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Rumors, Humor, Suppression and Bias

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<h>Start off with Humor:</h> There's a <a href="http://www.salon.com/comics/tomo/2001/10/15/tomo/index.html">cartoon </a>at <a href="http://www.salon.com">Salon.com</a> spoofing the strong-arming going on in the government as bill after bill if shoved through with little to no comment and/or argument from the Senate of Congress. This <a href="http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/p/ap/20011011/wl/1002789017attacks_military_xent191.html">picture of a bomb signing</a> got coverage at <a href="http://dailynews.yahoo.com/">Yahoo News</a>. It would have been pretty funny if they would have spelled hijack correctly and could have avoided disparaging 'fags' at the same time. Got to keep your message on target and let's not sully it with other bigotries, gentlemen. <b>UPDATE:</b> Aaron McGruder, writer of the comic strip <i>the Boondocks</i>, has been under attack for some of the views expressed in his strip in the last few weeks. He's even been censored in a lot of newspapers because he's not "standing behind a unified country." His latest strips are a pretty thinly veiled attempt to do just that (<a href="http://www.ucomics.com/boondocks/viewbo.cfm?uc_full_date=20011017&uc_comic=bo&uc_daction=X">Wednesday</a> and <a href="http://www.ucomics.com/boondocks/viewbo.cfm?uc_full_date=20011018&uc_comic=bo&uc_daction=X">Thursday</a>). <b>UPDATE:</b> Here's a <a href="http://www.welfarestate.com/map/">conceptual map of the world from an American viewpoint</a> sent to me that might help explain that 90% approval rating for war. <b>UPDATE:</b> Speaking of approving the war, here's a <a href="http://www.mnftiu.cc/mnftiu.cc/war.html">great cartoon</a> from <a href="http://www.mnftiu.cc">MNFTIU</a> (My New Fighting Technique Is Unstoppable). (Spoiler: it isn't really pro-war.) <h>Move on to Rumor:</h> In other news, the Pentagon is buying up as many satellite images as it can. This was first reported to me from <a href="http://www.dawn.com/2001/10/17/">DAWN news</a>, and has a <a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/Archive/Article/0,4273,4278871,00.html">much larger article</a> at <a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk">The Guardian</a>. This is to keep the whole operation secret so that it can't be sabotaged. It also, coincidentally, prevents us from getting the wrong ideas about what a 'military installation' is is in a country with little electricity and that is constantly on the edge of famine. For example, we can't see the <a href="http://www.newsday.com/ny-warpent17.story">Red Cross facility</a> they hit this morning, which destroyed medical and food supplies. Looks like we get to find out how bad the war was after it's long over. The little 'leaks' and reports we get now can't possibly be the whole story. <h>Here comes Suppression:</h> On the same topic, <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/">Mother Jones</a> has a lot of interesting articles, including this lengthy quote that I picked up from <a href="http://www.shacknews.com/funk.y?person=veggie">Veggie</a> on the <a href="http://www.shacknews.com">ShackNews</a> messageboards (and whose text I can't find on the MJ site, so keep that in mind). It addresses how information was disseminated, managed and manufactured to properly manage public (our) opinions in our last big conflict, the Gulf War. All indications are that similar forces are at work today. <span class="quote"><q>Gulf War aim: To promote public support for predetermined agendas</span> <span class="quote">In the months following Operation Desert Storm, considerable evidence has emerged that the news-management strategy used by the Bush administration was designed not to enable the American people to make an objective evaluation of the events leading up to the conflict and the conduct of the war itself, but to promote public support for predetermined agendas, such as access to oil and support for controversial weapons systems.</span> <span class="quote">Highlights of this evidence include:</span> <span class="quote">Congressional testimony by a former Pentagon official that the Defense Department "doctored" statistics about the success rates of weapons systems in the Gulf to increase public support for the war and congressional support for additional weapons funding.</span> <span class="quote">Congressional testimony by a former Pentagon adviser that the Patriot missiles were not as effective as the Defense Department claimed, and that they may have caused more damage than they prevented.</span> <span class="quote">Statements by Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Merrill A. McPeak which indicate that Pentagon videos depicting laser-guided bombs hitting their targets with surgical precision --- which were shown repeatedly on the [broadcast] networks and Cable News Network --- presented a distorted view of the air war. At a postwar briefing, McPeak released statistics showing that such bombs represented 8.8 percent of the ordnance dropped by U.S. forces on Iraq. The remaining 91.2 percent of the 84,200 tons of bombs dropped by the United States during the conflict were "dumb" bombs that had no precision guidance systems.</span> <span class="quote">Statements indicating that Pentagon briefer Lt. Gen. Thomas Kelly's claims during the first week of the war that bombing missions had an 80 percent success rate were misleading. After repeated questioning by reporters, Defense Department officials clarified that "success" meant a plane had taken off, released its ordnance in the area of the target, and returned to its base.</span> <span class="quote">Indications that the Pentagon was unwilling to disclose what it knew about the likelihood of civilian casualties caused by U.S. and allied bombing. During Pentagon briefings, officials repeatedly stressed that U.S. planes were avoiding civilian targets, but little was said or asked about the long-range effects that the bombing of Iraq's infrastructure would have on the civilian population. A report prepared in May 1991 by a Harvard study team predicted that 170,000 Iraqi children would die within the next year as a result of the effects of the Gulf crisis.</span> <span class="quote">Evidence of a sophisticated public relations campaign by private organizations and foreign groups to build support for White House policies in the Gulf. In August 1990, Hill and Knowlton --- a PR firm whose president and chief operating officer of public affairs, worldwide is Craig Fuller, Vice President Bush's chief of staff from 1985 to 1989 --- was hired by representatives of the Kuwaiti government to help sell the American people on the need for U.S. military intervention. Hill and Knowlton's president and chief executive officer, USA, Robert Dilenschneider, said in a speech that the firm's job was "to build support behind the President." One way it did this, Dilenschneider said, was by providing the media, which were "controlled by the Department of Defense very effectively," with "the kind of information that would enable them to get their job done." Hill and Knowlton was paid more than $10 million for its efforts.</q></span> <h>Finish strong with Bias:</h> And lastly, speaking of biased media, we <a href="http://www.wired.com/news/conflict/0,2100,47638,00.html">certainly aren't the only ones doing it</a>. (article from <a href="http://www.wired.com">Wired.com</a>.)