Friday, December 02, 2005

We plant the seeds, nature grows the seeds...

The New York Times (via) :
Titled "The Sands Are Blowing Toward a Democratic Iraq," an article written this week for publication in the Iraqi press was scornful of outsiders' pessimism about the country's future.

"Western press and frequently those self-styled 'objective' observers of Iraq are often critics of how we, the people of Iraq, are proceeding down the path in determining what is best for our nation," the article began. Quoting the Prophet Muhammad, it pleaded for unity and nonviolence.

But far from being the heartfelt opinion of an Iraqi writer, as its language implied, the article was prepared by the United States military as part of a multimillion-dollar covert campaign to plant paid propaganda in the Iraqi news media and pay friendly Iraqi journalists monthly stipends, military contractors and officials said.
The LA Times:
Since early this year, the Information Operations Task Force in Baghdad has used Lincoln Group to plant stories in the Iraqi media that trumpet the successes of U.S. and Iraqi troops against insurgents, U.S.-led efforts to rebuild Iraq, and rising anti-insurgent sentiment among the Iraqi people, according to senior military officials and documents obtained by The Times.

Information operations troops write news stories, called "storyboards," and deliver them to the Iraqi staff of Lincoln Group. After that, Lincoln Group staffers translate the storyboards into Arabic and pay newspaper editors in Baghdad to run the stories.
Planting political propaganda in the media, you say? Passing it off as the work of independent journalists, you say? Where have I heard that before?

I wonder if there's a bomb shelter at the Lincoln Group?

In these strange days, I feel the need to explicitly state that I am not calling for these people to be bombed. Unlike Frank Gaffney, neo-conservative, I am not a supporter of such things. Even if these allegations are based on fact, unlike Mr Gaffney's, it still wouldn't be right.

These allegations, unlike those of Mr Gaffney, do appear to be credible.
A US military spokesman in Baghdad, Maj Gen Rick Lynch, appeared implicitly to confirm the reports. He said that Iraq's most- wanted militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, was also using the media "He is lying to the Iraqi people. We don't lie - we don't need to lie," Gen Lynch said. "We do empower our operational commanders with the ability to inform the Iraqi public but everything we do is based on fact, not based on fiction."
Whether they lie or not is open to debate but it's wrong either way. It is a corruption of the very principles the US is supposed to be there to promote. Free independent media is a cornerstone of democracy.

Ah but it's OK when we do it. It's only a problem when they do it.
an ethical or moral code that applies more strictly to one group than to another

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