Lessons from Oz

By Scott Creighton

Penn, Perino, Hughes, Black, Chertoff

Penn, Perino, Hughes, Black, Chertoff

The U.S. psyops/propaganda campaign in Iraq is failing. According to a Washington Post story the vast majority of Iraqis can see right through Washington’s efforts to “normalize the occupation” through propaganda metered out in newspapers, billboards, and flashy “K-street” style advertising spots.  The Iraqis call it “childish” and “clumsy”. To them it’s a joke.

U.S. military officials and contractors have spent hundreds of millions of dollars on billboards, pamphlets and TV/ radio airtime in Iraq over the past six years to burnish the U.S. military’s image, marginalize extremists, promote democracy and foster reconciliation.  Washington Post

But what is perhaps most disturbing about the Post’s article is that it never dawns on the reporter to ask why the United States is actually running a propaganda campaign in the first place. Why spend so much tax-payer money trying to convince the people of Iraq that everything is going along just fine, that life is as it should be, if, after all, our intent was simply to establish an American “democracy” in Iraq?

“I say to the Future Iraq organization: If those funds had been given to the poor and the widows, Iraq would have become a pioneer in social welfare. Millions of dollars go into the pockets of war profiteers who believe victory in Iraq can be won through the media using underground movies.”  Washington Post

Perhaps the answer lies not just in the sheer opportunistic greed of yet another over-paid contractor ripping their bread from the mouths of the American tax-payer while out of view overseas, as the Washington Post dutifully points out. Perhaps the answer lies with the system they are attempting to build in Iraq and just how much it really is like our domestic brand of “American democracy”.

Top Shelf American Propaganda – Burson Marstellar

How do you guarantee that you make the most money and come out top in the cola-wars? Own both Coke and Pepsi.

Karen Hughes, George Bush’s lifelong adviser and friend of his father, George H. W. Bush, left the administration and went to work for Burson-Marsteller (BM) along with several other Bush administration officials, namely Michael Chertoff and Dana Perino.  Chertoff works with them more in a auxiliary manner; his firm Chertoff Group is connect via a strategic partnership with BM.

With all those well connected republicans it’s easy to understand the Burson-Marsteller connection to a man by the name of Charles R. Black; republican strategist and adviser to republican presidents and candidates since Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush.  What is harder to understand is the fact that the company is run by Mark Penn; strategist and adviser to every democratic president and candidate since Bill Clinton’s first run for the White House.

Burson-Marstellar is the top of the line international public relations in the country and they are the worlds largest since 1983.  They are intimately connected to the biggest corporations, oil industries, banking and financial conglomerates, hedge funds, crooked politicians, and tin-pot corrupt dictators all across the world.

The Bhopal industrial disaster, the Exxon Valdez oil spill, the Blackwater Nisour Square Massacre, the Tylenol poisonings in ’82 and ’86, the Agrentinian junta, these are all just a few of the “crisis management” opportunities that BM was contracted to “spin” back the favorable image of their clients.

Naomi Klein gave them a little mention in “The Shock Doctrine”;

Victor Emmanuel, the Burson-Marsteller public relations executive who was in charge of selling the Argentine junta’s new business-friendly regime to the outside world, told a researcher that violence was necessary to open up Argentina’s “protective, statist” economy.”  Klein

As a side note, you should read up on their Direct Impact; it’s what Burson Marsteller refers to as on the “forefront of the grassroots communications industry“. By utilizing the strength of viral marketing, web placement, and bloggers… BM offers clients the ability to shape social and political issues and even “the perception of events” in real time.  Their “e-communications” system seems quite interesting.

Now, these are all events and clients of Burson-Marstellers’ from way back. Undoubtedly with so many offices located through-out the world they are still spinning their corporate friendly tales as we speak. The only thing is, with “spin”, it only works when people don’t see the strings being pulled, so it may be years before we know the full extent of their influence today.

Which brings us back to the Post’s story on the ham-handed propaganda put out by Iraq.

Karen Hughes’ last position with the Bush administration was that of Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy.She was tasked, among other things, with overseeing the very “winning of hearts and minds” PR campaign that the Post piece is talking about. Then just as soon as she leaves that post, she jumps through the revolving door to Burson-Marsteller. One can probably deduct from that, with at least the slightest accuracy, that BM is currently contracted to at least advise in the “hearts and minds” campaign in Iraq.

Combined with their connections to Charles Black and his BKSH & Associates, Burson-Marsteller has been the key strategic adviser to both “viable” candidates in every presidential election since 1980.

In 2000, Al Gore conceded an obviously tainted election after two weeks of recounts while members of the Black Caucasus came to the podium in congress and begged just one senator to sign their petition to halt the proceedings that would put George Bush in the White House officially. Their claim was later proved to be accurate; tens of thousands of Floridians had been illegally purged from the voter rolls. But Gore, for some reason, stepped aside and shut these many representatives out to the amazement of many liberals in America.

In 2004, John Kerry immediately conceded the election to George Bush the night of the election even though there were already many reports of irregularities filtering in from the electronic voting machines used all across the country. Turns out, Ohio should have gone to Kerry easily and the general election as well.

In 2008, John McCain came from almost dead last in the republican primaries to wrap up the nomination in record time. The primaries used the same electronic voting machines questioned in the 2004 general election (and the same ones not allowed in Israel’s elections, BTW).  McCain was not a strong candidate, his health was an issue as was his age. To make matters worse, he was partnered with a democrat, Joe Lieberman, on the campaign trail, and he was seen several times being “coached” as to what to say by that democrat. In the end it was a couple of horrible PR moves that spelled the end for his campaign – the choice of Sarah Palin for vice presidential running mate, and a comment that “slipped out” of his adviser’s mouth one day about McCain standing a better chance if there were another “terrorist attack”. His adviser was Charles Black.

Obama ended up winning the election that was really nothing more than a freak-show toward the end with McCain inexplicably making faces behind Obama’s back at one debate and Palin going on Saturday Night Live right before the election and allowing them to ridicule her mercilessly in public. She also added to the comedy whenever she spoke in public.

It was clearly a staged effort to turn people off of McCain. They threw the race.

They didn’t have to by much. The fact is, after 8 years of Bush/Cheney, a ham sandwich would have won the White House if it was wrapped in Blue and had a picture of a donkey on it.

But the PR machine wanted to make sure and why not have a little fun in the process.

So team Obama won and they also won a few marketing awards in the process. Mark Penn is still involved with Hillary and since Obama has staffed his White House with ex-Clintonista and Bush appointees, Penn still remains a very well connected man there.

Beyond merely the elections, Burson-Marsteller helps shape policy and opinions in America. But not just America. George Black’s connections with the Russian think tank came out during the campaign.

If you go to this BM website you can watch Dana Perino in an interview discussing the Huffington Post’s progressive website.

Perino is explaining how HuffPo has given up the “edgy” news angle and gone more “mainstream”. This is a shift that Dana clearly approves of and says it’s going to increase their respectability.

HuffPo is a “liberal” site and there should be no real reason Perino would want them to gain respectability except for the fact that in so doing, the Huffington Post is moving away from the “edgy” news and focusing on the more advantageous spin for companies like Burson-Marsteller and the clients they serve. They are shaping the message by serving as overt gatekepers in a popular discussion and news forum.

Burson-Marsteller is a key figure in the ongoing WWE Wrestle-Mania Roadshow that we now call a political two-party system.  They help to control both sides and they exert a great deal of influence on the media that reports on the republican or the democratic sides.  In effect, with regard to almost every issue of the day, they tells us what to think and what sound-bites we should repeat to each other in our efforts to show one another just how “informed” we really are.

But it all comes from the same place; a place where republican trolls and spineless liberals drop their affected stage-persona’s and work hand in hand to craft a somewhat believable reality for mass consumption. Our consumption.

It all comes from the same people that defended war-criminals in the past and present, without judgement and without remorse for money. Lots of money.

These are the people that are shaping the future of Iraq, one low-budget ad-spot at a time. And they are the same people that feed the new “progressive” memes into the ever-changing “pro-active” paradigm of the current bipartisan and “moderate” temperament of politics these days.

They feed your heroes the buzz-words and talking points that you end up repeating, second hand, till you’re blue in the face.

They write articles posted in the New York Times, FireDogLake, ThinkProgress, Red State, OpEd News, Fox News, Little Green Footballs, and the Daily Kos a like.

They are reaching out to sites all across the net to either bring them into the fold of coveted “moderate” status, or to extinguish their “extremist” viewpoints by marginalizing their message as best they can.

So yes, Dana Perino is just loving on HuffPo these days; they are getting “with the program” and “staying on message” by leaving behind those sticky, edgy topics that really don’t do anyone any good.

And if in the process these new “moderate” seeking sites have to help the people like Chertoff, Black, Perino, and Penn( and the corporations they serve) marginalize a few “extremists” for wanting to stick to the letter of the constitution or prosecute war criminals for committing crimes against humanity, well then, that is just a price those individuals are going to have to pay – lets call them externalities – for the greater good of our American Propaganda machine.

You see, our brand of “democracy’ requires a very expensive and very extensive system of propaganda rather than transparency, in order to work.  And that should tell you a little something about our “brand” of democracy. Just ask Barack.

So yes, we are bringing American Democracy to Iraq and Afghanistan and eventually Pakistan and beyond. These are the facts as they stand, on the ground. All it takes is just a little peek behind the curtain and either all your illusions will falter before your eyes or the great wizard himself will bestow upon you what it is you most desire.

If you don’t like it, just click your heels, say the 5 little words, and you can wake up in your warm comfortable bed like nothing ever happened.

“And believe… what you want to believe”.

11 Responses

  1. so we view the world through a colorized action commercial….. , our leaders relate to us like a box of cheerios.
    No wonder we are all so screwed up….

  2. It’s a laugh to think they expected Iraqis to fall for their propaganda when every second of everyday experience tells them it’s a crock. Of course they haven’t been subjected to 50 years of insistent perception management and school systems designed to turn off any critical function.

    I doubt it really works all that well here either. It’s just that most people keep their doubts to themselves and don’t know how many share them.

    And it’s not surprising that BM has been turned loose to subvert, water-down and co-opt the Blogs. But when people write what they truly belive for free, no paid Blogger can keep up!

  3. I used to really like to watch professional ball. Because of their skill and talent, those players can make me say, “Wow! Did he really do that?”

    I don’t like it so much anymore, though. Player ego plays a part in that, but mostly it’s due to things like their agents, their upstairs management, their owners, their media, and all the other stuff that goes into the making of ‘the show’.

    Still, I tune it in, get caught up in it, even go up to the Cities once in a while to take my part in it all. Some lessons take a lot of learning.

    Big-time pressure is hard to resist, here, in the Land of the Free…

    R Ap

    • Once you are indoctrinated, it’s hard to step outside of it all; a piece of it remains, like a virus in your computer that reinstalls itself on boot-up.

      In a discussion I had with a friend about the real meaning of globalization and 9/11, after a day or so of getting through the “debunking” sound-bites he would toss up at me, and after he admitted that there were certainly serious problems with the official story, ultimately what it came down to was he didn’t WANT to know.

      He’s perfectly happy running around chasing his new house and his cars and his career, and letting the government do whatever it was they wanted to do. (as long as it is too someone else)

      Course, he was angry about “taxes” and I am sure now he is worried about his “gun rights”… but you see, it was only what took something from him that got to him.

      Ultimately people like him are going to end up looking back asking themselves “what if?”, you know? Or they’re grandkids will as they go off to the shoe factory at the age of 11 for their $1.25 and hour job they are mandated to accept. And that is a very real potential outcome of all of this.

      Maybe then my friend (who doesn’t speak to me now) will be able to empathize with someone, somewhere.

  4. It does often take something personal to grab a person’s attention. But those things can be minute and seem inconsequential to the rest of us….So don’t give up on your friend. He may show up on your door step in six months since you cared enough to speak the truth to him.

  5. So many times I have heard people say “I don’t want to know.”
    I suppose they think that will keep them safe. It’s the fear of losing something as they lose everything.

    You should post this on OpEdNews as an article if you still an account there. For the fun of it.

    • funny you should say that… I was banned months ago for pointing out Rob’s, shall we say, complicity in the growing trend of “Embedded Bloggers” these days… a bunch of other writers were recently banned as well for pretty much the same thing. He cleaned house over there after getting in good with HuffPo, of all things. One of his fav writers is now doing Guest spots on Fox News.

  6. I really think you should post the info about BM, HuffPo and etc at the COTO site too. We all know it’s happening to individuals, but it needs to be seen as a concerted, planned activity to muzzle Progressive discourse. They need to be faced down and called out.

  7. […] But of course, that is “extremist” talk in the insulated hired shill land of Rob Kall. […]

  8. […] But of course, that is “extremist” talk in the insulated hired shill land of Rob Kall. […]

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