Tuesday, June 8, 2010

I Hate to Say I Told You So ... But

The Globe and Mail has published an excellent article about how Stephen Harper finely crafted the messaging of Canada at war, with unprecedented media control.

The Globe and the Star have actually been fairly good at attempting to sound the alarm but few people really wanted to believe it, so for the most part they simply went along.

As a result, Canada was the only country with no independent media, only embedded journalists who wrote what they were told to write.

The Harper government used a pervasive message-control tool to persuade Canadians their foremost purpose in Afghanistan was building schools and fostering democracy rather than waging a war that was turning bloodier by the day.

An investigation by The Canadian Press shows the Conservatives systematically drafted “Message Event Proposals” as part of a quiet campaign to persuade Canadians their country was primarily engaged in development work to rebuild a shattered nation rather than hunting down and killing an emboldened insurgency.
The government used MEPs literally to script the words it wanted to hear from the mouths of its top diplomats, aid workers and cabinet ministers in 2007-2008 to divert public attention from the soaring double-digit death toll of Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan.

Harper's claim that he never got the memos about Detainee torture becomes even more suspect, because he controlled every aspect of this mission.
When Canadian soldiers brought in the usually hooded and tightly bound detainee, our military police on the spot would first inform the colonels and generals in the Kandahar mission control centre.But instead of alerting the Red Cross right away, like the Dutch and British, these commanders, following orders, sent the information to CEFCOM, the Canadian Expeditionary Force Command in Ottawa. This information would then be passed over to Defence Headquarters and to Foreign Affairs.
There have been alarms about this several times in the past but again ignored:
"What we're seeing here is a degree of control within the government, within the caucus ... that we haven't seen for a very long time .... That control extends to every corner of government.
And that whole yellow ribbon campaign was stolen from Desert Storm. Our defense minister at the time, Gordon O'Connor, came straight from the PR firm, Hill & Knowlton, to run our defense department:
Hill & Knowlton's yellow ribbon campaign to whip up support for "our" troops, which followed their orchestration of Nayirah's phony "incubator" testimony, was a public relations masterpiece. The claim that satellite photos revealed that Iraq had troops poised to strike Saudi Arabia was also fabricated by the PR firm. Hill & Knowlton was paid between $12 million (as reported two years later on "60 Minutes") and $20 million (as reported on "20/20") for "services rendered." The group fronting the money? Citizens for a Free Kuwait, a phony "human rights agency" set up and funded entirely by Kuwait's emirocracy to promote its interests in the U.S.
Be sure to read the entire Globe piece, though long. If we had learned of this years ago it might have saved lives.

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