Yes, the administration does believe in freedom of information and sunshine as the tonic to government . . . when it's other governments and they're trying to confuse the issue. This is made very clear by Scott Shane's "Iraqi Documents Are Put on Web, and Search Is On" in this morning's New York Times.
Here's what's going on. There are no WMDs in Iraq, there were no WMDs in Iraq. So the administration (and some of their puppets in Congress) respond by releasing various papers from the Iraq government, papers from before the invasion.
Supposedly, bloggers will take a free and independent look at the papers. Think of it as a more open version of how the administration utilized the same type of right-wing bloggers when they went on attack mode over the 60 Minutes II story that dared to suggest Bully Boy was less than a rah-rah warrior -- not when playing dress up but when actually serving (or, as the case was, when not in fact serving).
The apparent hope is that the issue can once again be confused.
In terms of voters, that can be done, it's hoped, by having some start insisting, "See, there is proof!" There is no proof. There is no proof because there were no WMDs. But it's an election year, support for the war has cratered and the Bully Boy's shine has come off, something must be done to help Republicans running for office!
So try to confuse the situation enough to get a few of the Kool Aid drinkers back on board. Just enough to get a few saying, "Well I read on Little Mean Powder Puffs that there were WMDs! In fact, there's a document that proves it! It's in Arabic, so you'll just have to take my word for it! My word and Rush Limbaugh's!"
It's similar to another confidence game that's currently being played. The one where undocumented workers are used as a huge pinata for all the anger over the economy. "See, Republicans are doing something!" That's the hope there. Whether we're left with the most cruel legislation or something else, the hope is that, for their zealot base, it will look like Republicans tried.
Now they did nothing to fix the economy (that would require raising taxes on the higher earners) but did their actions do enough to feed the rage and hatred of the other? That's how they'll measure success come November. Undocumented workers are this year's gay marriage, this year's women who work outside of the home, and this is their chance to really go to town fueling hatred.
Con games are all the party has so they offer up the one where they do a paper dump online. And it doesn't just help online, it also helps with the so-called press.
Intelligence officials had serious concerns about turning loose an army of amateurs on a warehouse full of raw documents that include hearsay, disinformation and forgery. Mr. Negroponte's office attached a disclaimer to the documents, only a few of which have been translated into English, saying the government did not vouch for their authenticity.
That's the sort of disclaimer that allows them to fan the flames while claiming that they never said there was anything in the papers that proved the non-existant WMDs existed. As for "an army of amateurs" -- "an army of amateurs" has been used from the beginning. One name we'd all recognize would be Judith Miller. Today you can add Scott Shane's name to that list.
Some of the documents, also included in a new study by the United States military, already have caused a stir by suggesting that Russian officials passed American war plans to Mr. Hussein's government as the invasion began.
Imagine the high fives over the above! "We got it back in the Times today! We got our unproven claim back in a major daily!" And Shane will of course maintain that he wasn't used. Lots of reporters like to think they're much smarter than they are. Which is how they get used so easily.
It's a brilliant con. Try to raise enough doubt about WMD to get some of the ones who've stopped drinking the Kool Aid to come back for the new, sugar free cyanide version and feed the press statements (unattributed) that allow you to also work your next power play and not only can you confuse the issue, you can also continue down the path of turning Russia into the new France! Why, it's only a matter of time before some Limbaugh loving diner is snapping at a waiter, "Russian dressing for my salad? No, sir! I want Liberty Dressing! Now!"
At one point, Michael Scheuer laments to Shane that the release of the documents is a problem because "There's no quality control." That's a bit like complaining to the owner of a chop shop that someone stole your car stereo.
We could sit here and note various claims that make it into Shane's article. (The biggest laugh getter is the one where an unnamed official explains the type of documents that were censored -- read what he leads with which has nothing to do with truth but everything to do with trying to sell the illegal war one more time.) But to do so would further the lies of the administration. Shane may play patsy today but let's not.
Remember the heads up from Ruth's Public Radio Report:
Programming notes for next week. First, Larry Bensky and KPFA will be covering Tuesday's **NSA Hearing by the Senate Judiciary Committee** I assume that other Pacficia stations will carry this or some coverage of it as well but I have only heard it noted on KPFA. [Dallas note: Houston's KPFT will air the coverage beginning at 8:30 a.m. Central Time.]
Rod passes on the scheduled topic for today's Democracy Now!:
Former U.S. Senator and presidential candidate Gary Hart on Iraq, the domestic surveillance controversy and national security.
And we'll note three upcoming Un-Embed the Media dates (the first is today):
Amy Goodman in New York, NY:
Tue, Mar 28 *
TIME: 6 PM
Impeachment with Michael Ratner and The Center for Constitutional Rights
The Culture Project
45 Bleeker St.
Tues, March 28th 6-9pm
* Amy Goodman in Atlanta, GA:
Fri, Mar 31 *
TIME: 8 PM
Fundraiser for Damu Smith
Hillside Chapel and Truth Center 2450 Cascade Road, SW Atlanta, GA 30303
Reception from 6-8 PM.
Guest speakers include: Rev. Joseph Lowery, Rev. C.T. Vivian, and Rev.
* Amy Goodman in New York, NY:
Tue, Apr 4 *
TIME: 12:15 PM
Women War and Peace (class)
The Event is Free and Open to the Public
For more information: Please Call Barbara Winslow at:
718-951-5476 or 212-844-9447
Reception is at 12:15
Event starts at 1:30
The e-mail address for this site is firstname.lastname@example.org.
the new york times
center for constitutional rights
ruths public radio report