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U.S. Military Report on Use of Blogs in Warfare Credits Free Republic
Tuesday, April 1, 2008 | Kristinn

Posted on 04/01/2008 7:04:03 PM PDT by kristinn

An unclassified 2006 report by the Strategic Studies Department of the U.S. military's Joint Special Operations University relates the story of how Freepers, followed by others in the blogosphere, took down Dan Rather over the forged Killian memos as a way to demonstrate the growing ability of individuals using the Internet to influence the world at large.

The report also discusses the feasibility of "clandestinely recruiting or hiring prominent bloggers" for information warfare and of the reticence the military has toward using the Internet for disinformation campaigns.

The report was authored by Maj. James Kinniburgh and Dr. Dorothy Denning. The authors demonstrate an incomplete knowledge of the facts in some areas of the report (to put it gently), but they are reasonably accurate in the telling of how Free Republic exposed Rathergate.

Link to PDF file of 50 page report at City Pages.

If you prefer to download it from a DOD server, that can be done here.

Link to City Pages article on report.

Link to Wired.com article on report.

The first mention of this report was found on Blogger News Network last Friday. Curiously, that article has been pulled. However, it can be found in Google cache.

The moonbats are starting to howl, of course.

Wired.com's Danger Room is faslely getting credited with breaking this story. Blogger News Network's pulled story appeared three days before Wired noticed it. (Note: I saw the Blogger News network story the day it came out. Computer problems prevented me from posting about it then.)

The introduction to the report:

September, 2004: The 2004 presidential campaign is in full swing and the producers of the television news show 60 Minutes Wednesday, at CBS, have received a memo purporting to show that the sitting President, George W. Bush, had used his family connections to avoid his service obligations. The story, given the controversy and ratings it will generate, is just too good not to run. On cursory inspection, the documents and their source appear legitimate. On September 8th, 60 Minutes producer Mary Mapes and anchorman Dan Rather decide to air it …

Within minutes of airtime, posted discussion participants at the conservative Web site FreeRepublic.com posited that the documents were faked. Bloggers at Power Line1 and Little Green Footballs (littlegreenfootballs.com) picked up these comments and posted them and their associated hyperlinks on their own blogs. The clues to the now infamous Killian memo forgeries, the bloggers pointed out, were the superscript ‘th’ and the Times New Roman font; both indicated the use of modern word-processing programs rather than a 1972-era typewriter. The signatures on at least two of the documents appeared to have been forged, and some with experience called into question the very format of the memo, purported to show orders issued to then-Lieutenant Bush. The story was given even greater attention after noted pundit, Matt Drudge, posted a link to the Free Republic thread on his own Web site, The Drudge Report (www.drudgereport.com).,

What followed initially was what is known as a “blogswarm,” where the story was carried on multiple blogs, and then later a “mediaswarm.” As a result of these phenomena and CBS’ inability to authenticate the documents, several CBS employees, including producer Mary Mapes, were asked to resign. Within a month, Dan Rather announced his own retirement.

What garnered considerable interest afterward was how a group of nonprofessional journalists was able to outperform and “bring down” two icons of the traditional media, CBS and Dan Rather. CBS executive Jonathan Klein said of the bloggers, “You couldn’t have a starker contrast between the multiple layers of checks and balances (at 60 Minutes) and a guy sitting in his living room in his pajamas writing.” 2

Some columnists, like Corey Pein at the Colombia Journalism Review, explained the spread of the story (a.k.a., “Memogate,” or “Rathergate”) as the result of journalistic haste and the rapid coalescence of popular opinion, supported and enhanced by a blogging network of Republican story spinners.3

CBS offered its own explanations for the problems surrounding the story in its final report on the matter. The CBS reviewers found four major factors that contributed to the incident: weak or cursory efforts to establish the documents’ source and credibility, failed efforts to determine the document’s authenticity, nominal efforts at provenance, and excessive competitive zeal (the rush to air).4

Despite the fact that the initial questions about the CBS story were posted on a discussion forum instead of a blog, the partially erroneous attribution of the entire “Memogate” incident, and other stories that followed, to “bloggers” likely increased public awareness of blogs and blogging, and their potential power to influence. Governments have noticed this potential, and many authoritarian governments censor blogs believed to threaten their regimes. Iran has imprisoned bloggers who offended the ruling mullahs. At the same time, however, Iranian officials recognized the value of blogs to information strategy, holding the Revolutionary Bloggers Conference to promote pro-regime blogs in February 2006.5

The rise of military bloggers from deployed areas such as Iraq has raised concerns with U.S. Department of Defense officials that information posted in a blog could compromise operations security (OPSEC). Stars and Stripes, a newspaper that caters to the overseas military personnel, quoted a recent memo from the Army Chief of Staff, General Peter Schoomaker:

“The enemy aggressively ‘reads’ our open source and continues to exploit such information for use against our forces,” he wrote. “Some soldiers continue to post sensitive information to Internet Web sites and blogs. … Such OPSEC violations needlessly place lives at risk and degrade the effectiveness of our operations.” 6

This paper explores the possibility of incorporating blogs and blogging into military information strategy, primarily as a tool for influence. Towards that end, we examine the value of blogs as targets of and/or platforms for military influence operations and supporting intelligence operations. Influence operations are a subset of information operations (IO) that includes the core capabilities of Psychological Operations (PSYOP) and Military Deception (MILDEC), and the related capabilities of Public Affairs (PA), Military Support to Public Diplomacy (PD) and Civil Affairs/Civil-Military Operations (CA/CMO). To evaluate the IO potential for blogs, we seek answers to two questions:

1. Are blogs truly influential, and if so, in what manner?
2. Does the information environment support blogging as part of an information campaign?

Before addressing these questions, however, we first review the nature and structure of the blogosphere.


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; Front Page News; News/Current Events; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: dod; fr; freepers; infowar; pajamahadeen; pajamahadien; pajamapatrol; rathergate
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Nice to see FR get credit where credit is due, to coin a phrase :-)
1 posted on 04/01/2008 7:04:03 PM PDT by kristinn
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To: Buckhead; Jim Robinson

Congrats!


2 posted on 04/01/2008 7:04:56 PM PDT by kristinn
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To: Cannoneer No. 4; intenseracer; 2ndDivisionVet; Lurker; roaddog727; MizSterious; Tainan; ...

Important story ping.

We’re still behind the curve in the Information Warfare battlespace.


3 posted on 04/01/2008 7:07:32 PM PDT by FreedomPoster (<===Typical White American)
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To: kristinn

LOL! And the DOD even knows that FreeRepublic is not a blog!

I have to find that FoxNews credit where credit is due image now.


4 posted on 04/01/2008 7:08:10 PM PDT by Incorrigible (If I lead, follow me; If I pause, push me; If I retreat, kill me.)
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To: kristinn; 91B; HiJinx; Spiff; MJY1288; xzins; Calpernia; clintonh8r; TEXOKIE; windchime; ...

Check this out!!!


5 posted on 04/01/2008 7:08:29 PM PDT by SandRat (Duty, Honor, Country. What else needs to be said?)
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To: kristinn

The MSM always loved “watchdog groups” until they found out that they were the bone the “watchdogs” were eyeballing 24/7. Free Republic does a lot to keep the “media” bozos honest. The “media” can’t get away with their shenanigans like they used to.


6 posted on 04/01/2008 7:08:46 PM PDT by FlingWingFlyer (How many more "scientists and researchers" can the taxpayers afford to support with Federal grants?)
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To: kristinn

I blogged from the war zone, right here on FR. All my posts were vetted.

So there. Come and get me, copper.


7 posted on 04/01/2008 7:09:41 PM PDT by Old Sarge (CTHULHU '08 - I won't settle for a lesser evil any longer!)
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To: Incorrigible

 

 

8 posted on 04/01/2008 7:11:36 PM PDT by Incorrigible (If I lead, follow me; If I pause, push me; If I retreat, kill me.)
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To: kristinn

Thanks for the Bump.

They don’t need to run influence operations on bloggers - the bloggers have a position, and argue it every day, and this influences public debate. As if Wretchard and Bill Roggio and Michael Yon (1) needed prompting to support the war effort and (2) could be manipulated in any event.


9 posted on 04/01/2008 7:11:47 PM PDT by Buckhead
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To: kristinn; Jim Robinson

Wow,Congrats .This is so nice.


10 posted on 04/01/2008 7:13:37 PM PDT by fatima
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To: kristinn

Information Operations (IO)

IO | Shift | Power

FR is ahead of the curve again!


11 posted on 04/01/2008 7:13:42 PM PDT by Natty Bumppo@frontier.net ("The facts of life are conservative!" Margaret Thatcher)
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To: kristinn
"clandestinely recruiting or hiring prominent bloggers" for information warfare and of the reticence the military has toward using the Internet for disinformation campaigns.

Hey,I'm a prominent blogger;)

12 posted on 04/01/2008 7:16:59 PM PDT by mdittmar (May God watch over those who serve,and have served,to keep us free)
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Military is being quite wise to explore this. And think about doing exactly this. The expertise, on all sides, is there, has been done in the past (using other methods) and with good success in purpose.

Of course Academic Lefties will howl in outrage.

And they will be inclined to vent their most cherished true beliefs and goals: what they *really* think. Would fit right in with their Dem Candidates in the here and now.

It is currently being proposed by a CA Dem to overturn laws against "being a member of the Communist Party" in CA. Obviously, liberals are taking a step into the "private" propaganda wars.

13 posted on 04/01/2008 7:17:31 PM PDT by Alia
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To: kristinn; All

Free-swarm?

Freep-swarm?

e-swarm?

like those better


14 posted on 04/01/2008 7:18:14 PM PDT by longtermmemmory (VOTE! http://www.senate.gov and http://www.house.gov)
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To: Buckhead
Image hosted by Photobucket.com Buckhead Bump...
15 posted on 04/01/2008 7:20:40 PM PDT by Chode (American Hedonist ©®)
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To: FlingWingFlyer

I think it is VERY cool that we humble posters are viewed as more valuable than the delusional divas of the Drive By Media.


16 posted on 04/01/2008 7:21:49 PM PDT by longtermmemmory (VOTE! http://www.senate.gov and http://www.house.gov)
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To: longtermmemmory

In lots of ways I believe the MSM are a greater threat to our National Security than the known terrorist thugs and communist rats.


17 posted on 04/01/2008 7:26:37 PM PDT by austinaero
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To: kristinn
Thanks for posting this, Kristinn.

Cheers!

18 posted on 04/01/2008 7:27:32 PM PDT by grey_whiskers (The opinions are solely those of the author and are subject to change without notice.)
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To: Allegra
Like, *PING*, there.

Do your posts conform to OPSEC requirements?

Cheers!

19 posted on 04/01/2008 7:28:06 PM PDT by grey_whiskers (The opinions are solely those of the author and are subject to change without notice.)
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To: FlingWingFlyer
Indeed, remember these gems.

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Or this series of photos.

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

20 posted on 04/01/2008 7:31:48 PM PDT by mware (mware...killer of threads.)
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To: mware

The Slimes has always been a sucker for “posers.” I love the way the idiot in the last photo is holding on to his baseball cap. Probably doesn’t want to lose it in the rubble. The sad part is, the moron that took those photos knew that they were all staged and tried to pass them off to the American public as being real.


21 posted on 04/01/2008 7:39:02 PM PDT by FlingWingFlyer (How many more "scientists and researchers" can the taxpayers afford to support with Federal grants?)
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To: kristinn
Amazing how regular people just paying attention now have the same power of the second amendment as those who once monopolized it.
22 posted on 04/01/2008 7:48:48 PM PDT by HBAR223
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To: mware
Indeed, remember these gems.

LOL. Why, yes. But where's the very clean stuffed animals amidst all that chaos?
23 posted on 04/01/2008 7:49:20 PM PDT by Girlene
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To: mware
Don't forget 'green helmet guy'.

Free Image Hosting at allyoucanupload.com

24 posted on 04/01/2008 7:52:28 PM PDT by perfect stranger (Nobama)
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To: Girlene
LOL. Why, yes. But where's the very clean stuffed animals amidst all that chaos?

Why that would be right next to the Green Helmet Guy.

Remember even Brit Hume got to calling him green helmet guy.

25 posted on 04/01/2008 7:53:28 PM PDT by mware (mware...killer of threads.)
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To: mware; hiredhand; Travis McGee; archy; Cindy; Jeff Head; joanie-f; DoughtyOne; Lurker; SLB; ...

Great thread folks.......sorry for the mass ping but figured ya’ll might enjoy this.......


26 posted on 04/01/2008 7:55:02 PM PDT by Squantos (Be polite. Be professional. But, have a plan to kill everyone you meet.©)
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To: kristinn

Excellent! That was a lot of fun back then!


27 posted on 04/01/2008 7:56:51 PM PDT by Imperialist
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To: kristinn

Excellent! That was a lot of fun back then!


28 posted on 04/01/2008 7:57:15 PM PDT by Imperialist
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To: kristinn

Whoo Hoo!! bttt


29 posted on 04/01/2008 7:58:21 PM PDT by Matchett-PI (Proud member of "Operation Chaos" having the T-shirt , ball cap and bumpersticker to prove it.)
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To: kristinn

Blogs have a great deal of practical value to the Pentagon.

To begin with, they can act as librarians of specialized threat and military information, with what could be a useful means of disseminating that information to military personnel in a concise and readable manner. A site like Strategy Page is almost a daily international military newspaper, filled with highly useful data for military personnel about friendly and enemy forces.

Second, they are much more capable of analyzing military information than are the uneducated main stream media (MSM). A single writer may have the equivalent of dozens of editors, scrupulously fact checking any assertion or opinion.

Third, bloggers also pick up on unauthorized or inappropriate information being disseminated. This points the finger right at leakers, propagandists, and fifth columnists. Though they cannot un-publish the information, they can be of great help stopping future leaks and mission compromising revelations.

For this reason, the Pentagon should have a special office not unlike a press office, but more complex. To start with, it should disseminate information in a blog-friendly format.

But far more importantly, it needs to collate information.

That is, a single event may result in a dozen different news stories, but there is no discrimination available that tells bloggers that they are from the same event, and not just similar events. A Pentagon blog office would immeasurably aid with the dissemination of accurate information, stripped of erroneous interpolation, extrapolation, background information and opinion.

Basically assigning a data number to a particular information release, Pentagon or private. Then, news stories based on that information can be analyzed for details, accuracy, bias, and outright lies. The Pentagon should not be bashful at all at identifying anti-military and anti-American slants to the news.

Media correspondents should not only be rated by the Pentagon, but the public should see that information. The Pentagon might even have a website critique of journalists, pointing out errors in their writings like a schoolteacher would correct for grammar. Text that is red is incorrect, text that is blue is opinion, text in green is factlessly judgmental, and text in orange is plagiarized.

But the bottom line is that bloggers can be a useful civilian and prior-service military source of information, they can offer morale and material support, and they can break the monopoly of information by the MSM.


30 posted on 04/01/2008 8:12:09 PM PDT by yefragetuwrabrumuy
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To: mware
Why that would be right next to the Green Helmet Guy.

Remember even Brit Hume got to calling him green helmet guy.


Ah, yes. I guess this would be referred to as "mediaswarm".
31 posted on 04/01/2008 8:14:58 PM PDT by Girlene
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To: Squantos






We're the team!
32 posted on 04/01/2008 8:18:28 PM PDT by glock rocks ( So what if I'm just another frustrated drinker with a writing problem.)
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To: glock rocks

Woof !


33 posted on 04/01/2008 8:20:56 PM PDT by Squantos (Be polite. Be professional. But, have a plan to kill everyone you meet.©)
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To: SandRat; milford421; struwwelpeter; DAVEY CROCKETT; LucyT; Joya

Very interesting.


34 posted on 04/01/2008 8:28:17 PM PDT by nw_arizona_granny ( http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/chat/1990507/posts?page=451 SURVIVAL, RECIPES, GARDENS, & INFO)
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To: kristinn
“The enemy aggressively ‘reads’ our open source and continues to exploit such information for use against our forces,” he wrote. “Some soldiers continue to post sensitive information to Internet Web sites and blogs. … Such OPSEC violations needlessly place lives at risk and degrade the effectiveness of our operations.” 6

A warning for many.

35 posted on 04/01/2008 8:33:11 PM PDT by GVnana ("They're still analyzing the first guy. What do I have to worry about?" - GWB)
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To: Buckhead

Your breaking of this story is what led me to FR.

I’ve been hooked ever since. Thank you... I think.


36 posted on 04/01/2008 8:36:57 PM PDT by r-q-tek86 (If you're not taking flak, you're not over the target.)
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To: yefragetuwrabrumuy
But the bottom line is that bloggers can be a useful civilian and prior-service military source of information, they can offer morale and material support, and they can break the monopoly of information by the MSM.

It's happening.

37 posted on 04/01/2008 8:47:59 PM PDT by GOPJ ( Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright 's a racist - the black version of KKK David Duke.)
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To: kristinn

Place marker.


38 posted on 04/01/2008 8:48:11 PM PDT by basil (Support the Second Amendment--buy another gun today!)
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To: mware
And these:

The photoshopped Beirut explosion.


The opinion of someone at the Houston Chronicle of a little girl's, "W," hairstyle.

Couric's clothing choices. She was in mourning in December '03.
39 posted on 04/01/2008 8:49:03 PM PDT by RandallFlagg (Satisfaction was my sin)
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To: Incorrigible
I can't believe how many old names I recognize from my lurking days.

Thank you all for the education.

40 posted on 04/01/2008 8:50:48 PM PDT by Marie (Why is it that some people believe everything that happens is the will of G-d - except Israel?)
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To: r-q-tek86

Bump for later.


41 posted on 04/01/2008 8:54:53 PM PDT by Styria
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To: nw_arizona_granny; mike1sg

Thanks, granny.

Pinging mike1sg.


42 posted on 04/01/2008 8:58:07 PM PDT by LucyT
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To: kristinn; Buckhead; Jim Robinson; Squantos; potlatch; devolve; ntnychik; Grampa Dave; gonzo

43 posted on 04/01/2008 9:02:27 PM PDT by PhilDragoo (Hitlery: das Butch von Buchenvald)
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To: kristinn
CBS executive Jonathan Klein said of the bloggers, “You couldn’t have a starker contrast between the multiple layers of checks and balances (at 60 Minutes) and a guy sitting in his living room in his pajamas writing.”

What they fail to mention, however, is that Free Republic is not a "blog". It is a "Forum".

Just like the Roman Forum may have contained thousands of people on a given morning, from Cicero to Julius Caesar to a Vestal Virgin to a centurion to a Greek slave to a street urchin, Free Republic's Forum, on any given day can contain thousands of people with more collective experience that 60 Minutes could ever assembled in one place.

From practicing law to presiding over the Roman Senate to performing religious ceremonies to planning a military campaign to conquer all of Gaul to fighting in the ranks of a Legion to teaching mathematics to cooking a banquet for 50 people to stealing a purse, somebody at the Roman Forum at that particular morning had years of personal experience at it.

Likewise, the experience of the Free Republic Forum is not merely individual but collective.

From writing software to performing surgery to landing an F-14 on the deck of a carrier to writing military memos with 1970's era typewriters, a FReeper in the Free Republic Forum has been there and done that.

The "multiple layers of checks and balances at 60 Minutes" amount to what? A couple of dozen staffers?

Free Republic's multiple layers of checks and balances are composed of thousands of individuals with more decades of collective experience than the entire 60 Minutes research department has years of life.

44 posted on 04/01/2008 9:18:52 PM PDT by Polybius
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To: kristinn

FREE Republic rocks!


45 posted on 04/01/2008 9:21:07 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: HBAR223

Bingo!

In the days of media monopoly you would call BS and toss something at the TV.
The wife and kids would look at you like you were crazy and the dog would flee the room...and your words fell on deaf ears.

Now with the internet, you call BS and there is another follow who understands and seconds the opinion, and a third.. and the word spreads and soon, thanks to folks like Newsbusters FR,Powerline and Little green footballs, the lie is exposed.


46 posted on 04/01/2008 9:25:39 PM PDT by mylife (The Roar Of The Masses Could Be Farts)
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To: All; kristinn

.

NEVER FORGET

.

CLARITY =

DAVID SHAW: RATHER’s work ‘Sloppy, Slipshod’ not Liberal..?

http://www.Freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1227809/posts

.

NEVER FORGET

.


47 posted on 04/01/2008 9:39:11 PM PDT by ALOHA RONNIE ("ALOHA RONNIE" Guyer/Veteran-"WE WERE SOLDIERS" Battle of IA DRANG-1965 http://www.lzxray.com)
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To: Buckhead
BUCKHEAD BTTT! Image and video hosting by TinyPic Image and video hosting by TinyPic OUTSTANDING!...;0)
48 posted on 04/01/2008 9:49:12 PM PDT by 1COUNTER-MORTER-68 (THROWING ANOTHER BULLET-RIDDLED TV IN THE PILE OUT BACK~~~~~)
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To: kristinn

The recognition is deserved - FR continues to be of tremendous
assistance to many!


49 posted on 04/01/2008 10:14:43 PM PDT by AnimalLover ( ((Are there special rules and regulations for the big guys?)))
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To: kristinn

The recognition is deserved - FR continues to be of tremendous
assistance to many!


50 posted on 04/01/2008 10:14:55 PM PDT by AnimalLover ( ((Are there special rules and regulations for the big guys?)))
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