Propaganda - In the Eye of the Beholder?

Newly released classified documents show that the Pentagon was aware that military propaganda targeting international audiences would be able to reach the American public. The 74-page "Information Operations Roadmap" explains that "information intended for foreign audiences, including public diplomacy and PSYOP, increasingly is consumed by our domestic audience and vice-versa." The Smith-Mundt Act, however, prohibits the U.S. government from propagandizing Americans. But the Pentagon argued that "the distinction between foreign and domestic audiences becomes more a question of USG [U.S. government] intent rather than information dissemination practices." The Los Angeles Times reports that the "secret U.S. military program that pays Iraqi newspapers to publish articles favorable to the American mission appears to violate" the "Roadmap," which was signed by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. "It's clearly a violation based on the language used in the Rumsfeld document," a Pentagon official told the Times.


BBC also has [ a report on the Information Operations Roadmap], looking in particular at Pentagon plans for psyops on the internet:

The operations described in the document include a surprising range of military activities: public affairs officers who brief journalists, psychological operations troops who try to manipulate the thoughts and beliefs of an enemy, computer network attack specialists who seek to destroy enemy networks. ...

Perhaps the most startling aspect of the roadmap is its acknowledgement that information put out as part of the military's psychological operations, or Psyops, is finding its way onto the computer and television screens of ordinary Americans.

"Information intended for foreign audiences, including public diplomacy and Psyops, is increasingly consumed by our domestic audience," it reads. ...

When it describes plans for electronic warfare, or EW, the document takes on an extraordinary tone.

It seems to see the internet as being equivalent to an enemy weapons system.

"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. ...

And, in a grand finale, the document recommends that the United States should seek the ability to "provide maximum control of the entire electromagnetic spectrum".