Monday, August 14, 2006

Perception Management


"Wild Art" Frederic Larson


A collection of perceptions....

Terror Nation: Lies, Injustice, and the American Empire’s Way

Remember, good patriots, we are at war with Islam, Socialism, Communism, drugs, crime, illegal immigration, Gays, labor unions, liberal university professors, peace activists, environmentalists, Anti-Semites, secular humanists, and all those who pose a threat to the United States. Each of these groups shares culpability for the terrorism which has killed several thousand of US, British, Spanish, and Israeli citizens since 2001. They are a cancer upon the American Way and must be excised. Freedom and liberty will prevail despite their onslaught of evil.

Suspension of civil liberties, concentration of power into the hands of the Executive branch, slaughtering hundreds of thousands of innocents civilians, collective punishment of millions through wanton destruction of infrastructure, widespread dissemination of depleted uranium, reduction of wasteful spending on “useless eaters” via massive cuts in entitlement spending, ongoing ethnic cleansing in Gaza and the West Bank, torture, denial of justice to “enemy combatants”, massive tax cuts to the wealthy, obscene increases in defense spending, propaganda blitzes to keep the public believing horrendous lies, preemptive war, reduced government restriction of corporate exploitation of humans and the environment, and continued neocolonial expansion are all essential to the United States fulfilling its Manifest Destiny and ending the terrorist threat. Remember, they hate our freedom.

A pleasant fiction indeed for the United States’ ruling elite and their loyal supporters who violently reject challenges to their hubristic and fanatical devotion to American Exceptionalism and entitlement....


Propaganda, American-style

In totalitarian societies where there's a Ministry of Truth, propaganda doesn't really try to control your thoughts. It just gives you the party line. It says, "Here's the official doctrine; don't disobey and you won't get in trouble. What you think is not of great importance to anyone. If you get out of line we'll do something to you because we have force."

Democratic societies can't work like that, because the state is much more limited in its capacity to control behavior by force. Since the voice of the people is allowed to speak out, those in power better control what that voice says--in other words, control what people think. One of the ways to do this is to create political debate that appears to embrace many opinions, but actually stays within very narrow margins. You have to make sure that both sides in the debate accept certain assumptions--and that those assumptions are the basis of the propaganda system. As long as everyone accepts the propaganda system, the debate is permissible....


Pentagon Propaganda Plan Is Undemocratic, Possibly Illegal
February 19, 2002

The New York Times reported today that the Pentagon’s Office of Strategic Influence is “developing plans to provide news items, possibly even false ones, to foreign media organizations” in an effort “to influence public sentiment and policy makers in both friendly and unfriendly countries.”

...According to the New York Times, “one of the military units assigned to carry out the policies of the Office of Strategic Influence” is the U.S. Army’s Psychological Operations Command (PSYOPS). The Times doesn’t mention, however, that PSYOPS has been accused of operating domestically as recently as the Kosovo war.

In addition, the Pentagon’s restrictive press policies throughout the war in Afghanistan have been an ongoing problem. Most recently, Washington Post reporter Doug Struck claims that U.S. soldiers threatened to shoot him if he proceeded with an attempt to investigate a site where civilians had been killed; Struck has stated that for him, the central question raised by the incident is whether the Pentagon is trying to “cover up” its actions and why it won’t “allow access by reporters to determine what they're doing here in Afghanistan.”


The Man Who Sold the War

"...It was all a lie...

Rendon is a man who fills a need that few people even
know exists. Two months before al-Haideri took the
lie-detector test, the Pentagon had secretly awarded
him a $16 million contract to target Iraq and other
adversaries with propaganda. One of the most powerful
people in Washington, Rendon is a leader in the
strategic field known as "perception management,"
manipulating information -- and, by extension, the
news media -- to achieve the desired result. His firm,
the Rendon Group, has made millions off government
contracts since 1991, when it was hired by the CIA to
help "create the conditions for the removal of Hussein
from power." Working under this extraordinary transfer
of secret authority, Rendon assembled a group of
anti-Saddam militants, personally gave them their name
-- the Iraqi National Congress -- and served as their
media guru and "senior adviser" as they set out to
engineer an uprising against Saddam. It was as if
President John F. Kennedy had outsourced the Bay of
Pigs operation to the advertising and public-relations
firm of J. Walter Thompson....

...Never before in history had such an extensive
secret network been established to shape the entire
world's perception of a war. "It was not just bad
intelligence -- it was an orchestrated effort," says
Sam Gardner, a retired Air Force colonel who has
taught strategy and military operations at the
National War College. "It began before the war, was a
major effort during the war and continues as
post-conflict distortions."

...According to a secret Pentagon report personally
approved by Rumsfeld in October 2003 and obtained by
Rolling Stone, the Strategic Command is authorized to
engage in "military deception" -- defined as
"presenting false information, images or statements."
The seventy-four-page document, titled "Information
Operations Roadmap," also calls for psychological
operations to be launched over radio, television, cell
phones and "emerging technologies" such as the


Also see:
Media Matters


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