Posted by Laura Miller on September 21, 2005

"Strategic Communication Laboratories, a small U.K. firm specializing in 'influence operations' made a very public debut this week with a glitzy exhibit occupying prime real estate at Defense Systems & Equipment International, or DSEI, the United Kingdom's largest showcase for military technology. The main attraction was a full-scale mock-up of its ops center, running simulations ranging from natural disasters to political coups," Sharon Weinberger writes for Slate. The elaborate booth included actors, flashing computer screens and a "a dark-suited man with a wireless microphone [pacing] like a carnival barker, narrating the scenarios." One of which features a "sophisticated campaign of mass deception" that uses a fictitious chemical plant accident as a ploy to minimize the spread of smallpox."If your definition of propaganda is framing communications to do something that's going to save lives, that's fine," says Mark Broughton, SCL's public affairs director. "That's not a word I would use for that."