Wednesday, November 23, 2005

John Rendon: The Man Who Sold the War

While the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence drags its feet on discovering how the White House sold the Iraq war, journalist James Bamford has written a major expose on one of the key players: John Rendon. In his Rolling Stone story "The Man Who Sold the War," Bamford traces the development of Rendon and his firm The Rendon Group (TRG) from Democratic Party organizer to Kuwaiti liberator to secretive Pentagon propagandist-for-hire. In a rare interview, Rendon "boasted openly" to Bamford of "the sweep and importance of his firm's efforts as a for-profit spy." One example of TRG's work is the story of Iraqi exile Adnan Ihsan Saeed al-Haideri, who claimed Saddam Hussein had tons of biological, chemical and nuclear weapons. The fact that al-Haideri failed CIA polygraph tests didn't stop TRG from giving Judith Miller the print exclusive interview. "Her front-page story, which hit the stands on December 20th, 2001, was exactly the kind of exposure Rendon had been hired to provide," Bamford writes... (more)

Here's a link to Rolling Stone: Meet John Rendon, The Man Who Sold the War. But keep an open mind. There are a number of reasons to be skeptical of this information, the most important of which is that John Rendon denies several of the key points...

The Highlights:

"Rendon is a man who fills a need that few people even know exists... ...One of the most powerful people in Washington, Rendon is a leader in the strategic field known as "perception management," manipulating information -- and, by extension, the news media -- to achieve the desired result. His firm, the Rendon Group, has made millions off government contracts since 1991, when it was hired by the CIA to help "create the conditions for the removal of Hussein from power." Working under this extraordinary transfer of secret authority, Rendon assembled a group of anti-Saddam militants, personally gave them their name -- the Iraqi National Congress -- and served as their media guru and "senior adviser" as they set out to engineer an uprising against Saddam. "

And more of the same:

"Rendon is one of the most influential of the private contractors in Washington who are increasingly taking over jobs long reserved for highly trained CIA employees. In recent years, spies-for-hire have begun to replace regional desk officers, who control clandestine operations around the world; watch officers at the agency's twenty-four-hour crisis center; analysts, who sift through reams of intelligence data; and even counterintelligence officers in the field, who oversee meetings between agents and their recruited spies. According to one senior administration official involved in intelligence-budget decisions, half of the CIA's work is now performed by private contractors -- people completely unaccountable to Congress. Another senior budget official acknowledges privately that lawmakers have no idea how many rent-a-spies the CIA currently employs -- or how much unchecked power they enjoy."

Frankly, I think this story is complete bullshit. Why has John Rendon been hidden for decades? I think reporter James Bamford made most of this up, or he had help in drafting this story. The writing is not consistent. There are several different writing styles apparent, both male and female.

Here's the most blatant discrepancy, compare these two sentences.

It is an unusual career twist for someone who entered politics as an opponent of the Vietnam War.

As the Mass ended and Moran's Australian-flag-draped coffin passed by the mourners, Rendon lifted his right arm and saluted.

John Rendon was never in the military. Why the hell would he salute a coffin; especially the coffin of someone who was also not in the military?

Here's the clincher:

Rendon was also charged with engaging in "military deception" online -- an activity once assigned to the OSI. The company was contracted to monitor Internet chat rooms in both English and Arabic -- and "participate in these chat rooms when/if tasked." Rendon would also create a Web site "with regular news summaries and feature articles. Targeted at the global public, in English and at least four (4) additional languages, this activity also will include an extensive e-mail push operation." These techniques are commonly used to plant a variety of propaganda, including false information.

Read between the lines. The writer (or writers) of this article is actually telling you that he is lying to you.

Rendon, by the way, is also the name of a small town in Texas, a suburb of Ft. Worth, that is about 100 miles north of Crawford.

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