Information Warfare is certainly not a recent phenomenon. InfoWar-Monitor’s timeline shows the evolution of the doctrine over time. The use of such tactics as psychological warfare operations , or PSYOPS, in the context of the war in Iraq is also not new. About a year ago the U.S. military used CNN to execute such an operation in the lead up to the assault on the Iraqi city of Fallujah.

Now, new stories are emerging about the fact that U.S. Military’s Information Operations Task Force is writing propaganda that is laundered through a defense contractor, Lincoln Group, and placed in Iraqi newspapers. The L.A. Times reported that the U.S. Military is actually paying newspapers to run the stories blurring the lines between a free press and information operations:

The arrangement with Lincoln Group is evidence of how far the Pentagon has moved to blur the traditional boundaries between military public affairs — the dissemination of factual information to the media — and psychological and information operations, which use propaganda and sometimes misleading information to advance the objectives of a military campaign.

The L.A. Times further reveals that:

…as part of a psychological operations campaign that has intensified over the last year, the task force also had purchased an Iraqi newspaper and taken control of a radio station, and was using them to channel pro-American messages to the Iraqi public. Neither is identified as a military mouthpiece.

The New York Times reports that these practices are even more wide spread extending in several Arab countries as well as Afghanistan. The New York Times reports that The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) does not locally disclose its ivolvemnt with media in Afghanistan:

Similarly, AID does not locally disclose that dozens of Afghanistan radio stations get its support, through grants to a London-based nonprofit group, Internews. (AID discloses its support in public documents in Washington, most of which can be found globally on the Internet.)

USAID explains the that reason for the lack of disclosure is “to maintain the perception (if not the reality) that these radio stations are in fact fully independent.”

* The New York Times also reports that there was a plan by the Lincoln Group to create a publication based on The Onion that was rejected :)

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