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post #1 of 63 (permalink) Old 11-30-2005, 04:02 PM Thread Starter
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Propaganda the way it should be

U.S. paying Iraqi editors to print favorable news

WASHINGTON // As part of an extensive information offensive inside Iraq, the U.S. military is secretly paying Iraqi newspaper editors to publish stories written by U.S. troops in an effort to burnish the image of the U.S. mission within Iraq.

Working with a private defense contractor, military officials in Iraq are having articles written by U.S. military "information operations" troops translated into Arabic and then placed in newspapers around Baghdad, according to U.S. military officials and documents obtained by the Los Angeles Times.

Many articles are presented as legitimate news accounts in the Iraqi press. The newspapers are paid for publishing the articles, which trumpet the successes of U.S. and Iraqi troops, denounce insurgents and promote U.S.-led efforts to rebuild the country. Records and interviews indicated that dozens of such articles have been placed in Iraqi newspapers in the past year.

The operation is designed to mask any link to the U.S. military, which has a contract with the Lincoln Group, a small Washington, D.C., firm that is involved in the translation and placement of the stories. The Iraqi staff of the defense contractor or its subcontractors sometimes pose as freelance reporters or advertising executives when they deliver the stories to Baghdad media outlets.

The military has been disseminating propaganda in the Iraqi media since the beginning of the year, sources said, as U.S. officials vow to promote democratic principles, political transparency and freedom of speech to a confused Iraqi civic culture emerging from decades of dictatorship and corruption.

In addition, the State Department is training Iraqi reporters in basic journalistic skills and Western media ethics, including a workshop titled "The Role of Press in a Democratic Society."

Underscoring the importance U.S. officials place on development of a Western-style media, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld pointed yesterday to the proliferation of news organizations around Iraq as one of the great successes of the post-Hussein era, saying hundreds of newspapers, television stations and other "free media" offer a "relief valve" for the Iraqi public to debate issues.

The military's information operations campaign has sparked a backlash among senior military officers in Iraq and at the Pentagon. They argue that attempts to subvert the news media could destroy the U.S. military's credibility in other nations and with the U.S. public.

"Here we are trying to create the principles of democracy in Iraq. Every speech we give in that country is about democracy. And we're breaking all the first principles of democracy when we're doing it," said a senior Pentagon official who opposes parts of the information operations campaign in Iraq.

The U.S. military arrangement with Lincoln Group, one part of a secret campaign in Iraq, is evidence of how far the Pentagon has moved to blur the traditional boundaries between military public affairs - the dissemination of truthful information to the media - and psychological and information operations, which use propaganda and sometimes misleading information to advance the objectives of a military campaign.

According to military officials familiar with the effort, much of the effort is directed by the Information Operations Task Force in Baghdad, part of the multinational corps headquarters commanded by Army Lt. Gen. John R. Vines. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they are critical of the effort and are not authorized to speak publicly about it.

A spokesman for Vines declined to comment. A Lincoln Group spokesman also declined to comment, saying it is company policy not to comment on details of its military contracts.

As part of a psychological operations campaign that has intensified over the past year, one of the military officials said the task force also has purchased an Iraqi newspaper and taken control of a radio station, and is using the media outlets as fronts for channeling pro-American messages to the Iraqi public.

The official would not disclose which newspaper and radio station are under U.S. control, saying that publicly identifying the organizations would put their employees in danger of insurgent attacks.

U.S. law forbids the military from carrying out psychological operations or planting propaganda with U.S. media outlets, which is why the military's efforts in Iraq are geared toward media in other countries.

Yet, several officials said that given the globalization of media driven by the Internet and the 24-hour news cycle, the Pentagon's efforts are 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.

"There is no longer any way to separate foreign media from domestic media. Those neat lines don't exist anymore," said a private contractor who does information operations work for the Pentagon.

Mark Mazzetti, reporting from Washington, and Borzou Daragahi, reporting from Baghdad, write for the Los Angeles Times.


Boy do I love this forced democracy. Maybe I should ask the Pentagone to pay me so I can shut up...
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post #2 of 63 (permalink) Old 11-30-2005, 04:40 PM
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RE: Propaganda the way it should be

And the pro-war people said we weren't getting any good news. We were, and it was the best money could buy. [8)]

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post #3 of 63 (permalink) Old 11-30-2005, 06:57 PM
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RE: Propaganda the way it should be

Oh and Rafterman, make sure you get some good shots when Ann Margaret arrives...I wanna see fur, and early morning dew...

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post #4 of 63 (permalink) Old 11-30-2005, 07:00 PM
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RE: Propaganda the way it should be

What is the source of this story?

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post #5 of 63 (permalink) Old 11-30-2005, 08:15 PM
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RE: Propaganda the way it should be

That bastion of conservatism, the Baltimore Sun. The behavior does seem utterly consistent with tactics of the Bush administration.

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post #6 of 63 (permalink) Old 12-01-2005, 07:12 AM
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RE: Propaganda the way it should be

Quote:
GermanStar - 11/30/2005 10:15 PM

That bastion of conservatism, the Baltimore Sun. The behavior does seem utterly consistent with tactics of the Bush administration.
here's a bit different story, related and a good read. http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/nationworld/iraq/bal-te.pentagon13nov13,0,1642188.story?coll=bal-nationworld-headlines



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post #7 of 63 (permalink) Old 12-03-2005, 07:54 AM Thread Starter
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RE: Propaganda the way it should be UPDATE

Quote:
Military Says It Paid Iraq Papers for News
Possible 'Improprieties' to Be Investigated

By Josh White and Bradley Graham
Washington Post Staff Writers
Saturday, December 3, 2005; A01

The U.S. military command in Baghdad acknowledged for the first time yesterday that it has paid Iraqi newspapers to carry positive news about U.S. efforts in Iraq, but officials characterized the payments as part of a legitimate campaign to counter insurgents' misinformation.

In a statement, the command said the program included efforts, "customary in Iraq," to purchase advertising and place clearly labeled opinion pieces in Iraqi newspapers. But the statement suggested that the "information operations" program may have veered into a gray area where government contractors paid to have articles placed in Iraqi newspapers without explaining that the material came from the U.S. military and that Iraqi journalists were paid to write positive accounts.

"Serious allegations have been raised that suggest the process may be functioning in a manner different than is intended or appropriate," the statement said. Commanders are "reviewing these allegations and will investigate any improprieties," it said.

The statement from Baghdad was the first official effort to explain the media initiative after three days of news reports describing efforts by the U.S. military to plant stories in Iraqi media under the guise of independent journalism.

The episode has sparked an intense debate at the Pentagon and beyond, as military officials in Washington said privately that they are troubled by the situation and media experts said the program violated standard journalistic practices.

The controversy has also fanned a debate that has been underway for months in military circles about the role that information operations should be playing in nontraditional conflicts such as the Iraq situation. The term covers a wide range of activities -- some open, some not -- intent on undermining an enemy by fooling, confusing or refuting him.

"The broader debate is whether it's acceptable for the IO community to be doing this," said a general who has served in Iraq and has some experience in information operations.

After a briefing from Pentagon officials yesterday, Sen. John W. Warner (R-Va.), chairman of the Armed Services Committee, said he remains "gravely concerned about the situation." He said the Pentagon is looking into cases in which there may have been "an omission" of labels in newspapers indicating where the material came from or that it was an advertisement.

In describing the program, military officials said third parties -- including the Washington-based Lincoln Group -- were sometimes hired to distribute the articles to newspapers to protect publishers that might have been targeted by insurgents if they were known to accept material from the military.

Officials said one unanswered question they have is whether the Lincoln Group intentionally misled newspapers by presenting the articles as freelance journalism, obscuring the fact that the material came from U.S. armed forces.

Lincoln Group officials would not discuss specifics of the contract. Laurie Adler, a spokeswoman for the company, said yesterday that Lincoln Group has been promoting truthful reporting across Iraq.

"We counter the lies, intimidation, and pure evil of terror with factual stories that highlight the heroism and sacrifice of the Iraqi people and their struggle for freedom and security," Adler said in a written statement. "We are encouraged by their sacrifice and proud to help them tell their side of the story."

Officials familiar with the Lincoln Group's contract said it allows the firm to pay to have articles placed in the Iraqi press. The contract reportedly says nothing about disguising the origin of the articles, but some military officers defended the practice as a necessary security measure, to protect the Iraqi journalists used to deliver the accounts and the Iraqi news organizations that print them.

If it were known that the journalists and the news organizations were carrying information provided by the U.S. military, these officers said, insurgents would surely target them. Indeed, at least two of the Iraqi newspapers cited in initial news reports as having printed the articles in question have since received threats from insurgents, according to military officials.

Proponents of such tactics argue that different standards should be applied to what is permissible in a combat zone such as Iraq than, say, in the United States or other stable democracies. Although the idea of the military using covert methods to get favorable information into print appears unethical at home, the argument goes, there are mitigating circumstances justifying such tactics in Iraq.

Warner met with several officers and civilian leaders at the Pentagon yesterday for a briefing on the program, a meeting that yielded few details. Warner told reporters on Capitol Hill that the program was authorized through the U.S. Central Command and that the Lincoln Group was allowed to provide payments for the placement of articles with the understanding that any such material would be labeled as an advertisement originating from coalition forces.

The material, produced by information operators and not by public affairs officials, was reviewed by a flag officer and commanders before distribution, and it received legal clearance in Iraq, Warner said.

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), a member of the Armed Services Committee, sent a letter to the Defense Department's inspector general asking for an investigation into the program and the Lincoln Group contract. Kennedy called it "a devious scheme to place favorable propaganda in Iraqi newspapers."

Top Pentagon authorities appear to have been caught off guard by the disclosure of the Lincoln Group's activities, and the three days it has taken for the Defense Department to produce yesterday's statement seemed to reflect considerable uncertainty about how to respond. Several senior Pentagon officials expressed their own frustration over waiting for an explanation from the military command in Baghdad.
© 2005 The Washington Post Company
Again, Az, I am not making this up....
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post #8 of 63 (permalink) Old 12-03-2005, 07:57 AM
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RE: Propaganda the way it should be UPDATE

Quote:
Shabah - 12/3/2005 9:54 AM


Again, Az, I am not making this up....
More words in my mouth, Shabah. What a naughty little racist you are.

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post #9 of 63 (permalink) Old 12-03-2005, 08:07 AM Thread Starter
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RE: Propaganda the way it should be UPDATE

Quote:
azimuth - 12/3/2005 9:57 AM

Quote:
Shabah - 12/3/2005 9:54 AM


Again, Az, I am not making this up....
More words in my mouth, Shabah. What a naughty little racist you are.
This is what prompted me to say what I said:
Quote:
Azimuth: What is the source of this story?
So where is the racism? You see you are the one who is fixated with this racism...............
Grow up!
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post #10 of 63 (permalink) Old 12-03-2005, 08:13 AM
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RE: Propaganda the way it should be UPDATE

Quote:
Shabah - 12/3/2005 10:07 AM

Quote:
azimuth - 12/3/2005 9:57 AM

Quote:
Shabah - 12/3/2005 9:54 AM


Again, Az, I am not making this up....
More words in my mouth, Shabah. What a naughty little racist you are.
This is what prompted me to say what I said:
Quote:
Azimuth: What is the source of this story?
So where is the racism? You see you are the one who is fixated with this racism...............
Grow up!
I simply wanted to know the source, My little martyr friend.

There is no racism in this thread. You've not belittled Americans by calling us stupid and overfed here yet. However, you have in other threads......

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