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Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Women and Children Systematically Raped and Assaulted in Darfur

A senior United Nations official told the Security Council that women and children are being systematically raped and assaulted in Darfur and urged Sudanese authorities to do more to protect civilians and end a culture of impunity.

One medical charity has treated 500 victims of sexual violence in Darfur in four months and this is just a fraction of such attacks in the Sudanese province, Under Secretary General Jan Egeland said.

Addressing the UN Security Council on the need for more international effort to protect civilians in armed conflicts, Egeland said Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo were among the countries where sexual violence was worst.

Egeland said medical charity Medicins Sans Frontieres had reported treating 500 survivors of sexual violence in Darfur in just four months.

"We believe this represents only a fraction of the total victims," he said, adding that the impact of the violence was compounded by Sudan's failure to acknowledge the scale of the problem and to act to stop it.

"Not only do the Sudanese authorities fail to provide effective physical protection, they inhibit access to treatment." He said in some cases unmarried women who became pregnant after being raped had been treated as criminals and subjected to further brutal treatment by police.

"In Darfur ... rape is systematically used as a weapon of warfare," Egeland said.

Meanwhile, a Chadian delegation to peace talks where the African Union (AU) wants to end the Darfur conflict accused rebels there of scheming to scapegoat Chad.

One top envoy from Ndjamena, Ahmad Allam Mi, said the team "deplores a misinformation campaign accusing Chad of being behind obstacles to the smooth running" of the AU's long bid to end a war between the Khartoum government and two rebel groups in Darfur.

Allam Mi, a diplomat and adviser to Chad's President Idriss Deby, said the delegation "denounces scheming intended to use Chad as a scapegoat ... to ends contrary to the mediators' mandate, exclusively about settling the conflict."

His target was the rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), one of the two rebel groups in Darfur alongside the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM), which has said Chad is biased and stepped up the rhetoric to accuse it of "committing genocide."

Since Chad's delegation arrived in the Nigerian capital on June 15 to join the AU as co-mediators, every bid to get all participants round one table to end a war that has killed at least 180,000 people and displaced 2.4 million has stalled.

A spokesman for the AU mediators, Sam Ibok, said four hours of separate talks on a draft Declaration of Principle (DoP) key to a settlement were held on Tuesday, but a planned plenary session was postponed by 24 hours and the Chad issue had been taken up by heads of state.

The DoP, the latest stage in a process that stalled for months over truce violations by both sides before resuming on June 10, lays the groundwork for a political deal, in the wake of military measures and ahead of discussion of power-sharing and the distribution of wealth.

The SLM, after objecting, has agreed to Chad's role in the talks, but the JEM has adopted an increasingly hard line.

And in Eritrea's capital Asmara, a JEM spokesman said forces from the movement had taken part in a completely separate joint rebel offensive in east Sudan launched on Monday.

Meanwhile, the chief of Southern Sudan's ex-rebel movement has expressed sympathy with armed dissidents who launched their first offensive against government troops in eastern Sudan's Red Sea state.

On a visit to Eritrea, John Garang also said he sympathized with inhabitants of the western Darfur region who complain of marginalization by Khartoum. - Agencies

Copyright (c) 2005 The Daily Star

Truth from These Podia

Summary of a Study of Strategic Influence, Perception Management, Strategic Information Warfare and Strategic Psychological Operations in Gulf II

By Sam Gardiner1 Colonel, USAF (Retired) 09/08/03


My intent was not to do this myself. The work had to be a combination of the kind of research I was doing and investigative journalism. I could do the outside part. Someone had to talk to those inside. After my return from an information warfare conference in London in July, I began looking for interest in one of the major newspapers. I found that interest in Mark Fineman at the LA Times.

Mark had covered the war and previously had been bureau chief for the paper in Philippines, India, Cyprus and Mexico City. Although he had covered some of the stories I examined in my research, he saw very early the point I was making about the implication of their being seen as a whole, the strategic picture. We continued to exchange e-mails, talk by phone and met four times after our initial session. He shared information he was uncovering. I shared my developing research.

Mark Fineman died of an apparent heart attack while on assignment in Baghdad on September 23, 2003.

It Was Not Bad Intelligence.

It was much more. It was an orchestrated effort. It began before the war, was a major effort during the war and continues as post-conflict distortions.

The title of this study was difficult for me. When I began I thought it was going to be an analysis of Pentagon spin. I was going to call it, “Truth from this Podium.” That was to be a play on promises we were given before the war. The more I did, the more it became clear that it was not just the Pentagon. It was the White House, and it was Number 10 Downing Street. It was more than spin.

I though about calling it “Apparatus of Lies,” connecting to a title the White House gave a paper on Iraq’s decade of fabrication, mostly about weapons of destruction. Although lies were part of the effort, that title would have been off the mark because the story is more about aversion to truth rather than the open lie.

I also missed on the subject. I thought it was going to be about spinning the stories of the conflict. I was wrong. The real essence of what I found was a much broader problem. It is a problem about the future as much as the past. This problem became the story of the study.

This is one way of summarizing the study:

The United States (and UK) conducted a strategic influence campaign that:

…distorted perceptions of the situation both before and during the conflict.

…caused misdirection of portions of the military operation.

…was irresponsible in parts.

…might have been illegal in some ways.

…cost big bucks.

…will be even more serious in the future.

I know what I am suggesting is serious. I did not come to these conclusions lightly. Because my plea is for truth in war, I have tried to be very careful not to fall into a trap of describing exaggerations with exaggeration. I hope I’ve done that. I expect some will believe I have been guilty of the same sins. As long as we can have some discussion about truth in war, I accept the criticism.

You will see in my analysis and comments that I do not accept the notion that the first casualty of war is truth. I think we have to have a higher standard.

In the most basic sense, Washington and London did not trust the peoples of their democracies to come to right decisions. Truth became a casualty. When truth is a casualty, democracy receives collateral damage.

My plea is for truth. I believe we have to find ways to restore truth as currency of government in matters as serious as war. My story would be important if it were the last chapter of the book. It’s not. There is more to come. As the United States struggles with a post-conflict Iraq, distortions continue. Probably of more concern, major players in the game are working on ways to do it “better” in future conflicts.

In other words, it appears as if the issues of this war will become even more important for future wars. We have reason to be concerned.

Another way to summarize the study:


Clearly, the assumption of some in the government is the people of the United States and the United Kingdom will come to a wrong decision if they are the given truth.

We probably have taken “Information Warfare” too far.

We allowed strategic psychological operations to. become part of public affairs.

We failed to make adequate distinction between strategic influence stuff and intelligence.

Message became more important than performance.

The concepts of warfare got all mixed up in this war. I’ll come back to this subject later, but what has happened is that information warfare, strategic influence, strategic psychological operations pushed their way into the important process of informing the peoples of our two democracies. The United States and the UK got too good at the concepts they had been developing for future warfare.

The best way to describe my methodology is to use words that came from Admiral Poindexter’s unfunded project, Total Information Awareness, later known as Terrorism Information Awareness. What I have done is look for “inconsistencies in open source data with regard to known facts…and goals.”

Again to use the words from the Terrorism Information Awareness Program, by discovering linkages, it was possible to identify intent, methods of operations and organizational dynamics.

Through this methodology, it was possible to do what the Pentagon wanted to do, “to reduce vulnerability to open source information operations.”


“The purpose…is to reduce vulnerability to open source information operations by developing the ability to detect inconsistencies in open source data with regard to known facts and…goals.”

“One of the characteristics…is that their organizational structures are not well understood and are purposefully designed to conceal their connections and relationships. DARPA’s premise is that by discovering linkages among people, places, things and events…to recognize patterns of relationships that are representative…, it can help identify…intent, methods of operation, and organizational dynamics.”

Report to Congress Regarding the Terrorism Information Awareness Program, May 20, 2003

My definitions are sloppy in this paper. Some would say I don’t know the definition of information warfare. It’s not because I don’t appreciate the clarity that comes from precise meaning. It’s because almost all of the pre-war definitions were violated in implementation. I was left with a couple questions, “What was true and who was affected by the non-truth?

They told us what they were going to do. The Department of Defense created a rather significant press storm early in 2002 when it was revealed that there were plans to create an office to do strategic influence. Efforts to create the office were brought to a halt with White House agreement. In November, the Secretary of Defense announced in a press conference on board an aircraft on the way to South America that he was just kidding when he said he would not do strategic influence.

The White House gave a similar warning. Andrew Card, the President’s Chief of Staff told us they would do a major campaign to sell the war. Alastair Campbell, Tony Blair’s just-resigned Strategy (and communications) Director, was orchestrating the same on the other side of the Atlantic.

The research then was to discover what they did and how they did what they said they were going to do.

I’m not going to address why they did it. That’s something I don’t understand even after all the research. I would like to ask them, “Why do it?” “Didn’t you know there would be consequences?’ It was not necessary. You could have told the truth. You don’t defend democracy by making light of its most basic elements. The American people would have supported the war. Why do it?

Announcing the Effort

“And then there was the Office of Strategic Influence. You may recall that. And ‘oh my goodness gracious isn't that terrible, Henny Penny the sky is going to fall.’ I went down that next day and said fine, if you want to savage this thing fine I'll give you the corpse. There's the name. You can have the name, but I'm gonna keep doing every single thing that needs to be done and I have.” Rumsfeld, November 18, 2002

From a marketing point of view, you don't introduce new products in August," White House Chief of Staff Andrew H. Card Jr. told the New York Times in September. Card was explaining what the Times characterized as a "meticulously planned strategy to persuade the public, the Congress, and the allies of the need to confront the threat from Saddam Hussein."

It would cost over $200 million. Times of London, 9/17/02

These two chart are the results of my investigation:

The Stories of Strategic Influence (1)

• • • Terrorism and 9/11 Lt. Commander Speicher Drones Mohammad Atta meeting with Iraqi • • • Nuclear materials from Niger Aluminum tubes Nuclear weapons development
• Ansar al-Salm • Dirty bombs
• Chemical and biological weapons – Quantities – Location – Delivery readiness • • • Humanitarian operations Attacking the power grid Russian punishment
• Weapons labs – Signing long term oil
• WMD cluster bombs contracts
• • • Scuds Cutting off ears Cyber war capability – Night-vision goggles – GPS Jamming equipment – Saddam in embassy
• German punishment
• Surrender of the 507th

The Stories of Strategic Influence (2)

• Civilian casualties

Red Zone

51st Iraqi Mechanized Division & • Woman hung for waving commander • French punishment

Uprising in Basrah – High precision switches

Liberations of Umm Qasr and Basrah

Iraqi white flag incidents – Smallpox strains

US and UK uniforms to commit – Signing long term oil contracts

atrocities – Spare parts for aircraft

Execution of prisoners

– Roland missiles

Salman Pak training facility

Private Lynch rescue – Passport for Iraqi leaders

Language • British Parliamentarian punishment

Holding the story • WMD location

Children soldiers

1000 Vehicle attack from Baghdad – Moved to Syria


Just-in-time program

The post-conflict enemy

Status of infrastructure repairs

` From my research, the most profound thread is that WMD was only a very small part of the strategic influence, information operations and marketing campaign conducted on both sides of the Atlantic.

These are the stories on which I ended up doing detailed research. In each case, I attempted to find when and where the story originated, which officials made statements related to the story and then look at how it came out. Obviously, I am reporting on those where the outcome differed from the story.

My research suggests there were over 50 stories manufactured or at least engineered that distorted the picture of Gulf II for the American and British people. I’ll cover most in this report. At the end, I will also describe some stories that seem as if they were part of the strategic influence campaign although the evidence is only circumstantial.

What becomes important is not each story taken individually. If that were the case, it would probably seem only more of the same. If you were to look at them one at a time, you could conclude, “Okay we sort of knew that was happening.” It is the pattern that becomes important. It’s the summary of everything. To use a phrase often heard during the war, it’s the mosaic.

Recognizing I said I wouldn’t exaggerate, it would not be an exaggeration to say the people of the United States and UK can find out more about the contents of a can of soup they buy than the contents of the can of worms they bought with the 2003 war in the Gulf.

The Theory

In Strauss’ view, liberal democracies such as the Weimar Republic are not viable in the long term, since they do not offer their citizens any religious and moral footings. The practical consequence of this philosophy is fatal. According to its tenets, the elites have the right and even the obligation to manipulate the truth. Just as Plato recommends, they can take refuge in "pious lies" and in selective use of the truth.

Der Spiegel

I’m not writing about a conspiracy. It is about a well run and networked organization. My basic argument is that very bright and even well intentioned officials found how to control the process of governance in ways never before possible.

I have no way of knowing intent. Those who believe the Administration influenced by a small group could point out that manipulating the truth is an important and even necessary dimension of governance.

Standing back from the details of the stories, the strategy of strategic influence and marketing emerges.

Gulf II Influence Strategy

This is a struggle between good and evil.

Major theme of the war on terrorism as well as Gulf II.

The mirror of this is in the Muslim world is when the U.S. is often called the “Great Satan.”

Iraq was behind the attack on the World Trade center.

The subtle theme throughout Gulf II.

The mirror of this is the rumor that Israel was behind the World Trade Center bombing to embarrass the Arabs.

The major thrust was to make a conflict with Iraq seem part of a struggle between good and evil. Terrorism is evil. We are good. The axis is evil, and we are the good guys.

The second thrust is what propaganda theorists would call the “big lie.” The plan was to connect Iraq with the 9/11 attacks. Make the American people believe that Saddam Hussein was behind those attacks. The effort followed the basic framework of effective propaganda.

Gulf II Influence Strategy

24/7 News require different techniques

Saturate the media time and space.

Stay on message and stay ahead of the news cycle.

Manage expectations.

No matter how bad the story, it tends to level; accelerate the process as much as possible.

Keep the message consistent daily: Qatar, Pentagon, White House, London

Use information to attack and punish critics.

Beyond the themes we can see these strategic techniques. One of the media organizations hired by the Department of Defense, the Rendon Group, was deeply involved in selling the first Gulf War as well at this one.2 The first two points on this chart came from John Rendon. The last seems to have come from others within the Administration.

It’s possible to get a sense of how strategic influence and the organization for combat came together by looking at a pattern from before Gulf II campaign.

In November 2001, the White House Coalition Information Center initiated an effort to highlight the plight of women in Afghanistan. Jim Wilkinson, who was working with the Center at the time, called this effort “the best thing we’ve done.”

Earlier Stuff

Source: The White House Coalition Information Center

When he said it was the best thing they’ve done, it was not about something they did. It was about a story they created. It was about story. It was story. Story was most

2 Four or five contracted media groups were probably involved in one way or another in the Gulf II effort. John Rendon call himself an information warrior.


The White House Coalition Information Center became the Office of Global Communications officially in January 2003. It was in full operation, however, by the time the White House began its marketing campaign in September 2002.

What we saw in the Afghanistan effort were patterns that would continue through Gulf II. It was designed to “build support.” It was not a program with specific steps or funding to improve the conditions of women.

Earlier Stuff

“Women’s campaign was designed to build support in countries in which there is heavy skepticism of the antiterrorism coalition.” Washington Post, November 16, 2002

“Only the terrorist and the Taliban threaten to pull out women’s fingernails for wearing nail polish.” Laura Bush, November 17, 2001

“In Afghanistan if you wear nail polish, you could have your nails torn out.” Cherie Blair, November 20, 2001

Human Rights Watch, 2003 report: Situation still bad for women.

The other pattern in the Afghanistan family campaign that is important is the close coordination between the White House and Number 10 Downing Street. The coordination was so close that Laura Bush and Cherie Blair used almost the same phrase in speeches only separated by three days. The message was coordinated in the Afghanistan campaign. It would be coordinated for Gulf II.

Make the humanitarian dimension of the operation part of marketing, another pattern I’ve done some work with relief organizations. When these professionals talk about Afghanistan, I very often hear their disdain for the U.S. effort to air drop food packets into Afghanistan. There was almost no real benefit from that part of the operation, We would have expect the same in Gulf II.

Another pattern emerged that we would see in the run up to the war. One might even say they followed the concept that if you don’t know the truth, fill the vacuum with speculation that would support policy. That certainly was true during the period of anthrax uncertainty; US and UK “intelligence sources” told the press that everything pointed to Iraq.

The author has taught strategy and military operations at the National War College, Air War College and Naval War College. He was recently a visiting scholar at the Swedish Defence College. During Gulf II he was a regular on the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer as well as on BBC radio and television, and National Public Radio.

The study was not funded by any organization, and the author’s arguments are not meant to represent those of any organization.

He can be reached at SamGard@aol.com

Withdrawal is a Prelude to Annexation

US Hypocrisy Is Not New But Condi Rice Has Taken It Beyond Chutzpah

Condoleezza Rice hailed the understanding between Israel and the Palestinian Authority on the need to destroy the homes of the 8,000 Jewish settlers in Gaza as a historic step on the road to peace. This is a fatuous statement by one of the most vacuous US secretaries of state of the postwar era.
American foreign policy has habitually displayed double standards towards the Middle East: one standard towards Israel and one towards the Arabs. To give just one example, the US effected regime change in Baghdad in three weeks but has failed to dismantle a single Jewish settlement in the occupied territories in 38 years.

The two main items on America's current agenda for the region are democracy for the Arabs and a settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian dispute. America, however, insists on democracy only for its Arab opponents, not for its friends. As for the peace process, it is essentially a mechanism by which Israel and America try to impose a solution on the Palestinians. American hypocrisy is nothing new. But with Dr Rice it has gone beyond chutzpah.

With Ariel Sharon, by contrast, what you see is what you get. He has always been in the destruction business, not the construction business. As minister of defence in 1982, Sharon preferred to destroy the settlement town of Yamit in Sinai rather than hand it to Egypt as a reward for signing a peace treaty with Israel. George Bush once described his friend Sharon as "a man of peace". In truth, Sharon is a brutal thug and land-grabber.

Sharon is also the unilateralist par excellence. The road map issued by the quartet (US, UN, EU and Russia) in the aftermath of the Iraq war envisaged three stages leading to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel by the end of 2005. Sharon wrecked the road map, notably by continuing to expand Jewish settlements on the West Bank and building an illegal wall that cuts deep into Palestinian territory.

He presented his plan for disengagement from Gaza as a contribution to the road map; in fact it is almost the exact opposite. The road map calls for negotiations between the two sides, leading to a two-state solution. Sharon refuses to negotiate and acts to redraw unilaterally the borders of Greater Israel. As he told rightwing supporters: "My plan is difficult for the Palestinians, a fatal blow. There's no Palestinian state in a unilateral move." The real purpose of the move is to derail the road map and kill the comatose peace process. For Sharon, withdrawal from Gaza is the prelude not to a permanent settlement but to the annexation of substantial sections of the West Bank.

Sharon decided to cut his losses in Gaza when he realised that the cost of occupation is not sustainable. Gaza is home to 8,000 Israeli settlers and 1.3 million Palestinians. The settlers control 25% of the territory, 40% of the arable land and most of the water. This is a hopeless colonial enterprise, accompanied by one of the most prolonged and brutal military occupations of modern times. Bush publicly endorsed Sharon's plan to withdraw from Gaza and retain the four main settlement blocks on the West Bank without consulting the quartet - a reversal of the US position since 1967 that viewed the settlements as an obstacle to peace. Last year Sharon proposed handing the remaining Israeli assets in Gaza to an international body. Now he proposes to destroy the homes and farms.

The change of plan is prompted by Israeli fear that Hamas will claim credit for the withdrawal and raise its flag over the buildings vacated by the settlers. This is inevitable both because Hamas, not the PA, is the liberator of Gaza and because Israel is refusing to coordinate its moves with the PA. Another fear is that Hamas, supported by 35-40% of the Palestinian population, will emerge as a serious electoral challenger to Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah movement.

This is Condi's conundrum. If she is serious about spreading democracy in the Arab world she must accept the outcome of free elections; in most of the Arab world they would produce Islamist, anti-US governments. Israel has contributed more than any other country to this sorry state of affairs. Condi and the American right regard Israel as a strategic asset in the war on terror. In fact Israel is America's biggest liability. For most Arabs and Muslims the real issue in the Middle East is not Iraq, Iran or democracy but Israel's oppression of the Palestinian people and America's blind support for Israel.

America's policy towards the Middle East is myopic, muddled and mistaken. Only a negotiated settlement can bring lasting peace and stability to the area. And only America has the power to push Israel into such a settlement. It is high time the US got tough with Israel, the intransigent party and main obstacle to peace. Colluding in Sharon's selfish, uncivilised plan to destroy the Jewish homes in Gaza is not a historic step on the road to peace.

· Avi Shlaim is a British Academy research professor at St Antony's College, Oxford, and author of The Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World.

© Guardian Newspapers Limited 2005

Abu Ghraib, Rewarded

It is nice that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and his team feel as if they have achieved closure on their prisoner abuse issues and are ready to move on. The problem is, they are still in deep denial. The Bush administration has not only refused to face the problem squarely, but it is also enabling a pervasive lack of accountability.

The most recent evidence of this sad state of affairs came this week in an article in The Times by Eric Schmitt and Thom Shanker, who reported that the Pentagon believes the Abu Ghraib scandal has receded enough in the public's mind that Mr. Rumsfeld is considering a promotion for Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, who was commander of American forces in Iraq at the time of the disaster.

We can see why General Sanchez would expect a promotion; Mr. Bush has rewarded the people who drafted the policies that led to the illegal detention, abuse, humiliation and, ultimately, torture and even killing of prisoners at the hands of American military forces. A couple were nominated to the federal appeals court. One became attorney general. Mr. Rumsfeld still has his job.

And we feel General Sanchez's pain. As the Army's own investigation showed, he lacked the experience to command the forces in Iraq. Once given that job, he labored under Mr. Rumsfeld's obsession for waging war with too few troops inadequately equipped. For months, Mr. Bush and Mr. Rumsfeld were pretending the war was over, while General Sanchez faced a mushrooming insurgency. He ordered his soldiers to start getting tough with prisoners to get intelligence.

General Sanchez relied on established practice in Mr. Bush's military. He set aside American notions of decency and the Geneva Conventions, authorizing harsh interrogations - including forcing prisoners into painful positions for long periods, isolating them, depriving them of sleep and using guard dogs to, as he put it, "exploit Arab fears." These practices would have been controversial for captives with information that would save Americans' lives. But the vast majority of Abu Ghraib inmates knew nothing.

General Sanchez was exonerated by the last in a series of investigations meant to keep the heat off top generals and civilian policy makers. But his own words at the Texas A&M University commencement were damning. When conditions are at their worst, General Sanchez said, "That is when a leader must step forward and lead - our ethics mandate it and our subordinates expect it."

General Sanchez failed to do that. He should not be the only senior person to pay the price for failure, but neither should he be the latest to be rewarded for it.

Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company