[Crossposted at the Real History Blog]

What do you think keeps Rumsfeld up at night?

The war in Iraq? Heck no.

The calls for him to resign? Not a chance.

Here’s what keeps Rumsfeld up at night:

“Today we’re engaged in the first war in history – unconventional and irregular as it may be – in an era of e-mails, blogs, cell phones, Blackberries, instant messaging, digital cameras, a global internet with no inhibitions, cell phones, hand-held video cameras, talk radio, 24-hour news broadcasts, satellite television. There’s never been a war fought in this environment before.”

He returned to the theme of the media deficit in August: “That’s the thing that keeps me up at night“, he told an audience of naval personnel.

That’s right. The media’s presentation of the war is what keeps Donald Rumsfeld, our “Defense” Secretary, up at night.


The quote is from this BBC article titled “Pentagon gears up for new media war.”

This is really interesting to me, because I’ve long studied the CIA’s control and manipulation of the media not just in America, but worldwide. For example:

PAO (Public Affairs Office) has relationships with reporters from every major wire service, newspaper, news weekly and TV network … this has helped turn some “intelligence failure” stories into “intelligence success” stories, and it has contributed to … countless others. In many instances we have persuaded reporters to postpone, change, hold or even scrap stories. Source

So why does the Pentagon now feel the need to control the media too?

And, ahem, since when is that part of the military’s charter? To “sell” the war to America? They should stick to fighting and the facts, and not engage in any way in any form of propaganda. But they started this effort long ago. I don’t mean the propaganda efforts that have accompanied every war this country has ever waged. I’m referring specifically to the Pentagon’s effort to infiltrate military personnel from Fort Bragg into CNN’s newsroom. Yep. Remember that story, from 2000? Here’s Alexander Cockburn’s version:

CNN is up in arms about our report in the last issue of CounterPunch concerning the findings of the Dutch journalist, Abe de Vries about the presence of US Army personnel at CNN, owned by Time-Warner. We cited an article by de Vries which appeared on February 21 in the reputable Dutch daily newspaper Trouw, originally translated into English and placed on the web by Emperor’s Clothes. De Vries reported that a handful of military personnel from the Third Psychological Operations Battalion, part of the airmobile Fourth Psychological Operations Group based at Fort Bragg, in North Carolina, had worked in CNN’s hq in Atlanta.

De Vries quoted Major Thomas Collins of the US Army Information Service as having confirmed the presence of these Army psy-ops experts at CNN, saying, “Psy-ops personnel, soldiers and officers, have been working in CNN’s headquarters in Atlanta through our program, ‘Training with Industry’. They worked as regular employees of CNN. Conceivably, they would have worked on stories during the Kosovo war. They helped in the production of news.”

Eason Jordan, then the self-described “president of newsgathering and international networks” (per Cockburn), called Cockburn angrily and, while confirming that CNN had hosted five “interns” from the Army’s psychological warfare division, said the program had ended recently. Probably, Cockburn speculated, after they read De Vries’ article.

De Vries, in response to a follow-up call from Cockburn, responded:

“The facts are”, De Vries told me, ” that the US Army, US Special Operations Command and CNN personnel confirmed to me that military personnel have been involved in news production at CNN’s newsdesks. I found it simply astonishing. Of course CNN says these psyops personnel didn’t decide anything, write news reports, etcetera. What else can they say. Maybe it’s true, maybe not. The point is that these kind of close ties with the army are, in my view, completely unacceptable for any serious news organization. Maybe even more astonishing is the complete silence about the story from the big media. To my knowledge, my story was not mentioned by leading American or British newspapers, nor by Reuters or AP.”

It’s gotten to the point where I don’t watch local news anymore. There’s never much of significance – mostly “human interest” stories which don’t interest me at all. They don’t keep me up at night.

What keeps me up at night are stories like Darfur, where millions live in threat of slaughter every day, those that are still alive; Iraq, where 600,000+ Iraqis have been killed, not to mention the hapless American soldiers sent to give their blood for oil; global warming, which even the Pentagon agrees is a greater threat to national security threat greater than terrorism:

A secret report, suppressed by US defence chiefs and obtained by The Observer, warns that major European cities will be sunk beneath rising seas as Britain is plunged into a ‘Siberian’ climate by 2020. Nuclear conflict, mega-droughts, famine and widespread rioting will erupt across the world.

The document predicts that abrupt climate change could bring the planet to the edge of anarchy as countries develop a nuclear threat to defend and secure dwindling food, water and energy supplies. The threat to global stability vastly eclipses that of terrorism, say the few experts privy to its contents.

‘Disruption and conflict will be endemic features of life,’ concludes the Pentagon analysis. ‘Once again, warfare would define human life.’

The findings will prove humiliating to the Bush administration, which has repeatedly denied that climate change even exists. Experts said that they will also make unsettling reading for a President who has insisted national defence is a priority.

The report was commissioned by the Pentagon but authored by “CIA consultant and former head of planning at Royal Dutch/Shell Group” Peter Schwartz, and Doug Randall of the Global Business Network.

When you have an oil/CIA guy and another CIA guy a representative from the business world arguing that we really need to fix global warming, shouldn’t we all be paying exceedingly close attention?

And of course, what keeps me up in recent nights are all the myriad stories about electronic voting that now appear daily in newspapers across America. No amount of citizen protest, lawsuits, or impassioned reports from Lou Dobbs and Keith Olbermann can save us in the next election. It’s just too late. We’re going to suffer the consequences, be they small or large. I pray they are small, and truly accidental. I fear they will be large, and that on November 8th we’ll all wake up to a still-Republican Senate and Congress, not because they won, but because they were rigging the vote. For the record, take a good look at the polls now, and right before the election. Any swings from the last poll numbers should be very seriously investigated.

So sweet dreams, Rumsfeld. You have so little on your mind, the media “problem” shouldn’t keep you up very long. But don’t expect much company in slumberland. Many of us are wide awake, on the front lines, fighting far more important national security battles.

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