Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Black Ops and The New Yorker magazine

I talked to Seymour Hersh, when I was in Raleigh, North Carolina on Monday. He is an award winning investigative journalist for The New Yorker magazine. For the past few years, he has been writing an alternative history of the Bush presidency. He is the one, who broke most of the stories about the Neo-Conservatives and the Abu Ghraib, prison scandal.

We talked about black ops., that means covert operations. All politicians know or should know everything about this issue. The Republicans did it to me for the entire eight years I was in office.

Black ops is not just about smearing your competitor. It is more about making sure your opponent can’t give the public his views without being challenged. What black ops does is confuse, change and detract from the other person’s message.

The Republicans were masters at this. Every time I came up with a new proposal, their black ops department would clutter the airwaves with paranoid stories and books about my supposed past.

White Water, Ken Starr and the Monica Lewinsky investigations were part of these black ops operations.

I made a stupid mistake and for a while I was actually contemplating resigning. That is until my good friend Seymour talked to me about the machinations behind the scenes. The project set up to bring down a democratically elected American president. Seymour Hersh knows everything about everything and everybody. When Seymour stopped talking that night, I was shocked. That was the night I decided to fight back no matter what. If I had resigned, the coup would’ve succeeded. I couldn’t tell this to the American people, the country was divided, they wouldn’t understand.

A little bit more about black ops. If you try to smear the opponent, it must always be grounded in fact. For instance, The Swift Boat Veterans for Truth started out as a small group of Vietnam veterans, who had a problem with John Kerry’s anti-war activities after he came back from Vietnam. That was thirty years ago. Who cares? The Swift Vets would never have made any headlines or impact if black ops hadn’t taken over the cause and spread it wide and far around America. The reason this black ops stuck with voters was the fact that the accusers were genuine. Secondly, the Democratic party was seen as pacifist in a time of war, so Kerry the Hippie, weak on defense struck.

On the left you had black ops too. Not very successful though. I remember MoveOn.Org’s ad comparing president Bush with Hitler. A few, very few think that is a good comparison. The vast majority of Americans think that is nonsense. I want to ad another black ops operation. The Ashley story. It was based on the truth. Ashley’s mom died during the World Trade Center attacks. President Bush was told about it, when he met the girl during the race and he hugged her. A picture was taken of this hug. A few weeks later this story was turned into an ad and every American got to see president Bush, teary eyed hugging this girl. It was a powerful commercial. I had trouble not crying myself.

That is black ops too. Michael Moore and the Bush is Hitler messages were countered and as Bush won the election successfully deflated. Why did the Bush is Hitler, Bush is bad ad not work?

Very simple. The day after the 9-11 terrorist attacks, three hundred million Americans saw president Bush with tears in his eyes telling America, we would fight back. Three hundred million Americans have implanted in their mind this image of a teary eyed Bush. The majority of Americans, even though they may not like his policies, feel Bush is a good, decent man.

Along come the MoveOn cowboys trying to tell America, Bush is evil. It didn’t work. The message is not based on reality.

As I said I had a very interesting talk with Sy. He told me how surprised he was that the government would allow its enemies, I mean terrorists like Zarqawi and Osama Bin Laden to put out their messages for the world and their supporters to see. If the CIA allows this, they are not doing their job. If the government allows this and God knows Republicans know everything about black ops, they are incompetent. They should never have allowed these terrorists to have a clear communication tool to the world is what Sy said.

The best way to destroy terrorists is to destroy their ability to communicate with the world and their supporters. Their message should be cluttered, changed, hijacked. For instance, how difficult is it to pay a few locals to dress up as terrorists and make the most idiotic claims, always based on reality of course? How hard is it to fake a few Zarqawi internet messages?

To destroy your opponent in American politics, you need to derail their message. Hey, I was a victim, I know that it works. So instead of talking about my policies I was forced to defend myself and talk about nonsense.

You can do the same with the terrorists. Force them to spend more time on their “PR”, force them to answer your faked messages, bring chaos in the communications between them and the wider world and them and their supporters.

A group, without a dependable communications tool will have a problem getting out its message, but eventually will also have a problem recruiting new people and getting new finances.

This is what I talked about with Sy. If you like books, art and investigative journalism, I would like to encourage you to buy The New Yorker. If you’re in the North East and interested in politics, but don’t want the prepackaged government version, check out the magazine. It sure could use your support. I’ll ask Bobbi to link to it.