Memo To: The Fourth Estate Editors
From: Jude Wanniski
Re: The Office of Strategic Influence
The lead story in the Tuesday, February 19 NYTimes was headlined: “PENTAGON READIES EFFORTS TO SWAY SENTIMENT ABROAD,” and as I read it I first wondered if it were some kind of joke. The subhead read: “New Office Proposes to Send News or Maybe False News to Even Friendly Lands.” What it comes down to is the Pentagon is cranking up something called the “Office of Strategic Influence,” which will have as its mission the manipulation of public opinion in foreign lands in ways that will win support for our “war on terrorism.” The story makes no attempt to disguise the fact that manipulation is at the core of the mission. Unlike the Voice of America or Radio Marti broadcasts to Cuba, which have been kept scrupulously objective in presenting news, the OSI intends to feed “disinformation” into the global population in ways that will lead the people of the world to do what Uncle Sam would like them to do. “Disinformation” is a nice word for “falsehoods,” and when applied to official government falsehoods, the dictionary word is “propaganda.”
As I read on, I soon realized that this is the brainchild of Richard Perle, the chairman of the Defense Policy Board, whose underling, Paul Wolfowitz, serves President George W. Bush as Deputy Secretary of Defense. Perle is a world class propagandist and absolute master of the Big Lie. I’ve written in this space before that Perle, who I have known since 1969 when his skills helped win the Cold War, will not be happy until he makes the world safe for an American Imperium, no matter how that objective is achieved. At the top of his list of “things to do” is to crank up a war with Iraq, to rid the earth of Saddam Hussein. It remains a personal affront to him and his henchman Wolfowitz that the first President Bush was talked out of destroying Baghdad in 1991, when he should have had our troops march to Iraq’s capital in order to kill Saddam. Perle has an uncanny ability to “cloud men’s minds,” like the Shadow of yore, and over the years he has not only clouded the mind of Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld, but also of a great many world leaders. Perle loves not only war, but war against small countries that can be easily squashed by America’s military might. He has a long list in his pocket of those he proposes to squash after he takes care of Iraq.
I, of course, knew there would be some editorial commentary on plans for this Orwellian Office of Strategic Propaganda (OSP) and I thought the NYTimes would lead the way in denouncing the idea in no uncertain terms. When I turned to the op-ed page Wednesday morning, I found a secondary editorial that said the idea of such an agency was not very nice and maybe it should not be done. That’s it folks. In rolling over so quietly, the NYT must be part of the plot. I knew The Wall Street Journal would not say a word about it, as the editorial page has been taking orders from Richard Perle ever since his father-in-law, Albert Wohlstetter, died four years ago. Wohlstetter was the behind-the-scenes genius who masterminded nuclear strategy against the Soviet Union, and Perle was his Minister of Deception. Perle inherited Albert’s vast private network of agents, a network that includes former British Prime Minister Maggie Thatcher. The idea of an Office of Strategic Influence can only have come from Perle and its only purpose would be to foment the casus belli which would prove to the world that it should join the Coalition to Bring Down Saddam. I note the Times story says “Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, while broadly supportive of the new office, has not approved its specific proposals and has asked the Pentagon’s top lawyer, William J. Haynes, to review them, senior Pentagon officials said." Of course, Lawyer Haynes has had his mind clouded too, and has no idea of the evil intent behind this “black operation.” The Times reports a senior Pentagon official saying, “It goes from the blackest of the black to the whitest of the white.” Feeling the heat of widespread alarm and criticism within the foreign policy establishment over the OSI mission, Sec. Rumsfeld now gives assurances that the DOD will "tell the American people and the people of the world the truth." But then, why is there still a need for the OSI? Certainly the Pentagon does not need a second press office, but as long as the OSI remains, the probability for deliberate lies and disinformation is high.
If you do not believe me, way down in its story the Times says: “To help the new office, the Pentagon has hired the Rendon Group, a Washington-based international consulting firm run by John W. Rendon Jr., a former campaign aide to President Jimmy Carter. The firm, which is being paid about $100,000 a month, has done extensive work for the Central Intelligence Agency, the Kuwaiti royal family and the Iraqi National Congress, the opposition group seeking to oust President Saddam Hussein... the firm is well known for running propaganda campaigns in Arab countries, including one denouncing atrocities by Iraq during its 1990 invasion of Kuwait.”
The Times reporters, James Dao and Eric Schmitt, are practically giving us hand signals that this is a Perle/Wolfowitz black operation from the gitgo and the object is to spread stories of Iraqi atrocities of one kind or another. If I know Perle, he will have several Iraqi “defectors” turn up in places where there are no Pentagon fingerprints, telling of Saddam’s plans to wipe out Israel with chemical or biological weapons he already has on hand. In a February 2 debate with Leon Fuerth, a professor at George Washington University, Perle insisted action against Saddam cannot wait for more than “weeks or months.” Richard expects the bombing of Iraq to begin in early September, so the American people will rally behind President Bush and the Republicans in the Congressional elections. This means his propaganda campaign has to get underway forthwith. In the debate, Perle revealed that “it would be a great mistake to insist on the return of the inspectors. Because if Saddam were shrewd enough to take us up on it, it might make it more difficult for us to act in other respects.” In other words, the objective is not to find weapons of mass destruction at all, but to kill as many Iraqi people as are necessary to kill Saddam, and to heck with the consequences.
Fuerth actually put the question to Perle: Suppose Saddam says “I have the capability to launch missiles with chemical or biological warheads against the gulf states, Saudi Arabia and Israel, and if I’m attacked I’m going to go ahead and destroy as many people in those countries as possible, just as you’re proposing to kill the Iraqi people,” what if it comes down to that? What do we do? To which Perle replies: “I’m not sure we would need Saudi Arabia....and the scenario you’ve just painted (laughter) is a reason for not attempting to enlist the Saudis. Israel is a special situation. Israel is menaced by Saddam in a way that most Israelis understand...although no one can give you a guarantee that he could not successfully launch a weapon of mass destruction within the ranges of his present missile force.”
You see, editors of the Fourth Estate, Richard Perle is a madman, totally out of control, possessed by the Forces of Darkness. If Albert Wohlstetter were alive, he would tell Perle that chances are another six million Jews would perish in a second Holocaust, if his Orwellian black operation were to move forward. If any of you editors would take the trouble to look further into the operations of the Rendon Group, you will no doubt find it helped with most, if not all, of the falsehoods spread about Iraqi atrocities over the past dozen years. Perle knows Saddam never “gassed his own people.” He also knows Saddam never attempted to assassinate former President Bush, the daddy of our current President. Perle is the Prince of Darkness, the most evil man on the face of the earth. Hannibal Lecter only ate his victims one at a time. Perle likes to eat them en masse.