As the Winter Soldier Hearings draw near, neo-conservatives and chickenhawks will attempt to prove a groundswell of enraged citizenry dedicated to supporting the war and exposing the falsity of the claims made at the Winter Soldier Hearings. Given that these groups are coming, it is important to know who they are, and what they want. This information has been gotten from Source Watch.
Freedom's Watch registered September 17, 2007, with the Secretary of the U.S. Senate as a non-profit lobbying organization. Lobbyists listed for Freedom's Watch are Bradley A. Blakeman (identified as having served within the past two years as "Deputy Assistant to the President, Presidential Appointee to the US Holocaust Museum"); Michael Leavitt (identifed as having served within the past two years as "Staff Asst & Regional Rep, [NC State] Senator [John] Snow"); and Matt David (identified as having served within the past two years as "Director of Rapid Response; White House Special Asst. to Director of Policy, Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Assistance").
Freedom's Watch has been described by critics as a front group for White House policy and a "neo-conservative 'slush fund' supporting the views of Vice President Dick Cheney", "came out of" a December 2006 "event" at the American Enterprise Institute when retired Gen. Jack Keane and AEI scholar Frederick W. Kagan "talk[ed] about the need for a troop increase in Iraq, "a plan adopted by" President George W. Bush in January 2007.
Freedom's Watch, the "$200 million mouthpiece for military action", was "hatched" in March 2007 at the "winter meeting" of the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) in Manalapan, Fla., where keynote speaker Vice President Dick Cheney "accused the Democrat-led House of Representatives of not supporting troops in Iraq and of sending a message to terrorists that America will retreat in the face danger." The RJC was described in 2005 as "a big money pro-Israel lobby group linking Jewish-American neoconservatives to the Christian Right and Israel's Likud government."
Freedom's Watch "denies coordinating its activities with the White House", Don Van Natta Jr. wrote September 30, 2007, in the New York Times, although "many donors and organizers, including Ari Fleischer, the former White House press secretary, are well-connected" to the Bush administration. It should also be noted that in November 1998 the Republican Jewish Coalition took then-Texas Governor George W. Bush on his first tour of Israel, with "the 43rd president [emerging] as one of the most pro-Israel figures in American political history."
In fact, "it is the link with Cheney that is the strongest, leading to the widespread view that the organisation is in effect his own creature", as, in September 2007, "it emerged that Cheney had asked a number of right-wing think tanks to start building the case for war against Iran."
The Freedom's Watch "inner circle of strategists and donors are close to Vice President Dick Cheney or held high posts at the White House," the Associated Press's Jim Kuhnhenn wrote September 28, 2007. Bradley A. Blakeman, president of Freedom's Watch, is a former deputy assistant to President George W. Bush. Fleischer is a Freedom's Watch co-founder and spokesman. During summer 2007, Mary Matalin "brainstormed" with Blakeman, Kuhnhenn wrote. Matalin formerly served as an assistant to President Bush and as a counselor to Cheney, is a member of the Legal Defense Fund Advisory Board for I. Lewis Scooter Libby, who was a former Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff to Cheney (2001-2005), and is a lead publicist for Republican 2008 presidential hopeful Fred Thompson.
Freedom's Watch is not the first propaganda group created by the Bush administration, as we are reminded of the White House Iraq Group formed in 2003 by White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card to sell the war in Iraq. WHIG also included Matalin and Scooter Libby.
Comparing Republican Freedom's Watch to MoveOn.org, "the progressive electronic advocacy group opposing both the Iraq buildup and any military action in Iran", Matalin said "We were ahead of the Democrats on think tanks and white paper operations that feed the Congress and are the source of new ideas based on conservative principles, ... Where they jumped ahead of us was by adding the communications arm to that."
"But, as Eli Pariser, the executive director of MoveOn.org Political Action, argues that Freedom's Watch may have money, but it doesn't have a base of support. ... 'The main difference is that MoveOn is a group of 3.3 million,' he said. 'Freedom's Watch is a few mega millionaires.'"
"Ideologically," Fleischer stated, Freedom's Watch was "inspired by much of Ronald Reagan's thinking: peace through strength, protect and defend America, and prosperity through free enterprise."
Freedom's Watch has been described as "a covert 'cut-out' organization" and an "outfit dedicated to keeping the war industry thriving"; a "sort of shadow White House communications shop [that] has emerged to help the beleaguered president sell his unpopular war to the American people"; and the "Swift Boaters for War", although none of the millions in "swiftboat" money like that contributed by Bob Perry in 2004 or to the Economic Freedom Fund in 2006 has surfaced ... yet.
Gathering of Eagles (GoE), ostensibly a group set up to protect the Vietnam Veterans Memorial ("The Wall") and other war memorials, functioned as a counter-protest group during the March 17, 2007, Washington D.C. March on the Pentagon rally against the war in Iraq.
According to a February 11, 2007, posting by Rurik, managing editor of Veteran-American Voices,
"February, we were alerted by a few vets that the hard left, anti-American protesters organized around Cindy Sheehan, Jane Fonda, and their ilk planned to demonstrate in Washington on March 17, 2007, starting at the Vietnam War Memorial and marching on the Pentagon. Word spread via e-mail, and then by website."
"Last time those barbarians marched not only did they protest, but they also vandalized the Capitol while the federal Park Police did virtually nothing. This time, they would do it to Our Wall. They will dishonor the memory of Our Fallen Brothers before beginning their trek to betray and dishonor Our Serving Sons. Forbid it Almighty God!! Even if no vandalism were to occur, to expropriate The Wall as a backdrop for such a protest would be a desecration. An obscenity."
"Almost immediately veterans began to organize unofficially. ... By mid-week I learned that the Arlington Holiday Inn had made available a bloc of rooms at special discount. On February 8, I learned that ViperAsh, Colonel Harry Riley and Ted Sampley and a few others were cooperating. And we had a forum to discuss and coordinate our plans. And we had a name – Gathering of Eagles."
"The Swift Boat Sailors Association is on board. Rolling Thunder (web) is organizing independently, but will be there in alliance. And the Freepers. And the 910 Group. And as word spreads, some of the veterans organizations may send delegations."
GoE was organized by "brave Vietnam veterans" Col. Harry G. Riley and Capt. Larry Bailey, who "realized that it was time to stop fretting and time to start acting," Move America Forward's Melanie Morgan wrote March 2, 2007. "They've organized an effort to wake up and mobilize pro-troop supporters around the nation," Morgan wrote.
Bailey, a retired U.S. Navy Captain, was president of Vietnam Vets for the Truth, "which attacked 2004 Democratic Presidential candidate Senator John Kerry's military record, on the heels of the more well-known" Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. 
Sampley, who is anti-John Murtha, anti-John Kerry, and anti-John McCain, supports A Gathering of Eagles Forum on his U.S. Veteran Dispatch website.
Rurik also outlined the group's mission:
"Our sole purpose in this encounter is to Defend The Wall. We may block and obstruct, or perhaps, if attacked may be forced to more active measures. Best of all will be if our sheer numbers and presence so overawe the barbarians that they sulk in impotent fury off to the side and go off to get themselves tear-gassed elsewhere. But however it happens, and whatever else happens, if we defend Our Wall, then we have won."
C.J. Raven wrote February 7, 2007, in Sampley's U.S. Veteran Dispatch:
"Leftist activists who march to the Pentagon next month will discover that their path won't be as clear as it has been in the past ...
"This time, however, protestors will see objectors if they spit on Iraqi veterans again, or throw paint on a war memorial. This time, they will encounter a buzz saw of Vietnam veterans and supporters who will gather to protect the Wall, and show their support for U.S. troops. The counter-protestors are calling themselves the Gathering of Eagles," C.J. Raven wrote.
"The Gathering of Eagles was designed to assist the United States Park Police in defending the Vietnam Wall and other monuments against similar vandalism," Tom Kovach explained March 21, 2007, in WorldNetDaily.
Vets for Freedom (VFF), which as recently as September 2007 declared itself the "leading voice representing troops and veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan.", on July 10, 2007, resumed its pro-Bush administration, pro-war in Iraq political activities by launching its Win the War! Victory in Iraq" campaign, stating that the "next ten weeks will be absolutely crucial in determining the fate of the Iraq War."  
Since, in his September 13, 2007, address to the nation, President George W. Bush appears to have dropped "victory" from his goals for Iraq, and has substituted "success" in its place, will Vets for Freedom now rename its pro-victory in Iraq campaign "Win the War! Success in Iraq"?
VFF communicates its slogan in military terms: "Mobilizing veterans to communicate America's strategic objectives in Iraq and Afghanistan."
In July 2006, VFF—calling itself the Vets for Freedom Action Fund (VFF-AF)—registered with the IRS as a 527 committee national lobby. It was, in essence, a Republican front group managed by Republican-affiliated public relations, media, legal, and political consultants, including former White House spokesman Taylor Gross, to defeat candidates who advocate an end to the US occupation of Iraq.