A newly formed non-profit organisation made up of former Bush administration officials is to spend $15 million to run pro-war television and radio ads in more than 20 states which falsely link the 9/11 attacks to the war in Iraq in an effort to strong arm Congress into withdrawing support for a de-escalation.
According to its own press release the group, Freedom's Watch , will run the ads as of today and feature an 800-number for the public to call their representatives and urge them "not to surrender to terror".
One of the founding board members for the group is former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer. In addition Freedom's Watch chairman Bradley A. Blakeman was a member of the White House senior staff during President Bush's first term. According to the Politico , the group's board is also riddled with former Bush officials, as is its list of major donors.
According to its website the organisation is "dedicated to educating individuals about and advancing public policies that protect America's interests at home and abroad, foster economic prosperity, and strengthen families."
Through outreach and education, communications to key members of Congress, and bold public awareness initiatives, Freedom's Watch is fighting for what's right in America. We welcome all those who share our values to join our efforts." The diatribe continues.
Though it claims to be "fighting for what is right", the group seems to have no problem producing intentionally misleading propaganda.
The first ad to be aired by the group features Sgt. John Kriesel, a veteran who lost both legs in the war, relating to viewers that he "re-enlisted after 9/11" because "They attacked us, and they will again."
As Kriesel describes his story, a picture of the burning World Trade Center with United Airlines Flight 175 approaching its target appears. "They won't stop in Iraq. We are winning on the ground. ... It's no time to quit; it's no time for politics." Kriesel concludes.
Watch the propaganda:
The fact that there has never at any point been any intelligence whatsoever supporting any links between 9/11, Al Qaeda and Iraq seems not to matter to Freedom's Watch .
As reported by the NY Times in 2003, "The chairman of the monitoring group appointed by the United Nations Security Council to track Al Qaeda told reporters that his team had found no evidence linking Al Qaeda to Saddam Hussein" [6/27/03]. Similarly, even the 9/11 commission report undercuts claims before the war that Hussein had links to Al Qaeda.
Maybe this is just one man's story though and the next ad will steer clear of the tenuous link.
Not on your life.
The second ad features Laura Youngblood, widow to Travis Youngblood, a Navy petty officer, who died in Iraq in 2005 as the result of a roadside bombing. Why was Mrs Youngblood chosen for the ad? See for yourself:
"I lost two family members to al Qaeda," she says, "my uncle, a firefighter, on 9/11, and my husband, Travis, in Iraq."
Again this represents a blatant and untruthful attempt to conflate 9/11 with the war in Iraq.
A third Freedom's Watch ad which also draws on 9/11 and confirms beyond doubt this agenda:
The blatant attempt to use 9/11 as an excuse to prolong the war in Iraq and link the two is shameful and it comes as no surprise to see former Neocon stalwarts pumping money into such propaganda.
Indeed it was during Bush's re-election campaign in 2004 that some families of the victims of the attacks were furious with commercials using images from 9/11 which were used to advertise Bush administration public policy and the war on terror.
The Freedom's Watch advertisements are extremely misleading and constitute a disgraceful insult to the victims of both 9/11 and the war in Iraq and should be withdrawn from the air with immediate effect.
"TerrorStorm is something that should be seen by everyone, no matter what their stance/affiliation/political bent. " - Rich Rosell, Digitally Obsessed UK Get TerrorStorm on DVD today