Wednesday, November 30, 2005

US Military Assault on Truth

US military "information operations" troops are writing news stories and paying Iraqi news outlets to get them published, the Los Angeles Times reported today. While the stories are based, by what few accounts we have, on "facts," the net result is to put a happier face on conditions in Iraq under the US occupation than is necessarily true.

Like most of the other "information operations" launched by the Bush administration, this one is covert, the better to hide the assault on truth.
The operation is designed to mask any connection with the U.S. military. The Pentagon has a contract with a small Washington-based firm called Lincoln Group, which helps translate and place the stories. The Lincoln Group's Iraqi staff, or its subcontractors, sometimes pose as freelance reporters or advertising executives when they deliver the stories to Baghdad media outlets.
As is clear from the evidence of the US buildup to its invasion of Iraq, the Bush administration has no particular use for, or faith in the abstract concept of "truth" in winning the hearts and minds of a populace.
Underscoring the importance U.S. officials place on development of a Western-style media, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld on Tuesday cited the proliferation of news organizations in Iraq as one of the country's great successes since the ouster of President Saddam Hussein. The hundreds of newspapers, television stations and other "free media" offer a "relief valve" for the Iraqi public to debate the issues of their burgeoning democracy, Rumsfeld said.
Yeah. Right.

But (thanks be to God) this being America, there is dissent, both ethical and practical, about this newest assult on the truth from within the ranks of the US military.
The military's information operations campaign has sparked a backlash among some senior military officers in Iraq and at the Pentagon who argue that attempts to subvert the news media could destroy the U.S. military's credibility in other nations and with the American public.
While this operation is nominally aimed at the Iraqi people, and technically legal, we can be sure that the Bush administration--and their friends at the Project for a New American Century, know that there is no such thing as "local media" in a global communication environment.
U.S. law forbids the military from carrying out psychological operations or planting propaganda through American media outlets. Yet several officials said that given the globalization of media driven by the Internet and the 24-hour news cycle, the Pentagon's efforts were carried out with the knowledge that coverage in the foreign press inevitably "bleeds" into the Western media and influences coverage in U.S. news outlets.
Like examples of torture seen by the world at Abu Ghraib, this is not an isolated incident. This is an on-going campaign--NO, an ASSAULT--against the truth.
Lincoln Group, formerly known as Iraqex, is one of several companies hired by the U.S. military to carry out "strategic communications" in countries where large numbers of U.S. troops are based.
America: what will it take for you to demand IMPEACHMENT???

1 comment:

Charlie Quimby said...

Your point about no local media is well taken, but it has more meaning here than in a place like Iraq.

Still, we have to do what we can to expose this sort of flackery.