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June 10, 2005
Propaganda

The DoD is back to producing propaganda to spread their talking points overseas. Why am I not surprised that they're "outsourcing" the work?

The nice thing about contractors is that they add an additional level of "deniability." If any of those "disinformation campaigns" do make it back across the pond, as they will inevitably do, and if any of them cause outrage, the Bush Administration can blame it all on the contractors.

(Okay, now that I've been rude, let me point out that I don't object to the USofA government trying to explain itself. I'd rather they told the truth, but I understand that half of the folks below Cabinet-level probably don't know what's true any more (and maybe not the ones at and above). Also, in spite of my sarcasm, I do understand the use and value of a disinformation campaign when it's directed against the Bad Guys. The problem is that I'm not sure this Administration knows who the actual Bad Guys are.) (Besides, now that it's hitting the news that Rumsfeld approved torture interrogation techniques including things specifically targeted to degrade Iraqi POW's religious beliefs and practices, we really need some decent propaganda.)

The contract calls for the firms to produce print articles, video and audio broadcasts, Internet sites and novelty items, like T-shirts and bumper stickers, for foreign audiences.

Video products will include newscasts, hour-long TV shows and commercials.

You suppose they're going to label all of this stuff as Made In the U.S.A.?

Man Behind Wal-Mart's Book-Burning Ad Quits

Good. Invoking Nazi imagery to protest the refusal of people to have your crummy stores in their neighborhoods was an insulting piece of propaganda.

If we'd wanted actual terrorists to fight...we could have tried these people.

Uganda's army said this latest attack near a camp in Kitgum district proved the LRA was on the verge of defeat.

"This was another desperate action by the rebels to prove that they still exist," said army spokesman Lieutenant Tabaro Kiconco. "We condemn it and we will punish those bandits."

Sounds much like the propaganda talking points the Bush Administration offers us on Iraq, doesn't it?

(Sometimes I don't know until after I've finished writing a post that I'm in a cynical sort of mood.)

Posted by AnneZook at 12:21 PM


Comments

Anne-
Another story that irritates me because of the sloppy and lazy research by the reporter.

First, there are differences between Psychological operations, propaganda, and deception (disinformation). It's not semantics, the terms have significant implications in the conduct of information operations.

The reporter confuses (basic internet research would have helped) the 2002 DOD effort - which was strategic deception (disinformation) - with psychological operations. PSYOP are the employment of a variety of non-lethal capabilities designed to influence target audience behaviors, attitudes, and beliefs in support of our interests. Propaganda is one tool in the portofolio of capabilities. According the guiding principles for PSYOPS in insurgencies, the relationship with the target audience (non-insurgents) is based on security, helpfulness, kindness, and truth.

Deception, on the other hand, is another component of information operations (not PSYOP). Despite the obvious notion that deception involves falsehoods, one of the major principles is to minimize the amount of false information involved. The guidance calls for using only the minimum amount necessary to achieve the desired results - and deception operations are used against adversaries only, not neutral/non-combatant targets.

Hmm..guess doing 15 minutes of research is a lot harder than getting a provocative, but irrelevant, quote to splash across one's article.

I go into a long rant about the investment decisions made under the Clinton/Bush administrations, especially by lack of vision leaders in the late 90s in DoD (Cohen, ahem..) that put most of PSYOP/IO capabilities into the reserve. Or didn't incorporate/consider that organizations such as Al-Jazerra might have more impact on future campaigns, despite the indications from our experiences in Somalia, Haiti, and Bosnia earlier in the decade.

As for that "defense analyst"..not sure where he's been the last couple of years..wonder how much DoD is paying for inane analysis like that?

Posted by: Col Steve at June 10, 2005 03:48 PM

I hope you realize that from time to time, I post a link to an article like this just to see what you have to say about it? :)

I always appreciate your perspective. Thanks.

Posted by: Anne at June 10, 2005 07:06 PM