Defense Dept. Divided Over Propaganda Plan
Critics Fear 'Information Operations' Could Backfire, Hurt Pentagon's Credibility
By Thomas E. Ricks
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, February 20, 2002; Page A10
"At the center of the controversy is a new Office of Strategic Influence, created in recent months to more directly influence foreign public opinion about U.S. military operations."
"The military has long tried to influence public opinion in countries at war under the title of "psychological operations." But the new office apparently plans to extend such operations into nations in which the United States is not a combatant."
"The division at the Pentagon over the plan is only the latest manifestation of a long-running battle inside the military between public affairs officials and the new community of "information warriors," said retired Col. Virginia Pribyla, a former head of the Air Force's press desk.
"Information war" has been a major growth area in the military over the past decade, said Pribyla. "The problem is they don't see anything wrong with not telling the truth," she said."
perception management & domestic propaganda
by Preston Peet (firstname.lastname@example.org) - October 02, 2001
Public opinion is heavily influenced by what the media reports. This has not escaped the notice of the CIA, who have been working actively to direct world opinion using global media outlets and reporters for decades.
Disinformation and domestic propaganda (aimed at US citizens) is a mainstay of intelligence agencies. The Washington Times newspaper, itself known to be connected to controversial cult-leader Reverand Moon (who has ties to Korean and US spy agencies), revealed (July 29, 1999) that US President Bill Clinton's Presidential Decision Directive 68 (April 30, 1999), ordering the creation of the International Public Information system (IPI), "does not distinguish between what would be done overseas, and what would be done at home." IPI would form a core group of 'perception management' analysts, on the pretext of studying how foreign, hostile governments direct propaganda at the US, and to assist the US government in finding ways to 'defeat adversaries'.
The US hopes to use IPI to "influence foreign audiences . . .to influence the emotions, motives, objective reasonings . . .and the behavior of foreign governments, organizations, groups, and individuals." Information reported to domestic audiences "should be coordinated, integrated, deconflicted, and synchronized with IPI."
This ties in with the CIA's Public Affairs Office. At CIABase, an online resource for serious study of the CIA, you can read excerpts of a memorandum for the Director of Central Intelligence (December 20, 1991), detailing aims and techniques of this domestic disinformation service. PAO relationships with reporters "from every major wire service, newspaper, news-weekly, and television network in the nation (US), have helped turn 'intelligence failure' stories into 'intelligence success' stories . . . in many instances we have persuaded reporters to postpone, change, hold, or even scrap stories that could have adversely affected national security interests."
One CIA document (April 1, 1967), released under the Freedom of Information Act, advised that due to growing disbelief in the Warren Report's conclusions that Oswald was the 'lone' assassin, among the American public, certain steps should be taken to "provide material for countering and discrediting the claims of the conspiracy theorists . . . Employ propaganda assets to answer and refute the attacks of the 'critics'. Book reviews and feature articles are particularly appropriate for this purpose."
According to Mark Lane, in his book Plausible Denial (Thunder's Mouth Press, 1992), among those news outlets which published damning critiques of Rush to Judgment (Thunder's Mouth Press, 1992), Lane's seminal book on JFK and the Warren Commission Report, using strikingly similar tactics to those advised by the CIA memorandum were "the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and especially Walter Cronkite and CBS."
Carl Bernstein reported (Rolling Stone, 1977), that for over 25 years, more than four hundred US reporters had carried out intelligence assignments for the CIA. The New York Times soon increased that number to "more than eight hundred news and public information organizations and individuals."
The disinformation campaign does not always involve simple propaganda either. Sometimes it takes the form of old fashioned suppression, censorship, and intimidation.
In 1967, MHCHAOS went into effect, expanding the domestic intelligence operations against Ramparts magazine to cover some five hundred underground, alternative press outlets. Papers were shut down, dissension was sown amongst activist organizations and publications, phones were tapped, with the Military/Industrial/Law Enforcement complex running the entire show.
The 'new' IPI group will bring nothing good to democratic ideals. Openness is essential for Democracy to really work, for it to genuinely exist. Media is there to insure that takes place. If the media is co-opted into a spin machine for the corporate elite, there is no longer any genuine freedom.
© 1997-2002 The Disinformation Company Ltd. All rights reserved.
US plans to 'fight the net' revealed
By Adam Brookes
BBC Pentagon correspondent
Friday, 27 January 2006
A newly declassified document gives a fascinating glimpse into the US military's plans for "information operations" - from psychological operations, to attacks on hostile computer networks.
The declassified document is called "Information Operations Roadmap". It was obtained by the National Security Archive at George Washington University using the Freedom of Information Act.
Officials in the Pentagon wrote it in 2003. The Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, signed it.
"Information intended for foreign audiences, including public diplomacy and Psyops, is increasingly consumed by our domestic audience," it reads.
"Psyops messages will often be replayed by the news media for much larger audiences, including the American public," it goes on.
"Strategy should be based on the premise that the Department [of Defense] will 'fight the net' as it would an enemy weapons system," it reads.
The slogan "fight the net" appears several times throughout the roadmap.
Revealed: Air Force ordered software to manage army of fake virtual people
By Stephen C. Webster Friday, February 18th, 2011 -- 3:07 pm
"In the continuing saga of data security firm HBGary, a new caveat has come to light: not only did they plot to help destroy secrets outlet WikiLeaks and discredit progressive bloggers, they also crafted detailed proposals for software that manages online "personas," allowing a single human to assume the identities of as many fake people as they'd like."
"Eerie as that may be, more perplexing, however, is a federal contract from the 6th Contracting Squadron at MacDill Air Force Base, located south of Tampa, Florida, that solicits providers of "persona management software."
While there are certainly legitimate applications for such software, such as managing multiple "official" social media accounts from a single input, the more nefarious potential is clear.
Unfortunately, the Air Force's contract description doesn't help dispel suspicions. As the text explains, the software would require licenses for 50 users with 10 personas each, for a total of 500. These personas would have to be "replete with background , history, supporting details, and cyber presences that are technically, culturally and geographically consistent."
It continues, noting the need for secure virtual private networks that randomize the operator's Internet protocol (IP) address, making it impossible to detect that it's a single person orchestrating all these posts. Another entry calls for static IP address management for each persona, making it appear as though each fake person was consistently accessing from the same computer each time.
The contract also sought methods to anonymously establish virtual private servers with private hosting firms in specific geographic locations. This would allow that server's "geosite" to be integrated with their social media profiles, effectively gaming geolocation services.
The contract was offered on June 22, 2010.