circa 2003.

Source: Department of Defense Freedom of Information Act Release.

This document, consists of questions posed by The New Yorker/Seymour Hersh for a story being researched as well as the answers provided by the Department of Defense. The questions concerned the personnel strength, personnel histories, mission, and activities of the Office of Special Plans.

Document 34: Office of the Secretary of Defense/Special Plans/Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs, “Iraqi Opposition Strategy,” January 30, 2003, Secret.

Source: www.dod.mil/pubs/foi

This paper, prepared by the office of William Luti, Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Special Plans and Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs, focused on the strategy of the Iraqi opposition. Its states the office’s opposition to the State Department position with regard to the treatment of the external opposition to Saddam’s regime and discusses a number of specific issues (including the Judicial Council, Consultative Council, and Census).

Document 35: Department of Defense, News Transcript, DoD Briefing on Policy and Intelligence Matters, June 4, 2003. Unclassified.

Source: www.defenselink.mil

The briefing covered in this transcript involved participation by Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Douglas J. Feith and Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Special Plans and Near East and South Asian Affairs William J. Luti. Among the topics to be discussed, Feith noted at the beginning of the briefing was the “so-called, or alleged intelligence cell and its relation to the Special Plans Office.”

Document 36: William J. Luti, Deputy Under Secretary of Defense, Memorandum for: Principal Director, Organizational Management, and Support OUSDP, Subject: Office Redesignations, July 14, 2003. Unclassified.

Source: Department of Defense Freedom of Information Act Release.

This memo from William J. Luti requests that his office designation be changed to Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs and that the title of Director for Special Plans be changed to Director for Northern Gulf Affairs.

POLICY COUNTERTERRORISM EVALUATION GROUP, 2002 – 2008

Document 37: Douglas J. Feith, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, Memorandum for Director, Defense Intelligence Agency, Subject: Request for Detail of Intelligence Analyst, December 5, 2001. Secret.

Source: www.dod.gov/pubs/foi

In this memorandum to the Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith notes that he had “assigned a number of intelligence-related duties to my Policy Support office,” requests that a DIA analyst be detailed for a year to help carried out those duties, and notes that the National Security Agency had responded favorably to a similar request. Feith’s memo also reveals the existence of a Defense Special Plans Program, in a context which suggests that Special Plans was being used as a euphemism for perception management.

Document 38: Peter W. Rodman, Assistant Secretary of Defense International Security Affairs, to Under Secretary of Defense (Policy), Subject: Policy Evaluation Group (PCTEG), January 31, 2002 Secret.

Source: Department of Defense Freedom of Information Act Release

This memo, from the assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs, to deputy under secretary Feith, requests his approval to established a Policy Counter Terror Evaluation Group “to conduct an independent analysis of the Al-Qaida terrorist network.” It goes on to specify what subjects the group would focus on. Feith indicates his approval at the end of the memo.

Document 39: Douglas J. Feith, Memorandum for Director, Defense Intelligence Agency, Subject: Request for Support, February 2, 2002. Secret.

Source: www.dod.gov/pubs/foi

Similar to his memorandum of December 5, 2001 (Document 37) to the DIA director, deputy under secretary Feith requests the detail of three DIA analysts (by name) to become part of the Policy Counter Terrorism Evaluation Group — although he asks only for 90-day deployments. The memo also describes the focus of the group’s planned analytical effort.

Document 40: Vice Adm. Thomas R. Wilson, Director, Defense Intelligence Agency, to Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, Subject: Request for Support, February 15, 2002,. Confidential.

Source: www.dod.gov/pubs/foi

In his response to Feith’s request (Document 39), DIA director Thomas Wilson agrees to provide two of the request analysts to the PCTEG, who would serve with the group as U.S. Navy reservists.

Document 41: Peter W. Rodman, Assistant Secretary of Defense, International Security Affairs, to Deputy Secretary of Defense, Subject: Links between Al-Qaida and Iraq, February 21, 2002. Secret.

Source: www.waranddecision.com

This memo from international security affairs chief Rodman to Feith notes that the PCTEG had provided the results of their initial work on links between Al-Qaida and Iraq and restated the four components of the group’s analytical focus. It also promises to provide further analysis along with suggestions “on how to exploit the connection and recommend strategies.”

Document 42: Office of the Secretary of Defense, Assessing the Relationship Between Iraq and Al Qaida, n.d., August 2002. Classification Not Available.

Source: www.levin.senate.gov

The forerunner to the PCTEG produced a 154-page report on links between terrorist organizations and state sponsors of terrorism. A follow-up effort, focusing on links between al-Qaeda and Iraq, resulted in briefings to several briefings, including one to DCI George Tenet. The single substantive slide that has been released is one that was briefed to the Department of Defense, but not to the DCI.

Document 43A: Douglas J. Feith, Under Secretary of Defense, to The Honorable John Warner, June 21, 2003. Unclassified.

Document 43B: Douglas J. Feith, Under Secretary of Defense, to The Honorable Jane Harman, June 21, 2013. Unclassified.

Source: www.dod.gov/pubs/foi

These letters from Feith to chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee and Representative Jane Harman concerns the “so-called ‘DoD intelligence cell.’” He writes that “we set up a small team to help digest the intelligence that already existed” on links between terrorist networks and state sponsors and that after April 2002 “the team was down to one full-time person.” He also addresses the work on the team member after April 2002 and the identification of the team with the Office of Special Plans.

Document 44Under Secretary of Defense, Policy, Draft, “Fact Sheet on So-Called Intell Cell (or Policy Counterterrorism Evaluation Group, PCTEG), “February 3, 2004. Unclassified.

Source: www.dod.gov/pubs/foi

As with the letters to John Warner and Jane Harman (Document 43ADocument 43B) this document focuses on the “so-called Intell Cell” — the Policy Counter Terrorism Evaluation Group. This one-page fact sheet discusses the reason for establishing the group, the focus of its research, its product, and the size of the group.

Document 45A: Senator Carl Levin, Report of an Inquiry into the Alternative Analysis of the Issue of an Iraq-al Qaeda Relationship, October 21, 2004. Unclassified.

Document 45B: Republican Policy Committee, The Department of Defense, the Office of Special Plans and Iraq Pre-War Intelligence, February 7, 2006. Not classified.

Sources: www.levin.senate.govwww.dougfeith.com

These two reports, from differing political perspectives address the interrelated issues of the analysis of the Iraq- al-Qaeda relationship produced by the PCTEG, the mission of the Office of Special Plans, and various reports about the Special Plans office’s activities.

Document 46Inspector General, Department of Defense Report on Review of the Pre-Iraqi War Activities of the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy (Report No. 07-INTEL-04), February 9, 2007. Unclassified.

Source: www.dodig.mil

These briefing slides summarize the purpose and results of the Department of Defense Inspector General’s report on the activities of the Office of Special Plans and PCTEG. It notes separate requests from Sen. Pat Roberts, a Republican, and Carl Levin (Document 45A) to review the activities of either the OSP or the PCTEG and Policy Support Office, states review objectives, the scope of the review, and findings. The final five slides provide answers to questions posed by Senator Levin.

Document 47: Inspector General, Department of Defense, 07-INTEL-04, Review of the Pre-Iraqi War Activities of the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, February 9, 2007. Secret/Noforn.

Source: www.dodig.mil

This report, whose origins and reports are summarized in briefing slides released the same day (Document 46) was released in redacted form by the DoD Inspector General’s Office. It provides background to its origins, describes its results, and presents its evaluation — which includes the statement that “The assessments produced evolved from policy to intelligence products, which were then disseminated” and that such actions “were inappropriate because a policy office was producing intelligence products and was not clearly conveying to senior decision-makers the variance with the consensus of the Intelligence Community.”

Document 48: U.S. Senate, Select Committee on Intelligence, Intelligence Activities Relating to Iraq Conducted by the Policy Counterterrorism Evaluation Group and the Office of Special Plans Within the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy , June 2008. Unclassified.

Source: www.senate.gov

Despite its title, this report largely focuses on one particular incident – a meeting in Rome that occurred between December 10 and December 13, 2001. The meeting involved a number of DoD officials, including one who subsequently became a member of the Office of Special Plans, and Iranian exiles.


NOTES

[1] On the multiple forms of deception and the components of perception management see, Joseph W. Caddell, Deception 101 – Primer on Deception, December 2004, available at: http://www.fas.org/irp/eprint/deception.pdf; Jeffrey T. Richelson, “Planning to Deceive,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Mach/April 2003, pp. 64-69.

[2] Michael Howard, British Intelligence in the Second World War, Volume 5: StrategicDeception (London: Her Majesty’s Stationary Office, 1990), p. 110; Thaddeus Holt, TheDeceivers: Allied Military Deception in the Second World War (New York: Skyhore Publishing 2007), p. 795. The book, originally published in 1975, that first popularized the history of World War II deception is Anthony Cave Brown, Bodyguard of Lies: The Extraordinary True StoryBehind D-Day (Guilford, Ct.: The Lyons Press, 2002).

[3] Richelson, “Planning to Deceive.”

[4] On LACROSSE and MISTY, see Jeffrey T. Richelson, The Wizards of Langley: Inside theCIA’s Directorate of Science and Technology (Boulder, Co.: Westview, 2001), pp. 247-249. On the Reagan administration’s concern with Soviet denial and deception, see Ronald Reagan, National Security Decision Directive 108, “Soviet Camouflage, Concealment and Deception,” October 12, 1983.

[5] In the same time period special plans units could found at both the service and command levels. Examples included the Special Plans Division of the Directorate of Plans of the Air Force office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, Plans & Operations; a Special Plans component of the Tactical Air Command; and the CINCPAC Special Plans Committee.

[6] Bob Woodward, “Gadhafi Target of Secret U.S. Deception Plan,” Washington Post , October 2, 1986, pp. A1, A12-A13; David M. North, “U.S. Using Disinformation Policy To Impede Technical Data Flow,” Aviation Week & Space Technology, March 17, 1986, pp. 16-17; “A Bodyguard of Lies,” Newsweek, October 13, 1986, pp. 43-46.

[7] The most recent known official document related to deception is: Department of Defense Instruction S-3604.01, “Department of Defense Military Deception,” March 11, 2013. (It is still classified.)

[8] Douglas J. Feith, War and Decision: Inside the Pentagon at the Dawn of the War onTerrorism (New York: Harper 2008), p. 293.

[9] Dana Priest, “Pentagon Shadow Loses Some Mystique,” Washington Post, March 13, 2004, p. A11.

[10] Feith, War and Decision , pp. 293-294.

[11] Ibid., p. 294.

[12] Seymour Hersh, “Selective Intelligence,” The New Yorker , May 12, 2003, pp. 44-51.

[13] See Ibid., pp. 44-45. The New Yorker article reportedly resulted in a letter to the magazine’s editor, David Remnick, from a senior DoD public affairs official in which the official complained that “There are more inaccuracies that can be addressed in this letter, and it is particularly disappointing given the time and effort taken by my staff to ensure The New Yorker has its facts straight prior to publication.” See, Bill Gertz and Rowan Scarborough, “Inside the Ring,” The Washington Times, May 21, 2004. A FOIA request for the letter produced a “no records” response from DoD.

[14] On the creation of this group — the Policy Counterterrorism Evaluation Group (PCTEG) — also see Feith, War and Decision, pp. 116-117.

[15] The memo also suggested that the term Special Plans continued, in some instances, to have its traditional association with deception/perception management — since it stated that Feith directed a number of activities that required sensitive intelligence support, including the “Defense Special Plans Program.”

[16] Feith, War and Decision, p. 117.

[17] Inspector General, Department of Defense, Report 07-INTEL-04, Review of the Pre-IraqiWar Activities of the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy , February 9, 2007, p.12; Priest, “Pentagon Shadow Loses Some Mystique.” Another examination of the activities of PCTEG and its untitled predecessor is by James Risen, “How Pair’s Finding on Terror Led To Clash on Shaping Intelligence,” New York Times, April 28, 2004, pp. A1, A19.

[18] Peter Spiegel, “Investigation fills in blanks on how war groundwork was laid,” Los AngelesTimes , April 6, 2007, p. A10.

[19] Feith, War and Decision , p. 118.

[20] Ibid., pp. 118, 264; Priest, “Pentagon Shadow Loses Some Mystique.”

[21] The one PCTEG member (Chris Carney) plus two OSD staffers (veteran DIA analyst Christina Shelton and James Thomas) produced and presented the briefing — as Feith noted in War and Decision , pp. 265-266.

[22] Inspector General, Department of Defense, Report 07-INTEL-04, Review of the Pre-IraqiWar Activities of the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy , February 9, 2007, p.10; Feith, War and Decision, p.119n; Senator Carl Levin, Report of an Inquiry into the Alternative Analysis of the Issue of an Iraq-al Qaeda Relationship , October 21, 2004, pp. 14, 16. What Tenet said and thought about the briefing has been a subject of controversy — See Priest, “Pentagon Shadow Loses Some Mystique”; Feith, War and Decision, pp. 266-267; George J. Tenet with Bill Harlow, At the Center of the Storm: My Years at the CIA (New York: Harper Collins, 2007), pp. 346-348. The briefing and related issues are discussed at length in U.S. Congress, Senate Committee on Armed Services, Briefing on the Department of Defense Inspector General’s Report on the Activities of the Office of Special Plans Prior to the War inIraq (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 2008).

[23] Inspector General, Department of Defense, Report 07-INTEL-04, Review of the Pre-IraqiWar Activities of the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy , p. 72

[24] Ibid., p. 9.

[25] Ibid., pp. 7, 11, 32, 73-75.

[26] See Jason Leopold, “CIA Probe Finds Secret Pentagon Group Manipulated Intelligence on Iraqi Threat,”www.Antiwar.com, July 25, 2003; Robert Dreyfuss and Jason Vest, “The Lie Factory,”Mother Jones, January/February 2004; Karen Kwiatowski, “The new Pentagon papers,” www.salon.com, March 10, 2004; James Bamford, A Pretext for War: 9/11, Iraq, andthe Abuse of America’s Intelligence Agencies (New York: Doubleday, 2004), pp. 307-308, 314-316, 318-320, 324; Peter Eisner and Knute Royce, The Italian Letter: How the Bush Administration Used a Fake Letter to Build the Case for War in Iraq (New York: Rodale, 2007), pp. 58-63.

[27] Inspector General, Department of Defense, Report 07-INTEL-04, Review of the Pre-IraqiWar Activities of the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy , p. ii.

[28] Ibid., p. 3.

[29] Ibid., p.4.

[30] Ibid., pp.7-9, 12, 14, 29. Declassified versions of the two CIA reports can be found at:http://www.fas.org/irp/congress/2005_cr/levin041505.html. The topic of Iraqi – al Qaida links is also the subject of Kevin M. Woods with James Lacey, Institute for Defense Analyses, Saddamand Terrorism: Emerging Insights from Captured Iraqi Documents, Volume 1 (Redacted), November 2007.

[31] Feith’s reaction appeared in War and Decision , pp. 270-271 as well as on his website — http://www.dougfeith.com

[32] Inspector General, Department of Defense, Report 07-INTEL-04, Review of the Pre-IraqiWar Activities of the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy , pp. 56-58, 79.

Is a Policy a Law? Is Murder Murder? Washington’s Blog

Is a Policy a Law? Is Murder Murder? Washington’s Blog.

From the Associated Press:

“An American citizen who is a member of al-Qaida is actively planning attacks against Americans overseas, U.S. officials say, and the Obama administration is wrestling with whether to kill him with a drone strike and how to do so legally under its new stricter targeting policy issued last year.”

Notice those words: “legally” and “policy.”  No longer does U.S. media make a distinction between the two.  Under George W. Bush, detention without trial, torture, murder, warrantless spying, and secret missile strikes were illegal.  Under Obama they are policy.  And policy makes them “legal” under the modified Nixonian understanding that if the President does it as a policy then it is legal.

Under the U.S. Constitution, the laws of the nations in which drone murders take place, treaties to which the U.S. is party, international law, and U.S. statutory law, murdering people remains illegal, despite being policy, just as it was illegal under the less strict policy of some months back.  The policy was made stricter in order to bring it into closer compliance with the law, of course — though it comes nowhere close — and yet the previous policy remains somehow “legal,” too, despite having not been strict enough.

Under that previous policy, thousands of people, including at least four U.S. citizens, have been blown to bits with missiles. President Obama gave a speech last year in which he attempted to justify one of those four U.S. deaths on the basis of evidence he claimed to have but would not reveal. He made no attempt to justify the other three.

The new policy remains that the president can murder anyone, anywhere, along with whoever is near them, but must express angst if the person targeted is a U.S. citizen.

The idea that such lunacy can have anything to do with law is facilitated by human rights groups’ and the United Nations’ and international lawyers’ deference to the White House, which has been carried to the extreme of establishing a consensus that we cannot know whether a drone murder was legal or not unless the president reveals his reasoning, intention, motivation, and the details of the particular murder.

No other possible criminal receives this treatment. When the police read you your rights, you are not entitled to object: “Put those handcuffs away, sir! I have a written policy justifying everything I did, and I refuse to show it to you. Therefore you have no grounds to know for certain that my justification is as insane and twisted as you might imagine it to be based merely on what I’ve done! Away with you, sir!”

The loss of a coherent conception of law is a grievous one, but that’s not all that’s at stake here.

Numerous top U.S. officials routinely admit that our drone wars in the Middle East and Africa are creating more enemies than they kill.  General Stanley McChrystal, then commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan said in June 2010 that “for every innocent person you kill, you create 10 new enemies.” Veterans of U.S. kill teams in Iraq and Afghanistan interviewed in Jeremy Scahill’s book and film Dirty Wars said that whenever they worked their way through a list of people to kill, they were handed a larger list; the list grew as a result of working their way through it.  The wars on Iraq and Afghanistan, and the abuses of prisoners during them, became major recruiting tools for anti-U.S. terrorism. In 2006, U.S. intelligence agencies produced a National Intelligence Estimate that reached just that conclusion.

We are shredding the very concept of the rule of law in order to pursue a policy that endangers us, even as it helps to justify the erosion of our civil liberties, to damage the natural environment, and toimpoverish us, as it kills many innocent people.  Maybe they’ve secretly got drones doing the thinking as well as the killing.

Why America Needs War | Global Research

Why America Needs War | Global Research.

Global Research, February 08, 2014
Indy Media Belgium and Global Researcvh 30 April 2003
war

This incisive article was written on April 30, 2003, by historian and political scientist Jacques Pauwels. 

Wars are a terrible waste of lives and resources, and for that reason most people are in principle opposed to wars. The American President, on the other hand, seems to love war. Why? Many commentators have sought the answer in psychological factors. Some opined that George W. Bush considered it his duty to finish the job started, but for some obscure reason not completed, by his father at the time of the Gulf War; others believe that Bush Junior expected a short and triumphant war which would guarantee him a second term in the White House.

I believe that we must look elsewhere for an explanation for the attitude of the American President.

The fact that Bush is keen on war has little or nothing to do with his psyche, but a great deal with the American economic system. This system – America’s brand of capitalism – functions first and foremost to make extremely rich Americans like the Bush “money dynasty” even richer. Without warm or cold wars, however, this system can no longer produce the expected result in the form of the ever-higher profits the moneyed and powerful of America consider as their birthright.

The great strength of American capitalism is also its great weakness, namely, its extremely high productivity. In the historical development of the international economic system that we call capitalism, a number of factors have produced enormous increases in productivity, for example, the mechanization of the production process that got under way in England as early as the 18th century. In the early 20th century, then, American industrialists made a crucial contribution in the form of the automatization of work by means of new techniques such as the assembly line. The latter was an innovation introduced by Henry Ford, and those techniques have therefore become collectively known as “Fordism.” The productivity of the great American enterprises rose spectacularly.

For example, already in the 1920s, countless vehicles rolled off the assembly lines of the automobile factories of Michigan every single day. But who was supposed to buy all those cars? Most Americans at the time did not have sufficiently robust pocket books for such a purchase. Other industrial products similarly flooded the market, and the result was the emergence of a chronic disharmony between the ever-increasing economic supply and the lagging demand. Thus arose the economic crisis generally known as the Great Depression. It was essentially a crisis of overproduction. Warehouses were bursting with unsold commodities, factories laid off workers, unemployment exploded, and so the purchasing power of the American people shrunk even more, making the crisis even worse.

It cannot be denied that in America the Great Depression only ended during, and because of, the Second World War. (Even the greatest admirers of President Roosevelt admit that his much-publicized New Deal policies brought little or no relief.) Economic demand rose spectacularly when the war which had started in Europe, and in which the USA itself was not an active participant before 1942, allowed American industry to produce unlimited amounts of war equipment. Between 1940 and 1945, the American state would spend no less than 185 billion dollar on such equipment, and the military expenditures’ share of the GNP thus rose between 1939 and 1945 from an insignificant 1,5 per cent to approximately 40 per cent. In addition, American industry also supplied gargantuan amounts of equipment to the British and even the Soviets via Lend-Lease. (In Germany, meanwhile, the subsidiaries of American corporations such as Ford, GM, and ITT produced all sorts of planes and tanks and other martial toys for the Nazi’s, also after Pearl Harbor, but that is a different story.) The key problem of the Great Depression – the disequilibrium between supply and demand – was thus resolved because the state “primed the pump” of economic demand by means of huge orders of a military nature.

As far as ordinary Americans were concerned, Washington’s military spending orgy brought not only virtually full employment but also much higher wages than ever before; it was during the Second World War that the widespread misery associated with the Great Depression came to an end and that a majority of the American people achieved an unprecedented degree of prosperity. However, the greatest beneficiaries by far of the wartime economic boom were the country’s businesspeople and corporations, who realized extraordinary profits. Between 1942 and 1945, writes the historian Stuart D. Brandes, the net profits of America’s 2,000 biggest firms were more than 40 per cent higher than during the period 1936-1939. Such a “profit boom” was possible, he explains, because the state ordered billions of dollars of military equipment, failed to institute price controls, and taxed profits little if at all. This largesse benefited the American business world in general, but in particular that relatively restricted elite of big corporations known as “big business” or “corporate America.” During the war, a total of less than 60 firms obtained 75 per cent of all lucrative military and other state orders. The big corporations – Ford, IBM, etc. – revealed themselves to be the “war hogs,” writes Brandes, that gormandized at the plentiful trough of the state’s military expenditures. IBM, for example, increased its annual sales between 1940 and 1945 from 46 to 140 million dollar thanks to war-related orders, and its profits skyrocketed accordingly.

America’s big corporations exploited their Fordist expertise to the fullest in order to boost production, but even that was not sufficient to meet the wartime needs of the American state. Much more equipment was needed, and in order to produce it, America needed new factories and even more efficient technology. These new assets were duly stamped out of the ground, and on account of this the total value of all productive facilities of the nation increased between 1939 and 1945 from 40 to 66 billion dollar. However, it was not the private sector that undertook all these new investments; on account of its disagreeable experiences with overproduction during the thirties, America’s businesspeople found this task too risky. So the state did the job by investing 17 billion dollar in more than 2,000 defense-related projects. In return for a nominal fee, privately owned corporations were permitted to rent these brand-new factories in order to produce…and to make money by selling the output back to the state. Moreover, when the war was over and Washington decided to divest itself of these investments, the nation’s big corporations purchased them for half, and in many cases only one third, of the real value.

How did America finance the war, how did Washington pay the lofty bills presented by GM, ITT, and the other corporate suppliers of war equipment? The answer is: partly by means of taxation – about 45 per cent -, but much more through loans – approximately 55 per cent. On account of this, the public debt increased dramatically, namely, from 3 billion dollar in 1939 to no less than 45 billion dollar in 1945. In theory, this debt should have been reduced, or wiped out altogether, by levying taxes on the huge profits pocketed during the war by America’s big corporations, but the reality was different. As already noted, the American state failed to meaningfully tax corporate America’s windfall profits, allowed the public debt to mushroom, and paid its bills, and the interest on its loans, with its general revenues, that is, by means of the income generated by direct and indirect taxes. Particularly on account of the regressive Revenue Act introduced in October 1942, these taxes were paid increasingly by workers and other low-income Americans, rather than by the super-rich and the corporations of which the latter were the owners, major shareholders, and/or top managers. “The burden of financing the war,” observes the American historian Sean Dennis Cashman, “[was] sloughed firmly upon the shoulders of the poorer members of society.”

However, the American public, preoccupied by the war and blinded by the bright sun of full employment and high wages, failed to notice this. Affluent Americans, on the other hand, were keenly aware of the wonderful way in which the war generated money for themselves and for their corporations. Incidentally, it was also from the rich businesspeople, bankers, insurers and other big investors that Washington borrowed the money needed to finance the war; corporate America thus also profited from the war by pocketing the lion’s share of the interests generated by the purchase of the famous war bonds. In theory, at least, the rich and powerful of America are the great champions of so-called free enterprise, and they oppose any form of state intervention in the economy. During the war, however, they never raised any objections to the way in which the American state managed and financed the economy, because without this large-scale dirigist violation of the rules of free enterprise, their collective wealth could never have proliferated as it did during those years.

During the Second World War, the wealthy owners and top managers of the big corporations learned a very important lesson: during a war there is money to be made, lots of money. In other words, the arduous task of maximizing profits – the key activity within the capitalist American economy – can be absolved much more efficiently through war than through peace; however, the benevolent cooperation of the state is required. Ever since the Second World War, the rich and powerful of America have remained keenly conscious of this. So is their man in the White House today [2003, i.e. George W. Bush], the scion of a “money dynasty” who was parachuted into the White House in order to promote the interests of his wealthy family members, friends, and associates in corporate America, the interests of money, privilege, and power.

In the spring of 1945 it was obvious that the war, fountainhead of fabulous profits, would soon be over. What would happen then? Among the economists, many Cassandras conjured up scenarios that loomed extremely unpleasant for America’s political and industrial leaders. During the war, Washington’s purchases of military equipment, and nothing else, had restored the economic demand and thus made possible not only full employment but also unprecedented profits. With the return of peace, the ghost of disharmony between supply and demand threatened to return to haunt America again, and the resulting crisis might well be even more acute than the Great Depression of the “dirty thirties,” because during the war years the productive capacity of the nation had increased considerably, as we have seen. Workers would have to be laid off precisely at the moment when millions of war veterans would come home looking for a civilian job, and the resulting unemployment and decline in purchasing power would aggravate the demand deficit. Seen from the perspective of America’s rich and powerful, the coming unemployment was not a problem; what did matter was that the golden age of gargantuan profits would come to an end. Such a catastrophe had to be prevented, but how?

Military state expenditures were the source of high profits. In order to keep the profits gushing forth generously, new enemies and new war threats were urgently needed now that Germany and Japan were defeated. How fortunate that the Soviet Union existed, a country which during the war had been a particularly useful partner who had pulled the chestnuts out of the fire for the Allies in Stalingrad and elsewhere, but also a partner whose communist ideas and practices allowed it to be easily transformed into the new bogeyman of the United States. Most American historians now admit that in 1945 the Soviet Union, a country that had suffered enormously during the war, did not constitute a threat at all to the economically and militarily far superior USA, and that Washington itself did not perceive the Soviets as a threat. These historians also acknowledge that Moscow was very keen to work closely together with Washington in the postwar era.

Indeed, Moscow had nothing to gain, and everything to lose, from a conflict with superpower America, which was brimming with confidence thanks to its monopoly of the atom bomb. However, America – corporate America, the America of the super-rich – urgently needed a new enemy in order to justify the titanic expenditures for “defense” which were needed to keep the wheels of the nation’s economy spinning at full speed also after the end of the war, thus keeping profit margins at the required – or rather, desired – high levels, or even to increase them. It is for this reason that the Cold War was unleashed in 1945, not by the Soviets but by the American “military-industrial” complex, as President Eisenhower would call that elite of wealthy individuals and corporations that knew how to profit from the “warfare economy.”

In this respect, the Cold War exceeded their fondest expectations. More and more martial equipment had to be cranked out, because the allies within the so-called “free world”, which actually included plenty of nasty dictatorships, had to be armed to the teeth with US equipment. In addition, America’s own armed forces never ceased demanding bigger, better, and more sophisticated tanks, planes, rockets, and, yes, chemical and bacteriological weapons and other weapons of mass destruction. For these goods, the Pentagon was always ready to pay huge sums without asking difficult questions. As had been the case during the Second World War, it was again primarily the large corporations who were allowed to fill the orders. The Cold War generated unprecedented profits, and they flowed into the coffers of those extremely wealthy individuals who happened to be the owners, top managers, and/or major shareholders of these corporations. (Does it come as a surprise that in the United States newly retired Pentagon generals are routinely offered jobs as consultants by large corporations involved in military production, and that businessmen linked with those corporations are regularly appointed as high-ranking officials of the Department of Defense, as advisors of the President, etc.?)

During the Cold War too, the American state financed its skyrocketing military expenditures by means of loans, and this caused the public debt to rise to dizzying heights. In 1945 the public debt stood at “only” 258 billion dollar, but in 1990 – when the Cold War ground to an end – it amounted to no less than 3.2 trillion dollar! This was a stupendous increase, also when one takes the inflation rate into account, and it caused the American state to become the world’s greatest debtor. (Incidentally, in July 2002 the American public debt had reached 6.1 trillion dollar.) Washington could and should have covered the cost of the Cold War by taxing the huge profits achieved by the corporations involved in the armament orgy, but there was never any question of such a thing. In 1945, when the Second World War come to an end and the Cold War picked up the slack, corporations still paid 50 per cent of all taxes, but during the course of the Cold War this share shrunk consistently, and today it only amounts to approximately 1 per cent.

This was possible because the nation’s big corporations largely determine what the government in Washington may or may not do, also in the field of fiscal policy. In addition, lowering the tax burden of corporations was made easier because after the Second World War these corporations transformed themselves into multinationals, “at home everywhere and nowhere,” as an American author has written in connection with ITT, and therefore find it easy to avoid paying meaningful taxes anywhere. Stateside, where they pocket the biggest profits, 37 per cent of all American multinationals – and more than 70 per cent of all foreign multinationals – paid not a single dollar of taxes in 1991, while the remaining multinationals remitted less than 1 per cent of their profits in taxes.

The sky-high costs of the Cold War were thus not borne by those who profited from it and who, incidentally, also continued to pocket the lion’s share of the dividends paid on government bonds, but by the American workers and the American middle class. These low- and middle-income Americans did not receive a penny from the profits yielded so profusely by the Cold War, but they did receive their share of the enormous public debt for which that conflict was largely responsible. It is they, therefore, who were really saddled with the costs of the Cold War, and it is they who continue to pay with their taxes for a disproportionate share of the burden of the public debt.

In other words, while the profits generated by the Cold War were privatized to the advantage of an extremely wealthy elite, its costs were ruthlessly socialized to the great detriment of all other Americans. During the Cold War, the American economy degenerated into a gigantic swindle, into a perverse redistribution of the nation’s wealth to the advantage of the rich and to the disadvantage not only of the poor and of the working class but also of the middle class, whose members tend to subscribe to the myth that the American capitalist system serves their interests. Indeed, while the wealthy and powerful of America accumulated ever-greater riches, the prosperity achieved by many other Americans during the Second World War was gradually eroded, and the general standard of living declined slowly but steadily.

During the Second World War America had witnessed a modest redistribution of the collective wealth of the nation to the advantage of the less privileged members of society. During the Cold War, however, the rich Americans became richer while the non-wealthy – and certainly not only the poor – became poorer. In 1989, the year the Cold War petered out, more than 13 per cent of all Americans – approximately 31 million individuals – were poor according to the official criteria of poverty, which definitely understate the problem. Conversely, today 1 per cent of all Americans own no less than 34 per cent of the nation’s aggregate wealth. In no major “Western” country is the wealth distributed more unevenly.

The minuscule percentage of super-rich Americans found this development extremely satisfactory. They loved the idea of accumulating more and more wealth, of aggrandizing their already huge assets, at the expense of the less privileged. They wanted to keep things that way or, if at all possible, make this sublime scheme even more efficient. However, all good things must come to an end, and in 1989/90 the bountiful Cold War elapsed. That presented a serious problem. Ordinary Americans, who knew that they had borne the costs of this war, expected a “peace dividend.”

They thought that the money the state had spent on military expenditures might now be used to produce benefits for themselves, for example in the form of a national health insurance and other social benefits which Americans in contrast to most Europeans have never enjoyed. In 1992, Bill Clinton would actually win the presidential election by dangling out the prospect of a national health plan, which of course never materialized. A “peace dividend” was of no interest whatsoever to the nation’s wealthy elite, because the provision of social services by the state does not yield profits for entrepreneurs and corporations, and certainly not the lofty kind of profits generated by military state expenditures. Something had to be done, and had to be done fast, to prevent the threatening implosion of the state’s military spending.

America, or rather, corporate America, was orphaned of its useful Soviet enemy, and urgently needed to conjure up new enemies and new threats in order to justify a high level of military spending. It is in this context that in 1990 Saddam Hussein appeared on the scene like a kind ofdeus ex machina. This tin-pot dictator had previously been perceived and treated by the Americans as a good friend, and he had been armed to the teeth so that he could wage a nasty war against Iran; it was the USA – and allies such as Germany – who originally supplied him with all sorts of weapons. However, Washington was desperately in need of a new enemy, and suddenly fingered him as a terribly dangerous “new Hitler,” against whom war needed to be waged urgently, even though it was clear that a negotiated settlement of the issue of Iraq’s occupation of Kuwait was not out of the question.

George Bush Senior was the casting agent who discovered this useful new nemesis of America, and who unleashed the Gulf War, during which Baghdad was showered with bombs and Saddam’s hapless recruits were slaughtered in the desert. The road to the Iraqi capital lay wide-open, but the Marines’ triumphant entry into Baghdad was suddenly scrapped. Saddam Hussein was left in power so that the threat he was supposed to form might be invoked again in order to justify keeping America in arms. After all, the sudden collapse of the Soviet Union had shown how inconvenient it can be when one loses a useful foe.

And so Mars could remain the patron saint of the American economy or, more accurately, the godfather of the corporate Mafia that manipulates this war-driven economy and reaps its huge profits without bearing its costs. The despised project of a peace dividend could be unceremoniously buried, and military expenditures could remain the dynamo of the economy and the wellspring of sufficiently high profits. Those expenditures increased relentlessly during the 1990s. In 1996, for example, they amounted to no less than 265 billion dollars, but when one adds the unofficial and/or indirect military expenditures, such as the interests paid on loans used to finance past wars, the 1996 total came to approximately 494 billion dollar, amounting to an outlay of 1.3 billion dollar per day! However, with only a considerably chastened Saddam as bogeyman, Washington found it expedient also to look elsewhere for new enemies and threats. Somalia temporarily looked promising, but in due course another “new Hitler” was identified in the Balkan Peninsula in the person of the Serbian leader, Milosevic. During much of the nineties, then, conflicts in the former Yugoslavia provided the required pretexts for military interventions, large-scale bombing operations, and the purchase of more and newer weapons.

The “warfare economy” could thus continue to run on all cylinders also after the Gulf War. However, in view of occasional public pressure such as the demand for a peace dividend, it is not easy to keep this system going. (The media present no problem, as newspapers, magazines, TV stations, etc. are either owned by big corporations or rely on them for advertising revenue.) As mentioned earlier, the state has to cooperate, so in Washington one needs men and women one can count upon, preferably individuals from the very own corporate ranks, individuals totally committed to use the instrument of military expenditures in order to provide the high profits that are needed to make the very rich of America even richer. In this respect, Bill Clinton had fallen short of expectations, and corporate America could never forgive his original sin, namely, that he had managed to have himself elected by promising the American people a “peace dividend” in the form of a system of health insurance.

On account of this, in 2000 it was arranged that not the Clinton-clone Al Gore moved into the White House but a team of militarist hardliners, virtually without exception representatives of wealthy, corporate America, such as Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Rice, and of course George W. Bush himself, son of the man who had shown with his Gulf War how it could be done; the Pentagon, too, was directly represented in the Bush Cabinet in the person of the allegedly peace-loving Powell, in reality yet another angel of death. Rambo moved into the White House, and it did not take long for the results to show.

After Bush Junior had been catapulted into the presidency, it looked for some time as if he was going to proclaim China as the new nemesis of America. However, a conflict with that giant loomed somewhat risky; furthermore, all too many big corporations make good money by trading with the People’s Republic. Another threat, preferably less dangerous and more credible, was required to keep the military expenditures at a sufficiently high level. For this purpose, Bush and Rumsfeld and company could have wished for nothing more convenient than the events of September 11, 2001; it is extremely likely that they were aware of the preparations for these monstrous attacks, but that they did nothing to prevent them because they knew that they would be able to benefit from them. In any event, they did take full advantage of this opportunity in order to militarize America more than ever before, to shower bombs on people who had nothing to do with 9/11, to wage war to their hearts’ content, and thus for corporations that do business with the Pentagon to ring up unprecedented sales. Bush declared war not on a country but on terrorism, an abstract concept against which one cannot really wage war and against which a definitive victory can never be achieved. However, in practice the slogan “war against terrorism” meant that Washington now reserves the right to wage war worldwide and permanently against whomever the White House defines as a terrorist.

And so the problem of the end of the Cold War was definitively resolved, as there was henceforth a justification for ever-increasing military expenditures. The statistics speak for themselves. The 1996 total of 265 billion dollar in military expenditures had already been astronomical, but thanks to Bush Junior the Pentagon was allowed to spend 350 billion in 2002, and for 2003 the President has promised approximately 390 billion; however, it is now virtually certain that the cape of 400 billion dollar will be rounded this year. (In order to finance this military spending orgy, money has to be saved elsewhere, for example by cancelling free lunches for poor children; every little bit helps.) No wonder that George W. struts around beaming with happiness and pride, for he – essentially a spoiled rich kid of very limited talent and intellect – has surpassed the boldest expectations not only of his wealthy family and friends but of corporate America as a whole, to which he owes his job.

9/11 provided Bush with carte blanche to wage war wherever and against whomever he chose, and as this essay has purported to make clear, it does not matter all that much who happens to be fingered as enemy du jour. Last year, Bush showered bombs on Afghanistan, presumably because the leaders of that country sheltered Bin Laden, but recently the latter went out of fashion and it was once again Saddam Hussein who allegedly threatened America. We cannot deal here in detail with the specific reasons why Bush’s America absolutely wanted war with the Iraq of Saddam Hussein and not with, say, North Korea. A major reason for fighting this particular war was that Iraq’s large reserves of oil are lusted after by the US oil trusts with whom the Bushes themselves – and Bushites such as Cheney and Rice, after whom an oil tanker happens to be named – are so intimately linked. The war in Iraq is also useful as a lesson to other Third World countries who fail to dance to Washington’s tune, and as an instrument for emasculating domestic opposition and ramming the extreme right-wing program of an unelected president down the throats of Americans themselves.

The America of wealth and privilege is hooked on war, without regular and ever-stronger doses of war it can no longer function properly, that is, yield the desired profits. Right now, this addiction, this craving is being satisfied by means of a conflict against Iraq, which also happens to be dear to the hearts of the oil barons. However, does anybody believe that the warmongering will stop once Saddam’ scalp will join the Taliban turbans in the trophy display case of George W. Bush? The President has already pointed his finger at those whose turn will soon come, namely, the “axis of evil” countries: Iran, Syria, Lybia, Somalia, North Korea, and of course that old thorn in the side of America, Cuba. Welcome to the 21st century, welcome to George W. Bush’s brave new era of permanent war!

Jacques R. Pauwels is historian and political scientist, author of ‘The Myth of the Good War: America in the Second World War’ (James Lorimer, Toronto, 2002). His book is published in different languages: in English, Dutch, German, Spanish, Italian and French. Together with personalities like Ramsey Clark, Michael Parenti, William Blum, Robert Weil, Michel Collon, Peter Franssen and many others… he signed “The International Appeal against US-War”.


From the International Press on Saturday, March 22, 2003:

The cost to the United States of the war in Iraq and its aftermath could easily exceed $100 billion…Peace-keeping in Iraq and rebuilding the country’s infrastructure could add much more…The Bush administration has stayed tightlipped about the cost of the war and reconstruction…Both the White House and the Pentagon refused to offer any definite figures.
(The International Herald Tribune, 22/03/03)

It is estimated that the war against Iraq will cost approximately 100 billion dollar. In contrast to the Gulf War of 1991, whose cost of 80 million was shared by the Allies, the United States is expected to pay the entire cost of the present war…For the American private sector, i.e. the big corporations, the coming reconstruction of Iraq’s infrastructure will represent a business of 900 million dollar; the first contracts were awarded yesterday (March 21) by the American government to two corporations. (Guido Leboni, “Un coste de 100.000 millones de dolares,” El Mundo, Madrid, 22/03/03)

TRYING TO STAY SANE IN AN INSANE WORLD – PART 2 « The Burning Platform

TRYING TO STAY SANE IN AN INSANE WORLD – PART 2 « The Burning Platform.

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