U.S. Government

Soldiers Follow the Script

In Afghanistan, BBC correspondent got a revealing look at US military propaganda, when two soldiers showed him the laminated cards they had been given with scripted instructions on how to deal with journalists. The card listed suggested answers to questions like: "How do you feel about what you're doing in Afghanistan"? Answer: "We're united in our purpose and committed to achieving our goals." "How long do you think that will take?" Answer: "We will stay here as long as it takes to get the job done - sir!"


No Fly Blacklist Snares Peaceniks

"A federal 'No Fly' list, intended to keep terrorists from boarding planes, is snaring peace activists at San Francisco International and other U. S. airports, triggering complaints that civil liberties are being trampled," reports Alan Gathright. Activists who have been stopped and searched at airports worry that the FBI may be reactivating its old anti-war activists file.


Ours Not to Reason Why

"The Bush administration campaign for war against Iraq has been an extravaganza of disingenuousness," writes Michael Kinsley. "The arguments come and go. Allegations are taken up, held until discredited, and then replaced. ... Two overarching concepts -- 'terrorism' and 'weapons of mass destruction' -- are drained of whatever intellectual validity they may have had and put to work bridging huge gaps in evidence and logic."


Round Up the Japs

For an interesting example of propaganda during wartime, check out "A Challenge to Democracy," a 1944 documentary produced by the U.S. government about the massive internment of Japanese Americans in concentration camps during World War II. "This weird film -- the U.S. government's view of life inside its World War II Japanese-American internment camps -- is an early exercise in political damage control," writes reviewer Ken Smith. "One of its more enjoyable aspects is its baldfaced use of pleasant-sounding euphemisms to recast the nasty things it shows us. ...


Spying in Iraq: From Fact to Allegation

"Nothing makes a newspaper prouder than a juicy foreign-policy scoop. Except, it seems, when the scoop ends up raising awkward questions about a U.S. administration's drive for war," writes Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR). "Back in 1999, major papers ran front-page investigative stories revealing that the CIA had covertly used U.N. weapons inspectors to spy on Iraq for the U.S.'s own intelligence purposes. ...


Censorship and Propaganda From The Gulf War To Today

"I would say that the greatest threat to democracy right now in the United State is George Bush's casual use of propaganda, and sometimes lies, to advance his case against Iraq," Harper's publisher Rick MacArthur told Democracy Now's Amy Goodman. MacArthur is also author of "The Second Front: Censorship and Propaganda in the Gulf War." Goodman asked MacArthur to revisit the elder Bush White House's control of the press corps during that administration's Persian Gulf War. Journalists then faced strict Pentagon control, including no freedom of movement and PR escorts at all times.


Angola Hires Beltway Lobbyists For $2.2 Million

Angola's national oil company has hired the Washington D.C. lobby firm Patton Boggs to improve ties with the U.S. government. "Corruption within Angola's $6 billion energy sector is a key irritant between the two countries," O'Dwyer's PR reports. "The U.S. estimates government officials and their cronies skim about $1 billion from Angola's yearly energy revenues." The one-year contract is worth $2.2 millon and will be led by the well connected Tommy Boggs. Last spring, a cease-fire ended the country's 27-year civil war.


"Public Diplomacy" Chief Gets Mixed Reviews

"As veteran ad executive Charlotte Beers finishes her first year as undersecretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs there are mixed reviews over whether she has accomplished her goal of improving the nation's image beyond its borders," writes Advertising Age. "Even supporters [of Beers] agree that the nation's image has suffered, but they suggest it is unfair to blame Ms. Beers, placing the blame instead on Bush administration policies on Israel and Iraq. Ms.


Selling the War

"The reasons for a new attack on Iraq have been presented in a series of press-friendly promotional moments that have been long on promises and short on facts," says Moveon.org. "Timing has been a critical factor -- it is no coincidence, for example, that the climax of the push has come immediately after the anniversary of Sept.



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