Sunday, November 20, 2005

The Man Who Sold the War

CLICK TO READ: The Man Who Sold the War by James Bamford, Rolling Stone

The lengths this administration will go to disinform the public for their own political ends are nothing less than astounding as evidenced by this fascinating article in Rolling Stone:

"Meet John Rendon, Bush's general in the propaganda war....One of the most powerful people in Washington, Rendon is a leader in the strategic field known as 'perception management,' manipulating information -- and, by extension, the news media -- to achieve the desired result. His firm, the Rendon Group, has made millions off government contracts since 1991, when it was hired by the CIA to help 'create the conditions for the removal of Hussein from power.' Working under this extraordinary transfer of secret authority, Rendon assembled a group of anti-Saddam militants, personally gave them their name -- the Iraqi National Congress -- and served as their media guru and 'senior adviser' as they set out to engineer an uprising against Saddam. It was as if President John F. Kennedy had outsourced the Bay of Pigs operation to the advertising and public-relations firm of J. Walter Thompson...."

"...Indeed, Rendon is already thinking ahead. Last year, he attended a conference on information operations in London, where he offered an assessment on the Pentagon's efforts to manipulate the media. According to those present, Rendon applauded the practice of embedding journalists with American forces. "He said the embedded idea was great," says an Air Force colonel who attended the talk. "It worked as they had found in the test. It was the war version of reality television, and for the most part they did not lose control of the story." But Rendon also cautioned that individual news organizations were often able to "take control of the story," shaping the news before the Pentagon asserted its spin on the day's events.

"We lost control of the context," Rendon warned. "That has to be fixed for the next war."


ILLUSTRATION: Rolling Stone, by Matt Mahurin

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