- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 22, 2003

President Bush opened yesterday a White House Office of Global Communications, which promptly released a report detailing Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein's "apparatus of lies."
The 34-page report calls Saddam's propaganda machine a "highly developed, well-disciplined, and expertly organized program designed to win support for the Iraqi regime through outright deceit."
"This elaborate program is one of the regime's most potent weapons for advancing its political, military, and diplomatic objectives. In their disinformation and propaganda campaigns, the Iraqis use elaborate ruses and obvious falsehoods, covert actions and false on-the-record statements, and sophisticated preparation and spontaneous exploitation of opportunities," the report says.
With just one week to go before U.N. weapons inspectors working in Iraq deliver their 60-day update to the Security Council, the Bush administration is cranking up its own propaganda unit. The new office will work as a sort of public relations agent for the United States, with its official goals being "to prevent misunderstanding and conflict, build support for and among United States coalition partners and better inform international audiences."
"We need to communicate our policies and values to the world with greater clarity and through dialogue with emerging voices around the globe," the White House said in announcing the president's executive order creating the office.
The new report, titled "Apparatus of Lies: Saddam's Disinformation and Propaganda, 1990-2003," is divided into four subject areas that detail how Saddam and regime elites have become rich as Iraqis starve, stored the bodies of dead babies to stage mass funeral processions and barred Iraqis from traveling to Mecca for the Muslims' annual pilgrimage.
The four sections are:
"Crafting Tragedy," in which the report says the Iraqi regime "places civilians close to military equipment, facilities and troops, which are legitimate targets in an armed conflict," uses "human shields" and deliberately destroys its own facilities, then blames its enemies.
"Exploiting Suffering," in which the report shows how Saddam blames starvation and medical crises, often of his own making, on the United Nations or the United States and its allies. "This is such an effective ruse that the Iraqi regime actually causes or actively ignores hardship and then aggressively exploits the Iraqi people's suffering."
c"Exploiting Islam," in which the report says, "Experts know that Saddam Hussein is a non-religious man from a secular even atheistic party. But to exploit Islamic sentiments, he adopts expressions of faith in his public pronouncements, and the Iraqi propaganda apparatus erects billboards and distributes images showing him praying or in other acts of piety."
"Corrupting the Public Record," in which the report says, "The regime uses a combination of on-the-record lies, covert placements of false news accounts, self-inflicted damage, forgeries, and fake interviews" to mislead the world.
A final section, "Conclusion: The Lies Continue," sums up the report's findings: "This report shines light on the apparatus used by Saddam Hussein and his cadres to deceive the Iraqi people and the international community. The oppressive and totalitarian nature of Saddam Hussein's regime enables his deception and deceit. This regime, which became expert at obfuscation during the 1991 Persian Gulf war, has now had more than a decade to perfect these practices."
Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, who released the report, said the State Department was working to avoid a war with Iraq but added that the next few weeks would be crucial to revealing whether military action could be prevented.


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