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Leaked Copy May Have Forced Resignation
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May 16, 2003, 0500 PDT (FTW) – From The Wilderness today ran a full-page ad in the front section of The Washington Post intended to educate the American people, support heroic leaders and promote a number of independent media outlets which have made important contributions since 9/11. The ad was the direct result of a donation from a subscriber who had recently viewed FTW Publisher Mike Ruppert's video "The Truth and Lies of 9-11". The ad that ran today was actually a second version, the text of which had to be changed after the first version apparently caused some nervousness in Washington.
It's an interesting story.
The text of the first ad, which reached the Post on April 23rd, contained two sections of well-supported text that were sharply critical of Army Secretary Thomas White. White was suddenly fired by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld three days after the ad reached the Post. FTW has not been able to confirm that the ad was leaked but publisher Michael Ruppert strongly suspects it.
"It started when we got a call from a retired business executive who was so incensed by what he had seen in the 9/11 tape that he decided he wanted to do something with his own good fortune to make a difference. He specifically said that he wanted to buy us a full-page in the Post and that we could write anything we wanted," said Ruppert. "His only condition was that he remain anonymous. FTW never handled any of the fee – in excess of $20,000 -- to purchase the space and not once did our subscriber try to influence its content. I wrote the ad and three wonderful human beings contributed to it."
The three contributors who wrote special statements for the ad were former Assistant Secretary of Housing and past managing Director of Dillon Read, Catherine Austin Fitts, University of Illinois law professor Francis Boyle, and former Democratic Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney of Georgia.
Ruppert continued, "We knew that if FTW were to try to book the ad alone we would likely be turned down. Because the ad and its cartoon, conceived by FTW's General Manager Mike Leon and drawn for us by Canadian artist Blaine Machan, was critical of the major media and the US economy's corruption and reliance on drug money, we needed an edge," Ruppert continued. "So we turned to the L.A.-based More Than News agency and its owner Ken Levine for assistance. We had worked with Ken – a former L.A. area TV news director -- before and we trusted him."
Levine, working in concert with the FTW subscriber purchased the ad space through a major New York ad brokerage firm, with which Levine has had good relations. That firm actually books most of the Post's ad space and that provided the necessary clout to get the ad to the next stage.
The text of the ad was submitted to New York on April 15, well before White's firing. According to Levine, there was quite a reaction. "They had never seen anything like this. They liked it but they thought the Post would never approve it even though the Post has a decent history of running political ads."
In two places the ad featured statements highly critical of now-former Secretary White. In her statement Fitts criticized White for his inability to balance the Army's books at a time when the Department of Defense has admittedly "misplaced" more that $3 trillion of taxpayer money. Ruppert observed, "White's claim that residual damage from the attacks of September 11th was the cause for unbalanced books in the Army was ludicrous. The attack of 9/11 hit the Navy Wing of the Pentagon. How could that affect the Army?"
In the text of the ad itself White was also criticized for his role as an Enron executive which provided him with millions of dollars in income while stockholders were being defrauded. White was subsequently investigated for insider trading of Enron stock.
Boyle, a professor of international law has been the leader in a growing movement to impeach President George W. Bush for high crimes and misdemeanors related to his prosecution of the Iraqi invasion. Recently, articles of impeachment drafted by Boyle were reviewed by several members of congress. McKinney, widely criticized in the press for asking important questions about Bush administration foreknowledge of the 9/11 attacks and the possibility of excessive profiteering by corporations allied with the Bush administration, has since been vindicated by congressional intelligence hearings and recent major media stories concerning the Carlyle Group. She lost her 2002 primary election to a newcomer in what is now being labeled in a Georgia lawsuit as a demonstrably-illegal Republican crossover vote.
"I asked these three heroes to participate in the ad because they have all shown great courage in acting as responsible public servants and citizens and they have all suffered punishment as a result. Yet they are still standing, still in the ring and they deserve recognition for their perseverance," said Ruppert.
But there was to be more drama before the ad was printed.
The Washington Post advertising department approved the text of the first ad just a day after White's firing. According to Ruppert and Levine it was not possible after that to change the text of the ad without reopening the entire approval process and risking a rejection after the ad had apparently been leaked to government circles in Washington.
"And all we had was a window of about two weeks when the ad was supposed to run under the contract. We had no control over the exact day. So we decided to let the first ad run without trying to update it in the wake of White's firing," Ruppert observed. "It was just too risky otherwise. The only thing that could have blocked the ad -- which was purchased at a discount rate through the ad brokerage -- would have been if there was a sudden flurry of late advertisers who suddenly decided to purchase full-price ads."
"We were told that this was highly unlikely but, as it turns out, that's exactly what happened," said Ruppert with a chuckle. "One of our subscribers in the Washington area told us that he had never seen so many full-page ads in his life."
When the two week contract period was not met by the Post, FTW then had the opportunity to change the text to what ran today without risking a rejection. On Levine's advice the ad was rebooked for another week and the second version was published today.
From the start Ruppert was skeptical that the ad would be allowed to run under any circumstances. He views it's publication today as something of a much needed miracle.
"When people see the kind of reaction this ad produces and the power that they have to stir the public and get real responses out of government, I think we're going to see a lot more efforts like this. It's one thing when one individual in a position to do it pays for an ad like this. But twenty thousand dollars isn't an unreachable amount for a hundred or a thousand people. Pretty soon you might see people forming coalitions to purchase commercials on television or blocks of ads in major newspapers. That's how you reach the people and keep good and accurate information from being marginalized.
"It was also extremely important that we recognized and gave energy to a number of independent media sources that have made great contributions since 9/11. While much of America may not know how much these organizations have influenced events, they should. Independent media is filling a huge vacuum left by the needlessly obedient mainstream press.
"It's called taking full advantage of those aspects of free speech that the government hasn't taken away yet. It's learning how the money works and using it to your advantage. As Fitts always says, 'Vote with your money.'"
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