Largely unnoticed by the press, "hacktivists" like Eli Pariser have used the Internet to create what George Packer calls "an instantaneous movement. ... During the past three months it has gathered the numbers that took three years to build during Vietnam. It may be the fastest-growing protest movement in American history. ...
Minneapolis FBI agent Colleen Rowley, who last year exposed the agency's mishandling of warning signs prior to September 11, has written a new letter to FBI director Robert Mueller, warning that "the diversion of attention from al-Qaeda to our government's plan to invade Iraq ... will, in all likelihood, bring an exponential increase in the terrorist threat to the U.S., both at home and abroad. ... It is altogether likely that you will find yourself a helpless bystander to a rash of 9-11s.
In an effort to "preserve Iraq's oil for the Iraqi people," the Pentagon plans to prevent the destruction of Iraq's oil fields by "securing" them as quickly as possible. "In light of past acts of eco-terrorism by the regime of Saddam Hussein, the Department of Defense has developed plans to extinguish oil well fires and to assess damage to oil facilities that might occur in Iraq in the event of hostilities," a DoD release states.
More than two dozen journalism school deans and professors, independent editors, journalists and authors have sent an open letter to major media editors, criticizing media coverage of Iraq and warning that "this is no time for relying solely on official sources and their supporters." Signers of the letter include: retired New York Times columnist Tom Wicker; former New York Times reporter William Serrin; Ben Bagdikian, former dean of the Graduate School of Journalism at University of California at Berkeley; author Studs Terkel; independent journalist and filmmaker Barbara Koe
"Let's have this damn war and get it over with it," said Doug Dowie, a senior vice president at the Fleishman-Hillard PR firm. Speaking at a Los Angeles meeting of the Public Relations Society of America, Dowie complained that uncertainty connected with the Iraq war has paralyzed client spending. "The sooner we get there the better off most of us are going to be," he predicted.
"[O]n the first day of Gulf War II: Die Harder, the Pentagon reportedly intends to launch 300 to 400 cruise missiles at targets in Iraq -- more than during the entire 40 days of the first Gulf War. '[Y]ou have this simultaneous effect, rather like the nuclear weapons at Hiroshima, not taking days or weeks but in minutes," says Harlan K. Ullman, who ... did co-author the 1996 book that defined the strategy that the U.S. military will be following. Euphemistically known as 'Shock and Awe,' the plan is designed to cow those Iraqis it doesn't blow up into immediate submission.
The conservative organization Citizens United has teamed with Fred Thompson, the former U.S. Senator turned actor on NBC's "Law and Order," to produce and air a TV commercial supporting war on Iraq. Citizens United president David Bossie says his ad is necessary to "combat the left-wing propaganda" he says has come from such stars as Martin Sheen, Susan Sarandon and Janeane Garofalo.
The U.S. has already launched psychological warfare operations in Iraq, including "leafleting, radio and TV broadcasts, even personal phone calls and e-mails, as well as secret techniques the public knows little about," reports Michael Kilian. "Since Jan. 18, U.S.
"On February 24, Newsweek broke what may be the biggest story of the Iraq crisis," FAIR writes. "In a revelation that 'raises questions about whether the WMD [weapons of mass destruction] stockpiles attributed to Iraq still exist,' the magazine's issue dated March 3 reported that the Iraqi weapons chief who defected from the regime in 1995 told U.N. inspectors that Iraq had destroyed its entire stockpile of chemical and biological weapons and banned missiles, as Iraq claims." The CIA denied the Newsweek story.
The burgeoning US anti-war movement is showing a sophistication for grassroots lobbying normally only used by major corporate PR efforts. Today, for instance, hundreds of thousands of US citizens are participating in "a massive march on Washington without leaving your living room. The Virtual March on Washington is a first-of-its-kind campaign from the Win Without War coalition. Working together, we will direct a steady stream of phone calls -- about one per minute, all day -- to every Senate office in the country, while at the same time delivering a constant stream of e-mails and faxes.