View Full Version : U.S. Military Covertly Pays to Run Stories in Iraqi Press

11-30-2005, 08:33 AM
30 Nov. Los Angeles Times - U.S. Military Covertly Pays to Run Stories in Iraqi Press (http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-infowar30nov30,0,5638790.story?coll=la-home-headlines).

As part of an information offensive in Iraq, the U.S. military is secretly paying Iraqi newspapers to publish stories written by American troops in an effort to burnish the image of the U.S. mission in Iraq.

The articles, written by U.S. military "information operations" troops, are translated into Arabic and placed in Baghdad newspapers with the help of a defense contractor, according to U.S. military officials and documents obtained by the Los Angeles Times.

Many of the articles are presented in the Iraqi press as unbiased news accounts written and reported by independent journalists. The stories trumpet the work of U.S. and Iraqi troops, denounce insurgents and tout U.S.-led efforts to rebuild the country...

11-30-2005, 02:46 PM
I was trying to implement something like that when I was in Bosnia, back then with little success. Looks like we're having more success now.

Bill Moore
12-01-2005, 05:26 AM
Guys this obviously isn't successful if it made news. Now everything we put out will be suspect. This was foolish ploy that terribly backfired, and it flounts the principles we say we're fighting for. I'm far from nieve, and if a program like this has utility, then it need to be properly classified and not leaked to the press. I think someone failed to do a proper risk versus gain on this on.

12-01-2005, 07:41 AM
1 Dec. Washington Post - Military Planting Articles in Iraq Papers (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/11/30/AR2005113001876.html).

Positive articles about the war in Iraq written by U.S. troops have been appearing in Iraqi newspapers under the guise of independent journalism, part of a coordinated effort by the U.S. military to win over Iraqi civilians, according to military officials.

Officers in Iraq say the program is an essential element of an "information war" against an insurgency adept at spreading its message through local and international media, largely with violent acts. The newspaper articles promote the positive aspects of the United States-led coalition's work and encourage Iraqis to take part in the burgeoning democracy.

"This is a military program to help get factual information about ongoing operations into Iraqi news," said Lt. Col. Barry Johnson, a military spokesman in Baghdad. "Because this is part of our ongoing operations and an important part of countering misinformation in the news by insurgents, I can't provide details of what that entails. I want to emphasize that all information used for marketing these stories is completely factual."

Bill Moore
12-02-2005, 06:01 AM
It really doesn't matter if it is the truth, the fact that we leaked that we were putting these articles into the local press and trying to hide the source will make them suspect. Since perception is reality, then it stands to reason if they don't trust us they won't believe us, even when it is readily apparent to us (we're not the intended audience) that it is true.

12-02-2005, 07:31 AM
2 Dec. Washington Post - Senator Seeks Answers on Iraq Stories (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/12/01/AR2005120101726.html).

The Republican chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee asked Defense Department officials yesterday to brief lawmakers on the nature of a U.S. military program that arranged for positive stories about the war, written by U.S. troops, to be published in Iraqi newspapers under the guise of independent journalism.

Sen. John W. Warner (R-Va.) said he has not been able to confirm or refute reports that the U.S. military was using a government contractor to pay Iraqi media outlets to run favorable stories about the war and the rebuilding effort, but he said he is concerned about any actions that could undermine U.S. credibility overseas...

On Edit: 2 Dec. Washington Post editorial - Planted Propaganda (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/12/01/AR2005120101520.html).

... The problem with this propaganda, as senior military officials who blew the whistle on it understood, is that it undermines the very effort it is trying to promote. An essential element of a democracy is a free press, not one controlled or covertly manipulated by government. As a senior Pentagon official told the Times, "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." That shouldn't have been so hard to figure out.