Monday, May 30, 2005

The secret Downing Street memo


From: Matthew Rycroft
Date: 23 July 2002
S 195 /02

cc: Defence Secretary, Foreign Secretary, Attorney-General, Sir Richard Wilson, John Scarlett, Francis Richards, CDS, C, Jonathan Powell, Sally Morgan, Alastair Campbell


Copy addressees and you met the Prime Minister on 23 July to discuss Iraq.

This record is extremely sensitive. No further copies should be made. It should be shown only to those with a genuine need to know its contents.

Read more here

Friday, May 27, 2005

Propaganda Machine tools: Testimonials

The use of testimonials is probably one the most observable and therefore one of the easiest propaganda tools to identify. The use of a testimonial is a way a propagandist builds credibility for his message. A testimonial tries to attach the emotional ingredient of a trusted life figure to build creditability and acceptance for the non-logical, non-intuitive messages of propaganda. Trusted life figures are religious leaders, entertainment celebrities, sports stars and high profile social or political leaders. A trusted life figure has a high degree of emotionally based credibility that adds a powerful ingredient to the propagandist's message. The GOP and current administration's propaganda machine use testimonials on both the national and local level with calculated precision. They are particularly effective in their use of fundamentalist religious leaders in combination with single-issue, fear orientated propaganda messages. The use of testimonials was instrumental in the vast mobilization of the Christian Right in the last election. Many a devout Christian was told by their pastors or their church elders that a vote for the Democrats was a vote for gay marriage or abortion. The Karl Rove propaganda machine had to only produce the tailored messages of deception, which were then repeated hundreds of times in churches across America.

"This is the classic misuse of the Testimonial Device that comes to the minds of most of us when we hear the term. We recall it indulgently and tell ourselves how much more sophisticated we are than our grandparents or even our parents. With our next breath, we begin a sentence, 'The Times said,' 'John L. Lewis said...,' 'Herbert Hoover said...', 'The President said...', 'My doctor said...,' 'Our minister said...' Some of these Testimonials may merely give greater emphasis to a legitimate and accurate idea, a fair use of the device; others, however, may represent the sugar-coating of a distortion, a falsehood, a misunderstood notion, an anti-social suggestion..." (Institute for Propaganda Analysis, 1938)

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Saturday, May 21, 2005

14 Reasons to Die in Iraq


  • Get rid of an evil ruler
  • Get rid of weapons of mass destruction
  • Get rid of the people who helped with the 9/11 attacks
  • Help free the Iraqi people
  • Bring democracy to the Iraqi people
  • Bring democracy to the region
  • Bring peace and stability to Iraq
  • Bring peace and stability to the region
  • Help secure Iraq's oil reserve
  • Help establish military bases in Iraq
  • Help our military test weapons and tactics
  • Help enrich military/reconstruction contractors
  • Help install a friendly government
  • Help build an Iraqi security/military force
Just a few of the rationalizations for our current situation in Iraq. They either have been openly espoused by the current administration or they lie right under the surface of the debate. I don’t believe that any of the above is worth the sacrifice of one American citizen or soldier. All the lies, money, or pipe dreams in the world are not worth a son or a daughter. There are wars that must be fought. There are also wars that only serve to advance political or economic agendas. We need to be able to recognize the difference.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Joseph Goebbels: The Karl Rove of Nazi Germany

“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.” – Joseph Goebbels

German Nazi Party member Joseph Goebbels became Adolf Hitler’s propaganda minister in 1933, which game him power over all German radio, press, cinema, and theater. In 1925 Goebbels met the party leader Adolf Hitler. In 1926 he was made Gauleiter, or party leader, for the region of Berlin, and in 1927 he founded and became editor of the official National Socialist periodical Der Angriff (The Attack). He was elected to the Reichstag, the German parliament, in 1928. By exploiting mob emotions and by employing all modern methods of propaganda Goebbels helped Hitler into power.

Goebbels’ Principles of Propaganda

Based on Goebbels’ Principles of Propaganda

    1. Propagandist must have access to intelligence concerning events and public opinion.
    2. Propaganda must be planned and executed by only one authority.

    a. It must issue all the propaganda directives.
    b. It must explain propaganda directives to important officials and maintain their morale.
    c. It must oversee other agencies’ activities which have propaganda consequences.

    3. The propaganda consequences of an action must be considered in planning that action.
    4. Propaganda must affect the enemy’s policy and action.

    a. By suppressing propagandistically desirable material which can provide the enemy with useful intelligence.
    b. By openly disseminating propaganda whose content or tone cause the enemy to draw the desired conclusions.
    c. By goading the enemy into revealing vital information about himself.
    d. By making no reference to a desired enemy activity when any reference would discredit that activity.

    5. Declassified, operational information must be available to implement a propaganda campaign.
    6. To be perceived, propaganda must evoke the interest of an audience and must be transmitted through an attention-getting communications medium.
    7. Credibility alone must determine whether propaganda output should be true or false.
    8. The purpose, content and effectiveness of enemy propaganda; the strength and effects of an expose; and the nature of current propaganda campaigns determine whether enemy propaganda should be ignored or refuted.
    9. Credibility, intelligence, and the possible effects of communicating determine whether propaganda materials should be censored.
    10. Material from enemy propaganda may be utilized in operations when it helps diminish that enemy’s prestige or lends support to the propagandist’s own objective.
    11. Black rather than white propaganda may be employed when the latter is less credible or produces undesirable effects.
    12. Propaganda may be facilitated by leaders with prestige.
    13. Propaganda must be carefully timed.

    a. The communication must reach the audience ahead of competing propaganda.
    b. A propaganda campaign must begin at the optimum moment.
    c. A propaganda theme must be repeated, but not beyond some point of diminishing effectiveness.

    14. Propaganda must label events and people with distinctive phrases or slogans.

    a. They must evoke desired responses which the audience previously possesses.
    b. They must be capable of being easily learned.
    c. They must be utilized again and again, but only in appropriate situations.
    d. They must be boomerang-proof.

    15. Propaganda to the home front must prevent the raising of false hopes which can be blasted by future events.
    16. Propaganda to the home front must create an optimum anxiety level.

    a. Propaganda must reinforce anxiety concerning the consequences of defeat.
    b. Propaganda must diminish anxiety (other than concerning the consequences of defeat which is too high and which cannot be reduced by people themselves).

    17. Propaganda to the home front must diminish the impact of frustration.

    a. Inevitable frustrations must be anticipated.
    b. Inevitable frustrations must be placed in perspective.

    18. Propaganda must facilitate the the displacement of aggression by specifying the target for hatred.
    19. Propaganda cannot immediately affect strong counter-tendencies; instead it must offer some form of action or diversion, or both.

    Goebbels' Principles of Propaganda by Leonard W. Doob

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    Saturday, May 07, 2005

    Propaganda Machine tools: Transfer

    "Transfer is a device by which the propagandist carries over the authority, sanction, and prestige of something we respect and revere to something he would have us accept. For example, most of us respect and revere our church and our nation. If the propagandist succeeds in getting church or nation to approve a campaign in behalf of some program, he thereby transfers its authority, sanction, and prestige to that program. Thus, we may accept something, which otherwise we might reject. In the Transfer device, symbols are constantly used. The cross represents the Christian Church. The flag represents the nation. Cartoons like Uncle Sam represent a consensus of public opinion. Those symbols stir emotions. At their very sight, with the speed of light, is aroused the whole complex of feelings we have with respect to church or nation. A cartoonist, by having Uncle Sam disapprove a budget for unemployment relief, would have us feel that the whole United States disapproves relief costs. By drawing an Uncle Sam who approves the same budget, the cartoonist would have us feel that the American people approve it. Thus, the Transfer device is used both for and against causes and ideas." (Institute for Propaganda Analysis, 1938)

    The 9/11 attack and the subsequent, “War on Terror” have provided the GOP and the Bush administration with a canvas of fear in which they have been able to skillfully paint in broad strokes of transfer symbolism. The flag is of course the most widely used transfer symbol. Other related symbols have been created to broaden or reinforce the emotional appeal of the flag. The most recent widely propagated; “Support the Troops” graphic has shown up in almost every imaginable form. Both spoken and written transfer tools have also been be widely used to gain acceptance for the current administrations disastrous policies. References to religion, specifically the Christian religion, are widely used to transfer a type of moral authority to their aberrant policies. The goal of transfer, like all propaganda tools is to stimulate an emotional response. The attachment of emotional symbolism of the flag, combined with a reference to the Christian God, followed by a prayer to that God, could wrap even the most insane idea in a protective coating of emotional responses. The ultimate goal of the propagandist is lead their victims to the point where their decisions are non-logical or non-intuitive. The last thing the propagandist wants is decisions based solely on the objective analysis.


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