Monday, October 16, 2006

WHO'S WHO? THE ART OF CYBER-CAMOUFLAGE by Willie Hager

A few political operatives of the Right have spent millions of donated money to appear as a "mass movement" of outraged Right-thinking Americans. In reality, there are pitifully few of them, but they have enough support from the Bush/Rovian/Nixonesque political establishment to oil their machines.

The logistics are easy: Take $10 million dollars, hire a web consultant and fancy P.R. firm, reserve a few snappy, misleading domain names, and post your "truth-as-fact" in as many places as it takes to scatter the opposition.

If you're lucky, you might get to rewrite history your way. If not, well, a quick change of identity using what I call cybercamo; and who will know the difference?

Button up, I say. We're coming. And we know exactly Who's Who!

Take, for example, John Kerry's presidential candidacy and the efforts of the Not-So-Swift-Vets For Truth" (NSSV) to discredit Kerry's legitimate Vietnam service record and participation in Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW). Through the formation of PACs, 527s and multiple websites with names like wintersoldier.com, (pure cybercamo; it's also the name of a powerful VVAW action now being re-released nationwide on film), the NSSV won a great victory, the Presidency, but left many Americans disheartened and distressed.

Truth is not found in a slogan, or an icon; nor is it found in the coffers or the words of the politically powerful. It is found in the hearts, minds and experience of those who sacrifice to get the word out despite a dazzling glitter of half-truths, distortions, character assassinations and outright lies.

As organizations like the NSSV spin webs of deceit to sustain their personal and political (and largely financial) interests, we little folks and progressive types (like VVAW) sail our modest cybersled computers right alongside them, but with a completely different mission: We refuse to have our history rewritten.

You see, even a child of the forties like me recognizes the potential of the Internet to grassroots' organizing. Thanks to Bill Gates, it no longer takes millions to raise consciousness. Getting the word out by website/email costs as little as $11.95 per month. When the war in Iraq came along, for example, we were no longer stifled by the cost of paper and postage. We reassessed our positions, reframed our arguments in the spirit of George Lakoff, and rejoined the ranks that had sagged after the sorry results of the November elections.

In the spring of 2005, we rallied our resources to participate in an historical open debate with the NSSV at the 5th Triennial Vietnam Symposium at Texas Tech University (TTU) in Lubbock. As expected, the NSSV employed the same self-serving tactics, tricks and smokescreens they used under various names in the Nixon era. Our panel, consisting of early VVAW leaders, artists and authors, countered the way we always have: with the truth.

The TTU debates demonstrate that while cybercamo may work online for the NSSV, even with a $10 million dollar bankroll left over from anti-Kerry/VVAW campaign, it is hard to fool a live audience. Not only were the NSSV's attempts to rewrite history exposed in Texas by their words and actions, the unedited TTU videos are available online for everyone, history included, to judge for themselves.

The Inspiration of TTU


After Lubbock, some of us took positive action, forming VetSpeak.com, vowing to speak truth to power whenever the NSSVs or the like-minded attempted to publicly minimize and rewrite the sacrifices and contributions that VVAW (and other progressive organizations) make to America.

The NSSVs, however, realizing the serious credibility problem with Swift Boat Veterans For Truth, morphed into other liberal- or benign-looking identities (Google Scott Swett for a list) using, you guessed it, cybercamo. By repeating their messages in many forums, under many names, and using all the tricks that money can buy, the technique allows them to appear larger and more accepted than they are.

A strange and wonderful irony is that the more the NSSV attempts to destroy the image of VVAW, the more they actually enhance and reinforce it. (See Vietnam Veterans Legacy Foundation.) There are many examples that highlight the basic philosophical differences between veterans organizations like VVAW (powered by objective truth) and the NSSVs (funded by Big Money). At the very best, these vets are uninformed, automaton, self-proclaimed patriots. At the very worst, they are the paid henchmen of the Bush Administration, motivated by personal and political gain, to rewrite a history that was never theirs to rewrite.

Button up, I say. We're coming. And we've always known exactly Who's Who!

Semper Fi,
Willie Hager

3 comments:

Betty said...

Notice that this group is called "Americans for Honesty." That and "Vets for
Freedom" are just plain ridiculous names for these groups. I guess we can
call them "Americans for Spin" and "Vets for Lies."

Betty
-----------
Nation's eyes on N.M. campaigns

Money pours in for Madrid, Wilson

James W. Brosnan, Tribune Reporter

Originally published 09:26 a.m., October 16, 2006
Updated 01:31 p.m., October 16, 2006

WASHINGTON — The campaigns of Rep. Heather Wilson, Albuquerque Republican,
and her Democratic challenger, Attorney General Patricia Madrid, have spent
more than $2 million to win your vote on Nov. 7, but political parties'
special interest groups are pouring even more money into the 1st
Congressional District Race.
The latest intervention is by a group with ties to former House Minority
Leader Tom DeLay and the Swift Boat group of veterans who attacked the war
record of Sen. John Kerry, Massachusetts Democrat, in the 2004 presidential
campaign.

Reports filed last week with the Federal Election Commission show that
Americans for Honesty on Issues has spent $165,000 on a television ad
accusing Madrid of wanting "your taxes super-sized."
The group received $2 million from Houston developer Bob Perry, who also
funded the Swift Boat group. The group is led by Sue Walden, a Houston
political consultant with close ties to DeLay according to the New York
Times.

The independent expenditures - so called because they are not supposed to be
coordinated with the campaigns - show how much the Wilson-Madrid race is
viewed nationally as a crucial battle for control of the House of
Representatives.

In the last month alone, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and
the National Republican Congressional Committee have spent more than $1
million on the Wilson-Madrid race, mostly for advertising, with some GOP
money paying for phone banks.

Alex Burgos, spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee,
said it doesn't spend money on phone banks in every district but it is in
Wilson's case.

"We are committed to holding onto the seat and are investing the resources
necessary to do the same," Burgos said.

Kate Beddingfield, a spokeswoman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign
Committee, said it doesn't comment on its media strategy or spending.

Special interest groups also have joined the fray.

The National Association of Realtors political action committee has spent
$761,000 in the last month on television ads supporting Wilson.

Mary Trupo, spokeswoman for the committee, said the Wilson race is one of
about five campaigns where they have made independent expenditures.

"She was a very easy one for us," Trupo said, because of her support for the
real estate industry, especially for legislation that would let associations
like the Realtors offer small a small business health plan for their
members.

The National Education Association PAC has spent $101,000 against Wilson and
$58,000 in support of Madrid. The League of Conservation Voters reported
$81,000 in expenditures for Madrid and $2,200 against Wilson.

Emily's List, which supports Democratic candidates, spent $148,000 to
support Madrid.

Emily's List is targeting campaigns in about 15 states where pro-choice
Democratic women are running, said Karen White, national political director
for the group. The group's Web site features a photo of Madrid and asks for
contributions.

"The people in this district deserve a change," White said. "Heather Wilson
I would not consider a moderate at all. She has been in lockstep with the
Bush administration."

The group is using paid mail to target "dropout women," those voters who
only go to the polls for a presidential election, White said.

And the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees filed
notice that it intends to spend $48,000 in support of Madrid.

As for the campaigns themselves, reports filed Sunday with the FEC show that
Wilson entered the last five weeks of the campaign starting Oct. 1 with a
better than two-to-one advantage in funds: $1.3 million to $539,000.

Wilson also raised more money in July, August and September - a little more
than $1 million to $687,000.
For the entire campaign, Wilson has raised about $3.8 million and spent more
than $2.8 million. Madrid has raised more than $2.5 million and spent about
$2 million.

SgtWayne said...

Hi Bill,

vets for freedom have been around for awile. I saw their site awhile back. I think it was a year or so ago. If my feeble brain is correct, they had made an announcement or something on Military.com. It was obvisious from the get go who they were, they same assholes as they were before. I don't think I've heard of Zirkle, with a name like that I think I would remember, and I haven't heard of him. Their type will never quit, they are evil people, just as the people they support are.

Always Watch Your 6,
SgtWayne

Betty said...

This is just a portion of what is on this URL at "SourceWatch" Re Vets For Freedom

http://sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Vets_for_Freedom

Vets for Freedom
From SourceWatch

Vets for Freedom Action Fund (VFF-AF)-formerly known as Vets for Freedom-is a 527 committee national lobby managed by Republican public relations,
media, legal, and political consultants, including former White House spokesman Taylor Gross, to defeat candidates who advocate an end to the US
occupation of Iraq.

On October 10, 2006, Wade Zirkle, VFF-AF's executive director, appeared on the CBS Evening News. His freeSpeech commentary "About Staying the Course in Iraq" was posted on CBS's website. CBS described VFF-AF as "a bipartisan
political action group supporting pro-military, pro-mission policymakers in the war on terror" and reported that Zirkle "appears regularly on CNN and Fox news to offer commentary on the war on terror."

"There is a problem with this," Dave Johnson wrote October 10, 2006, for The Patriot Project. "Vets for Freedom Action Fund is a '527' group-a campaign
organization that appears to exist soley to support one candidate-Joe
Lieberman's Connecticut campaign for the Senate. So Zirkle's presentation was not 'commentary,' by definition it was a campaign speech supporting a partisan cause, delivered to a national audience a few weeks before an election."

Johnson points out additional issues regarding Zirkle's appearance on CBS
News:

"Because Vets for Freedom is a political, Party-affiliated election-campaign '527' organization supporting Joe Lieberman's Senate Connecticut bid, CBS' contribution of several minutes of airtime may be an improper corporate campaign contribution."

The "appearance of Vets for Freedom Action Fund on a national nightly-news program bestows unwarranted credibility on Vets for Freedom. In the minds of
voters, this elevated their party- and candidate-supporting advertisements to a different level."

"However, beyond the impropriety of CBS making this contribution, there may also be a question whether this contribution violated Federal election law."