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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Village Psy-ops

by digby

Wow. If you want to see some Village circling of the wagons, take a look at this "report" on the Army Psy-ops program against congressional leaders by Norah O'Donnell:

Tamron Hall: Norah, I saw you on Morning Joe talking about this This is a real buzz story, for many reasons, but now you have General David Petraeus calling for an investigation regarding the seriousness of what was going on.

O'Donnell: That's right Tamron, it was a very serious allegation because of course it's against the law for the United States military to use propaganda with American citizens and that's why we saw this very quick response from the top General in Afghanistan, general David Petraeus who is no preparing to order and investigation int these charges that there was an Army unit that was trained in psy-ops that was ordered to manipulate American senators even members of the joint Chiefs of Staff.

Now that said, I have been talking to a number of sources today who have said one, that any report coming from The Rolling Stone and this author Michael Hastings, who also "went after" another general, Stanley McCrystal, shoud be met with a healthy dose of skepticism. The title of this Tamron, is "Another Runaway General" remember that Michael Hastings already brought down another General, Stanley McCrystal.

Two, this general isn question in question, General Michael Caldwell, he is the head of training the Afghan security forces.This is the lynchpin, Tamron! The lynchpin of the war in Iraq [sic]. This is how we get out of Iraq [sic] and make sure Afghan security forces are trained. Just this last week, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs was praising Caldwell, saying he'd done such a great job training many of these Afghan forces.

And the finally, this Rolling Stone article has Michael holmes as its source, he led this allegedly this five man psy-ops team. he said that he was ordered to plant information in these people's heads. I think that he was there was a number of people who will be looking into his allegations, they are taking it very seriously but I can tell you that a number of people in the military and the defense department who are not happy with The Rolling Stone because of what happened earlier with general Stanley McCrystal.

Hall: They can't be happy with it, but if it's what happened, the person is reporting it and it's factual, then that's what they have to deal with. You're not always happy with the truth.

O'Donnell: That's true, but remember that they, they still question a lot of the previous article even though that brought down General Stanley McCrystal.

Norah O'Donnell seemed very agitated.

Think about this. You have a big story that claims the military was using propaganda and psychological training on US Senators. If it's true, it's a big deal. And the military is logically very upset that the story has been reported and they are busily spinning reporters that the reporter and the publication are unreliable and they shouldn't be believed. Ok fine.

But what's truly amazing about this is that they are apparently selling this as a "national security" necessity since the General who is implicated in this is allegedly the "lynchpin" of the Afghan training program, which I guess we're supposed to take on faith --- and overlook any little unpleasantness like illegally trying to brainwash US Senators. Unbelievable.

I realize that everyone hates the fact that Michael Hastings breaks the Village rules and reports what he's heard and seen rather than keeping the government's secrets. Nothing upsets most journalists more than that. After all, if you fail to keep everything important off the record how ever will you get the little irrelevant tidbits you need for those sycophantic beat sweeteners?

As far as I know nothing Hastings reported about what McCrystal said wasn't true. What the military -- and most of the press corps are mad about is that he was apparently supposed to let that "sort of thing" go because it's a breach of protocol to reveal what your sources are telling you when they are just "blowing off steam." Moreover, it's got a sanctimonious air about it in that reporting accurately on what these General really do could 'endanger the troops" or American national security, which is just cheap.

In fact, now that I think about it, it might be worth considering whether the military tried out this "psy-ops" program on the American press corps before then unleashed it on the US Senate. It explains a lot.

Update: Oh, I forgot. That last is literally true.