Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Return of OSI

I guess the MSM wasn't sufficiently softened up for this in 2002. Let's see if there's the same backlash this time.

A $300 million Pentagon psychological warfare operation includes plans for placing pro-American messages in foreign media outlets without disclosing the U.S. government as the source, one of the military officials in charge of the program says.

Run by psychological warfare experts at the U.S. Special Operations Command, the media campaign is being designed to counter terrorist ideology and sway foreign audiences to support American policies.

The program will operate throughout the world, including in allied nations and in countries where the United States is not involved in armed conflict.

The three companies handling the campaign include the Lincoln Group, the company being investigated by the Pentagon for paying Iraqi newspapers to run pro-U.S. stories.

Military officials involved with the campaign say they're not planning to place false stories in foreign news outlets clandestinely. But the military won't always reveal its role in distributing pro-American messages, Furlong says.

"While the product may not carry the label, 'Made in the USA,' we will respond truthfully if asked" by journalists, Furlong told USA TODAY in a videoconference interview.

He declined to give examples of specific "products," which he said would include articles, advertisements and public-service announcements.

The military's communications work in Iraq has recently drawn controversy with disclosures that Lincoln Group and the U.S. military secretly paid journalists and news outlets to run pro-American stories.
We're spending $300 million to lie in the press. Oh, that's right, the stories will be "truthful." Keep in mind that the Bush administration also at one time considered the following statements truthful:

"We found the weapons of mass destruction."

"The British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa."

"We know where they (the WMDs) are. They're in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat."

"I walked away from Kyoto because it would damage America's economy, you bet. It would have destroyed our economy."

"He (Saddam) had long established ties with al-Qaida."

"We do not torture."

There was no -- there was no incident -- there's -- I don't know exactly. There was some discussion that he appeared to have been driving too slow -- too slowly.

So forgive me if I'm not convinced by assurances that only "truthful" information will be planted in the media.

The Pentagon has hired the Lincoln Group to handle the campaign while it's supposedly investigating the company for paying Iraqi newspapers to run pro-U.S. stories. I guess the investigation revealed that the Lincoln Group is really good at planting propaganda.

When the Pentagon first tried to roll out the Office of Strategic Influence in 2002, the backlash from the MSM caused it to scrap the idea. Or perhaps mothball it, because here it is again. Think the MSM can get it up again?

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