Court Of Impeachment And War Crimes: The News Looks More Like Propaganda Each Day

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Friday, May 2, 2008

The News Looks More Like Propaganda Each Day

If The News Doesn’t Look Like, Sound Like Propaganda Of Old I’ll Eat My Mouse.

BAGHDAD -- In echoing the Pentagon's latest accusations of Iranian meddling, the Iraqi government has placed itself firmly where it has long said it does not want to be: caught in the middle between Washington and its neighbor to the east.

Baghdad says it agrees with the United States that Iran has continued to supply weapons to anti-government militants in southern Iraq, including arms with markings indicating they were produced this year. On the other hand, the Iraqi government seems eager to send a message to the Bush administration to back off threats of military action and allow Baghdad to pursue diplomatic solutions more quietly with Tehran.

"We are worried about any escalation between the United States and Iran for a simple reason: We are the weakest party in this game," said Sadiq Rikabi, an advisor to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki. "Our policy for our neighbors is to go to them, face to face, speak with them in a planned, frank and direct way about any problem."

In recent days, Iraq's government has followed the United States in stepping up claims that new Iranian-made weapons have been found in the southern city of Basra. The allegations appear to come at a convenient time for both the Shiite-led Iraqi government and its ally, the United States.

With Baghdad still suffering the violent aftereffects of Maliki's offensive against Shiite militias last month, Iranian interference would help explain why Iraqi and U.S. forces have been unable to bring the fighting to a standstill. In the latest clashes, four U.S. soldiers were killed Monday in two separate rocket and mortar attacks in Baghdad.

At the same time, Iranian involvement allows U.S. officials to deflect blame for the fighting from radical Shiite cleric Muqtada Sadr, whom they are counting on to sustain a frayed but officially intact truce he called in August for his Mahdi Army militia. Though privately many soldiers here say the Mahdi militia is involved in the current fighting, publicly, the allegation is that "special groups" who have broken away from Sadr and receive training and aid from Iran are causing the troubles.

Iran, meanwhile, dismissed the latest accusations as "ridiculously false" in a letter to the U.N. Security Council on Monday. "It is not the first time that the international community is witness to the United States' baseless allegations," it said, referring to Bush administration claims that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.

The United States for more than a year has accused Iran of meddling in Iraq. A U.S. military official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the political sensitivity of the issue, said the newest evidence included munitions with 2008 manufacture dates found in Basra during recent fighting between Iraqi and U.S. forces and Shiite militiamen. They bore the hallmarks of Iranian workmanship, including fuses only found on Iranian-made arms, he said.

But in a repeat of a scenario seen here for more than a year, neither the United States nor Iraq has unveiled the evidence, and nobody is saying when or if it will be made public. The U.S. military official said it was up to the Iraqis to decide when and how to present the evidence.

Iraqi advisor Rikabi indicated Monday that using the media as the conduit for airing differences with Iran was reminiscent of the propaganda methods of Hussein, and something the current leadership preferred to avoid.

"We avoid using propaganda against this country or that country," he said. "We're trying to give a new face to Iraq."

As he spoke in his office in Baghdad's Green Zone, which houses the U.S. Embassy and most Iraqi government offices, sirens began wailing to warn of incoming rocket fire. Rikabi leaned forward slightly, away from his window, then relaxed after a crash sounded some distance away.

His comments followed the latest and most inflammatory salvo in months to come out of the Pentagon, which says rockets such as those launched into the Green Zone are coming from Shiite militias receiving training, weapons or other aid from Iran. On Friday, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Navy Adm. Michael G. Mullen, cited an "increasingly lethal and malign influence" of the Iranian government.

Mullen did not give specifics, and it is unclear what prompted the harsh allegations.

A senior State Department official sought to dispel the impression that the Bush administration was seeking to intensify its warnings to Iran. U.S. expressions of concern "have been pretty consistent -- there are spikes on occasion when the Iranians are being provocative," the official said.

A White House official said Basra was a "clarifying moment" for Iraqi government officials, who he said are "tired of the Iranians meddling in Iraq."

Iraq's national security advisor, Mowaffak Rubaie, and Ministry of Defense spokesman Mohammed Askari said caches found in Basra included Iranian-made arms with markings showing they were manufactured in 2008. Rubaie said the government was preparing to present the evidence to the Iranians soon, but he did not say when.

Despite the heated-up rhetoric, neither the United States nor Iraq has said it believes Iran has increased its smuggling of weapons, including rockets and roadside bombs blamed for most U.S. troop deaths. They appear instead to be accusing Iran of not keeping a promise it made late last year to Maliki to reduce activities here.

That raises the question of why the uptick in finger-pointing now.

Rubaie said there was "other evidence" in addition to the apparently new weapons, but he did not say what it was. He and other officials stressed that it was not just the weapons that bothered them, but the "extent" of Iranian involvement in other, unnamed aspects of the conflict.

The U.S. military official suggested that the "thousands" of munitions uncovered in Basra, and the idea that they were being used by extremists allegedly trained by Iran, had been an eye-opener for Iraq's leaders. "Our discussion is now matched by their understanding," he said. "This is the beginning of a change of public discussion among senior Iraqis."

Skeptics point out that Iraq has little choice but to follow the lead of Washington, which has long pressured it to confront Shiite-led Iran on its alleged interference. But toeing the Pentagon line also serves to benefit Iraq's Shiite-led government politically. It could placate Sunni Arab lawmakers, who have a deep distrust of Iran and whom Maliki is trying to lure back into the government following a months-long boycott. This would shore up Maliki's support as he does political battle with supporters of Shiite cleric Sadr, whose militiamen are blamed for much of the recent fighting.

"I find it difficult to believe that Iranians would allow weapons to be traced back to them easily with manufacture dates on them," said Vali Nasr, an expert on Shiite politics at Tufts University. He said nothing in the allegations was new. What is new, he said, is the United States' need to justify its expansion of its operations to southern Iraq in support of Maliki's offensive.

The Iranian angle provides that justification, especially in the eyes of most Americans, Nasr said. "The threshold for demonization of Iran is fairly low. The public would readily believe the worst about Iran," he said.

Even those who do not reject the allegations against Iran say they show the need for a change in U.S. policy toward it, from one of confrontation to diplomatic outreach.

"You have a belligerent and isolated Iran extending its influence," Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California said Sunday on CNN. "We've had no meaningful dialogue with Iran for 30 years . . . and I have a very hard time understanding why this administration does not try to do so."

The nominee to take over Gen. David H. Petraeus' command of U.S. forces there, Odierno evolved from a conventional warrior to help shape the strategy.

By Peter Spiegel, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
April 28, 2008

WASHINGTON -- When Army Lt. Gen. Raymond T. Odierno began his second tour of duty in Iraq late in 2006 as the war's No. 2 commander, he was handed a battle plan that he and his staff quickly determined was out of touch with reality -- a set of precise timetables for handing over whole provinces to Iraqi security forces, regardless of their readiness.

"This race to victory based on a timeline did not pass the common-sense test," said a top Odierno aide, citing the threat of widespread violence.

So Odierno made a fateful move: He challenged his boss, Army Gen. George W. Casey Jr., to change the strategy. It was an opening salvo in the behind-the-scenes battle over what became known as the "surge."

And Odierno's challenge, though initially spurned, goes a long way toward explaining why he was nominated last week to succeed Army Gen. David H. Petraeus as the overall commander in Iraq.

The tall, intimidating artilleryman with a shaved head and a grave bearing was an early believer in what is now basic U.S. policy in Iraq. And he has proved he will stand up for it under fire.

Odierno's commitment to the new approach is all the stronger because he embraces it with the fervor of a convert. During his first tour in Iraq, in 2003 and 2004, critics charged that his dedication to overwhelming force and firepower was the antithesis of counterinsurgency doctrine.

As a result, although Petraeus has become the face of the war, it is Odierno who more truly mirrors the American military's experience in Iraq.

Another kind of training

Odierno began his first tour in 2003 as a two-star division commander.

Like much of the rest of the Army, he was trained to fight a conventional war, and was out of his element facing a guerrilla insurgency.

Then, again like the Army itself, Odierno remade himself into the kind of nimble, flexible commander required to fight an irregular war, as comfortable discussing economic development and tribal politics as planning a military offensive.

"I'm convinced he went through a complete metamorphosis," said retired Army Gen. Jack Keane, who is close to Odierno.

"He educated himself and became the very best operational commander we have in conducting irregular warfare."

It is difficult to understate the skepticism within the military's tightknit group of counterinsurgency experts that greeted Odierno's assignment as the second-highest-ranking officer in Iraq with day-to-day responsibility for conducting the war.

Critics charged that his earlier reliance on force had inflamed the insurgency in the Sunni heartland north of Baghdad. It was seen as the prototype of what not to do.

Andrew Krepinevich, an influential military scholar and Pentagon consultant, said he became so concerned about Odierno's new assignment that he raised it with Petraeus.

Over dinner at Ft. Leavenworth, Krepinevich, a retired Army officer, said he thought the Army's best generals were leaving Iraq and those who remained were not up to the job.

"I got to Odierno and I said, 'I don't really understand why a guy who seemed to have so much trouble there the first time is going back in a key position,' " Krepinevich recalled. "Petraeus said to me, 'Well, I know Ray and I think he learned a lot from that experience.' "

Krepinevich says now: "Petraeus was right, and I was wrong."

Odierno arrived in Iraq for his first tour after nearly 30 years as an artillery officer, having spent his formative years in the Army's "heavy" force -- big, mechanized divisions that were preparing for a conventional war with the Soviets.

A native of Rockaway, N.J., Odierno graduated from West Point in 1976, just as the Army was consciously shedding the irregular-warfare skills it had acquired in Vietnam, vowing never to fight that kind of conflict again.

And it was Odierno's immersion in Cold War-era thinking that made all the more remarkable his metamorphosis into a skilled commander in an irregular war.

His own take

Odierno himself does not completely accept that narrative.

In an interview before he left Iraq in February, he acknowledged having made mistakes with the 4th Infantry Division.

But the mistakes he admitted to -- failing to reach out to local tribes, over-centralizing operations, overspending on big public works projects -- are not the ones his critics complained about, such as over-reliance on conventional weaponry and seemingly indiscriminate detention of military-aged men.

"I think where they get it a bit wrong is: Did we have to use some tough measures? Yes, because we were in an extremely tough area," Odierno said. "In order to secure the population, we had to use some tougher measures than others had to use. It's not that I was conventional in any way."

He admits, though, that the Ray Odierno who returned to Iraq in 2006 was not the same man who went to Iraq in 2003. "I've learned. . . . I've learned a lot," he said. "We've all learned."

It was, at least in part, what he learned that prodded him to stand up to Casey.

He insists that Casey was receptive, but Odierno aides and other Pentagon officials said Casey was initially hostile and vetoed higher troop levels.

"It didn't go over real popular upfront under Gen. Casey's regime, because obviously he was very wedded to the plan," said Brig. Gen. Joseph Anderson, Odierno's chief of staff.

"People don't like someone new coming in and saying, 'Oh, by the way, we think differently.' "

Odierno also began nightly sessions with his closest senior staff to discuss ways to change the military's mind-set.

"If we do not identify the threat appropriately, and hence apply the wrong strategy, the risk is that we become a greater driver of instability," an internal document prepared for those discussions says.

Although Petraeus, not Odierno, has received much of the credit for Iraq's shifting fortunes, Petraeus himself has publicly acknowledged Odierno's role.

"Shortly after assuming command . . . he forthrightly requested additional forces; then he and his staff began developing an operational concept for their employment," Petraeus said at the conclusion of Odierno's tour in February. "His recommendations for what came to be known as the surge forces have since been proven correct."

Anderson argues that Odierno's embrace of counterinsurgency tactics during his second tour in Iraq will be remembered as the turning point in the war.

"This tour will, in my view, eradicate anything that was [said] before, or at least give people second thoughts about what kind of guy he really is," Anderson said. "I believe he'll be [remembered as] the architect -- the guy with the plan who turned this place around."

Sitting in his spacious office near Odierno's, Anderson paused and reconsidered: "If this all goes south again, I'm not sure he'll be remembered for any of it."

They've learned to take lives. Now the friends will risk their own.

By David Zucchino, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
April 27, 2008

TWENTYNINE PALMS -- One in a series of articles about three teenagers and their wartime enlistment in the Marines.

In the nine months after he graduated from high school, Lance Cpl. Daryl Crookston was trained to close and kill. The proper pursuit of the enemy was pounded into him during boot camp and combat drills.

In It together: Part 4

In It Together: The Series

Last month, as his unit prepared to ship out to Afghanistan, some Marines in Crookston's platoon didn't think he was capable of killing a man. He's deeply religious. He had chosen to stop cursing and drinking -- and that, in the Marines' testosterone-stoked world, suggested weakness.

Crookston, 19, and away from home for the first time, is certain he could kill if called upon, particularly if his quarry were one of the religious zealots of the Taliban. If Talibs can kill for their ideals, he said, he could kill for his.

"I'm defending my homeland -- my family -- my country," he said, weary and filthy after a long day of training in the Mojave Desert. "And I'm willing to kill for my country."

Combat and killing were remote concepts in June, when Crookston and two friends graduated from high school in Santa Clarita after joining the Marine Corps. They enlisted in the buddy program, which guaranteed they would go through boot camp together.

Crookston, Daniel Motamedi and Steven Dellinger hoped they would be assigned to the same unit. But after 13 weeks of boot camp and eight weeks of infantry training, they were sent to different battalions. All were in California, but training demands kept them apart.

Crookston was the first to deploy to war -- to Kandahar from the Marine base at Twentynine Palms the first week of April. Lance Cpl. Motamedi's battalion is scheduled to leave Camp Pendleton soon on a "float," a ship to the Middle East, where the unit could be sent to Afghanistan or Iraq by summer. Lance Cpl. Dellinger, 19, will remain at Twentynine Palms until his unit, inevitably, is deployed into combat.

For the friends, the lure of combat motivated them to enlist. They considered war a noble calling, a sure path to manhood and glory. All three chose infantry, a position virtually assured of combat. Asked whether they had second thoughts about enlisting in a time of war, all gave the same brisk answer: "No regrets."

The friends trained together at the School of Infantry at Camp Pendleton last fall. There, the boot camp graduates were drilled on grunt work -- the dirty, demanding business of laboring in small groups to find and kill the enemy over rough terrain, sometimes in the dark. They spent days either assaulting or defending a mock Middle Eastern village erected on a bald hillside, firing blanks. During one exercise, the Marines fired wildly when attacked by a sniper, played by an instructor.

"You dumped rounds with no idea what you're firing at!" the instructor screamed afterward. "That volley of fire probably went into civilian homes. That's how you kill innocent people!"

Later, another instructor, Sgt. Louis Serafin, said aggressiveness was preferable to timidity. "I'd rather have them trigger-happy now, in training, than be hesitant" in combat, he said.

Serafin, an Iraq veteran, assured the Marines that it was normal to be disoriented. "Combat is controlled chaos," he said.

The instructors stressed death and danger. The focus was on killing the enemy before the enemy could kill them. "Get yourself ready physically and mentally," an instructor advised. "It ain't going to be no Hollywood movie. Marines are going to die over there. Get used to it."

Crookston and Motamedi, 18, moved on this spring to weeks of specialized desert training to prepare them for combat overseas -- Crookston at Twentynine Palms and Motamedi at Ft. Irwin, 85 miles away. At both bases, elaborate Afghan villages were stocked with wily insurgents, complacent Afghan police, inscrutable villagers and reclusive women with their faces covered -- all played by Afghan Americans.

For Crookston, boot camp and combat training were the most trying experiences of his young life. "It's definitely not as glamorous as everyone depicted it," he said. "It's exhausting."

The Marines also faced stultifying boredom, the endless rote, the mind-numbing sameness of the pale desert landscape -- all staples of overseas deployment. They slept in the dirt and cold, wolfed down packaged MREs, stank of stale sweat and unwashed feet, just like troops in Afghanistan.

Channeling the aggression

The desert training was blunt and practical. Marines learned to rub their hands together when examining a buddy for wounds in the dark; blood is sticky. They were told to carry markers for scrawling on the foreheads of the wounded: "T" after applying a tourniquet, and "M" after giving morphine.

After one live-fire exercise known as Mojave Viper, at Twentynine Palms, Capt. George Gordy critiqued Crookston's platoon. They had not been sufficiently lethal.

2 More pages

Congress sees eye to eye on helping one immigrant group -- entertainers

By Nicole Gaouette

With support from both sides of the aisle, the House and Senate are working to clear visa hurdles for fashion models, singers and pro athletes to enter the country.

Anti-war movement isn't doing enough to energize youth

page 8A

Kudos to high school junior Peter Fulham, who accurately sums up how America's youth aren't angry about the never-ending war in Iraq. He hit the nail on the head with this line: "I have begun to understand that we deal with this war in abstractions." Fulham's observation is not just true for our nation's youth but also for most Americans ("When will young Americans get angry about the war?," The Forum, April 22).

Full coverage

From Chief Prosecutor To Critic at Guantanamo

Showing Jailed Americans, Iran TV Cites Confessions

Relative and Employer See Coercion

By Robin Wright

Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, July 17, 2007; Page A14

Iranian television aired images of two imprisoned Americans yesterday for the first time and said it will show more video tomorrow that includes confessions by scholar Haleh Esfandiari of Potomac and New York-based social scientist Kian Tajbakhsh.

The clips included apparent excerpts from the larger TV effort, titled "In the Name of Democracy," in which both make statements about their activities. Tehran maintains their work is designed to undermine Iran's security and foment nonviolent revolution.

Esfandiari, the director of Middle East programs at the Smithsonian's Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, is quoted as saying her work was "in the name of dialogue, in the name of women's rights, in the name of democracy." The 67-year-old grandmother was pictured wearing a black head scarf and a coat in a setting outside Evin Prison's Ward 209, where she has been held in solitary confinement since she was detained May 8.

The trailer to the footage charged that Esfandiari was an agent for the 2003 "velvet revolution" in Georgia, which led to the resignation of President Eduard Shevardnadze.

Tajbakhsh, a consultant for George Soros's Open Society Institute who was arrested May 11, was quoted as saying that the role of "the Soros center after the collapse of communism was to focus on the Islamic world." He was pictured holding notes.

Esfandiari and Tajbakhsh hold dual U.S. and Iranian citizenship.

Shaul Bakhash, Esfandiari's husband, charged that the Iranian government had resorted to televised fabricated "confessions," KGB-style.

"Haleh is shown saying she brought speakers and Iranian academics to the Wilson Center. Only a paranoid would suggest this amounts to criminal activity," he said in an interview.

The implication that Esfandiari was associated with Georgia's political upheaval is "ridiculous," because she has never been to Georgia or engaged in any way with the country, said Bakhash, a professor at George Mason University.

Esfandiari's daughter, Haleh Bakhash, a Washington lawyer, said her mother looked "pale and thin" after 10 weeks in prison and four months under house arrest. "She has lost weight and has aged at least 10 years since I last saw her," she said.

In a statement, the Wilson Center's president, Lee H. Hamilton, a former Democratic congressman from Indiana, said any statements Esfandiari has made without access to her lawyer would be "coerced and have no legitimacy." Esfandiari's lawyer, Shirin Ebadi, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, has been denied access to her.

The Open Society Institute said in a statement that showing the two captive Americans in civilian attire in a residential setting was an attempt to disguise the conditions under which they are being held in one of the Middle East's most notorious prisons.

Two other dual American-Iranian nationals are being detained in Iran. Ali Shakeri, a California businessman, was picked up at the Tehran airport on the same day Esfandiari was detained and also is being held at Evin Prison. Parnaz Azima of U.S.-funded Radio Farda has been unable to leave Iran since her passport was confiscated several months ago but is free on bond of more than $500,000.

Former FBI agent Robert A. Levinson has been missing in Iran since March. Despite five messages to the Iranian government, the State Department said yesterday that it had no information on his location or condition.

The State Department called on Iran yesterday to immediately release the Americans.

Dear People For the American Way Supporter,

The Supreme Court is once again making news by failing to protect the rights of everyday Americans. This should put some fire in the belly of everyone who wants to make sure the Court doesn't continue down its rightward path.

You can help make a difference: Click here to add your name to People For the American Way's Save The Court campaign.

Headline number one: the top story on The New York Times yesterday was the Supreme Court's decision to side with Republican lawmakers in Indiana, making it far more difficult for thousands of Americans -- particularly the elderly, the young, and the poor -- to vote. All to guard against "in-person voter fraud," of which -- here's the kicker -- there has not been a single reported case in the history of the state. It’s no accident, as commentators have noted, that the constituencies most affected are ones that traditionally vote Democratic and that support for Indiana’s restrictive law came from Republicans in the state legislature. That’s just not fair. Justices should clear the path to the ballot box for voters, not help block the way... Democracy only works when all eligible voters can actually cast a ballot.

Headline number two: last Wednesday came word that Republican senators, in a rare opportunity to actually undo harm done by the Supreme Court, had blocked a legislative attempt to correct last year’s terrible Supreme Court decision that made it harder for workers to seek justice for pay discrimination. In that case, the Court overturned a jury verdict to compensate Lilly Ledbetter, a Goodyear Tire Co. factory worker, for the years that she was paid far less than men doing the same work. The decision to deny Ledbetter justice for the discrimination she'd suffered was authored by none other than Justice Samuel Alito, one of Bush's ultraconservative nominees. It's a sad example of how the Court's recent rightward turn has led it to protect the rights of big business over those of everyday working Americans.

These are sad and frustrating stories. But they're important to share because they are clear evidence of how important the Court is to our everyday lives -- and how crucial it is to prevent any more ultraconservatives from joining the Court.

That task will fall to all of us, this November. Please add your name to the campaign to Save the Court -- and tell your friends and family to do the same.

Thanks, as always, for your activism and support.

Kathryn Kolbert, President

P.S. Don’t let the Republicans continue to steal the headlines along with your rights. Click here to join People For the American Way’s Save The Court campaign.

Cheney lawyer claims Congress has no authority over vice-president

The lawyer for US vice-president Dick Cheney claimed today that the Congress lacks any authority to examine his behaviour on the job.

The exception claimed by Cheney's counsel came in response to requests from congressional Democrats that David Addington, the vice-president's chief of staff, testify about his involvement in the approval of interrogation tactics used at Guantanamo Bay.

Ruling out voluntary cooperation by Addington, Cheney lawyer Kathryn Wheelbarger said Cheney's conduct is "not within the [congressional] committee's power of inquiry".

"Congress lacks the constitutional power to regulate by law what a vice-president communicates in the performance of the vice president's official duties, or what a vice president recommends that a president communicate," Wheelbarger wrote to senior aides on Capitol Hill.

The exception claimed by Cheney's office recalls his attempt last year to evade rules for classified documents by deeming the vice-president's office a hybrid branch of government - both executive and legislative.

The Democratic congressman who is investigating the legal framework for the violent interrogation of terrorist suspects, John Conyers, has asked Addington and several other top Bush administration lawyers to testify. Thus far all have claimed their deliberations are privileged.

However, Philippe Sands QC, law professor at University College, London, has agreed to appear in Washington and discuss the revelations in Torture Team, his new book on the consequences of the brutal tactics used at Guantanamo.

Excerpts from Torture Team were previewed exclusively by the Guardian earlier this month.

Two witnesses sought by Conyers, former US attorney general John Ashcroft and former US justice department lawyer John Yoo, claimed that their involvement in civil lawsuits related to harsh interrogations allows them to avoid appearing before Congress.

In letters to attorneys representing Ashcroft and Yoo, Conyers shot down their arguments and indicated he would pursue subpoenas if their clients did not testify at his May 6 hearing.

"I am aware of no basis for the remarkable claim that pending civil litigation somehow immunizes an individual from testifying before Congress," Conyers wrote.

Conyers, who chairs the House of Representatives judiciary committee, also questioned the reasoning of Cheney's lawyer in a letter to Addington.

"It is hard to know what aspect of the invitation [to you] has given rise to concern that the committee might seek to regulate the vice president's recommendations to the president," Conyers wrote.

"Especially since far more obvious potential subjects of legislation are plentiful," he added, mentioning several: US laws on the use of torture on terrorist suspects, the 15-year-old War Crimes Act, and the rules that allowed the Bush White House to receive legal advice from a specialised office within the justice department.

German Nazi Party member Joseph Goebbels became Adolf Hitler's propaganda minister in 1933, which gave 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.

His work as a propagandist materially aided Hitler's rise to power in 1933. When Hitler seized power in 1933, Goebbels was appointed Reichsminister for propaganda and national enlightenment. From then until his death, Goebbels used all media of education and communications to further Nazi propagandistic aims, instilling in the Germans the concept of their leader as a veritable god and of their destiny as the rulers of the world. In 1938 he became a member of the Hitler cabinet council. Late in World War II, in 1944, Hitler placed him in charge of total mobilization.

As Reichsminister for Propaganda and National Enlightenment, Goebbels was given complete control over radio, press, cinema, and theater; later he also regimented all German culture. Goebbels placed his undeniable intelligence and his brilliant insight into mass psychology entirely at the service of his party. His most virulent propaganda was against the Jews. As a hypnotic orator he was second only to Hitler, and in his staging of mass meetings and parades he was unsurpassed. Utterly cynical, he seems to have believed only in the self-justification of power. He remained loyal to Hitler until the end. On May 1, 1945, as Soviet troops were storming Berlin, Goebbels committed suicide.

Listed below are the principles purported to summarize what made Goebbels tick or fail to tick. They may be thought of as his intellectual legacy. Whether the legacy has been reliably deduced is a methodological question. Whether it is valid is a psychological matter. Whether or when parts of it should be utilized in a democratic society are profound and disturbing problems of a political and ethical nature.


Based upon Goebbels' Principles of Propaganda by Leonard W. Doob, published in Public Opinion and Propaganda; A Book of Readings edited for The Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues.

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 causes 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 displacement of aggression by specifying the targets for hatred.

19. Propaganda cannot immediately affect strong counter-tendencies; instead it must offer some form of action or diversion, or both.


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